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Duel of the Forest

Posted on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 @ 8:04pm by Knight Sice Isatu & Apprentice Marlo Jarotay & Darth Sonne

Episode: Episode I: Rise of the Sith
Location: Forests of Saleucami
Timeline: Day 4 at 0810

Charcoal trousers, loosely fitted about his lithe form and ending tucked into supple, clean but clearly worn-in leather boots. A slightly darker coal-hued jacket, tailored and open to mid-chest to reveal a maroon, raw silk shirt. Marlo looked every bit the casual warrior with delusions of youthful grandeur, and he carried himself with a confidence due a grand-master though it wasn't backed up with the skills of the same.

Skills-wise, he was flashy and aggressive, translucent black lightsaber blade cutting hard and heavily through the air between him and his Jedi opponent. He seemed boundless, keen and capable, mistakes bolstered by swift reflexes and youthful energy, but he was far from perfect.

Again and again, Marlo's blade sought Isatu's limbs, her face, the space where they might land next and - more often than not - her own blade. Harsh contact, nimble motion and time would tell who had the better fortitude and stamina. For now, Marlo was more than happy to play with someone he couldn't ever admit might be his equal or better.

Sice smiled, almost sadistically, as she swung her lightsaber round, exchanging fierce lightsaber strikes with her enemy. But, Sice was soon on the back foot as her recent inexperience in duelling began to show. As much as she wanted to strike first, she was forced to defend and defend. Despite her inexperience, though, the Jedi remained calm, centered, as she parried and blocked strike after strike from her enemy.

"Your skills are impressive," the Jedi responded between blows, "but you'll find we Jedi are full of surprises..." she grinned before instantly shifting her entire stance, starting at her feet and up through her body, catching her opponent off guard. Instead of sitting back, defending, the youngster was now on the attack. She summoned all of her brute strength, utilizing wide, powerful strikes and parries as their blades clashed and, for now, pushed to try and catch her opponent off guard.

Marlo's expression was casually serious, speaking of a need to concentrate more as the balance shifted to put him on the defence. He swore, a bitter outburst of words twisted with impatient fury as the Jedi pushed him somewhere he didn't want to be. He needed to push the offence, own the attack, and... his foot slipped on the bare earth, tearing ferns about his ankle as he sprang backwards just enough to save himself. That sort of luck wasn't going to hold out long-term.

Anger fuelled his energy but lowered his concentration and her grin just got under Marlo's skin. Emotions soared up internally, firing off a frantic burst of lightsaber strikes and yet still failing to maintain his higher ground. He stumbled, bringing his dark blade up to protect his face as hers skimmed sideways close enough to wound his left arm.

The young Jedi was now firmly on the attack, pushing her faltering foe. She summoned all of her brute strength, utilizing wide, powerful strikes and parries as their blades clashed and, for now, the Sith found himself on the back foot. Powerful attack after powerful attack came from Sice, the switch to her little used Djem So form giving her the edge long enough to knock her opponent back, throwing him off balance long enough to leave him vulnerable to one final round of strikes and powerful blows. With a swift deflection of blades, Sice swung her blade in a full 360 arc until it came up and under her opponents blade, slicing and burning the flesh on his upper left arm, and sending the Jedi reeling enough that she slid into her Soresu stance of readiness, blade pointed in the Dark One's direction.

"Bitch!" Howled Marlo as pain screamed equally as loudly from his wound. Anger flowed from him in a wave that curled about a deliberate Force push - an instinctive reaction to gain a little ground and safety in which to recover his stance. She was good, the intelligence locked behind that fury told him. Young but talented. Not alone. Trouble! The young Sith sent to his brother via their Bond, red hot temper spiking as he favoured his right arm and held his left close to his side.

Imbalance. Useful in others, frustrating and distracting in one's self.

Marlo rallied, right arm wielding the saber in an awkward sideways slice that swept the air between them in the sudden absence of the Jedi's own blade. A shield. A warning in the wake of that forceful shove driven towards the light from the depths of that young man's darkness.

"Coward!" He taunted, somewhat unnecessarily.

Thrust backwards by the last ditch move of her foe, the young Jedi slid to a stand still, her weapon drawn in her stance of readiness just as it had been in the beginning. His change of tone, stance and movements suggested she had earned his respect, but also his fear. A true darkside trait if ever there was one.

"A coward would back down in the face of a worthy adversary," the Jedi countered, "when I face one, maybe I'll back down. Until then, you will have to do," she goaded the Sith, her eyes trained on him despite the ever growing sounds of weapons fire and explosions around them. For the briefest of moments it seemed as if all around them was at a stand still.

She moved with his will, yet returned to stand her ground once more. Defiant. Strong. Confident. Marlo swore under his breath and let his anger flow freely through his veins. Just another Jedi idiot, here to protect something she likely knew nothing about. To be a part of war over something currently invisible to the Sith. But they would win, of course, he believed that.

"A fool then," Marlo threw back at her. "Stupidity driving you forward?" His tone was mocking, harsh words thrown with a liberal ease and a lack of caring. Was he worthy? Hell yes. Could he win? Remained to be seen.

As he spoke, the young Sith apprentice hurled energy into a Force Pull, leaping sideways as he mixed powers to jump forward at the same time as attempting to drag the Jedi closer. To meet in the middle with a brash confidence and the heated deadliness of his own dark saber blade. That battle noise around them only drove Marlo harder, made him stronger, fear chilling his blood even as his youthful arrogance insisted he never relent and run.

"Die, fool!" He called, swinging his body to her off-side and his blade backwards and down through the scant air between them now, aiming towards her legs.

Caught off guard by the villain's moves, the Jedi could feel herself being dragged towards him, somewhat helpless. As his saber flew towards her she mustered the only attack she could manage. With a deep breath, she created a massive three hundred degree kinetic shockwave, capable of knocking her foe off his feet. If successful, she'd have the time she needed; if not, she'd likely lose a leg before she could swing her lightsaber to counter.

For a moment Marlo thought he had her. For a moment, he did. They met in the middle, just as he'd wanted, his jump and push move brought them together, his blade buzzed with power as it grazed the very air before her left leg. He thought he smelled the singing of clothing, maybe flesh? But then... then... Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!

He hit the ground hard, winded from both her shockwave and that earthward collision. He struggled to pull air into his lungs, while his limbs lay heavy and momentarily stunned into immobility. Slowly oxygen was sucked in as Marlo blinked in disbelief. She was stronger.

Once back on her feet, the young Jedi approached her foe and stood over him, the tip of her emerald-coloured lightsaber blade pointed just inches from his chest. She had been lucky, the blade of her opponent only slicing her clothing. With heavy breathing a sign of the toll their duel had taken, Sice gave him one final chance. "Do you yield?"

"Never," Marlo said on a rough exhale, then pushed himself upwards an inch to prove his point. "You're gonna have to kill me," he told her, feeling slowly returning to his bruised body.

Sice let out a sigh of resignation. "I was hoping you would see sense," the young woman frowned, "but if death is what you desire, death you shall have." With that in mind, she drew her blade high above her head and just as she pulled it down ready to strike... she deactivated the blade and holstered her Jedi weapon. "But your death will not be at my hands," she told him with a shake of the head. Killing an unarmed opponent was not the way of her people, and so the young woman simply turned away and fled into the jungle.

Stubborn pride and ego had kept Marlo's eyes open as that blade had been drawn, and his training had taught him never to flinch. Never show weakness. Never admit defeat. Arrogance hid that moment of... not fear, but expectation... and then she withdrew her victory rights and ran. In everything the young Sith had learned, he hadn't expected that. The softness, the weakness in his mind, despite the Jedi's strength and power. He bent his knees, pushed back with his feet on the ground and sprung upwards, activating his Cloak Bubble around him as he came to a standing position.

She was gone.

And Sonne's voice in his head demanded information. Marlo knew a full report was due, but he strolled lazily from that scene, confused by this combat yet sure of himself. There were mysteries here, shrouded in this place, hidden by those who knew the answers. Every detail helped.

Time to tell tales of the light side and embrace that potent, captivating darkness.


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