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(L,F&E #17) Aliit ori'shya tal'din (Family is more than blood)


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<Two minutes later>


Sara looked up from her seat as Nia came into the room. Her eyes widened as she saw Nia in her armor.


“Are you going to fight someone?” Sara asked, hesitant, but at the same time, excited. Nia smiled and shook her head.


“I hope not. Sara, where are your clothes?” She asked as she took in the girl’s appearance. The girl was clad only in her short tunic. While it was enough for modesty purposes, it wasn’t what she had told Sara to put on. Sara looked at her and flinched a bit. Nia looked at her. “What did you do with them?” She asked in a long suffering tone.


“I don’t want to wear that drek, why can’t I be comfortable?” Nia froze. And Sara did as well. When Nia spoke, it was calm but Sara shuddered anyway.


“Sara, there are times and places for words like that, this isn’t one of them.” Sara flinched back and Nia sighed. “You think I would hurt you for saying that? Come here.” She opened her arms and Sara ran into them. “I’m disappointed, but Sara, I wouldn’t punish you for that. If I punish you there is a good reason.” Sara nodded, Nia had actually only had to punish her once. And, well, finding the child playing with the airlock controls had been worrying. To say the least. “Where are the clothes I gave you?”


“They should be out of the laundry in a few minutes.” Nia’s eyebrows shot up.


“They were clean, why did you put them in the laundry?” Sara hung her head. “Oh… Sara, do they make you feel bad?” Nia asked kindly, Sara shook her head. “Then why?” She was dumbfounded when Sara raised her head and she could see tears falling. She gathered the little girl in her arms and hugged her tight.


“When they gave prisoners clothes that smelled like that, those prisoners didn’t come back…” Nia stared at her in horror. New clothes, by the Force, I’m an idiot…


“Who Sara? Who did that? The Sith?” Sara shook her head. “Who were they?”


“I don’t know, they wore white coats, like the doctor, but… he’s nice. They weren’t…” She started crying and Nia held her tight. “The bad men came, they said they would take me home, but they didn’t…” She cried harder and Nia stroked her hair as she tried to comfort the child. She glanced at the laundry it was almost done. She hugged Sara again.


“It’s over Sara. They won’t hurt you again.” Sara stared at her.


“Promise?” Nia smiled, it wasn’t a pretty smile but it seemed to hearten the girl.


“I promise. Now…” A chime sounded and Nia smiled. The laundry was done. “Lets get you dressed; we have to meet some people.” A few minutes later they both left the stateroom, Sara’s hand never leaving Nia’s. And Nia didn’t mind at all.

When they entered the transport’s cramped cockpit, Sara froze on seeing Olanagychew in his armor. He turned his head and smiled at her, she smiled back, hesitant. He waved to Nia and she strapped Sara in.


“We are going to be landing shortly Sara. It will rumble a bit, don’t be scared.” Sara smiled at Nia and Nia returned it. Olana looked at Sara, then at Nia.


<Tell Sara there will be people meeting us when we land and not to be afraid.>


<I’m afraid.> Nia retorted but translated the Wookiees words. Olana laughed.


<This is to her and you, speak your mind, be polite and don’t back down.> Nia dutifully translated to Sara and Sara nodded dubiously.


“How can I protect myself? I’m just a kid…” She broke off as Olana barked, sort of loudly. Nia grinned as she translated.


“He says: Age doesn’t matter. Attitude does. No one will expect you to be able to take down a rancor. Just be yourself and it will be fine.” Nia smiled. “And I won’t be far away.” Then there was no time for conversation as the ship neared the landing pad. They touched down smoothly and Nia let out a breath. Time to do this…

Edited by kalenath
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Nia stood with Sara at the transport’s entryway. She heard booted feet and Olana came up. She nodded to him and he opened the hatch. He stepped out and Nia followed him, Sara trailing a bit. The girl’s hand never left Nia’s and she felt the girl’s tension. Olana stopped and Nia moved up beside him and then stopped her self. Sara froze, looking around. Six armored figures stood facing them. Five of them with helmets on. The sixth… Nia waited as the woman in Mandalorian armor walked forward and stopped a few paces from them. Olana stepped to the side, leaving Nia and Sara to face this Mandalorian woman. The woman smiled, no, it was grin. Nai found herself grinning back.


“Welcome to Nova Ordo, Nia Korr, Sara Kalenath. I am Trava Kalan.” Nia stepped forward and held out her hands in a polite greeting, the mando woman surprised her by taking her arm in a warrior’s embrace. Then she crouched and extended her arms to Sara. After a moment’s hesitation Sara ran to the woman and Trava hugged her tight.


“I have heard some of what happened to you, adiik. No harm will come to you here. I swear it.” Sara looked into the woman’s eyes and relaxed for the first time since she had woken. Trava looked at Nia then at Olana. “You are all invited to my home, we have a meal planned to welcome you.” Olana grinned, Nia looked at him and he spoke.


<Trava is a fine cook.> He slapped his belly, making his armor ring. Trava grinned. When she spoke her voice was tart and it brought a smile to Nia’s and Sara’s faces.


“You eat enough of it, furrball.” She turned back to Nia. “Come, come, you both look like you could use a good meal.” She put her arms around Nia and Sara and led them off.


<3 hours later>


Nia sat back, replete. Olana had not been kidding. This mando woman could cook! The dishes were spicier than she was used to but, oh they were good. She personally had finished three helpings and she had lost count of Olana’s after six. Even Sara had finished off two plates full. She smiled as she saw Sara nodding off. She looked at Trava and Trava nodded. Nia carefully scooped Sara up and carried her to an area Trava showed her to. Inside was a small bed. Nia set Sara down on it, loosened her tunic and covered her up. Sara smiled in her sleep as Nia kissed her on the forehead. Then Nia followed Trava back out into the main are of the house.


Nia had not known what to expect from a mandolorian home. She had been surprised. It was comfortable, clean, well lit and… heavily defended. She saw weapons on racks in there different places. Looking at the windows she realized they were not windows, but firing slits. They let in plenty of light, but had armored shutters to close them off quickly as well as what she recognized as mesh screens to keep attackers from throwing grenades in.


“They also help keep the insects out in summertime.” Trava said quietly. Nia flinched she hadn’t… “I know you are curious, so I take no offense. Olana here was sparse with his words of what happened to Sara. Can you tell us more?” Nia nodded.


“I saw Sara for the first time while we were taking Kuat…” Nia sat back, this might be a long night.

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<2 hours later>


“…I wasn’t sure what to make of it. She… she’s obviously my kin.” Nia broke off as Trava grinned. It was a grin more suited to a firaxa shark.


Our kin.” Her voice held no give at all and Nia smiled. “So are you.” At that Nia tried not to flinch, but was unsure if she had succeeded. Trava bowed her head and the three other Mandalorians in the room did likewise. “We failed him before, we will not fail him again.” Her words rang with finality. Nai shook her head.


“I do not understand.” Trava nodded at Nia's soft words.


“Your father is Mando.” Trava's vocie was cold and hard now and Nia stared at her. “He is more Mando than many of us; he follows the ways without realizing it. We are taught the Resol’Nare. He has lived it his entire life.”


“He was not born Mandalorian.” Nis protested, but Trava laughed.


“It makes no difference Nia Korr. He has mandokar. What you might say in Basic ‘The right stuff’. If a warrior has that, and can keep the code; who cares where he or she was born?” Nia blinked at that then shook her head.


“I… I confess I do not understand.” Trava nodded.


“It is late, Nia Korr.” Nia nodded. “You will need rest, tomorrow you face the Elders.” Nia’s eyes widened. Trava laughed. “We wish to know you, and aid you. Come. I will show you to a bed.” Nia rose with Trava and followed the Mando woman out. Trava showed her to an alcove near where Sara slept, Nia checked on Sara, but the girl was fast asleep. She sat down on the bed Trava indicated and smiled. She liked Trava. She wasn’t sure she trusted the woman, mind, but she liked her. She stripped her armor off quickly and was quickly asleep.


Trava returned to the main room. Olana stood, she waved him back down.


“Don’t start, furrball.” Her voice, while humorous, held a darker undertone and Olana sat as directed. He looked at her and cocked his head in question. “I like her. And that girl…” Trava smiled, sadly. “How badly was the girl hurt?”


<Heavy blaster pistol. Stomach> She nodded at Olana’s words. Then she sighed.


“Any word on the mother?” Olana snarled softly.


<The part about the men in white coats is new, but not unexpected. And… The Sith had her designated under a Republic military code.> She put her head in her hands and sighed again.


“I need to think on this.” He rose and she glared at him. “Where do you think you are going?”


<I have to return to the ship, secure it…> He broke off as she chuckled.


“Oh no you don’t. You stay here tonight.” Her words, while light contained the bark of command and he nodded reluctantly.


<Yes Elder Kalan>

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<The next morning>


When Nia woke, she wondered for a moment what was wrong. Then it hit her, no engine noise. On the Stormhawk and all of the other ships she had lived on recently, there was always some noise from the engines. Here, on this world that Trava had called Nova Ordo there was none. She stretched and shook herself. Then she froze, a note was on a table by the entryway. She walked to the table and smiled. She used the refresher near the alcove, and then put her armor on over the clothes that had appeared while she was in the refresher. Her clothes. She grinned, someone was being very thoughtful. She walked to where Sara was bunked and as she opened the curtain, Sara sat up in the bed.

“Good morning Sara.” Nai said with a smile.


“Nia, uh…” Nia smiled again and pointed Sara to the refresher. A young Mando boy, who couldn’t have been more than six, brought a pile of Sara’s clothes and Nia smiled her thanks to him. He bowed to her and left, leaving her feeling…odd. Sara was back quickly and Nia, after making sure Sara had washed, turned her back while Sara got dressed. It wasn’t prudery. Sara had…issues. Nia could only imagine what had happened to the girl in the various prisons she had been in and all of her imaginings were bad. Finally Sara was done.


“Nia, why did we have to take our boots off?” Nia shook her head, she had no idea.


“It’s their custom, Sara. While we are here, on their world we should do as they do.”


“Does that mean I get to wear armor?” Sara asked earnestly and Nia laughed then she stopped.


“I don’t know. Maybe. But…” Sara looked at her. “…Armor doesn’t make you invulnerable.” Sara looked at her. Then nodded, the Sith commander on Kuat had been wearing armor, and it hadn’t helped him.


“I couldn’t have said that better myself.” Nia looked up and Trava was standing in the corridor leading to the common room. Trava looked at Sara. “Child, beskar’gam is not perfect. But better to have it and not need it.”


“Besgarco…wha?” Sara tried to speak the Mando word but mangled it. She flushed a bright red. Trava didn’t seem to take any notice of Sara’s discomfiture.


“Bes Kar Gam. Beskar’gam. In Basic- armor.” Trava corrected Sara’s pronunciation with the ease of long practice Nia noticed with just a hint of jealously which she suppressed. Of course this woman had more practice. Nia had never had kids. Trava eyed her out of the corner of her eye and smiled. “You both ready for breakfast?” Sara nodded quickly and Nia smiled. “You both have a long day today. Sara, you are going to be shown around, since it seems you will be staying with us for a while. Nia, you are going to meet the Elders. So eat, both of you.” She led them back to the common room and a huge breakfast was laid out. Nia looked at it.


“There is no way…” Trava laughed.


“That’s not for you, that’s for the furrball.” Nia stared at her.


“Olana’s here?” She heard a familiar growl from a ways deeper into the house and she smiled.


“Yeah, well… If we don’t keep him here, all of the unmated female Wookiees start looking for him.” An outraged roar came from wherever Olana was. Nia looked at Trava and then got it. She giggled. She hated when she giggled. But she couldn’t stop. Suddenly Trava and Sara were both laughing with her. Still laughing Trava set them both at the table and gave them utensils. “Eat, eat, you are both still too thin.”

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((This was posted by Zelkin in response to the message from Nia to the Jedi Temple in the last thread. "I'm at work and extremely busy, but I felt the need to make a quick post. It'll probably be the only one I need to make for your thread anyway, Kal."))


The Jedi Temple at Tython.


And currently, it was chaos.


There was an internal struggle going on within the temple grounds, with the Sith threatening the very existence of the Jedi Order. Many Jedi were currently trying to deal with the oncoming battalion of Imperial Soldiers no doubt conspiring to launch a full offensive on the Enclave. Already there was talk of a Sith Lord leading the assault. The Jedi Knights were spread thin as is, with many having been summoned back to the Temple, with some still doing important tasks throughout the Galaxy.


In a room, Jedi Master Jina Darkstorm was typing into her datapad, responding to a mail sent to her by Nia Korr. In the hallway outside, countless Jedi Knights and Masters were busily walking through the corridor, trying to get to their respective places.


Nia Korr,


Greetings to you, thank you for sending us this message about the Battle of Kuat. As you can probably tell, things have been rather chaotic, as our forces are currently being stretched thin by the conflict currently going on in our Temple ((http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=10024)). I have decided to use your letter to file a report to the Council of Master Starlace's actions, and she will be given high commendations. That is, if she ever comes back. She has not yet returned from Kuat, and her ship's signal seems to have been cut off. I worry for her, as does the Council, for she has been nothing but a shining example of the Jedi throughout the Galaxy. She has not only been able to train a Sith Lord away from mental Force addiction, but also managed to turn her from the Dark Side itself, despite the Council's apprehensiveness of Janelle Fatir's situation. As soon as Master Starlace is found, I shall inform you.


May the Force be with you.

Jedi Master Jina Darkstorm

Edited by kalenath
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<Later that day>


Nia stood and waited. Olana had led her to this place, the guards at the door had let them both in without problems, and then Olana had smiled at her and disappeared. She looked around. The room was circular with regular shadowed areas that she was sure were alcoves. She couldn’t help feeling a bit nervous though. The empty suits of armor along the entry hall had seemed almost alive… The she heard it. The sound of armored boots on metal floor. Trava had explained what would happen in some detail, but… it felt a lot more real now. The sound came closer and she was sure she heard multiple sets of boots, and… the numbers were growing. Then… they stopped. She glanced around and almost jumped out of her skin. Six forms stood around her. Their armor melded with the shadows. As one they stepped forward, and… knelt? She froze. One thing she knew, Mandos didn’t kneel to ANYBODY! She stared at them. A voice came to her, a male voice, Mando from the tone.


“Nia Korr you are welcome in the Hall of the elders.” She didn’t move. She knew that the voice was coming from her left, but when she glanced that way, no figure was visible. Either he was stealthed or deep in the shadows. She knew however, that this was wrong.


“No. No one kneels to me. And Mandos kneel to none.” The figure in front of her stood and spoke, Trava!


“We kneel to our duty, to our honor, to our kin. To one of our kin who we failed.” Nia stared into the eyeslit of the helmet.


“You didn’t fail him.” The figure shook her head.


“We would have protected Sharra Kalenath, we should have protected her. We will protect you.” Nis could have sworn her eyes couldn’t get any wider. But she would have been wrong.


“I can protect myself.” Nia said quietly.


“Can you?” Trava asked just as quietly. Then… Nia froze the Force was gone. She reached out for it, but… A flash of steel and she was fighting.


The lack of the Force didn’t hurt her nearly as much as it might have a full fledge Jedi. After all she had lived for years not knowing what it was. She dodged, blocked and struck.


The figure that had swung at her wasn’t Trava. Her opponent had a saber, she had her hands. Many would say that was an unfair fight and they would be right. In seconds she had the Mando on the ground, his own saber poised at the weak spot right beneath his chin. A series of clangs came from around her and she froze as lights shone and the area was illuminated. Dozens of forms in Mandalorian armor were now visible. She looked at her opponent and he reached up slowly and undid his helmet. She stared at him. It was a young human, maybe twenty years old. She didn’t know him. He spoke.


“It was an honor to be defeated by you, Nia Korr.” She stepped back and lowered the saber. Long forgotten formula came to her mind and she bowed and extended the hilt of his beskad back to him. He took it, bowed to her and sheathed it in a smooth, economical movement. Then he rose and walked from… the battle circle? She stared at the circle inscribed on the ground then she turned back to where Trava was still standing. Trava undid her helmet and as if that was a signal, all of the Mandos did as well.


“You can defend yourself.” Nia nodded. “Even without the Force. Who trained you? Your style in Mandalorian.”


“We called him Mando, but…” She thought back then she looked up. “But his name was Canaak” A sigh went around the chamber. “You know this man?”


“The name Canaak is known to us, but he vanished many years ago. He trained you?” Trava’s voce was troubled.


“He trained all of the children of my colony on Kuria. He… he was hard, but fair. When he died…” She broke off and then spoke again. “When he died, we lost a great man.”


“Greater than you know.” Trava’s voice was quiet. “You are correct, we kneel to none.” Nia nodded, it had been a test. “But we choose who to serve.” Nia shook her head.


“I do not wish your service. I wish no more to die for me.” Trava smiled, this time easily.


“And that is why we will serve you. You will not abuse our trust as so many have before.” Nia froze as the six forms who had knelt now moved forward again, Trava included. “Will you take our service Nia Korr, and allow us to erase the stain on our honor?” Nia froze. One other thing she remembered Canaak saying, when Mandos felt dishonored and couldn’t make restitution for whatever reason, they killed themselves. She bowed her head and nodded. “It is done.” Trava said and the hall emptied, except for the six. Nia looked into Travas eyes and sighed.


And life was just getting simple…

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<The next day>


Nia sat in Trava’s house and tried not to sigh. Every time she thought she had her life planned out, something new came up. Trava was packing. Nia cleared her throat and Trava spoke without turning from what she was doing.


“Yes Nia Korr?” Nia winced.


“Please just call me Nia… I… I do not understand.” Trava finished packing her clothes and started packing weapons.


“You wish to know why we swore our service to you.” Nia nodded. Trava examined a small sonic rifle then put it in her pack and continued. “Will Kalenath is our brother. Sharra Kalenath was our sister. We owe them.”


“My father needs no protection.” Trava smiled at Nia’s tone. She laid a string of charges in the pack.


“No the galaxy needs protection from HIM.” Nia laughed at Trava’s wry tone. “Seriously, Nia. You go to seek Sara’s mother. His mother.” It wasn’t a question, but Nia nodded. “We can aid you in that; we will aid you in that.”


“What about Sara?” Nia asked. Trava hesitated for a moment then picked up a pistol, a heavy blaster pistol, of Mandalorian make of course. She put in a holster and set it aside.


“There is no lack of families who would open their homes for that young one. Even if she were not Will’s sister, she is a delight.” Trava smiled and Nia did as well.


“Yes she is. I know your people will protect her.” Nia watched as Trava looked through a sword rack testing three before finding one she set aside. She put three daggers into the pack. Then she stared pulling on her armor.


“She will not lack for opportunities here as well. We can train her, in many things.”


“How to cook?” Nia asked slyly and Trava grinned.


“Among other things.” Trava sighed. “We will abide by your wishes but we also will act as your bodyguards. I know you do not believe you need us, but we are trained for many kinds of warfare.” Nia opened her mouth, but Trava raised a hand and Nia closed her mouth with a click. Trava picked up her packs with no discernable effort then her helmet. “Nia please let us do this.” Now Nia could see into Trava, and what she saw shook her. This woman needed this, Nia wasn’t sure why, but she knew if she refused, that Trava would die by her own hand.


“On one condition.” Trava looked at her. “If you see me messing up you kick some sense into me.” Trava grinned.


“Part of the job description Nia.” Nia grinned, then followed Trava out of the house.


A harder encounter waited for her at the ship. Sara stood, with two Mandos close by her. Nia could see others around, and she nodded. Sara would be very well protected. Sara saw Nia coming and ran to her. Nia crouched down and caught the girl in her arms.


“Do you have to go?” Sara asked, tears in her eyes. Nia’s eyes burned as well.


“Yeah honey, I have to go. We have to find your mother.” Sara stood still, and then hugged Nia tight.


“Be careful, come back.” Her words were husky, but strong.


“I’ll try.” Nia replied as she hugged the girl tight then kissed her on the head.


“You better.” Sara replied and her tart statement brought grins to many Mando faces.


“Yeah, I can see I better.” Nia hugged Sara again and then walked up the ramp into the ship. At the top she turned around. She nodded to Sara and Sara moved off without a backward glance. Nia turned to go into the transport, tears falling unmarked

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((just when you think life is getting boring, Mandos, Grey Jedi, and...the Stormhawk... Hmmm... This is gonna get rough... Comments or suggestions always appreciated. Flames... Well... You better ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky?))
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