Monday, September 25, 2023
Source GuideThe Mandalorian

The Mandalorian Chapter 20: The Foundling

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<< Chapter 19 The Convert | Chapter 21 The Pirate>>

Story

Trails and Tribulations

At The Tribe’s covert, many tribe members are training in combat, including hand-to-hand and blaster training. Judges are refereeing fights, declaring when each is over and indicating the winner. Away from this, on the beach, Grogu sits surrounded by what look like stones. He watches curiously as several of them move, and picks one up to discover that it is not a stone at all, but a stone crab. As he gazes curiously at it, Din Djarin arrives and picks him up, telling him that playtime is over and he must now learn with the other foundlings. He brings Grogu to the training area and says that Grogu is the next challenger. Bo-Katan Kryze walks over and asks Djarin whether Grogu engaging in combat is a good idea, to which Djarin says that if he is ever to become an apprentice, he has to learn these things. The judge, however, agrees with Bo-Katan, and says that Grogu is too small to fight; Djarin overrules him by saying that he is his ward. After a pause, the judge asks Djarin what weapon the fight should be with, and Djarin gives the choice to Ragnar, Grogu’s opponent, who chooses darts. As one of the adults fetches the darts, Ragnar asks why Grogu does not wear a helmet, to which Djarin replies that Grogu is too young to speak the Mandalorian Creed, and thus too young to wear a helmet. Ragnar says that if he is too young to wear a helmet, he is too young to fight. Djarin quotes the Creed, saying, “One does not speak unless one knows,” to which Ragnar declares that he does know. Djarin says that perhaps the lesson is for him.

Each child is given a dart launcher with three training darts loaded into it, each of which do nothing more than leave a mark of paint where it hits, rather than injuring. As Kryze buckles one onto Grogu, she reassures him, saying that her father was the same way, and that it is just that Djarin is proud of him. She pats him on the shoulder and instructs Grogu to go easy on Ragnar. The judge sets out the rules: each has three darts, which they may fire in any order. A direct hit, from which the mark must be visible, scores one point. There is only one round, and the highest score wins. Djarin crouches down and tells Grogu that he should squeeze his fist to fire a dart, to which Kryze says, “He doesn’t know how to fire darts?” incredulously. Djarin, unbothered, confidently tells Kryze to trust him.

The first two darts hit Grogu in the chest, whereas Grogu fires none of his. Grogu looks back at Djarin, who gives him a pep talk: he has seen what Grogu is capable of, and he should show everyone what he can do. This time, when the judge tells them to begin, Grogu uses the force to flip over Ragnar’s head and fires all three darts, hitting Ragnar in the chest. The judge declares Grogu the winner. As Ragnar walks away, he is snatched up by a giant flying raptor. Djarin aims his blaster at the creature, but Paz Vizsla stops him, saying he might hit the child, and instead they should follow it to its lair. Vizsla, Djarin and two other Mandalorians fly after the creature with their jetpacks.

The group follows the creature over a mostly-barren rocky landscape until their jetpacks begin to fail as they run out of fuel. As Vizsla watches the raptor retreat into the distance and laments that it always gets away, Kryze’s ship appears, pursuing with ease. Later, they reunite with Kryze back at the beach, and she shows everyone the location of the lair on a map. Vizsla points out that if they use jetpacks, the beast will hear them and kill the child, so Kryze suggests scaling the mountain on foot, which everyone agrees to. Djarin, Kryze, Vizsla and the Shriek-hawk Training team set off in Kryze’s ship as Grogu watches from the beach.

Visions of the Past

The Armorer leads Grogu into her Forge, where she heats a ladle in the cryo-furnace. She shapes some metal into a circle, cooling it before placing it in the forge’s press. She says that the Forge can reveal weaknesses, and presses controls that make the press slam repeatedly onto the plate as Grogu looks on with a distressed expression. Grogu experiences a flashback of the Siege of the Jedi Temple: a younger Grogu is in the Imperial Palace on the planet Coruscant, watching from his hovering pram as clone troopers from the 501st Legion attack the Jedi trying to defend him. As the Jedi are killed one by one, a Jedi shouts that someone needs to get Grogu to Kelleran Beq. One of the surviving Jedi gets Grogu to an elevator but is shot just as the doors close. The elevator travels upwards and opens to reveal Beq, who tells Grogu he’ll be alright, even as troopers arrive and begin shooting at them. Beq deflects blaster bolts back at them, felling them, but more troopers arrive, and he and Grogu take off in a speeder. They are pursued by Republic gunships through Coruscant, and one of the gunships manages to hit the engine of the speeder, which loses altitude but continues to fly. Beq leads them through a train tunnel and past Umate, and they land hard on a platform next to a ship and some Royal Naboo Security Forces members. One of the guards asks about other survivors, to which Beq replies that there are none. The guard tells him to take the ship as a ship of clone troopers arrive. The ship takes off as Naboo Guards start a firefight with the clones. The flashback ends as Beq enters hyperspace.

The Armorer continues to shape the circle of metal, eventually moving from hammering it to inlaying complex circuitry on the underside. She tells Grogu that it is customary for everyone to donate a small amount towards the care of the Tribe’s foundlings, and it is with this that she has forged his next piece of armor: a rondel with the Mudhorn signet of Clan Mudhorn on the front. She affixes it to his chainmail, and it is so large on him that it covers his entire chest.

Shriek-hawk Training Team

Meanwhile, Kryze’s ship lands in a canyon and the expedition team disembarks. Kryze tells them they will walk from here, as any closer and the beast will hear them. They take a long trek to the rock formation whose peak is where the nest is, and make camp for the night. Kryze asks Djarin how the Tribe eats if they can’t take off their helmets in the presence of others, to which Djarin explains that they have to go find a place isolated enough that no one can see them while they eat. Vizsla informs Kryze that as the leader of the war party, she has the privilege of being the one who stays by the fire to eat. The next morning at first light, they scale the rockface as silently as possible using their grappling hooks.

They reach the nest to discover it is empty of the large raptor. Djarin’s heat vision shows a cluster of warmth hidden by the brush that makes up the nest. Vizsla immediately climbs into the nest, and at Kryze’s admonishment that he should wait until they’ve cleared all of it, Vizsla explains his urgency by revealing that Ragnar is his son. Calling out for his son, Vizsla accidentally wakes three raptor chicks who begin to attack him. Even as babies, they are far bigger than he is. The adult raptor arrives and regurgitates Ragnar to feed to the chicks, who calls out for help. When Vizsla scrambles to help him, the raptor picks Vizsla up in his mouth and Ragnar in his claws and flies off. Kryze uses her jetpack to go after them, but is buffeted away by the raptor’s wings, and as her jetpack temporarily malfunctions, she loses a pauldron. Just before she hits the water, she recovers, and she and Djarin are able to fire cables into the raptor’s body. Kryze uses her cable to get to the raptor’s head, where she is able to stab it repeatedly in the eye. As the creature roars in pain, it drops Vizsla, who lands on one of the cliffs.

The other Mandalorians manage to get their lariats around the creature, and Djarin is able to get his lariat around one of its wings, sending it off balance. He rescues Ragnar from its claws, and the raptor plunges into the lake. As it struggles to take off again, a dinosaur turtle rises from beneath it and snaps it up in its jaws, pulling it down into the water. Djarin and Ragnar land next to Vizsla, where Vizsla urgently asks if Ragnar is alright and hugs him. Ragnar assures him that he’s okay, and Vizsla thanks Djarin, to which Djarin replies, “This is the Way.” Vizsla echoes it.

Triumphant Return

Kryze’s ship transports them all back to the covert, where Vizsla and Ragnar emerge to cheers and clapping. The Armorer approaches Kryze and tells her that she has done the highest honor of the Creed: saving a foundling. Bo-Katan replies with, “This is the Way,” and the Armorer repeats it in response. Kryze tells her that they have brought back three other foundlings in need of care and training. The three raptor chicks emerge from her ship, led out by a Mandalorian with a hunk of raw meat on a stick.

The Armorer notices that Kryze is missing a pauldron, and takes her to the Forge so she can replace it. As she forges the metal, she asks whether she should put the Nite Owl on it, and Kryze hesitates, looking at the metal crafted into the shape of a Mythosaur skull on the wall. She asks if it would be acceptable to wear one pauldron with the Nite Owl and one with the Mythosaur, which the Armorer declares acceptable, as the mythosaur belongs to all Mandalorians. Watching the Armorer continue to create her new pauldron, Kryze asks hesitantly what the Armorer would say if she said she saw a Mythosaur. The Armorer says Kryze would be lucky, as it is a noble vision. Kryze tries to clarify that it was real, but the Armorer just says, “This is the Way.” When she leaves the Forge, Kryze stays behind, staring at the skull on the wall.

Characters

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Vehicles

Planets

Aliens

Droids

Creatures

Equipment

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Force Powers

PT White

I've been involved in creating content for Star Wars The Role Playing Game since 1992 and consider myself a Star Wars Super Fan and knowledge bank for the Star Wars Universe.

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