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The Evergreen Game

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLHkhtDbVaM

+[Corellia]+
+[Coronet]+

rtFwr7I.jpg


+3:20 Rail-Transit to Evergreen Court+
+Cor-National Public Trans-Rail / Bus 36Ṩꝯ+

+Weather Advisory: Sleet expected for the following - +

The wind-shear was bruising pain up his ribs and something felt slipped and tightening just under the left lung-cage. Sleet was needling, ignoring his tunic, lancing icing striations up across his knuckles, up and onward, ‘till the cold damped and seeped into the muscle planes glued about his shoulder blades. Seydon breathed and fought the shear for oxygen intake, daring to take his eyes forward against the gale howl rushing into his face.

Coronet strobed past. The 3:20 rail-bus for Greenway Court was locked onto an automatic route and something had shorted droid-brain controls governing emergency stop contingencies. The tethered cars were stuck, stalled at nominal speed, with First Coronet Responder teams under Cor-Sec escort struggling to match their pace and evacuate passengers. Somewhere, a diagnostic and engineering team were busied with the locomotive conductor, making stop-gap repairs to stop the tram. Siren sound and light were shifting with doppler-effects, streaming behind Cor-Sec speeders haranguing Car 36Ṩꝯ-G overhead.

Spotlights flecked sun-spots in his vision. Seydon dug a hand about a weld-rivet and turned atop the car roof, his boots squealing where they caught flutes of coursing water. Blood, skin motes, strings of pale flesh loosed from ragged wounds stuck with plexi-glass stumps in his bicep meat and fell away. He couldn’t lose the ringing in his ears and was certain, too, that his nostrils were plugged with gore. He spat and grimaced, leaning back into a very low haunch. Still scrabbling for purchase with his heels as Razorlight turned and warded, hacking at the robed shape haunting him atop the tram car.

“Just what do you want??” He pushed his voice over the wind shear and flicked the blade-tip at [member="Lyn-Char Beorht"].
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[SIZE=11pt]If failure’s the great teacher, Lyn reflected, I’ve been taught by the best. Got so used to defeat that I see it coming even when it’s not. Is there a word for that? Underconfidence? Could losing become a habit?[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]These were not thoughts your average Master of the Dark Side would consciously entertain, or would ever allow to leak. And Lyn knew that he was good at what he did, but even so - the emotion remained. Knowing a thing and internalizing it could be worlds apart, especially with blood all down his body inside the sodden robe. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]Once upon a time he’d have hidden from that anxiety. These days he focused on the bone-deep fear of failure and a long fall, and turned it into anger: at himself, and at the other man. The Force rushed through him, his grip tightened on the lightstaff, and he moved faster than he otherwise could. One of the red blades met the hunter’s alchemical sword and batted it aside. Lyn braced his feet as best he could and adjusted his grip, hands wide set, knuckles up and little fingers near the blade emitters.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]“I want you to die, Master Gunn.”[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]He chopped twice laterally, once with the left and once with the right. A lightstaff restricted reach, but he didn’t need reach to strike at Seydon’s sword hands. Even a graze could introduce arrhythmia into the swordsman’s technique and let Lyn sink a bar of plasma through his head. Or, more likely, force Seydon to hop back and potentially lose his balance in the wind and the cold rain.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt][member="Seydon Gunn"][/SIZE]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Chill had worked numbness through his fingers. He gritted, tried rallying through the strokes angling at his knuckles, stuck with one hand fixed on the car tram roofing behind his waist and the other choked up high under Razorlight’s cross-guard. Ozone burned at the plasma-on-alchemic-steel contact. Stroke one sprang off his sword’s center of percussion and he just managed to shunt the flat about to knock into the second slice. The blow was staggering and fell, warping light filled his peripheral, just close enough to singe at his shoulder. Leather cooked, then a mean ice-pain as surface nerves fried before pain could be transmitted.

Seydon fought the instinct to push and jar the blow back, retreat from the hurt. His heels bit into wet corrugation and he stood, wind screaming across his frame, holding Beohrt’s blade in a brief, smoking ‘bind’; edge to edge. He twisted and spun with the bind, swerving Razorlight in for the man’s brachial artery. And then had suddenly slipped back, disengaged, slapping feints at Beorht’s eyes before cutting at his waistline.

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

The soles of Lyn's shoes skidded a few millimeters on the wet metal. The bind threatened to destabilize him entirely. Gunn wasn't a young man, but younger than Lyn for certain, white hair or not. His raw strength was a real challenge. Lyn had always favored speed, agility, and finesse - none of them correlates of age.

Even so, he got the lightstaff up and the sword skidded along a saber blade. It nicked his chest in passing but that minor pain was much better than an arterial bleed. Between one heartbeat and the next, Gunn's blade slashed in at his eyes - a feint, but a good one. Lyn brought one end of the lightstaff in by his hip and slashed the other up uselessly.

Well, not totally: the move happened to place the long hilt of the lightstaff in the path of the true attack. Razorlight bit deep into the staff's midsection at an acute angle. Both blades sputtered out, leaving their fight in temporary gloom.

A sense of unusual urgency, and an impression of flame and impact, warned Lyn that the damaged staff had gone volatile. He flipped the new low-yield grenade up in a high arc above Gunn’s head with one hand. The other drew a steeply-curved fencing saber from inside his sodden clothes, pointed it at Gunn’s belly, and activated it. A sky-blue blade snapped to life.
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Percussive heat and tin-bright shrapnel erupted at a point a metre and change up behind Seydon’s skull. The world turned bleach-white, detail shadowed with stark contrasts; the tram roof turned briefly to cooked bone, Beorht’s face lightened to a near-fleshless skull, and passing Coronet became walled off by opaque streams that bled out colour, shape, and depth. Hard concussion shock rippled and washed across him. Pieces of hilt casing buzzed past, shards clipping through his ear shells, catching and tearing across his nape, embedding against his tunic, or snaring shallowly along his neck. One white-hot piece came close at nicking open his carotid.

The low-yield boom staggered him forward a pace. Only Dunaan reflexes, alchemically heightened to magnitudes above base-line human capability, saved Seydon from catching the ‘lasersword’ through his liver. He caught motion through temporary sun-spots; Beorht shunting something cylindrical and curved at his belly. Dared a hard pivot, sweeping one foot out and back without losing balance, turning his torso and waist obliquely. The plasma blade still managed at scoring a burn across his hip, the wind carrying away the leather-burn and cooked skin odour away.

Rain whipped side-long across his face. Seydon was close, stepped out of the enemy’s line, simultaneously thwarted by their near-quarters. His grasp stroked up across Razorlight, under the cross-guard and at a midway point along the edge proper, going to half-sword combat. While he attempted wrestling Beorht’s sword-wrist with his pommel and handle below, the blade-point and several keen inches worked upward to draw cuts into the soft of his foe’s throat. The tram car vibrated madly under their toes.

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

Lyn flinched back from the lightstaff's explosion, and again from the half-swording attack. Razorlight carved a hot line up his face, deep enough to grate on bone. His feet slipped from under him as his balance shattered conclusively. A crossbreeze sent him skidding along the top of the train; he left a few streamers of blood behind. Then he slipped over the edge awkwardly and tumbled down a level.

The breath exploded from his lungs, but at least he'd kept his saber in hand. He rolled over to face the level above, assuming the Dunaan might follow, and tried to blink away the blobby afterimage of the explosion. The motion emphasized the crackling death of the energy couplers that joined the train cars. If he'd fallen a couple of metres to either side, he might well have slid against one of them, and a half-century career would have gone up in literal smoke.

Fighting for breath, Lyn called on the Dark Side of the Force but didn't do anything with it yet. Gunn had the momentum, the advantage, and the literal and figurative breathing room. Whatever happened next, Lyn suspected he'd need a lot of mental strength to counter it, because his body wasn't going to cut it. Not right now, anyway.
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Breathing room. Seydon pushed on his heels and managed to sit his rump against a catch in the tram roofing, watching another Cor-Sec speeder group pull up high overhead and speed for the forward locomotive. Tram-line speed was fluctuating; could feel it through his boot soles, the odd tidal push-pull in his belly. He ran his own diagnostics; jacketing smouldering and beginning to become threadbare, shirt beneath holed with crisp scorching, pants wet with sleet and blood. Multiple wounds, lacerations and shallow punctures, bruising, aches working up the sinew of his hips and spine.

One phial bandolier was yet intact. Psychically blunt as he was, Seydon caught something glacial and evil stirring up where Beohrt had ungainly rolled off the car. Wished for Rosa; her psionic talents, gift for empathic defenses and mentalism, would have been a tactical boon. He reached and plucked a of glass vial out of its leather strapping. Hawk drink. Downed the mixture and a racing sear filled his blood vessels near to bursting. Already labouring, his metabolism fought to induct the solution. ‘Bat’ would have granted some immunity to hypnosis and other mind-tricks but left an acute sensitivity to light-levels, rendering it both useful for peering through darkness but blinding when under ordinary conditions. ‘Squal’ and ‘Stormbolt’ could have heightened reflex times and strength respectively, albeit temporarily.

He loathed facing the inopportune moment his body sagged as potion effects thinned out. Seydon was strong and fast enough as was; superhuman. The Enemy was wily. A good moment of wit, advantage, leverage, and timing could outdo physicality instantaneously. Sheathing Razorlight, he bellied down, crawling up to the tram edge. Risked a glance below: Beohrt was stuck on his backside with his blade still grasped, peering back. Both were bedraggled, sopped with sleet-fall and blood. Seydon wagered for and against hopping below.

The Dunaan disappeared. Came a sound of metal on flint, and a coiling hiss. And then his hand snapped out over the edge, depositing a hemp-knotted, hard clay bomb that fell through empty air. Homemade. It was called ‘Midvinter Wind’ and was a favourite of the D’oemir School, the Bears of Midvinter. On detonation, it was meant to unleash a frigid void gale, enough to freeze most humanoids on the spot.

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

Between the gloom and the explosion's persistent afterimage, Lyn caught a flicker of motion. Still flat on his back and struggling for breath, he sent out an area-of-effect shove straight up. Something else exploded without light or heat. A wave of bitter cold washed over him, blunted by his shove but still hard enough to dry out his throat and eyes. Rain froze to slush. Some kind of cryo bomb; he'd been very, very lucky for once.

On the plus side, there was a decent chance he now knew where Gunn was lying prone or standing. Lyn didn't get up; he didn't trust his body to do that. Instead he made a fist with his off hand, and that frozen rain compressed into a rough bar of cloudy ice above him. He raised a fist to send the bar up a couple of metres, then let out an explosive breath and brought the fist down in a hammerblow. The ragged ice-javelin shot toward where he intuited Gunn to be, just out of sight over the top level's edge.

Lyn staggered to his feet and turned off the lightsaber. It wasn't an asset just now, and its brilliant blade was a liability in the gloom.
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
The ice-spar caught well. Seydon’s hearing gave him micro-second warning and he rolled, hands reaching up. His fingertips just managed to snare and grind against the slick ice-javelin but the point lanced in, sticking him just above the liver and beneath the diaphragm muscle. An unnatural chill filled him, forcing cold tremors throughout his limbs. Seydon grunted, still hot from the potion draught, blinking motes of translucent agony out of his vision and wrestling the spear away. The peak slid free, popping wet with blood. He gasped, fought against passing out.

He tuned his hearing… Filtering through gamuts of hard background noise and distracting sound chatter. ‘Till he zeroed in on the Enemy; his cardiovascular rate, blood cells grinding against interior vessel architecture, less-than-calm heart rate, creak of joint cartilage, boots touching on thick duranium plating. With the ice spar still in hand, he kneed and crawled back toward the tram edge. Beorht was standing. Well enough for Seydon. He replied to having his belly nearly punctured by bringing the length of the spar down, trying to bash it’s butt-end across Beorht’s occipital plate: the back of his skull.

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

'Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them' was one of the many Jedi maxims that Lyn had always clung to, Dark Side or no Dark Side. Those kinds of insights still had value.

But there was a world of difference between knowing a thing and internalizing it. Lyn wasn't allowing himself the time to close his eyes, find his centre, and rely on intuition. The big, eye-watering purple blob across his vision -- to say nothing of his aching lungs -- made the physicality of the moment an inescapable immediacy. And therefore, when he saw a long object and an arm and motion, he brought up and activated his lightsabre in case it was the sword.

It wasn't the sword.

Weak ice puffed to smoke as the blue lightsabre passed through without resistance. Half the bar of ice cracked against the back of Lyn's head with all the force that Gunn had put into the swing. His feet slipped from under him, and his chest hit the deck hard. His head just missed the door, which opened obligingly. With his free hand, Lyn grabbed the opening door and slid himself inside the train car, courtesy of the rain-slick deck. He rolled onto his back, feet still in the doorway, assuming Gunn might follow.
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
The Hawk was slowly reknitting the tear in his midriff. Seydon had turned over and rested against knots of tensed muscle throbbing down the blades of his shoulders, blinking out sheeting rain. Pragmatic rules of engagement argued that combat, any combat, was ultimately a last desperation tactic. The true objective was to disengage and flee, renege on the fighting grounds, survive versus egoistic ‘hold the line’ instincts. With Beorht roughly out of sight, Seydon contemplated retreating. He required hot water, Blue Milk potion to sluice his metabolism and organs, and a handful of hours to fully recover.

‘I want you to die, Master Gunn.’

“Alright…” Something unholy and raw woke behind the pain in his frame. Seydon rolled, came to his hands and knees, scaling back along the tram roof. The car was a compact, utilized for freight instead of passenger weight, and virtually unassailable unless with industrial fusion cutters, melter-detonators, high yield explosives, or a lightsaber. He ran his fingertips over the roof panelling, looking for an emergency hatch. Instead found a Plexiglass skylight looking down onto a wide aisle, walled high with netted cargo crates.

-

Storm, lightning, and shadow fell in with the ruptured skylight. Plexi-glass slivers broke and snapped under Seydon’s weight, his boots denting the floor decking. Cat-eyes broke the dimness, glowing, hellacious, rimmed with shot blood-vessels. Glaring at the Enemy still sprawled on his back. The Dunaan’s canines were bright as lightning strokes cracked and whipped overhead, hefting Razorlight into a hanging guard, ‘unstable’ and viciously ready to counter-attack.

Haa, neyo la yud masur kee, tah uhnah kahru lur shu.” He said. There was no operative translation in Galactic Basic. It only sounded tenebrous, curt, challenging, laced with archaic rancor.

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

The time that Gunn spent talking impenetrably, Lyn spent getting up and turning to face him. He didn't much look forward to facing Gunn's kinetic combat style and massed blade, not with a one-handed Makashi lightsabre in relatively close quarters -- but he'd faced worse odds. He flicked the fencing sabre up in a quick, habitual salute and took an almost delicate posture, feet close together in a tacit invitation. Zeltron empathy suggested Gunn had committed now; good. A state of mind like that could be easier to bait.

"Suffice it to say, you killed the wrong monster."

He lunged. The sabre lashed out against Razorlight's hanging guard, intending to knock it away just slightly, and bounced off on its course toward Gunn's face. This kind of lunge left Lyn's whole face and centreline open to a sword-point strike, hence the beat-attack and the hop back afterward. With this style of combat, timing held more importance than raw speed, and though age had eroded the latter, Lyn still had a bone-deep grasp of rhythm and when to break it.
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Bassandra longsword fighting faced difficulties adapting to Makashi flow drills, with its innate control of distance, elegance of motion, economy of energy, and the simple face that it was an enclosed system built and evolved independently of the Ysian schools. Seydon felt their difference of context fall in and clash. Beorht’s Terza lunge propelled like at him a swallow on the wing, tapping against his blade edge and harrying for his face. His grip bucked on Razorlight, twisting the handle, knocking the lunge-point out. Crackling energy passed his cheek and woke his whiskers, hairs standing on end and briefly singing.

Stoccata to the face, least as Seydon understood it. Knew the Enemy could plunge for his belly with a break to the right, or a Mandritta that would slice through the bone of his face, an Imbroccata if he broke right again, potentially switching for a Passata, or a no less lethal Manriversa cut. Beorht held the initiative of rhythm and could dominate the bout in less than a handful of moves. A single stroke, if he faltered and let the Enemy’s Makashi break Bassamdra’s inculcated exercises.

The Dunaan’s counter stuttered into action. The blows were stacked but heavily arrhythmic, feints that bound Razorlight to Beorht’s lightsaber with wicked twists. Suddenly, Seydon had disengaged, stepping out and back, along the narrow aisle that was their shared line of attack. Momentum reversed just as swiftly and Seydon crashed Razorlight across the Enemy’s lightsaber, locking the blades at a point above his crossguard and yanking them high. One thing he knew fencer’s had difficulty countering were physical interruptions. With their weapons otherwise engaged and knotted, his foot rose hammered down at Beohrt’s thigh, hoping to disintegrate the femur.

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

Few things frustrated Lyn more than hand to hand combat. Despite the tutelage of real experts over the years, none of it clicked. Gunn's shift in balance went right over his head, and the kick continued unabated.

Part of that came down to Lyn's short-range incompetence. The other part? Well, his attention was elsewhere, wasn't it: Gunn's wide-open centerline from the sternum on down. Lyn didn't have a backup weapon, or rather he was already using it. What he had was a knack for telekinesis and a hand free. He conjured a quick, sharp slapshot of a Force push.

A quarter second later, Gunn broke his right leg a handspan above the knee.

Lyn fell and fell hard. He kept hold of his saber, but the blade sputtered out.
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Balled air walloped the meat beneath his breast bone. It put Seydon into a brief skid, heels dragging wet on the decking. A meter on and his weight seemed to coalesce up into a spot above his belly, gravity leaving him, his backside flying weightless before rebounding off plexiglass-riddled patch on the flooring. He juddered to a stop on his side, clutching a freed hand about his ribs and gasping for air.

With effort, he put his weight back under his boots and stood. His lungs unfolded and allowed oxygen. Down the aisle, framed by grey light still pouring through the open tram car door, Beorht was prostrate. One thigh was swollen against its pant-leg, cocked at a wrong, grave angle. The break’s too low, Seydon thought, didn’t knick or tear the femoral artery. If it had, his Enemy would already be dying. He simply laid, exhaling hard, and still clutching onto his lightsaber. Seydon remembered an old adage advising against putting your hand out against a wounded fox.

“Said you wanted me dead,” Seydon said, stalking up with Razorlight grasped low. He kept rooted out of any lines of egress Beorht could muster out of his prone, putting his boot down like cement over his wrist and ‘saber pommel. “Killed the wrong monster. I can move faster than you can pass a thought. That’s not a boast. Here’s how this works: I take your head or we deal. And maybe, maybe, you can crawl out of here before Cor-Sec puts you in Force-dampener collars.”

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

Jedi pain management techniques had been designed for cuts and bruises and lightsaber burns, not a broken femur. Gunn's boot crushing down on his saber hand didn't help at all. Even so, Lyn clung to the repetitive thought process and the agony began to ebb. Slowly. He let go of the saber and flicked it away with his fingers.

"You could say I'm open to a deal."
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Chilly steel pressed a wide line across Beorht’s carotid and jugular, till the veins felt popped and swollen against the skin. Seydon kept still, standing watchful, loose but thrumming with on-the-razor energy. Cor-Sec speeder klaxons were narrowing in echo and the tram felt slowed under the decking, their weight buoying. Grey rain still poured down past the door behind Seydon’s frame.

“You give or tell me something I can bank,” Seydon said. “And forfeit any other attempts on myself, or my loved ones. You know what happens if you try again.”

[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 

Lyn-Char Beorht

It's a new dawn
Character
[member="Seydon Gunn"]

Lyn held extremely still.

"I won't pretend I don't appreciate the option of staying alive," he said, cheek still pressed against the floor. "As you wish. The Mandalorian Empire crushed the Jedi Sentinel training centre on Sullust last week. I was there: I stocked up on odds and ends I needed. I made myself unwelcome, so I decided to come back later for the more serious salvage, the training materials the Jedi hid and the Mandalorians didn't have the wit to find. I doubt the Jedi have come back since then, not with Coruscant on fire. There's caches of Jedi material all over the facility ruins. There might even be a holocron."
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
“Right.” Razorlight’s leaden weight pulled from Beorht’s throat. Seydon was at the tram doorway, framed still by the cold light and the quick drip of torrential rain, keeping his sword close at guard. The Cor-Sec klaxon echo was losing its narrow tin, thickening as the doppler echoes coalesced on each other. Emergency lighting blared against the grey downpour and Seydon seemed inextricably caught between converging blues and reds. Cat-eyes kept their glare narrowed on his prone foe.

“A word once given,” He muttered. “Don’t expect I’ll be seeing you again. If we do, remember.”

Seydon slipped to the right, out of the door jamb and out of sight. Cold breath, bloodied boot prints, and rain spatter followed briefly in his wake.


[member="Lyn-Char Beorht"]
 
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