This is my latest entry in kfm's dueling circle challenge. Enjoy and as always comments and critiques are welcome.
Teachings of a Mandalore
The main hold of the Ebon Hawk was bustling with quiet activity as its crew went about their various chores. It was a normal day so to speak with Mission telling Bastila to mind her own business or Jolee’s interjection with a story that had everyone groaning. It was normal to everyone save for the two combatants in the garage of the ship.
Jorian Tao rubbed his back as he stood up. He tried to grimace and instead frowned at the one who threw him into the wall. He stood up straight still rubbing where he had landed and said, “I thought you said this was sparring Canderous.”
“Didn’t feel like it,” Jorian deadpanned as he stood in front of Canderous. When the worst of the soreness went away he assumed a fighting stance.
“This is sparring kid. If we were doing this for real you’d be dead.” Canderous looked at Jorian straight in the eye still not comprehending why Jorian was persistent in getting himself turned into a squished gizka.
Jorian maintained his fighting posture. Working with Canderous was better than working with Bastila. At least Canderous didn’t have to play fair and Jorian wasn’t sure if he could with her. Also he sensed that a lightsaber would not be the only thing he would need when he faced Malak. His hand to hand was getting rusty and he needed someone not afraid to not pull punches on him. Canderous was the best choice and the added bonus was that Jorian could hear more of Canderous’ war days. Jorian listened to what Canderous said and replied, “So you are doing me a favor by beating me to a pulp.”
“More or less,” Canderous shrugged his shoulder. “Again?”
“You bet. It’s the hardest maneuver you’ve taught me so far. A few more beatings won’t hurt,” Jorian grinned, the previous toss against the bulkhead forgotten.
“They will if the Jedi princess has anything to say about it.” Canderous resumed his own fighting stance.
“Nothing that a few medpacs and some healing trances couldn’t cure,” Jorian shrugged to hide the slight burst of amusement and annoyance at Canderous’ nickname for Bastila. He concentrated on his stance and waited for the first move.
Canderous struck first, coming at Jorian with a wide arc punch. Jorian ducked and countered with a two punch and kick combination. Canderous blocked them and backed off, keeping his eye on Jorian. He couldn’t help but say, “Good. Get in what you can. You never know when being able to throw two punches can buy you some time.”
“Better to wear down the enemy and save your strength till then, “Jorian muttered as he gave a combination of a right and reverse and hook punches. They were not hard, but calculated with enough strength to distract Canderous.
“Do the same to Bastila and you’ll have her yet.” Canderous dropped it on the sly knowing that Jorian was interested in the Jedi princess. It was a perfect tool to try and use as a distraction.
“No idea what you are talking about,” Jorian replied. He had been successful warding off Jolee’s comments and occasionally Mission’s. No way he was going to let Canderous get his two credits worth. He blocked a roundhouse that Canderous sent his way and allowed his arms to take the brunt of the kick. He ended up getting a smack to the head that caused a cut to form on his lip. He touched his finger to his lip and drew it back to see the blood.
Canderous showed little mercy to the punch to Jorian’s face. He knew that he cut him when he saw Jorian’s lip. It gave him the opportunity to say, “That’s something the Jedi princess can mend.”
“I can heal myself thank you very much,” Jorian replied thoroughly annoyed that Canderous was ribbing him. He spat out the blood that had accumulated in his mouth and readied his stance. “Leave her out of this.”
Jorian wasn’t going to fall for that one. Again he let Canderous make the first move. He countered and returned the punch with a powerful roundhouse kick to the body. It threw him slightly off balance and allowed Canderous to recover and knock him flat on his back. The next thing he felt was pressure on his windpipe from Canderous’ leg. Next thing he heard was Canderous whispering low in his ear, “She’s not bad looking kid. Maybe she’ll want a real man.”
Jorian felt rage stir but he refused to be ruled by it. Knowing that if he didn’t remove Canderous’ knee, he would pass out. Using his hands to steady himself, he folded his body in half to wrap his legs around Canderous not sparing a gut kick. Using his legs he pulled, just enough to force Canderous to ease up. Seizing the opportunity, he drove his fist into Canderous’ thigh forcing Canderous to release him. Jorian then rolled away to a crouched position where he stayed rubbing the soreness from his throat.
Canderous had to admit that it was resourceful of the kid to do that. Few young Mandalore could get out of that hold and they were exceptionally strong. Jorian was more resourceful and annoyingly limber. Canderous stood ignoring the throbbing in his thigh and stood looking at Jorian. Time to get serious. “Oh yeah and with the Force…”
“Leave her out of this,” Jorian replied forcefully.
“Make me kid.”
“Haven’t been able to do so far.”
Jorian knew he was foolish for attacking first without thinking. Still he went in but he had the sense to keep a clear head. He would attack and bounce away from Canderous’ counters or block them. His caution thrown away enabled him to get a few more bruises on his body and a cut to the temple. He stopped Canderous’ punch with one hand and grabbed the other when Canderous brought it up. It was a test of strength now as the two exerted force.
Muscles strained as the limbs were lowered allowing the combatants to face each other. Jorian looked at Canderous with a glare in the eye. His muscles burned under the strain and would soon threaten to break. He then loosened his muscles and allowed Canderous to push him back, back flipping into a stance. Canderous nodded and said, “Impressive but not as impressive as what I could show her.”
Jorian said nothing. He felt the small muscle in his mouth twitch in anger and his fists tightened. He paused and then lashed out, bringing his body in close to deliver hard punches to Canderous’ midsection. He didn’t cry out when Canderous grabbed his arm and twisted him around to grab in a chokehold. Instead he buckled his body upward and clouted Canderous on the shin. Feeling Canderous’ grip slacken, Jorian elbowed him and grabbed his arm to and grip it in a painful hold.
Not moved by the pain, Canderous gave a head butt to Jorian’s head and flipped him hard on his back. He watched as Jorian breathed deep and hard. Resting his hands on his knees, Canderous bent down and asked, “Had enough kid?”
Jorian, breathing hard and feeling the sweat run down his forehead looked up. The head butt had stunned him but he was coherent enough to understand Canderous. He conceded, “You win,” and in a last burst of strength he swung his leg around to hit the backs of Canderous’ and knock him flat on the ground.
Canderous, not expecting the move found himself winded and on his back. He grinned and said, “Nice work kid.”
Jorian panted a bit before saying, “Thanks.” It was more comfortable lying on the floor. He could feel every bone ache but he couldn’t stay there for long. He slowly got up and was helped to his feet by a hand from Canderous. He said, “Look I may…like Bastila but is that any reason for you to tease me about it?”
“In battle a warrior uses anything that will bring an advantage. One warrior’s weakness might be another’s strength.” Canderous looked at Jorian in the eye. Of the two, Jorian looked the worse for the wear but it was progress.
“And by exploiting my feelings for Bastila you hoped to gain an advantage,” Jorian replied understanding the lesson. It wasn’t enough to just be able to fight. You had to be able to deal with anything that could happen.
Canderous gave a satisfied grunt, “You didn’t lose your head though. I guess that Jedi training does pay off.”
“Little beats big when little is smart. First with the head then with the heart,” Jorian replied. He then made a face, “I guess the Old Man was good for something.”
Canderous chuckled. Jorian joined in despite feeling sore all over. He asked, “Tomorrow same time?”
Canderous laughed, “Day after kid. Give time for those bruises to heal.”
Jorian looked at his arms and brushed it off. “Nah.”
“Seriously kid. Tomorrow. You’ll thank me for it.”
“Alright, alright,” Jorian conceded and started towards the medbay. He stopped to look back at Canderous and said, “Thanks.”
Canderous nodded and turned to head to the men’s dormitory. His implants will have him healed by tomorrow. He stopped to chuckle when he heard plaintively, “Jorian what have you been up to?”