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Thread: Double, Double Toil and Trouble

  1. #1
    Salem Avesca

    Closed Thread Double, Double Toil and Trouble

    17 Years before the Battle of Endor...

    The Cauldron Rattatak

    In the lower seating-tiers of the arena, the world was nothing but dust and sweat. Hundreds of spectators crowded into tightly packed rows, barely a breath of space between them. They were close enough to the action that they could almost reach out and touch it though the same could be said in return, making a front-row seat more perilous than most. 'Glace' sat some ten rows back from the wall which separated spectators from combatants, his cloak already thick with dirt and his brow showing a fine sheen of perspiration. The heat was almost overwhelming, but the ruddy burnish on his cheeks was from something more. Soon, another gladiatorial bout would begin and the mob would rise to hysteria again, their anger as much a free-for-all as the battles below, each lathered howl for blood stirring that bristling power inside of the young man who called himself Sith...

  2. #2
    Superstition was indeed a marvelous motivator - it made people repeat procedures and protocols in the exactly same manner every single time until it became an obsession, as they convinced themselves it brought them luck. However, it was not the sequence of the events that generated repetitive success in matters at hand, merely the subsequent mental state that orchestrated order induced.

    Complete silence in which Kaali prepared herself for her next deathmatch was thus a prerequisite she could not do without. It allowed her to focus, cohered her senses and thoughts, sharpening her instincts to the point where the alabaster skinned Twi'lek transformed into a raptor that would later on turn her opponent into prey. In such a profession, preparation was of the essence; it often accounted for the outcome of a duel. Hence Kaali stood in the middle of a dark room, her red, watery eyes staring into a blank, faintly lit wall. A cascade of pale light illuminated her sculpted figure, brushing past imposing musculature that was a direct result of rigorous training, the texture of her skin velvety and smooth, an unexpected feat for a female who fought in a ring.

    Another Twi'lek servant girl, probably a few years younger than Kaali herself, began to wrap Kaali's body in long strands of black cloth, bandaging her torso and limbs lightly to outline her figure. Upon finishing, Kaali sent her off with one swift sway of her hand, then turned to approach a mirror on the opposite wall only to adjust a black coif and veil that covered her lekku, pulling another strand of cloth over her face leaving only luminescent eyes exposed.
    ''Who are you?''
    ''Where are you?''
    ''When are you?''
    ''What are you?''

    Spoken in a determined, yet soft voice, the monologue was followed by a few moments devoted to self-observation in the mirror, the time used to obliterate any redundant thoughts from Kaali's mind. It was only then that she turned on her heel to head for the Cauldron, the tumult of the bloodthirsty crowd growing louder with every step she took towards the arena. When her name was called, a large metallic door opened, the crowd going wild as Kaali headed for the centre of the arena, only briefly glancing at the audience, then fixating her gaze on the other door that yet needed to be opened. Every tinge of fear evaporated from her being, leaving her serene in her determination to obliterate tonight's adversary.

    ''Kaali. Here. Now. Death.'' she repeated solemnly, her hand casually resting on a vibroblade whip - her weapon of choice.

  3. #3
    Salem Avesca
    Atmosphere was what made events like this such a spectacle, but there was more to it than just anticipation. Fire was pumping in the veins of the colosseum. Everywhere, Glace felt it's pulse. The crowd knew fresh blood would be spilled soon, more to wet the cauldron's sand-covered floor. Somewhere in the midst of all the noise, a voice announced that the next bout was about to begin and a roar went up as a Reek-mounted fighter with spear in hand came riding into the ring. Someone in front of Kilgannon stood up and the young Sith strained to get a better look at the opposite site of the pit, where the riders opponent would be coming into view.

  4. #4
    Under a thin layer of cloth that obscured her mouth, Kaali produced a wry grin. Every time the Masters of the Cauldron surprised her with their choice of opponents, throwing everything they had at her to test her abilities. However, Kaali was sly as a cat and cunning as a fox; it definitely took more than a Nikto equipped with a spear and mounted on a reek to defeat her. Nevertheless, the young Twi'lek remained composed and calm, then turned to the central extrusion that withheld lords of Rattatak, her owner amongst them. A gesture that resembled a flying kiss was displayed, distinct with mocking mannerism upholstered with her self confidence.

    A quiescent hiss folded the whip out, laying in on the dusty floor. When Kaali gently twisted her wrist, it wiggled like a thin, metallic snake, seeping through dust and sand, its razor sharp edge leaving creases in the ground. Without hesitation, both the rider and the beast charged, closing the distance between them fast. Just before the reek's curved horns threatened to clash into her, Kaali leapt in the air with amazing speed only to land several feet behind the animal, the whip twisting around it's neck, cutting through hard skin as the Twi'lek tightened her grip. The Nikto extended his spear forwards in an attempt to stab her when the reek pranced upwards, struggling for air, subsequently dislodging the rider from his saddle.

  5. #5
    Salem Avesca
    When the meaty cheer of approval rippled through the Cauldron's audience, there was no doubt in Kilgannon's mind just who had so entertained the people. Although his stay on Rattatak had not been long so far, it was long enough to learn the names and reputations of those fighters who brought in the big crowds – and money. They were popular because they survived, either as heroes triumphing against the odds or villains mercilessly dispatching everyone in their path.

    Others were living vicariously through the fighters, taking out their mundane frustrations by imagining they were the ones tossing the Nikto rider from his perch, but Glace was tapping into something more primal. The Dark Side, barely tamed, thrilled in him at the wanton desire for destruction. His white eyes followed the black-clad warrior as she fought circles around her opponent, almost losing himself in it all, growing all the more eager to see her carve her victory in flesh and bone.

  6. #6
    When the rider finally felt down, incapacitated for a few moments, Kaali devoted that time to finishing the beast. The metallic leash that constrained it only grew tighter around it's thick neck, cutting through deepest epidermis when blood stained the dusty floor. It wiggled, trying to rid itself of the loop that choked it. The Twi'lek leapt again, only to land on the reeks' back and pulling the whip sideways, allowing it to glide through flesh to ultimately slit the animal's jugular vein. A loud moan of a dying monster ripped the air, life leaving the large lump of muscle that was to represent an unfair advantage for the night. When Kaali disembarked, scavenger flies already gathered over its limp, twitching body.

    ''Kurak tust'we ka! Kurak tust'we ka!'' the Nikto screamed frantically, twisting the spear around, ready to toss it over, the death of his pet inducing a berserk state. Under her mask, the Twi'lek just smiled, content with the direction the situation was developing. Pulling her whip out of the animal and dragging it across the floor to leave a bloody stain, Kaali twisted it around to knock the spear out of Nikto's hand, only to decapitate him in the next swoosh of the whip. His ugly head fell to the floor, scaly armor-clad body following. Indeed, it was an easy kill, an underestimation of Kaali's skill... But tonight was a celebration night and this was nothing more than a show. Lord Antares, Kaali's owner and seventh Lord of Rattatak, prepared the festivities in the honor of his son who was to marry later that month. In a way, an engagement party was no place for violence, but nevertheless, Antares opted to show the finesse of his warriors to all those who were here to attend the celebration. When others glorified one's property, a man's ego was flattered.

    In her Lord's eyes, Kaali was - an asset.

  7. #7
    Salem Avesca
    Blood fountained into the air from the beasts severed jugular, a fine red mist at the height of the spray. The reek would die within minutes from blood-loss, a red arc flowing forth from its throat like fire. The cut had been efficient, but brutal. Though she was precise, the Twi'lek was also making a statement, and had signed it with the smear the trail of her whip left behind in the sand.

    When the Nikto fell to the ground headless, the crowd went wild with applause but Glace merely stood trembling, watching as the gladiator bowed before her audience, with so much as a flourish of her barbarous whip. It was settled in that moment, without a doubt: he had to meet her.

    ...but how? Struggling through the crowds, careful not to push anyone hard enough to start a fight, Glace cast his eyes about for the entrance to the fighters pit. All combatants at the Cauldron prepared themselves for battle in the chambers beneath the arena floor. They would hear the clashes and groans of those who came, and died, before them whilst they prowled in the darkness like caged sand-panthers, eager to their turn.

    As he searched for the entrance to the underground barracks, Glace wondered if he could convince the master of ceremonies that he was a new hopeful, another lamb to go before the slaughter.

  8. #8
    A gloved hand was raised and crowds settled in relative silence.

    ''How many lives do you have, Kaali of Ryloth?'' Antares asked solemnly, leaning over the ledge of his box-lodge high above the ground of the arena.
    A young bald man who sat by him smiled faintly, barely hiding signs of appreciation for the fair skinned Twi'lek.

    ''My guests are curious to meet you. Join us tonight in celebration.'' the Lord added, waving his dismissively, as if sending Kaali out of the ring. But even before she managed to move a muscle to head for the exit and into the pits of her quarters, a familiar female voice took the liberty to speak.
    ''I wish to know how many lives this beast has.'' the Rattataki well-dressed female pleaded, turning her gaze to Antares - ''Indulge me, my Lord. May this be your engagement gift to me and your son.''

    Kaali narrowed her eyes at the woman, knowing very well what hate for her the Rattataki lady fomented within her chest. Bethrothed to Antares' son she was, yet sparked little of his interest. Perhaps it was the time that he spent with Kaali that hurt her the most; her nobility and estate could never match the inner ferocity that the Twi'lek warrior had, her will to survive unmatched by any earthly possession.
    Despite the Antares' favour, the Lord gave little thought to the lady's petition. Denying it would belittle him in the eyes of his guests, a price he was unwilling to pay.

    ''Very well.'' he muttered under his breath, then stood up from his seat.
    ''Is there anybody who wishes to test his or hers luck against my finest champion? I offer seventy thousand credits... and her head as the prize.'' the Lord voiced reverberantly, not even sparing a glance downwards. Something boiled inside of Kaali as she looked around, waiting for her next opponent to emerge; flaunting her whip to the side, she hissed like a snake, showing she was ready for anything fate was throwing at her. Deep down, Kaali hated Antares and his petty concern for his reputation, she hated his son and his weakness and inability to resist. That little love he had earned dissipated in a matter of moments leaving nothing else but bulging, yet measured rage.

  9. #9
    Salem Avesca
    Seventy thousand credits was enough to buy a man his freedom the Cauldron. More than that, however, it bought infamy. Even those who had already fought that day would have given themselves to the arena and the chance to become champion, but the slavemaster knew a special opponent was necessary. Gramor the Merciless would have done, if Kaali had not taken his knees from beneath him and made him bow to her superior might. Marogon too, with his fists like maces, or the Shaden with his viper-quick blades – yet all of them had been defeated. It was only when Glace approached, a slim boy shouldering his way through giants, that a spark of hope ignited in the pit-master's mind.

    His eyes clung to the hilt that hung at the boys hip, displayed with reckless pride. “What corpse did you snatch that off?” he snarled.

    Glace laid a possessive hand over the lightsaber's well-worn grip, his chin angled up in defiance of the sneers and snorts that sounded around him. “My master's – and I'll send anyone of you to the same hell I sent her to if you'd dare challenge me for it.”

    A tower of muscles lurched forward out of the throng of gladiators and in the blink of an eye the blade flashed to life, scoring a line across battle-hardened muscles and filling the air with the scent of burning flesh. The master of the pit merely grunted, something resemblant of a laugh.

    “Your funeral, boy. A stolen laser sword won't do you no good against the likes of her.”
    Last edited by Salem Avesca; Jan 6th, 2010 at 02:39:57 PM.


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