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Showdown on Korriban: Sorcerer's Summit

Posted on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 @ 8:48pm by Thane & Zenarrah Sozo & Kelderesh jai Nektus

Chapter: Chapter V: Unbound
Location: Red Raptor Landing Site, Valley of the Dark Lords, Korriban
Timeline: Showdown on Korriban, Day 4

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: A Treacherous Ascent


As his companions and their opponents fell upon one another, Thane was unable to grant them any true amount of his attention; before and above him, standing atop an outcropping astride the mountain they had launched themselves from, was the Kaleesh sorcerer summoning this dreadful yet remarkable Force storm upon them. It briefly alarmed the would-be Sith that this cultist - so frequently seen as undisciplined yet unpredictable threats - wielded such power. In some show of arrogance, the cultist had even withdrawn his lightsaber, relying instead upon his power within the Force.

He had no desire to enter any discourse with the magician - Kelderesh, Mentis had named him - and sought only to end the lunacy of this chaos the Cult of Axion had brought down upon the Valley of the Dark Lords. A part of him was grateful, however, if wary, to have Zenarrah beside him. This particular troupe of cultists had, after all, eliminated the Jedi Shadows in orbit.

Even so, they were not Sith.

Drawing himself down low to summon the Force within himself, Thane then pushed away hard from the ground, launching himself at an outcropping a short distance away from Kelderesh, his violet lightsaber still engaged and held in his right hand, his cybernetic digits gripping the electrum hilt tightly.

Seeming to only offer a fleeting glance at the advancing adversaries, Kelderesh wordlessly signalled for the cultist that had remained alongside him, a pale-skinned H'nemthe, to engage Thane and halt his ascent. The beaked reptilian cultist narrowed its eyes and flourished a pair of shining twin vibroblades before leaping down quite some distance to land just above the Caanan. The feat could not have been achieved without at least some Force training, although he was clearly subservient to the sorcerer above.

With a hiss, the H'nemthe brought one of his blades down, narrowly missing Thane's hand but dislodging some of the delicate rock face he was attempting to climb.

Zen had not been far behind Thane, and called out to him, “I’ll keep the bonehead busy until you’re done with this mook.” As Thane crossed energy and vibroblades with the reptilian henchman, Zen had—seemingly unencumbered by her golden-hued cortosis armor—somersaulted through the air in a graceful Force-assisted leap nearly twenty feet over their heads to quickly cover the distance between her and the Kaleesh. Her cyan-coloured lightsaber blade flashing into existence as she landed on one outcropping and bounding up to the next and the one after. Her lips curled into a wide and malicious grin as she brought her thoughts to a darker place, beckoning the ruthless hunter within to come forth and guide her to her prey.

Content, or rather, trusting, that the Nautolan woman had him covered - an experience that was seemingly becoming commonplace for him and Nautolan women - Thane offered little more than a nod to the armoured woman before leaping up to yet another rocky plateau. With a quick flurry of his blade, he knocked one vibroblade from the H'nemthe's hand and thrust the alien backwards, stalling him. As he did, the Force forewarned Thane of the two sudden bolts of lightning that struck in positions he had occupied just seconds before, giving him but a fraction of a moment to sidestep away from one of the sorcerer's impressive displays, whilst he quickly spun his blade to deflect another.

He looked at the Kaleesh angrily, bemused not only by the alien's dedication to ending him, but also by the dark mage's remarkable talents within the Dark Side of the Force. His own powers with Force lightning were in their infancy, from his perspective, and it angered him to know one of Axion's various disposable cultists had mastered it to such a level. Although it was hardly the time to indulge in such self-critique, it made him all the more determined to overcome this despicable slave. With a carefully-directed blast of Force energy sent towards his main H'nemthe foe, he turned to the true opponent, and took two large leaps towards him.

Having now closed the distance between himself and Kelderesh to be but a few naturally-formed platforms away, Thane allowed himself to stand tall in the face of his foe's dramatic electrical display, showing no outward sign of concern or fear. Instead, he allowed himself a small half-smile at his opponent. Without making any physical show, he clasped a nearby boulder within the Force and spun it at the Kaleesh, forcing the cultist to either respond or move. Taking advantage of the distraction in the second after, Thane launched himself once more into the air, aiming to land even closer.

Seemingly frustrated that both his opponents had so quickly approached him, the Kaleesh sorcerer bared his teeth and shouted down towards the H'nemthe, using the Force to dispose of Thane's oncoming boulder. "Fool, keep them at bay while I cast the storm. Now I must drive them back."

Retracting his hand from its position pointed towards the angry clouds, Kelderesh first eyed up Zennarah who had drawn her blade and was eyeing him with a hunger. He now wrenched both hands downwards, digging his claws into the air and then began to slowly raise them up. As he did so, the mountainside began to rumble and little stones began to trickle their way down as though they themselves were fearful of the dark wizard. The rumble became a tremor until the rockface that Zen balanced upon began to crack as larger stones attempted to prise themselves from beneath her.

Holding her arms out to her sides to keep herself from toppling over from one side or the other, Zen widened the spread between her feet to improve her center of gravity and steadied herself with the Force just precisely enough to back several feet to an undamaged perch. On more sturdy high ground for the moment, she quickly turned to glance down at the H'nemthe who was also struggling to climb his way up and hang on for dear life under the quaking power of the Kaleesh's remarkable ease with which he wielded his powers of geomancy.

Now knowing his victim was unstable, Kelderesh began to hurl the rocks he had summoned towards the gold-plated Nautolan, one after another, forcing her to tackle each one as it sped towards her. Just one blow would likely send her flying off the cliff face.

In-between leaps, Thane watched as his fellow former Jedi struggled against Kelderesh's fantastical display of Force mastery, his telekinetic barrage of stone and lightning remarkable to behold as he climbed the mountainside. Whilst his first thought had been to find another means to distract the Kaleesh and offer Zenarrah some reprieve, he knew it was not of any true benefit to him. Should she fall, they would be one mysterious newcomer fewer to contend with. Should she succeed, the wizard would be felled, and their advantage over the cultists claimed.

Therefore, once more taking advantage of a distraction, at Zenarrah's expense, the Caanan continued to Force-aided ascent.

Thane did not get far before the bony mask of Kelderesh turned towards him, his angry yellow eyes burning with fury but also daring the man to approach as he watched Zen being held off. He allowed for one of his hands to break away from his stone barrage and turned it towards Thane, who watched it begin to crackle with those first few familiar sparks of Force Lightning.

An instinctive alarm began to stream through Thane. He had anticipated a confrontation with another wielder of the talent - most likely, Axion himself - and had known that, by approaching Kelderesh, he was opening himself up this attack. Even so, this foe was a more accomplished practitioner and Thane had had little experience in tutaminis. He had practised it once with Bomoor.

He was only just able to bring his hands up in time to clasp the Kaleesh's electrical power within the Force, although the brunt of the wave knocked his lightsaber from his grasp, and the electrum hilt spun away from sight. With blue arcs of lightning licking away at his offhand and singeing it, which was only marginally holding back Kelderesh's power, Thane managed to drag his other hand up to meet the unnatural electricity lapping at and around him. To behold, it was as though Thane were holding back an almighty weight pushing against him, set on thrusting him off the cliff face and crushing him.

Unlike his brief session with Bomoor aboard the Raptor, which had been a mere redirection of his own more minimal display of dark power, this tirade of energy was almost overwhelming. Thane's vision was almost entirely subsumed by the sheer brightness of Kelderesh's grand power, rogue and deflected bolts of unabsorbed lightning spinning into the stone around them and striking his other limbs, causing him agonising pain that rocked through his entire body.

He roared from that pain, which he now drew on automatically, remembering and feeling the same pain that Axion had inflicted upon him back on Nar Shaddaa, when he had loosed his own red-hued terror upon him. Recalling that, and feeling the absolute agony of this battle, Thane's rage grew larger - and he did nothing to restrain it.

The mad, twisted gold of his eyes began to spiral about his pupils, his natural blue colouration becoming entirely flooded by the might of the dark side. In front of his charred hands, his gloves having torn away in the furore of his spiritual duel with the cultist, which also left the cybernetics of his right hand completely exposed and charred, a large build-up of Force energy was developing, as Thane struggled to absorb all of Kelderesh's onslaught.

His teeth bared and eyes glowing manically, the self-proclaimed heir to the Sith let out another roar, and he took one laboured step forward, whilst drawing both hands back in the same motion. Instead of engorging the built-up energy before him, Kelderesh's stream of lightning could be seen now arcing into Thane's palms. As the Kaleesh cultist's hateful power entered him more properly, Thane glimpsed various moments of triumph, envy and death upon a barren world that were not his own, but that he was all too willing to command. And so, with yet another heavy step forward, bolts still flying this way and that, he thrust his hands forward, and loosed his own barrage of Force lightning back at Kelderesh, through and over the Kaleesh's own.

Eyes wide, the Kaleesh's wrapped hand whipped about and brandished a vermillion-coloured blade that caught the lightning being cast back upon him. The tug of the released lightning was now harder for him to break off now that it also fed through Thane but after a few moments, he released his stream of energy. He glared at the Caanan, seemingly annoyed that he had been required to use his lightsaber once again.

"An unexpected display, little Human," he drew himself up as he spoke, imitating the arrogant grandeur of his master, "but it will not save you from destruction."

With the barrage of stones and the tremors now ceased, both Zennarah and Thane both had a relatively clear path to where Kelderesh stood, but he was not prepared to give up his ground. With his lightsaber in a vertical guard, poised to defend against either adversary, he began whipping up the dust around him with a strong gust of wind, making it harder to see the safe steps up the cliff to where the pale red blade glowed in the dust storm.

A short ways behind Thane, a lightsaber was clashing with razor-sharp cortosis blades. He could hear Zen's battle cry, "Yaah!" as a swift roundhouse kick from her boot heel made solid contact with the H'nemthe's long pointed beak.

When Zen's lightsaber followed through with a lethal stab to the cultist's gut, she gave little heed to his suffering as she let him fall to his doom off the ledge. Her maternal instincts were lit up the instant she sensed trouble below. "No!" she screamed as she spotted just in time to see Zaracoda receive a vicious blow from the green-skinned Nautolan that the Rattataki man had mentioned was called Nala. She had an opportunity to stay by Thane's side to finish off the Kaleesh warlock, but she did not hesitate to leave the powerful Human to his fate when it came to protecting her daughter. Her deep distress turned to unbridled rage as she used the Force to help her quickly descend back to lower ground.

Thane was left alone on the mountainside, looking up at the swirling vortex of dust and sand, steam from his battle with the Kaleesh rising from his chest and palms. Below, he, too, had felt the sudden pain that subsumed his apprentice, which had been immediately preceded by another small but powerful wave within the Force. In the chaos of the battle and the storm, such a thing would have been incidental, lest it held some particular meaning to him. Stealing a brief momentary glance to the melee below, he sighted plasma blades of assorted colours swinging within the mystifying haze, but did not see the amber-gold brilliance of his old re-purposed weapon.

Amare was not, however, yet dead.

“Seems you are all alone with me now, Human,” came a deep voice from within the Force-generated whirlwind, drawing Thane's eyes upwards once more. “I would offer you the chance to flee also, but my master wishes you dead along with the traitor and I enact his will. Come, taste more of my power.”

As he spoke the words, the skies above began to violently rumble as the Kaleesh began to control the storm above once again. It would not be long before he began to rain down lightning upon the battlefield as it had before.

Thane's eyes narrowed at the nuisance magician's taunts and power. Not breaking contact, he raised one charred hand out to the side, and his lightsaber hilt clattered across rock and spun back into his grip firmly, its metal glinting brightly in the dark miasma of Kelderesh's oncoming resurgent storm. Activating it, the brilliant violent blade springing to life once more, Thane put aside any concerns for his companions below, having faith that they would prevail - a reality he could more certainly enforce, with the defeat of this cunning cretin above him.

With the fury of the dark side surging within him, in a way quite apart from his previous indulgences, buoyed and intensified, perhaps, by the recent exchange with the Kaleesh, he pushed beyond the pain racking his recently-electrified limbs, calling upon the Force to overcome the cramping and agony that could otherwise threaten to defeat him. Propelled forward at an inhuman pace, Thane, his weapon in hand, sprinted and leapt, launching himself from one outcropping to the next.

However, with each passing second, Kelderesh's summoned storm grew in magnitude, speeding rapidly to the same dangerous enormity of the Kaleesh' first show of power, only this time, Thane noted, it was more firmly targeted at him, as numerous bolts and forks of the mystical torment struck and melted the stone all about him, the heat great enough for the former Jedi to feel it against his exposed flesh, even briefly at his fast pace.

As he landed upon the next platform, Thane swung his blade about just in time to intercept one of the cultist's bolts as it forked down from the nightmarish clouds swirling above them, the sheer force of which almost stalled his advance. With several more leaps and numerous interceptions of the Force storm by his blade, Thane had once more closed the gap, although several sharp rock formations filled the gap between his position and the Kaleesh sorcerer's perch, itself almost at the apex of the mountainside.

With another heavy blast absorbed and deflected through a combination of his lightsaber and tutaminis, despite several painful bolts eating away at his already-charred flesh, Thane brought his lightsaber about, its tip pointed directly at Kelderesh.

"You are little more than a conjurer of cheap tricks, slave!" He shouted at the Kaleesh, the Force carefully-applied to amplify his crisp, disdainful voice. "You are inconsequential - Axion and his slaves will be forgotten to history!"

In response, the swirling dust shifted its path slightly creating an eye in the storm that grew to encompass Thane until the Kaleesh cultist stood clear as day before him, with one arm raised triumphantly towards the sky, the other clasping his ignited lightsaber, pointed at the ground.

A murky haze of particles now surrounded them on all sides so they seemed even further removed from the rest of the combat below, “Axion is the greatest force of life in this modern age,” Kelderesh answered, with what could be seen of his face set in a scowl of superiority, “I searched long and hard to find such a power and any worthy being would be wise to do the same. A pity it is too late for you and your kin.”

Whipping his raised arm about as though lassoing the storm, several thin waves of lightning were cast towards Thane, who was able to catch and disperse them on his blade with relative ease. However, the robed sorcerer seemed to still be building his power and the intensity of the electrical energy built up as though a static force was building all around Thane. There was a sensation in the air; an anticipation of danger that rose with the hairs on his skin.

Thane had never faced such a grandiose display of power before; Kelderesh's natural flair and might surpassed, at least visually, the spectre of Darth Cabal on Vaa, and even his duel on Axion had been mundane by comparison. For this Kaleesh weathermancer to serve his dark master within the cult, it only showed the true depth of Axion's actual reserved power, enhanced as it may be by the Kaiburr shards, or perhaps his cunning, to lure one such as Kelderesh into his service. Or, even more worryingly; both.

Clasping his electrum hilt ever more tightly with both hands, Thane knew, more than ever, that the Cult of Axion could never be permitted to claim the Heart of Typhojem. With a shout of pain and fury, his very flesh tingling with the sorcerer's static and his growing dark side power, he lunged at Kelderesh through the storm, blade held high as sparks of electricity spun about them, and swung it down with as much might as possible at the cultist's head.

Kelderesh's vermilion blade met Thane's violet one, as the cultist went down to one knee, the two intense streams of plasma locking. Pressing down heavily against the saber lock, Thane's glowing eyes locked upon the twin feline slits of Kelderesh's, the two combatants glaring at one another with unbridled malice. Thane sneered as he began to push down more heavily on his enemy, forcing them both closer to the ground. Even as his own features twisted with rage and determination to fell his foe, Thane saw that Kelderesh's eyes only narrowed, almost imperceptibly, to his assault, and the storm continued to to rage about them, undisturbed by Thane's attack upon its summoner.

Suddenly, one of the electrical forks dashed down from the swirling skies overhead towards Thane, who quickly broke the blade lock to smash it away, which gave Kelderesh the chance to raise himself back up and swing his own lightsaber at Thane. The young Sith met the cultist's two-handed Niman strike with his own sixth form parry, instantly recognising the sweeping strikes his previously-favoured adaptive lightsaber form in the Kaleesh's attack.

Responding with his own smooth arcs and spinning gestures, Thane brought his blade to bear upon the Kaleesh's less-advanced saber technique, even though he failed to break through the cultist's defences. As their blades locked and parried rapidly, several more bolts of electricity found their way towards Thane, forcing the former Jedi to face two combatants: both the Kaleesh sorcerer and his non-corporeal lightning, which struck at him from all angles. Each time Thane was forced to turn to block one of the mystical bolts from the sky, Kelderesh struck at him with his lightsaber, Thane only marginally managing him off.

As he swept aside one thundering blast from above, Thane swung himself around in a spinning motion, his lightsaber held with both hands tightly around the hilt, and struck out at Kelderesh, raining several fast blows against his weakening lightsaber defence. With Kelderesh taking a quick staggering step backwards, his blade aimed down low in a Niman defensive posture, Thane brought his own up high, but was suddenly brought down to his knee by an agonising and debilitating pain within his right thigh, and he let out a low groan of pain.

With his position now mirroring that of the Kaleesh's from just moments before, Thane was still able to bring his own weapon up to block a downwards thrust from the cultist, rising back to full height in time to meet the other dark-sider's strike. Unfortunately, the blow and the mysterious pain within his leg caught him off-balance, and Kelderesh's attack caused him to fall back a few feet, only just managing to keep himself upright.

To Thane's mild surprise, however, the cultist did not advance on him. Instead, Thane saw Kelderesh straighten himself up, his lightsaber pointed at Thane as his free hand was raised once more. With what almost passed for a Kaleesh smile angling the visible angles of the cultist's face, his claw clenched shut. Thane had only the briefest trepidatious sensation seize him within the Force before a sudden crack of lightning lit up the swirling storm enveloping him and his foe. A huge bolt discharged itself from the vortex overhead, and sped its way directly at the aspirant Sith Lord quicker than he could see or react, fully impacting him with only the faintest of Force barriers instinctively raised in response, causing a massive wave of energy to blast out in all directions, knocking both warriors backwards.

An unknown quantity of Force-fuelled joules coursed through Thane's body, and immeasurable pain wracked every fibre of his being before he almost instantly slipped into unconsciousness, his heart and organs clenching under the destructive power of the unnatural lightning bolt. The mighty strike had blasted his cramping body off of the summit, and his limp form spun, smoke rising and sparks still discharging from his dark robes, as he fell out of sight of Kelderesh and onto an outcropping far below, their battle concluded.



The passage of time was unknown to Thane since the duel, his eyes sealed shut as smoke continued to rise from his prone form, his robes torn and skin charred. Rain from Kelderesh's storm continued to patter against his sore skin, he was now beginning to realise, as his mind slowly crept towards consciousness once more. Thunder still boomed, shaking the heavy stone beneath him, and he could hear the familiar sound of lightsaber plasma crashing down upon one another.

With great effort, his body either numb or still claimed by the searing, all-encompassing and cramping pain of the Kaleesh's Force lightning, Thane pulled himself across the stone, despite the pain of cracked or bruised ribs, and first looked up the side of the mountain's sharp cliff-face, but could not see the terrible sorcerer in the distance. Instead, dark electrostatic clouds still gathered, swirling about the scene of this momentous showdown with the Cult of Axion. He then turned towards the open ground the Red Raptor and his companions were on, and saw that he was not far from them now.

He saw now, also, that the Raptor's lights had become engaged, bright against the Cult of Axion's miserable unnatural storm, and its engines could be heard to be powering up over the din of the rolling thunder.

His lightsaber was still with him, likely gripped from the terrible cramping he suffered from his duel with Kelderesh and saved from being lost to Korriban's chasms. The Sith managed to raise himself back to his full height, beleaguered and wearied though he was, drawing deeply upon the dark side of Force to overcome the agony of his skirmish with the cultist, enraged at his perceived defeat, the remarkable pain that had been inflicted on him once again, and his absolute failure to overwhelm the Kaleesh. As the fury swept through him once more, although a temporary solution, he found his vision growing clearer once more, his body stronger, and his mind keener. Almost just he had felt on the mountaintop when he had been within the eye of the storm, his skin began to tingle, and his heart began pounding heavily in his chest, feeling as though it were threatening to escape from his damaged rib cage. A thin slither of crimson crept into his eyes, bright lava intermingling with the molten gold of his dark immersion.

It was invigorating.

Intoxicating.

Necessary.

Thane offered one last disgusted look towards the summit before he activated his weapon, and leapt down.



THANE
▼ Dark Side Shift
▬ Force Absorption Increase
▬ Force Lightning Increase
☼ New Ability - Force Rage

 

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