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Smoke on the Horizon

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Haruun Kal
Galactic Alliance Settlement
News traveled fast on the holonet. Word of the assaults on key planets throughout alliance territory spread like a wildfire, as did the Imperial campaign throughout all star-systems. Emerging from hyperspace was a modest vessel, built in the iconic and imposing triangular design of most Imperial ships. It loomed above Haruun Kal, over a region of the jungle planet that was not yet as advanced and developed as others. Nevertheless, the Galactic Alliance had sought to extend their influence over the planet, forming small settlements within the densely packed jungle, close to some of the Korunnai tribal lands. The fear of a full scale planetary assault had the Alliance on edge, for they were so focused on detecting battle fleets that they managed to miss the arrival of the small assault frigate.

An Upsilon-class shuttle departed from it's hangar bay, followed by two troop transports that raced right past it, heading quickly for the planet's surface. Within minutes of their departure, the pair of small carriers had touched down on the outskirts of the settlement, surprising their longtime enemies with a hail of blaster fire. Bolts were exchanged between the two groups, but it wasn't long before the settlement burned. Figures clad in white armor rounded up the survivors, forcing them to watch as their efforts went up in flame. There was smoke on the horizon.

[member='Daos']
 

Daos

Character
Character
Trouble.

Darkness surrounded the Warlord. He sat in his improvised shelter and meditated. His entire room shook as if he'd been thrown into a centrifuge. "What do you wish to tell me?" The jungle could sense the suffering of others. The emerald clusters of vegetation all had eyes, and these eyes belonged to Daos: Warlord of Haruun Kal.

"So I must go? Okay."

He stirs and opens the door to met with two of his elite guards. "Something .. Is not right.." The smell of burnt particulates carried far enough for his kinsmen to pick up a smell. The Grassers threshed unsteadily as if feeling their owners concern. Their collective bovine temperament slowly eroding as the Leader of their tribe steps forth. "Come men." The three men would follow the scent of char to its source. Two Akk-Dogs followed in pursuit of their hasty masters.

[member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
Now that the firefight had come to a close, a brief roll call sounded out throughout the burnt settlement, initiated by the Stormtrooper Sergeant that had survived the battle. They had arrived forty soldiers strong, and thanks to the element of surprise, only twelve men had fallen. The settlement had been cleansed of hostiles, and so the Upsilon shuttle was cleared for landing. It's dark, metallic wings cast shadows across the treetops before folding upwards, causing the craft to hover gently towards the ground for touchdown. The airtight seal of the boarding ramp was released as it too lowered, allowing a pair to step down onto the jungle planet's floor.

One donned a prestigious military uniform, bearing the rank insignia of captain above his breast-pocket. Rushing to his position, the Sergeant promptly saluted, before delivering his report on the current situation. Flanking the two was a shorter individual, wearing a black collared jumpsuit, fitted with sleek dark plates of armor around choice areas of the body. Much like the soldiers, his face was obscured by the round helmet he wore, though it too was black to match his attire, decorated with golden ridges along it's front that caused him to stand out somewhat.

"Very good, sergeant," the Captain began, glancing over his shoulder to regard the Ren that had accompanied him for their little raiding party. "Take twenty of your men and fan out across the perimeter, into the jungle. We'll not have these savages show us up." The order was given, eight Stormtroopers staying behind while the rest followed their field leader, splitting up into four groups of five as they began to sweep the area for any hostile presences. The area was largely unknown to them, but to their knowledge they had the advantage, given their advanced technology and the likes.

[member='Daos']
 

Daos

Character
Character
The sound of foot-falls swirling dead-leaves underfoot heralded their arrival. "I see." There was distinct permeation in the force that warned the male that he should go no further. The Akk-dogs broke off into flanking positions. "Conceal yourselves." A single Vibroshield is placed on Daos's right arm. The chrome finish that colored its surface was the only light that pierced the gloom of the Jungle. The highly resilient metal was able to not only deflect slugthrower rounds, but also blasters. It could even go toe to toe with a lightsaber provided there wasn't prolonged contact.

"Now." An invisible suggestion ripples through the forest before touching the two Akk-Dogs. Their urges to pounce their prey was momentarily halted. He commits himself to the hunt and leaps.... He is sent several feet into the air before reaching onto a vine with an iron grip. "I will let the Jungle reveal you."

Below. His two men buried themselves into the shadows. To Daos, the forest was a living and breathing entity. It existed to serve him now, at one point they two of them had been at odds before he conquered it. It still gave him trouble now and again but it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. Now, he had visitors who wanted to test their mettle against his planet.

Let them come.... He was ready. [member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
Captain Philence had heard of the Haruun Kal tribals before. They were said to be fierce warriors, a majority of which possessed the force, wielding it naturally in combat. Did he take them seriously, though? Of course not, for he too had heard of the Four Pillars that built the way of their society: Honor, Duty, Family, last and most certainly least, Herd. These people were mere savages, that much was all too apparent to the Captain. This planet was an easy raid target for the might of the Imperial military.

"Status report, sergeant. How goes the perimeter check?"

The four squads of five had long since parted ways, all heading in different directions away from the settlement that they had previously razed. Philence was a fool, the Sergeant knew that much. Beneath his white helmet, beads of sweat formed upon his brow, dripping quickly along his face as he led the way for his squad. Captain Philence should have never divided their forces as much as he had, but the old fool couldn't have realized such. He did not have as much ground experience as the Sergeant, had never seen what the soldier had seen. "Nothing so far, sir. No sign of hostiles, tribal or otherwise."

The Ren remained silent, pacing outside while the Captain and his men secured the survivors. He moved with intensity, his thoughts elsewhere as his waistcoat billowed with his motion. Panatha was similar to this planet, the only difference being the distinct lack of Sithspawn preying about the jungles. This was to be a test, to see whether or not the planet was ready to be sieged. A bounty of hundreds of thousands of slaves were ripe for the taking, an opportunity to consolidate his loyalty towards the Supreme Leader.

[member='Daos']
 

Daos

Character
Character
The Korunnani tribe were no strangers to adversity. The poisonous pockets of gas that ensconced the planet had killed hundreds if not thousands. The animals, plants, and air were arrayed into an equally perilous package that made his homeland a place of legend. This was the one place that 'civilized' civilizations would deem unlivable, and yet they still came.... Daos calmly recalls a conversation he had with a man whom he had caught roaming his Jungle.

'We own this planet; You can't do this..'
Laughable. On paper anyone can claim to own a parcel of land, but let them arrive to steal it from the natives. Those who claim the riches of the jungles as theirs? Let them come. You see, they did not own this planet anymore than the animals did.

"Man can't own planet.. Man can't own jungle... We live on planet, but Jungle is where man walks. You are at Jungles Mercy... I am the Jungle... Your life is mine."

Translation. This is was his world. Four sable eyes project the infinity of night. The salivating beasts end their stasis and break into a full sprint. The stench of the rotting foliage was replaced with a new smell.

The closest squad was targeted by the two Dogs. Two imposing forms galloped in range of the armed men, and together they'd attempt to saw through the ranks. Razor sharp teeth could turn human flesh into mince-meat if given enough time, but Daos would not wait for them.. He only counted on the initial surprise. He'd disembark from the tree and lead in the opposite direction.

And then when he neared them his Vibroblade thrummed softly as the electronics that powered the device made the edges vibrate. The supersonic undulations were the only noise that the men would most likely hear apart from the viscous snarls of his pack. A horizontal swing is unleashed with monstrous ferocity. If he had his way the first man whom met his gaze would be relieved of his head, though this was only an attempt... He didn't care if they fired on him... Perhaps they would. His two remaining men would keep careful watch on the perimeter to make sure he was not ambushed.

[member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
Another round of blaster fire rang out through the forest, originating from the settlement as the remaining survivors were summarily executed. Captain Philence did was not worried in the slightest, still basking in the victory of their surprise attack upon the small community. If it had been this easy, he could easily imagine what taking the planet would be like. Easy. The firing squad dispersed, six Stormtroopers standing on guard outside of the settlement's perimeter, while two stayed by the Captain's side at all times. "Don't tell me you're worried, Ren?" Philence asked, after observing Tenac's continual back and forth pacing.

"Check on the squads again." The Ren replied, coming to a stop as he spoke. His modulated voice betrayed no true tone or indication of emotion. There was a slight disturbance, out there in the jungle. Who was to say these savages weren't worse than the Sithspawn of the Epicanthix home world.

Blood splattered across the green jungle floor. Two members of the squad had been taken down almost instantly by the vicious hounds, the third getting his head sliced off by a dark blur that swung quickly through the air. They had all been somewhat nervous from the start, but after witnessing this, the remaining pair of Stormtroopers were not eager to engage. The duo immediately turned tail, running as fast as their armored bodies could go, firing hasty pot shots at the alien dogs that no doubt were on their trail.

"J-Jungle predators, Captain! They got the sergeant!" After receiving the transmission, there was a brief silence between Philence and Tenac. The older officer sighed, clenching his commlink in a frustrated manner before responding. "Squad one, rendezvous with squad two. Make sure those cowards don't run off and get themselves killed too."

[member='Daos']
 

Daos

Character
Character
The forest gave way to red. Brackets of crimson energy flies into one of the dogs eyes. ..A smoldering orifice burned right through the poor beast. Miraculously, the fleeing troops were able to score a critical hit on one of the Dogs. Daos pulled back the other one, as he did not wish to condemn anymore to death than he had. He didn't expect this. His arrogance led him to believe that he could get away unscathed, but fate was not on his side.

He would not make the same mistake again. "Grab their weapons." Daos broke into a full sprint after the fleeing force. The men did as they were instructed and claimed the dead troopers ordinance. Their time frame was closing and all of them were aware of this. The two men wordlessly shouldered the rifles, aimed, and fired.

The loss of one of their own was unforgivable.
Cal was his name.

Daos had seen the Akk-Dog rise to maturity as a father watches a son. A slow burning fire is lit underneath his ribs. This blinding rage he experienced threatened to unravel their whole plan. He had in his mind to outrace the blasts of scorching energy, so he could gouge a chunk out of their chests. They did not deserve a bloodless death.

[member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
Two red bolts of searing hot energy soared through the air, finding their marks in the two fleeing Stormtroopers. They hadn't even been able to contact the other squad, before being gunned down by the merciless tribesmen. Their armored bodies crumpled to the floor, thin wisps of black smoke rising from their scorched backs. The heads-up display within squad one's helmets showed them the status of squad two, in which all member's vital signs had gone dark.

"Order the men back, Captain. We won't leave this planet alive if you don't." Tenac spoke, regarding Philence with a brief glance beneath the ridged helmet he wore. While the Ren technically did not have any authority over the older military officer, Philence knew he would be unwise to ignore the given advice. "... Very well, Tenac Ren. All squads, fall back to the settlement, ASAP," he ordered into his commlink, turning to face Tenac once more before continuing. "I take it you fancy yourself more suited for the task, hm?"

"I will return with the enemy. For the Supreme Leader." With that, the young man too set out into the jungle, walking with a confident stride, while his mind stayed focus on the surroundings. The force was with Tenac, but it seemed it served the enemy as well. Though he was sure he had not been discovered yet, he felt as if he was constantly being watched. The jungle was alive, and it was not pleased.

[member='Daos']
 

Daos

Character
Character
Death hung heavily in the thinning air of Haruun Kal. A dead Akk-Dog, vivisected troopers, and corpses burned into namelessness are added to the already staggeringly high body count. No doubt more would be added. "My work is not yet done." The hunter did not hunt simply because he enjoyed he sport; he hunted because it was a necessity. Subservience would lead to total annihilation if not complete perversion of the four pillars. The irony is that the Koruuai knew the first tenet of the Sith code very well. 'Peace was a lie.' A colossal silhouette wades trough the intersecting lanes of vines with the grace born of a thousand repetitions. "This ....Feeling..." With each step the force became more nebulous.. Uncertainty set in. Whatever or whomever was approaching was similar to him. The Warlord's brow furrowed further. "Go back to the camp."

"I will march on. Alone."

And so the two would be drawn to each-other like opposing magnetic charges. Two distinct, but similar worlds would collide yet again. In the end, [member="Tendra Daklan"] would learn that he had simply exchanged one jungle for another. Perhaps he already knew.
 
White forms ran loudly through the jungle. Once the soldiers had returned to the settlement, there was a brief headcount, before everyone was assigned duties in preparation for their departure. Once the Ren had returned, Captain Philence would be ready to take the prison, thus taking all of the credit as well. Perhaps soon he would be captain of a ship more marvelous than the assault frigate in orbiting the planet.

The jungle was alive, Tenac could feel it now. Going forward would change nothing, this battle would be one fought against his surroundings. Coming to a halt, the young man began to fine tune certain sensory systems within his helmet. He was listening carefully, both with his ears and mind, eyes closed as he delved into the force.

The Warlord would find Tenac out in the open, wielding a burning crimson beam that extended from a dark metallic cross-guard hilt. The only sound that emanated from the armored Ren was the hum of his saber, calmly lowered to the side by the waistcoat of his attire.

[member='Daos']
 

Daos

Character
Character
Carrion-Birds surveyed the carnage with rimless, black eyes; The creatures were aware there was a meal to be had wherever Daos went. He advanced on his target for what felt like an eternity, but in reality had only been several minutes. And there he was. Tenac was out in the open as if he did not have a care in the world. The setting proved to be an advantageous one for the young Sith because he would not find himself snagged on some unruly branch, or delayed by some haphazardly perched vine..

"Smart. Fight in the open, but men are watching. Will kill you either-way." He bluffed. It was his way of unnerving his opponent before their inevitable exchange. Daos's eyes trained on the crimson blade that suffused the unending horizons of green into a velvety continuum. "Hm...Hunters prize." As if on cue, the Vibroshields pitched under the direction of a single, meaty arm. Veins like cables sprouted along his forearms as he settled into a heightened state of consciousness.

The ground seemed to move underneath his feet the moment he accelerated. His right arm motioned from a neutral guard to a horizontal shift that would allow him to divide the Warrior in half were he not to move or block.. With his other hand he aimed to land a hook squarely on [member="Tendra Daklan"] 's jaw-line.
 
It taken long before he was found. Since the minute he had stepped into the jungle, he had known they would be coming for him. In the brief moments he stood alone in the opening, Tenac Ren had gathered all of the strength he could possibly muster, knowing that the dark side was the only thing that could help him against this foe. The power that his foe exuded seemed to flow through the very roots of the greenery itself, neither tainted by the light or dark. While they both potentially could tap into this natural power, Tenac knew that the tribesmen had the advantage here. He had been expecting something along the lines of a sneak attack, but it seemed that [member='Daos'] wished to exercise his dominance over the Ren.

Listening to the warrior speak his broken basic, Tenac only gritted his teeth in frustration, lifting his arm as he flourished his saber, spinning it in a rotation that tore asunder the vegetation around his feet. The weapon rose into a ready stance, the Ren gripping it's hilt firmly with both hands extended out in front of him. The speed Daos moved with was incredible. If not for the technology within his helmet to aid him in tracking his foe, it could have been the end for Tenac. Tensing the muscles within his arms and thrusting them forward, the dark side agent aimed meet the vibroshield head on, creating a bright flash of light as the two energy sources collided. Daos' strength too was not to be underestimated, as Tenac felt his footing slip after a second, pushed back by the pressure the Korun warrior exerted.

The young man's mind did not even have time to register the impact of Daos' fist, forced to stumble backwards in a brief daze due to the brutal fighting style of his opponent. Catching himself with a gloved palm to the jungle floor, Tenac growled audible from within his helmet, activating one of it's features as his head swung around and up to face Daos, who was presumably still nearby. Two prongs upon the front of the helmet, near the built-in vocabulator began to heat up, releasing a dual shot of bright red energy. Two blaster bolts, power equivalent to a holdout pistol, soared directly towards Daos almost point-blank, attempting to catch him off guard and potentially kill him right there.
 

Daos

Character
Character
The sound of Daos's fists impacting the soldiers helmet was gratifying. A part of him felt as if he had already won the battle, but that was quickly reconciled as two blasts of energy found themselves closing on his position. If he had not felt any pangs of danger beforehand, then perhaps he would died right there. Reflexively, he raised his weapon into a neutral position that allowed the bolts of plasma to hammer against the shield.

That was close.

Daos had no time to divide his attention to other affairs but he couldn't help but re-imagine the atrocities of his past. These foreigners ravaged his home, destroyed his people, and sold them off into slavery. He could not conquer the past anymore than he could raise his loved ones from the soil, but he could project his emotions onto the man who stood before him; the Ren was everything the Warlord hated.

A horizontal slash is feinted, his attacking arm twists into a neutral position again, so that the blunt side was facing the Disciple. Daos leans in, the thrust of his weight adding inertia behind the charge in the attempt to knock [member="Tendra Daklan"] onto the ground. A risky move to say the least.
 
Already being knocked down onto one knee, the Ren was in quite a disadvantageous situation. The mandible blaster built in to his helmet had even failed him, unable to catch [member='Daos'] off guard even at close range. Tenac wanted to destroy this man, or at least capture him in order to lure the rest of his people out. He questioned whether or not that was even a viable option at this point, for he really was fighting for his life.

Everything was happening so quickly, the exchange of blasts and blows occurring within mere seconds, if not faster. Raising a gloved palm, Tenac Ren thrust it upwards to meet Daos' shield, releasing a guttural roar as he tapped in to the power of the dark side. It sustained him in these moments, allowing him to continue on where others may have given up. Telekinetic energy honed by the young man's mind began to gather, forming a barrier around his hand that aimed to halt the momentum of the vibroshield altogether.

He would not be flattened into the ground so easily by this savage. In the next moment, the Ren's opposite arm came swinging across his body, hand still clutched against the dark metal of the cross-guard saber. He attempted to sheer off Daos' legs in one swift move, hoping to end the fight before it went any further.
 

Daos

Character
Character
The tide of battle was turning and it seemed to be in the Disciples favor. Eyes widened in surprise, his opponent managed to slow the momentum of his attack. To make matters worse, Daos could feel his opponent draw on power he hadn't known to exist within the young man. It was like a vacuum, an inward drawing of energy that augmented his telekinetic abilities. Once again Daos had miscalculated his opponent.

The blade closes in an arc that would've sheared off his legs if it made contact.

*ZOOM* The predator turns on his instep, utilizing the force of exertion upon the shield and his own alternating movement to catch the blade with his Vibroshield. This clash was not what the Koruunai hoped for. Metal whined and bent as the blades heat began to melt through the inferior metal. A heavy foot rips free from its stance in the attempt to land a kick against the males chest.

[member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
The swing was short lived, as [member='Daos'] re-positioned his body expertly, maneuvering the vibroshield lower to the ground to have it intercept the saber strike. Though Tenac had no doubt that his blade would eventually pierce the already heated shield, he was aware of how a contest of strength against this brute would end for him. He had to create some distance between them.

However, all he could was flinch backwards, drawing his saber away from the shield after Daos' aggressive shift in stance. Having yet to recover his balance, there was little the Ren could do about the incoming kick, it's strength sending him rolling backwards within the jungle grass. Thankfully, his armor absorbed most of the impact, preventing the wind from being knocked out of him. He was definitely bruised, though that was the least of his worries.

Moving with the momentum, Tenac was able to roll back on to his feet, his black waistcoat flapping wildly as he pivoted on a booted heel. The young man's arm swung violently through the air, releasing the saber within its palm, causing it to spin vertically and violently through the air towards Daos. If the Warlord refused to dodge, the Ren would utilize his telekinetic prowess to straighten the blade mid-air, hoping to have it stab directly through the shield and into it's wielder.
 

Daos

Character
Character
The whirling blade definitely had enough power to cleave him in half, which meant he'd be forced to dodge. Dodging put him in an a bad position because this would simply widen the gap. His greatest advantage was lost.. A mistake. One Daos would not make a second time.

If he was allowed the luxury of a second time.

He dashes to the side knowing that his opponent may very well be able to alter the blade midflight. That took concentration, however, and Daos knew that a skilled opponent was only as great as his composure. He runs towards his opponent once more, but trips over his left foot causing him to fall forward. This was probably the opening that he assumed the Disciple was looking for, but the male maneuvers into a forward roll, simultaneously the shield is freed from his arm and sent spinning like an arrow loosed from a nocked bow.

The Titan emerges in full stride if his plan came to pass. His aimed to come up on the Rens side so that he could keep the blade locked in his peripherals should he attempt to attack from a blind-spot. Two closed fists attempt to probe against the Disciples helmets like battering rams.

This was merely an attempt, and should his opponent outwit him in another way, this battle may very well be finished.
[member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
While the blade could have cleaved [member='Daos'] in half, it was never meant to. Tenac had hoped to utilize his telekinesis, just as the Warlord had predicted, in order to catch him off guard. The saber went spinning passed the tribesman as he dodged, burying itself halfway through several trees in the battles background. None of them collapsed.

Without a moment to spare for concentration to retrieve his lightsaber, the Ren was essentially unarmed. It was all he could do to barely keep up with the readouts on his helmet's HUD. Daos was just too fast, upon the young man within moments with both fists swinging inwards towards Tenac's head. The impact was overwhelming.

The display before his eyes flashed red, as he felt the helmet compress tightly around his head. Screaming in brief pain, he attempted to backpedal away from the Warlord, assessing the damage that had been dealt to his headgear. The mandible blasters were offline, it seemed this would be an up close fight until the end.
 

Daos

Character
Character
Daos's felt the reverberating ache of bone impacting Tendra's Duraplast helmet. His left hand fractured upon impact; he observed how the compression of bone caused a sliver of bone to protrude even further through his knuckle. The adrenaline pumping in his veins attenuated the blossoming discomfort for now, but that did not mean he would have free range of motion.. Even now his wrist began to feel stiff. "DIE!" The Ren backpedaled-- Daos would attempt to capitalize on this moment. He'd break into a sprint again in the hopes he could drive his shoulder into his opponents torso. The tackle itself was channeled passively through the force, so it was likely that the potential damage would multiply, if he was hit.

This would come with a cost. More pain would follow. Provided he was able to bring his foe to the ground, his right hand motioned for the disciples Neck. He moved to restrict the mans oxygen leading into his brain.. This maneuver was highly risky and Daos was prepared for the consequences for any misstep.

Or so he thought. [member="Tendra Daklan"]
 
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