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.