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05.25.2013 , 02:55 PM | #27
Chapter 23

Dha put his head in his hands, disbelieving, and replayed the message.

"Hello, my name is Aric Jorgan, acting CO of Republic Special Forces unit Havoc Squad," the hologram said. "This message is directed specifically for the Grand Champion of the Great Hunt, Dha. I am sorry to tell you, sir, but your brother, Prudii, has fallen in battle. I am given to understand that Mandalorians seek glory in battle. Well, rest assured, he fell protecting his friends and family. As far as I'm concerned, he couldn't have died more honorably or gloriously...if death can ever be glorious. I hope you accept my sincere condolences. Jorgan out."

Dha shut off the hologram and looked around the living room of the vheh'yaim, or traditional Mandalorian home, and sighed. Tears flecked at the corners of his eyes. Torian and Jogo were in the far corner of the room, playing a game of cu'bikad, which involved throwing knives into a checkered board on the wall. Blizz was sitting in another corner, building something out of scrap. Mako, holding Crysta, walked over and embraced Dha.

"I'm so sorry, cyar'ika," she said. "There was nothing you could have done."

Dha nodded, rubbed her on the back. "Thank you."

Torian and Jogo disengaged from their game and stepped over. Dha glanced at them. Torian had a hardness in his eyes that Dha hadn't seen often, but he knew it well–when Torian had that look, someone died.

"Black Sun'll pay for this, ner vod," Torian said.

Dha nodded. "You better believe they will."

He kissed Mako on the forehead, turned, and left the home. Dha walked swiftly across the yard and reached the shooting range he'd constructed here on the farm. Whipping out his pistol, he fired quickly, putting several holes in the body of the shooting dummy. Tears welled in his eyes again, and he dashed them away.

"There was nothing you could've done, you know."

Dha lowered his blaster and holstered it, and then turned to see Gault standing behind him, leaning on a crutch. His right horn was now a prosthetic, but Dha had chosen to have the medics leave his left horn off, because it was the way Gault had always kept it.

"What are you doing after bed?" Dha asked.

"Mako told me about your brother." Gault put a hand on Dha's shoulder. "My condolences."

"Thanks, but you really should be resting. Makeb took a lot out of you."

"I've been bed-ridden too long." Gault sighed. "Need to get up and about."

Dha nodded. "I've been looking for Hylo for you," he said. "Had a lead when this Black Sun osik started."

"Don't worry about Hylo," Gault said. "We...we can find her when there's time. I love her, but I think she'd be mighty happy if we got rid of Black Sun, so they'd be off her tail."

Dha nodded. "All right, then."

He turned and walked back inside the house with Gault. Torian, Mako, and Jogo were sitting on one couch, Mako cradling Crysta. Blizz slowly stood and walked over to sit on the other couch. Skadge stood in the far corner, in his usual arms-crossed pose.

"It's time to get rid of Black Sun," Dha said.

"I'm in," Torian said.

"You know I am," Mako added.

[Me too,] Blizz jabbered.

"Fine," Skadge growled.

"Give you a deal," said Jogo. "Let me go with you, and I'll lead you to Hylo, and I don't even have to see those other two Black List bounties."

Dha nodded. "All right. Torian, get in contact with Corridan Ordo. We'll need his clan. I'll get Chernan. Mako, call up Vorten Fett.

"The Mandalorians are going after Black Sun."