literature

Broken Love, Ch. 2

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Literature Text

Note:Characters belong to Bioware. All Italicized Mandalorian words and phrases belong to Karen Traviss. Incredible artwork by Xhybridus !





The singular moment that he laid eyes on her seemed to stretch out into eternity. He couldn't make sense of it. She was a Jedi, she was the proper age, she flew the right ship, wielded the same sort of weapon, and yet this girl was not his wife.


He had been bracing himself for a reunion: he was ready either to reconcile with Revan, or else to say his final goodbyes and have closure. Nothing prepared him for this... This sweet-faced girl that had Revan's ship and Revan's droids, but no idea where Revan herself might be.


If she'd given away the Ebon Hawk, did that mean she never intended to return? And if her droids were no longer with her, was she utterly alone?


Was she even still alive?


For the first time in his life, he was glad of his mask because it hid the glisten of unshed tears in his eyes. He listened to this girl, this Dessida Kallos, with half an ear, while these wretched emotions threaten to overwhelm him. He could hear the hammering of his own heart and each tremulous breath he gasped in and rattled out.


“So, it's transportation you're after,” he surmised, once she finished talking. Despite it all, his voice was perfectly even. He sounded vaguely amused, idly curious. One would never guess he was drowning on the inside.


Dessida, he told himself. Just focus on the girl. He had a shuttle that would suit her needs, and he had business in Iziz. Truly, it wouldn't even inconvenience him to let her tag along for the ride. Yet, he hesitated to offer. She reminded him so forcefully of... things he couldn't bear to remember just now. Why should he bother to taxi her about, just to be tortured by her very proximity?


He waffled back and forth a long moment before deciding... to stall.


Impress me, he told her. Help out around my camp. Curry favor with my people. You do that, and I just might help you out.


Dessida accepted the task with a fiery determination in her eyes and set out at once. The second she was gone from his office, he braced both of his hands on the computer console to keep himself upright. Facing her drained him of... everything he had.


“Mandalore?” Kumus hadn't marched out when Mandalore had dismissed them all. He lingered, inched toward his commander, both curious and concerned. For the past four years, Kumus had been instructed, on a daily basis, to check the ID signature of every single incoming vessel, match it against the Ebon Hawk. If ever he found a match, he was to tell Mandalore at once. Wake him, disturb his meals, hail him in the field. Whatever it took, let him know without delay.


There finally was a match, and a Jedi woman aboard, but... based on the interactions Kumus had just witnessed, it was the wrong woman.


“Keep an eye on her. I just--I need to-- Just comm me if there's trouble,” growled Mandalore before shouldering past the young scout and all but fleeing the camp.




Dessida had taken Mandalore's challenge to heart. In the past three days since she'd landed, she had been running wild through the camp and the jungle both in attempts to help everyone she possibly could. She fixed the telemetry computer, tracked down a wayward recruit, dispatched Onderonian scouts. She had even killed a Zakkeg to prove herself a worthy hunter.


Evidently, Mandalore still wasn't impressed. She'd seen neither hide nor hair of him since their first exchange. Figuratively speaking, of course, since the armor concealed everything about him, hide and hair included.


So, her last hope was the Battle Circle. The Mandalorians were loath to let her, an aruetti compete. What 'aruetti' meant, she had no idea, but she inferred that it wasn't flattering, given the acidic tone with which it was spoken. She'd stood her ground, stubbornly demanding her chance to prove herself.


Her first match had been against a new warrior, Davrel, who opted to fight using only fist and foot. She fought with everything she had: head and heart. She moved with grace and fluidity. She struck where his armor was least effective to maximize damage and yet--


One good kick from the Mandalorian connected with her rib cage with a sickening crunch of bone. The impact knocked the wind from her lungs, and flung her body several meters through the air. She landed in a crumpled, broken heap well outside the perimeter of the Battle Circle. Her first match ended with a a painful and decisive loss.


Her ego wasn't just bruised; it shattered. Everything that had fallen on her shoulders: finding the lost Jedi, fighting the Sith Lords, re-establishing her connection to the Force, it was all too much for her. She couldn't give up, but the longer she tried, the more certain she became that this mission would be the end of her. Losing to Davrel all but proved that.


“I thought Jedi were supposed to be tough... capable...” Atton had whispered to Kreia when they had assumed Dessida was too deep in meditation to hear them.


Atton the scoundrel, with his sleazy smile and wandering gaze, had no faith in her. Kreia had nothing but contempt.


Fighting back tears of frustration, Dessida limped away from the Battle Circle. Bao-Dur hurried to check on her, but she brushed him off, avoiding his gaze all the while. Just needed some air, she told him, and marched as upright and ably as she could, right into the jungle.




“Ow.... ow, ow... OW!”


Mandalore had abandoned his armor, shed it like a second skin on the banks of a rain-swollen lake and dove in, head first. It was far from a good idea. The water churned with sediment, obscuring his vision. If something hungry did intend to sidle up to him, he would never see it coming, or something poisonous underfoot. Dxun had plenty of both. Still, the water was brisk, and his mind needed clearing, so he chanced it.


When he surfaced, he heard a woman's voice muttering in pain, then suddenly shouting with it. His steely eyes searched through the mist rising off the water's surface until he found her, Dessida, sitting cross-legged, maybe ten meters away.


He grimaced at the sight of her. Didn't she realize he'd come all the way out here to escape her?  The longer he considered her, however, the more he started to realize she hadn't followed him on purpose. In fact, she had no idea he was there.


Her eyes were shut tight, brow creased in concentration. The hands gripping her knees had white knuckles. After so long alongside Jedi, he knew what Force Healing looked like. Or what it was supposed to look like, and he knew Dessida wasn't doing it right.


Truly, she had a charming look to her. Supple lips, even if they were prone to a frown. Wide, innocent eyes swimming with sadness. She kept her head up and her shoulders back, but there was something about her, a deep-seated fatigue, as though she had been trying to carry a burden that was much too heavy for much too long. Whatever that burden was, he had no idea, but he knew in his heart that as much as she ached to set it down, she wouldn't allow herself to give up.


He admired that.


Trying not to disturb her anymore than he had to, he swam quietly to the rocky banks and hoisted himself up and out of the water. He hadn't thought to bring a towel or a blanket with which to dry himself, or a dry change of clothes. He certainly couldn't climb back into his armor dripping wet, so he was, for the moment, forced to sit there in nothing but his skivvies.


He definitely didn't want to disturb her, but he doubted he could sneak by her, either. So for the moment, he sat quiet, and observed.  


Suddenly, the Jedi sucked in a sharp gasp through her teeth. A burst of pain caused her entire being to curl in on itself with a whimper.


Before he could stop himself, Mandalore was marching her way. “Easy,” he called out, but his sudden appearance had the very opposite effect. She jolted upright to scan the vicinity, causing another burst of pain from her torso. “Udessi, Jett'ika,” he tried again, adopting more of a placating tone.


Unlike Revan, she didn't understand a word of his native tongue, so the words 'calm down, little Jedi' gave her no comfort at all. He had also made a slight oversight himself, approaching her as boldly as he did: he forgot that she had never seen his face before. Just his mask. So a nearly-naked stranger stalking out of the shadows while she writhes in pain sent her into a spiral of panic.


“St-stay back!” she ordered. Both hands reached for her lightsaber, which had come unclipped, so they desperately began to search the overgrown jungle grass to recover it. She finally found it, she ignited the blade- silver in color- with a snap-hiss and held it level between the two of them. “I don't want to harm you, but if you come any closer-”


“You'll what?” Mandalore challenged. His voice was grim, but his eyes glittered with mirth. A smirk tugged at the corners of his lips. “Yell 'ow' some more? Trip and impale yourself on your own weapon?”


Those diamond eyes couldn't hide a single emotion. Offended, annoyed, insecure. He could read her like a Holojournal. The more he spoke, the more familiar his voice began to sound. When she realized at last it was the leader of the Mandalorian people that had found her at her very worst, and poked fun at her, her shoulders sagged with defeat. She disengaged the lightsaber and resumed staring at the grass. “I didn't know it was you,” she murmured, defaulting back to the diplomatic Jedi temperament. “I apologize for threatening you, Mandalore.”


“Never felt threatened,” he answered her in a tone that was both teasing and almost friendly. “How bad are you hurt?”


“I don't really know,” she confessed, but her attention suddenly snagged on his face. She hadn't given any thought to what might have been under that mask, but she never expected what she was seeing now. He was handsome, if somewhat grizzled and gray. Square jaw beneath a neatly trimmed beard. Molten silver eyes both enticing and a little intimidating and an innate strength that inspired confidence in those around him. Even in her. “I tried to fight in the Battle Circle. I got kicked around here,” she gestured at her ribs, and stopped short when Mandalore snatched off one gauntlet to press his bare hand to the injured area.


It was as though his very touch was electrified. There was pain when he touched the broken bones, sure, but the rest of her reacted... oddly.  Her heart attempted to leap, tripped over itself and bellyflopped. Her nerves felt like the taut strings of a harp just after they'd been plucked. Her mouth dried and her eyes widened, focused on his face with pure shock etched into every facet of her expression.


“I count three broken ribs,” he told her, acting oblivious to her shell-shocked demeanor. “I'm guessing you came out here to heal, but that wasn't working out, either.”


“You would be correct,” she confirmed with a factual tone, a bashful nod and a pink flush in her cheeks.


“Younglings are taught to Force Heal. What kind of Jedi doesn't know how to mend her own wounds?” he prodded, but he tried to keep his tone civil, not overly critical.


“I'm not a Jedi,” Dessida asserted. When those silver eyes found hers, she dodged them. “I was, but after the war with your people, the Order banished me and stripped my connection to the Force. I'm trying to get it back, but it's a long, slow process, and... I don't think I'm making much progress, to be honest.”


Mandalore considered her in silence a moment. It was unfair. He seemed to be able to read her thoughts, but he puzzled her to the core. “Lay back. I'll get something to help you heal,” was all he said. Her heart gave an anxious jerk, but she did as she was bid.


He ambled back to his armor to find a satchel attached to his belt. In it were homemade stims and kolto sharps. He didn't have much use for them, so some were bound to be older than others. He wasn't sure if kolto had an expiration date, but he did what he could to locate a more recent product. All the while, he could feel those diamond eyes on his back. When he turned back, he caught her staring at him, though she did look away at once. He tried not to smirk at her expense.


“What kind of Mandalorian knows what Jedi teach their younglings?” she queried in turn, mirroring his mildly curious tone.


The question was like a mosquito, circling around and around, buzzing loudly, impossible to ignore. Mandalore occupied himself with her medical care while he wondered how he wanted to answer her. He could, of course, blow her off. He could be vague, or he could be honest. 'None of your shabla business' was the first response that sprang to mind.


He watched her draw in a breath and hold it as he untucked the top half of her robes from the lower and eased the burlap-like material up her side just far enough to expose the injury. Her ribs were rapidly turning purple.


“The kind of Mandalorian that had a Jedi for a wife,” he said in due time, his tone almost too patient to belong with his voice. “This will sting,” he cautioned her a moment before easing the medsharp in between two of her broken bones.


'Sting' it did not. It felt like she was being impaled on a razor-sharp Nexu claw. Another whimper, but she stayed resolutely still. Her body was still, at least, so as not to jerk the needle, but her hand reached out instinctively to grab his and squeeze until the pain passed.


Dessida had such dainty little hands. Long, delicate fingers, so mismatched with his massive, calloused ones.


“You were married to a Jedi?” he heard her ask, but he kept staring at her hand. Revan had little hands, too. He remembered being injured in the bombardment of Taris. He had fallen to his knees, and Revan's tiny little hand reached out to that big, burly man, and somehow, she managed to pull him to safety.


“I was,” his voice was husky and far off. He shook himself out of his memories and forced a polite smile to his lips, but his eyes were suddenly incapable of meeting hers. “A long time ago. Give the kolto a few minutes to take effect. When you're ready, meet me at the hangar. 'Bout time you got to Iziz.”
Canderous Ordo, the leader of the Mandalorian people, has been expecting his former wife Revan to return for several years now. When his scouts finally find the Ebon Hawk, and report to him that there is a young Jedi woman aboard, he is shocked to realize... it's not Revan.

(apologies for the, um, long wait between chapters xD)

To start at the beginning:
Ch. 1: Broken Love Ch: 1

To keep reading:
Ch. 3: Broken Love, Ch. 3
Ch. 4:Broken Love, Ch. 4

'Broken Love' is a continuation of an earlier mini-series in which light side,  F!Revan romances and marries Canderous Ordo. If you're interested in starting from the VERY beginning, you can find it here: Escaping Taris
Published:
© 2017 - 2021 DarkEchani
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ProudtobeNerd's avatar
Nooo!! Canderous can't fall for the exile Waaaah! 
DarkEchani's avatar
Calm down, Nerd, I got thisOMG MOAR POEMS!