literature

Broken love, Ch. 8

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By DarkEchani
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Literature Text

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

“Atton… what are you doing?”

The pilot kept to the shadows. His yellow eyes flashed like a rodent as they shot toward Bao-Dur. The Iradorian tech was standing a few meters off, watching him with a wary eye. Plans shot to hell, Atton pretended to hook his thumbs in his belt so he could stow his knife. He shrugged one shoulder casually enough.

“Thought I saw something shimmer, like a stealth field generator,” he lied smoothly. “Wouldn’t be the first time a Sith gave Mando security the slip. If anyone’s going to try to assassinate Dessida, they’d try tonight, wouldn’t they?”

Bao gave him an uncertain nod. “I guess they would. I’m sure Mandalore wouldn’t mind posting a guard outside her door, if you don’t trust the kid to keep her safe,” he suggested, nodding toward Mical, whose prowess in battle had yet to impress.

“That’s a good idea. I’ll go ask him,” Atton agreed, silently seething. It didn’t matter, he told himself. He’d get another chance.




Dawn was a bluish-green affair in the jungle. Rain was still pattering over the Mandalorian camp, but it wasn’t as fierce as usual, nor driven by too much wind. Bao was the first to wake. The Mandos themselves had spent half the night celebrating their victory over the Sith with too much tihaar and bragging. Because he had no desire to wake them, Bao tiptoed to Mandalore’s quarters to check on Dessida.

He was struck by how young she looked while she slept, and how peaceful. So much of the time he had known her was spent in combat. It was… almost strange to see her without the look of fierce determination on her face.

“You should have seen her yesterday,” murmured Mical, sitting vigilantly at her bedside. “She’s such an incredible warrior. We couldn’t keep up with her.”

“I’ve seen her fight,” Bao reminded the boy.

“Of course, but this was different,” Mical countered wistfully. “She was at the head of the Loyalist army leading them into battle. It was inspiring.”

“I fought with her in the Mandalorian War,” answered Bao with a hint of exasperation. “You don’t need to tell me how amazing she is.”

That shut him up, for a moment. He seemed to pout that Bao had such history with her, but he recovered his composure. “I hadn’t realized you served with her.”

The Iradonian grinned to himself over Mical’s choice of words. Served ‘with’ her, as though they fought shoulder to shoulder. That was hardly the case, but he chose to keep that to himself. “That is why I call her ‘General’.”

“You must know her well,” mused the boy.

“I wouldn’t say that.” Bao shifted his gaze back to the woman in question. “I was just a tech; I saw her on the bridge from time to time, but the only time we worked together was the battle of Malachor. It was hard on her. I think when she looks at me, all she can think of is the worst day of her life. So, I try to give her space, stay out of her way.”

Usually, Bao’s voice was a utterly calm, rarely influenced by emotion. That was not the case here. Attached to his words now was such a prolific sadness that Mical felt an unmistakable stab of jealousy. The silence that followed was terse and uncomfortable.

“I just came to look in on her.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be working on the telemetry computer,” said Bao as he withdrew, though his gaze lingered just a moment longer as if to memorize the details of her face.




Nar Shaddaa was as slimy and fragrant as a Hutt’s unwashed armpit. The moon itself wasn’t that large, but it boasted a population of eighty billion life forms. It seemed to Canderous that every last one of them was some sort of criminal: bounty hunter, spice dealer, organ trafficker. And one of them had snatched Dessida.

Canderous kept clenching and unclenching his fists. He didn’t speak at first, but when he did, he lowered his voice to a menacing snarl. “What do you mean, ‘gone’? You were supposed to be watching her.”

The boy looked properly ashamed of himself, clutching an icepack to a freshly blackened eye. “I was watching her,” he protested feebly, wheeling about in search of support among his other comrades, but he found none. Atton looked murderous. Kreia’s ancient face was contorted in a mask of rage. “Then this Wookie appeared out of nowhere and punched me. I fell, and by the time I got to my feet, they had vanished.”

“You were supposed to protect her,” Atton seethed. “She was counting on you, and you let her get taken! Whatever happens to her, that’s on you.”

“What could I have done differently? I never even saw the beast approach!” Mical retaliated, glaring with his one good eye.

“Maybe if you weren’t too busy being useless,--” the pilot was all but foaming at the mouth when Bao-Dur interrupted him.

“This isn’t helping,” he cut in calmly. “If it was the Wookie that took her, that might work out in our favor. Nar Shaddaa has all sorts of aliens here, but not a lot of Wookies. Someone must know who he is, where to find him. We just need to find someone willing to talk to us and go from there.”

“I saw some Mandalorians by the docks,” Canderous mentioned.

“I’ll try the pazaak lounge. People like to talk over a game of cards,” Atton volunteered. His tone was still chilling, but at least, he was committed to productivity now.

“I’ll visit Tien Tubb’s shop. I noticed he was having trouble with one of his droids. If he wants to talk, I can fix it for him,” Bao put forth.

“What shall I do?” asked Mical.

“You stay here and try not to screw anything else up,” snapped Canderous, before Atton could say something even more vicious.




Canderous debated on his wardrobe before leaving the ship. Clan Ordo respected his leadership, but there were plenty of other Mandalorians that didn’t recognize it because he hadn’t been chosen. Deciding it would be better to blend in, he donned the outfit he used to wear in Davik Kang’s employ: a black tee-shirt and a rust-colored leather vest. That way, he looked like just another Mando thug.

He had almost forgotten what if felt like to be a hired gun. Some beings went out of their way to avoid him. Others sized him up, wondering who would come out on top if they went toe to toe. None of them decided to chance finding out. Passing by the cantina, one of the Twi’lek waitresses favored him with a sultry little smile. By the time he reached the docks, he was in a considerably better mood.

Su’cuy, vode,” he called out as he approached the Mandalorians. He could tell from a distance they had been out of work a while. There was rust in their armor and their blaster rifles were old, outdated junk he wouldn’t even use for target practice, but they were a decent lot. They had heard of a Wookie bounty hunter, mentioned he was known to be savage and possibly worked for the Exchange. That was a small comfort. At least, Dessida wasn’t being butchered for her organs, or sold in the Red Light District. Before he left them, he offered them a place in his camp on Dxun. They wouldn’t get rich, but they could help rebuild their people, and restore some sense of personal honor. He wasn’t sure they’d take him up on it, but it felt good to try.

As he was turning to leave, he caught sight of a ragged-looking man he assumed to be a refugee. He was balding, but what was left of his hair was long and unkempt. He sported a heavy mustache, earrings and a few days’ worth of stubble on his jaw. Thinking he might know something about the Wookie, Canderous cautiously approached.

“Somethin’ you need?” the Mandalorian asked in a low growl.

“No,” the stranger answered, quite calmly, unimpressed by Canderous’ bravado. “I remember you.”

Certain that had they met before, Canderous would have remembered the man, he came to the conclusion that the guy was a drunk, and probably useless. “Sure, you do,” he said curtly and started back toward the ship.

“You’re Revan’s husband, are you not?” the man shouted after him.

That stopped him dead in his tracks. For a moment, his heart was still, and his blood ran cold. He turned back slowly. “You know Revan?” he managed to ask, though his mouth felt full of cotton.

“I knew her briefly, but she was… unforgettable,” he concluded with a hint of a smile. Canderous tried not to read too deeply into the fact that he was speaking in the past tense. So many questions swirled in his head, he didn’t know where to begin. His legs felt like jelly underneath him, but he convinced them to carry him back to the stranger.

“Do you know where she is now?” the words tried to stick in his throat, but he forced them out.

“I’m afraid not,” said the stranger with a sad smile. “I imagine her old Master would know. They were close, but I wouldn’t know where to find Kreia, either…”

The man kept talking. He expressed sympathy over Revan’s disappearance, mentioned how heroic she had been but Canderous couldn’t hear him over the droning in his ears. Kreia had been Revan’s master. She would probably know. Kreia. He had been assuming all along that Dessida had found the Hawk, because she had been aboard before waking on Peragus, but Kreia had been there, too, and claimed not to remember how she’d gotten there, either.

“For what it’s worth, I hope she returns. For your sake, and the Republic’s,” the man was saying. Canderous realized he was about to leave when another thought struck him right between the eyes.

“You’re Zez-Kai Ell, aren’t you?”




“No luck on the Wookie, but I found the last Jedi Master,” Canderous called out as he strolled up the ship’s entry ramp. He stopped short before he reached the main hold, surprised to see Dessida already there. Even more shocking was her outfit: thin gold chains and just enough sultry red fabric to constitute clothing. “Do I want to know why you’re dressed like a cantina dancer?”

“It’s a fascinating story, but I really need to get the slave collar off her neck before the power core re-energizes,” said Bao-Dur smoothly. He had retained his natural coloring, unlike Dessida, who looked a little pale, and Mical, who blushed fiercely every time his eyes strayed anywhere near her. Canderous noticed the Iradonian place a hand against the bare skin on the small of her back and guided her toward the work bench in the garage. He didn’t miss the fact that she had been hovering anxiously at his side, either.

“You got any idea what the hell happened here?” Canderous demanded of Mical.

“Very little,” Mical confessed. “I wasn’t allowed to assist in her rescue, but I gather the Wookie sold her to the Exchange, whose security system was no match for Bao-Dur.”

"And the outfit?” Canderous persisted.

“She attempted to escape with the, ah… performers. After that, they put the slave collar on her,” Mical added, casting a glance down the corridor, but he was puzzled when he found the garage sealed off.

That was Bao’s doing, which confused Dessida, as well.

“In case Atton gets back to the ship before I get that collar off,” he explained. “I’d rather he didn’t see you like this. Hop up on the workbench.”

She did as she was bid without question or complaint, or eye-contact. Bao suppressed a smile. She was usually so composed; it was amusing to see her so far out of her element. The black plasteel collar looked like a necklace, but it was designed to shock her if she left a specific area. If she didn’t return within sixty seconds or so, the voltage increased to lethal levels. He had scrambled the sensors at first, but eventually, they would recalibrate, and the device would return to full functionality. Ideally, he would be able to get it off of her before then.

He stood close enough to see it, which was close enough that his breath tickled her neck, and close enough that the pulsating energy in his prosthetic arm caused goosebumps to race across her flesh. At least, he assumed that was what caused them. He was used to it, but there was usually more than just a couple of centimeters between them.

“Hold still, General. I’m pretty good with these tools, but I’m usually working on droids… so if I slip, no harm, no foul,” he murmured as he swept the hair away from her neck and angled her head with a touch of his fingers.

“I trust you,” was her whispered response. She was silent and still as a statue for all of four seconds or so. When she continued, it was a naked attempt to fill an awkward silence. “Thank you, by the way. I know you went through a lot of trouble to rescue me. I guess, you still are...”

He allowed himself to grin this time just because her face was turned away from him and he knew she couldn’t see it. “You’re welcome, General, but I’m working on your neck. When you talk, you move.”

“Sorry.”

He leaned away just far enough that she couldn’t miss the ‘seriously, stop it’ expression on his face. Then, he got to work again. He unscrewed the top panel and exposed the intricate mechanism inside it. It was more complicated than he originally assumed, but he wasn’t worried. At first. Then she started talking again.

“Is that really what you think?” she asked abruptly.

“Yes, General. When you talk—”

“Not that,” she cut him off. “That when I look at you, all I see is Malachor.”

“You do understand if I can’t get the collar off, it could kill you,” he stated, which was true, but it was a stalling tactic as well. She turned her head just enough that she could look at him without obscuring his view of the collar. He could feel the intensity of her gaze, but he focused on his work. “You weren’t meant to hear that…. But I suppose it is. Am I wrong?”

“Yes,” was her instantaneous, somewhat defiant response. He glanced at her and noted the blazing eyes with a squirmy sensation in his belly. He tried to quell it. Maybe he didn’t remind her of the war; that didn’t mean she felt anything for him. He hesitated, wavering between continuing to work while she kept talking (and he knew that she would) or risk waiting until she was done. He opted for the former. The General was revved up and he couldn’t really estimate how much time he had to work with.

“Alright. What do you see?” he prompted, keeping his tone level.

“I used to see a droid.”

He paused while he tried to process that. His mouth opened and shut again without making a sound. Then he shrugged and went back to his work. “You’re not the first to make that comparison.”

“You’ve always been so formal with me. So factual,” she wished she could see his eyes, but he prodded her to turn her head again for better light. “Your voice is always so calm. Like a protocol droid in a medbay. You just never show emotion, maybe it never really dawned on me that you had any.”

The wriggling in his stomach began again. “You’re speaking in the past tense. Something changed your mind?” he asked, trying to imitate nonchalance, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

“There’s so many life forms on Nar Shaddaa, so many tangled emotions; it’s hard for me to sense anything. It’s like everyone is shouting all at once, so I can’t tell what anyone is saying,” she explained, prompting a patient ‘mhmm’ from the Iradonian. “You were so frantic to get to me today, I could hear it above everything else.”

“We were all worried about you, General.”

“I thought you were formal and distant with me because you didn’t care,” she clarified. “I remembered what you said about Malachor, and I finally realized you act that way because you thought that’s what I needed, and you’d do anything for me.”

This time, he had no choice. He had to set down the tool in his hand and look into her eyes, not the side of her head. When the moment finally crystalized, he understood exactly what she wanted from him. So, he cupped her face in both of his hands and ravished her eager lips with his own.

When the slave collar recalibrated. The warning shock zapped her so hard, even he felt it.

“Hold still,” he repeated sternly as he snatched up his tools again. In that moment, she could sense his emotions just as readily as she could her own: a flash of panic, then focused, determined. She squeezed her eyes shut, expelling one quivering breath, thinking the jolt would strike at any second and fry them both. Just as she decided to shove him away, she felt the lock disengage with a soft click. He wrenched it the rest of the way off her neck and flung it across the room.

No sooner had it hit the floor than it exploded in a white-hot shower of sparks.

There was a moment of breathless silence before she managed to laugh with relief. She wrapped her arm around Bao’s neck and sagged against his chest.

“You were right. I should have let you deal with that first,” she breathed. Even he laughed; Dessida wasn’t sure she’d ever heard him do that before. He hugged her tightly while he waited for the rush of adrenaline to subside and his heart to stop pounding in his ears.

“Seriously, go change. If Atton sees you in that outfit, he’ll never leave you alone,” he insisted, trying to sound stern while they were both still grinning.

She was tempted to tell him how she’d met Atton while wearing nothing but her underwear, just to needle him, but he made a sobering point. “Maybe we shouldn’t tell anyone about us just yet,” she suggested. “It might upset him.”

“Him, Mandalore, the idiot that let you get captured. Any one of them would gladly kill me and take my place,” he countered with a knowing smile. “We’ll be discreet. Go change.”

“Should I throw it in the incinerator, too?” she asked with a wicked gleam in her eyes, then giggled when he couldn’t bring himself to agree.

“You’re killing me, General,” he informed her with a rueful shake of his head.

“Dessida,” she corrected before she finally made for her own quarters via the back corridor.

He couldn’t resist letting his gaze follow her out. When she disappeared, he braced his hands against the bench and allowed his head to spin in the aftermath of these new developments. “Dessida,” he repeated to himself. “My General.”




At the opposite end of the ship, Kreia was kneeling, meditating. She bristled and squared her shoulders when she sensed the Mandalorian brooding from the threshold. “Leave me,” she instructed coldly. “I have no patience for your petulance.”

He didn’t budge.

“Is my wife still alive?” he demanded at length, growling through clenched teeth.

Kreia sifted through his mind without his notice. The corners of her lips twitched with amusement when she realized what he had come to suspect. “I’ve told you before that you will have to chose between them: Revan and the Exile.”

“The Exile has other interests,” he said with a mirthless laugh. The old witch couldn’t hold that over him anymore; whatever flirtation there had been between him and Dessida died the day he told her about his marriage. “My only interest is finding Revan. Tell me the truth.”

“She is alive,” Kreia confirmed. The Mandalorian let out a trembling sigh as his worst fear was assuaged. “Dessida will lead you to her, but what then, Mandalore? Which will you choose?”

“I’m not playing your games anymore,” he snarled as he stalked out of the room. Her question daunted him. It was never about which girl he liked better, he realized. He paced the length of the cargo hold, breathing like a bantha while her taunts rang over and over in his ears. At last, he stopped and tried to prepare himself for the very real possibility that Revan was the third Sith, the Lord of Betrayal.

What, then?

All the while, Kreia listened to his thoughts, and laughed.
The Exile and her companions search Nar Shaddaa for the last Jedi Master.

To start from the beginning:
Ch. 1: Broken Love Ch: 1
Ch. 2: Broken Love, Ch. 2
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


I thought I would wrap things up in this chapter, but it got pretty lengthy, so there is ONE more chapter yet to come.
Published:
© 2018 - 2021 DarkEchani
Comments3
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xHybridus's avatar
Ah I love it! What a great birthday present!
I do like Bao-Dur together with the Exile. :heart:
DarkEchani's avatar
xD I love that you knew exactly why I posted it today.
I went a little off-topic with the two of them, it's supposed to be Canderous' story but I like them together, too!
xHybridus's avatar
Thank you! I appreciated it! ^^
That's ok I don't mind a little off topic