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Kliedden Raxx

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Klied enjoyed Dantooine very much. The environment was pleasant, the hunting was good, and the people were simple. The settlers here wanted much of what he wanted, to be left alone away from the choking masses of the inner rim to live simple and honest lives. They were usually pretty friendly too, so he was surprised when his casual stroll through the town center drew so many suspicious gazes. He paid them little mind though, keeping his own eyes forward as he approached the local hunting lodge to prepare for his next foray into the wild.

The building was large and luxurious, with comfortable furnishings, a burning fireplace, and the mounted heads of horned kath hounds and iriaz decorating the walls. Even a massive taxidermic brith hung from the ceiling above him. Klied began to wonder if he might not just spend the night here, seeing as night was quickly approaching. He saw a number of hunters both local and alien sitting around, talking, eating or drinking. But even they seemed somewhat somber.

His interest piqued, the Onderonian approached an Ithorian tending the bar. "What's eating everyone around here?" He asked curiously as he glanced at the downcast expressions around him. The Ithorian snorted.

"A surprisingly apt question friend." He replied. "We've been dealing with an infestation lately. Chances are any game you're looking for is already gone, and it seems we're on the menu too." He leaned forward. "Laigreks, a lot of them. They've been terrorizing the entire region. Farmers have abandoned their homesteads. Everyone that can is clearing out of town too." He looked through the windows before looking back at Klied. "You'd be wise to turn yourself around and get out before the sun goes down, or you'll be stuck here until morning." Klied turned and looked outside as well. The sun was setting, and the orange sky was quickly turning black.

"I don't think that's an option..." He murmured. Things were about to get interesting...

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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Dantooine. A world of blue skies, grassy dunes, and modest homesteads. Song had visited the planet once or twice before, hunting bounties or fulfilling menial jobs for the locals. Though she rarely returned to an outlander planet like Dantooine, especially after wrecking havoc chasing bounties, she enjoyed the planet.

It was a much needed change of pace from city worlds like Nar Shaddaa, or desert wastelands like Jakku, or the snow-capped mountain peaks of Krownest. Dantooine was a perfect balance in-between, beautiful and isolated.

But looks could be deceiving. In one corner of the planet, when night descended, the worst kind of creatures emerged. Laigreks.

In the last few days, Song had been taking jobs from old farmers to ward them off, but it was never enough. More would keep coming, the farmers would decide to move elsewhere, and the Mandalorian was back to square one. As a bounty hunter, she shouldn’t have cared about what happened. It had nothing to do with her. And yet, it had everything to do with her.

The week before, she came upon another homestead who had been transmitting for help and protection in the last couple days. She’d arrived sooner if not for a swarm of Laigreks blocking her journey, but in the morning after, she found the family.

Dead.

It was what brought Song to the faraway settlement, to her seating in the corner of the hunting lodge. At that point, it wasn’t about the money or the credits. She wanted to face the swarming Laigreks and drive them out. Into extinction, preferably.

As she watched the sun slip away, and night descend, the Mandalorian felt for the blaster in her holster. She might’ve failed to save that family, but she wouldn’t fail now.

@Reyn
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Klied could see through the windows that those settlers still in the streets were quickening their pace, disappearing into their homes and slamming the doors. Some dropped what they were carrying and ran. Still there were no signs of the vicious insects yet. Slowly Klied took his cycler rifle in his hands and walked to the doorway, peaking outside onto the main road. Already the place had transformed into a ghost town. The Onderonian scowled as he stepped back inside.

It had been a while since he'd had to deal with laigreks. Normally the subterranean creatures kept to cave networks and abandoned buildings. It was rare for them to be seen out in the open, and rarer for them to attack people unprovoked. Something was very wrong around here. Still, a swarm was more than he could handle on his own. He'd need help if he was going to get to the bottom of this incursion. Thankfully there was a whole lodge of experienced hunters behind him to-- They were gone. Klied turned around in time to catch notice of the last of them hurrying up the stairs to the second level and slamming a door shut. So much for the fearless big game hunters. Klied looked around with a bewildered expression. All that was left was a single Mandalorian sitting in a corner, hand on their holster. Well, better than nothing.

"Glad there's someone on this planet with balls..." He muttered to himself before nodding to the Mandalorian in acknowledgement. Looking down at his rifle he pulled back the bolt to check his clip, then slammed it forward again and stepped outside. "If you're not too busy I could use a hand." He shouted back to them as he walked. "I'm not the type to sit still when there's pests need killing."

Normally it wouldn't be wise to announce one's presence when on a hunt, but Klied had the other townsfolk on his mind. Better to draw the predators to himself than risk them ambushing an unarmed civilian. This time once he got outside he could hear the angered clicking of the giant insects, and make out their black-shelled forms skittering forth from the dark to attack him. He leveled his rifle and prepared to fight.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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Song wasn’t surprised when the rest of the hunters vanished upstairs, back to their hiding places, under the covers and behind closed doors. Cowards, but it was rather comical to her how quick they disappeared. She might have laughed, but she was met with another surprise: one of the hunters hadn’t gone. An older man, dressed in furs and armor, with a wild look in his eyes. Someone with experience, she could tell.

Rising from her seat, Song unholstered her blaster and moved for the door with the man. Her only reply to them was a nod and a single word: “Agreed.

She figured that was enough to seal the deal, this temporary partnership, between them. The Mandalorian meant to unleash against these creatures, in retribution for what they did to the family homestead. As the other hunter, whatever his name was, moved outside, so did she. With her DL-44 blaster raised, she focused in on the closest laigrek and fired. First shot was absorbed by its shell, but the second hit home.

The creature fell to the ground in a shriek, and was no more.

Easy enough,” said the Mandalorian, with a smirk.

Unfortunately, that smirk quickly disappeared as another laigrek shot out of nowhere, leaping onto the porch of the hunting lodge and then onto her. The creature knocked the blaster out from her hand, its clawed hand slashing into a crack in her armor, drawing blood. Nothing serious, but still, it caught her off guard. Now, it was on top of her, thrashing its open maw at her in an effort to tear out her throat.

This was not the kind of hunt she had expected.

@Reyn, and for future ref, rolls found here!
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Klied looked down the sights of his rifle, preparing to fire on one of the approaching laigreks. He didn't expect the Mandalorian to beat him to the draw, gunning down the creature with a smug remark. The hunter grinned a little in return, but before he could say anything another laigrek jumped forward, pinning his unexpected ally to the ground. Klied was quick to act, kicking the creature off of her before it could do too much harm.

The insect quickly righted itself, hissing menacingly and scuttling forward to stab at his leg with one of it's claws. Klied grunted in pain as it pierced his shin before bringing down the butt of his rifle on the creature's head. It screeched as it collapsed on the ground again, Klied hastily putting a shot in it to keep it there. Gritting his teeth through the pain he turned and offered a hand up to the Mandalorian.

"Nice shot," He huffed through his teeth painfully. "Name's Klied by the way." Seeing another laigrek charging towards them he leveled his rifle and fired, killing it, before turning back to her. "Now that we've got their attention we might want to move to a better position..." He suggested, and began scanning the area for a more defensible spot to fire from. The hunting lodge's open aired porch wasn't exactly the most protected place.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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Song held off the laigrek as it made every attempt to tear out her throat, but as her hands were busy keeping its jaw away, she hadn’t the chance to retrieve her knife. Fortunately, she didn’t have to. The hunter who had joined her kicked the creature off, before planting a shot into its head, but not without injury. It seemed neither one of them were going to emerge from this night unscathed.

Thanks,” said Song, taking the man’s hand and rising from the ground. She watched him with a touch of newfound respect as he spun around and shot another laigrek like it was nothing. Looked like her partner wasn’t so worthless after all, not unlike the hunters were busy cowering inside the lodge.

As the man, Klied, had introduced himself, the Mandalorian nodded and replied with one word, the namesake she had taken since donning her brother’s armor: “River.

With introductions out of the way, it was back to taking care of the swarm. Needless to say, neither of them could continue in their position. The open-air porch was too exposed, and made flanking too easy. If they wanted to make it through the night, they needed to find a place to sit tight.

That was when Song saw it. Ahead, near the settlement’s edge, was an old watchtower. It was unmanned, the guard likely dipping the second he saw the incoming swarm, but it was the perfect vantage point for the two.

There!” Song said, pointing over to the tower, before she charged towards it. Several laigreks attempted to stop her, hoping to grab a taste of her leg, but the Mandalorian was faster, smarter, and stronger. She wouldn’t make the same mistake she did before.

Having retrieved her blaster, she fired it point-blank into the head of one laigrek, leaving a smoking gap between its eyes. As for the second, she unsheathed her ceremonial blade and slashed through its body like it were butter. The creature shrieked, collapsed in two halves, then fell silent. Song had likewise cleared a path for Klied, and eventually, she reached the foot of the tower.

In seconds, she climbed the ladder up, and expecting Klied directly behind her, Song was quick to pull him up too.

@Reyn got a 96 roll! :D
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Klied followed "River" as she made a dash for the watchtower, grateful to have someone that clearly knew what they were doing backing him up. Unfortunately his injured leg was slowing him down, and though the Mandalorian was doing a good job of cleaving a path through the swarm, the distance between the two of them was increasing as they ran.

The hunter grit his teeth and kept moving, swinging his rifle like a bat to smack away one of the laigreks as it lunged at him. Unfortunately his cycler rifle was built for long range, not close quarters combat. It wasn't much use to him here. Another laigrek came up behind him and managed to get ahold of his bad leg, biting into it harshly and tearing at the fabric of his pants. Klied cried out in pain as he fell to the ground. Acting quickly, he turned over and drew his dagger, driving it into the insect's head. As his assailant collapsed dead the Onderonian turned around again to look for River. The Mandalorian was already on her way up the watchtower, and the hole she had carved in the swarm was filled.

"Dammit..." Klied hissed through his teeth as he pushed himself to his feet and ran to the side instead of forward, the laigreks right on his heels. Spotting a low roof on a nearby building Klied swallowed the pain and sprinted forward. He threw up his rifle, the weapon landing on the roof, then leapt up and grabbed the overhang. With some effort he managed to pull himself up, collapsing on the roof and taking a few moments to catch his breath before looking across the street at the watchtower. Well, his partner seemed to be on top of things. The hunter scowled as he started to think. He was in a bad spot. It wouldn't be long now before the laigreks were crawling up the building he was on and it wasn't as defensible as the tower. He had to find a way to get over there. Perhaps his partner would be able to help him out.

@Feng Mian Nice Job! Wish I could say the same
 

Song Wren

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Song turned around to find Klied was nowhere behind her. She drew a deep breath, afraid the man had been swallowed in by the laigrek swarm, eaten and torn apart within seconds. She searched around until she, thankfully, spotted him clambering up the roff a nearby house. Alive, but alone. He was in a poor position, and it was only a matter of time before the laigreks made their way up to him and ripped him to pieces.

Song decided not to wait and find out.

In the safety of the tower, she aimed her blaster and fired down to the laigreks trying to crawl towards the hunter. Almost all of her shots missed, a miserable turn of luck on her part, and the creatures continued to focus in on Klied. Though Song figured she could keep firing in an effort to help him, knowing it was better than doing nothing, she was met with a new and terrible turn of the tables.

Her blaster fire had drawn the ire of other laigreks in the swarm, who heard and saw precisely where she was. They too descended onto her location, but they were smarter than to climb their way up. Instead, with their gnashing teeth and clawed limbs, the creatures chewed and stabbed at two of the columns holding the tower up. Metal ached, the platform trembled.

Shit,” said Song, and then the tower collapsed.

So much for her vantage point, and so much for saving Klied.

@Reyn rolled a 2 now D: whiplash!
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Klied was quickly on his feet and in the center of the roof, keeping on high alert from an attack from any direction. And the laigreks were coming from every direction. He fired at each that appeared on the roof in turn, managing to kill a few, and quickly emptying his clip. He scrambled to reload as the laigreks closed in on him, unfortunately his ally wasn't firing well enough to keep the pressure off him.

As the laigreks got close Klied resorted to using his rifle like a bat once more, swinging wildly at the insects and keeping them at bay. It didn't seem to be working well though, as he was quickly becoming surrounded. In a moment of desperation Klied drew his dagger and lunged forward, tackling one of the unsuspecting laigreks and stabbing it to death. He kicked another away as it tried to lunge at him, then moved quickly to begin sawing off one of the dead creature's legs. The long blade-like appendage served to give him a little more reach, and with his dagger in one hand and improvised weapon in the other he was able to ward off the rest of the laigreks on the roof.

Turning back to see the condition of his ally Klied watched in horror as the watchtower across the way collapsed with the Mandalorian inside. Cursing, the hunter took a moment to survey his surroundings. The top of the tower had landed a little ways down the street, and the swarm would be there soon. The street itself was too dangerous, but a line of buildings created a sort of path to Song's location. Thinking quickly, Klied pulled some rope from his pack and used it to tie the severed laigrek leg to his rifle like a spear, then stood up and took a few deep breaths. His leg still hurt terribly, but he had to focus. He ran forward in an uneven gait, charging through the pain, and leapt several feet to the next roof. He grunted in pain as he landed hard and rolled, but got up and did the same again, running and leaping to the next roof. Now he was directly across from Song's position again, but the laigreks were still closing in. He had little time.

Leaping down from the building Klied bit his lip and cursed as more pain shot up his leg, but continued forward, spearing another laigrek as it got in his way. Once he reached the Mandalorian he was quick to offer her a hand. "Come on!" He shouted, pulling her to her feet before limping along. Now they were back to square one with the swarm hot on their heels. They had to figure out a strategy and fast. At least the beasts were focused on them and not the townsfolk.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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Song crawled from the wreckage of the watchtower. The spotlights attached to it had shattered, shards of glass and wayward light beams spread over the ground. The swarm descended onto her, their shadows contorted and twisted in the light. An image out of a nightmare. Hell, Song wish it was a nightmare instead. Something she could wake up to her. Instead, she was stuck and surrounded, her head pounding.

Then, she spotted him. The hunter, Klied.

He tore a path through a part of the swarm towards her, as he might cut his way into a jungle. Laigreks shrieked, their insides spilling as the hunter speared into a couple on his advance. Meanwhile, Song fended off another laigrek, and swept her ceremonial blade across its abdomen as it leapt towards her. It dropped to the ground split in two.

When Klied reached her, Song took his hand and rose back up. Together again, they ran from the swarm. It had thinned considerably, but their anger was furious, and they thrashed about desperately to kill the Mandalorian and the Beast Hunter. Not that Song would let them.

With her blaster still on her, she emptied her clip into the pursuing swarm. The closest few were shredded with blaster fire, collapsing into dirt. A win, but a brief one. There was still a matter of where to go next, and whether or not they would make it through the night. Song trusted the hunter to lead the way, while she handled the monsters behind.

@Reyn
 

Kliedden Raxx

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It didn't take a genius to realize their situation was bad. Although they had done a good job so far in culling some of the swarm many remained, and at the rate they were going their luck would run out soon. Scanning over the town Klied spotted a large empty warehouse not too far away. They could find a higher position there, and it was unlikely to have any civilians inside. "There!" He shouted, pointing to it, trying to hide the pain in his voice.

It wasn't very convincing. The laigrek bite was really starting to take effect, and all the movement and stress on his body was only exacerbating it. His entire leg burned, and sweat was running down his face as though he had just finished a marathon. He did his best to keep up with the Mandalorian, and her obvious skill in combat was certainly helping. But the hunter's injury was just too taxing on his body at this point. He began to feel lightheaded and suddenly collapsed on the dusty ground, the swarm rushing towards him eagerly.

"Oh... Hell..." Klied slurred slowly, and awkwardly moved his rifle to fire, blowing one of the laigreks away. But in the next moment several were on him, tearing viciously at his body. The thick furs he was wearing blocked some of the bites and stings, but many others got through to him. And suddenly the pain he had felt before seemed like a paper cut. Klied roared in pain and fury like a cornered animal, drawing his dagger and swinging it indiscriminately as he thrashed on the ground. He managed to fend off a few of the monsters, but if he didn't get help soon he'd be doomed.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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The Mandalorian had a splitting concussion from the tower’s collapse. Each step was like the jab of a knife into her skull, and in her ankle, which had twisted in her desperate crawl out of the wreckage. She could feel the blood from her earlier wound trickle down her gloved fingers. Fast as she went, she was clearly lacking in the same speed and energy as before. Fortunately, she had Klied to help her. Together, they carved a path from the swarm.

Though fortune did not always favor the bold.

As he pointed out an empty warehouse, he was suddenly overcome with exhaustion, and then several laigreks. They clawed and thrashed at him, and even underneath his fur armor, Song could tell the man wasn’t invincible. It wouldn’t be long before one of the creatures tore into it, his skin, then his insides. Only way out was with her.

Her DL-44 blaster was empty, and Song didn’t have the time to reload the magazine, so she instead unsheathed her ceremonial blade and dived after Klied. With one sweep, she beheaded one laigrek, and with an angled slash, she bisected another. By the third kill, she had reached Klied, and quickly pulled him back up his feet.

She was about to lead him on when she felt a claw scrape over her back plating, and down to a sliver of her exposed hip.

Song gasped, stunned by the blow, and kicked the laigrek back with her left foot. With Klied arm and arm with her, she activated her jump boots and launched ahead. Their combined weight dragged them down, and she barely vaulted half the distance she usually would alone, but Song would take whatever she could get to escape the swarm. A five meter head start was all she’d need to make it to the warehouse entrance.

Stumbling and heaving for air, the Mandalorian threw open the door. Once they were both inside, she slammed it shut, but there was no telling how long before the laigreks broke through.

@Reyn
 

Kliedden Raxx

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It was all Klied could do to keep the laigreks at bay until Song came to his rescue. But even the Mandalorian couldn't pull him out of the mess without taking another injury herself. Once they managed to reach the relative safety of the warehouse the hunter shook the stars from his eyes and slapped his face a few times to regain his senses. Then he immediately set to cleaning and dressing his wounds. He didn't have many supplies on hand so ended up tearing off the bottom of his shirt to create a makeshift bandage for his leg.

"I've never seen this many laigreks above ground, let alone in a single swarm." He gasped as he worked. Taking a moment to look around the warehouse seemed surprisingly sturdy, and being abandoned the only windows were already boarded up. They seemed fairly safe in here. "As much as I'd like to help these people out it may be wiser to just wait the night out..." As he finished tending to his wounds he paused to rub his chin, deep in thought. "I can't imagine what could be the cause behind such a wild change in behavior... Is something drawing them here?" He looked at the Mandalorian, noticing she was suffering from some fairly serious injuries of her own. "Do you need some help?" He offered. It was the least he could do for the stranger, considering she'd just saved his life.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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Song stopped to catch her breath, heaving low through her helmet and modulator, which was fair after everything she and the hunter had went through. The swarm had nearly torn them apart and shredded her armor to ribbons. Dents, scratches and markings checkered her chest plate and leggings, and that was the least of her problem. She had a cut in her arm, a throbbing concussion and a deep wound in her leg.

As much as she initially believed it, Song wasn’t sure if she’d see the light of day.

This swarm might be migrating. Looking for a new place to settle in and nest. Which I’m guessing is here.” She looked around the inside of the warehouse, boarded up and closed, but it was clear it wouldn’t hold the laigreks at bay forever. Even if day did arrive, would the swarm truly be gone? They weren’t simply passing through the settlement. They meant to take it over, and kill those living in it.

I don’t know if we can wait,” said Song. “Those people need us. The last thing I am is one of those cowards in the lodge, and I know you aren’t either.

Song began to bandage her wounds. With her usual medpack, she sprayed a bottle of bacta onto her lower leg and hand, although it wouldn’t help with the piercing drum in her head. She sighed. “I’m fine though. Thanks.

No, she really wasn’t. If another laigrek cut into her leg, she might have to crawl for the remainder of the night. If one punctured her chestplate, she’d bleed out and die within hours. Song encountered bad odds before, but this was much worse. Maybe the worst in her bounty hunting career. Hell, she wasn’t even after a bounty.

When she was done, Song turned to the beast hunter. “We should get to the roof. See what we can do. That is… if you’re still up for this?

The Mandalorian stretched out a hand to him. One last ride?

@Reyn
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Klied still wasn't entirely certain this was a natural occurrence. While laigreks were certainly aggressive and territorial they never attacked settlements like this. But in the end, the cause didn't matter so much as finding a solution, and they didn't have many solutions aside from killing them all or driving them off. And the Mandalorian had a point. Even if they could wait out the rest of the night in the warehouse there was no certainty the villagers would be safe in their own homes.

The hunter stared blankly at the offered hand for a few seconds, biting his lip as he mulled things over in his head. Finally with a grunt he grabbed his ally's hand and pulled himself to his feet. "I'm up." He answered her. As they made their way up the rusted through staircase toward the building's upper level he scanned over the structure again. A large open ground area with what looked like only one or two exits, and very easily blocked off. As they climbed he paused to jump lightly up and down on the stairs for a moment. They were in poor condition, clearly not taking his weight well. A plan was starting to formulate in his mind.

Once they reached the roof he knelt down at the edge of the building to look down at the swarm below. There appeared to be hundreds of the vicious monsters, and they were indeed attacking the settlers homes now. They had little time to act. "I know you Mandalorians are fond of your gadgets..." He said, still thinking. "You wouldn't happen to have a flamethrower would you? Anything flammable would do actually..." Picking them off with blasters and slugthrowers clearly wasn't going to work. They needed to kill off a massive amount of the bugs at once to make any kind of dent in the swarm. And Klied was starting to get an idea of how.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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Together, they made their ways into the upper level. Stairs, steps and walkways creaked as she passed over them, and Song was almost afraid they might collapse right under her, sending her plummeting back to square one. As she turned to Klied, she noticed though a look of musing, like a plan was bubbling into mind. Just what was he thinking?

At the rooftop, her curiosity was immediately dispelled, shaken by the sight of the more than a hundred remaining laigreks. She had to have killed at least twenty or thirty on her own, and Klied just as much, but to see their overall progress had made so little an effect, it made her heart sink. Perhaps the beast hunter was right. Maybe they should wait out the night, rest and refresh for the morning. Let the settlers handle this themselves.

No. She couldn’t. The Creed wouldn’t let her, and neither would her conscience.

She raised an eyebrow to Klied. “A flamethrower? I wish. The best I have is a lighter and two thermal detonators. I don’t know what you got in mind, but…” The pieces clicked together. Song knew what he was getting an idea of what the beast hunter was planning, and she liked it.

“I see,” she said, glancing between the swarm and the vast inside of the shoddy warehouse. “You want to lure them over here and let this building crash and burn on top of them, right? Smart.

She grinned, lodged her blaster into its holster, then handed him the detonators. “If you really want to do this, then let’s do it. But let me be the one to draw them in.

She might’ve been a little slower in her armor, but it could still withstand a few attacks from the swarm, and she still had her jump boots. All it’d take was arming the detonators on the remaining support beams in the warehouse and drawing the swarm inside.

@Reyn
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Klied smirked as the Mandalorian caught on to what he had in mind. He was glad they were on the same page. His grin disappeared however as his ally offered herself as bait for the swarm. "You're sure?" He asked. "You'll have to move very quickly once they're inside, use your jump boots to get back to the roof and then off of the building before it comes down. We can't risk waiting too long or the laigreks could escape." He wanted to make sure she knew exactly what was at risk here. Although he wasn't keen on doing it himself in his current condition, he didn't want to put someone else's life at stake either. He wouldn't argue with her decision once she answered though, they had little time to act after all.

Once it had been decided who would be the bait Klied got to work setting the trap. First he would go below again and set the detonators on the loadbearing columns such that the whole building would come down once they were destroyed. Then he went to work securing all but one of the exit points, making sure other doors and windows were properly blocked off. Finally he made his way back up the stairs, turning around after he had gotten to the top of the flight to kick violently at the rusted metal until it broke off and collapsed to the floor below. There was no way out from the warehouse floor now unless one went through the front door or used the Mandalorian's jump boots to get up to the catwalk.

Back on the roof of the building Klied would throw down a board to create a makeshift bridge to the building next door, then turn back to his comrade. "This is it." He said. "Detonators are set to go off in three minutes. Let's finish this." Depending on what Song had decided earlier he would either shake her hand here and wish her luck or prepare to draw the swarm into the warehouse.

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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I’m sure,” said Song, casually, like she wasn’t really about to throw her life at the feet of a swarm of hungry laigreks. “I know what to do.

With that said, the two descended back downstairs and into the stomach of the warehouse. Outside, she could feel the ground still trembling, and hear the stampede of the swarm circling the settlement. Night was heavy, the air thick with tension, and Song was left uncertain of her fate in the coming hour. She could only use her jump boots once before they needed to recharge.

If she missed the second floor when the swarm was inside, she’d fall back right back into it. Not even her Beskar would stop them from tearing her apart limb by limb.

The Mandalorian decided to stay on the lower floor, to open the doors and draw the laigreks in, and watched as Klied armed the charges and went back to the roof. For safe measure, he kicked out the rusted stairs. Song watched that too, and its short plummet to the ground. She drew in a deep breath. “Agreed.

She waited two minutes before she wrenched open the warehouse doors. The swarm was momentarily distracted with the rest of the settlement, but the second the Mandalorian flashed her armor and a couple bolts from her rifle, they had returned their focus back to her. Their original prey. Nearly all of them, or at least the largest chunk, moved onto her in tandem.

She counted down from a minute and backed from the door. Twenty seconds later, they were in.

The laigreks clambered over one another, squeezing through the entrance and into the large, spacious warehouse. All of them gnashing teeth and shrieking mouths, starved for food and blood. Song retreated back, using her blaster to hold off a few of the quicker laigreks, while taking every second she could to lure as much of them inside as possible.

Thirty seconds left. No more time.

Believing she had drawn in more than enough of the swarm into the warehouse, who now circled around her desperate for a bite, she activated her jump boots and looked straight into the ceiling. Her heart fell into her stomach as she leapt ten meters into the air. Her outstretched arm reached for the catwalk, so close. Almost there.

But it wasn’t enough. Her fingers stretched for the catwalk’s edge, but Song was off by half a foot. Her heart fell further. She was going to die.

@Reyn
 

Kliedden Raxx

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Once everything was ready Klied hurried across the makeshift bridge to the next building, taking up position and aiming his rifle at the street below. Once the warehouse collapsed there might still be some stragglers that he'd need to gun down. If any of the laigreks escaped they might draw another swarm to the village.

Time passed. Too much time passed. A minute... Two... "What the hell is he doing?" Klied murmured under his breath, starting to become concerned. Song wasn't giving herself any breathing room. If her escape went wrong she'd be buried alive with the swarm. He watched as the Mandalorian finally threw open the warehouse doors and released a flurry of blaster fire, drawing the laigreks inside. But the hunter's certainty that she knew what she was doing had been shaken. "Dammit..." He hissed through his teeth. Against his better judgement he crossed the bridge back to the warehouse.

The scene inside was harrowing. All crammed together the laigreks had become a black sea of gnashing teeth and glowing eyes. The Mandalorian held her own in the center of it all, drawing the beasts to her without fear. Klied moved lower and lower, down onto the catwalk. He looked towards the detonators. 30 seconds... 29... 28... His attention was drawn back to Song as she activated her jump boots and launched herself up towards the catwalk. The hunter could tell immediately from the speed at which she was rising. He had misjudged the distance from the floor to the catwalk. Her boots wouldn't have enough power to get her that high!

Klied ran forward, diving to reach out and grab the Mandalorian's arm right before she could plummet back to certain death. He landed on the old rusted metal on his belly, pain shooting through his body from the exertion. "Hold on!" He shouted, and glanced towards the detonators again. 25... 24... 23... With a savage cry he used what little of his strength was left to pull his ally up enough so she could grab onto the catwalk, then made a mad dash for the roof.

Just as the hunter climbed up onto the roof once more the whole building shook violently and the pained screams of the laigreks reached them. The detonators had gone off. Cracks began appearing around them and sections of the ground beneath them began to give way. Looking towards the bridge he started running for it, but he was being slowed considerably by his injuries. Gritting his teeth through the pain, Klied began to wonder if he'd make it before the roof fell in on him, or even if Song would make it...

@Feng Mian
 

Song Wren

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In the split second mid-air, Song felt the air in her lungs vanish, her hope disappear. Down below, the swarm screeched and clawed after her, a pile of them already waiting in the space where she first launched off from. She closed her eyes. A short plummet later, she’d fall back into their gnashing teeth and claws, and though they couldn’t chew through her armor, they could tear her arms off like twigs. A violent death.

Then she felt a hand take hers. Klied’s hand.

Her eyes shot open and her grip tightened against his forearm. She dangled high over the laigreks, although as more spilled into the warehouse, they began to climb the walls and on top of each other in a desperate attempt to reach her. It was incredible feat of the beast hunter to carry her singlehandedly, but Song knew he wouldn’t be able to hold on for long if hung there oblivious.

Instead, as he lifted her up, she took her other hand and clung to the walkway. Rusted metal ached. The Mandalorian was afraid it might give way, send them both plunging to their deaths, but it held. Finally, luck was back on her side. She smiled, and with Klied’s help and a great heave, she found herself back onto the catwalk. Song needed a moment to breath and recover from that near death experience, but to do that, she had to escape from another.

The thermal detonators were seconds from going off.

Together with Klied, Song dashed out of the warehouse. On the roof, she felt the walls shake violently, and heard the muffled explosions below. Laigreks caught in the blasts screamed, while the rest began to realize the warehouse was collapsing in on them. It was too late. Like a grand fly trap, the foundations of the building slipped away and nearly every creature Song lured inside was crushed in debris and rubble.

As for the Mandalorian and the beast hunter?

Song had shoved Klied violently forward, pitching him ahead as the roof and bridge fell away, right onto the next building over. She figured his injuries might slow him down, so she decided to give him a push. Literally. Still, that left her behind. The strength in her legs were gone, the injuries she received there too painful to continue. Although Klied had saved her from her fall before, he couldn’t now.

The bridge collapsed, and so did Song.

However, in the cloud of dust and debris, the Mandalorian pulled her ceremonial blade free one last time and ran it into the wall of the other building. Like a makeshift hook, Song held onto the building’s side. Her legs might have given out, but her arms still clung to life.

Three stories waited for her below. In a fall, she might survive, but chances of her breaking a leg or two were high. Chances she’d rather not take. Instead, Song looked up to the roof ledge, hoping Klied was there to pull her up. One last time.

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