AA Ladder: Wuntila vs. Marick - Round 1
(Disclaimer: This opening post, although submitted by Wuntila, is authorised by the other Judge, Zandro Erinos Arconae, Consul of Clan Arcona. It in no way breaches the forms of the AA and it is simply due to time constraints that this has been implemented in such a way. It will no affect the outcome of the match, nor will it provide any advantage to either competitor.)
The air was crisp and cold upon the plateau of the Citadel. It was eerily quiet in the courtyard, the familiar silence of dawn that seemed to sap the energy from anyone unlucky enough to be up at such an hour. The vivid hues of daybreak were somewhat sullen this sunrise, though; drained by the thick dark clouds above. The customary moistness of morning added a cool humidity to the climate inside the courtyard’s low walls, but it did little to wet the dry throats of the three Arconans perched above Estle. The courtyard was a picture of beauty: luscious grass, marbled walkways and flowerbeds that decked the opening to the Citadel. All of it a wonderful façade for what went on behind the onyx walls.
Zandro stood in front of the Citadel, garbed in a heavy black cloak that fluttered mildly with the breeze. Wuntila and Marick looked at their Consul and knelt, bowing their heads as they did so.
“You are both here because you chose to look fate in the eyes. Remember the rules, don’t get ahead of yourselves and fight like Arconans.” Zandro turned on his heel, his cloak billowing, and disappeared into the shadow of the Citadel.
Both fighters looked at each other and rose. They marched off in opposite directions and faced each other, waiting in anticipation for their signal.
They didn’t have to wait long.
“Begin!” The Consul barked. The two combatants heard the heavy stone doors of the Citadel echo across Estle.
(Marick to Post First)
Marick's face remained impassive as a light wind brushed thin strands of hair across his eyes. The air was brisk and a bit chilled, but the Hapan looked perfectly comfortable in the full black bodysuit he wore underneath his unique white combat robe. While calm and collected on the surface, the Prelate's heart began to beat faster. It was an anxious excitement he only experienced when engaging in a one-on-one duel. Unlike a battlefield there were no distraction or politics to interfere in the fight. The rules where simple. One would stand and the other would fall. It was this realization of mortality that fueled the fire of his competitive nature. The acceptance that every breath, every step taken could be the last. Marick lived for these moments.
In all their time together in Arcona, Marick and Wuntila had never crossed blades. While their contrasting leadership styles did often clash, their mutual respect for one another made them more akin to rivaling siblings than bitter enemies. Marick knew everything on file about the Human-Theelin hybrid, as he did with every member of Arcona. It came with the job of leading a battle team who's very essence was internal security.
Pleasantries aside, Marick knew that he had to win. There could be no compromise. The Quaestor proudly unclipped Raika from his belt. It was one of the few times he wore the shoto saber openly. He usually kept it hidden with his identity as a Dark Jedi. With elegant grace, the Hapan raised the skull-shaped emitter shroud up in front of his face so that the empty sockets could stare into their opponent's eyes. Wuntila mimicked the motion with his "v" shaped hilt before both fighters simultaneously lowered their weapons to the side in a ceremonial salute. Wuntila immediately twisted his saber's hilt into the standard "s" grip.
In a blur of motion, the fight had begun. Marick's charge was blindingly quick. It took the sudden snap-hiss of a saber igniting for Wuntila to realize that the smaller Obelisk had already closed the gap between them. On instinct, the Proconsul shifted his weight to his back leg. His own saber sprung defiantly to life just in time to meet Marick's attack. The cyan and cerulean blades sparked angrily as they locked. Even with both hands reinforcing his grip on the shoto's small hilt, Marick could feel his arms quiver at the sheer strength of his Proconsul. The glow cast by both sabers painted the Hapan's light skin a similar hue as his opponent's.
Wuntila grinned as he held the lock with a single arm. "Not bad, but mines bigger." With a growl, the hulking Theelin-Human hybrid flexed his corded muscles and pushed Marick backwards. Before the smaller Prelate could recover, Wuntila had taken the offensive. His one handed strikes bore down on the Hapan like a butcher chasing a fleeing womp rat.
Marick fell into the Force, effortlessly weaving his way in and out of the powerful attacks [DDG]. Wuntila's Shii-Cho was well-suited for slaughter on the battlefield, but Marick's unique blend of Makashi footwork and Soresu swordplay did not allow a single blow to hit its mark. Frustration flowed through Wuntila as he lashed out with the Force, hoping to blast the prancing Hapan into oblivion [STK].
Marick planted his feet and let the Force come to his aid. He caught the violent mass of energy with his bare hand and with a defiant growl cast the energy aside [DSE]. He was not able to do the same against Wuntila's powerful follow up kick. It caught him square in the chest. The Hapan staggered backwards and felt his bones ripple at the velocity of the kick. To his credit, he stayed on his feet. Pushing any hint of pain from his body, Marick let himself fall into the Force, augmenting his agility [EHA].
Wuntila tried to stab Marick through the chest. The nimble Hapan leapt over the attack and planted his free hand atop Wuntila's head. He used the Proconsul's thick skull as a fulcrum to land gracefully behind the hybrid. In the same flowing motion, Marick kicked out at the back of Wuntila's knee at the joint. The blow caused the leg to buckle and his body to lurch forward. Without pause, the Quaestor turned and fired his own blast into the Proconsul's back, sending him stumbling forward [OBL].
Marick wanted to say something along the lines of, "It's not the size that matters, but how you use it." He kept the sentiment to himself.
It was a simple smile that changed the tone of the fight. It was a smile that was more to subdue the building anger within the Proconsul than to rile up his opponent. Nevertheless, the latter was still effective. Wuntila had rolled out from his compromising position and stood, albeit with difficulty, to face the Hapan. Agony raced through his nerves like white-hot daggers tearing through his midriff, yet Marick’s initial strike had saved the Human-Theelin from a quick end. The kick that had sent him to the floor also caused the surge of pure energy to glance off his back. Even so, it seemed to rip the skin from the flesh of his lower spine. To most others it was a strike powerful enough to snap the backbone like a withered vine, but with thick knots of heavy muscle cast tightly around his torso Wuntila was able to recover.
Still, his thickset stature did little to stop the burning.
The Hapan looked perplexed by the picture of contortion on Wuntila’s face. It was a mix of arrogance and discomfort, punctuated by spasmodic twitches. Marick had obviously done some damage.
“Nice try,” Wuntila said, spinning his lightsaber, “But it takes more than that to fell the Dragon of Selen.” The Human-Theelin rolled his shoulders, narrowed his eyes, and lurched into a run. Marick’s palpably superior connection to the Force left him confident and he easily anticipated the Proconsul’s move [PCG]. Wuntila had done the same, though. As Marick brought his Lightsaber up like a spear, set on impaling the hybrid, Wuntila had stopped a few yards short of the Hapan’s blade. A smile teased at his lips as his eyes bored through Marick’s own.
Wuntila opened with a series of one-handed swipes, intent on eviscerating the Quaestor. Alas, the beautiful simplicity of Marick’s propensity for Soresu and his outright advantage in speed allowed him to parry and deflect the Proconsul’s strike with relative comfort. The final strike secured the advantage for the Human-Theelin, though. A slight switch of grip on the Lightsaber’s hilt gave Wuntila the angle he needed – a straight-edged extension of his own arm. The lightsaber became more akin to a marble column than a whip and it struck the Hapan’s shoto with a ferocity that rattled his body to the core. Although the arcing, overhead chop was blocked, the momentum of the crushing impact caused Marick to stagger back, throwing him off balance.
Marick recovered quickly, however, spinning out of the way when Wuntila followed up with a low, looping swipe meant to hew him off at the ankles. Unknowingly, Marick had been pressed further in toward the Citadel as they were fighting. Now the two men fought under the shadow of the onyx landmark, in the very corner of the courtyard, and the Quaestor struggled to flex his talents with dexterity. He fell back onto the defensive, utilising his Soresu like a true master of the blade. He deflected and defended, waiting for the opportune moment to erupt. After a blur of parries, his patience paid off and his opening came with a downward slash from the heavyset bullock-of-a-man.
Marick angled his blade so that the impetus of Wuntila’s attack was redirected downwards, sending the tip of his lightsaber into the marble floor below. Wuntila should have been open to a counterattack, but he was already reacting to the Hapan’s move, driving his entire body forward into Marick’s before he could bring his weapon up. Both men were thrown against obsidian walls as Wuntila’s whole weight collided with the Quaestor. Wuntila wrenched his head up sharply, but Marick did the same allowing the head-butt destined for his face to glance off his chin. The Proconsul fell back and watched Marick emerge from the wall; behind him, cracks crawled like tendrils clutching at the balcony above.
Marick brushed away the blood that collected in his mouth and spat a globule of crimson onto the alabaster marble. He was growing tire and he needed to do something. Marick went into overload and broke into the reserves, erupting with blind fury. His shoto was a blur of motion as the Quaestor switched his styles seamlessly, ducking and diving, prodding and probing for an opening. Wuntila had often underestimated his peers, but Marick was different. The cold calculation of his presence and the pent-up anger fabricated by a man growing up in a matriarchal society assured the Proconsul’s respect. Now, though, his remarkable precision and his unrelenting attacks made Wuntila question whether he did underestimate his Quaestor. The Hapan heightened his connection with the force and channelled the energy through his body, vastly improving his dexterity and his accuracy [EQS]. Marick’s blade was a flash of cyan as he danced around the Proconsul. It was as if he wasn’t there and, for a split second, Wuntila was helpless, a ritualistic sacrifice waiting for the sentence to be carried out.
Sure enough, it was. A well-timed strike to the bottom of Wuntila’s skull with the hilt of his Lightsaber saw the Human-Theelin stumble, dazed. This opened him up to torture. An arcing slash burned through robes, flesh and bone as the cyan blade of Raika lodged deep into the hybrid’s ribs. A feral roar exploded from Wuntila’s gaping mouth as he doubled over, clutching at the wound. The smell of seared flesh clung to the hair inside both men’s nostrils as Marick came to a halt in front of the Proconsul. Their eyes locked, entwined by the back-and-forth of battle, the to-and-fro of emotion. They were one and the same, both loyal to the Serpentine Throne, both consumed by the prevalence of Arcona over all others, but whilst Marick was calm and collected, Wuntila was at the mercy of his fiery alter-ego. He wrestled with it, his mind a cataclysm of rage and fury, a marriage of terror and vigour. It took his strength to calm it, but in the face of defeat, the hairbreadth fuse remained lifeless.
The Proconsul righted himself and stepped back, taking in the scene behind Marick. Clouds began to bubble and expand. They darkened from the outside in and then exploded into blanket of night. The morning sea on the horizon, pristine and still, erupted into waves that crashed against each other, ringing like cymbals over Estle. Over Wuntila’s shoulder, Marick saw only the red-orange hue of morning, Dajorra rising in the east with a dark outline created by the silvery-white of cirrus clouds – the sea: calm, blue.
The Quaestor was awash with confusion.
The fuse had been lit.
Marick should have felt relieved. He had proven with his last efforts that he was the superior fighter. He had worn down the mighty Dragon of Selen, had found an opening in his defenses and capitalized. Why, then, did he feel a growing sense of dread in the pit of his stomach? His breaths came in labored drags as the cool air dried the sweat trickling down the sides of his face. Even with the extra hours of conditioning he had put in leading up to the Tournament, his muscles still ached from pushing themselves to their limits.
The feeling of dread grew as Marick watched Wuntila rise to his feet, slowly but surely, like a reanimated corpse. The Quaestor started to reach out for his Proconsul's mind, but stopped himself short as he instead caught the look in the Entar's eyes. At first it seemed as if Wuntila was looking straight through Marick and off into the distance. Then his eyes suddenly snapped to attention, focusing solely on the smaller humanoid standing before him. Gone was the sharp gleam of hidden introspection, wisdom and reserve. All that remained was a swirling vortex of hatred and humiliation, an unleashed beast ready to reap retribution on those who imprisoned it. If he felt any pain, the hulking Theelin-Human showed no indication as he picked up his fallen saber and re-ignited it [CTP].
Marick swallowed the lump that formed in his throat and bent into a slight crouch. His eyes honed in on Wuntila's abdomen and waist. The "center" of a humanoid figure was the source of any movement the body would make. If one knew how to watch while also keeping aware of the rest of the body, a maneuver could be predicted as quickly as it could be potentially executed.
The hum of idle lightsabers echoed out through the abandoned courtyard. The trees began to howl against the wind as if conscious of the brewing storm. Marick shifted his weight to the balls of his feet, waiting. Just as the combat had begun, it resumed in the blink of an eye. Faster than Marick could have imagined for someone his size, Wuntila darted forward with a blood curdling yell [EHA]. Up came the Proconsul's saber in a vicious diagonal sweep. Even with his focus on the Theelin-Human's center, it was the Force that ultimately saved the Hapan from being cleaved in half [PCG]. As Marick danced back, he left only the smoking trails of the white cloth of his robes to flutter to the ground in the form of ashes.
Consumed with rage and fueled by the Dark Side, Wuntila pushed forward, bringing his saber up and around in a two-handed overhead strike. The cerulean blade cracked down on Marick's cross-block, driving the smaller Prelate back a step. Unrelenting, Wuntila's blade rained down with bone-jarring impact. The Hapan felt his wrists numb as his arms began to buckle. Desperately reaching into the last of his reserves, he urged the Force to grant him the strength to fend off the onslaught[EHA].
Marick veered away from the statue he knew he was backing into and towards the center of the courtyard, giving up ground with every strike. In the back of his mind he knew there was no way he could keep this up much longer. Another battle cry erupted from the Theelin-Human as he battered Raika's cyan blade again and again, buckling Marick's legs and dropping him to his knees. Wuntila towered over the smaller Prelate with a feral grin. Eyes flaring, the Proconsul shifted his weight to his tiptoes to deliver the final blow. His saber crashed down hard, set to force the smaller saber back into its wielder's face.
Marick deactivated his blade with the flick of a thumb and rolled forward on his shoulder.
Wuntila had expected his weapon to meet resistance and was overbalanced. His saber sliced unopposed through the empty air, a look of startled confusion appearing over his face. Before Wuntila could recover his balance, the tell-tale sound of a saber hissing to life reached his ears to accompany the beam of cyan light jutting out from his chest.
In that last moment, Wuntila's rage dissipated and his rational mind came rushing back. The Proconsul flashed a knowing grin before slumping to the ground, taking solace in the fact that the crafty Quaestor would be on his side in the coming war.
Marick could only watch on as his Proconsul erupted in an explosion of corporeal savagery. To the Hapan it looked like it would cause more damage than good, and in many cases it did. Wuntila was doubled over, clawing at his own face, tearing skin like durasheet. Thunderous bellows spewed from his tightened, bloodstained lips as his hands began clutching and slashing at his own neck. When Marick finally gained a glimpse of the Human-Theelin’s face, he saw not eyes, but the silver-blue of Kuat marble veined with crimson. The subtle morning breeze that meandered across the courtyard tugged the Hapan’s robes lightly as he watched revulsion unfold in a cataclysm before him. He was no longer staring at a man, but untamed emotion trapped inside a prison of flesh and bone.
A transcendental shrill pierced the Quaestor like a spear through the chest and Wuntila jutted upright. The shriek rang through the courtyard again and Marick honed in on the Citadel. He glanced up and noticed the umbra of a figure perched on the balcony, watching the battle wage beneath them. As soon as Marick’s eyes stopped on the figure, it retreated, evaporating into the darkness of the Citadel’s shadow. Marick’s gaze quickly shifted as another otherworldly scream sent shudders down his spine. He looked up, following the Citadel to its spire and saw it circling in the sky.
There, above the man and the beast, was a silhouette of the ethereal. An azure creature, featureless except for its sharp wings and its elongated head, gliding through the clouds. Marick noticed an orange-yellow heart that seemed to pulsate in its ‘body’. As quickly as it appeared, it turned, with a fire burning in its eyes, and darted down toward the courtyard. Wuntila had summoned the Krite [AFW]. Marick hardly had the time to move before the dragon was upon him. He dived over one of the knee-height fences and rolled to evade the cone of chimerical fire the Krite vomited onto the ground. He turned to see the Human-Theelin sprinting at him like an enraged Tuk’ata, his companion circling round and soaring low behind.
Wuntila saw only Marick and the Krite. Darkness had consumed his world, leaving only the Quaestor’s petite stature and the luminescence of his dragon. Feral instinct had taken over and Wuntila was at the mercy of his emotions. The Quaestor’s agility was the only thing that saved him from the freighter that careened towards him. He flipped up into the air and watched the Proconsul go straight underneath and skid to a halt. But as he did so, the Krite soared toward Marick helplessly hanging in the air. It flew through him sending a jolt of electric fury through his body, and Marick landed with a resonant thud.
The Human-Theelin was a predator. His head snapped round when he heard the Quaestor fall back down to earth. The Krite released another shrill and Wuntila seized his opportunity. As Marick began picking himself up from the floor, Wuntila charged back at him and hit the mark, throwing his full force into the Quaestor. Marick was picked up like a child and tossed hard onto the marble floor below. He looked up and saw Wuntila standing over him; the Proconsul’s chest heaving as he sucked in mouthfuls of air through gritted teeth. Behind him, the silhouette of the Krite rose and rose into the sky, dissipating into the clouds as Wuntila struggled to clutch at his weak connection to the force. It was only now he could see the damage the Human-Theelin had done to himself. Beads of scarlet trickled down his face from the lacerations in his fragile skin and he blew out droplets of blood and saliva with every laboured breath. Marick was dumbfounded.
The Proconsul maintained eye contact with the Hapan and brought his leg up almost mechanically. It was like a hydraulic piston as it slammed down into Marick’s knee. The thick knots of muscle that clung to Wuntila’s leg ensured that the bones shattered inside the Hapan’s own. Marick looked up with surprising dignity and only grimaced at the blow. The Proconsul expected at least a yelp. Wuntila walked round Marick’s body to deal the same damage on the other side. Marick wasn’t going to let that happen, though. He rolled clumsily from the second attempt and pushed himself back up, his weight resting on the unharmed leg. The other dangled lifelessly from his body, the appendage little more than a hindrance now. Both men redrew their Lightsabers and the snap-hiss rang once more through the courtyard.
Marick forced a smile and saw Wuntila’s eyes narrow.
Both man and beast launched at each other in one last battle for superiority. Although Marick’s agility was now obsolete in terms of manoeuvrability, he was still on top form with his Makashi. Form Two was inherently designed to counter the wide, sweeping attacks of Shii-Cho that Wuntila was so adept at performing, and Marick knew it was now his only defence against the unrelenting strength of the Proconsul. Wuntila came in for an arcing swipe, destined to sever Marick’s saber hand from his arm, but Marick quickly shifted his weight and caught Wuntila’s blade with his own. He flicked his wrist and watched Wuntila as he overextended and righted himself.
Wuntila spun on the ball of his foot and came back at Marick with a high, one-handed strike. Marick struggled, unbalanced, but managed to bat the strike away as he hopped to regain his composure. However, before he could completely poise himself, Marick felt the onerous chop of Wuntila’s blade against his own. It sent another arm-buckling rattle through his body, and he knew he had precious few seconds to correct the situation. He tapped into what force affinity he had left and channelled it into his hand. A ball of light began to form in his palm, growing larger and larger as the Quaestor fell to the floor. Suddenly, it sprang from his grasp, freed from its chains, and crashed into Wuntila’s chest, sending the hulking hybrid at least ten meters into the distance [OBL].
Wuntila’s vision returned and the numbness he had felt as a pawn of retribution washed away, as the deep, throbbing pain of broken ribs and exhaustion overwhelmed him. The blackness subsided and the crashing sea had turned back into a calm, morning horizon. The sky regained its colour and he felt the cooling breeze on his skin again. Marick too was debilitated and both men struggled to stand up. But before they could, they heard the doors of the Citadel creak open and the distinctive clopping of heel-to-floor.
“I started this combat. I will finish it. No Arconan will die by another’s blade. This ends now.” The man’s voice reverberated around the courtyard, off the Citadel walls and across Estle.
They both looked up and the figure removed his hood. Zandro Savric Erinos Arconae stood before them.
Marick Post 1 – I liked the imagery, your use of language is very good and the post wasn't a bad one at all with very few grammar and spelling errors. One error with Force annotation I noticed was the incorrect use of the Dissipate energy power. As a Force strike isn't really energy, you couldn't 'catch' the attack and discard, you could only really dodge it (feasible given your dexterity). The main problem for me was the lack of flow in your writing, mostly due to using a lot of full stops. A lot of your sentences could have been extended using other pieces of punctuation, and this would then have allowed more flow to come to your writing. As it was, while the writing itself was good I felt that the overuse of full stops inhibited the flow somewhat. Barring that, a good opening post for the battle.
Wuntila Post 1 – This post was good, with excellent use of imagery and inventive ways of saying the same thing in different ways (colours being the prime example). Your writing was, like Marick's, good with very few errors littered throughout. However, like Marick I found that sometimes the writing didn't flow quite as much as it could. While this could be seen to a lesser extent in your post as opposed to Wally's, there were still times where I felt that sentences could have stretched on longer and flowed better with different use of punctuation. That being said this was a good post, kudos and such.
Marick Deathpost – This post was your best I feel, with your writing itself standing out. Excellent use of the English language allowed you to describe the scene and the way the fight was going, drawing in the reader and making the post more enjoyable. There was, however, one flaw in your post and that was where you turned off the lightsaber to overbalance Wuntila. While it might not be a well known fact, this move is restricted to those who utilise the Trakata Lightsaber form (don't ask why, but I lost a match because of it once and ever since I haven't forgotten just in case). I hate to be a stickler, but the main problem with this post was, again, the lack of flow caused by what I believe to be an overuse of the full stop. Several times I felt myself pulled out of the immersive words you used because of the stop-start nature of several of your sentences, something that I felt could be rectified quite easily and would make a big difference in the long run.
Wuntila Deathpost – Again this post had some wonderful imagery and again the writing itself was well done and interesting. As with Marick, I feel that this post was superior to your first and you seem to have pulled out all the stops here, with very few errors noticeable in your writing. However, as before there is the problem with flow, with some sentences feeling a bit too short and, for lack of a better term, jagged. Still, a good post.
Conclusion – This one was hard to judge, namely because you are both skilled writers who made excellent use of language, surroundings and tactics. You both had the same errors in terms of your writing as well, with the flow of the battle seeming to be broken at times by sentences being too short. In the future, I would recommend reading posts aloud to yourself so as to see if the full stop is necessary, or if it could be substituted by something else. That being said, it is the sad fact that I must choose one of you to progress and without much to tell between the two of you in terms of writing technique, we turn our attention to more DB-related errors. Marick's misuse of the DSE Force power, as well as the hiccup with the Trakata lightsaber move (minor, but something that unfortunately will be brought up were it to happen in the ACC proper) mean that Wuntila progresses here.
Well done Wuntila, and extremely unlucky Marick, you put up one hell of a fight and if it weren't for those small errors this could easily have been different.
Zandro Savric Erinos Arconae