The frosted and milky mist of night and smog fell on the streets of Nar Shaddaa and things were different tonight. The close, terraced apartments that were built for a family of four but housed twenty, remained vacant since the sunset. The lines of swoops, cruisers and government service hauls that sat and pressed against the low terraced buildings, and the major build up of queued, smoggy traffic with their constant sirens blazing throughout the night were also vanished from the scene. All apart from the usual and familiar cruiser that everyone recognised as the Cartel patrol, yet this unfamiliar and tense scene of an illegal cruiser and disappearing vehicles was not random, as this was a special night. Because most of these inhabitants of the rough neighbourhoods that crammed Nar Shaddaa, were all surrounding the main palace that housed the Hutts organised crime and business.
One this same and unusual night and many fathoms below in the most deep crevices of the Hutt underworld, a blue Togruta called Lexiconus lay on a metal bench that sat next to the entrance of this training arena. His strenuous and rigorous ordeal has just ended, placing himself against another competitor that was in a lower ring than him, a Trendoshan. These two paired up after spending what felt like hours waiting for a sign of their duties in the fighting circles, and began to spar their own styles. Blood and sweat coated their two bodies throughout the day and evening and soaked into the cloth of the arena square. The Trendoshan was an expert in the art of Broken Gate, a form which required him to absorb as many punches as possible, then deliver just as strong punches once your opponent was worn out, Lex’s form on the other hand was not about endurance but communication. The lethal and mysterious art of Echani practiced the student to understand and learn who a person was, through battling them and observing their movements, as the Echani student could recognise those foreign movements and counter them with an appropriate strike at the exact nerve.
Lexiconus lay weak on the bench, and the Trendoshan still on the floor of the arena in his own blood, they both gave a cruel and cold smirk at each other, feeling a sense of achievement and closeness to each other as warriors, maybe even brothers. The panting Trendoshan heaved his body from the bloodied cloth and wiped his face against a towel as he began to walk towards Lex, then slam his rear onto the closest metal bench, grunting at the pressure of metal against flesh.
“You’ve got the spirit of a thousand suns, and the punch to match. Why are you wasting your time with this fur ball?” The agitated yet curious Trendoshan asked when his eyes gazed at the duelling card Lex has for his first round.
It was a Wookiee called Wroargh and he was an expert in the Wookiee martial art of Wrruushi. As he listen to the Trendoshan’s words, still panting and chuckling to himself after an eventful fight, he slowly raised himself up and sat up with little difficulty then looked into his eyes.
“While I value anyone’s opinion on this brute, he is a Wookiee. A beast that has no mercy on anyone but himself, he will want to win and death is success for him.” Lex said, as he stated this he could already imagine the amount of pain a Wookiee punch could land.
The Trendoshan became even more so curious, as he leaned back only slightly so he doesn’t fall off, yet enough to show slight shock towards his sparring partner. The sweating Togruta, with only his skin-tight black pants on and no boots, panted more and reached for his water, he struggled to lift it and slams the neck into his lips, then squeezed the much needed cold liquid into his throat and it was gone without touching his tongue. Placing the bottle onto the bench, he gazed towards the Trendoshan who now had his sight on a poster on the wall.
“I needed to train with you because your art focuses on taking damage, and giving just as much back. You are like an Imperial boxer, you would be no good if you cannot take several punches.” The Trendoshan then looked back and snickered, then nodded his head to the side in agreement.
“Yes you will need to take several but I still wouldn’t take too many from a four hundred pound Wookiee.” They both slowly nodded in agreement, yet Lex clearly knew in his mind that taking damage was his plan.
Without a second delay, a male Twi’lek burst through the training door and pointed at Lex.
“Get up Togruta! Time to die!” With a nod and a jump to his feet, Lex slapped the extended hand of the Trendoshan with confidence and jogged out behind the Twi’lek, as he carefully followed him through the tunnels of darkness and towards the roars of audience.
The waves of hysterical and momentous chanting created a thick sound barrier around the bloodied arena of blood and sand. A mixture of boos, hisses and low roars echoed and bounced around the stands, boxes and tunnels of this death-trap as the monolithic Wookiee slowly marched around the circle, his furred pillars of arms raised in the certainty of future victory. He let his left arm swing and slam twice against his thick chest as he bellowed out the signature Wookiee roar of war, followed by similar waves of different pitched roars, crashing and circling the crowd. The audience were on fire and fueled by the brutality state of mind from the Wookiee, as he too fed from them and looked towards Lex entering with bloodthirsty eyes and tensed claws.
As the silent but pumped Togruta jogged into the sand circle, the audience that monitored the Twi’lek who walked into the centre came silent, apart from the excited yet soft roars of the Wookiee fans. The male Twi’lek raised his pink arm with a banner on it, and as the warbanner unfolded it held the familiar Lambda symbol on with a purple background and copper additions at the top. Some of the more humanoid crowd began to uproar and clap loudly, followed by high pitch whistling and a slow rise of soft boos coming from inside the chants. Lex kept his game face on, clearing and focusing his mind on what the Hutt told him today.
“You let him hit you fifty times, and i’ll make you a champion, kiddo.” He thoughts ran over the challenge once more ‘Be hit fifty times, then knock him out’ The slow rise of boos began to cloud his mind as the Twi’lek left the circle for the bell, followed by the Wookiee roars.
The crowd began to die down, slowly becoming silent, with the odd cheer, boo or roar coming from excited and bloodthirsty members, the two combatants began to fix themselves in their poses. Lex quickly dropped and spread his legs out wider than his shoulders, lowering his weight and standing sideways to be less of a target, yet completely mobile in a circular arena. His fists were tighten and low, kept low to the abs of his stomach and his hips as this way he tried to cover the weak parts of the body. The Wookiee ever since he saw Lex had not changed his stance, he faced him with his chin tall, his shoulders slouched and his heavy arms dangling like broken branches from a lightning strike. His calm expression and relaxed legs completely misdirected Lex about the art of Wrruushi. However as Lex looked at him further, he saw under his furry hands that his fists were clenched as tightly as they could, and his eyes were completely fixed on Lex’s. Also that his breath was panting very heavily and sounded raspy once the crowd died down. Tension broke by the loud chime of the bell.
With a quick pace, Lex quickly circled the giant Wookiee, watching his arms and keeping his body low as the Wookiee began to jog at him from direct vision. Lex rolled away, tucking his arms into his stomach as the Wookiee had thrown his huge arm to where Lex was. The first punch, forty-nine to go. Lex quickly circled the Wookiee more in slight panic and with a rush of adrenaline, as he continued to watch the Wookiee run at him. With the objective of quickening the match and learning his opponent, Lex rolled towards the Wookiee and learned it was a mistake. The dense arms of the beast quickly swung down and into Lex’s chest, which sent him soaring into the air and he back-flipped into the wooden stand of the first row of crowd, breaking the beams with his back. Feeling nothing but pure agony and anger, the Wookiee’s second hit reminded the foolish Togruta that death was always an option.
After five more evasions of the Wookiee’s arms, the wincing Togruta leaned against the broken barricade for support and forgot to keep his eyes on the Wookiee. Who in a stroke of confidence and high morale, swept his arm like a dust brush at Lex’s head and sent the unlucky Krath cart-wheeling towards the tunnel entrance. The sheer force of the knock almost made Lex black-out, however Lex eventually rose and jogged back into the arena with what little hope he had. With his concentration definitely on the Wookiee, Lex evaded three more strikes towards his head. He noticed that the Wookiee was an expert in melee and knew he needed to focus on single wound to wear Lex down. With this tactic finally understood by Lex, he evaded another three lunges from the Wookiee by rolling through his open, furry legs. But as the student of Echani did so, the Wookiee back-heeled him in the pelvis which sent Lex onto the sand flat. The smirk painted Wookiee stepped over Lex’s back and repeatedly hit him for what felt like a dozen times.
Longing for mercy and grinded in by the hefty and furred pillars that the Wookiee called arms, Lex found himself flying back into the broken barricade and beaten into the sand for another two minutes. The stunned and shaken Togruta lost count at thirty or more, yet he felt he was still nowhere near the target. With the growing chanting and Wookiee roars that blasted and echoed from the orchestrate of barbaric audience inside the domed arena, Lex felt he needed the Force to assist him soon or death was iminent. Summoning what little defense, and dignity Lex had he placed his palms on his body and caressed the midi-chlorians, he guided them to his wounds and his broken bones to aid in rejuvenating them in the mili-seconds he had to spare. After feeling slowly better with his skin wounds scabbed over, the Wookiee warrior ripped away this hope by gripping Lex’s thigh and neck, lifting him nine feet high and threw his body backwards, which allowed Lex to tumble and slam into the adjacent wooden barricade that was freshly built and sturdy, which felt unfortunate for Lex’s recently healed back.
Finally being beaten into what felt like the last seconds he needed to survive, the Wookiee began to tire and now refused to run after Lex as the blood curdling roars and chants added to the surplus of morale inside the Wookiee’s mighty spirit.
“Only several more, you can do it.” He whispered to himself, as he crawled away and into his own sandy blood near the tunnel.
With the highest honour on his mind, the consistent chants of the acolytes that used to be the split crowd and the Togruta crawling in his own blood with no dignity, the Wookiee took his time to overtly use his bragging rights and chant near the barricade of the viewers, grabbing their hands as he happily chanted with them. With this precious moment, Lex slowly stood then looked at the Wookiee with tired and pained eyes which were eager for the one last hit. Summoning any courage, his weakened voice and hopefully the spirit masters of Echani, Lex braved a chance and roared at the Wookiee, baring his bloody canines.
“Get over here you ugly mutt! I’ll give you one last hit before I put you down!” He snarled at the Wookiee, who still ignored him and continued chanting his own Kashyyyk roar.
With an aura of frustration, Lex gripped his now purple fists that dripped with blood and placed himself into a strong side position he started with, and his arms at his waist. With the Force on his side, he reached into the brutal and raw mind of the Wookiee and tried his best to slither through the unbreakable barriers of pride, confidence and achievement that fed the Wookiee’s egotistical expression. Inside, he began to place whispers, to edge the warrior into finishing his opponent.
‘Take him down, it takes just one punch.’ The Wookiee’s mind now ran this phrase repeatedly.
With nothing to lose, the furry champion strided over to the readied Togruta, slowly aimed his fist and slammed it into Lex’s chin. With a fan of crimson spittle, the Togruta grew a sense of completion, that a heavy burden of trials were finally absolute and awaited closure. His expression now turned from a tired state, to an excited, blood-crazed grin that treasured hunger in his fiery-red eyes. Feeling the enjoyable burn of a challenge, the Krath quickly rolled at the Wookiee’s feet, then rolled away before he could kick, and chuckled to himself.
With the warrior annoyed at the games, Lex continued to roll and chuckle to himself, feeling a sense of bliss come over him as he picked up pace. The furry warrior who once felt victory could not keep up and grew even more tired, he panted and poured with excess sweat from his fur. Now in Lex’s preferred favour, the Togruta positioned himself in arm’s length of the Wookiee, he watched the slow and furry log soar from the sky, then twisted and forced it back into the Wookiee’s face with force. According to Lex, this technically wasn’t his blow, but his opponent hitting himself. With a cold grin on his bloodied and cut face, Lex delivered second swipe of the Wookiee’s hand back into his face. With the crowd in anticipation and chanting the Wookiee desperately, the warrior did something unbelievable to the Wrruushi form. He slowly curled his leg back and swung it at Lex, he in turn rolled sideways and observed as the furry beast fell with exhaustion onto his back near the broken barricade.
As the shrieks and whines of the whole crowd that favoured the Wookiee enveloped Lex’s ears, he spared no second and summoned reserved strength inside the midi-chlorians, which he felt his muscles spring back into life. Lex charged at the barricade, jumping onto the wood and flipped himself into a back-flip. His momentum guided his feet closer to the Wookiee’s head, guiding his strongest foot towards the motionless warrior’s neck and slammed his sharp, blue toes into his windpipe, with a snap and scrunch sound the Wookiee lay still without resistance to the foot in his neck. A sheet of deathly silence blanketed the crowd like a mother to an upset child, the Togruta took this valuable half-minute to slowly look around at the stunned faces of the audience, who held their credits tightly in one hand and clenched their fist in another. With a sense of satisfaction, he walked over to a sign made in the Wookiee’s favour, grabbed it then wiped his bloody face on it, and threw the used cloth sign at the pink Twi’lek. Lex left the hellhole and the furry corpse behind.