"At morut'yc naak, tsikador par akaan" - To secure peace, ready for war.
- Mand'alor Haar Kom'rk be Kyr'am
One of the dominating powers of the galaxy by sheer military might, the Mandalorian Republic is one that stands ill at ease with the other sucessor states. Seen as tense business partners by the Empire and even then in secret, as little more than brigands holding the old Republic hostage by the Alsakani and of course as a stubborn bastion of defiance by the Hutts still sore from their loss, it can be easy to see why they have few proper allies. Especially when the Corellians have their say. With the steady building up of forces, spurred on by the words of their Mand'alor towards a glorious future, there have been many claims that the Mandalorians are gearing up for a Third Great Crusade. Such claims haven't entirely dismissed either, though the Paladin has been notoriously dismissive of the other powers in the galaxy beyond a simple "Do not challenge Mandalore."
What brought about such a state is altogether more complicated though, as while most will point to the death of the "usurpers" Maul and Oppress, the events that set in motion the creation of the Mandalorian Republic and the rise of the Paladin began centuries before. Always a culture that had venerated war, there had been outliers who felt that their people were on the verge of yet another great purge just as had happened after the Mandalorian Wars. This came shortly before the Republic took premptive action against them, laying waste to the Mandalore sector, reducing much of their homeworld to wasteland and instigating an extreme societal shift. Many of the more traditional elements of their people took to Concordia to rebuild and lay low, stewing in their resentment for their lost glory all the while pacifists took over.
Great cities were constructed upon Mandalore's surface, in part to show the skills of a nonviolent people as well as for their own survival for what the Republic had done. Over the years the exiles became more and more embittered, with some coming to despise the pacifist faction for their spurning of their ancient beliefs and culture. Others though saw things far differently. When they looked upon the gleaming cube-cities, they saw for themselves that to be Mandalorian could be something more than just wandering mercenaries. It had been thousands of years by that time since the great crusades, and their people though always hardy and well known throughout the galaxy for their skill… They had been betrayed too many times and worn down by the constant warring.
Eventually the warring sentiments within the exiles came to a head. Jaster Mereel and his supercommando codex was to be the way forward for their people, a chance to prove to the galaxy that they weren't just roaming savages killing and taking whatever they pleased. It was to be a way of reconciling with their pacifist bretheren, people who were still kin to many of them. Yet disagreements became conflicts, conflicts became a full blown civil war. And like all conflicts involving the Mandalorians, the Jedi were called in to intervene. By all rights it was a disaster for both sides, wearing down what little numbers they had left to fight with. The True Mandalorians and Deathwatch bloodied each other for nearly twenty years until yet another betrayal came at the hands of the Republic and its protectors.
Through a cunning ruse, the Jedi were called in to intervene, and rather than take the side of the reformists, they had been led to believe that it was actually them who were the ruthless killers. The fighting was short lived and ended with the losses of many of the most influential members of the movement, and those who did not perish went into hiding knowing how the Deathwatch would treat the survivors.
One of those survivors though would arise to enact their revenge and right the wrongs of not just the True Mandalorians, but all Mandalorians. Just a child at the time, the Paladin had watched both of his parents perish in the closing days of the Civil War, their farm burned to the ground by Deathwatch shortly after the Jedi came through. It was all his grandfather could do to keep him safe, falling back and blending in with the pacifists back on Mandalore in Keldabe city and trying to preserve all he could of their movement. Growing up with the Supercommando Codex and around the so-called civilian populace of Mandalore, this gave the Paladin the perspective needed to begin formulating a more ideal society. One where those who did not wish to fight could have safety, to indulge in more benign arts and progress their culture and society. A republic of their own, where the clans would form the backbone of their military and prove to the galaxy once and for all that the Mandalorians were more than just war given form.
The opportunity came when the Paladin was barely into his 20's at the beginning of the Clone Wars. Instability had come to Mandalore, the Deathwatch was once more instigating for war and their duchess was putting herself into danger more and more by needlessly provoking them. All the while she continued to advocate for the neutrality of Mandalore among a council of other systems wanting no part of the conflicts. It was that neutrality though that would ultimately invite other threats into their midst. While they parried words with the Republic, fended off the CIS' advances and tried to stay on the good side of both, a reminder of what began the war arose in the shadows of Keldabe. Thought to have died on Naboo when he was tossed into the reactor core by Qui-gon Jinn and Obi-wan Kenobi, the Iridonian who served as the sith lord Sidious' darth had clawed his way back and was seeking to try and prove himself again to his master. To do that though, he needed to make a show of power, and how better than to do what the sith had done for millenia.
Looking back, none could have known the secret alliance between Maul and Pre Viszla, nor have predicted the extent of their plans or the violent end of the affairs. For months the Deathwatch had been showing themselves as a terror upon the New Mandalorians, those who had vowed to a more peaceful life and paid for it in their own blood. Countless attacks, bombings and sabotage led to the dispatching of Jedi to Mandalore in an effort to assist Duchess Satine with quelling the unrest. All this despite the strained relations between the Republic and Mandalore. What changed things though were the quiet and resolute words of a master on the council, who cautioned against turning their back on those who chose values over alliances. Qui-gon Jinn was the one who voted to dispatch Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to the planet to aid Satine, in part due to the former's reputation as "The Diplomat" as well as knowing full well the close ties he had with the Duchess.
A series of investigations followed, the jedi being led on a merry chase across the system and back. All the while, the Paladin had been preparing, for rumors were spreading of a "Shadow Mand'alor" gathering forces, and this was precisely the opportunity he was waiting for. Things would escalate rather swiftly however, for Darth Maul was impatient in his desire to challenge his former master, and Viszla had seemed wary of him. In a bold move, the sith had taken Sundari with loyal Deathwatch forces, declaring himself Mand'alor and commanding the loyalty of the people.
There was but one problem with his edict, as another laid claim to the title and openly challenged him to it. Going only by "The Challenger" he had come as Maul was on the verge of executing Satine before her people. At first he had thought to refuse, but it was clear that to do so would lose all of his followers, so he ignited his lightsaber and the battle was begun. With only the beskar cladding him, the Paladin fought Maul openly in the sight of not just the Deathwatch, but all Mandalorians. The pride of Mandalore was at stake, and more than that, there was a message that needed to be sent. Each blow from the sith was swatted aside and rewarded with the crunch of bone beneath a beskar fist. It was like the ringing of steel being forged, each strike tempering the people in heart and mind. Declaring out to the people his victory, The Paladin was born through battle with the death of Maul, this time permanent.
The victory was short lived though, as while he had proven himself a champion of his people, the Deathwatch and New Mandalorians both knew nothing of "The Challenger" aside from his strength and skill. For some that was enough, and they bowed before their Mand'alor. Others voiced their dissent, among them the Duchess and Obi-wan, who had arrived midway through the fight and told not to intervene by allied Mandalorians. Loudest of all though, was Pre Viszla himself, come to claim the title and finally have the power to start his crusade. Just like Maul though, the battle was short and violent. Unlike Maul though, Viszla was given the choice to yield. Each blow struck cracked his armor, years of isolation and rebellion having worn it down. With each sundering strike, the Paladin demanded he yield, and with each one the warrior refused. Eventually Pre lay still, his breath haggard and labored, his only movement to beckon his victorious opponent to hear his last words. None know truly what passed between the two, except that when it came time to put Viszla to rest he was given full honors and sent off on "His final patrol, the long walk into the dark."
After the succession of the Mand'alor was settled there was still much to be decided, and uncertainty among the people. Two usurpers had just been violently removed, two who had no love for the duchess and had been right on the precipice of killing not just her but her Jedi allies as well. Now a man stood there with fists painted in their blood and turning to look upon them. It would have been no surprise had the Paladin decided to simply kill both Satine and Kenobi right where they stood. What was one though, is when he came forward and offered his hand instead to Satine in cooperation. Though it would be formalized within the months afterward and representation for clans and houses decided after a year had passed, that was the moment where the Mandalorian Republic had formed…