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Showdown on Korriban: Shavits & Schuttas

Posted on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 @ 8:49pm by Nala Sao & Amare & Zenarrah Sozo & Mentis

Chapter: Chapter V: Unbound
Location: Red Raptor Landing Site, Valley of the Dark Lords, Korriban
Timeline: Late Day 4, After "Apogee, Part IV"

OLD

The crew of the now destroyed Janna found themselves joined by the younger blue Nautolan, facing down Axion's favourite pupil Nala and the pyromaniac of the cult, Tomlin Voq. The third cultist was a Rodian and not known to Mentis but the lack of a lightsaber and the empty look in his large glassy eyes told him he was not destined to be much more than a pawn within the cult.

Mentis had not seen Nala since the night he had killed Trey and fled from the cult. A part of him wanted to appeal to her, but the way she looked at him now with that self-assured smirk told him that he was just another victim to her now. He felt the rising fear and trepidation that came from facing those who he had seen in combat time and time again. Now he had so much more to lose; newfound allies and friends. It was a new feeling, but also a quiet strength knowing he must fight for more than just his own life or for the glory of something he no longer believed in.

He allowed that fear to become his power. He stepped forward.

NEW



OOC: Music for the fight: Skirmish in the Storm


"Nala!" Mentis shouted, his voice cutting through the wind and the rain, "You have come too late to retrieve me. Axion will soon be punishing you again for yet another failure under your command."

"Oh, young, sweet, naive Mentis," Nala chided playfully, hips swaying as she continued her menacing saunter towards her former compatriot. The plasma blade of her elegant blade continued to slice through the storied stone beneath their feet, sparking and fizzing from both the melting stone and Kelderesh' unnatural downpour.

"The Master will shower us each with rewards beyond comprehension when we revenge ourselves upon you, traitor," she continued, almost spitting as the thin veneer of the Nautolan cultist's unique brand of seductive civility threatened to crack. Clearly, Axion's favoured apprentice had taken a rare measure of personal umbrage at Mentis' recent life decisions. She paused and raised her magenta blade to point towards Amare, stood just beside the Rattataki. "You and your little blue-skinned schutta!"

If Amare had Human-like eyes, she would have rolled them in disgust. “Pfft! A cheap Twi’lek insult?” she spat back at Nala with an angry scowl having been on the receiving end of that unflattering word several times on Nar Shaddaa.

She was more than a little astonished there were three Force-using Nautolan women at the same location; one an ally, one an adversary, and both of which she just met—what were the odds of that? She was saddened, however, that one of them wanted to do her harm; she always wanted to be friends with a Nautolan girl close to her age, but never had the chance. She also wanted to know why and how the other older one knew her original name and was able to speak so directly into her mind.

“You have the face of a low-born shavit whose egg hatched from the anus of a gampassa!” Amare completed her scathing verbal counter from which she took inspiration from her infamously foul-mouthed brother, Capo. It felt good to hurl one of his barbs back at someone for once. With that, she fired up her amber lightsaber making her readiness to fight known.

Mentis’ eyes flicked with astonishment to the young Nautolan girl. Her confidence in the face of Nala’s venomous presence was inspiring, even if somewhat foolhardy, “You see that Nala?” the Rattataki spoke, “Your presence has lost its edge. I wonder how sloppy your other abilities have become.”

"In the face of your meagre talents?" Nala retorted with a sniff of derision, halting short of the mismatched pair whilst her stationary lightsaber's tip continued to fizz and melt the stone by her feet. "Your simpering and snivelling at the Dark Master's heels was always embarrassing; your only true accomplishment during your pathetic existence was killing Trey - and you only managed that whilst he was sat on the privy!"

The elder Nautolan flourished her lightsaber, showering molten rock and sparks about her, the red-gold of the slag lighting her faintly-crimson aquatic eyes up menacingly. "Surrender now, little man. Beg the Master's forgiveness. Throw yourself once more at his boots, pleading to return to where you belong; plead to return to his side, as the desperate toady that you are, defined by those you serve. You were nothing when he found you in those pits, and you are still nothing, chasing after the tails of your betters, desperate to belong. You will always be a slave."

It was strange, but Nala’s words did not have the effect Mentis thought they would have upon him. Perhaps he had truly come too far or perhaps she truly did not have the same talent for persuasion as her master, but he knew she spoke falsehoods. It was revolting to hear her talking about grovelling before Axion once again and it fed the fury building inside him.

He leapt forwards, speeding his movement with a burst of inertia so that Nala had a fraction of a second to react and bring her guard up. His first blow was strong, but not enough to cut into his agile opponent. Their two faces were now divided only by the two beams of crimson plasma between them.

“Lie to me, lie to yourself!” Mentis hissed at her, his mismatched eyes making him look crazed as they were lit up by the two clashed weapons “If I am nothing, then you are nothing. We are all just NOTHING!”

With that, he broke off the attack and sped away, darting to one side to attempt to engage her from a different direction.

With Nala's focus seemingly fixed squarely on Mentis, Amare followed the renegade Rattataki's lead, quietly dashing sidelong towards the evil Nautolan's exposed flank. Thoughtless, subconscious instinct began to gather an invisible distortion around Amare, minimizing the ability of others around her to perceive her presence. Even so, Nala was aware of her and her humming amber saber, but Amare hoped her dark adversary wouldn't know exactly where or how the younger would attack the older. She tensed the muscles in her slender arms knowing all too well how difficult it was to sneak up on one of her own people; their head tendrils had some of the strongest known olfactory senses among all the galaxy's species, though much more effective underwater than on dry ground.

Through grinding teeth and deep heart-pounding anxiety, Amare summed up the courage to attempt her first true offensive assault on a fellow lightsaber-equipped Force user with full intent to kill. Her opening cross-slash wove and arced up and over her left shoulder and cut fiercely down to her right. She regretted attacking one of her own people, but it was clear Nala was arrogant and crazy, and something had to be done about it as quickly as possible.

Now joined by Amare, Mentis slipped into his tight and practised Form II, keeping half of his body distanced from Nala’s whirling magenta blade, while attempting to strike at every opening with his own weapon. With her attention divided, there were more openings to find, but Nala’s natural precognition served her well and the attacking blades at each of her sides did not catch her off guard.

Mentis sensed the strength of his new companion but also the sloppy lightsaber form she exhibited. She was clearly new to wielding a blade, but not new to fighting as she knew when to duck away from Nala’s strikes and how to hold off her attempts to breach her defences with the Force. He wondered who had trained her: Thane or Bomoor. Perhaps he had come to late to pledge himself to the Ithorian if he had already accepted this young woman as his pupil.

“You will not hold us both off forever, Nala,” panted the Rattataki swordsman, “Do not pretend your skills with a lightsaber have improved in my absence. There were many times you were glad of me at your side in a fight.”

For the first few moments after the former cultist's taunt, Nala said nothing. Although she was clearly an accomplished lightsaber duellist, an art she was honing under Axion, himself an infamous master in many forms of saber combat, Nala was having to move deftly to meet the challenge of her two opponents, even if their talents and styles were of stark contrast to one another.

Turning herself to be more sidelong and forcing both Mentis and Amare to be both in front and to either side of her dominant duelling arm, she was now barely having to move any of her non-combative limbs to swipe away the attacks of both combatants. However, neither were accustomed to fighting alongside one another; whilst Mentis' previous experience fighting alongside his fellow cultists were some boon, the other Nautolan was very clearly new to this sort of engagement - her Shii-Cho-inspired form was reckless and clumsy (if still remarkable for one so new to the style). She was beginning to impeded Mentis' efforts, Nala could spy; her footwork frequently stepped into his fighting arc, and her wide strikes limited the Rattataki's artful cuts and slices. He was having to pull back or re-position himself regularly, leaving numerous gaps and time for his foe to react and attack.

With a tooth-laden smile, Nala was only too happy to herd them together, doing her best to limit their ability to manoeuvre around, drawing them close to an irregular stony spire poking out of the sandy ground beside them.

"You've always been the bukee of the cult," the elder Nautolan managed between swift one-handed Makashi parries, "pining for friends you never had; replacing the family that never loved you!" As their dalliance continued, Nala did not seem to notice as Amare slinked away after a spinning block from Nala knocked her back, and instead pushed the offensive against Mentis, adopting a double-handed grip to lend more power to her flurrying blade, landing blow after blow against his crimson weapon.

After a few more strikes seemed to push Mentis on the defensive, driving the Rattataki further and further back, closer to the nearby marauding combat of Mange and his two Jedi victims, Nala sensed the sudden surge of darkness within Mentis, who summoned enough power to suddenly draw up his own blade against Nala's. Bringing hers down in a mirror of her enemy's swing, the two beams of plasma smashed into one another, screeching as the two blades became locked in their wielders' fight for supremacy.

"Even now," Nala hissed over the scream of their conjoined blades and the rumbling thunder of Kelderesh's storm, the unnatural crimson glimmer of her corrupted amphibian eyes flashing brighter from the proximity of their weapons, "you fight beneath another Nautolan warrior-maiden, so obsessed that you are with the past, of being something you're not - unable to let it go. You reek of sentiment. You reek of fear!"

As Nala had been speaking, her evil bulbous eyes piercing into Mentis', she had been seemingly unaware of the advancing Amare, who was once more calling upon her natural talents within the Force, submerging herself within the dark currents of Korriban and the tumultuous conflict plaguing its surface. But, as Amare came within range of the cultist, supposedly hidden from mundane sight, Nala's eyes flicked straight in her direction, her menacing smile aimed directly at the younger Nautolan with vicious intent.

The realization that she had been made by the superior woman in this fight gave rise to a shocked and subdued cry of...

...No...how?!

...in her mind, her bravado and remaining confidence so utterly obliterated knowing her clever sneak attack didn't even have a middling chance of success.

Without preamble, Nala thrust upwards in the blade lock against Mentis' blade, quickly using the opening to jab a palm in his pale face and loose a sudden blast of Force energy at it. With his attentions diverted by the saber entanglement, the sudden smash of energy flung him backwards several feet, which, to the Dark Jedi's credit, resulted in an acrobatic somersault through the air, the Rattataki recovering his posture as he spun high and clear of Nala's follow-up swing, which then came around rapidly in a remarkable one-eighty-degree spin from Mentis towards Amare.

Amare had only a moment to recover from the shock of her discovery and Mentis' expulsion from the melee, her amber blade only narrowly rising up to save her face from being cleaved by Nala's magenta one. Abandoning the angled precise movements of Makashi, the Nautolan cultist had twisted her hilt into a reverse Shien grip, and was rapidly spinning the blade down and across repeatedly, almost as though she were carving a sideways figure-eight as she advanced on Amare. Each spin of Nala's blade forced Amare's weapon wider from her body, and each time caused her to take another unsteady step backwards.

Amare's blocks became impotent as each attempt simply had the blade slapped back and wide, and it took enormous strain on her arms just to bring her blade back to bear. And yet, even as she was pressed back, she expected to get cut in half each time, and still Nala didn't cease the clear openings. Then horror stormed into Amare's mind, inexoribly enhanced by Kelderesh's storm above. Nala's imperious emotions and malicious facial expression made it clear she didn't want a quick kill; she desired to make her younger rival suffer first.

Nala cackled as she pressed her advantage, watching as Amare tried in vain to keep up with her rapid assault upon her. The Force itself seemed to crawl up around the cultist as her weapon smashed against Amare's, the occasional bright spark flinging up into her face as the magenta blade bit into the stone at their feet. Finally, with a sudden thrust of power forcing Nala's blade faster and more heavily at the younger woman, the cultist's blade sliced straight through the Sith apprentice's lightsaber hilt and thinly into her palm, as well, eliciting a satisfying cry of agony from Amare and causing the broken segments of the shattered hilt to scatter across the sandy ground in a small but bright explosion that also cut away at Amare's flesh. In that same motion, continuing her spinning arc, Nala concluded the flurry with a downwards cut that tore into the thick flesh of Amare's left thigh, searing through the muscle but stopping short of bone, forcing her down to one leg.

Still laughing, and not giving the defeated Amare any chance to consider her wounds, Nala raised her left hand, her fingers curled around tightly, as she invisibly grasped the other Nautolan and dragged her into the air by her tightening throat.

"I was wrong," she mused sickly, smiling as Amare was yanked even higher, forcing Nala to incline her head. "Just a schutta."

Amare could only muster just one hand up to her throat as she felt extreme fire and suffocation at the same time. She could feel the tightening wrapping around her throat and the incredible blood pressure in her cranium making it feel as if her skull was about to crack open like a melon. There was no way to resist; no Force-draining fire would appear; crackles of electricity that had spontaneously ebbed and flowed as they did in XoXaan's temple now refusing to manifest; and the Force was ambivalent to her desire to use it for a defensive push. Amare was completely at the mercy of a dark cultist that knew nothing of the Sith. Was she brought her just to die, she wondered. Was Nala the true future Sith apprentice?

As the walls of death pressed her closer to losing consciousness, terrible memories flashed in her mind...strange memories that were unfamiliar and somehow familiar at the same time...a man with a whip...a sparking shock whip...a...Nautolan man. He said something to her...

'That was my child, curse you...MINE! You are no longer my wife. You are just a impudent slave, and I will kill you now as the slave you are. Do you hear me?! For justice's sake, YOU WILL DIE!'



OOC: Shift in battle music: Furious Blasters and Blades


A siren's scream pierced the air across the battlefield as a lone blue figure clad in gold and brown glided high above from a powerful Force-assisted leap that carried her clear over the heads of Bomoor, Master Rynseh, and the savage white-haired Wookie, Mange. In one hand, a blade of shining cyan held high and primed for a rending cleave, and the other a covert black blaster pistol pointed directly at Nala. A salvo of rapid semi-automatic fire came at Axion's chosen right hand, energy pulses blazing white-blue indicating the weapon was set to stun. Rather than be encumbered and incrementally weakened by the storm above, the raging interloper drew heavily on the dark side's power, her deep passion connected to the one aspect of life that was greater than anything a living sentient could feel: motherhood.

As the energy beams from the rogue Knight's blaster flew at her, Nala was forced to spin the dangling Amare with a flick of her wrist, sending the younger Nautolan several yards back, landing heavily onto the sodden stone ground as Nala released her Force grasp on her. As she did, Axion's favoured apprentice was only narrowly able to twist her elegant hilt about in a reverse-grip spin, only ably enough to redirect a few at the third Nautolan combatant, forcing her to bring her leap to halt just behind Amare's prone body.

"Get away from her, you witch!" Zenarrah Sozo howled at Nala as she stood between an unconscious Amare, and the cruel cultist.

At sensing and seeing the darkness within Amare's protector, Nala's thin pale grin lips parted to reveal that malevolent and cunning toothy smirk once more, twisting the younger woman's seemly features into something suitably sinister, as her eyes darted from one blue Nautolan to the other. She flourished her blade, once more adopting a second form posture, and laughed. "Master Axion is right about you Jedi, old woman; obsessed-"

Immediately, the pretense of weakness from age and limp-wristed technique Zenarrah displayed to Rynseh during their sparring on the Descent had evaporated, eschewed in favour for a masterful chain of pure, dark power-focused offense. She launched herself in an almost bullet-like spiraling lunge coming at Nala with a fierce opening slash as she landing easily on her feet and began the brutal assault, interrupting whatever it was Nala was going to say.

Every ounce of forbidden knowledge from years of careful research and training was poured into each sweeping strike, thrust, clever feint and well-practiced footwork. The sequence Nala was forced to face was a continuous dance-like flow of a whirling blade that slashed down, around (seemingly at both sides at the same time), cleaved up, switched to one hand, then spinning around with a overhead slash and swapped it back to the other. Returning to a two-handed grip, the blade continuously spiraling and flashing and pressing onwards as she attempted to unbalance the evil Nautolan with her erratic attacks. Every motion was unorthodox as Zen used her technique and power to force Nala into a defensive posture, her sweeps deceptively sloppy and overconfident, as if inviting a foolish attempt at her presented vulnerabilities, yet firmly in control as no two swings came from similar angles. Zen held nothing back in defense of her daughter, immersing herself deep in the power of her inner wrath and darkest power.

Nala's smile had lingered for but a few seconds into the erratic duel with Zenarrah, as the experienced Jedi Shadow's dark side-fuelled assault forced her immediately into a defensive posture, the younger Nautolan's Makashi parries becoming less precise and more rapid with every defensive spin of her magenta blade.

The cultist's focus matched the intense fury of Zen's onslaught, as she brought her defensive arc increasingly closer to her body, making for swifter, faster and closer blocks against the wide and heavy swings from her opponent's cyan blade, her own lightsaber only narrowly managing to make contact a few short inches from her limbs. Nala's feet were pacing quickly backwards, drawing the Nautolan pair further away from Amare's prone body, her minimal spins and parries a pale mockery of the usual Makashi dance she enjoyed with her foes. Their blades locked only briefly here and there, as Zenarrah withdrew her weapon and swung it again once more, Nala having to twist towards every perceivable angle to prevent a swift demise.

Any hint of amusement that usually permeating the confident dark-sider's antagonistic manner had been lost in the foray of the battle with Zen, as her entire attention was devoted to preserving her life. Although it did not yet register on her aquatic features, a measure of panic could be sensed to be creeping in through the Force, and her eyes now darted about vainly in search of some other advantage to press, until finally she ducked low beneath a wider swing from the fallen Jedi and brought herself round and low and spun her lightsaber up and threw the ancient Korriban stone of the ground, sparks and slag flying up towards the other Nautolan's face.

"Mnnnph!" Zen grunted from the dirty trick that successfully halted her raging advance. She staggered back a pace and a half, frantically slashing her lightsaber defensively. Her sensitive aquatic eyes were crusted in Korribanian earth, but the pain and irritation were easily dismissed as the adrenaline kept pumping in her hard than it had in years. Keeping her eyes closed, she used the Force and her senses to be her eyes as she fell back into a Soresu posture, angry that she was losing ground to her quarry.

Nala seized the opportunity to withdraw from the tirade of blows, and leapt up high and backwards, landing atop one of the larger spiking rock formations nearby. Perching less gracefully than expected, following the lightsaber assault she had narrowly escaped from, she crouched low in a defensive posture, one hand grasping the tip of the rock as she held her lightsaber out wide with the other. Her chest could be seen heaving from exertion, and her lithe features were pulled back tightly in exasperated anger.

Across the battlefield came a desperate howl of anger and panic and then a deep silence, aside from the rumbling turbulence of the sky above. There was a sense from those assembled that the cultists were not faring as well as their bravado had suggested. Now, although bruised and battered, three enemies had assembled against Nala beneath her delicate perch: the two Nautolans and the traitor Mentis, now returned from being flung aside.

A fierce crack of thunder through the air accompanied the sudden illumination of the hillside as a monstrous bolt of lightning pierced the summit, silhouetting Nala’s serpent-like form atop the rock formation. Axion’s favoured apprentice seemed more and more alone.

“What’s the matter, Nala?” he barked up at her, “Hiding like a felinx up a tree?”

He span his ignited blade out to graze the rockface, threatening to let it crumble beneath his former companion in the cult, before returning the hilt to his grasp. He smirked as she struggled to stay atop her perch, enjoying the feeling of having her cornered and at his mercy.

"You were not so bold," Nala seethed at the bald-headed Humanoid, "when Trey effortlessly outshone you, just like how I tossed you aside just moments ago!" She loosed a small spark of electricity at the man, a thin strand compared to the broad strokes previously unleashed by Axion and Kelderesh, but enough to force Mentis onto the defensive. Having thrown her head about the plateau, she was only too aware of the dwindling numbers of cultists.

Above, the rain slowed and no more lightning burst forth from the sky. This conflict had passed its crescendo and, as though on cue, the hopeful ignition of the Red Raptor’s engines called a retreat from battle.

Zen, still blind, yet keenly aware of the sounds of Mentis taking up the fight and the ship warming up, her maternal instincts overrode her homicidal fury, and she fell back to kneel by Amare's side. "My child, are you hurt? Answer me!" she frantically said as she turned the unconscious Amare onto her back. Zen rubbed her eyes with the backs of her hands to clear them and examined her daughter's face. Zen smiled, sensing there was still life yet in her sole surviving offspring...and darkness. A particularly distinct veneer of the dark side taking root in her child.

Like mother...like daughter, Zen mused with a frown. From the corner of her partially restored eyes, she spotted the shattered ruins of what was once Thane's original lightsaber nearby. She barely recognized it from her days as a Temple Guard, having seen Thane using it to spar with Bomoor and their fellow Padawans under the careful supervision of Master Thurius and other veteran battlemasters. More astonishingly, she saw an old friend had survived the wreckage; her old finely cut amber lightsaber crystal from Dantooine, her secret gift to Amare back on Nar Shaddaa.

Mentis came towards the wounded pair, his blade still defensively ignited against Nala. His anger urged him to leap up and continue his fight with her. She was more fatigued than he had seen her in years and, despite her continued bravado, was vulnerable. But the urge to run was also strong and it sapped at his own dark side-fuelled strength; he spied a frazzled Thane making his way swiftly towards Bomoor, who was being supported by Ryn up the gangway into the ship. If they all were to retreat, now was the time.

With a slight growl of frustration, he beckoned to Zenarrah, "Come, this way! The ship is about to depart and we need to be on it."

Zen nodded, gratefully accepting any salvation from Korriban that was offered to her. She turned, reached out, pulled Amare's crystal to her hand with her power, pocketed it, and scooped up her child into her arms and quickly made way for the Red Raptor. She narrowed her eyes upon spying Rynseh entering the ship with Bomoor. With the weight of her unconscious daughter now in her arms at long last, she realized the moment she had been planning for years was almost upon her.

As the motherly Nautolan began to pick up Coda and help her towards the ship, the Rattataki pointed his blade up at Nala's perch, "You, stay where you are," he summoned his courage, now his anger had begun to slip back towards fear; it was something he had learned to do more and more while fighting at Rex's side, "You have seen that we are not so easily bested. Perhaps, for once, Axion should just accept a loss and move on."

He started to edge backwards, ever gazing into the beautiful yet furious eyes of Axion's favoured apprentice. Something about it made him wince and he added, "I think you should move on too, Nala."

With that, he turned and sped off, towards the ship, not looking to see if the green-skinned woman was in pursuit as he once again turned his back on the Cult.

TBC

 

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