A heartbeat before she splashed into the water, Selika's senses snapped into focus. Only the adrenaline that surged through her as she realized her plight allowed her to call the Force quickly enough to save herself from grievous injury. The Force barrier was nearly completely formed when she plunged into the water. The barrier shattered as it absorbed most of the kinetic energy of the fall, but the air still whuffed out of Selika's lungs as it was driven from her chest by the force of impact.
The water's chill began to eat at her as Selika kicked her feet to bring herself to the surface, grateful that her fall had been into the deep side of the quarry. As her head broke the surface and she greedily sucked in air, she realized that her saber was no longer in her hand. She had lost it as a result of Rian's telekinetic blow or hitting the water, but either way it was now somewhere on the basin's bottom.
A slight setback, Selika thought to herself, knowing the saber was not her most formidable weapon.
She swam for the far edge of the quarry, sensing her opponent moving down the path on the near side to follow. The breeze that now blew chilled her exposed skin even more as she pulled herself fully from the water, the air offering little more comfort than the water. The cold seemed to intensify the nagging pains and aches that seemed to cover her entire body. She would likely be covered with bruises once they had time to manifest.
Turning to face her foe, Selika could feel that his power had ebbed, leaving him momentarily drained. He was moving more slowly than before, but she could feel him slowly shaking off the fatigue. As her perception probed his mind more directly, she finally achieved entry. His mental focus had waned with his fatigue, leaving his mediocre mental defenses weakened and allowing her entry. The battlefield could now shift from the physical to the mental, moving to where Selika had the advantage. She smiled.
"You seem to be more than a match for me, Aslar," Selika said, holding her arms out from her body with her empty hands held palm upward. "I will not impede your progress further."
Selika brought the slightest pressure to bear on his perceptions, and the Consul nodded. "You make a wise decision, Krath." Deactivating his saber, he clipped the weapon on his belt and turned towards the water.
Selika, however, was not done with him yet. Plagueis, like any other Clan, maintained detailed dossiers on the other Clans, and their leaders were no exception. Selika was always looking for exploitable weaknesses, and had been sure to become familiar with that information. Their profile on Rian Aslar showed a man that used an air of positivity to mask his worries, his fear. He was also a leader who would do almost anything to protect his Clansmen. As Selika read him, he was a man who likely feared failing those he lead. And with a path into his mind open to her, Selika could use fear.
As he waded into the water Selika moved through his perceptions, making him think that perhaps he saw subtle movement within the shadowy depths that he had first seen from the quarry's edge. Rian's attention moved away from her as he became more focused on the depths, Selika slowly following him.
Then, weaving the Force together to create more than just phantom thoughts, she made him see what wasn't there. The dark forms that he now saw in the depths were bodies, bodies that bore faces he knew. She painted death masks of Keirdagh, Shaz'air, Howlander, and more of those Rian felt were his responsibility.
"No…" he whispered, the fear that Selika had known lay within him finally coming to the surface.
Before he could clear his mind, push through her illusions and realize that Selika was twisting his perceptions, she pounced on that fear. She grasped onto that fear with the Force, pouring her energy through it to build distraction into a debilitating weight.
"You failed them, Rian," she said quietly as she moved close to him, her voice nearly a whisper. "They depended on you, and now they're dead."
The Taldrya dropped to his knees, water now lapping at his waist. The initial illusion was fading, but the latent fear that was now gripping him was causing his own mind to bring forth it's own images of death, those times before where Rian saw his own failure. As Selika reached out for Rian's own saber, one of those images burst before her perceptions of Rian's mind. A Rattataki, the image of the man dying in Rian's arms.
"His first failure," Selika mumbled to herself.
Once again she brought forth her illusions, this time it was the body of the Rattataki that lurked in the depths, this time at Rian's feet. Fear overwhelming him, the Pantoran reached out and pulled the image to him. Selika made sure his fingers felt solid flesh and bone as she unclipped Rian's weapon from his belt and ignited it. She raised the weapon high as recoiled in fear and revulsion from the personal demon she had called from his own past.
"And now your last," she mocked, driving the weapon downward.
In his last moment Rian Aslar might have finally realized what was going on, raising his arm and trying to call the Force to his defense. It was, however, too late and Selika felt her blow stab downward through his chest. The look of dawning realization was frozen on Rian's face as the blade plunged through his heart and killed him, much to Selika's satisfaction.
She deactivated the blade and Rian fell forward with a splash, his body coming to rest beside the illusory Rattataki. Selika turned away and allowed her illusion to fade, as the final spark of life faded from the Taldryan Consul's body.