CLAN RAU: A HISTORY
The Mandalorian Wars and Their Aftermath
Even during the days of the Great Hyperspace War under Mandalore the Indomitable, Clan Rau was a bit more organized and militarized than most Crusader clans. Not with a complicated rank structure and chain of command, but with clearly defined units, a leadership hierarchy and with discipline. So when Cassus Fett entered the picture and revolutionized how the Clans made war, Clan Rau took to it with far more gusto than most.
Rau became the Neo-Crusaders' most soldierly warriors, flying close air support in their starfighters and Basilisks, bringing their discipline to bear on less squared-away Clans as instructors and Rally Masters, and helping to fill out the ranks of the elite Neo-Crusader Shock troopers. This earned them no small amount of disdain from other Clans who believed they were going so far in their pursuit of Fett's plans and goals that they were slowly losing what it meant to be Mandalorian, but the gold-armored Marshals valued Rau enough that their role in Mandalorian society was never in doubt.
Of course, Malachor V changed all that. For Rau, it was like waking up from a nightmare, and the Clan did some serious soul-searching.
What was decided was that they had gone seriously astray from their traditions of warrior pride and soldierly discipline, in blind pursuit of Mandalorian galactic domination----and in that realization, another, more horrible one appeared. Rau's warriors, in abandoning their Clan's ways and honor, had abandoned any hope they had of joining the afterlife of the Manda. The warriors of the Mandalorian Wars were a lost generation.
But they could still make things right.
Whereas other Clans and warriors scattered to the galactic winds became bandits, raiders and pirates, Rau took their Clan's tendencies to the logical extreme: soldiering for hire. Rau warriors immersed themselves in the bread and butter of mercenary soldiering, acting as advisers, instructors and elite troops for rimworld governments across the galaxy.
In doing so they once more earned the ire of the other Clans who accused them of debasing themselves to the Outsiders so soon after their shot at glory, of becoming nothing more than lapdogs in beskar. And to some extent there was truth to this. Mando'a was spoken less and less, fewer warriors sent credits and supplies home to Mandalore. The Resol'nare were beginning to go by the wayside.
But the most important tenet was adhered to---when Mandalore the Preserver put out his rallying call for forces to join him on Dxun, Rau broke their contracts and answered the call, and in doing so began to rebuild their identity as Mandalorians.
A Clan's Rebirth and Mandalore the Preserver
The man once known as Canderous Ordo had some odd ideas. A respect for the Jedi was perhaps the most unusual, but it found a home in Rau, along with other precepts: gaining honor by defending the weak rather than destroying them (as well as defeating their oppressors, of course), a merging of soldierly discipline with warrior spirit, and a pledge to never again submit themselves to the outside instigators who had sent the Mandalorians rocketing on a path to destruction----the Sith.
So when the Jedi General who had defeated the entirety of the Clans at Malachor V arrived at the Dxun camp, eager to prove themselves to their former foes, Clan Rau’s warriors watched with great interest. They watched as Meetra Surik rescued wayward novices and slayed zakkeg and bormu. They watched as she saved one of their newcomers, Kumus, from the perils of the jungle. They watched as the woman who had destroyed them at Malachor proved even more adept in their ways than some of their most veteran warriors. And when the Exile called for aid defeating a long-sealed evil on the Dxun moon, they knew they couldn’t simply stand by and watch.
Rau warriors helped to cordon off and secure the tomb of Freedon Nadd while the Exile’s friends breached and cleared the Sith forces within. Sith troopers, officers, and apprentices fell to the massed blasterfire and beskads of Clan Rau---vengeance, all too swift, for luring their people to their destruction. There were cheers and victory feasts in the Dxun camp that night, as warriors from Clans from Rau to Farr to Chorn celebrated the return of the Mandalorian people to their former pride.
The Exile was not yet done with Mandalore the Preserver and his warriors quite yet. When Mandalore called for a strike force to accompany him to Telos IV, Rau’s warriors were champing at the bit to be first into the breach. As Mandalore’s vanguard storming the Sith flagship Ravager, they got their wish.
It wasn’t until after Mandalore ordered a withdrawal off the ruined vessel and the baradium charges were detonated that the warriors learned just what had been at stake. Horrified at the eldritch power of the now-dead Darth Nihilus, bursting with pride at how they had defeated a threat on a galactic scale, Rau’s poets enshrined their finest hour in song for future generations to come. Nor too did they forget just who it was who had led them into the breach, whose laser swords had held their flanks, who it was who had fought to defend rather than destroy.
Iconoclasts and the Crusader Schism
In the ensuing years Clan Rau returned to soldiering, their way of keeping their skills sharp and honed for the war that Mandalore the Preserver said would be coming soon, from beyond the Rim. The Exile had departed for parts unknown after her victory, and the graying, battered Mandalore had no doubt that she---and the Republic, and the Jedi---would have need of their services again.
While most of the Clans simply carried out whatever raids or campaigns, or signed on for whatever contracts were available, Rau was a bit more discerning---and there was an additional wrinkle. Hoping to serve in the absence of the woman who had led the charge and held their flank over Telos IV, squads of warriors from Rau served as fire power and military advisors for the rare occasions when Jedi needed such things---or would deign to work with Mandalorians.
Such actions, while hardly advertised, caused even the most Jedi-friendly of the other Clans to side-eye Rau---turning down well-paying contracts in the service of tyrants was one thing, but working for the Jedi was bizarre...though not quite yet Dar’Manda.
The centuries went on, Mandalores came and went, and the memories---of Dxun, Telos IV, of the Exile and the redeemed Revan---largely faded from the larger cultural memory of the Mandalorians, remembered only as folklore if as anything. But Clan Rau did not forget---though the Jedi had long since ceased approaching them with anything even beginning to approach regularity---and when the Great War broke out, they unhesitatingly cast their lot in with Jicoln Cadera’s Preservers.
Clan Rau was one of the smaller Clans hailing from Concord Dawn. Their penchant for militarization had come as a way for them to counter the manpower disadvantage they possessed versus the other, larger Clans. But there was simply no escaping the deadly arithmetic of attrition, and the Crusader Schism cut a bloody swathe through Rau’s warriors. While the larger Clans who rose up for Jicoln Cadera like Ordo and Kelborn were able to recover, Rau settled for simply regrouping with those who were left to do so.
As the Mandalorians entered the Empire’s service, Rau held back. They stayed on the Rim, providing advisors, commanders, private forces for rulers and corporations. While every now and again other Clans would spread scurrilous rumors about them still maintaining contact with the Jedi, there was no veracity to this; even among themselves their Clan’s history was discussed in whispers.
The Eternal Empire’s dramatic entrance on the galactic stage further thinned Rau’s numbers; many of their warriors took to the skies, fighting delaying actions against endless swarms of Zakuulan craft so their comrades could escape. Some scattered members of Clan Rau, on contracts and campaigns across the galaxy, survived to rally to Mandalore’s banner or serve her fighting Zakuul in their own way. The rest hunkered down behind the blockade, preparing for the day they could scrap Zakuul’s droid legions.
Courtesy of the Outlander, that day never came. Clan Rau’s warriors were able to leave their world unmolested, rallying to Mandalore the Avenger’s side, where they helped serve as the Eternal Alliance’s shock troops alongside their fellow warriors. Rau warriors continued their tradition of professional excellence, helping train new recruits to the Clans and the Alliance in the soldiering that had been their bread and butter.
A new Empire’s rise
The centuries went by, and steadily Rau’s numbers regrew once more. By the time of the Clone Wars the Clan was one of the few to actively declare for and fight alongside the Galactic Republic, embracing their history and warrior heritage. Commander Fenn Rau of the Protectors served as a pilot-instructor for the Grand Army of the Republic, and led his Skull Squadron in combat against Separatist forces on multiple occasions; Captain Izbelle Rau and her warriors provided stiffening to non-clone Republic allies on multiple battlefronts, including Qat Chrystac, Svivren, and Ketaris.
But despite their fidelity to the Republic, Rau’s warriors had to return to their homeworld for the Mandalorian Civil War, rallying to the side of Bo-Katan Kryze and her loyalists to oppose the Supercommandos of Darth Maul. The conflict came to a premature end with Order 66 and the rise of the Empire---and with it came the end of some members of Rau who died defending the few Jedi on Mandalore from their brainwashed clone soldiers.
As the Empire solidified its hold over Mandalore, Rau’s warriors returned to their fringe roots. Some spread out onto the Rim and the underworld rather than serve those who had destroyed the Jedi; others, like the battered Fenn Rau, fatalistically accepted the shape of things to come and contracted with the Empire.
But when word spread to the scattered warriors of the new civil war, with Clan Saxon fighting to keep the Empire’s iron fist clutching Mandalore, and Clan Wren spearheading the fight for freedom, the warriors knew they had to make a choice. With their most famous surviving member Fenn in the ranks of Clan Wren’s faction---and, rumor had it, aiding the fledgeling Rebel Alliance---the choice was no choice at all.
Once more Rau warriors returned to liberate their homeworld, flew to deep-space rendezvous points to pledge their service to the force trying to liberate a galaxy, and began barking orders at fresh new recruits once more.
The die had irrevocably been cast, and though some in Rau’s ranks murmured that they’d signed their own death warrants, none truly complained. They were Mandalorian---better to soldier and die well for a good cause than to sit it out.
And that, for Clan Rau’s soldiers, was all they really needed.
((My thanks to Rina-Monster for the amazing art!))