Warmed by the rising sun, a third-year stalker lizard wended its way through tall grass. It was a long powerful body, all knees, and moved with surprising speed. Its blue skin blended it into the violet mishmash of the Dantooine plains. Its flickering tongue brought to it a myriad of scents, some sharp and unknown, but the rank markings of the herd overpowered its brain. It was the time of the season that the iriaz females dropped their calves, and already it could smell the wet afterbirth and pungent milk.
A pitiful bleat sounded nearby, and it went straight through the reptile's body from nose to tail-tip. The stalker lizard froze, one of its feet frozen in mid-step. Then its blue tongue rolled out and flickered. Its striped eyes swivelled and oriented. A newborn iriaz calf stumbled about on its clumsy legs.
The reptile paused. Then it pushed off and went a sideways walk through the grass. The important thing was to snatch and kill quickly. It could leave the carcass behind; the iriaz would be angered but they would move on. Once it was dead nothing could be done.
The iriaz calf wailed for its mother once more. She was walking toward him, ears fluttering, her horned head eye-level with the grass. The birth had been difficult for her but she would still have the strength to fight.
The stalker lizard made itself low in the grass. Its eyes followed the calf, which began to stumble and prance, half-falling down. Its gawky hind legs were almost in range. One strong bite and shake would sever the limb. Let the calf bleed out.
A little dancing light stole the reptile's attention.
A little red mote.
The stalker lizard's eye moved to orient on the light just in front of it, glinting on grass blades.
The calf bleated again. The time was now.
The light was out of view. That little red dot.
The shot, when it came, turned the reptile's head into fine mist. The body kicked and jerked after that.
That lone crack of sound set off the entire herd. Hundreds of iriaz moved all at once, scattering every which way, mothers and young, and the males. Green-gold bodies everywhere, leaping and bucking, before the shimmering mass of animals converged into a powerful torrent that thundered across the morning plains.
"Dawwww, my hero," said Canderous Ordo.
Without taking his eye from the scope, Onasi held his hand sideways and made a one-fingered Nar Shaddaa salute. "Told you I could hit a target from here."
"Hell, so could my daughter when she was eight," Canderous replied. "A good head shot, too, straight through a slot visor."
"You people shouldn't be allowed to have kids."
That was about as much mando'a that Carth retained. "Yeah, no thanks." He leaned away from the rifle and sat up, half crooked on his arm.
The two men were stretched out on the ridge above the trampled grasslands. The sun had just come up but already the heat baked them in their field clothes. Carth had shed his armor for something more mobile, and he was beginning to regret that he had taken his jacket.
"Well, you scared 'em all away, Onasi," Canderous told him. "Could have had a prime shot."
"The stalker would have spooked them anyway."
Canderous grunted as he got up, snatching up the sniper rifle. "Maybe. So, kill's a kill. Now you got to eat the liver."
"Let's not," Carth said, "and say I did." Getting to his feet was harder than he thought. Sitting so long in the pilot chair was killing his back.
"You don't waste your kill." Canderous raised his scarred eyebrows. "It's not done."
"So what, you wanna make some boots out of it, or what?" Carth began to walk his way down, picking his way down the hillside to the reptile carcass.
The Mandalorian grinned as he slung the sniper rifle over his shoulder. "Maybe a nice purse to go with it."
"Sure, you've got to match. Keep it classy."
The Ebon Hawk had touched down on Dantooine for the third time. Two times too many, as far as Carth was concerned, but in this situation he felt he had no choice. It was a decision he and Bastila made together. Bha'lir needed looking at. If the jedi couldn't help him with his nightmares, then maybe one of the Republic garrison docs could get him some sedatives. Just in case. Nobody wanted to go through that episode again, and even Bastila insisted it was a good idea.
But the jedi cloistered the both of them away and the rest of the crew couldn't even see them. Carth had been ready to rip down the walls, but Bha'lir was allowed to make an appearance, his usual self again, yawning through a smile. "Oh man.. I'm gonna kill myself," were his first words, to Carth's deep-seated and terrible fear. But his next ones were, "You can't get the holonet here!" But he'd seen the look on Carth's face already, so he laughed, and hugged him, though that was a bit much, Carth was always annoyed how he had to touch you when he talked. He hated touchy-touchers. And people who talked with their hands.
"Somehow I'll pull through," he'd laughed at Carth.
"Yeah well, I'm sure your zabrak porno sites will be there waiting for you to get back."
"Zabrak porno? What?" His big yellow eyes reminded Carth of the time the local wharf cat slipped and fell into the water. That same expression. "Am I into that?" Shocked, but now tantalized, a slow sly spreading smile on his face.
"Well come along, we must be going, Master Zhar wanted to see you, and you like Master Zhar, don't you," Bastila said archly, and she had shot eye daggers at Carth, mouthing, 'Stop REMINDING him!'
So Carth had gone back to sit and wait in the enclave courtyard, frowning at the tinkling fountains, the chirpy little brainwashed padawans. Mission hanging on Zaalbar like a baby wook, groaning, "Sooooooo boooooooored" and "I can't even get the holo.. This is wronnnng. Carth let me try your datapad, mine won't log on, pleaase."
Canderous, meanwhile, had paced around all cagey. A lone Mandalorian in the heart of his enemy's power. Everyone staring. All eyes on the Ordo clan tattoo. "Onasi," he'd barked, suddenly. "Wanna go kill some shit?"
"I'm at about that point, yeah."
Onasi wondered what HK would think of his rifle borrowed and used on this little jaunt. Then he had to remind himself that HK didn't have thoughts like a human would.. And that HK wasn't a him. It was a machine. It was a machine currently in Off mode, safely disabled, its platform's limbs arranged in a sitting position on a chair in the Hawk's cargo hold. Mission had taken pity on it and wedged a cushion under its head. But that was unnecessary.. and more than it deserved.
Within twelve paces of the stalker lizard, Canderous drew out a huge knife from the inside of his vest. Carth knew the type from back in the wars, the kind with an edge like a chisel. For a brief moment he felt the chill of the Dagar northern continent, that polar station, before the heat of Dantooine closed in again and brought him back to the present.
The Mandalorian took a knee by the lizard's carcass, pulled it half-up by one of the legs, and plunged the knife in.
Carth crossed his arms. If Canderous really wanted this to be the latest event in their pissing contest, so be it. One part of him was through all these games, hated it, hated this downtime and wanted to push on with the mission. The other part of him, the hot shot pilot still down in there, still kicking, that part loved competition. Bring it on. Though it was only about six in the morning local time, Carth pulled out his flask. You had to do this right.
Canderous handed him a hot fleshy glob and half a handful of goo to go with it.
Carth tested its viscuousity with a squishy squeeze of his fingers. He could probably get in a few good chews before he could swallow. "K'oyacyi."
Looking the Mandalorian hard in the eye, standing over the body of his kill, Carth Onasi put the bloody mess in his mouth, chewed, and tipped his head back with a burning mouthful of dead Kang's whiskey.
"Kayashi," he said.
Canderous stared. Then his hard eyes crinkled at the corners, and a smile spread across his craggy face. "You're all right, Republic," he said.
Canderous son of Candra had come to find out that when you were one of the last of the scattered Mandalorians, you could pretty much make up anything and the dar'manda would take you at your word. On his clan's homeworld, there was no particular ritual of eating the liver from one's kill. That was because on the dusty red world of Ordo, everything was poisonous, and everything would kill you.
Granted, the liver of the Dantooine stalker lizard was also poisonous. A lot of the stalker lizard was poison. Not the internal gonads, though, which was why Canderous had been careful to cut those out for the pilot. Didn't think he'd actually eat them. How about that.
Didn't think Onasi would come out here with him again. Didn't think he'd ever be palling around with one of the most feared and hated enemies of his people. Respected, too. Those of his clan had respected the Aurek pilot. Had rejoiced when they shot him down that one time. Had lamented when he got away. Had to be a story in there later over beer.
Though the crack of the shot had scared off the iriaz, the herd wouldn't be hard to follow. Wasn't going to take a Clan Kotkarta ranger to track them down. Hell.. Canderous bet the son of the Coruscant senator could probably figure it out. With a posh call-girl's knickers over his head for a blindfold at that.
The torn and shredded grasses were giving off a good smell in the morning heat. Canderous found his spirits lifted. That didn't mean he wanted to chat with Onasi right yet; one of the things he liked about ole Republic was that he knew the value of silence. Just that he spent it on brooding and moping. Life was for living. Even with his mission.
After a mile and a half, Canderous said, "So you'll kill Karath when we find him."
"Karath is dead when I see him."
He answered that right away, like he had it right on the tip of his tongue.
Canderous smiled. "And then what?"
"There is no then what."
"Maybe. I figured that was the thing with your rank."
Carth frowned at him. "What about it?"
"You're a commander in the Republic navy. But here you are running around like one of your common soldiers. That's not done with your people, is it? An officer is a gentleman. You should be drinking caffa on the bridge of a ship somewhere. Wearing one of your funny little outfits. This is grunt work for you."
"You're hardly the one to talk about funny outfits," Carth replied.
"There's some truth in what you say. This is a strange mission. One of the strangest I've been on. I guess I happened to be in the right place at the right time."
Canderous heard that Carth remained one of the last souls on the Endar Spire, that even as it ruptured, he had refused to leave any of his men behind. Good thing, too, to have rescued Bha'lir. He was a rare prize.
"What I'm getting at is this. You think you're on a suicide mission. Your navy thinks so. Your jedi all think so."
"Of course it is," Carth snapped. For a moment there was a naked bitterness in his voice. "That's what everything thinks, what they intended. There's me. There's Bha'lir.. Mentally crippled. Isn't going to get better. Hell, Bastila. With her powers she's better dead than alive. If Malak gets ahold of her.. "
"Throttle back. I think it'll all be fine. Vod'ika won't get better, but even all clouded up as he is, he's still smarter than all of us put together. When he isn't being so damn dumb."
Carth's hackles went up, but Canderous just smiled. "It's true," he added. "Anyway, my point's this. You'll kill Karath when you find him."
"That's what I said."
"I don't expect to get out of there alive," Carth answered.
"Sure you will. Vod'ika will think of something."
The pilot snorted softly and a smirk of understanding slowly appeared. "Yeah, I guess he'll just pull some miracle out of his ass. As usual."
"Can't wait, personally. Just to see what he does this time." Canderous grinned a wily grin. "He keeps it all interesting, even to a crusty old man like me. So when it's over, you'll go back to your world Telos, or will you stay in the Navy? Marry again?"
Carth's face closed to him. "Haven't thought about it. Haven't had the time."
Canderous gestured to the wide expanse around them, the great silence of the open plains. "Time now."
"What you need is a Pengalan wife," Canderous told him over a lunch of field rations. He talked with his mouth full. "Good and fat, with tasty cooking."
Carth frowned at him and leaned back against smooth tree bark. "I'll pass," he said. He had stripped off his jacket by this time, down to his undershirt with the dark rings of sweat.
By this time the beating sun had halted their advance. The herds were farther off but not likely to move, not in this heat. Their bodies were dark hunkered-down smudges a ways away. Lots of mamas dozing off, with some of the babies prancing around on new legs. The two men had sheltered likewise in the shade of a blba tree. Its acrid smell was sharpened by the heat.
"Almost took me one," Canderous continued. "We screamed down onto that mudball and whipped them like children. Their men couldn't fight worth a damn. Their women, however.. "
"Spare me the rosy reminiscence of your rape and plunder. We were starting to get along."
"Aw, hell. The way I figured it, their women were so starved for real men, we had to beat them off with a rifle stock. I remember one time I kicked in this door and burst in ready to kill, and this female grabs on to me like a fat kid loves cookies-"
"I don't want to hear about it."
"Your loss, that was a good one. Had to pry her off the leg of my basilisk. Should have brought her with me, though, now that I think back on it."
"These the kind of stories you tell Bha'lir? You're proud of that?"
The Mandalorian smiled a grim smile with that notch-scar in his lip. "You should hear some of his stories."
Carth felt the unexpected sting of jealousy. It had been hard to open up to Bha'lir and his incessant questions. At first, before he really began to understand the nature of his comrade's injury, he had been infuriated by the nonstop prying, the total disregard for Carth's rank, for Carth's past, for his pain. It hadn't been Bha'lir's fault, and in fact, Carth didn't know yet who to blame for foisting him on this mission. The man had a severely damaged memory, especially short term. Some days, if he didn't read his datapad, he woke up to a ship full of strangers.
It had taken time to accept that condition and to forgive Bha'lir even when he didn't mean it. And to talk about the wars with the old war buddy he didn't know he had. But on some points even Bha'lir was quiet. Took a long time to say he didn't remember.
Did he tell Canderous something he kept from me?
"Stories like what," Carth said, as casual as he could. Didn't work. Even he could hear the edge in his voice.
"Well, for one, he was part of the mission that released that bio agent that damned near forced Clan Kaladen out of the war."
Despite the revelation, Canderous smirked, as though he enjoyed knowing something that Carth didn't. That Bha'lir had told him a confidence that he didn't share, not even with his closest friend on the Ebon Hawk, and maybe in the whole wide world right now.
"I don't believe it," Carth said.
"Me neither, but the story was so crazy, it's got to be true. He described that damn pit on Kadok-Cuir so well I could smell it again." Canderous scratched the stubble on his chin. "You know, I fought a kalee elder spearman in that system, a kaleesh, whatever they call themselves. Those reptiles weren't even involved in the war, couldn't even give a damn, we were there for the bithraevate, but that one got into his head that he wasn't going to miss it- "
"That plague. How did.. What did he do?"
"Well, it's not like he made it with his little chemistry set. Anyway, you should ask him, I don't want to spoil it. A good story." Canderous smirked. "And Lord Kaladen should have known better than to get taken in by such parlor tricks. It's him I blame for what happened. Arrogant ass, half the man his uncle was."
Carth said nothing.
"Deserved to die shitting his armor if you ask me." The Mandalorian went back to his lunch like nothing had happened. "Vod'ika has some more stories in him yet. Maybe more of his memory will come back to him. I'd like to know if I ever faced him, though I think I'd remember. I see him fighting with a vibroblade. Isn't much good with a blaster."
"He was probably one of the speeder troops," Carth said. "Why he's good with the swoop. Where his accident came from, probably."
"Think you're right. Think he's one of the irregulars. One of the fringers who wanted to save a republic they weren't even part of, hell if I know why. He's not a proper soldier, at least what you types would consider."
"No, he's not," Carth said before he could stop himself. Despite his loyalty to his new and exasperating friend, it was true. He felt the Mandalorian's eyes on him with renewed interest, smirking, almost. "I knew it from the first. The sergeant brought the new troops on the Endar Spire.. had them all stand there all crisp and military at perfect attention. All of them except him. He actually had the nerve to yawn in the presence of a decorated naval commander."
"Didn't even cover his damn mouth. I went right up to him and stood this close." Carth held his palm almost to the tip of his nose.
Canderous laughed again. When he didn't have a mean laugh, he had a sharp laugh, like the bark of a kath hound. "So you yelled at his dumb ass?"
Carth felt a greasy kind of guilt. "Yeah. I didn't know. Nobody told me."
"What'd he do?"
"He didn't seem afraid or embarrassed or anything. Just kind of curious, you know how he is. Even relieved."
"What'd he say?"
Carth soaked in the heat for a moment. "He said.. 'So glad it's you, Fleet. I'm so confused.'" Damn it, but he felt his throat tighten a bit, for no reason.
"That's Bha'lir for you. No damn respect for anybody's rank. Like when he called that jedi master a silly green puppet that one time, Vandar, or Vinder, or whatever his name was. The green puppetty one." Canderous grinned. "He just says it like it is. Damned refreshing."
"It's then I should have figured out something was wrong with the whole picture. That, and, well, one of his buddies, hell, his only buddy, Ulgo Trask, he just went white in the face and was all 'sir, so sorry, sir, it's been a long trip, sir', and so on." Carth frowned. "I punished them both." Oh, Trask. Poor Trask. Even now, strange enough, Bha'lir could forget Mission's name or even Bastila herself, but even now he'd sometimes ask about Trask. Like he did yesterday. He'd been so sure Trask was here on Dantooine. He could get so mixed up sometimes..
"Well, what a mean old ass you are, Onasi. Some hero of the Republic, picking on a poor brain damaged man." Canderous laughed while he said it, and in the most chastising tone. "A disabled veteran too. Shaaame."
Carth was surprised how deep it cut. "I didn't know," he said, testy. "I don't know if anyone did. Maybe Trask. Tried to cover up for him sometimes or help him out. They weren't there long before the attack.. but some of the men had fun playing jokes on him. Like they'd get him all mixed up or send him on pointless errands. Made him make caffa over and over, because he'd forget that he did. Thought he was stupid. Hell, I did, before I figured it out."
The smile slowly eroded from the Mandalorian's face. "Sons of bitches," he said.
Carth never spoke ill of the dead, but there was a single fact lodged in his chest like a piece of shrapnel. "When the sith were killing everyone on the Spire.. Bha'lir was holding a caffa pot in the break room."
"Is that what made you stay behind?"
Carth shut his eyes. "No. Yes, maybe. But I never wanted to leave anyone behind." Never again.
"You stayed to save him, when Bastila fled."
And Carth hated her for that, even though they had become something like friends, even though they had come to confide in each other from time to time. It was always there. He was sickened of speaking about his people behind their back, so he snapped back, "She had to, if she'd been taken it would all be over."
"You say that like it's a given," Canderous snorted.
"The sith have ways."
"Oh, whatever.. I don't disagree, though. I always found it interesting how quick the jedi went bad. Like flipping a switch."
Carth said nothing. If he spoke out loud, he would agree. Instead he looked away, back out at the grasslands and the iriaz lounging in the distance.
"Makes you wonder," Canderous said, "how deep their convictions really go."
"They're different from you and me," is all that Carth would concede to.
"Must be. Even when Darth Revan destroyed Malachor, melted our basilisks, stripped our armor, and had us tied up and lined up, beaten down on our knees, I still had enough in me to give her some sass. Right to her face."
Carth shouldn't have looked so incredulous. Canderous ate it up. The old son of a bitch's eyes were dancing.
"I don't believe that."
"Doesn't make it not true."
Carth tried to put his thoughts together. He said, "I don't believe you said it to her face."
"To her mask. As close as this." He held his palm almost to the end of his nose. Then he winked.
The conversation had taken a turn he hadn't expected, and he was weary from the walk and from the heat. Not knowing what to say, Carth just shook his head. "Revan was a man," he said.
"Everybody likes to argue. Even to this day. But I know. Only a woman could be so cruel."
"Yeah, well. You deserved it."
"I'll tell that story someday. It's pretty good. Maybe I'll tell my Revan story, and ole Bastila can tell hers."
"She won't talk about it." And Carth hadn't wanted to know.
"Can't or won't."
"Don't talk to her about it."
"Vod'ika will get it out of her."
Carth pulled his jacket over his head, now, to make a shelter from the sun. He'd said enough, and was tired.
"So while we're telling tales," Canderous prodded on.
"We always wondered. How the hell did we not kill you that one time? For sure we shot your ass down in the jungle."
"I'm just that good." A broken leg, terror, the secret mission, certain death in the coming airstrike..
"Wish I could have killed ya," Canderous said, and through the fabric of the jacket, his voice sounded wistful to Carth.
At any other time, Carth would never take a noonday nap with a mortal enemy just a stone's throw away, but in this case, he just grunted and got himself comfortable. "Yeah," he said. "Wish I could have killed you too."
The herds were gone.
No matter. There was no hurry. Better to take their time and bring back barbecue. Nobody on the Hawk wanted to eat any more of that bland jedi food. Hell, even Bastila couldn't go back after a taste of Carth's cooking. Which reminded the sly old mercenary of a certain point of gossip he wanted to ask Fleet about, but there'd be time later. Not like Carth would ever say, but a man's face could tell you all you needed to know.
They tracked the sign of the iriaz across the plain, a comfortable silence between them. A welcome breeze picked up after awhile, and a creamy green collection of brith winged gently over the grassland. Canderous saw Carth turn his head to watch them, following the flight of the manta-like creatures. The Mandalorian had an errant thought that he could shoot Carth right now and no one would know. Well. They would know later.
Canderous blamed the thought on the sniper rifle slung across his back. As though HK was rubbing off on him. That damn thing made everybody uneasy, but vod'ika loved it so.
"You used to fly, Canderous?" Carth asked him after awhile.
"Nayysh... couldn't flap my arms hard nough." That made the pilot smirk.
"Your war droid, I mean. Your basilisk. You had one?"
"How'd it handle?"
Canderous smiled at the man's naivete. "A basilisk war droid wasn't like a ship or a vehicle, Carth. You didn't just steer it around."
The pilot shook his head. "Fine, then what?"
"Mine was a warrior and a true friend," Canderous replied. "Talash was his name. He was a right mando'a, deadly to enemies and good to our family. I tell you, the greatest sound I've ever heard is the whine of his engines when I needed backup in combat. One blow from his claws could disable one of your tanks."
And his children would sit and play on those very same big paws. Talash seemed to take a shine to his youngest daughter in particular.
"I was always changing planes. You had to fly what was there. But there was one old Aurek I flew a couple of missions.. damned thing was so finicky and particular. Sort of like your first hand-me-down landspeeder. Only you know how to drive it."
Carth was trying to find a common ground there, but it couldn't be done. "I don't think you could understand," Canderous answered, his eyes following the movement of a lone hound in the distance. "They weren't vehicles."
"Did yours talk?"
Now Canderous smiled. "Hell, all the time. Getting him to shut up was the thing."
"I can't imagine flying an Aurek that talked back to me." Onasi scritched his beard. "Wouldn't stand for it, really."
"Hah! Talash had his own way about him. Things he liked, didn't like. Of course it was all programming.. " Canderous gave him a sharp look to make him understand that he wasn't some silly superstitious savage. ".. but you couldn't say he didn't have spirit." He liked to think that even now Talash lived on in the manda.
"No. I don't doubt it. There was one, back in the opening battles on Dxun and Onderon.. hell. That one had spirit. An evil spirit."
His eyebrows shot up, and then he smiled, needing to know. "Were you there," he asked, "when they dug up the Red Dragon?"
"Yeah. What a fiasco."
Canderous growled with pleasure. "You were witnessing history right there."
"Yeah, I think I've witnessed enough history to last me a long time."
"Lord Taltora thought he'd give the Red Dragon to Mandalore, get himself a bride in return. Clan Taltora were all idiots, frankly. We in Ordo told him not to break into that tomb. They buried that monster in there for a reason. We lost a lot of good warriors."
"Not to mention it destroyed several blocks of downtown Iziz and fired missiles through the windows of the grand palace."
Canderous smiled. "I know, I saw it. My son and I were pretending to be merchants in the bazaar." Even now, years away, worlds away, he felt the hairs on his arms stand up in memory of that basilisk's voice booming across the city, deep and haunting, full of rage, daring someone to try and be its master.
"They put me and Tosska on standby to shoot it down, if the expedition went wrong." Carth's voice had grown quiet. "Gave us a hell of a fight. Efficient, like a droid, but it seemed so angry. It kept talking over our radios, talking to me."
"What did it say?"
"I don't know, not really. It talked in mando'a, and I had to concentrate on the fight. Grav combat's totally different from space."
"Now, were you the pilot on the wall, or the pilot over the plaza?"
Carth shook his head. "I was forced to land on the Great Wall. And Tossk would have got his neck broken by what happened, but he was already dead. That's why he lost control of the ship."
Canderous remembered the chaos in the newly reclaimed city. All of Onderon's capital was in terror of that damned metal beast. Fire and smoke everywhere. Huge slashes taken out of the buildings, probably still there to this day. Canderous and Keldeesh had been pretending to hawk rugs and carpets all that morning, getting a good look at Iziz City and the new republic garrison. They had the prime view of Lord Taltora's folly, the risen Hetteesh Kyramud, Burning Death, the monster made for the Mandalore in the age of Exar Kun. The poisoned gift. The last cry of the Basilisk people who were driven to extinction, the last vessel of their hatred.
It had taken the best pilots of the Republic to bring it down. Canderous remembered seeing that one Aurek fighter spinning wildly out of control, a flaming arrow headed straight to the crowded plaza.
He would always remember the fear he felt, then, real fear, with his hands on his son's shoulder and head.
And he would always remember how the Aurek suddenly stopped in mid air. And hung there.
The nose of the spacecraft hovered only a meter away from the outstretched hand of the one they would call Aruena, with her cold blue eyes and bright blond hair. The Witch. The Whore.
"What happened to her, after the war?" Canderous asked.
Carth had moved on, shrugged off the heavy memories. "Who, Runi, the consular?"
Runi. A name that meant soul in the old poems. Cruel to have it so close to what the clans came to call her- the Traitor of All Traitors.
"The girl your jedi took from our people."
Carth didn't deny it. "She tried to go back to the jedi after the war. They condemned her and sent her into exile."
"Idiots. They didn't know what they had. Her power was terrible. We lived in fear of her and Revan."
"If you're interested, Bha'lir has a holo about her. If Bastila hasn't smashed it."
Canderous snorted. "She regrets not having the grit to stand up to us, to go against us in the war. I can smell it on her."
"Think you're right."
"She was so beautiful, Runi was. It's all you could think about. She had this power in her eyes, in her voice. We were all desperate for her. Even after all that she did.. Even after all the thousands she killed.. we would have wanted her back. The jedi just threw her away. I know for damn sure that Clan Ordo would have taken her in."
"Too bad you didn't," Carth grunted. "Then you'd all be dead."
Canderous clucked his tongue. "But what a way to go."
And even Carth had to smile. "Hell."