1. No this is not an acolyte led invasion, it's launched by @Ashla Ti
2. No this is not open to anyone outside of Altair and Thelian
3. Yes this determines the fate of this neutral planet. If Altair wins it goes Sith. If Thelian wins, it goes Jedi.
4. Go away
Thelian was almost thrilled to have been assigned to M’haeli, accompanying a Jedi Knight sent to the front of the planetary conflict. Between that disaster of a party back on Chalacta, his recurring nightmares and the knowledge that he was constantly falling behind on his studies, the Echani was feeling that familiar urge to break away from the temple environment - a place where he was constantly surrounded by his peers and reminded of it all.
It didn’t matter that their presence among the planetary forces was largely overkill, or that the entire journey was likely to be somewhat boring. It was a distraction, and there was something cathartic about being able to dedicate all of his focus and attention into. A singular task. A singular purpose that drowned out everything else while he played the role of a soldier on the frontlines. Perhaps that is what he was best suited for, anyway.
The Echani stepped down the ramp of their shuttle, his boots sinking down into the muck a bit as he made contact with the ground. Thelian was adorned in a new set of armor that had recently been finished - the ensemble of charcoal grey duraplast custom fit to the Echani’s muscular physique. It was completed with a full-coverage helmet, shrouding his stark white hair and facial features from view. He kept his azure-bladed lightsaber clipped to his utility belt, easily within reach if there turned out to be conflict with the Sith.
Thelian glanced back up the ramp, fixating his gaze onto the Jedi Knight. He gave the senior Jedi a curt nod of his head before turning back head, continuing up towards the front lines.
It didn’t take the Echani long to spot a pair of individuals across the field - standing out from the standard-issue Troopers that dominated the enemy line. His silver eyes immediately narrowed.
Perhaps this ‘invasion’ would be interesting after all.
Altair spotted a padawan about ten meters across from him. The guy didn’t draw a saber yet, and the tiefling had no intention of doing it either. While he didn’t have Wildfire in his system, he couldn’t help but feel the agitation that came from withdrawals. In some ways, it only fueled his rage. He focused the Force as best as possible to channel it into strength and draw from the dark side. This was Altair’s fist critical mission and a lot hinged on the outcome of this fight.
The tiefling didn’t hesitate to act, spotting the Jedi that prepared for combat. Without warning, he coiled the Force around him and attempted to yank his legs out from underneath him to drag him closer. Altair channeled the Force to his limbs to empower himself.
From the moment that Thelian spotted Altair from across the field, the Echani kept eyes trained on the Tiefling - striking silver eyes observing the Acolyte’s ever movement like a hawk. This wasn’t Thelian’s first battle against the Sith, and he knew immediately of what was to come. In a strange way, there was almost a sense of serenity in it - the way that the rest of the Galaxy seemed to disappear, until all that remained was that battlefield.
Whether Altair realized it or not, he had the Echani’s full and undivided attention.
While Thelian didn’t immediately reach for his Lightsaber, the Echani was nevertheless bracing himself for whatever confrontation was to come. The Force gathered all around the Echani and flowed into his body - the Light coursing freely into his extremities, enhancing his physical strength as he often did.
His silver eyes widened ever-so-slightly when he felt the Darkness coil around his legs, but the moment of surprise passed within a split second. As soon as his lower limbs were tugged forward, Thelian dug his heels firmly into the ground - the Light flowing into his legs as he fought against the pull. It was enough to keep the Echani upright and prevent him from falling backwards. He made no attempt to resist the pull itself if Altair continued his efforts - allowing his boots to drag through the muck as he was pulled forward.
Either was, Thelian rapidly allowed his eyes to flick around the battlefield - quickly surveying his surroundings. It didn’t take him long to spot a Sith soldier who had been gunned down laying across the earth - the Echani’s eyes immediately drawn to the glint of metal against the sunlight. Without warning, Thelian reached out and coiled the Force around the standard-issue combat knife that was still sheathed on the dead soldier’s belt. With an abrupt flick of his wrist, Thelian pulled the blade free and sent it spinning in Altair’s direction - attempting to embed the sharpened blade of Durasteel into the Tiefling’s abdomen.
Altair didn’t loosen the grip on the Jedi even as he felt the man resist. He continued to slide the padawan towards himself, intending to close the distance. It was then that he observed the Jedi turning and focusing on something else. Strictly fine tune manipulation of the Force like that would take a lot of unnecessary concentration, which meant his focus was off from resisting the pull. This allowed Altair to extend his grip towards the man's entire body. While the knife was successfully dislodged, Altair still had a firm hold on Thelian.
As the blade came towards Altair’s abdomen, he swiped his right fist up, the one armored with the Matukai gauntlet. True to form, the gauntlet successfully deflected the knife which he angled back towards the padawan he successfully had a grip on. As Thelian focused on resisting the pull and also pulling off such an intricate Force maneuver, he would have almost no real way to stop the blade that was now launched at him from only a few feet away and near point blank range. The blade was aimed for his chest region with Altair having a firm hold on Thelian with the Force.
Thelian didn’t take focus off Altair, silver eyes fixated strictly onto the Tiefling even as the Echani slid forward and the distance between them was rapidly closed. He felt as Altair’s grip through the Force spread as a consequence of his maneuver with the fallen soldiers knife, but it was a trade off that he was willing to make in order to launch the weapon at the Tiefling who had yet to draw his saber. Of course, Thelian couldn’t help the way his eyes widened when Altair lifted his fist to block the blade, revealing the Matukai gauntlets he wore that sent the blade back at the Padawan.
Thelian reached out with the Force once more, brushing invisible tendrils of energy against the blade that was launched towards him. Due to the range and his focus being split, Thelian knew he wouldn’t be able to redirect the blade away from himself entirely - instead opting to use the last minute brush of the Force to knock the blade to the left - aimed away from the center of his chest and instead passing across the side of the Echani’s ribs.
Of course, that alone wasn’t enough to avoid the blade entirely, as the entire maneuver came at the last minute and with little breathing room. As the knife passed along the side of the Echani’s ribs, the vibrating edge of the weapon sliced through the gray tabard that draped his torso and deep into the metallic plating of his armor. A low hiss escaped from the Echani as the blade cut down past the padding of his cuirass, slicing into the first inch of flesh across his ribs on the left side as it passed. Even with the pain that radiates out from the gash on his ribs, Thelian didn’t address the injury for the time being - instead turning his attention to the Tiefling who was only now within striking range.
Rather than resisting against the pull at this point, Thelian lurked forward - moving in close to the Tiefling. With the Light still coursing through his extremities, Thelian swung his left fist up for a punch, aimed for the Tiefling’s right flank.
Had Altair been a Champion, he would have crushed the Jedi’s body at this point. The Jedi had now allowed him to maintain a grip on him uninterrupted for a prolonged period of time. Thelian would feel the impacts at once, his bones beginning to cave in from the hold and faint fractures appearing. His entire body would sport bruises and he would have a difficult time catching his breath from here on out. As Thelian closed the distance and attempted to swing the punch, Altair was quick to react.
At long last, the tiefling finally released his grip on the padawan, though overall damage was done enough to partially collapse his lungs. Thelian would feel pain with each breath and shooting pain in his chest that would progressively worsen. As the punch came up towards Altair, the tiefling moved fast to reach up and swipe his left forearm in a counter-clockwise motion to bat the incoming punch towards Thelian’s own right. This was done while Altair pivoted on his foot and whirled in with a punch with his right fist aimed directly for the padawan’s left ribs where he was injured from the knife blow. As always, the Force enhanced his fists and the matukai gloves were put to use.
Anticipating incoming attacks, Altair’s left arm remained up defensively to block any potential interruptions from Thelian’s right side of the body. He purposely planted his legs so his shin faced towards the padawan in anticipation of any kicks.
Thelian felt as the Tiefling’s grip in the Force was finally released, and he felt all the damage that had been inflicted to his body as a result - even if there was nothing for him to do about it at this point. He felt the persistent pain that radiated from the fractures in his bones. More urgently, the Echani found every breath more difficult and painful on the intake - while every exhale came out with a distinct wheeze. It was becoming increasingly more difficult to catch his breath, and Thelian knew that was something that would only worsen as the fight was drawn out longer - until he was left struggling for air.
Thelian kept his eyes on Altair as his own punch was batted away - his left fist withdrawing back in close to his face as it was pushed down towards his own right - and continued to follow the Tiefling as he pivoted to the right. Just as the Tiefling repositioned himself, Thelian’s own body twisted in a half-turn to the left in order to face the Acolyte as he whirled a punch summed for the Echani’s ribs. Thelian took a single step back and leaned away from the punch, attempting to put himself out of Altair’s swing and spare himself from the Force-infused blow to the rib.
His movements were enough to dodge the bulk of Altair’s blow, but not entirely. The damage to his lungs and the rest of his body meant that the Echani was moving slower than usual, and it meant that the Tiefling nevertheless was able to clip Thelian in the chest as he stepped backwards - knocking the wind out of the Echani’s lungs and leaving him staggering for a brief few seconds.
It was abundantly clear that the damage was rapidly getting to the Echani, his chest rising and falling with pained breaths that never quite filled his lungs to capacity. Adrenaline alone could only drive him so far - and that source of energy was rapidly depleting. Every breath and movement was more labored, and Thelian knew that the strength in his movements was lacking.
Nevertheless, Thelian didn’t give Altair more than those split seconds before he reengaged in a last ditch effort. The Echani staggered for a moment before stepping forward once again, fists raised high in anticipation of any blow from the Tiefling. He pivoted on his left foot and moved towards Altair’s right, his left fist swinging in for a punch - lacking the same Force enhanced strength as was typical - aimed for the Tiefling’s jaw.
His right hand, meanwhile, subtly extended outward. Thelian had deliberately chosen not to draw his saber, and that gave him the opportunity to channel the Force with his free hand. He lacked the strength for any intricate or complicated manipulations, and instead opted to tightly coil his grasp around the Tiefling’s right knee - holding it firmly in place, so that if Altair attempted to turn with the Echani, he risked twisting the joint out of place.
The tiefling began to turn to face towards Thelian when the padawan spun around his right. However, he could only shift a bit before he felt that hold on his knee. As a lifelong matukai, he knew the intent of the move and he wouldn’t give into it. As the punch came in towards his jaw, Altair didn’t continue any kind of turn. Instead bowed his head just perfectly to angle the very point of one of his horns to meet with the incoming punch. As Thelian was whirling in with his fist, the hand would meet the devastating point of the horn. With continuous momentum, it would pierce through the glove and shred through his knuckles. Altair doubted this was a maneuver Thelian would have anticipated, but it came with the territory of swinging at the face of someone with deadly horns. At the very least it would completely throw off Thelian’s focus on the knee.
Regardless of what happened with the horn, Altair’s right hand came up in a swift and powerful open palm slam right at Thelian’s chest. His hand would snap out and recede back lightning fast. This was enhanced with the Force and enough power to shatter ribs if it landed. The entire time Altair didn’t pivot from his position, though there was no possible way for Thelian to maintain the Force grip with the tiefling’s defenses. His left arm did nothing right then, held up for defense only and to adapt to any incoming attacks.
For all of his experience fighting, Thelian hadn’t given much thought to the Tiefling’s deadly horns - and he certainly wasn’t anticipating the maneuver from Altair tilting his head to meet the punch. Silver eyes widened behind his helmet, fixating onto the sharpened point and threatened to tear into his glove and shred his knuckles apart. As was expected, it was a maneuver that abruptly forced the Echani to shift gears - releasing his grip on the Tiefling’s knee and keeping his right hand held close to the center of his body defensively.
While he hadn’t expected the maneuver, Thelian was a skilled enough fighter to adapt accordingly. Instead of continuing the momentum of his swing, the Echani abruptly pulled his punch at the last moment. As a result, the gloves covering Thelian’s fists only grazed against the Tiefling’s horns before he pulled his fist back to himself. The sharpened point nevertheless pierces into his gloves and sliced across the Echani’s knuckles - cutting into the skin and releasing a warm trickle of blood into his gloves.
The Echani inhaled once more, feeling that sharp pain in his lungs that radiated out through the rest of his body. It was growing almost impossible to entirely catch his breath, and each attempt was only becoming more and more painful as the Echani attempted to intake with increased intensity to compensate. It was growing increasingly more difficult to simply power through his injuries, and he knew that the longer the fight went on.
His eyes snapped down as Altair’s open palm darted forth to slam into his ribs. Thelian’s right hand - already positioned close to his center - moved to intercept the blow. The Force flowed into his extremities as the Echani rotated his arm down and to the right rapidly - batting the Tiefling’s palm strike away from his chest and pushing it to Altair’s own left - even if the Acolyte did rapidly pull the limb back immediately afterwards.
Thelian kept both of his fists raised defensively, anticipating any additional blows from the Tiefling. Still positioned to the Tiefling’s left as he hadn’t pivoted to face Thelian, rather than going in for another punch, the Echani took advantage of the fact that Altair’s shins weren’t positioned to block. He abruptly shifted his weight onto his right side as he brought his left leg up in a harsh kick, attempting to slam directly into the Tiefling’s ribs, threatening to to knock the wind out of the Acolyte reeling if it landed.
Altair’s left hand didn’t do anything, but was positioned for defense. As a result, when Thelian moved to swipe the palm hit away, he was able to snap his arm in to block it, already positioned to act quicker since he planned on being reactive. This would allow his right palm to continue the original trajectory and slam directly into his chest with the intended hit. The release on his knee meant the tiefling was able to lean further into it. The result would be enough to crack ribs and potentially cause his lungs to get punctured by bone and knock him out. Altair focused on his hit and didn’t concern himself with the kick that slammed into his side. With the injuries Thelian sustained, it was not only weak, but it didn’t reach as high as intended. The tiefling grunted as he took the solid hit to the side of his right thigh, but it wouldn’t stop his own blow from landing.
Thelian couldn’t help but go wide eyed as Altair’s left arm shot downward, intercepting the Echani’s attempt at blocking the open-palm strike. Not only was the Echani moving slower as a result of his injuries, he hadn’t anticipated the Tiefling’s left hand as he committed himself to attempting to block and go in for a kick in rapid succession. Just as his leg came up to slam into the Tiefling’s upper leg, Altair’s strike found its mark at the center of Thelian’s chest.
The Echani couldn’t help the agonized gasp that escaped from his lips at that moment, suddenly feeling every ounce of oxygen forced out of his lungs. He felt his ribs crack beneath the site of impact of Altair’s strike, spikes of molten agony radiating out from his toros and wracking his entire body. He couldn’t help the hot tears that immediately began to stream down his face from the pain.
Already off-balance as a result of his own attempted kick, Thelian was pushed bodily backwards by the blow to his chest - crumbling down into the mud below. Yet another pained wheeze escaped from the Echani’s lips as he collided harshly with the ground.
Thelian immediately brought a hand up to clutch at his chest, squeezing his torso tightly. Despite the excruciating pain that tore through his body, it didn’t take the Echani more than a split second to focus on the far more pressing concern.
The blow to his chest and subsequent fall had knocked the air out of Thelian’s lung - and the Echani immediately brought in another breath in an attempt to catch his breath - only to find that attempt falling short. Altair wouldn’t be able to see the panic that was watched into the Echani’s features as he struggled to bring in each breath, a series of gasps and wheezes echoing from behind the helmet he wore. Each breath brought in new waves of pain, the constant expanding and contracting of his broken ribs almost overwhelming to withstand. Despite whatever desires the Echani might’ve had to keep fighting, he made absolutely zero attempt to pick himself up off the ground.
And as he struggled to bring in each breath of air, Thelian felt the profound weakness that began to slowly but surely work its way through his body. The exhaustion and blood loss from the knife wound - the adrenaline pumping in his veins only serving to increase the blood that was lost - finally beginning to catch up with him.
Thelian glanced up at the Tiefling from the ground, and he couldn’t help as darkness gradually began to tug at the corners of his vision, and as the Tiefling and their surroundings started to go blurry.
With the injuries that wracked his body, the Echani simply didn’t have the strength within him to pick himself up off the ground, let alone keep fighting. There was little he could do except lay exactly where he had fallen in the mud, wheezing out with every labored breath. There was little he could do as the darkness at the corners of his vision progressed.
As he finally slipped out of consciousness - his body going still as the battle continued to rage all around above him.
Altair watched as the Jedi dropped with a thud. He was still breathing, and the tiefling watched his chest rise and fall. It would be so easy to declare victory here and to walk away. However, he knew the Jedi’s defiant gaze was looking at him from beneath the helmet. He knew the man, as vicious and dirty as he fought, would come back yet again. Would once again threaten him. Or threaten others he cared about.
Rage began to build up inside him as he thought about what it meant to be Sith. What it meant to be a warrior. What it meant to be far above the farm boy. Altair didn’t think much beyond that as he called upon the Force to carry the Jedi’s saber to his hand. He hesitated for just a moment, gritting his teeth. This went against what he thought was right, but he also recognized he had a method of thinking that was detrimental. Too much compassion towards those that didn’t deserve it ultimately hurt him in the long run. He experienced that first hand in his own life, and now he was about to make that mistake against a Jedi.
He was a Sith. He was a combatant on the field. This was war. He and the Jedi both understood what that meant. If that knife the Jedi threw had gone unstopped, Altair would be the one lying dead on the ground. The Jedi showed no mercy and he deserved none. Altair would not be the weak one here.
And with that, Altair ignited the Jedi’s saber and plunged it down and deep into the armored man’s chest. It was moments before he passed out so he would see exactly what happened before life left him. The tiefling gazed down as he felt that subtle pulse in the Force to tell him his opponent had died. He lingered there for a moment, his hands wrapped around the hilt of the blade. They trembled a bit more than he would ever admit to himself.
After what felt like ages, Altair finally drew back, turned away and walked. He left his opponent lying there on the ground with his own blade through his heart. Altair didn’t have the strength to look back. Nor did he feel particularly great about what he had done.