main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga - OT Strategic Alliances |OTP Misunderstanding Challenge | Marzra-verse, Sabine, OC

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, May 9, 2019.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Strategic Alliances
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Characters: Sabine Wren, Maximus Ordo (OC), Ursa Wren, Tristan Wren, mentions of Bo-Katan Kryze, various Spectres, other Mandalorians
    Canonicity: AU, in the Marzra-verse continuity
    Timeframe: Saga OT, ca. 5 ABY
    Synopsis: Shortly after the Battle of Endor, Sabine returns to Mandalore to compete in the Clan Meet, and receives an offer to form alliances—of various kinds—with a prominent clan.

    Notes: Written for the OTP Misunderstanding Cleared Up challenge

    Since I've given Kanan, Hera and Ezra their happy endings, and @Findswoman is providing Zeb with his, it seemed only fair that Sabine got her turn. :sabine:

    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading and encouragement. @};-

    -------------------
    Chapter One

    Ka-zing!

    Sabine’s shot hit the last targeting remote dead center and it dropped to the ground. She holstered her WESTAR blaster at her right hip as she waited for the Clan Meet judges to announce her score.

    This was the first time she’d been able to participate in a full Meet. Gathering all the Clans for the week-long festival and competitions was a difficult, and sometimes dangerous undertaking, depending on how many were fighting each other at any given time, so they only happened every five years. She’d been a little girl the last time one had been held; by the time she’d been old enough to compete, Gar Saxon had been made viceroy, and he’d discontinued the Clan Meet as a needless show of pride (because true glory belonged to the Empire and by extension, Clan Saxon). Even if he had allowed them, Sabine had been exiled as a traitor and deserter for leaving the Imperial Academy after learning the horrific uses they had planned for the weapons she and the other cadets had designed.

    But now, everything had changed.

    Duchess Bo-Katan Kryze was regent once more, the Empire had fallen at Endor, and Sabine had been invited to compete by the Duchess herself, honored as a hero for her part in making those things come to pass. Sabine hadn’t been on Mandalore in years, not since before Chopper Base had been destroyed, so taking part in the Clan Meet felt like a real warrior’s homecoming.

    The speakers ringing the field crackled to life. “Sabine Wren of Clan Wren. Final score in the twenty-five meter rapid-fire blaster pistol: five hundred ninety-seven point five.” There was a pause and a murmur ripples through the stands as they wondered—597.5 out of a possible 600, could it be…? Sabine held her breath, and then a raucous cheer, accompanied by floor stomping and the staccato clapping of armored hands, rose as the judge confirmed: “A new meet record!”

    Sabine grinned beneath her helmet as the crowd continued to roar its approval; she turned to the stands and struck her right fist against her breastplate over her heart, saluting the gathered warriors. In the nobles’ box, Duchess Bo-Katan stood and saluted her in the same manner. Sabine swept off her helmet and bowed her head as she returned the Duchess’s salute, but she couldn’t keep her grin from spreading. Now this was a warrior’s homecoming indeed!

    “Not bad,” came a male voice from behind her.

    Sabine turned around slowly, her fingers twitching. She was glad she’d already holstered her blasters, because, history notwithstanding, it was considered the worst form to shoot one of your fellow competitors at a Clan Meet.

    The man standing there was tall and broad-shouldered and he wore armor of a curiously old-fashioned design, with thick, heavy beskar plates of a burnished, ruddy gold. His helmet was the same color; the T of its visor narrowed down to sharp points at the ends, and a pattern of concentric circles had been etched into the metal. An elongated oval flanked with two pairs of curved, tapering trapezoids, one set on top, the other on the bottom—legs of a creature? wings of a ship?—had been stenciled on the left side of his breastplate. There was something familiar about the symbol, but right now Sabine wasn’t concerned with iconography. She planted her hands on her hips, letting her fingers brush the blasters holstered there. “Not bad?”

    “Well, okay then, pretty good,” he answered with a bit of a chuckle in his voice.

    “Pretty good.” Sabine ground her teeth. Pretty good. This guy was lucky Clan Wren took a warrior’s honor seriously; she wouldn’t shame them by thrashing him in a fashion that Zeb would have approved of, satisfying as that might be. However, she wasn’t going to let this besom get away with impugning her accomplishment, either. She took a challenging step towards him, her hands straying a little further towards her WESTARs. “I suppose you could do better.”

    The man shrugged, shoulder plates and pauldrons clicking. “I suppose I could.”

    “A little overconfident, aren’t you?” Oh, he was infuriating. If he was going to challenge her, she wished he’d get to it, because she was really going to enjoy kicking his shebs from here to Coruscant and sending him back to his clan whimpering in defeat.

    “It’s not overconfidence if you can do it.”

    Sabine’s eyes narrowed in a way that would have sent anyone who knew her scurrying for cover. “And just who do you think you are?”

    He pulled off his helmet to reveal a young man with dark brown hair in a short spiky military cut. The pale line of an old scar running from his forehead to his left eyebrow stood out against his tanned skin, and his nose was slightly crooked as if it been broken and reset. He had a roguish smile, and under other circumstances Sabine might have been tempted to smile back, but at the moment she didn’t care for the way his steel gray eyes that twinkled with undisguised mirth when he said, “I’m reasonably certain that I’m Maximus Ordo.”

    “Ordo?!” This arrogant bantha brain was from Clan Ordo, one of the oldest and most prestigious of all the clans? When the clans had been broken and scattered by Revan’s forces after the Mandalorian Wars, Canderous Ordo had taken up the helm of the Mandalore and reunited them, returning them to the principles of honorable battle they’d abandoned after their defeat. And now Sabine realized where she’d seen armor like his before. “Of course! That explains the design of your helmet—it's a stylized representation of the Helm of Mandalore the Preserver. And the symbol on your chest plate was on Ordo’s banner when he united the clans at Dxun. Not bad symbolism…” she allowed, realizing she’d gotten a little caught up decoding the armor’s design. Well, art was art, no matter who its owner was. “Even if you do think rather well of yourself.”

    He laughed, apparently unoffended by the criticism. “I should have known that you would analyze the artistic merits of my beskar’gam, Sabine Wren.”

    “You know me?” Sabine couldn’t recall ever having met him, but perhaps he’d been less annoying as a boy? She’d been off-planet for a long time, after all.

    “Naturally—Sabine Wren: designer of some rather interesting weapons as an Imperial cadet, left Mandalore under unfortunate circumstances, joined a Rebel cell that gave the Empire a major pain in the shebs at Lothal, recovered the Darksaber and returned it to Duchess Bo-Katan, fought at Scarif, Hoth and Endor, among other battles.” Ordo ticked off his points on the fingers of one gauntleted hand, and grinned. ”The only Mandalorian I know of with purple hair.”

    So he only knew what could be heard listening to Clan gossip or found on the holonet. “How sweet. You researched me.”

    “Not just you. I’ve been checking out prominent members of several clans…”

    “Then why don’t you go hit on some of them?” Really, this was getting tiresome. She had better things to do with her time than fend off this moof-milker. If nothing else, she was getting hungry and Tristan owed her twenty credits for betting that she wouldn’t crack 590 in this event.

    “Hit on? What?” Now Ordo did look offended, probably that she’d figured out what he was up to. How did men these days still think that women couldn’t see right through them, especially when they weren’t even trying to be subtle about it? “No,” he insisted. “Clan Ordo is looking for strategic alliances; I’m just trying to get a sense of which clans would make the most advantageous partners, that’s all.”

    Strategic alliances, is that what they were calling it these days? “And you’re considering Clan Wren? I’m flattered.” Sabine took a step away from him, hoping he’d get the hint.

    He didn’t. In fact, he seemed to take it as an invitation to keep going. “You should be. It’s mostly due to the impressive reputation you gained fighting against the Empire.” Ordo tilted his head slightly and flashed her another roguish smile. He had nice teeth; she had to give him that. “Maybe I could tell you more over lunch?”

    Seriously? He was even more bantha-headedly persistent than Ezra had been when he was fourteen. Well, fine. Apparently there was only one way she was going to get rid of him. She smiled sweetly. “Impress me first. Beat my time, and I’ll go to lunch with you.”

    If she’d thought he’d quail at that, that he’d hem and haw and give her reasons why not, she was wrong. Instead, his smile spread into something like a manic grin and his eyes lit up as if he relished the challenge. “If you insist.” He signaled the field judges to set up the targeting remotes again as he donned his helmet and unholstered his pistol—also a WESTAR, Sabine noted approvingly, though she preferred her 35s to the older Mark 34. Ordo took his place at the 25-meter mark, posture relaxed as if he was simply enjoying the Mandalore sunshine, his WESTAR resting easily at his right hip at the requisite 45 degree angle. But when the green light on the remote flashed on, signaling the start of the set, he was alert in the blink of an eye, snapping off shots so quickly that the energy beams blurred and seemed to overlap. When he finished, Ordo holstered his blaster, loitering at the mark as if he was indifferent to the results.

    “Maximus Ordo, Clan Ordo,” came the judge’s voice over the speakers. “Final score…Five hundred ninety-seven point six!”

    There was an incredulous pause, and the crowd seemed draw a collective breath before it erupted into cheers again. Sabine’s jaw dropped. One-tenth of a point. He’d beaten her new meet record by one-tenth a point. Just how?! She gaped at Ordo like a giju out of water, but he didn't seem to notice as he pulled off his helmet and turned to her with a grin. “So, do you like tiingilar?”

    Notes:

    The Clan Meet is my fanon, based on the Olympics, Scottish Highland Games and other sporting competitions. The event Sabine and Maximus compete in is based on the 25-meter rapid-fire pistol.

    Clan Ordo is a real clan, though Maximus and some of their more recent history are my own invention.

    Canderous Ordo: In KOTOR, one of Revan’s companions, who brought the scattered clans back together after the Mandalorian Wars

    The symbol on Maximus’s armor: a stylized version of the Infinite Empire’s insignia

    Mandalore’s helm

    Besom: a Mando’a insult—ill-mannered lout, person with no manners and/or poor hygiene
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Great details on the competition and interesting contest literally and otherwise =D=
     
    Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, this has such a fun Annie Oakley / Frank Butler vibe to it already! :D I won’t lie, young Mr. Maximus Ordo definitely has some of that Callow Bantha Brain thing going for him right now, though I’ll allow that his armor is very interesting and artistic (and historical!), and he definitely is an excellent shot if he can beat Sabine’s record so effortlessly like that. So there definitely seems to be more to him than meets the eye, which Sabine seems to be finding out, too. “Strategic alliances”—is that, indeed, what they’re calling it these days? [face_laugh] Though given that this is for the misunderstanding challenge, there is likely more than meets the eye to that, too. I love the whole idea of the Clan Meet—that kind of Highland Games-like competition sounds like just the sort of thing Mandos would do, and even the irregularity of the meets due to clan conflicts, Clan Saxon being Clan Saxon, etc., seems to really fit with them. And color me very, very eager to see how this upcoming lunch date is going to go! Definitely looking forward to more, and always glad to meet more OCs from you. =D=
     
  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you! Yep, there's more than one type of contest going on, and as usual Sabine is determined to win. Maximus is at least her match in the literal competition...now let's see how he'll handle the metaphorical kind :D
    Thank you! Sabine definitely a little bit of the competitive "anything you can do I can do better" attitude going on here. She's justifiably proud of her new record, but that pride leads her to challenge Maxiumus. And, as he says "it's not overconfidence if you can do it." Oops. Given that this is the OTP challenge, it's probably not too much of a spoiler to say there is more to Max than meets the eye; Sabine's impressions are colored by her pride and her feeling that his "not bad" is a slight to her abilities. He's not really putting her down or negging her; he's just the kind of plainspoken Mando for whom "not bad" really is praise, because of course you always put your whole effort into everything you do. (I spent a lot of time lately with his ultimate grandfather, Canderous, whose tagline is "I'm here if you want something done right." Some of that attitude has made its way down to Max). Glad you're enjoying the Clan Meet; I thought the whole "getting all the clans together with sporting contests and possibly death" aspect fit well with Mandalorian culture. And lunch...well, it will be interesting....
     
  5. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Many thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading and encouragement [:D] @};-
    ----------------

    Chapter Two

    Maximus Ordo was apparently as cheap as he was arrogant.

    He escorted Sabine across the pistol range, towards the row of food kiosks and ale tents that seemed to spring up at every festival in the Galaxy, and into the Order of the Ka’ra’s meal tent. The Order was one of the few multi-clan civic groups that had survived through the various clan and civil wars that happened with disturbing regularity on Mandalore; providing memorials and helping the children of fallen warriors were things everyone agreed on, no matter their clan. The Order of the Ka’ra’s tiingilar (“so spicy the vod at next table can feel it!”) was a standard fixture at Clan gatherings large and small, and everyone knew they had the best uj’alayi, but still...Did Ordo really believe that the way to impress a woman after having shown her up in competition was to buy her a three-credit bowl of stew? For a moment, Sabine considered digging her heels in and telling Ordo that if he was going to drag her to lunch to discuss “strategic alliances,” he could karking well take her someplace nice, but she decided that it would be better to get this embarrassment over quickly. At least this way the Order would get a few credits towards their war orphans’ fund.

    Several matronly ladies wearing dark blue beskar’gam with the Order’s star and sword logo emblazoned on their right pauldrons staffed the tent. They chatted enthusiastically with each other and their customers, dishing up Clan gossip as they dished out the tiingilar. A woman whose steel gray hair was cut helmet-short gave Sabine and Ordo a smile and a brisk nod as she slid two bowls of the spicy casserole across the counter to them. “Well, our new record holders! I heard the results over the loudspeakers; good shooting, both of you!” She fixed Ordo with a mock-severe look and wagged her serving spoon at him. “Though if you’re trying to impress a girl, you might consider letting her score stand for more than ten minutes.”

    Ordo laughed and held up his hands. “She challenged me! What was I supposed to do?”

    “Oh, she did, did she?” The gray-haired woman exchanged significant glances with the woman pouring ale and the one at the register, and they all gave Sabine knowing smiles.

    Sabine writhed inside. It was not that kind of challenge! she wanted to tell them. I was trying to get rid of the moof-milker, not give him a chance to show off for me! But she knew such a protest would be met with smirks of disbelief and seen as proof that that had been exactly what she wanted. Ugh! Why did Ordo have to pick the tent run by Mandalore’s worst gossips? If he was going to cheap out on her, why couldn’t he just get exosquidra on a stick from the Inter-Clan Youth Smashball Association’s stand instead? As it was, by dinner time, half of Sundari would have heard that Sabine Wren was after Maximus Ordo like a bounty hunter after a mark. She gave the woman a tight smile that felt more like she was baring her teeth. The woman just chuckled. “Even so, you should buy her some ne’tra gal and uj’alayi to make it up to her.”

    Unperturbed by the nods and and smiles and chuckles—of course, he wasn’t, not Master Strategic Alliances—Ordo agreed, “Good idea. Two of each, then.” The woman passed him two mugs of dark ale and two slices of cake, chock full of fruit and nuts and soaked in spiced uj’ayl syrup; he handed a credit chip to the cashier. “Keep the change.”

    “From a fifty?!” she gasped, looking down at the chip incredulously. Sabine felt her own eyebrows shoot up in surprise. Fifty credits was almost twice what their lunch cost. Maybe Ordo wasn’t as cheap as she thought.

    That fleeting moment of goodwill vanished as the gray-haired woman, who’d been sizing up Ordo and Sabine like they were a breeding pair of anooba, looked at Ordo with frank approval. “The Ka’ra look with favor on your battles,” she told him, with a sidelong look and smirk at Sabine that left no doubt which of Ordo’s endeavors she was invoking the ancestors’ blessings on.

    Sabine not-quite-smiled again. Could someone please just shoot me now? Throw me a thermal detonator? Something? She didn’t like to think she was prone to foolish exaggeration—artistic, yes; unrealistic, no—but as she followed Ordo across the crowded tent to an empty table in the corner, she felt uncomfortably like everyone was watching them pass and snickering up their gauntlets at her. Stop being ridiculous, she told herself sternly. This is the Clan Meet, after all. People have a lot more interesting things to talk about than you having lunch with this bantha-brain.

    Ordo set their tray on the table and slid onto the bench across from her. “You’re obviously well-versed in Mandalorian history since you recognized Canderous Ordo’s insignia from Dxun, but do you know much about what’s been going on with Clan Ordo recently?”

    “Er, no…” So this was his idea of chatting her up—boring her with tales of clan prowess? Not even any small talk first? No “how are you enjoying the meet” or “nice weather we’re having”? Not even something lame like “come here often”?

    “The wars have been hard on us,” Ordo said, passing a bowl of tiingilar and a mug of ne’tra gal over to her. “We’ve always been loyal to the Republic and we supported Duchess Bo-Katan’s refusal to submit to the Empire. Unfortunately, the clan fractured during the Civil War, and keeping it together while fighting the against the occupation depleted our resources. Even though our holdings took heavy damage the land is still fertile; before the wars, we had good harvests of meal grain and bas neral. Once we have the grain, we could reopen our distilleries. This ne’tra gal isn’t bad,” he added, swirling the dark ale in his mug with another of his brilliant grins,“but Clan Ordo’s recipe is far superior.”

    Wow, okay… just when she thought his technique couldn’t get any worse. This was possibly a new low in the history of come-ons. Elementary Mandalorian history and economics? Grain harvests? Distilleries? Why did he think she’d be interested in any of this? Unless… “Wait, you really are interested in forming an alliance with Clan Wren?

    “What?” He paused with the mug to his lips and frowned at her over the rim, and then his grin returned, bigger and toothier than ever. “Oh...oh, you thought I was looking for that kind of alliance, huh? Well, no offense, because you’re a damn fine shot and your purple hair is kind of attractive, but keeping Clan Ordo in one piece has to be my first concern.” He flashed Sabine the roguish grin he’d given her earlier. “I can hit on you a bit, if it would make you feel better.” Ordo leaned against the table with an exaggeratedly lunkheaded leer, waggled his eyebrows and clicked his tongue at her. “Hey, ad’ika you must be a plasma grenade, because you’re so hot it blows me away.” He leaned back again, laughing. “My cousin used that one once. Almost got hit with an actual plasma grenade.”

    Sabine gave a startled laugh; she hadn’t expected him to have an actual sense of humor. “I can see why. That’s... pretty bad.”

    Ordo’s grin relaxed into an easy smile. “I think we got off on the wrong foot,” he said, reaching across the table to offer his hand to her. “Hi, I’m Maximus Ordo and I really am looking for a strategic alliance with Clan Wren. Mind if I tell you about it over this excellent tiingilar?”

    So… maybe he wasn’t quite as big a bantha-brain as she’d thought. And maybe, just maybe, she’d been a little bit of a bantha-brain herself for jumping to conclusions. She reached back with an answering smile. “Sabine Wren, hi. And, yeah, that sounds good.”

    As they ate their tiingilar (and it really was excellent, the best she’d had in years), Ordo related the circumstances leading to Clan Ordo’s decline. Like so many other clans, the Ordos had split along ideological lines during the Civil War, and the resulting infighting had continued all the way through the Imperial occupation of Mandalore. Ordo’s father, Magnus, had believed that the clan’s legacy was that of Mandalore the Preserver, uniting the clans in honor, and that they were required by the Resol’nare, the central principles of Mandalorian life, to support Clan Kryze’s rightful claim against Death Watch. His brother, Novus, disagreed; Canderous Ordo had been a warrior and conqueror who knew that strength was what ultimately mattered, he said, and Death Watch, not the pacifistic Duchess Satine Kryze, carried on that heritage. He tried unsuccessfully to sway Magnus for years, all the while gathering followers until he finally challenged him for clan leadership. Magnus had won, but died three days later of internal injuries he’d taken in the duel. Maximus, his only child, had been an untried boy, barely fourteen years old when clan leadership fell to him. His mother, Demetria Ordo, had declared herself his regent, setting off another round of disputes among the Death Watch supporters and some of Magnus’s former allies who protested that since she had only married into Clan Ordo, she had no right to lead. She invited them to duel her if they felt their claim was better, and had bested every challenger.

    “So why didn’t your mother turn the Clan over to you after you’d seen a few battles?” Sabine asked as she finished the last bite of her tiingilar. Because surely he’d been in at least a couple, given that he was in his twenties now.

    He handed her a slice of uj’alayi and started in on his own piece of the sticky, syrup soaked cake. “Two reasons: first, while she was handling the besome who thought they had a better claim on the regency than her, I was free to deal with our real enemy, the Empire and the Death Watch stooges they’d been manipulating for years. Second, if anything had happened to me—and I was taking some fairly stupid chances—Clan Ordo would still have had a leader who wouldn’t let it fall into the wrong hands. After everything she and Dad had gone through to save the clan, that was more important to me than having a title.”

    “Wow…” It was really quite a story, Sabine reflected as she took another bite of her uj cake. She wasn’t going to admit it to Ordo, but she was just a tiny bit impressed by his family’s courage and perseverance: Magnus’s steadfast adherence to Resol’nare throughout all the turmoil and division, Demetria’s determination to hold together a clan that wasn’t her own, the way Maximus had put the clan’s welfare above his own ambitions. Because—and it was another thing she wouldn’t admit, not to Ordo or to anyone—she wished her mother had been able to see what Death Watch really was before it had nearly cost her whole clan their lives. While Sabine could understand not wanting to lose traditional Mandalorian culture to the idealistic policies of the Duchess who’d lived her life in a sealed cube-city, she couldn’t understand why she’d continued to support them after it became clear that outside forces like that chakaar Maul had been pulling their strings the whole time. Imagine how different things could have been for Clan Wren—maybe even for Mandalore—if they’d been fighting on the right side all along.

    The clangor of the bell signaling that the next event was starting in fifteen minutes snapped Sabine out of her thoughts. “Oh!” She sprang to her feet. “I’m sorry; I have to go. The 50-meter rifle competition is about to begin. But thank you for lunch; I enjoyed talking to you.” She was surprised that she actually meant it; once they’d cleared up the misunderstanding about “strategic alliances”, it really hadn’t been a bad lunch after all. Ordo might be a little blunt and cocky at times (though really, weren’t those practically Mandalorian cultural traits? Not that she was either one, of course) but he wasn’t the bantha-brained moof milker she’d thought he was at first. He wasn’t a bad shot, and he definitely understood clan honor.

    Ordo stood and saluted her, fist over heart, with another of his grins. “May the Ka’ra look with favor on your battles.”

    “And on your battles, too.” Sabine returned the salute. Just not the kind of battles those tiingilar-dishing busybodies had in mind!

    Notes

    The Order of the Ka’ra: a fanon Mando civic group, based on the Mandalorian myth of the Ka’ra, the spirits of fallen leaders turned into stars. According to myth, the Ka'ra represented a guiding council that the culture's former leaders would join upon their deaths

    Tiingilar: a spicy Mandalorian casserole.

    Ne’tra gal: “black ale” A sticky, dark ale with a sweet taste.

    Uj’alayi: A dense flat cake, made with dried fruit, crushed nuts and spiced syrup.

    Resol’nare: the central tenets of Mandalorian life. They consisted of wearing armor, speaking the language, defending oneself and family, raising your children as Mandalorians, contributing to the clan's welfare, and when called upon by the Mand'alor, rallying to their cause

    Ad’ika: Sweetie, baby, darling. (literally, “small child”)

    Chakaar: Scumbag, criminal. (Literally, “grave robber”)

    Vod: Brother/sister, comrade.

    For more on Mandalorian history, Death Watch, Duchesses Satine and Bo-Katan Kryze and the Imperial occupation see the Wook’s article.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
    TheRynJedi, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I'm glad they cleared all that up, about what kind of alliance he was after, and that he isn't a tight-wad. [face_laugh]
    His story about his clan history is indeed one of perseverance and honor.
    I can understand how Sabine wishes her own clan had been as clear in their focus and realizing who the true enemy was. [face_thinking]
    I have a feeling this will just be the first of future pleasant discussions. ;)
    =D=
     
    Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Young Mr. Maximus Ordo continues to be full of surprises, though this time they're definitely pleasant ones! From this chapter, and especially from his conversation with Sabine, we can see what a model Mando he is: he's got generosity, a sense of humor ("hey, ad'ika..." :p ), a sense of honor, and a sincere desire to help his clan during difficult times, even if it means less immediate prestige for him. I can see where Sabine's "wow" is completely sincere after hearing his story, and how it brings up memories of the way her own clan learned the hard way during that whole conflict. She's only just getting to know Max right now, but I'm going to guess that the time will come when she'll open up more to him about her clan's experiences, and when she does, he'll be just as understanding and appreciative as she was to him, just now.

    I know you were concerned about it at first, but I think you ended up doing quite a fine job with the Mando politics! In your account of Max's story and Sabine's reaction to it, I could easily follow which side was which and who was siding with whom—it's no exaggeration to say this is the first time I've ever understood what the whole Mando conflict in the various animated series was actually about. This, people, is one of the beauties of fanfic! :cool:

    And hey, as an added bonus, it seems Max's taste in food wasn't so bad, either—turns out those Beskar Biddies make a darn fine stew! Looks like churches and other faith organizations really do have the best fair food booths, even in the GFFA! I have to say, there is something SO INCREDIBLY PRICELESS about the image of all those mature ladies in beskar'gam bustling about, fixing and serving fixing and serving tiingilar and uj'alayi and of course doing more than a little "pick a little, talk a little." :D Because even the toughest, armor-wearingest, martialest space!culture has its yentas! :D

    This is so much fun, and I really look forward to more! I think these two have the makings of a fine match, if I do say so myself... ;)
     
  8. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Hi there... Darth Real Life is being particularly Darthy at the moment, and I promise I'll catch up on responses soon, but in the mean time, I want to get the latest chapter posted. As always, many thanks to @Findswoman for her encouragement and beta-reading@};-
    -----

    Part Three

    Over the next few days, Sabine often saw Maximus around the Clan Meet. He always had a grin for her and some cheesy line about Clan alliances and economic relationships (“hey, ad’ika, if you invest some time in our trade relations, I’ll return it with interest!”) before comparing notes with her on how the Meet was going. Sabine almost looked forward to seeing what dreadful quip he’d come up with next. His aim was just as keen as his wit. Maximus’s impressive performance in the 25-meter pistol hadn’t been some kind of fluke. He placed in several events with both pistols and rifles and came in first in the bevii’ragir competition, just shy of the Meet’s spear-throwing record.

    When Sabine took first in the 300-meter free pistol competition, she was surprised to find Maximus waiting for her on the sidelines and more surprised that, instead of giving her another underwhelming sort-of-compliment, he offered to buy her a mug of ne’tra gal to celebrate. But she was most surprised by how quickly she accepted. Why is that surprising, though? Sabine argued with herself, as the same gray-haired clan matron at the Order of the Ka’ra’s tent served her and Maximus with the same knowing smirk. It’s no big deal for a couple of vode to have an ale together. You wouldn’t think twice about going out for a drink with Ezra or Zeb. This is no different, no matter what the nosy ba’buir here thinks.

    The Order’s tent was even more crowded that evening since the events had ended for the day. Spectators and competitors alike had gathered to discuss the day’s results, but she and Maximus managed to snag a table in the corner again. “K’oyacyi!” He raised his glass of ne’tra gal to her with a grin.

    K’oyacyi!” Sabine clanked her mug against his.

    Conversation flowed as smoothly as the dark, sweet ale. They discussed the net’ra gal’s merits (with Maximus still holding that Clan Ordo’s was better due to the superior quality of bas’nera they used), and the rankings of various clans in the overall victory count. They agreed that Clans Wren and Ordo were doing quite respectably, while Clan Saxon were a bunch of dirty cheaters who shouldn’t even have gotten their single win. And of course, whenever two or more Mandalorians got together, it was a given that the talk would turn to swapping war stories. Maximus shared tales of Clan Ordo’s campaign against the Empire. Because of the divisions in the clan, he’d only had a small group of warriors and quickly learned that stealth and sabotage were more effective for them than engaging the Imps in direct combat. Once, they’d spiked the pilots’ Taungsday night keg of ne’tra gal with every drop of tihaar they could find; while the Imps were so staggering drunk they wouldn’t have noticed a mythosaur rampaging through the base, Maximus and his troops had planted explosives in every TIE fighter in the wing.

    “Unfortunately, there was one Zelosian pilot in the squadron.” Maximus gave a wry grin and gestured to his crooked nose. “That’s how this happened. Still, it was a small price to pay for taking out a dozen fighters without losing a man.”

    For all the supreme confidence he had in his own abilities, Maximus told his stories, if not modestly, at least matter-of-factly, neither embellishing his own part nor ignoring that of his comrades. And he wasn’t the kind of self-centered helmet-head who only liked to hear about his own glorious deeds. He listened attentively when Sabine related her own tale of defecting from the Empire and joining the Rebellion. She told him some of the adventures she’d had since joining the Spectres, and when she reached the story of how she’d discovered the Darksaber in Maul’s secret cache and how Kanan had subsequently trained her to use it, he shook his head in amazement, bringing his fist to his heart in salute. “You are jatnese be te jatnese Sabine Wren. Next to your battles, I may as well have been hunting vhe’viin).”

    “That’s not true.” She’d only done what was necessary, the same as he had, the same as any Mandalorian would do. Sabine laid a hand on Maximus’s shoulder—and they were, she noticed, rather nice broad shoulders, aesthetically speaking. “You fought honorably for your clan and for Mandalore, and that’s what’s important.” His steel gray eyes met hers…

    Sabine hastily looked away, and noticed how few people were still left in the tent. It was full dark outside now, and only a few groups of vode remained, chatting and laughing over their ale, along with two or three couples lingering in the darker corners. She realized which one she and Maximus must look like to anyone who was watching, like those gossipy matrons at the counter. Who knew what kind of stories they’d be handing out with the harshun bread in the morning? She really ought to be going before they them got too many ideas. The 10-meter blaster pistol semi-finals were tomorrow and she needed to be well-rested for them anyway.

    But maybe she had time for one more ne’tra gal first.
    ——

    Even though Sabine returned to the villa that Duchess Bo-Katan had arranged for her and her family well before 24:00, she slept in longer than she meant to. The rest of her family had already started on breakfast by the time she put on her beskar’gam and came downstairs. Sabine stifled a yawn as she set down her bowl of boiled mealgrain and took a seat next to her mother.

    Ursa, of course, had already finished her cereal and was sipping a cup of behot tea and scanning the news on her datapad. “Well, there you are,” she said, raising an inquiring maternal eyebrow at Sabine. She pursed her lips on the rim of her cup as she took another sip of tea. “I hear you were out with Maximus Ordo again last night.”

    “Ordo? Isn’t he the one who broke your record in the 25-meter pistol?” Tristan looked up from his own bowl of uj’ayl syrup-drenched mealgrain with a grin. “Would have thought the only thing he’d get from you would be a Keldabe kiss!”

    “Shut up, Tristan,” Sabine growled. She wished she was wearing her helmet at that moment so she could headbutt her annoying little brother in a “Keldabe kiss”. She should have expected this from her family. No, she had expected this from them from the moment Maximus had bought her lunch. It was more surprising that it had taken her mother this long to say something, because Ursa had always seemed to be aware of every bit of clan gossip across the entire Madalore system. “We didn’t ‘go out again’ because we didn’t go out at all. We just had a couple ne’tra gal at the ale tent and talked.”

    Tristan’s grin widened. “Sounds like going out to me.”

    Shut up, Tristan.

    Alrich Wren regarded his sniping children tolerantly. “You’ve been talking to Ordo quite often, though,” he observed, pouring a mug of caf and sliding it across the table to Sabine.

    Oh, not Dad, too. She would have thought that he at least would be able to see the difference between going to have a drink with a vod and going out with him. She shrugged, reaching for the cream pitcher. Unlike Tristan and his too-sweet, syrup soaked mealgrain, she preferred hers with just a splash of milk and maybe some cyanoberries. “Clan Ordo suffered a lot during the Wars,” she said. “They’re looking to form trade alliances so they can build their holdings back up. He’s been pitching his case to me.”

    “Trade alliances?” Tristan snorted. “Why don’t they just hire out as mercenaries if they need the credits?”

    “What, to the Imperial remnant?” Because they were the only ones besides the crime syndicates who were hiring in any sort of numbers right now. Seriously, Tristan could be all bucket and no brain sometimes. She’d have thought by now he would have learned something about the state of the Galaxy outside the system. She’d have thought that he’d have gotten past that adolescent phase of believing that mercenary and bounty hunter were the only acceptable professions for a Mandalorian. And she certainly would have thought that he’d understand clan honor better by now. “That would be a great way for Maximus to honor his parents’ sacrifices, wouldn’t it? Or maybe you just think they should sell off bits of Canderous Ordo’s beskar’gam?”

    “He seems to have made his case to you quite nicely,” Ursa commented, fixing Sabine with a sharp look that would have been the envy of any jai’galaar. “And it’s strange that if he’s seeking a clan alliance he hasn’t spoken to me yet.”

    Sabine bit her lip to keep from sighing, and busied herself stirring berries and cream into her cereal so she didn’t have to meet her mother’s shriek-hawk gaze. “I’m sure he will; it’s just that we keep running into each other at the Meet.” Really, Mother….

    She was relieved when Tristan and her father started discussing the previous night’s get’shuk match between Clan Bevlin and Clan Rook so she could eat in peace. But her mother’s comment niggled at the back of her mind...Why had Maximus spoken to her instead of to Ursa? Obviously, her mother believed he was only trying to make time with her. And though Sabine believed Maximus was sincere about seeking an alliance between their clans, what if there was some small element of interest there? What if he kept talking to Sabine instead of going directly to her mother because she was young and single, and, in his words, a damn fine shot with kind-of-attractive purple hair?

    And why did that thought not make her want to kick his shebs across Mandalore as much as it should have?

    He was, Sabine supposed, nice enough to look at, purely from an aesthetic standpoint, with his storm-gray eyes and rugged looks. The broken nose and scar gave his features a sort of roguish charm that went well with his grin, and he did have strong, broad shoulders, if you liked that sort of thing.

    But maybe the real reason she wasn’t particularly inclined to shebs-kicking was that, whatever he thought about the merits of purple hair, he’d never treated her like he thought her appearance was her primary virtue, and despite all his dreadful “hey, ad’ika” lines, Maximus hadn’t tried to pick her up or get her out of her beskar’gam. There had been pilots over the last few years who had, and she’d been obliged to teach them some manners (and some, like that Hobbie Klivvian, never seemed to learn). Maximus was decent and honorable and...oh, for the love of the Mand’alor, she was starting to sound like she wanted him to chat her up!

    Which she didn’t.

    Did she?

    Sabine pushed her half-empty bowl of mealgrain across the table with a scrape and stood, ignoring her mother’s inquiries. She didn’t have time for this right now; she needed to get to the range and warm up for the 10-meter semi-finals. She needed to keep her mind clear and focused for them.

    Maybe Maximus would be there on the sidelines.

    And maybe when she saw him she’d be able to figure out what she wanted.
    -------

    Somehow Sabine managed to keep thoughts of Maximus, his motives and her feelings at bay long enough to secure her place in the 10-meter blaster pistol finals. She was a bit disappointed when he wasn’t loitering at the edge of the pistol range with his usual “hey, ad’ika...” quip, nor was he at the rifle range, the get’shuk pitch or the Order of the Ka’ra’s tent. None of the other competitors had seen him that morning, either. Feeling strangely unsettled, Sabine decided to return to the villa for lunch rather than eating at the meal tent.

    When she arrived, her mother was sitting in the villa’s tiny conversation circle with another woman who Sabine didn’t recognize. They stopped talking when she walked in, but from her mother’s thin-lipped, sabacc-faced expression, they had apparently been discussing Serious Clan Business. “Oh, I’m sorry.” Sabine said, wondering if she ought to just turn around and leave. Mother in Serious Clan Leader mode was even sterner and more authoritarian than usual, which was saying something, and she didn’t feel like poking that particular rancor today. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

    “No, it’s good that you’re here.” Ursa stood and maneuvered Sabine into the conversation circle to stand in front of the other woman with a “do not shame your clan” expression that reminded Sabine of the first time she’d been presented at a House Vizsla gathering when she was four. “This is Marchioness Demetria Ordo,” Ursa continued. “Demetria, my daughter, Sabine Polyhymnia Wren.”

    Marchioness Ordo rose as well, and extended her hand to Sabine with a smile. “Pleased to meet you at last, Sabine. Maximus has spoken quite highly of you!”

    Maximus must have favored his father. Where he was tall and broad-shouldered, his mother was slim with fine features. Her sleek brown hair was cut to chin length and swept back from her face with a simple black band. She wore black and gray beskar’gam—the colors for “justice” and “mourning”—with Clan Ordo’s sigil emblazoned on her right pauldron. It would be easy to underestimate her, Sabine reflected, if you only looked at her slight stature and pleasant smile, but there was a determined set to her mouth and a wiry strength to her grip that made it easy to believe that this was a woman who could defeat any challenger who came against her.

    Before Sabine could reply that she was likewise pleased to meet Demetria, her mother angled herself between them and laid a hand on Sabine’s shoulder. “Demetria has brought Clan Wren an offer of alliance, but I’ve explained to her that we cannot possibly accept it without your approval.”

    “Mine?” Sabine asked, puzzled. Surely only her mother’s agreement was necessary? Was Ursa deferring to her because Maximus had already laid out his case to her in detail? Was she making Sabine handle this in preparation or the time when she would become the head of the clan? It was impossible to tell from her mother’s inscrutable expression, not that Demetria Ordo’s encouraging smile was much more informative. Sabine wished it was Maximus here instead; she could have spoken plainly to him rather than trying to figure out what her mother wanted her to say for The Good of Clan Wren. And why wasn’t Maximus here, anyway, when he’d been the one trying to broker this deal? Did the fact that his mother had come with the offer mean that trade relations really were all he was interested in? Sabine realized that she was scowling at that thought...and that the mothers were still waiting for her to say something. She schooled her features back into neutral lines. However she felt about Maximus Ordo—and she was not really sure what that was at the moment—his clan was honorable and deserved consideration. “Well...yes. Yes, I think we should accept. Absolutely.” She smiled at Marchioness Ordo, inclining her head to her graciously.

    “Sabine…” Her mother’s voice carried a note of warning; her lips pressed into a thin line that was not quite a frown.

    Sabine scrambled to come up with what had been wrong with her response. Was she supposed to decline? Say she needed time to consider? Use some formal head of clan reply? If so, she wished her mother had given her some indication before she’d thrown her into the middle of negotiations. Well, since she’d already said yes, all she could really do now was try to make it sound like she was speaking with Clan Wren’s authority. She smiled again and held out her hand. “Clan Ordo has proven its loyalty the Republic and to Mandalore time and time again. It would be Clan Wren’s honor to ally with you.”

    “Wonderful!” Demetria’s face lit up. She took Sabine’s hand and pulled her into an enthusiastic embrace. “I’m so pleased that my son has chosen well for himself; it will be our great honor to have you as part of our clan!”

    “Excuse me?” Wait...what? Part of Clan Ordo? What was she missing here? She darted a frantic look at her mother.

    Ursa was definitely frowning now, with the same expression she’d worn at that same House Viszla gathering, when four-year-old Sabine had told her great-aunt Apolina in front of everyone that her beskar’gam was ugly and unimaginative. “As I was trying to tell you, Sabine, Clan Ordo has proposed an alliance with Clan Wren—a marriage alliance.”
    ————
    Notes

    Bev’ragiir: Mandalorian spear

    Ba’buir: grandma/grandparent

    K’oyacyi: cheers!

    Jatnese be te jatnese: The best of the best

    Vhe’viin: A small Mandalorian rodent.

    Keldabe kiss: a Mandalorian headbutt. Performed with a helmet, it could either be employed to cause injury to an opponent in unarmed combat, or in a gentler capacity between two Mandalorians as an armored greeting, contributing to the "Keldabe kiss" nickname.

    Get’shuk: a fast-paced ball game, similar to Limmie (or in RL terms, similar to soccer/football)

    Jai’galaar: shriek-hawk
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] I wish, and I know Sabine does, that her mother had told her what the nature of the alliance was before she said Yeah, sure. :oops: =D= With each update, I'm doubly eager for the next. [face_love]
     
    Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Catching up on responses...
    Yes, one misunderstanding resolved—of course, now we have another, even bigger one to clear up :D
    I’m glad you’re liking Maximus so far. A strong sense of honor is something he and Sabine share—and indeed something she shares with the other Spectres. Zeb, Hera, and the Jedi are all as committed as she is to living honorably, so when she meets someone whose commitment is equally strong, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I can imagine that the ideological differences between Sabine and her mother, even though they finally come together on the same side, must make for some interesting dinners at the Wren Stronghold (“Mother, how could you not realize...?” “Don’t judge me, young lady!”)

    Isn’t he though? (And your comment about him being a “model Mando” makes me want to sing: “I am the very model of a modern Mandalorian...” :D) Sabine is absolutely sincere about her “wow”. She’s a little like our favorite big purple lug, in that honor isn’t just an abstract concept to her, it’s a way of life. Max and his parents “walk their talk” as they try to keep Clan Ordo united, with all of them making sacrifices to one degree or another. That sort of resolve is something Sabine respects and it really serves to show her what kind of man he is. I think that when Sabine does tell him her clan’s story, he’ll be impressed, because she, too, lived out her principles by leaving the Imperial Academy even though it made her a deserter and later by returning to Mandalore to rectify some of her mistakes.

    Well, thank you! I’m glad that it turned out to be comprehensible, though I have to admit, this version glosses over a lot of faction-shifting and double-dealing. (And I have to say thank you for encouraging me to pare it down to the minimum necessary.)

    The idea of gossipy Mando church ladies was just too much fun not to include. And yes, the best food always comes from church groups. I had a little tangent that ultimately didn’t make it into the story that Sabine had been making tiingilar for the Spectres that was unacceptably bland by Mando standards.[/quote]

    Thank you so much! More is coming right up!
     
  11. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta reading and encouragement@};-

    Chapter Four

    WHAT?!?!

    Sabine was quite proud of herself for managing not to scream that out loud.

    Instead, she arranged her features into something approximating a smile. “Would you please excuse me?” she said through clenched teeth, turned sharply on her heel and bolted for the door. She knew she was leaving her mother with a diplomatic nightmare, but whatever her hasty departure might do to clan relations, it was nothing compared to what the string of exquisitely colorful expletives she was going to unleash if she stayed would do. Right now, she only had one thought: find Maximus Ordo and make him wish she hadn’t found him. She slammed the door behind her as she left, and sprinted…

    ...directly into Maximus.

    He caught her before they crashed in a clash of beskar’gam, and grinned. “Sabine! Hey, ad’ika...”

    Sabine pulled out of his grasp with a snarl before he could finish whatever stupid, poodoo line he was going to try on her this time. She shoved him away from her so hard that he staggered backwards and nearly tripped over a planter of ornamental frond grass. “Don’t you ‘hey, ad’ika’ me, Maximus Ordo!” Sabine jabbed a finger into the center of his chest plate as he struggled to regain his balance. “What kind of karking idiot are you? Did you really think I’d be flattered by your offer? Why even bother talking to me and buying me lunch if you were only going to bargain for me like a bovid at market?” To think that she’d almost started to like Maximus, to think that she’d begun to believe that maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if all his talk of strategic alliances was only a way for him to spend some time with her. To find out she was nothing more to him than a part of the negotiations made her want to kick his shebs not just across Mandalore but so far into the Unknown Regions no one would ever find him.

    Maximus’s grin slid sideways, and he stared dumbly at her for several moments before finally venturing, “...bovid? What are you talking about?”

    She snorted. Right. Like he didn’t know. “Your offer to Clan Wren. The alliance,” she insisted when he just kept staring. “The marriage alliance.”

    He gaped at Sabine like she’d just lobbed a concussion grenade at him.“Marriage?!” The word came out as a very un-Mandalorian yelp. “What.. that’s not… I…” Maximus trailed off with an incoherent noise and smacked one hand against his forehead. “Oh,haar’chak, Mother…” he muttered, shaking his head, his eyes closed and grimacing like that metaphorical concussion grenade had exploded in his face, leaving him with the Galaxy’s worst headache. When he finally looked at Sabine again, there was no trace of his usual grin or his trademark self-confidence, just an awkwardness that wasn’t only un-Mandalorian but un-Maximus. “That wasn’t the offer I asked her to make, Sabine, I swear it on the honor of Clan Ordo. I had no idea…”

    His gray eyes begged Sabine to believe him, and even though it would have been easy and a little satisfying to keep yelling at him and blaming him for the ridiculous situation they were in, she found that she actually did believe him. The alternative was that he was the Galaxy’s best actor, making her believe he was an honest, honorable warrior while he was planning to trade Clan Ordo’s mealgrain and bas neral for her. It would also mean she was the Galaxy’s worst judge of character, and she couldn’t accept that either was true. She took a step back, relaxing her posture a little, though not all the way, because there were a few important questions that still needed to be answered. “What made your mother think this was a deal you’d want?”

    Maximus looked like he would prefer shooting himself with his own WESTAR to answering her, but he heaved a sigh and said, “All right, I confess, when I was looking into possibilities for clan alliances, I was...intrigued when I came across your holo, and when I read everything you’d done during the Wars, I was impressed. Then I met you in person, and I was more than just impressed. You blew me away, Sabine—“

    “Like a plasma grenade?” she suggested, raising an eyebrow at him. Oh, he’d been intrigued by her holo, had he? So it hadn’t been coincidence that he’d spoken with her and not Ursa about forming an alliance. How very…strategic of him.

    “If I say yes, do you promise not to throw one at me?” The roguish grin flickered across Maximus’s features for a second, quickly replaced by a more earnest expression. “No, really, it was more than that. Your skill, your spirit, your honor—the more I talked to you, the more I wanted to get to know you. I hoped that if we established a trade alliance with your clan, that it would give me a reason to see you, that we could work together, and maybe it might lead to something… but I promise that’s all I had in mind.”

    Sabine was oddly touched by his awkward admission. The average Mando would rather get bashed in the helmet with a force-pike than show any sign of vulnerability. But confessing his attraction was the emotional equivalent of pointing out every chink in his beskar’gam to her. If she wanted to, Sabine could dispatch him with a few cutting remarks, as easily as if she was snapping off shots in the blaster competition. But honesty like Maximus’s deserved that she hear him out, didn’t it? “So then how did your mother get from trade alliances to bride prices?”

    He shifted on his feet a bit and seemed to find his boot guard intensely interesting for a moment before answering, “Mother—well, she’s become a little...preoccupied with the future of Clan Ordo lately. She’s fought to keep it together for me for so long, now she keeps saying she wants to make sure all her work doesn’t end with me.” He shrugged. “And I guess when I told her about you, she decided she’d skip a few steps in securing that future.”

    Maximus paused, and Sabine knew he was waiting for her reaction, but she still didn’t know what she wanted to say. She sorted through her jumbled feelings, uncomfortably and unaccustomedly flustered. She’d always been the decisive one, the one who knew exactly what she wanted, the one who was ready to take on any battle, but this wasn’t a situation that could be solved by shooting things.

    She kept coming back to Maximus’s words: intrigued. Impressed. Your skill, your spirit, your honor… As much as he’d annoyed her at first, when she’d gotten to know Maximus, she’d come to respect and admire him, and—she might as well admit it—like him for his skill, his spirit, his honor. He impressed her, intrigued her. Maybe even blew her away. What would have happened if Maximus had gotten there five minutes sooner and they’d gone inside together? What if he’d been the one to speak to her mother and proposed an actual trade alliance? Because, Sabine realized, part of the reason she’d said yes to Demetria so quickly was that she, too, hoped an alliance with Clan Ordo would give her and Maximus a reason to see each other again.

    When she still didn’t say anything, Maximus gave a wry smile, a shadow of his usual grin. “I’m sure I can talk some sense into my mother and withdraw the offer, if that’s what you want. I won’t bother you again.”

    What she wanted. No, never seeing him again wasn’t what Sabine wanted. Marriage wasn’t what she wanted, either, but there had to be something in the middle, didn’t there? At this point, though, did it matter what either of them wanted? “That would be kind of difficult since I already accepted in front of both our mothers.”

    “You accepted?!” Giju flopping on dry land looked less pop-eyed and gape-mouthed than Maximus at that moment.

    “Before I knew what the offer was!” Sabine exclaimed. “You don’t think…!”

    “No! No, of course not!” Maximus agreed quickly, maybe a little too quickly, and Sabine thought she saw something that looked suspiciously like disappointment flicker in his eyes. “And, er, you don’t need to worry that I’ll try to take advantage of the fact that we’re technically engaged...”

    Chivalry wasn’t exactly high on the Mandalorian list of virtues. Not because men were encouraged to do whatever they liked, like they were in some cultures, but because it was a given in Mandalorian society that if a man made unwanted advances towards a woman, she’d be ready, willing and more than able to show him the error of his ways, and no one would do more than offer mocking sympathy while the besom cried into his ale. The fact that Maximus felt it was necessary to assure her he had no such designs, all while very carefully not looking at her, made Sabine wonder exactly what he’d been thinking of. She smirked and cocked an eyebrow at him. “You’ve seen the way I shoot. Do you really think you could get near me if I didn’t want you to?”

    “If?” His roguish grin returned full force.

    “What?”

    “You said I couldn’t get near you if you didn’t want me to. Which suggests that there might be some circumstances under which you might like to have me near you.”

    Maximus took half a step towards her, and Sabine’s stomach gave a funny sort of fluttering lurch as she realized he was, in fact, already quite close to her. And even though this was starting to seem like it might be one of those circumstances where she didn’t mind his proximity, she felt honor-bound as a Mandalorian to let him remind him, “I can kick your shebs, you know.”

    “It’s a risk I’m willing to take.” He raised a hand to touch her face, his fingers brushing down the line of her cheek to her chin, and gently tilted her chin upwards as he leaned towards her. His lips met hers, warm and firm against them, and lingered there just long enough for Sabine to wish he’d kept them there a little longer.

    It was not what Sabine would have expected, not the kind of “hey ad’ika” smooch for which she really would have had to kick his shebs. And she definitely had not expected the rush of warmth she felt or the way the touch of his lips set a flock of lepidoptera fluttering inside. “Not bad…” she managed, once the lepidoptera had settled down.

    Maximus cocked his head to the side and raised an eyebrow at her, silver-blue sparks dancing in his gray eyes. “Not bad?”

    “Okay, pretty good,” She tried to hide the smile that was tugging at the corner of her mouth, but couldn’t.

    Maximus grinned back in a way that sent the lepidoptera surging back into flight. “I suppose you could do better?”

    Sabine had never been one to turn down a challenge. She put her arms around his shoulders, pulled him to her and kissed him emphatically until they both had to come up for breath.

    Sha’kajir,” Maximus said, his voice husky. “I surrender, Commander Wren.” Sometime during their kiss, his arms had wound around her waist; he started to pull her towards him again...

    Ahem.”

    At the sound of her mother’s voice, Sabine looked around with a start. Ursa and Demetria were standing in the villa’s doorway watching them. A flush crept to Sabine’s cheeks and she felt like she was a guilty teenager caught in the conversation circle after curfew with her boyfriend rather than a young woman in her twenties kissing...well, apparently her fiancé. Her mother looked spectacularly unamused that Sabine and Maximus had been making a spectacle of themselves on the front step of Duchess Bo-Katan’s villa where all of Sundari could see them. “Well, it seems that you’re not as opposed to this alliance as I might have imagined.”

    Demetria, on the other hand, was beaming. “Oh, this is splendid!” she exclaimed, putting an arm around each of them and pulling them into an awkward hug. “Why don’t we all go inside and discuss the details? Springtime on Ordo will be such a lovely time for the wedding, and that should give us time to arrange the ceremony, the banquet, the guest lists....”

    Oh, by the Mand’alor, what was she getting herself into? Sabine had a feeling Demetria had already decided most of the details except for the bride’s name and had probably moved on to planning for hypothetical grandchildren. She made a noise that was supposed to be a polite laugh but sounded more like the faint bleat of a panicked eopie.

    Maximus leaned over as his mother continued to recite the list of things that needed to be discussed. “Don’t worry,” he whispered. “Once I’m formally invested as head of the clan, I can renegotiate the terms with your mother.” He took Sabine’s hand and squeezed it, grinning. “Or maybe not, but it’ll be our choice.”

    Sabine smiled and squeezed his hand back as they followed their mothers inside. However things worked out, whatever they chose, this was definitely going to be an interesting, profitable and very strategic alliance.

    ---------

    Epilogue:

    Somehow returning to Lothal was as much a homecoming to Sabine as going back to Mandalore had been. So many important events in her life had happened here, so many battles won and lost that she’d always have a connection to it. As on Mandalore, things had changed profoundly since the end of the war. Capital City’s ever present layer of grime was gone now that the Imperial factories had been shut down. Governor Azadi had been voted back into office, and the damage the strip mines had done to Lothal’s farmland was slowly being repaired. Here on the remote Northern Plains, the grasslands looked much the same as ever, but one of the biggest changes on Lothal—and in the New Republic—was taking place: the construction of a new Jedi Academy not far from Lothal’s ancient Jedi Temple.

    And since that was where most of her Spectre family lived, it felt like home to Sabine.

    “AUNT ’BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!” Hera and Kanan’s son, Jacen charged out of their house as soon as her speeder pulled up. He was Force-sensitive, just like his father, and had no doubt sensed them coming.

    She looked over her shoulder as she vaulted out of the T-19. Maximus was still sitting in the passenger’s seat looking with growing alarm at the stream of Spectres who followed Jacen: Kanan and Hera, whose pregnancy was beginning to show now that she was four months along; Chopper, muttering something that was probably best left untranslated; newlyweds Ezra and Mara, holding hands as usual; and Zeb and his wife Shulma, who was holding their kit. “Come on, Max. You’ll have to meet them sooner or later; they’re my family as much as anyone in my clan.” she told him, hiding a smile. Funny how the prospect of facing his girlfriend’s vode seemed to be a more daunting prospect to him than fighting the Empire, taking control of his clan, or even juggling thermal detonators. “You know, they don’t bite, not even Zeb. Usually…”

    “That’s very reassuring,” Maximus replied. He climbed out of the speeder, eyeing the Lasat warily. For once Zeb was smiling, which was an improvement over his usual scowl, but which showed off his pointy teeth quite impressively.

    “Aunt ’Bine!” Jacen exclaimed again. He skidded to a stop in front of her and looked up at Maximus, his eyes going wide. “Whoa...cool armor! Are you a bounty hunter? Can I see your guns?”

    “Jacen!” Hera admonished her son. He sighed and mumbled something that might have been an apology or merely opining that it was too cool armor. Hera shook her head for a moment before she hugged Sabine. “We didn’t expect you back on Lothal so soon.”

    Sabine shrugged.”Well, you know, things with my family can get…complicated sometimes.” Especially now that she was busy learning all the agricultural and economic details that went along with a trade alliance while dealing with a pair of strong-willed clan matrons who had wildly different ideas about what the marital side of the alliance should entail and how soon it should take place. “And besides, there’s someone I want you all to meet. This is Maximus Ordo...my fiancé.” “Boyfriend” would have been more accurate, but “fiancé” was still technically true. Maximus wouldn’t be invested as clan leader until the following week, and the two of them hadn’t worked out all the new terms of their alliance yet. And...it was kind of fun to see their reactions, from Hera’s startled blink to Zeb’s “Karabast!” and especially the way Ezra’s jaw fell to the ground (earning him a frown and a sharp elbow to the ribs from Mara).

    Sabine put her arm around Maximus’s waist and drew him into the circle of their odd little family, laughing. “It’s a long story!”

    ————-

    Notes:

    Haar’chak: damn it

    Sha’kajir: cease fire
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    TheRynJedi, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Delightful @Raissa Baiard -- totally from Max's discombobulated "what did my mother do?" to his sincere admission about how impressed and intrigued he was by Sabine. Sweet reciprocal kiss-fest there, and as for the Epilogue ... SQUEE! Always. [face_love] =D=
     
    Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.
  13. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Well that ended happily enough, but I have a feeling that Sabine will need to be a bridezilla just to keep the mothers from taking over the wedding.
     
    Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Mucho catch-up time! And so thrilled to see this wrapped up in such fine style; it really was a spot-on entry for this challenge! =D=

    3: Ah, looks like this Maximus Ordo vod is actually not such a bad apple, even with his silly “hey, ad’ika!” Iines! :p (But always uttered tongue-in-cheek, which says a lot.) Wonderful to see him turning out to be the sort of person Sabine can enjoy actual fun, friendly conversations with and, of course, in true Mando fashion, an ideal war story sharer. He’s proud of his own exploits, of course—as he should be, as he and his comrades fought bravely for the honor of Clan Ordo (and his story about blowing up the TIE fighters really is pretty amazing). But he also listens to Sabine’s story with genuine respect and admiration, without falling into one-upmanship; he sees that this, at least, is definitely not a competition. And that doesn’t go unnoticed by as keen a judge of character as Sabine. (Nor do his handsome gray eyes—a nice bonus, of course! ;) )

    I just love the Wren family breakfast scene—everyone is so in character, from Clan Matron Mom to teasy Tristan to a dad who is the family’s calm voice of reason (though a calm voice of reason who can see that something is afoot). There’s teasing, awkwardness, eye rolling, all the usual sort of thing that customarily goes along with family members’ “you’ve been spending lots of time with Attractive Person X” observations. But it’s interesting that it’s this conversation that gets Sabine thinking, in earnest, about how she really feels about Maximus. I know you were concerned about having her come off as too indecisive, but I think her mix of feelings at this moment is completely believable—this is kind of a new situation for her, and it’s not the sort of thing she can solve with either a WESTAR or spray paint.

    And then, right at the moment when Sabine is beset with all these jumbled feelings, the biggest misunderstanding in the story happens! And in front of not one but two larger-than-life Mando clan matrons! (Larger than life in two very different ways, thanks to your keen characterization skills. :cool: ) But yes, d’oh, d’oh, d’oh, and d’oh again! :eek: Especially after such a carefully considered answer, and one that follows all the right protocols for an honorable clan spokesperson. Ursa’s reaction at this moment is very interesting: she’s clearly favorably inclined toward the trade alliance with the Ordos, and yet she seems to disapprove of Sabine’s ready acceptance. Sure, some of that could be “think before you jump into things, you young hothead,” and of course some of it is just Ursa being Ursa. But I think some of it could also be “oh ho, you’re accepting this so quickly in order to get closer to Handsome Guy, aren’t you?” :p Sabine admits in the the next chapter that that was indeed part of it, though her mom is also a sharp enough cookie that I could see her figuring that out, too. [face_thinking] And Sabine will need all of her own sharp cookie skills to figure out what to do next after this amazing cliffie-rama—it’s so immensely cool how you arranged things so that the Big Misunderstanding is itself the cliffie.

    4: Oh man, I don’t blame Sabine for being on the warpath here. Not at all. And it’s not just because she misunderstood the two moms’ negotiations—it’s also (and especially) disappointment at being treated like a bargaining chip or, in Princess Jasmine’s words, “a prize to be won” rather than a person Maximus actually respects. That’s what hurts the most.

    But at the same time, I don’t blame Max for being totally gobsmacked and confused, give the huge communication breakdown that just happened (and it’s the sort of communication breakdown that seems completely plausible in a society where people routinely make this kind of alliance). What a huge testament to Max’s strength of character that he admits the misunderstanding outright—he never tries to cover up or pass the buck in any way. And it’s also a testament to Sabine’s own personal honor and judgment of character that she hears him out and believes him. Yep, that combination right there says “made for each other,” I’d say...

    ...and judging by what happens next, I think they see that, too. [face_love] [face_love] [face_love] MEGA SQUEEAGE for PERFECT MANDO KISSES! :* :* :* And an extra EEEE for the return of the “not bad”/“pretty good” repartee at this immensely important moment, bringing back the marksmanship competition at the very beginning of the story and the Annie/Frank dynamic—and I think Sabine definitely won this particular competition—very beautifully done, ma’am, and this scene is a shining exampleof why you should never, ever sell yourself short on writing romance. <3 Oh yes, this is definitely the start of a beautiful something between Max and Bine—they are worthily following in the tradition of Doraissa, Marzra, Kanera, and Roemi with the perfect mix of sincerity and sparks. @};-

    Epilogue: And as though that last chapter weren’t awesome and squee-inducing enough, we have Sabine INTRODUCING MAX TO THE!SPACE!FAM!!1! [face_dancing] Yes, folks, that’s the whole, entire space!fam with their own growing families—I smiled such a huge smile to see them all, and of course you can guess whom in particular I squeed to see (I recognize that kit!). :zeb: Oh Max, me boy, this is your first step into something big and wonderful, I can guarantee you that! And everyone present will be good, welcoming space!family!members to Max, I just know it.

    Bravissima on bringing this to completion—not only did you ace the challenge, but I couldn’t ask for a dearer, more life-affirming ending, or one more in the spirit of both Rebels and the Marzraverse. =D= =D= =D=
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  15. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, this was such a delightfully fun story!! Both as another wonderful addition to your Marzra 'verse and in answer to the challenge! [face_love] =D=

    First off, I loved the set up of this, with the fanon of the Clan Meet! I'm a sucker for Mandalorian ambiance in most forms, and it was just all sorts of clever to throw in a sort of Olympics/Highland Games set up. (I've actually attended a highland meet before, to honor my herritage, and the atmosphere fits up perfectly with what I remember of the experience!) All the little bits of developing characterization and world building you were able to include naturally fell in place from there.

    Then, I love that it's ART that first catches her eye. Of course it is! Sabine would understand and admire the symbolism in his choice of design more so than most - that's something right after our heroine's own heart, in more ways than one. ;)

    Though of course she recovers herself nicely. As befits such a moof-milker as Maximus is here at first glance, naturally. :p

    I thought something similar myself!! [face_laugh]

    Oh my goodness, I was smitten by this point, you have no idea. Sabine's ego is bruised, understandbly so, and she took his 'not bad' as a slight when I really suspect that it was Maximus' gruff Ordo version of high praise. He really is chanelling a bit of his ancestor Canderous, in a way. :p But I imagine there's more going on beneath his surface as per the nature of the OTP challenge, and I'm looking forward to better figuring him out alongside Sabine. [face_thinking]

    The Order of the Ka'ra!! Perfect headcanon is perfect, from the name to the mission to the food. Because every community needs a social circle of gossiping busy-bodies! [face_laugh]

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. [face_laugh] [face_whistling]

    Yep; I lost it here. This and all of the subsequent forms of "hey, ad'ika" were just brilliant. [face_rofl] Good thing Sabine finds it endearing as we do too - eventually. ;)

    From here, Maximus' story was well thought out, and you showed a deft hand with explaining the Mandalorian political sphere and history without drowning your readers in exposition. I enjoyed getting to know Maximus alongside Sabine!

    Then, her family's reactions were just spot-on in-character too, all the way to -

    Oh Ursa!! I could see her rolling her eyes at her daughter's brash tendency for recklessness, yet again. I imagine those would be hard words to undo, politically speaking! (And that little aside about young Sabine - perfect!)

    Whew!! I couldn't blame Sabine for being on the warpath here; she is clearly hurt, feeling targeted and lied to. Thankfully, that is the true misunderstanding of the story, and Maximus next proves his worth as a good man in spades by defusing her temper and opening himself up to her. Such emotional vulnerability is not an easy thing for Mandalorian pride, we can well appreciate!

    And what I love most about this is that you can reverse skill spirit honor and apply that to the virtues that draw Sabine to him in return. [face_love]

    Bwaha! Good ear. [face_mischief]

    I loved the resolution to their misunderstanding, and their venturing down a path for something more. I had such a SQUEE for their kiss! The reprise of not bad just brought this story perfectly full circle! The entire tale was wonderfully crafted, in every way. [face_love]


    Then, for the coda - Oh! I'm a sucker for large extended families and all to the love and happiness thriving inspite of canon, even good canon! This just checked off all sorts of boxes in my fangirl soul, and I loved every word. [face_love]


    Thank you for sharing this wonderful response to the challenge with us! =D=
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  16. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Short comment for now, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this! @};- Sabine is such an interesting character in Rebels and it's really nifty to see how you've expanded on what we know. And Maximus is a wonderful match for her, in spite of first impressions being less than ideal. [face_love]
     
    Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.