A hunters path becomes a warriors journey
The hot torrent of water peppers the womans bare back as she stands in the fresher. She tilts her head back to allow the water to soak her hair. A dollop of soap, and she lathers her hair and waits a few moments to let the soup do its thing. She leans her head back again and lets the water clear away the soap. She finished washing her hair and closed the valve in the shower. She opens the door enough to grab a long soft towel and rubs her head to dry her hair. She stepped out and the heat fans activate. She turns and lets the heat dry her body, then wraps the towel around her and strode from the fresher to her cabin. As she walked through the door, she dropped her towel on the floor and plucked the thick soft robe from its hook and pulled it on. A rude sounding blurt of mechanical sounds comes from her doorway. A small custodial droid was there, her discarded towel held in its pincer arm. Marta Frost smirked and moved across the cabin and sat down in the large cushioned chair and picks up her datapad.
A large droid stands in the doorway. What started out life as parts of several hunter killer droids was now ZE-R0, personal guard, hunter, killer, and at times babysitter of Marta Frost. "He" communicated with a deep baritone mechanical voice. "21E-11 respectfully requests you stop leaving things on the floor. She had other ideas, but I ensured her those ideas would not be possible, due to limits in humanoid flexibility."
Marta looked up from her datapad. The light in her cybernetic that replaced her right eye flickered, indicating she was receiving data. "Next time that little witch complains, remind her that picking stuff up is her task, and if I stop leaving her things to do then she has no further use, and her parts could be recycled into another project.. or I would happily eject her into a sun somewhere." Marta smirked a little as she looked back to her datapad.
The large droid might have grinned back.. if it had a mouth. "We will arrive on Nar Shaddaa in three hours. The sky palace is powered up and active." Then the droid turned and moved back toward the command deck.
Marta chuckled once again, then leaned for the caf dispenser on her desk. She poured a large cup and replaced the pot on the heat element. She took a sip of the strong brew, pausing to savor the taste and strength. She brewed her own mix, and most found it much to strong, but she had acquired her taste in caf from the man who helped raise her. Thoughts of the man drew her gaze from the caf cup to the helmet that rests on her desk, in a corner. The black helmet sported gold trim, had scuffs, a small dent, and a broad T shaped visor. It had been eight years since he fell in battle. As was his wish, she retrieved his armor, his sword, and his rifle. She had burned his body, and celebrated his life. Marta returned home, built a rough armor rack, and placed his armor on it, with the exception of the helmet that rested on her desk. She had learned so many things from the man, had been told so many things, filtered through the mask of the helmet, she found comfort in having it near, to talk to "him" when she alone. She still remembered the day they met. Marta took another drink of caf, then leaned back in the chair, closing her organic eye while her cybernetic continued pulling data from her ship computer.
- Rishi -
A twelve year old girl knelt beside a warehouse wall, she watched the walkways in the nights darkness, watching for anyone to come and disrupt the gangs activity. As the youngest, and newest, she was the designated look out. Not strong enough nor mean enough to get into the action. She is still unsure of what alerted her, but something crawled up her spine like a zip of electricity, and she was about to move when a shadow loomed over her. She turned and looked up at a tall man, encased in heavy armor wearing a helmet with a T shaped visor. The armor was black, and had golden yellow trim. Her eyes flicked to the blaster pistol in his hand when he spoke, "You are barking up the wrong tree, kih solus." The man holstered his pistol and placed a hand on her shoulder, turning her to look at the warehouse. A swarm of older boys, and young men sprang from hiding spots, and other buildings and began beating her gang with boards, pipes, fists, and boots. "Come kih solus, you should not be here." And he walked her home. "You have courage, but little smarts, kih solus, you should remedy that. Without education you cannot protect your people. If you keep running these streets with the unwashed and stupid, you will not be an asset to your family." He spoke as they walked. When she got home, she looked over her shoulder to the armored man, then moved to go inside. She paused to look back to thank the man, but he was gone.
Over the next four years the large armored man would drop in from time to time. Her mother had her hands full working two jobs, and raising three children alone. The man, who would later she would learn, was named Ozzek Frost, would stop in from time to time, occasionally bringing food, or supplies. Never money, not once did he give them credits, just things they may need. "No kih solus, if I brought your family money, you would not have earned it. I can feed you, or bring you things to help you make credits, but I will not give you something unless you work for it, and earn it. It is how I am." Her mother was thankful, and offered him her body, but the man never accepted it. He appeared one day with news of a job opening for somebody with a mechanical skill. Marta asked after the job, and was hired. She would learn how to repair droids, and ship systems. She worked daily, learning and training to perform her job. At the end of each day, the armored man, Ozzek, was there to walk her home again. On the days she was paid her wages, he would show up in his armor, and walk her home. Several months later, while she was at work it was discovered that her younger sister could use the Force magic. Her mother sent word to the leaders of the city, to call for the Republic, but what appeared was a Sith. Marta was not home and was told this by Ozzek later. "They are the Sith Empire, and they will train your sister to be like them. It is doubtful you will see your sister again. Marta was not pleased with this, but eventually, she understood. Several months pass and Marta left her job, and was puzzled that Ozzek was not there to escort her home. She nervously headed to her home. When she rounded the corner she found several officials coming in and our of her house. Ozzek was there in full battle armor. Behind him four men lay on the ground covered in tarps. When Ozzek saw her, he moved toward her, intercepting her before she could get closer. He placed an armored hand on her shoulder and looked at her through the visor of his helmet. "You cannot go in yet, kih solus. These men tried to rob your home, your mother contacted me when they were trying to get into the house. By the time I got here these men had broken in, killed your mother and brother, and were tearing the place apart looking for valuables. I punished them, but the damage was done." Marta watched as two bodies were removed from the house. For the first time since the day they met, Ozzek took credits from his own belt and paid the men who took her mother and brother away. "Take proper care of them." His tone made it clear, he was also giving the men a warning. When Ozzek left, Marta went with him.
Marta learned from Ozzek. He taught her to drive a speeder bike, then gave her the bike to get back and forth to her job. Since the distance was greater, it would near impossible for her to walk back and forth. He taught her how fish, how to hunt, how to shoot. When Ozzek left to hunt animals for food, Marta went with him. One thing that puzzled her was a massive stone that was surrounded by scaffolding and work lights. She could see a figure being carved in the stone. "Ozzek, I see you working on that every day, when I get home from work I see more done. What is that to be?" Ozzek looked at the stone, then looked back at her. "What do you see when you look at it, kih solus?" Marta looked up at the statue, gave a tilt of her head. "I see a man.. but the face it looks like the visor of your helmet. Is he like you?" Ozzek chuckled softly "Yes, and no, kih solus. He is like me in that he is also a Mandalorian, but he was the first of us. He was the first to hold the title of Mandalore. He was the leader." Marta sipped strong caf as she watched Ozzek working on the statue that night. She watched how the man worked for hours without pausing, even for a drink. She set her caf down and climbed the scaffolding. She took a hammer and chiseling tool and looked at Ozzek. He nodded his approval, then showed her where to work. Years would pass, with the pair working on the statue together, the lessons continued, but now they were given while they worked together. "What does this, kih solus, mean Ozzek? And what tongue it is?" Ozzek mopped his brow with a strip of cloth, then responded "It is the tongue of my people, Marta. The Mandalorian language. And kih solus means small one. As you may recall, you were very little when we met." He chuckled when he explained. The answer satisfied Marta, and she did not push further. Several weeks went by before she approached the subject again. While they sat at a low table eating a meal. "Ozzek, what is that banner there?" She nodded toward a single banner that hung near one that had a large skull on it. The grizzled warrior looked over his shoulder at the banner, though he knew exactly what she was asking about. "It is the war banner of the Grulyr Rekr. My clan. The Frost Wolf." Marta looked at the banner. The field of ice blue, the snarling wolfs head stitched into the center, with two red streamers hanging from the two top corners. "If the color is blue, why is your armor black and gold?" Ozzek seemed to get sort of sad, but after a few moments, he smirked at Marta. "You are full of questions today, aren't you. My armor used to be blue, with red marks. But in a battle my clan was destroyed. Each warrior, every member. Including my mate, and my children. All gone. Destroyed by an honorless crimelord who demanded payment for the privilege of living on what he considered his planet, regardless of the fact that my family owned that land for generations. After the betrayal and murder of my clan I took an oath. I would bring those who wronged us to justice, and just a bit of vengeance. To my people, black is the color of justice, gold the color of vengeance. Those who know about us, know by those colors what I am seeking." Marta paused as she considered his words. He had a family, and had that family taken from him. She took a drink of water, then set the cup down and reached over the table to pat his hand softly.
The long awaited time came, Ozzek took hammer to chisel and tapped out the last bit of stone on the statue they had worked on. He stepped back to look up at the statue. Marta stepped up beside him as well. He draped an arm over his shoulders. "I would not have finished this so quickly without your help, kih solus. I am grateful. You worked hard, and did good work." Marta smiled, then looked out over the still water of the bay, she frowned. "Ozzek, are we expecting company?" Soon the sound of an air speeder could be heard. The pair walked to the speeder landing dock, and when the air speeder landed, a short balding man stepped out of the ship. Marta had seen this one sniffing around, and paid him little mind. Ozzek and the bald man spoke to each other in a language she did not know. But she heard the name he called her, kih solus, in their conversation. The short bald man looked at her, then climbed back aboard his speeder and departed. "What was that all about?" Ozzek nodded to her "A job, I need to go off planet for a while." Marta sighed, he had taken work trips before, she would later learn they were hunts for people who had bounty markers on them. Ozzek chuckled then "Oh, stop your pouting, you are old enough now to come with. But you stay on the ship." Thus started Marta on the hunters path. She traveled with Ozzek, learned the trade from him, and with his help she designed and built a suit of heavy plate armor. She did not know it was a Mandalorian design, but she built it with her own hands, and guidance from Ozzek. She colored the armor black, to match his, but she also thought it was tactical. Fighting in the dark, the black armor may cause her enemy to miss. When Ozzek felt she was ready, she suited up and started joining him on the actual hunts. The lessons still continued, but now they included things about his people. She learned about his code. He told her over and over, live by a code, or die without one. They spoke of his family, and he finally explained why he looked after her and hers on Rishi. She reminded him of his child. She told him how she had never known her father, and that he was as close to a father as she had ever known. She thanked him for that.
Marta was twenty years old when it happened. They were hunting a man who had a reputation for honor, but was on the wrong side of a fight. The side he was on lost, and ended up with a price on his head. Ozzek suited up to meet the man on a small grassy world in the outer rim. They would meet as warriors, and one would not return. Marta was required to remain on the ship, The Battlehawk, as agreed with the prey. She watched the monitors, and was doing some maintenance on her armor when a red light blinked on the panel, and snarling buzz sounded. Marta hung her head. The red light was tuned to a sensor that monitored Ozzeks vitals. The light and alarm would only sound if his life ended. Marta took a datachip that had been prepared for this moment. She opened the file and read through his wishes. She brought the Battlehawk down to the site of the duel, and as she feared, she found the body of Ozzek Frost. She sat beside him and shed a few tears before setting to work. She built a platform, and assembled a large wood structure for a fire. She stripped off his armor, laying each piece reverently on a cart she brought. She struggled to get Ozzeks body up onto the platform, then moved the cart into the ship. She returned with several bottles of tihaar, and some corellian rum that she preferred over the strong liquor. She lit the fire beneath Ozzek and drank from one of the tihaar bottles. She called to him, and cheered through her tears. She was distracted enough that she did not hear the man Ozzek hunted until he was beside her. He looked at the pyre, then to Marta. He nodded and picked up one of the bottles and drank. He raised the bottle to the fire before speaking to Marta. "He was an honorable man, and a great warrior. You are fortunate to have known him." Marta said nothing, just nodded. Soon several others joined them, shouts and praises were shouted for Ozzek. The others wandered after a time, but the man who Ozzek battled remained until the fire finally died away. He nodded respectfully to Marta and turned to walk away. He trusted her at his back to not shoot him.
Marta returned to Rishi, landed the Battlehawk on the larger patrol ship, then took a speeder to the base. She stopped and looked at the statue of Mandalore. Then moved into the living area. The following morning the sound of a speeder woke her. She dressed, moved down to the speeder platform as the short bald man stepped out of his speeder. He bowed respectfully and offered her a wooden box. She took it with a puzzled look on her face. "Miss Frost, I am Verin Darque, and if there is anything I can do, or explain, please contact me. My comm code is on the card in the box. Be well." It wasn't until Verin has left that she realized he called her Miss Frost. Marta carried the box back into the living area and sat down. She opened the box and found a simple datapad, and a hand written note. "Ozzek wanted you to have this. Comm me if you have questions - Verin" Marta tapped the activation button and a small hologram of Ozzek appeared. He smiled to her, and began to speak. "Ah, kih solus, I had hoped this would not be required, but if you are seeing it, then I am gone. If you followed my instructions, then you have my armor and weapons, and I have gone to join my ancestors. Do not fret kih solus, death is life, and all I can hope for is that I died as a lived. I wanted to tell you Marta, you have been as important to me as my own children. When I first met you, you were so brave, and so strong. It touched my heart. Watching you grow up, watching you learn, witnessing the lessons you have learned has been a great source of pride for me. I want you to do something for me. My clan. I want you to breath new life into it. You are in one sense, my child, my heir. I am giving you everything. My ships, my weapons, my base, my credits, my responsibility, and my name. I ask only one thing. Remember the lessons. Strength, honor, loyalty, and death. Remember when we spoke of this. They are more then words, and I think you knew that when we spoke. They are a code, and one that I have lived my life by. I need you to become Clan Frost Wolf. I need you to bring my family back, it already started with you. I consider you family. Search out the clans. Find the Mando'a, tell them who you are, who I was. Learn from any who will teach you. To honor the tenets, the Resol'nare, live by the tenets. You have built the armor.. learn our tongue so that you too hear the tales of our history.. Hone your skills so that you can stand as strong as stone to defend your people.. when you bring life into the galaxy, raise them as Mandalorians.. be an asset and a resource for your family.. for your clan.. and if the Mand'alor calls, be among the first to respond to that call. We have spoken on each of these subjects separately, but if you put them all together they show you a path, a path of honor and respect. Among the Mando'a you will be a part of something that will reach even beyond your years. Be strong kih solus, and know that I will always be watching." He bowed to her, and the holo ended.
A beeping roused her from her nap. Marta sat up and looked around. Her caf had gone cold. A mechanical voice sounded over the ship intercom. "Entering the Y'Toub system, touching down on Nar Shaddaa in twenty minutes."
Marta stood up, walked to her closet and pulled out something to wear. She paused and looked at the helmet on her desk.
History and ongoing journal of Marta Frost ~*~ Thanks for reading