(2) First Strike
I leapt up quickly, sinking into the defensive stance of the Makashi saber form, which was my most polished style and the one I trusted most in a melee. At first I intended to stay put and let my enemy strike first, goading him with my constant gaze but the hooded figure quickly discovered a gaping hole in my defence, a human teenager leaning against the durasteel walls coughing himself into a smoke induced stupor.
The figure began to run towards my young charge, so I ran to meet him before his blood red blade would singe Andri’s sandy blonde hair. In the moments that preceded that first strike I stared into my opponents eyes, searching for some kind of weakness. All I saw was a shrouded figure, presumably male and human but even that I was unsure of due to the dark hood that obscured his face.
Before I could formulate anything more on the thought of somehow surviving this surreal mess our blades me in a clash of sparks and colours. Attempting to get a quick killing blow I stabbed forward in an attempt to disembowel the man which was easily countered by a quick step to the left. He swung at my right while I was still being carried forward by my own momentum. I leapt back while simultaneously bringing by blade up to block the strike. I blocked the attack but it had quite a bit of power behind it was so I lost my balance and staggered backwards. The moment of my weakness was brief but it was certainly enough. I quickly found that having a black boot implanted with force into your chest is certainly not up there with a trip to Hologram Fun World.*
I flew backwards, crashing into the red hot steel door of my quarters with a groan of agony, the metal searing through my skin almost hurt as much as the fierce pain stemming from the bruises already forming on my chest.
My eyes stung from the pain but I got up quickly, countering the expected red blade that was already heading for where I was slumped only a moment before. I was in a bad position; with my back to the burning metal it would be fatal for me to give any ground over to my opponent. I desperately swung my blade in a unsuccessful attempt to break the figures calm facade.
By now I knew that his style was a furious variation of Djem Sho, meaning that despite all of my efforts he was probably trying to fool me with attacks filled with power and rage and then jauntily snake in a light strike which would lead to me breathing in smoke on the floor with a cauterised wound through a major artery. This damn Baay Shfat was toying with me!
Only *a nanosecond after I made this discovery he made his move, a quick slice to my lower abdomen while I was recovering from a fierce attack that forced my saber out from it’s defensive position just below my centre of gravity. I was expecting the devious move however and blocked more through animal ferocity than actual skill. My opponent was surprised, his shock emanating past his dark aura, he was obviously used to this being his killing move. I used this to my advantage using an attack of the ancient art of Teräs Käsi, or in spacer’s terms a dirty kick to the groin. I wasn’t sure if my opponent was human but it sure did the trick. Now it was his turn to stagger backwards, leaving me ample opportunity to regain lost ground. I was on the offensive and barley began to contemplate whether to spare this foreign invader when a green blade appeared through his chest, eliminating my moral predicament entirely. As suddenly as it appeared the saber withdrew from sight and moments later I saw Andri’s gaunt features through the thick smoke.
I spluttered out
“We have to get out of here,”
Andri nodded his head but then looked over the corpse with a dull look in his eyes. He bent down, tenderly scavenging a comlink from the utility belt of our slain foe. I glanced behind me, now raring to go, the flames had *spread and were licking at my *heels. Yet Andri was still bending over the body!
For reasons unknown to me he removed the pitch-black hood from the attacker. I found that the figure was indeed human and male but in fact only *a child of perhaps around seventeen years, much like Andri except for dark brown hair that was much more like my own. Apart from the child’s startling amber yellow eyes and pale skin his chiselled features were unmarred. Andri gingerly closed the boys eyes with the tanned skin of his hand contrasting with the pale of death that was already forming on the Sith’s body.
There was no more time for this; every second was bringing us closer to a fiery death. I began to run and sensed that Andri was following me. I had a faint idea where I was but my memory of the temple was weak, I’d been on the front lines without returning home for nearly a decade now. Andri took the lead, his memory of living here as a child was only clouded by a few years of The Great Galactic War.
Finally we emerged from the smoke, breathing in sweet air that that didn’t clog up our airways. I found however that I far preferred the smoke and fire that obscured my vision from the terrible truth that I now stared at with horror in my eyes.
Nothing could have prepared us for this, not even my dark past... * *
Never was anything great achieved without danger.