Warlord Lucine Vasano vs. Warden Teikhos Ta'var

Warlord Lucine Vasano

Equite, Clan Arcona
Female Human, Sith, Seeker

Warden Teikhos Ta'var

Equite, Unaffiliated
Male Zeltron, Jedi, Defender

This is one of those matches. The kind where both combatants bring so much to the story that it’s almost impossible to pick a winner! But, alas.

With some matches, one writer is clearly driving the story while the other is merely reacting. In this match, both combatants consistently brought their own direction to the story while maintaining a cohesion that made it easy to forget the story had more than one author. Their writing was clean, well-paced and honestly a joy to read as it was often laced with humor and personality. I thought both of their stories were excellent, so the advantage there was extremely difficult to decide and ultimately came down to the final post where I felt that the creature dropped a little too abruptly from the story.

Thanks to both of you for competing in SARLACC and giving me this lovely match to read!

Hall SARLACC [2021]
Messages 4 out of 4
Time Limit 3 Days
Battle Style Singular Ending
Battle Status Judged
Combatants Warlord Lucine Vasano, Warden Teikhos Ta'var
Winner Warlord Lucine Vasano
Force Setting Standard
Weapon Setting Standard
Warlord Lucine Vasano's Character Snapshot Snapshot
Warden Teikhos Ta'var's Character Snapshot Snapshot
Venue [SCENARIO] SARLACC 2021, Round 2: Arx Colosseum
Last Post 26 February, 2021 2:59 AM UTC
Assigned Judge Ciara Tearnan Rothwell Tarentae
Syntax - 15%
Headmistress Alethia Archenksova Lucine Vasano
Score: 4 (Advantage) Score: 4
Rationale: Very few minor errors. Rationale: A few minor typographical errors, particularly prevalent in the first post.
Story - 40%
Headmistress Alethia Archenksova Lucine Vasano
Score: 5 Score: 5 (Advantage)
Rationale: An equally excellent story with a _little_ room for improvement (see final post comments). Rationale: Action-packed, creative, detailed, funny, suspenseful … all the elements of a great story!
Realism - 25%
Headmistress Alethia Archenksova Lucine Vasano
Score: 4 Score: 5
Rationale: One minor detractor. Rationale: No issues found. Well done!
Continuity - 20%
Headmistress Alethia Archenksova Lucine Vasano
Score: 5 Score: 5
Rationale: No issues found. Well done! Rationale: No issues found. Well done!
Headmistress Alethia Archenksova's Score: 4.67 Lucine Vasano's Score: 5.05


Arx’s Colosseum is a monument to the original Petranaki arena on Geonosis, the site where the Clone Wars began with an epic clash between Jedi and Sith. However, instead of confining itself to a decrepit ruin, the Colosseum stands as an example of what the Geonosian arena once was.

Walls tall enough to be unscalable for even the most practiced Force-user surround a theatre the size of a holoball field, floored with sandy soil. Above, rows of seats are packed together into sections for spectators to observe the carnage. The dignitaries who preside over the gladiator matches instead find themselves in an elongated platform “box”, with the large stone throne reserved for the most prestigious among them, flanked by smaller seats for their companions. Large holo-projection screens occupy each of the Colosseum’s walls, displaying images of the combat below streamed by the cam droids that circle the arena.

The arena floor itself is, naturally, more dangerous than it appears. A wide assortment of traps are concealed beneath the dirt and sand, including but not limited to: retractable fire-spewing nozzles, power coils firing bolts of lightning, electrified floor panels, deadfalls lined with spikes, and even obelisks that simply erupt from the ground. These traps are operated by sentient technicians in the Colosseum’s control room, well away from the fighting.

You and another member of the Brotherhood have been tasked by the Headmistress of the Shadow Academy with gathering research data on a wide variety of dangerous creatures. In addition to the normal raucous crowds, sophisticated scanning equipment has been set up around the Colosseum floor to monitor the creatures’ behavior and vital signs under a variety of circumstances—including combat and injury.

Your goal in this scenario is twofold: provoke the creatures and hold their attention for long enough that the Shadow Academy scanners can collect a wide variety of physiological data, and prevent the creatures from destroying the scanning equipment placed in the Colosseum by the Academy researchers. Once those tasks are complete, you will be free to leave the arena (if you can) and claim your reward.

The Headmistress would strongly prefer the creature be left alive and useful after the experiment is finished. She would also "prefer" that you not interfere with the research by attempting to rescue the creature, but you may do so at your own peril.

Lucine Vasano tilted her head as she listened to the roar of the crowd through the heavy double doors that led to the arena floor. She had arrived just as the preceding round was coming to a close. It had ended with a shout of defiance and a monstrous scream of rage and pain, followed shortly by a heavy thud. Curiously, the combatant had not emerged from the door she was waiting at, making her wonder if he had been removed from the arena via another entrance, and whether he had been able to leave under his own power.

“Grim business, indeed,” she murmured. She had a growing feeling of unease about the situation, an icy feeling in the pit of her stomach that she found to be quite disagreeable. But it was far too late to back out now. At this point, the more politically expedient option would be to complete this distasteful business as quickly as possible and be done with it.

Her thoughts her interrupted by the approach of a well-dressed Zeltron and a harried-looking Sullustan in a white lab coat. Here we go, the redhead thought to herself as she arranged her face into a welcoming smile. “Greetings, Warden Teikhos Ta’var,” she purred as the Zeltron got within speaking range, “you have no idea how much I have looked forward to this meeting.”

Teikhos swept his cloak back with a flourish as he sketched a graceful bow. “Consul Vasano." As he rose into a standing position, he gave her a mischievous wink. "The many rumors of your grace and charm did nothing to prepare me for the reality."

Well, he knows his courtly manners, anyway, the redhead thought to herself, allowing her demeanor and smile to warm a bit. Given the favors she had to trade to make sure that she had been partnered with the Odanite for this distasteful business, it was gratifying to know that at least the job itself would be somewhat pleasant.

She opened her mouth to reply but was interrupted by a quick sigh. Both she and Teikhos turned to look at the Sullustan, who was shifting rapidly from foot to foot as he waited for them to finish exchanging pleasantries. Seeing that he had their attention, the Sullustan said, "Oh, you're done? Good!" His words were clipped and spoken rapidly. "Let's get started then."

Lucine raised her eyebrows at the scientist's rushed demeanor but did not argue. Teikhos's lips twitched upward into a smirk, but he nodded for the Sullustan to continue.

"Right then," the scientist said as he pulled a datapad from his coat and turned it to face them. The screen displayed a map of the arena floor, along with several red and green symbols. "Your task today is to induce the specimen to stay near each of the three testing devices in turn, for approximately sixty seconds. The devices are indicated in green, and you must go in the order specified on the map." He spoke in a monotone as if repeating a speech that he had given multiple times. "We are running behind, so the arena master has agreed to turn on the traps to get things moving faster. The traps are indicated in red."

"Charming," Lucine murmured. "How do you recommend we get a wild and ferocious animal to politely sit still?"

The Sullustan twitched his shoulders in a quick shrug. "That's more of a you problem, really. But the Headmistress has absolute faith in your ability to perform this task without killing the specimen." The Arconan raised her eyebrows at that but did not interrupt again.

The Sullustan scientist quickly rattled off the rest of the instructions before hurrying off to see to the other preparations. He left Lucine and Teikhos alone in front of the arena entrance, awaiting their turn.

“Well, it sounds like this will be exciting,” she said.

“We’ll make it work,” Teikhos said. There was a bit of steel in his voice that seemed uncharacteristic for what she had heard about the flirtatious Odanite. He caught her sideways glance and, and his momentary seriousness vanished. “I have something of a talent for charming both people and creatures,” he added with a wink.

Lucine’s lips curved upward into a smile and she leaned closer to deliver a coy reply. But before she could say anything, a loud boom drew their attention toward the massive arena doors. They slowly swung outward, revealing the white sane of the coliseum floor.

“Well, I suppose that is our cue,” she said. “Though I do hope we will have more time to talk afterward. I have been looking forward to this opportunity to get to know you better.” Her tone was laden with suggestion, and her words were truthful. After all, she had her reasons to make sure that they were working together on this.

Bright sunlight streamed down from above, casting the arena floor in a brilliant light. The three scanning devices were set into a large triangle in the center of the fighting pit, though the aforementioned traps were hidden. Tall, unscalable walls separated the fighting pit from the viewing stands, which were packed with onlookers.

As the Arconan and the Odanite stepped into the arena, the tone of the crowd shifted from bored impatience to a roar of anticipation. Born entertainers, both Teikhos and Lucine raised their hands and waved to the crowd with bright smiles and blown kisses.

Across the arena, a second larger set of doors were also swinging open. Though Lucine made a show of feeding the adulation of the crowd, she watched the shadows beyond the opposite door warily. Beside her, Teikhos subtly shifted his body toward the door, making it clear that he was also wary of the impending threat.

A thunderous roar filled the air, drowning out the cheers of the crowd. Seconds later, a massive, four-legged beast stalked through to doorway. It paused just inside the arena, blinking its golden eyes in the sunlight. Its head tilted upward as if it was sniffing the air.

Lucine stared in amazement at the huge, tan-colored lizard. “Is that a…”

“A krayt dragon,” Teikhos confirmed. “A canyon krayt dragon, I think.”

There was no time for further discussion, as the giant reptile exploded into motion. As it charged toward them, it opened its jaws wide, revealing rows of jagged teeth that dripped with saliva. The Zeltron and the Human split up, each moving in opposite directions. As he ran, Teikhos called upon the Living Force and warmth spread from his core to his legs. As the energy infused into his muscles, his pace quickened noticeably.

Lucine, meanwhile, took a different tactic. She made a slashing motion with her hand, causing the illusion that she maintained on herself to fade. The black and green dress and expensive jewelry vanished, to reveal the black assassin armor hidden beneath the illusion.

The krayt dragon paused where the two of them had been standing only minutes before, its head and tail lashing back and forth as it tried to decide which one to go after it. Finally, it whipped its head toward the slightly larger and more colorful target and took off after him.

“It appears that I am not the only one who thinks you look delicious!” Lucine called teasingly after the Zeltron as she skidded to a halt. She unclipped the lightsaber from her belt and the green plasma flared to life as she looked for an opportunity to attack the dragon’s flank.

Ciara Tearnan Rothwell Tarentae, 10 March, 2021 6:35 PM UTC

What Went Well

This was a great introduction. I loved the dynamic you set up between Lucine and Teikhos and the way you quickly established their motivations for being involved in the event. I also appreciated that you brought in the scientist to set up the scene even before they enter the arena and put some focus on actually collecting data as well as battling the beast.

Room for Growth

You have a great command of syntax, but this post had a handful of errors that I think just boiled down to typos. Examples include her instead of were in the third paragraph, an extra and, white sane instead of white sand, stalking through to doorway instead of through the doorway. Tiny things another proofing pass might’ve caught. :)

This had sounded like a great idea when he pitched it to Aura, but now that the fifteen tonne lizard was snapping at his heels, Teikhos was beginning to have a few doubts. He darted left, letting a surge of the Force carry him out of danger as the krayt snapped at empty air. The Zeltron skidded across the sandy floor, kicking up a small dust cloud and thoroughly disfiguring his pristine robes. And then he ran, straight for the first sensor.

This was supposed to be simple. If Ciara had her way, the animals would kill or maim several of the “competitors” and vice versa. The Jedi couldn’t stop the spectacle, but he was better equipped than most to get the Shadow Academy its precious test data without any living creature dying for it.

He hoped.

The arena was large and the sensors were spread out about as far apart from one another—and the entrance—as possible. Lucine’s mouth was moving, no doubt unleashing some devastating personal remark at the dragon’s expense, but the roar of the crowd drowned her out. The krayt was behind him, scrambling to make the hairpin turn after its prey.

That’s something, Teikhos noted. The beast was nightmarishly fast in an open sprint, but it was just too much lizard and too much momentum to turn on a dime. The Jedi adjusted course a bit, running at an oblique angle to the nearest sensor instead of straight at it.

The dragon recovered, caught sight of Teikhos, and roared. The Zeltron felt the pounding of the krayt’s massive feet into the arena floor, blurring with the pounding of his own heart as the beast started to close on him. He pushed forward. The krayt was gaining. He could feel its hot breath behind, real or imagined, but he kept driving forward. He needed as much time as he could get.

When the krayt was finally on him, Teikhos jumped. The Force surged in his legs with might to match the dragon’s and hurled him up and backward into the air, somersaulting over the krayt’s horned head. His lightsaber erupted in a blue flash as he looped it around either side of the dragon’s head, the azure blur just centimeters away from the reptile’s blinking eyes.

The leap didn’t carry Teikhos quite far enough. He landed with the dragon still underneath him and kicked off the animal’s back for another flip backward, but the beast’s movement put him off to an uneven start and the Jedi couldn’t quite stick the landing. He tumbled into the sand, the Force sparing him from the worst of it, and he was on his feet and running again by the time the krayt skidded to a stop.

The creature blinked and shook its head, its vision fading back into focus after the saberlight had blinded it momentarily. It turned and sniffed and found its prey, now facing it square, only a meter from the sensor.

Teikhos stood still and centered himself, inactive saber hilt back on his belt. The dragon charged again and the Jedi opened and emptied his mind.

He felt the krayt more than saw it, the animal’s mind surging towards him with as much power and fury as the beast itself. The pain, the hunger, the fear—krayts weren’t complicated enough for resentment or righteous fury, but if anyone deserved to feel those emotions, the Academy’s pets certainly did. Teikhos knew better than to think he could control the dragon, but he didn’t need to.

The krayt faltered slightly. It slowed. The crowd cheered and hooted, working itself into a frenzy in anticipation of another sudden escape or, better still, a Jedi’s bloody death. But the dragon came to a stop, its nose almost pressed into the Zeltron’s chest as the krayt stared at the little creature sharing its mind.

The sensor hummed quietly. The glowing red light that crowed the device turned from a furious red to a tentative yellow and began to pulse.

Teikhos was nearly overwhelmed as the krayt’s experiences filled him, swimming through his own mind and merging with his own memories. He felt the sting of force pikes against their flank, felt the needles and knives piercing their flesh, the hunger and cold and heat of stress tests while dispassionate researchers stared. Tears streamed down the Jedi’s face as he saw his own children taken from him as the krayt’s had been, carried crying into a distant chamber to be vivisected and never seen again.

The Jedi laid his hands on the krayt’s hide, the useless noise of the crowd and the sensor fading away, irrelevant. He pressed his forehead into the dragon’s snout.

“I am so sorry.”

“What is that choobie chomper doing?” Tag asked. The gray and weathered Human sitting in the Colosseum’s control room had seen a lot during his long and varied career. If Tag hadn’t seen it, it probably wasn’t good.

“I dunno,” Bink answered. “Looks pretty boring though.”

“Should we start pressing buttons?” Tag asked.

“Wait!” The Sullustan scientist held up a finger but kept his eyes fixed on the datapad in his other hand. “Just a second…”

The pad made a cheerful beep.

“Alright, that’s decent baseline data,” the Sullustan said. “You may press buttons now.”

Tag and Bink chuckled as they started working their way through the various poorly documented traps.

Lucine stared in horror as the crowd’s cheers quieted and, slowly but surely, converted to boos. Maiming the krayt would offend the Headmistress, but boring the crowd? That had invoked the wrath of the Grand Master himself, something the Zeltron Jedi must surely have known.

The pulsing yellow light on the sensor tower flashed more and more quickly, finally shifting to a bright green. They had the first set of test data, assuming Ciara’s minions didn’t disqualify it.

And then the towers emerged.

A half dozen turrets and nozzles and coils of varied design erupted from the arena floor and the crowd went wild. The krayt roared in pain and fury as flamethrowers and blaster turrets opened fire on it. Teikhos stumbled as the connection between him and the beast shattered and then fell to the ground as one of the power coils electrocuted him.

Whatever spell the krayt was under was clearly broken now, and the beast thrashed wildly. The arena’s weapons snapped like dry twigs as the dragon swatted at them with its limbs and tail.

And then it turned once more to look at Teikhos, and the crowd went wild.

Lucine swore. The whole point of this miserable exercise was to get close to Teikhos and reinvigorate the alliance with Odan-Urr. Letting the High Councilor’s husband get eaten or crushed in the arena was decidedly unproductive.

And so the Shadow Lady did something she knew she would regret. From her post near one of the other sensors, she screamed, letting the Force twist and morph the noise into the shriek of a wounded bantha.

The krayt stopped in its tracks and turned towards the noise, roaring with a predator’s delight. Instead of a woman, it saw three banthas. It charged, the Zeltron an afterthought writhing in the sand.

He had better be extraordinarily appreciative, Lucine thought.

Ciara Tearnan Rothwell Tarentae, 10 March, 2021 6:36 PM UTC

What Went Well

So much good in this! Your narrative style is infused with the characters’ personalities and is just generally enjoyable to read, so I’m smiling or laughing through most of it. For instance:

Lucine swore. The whole point of this miserable exercise was to get close to Teikhos and reinvigorate the alliance with Odan-Urr. Letting the High Councilor’s husband get eaten or crushed in the arena was decidedly unproductive.

You also did a lot in this post to take control of the story and included everything from exciting but failed backflips in the heat of combat to touching moments of creature empathy, comedic relief in the form of Tag and Bink, electrocution by power coils, and a clever use of illusion to mimic a shrieking bantha. What’s not to like?

“Should we start pressing buttons?” Tag asked.

Yess. Press all the buttons.

Room for Growth

Teikhos was nearly overwhelmed as the krayt’s experiences filled him, swimming through his own mind and merging with his own memories. He felt the sting of force pikes against their flank, felt the needles and knives piercing their flesh, the hunger and cold and heat of stress tests while dispassionate researchers stared. Tears streamed down the Jedi’s face as he saw his own children taken from him as the krayt’s had been, carried crying into a distant chamber to be vivisected and never seen again.

From a story perspective, I liked this as it added some emotional tones to the match and gave us a little more insight into Teikhos’ character. But for realism, unfortunately, it was the consensus of the judges that it reaches a little beyond the bounds of the connection Creature Control establishes with an animal since he’s actually clearly seeing and experiencing the memories of the creature – something that’s more within the realm of powers like Telepathy or Mind Trick. Teikhos only had Telepathy at +1, so I couldn’t give the benefit of the doubt since that would only allow for Teikos to convey simple concepts and not receive or pick up on anything from the creature.

The redhead tried to suppress her growing apprehension as the massive creature charged toward her location. Now that she was certain that she had its attention, she pressed herself against the scanner to put a little more distance between herself and the illusion that she had woven within the krayt dragon’s mind.

Anyone with a bit of power could create an illusion. But it took a significant amount of creativity and attention to detail to truly ensnare the senses and enslave the mind. The krayt dragon was intent upon the image of the three banthas, two of which were looking on in distress while a third writhed in the sand, its movement impeded by a broken ankle. The wounded bantha snorted and tossed its horned head, its distressed grunts ringing within the dragon’s imagination and triggering predatory instincts that accompanied eons of evolution.

The dragon could smell the bantha musk and the sharp tang of blood from where the bone protruded through flesh, nostrils flaring with the thrill of the hunt. It roared as it leaped at the illusory bantha, landing with surprising grace and a heavy thud that sent violent shudders through the ground. Though it was standing on the sandy arena floor, Lucine adjusted the illusion to ensure that the krayt dragon could feel its claws cutting into the flesh beneath the bantha’s fur, and hear the bantha’s bleat of terror. That bleat was abruptly cut short as the krayt dragon locked its jaws around the batha’s throat and wrenched its head violently.

Lucine bit her lower lip in concentration, ignoring the dull ache that was growing behind her eyes as she continued to make small adjustments to the spell she had woven over the creature. Now the krayt dragon could taste the hot, rich blood as it devoured its imaginary prey, tearing gobbets of meat from the twitching corpse as it ate its fill. Bantha blood sprayed and soaked into the hot sand. The sound of tearing flesh and crunching bone was like music that only the krayt dragon could hear. The massive lizard, who had suffered for so long on a diet of bland nutrient paste, reveled in delight of a successful hunt and kill, something that its keepers had denied it for so long.

“Come on, come on,” Lucine murmured as she risked a quick glance at the scanner. The light was now flashing yellow and had been doing so for an infuriatingly long time. If it did not change soon, she would be forced to improvise, and she hated improvising.

The light turned green.

“Oh, thank the stars,” she said with a sigh of relief. The krayt dragon was still whipping its head around, tearing at the imaginary bantha corpse. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Teikhos get shakily to his feet and she was relieved to see that the Zeltron was still alive. Meanwhile, the crowd was booing, hurling insults and debris as they howled for blood and entertainment.

Cretins and barbarians, she thought, barely suppressing a contemptuous sneer as she considered her options. The match itself was a loss; there was no way they were going to win back the crowd. But the possibility for improving diplomatic relations with Odan-Urr remained, and that was what she would focus on. It would be a simple thing to use the other illusory banthas to shift the creature’s attention to the third device and end this farce.

“These guys really suck at this,” Tag grumbled as he squinted up at the monitor. He had been so hopeful when the krayt had charged the redhead, but that had turned out to be a disappointment. “All I’m seeing is a lot of hand-waving. Space magic isn't exciting when it's invisible!”

“At least we’re getting some quality data,” Bink said as he scrolled through the reports that kept popping up on his datapad screen. “But yeah, that crowd is getting pretty ugly. I think it’s time to activate the device.”

A slow grin began to spread across Tag’s weathered features. “I thought you wanted to keep the specimen alive.” He tried to keep his tone neutral but was unable to completely keep the malicious glee out of his voice. “Won’t the boss be mad?”

“If it kills the Force Users first, then we won’t have to worry about it. But if the specimen dies, well, I’m sure the Headmistress would understand,” the Sullustan said. Of course, if that happened, he fully intended to put all the blame on Tag. But there was no need to say that part out loud. “Go ahead and push the button.”

The Human cackled with glee and slammed his hand down on the large red button that was deliberately placed on the edge of the control console, where it couldn’t be accidentally pushed. “This is gonna be great!”

“Ugh,” Teikhos groaned as years of habit compelled him to reach up and check to make sure that his hair was still perfectly coiffed. Naturally, it was. His muscles were stiff and sore from being electrocuted by the power coil. He could taste blood in his mouth, likely from biting his tongue during his convulsions. He noticed with some annoyance that his brand new cloak was singed and covered in dust. He brushed it off as he surveyed the scene.

Across the ring, the krayt dragon appeared to be savaging something, though he couldn’t see what it was. Lucine stood nearby, one hand raised as she stared intently at the gigantic lizard. Probably an illusion, then. She was distracting it without hurting it, so he wasn’t going to complain.

Lucine abruptly waved her hand and the krayt dragon whipped his head around to stare at something near the third sensor. The giant creature shifted its weight, its muscles taut beneath its scales as it began stalking toward the device. The creature was so intent upon the sensor that its crimson eyes didn’t slide toward Teikhos for an instant.

Suddenly, Teikhos felt vibrations beneath his feet, accompanied by a low rumbling sound. A line appeared in the sand between the krayt dragon and himself, which expanded into a dark rectangle as a set of panels hidden beneath the sand slid open. Teikhos took a few steps backward, calling upon the Force to allow him to ignore his sore muscles as he drew his lightsaber in anticipation of whatever Ciara’s minions had cooked up.

Meanwhile, the dragon gave a low growl, its tail lashing from side to side as it bared its fangs at the new threat. But its threatening demeanor quickly changed as a large metallic shape was lifted into the arena. It was about twelve feet tall, with multiple arms that protruded from the central column of its body. Some of the arms had shock prods at the ends, while others had pincers or wickedly sharp cutting instruments.

Immediately upon seeing the device, the krayt dragon gave a shrill shriek and retreated back a few steps. Teikhos’s eyes narrowed as he recognized the metallic monstrosity from the images he had seen in the krayt dragon’s memories. It was the tool that the scientists had used to torture the poor creature in the name of science because they were unwilling to get their own hands dirty.

A hush fell over the arena as the crowd looked on in anticipation. The silence was broken as several of the blades began to spin with a high-pitched whine that caused the krayt dragon to flinch. Then the device launched toward Teikhos with a surprising amount of speed.

His brilliant blue lightsaber flared to life as he fell into a defensive stance. The Force screamed a warning as three of the arms slashed at him from different angles. He twisted out of the way, even as he swung his lightsaber in a tight arc. The plasma blade struck one of the arms, leaving a deep cut but failing to sever it completely.

“Of course,” the Zeltron said with a groan. “Of course they make the twisted abomination of science out of lightsaber-resistant materials!”

The automaton kept up the attack, its multiple arms blurring toward him in increasingly complicated patterns. The Force allowed him to anticipate where the attacks would land and granted him the speed to block and evade, but he knew he would not be able to defend himself forever.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flash of green as a second lightsaber flared to life. Lucine darted within arm’s reach of the machine and slashed her weapon toward the arm he had initially damaged. The plasma blade managed to cut through the already weakened section of the arm, causing it to drop uselessly into the sand.

“You did not really think I would let you have all the fun, did you?” Lucine asked as she moved to flank the automaton.

Teikhos grinned at her, but before he could return with an appropriately flirtatious quip he caught sight of the krayt dragon. It had positioned itself against the furthest wall of the colosseum. Its eyes were wide with terror and its body was tensed in preparation to flee the device that had tortured it all of its life. His eyes narrowed as his grip tightened on his lightsaber. “Let’s finish this.”

Ciara Tearnan Rothwell Tarentae, 10 March, 2021 6:41 PM UTC

What Went Well

Anyone with a bit of power could create an illusion. But it took a significant amount of creativity and attention to detail to truly ensnare the senses and enslave the mind.

While Lucine is obviously the subject of the above, it also reflects quite well how I felt about your ability to write a creative use of illusion. This was pushing the power to its limits with a detailed, multi-sensory experience that the readers felt as much as the beastie. It was also a clever way of getting the beast to stand still over the sensor. Really well done!

I also liked how you used Tag and Bink as introduced in the previous post. It was done seamlessly and perfectly set up the introduction of your own addition to the story – the vivisection droid – with a fun mix of suspense and comedy. Their decision being driven by the boredom of the crowd with Lucine’s illusion was a nice touch, too!

Room for Growth

Honestly, this was great. I don’t really have anything to poke at – I think I added a single comma between two coordinate adjectives.

“I hope you had something in mind?” Lucine asked, ducking low as a mechanical limb tried to sideswipe her. The Shadow Lady despised physical combat, but she put considerable time and effort into staying proficient at it.

“Working on it,” the Zeltron retorted. The Jedi seemed a bit more in his element as he fended off the attack, the Force guiding his limbs to deflect strike after strike with an apparent lack of effort. But the strikes kept coming, and Teikhos hadn’t severed any limbs after the first. His eyes darted to and fro, seemingly everywhere but on his opponent.

“Quickly,” the Sith hissed. Her arms were already burning with the strain and she was not pleased that her companion, who was clearly strong enough to incapacitate their attacker, was inexplicably disinterested in doing so.

And then the Jedi found whatever it was he had been looking for and his face lit up. “About forty degrees to your right,” he said.

“What?” Lucine asked.

“Up in the stands. Do you see it?”

The Human spared a glance to her right. Turrets were popping up from the arena floor all around them, holding fire until the current monstrosity was dealt with. The arena’s wall loomed in the distance, crowned by a small, boxed in observation booth just below the Grand Master’s throne. Was that what he was getting at?

“I don’t understand,” Lucine complained.

“Don’t understand,” Teikhos answered. “Just do.”

Insufferable Jedi platitudes, Lucine thought, but her companion offered some clarification.

“Run for it.”

Glad for any excuse to escape the pummeling, Lucine waited for the next opportunity to duck under one of the mechanical arms and then took off in a flash of copper curls. The arena’s other traps opened fire before she got very far, but the controllers had overplayed their hand in their zeal to work the crowd back up. Now that they were all plainly visible, Lucine had little difficulty avoiding the flamethrowers and power coils and the blaster turrets were no match for her lightsaber.

The crowd didn’t seem very interested in her, but their cries of encouragement were turning to surprise. She guessed Teikhos had stopped dancing and started fighting.

Like most of the arena’s traps, the vivisection droid was only a real challenge while it held the element of surprise. Lucine hadn’t had quite the finesse or raw strength to disarm it, but Teikhos was pleased at how easily she slipped away from it.

As for him, well, striking a vulnerable spot was pretty easy now that the two saber-wielders had been hacking away at the device’s armor. Teikhos plunged his blade into the thing’s horrid little droid brain and tried to use its bulk to shield himself while he pulled his weapon free. And then he ran after Lucine, trying to stay ahead of the deluge of incoming fire.

Teikhos made for the arena’s edge, lightsaber flitting from side to side as he batted away blaster fire. Lucine was almost at the wall—by the time he caught up with her, she had her back to it and had settled in. As long as her body could keep up with the effort, she would be able to hold off the arena’s traps indefinitely.

But as much as Teikhos admired that body, the Shadow Lady was beginning to huff from the effort and he knew she couldn’t keep up forever.

“Cover me,” he said flatly, stepping behind her and clipping his inactive lightsaber to his belt.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, darling,” Lucine said, not entirely able to hide the edge in her voice.

The Jedi didn’t have any clever retort. In the midst of the swirling ocean of hate and fear and pain, of tortured animals and the bloodthirsty, spectacle-crazed crowd, Teikhos was an island. Not an island of peace, exactly, but an island of certainty. As he said, he was going to finish this.

The Iron Legion had searched him when he arrived on Arx and Ciara’s men had searched him again before allowing him into the colosseum’s staging area. Looking over his meager equipment, they thought the lightsaber was his only weapon. But the Jedi had brought another, a weapon against the arena itself. Teikhos drew on the Force and the certainty of his path as he looked up the supposedly unscalable arena wall. He was going to need all the help he could get.

And then he jumped.

The Force almost burned in his thighs as he channelled as much energy as he could into launching himself upward. At the apex of his jump, Teikhos repeated the effort, this time bringing supernatural power to bear in his arms as he hurled the head of his grappling hook at the parapet atop the arena wall. It latched on and the Jedi grunted as he swung gracelessly forward, smacking into the wall before lowering himself down as quickly as he could.

Lucine was breathing hard now, her reflexes slowing as the onslaught continued unabated. Teikhos secured the grappling hook to his belt before he reactivated his weapon.

“Going up?” Teikhos asked with a roguish grin. Lucine made an uncharacteristically unfeminine grunt at him but she dropped her guard, deactivated her saber, and wrapped herself around him more tightly than was strictly necessary. Teikhos clutched his own lightsaber in one hand, ready to bat away any incoming fire, while the other wrapped around Lucine. “Could you get that for me?”

The Human fumbled with his belt for a few heartbeats before she found the switch, but once the automatic winch got going they rose quickly.

The Zeltron tried not to get too comfortable with the Shadow Lady pressed so tightly against him, her hot breath against his neck, the feeling of her heart pounding behind her truly remarkable—

Focus, he thought. Lucine was a child of the Force like all living things, but that crushed velvet body concealed a soul of crushed glass. More importantly, Aura had a very un-Zeltron and, to Teikhos’ mind, un-Jedi attitude about exclusivity in relationships. Fortunately, being hauled up by one hip, butt dragged against a stone wall while machines shot at you, wasn’t very conducive to romance.

They made it up safely, somehow, and Lucine managed, somehow, to clamber off him and over the small parapet separating them from the crowd. The Jedi followed, pulling himself up and over the hook latched onto the parapet.

The crowd was not happy. Neither were the two armed guards outside the control room door. But before they could attack and before Teikhos could even think about how to deal with them, Lucine brushed past the Jedi and waved one manicured hand.

“Dive in,” Lucine said, her voice the sickly sweet of overripe fruit and her words laced with poison. The guards were trained to resist such use of the Force, but their overlords only tolerated so much capability to resist and they could not hold firm against her. There was struggle, hesitation, but eventually submission. The two guards leapfrogged the parapet and fell screaming to the arena floor below.

“Oh, don’t fret about the help, dear.” The Sith was in her element now, far above the beasts and traps and surrounded by pliable, sapient minds. And on the other side of that door, three very frightened, very pliable minds awaited her.

Teikhos was pinned down now as the small legion of guards frantically converged on their position. The Jedi’s azure saber flashed again and again, redirecting blasterfire back to his attackers, but so long as he kept the fighting away from her, Lucine didn’t care what he did. After that little stunt down below, he owed her a few minutes of distraction. She plunged her emerald blade into the control room door.

The durasteel glowed and then melted away as the amethyst blade rocked forward and back. The Sullustan was babbling in his incoherent native gibberish while Tag and Bink discretely shuffled back to the far corner. They have not lived into ripe old age by being old.

After what felt like an eternity, the door collapsed in and natural light flooded the dim chamber. The statuesque, scarlet-haired beauty strode into the control center as if she owned the place, and, as far as the occupants were concerned, she did.

Full lips twisted into a cruel smile. “Boys, could you shut him up?”

“Yes ma’am, Mistress Ténama ma’am yes,” Tag and Bink stammered before helpfully draining their blasters’ power packs by firing into the Sullustan’s back. It took a conspicuously long time, and certainly more shots than were required to kill an unarmored, 40-kilo scientist. But their dedication was impressive.

“Now,” Seraine purred, “What am I going to do with you two failures?”

The two gave each other sideways glances, each trying to work out how to pistol-whip his best friend to death.

Teikhos interrupted them, darting in through the smoking doorway, lightsaber in hand. He took in the scene quickly, then looked to his companion. “Really?”

Lucine sighed and let the illusion fade. “For the record,” she said, “Zeltrons do not have more fun.”

“Remind me to hook you up with my masseur,” the Jedi quipped. He turned his attention to the two men in the corner. “You should probably leave now.”

Tag and Bink ran, mindlessly darting out into the light. Lucine said something cruel and witty but Teikhos was so focused on his task that he couldn’t even hear her. He raised his lightsaber high, then brought it down into the nearest console. And then the next one. No more traps, no more arena fights, no more vivisection droids. He would tear this entire hateful colosseum apart brick by brick if that’s what it took to put an end to pain and suffering inflicted here.

The Brotherhood would rebuild it.

And the Jedi would smash it again.

Ciara Tearnan Rothwell Tarentae, 10 March, 2021 6:43 PM UTC

What Went Well

This was another great, action-packed post that really highlighted each of the characters and brought out their rather stark differences toward the end as Lucine finds opportunity for a “few minutes of distraction” that turn rather dark before Teikhos steps in and takes out his righteous anger on the colosseum’s control systems. The illusion with Erinyes was also really clever, down to the color of her lightsaber blade.

Room for Growth

This is a scenario post with a bit of latitude since the goal was to collect data on the beasties during combat and ultimately to escape the arena, so it’s nothing major considering the amount of action, conflict and combat that remained, but from a story perspective, I did feel that the krayt dragon abruptly disappeared into the background in this post without a lot of explanation other than the previous post stating that it was fearful of the droid. Maybe a mention or some sort of wrap up to that angle would’ve been helpful, but otherwise a fantastic story that was really fun to read.