Writer's notes - I got struck by another story idea and it just popped out. As an adjunct to Son Kenshin and my story, this one takes us back to the Battle of Malachor V. As 'Fires' is a love story, this is a war story. This will be a stand alone story of just a few chapters, but loosely ties into the other KOTOR fics we have going.

We'll look at the final battle from both sides, the Republic and the Mandalorians. They'll be a lot of action and space battles. What I'm hoping to portray is the desperate determination of the Mandalorians in their final hours and the genius of Revan in warfare.

As I'm now familiar with KOTOR II, it will include those characters who fought at Malachor V as well.

See the umbrella disclaimer in my profile courtesy of my attorney husband. Ok, one of these days I'll go back to CSI and LOTR. I will.

Aloha to SDD, Son Kenshin, Bjrn, Padawan Mage, Vanilla Latte, Higgs, Darth C, Thug, and Brazilian.

Let us go now to Malachor V for that cataclysm.

AUDENTES FORTUNA JUVAT - Fortune Favors the Bold

Blood and Honor

Malachor System – Malachor V – Serphants – Day 1 – Hour of the Viper (0435 Local Time)

The cool dawn air of Malachor V was slowly warmed by the dim orange glow of a powerful star, a star that had symbolized Mandalorian power in the Outer Rim for thousands of years. Long snaky tendrils of radiation lashed out into the system, giving it life…and strength.

On the rocky, mountainous planet of Malachor V, the City of Serphants, base of power of the Serphants Clan, the growing rays of the star was no longer a welcome sight. Once, the Mandalorians had treasured the light of the star when their power reached to the corners of the Galaxy. The weak Republic once trembled at the sight of their Basilisk Droids and the light of Mandalorian strength cast long shadows over their enemies…over those who could not fight.

In the city, squat buildings lined broad avenues as a sign of strength, a strength built upon the backs of slave laborers taken in Mandalorian conquests. This morning, however, all was quiet. A grim foreboding had settled over the city.

In the heart of the city, a meeting took place to plan the defense of the last bastion of Mandalorian power in the Galaxy – the homeworld. In the Serphants' Clan hall, the most powerful Mandalorians had gathered in the dim, red lighting to discuss war and death.

"We will stand and fight to the last warrior," proclaimed the Mandalore, shod in a harness of dull silver with a squat helmet of durasteel that reflected the fiendish glow of the lights.

"This is the way of Mandalore," shouted the assembled clan chiefs as they pounded their vibrodaggers on their armored chests.

The most powerful warrior of the clans, known as the Mandalore, grasped the hilts of his two, massive vibroswords and drew them in one motion. Holding them high above his head, he cried, "We will stop the Republic here! Their graves will fill this planet as they did at Dxun…at Onderon. They will pay."

Again, the warriors responded, the sound of shouts drowning the clan hall.

Mandalore strode to a massive warrior in blue armor and held forth the tip of his weapon. "Ordo, are you with me?"

The warrior, a middle-aged man with dark hair, graying at the temples, nodded grimly. The man, Canderous of the Clan Ordo, slid his vibrodagger across the palm of his left hand. As the thick, red liquid pooled in his hand, he turned his palm down over Mandalore's sword and let the blood coat the blade. This was tradition…this was the Way of Mandalore. Canderous' fate was now bound to his leader by blood and honor.

Mandalore went down the line of men: Geratt, Sherruk, Kelborn, Bralor, Ergeron, and then, Serphants.

Mandalore stood before the tall, lean warrior in jade armor. "Serphants, are you with me?"

The warrior stepped past his bodyguards and nodded. With this same swift motion as Canderous had made, Serphants drew the dagger across his palm without so much as a wince. The blood dripped upon the blade of the Mandalore and the ritual was complete.

Mandalore nodded his satisfaction. "Come, my warriors, let us plan the destruction of our nemesis."

The chiefs filed out of the hall into the war room, leaving the bodyguards and servants behind. One of Serphant's men scowled; he did not trust the Ordo chief and neither should his liege.

"Mira," he barked at a slave. "Remain here and protect my wife, Callesto. I shall return."

The young, red-haired woman, dressed in scanty clothing, but carrying a blaster pistol and vibrodagger, bowed submissively. As a slave, captured by the Mandalorians in times of glory, Mira had once been a servant. However, with the coming disaster, she had been pressed into service and taught how to fight.

As the bodyguard departed, Mira went to Callesto, a dignified and austere woman with long, brown hair. Mira bowed and presented the Mandalorian woman with a tray of refreshments.

"Milady, Vako has sent me to protect you."

Callesto smirked. "I need no protection," she retorted proudly. Then, however, her mood changed and worry crept into her sharp features. "What is happening, Mira? Why is the Mandalore so…concerned? Are we not winning the war?"

A smile nearly crept over Mira's lips, but she banished it. "No, milady, far from it. The Mandalorians are beaten. She is coming."

"Who? Who is coming?"