Edge of the Mighty Empire
Zabrak Hired Gun
Rora Vuull was born on Iridonia 12 years before the fall of the Jedi. His mother, Ryssa Fess Vuull worked as an engineer and his father, Dajo Vuull, a miner. His parents met young, early teens. They got along really well from the start. They are always poor, but they always found a way to have a good time on their harsh planet. In a culture that embraces strength, and a dominate behavior, they were an odd couple. All they cared about was enjoying their life and living it to the fullest. Needless to say, this led to Rora’s conception. Ryssa was 19 when she had Rora. Dajo was 24. They engaged on Rora’s 9th birthday and married the day after his 10th. The Vuulls weren’t exactly sure why they decided to join the Rebel Alliance. It was probably a combination of multiple factors. A child instilling a sense of responsibility in their lives was definitely a factor but it wasn’t the main reason. In fact, they decided their son was probably safer on Iridonia. It’s not like the Empire would care about them. They could have gone their entire lives without the war hardly affecting them. They felt no sense of loyalty towards the Empire or even the Rebels either. In the end, really, they just wanted a change, to be part of something greater, and hopefully, a better life for their son.
The Vuulls somehow managed to be some of the first people to join the Rebels during their transition from small independent sects to a grand scale army. Dajo joined the infantry. While he wasn’t much of a fighter compared to many of his kind, especially on Iridonia, his Zabrak biology, two hearts and a natural resistance to pain, made him a naturally capable soldier. That said; his marksmanship was painfully average. He did however, have a natural talent for throwing grenades and could always get them right where he wanted them to. His name was never heard throughout the Rebellion, but he was respected and liked within his platoon and was unofficially considered second in command. Ryssa continued to work as an engineer. She primarily worked on X-Wings and Y-Wings. Back on Iridonia, she only worked on very basic speeders and as such had initial difficulty learning the much more complex workings of the Starfighters. Fortunately, she was a fast learner and picked it up in no time. She became so proficient; she was eventually tasked with teaching new recruits the workings. Ryssa was far more capable an engineer than Dajo was a soldier.
It was a hard change to their life but they embraced it. They always told their stories to a young Rora whenever they got the opportunity. Dajo would always return from whatever battle he survived brandishing a smile and whatever new wound he had acquired. The Vuulls were posted on Yavin 4. It where Dajo leave from and return to, and where Ryssa would stay. They had no one to leave Rora with back home, nor did they really want, so he came with his parents to Yavin 4. He for sure wasn’t dead weight. He helped out around the base as much as he could, doing this or that. His parents, and himself for that matter, were liked enough that he was permitted to participate in the basic trainings of the new recruits. Rora was a natural athlete and could keep up with recruits much older than himself. Whenever his father was on site for an extended period of time, he would teach Rora what he knew of the Zabrak Martial Arts, something all Zabrak children are taught on Iridonia. 5 Years of living at the Yavin 4 Rebel Base and Rora finally turned 18 and was ready to join the infantry with his father. Rora was never one to think about the reasons why the Rebels fought the Empire. While his parents eventually developed a strong sense of loyalty and patriotism for the Rebels and their cause, Rora merely saw the inhabitants of the base as an extended family. Most of the people he interacted with never saw battle, and neither had he. He loved his mother and respected his father, and dreamed of a day when he could come home and tell stories of his adventures and battles, and to greet his family with the same smile his father always had when he returned.
One morning, Rora was assisting with a presentation meeting. While he was never given access to highly sensitive classified information, on account of his own safety, he was trusted enough to be present for certain meetings so that he could either assist or just learn a thing or two. This particular meeting was with a small group of mercenary looking soldiers he had never seen before. The Rebel General and company referred to them as Mandalorians. Rora had heard of them before in his very rudimentary studies. He knew they used to be enemies of the Republic and more recently, worked as mercenaries. This meeting seemed to be one of the first of many discussing a possible alliance between the Rebels and the Mandalorians. In about 16 years or so, 3 ABY, these meetings would lead to the creation of the Mandalorian Protectors, a faction that would support the Rebels after the battle of Endor when they formed the New Republic. For Rora however, this was just another morning. Later that evening, he would find himself training alone in the forest not too far from the base.
An explosion interrupted his training. He could tell from the smoke that it happened in one of the civilian barracks, the one where he and his parents lived. Racing home, Rora thought about where his parents would have been at the time. His mother had a late shift that evening, and should have been damn near on the other side of the compound. Despite his mother’s incessant complaining about having to walk for 20 minutes for work every day, he was relieved by it then. His father just got back from a skirmish that lasted a week, leaving him bruised, battered, singed, and with a few broken ribs. He had been back a few days but was still staying off his feet. His father was still at home. Had the position of his parents been reversed, mother at home and father somewhere else, he would have run twice as fast as he had ever run before. But when he realized his father was where the trouble was, he almost felt a slight sense of relief. He may have even slowed down slightly. In Rora’s eyes, his father was nothing short of a hero. He heard his stories time and time again and no matter how bad his wounds were, he always smiled. When he was finally recovered and ready to go back into battle, he seemed stronger than ever. Rather than thinking nothing could stop him, he thought that there wasn’t a problem he couldn’t handle, as if stopping him was out of the question. The thought of his father being in danger hardly crossed his mind. Now, Rora was rushing not to save his parents but, to see his father in action for the first time. If he was lucky, he might even be able to assist his father, show him what he is worth and force his father to recognize him.
It took Rora some time to reach the barracks. The explosion seemed to be a means of entering. The building seemed evacuated. Running down the long hall, Rora reached his humble home to find the doors open. He turned to enter but froze at the doorway when he saw the largest Trandoshan he had ever seen pinning his broken father to the ceiling. Rora was by no means a small person standing almost 6 feet at 18 years old, but this creature was massive and towered over him like he was a child. Yet Rora couldn’t decide what was more terrifying, the giant beast holding his father, or that the mangled, bloodied, beaten, half dead body held by the creature was in fact his father. He barely recognized him. The only feature that gave him away was the pattern of his crown of horns that he always kept slightly longer than he should have, much to the dismay of his wife. Thinking back on this day, Rora would ponder on why not a single horn on his head was damaged that night. The rest of his body however, was a sight he couldn’t have ever imagined, and will never forget. It looked like every bone in his father’s body was shattered. He was completely soaked in his own blood. His arms seemed longer than normal, and among their numerous distortions, rested in a twisted position. His eyes were somewhat open, but Rora could not find the left one, or his left ear for that matter.
This Trandoshan was not normal. It wasn’t just his size. His scales were an Iridescent, deep blue, a color not found on his kind. It carried itself as more of a feral animal than a person yet, was eerily quiet. Grasping Rora’s father by his left shoulder with his left hand, he lowered Dajo off the ceiling, leaving a bloody silhouette. He turned so Dajo could face his son one last time. Dajo lost consciousness when he hit the ceiling so the ever silent beast decided to wake him. He plunged his powerful right arm through the backside of Dajo’s chest spraying blood all over a horrified Rora. The Trandoshan succeeded, and Dajo awoke, managing to use his left eye to find his son, frozen in front of him. Dajo had only enough time to utter his sons name one last time before the Trandoshan clasped his head with is now free left hand and leaned it to the left. In one motionless effort, the Trandoshan wrapped his jaws around Dajo’s neck and separated his head from his shoulders. The killer relaxed his right arm, allowing the lifeless body to slip off his fore arm. Rora’s eyes followed his father’s body down to the floor, hitting it harder than he thought it would. As he stared at his father’s headless body on the ground, his eyes focused on something behind it, slumped in the corner. It was at this moment that he realized his mother was closer to the barracks than he was at the time and would have gotten there before him. She had a hole in her chest matching the one in her husbands, yet her head was intact.
The blue Trandoshan, now covered in red, with the head of his latest victim still in hand, began to walk towards Rora. He was motionless at first, but when the beast finally made eye contact, Rora fell to his knees, unable to do anything but stare in fear and awe at the mysterious monster that was about to send him to join his parents. Raised up by a massive right hand that smeared his father’s blood all over his neck, Rora stared into the bright bulb just above his head and accepted his fate. Tomorrow was going to be his first day on an official mission with his father. Rora could feel the grip around his neck about to tighten with such force; his head would’ve come clean off, much like his fathers. As fast as the hand was about to close, it opened again. Rora fell to the ground and the arm that was around his neck was in his lap, the severed end smoking. When Rora finally managed to stop staring in utter disbelief at the arm that took his parents life and almost took his, now lying lifeless in his arms, he looked up at what happened. What he saw was a man standing between himself and the Trandoshan. The man was no bigger than Rora himself, although completely covered in heavy laminate armor. From the individually armored tendrils on the back of his head, Rora concluded that he was a Nautolan (Kit Fisto Species). Upon further inspection of his armor, he recognized him as one of the Mandalorians from that morning. He was sure that they had all left. The Mandalorian used what appeared to be a heavily modified force pike to sever the Trandoshans arm in one swing.
The beast had been quiet up until that moment, but after losing its arm, it screamed bloody murder. The deafening sound was enough to wake Rora from his trance. He jumped to his feet in time to witness the Mandalorian back stab the Trandoshan with the other end of the double-“edged” force pike. The beast went down to one knee, dropping Dajo’s head so he could brace himself with his remaining hand. Ready to finish off his opponent, the Mandalorian swung the front end of his weapon down with single fierce step. In one smooth motion, faster than Rora thought the titanic beast could move, he parried the strike away as if the Mandalorian hadn’t just put every ounce of his strength into that blow, rose to his feet, and front kicked him hard enough to send him flying down the hall. Rora rushed to collect his savior and run out of the barracks as he saw what the now very angry Trandoshan was retrieving from his back satchel. He probably used a thermal detonator just like that one to enter the barracks. Rora, while supporting the Mandalorian, got out of the barracks before it exploded but the blast caught up to them before they got far enough. The Mandalorian’s armor shielded the Nautolan from the blast. Rora however, did not have the same protection. The blast left his back severely burned along with a piece of shrapnel the size of a vibro-knife stuck just below his shoulder blade. Once the Mandalorian regained himself, he rose to his knees just in time for a familiar kick that sent him upwards in the air and back down with a hard crash. The kick broke his helmet in two to reveal his blue face. Relieved the kick didn’t break his neck, he found to his amazement that the ever tenacious Trandoshan no longer had much more of either arm left. Resolved to finish off the undying creature, the Mandalorian grabbed a hold of his weapon.
The Trandoshan, eager to do the same, charged head first in an attempt to bite hold. A quick jump back resulted in a miss. With trained precision, the Mandalorian stepped forward and speared his opponent right above the hole he gave him earlier. Completely ignoring his new wound, the Trandoshan lurched up and sunk his teeth through the Mandalorian Armor like it was Stormtooper grade. Despite being pinned by his right shoulder, the Mandalorian managed to pull the beast even closer with the force pike in his left hand and using his right arm, pulled out the last remaining thermal detonator from his opponent’s satchel. Using his legs, he pushed off the beast to free himself from its jaws but not without sacrificing most of his shoulder. Taking advantage of the Trandoshan’s final roar, he punched down the beast’s throat with the thermal detonator in hand. If these were going to be his final words, he decided to make them count and bellowed out his allegiance, “FOR MANDALORE!!!” to the galaxy before detonating the explosive within the belly of the blue beast.
The blast took most of the right side of the Mandalorian’s body. He survived but required the manufacturing of a new arm, leg, eye (and most of the right side of his face), an internal voice box, and various internal organs. When the Mandalorian’s communicator was destroyed in the blast, his other travelling companions who were waiting for him in orbit returned to the base. They managed to get him and Rora on the ship and transported them to the Onderon moon, Dxun for treatment. Both would survive their wounds but would take a long time to recover.
The giant blue Trandoshan was a top secret prototype weapon in development by the Empire. It was the result of genesplicing various sub species of Trandoshan aided by internal stimulus implants. It was the only successful prototype to survive the necessary operations. It was code named, The Blue Beast. It was sent to follow and kill all the members of Dajo’s platoon. During their last mission, Dajo and his men discovered that the Empire was building in secret, some sort of space station. The incompetent Empire official, not wanting the Empire to discover he was responsible for letting such sensitive Intel be discovered, used the Blue Beast without authorization. While the Blue Beast did successfully kill every member of the platoon, they had already given their report, with the Intel included. As the beast wasn’t much more than a mindless animal with just enough intellect to function a thermal detonator, it couldn’t relay the location of the rebel base back to the Empire. As such, the location would remain a mystery for some time. When it was discovered that the Blue Beast was killed as a result of the actions of the official, he was put to death.
The name of the Mandalorian was Eranas Colton. Before the fall of the Jedi, he was born on Coruscant. The Jedi discovered he was force sensitive and brought him to the temple to train as a youngling. When he showed talent for the various lightsaber forms and dueling, he trained as a Guardian Padawan under his Master. While he struggled with the most basic force abilities, he near mastered all the forms of the lightsaber. Preferring to wield a double-edged blade, Eranas was one of the top duelists in his generation. With his skills however, came a passion for the fight. He seemed to enjoy it too much and would regularly antagonize his peers into a duel to test his strength. When it came time for his test to become a Jedi, he failed. While he was very talented, the Jedi feared his passion would lead to the dark side. Both Eranas and the Council agreed that he no longer had a place among the Jedi. He returned his lightsaber believing it should only be used by the Jedi, and left. Wanting nothing more to do with the Jedi, he abandoned the force. From the day he left, he never relied on it, and it eventually left him. He got feelings from time to time, but did his best to ignore them. Through his travels, he discovered the Mandalorians. He admired their way of battle, finding it honorable and passionate, feelings he sought as a Jedi. After proving himself a warrior worthy of calling himself a Mandalorian, he joined them, becoming a Mercenary. Aside from the skills he learned, Eranas took one more thing from the Jedi, their distaste for blasters. He preferred to test his opponent’s strength first hand and as such, never used a blaster. Eranas adopted a force pike to replace his old lightsaber. While Eranas mostly preferred to work alone, he was one of the few Mandalorians at the time to agree to meet with the Rebellion. He hated the Empire as much as the next fellow and wanted to see the Republic restored to the galaxy. He had left the Jedi long before the start of the Clone War and felt a sense of guilt for not being there to help. After the meeting on Yavin 4, the Mandalorians were ready to head back to Dxun, but Eranas felt something that bothered him. Unsure of what it was, he asked the others to wait for him in orbit while he investigated. After exploring the base the entire day, he discovered nothing, and assumed he was merely being paranoid. Eranas was just about to head to the ship when the explosion happened.
It took Rora the better part of a month to recover from the incident at Yavin 4. It took Eranas almost a year. While Eranas didn’t have the credits to pay for all his new cybernetics, many Mandalorians pitched in. Eranas was well respected on Dxun and was known to train some of the greener members in combat. He even had a small following of those that thought he should contend for the title of Mandalore. Rora had plenty of time to mourn his parents while Eranas recovered. He learned the Mandalorian ways and found solace in battle. The Rebels believed him dead and he had no interest in going back to be reminded of what happened. When Eranas fully recovered, Rora pledged his life to him and begged Eranas to train him so he wouldn’t ever have to be saved again. Eranas cared little about Rora pledging his life but accepted it anyway and agreed to train him as his disciple. He would never tell Rora, but the battle with the blue Trandoshan was the greatest moment of his life, and he had absolutely no regrets. For the next 10 years, Rora would travel with Eranas. Eranas taught him everything he knew when it came to combat. Rora would gain experience helping Eranas with his jobs. Throughout the years, Eranas wondered if this is what it would be like to have a Padawan. As, Rora’s skills increased, they eventually saw each other as partners rather than mentor and student. They managed to repay everyone that aided in their recovery, though it took about 5 years.
During their final job together, the duo had collected on a live bounty on a small time Rodian crime lord. Just as they were boarding their ship to return to Dxun, Eranas was hit by a particularly nasty ion weapon. The Rodian thugs weren’t happy about their boss being arrested. Rora managed to get Eranas onto the ship and back to Dxun. The ion effect however, severely damaged Eranas’ internal cybernetics and was in dire need of repair. He was still mobile, but if he didn’t get new parts within a few months, he would die. They were able to borrow from other Mandalorians again, but they were unable to collect enough credits this time around. Not having enough time to take a bunch of small jobs that didn’t pay much, Rora needed to find one job that could pay all the needed credits at once. It wasn’t long before he was notified of a big job that would pay more than enough to pay for the remaining parts. Eranas, realizing the danger of the job, tried to convince Rora not to take it as he wasn’t an official Mandalorian and he couldn’t handle it. Determined to save his mentors life, Rora decided it was time to become one.
Rora pledged himself to Mandalore and tattooed the Mandalorian insignia on his chest. It was decided that this job would be his test, and if he succeeded, then he would be recognized as an official Mandalorian. Realizing that he could not sway his student, Eranas gave him a gift; a personalized set of Mandalorian armor, and a custom force pike, much like his own. Rora treasured the gifts greatly and vowed to honor them always. With his new weapon in hand, his armor on his body, his teachings in his head, and the Mandalorian way in his heart, Rora Vuull journeyed to the jobs rendezvous point determined to save the life of Eranas and achieve glory worthy of a Mandalorian.