GM Jac Cotelin vs. DJK Taranae Rhode

Grand Master Jac Cotelin

Grand Master, Clan Taldryan
Male Human, Sith, Sorcerer
vs.

Knight Taranae Rhode

Journeyman, Clan Plagueis
Female Human, Sith, Juggernaut
Comment

Grand Master Cotelin and Taranae,

Thank you for taking the time to participate in the ACC Fading Light Tournament. I thought this was an exceptional fight and it is unfortunate that one of you have to lose. Jac, great work all around. Your story was engaging, personality driven, and had more than one surprise. Taranae, you did an outstanding job working with Jac's lead posts and continuing the battle. I thought you stumbled a few times with mechanics and the story rambled just a tad, but overall, you did very well.

In the end, Jac takes the wind. Taranae, do not be discouraged. You would have won against 8/10 other opponents in this first round. Your future in the ACC is bright.

Grand Master Pravus

Hall Fading Light
Messages 4 out of 4
Time Limit 3 Days
Battle Style Alternative Ending
Battle Status Judged
Combatants GM Jac Cotelin, DJK Taranae Rhode
Winner GM Jac Cotelin
Force Setting Standard
Weapon Setting Standard
GM Jac Cotelin's Weapons See Character Sheet (Legacy)
DJK Taranae Rhode's Weapons See Character Sheet (Legacy)
Venue Begeren: Ancient Quarry
Last Post 26 May, 2014 8:52 AM UTC
Assigned Judge Grand Master Declan Roark
Syntax - 15%
Grand Master Jac Cotelin Corsair Muse Nashesir
Score: 5 Score: 4
Rationale: No issues Rationale: A few of the sentences became challenging to read due to mechanics. A few word choice issues. Overall, great work.
Story - 40%
Grand Master Jac Cotelin Corsair Muse Nashesir
Score: 5 Score: 4
Rationale: Excellent work. Inner dialogue, character weaknesses, character strengths, and you were kind enough to offer your opponent an excellent starting point. Rationale: This is a commendable effort. I thought your posts were well done and played exceptionally well with Jac's previous posts. Unfortunately, Jac is not just a Grand Master, but a master at the ACC. 5 to 4 in Jac's favor for the story.
Realism - 25%
Grand Master Jac Cotelin Corsair Muse Nashesir
Score: 5 Score: 5
Rationale: No major issues Rationale: No major issues, but I did feel that Jac wrote his character in a manner that indicated he was going to offer Taranae a respite from death. I was surprised you decided to have him kill you.
Continuity - 20%
Grand Master Jac Cotelin Corsair Muse Nashesir
Score: 5 Score: 5
Rationale: No issues Rationale: No issues
Grand Master Jac Cotelin's Score: 5.0 Corsair Muse Nashesir's Score: 4.45
Posts

Begeren. Once a prosperous Sith world, it has been the site of numerous battles throughout the millennia. Grand halls and monuments were torn down and re-purposed by looting Republic forces thousands of years ago, before they were driven from the planet. Isolated settlements still dot the planet's surface, but the inhospitable, craggy, and desert-like terrain, along with the beasts common to many desert and Sith worlds, have kept most humanoids from colonizing. Occasional skirmishes have left debris scattered throughout the desert, and battles were fought here as recently as the Galactic Civil War. The planet is now under the control of the One Sith and is rumored to be full of all manner of priceless, ancient Sith artifacts.

The Dark Council has pushed forth to Begeren and the Grand Master, on his quest for ever more powerful items, has decreed the Clans and Houses seize anything of value. The unity shown by the Brotherhood during the beginning of this Crusade is fracturing, with the Clans and Houses growing tired and frustrated with the seemingly endless succession of battles. Tempers are flaring between former allies, with outright aggression no longer uncommon. Despite this, you have responded to the Grand Master's call—though whether it's to actually seize the items for the Brotherhood, destroy them, or use them for your own purposes, only you know. One such item, a Sith talisman, said to be inlaid with a dark side-infused gemstone, was lost in the quarries of Begeren during the liberation of the planet from Old Republic looters thousands of years ago.

The Force has drawn you here, to an abandoned quarry, in a mountainous region west of an expansive desert. Any mining equipment once used here is long gone, but the landscape itself remains surprisingly preserved from the days of the Old Republic's strip mining. Scrub brush, the only foliage present on this part of the planet, has taken root all along the sides of the quarry. The ledge overlooks a one-hundred meter drop into a crystal-clear basin of water; opposite the ledge is a more gradual, step-wise decline. The basin itself is peculiar, as no plants are growing in or around it, despite being one of the few bodies of liquid you have seen in the nearby area. A long, snaking ramp meanders down through the steps of the quarry towards the water below, beginning at the northward edge of the cliff you now find yourself on. You notice shards of gemstones crunch underfoot as you move, a hint as to the use of this quarry in ages past.

The descent was slow along the stepwise decline of the quarry. Jac Cotelin moved gingerly down, watching carefully as he placed his feet on the churned up ground below. Able-bodied as he was at his advanced age, Jac knew he could not afford to waste his energy. The last thing I need is to nurse a broken ankle, he thought, kicking aside a green gemstone. As he reached the bottom, he glanced upward at the cliff across the way, squinting in the bright mid-day light, then he looked down. The water sparkled clear under the sun, an inviting pool aside from the darkness it housed. Jac wondered why no one else had noticed. Even a land as bereft of life as this should see life blossom about a water source, polluted or not. But then, it depends on what is the pollutant. Waste from a century-old strip mine, or something more sinister?

Clear though it was, Jac could not see to the bottom of the pool. Yet he could feel the artifact. It was a beacon of the Force that called to him. He began to disrobe, first pulling his sabers from his belt and placing them on the ground beside him. He wiggled out of his gold-lined tunic and pants, revealing not only his loose-fitting britches, but also the form of a man well past his prime. Jac was still strong, but his skin and muscles drooped as they are bound to do in the seventh decade of a hard and worn life.

He dipped his toe into the pool, finding its touch to be quite warm and pleasing, then stepped in. Jac bent his knees and sprung forward into a dive, breathing deep for the descent. As the water engulfed him, so did the Force, helping Jac stay below for longer as he searched for the prize. Perhaps my luck is with me, and I’ll find it right out, Jac thought as he pulled out of his streamline. He straightened his body like an arrow, throwing his hands back along his side, palms to his feet. With but little concentration, he unleashed a torrent of energy from his hands, churning the water behind him and propelling him forward.

And luck was with him as he reeled toward the beacon. There was the talisman, right in front of him on the floor of the quarry pool, its age failing to show as the dark powers held it in pristine condition. Jac grabbed at the artifact, not caring at the moment if touching it would have negative effects. I’ll study it later. Right now, I need air. With another push of the Force, this one tempered by a chest pounding for air, Jac made his way to the surface.

Wind took to Jac’s lungs and the cool breeze shot across his face. He paddled lightly toward the shore, floating on his back and holding the talisman up to the sky with one hand. Bright sunlight sparkled off the gemstone in its center. I’ve still got it, he stated to himself, proudly, as he turned to put his feet on the ground. He lifted himself up to stand in the waist-deep water when his senses—led mainly by his eyes—ignited.

He had not noticed her in the Force—he hadn’t been paying much attention—but she was plainly before him now. The Dark Jedi’s red hair contrasted with her black outfit. She was slim and athletic; and with her hood off and cloak pulled back, Jac could see bright green eyes staring back at him. He noticed the lightsaber at her hip, and the two blasters at her side. Still using blasters, Jac calculated, means that she isn’t as proficient with the blade as she might be. A Jedi Hunter, perhaps? Or a Knight?

Jac stepped to the edge of the water, keeping his distance with his new friend. He knew the advantage that he would have over her in a duel. That is, if only I had my lightsabers. The woman, who was not moving an inch, was holding both of Jac’s golden sabers. Jac considered his situation for a moment, and then started to move toward her, not remembering that he was in nought but his small clothes.

“You best not let the Grand Master see you with two golden sabers. He would get jealous that you have two before him.” He smiled broadly.

The redhead did not answer, but the fact that she stood her ground was impressive. Any other fight, Jac thought, she would probably charge in. But what to do in this situation? Jac considered the same thing.

She moved first, her boldness taking her to action. In an instant, she put both golden sabers in her left hand and with her right drew a blaster, the first shot leaving the gun just a split second later. Jac had not actually expected her to attack, and could do little more in the split second than absorb the fire. Jac winced as he caught the energy bolt in his palm. I forgot how much that stings! Then the Force was with him, buttressing his senses and helping his old muscles move with youthful vigor. As the second and third blaster bolts came near, Jac darted forward and out of the way, moving left and right as he closed the distance between himself and his foe. One bolt sliced past his ear. Too close.

Not knowing yet if he intended to kill her or just maim her, Jac directed his energy first at her weapon. He tore at the gun with his mind, ripping it from her grasp and flinging it backward. Jac stopped a few yards away, pleased with himself for disarming her. But it was a pleasure that left his mind when he heard two plopping sounds in the pool beyond. She had tossed his golden sabers into the water; and he hadn’t even noticed.

“You…” Jac cursed.

Taking away her opponent's weapons left Taranae with a few more choices. But sensing the immense power that the man standing in front of her had, she wondered how many choices it did actually present to her. The hand that previously held her blaster stung, and as she lifted it to glance at what was causing the pain she realised that as the weapon was pulled from her hand, the sheer force of the pull had been enough to leave a burn mark. She glowered at her nemesis as she gingerly touched the area of the red welt with the fingers of her left hand and winced. It hurt a great deal and would prove a disadvantage to her should she draw her lightsaber.

"It seems we are both here after the same thing," she said, motioning to the talisman in Jac's hand. "I don't want to fight you, but I will take it by force if I need to."

Jac smiled at her, a broad grin that bordered on disturbing and Taranae felt a little less bold. Her cloak billowed in the wind that blew suddenly from nowhere and she was amazed to see that the man standing across from her barely seemed to feel it. Dressed only in undergarments he suddenly seemed old and weak. His face wrinkled as he smiled; the image of a kindly gentleman showing instead of the powerful Force user thought she had been facing. Nonetheless, she stood her ground and awaited a reply.

To her surprise, he calmly walked towards where he had obviously shed his clothes before diving into the pool in the bottom of the quarry and started to dress. She glanced at the water, not knowing how deep it could be. The surface rippled in the breeze as if someone had tossed a pebble across its surface, skipping it to the far bank, but the depths remained a mystery. How far had this man had to dive to retrieve that talisman? Had the dive had any effect on him or left him weak? Taranae knew nothing of how strong he was physically and hoped that if they did come to blows he would be weakened sufficiently to be overcome by her speed.

Standing, Jac turned to stare at Taranae. Now his face turned to a scowl as he glared at her.

"Do you know how long it took me to get those lightsabers?" He asked.

"No. I only know that it will take you a while to retrieve them from where they are now." Taranae replied, smiling.

Jac reached out to the young Knight and sought the answers he needed in her mind. He smiled slightly as he opened his arms.

"I know why you want this Talisman," he said. "You want it for yourself, to be more powerful and try to rise through the ranks. Trust me when I say that it will only bring your end."

"That's a lie!" Taranae spat. "I only wish for it for my Masters! To further the cause of Plagueis. If I bring this to the Grand Master I shall be showered with praise and both I and Plagueis will reap the benefits."

"Your feelings belie you, young one." He replied. "I sense much ambition in you. The reasons you tell me are not the reasons you are here. What would your superiors think?"

"You Lie. I am here for the good of my Clan!" She shouted vehemently. "I will not stand here and have you probe my thoughts and spout untruths about my intentions."

Taranae charged Jac with her left hand flung out before her, gesturing at him, and her right hand screaming with pain at gripping her lightsaber. He motioned with his own hand and felt a slight pressure against his ward as Taranae's attack hit it with little effect but to brush past and hit him like a strong wind. She was undeterred, despite having seen no reaction to her attack on his part, and she continued on her course. As she leaped towards him she raised her lightsaber, intending to bring it down in a sweeping arc across his head.

Suddenly she was plunged into darkness and she panicked. She tried to stop herself from travelling forwards but knew that she had no control while she was airborne. She swung her lightsaber even though she was blinded, hoping to catch her opponent in the swing. To her dismay her adversary had sidestepped her leap. She landed haphazardly on the ground and her ankle gave way, sending a severe lancing pain through her foot. She rolled as she hit the ground and felt water close around her as the momentum carried her into the water and she gasped as her head submerged.

Surfacing, she struggled to the bank as the darkness subsided. She stood, her ankle screaming and a shocked expression crossing her features as she saw her foe with both his lightsabers in hand. The roll into the water seemed to have lasted a few scant seconds, but it appeared that time had passed more slowly than she thought. The weapons must not have sunk far enough into the pool to delay his retrieval of them for too long, and her trip into the body of water had allowed him to collect them as she struggled to see through the darkness.

“Do you still wish to fight, young one?” He asked, smiling.

Taranae gripped her lightsaber and backed into her Soresu stance, nodding at Jac.

“Let’s see what you have, Old Man!” She mocked, and moved slowly towards him.

Jac was used to being called many things. He was a member of Clan Taldryan, afterall, where even your strongest allies will speak their mind in not-so-pleasant terms. Old man? I've heard worse, he thought. But for some reason, her statement, obviously meant as an insult, hit home. To this young lady, Jac looked weary and weak, a first impression Jac was not used to making. Unfortunately for her, he was anything but weak

He backed away, giving her room to act fierce and controlling. "The question was supposed to be rhetorical," said Jac, wriley. "I'd rather not have to try these out, wet as they are." Jac held out the sabers in his hands and twirled them back and forth. Drops of water flew about, streaking the stone beneath his feet with water. He attached his sabers back to his belt. "Might cause a short." She stepped forward again, and he once more retreated.

Taranae did not seem deterred at all by the prior scuttle. She brushed away her wet and matted red hair with her offhand, not failing for a moment to hold Jac's gaze. "Give me the talisman," she commanded, naught but confidence in her voice.

Jac thought about it for a moment. Why does everything have to be so difficult? Decided, Jac pulled the artifact from his pocket. He tossed it to the ground about a foot in front of the journeyman. "All yours," he said aloud while his mind dared her: if you can take it.

Taranae did nothing for a moment. Then she slowly and surely squatted down to retrieve the talisman, all the while holding her gaze and battle-ready saber aloft. When the tips of her fingers brushed the metal, Jac moved his pinky ever so slightly and tossed the talisman high into the air.

The Knight's gaze shot upward with the artifact—a distraction of only a second—and then Jac was upon her. One, Jac counted as he moved like a young man, his fists leading into his prey like a prize fighter against a training dummy. He struck her jaw first; the upward force snapped her head backward and Jac sensed Taranae's pain as she bit through her tongue. Jac then shot his offhand into the woman's chest, wheeling her about, clumsily. Each blow was accompanied by a barrage of the Force as Jac used his powers to the effect of having extra limbs. While Taranae spun upward and around, Jac pushed back her saber arm with the Force—a direction opposite of her turning body—until he heard a satisfying crack..

Two, Jac thought as he brought in his hands to work again. Taranae opened her mouth to scream, however the gasp was caught in her throat when Jac's left hand connected with the middle of her neck while his right charged into her gut. The Dark Jedi Knight's good hand shot up to her throat, grasping at the pain. Taranae wheezed as Jac leaned back and raised his right foot.

Three. Jac kicked forward, his frustration with the woman built into a powerful surge. His foot connected with her chest, and Taranae flew back a dozen yards, skidding across the ground for the later half.

Four. Jac took a step closer to his opponent and willed her lightsaber from her hand. The broken arm barely gave a struggle as Jac ripped the weapon away. Torn skin fell off into the wind as the saber flew into Jac's right hand.

Five, Jac counted. He held out his other hand and the falling talisman landed neatly in his open palm.

Taranae struggled on the ground, writhing at the pain in her neck and struggling with a mangled arm. Her eyes flew wide open in concentration when Jac ignited her lightsaber. Yet she did not cry out. She doesn't beg for mercy, noticed Jac. Commendable.

Jac concentrated on the talisman, forcing it to float aloft before him. The woman's eyes watched it as she panted, blood trickling down the side of her mouth. "I'm impressed by you, young one," Jac said as he moved the lightsaber blade very close to the talisman. "You have potential. I can see that." The metal surrounding the Sith crystal began to turn red from the heat of the lightsaber, the energy and heat of it bolstered by the Grand Master's will. "But you must now realize the mistakes you have made." Jac stepped closer, the floating talisman moving with him.

Taranae pushed backward with her legs, scooting along the rough ground. "Just go ahead and kill me. Get it over with." She spat blood and wiped her mouth.

Jac smiled. "No, Taranae Rhode of Plagueis. I will not kill you." Jac stepped close and was standing directly over the woman. The red-hot talisman floated before him. "For having the courage to attack a Grand Master to take this prize, you deserve praise." Jac paused. "But for being so naive that you would attack a Grand Master, you deserve your pain." The light shone across Jac's weary face.

"I cannot let you take the amulet, but you can remember this day always." The talisman dropped down, controlled by Jac's mind, and lodged itself into Taranae's forearm. The heated metal singed the skin and the air quickly filled with the smell of burning flesh. Taranae tried to move, but Jac's invisible hold kept her in place. This time, she screamed.

Jac pulled the talisman away, revealing a deep red and boiling impression on the woman's arm. "Proof, my lady, so your Consul can know how close you were." And with another flick of Jac's wrist, Taranae's head and body shot back to the ground. The back of her head hit the stone and the lights went out in her eyes. Jac watched, sadly, as his unconscious opponent breathed lightly.

"Until next time, farewell." Jac Cotelin turned on his heels and walked away, the now-cooling talisman trailing behind.

Jac now knew that this young upstart would stop at nothing to snatch the amulet from his hands. He realised that combat was inevitable, but being the calm, centred person he was he would use his diplomacy whenever it could be used. As he watched Taranae for any sign of movement to give away her attack plan, he reached out to her mind and sensed nothing but rage. The deep, powerful feeling flowed through her as water along a concourse but intermingled with it was a little fear. Fear of the unknown? Fear at not knowing what he was ultimately capable of? He had masked himself well from her senses and gave a sly smile, knowing that she had no idea whom she faced right now in this bleak, barren quarry.

Taranae grew impatient; the ‘old man’ as she called him, just stood before her without attacking. She used the time available to her to call on the force and winced slightly as her ankle snapped back into position. She saw a slight smile spread along the line of his mouth and believed that it may have been a tell - a sign of a forthcoming attack. She gestured and hoped that her weak defences could hold out against whatever he threw her way, but he laughed as she did and Taranae looked confused as he instead drew one of his lightsabers.

"You are very foolish, even for one so young." he muttered as he slowly and nonchalantly strolled towards her.

Taranae glanced around at the walls of the quarry and decided this was a fight she could not win without a height advantage. Calling on the Force, she quickly used a mixture of leaps and handholds to scale the walls and landed on her feet on the plateau just above. When she turned, her lightsaber ready to strike, she saw nothing. Her opponent was nowhere to be seen as she gazed into the bottom of the quarry and along the steps leading down. Suddenly, she felt a disturbance in the Force immediately behind her and quickly sidestepped. She brought her weapon around and only at the last fraction of a second managed to block the incoming strike from the rear.

As Taranae made her climb, Jac had quickly sped up the sides of the quarry alongside her having realised what she was about to do and had masked his advance after making sure she thought no-one else was with her. The manipulation worked better than he had thought and he had reached the top only moments before she arrived and had cloaked himself with the Force to wait. As she leaped the last metre or so, she had landed, gasping and turned, drawing her lightsaber. It was at this time that Jac dropped all pretence and stopped shielding himself from her. It had the desired effect and he saw her stiffen as her senses picked up his presence, so he dropped his cloak and closed in fast, hoping to end this charade. His lightsaber swung down with an audible hiss, but Taranae had sensed it before it reached its target and blocked it. Her arm shook with the effort and sweat beaded on her forehead as the blades connected and Jac growled slightly in frustration. He now realised that she was skilled, but not in comparison to him. He pressed his attack, forcing Taranae to her knees. Her own lightsaber bearing down on her, it slowly advanced towards her throat under the pressure Jac was applying and it was almost too much. She realised that he wasn't even exerting much effort and she grimaced in pain, trying to shove back the attack.

She suddenly straightened one leg in front of her and hooked it around her opponent's calf. Jac sensed the attack coming but mistook his footing. Her foot found its mark but only succeeded in unbalancing her opponent. Taranae used this to her advantage, pushing back his lightsaber and swinging her own at his midsection.

Suddenly, Jac regained his balance and blocked the attack. He raised his hand and it flared, sending electricity racing through Taranae's body. She shook violently as she felt her blood begin to boil under the onslaught and her flesh began to steam as the energy became lightning. The attack stopped abruptly and she fell backwards, sitting on her own calves and kneeling in front of Jac. Her gaze swept to his as her fear registered. She knew she was about to die but her body felt as if it would welcome the release. The lightning had burned her both inside and out and Taranae was in excruciating pain.

Jac decided to put her out of her misery and he thrust his lightsaber forward. The weapon entered her chest and pierced her heart and lung, killing her instantly. As he withdrew the weapon, her body still knelt before him and he threw out his hand towards her, palm up. A strong force hit her heavily and sent her wheeling off the plateau and over the quarry where her momentum carried her out over the waters and she fell, a cascade of water following her into the abyss as her body submerged with a loud splash, sinking from view.

Jac shook his head. It would not have had to be that way if only she had just given up when he asked. She showed that she would maim or even kill to get the amulet. He raised his hand, the prize glittering in the light, and placed it in his clothes. The prize was his, but a young Sith had lost her life for it. He walked away, returning his lightsaber to its holster, and headed home.

It seemed ironic, as Taranae’s body landed in its final resting place, that her hand fell on the spot where her opponent had previously taken the amulet from that she had come to this world to claim.