AA Ladder: Celevon vs. Invictus - Round 2
Zandro sensed the approach of two Arconans and dropped the paintbrush he had been using to mark his latest set of kills on the cockpit of his personal starfighter, turning as he did so. Wiping his hands absentmindedly on the clothing he wore, the Consul nodded at the two new arrivals as they came to stand before him, clearly ready for the battle that was about to commence.
“Glad for the two of you to join me. You know where we are, you know why we’re here and I’m sure you’re eager for me to stop talking so you can tear pieces out of each other.”
Zandro watched the two men before him, admiring pleased to call them brothers-in-arms. Turning, the Erinos leapt atop the cockpit of the fighter he had just been redecorating and dropped into a cross-legged sitting position, waving a hand towards the two combatants as he spoke the word that would start the fight.
(Celevon to post first)
Celevon observed his opponent, slightly wary. He had heard rumors that the Battlemaster was bordering on insane. It didn’t show as the man seemingly studied the Knight. The cerulean skin of the Chiss’ cheeks stretched further in a grin while the Journeyman sighed when he noticed the extra blades built onto the partially curved hilt of Invictus’ lightsaber. The Consul’s spoken commencement of the battle seemed to have been minutes before though only seconds had passed as the two warriors studied each others stances. The cyan blade was ignited and reflected off of the Chiss’ glowing red eyes. Celevon ignited his sapphire blade and adopted a ready stance. Formalities were ignored as the older man lunged forward, his cyan blade singing through the air.
The two blades clashed in a flare of light. The Battlemaster moved so fast he almost seemed to blur before Celevon’s eyes. The Journeyman was thankful that the man’s lightsaber blade wasn’t the same hue as his skin, which would make this much more difficult. The older man’s mastery of the Duelist Form was obvious in the flawless grace of his every movement. The Knight used his frustration to fuel his power as he sped up his limbs through the force [EHA].
The Sith’s grin widened slightly as he noticed the younger man’s movements increase in pace. The Knight repeatedly switched between forms, altering his grip and stance where necessary in an attempt to catch his opponent off guard. The Sith locked their blades over their heads with a small smirk before he pushed the Obelisk away from him. Mere seconds later, he smoothly deflected another blow from the younger man before Invictus swung his blade in a wide arc to knock aside a strike aimed just below his knees.
“I’ve heard about you, kid. I must admit myself disappointed. They speak so highly of your skills, despite your young age. Obviously, they overestimated your abilities,” As he spoke, he blocked a flurry of strikes from the Knight as though he were merely bored. An unorthodox swing of the Knight’s blade had the Sith pulling back to avoid a fatal injury. “That was better, but you will still need to up your ante to impress me.” He could feel the younger man’s frustration transforming to anger and hatred as he taunted him. Invictus deflected and parried the blows rather than blocking as he could feel the amount of power behind each growing stronger the more he worked away at the Journeyman’s emotional restraints.
The Battlemaster locked their blades and smirked before he pushed the Journeyman away from him. “You want something impressive? Try this on for size,” he struck out with a small burst of electrical hatred from his left hand at the Obelisk [SHK].
Celevon barely managed to move his blade into the path of the lightning. The energy was still crackling up the length of his blade when he had to block a quick flurry of strikes from the Chiss. The man’s taunts had faded to the background as the Knight reflexively blocked, parried and deflected numerous blows from the older man. Within his mind, he released his hold on his emotions and the side of his persona that reflected the animal within. He struck out with his fist, sending a burst of energy at the Battlemaster [STK]. Without waiting for the telekinetic energy to strike the man, he rushed toward the Sith with his fury unleashed in the form of the blaze of sapphire energy that was his lightsaber.
With the Force filling him, Invictus could feel the incoming telekinetic strike. While it didn’t worry the Battlemaster, he was impressed at the way the Journeyman combined it with a physical assault, hoping one or the other would distract his opponent. Rather than try to erect a barrier, a feat which had never been his strong suit, the Chiss opened himself to the blow. He reached out through the Force to draw the strike in, shunting the energy into the stone floor under his feet [DSE]. With the threat nullified, the Battlemaster brought his cyan blade up, deflecting Celevon’s overhand strike with a curling parry. The blades threatened to lock and Invictus stepped into the maneuver, freeing up his left hand just long enough to land a punch to the Obelisk’s gut.
Celevon retreated in the wake of the blow, a quick half-step before striking again. His slash was low this time, threatening to literally cut the Sith’s legs out from under him. Invictus hopped over the attack, spinning in the air and kicking out with his right leg. His opponent was quick to respond - quicker than he should have been - and managed to grab hold of the Chiss’s ankle and throw him to the ground [BOS]. The Aedile hit the floor hard, the granite managing to express its own dissatisfaction at being so brutally used. The fall was abrupt, bone-jarring, and set the SIth’s teeth rattling. The Dark Jedi Knight followed up before the downed Chiss could so much as blink, twirling his saber one-handed so the pommel was up and then bringing it straight down, in a two-handed grip, as if to skewer his opponent.
Acting more on instinct than with any sort of plan, the Battlemaster revolted violently at the thought of his life ending here. He reached inside himself and gripped that anger tightly, compressing it until it rebelled and forced itself forth. Invictus’s mouth fly open and a siren’s wail escaped, assaulting the ears of the would-be victor [SFS]. The effect was immediate and Celevon staggered back, his eyes half-glazed. With a moment’s respite in hand, the Sith rolled back on his shoulders and pushed off with his hands, flipping backwards through the air and calling his lightsaber to him once more [TES].
Invictus landed lightly on his feet, bringing his saber around to defend should the Dark Jedi Knight recover sooner than anticipated. His eyes fastened on his opponent and, to his relief, found the Trooper still doubled over, retching. The sight might be a relief, but the smell wasn’t. The rancid odor of half-digested food swept through the hanger, covering the sweet acidity of leaked oil and hydraulic fluid from the squadrons of starfighters. Invictus willed it away, focusing instead on his opponent. Celevon stood with obvious effort, forcing his stomach to settle itself and turning to face the Qel-Droman Aedile. The human’s silver gaze was riveting, the fire dancing in his eyes made all the more deadly for its inhuman hues. A grin twisted the shorter man’s visage into a feral challenge, one that had no doubt backed down any number of opponents. Without a hint of mockery the Chiss smiled back, his own eyes glowing a deep crimson in the shadowy hanger.
Invictus set his feet, bent his knees, and waved the Obelisk forward.
The feral grin on the Journeyman’s visage widened at the clear invitation as he obliged the Sith, rushing forward as he twirled his sapphire blade. Within the recesses of his mind, Celevon calculated the numerous movements his opponent was liable to commit, while his facial expression reflected none of the tumult of thoughts rushing throughout his brain. It was times like the present where the Knight wished he were allowed more weapons than just his lightsaber in this fight, but he continued nonetheless as he returned his focus back into the duel.
The Assassin feinted to the right side of the Battlemaster’s waist before rapidly switching the assault to the left shoulder once the Sith’s cyan blade retracted back into stance. Celevon was unsurprised as the Chiss easily countered his attack, doubling it with a return of his own. He withheld a grin as he rapidly switched between forms, whirling his blade in a hasty defense against his oncoming adversary.
Invictus smirked, his deep red eyes shining with concealed respect for the Dark Jedi Knight’s swordplay as he continued to press forward with his own blade. No saber tricks for this one, the Chiss mused. But can he handle the power of the Force? No sooner had the thought crossed his mind than the Battlemaster noticed several stacked crates in his peripheral vision. The perfect test. The Chiss smirked lightly to himself as he grasped one of the crates and hurled it at his opponent [TRW].
The Knight received a quick warning through the Force with barely enough time to duck and roll as a large green crate rocketed over his head [PCG]. Celevon began to sprint in the direction opposite of the crates and took a quick glance at his surroundings. An idea popped into his head as he caught sight of a shuttle not far from his current position. A running leap, boosted by the power of the Force, brought Celevon to the top of the shuttle and he landed silently on the hull [JMP].
The Chiss cocked his head in puzzlement at the Onderonian’s maneuver, and bared his teeth when the Assassin mocked him with a wave of his hand. He sped across the hangar, his feet barely touching the polished floor as he enhanced his muscles with the power surrounding him [EQS]. Within moments, he arrived at the shuttle, easily kicking off the ground and landing upon the metal back of the vehicle [LEP]. He immediately went on the offensive as soon as his feet struck the hull of the shuttle.
The Obelisk ducked under the horizontal slash, blocked and parried the next several strikes. The next attack both knocked the breath out of him and sent him flying into a harsh landing on the granite below with an unexpected kick to the sternum. Celevon gasped in pain and tasted blood in his mouth as he shakily returned to his feet. The Assassin spotted his lightsaber lying on the ground several feet away. Rather than walking towards it and using up most of his much needed strength, he tugged the hilt towards him through the Force [PUL]. As soon as the hilt smacked into his palm, he ignited the sapphire blade when he saw the Chiss still atop the shuttle, staring down at him.
Invictus had deactivated his cyan blade once he felt his boot connect with the chest of the Knight. He grinned at the glare he received from the younger man before he jumped off of the shuttle and reignited his lightsaber just in time to block a vicious attack from the Knight. The pair exchanged blows for another minute before their blades locked as they made identical slices at one anothers upper chest. He grinned at the Obelisk, “I can feel your fatigue, Edraven. Yield.”
Celevon glared, broke the blade lock and got sliced from his chest and across his right arm, before the man pointed his cyan blade at the Knight’s throat. “Yield. You cannot win this.”
The Journeyman’s glare intensified before he deactivated his lightsaber with a defeated sigh. He knew he wouldn’t have been able to continue the fight much longer. “I yield.”
The Dark Jedi Knight ignored the invitation to attack. Circling slowly, instead, around his opponent, he sized up the situation with a well-practiced, if grim, eye. Invictus refused to narrow the distance between the pair. Rather, he moved in turn with the younger man, taking the opportunity to study their duel’s effect on the hanger. A few furrows grazed the stone and scuff marks marred the otherwise smooth surface. Despite that, there was very little disarray to be found. The stench of putrid bile was thick in the air, a cloying scent overpowering the otherwise familiar smells so welcoming to mechanics and engineers alike. Two pairs of footfalls echoed through the cavernous chamber, serving as a counter-point to the beating of the Sith’s heart. A squeak sounded from Invictus’s left as Zandro shifted briefly atop his fighter’s cockpit. And still neither opponent closed.
Endraven remained calmer than the Chiss expected in the wake of his violent nausea. Hubris was expected of a Sith, but Invictus - a former Obelisk himself - knew which order most often fell victim to their pride. In the face of humiliation, Celevon’s composure was unexpected. He had a cool detachment worthy of a native Csillian, an ability to constrain his emotions in combat that few Dark Jedi tried to emulate. Fewer still mastered it. The Qel-Droman had been one of those few, until a different way was thrust upon him.
But are his emotions constrained...or restrained?
He could barely tell the thought was not his own, only the twang and subtlest hint of a drawl let him identify it. Constrained or restrained: it was a small distinction, but one that could make or break a warrior.
Time to find out.
Invictus circled for a moment more, taking three final steps to his right. Endraven stopped as well, cocking an eyebrow at the unexpected pause. The Sith’s eyes fluttered closed and he drew in a breath, reaching out with the Force and grasping one of the many drums along the far wall. He gestured, as if motioning his opponent forward yet again[TES]. Celevon sneered at the movement - more because it was expected than due to any real emotional reaction. Invictus flexed his knees, the padded combat suit creaking slightly, and launched himself at Celevon. Celevon reacted instantly, neatly avoiding the attack by side-stepping - right into the path of the drum. The Obelisk was thrown forward by the force of the impact, but years of training prevailed. He ducked himself into a roll and came out with a spin, bringing up his blade to defend against the inevitable attack.
Instead, the Qel-Droman was standing his ground at the foot of his own fighter, a Nssis-class Clawcraft parked midway down the hanger. The Dark Jedi Knight kept one eye on his opponent, the other checking the barrel that had come to rest in the center of the open hanger. It was stationary, no longer a threat, and Celevon dismissed it despite the nearly-overwhelming stench of acetone that was leaking from the damaged drum. The human stretched, suppressing a wince at the new tenderness in his shoulder-blades. The younger man kept his cool, but the Sith’s constant maneuvering wore down his patience.
A growl sounded from the assassin’s throat. His emotions won through his resolve, and he rushed the Battlemaster with abandon. Cyan blade met sapphire in a a shower of sparks, locking but a moment before Celevon twirled his saber. The tactic worked, twisting Invictus’s saber so he was forced to let go with one hand else lose both. The Obelisk was suffused with the Force and knew how quickly the counter-attack would come, a heavy roundhouse punch to his jaw. He moved first, pushing up two-handed to angle the Sith’s saber out of the way and immediately crouching. He twisted his body and sprung forward, jamming his shoulder into the Equite’s gut and knocking him breathless. Endraven tried to follow-up with an uppercut-strike from his saber’s pommel, but despite being off-balance the Chiss reacted with blinding speed [EQS]. Celevon’s saber came up and Invictus was already gone, a bewildering blue and black blur.
The Obelisk threw himself into a roll to his right, expecting another trick. As he stood he scanned the area around him, his opponent nowhere in sight. Finally, a low chuckle drew his eyes upwards. Invictus stood perched atop the far tine of his Clawcraft, a grin on his previously solemn face. Celevon covered the distance easily [JMP]. He landed adroitly on the opposite wing. It was a slim perch, and only concerted effort allowed him to maintain his balance as he landed. Despite the predicament, his silver eyes remained locked on the crimson of his fellow-combatant, the two staring unblinkingly at one-another. The Sith, his longer legs spread wide across the tine, steadied himself first and brought his blade to bear. The assassin responded, bringing up his lit saber to intercept the attack. Endraven used the Force to anchor himself to the tine, an unfamiliar and slap-dash approach that, while distracting, was nonetheless effective [PSH]. It kept him in place despite the power behind the Chiss’s blow, and he couldn’t quite prevent the grin that spread across his visage at a crazy idea bearing fruit. Invictus, with his preternatural agility, was impressed by the Journeyman’s solution to a problem he himself had never faced.
Impressive, thought one of his mental companions, while another simultaneously exclaimed: irrelevant.
The Sith pushed the thoughts away, instead focusing on the melee. He pushed the Obelisk’s blade out of line and spun, firmly planting a kick in the Human’s stomach. Celevon doubled over and Invictus struck again, continuing his spin into a second kick with the aid of the Force [EHA]. A resounded CRACK echoed through the hanger and his booted foot met the assassin’s jaw and it was only with the aid of his own training in the Force that the Dark Jedi Knight remained clear-headed [CTP]. His jaw hung askew at an unnatural angle and blood leaked from the corner of his mouth where he had bit threw the tip of his tongue. Still, the younger Arconan refused to accede, pulling himself up and spending all his remaining strength in the Force to hold himself in place and keep his head clear. He knew only decisive action could end this in his favor, and he had little time to plot his course. Already the Chiss had drawn back his saber in preparation to strike, a blow that would no doubt leave the young Obelisk unable to continue. Realizing he had no choice but to give ground, Endraven ceased anchoring himself to the Clawcraft and threw himself into a backflip, landing on the stone floor several meters from his opponent.
The floor was slippery, coated as it was in the solvent that had leaked from the drum. Despite this, he maintained his footing and readied himself for the Sith’s inevitable leap. He knew things would come down to this final attack and thousand glib remarks bounced through his skull. With his jaw shattered, though, it was a waste of effort. He contented himself with a wrathful stare and turned, holding his saber single-handed and angling it toward the ground. The stance was classic Makashi, and it was clear he expected this bout to end in a duel.
It will be almost a shame to disappoint the boy.
Invictus focused inside himself, feeling the residual pain in his gut from where Celevon had smashed into him. He focused inward from it, built his anger on it, then let that anger spread out through the nerves of his chest and down his right arm. At the last moment he let go of his blade and raised his right hand, letting a more mild variant of lightning erupt form his fingers [SHK]. Endraven raised his blade to defend, knowing even as he did so that it was unnecessary. The attack was weak, as such things went, and misaimed besides. It struck a meter in front of him and the Obelisk had time to force down a smirk, knowing the pain it would bring to his jaw. The reaction was short-lived, however. The tendrils of energy might have little power, but they had plenty of heat. Weak as it was, the temperature was still in excess of 17,000 degrees celsius - or nineteen times hotter than necessary to ignite the acetone pooled across the hanger’s center. The flames kicked up, surrounding Celevon instantly and throwing a maniacal cast to the Sith’s eyes. The effect was near-instantaneous. So was Zandro’s response from atop the cockpit of his own fighter. He reached out with the Dark Side, drawing in the energy from the flames, smothering them, then releasing into the air beyond the MagCon field [DRE][DSE] at the hanger’s aperture. With a sight he stood, waving the combatants down from their ready stances.
“Enough. Celevon, I think you’ll agree you were bested?”
Despite the Obelisk’s resolve, a near-brush with that inferno was enough to back him down. A resigned nod was his only reply.
“Good,” responded the Consul. “There’s no need to kill each other with a war so close. And Invictus...”
The Erinos trailed off until he was sure he had the new Aedile’s attention. Seeing it, he continued. “I said up front that this wasn’t a fight to the death. How did you expect Celevon to survive that?”
The Chiss shrugged nonchalantly. “I didn’t.” He flipped to the floor with a grin on his cerulean face. “I expected you to save him.”
“And if I hadn’t?”
“That wasn’t an option. As you said, we are too close to war to kill each other.”
Zandro considered, momentarily, responding to the remark. In the end, he just shook his head and turned his back on the pair. As Invictus helped the Dark Jedi Knight to the medical bay, he couldn’t resist a final glance back to see how his superior was handling the near death. His brush was back in hand and he was placing the finishing touches on his fighter’s newest silhouettes.
In a way, that said everything all by itself.
Celevon 1 – Not a bad opening post, my main criticism here would be the issue with flow. Some of your sentences felt clipped and unfinished, as though they should have gone on for longer but just didn’t. That being said, your writing is solid without many errors and it was an interesting post to read.
Invictus 1 – Excellent post. Well written, interesting to read, flowed well and there were very very few errors that I could note. Not your longest but then I shouldn’t really complain given how much we know you can write.
Celevon 2 – A better post than your first, this was a good end to the battle for you. It was well written with fewer flow errors than had been present before and was fun to read. Not entirely sure that a Knight level jump would be sufficient to propel you atop a shuttle, but that’s only a minor niggle really.
Invictus 2 – Bloody brilliant. One of the best posts I have read so far during this tourney, there really was very little wrong with this post at all. Excellently written, pulled the reader in wonderfully and showed smarts in the tactics employed.
Overall – This battle was a fun one to read and grade, and both of you did well. However, in the end a winner must be chosen and on the strength of his writing, Invictus advances to the Semi-Finals. Unlucky Celevon, you did very well but unfortunately it wasn’t enough this time.