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Sandy Sarna

Sandy vs Aidan judge Jaina

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((Setting: Coruscant Memorial, 5 years from now. No NPCs. The Galactic Alliance is under Imperial Remnant invasion, the Imperial Knight Aidan Dakrfire is met by Jedi Knight Sandy Sarna at the memorial as battles rage above. Buildings are turned to slag by stray turbolaser blasts and capital ships are slowly falling to the city below as they loose engine propulsion and succumb to the planet's gravity.))

 

"It's been years Aidan, I had hoped we wouldn't find each other here."

 

Sandy's voice was hoarse from the acrid smoke that filled the air around them, her green tunic and grey duraloid armour streaked with carbon scoring. Flynn Relmis's old lightsaber was grasped in her pale hand, its silver handle vibrating softly as the white blade shot out and formed its plasma sheath. The blade was shorter than a normal saber and its handle resembled the length of a two handed sword handle, which could be used effectively for rotational strikes and favoured the downwards strikes of Vom Dach.

 

Slowly, Sandy circled the older man, her blade angled above her head prepared to strike a blow from the top. She didn't smile like she usually did when she had seen him last, this was a battle for Coruscant, and the feelings she held for him in her heart could not get in the way this time.

 

 

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((1))

 

Aidan's gaze was cold, his mind resolute. There was only one course of action to be taken, and the Jedi were unwilling to do it. Moreover, they had decided to side against the Imperials, even though there was clear evidence of Sith workings within the Galactic Alliance. Their misguided morals had come home to roost, indeed. He hadn't expected to encounter Sandy, but he wouldn't let it stop him from fulfilling his duty. To his Empire...to the people. He held a great responsibility to the galaxy, and he couldn't afford to allow anyone stand in his way.

 

Even Sandy.

 

"You had your chance to leave. I tried to warn you. Please know I didn't want it to come to this, but there is no other choice. The Inquisition has come to Coruscant, and evil will be found out."

 

Aidan reached behind his back, unhooking the twin light-tonfas from their slings, igniting them with a flourish. Their silver blades illuminated him with a cold light as the Force gathered to him, preparing him for the struggle ahead.

 

"You can still stop this. You can still turn off your saber, and surrender. I will ensure no harm befalls you. But as long as you stand in the path of the Inquisition, you are an enemy of the light."

 

He waited a moment before darting forward, striking out and testing her defenses. He would need to get a read on her, a feel for her patterns, and it was as good a place as any to start. Should she fail to defend herself, he had the option of pulling back at the last second, ensuring she only suffered flesh wounds, but her lack of action would still be a choice that would play into how Aidan could manipulate the patterns.

 

 

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Air rushed from her lungs in a sharp breath as Sandy lept away from Darkfire, still holding her blade above her head. The Lightsaber Tonfa was a deadly and agile weapon, one that she was nowhere near adept at fighting, having only seen them once before when they had fought together at the Serreno garrison. Her mind raced with ways to block and counter attack, and she brought the saber down in a quick fluid circle to block the first blow at her chest, the silver and white blades clashed with expelled static discharge and left the familiar scent of scorched ozone when they parted. The blazing silver tip of the tonfa in his left hand spun and knicked into the armour at her abdomen. Burning a crease along the duraloid and superheating the tunic below, leaving a third degree burn below it. The pain of the skin and nerves below the burning tunic frying into a mass of boiled flesh sharpened her brain, driving out the fog and she let out an involuntary yelp of pain. Sandy spun the block into a downwards strike aiming at his left shoulder but knowing that he would likely block it. She studied his features as they fought back and forth, their silver and white blades forming bright pinwheels of light clashing in fluid motion. His features were sharper, his hair a mess. She kicked memories of rubbing her hand through that tangle out of her mind. No reason to let that fog creep back in and dull her senses.

Duel first, rescue this damned planet, then I can deal with him. Him. Gods why did it have to be him.

When she spoke, her voice trembled with emotions and exertion. “I can’t stand by as your Empire subjects another planet to its inquisition, even if it costs me my life you know it's my duty Aidan.” I dont hate you, but I will stop you. Behind her back a green turbolaser bolt arced lazily through a skyscraper, shattering the building, and tossing twenty thousand lives into the underlevels. “Your light is corrupted!” Nothing was black and white like the inquisition claimed. There was evil in the galaxy, but it wasn’t here. Not here in the heart of the Galactic Alliance. The council would have seen it. She charged, kicking off a durasteel bench to strike down at his shoulders. Not a fatal wound if she could score it, but it was a feint. As she struck she reached out with the force and grabbed a fallen hunk of transparisteel with her mind and hurled it, blunt side first into his ankles. Aiming to trip him and with a short strike, disarm him.

 

((1))

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The Force warned him, but his eyes saved him. Aidan crouched quickly while sliding his feet out of the way, allowing the rod to pass through the narrow gap his legs made. His right tonfa spun, catching her blade on a reversed guard, his own left blade primed to drive into her gut. He waited half a beat to ensure she saw her mistake before shoving with the Force, blasting them away from each other and giving him some space to work with. He was no longer who he was in his youth, an unskilled boy naive to the rhythms of combat.

 

"Don't give me that tired rhetoric. You know full well this is exactly what they want! The council is absolutely blind if they can't see that the Sith want them weakened from fighting the Empire."

 

Aidan haphazardly flung two pieces of detritus at her through the Force, approaching slowly. It was really only to keep her occupied. As he walked, his sabers scraped the ground, leaving charred ruts in their wake and sending sparks of metal skittering about. He reached deeply into the Force, reaching out, high above them to a passing starfighter in a dogfight, nudging the poor pilot's control yoke just so, causing them to take a hit and begin to careen down towards the memorial. Honestly, he didn't even bother to know whether it was a friendly or an enemy starfighter, it was simply another string to pluck in the pattern. Aidan charged, keeping her focus on him.

 

"The Galactic Alliance is cancerous," he snarled, feinting left before lashing out with a lateral spinning strike at her mid guard, "It must be cleansed. If our cleansing fire ensures the survival and protection of those who survive as opposed to losing the entire galaxy, then so be it!" Aidan didn't want to kill her. But she could also be cloned just as easily as he, and he would do what was necessary. One way or another, she would see the light. His light. He would make her.

 

((2))

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The Sith were the main enemy, she knew that. Their dark hand seemed to be over everything these days, shaping and molding the Galactic Alliance and Remnant’s actions to fit their cruel desire. It served no one but the Sith that the GA and Remnant fight. And by Aidan’s words, he thought it was the council that was at fault. But it couldn’t be, not after Dashel and Organa had perished in the battle over Ithor, saving that planet from the scourge of the Sith. A move the Remnant used to further their goals in the Core. Aidan was so self righteous, so sure of himself. Curse him for that. Curse him for that telekinetic ability.

 

She sucked her belly in to avoid the plunge that she expected from Aidan’s tonfa, but instead he threw her into the steps at the memorial’s base. She tumbled as she flew, finally smacking the ground and snapping her left arm like a twig under a stormtrooper’s boot. Her own fault for trying to stop her fall with an arm instead of a roll. Clumsy as always. The nerves severed from the compound fracture of her left ulna caused explosions of white hot pain to burst in her skull. She shook her head and lept to her feet, the long spray of blood whipping across the steps. Instead of crying out in pain, a grin slowly spread across her face, showing white teeth and pink gums, flecked with a bit of blood and saliva. A sad smirk.

 

Pain defined me. It defined you. Now let us dance this waltz of misery. Let me show you what the long nights of crying showed me

 

The force flooded into Sandy and she caught hold of it, harnessing it to snap the bone back in place, weaving it through torn sinew and veins. Choruses of pain leaving an open wound soaking in blood. Her eyes focused and accusatory tears brimmed in the emerald pools around pitch black pupils.

 

Blood that soaked the ground began to take shape. Dust particles and granite solidified around the streak of blood that she had left on the steps forming themselves into a long curved blade. The blood congealing and peeling up granite and durasteel with the power of the force and determination. The drips the sprayed out with every heartbeat forming little wicked darts of granite and durasteel dust. Like the rocks they had skipped on the beach half a decade before, she hurled the sharp blades of granite and blood at his back, legs, chest, and face. She used the force to fill her muscles, quickly dodging blow after blow until she counter attacked fiercely using one hand to strike, while the other arm hung loose, every drip of blood streaming from the hole in the arm forming another jagged wicked weapon. She couldn’t keep it up long, but it would be enough to stop this assault on the planet.

 

Her eyes were still brimming with tears as she spoke, her voice barely whisper, carried by the force to his ears.

 

“I love you Aidan, but I have to stop you, after I do we can fix the cancer.”

 

((2))

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Even with the Force guiding his movements, Aidan wasn't adept at utilizing it to augment his speed in critical moments, and this one was no exception. He moved to get out of the way, but the sheer number of projectiles she had begun to make use of had quickly caught up with him. She'd always been adept at mass telekinesis, far more than he. A skilled Jedi could manipulate one or two things at a time, but a practitioner of mass telekinesis could manipulate a myriad of objects. His specialty was in Force connections, seeing the woven patterns between all things, seeing possibilities and making a chosen possibility happen. It was like those who were naturally gifted with the ability to perceive shatterpoints, but Aidan more or less made his own shatterpoints.

 

And right now, his probability was getting slimmer that he'd walk away from this. Her assault renewed something fierce, and he was caught in several places by gravel and small pieces of shrapnel digging into him like small bullets, not quite fast enough to tear through him, but enough to cause him enough pain to cry out in anguish, his movements much more ragged and rash. With every swipe, another projectile dug at him, piercing through his robes. Be it pebbles or drops of blood, it was enough to throw him off. Finally batting his defending saber to his outside she swung in, but his left hand came about as he fell to one knee, dropping his tonfa as he barely managed to summon the Force to halt and hold her blade right as it burned his skin. Under his robes, blood trickled down his body from multiple small wounds. The pain flowed through him, but he didn't fear pain... Pain was something he'd felt before. It was a distraction only, meaningless. The Inquisition had taught him that. He looked up at her, fire burning in his eyes.

 

"This is so much bigger than either of us, Sandy. You can't stand in front of it and hope to stem the tide. You have to excise it at the source, rip the weed from the ground..." He gritted his teeth, struggling to keep her blade there, "Or else you risk losing everything."

 

At the last word, his gaze shifted ever so slightly, looking behind her, seeing the starfighter careening ever closer. Now. It was an all or nothing gambit, either he'd kept her occupied and she wouldn't know it, or he was likely done for the count. They'd given everything, both of them. Aidan had given his life and soul to the Inquisition, and Sandy had given up a life of quiet for a life of servitude to the Council. Using the very last of his strength, he shoved backwards from her, catapulting himself a ways from the expected center of impact, a point very near to where the Jedi Knight stood. If the concussion of the crash didn't kill her, shrapnel likely would.

 

That is...if he'd kept her occupied.

 

Midair, Aidan heard the horrible sound of the crash, and a heartbeat later completely botched his landing, skidding to a stop, miraculously not managing to cut himself in half with the still-lit tonfa.

 

((3))

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As every small projectile hit Aidan she could feel his strength diminish, as every drop of blood left her, she could feel the two of them inch towards destruction. Steps in the fatal dance.Yet she held the final and fatal blow in reserve, the long wicked blade formed from the initial compound fracture stayed still until the last moment, saved for the blow that would kill him. The final move of the dance, from which Sandy knew she would never recover. As their silver and white blades locked and clashed against the dark, smoke filled sky, Sandy knew that it was highly unlikely she would walk away from the battle untouched. With every strike against him, her love for him grew ten fold. As her blood mixed with his, she desired him. Her tear filled eyes remained locked with his as they battled, emerald pool of green against emerald sea of green. Two sets of green eyes that she knew would never look at each other with the love that she wanted. She loved him, but she knew that her words of love would not save Coruscant. They would not save the Alliance. His death would, and that would shatter her. There was something strangely poetic about the dance they played at, but she didn’t have the state of mind to compose a poem while in the middle of a fight. Instead she continued to battle him, their blades a whirlwind in the oily dark of a burning city. Blood leaping from wounds in their bodies. She couldn't speak back to him, for she didn't have the strength and if she did, her voice would be lost in sobs of emotion released the moment she tried to talk. So she stayed stoically silent to the end.

 

He was a better bladesman then she ever would be, and his eyes told her that she was very outmatched until the projectiles began to overcome his defenses. With every beat of her heart, a dozen more projectiles slashed into his skin, robes, and body. Some deflecting uselessly against the imperial Knight armour he wore, but many more finding purchase in him. Their blood mingling in the open cuts and slashes. Her blade paused above him, held by the force against her downwards swing and as she watched, his eyes shifted off hers to a point behind her. The force moved in a river around the two of them and she knew from his eyes that he had made his last step in the dance of misery. His move a final crescendo of the force. She gulped another ragged breath of too hot air down and moved when he did. Dragging herself with the power of the force after him, knowing that whatever he had just done would still very likely end her life. So she would do the same in return to him.

 

She dove after him and let go of the long handled lightsaber, letting the blood slicked handle fall into her grip of the force. She directed the blade after the Imperial Knight and hurled it alongside its wicked cousin that had been held in reserve. The two blades, one formed by blood and stone and the other by metal, crystal, and plasma hurled after him as she jumped to follow, the two blades intent to skewer him in his chest and abdomen wherever he landed. Her last fatal move in the dance of misery.

 

A shockwave buffeted her on her jump and she felt a slicing, piercing pain rip through her back followed by an intense numbness in her lower half. But she did not stop her leap, or her concentration, all her focus was on the final blow. Even as a large jagged chunk of starfighter cockpit transparisteel punctured her spine and exited her lower abdomen she didn't break her hold on the weapons. They would finish this dance together in death. Her thoughts carried to him by the force, no matter the outcome.

I...Love...You...I always will

 

((3))

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Sandy Sarna versus Aidan Darkfire:

 

All right, boys, here we go.

 

First off, I really enjoyed the realism of the setting, and Sandy's initial post set the tone for the entirety of the conflict. Obviously, we can't predict the full outcome of the RP based on so many factors, but I often find duel posts difficult to read because they just seem so far out of the realm of what might occur in the RP proper. Knowing that this scenario of extrapolated development for your two characters is actually quite likely in the big game only increased the level of excitement and emotional investment as a reader. So thank you, already, for an entertaining and moving read, and for allowing me the task of ruling on it.

 

In the first pair of posts, Aidan did a good job of establishing the unique style of combat that would be employed, though the first post of the duel felt a little like additional setup rather than combat in earnest, but his tone is commanding at the beginning and continues to be so throughout. The manipulation of patterns, the coordination of circumstances, it's a tricky thing to use in a duel. I would have liked to see every single strike turned into a connected movement that played into an inevitable or eventual end.

 

Aidan's forceful advances were conveyed in highly effective tactical strikes, consistent with the cold and justified nature of his mission. Sandy's post not only establishes the effectiveness of her opponent but her own conflicted emotions about her actions, though her strikes come across as half-hearted due to her emotional connection to Aidan and her reluctance to wound him. Sandy's overall tack, while yielding in tactical strength, makes up for it in some lovely characterization that feels lacking in Aidan's posts. While I can understand a different approach to the fight, especially from a battle-hardened Imperial Knight who has had years of dulling his psyche to loss and pain, I would have liked to see more of his own mental gymnastics to justify the destruction of a friend--the bit about the Sith wanting the Jedi weakened by fighting the Empire, but he's perfectly willing to enforce his side of that strange triumvirate. I think we could have used more of the psychological repercussions there, but that's story stuff, and not strictly tactical.

 

Sandy gets points for using her surroundings--crumbling detritus from the memorial combined with her own blood, no less--as an offensive, however, I am skeptical about her ability to so quickly form physical weapons. Nevertheless, it's her most effective attack against Aidan, whose close-range skills seem to surpass Sandy's at every turn. However, while damage from the attack was taken in the third post and assumed to cause significant pain, it seemed to have little effect on Aidan's overall actions. I might suggest that in future scenarios where his ability to see probabilities is used tactically, that any damage that he takes have some effect on his ability to bring about the possibilities he can see in his quantum "shatterpoints". I consider "taking damage" to include not just physical effects, but the mental/psychological struggle against pain in those instances, and it seems to be pretty quickly written off.

 

The momentum begins to shift in Sandy's favor in the final post until Aidan's final blow comes through for him. It was well-established in the second post, and uses the chaos of the surrounding battle to his own advantage. Given the severity of the damage that Sandy has taken at the end of it, I find it highly unlikely that she could manage to maintain control over her telekinetic projectiles to land any kind of purchase. Her last minute leap in the same direction as Aidan might have saved her from the brunt of the starfighter's crash, but with the kind of damage she took, I think that a severed or at least heavily damaged spinal cord would have dire repercussions for her ability to follow through on her attack.

 

The long and short of it is that Aidan Darkfire is the winner by tactical standards. It is fairly clear that he is going to walk away from this battle, even with his myriad injuries. Sandy might not survive at all, just based on what has been posted in the duel itself. However, I will say that in terms of overall characterization, and for purposes of story, I favored Sandy's posts, which were so wholeheartedly in character and smacked of sincere desperation and remorse that made my heart ache for her.

 

Aidan can have one final post if you would like. The lightsaber, once released from her control due to the severity of her injuries, will be gyroscopically unstable and clatter away harmlessly. However, the knife thrown by Sandy will still find purchase, a final farewell from a dying would-be lover.

 

Excellently written, both of you.

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((Jointly authored))

 

As Aidan skidded to a halt, one last gift from Sandy pierced his abdomen, leaving a nasty wound. He painfully rolled to his back, her lightsaber clattered down next to him, hitting a jutting chunk of metal just right and shutting it off. Half a breath later, she thudded down near him. His attention was elsewhere, further up. The pattern had shifted, certain probabilities had come about, and he was too late. He knew going into this that he’d only have a limited amount of time, but he'd also sorely misjudged Sandy’s abilities.

 

On his belt, his comlink buzzed, playing a message out loud that his commandos had successfully sabotaged the Galactic Alliance military headquarters power generators. He thumbed it, sending an affirmative to his commandos, telling them to regroup with the main forces, that he’d see them on the other side. Aidan had made the winning play by coming here in the first place. Live or die, he’d already won. They’d just be cloned, anyways, they were too valuable to their particular organizations to be left among the dead. As his eyes remained fixed on the sky, he wheezed out a pained but low response to her. As he did so, he reached out as best he could with the Force, suppressing her pain, knowing it was likely greater than his.

 

“I tried to tell you,” he groaned, “This was bigger than us.”

 

Sandy coughed lightly from where she had landed, the sharp permacrete chunks digging painfully at her from where they had embedded into her from the fall. Her voice was soft and distant, every breath a ragged affair of sputtering inhales and violent, bloody coughing.

 

“I had hoped,” she said between coughs, “That I could change your mind.”

 

Stay with me, he thought. Just a little while longer. He could have been merciful, he could have tried to knock her unconscious or simply give her a quick ending, but he wanted to feel a connection he’d never felt with her before, no matter how hard she’d tried over the years. He’d only been cloned once in all that time, and the experience almost broke him. Deep down, he was afraid, and he only wanted her company. Was it selfish if that meant she’d experience pain a little while longer? Pain was a distraction, meaningless. That was the mantra the Inquisition had taught him. But to inflict it so carelessly on someone else, especially someone who loved him…

 

As the skies grew darker, he tried to stay in his cold logic, but found it more and more difficult with each passing second. “This was going to happen regardless of what either of us did…”

 

Her pale, blood streaked arm reached up towards him as if asking for him to grab her hand. Though she was several meters away. Her eyes gazing distantly at the darkening sky.

 

“I know, I think I always knew.” Another spat of coughing, pink bright blood splattering the duracrete. “But I always hoped, I always wanted. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Tears were flowing freely now, dripping down her ash streaked temples to pool in the mess of hair, duracrete, and blood below her head. Her eyes widened a bit, her pupils readjusting to the diminishing light.

 

“I...I forgive you,” he managed. Less than a minute now. Admitting it was difficult for him. Ran counterintuitive to everything he’d known with the Empire. You don’t forgive, you get better. You aren’t sorry, you improve. Looking back was generally pointless, looking forward was what led to great things. But there she was, making him look back. The one counterexample in all of his finely crafted logic he’d been taught and woven for himself. Like a loving thorn in his side. The rumbling was more noticeable now, louder, and he wondered if she heard him.

 

Her breathing was more shallow, running faster, as more blood leaked in a lazy river from her arm and abdomen. Some light coloured fluid dripped out from her pointed ear. But she heard him. A forlorn smile stretching over her lips. Couldn’t we just run away, back away so far…

 

As the last seconds ticked by, the pattern coming into place, he looked over at her. “Find me...when this is all over.” She couldn’t have heard that now, the rumbling was so loud, perhaps she had read his lips, but he didn’t care. In the face of it all, she was still here. She’d always been there for him, and now at the end of this grisly chapter of their lives they had each other for a brief moment, and it was a comfort he couldn’t have asked for.

 

Her voice sighed, almost dreamily. “I will, I promise.” She took a deep breath, her head rotating just enough so that her unfocused eyes could see him. Her lips spelling out a few words as the rumbling became deafening and the memorial seemed to quake. Her intentions spilling into the Force. I lov- Her eyes became unfocused, and her presence in the force departed before the sentence was finished, leaving with a loving embrace through the Force, a soothing, comforting feeling.

 

Aidan was alone.

 

His gaze never shifted from her as the bulk of the crippled Imperial Star Destroyer touched down, nearly a quarter mile from where they lay. The superstructure quickly enveloped them, collapsing the memorial and they were no more.

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