A Time for Nobility

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Laurel WinteShrine
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-08-13 17:21

A spike of annoyance arose with the young ensign as she quietly watched as the dark woman observe her in obvious disdain. Laurel herself eyed the dual light sabers at her side, switching on a sudden realization within her mind. A Jedi- and one that had obviously taken a great dislike to her, for one reason or another. She did not have to be a formidable Force user- merely a woman -to know that her very presence disgusted the Dark Jedi considerably.

She looked incredulously at Wolfgang, then back at the named ‘Azra Avasara’, and gave the High Colonel a curious, quirked eyebrow. He was out of his mind. That had to be it. Absolutely, utterly, mad. She labored over what he possibly could have said to her to make her come and spar with her. She blushed deeply when she realized that this was going to be decidedly one-sided, and Azra probably saw it as a means to just let out some aggression.

Still.. Wolfgang had gone through the trouble, and Laurel knew within her heart that she trusted him. There was definitely an underlying lesson in the absolute beating she was sure she was about to undoubtedly receive, and she would do so and rise to the formidable challenge with dignity. She shrugged off the sheer wrap she wore over her workout clothes from about her shoulders and dropped it softly onto the sand, then undid the ribbon that was tied about her wrist and put her hair up into a hasty ponytail, brushing her bangs away from her eyes and behind the studs in her ear.

She was more than sure that the woman could injure her seriously enough with just her bare hands, and yet would have the added pleasure of doing so with the kendo sword. Laurel caught the intimidating shinai awkwardly when it came her way, then quickly placed it correctly, firmly by the hilt in her right hand. What now? She could possibly wait for her to make the first move, but the act would show significant cowardice on Laurel’s part in her opinion. Yet, if she advanced too hastily, it would seem as reckless. Blast! What to do?

Laurel steeled herself, taking in a deep breath and desperately tried to take in the strength and enthusiasm from when she had been idly observing the beach earlier. The woman before her had become an illusion of some darkened, damned beast; Laurel in turn would radiate the light within herself; the strong sun and melodic waves as her own comfort and muse for the trial ahead. The acrid, alluring scent of the hallucination wafted in the sea breezes, and she shook her head to concentrate. No fear. No anger. Just… feel. Laurel’s heart pounded in fierce staccato as she purposefully strode toward her sparring partner, face consumed in a malicious smirk at the ensign, and raised the training sword- unpracticed, determined -at the Dark Jedi. At the very least, if I am to visit the hospital this eve, I can attempt to promise the same for you, too. Laurel knew that she was kidding herself, but it couldn’t hurt to hope, could it? Hope…

Whatever malevolent thought Azra was entertaining about Laurel, the ensign was bound and determined to prove her wrong, if even for a moment. Gracefully, Laurel swung the sword with both hands, sweeping upward into a fast arc toward her opponent, imagining an ocean wave cresting upward; powerful and steadfast in its sway.
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Azra Avasara » 2011-08-15 04:48

Thess sighed as she pondered what could happen in this duel, almost casually shifting the weapon between her hands as she waited for her opponent to strike. Varied approaches came to her mind, and she discarded most of them just as quickly as they surfaced. An overly aggressive approach was the first thought that she considered, as blunt and heavy-handed as the battle-axe to which she was often 'lovingly' compared. To be fair, it was the most complimentary to her style, and as her secondary aspect was Reinforcement, it played to one of her greater strengths and tendencies: she was a rather direct foe in that regard, and preferred things that way...simple, direct, and easily dealt with via the application of overwhelming force. Much the same, there was a problem for her in that approach, which boiled down to a part of her own nature in combat. Specifically, she had demonstrated--at least to herself, and perhaps to a few others who had observed her style--that she held little to no regard for the practiced, judicious application of such force; instead, she preferred simple devastation, bloody and merciless.

The high-colonel had clearly remembered this, and his warning for her had been nothing short of perfectly clear. "I have reserved a room for the ensign at the nearby hospital. She will not need it," he had warned her on recruiting her services, his voice stern. "...Or so help me, you'll need one as well."

Another approach flitted through the Dark Jedi's mind: a calm, defensive approach, allowing the ensign to expend herself trying to break through a living wall. Once again, it was a technique that played to her secondary Aspect, and reasonably better than the first one did. The inherent issue was that it was a style that reduced the fight to nothing more than one woman trying to club another with a long stick. Laurel could try all she wanted...if Thess were to go completely on the defensive, they would easily be there for days without any lessons being passed along. That would be a waste of time; and a waste of time was unacceptable. In the span of a few seconds, she reached her third option, an attempt at mixing the two strategies...

...and adding to them a measure of self-restraint. She had experimented with it once, against her master, and had yielded some positive results from it--not completely positive, but enough to justify trying it again now, in this particular case. Of course, she couldn't go all out with the Dark Side on the ensign--for one thing, this woman was not a member of the Order, and just as well, the Dark Side would have made this an unfair beat-down in short order. She surmised, quite calmly, that Ensign Winte'Shrine lacked the defenses to properly weather an assault from the Dark Side, let alone learn a lesson of the conscious mind while incapacitated.

Settling on her decision, Thess let the weapon stop in her right hand, and raised the blade calmly with just the one hand. Her blade's movements were timed, aided as that was by the Force, and the weapon struck true, colliding with Laurel's upward slash and touching, blade to blade. The strike had been, from the outset, a decent tactical move to open the fight, though it was also one that the Dark Jedi could easily overturn. Leaning off to her right once the blades connected, she quickly arced her own blade upward in a sharp, fast circle, bringing her blade under that of the ensign in one smooth motion. Her body moved fluidly, much as water in a river current, as she regained her earlier stance, snapping her blade up and taking the other with it in a hard slash, moving the ensign's sword out of the direct field of attack. Her follow-through was a quick spin, the kendo sword held out to her right by both hands as she spun around, quickly twirling in to attempt a lateral strike at Laurel's waist.

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-08-18 18:35

Laurel was anything but surprised that she was able to block her blow so easily, but readied herself, muscles tense, her mind racing at how she was going to react.
She's going to move again. Don't you dare miss it.

She blocked the blow toward her waist- awkwardly, to be sure; but still maintained fluid motion as she moved, smiling to herself with a small glimmer of pride. She felt the trailing ends of her ponytail skim gently across her back and she moved backward to create more distance, then moved forward again, the shinai raised overhead by both of her hands. The downward strike was expertly parried by her sparring counterpart, and they weaved an intricate dance of moves and blows, though Laurel knew that Azra was certainly being very lenient in the exercise and was grateful for it for the time being. She fought down the nesting panic that she had settled within herself, knowing that if she became too focused at the task at hand she would ultimately overwhelm herself and make a mistake regardless.

With each strike, she tried to calm herself, but found that she was starting to become worried that Azra would suddenly increase the complexity of her attack. The sea, she desperately tried to coax herself to relax. Think of the ocean, the waves. The sea is yours alone. Laurel looked back up, crying out softly as she was struck in the wrist; Her grip faltered, then strengthened again. This woman is a fire; raging, destructive. Put her out. Still, the beauty of how the Dark Jedi moved astounded Laurel, and she made quick mental notes to watch her style. She certainly wouldn't be able to emulate their skill in entirety, but the grace and form of the moves were briefly noted within her mind.

And Laurel felt, moving accordingly, instinctually: The wave breaking upon the shore, beating turbulent against the rocks; pulling in a fierce current to surge forward into another high wave. She moved like ocean currents, a maelstrom, the pull and swirl of the waves alive within her as she flicked another glance to Azra's face, her features a mask of focused calm, though within her heart she fought a fierce dance of control over the tension. Swordfighting had been, indeed, far more arduous within the mind than she had formerly surmised!

Breath, heartbeat, thought.

It had become so quiet in Laurel's focused little world that all she heard were the sole three, though the waves still crashed in crescendo barely a few feet away from them; bounding and cold, reaching through her heart as she parried another blow. She was reminded of when she had been learning how to dance in the grand ballroom, just the sound of her practiced breathing, careful steps and her instructor or partner breathing in rhythm to movement with the music or metronome that was playing.

To dance. The ball. Wolfgang, and the searing heat of his kiss, his arms around her.

She instantaneously lost her intrepid concentration, the seawater evaporating within her veins as she flicked a careful sidelong glance at the intently watching High Colonel, Azra's shinai sparing no moment to strike her in the torso. The blow stung, and Laurel quickly had to bite back the tail end of her cry of pain as she stumbled backward, holding her abdomen with her spare arm.

Taking a steadying breath, she was upright again in a moment, ignoring the dull, persistent ache she was sure signified the blossoming violet of a bruise onto her delicate skin. "I'm fine." Had it been a real blade, it would have been a fatal blow. She looked back up at Azra, and smiled, brightly, to signify that she was ready.
"Again, please. Let us continue." She sincerely hoped that Azra would not take her determination as a challenge to break her.
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Azra Avasara » 2011-08-21 06:42

The dance the two women shared was one born more of urgency, of veiled danger, than anything else...and at the same time, the dance wasn't one the two women shared directly, per se. It was something shared more between their weapons, heard and felt more than watched: felt in the air around them, heard in the clash of wooden blades against each other...the rush of blood through the body. Perhaps it was part of them after all, as much as it was part of the weapons. Perhaps, in turn, they were part of it.

Thess had taken a strong shift over to the offensive during this fierce tango, striving to deal a crushing blow to her opponent. She didn't think too much on what sort of instruction it conveyed to be so hungry for such a strike; she already knew that it wasn't all that great. Still, the pain was a decent isntructor in itself, and afforded great motivation to any prospective student. Pain reinforced that a lesson had been learned improperly, and directly instructed the student where to make amends to ensure it was not repeated...though Thess was acutely aware that in this sitaution, she could easily inflict pain where no lesson had been flawed. Sometimes, it was justified...and at other times, it was not; that all depended on the situation, and in her case, whether or not she felt like doling it out anyway.

And then, Laurel's concentration shifted, for just a second, to Wolfgang...

After the hit was complete, she turned to look at the high-colonel, shooting him a warning glance. The hit had been clean, and a proper punishment for the failure of the student to pay attention; the lesson had to be reinforced. The sting of the kendo stick against her abdomen must have been intense; Thess could feel it, herself, and gently leeched off of it to replenish what energy she'd consumed thus far. Still, it was a response that had been born from a lapse in her opponent's concentration: a mistake that could have proven fatal, with more dnagerous implements...a mistake that demanded a remedy. "And you were doing so well," she remarked, her tone intentionally mocking. With the iron grip of the Dark Side, Laurel's weapon began to float in midair, ripped free from her hand. "I suppose..." she continued, smirking a demonic, sinister smirk, "that I should reward you for making it that far without failing miserably."

Calmly, she plucked the stick from the air, and put both back in the bag. "Darkball, come," she snapped, her words harsh. A sphere of condensed energy formed at her side almost instantly, an obedient pet that appeared to be forged of damnation itself. Given the details she bore in her illusion, perhaps it was an apt association. At her silent command, the orb floated over to the bag, resting over it, consuming it, and disappearing, ready to be summoned later if need be. As it vanished...so, too, did another illusion from the Dark Jedi. Creeping out over her back, now visible, was the elegant hilt of a long metal sword, glistening as though freshly cleaned. The metal was as black as her robes and wings, with a single sapphire in each side of the decoration at the very end. Calmly, one hand reached up, grasping the handle and pulling, unsheating the blade.

As she took the blade forth, its nature shifted in her grasp, a sign of how much she had affected the weapon: the change was instant, the weapon practically alive and bound to her nature in the Force. Feeding on her own darkness, the blade's form shifted, becoming something far more sinister, more dangerous, than the elegant-looking longsword had been. The sapphires split, becoming two to each side, as skulls formed at the end of the pommel, each small gem taking the place of an eye; the hilt itself became nothing more than thick tendrils of steel, woven around each other almost as though the spinal cords of the twin skulls, flowing from the skulls themselves down to the crossguard, which bore a haunting resembleance to some sort of deformed, defiled tower archway from which two crescent moons jutted out, their points sharper than razors. The blade itself was clean, elegant, straight...and from it, near the crossguard, two inserts of spikes jutted out to further wound and lacerate their victim.

Holding it tightly, Thess channeled a touch more power into the weapon, smiling sadistically at the ensign. The sword's unholy-looking edge glistened with the deep blue of the skeletal eyes in the hilt, and in a flash of movement faster than any normal person could register, she slammed the blade down point-first, burying it in the earth. The weapon's form reverted as she let go, once more becoming the sweepingly elegant implement it had been while sheathed along the length of her back, the scabbard resting empty now between her illusory wings. Stepping back just a little, she drew her lightsabers, igniting them both. "Pain has no doubt taught you the lesson of concentration. Now, we see what else you can learn...and for your sake, pain had better not be the teacher." The telltale snap-hiss sound floated lightly in the wind once, twice, and the battle appeared ready to intensify...dangerously.

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-09-07 01:06

Laurel eyed the blade embedded in the sand as if its very touch would burn her, miasma and ichor, as if it could leave its mark on her in some malicious way; after all, who could doubt that a weapon that was wielded by such a foreboding, powerful person did not at least retain the will of its master in its smallest measure? Indeed, notes of some unbridled rage, fed by something more, washed off of the Dark Jedi, and Laurel realized that perhaps Azra did not hold some personal vendetta against her; these feelings must have been her manacles in every moment of every day; the thought of being shackled to such a burden that devoured oneself so completely made Laurel’s heart go out to her. It was, of course, the best case scenario- at its very worst, the woman simply hated her with no other reason than she simply could. Either way, Laurel was grateful that whatever feelings and anger she would face here out on this beach would eventually be taken away with the tide and the grace of time; whatever had bound itself to Azra had absorbed itself to her and would simply not let her go.
She can think, and feel just like you.
Still- pain had been a good teacher, and her previous distraction had been paid in penance with it. No more distractions this time.

Laurel strode out toward the sword, creating a straight line of footprints amidst the riot of footfall from their earlier efforts, already half-swept away from the breezes blowing in from the watchful sea. The Ensign dared a deft grip on the hilt of the blade, unsheathed now from its tomb in the sand as it began to change its form within her grasp.

The grip became soft with her palm, now wrapped in a smooth, white cord, plaited in an intricate pattern and terminating into a beautifully braided tassel with a. An ornate, white pommel rested at the end of the sword to weight the sword for more precision, but still proved a bit clumsy within the young woman’s unpracticed hand, forcing her to grip it in a strong grasp to keep the blade from tilting skyward in its insolence. The blade, however, was the most beautiful work of it all: The blade burst from the hilt in a gleaming silhouette from a lotus, tendrils within the bud spreading like fingers of lace etched into the gleaming silver of the metal. A cavity encompassed the centre of the blade, serving as both decoration and to lighten the weapon on the whole, succeeding into a strict spear-point inlaid with a moonlit pearl resting just beneath the menacing edge of the point.

A jian. A dual-edged blade, thin, though they were forged as strong as diamonds within a masterful hand; The Gentleman of Weapons. Their usage was to be as light as wingbeat and flickered within the grip like a ribbon of steel, though they were just as deadly for their formidable speed and accuracy. Truly, it would never be meant for strength.. but determined, Laurel knew that anything could be picked apart into submission, given enough time. The snap of Azra bringing her light sabers to life quickly gained Laurel’s attention, and she bit her lip at their intimidating glow.

Oh, Suns. Gods. Laurel was sure that she was going to, at the very least, lose a limb from this endeavor. Fear embraced her, cold and steadying, and she gripped the hilt of the sword tighter in turn so as to ease the tremble of her hands. She felt the tassel at the end of the hilt lick against her hand in the sea breeze, as if the weapon itself was trying to ease- or release itself from -the will of its temporary wielder.

Her side ached, her heart rent, but she focused her mind at the task at hand, raising her chin up in defiance. You will not break me. She gripped the hilt of the sword with two hands so hard her knuckles had turned white. You will not intimidate me into submission. Remembering the style of the blade forced her to release it from her left hand to rest solely within her right. Two light sabers versus a blade that required such a high caliber of mastery to wield hardly seemed fair, but what really would be against such a powerful Force user? Laurel took in another breath and ignored how much the action aggravated the bruising on her side. Pain… is weakness leaving the body. Laurel held the sword downward, fighting its natural tendency to tilt upward and nodded. She would not be the one to attack first this time. She chuckled to herself. At least, she mused, if I do indeed lose a limb, Wolfgang and I would match…
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Azra Avasara » 2011-09-14 06:14

Smirking just a little, Thessalia watched Laurel uproot the blade, and couldn't help but be at least a little impressed by the form it took in her grasp. For the moment, she was fixated on it, enough that she allowed herself to only passively catch whatever thoughts the junior officer was thinking. She could have delved deeper into them, tried to find some hidden meaning, but it would have to be spent later on, in more private meditation; for now, there were things to teach, and the last thing the teacher could do was fail the lesson she was trying to pass along. Instead, the Dark Jedi kept her focus locked on student and weapon, eyenig them both calmly and intently.

The weapon itself was imbued with a measure of Thessalia's power in the Dark Side; having been in her custody for quite some time, this transfer was natural. Specifically, it had borrowed from her primary aspect, Transformation; as such, it was accustomed to changing form to match the nature of whoever held it. It was also a weapon that had been altered, to some degree, to be able to more adequately withstand the damage that a sword endured while augmented through the Force to withstand a lightsaber. That second aspect was far more important to this lesson, and would hopefully alleviate some of the ensign's fears. Some...but certainly not all.

Snickering to herself, Thess twirled the lightsaber in her right hand ever so briefly, forming a tight circle with the blade as it swung gently in her grasp. The magma-colored blade left an elegant trail in the air as she did this, and that trail only elongated as the weapon quickly snapped forward; the blade struck cleanly against the altered sword, stopping at a contact point midway up the blade's length. "As you can see," she said after a few seconds during which she'd chosen to allow her student some trepidation, "the blade you bear is quite sturdy. It should last long enough in that state to sufficiently protect you while you learn. That is...assuming you learn quickly."

Turning back and walking away very slowly, the Dark Jedi snickered again. "I'm feeling a touch of a sporting mood today, so I've decided that I'm not going to tell you exactly what this particular exercise is supposed to teach. Just trust me when I tell you that making it life-or-death should improve your learning capacity....drastically." With a haunting glare in her eyes, Thess turned to look over her shoulder, directly into Laurel's eyes with all the fury and hunger of a proud huntress. The blades were held at her sides, pointed down and away: one a deep, rich purple, almost royal in its elegance; the other, the swirling color of magma, with what appeared to be droplets of the weapon's energy dripping from it in a slow, steady rhythm. With no warning save for the dreadful look in her eyes, she whirled around and lunged, bringing the two lightsabers to bear almost instantly. The only blessing was that they were both aimed for the exact same spot, making it easy enough to deflect them away.

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-09-23 00:41

Laurel’s sword connected at the apex of the two glowing blades, the tip of the weapon pointed downward. At the last second, she had the blade do what it naturally wanted to do; the weighted pommel equal in measure with her hand, now seated within a confident grip. Laurel had to smile a bit pertly at this, resolved to keep her head though the stakes of their training session had been raised considerably. Don‘t get too nervous, she coached herself, again, taking measured dancer’s breath to steady her nerves.
Its like dancing.. steps and grace.

Watching Thessalia carefully, Laurel supposed that the Dark Jedi would need to pull the light sabers backward in order to open her stance once more to attack. Indeed, as soon as the blades were pulled away, Laurel swung the blade awkwardly toward Thessalia’s abdomen. The ensign gasped loudly as she was jerked to the side from the force of a sanguine arc deflecting the blade away, following suit toward it as she quickly moved to both dodge the slice of the violet light saber behind her to clumsily grip her blade again before it fell to the sand.

The dance began anew: Laurel spent the majority of this new segment of their sparring session between attempting to properly wield the impudent jian and barely missing the glow and hiss of a saber before it could hit her. Another pass- the young woman barely managed to raise the sword to shield herself before she was knocked onto her side into the sand, quickly rising to her knees to block another downward blow, her dominant hand desperately trying to keep the blade straight and level with the strike, her left pressed flat against the sword to stabilize it against the hit.

…Wolfgang.. Must be so disappointed in me…

Something warm wormed down the length of her upright arm, and only then did she realize that she had placed her left hand directly against the sharp edge of the blade in her haste, slicing her hand. Quickly getting back up and stumbling back, Laurel tore the ribbon from her hair, moving to create a makeshift bandage with the fabric and tightening it with her fingers, pulling taut with her teeth; It would suffice for now. A spike of indignation arose within the ensign; something sharp, heated, surging her being into action. The Dark Jedi, of course, seemed outright amused by this. She was, after all, doing quite well injuring herself without Thessalia’s help.

You have to do something... you're going to exhaust yourself if you just dodge...

Laurel evaded a few more strikes, sword lowered, her left hand moving to grip the hilt along with the right and staining the pommel red as she held it with renewed fervor.
Wait for it…

After a few more feigns of the sword, Laurel finally saw her chance: Thessalia swung both of the sabers once more in a synchronized motion toward her. Throwing all of her weight behind the jian, Laurel swung in great horizontal sweep, knocking the two lightsabres away from their path, then took the opening to lunge forward, ignoring the pain that bloomed upward through her abdomen. Throwing herself toward her opponent, she bodily tackled over Thessalia, a wave of ocean wind and hair, a spurious force of nature; planting her knees firmly on either side of her torso while staking the sword into the hood of characteristic robes on the Dark Jedi with both hands, barely missing her head and pinning her to the ground.
"I must apologize.."

The ensign looked wild, consumed by some animal fascination to dominate her opponent by whatever means necessary, regardless of consequence. "..but I'm not in much of a sporting mood anymore."

Without a second thought, Laurel gritted her teeth, locking her verdant gaze into the pair of similar emerald orbs and outright growled as she raised her right hand back and swung a fist with all of her might to Thessalia’s face.
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Azra Avasara » 2011-09-23 03:41

The tempo of a battle was a peculiar thing; control it, and you possessed at your command the very outcome of the fight...victory in your grasp before the battle was fully underway. It was with that in mind that Thessalia sought simply to control the flow and rhythm of her contest with Laurel'eiden. After all, this was not a battle that was concerned with winners and losers; it was instead fixated on teaching the noblewoman a lesson, and the Dark Jedi didn't give a damn if it was a lesson that took all day and night to teach...though if it did, she would be severely disappointed, as would the high-colonel. For all of her efforts, though, she hadn't expected that the ensign would have the temerity to try and defend so aggressively. It wasn't that it was unbecoming, heavens no; it was merely that she hadn't expected someone who appeared so tame to do something so...bold.

Of course, it was also a move that could not go without punishment, but punishment for whom was the true question. No outward expression or action betrayed her admission, but Thess consented that in the end, she had earned a measure of retribution herself, for failing to take her opponent as seriously as she could have; the punch that came at the end of the young ensign's snappy comment, therefore, was well-deserved, and the pain only served to teach...should there be a rematch, however, Thess was certain that it would never get that far again. No, she would do better. She would make sure that the situation never came up again.

As to whether or not this transgression merited some reprisal against the ensign, Thessalia could not be more convinced in the affirmative...and she had all the fuel she ever needed for the fire. Such was the one problem with fire; granted enough fuel, it could become the most dangerous, most unstable, of anything in the known galaxy. It also consumed itself and that which it called fuel...quickly. Such was no longer a distinct consideration for the Dark Jedi, however; instead, she was more focused on this upstart noblewoman... nobility, daring to think it could step toe to toe with the Dark Side's fist of reckoning. Calmly, Thess eyed Laurel'eiden, forcing herself to returnm the punch with nothing more than a grim, cold smirk...one that bared more than enough of the fangs to pass for an attempt at intimidation. The Dark Side was her strength...and through it, much was possible.

Anger was a fuel...and the ensign exuded plenty by now, her calm nature shattered momentarily by animal instinct, by pure rage...it was something that had given her a brief advantage over the Dark Jedi, but it was also what had put the fight firmly in Thess' control. An enemy that was overwhelmingly angry was like a free-flowing fuel source for the Warrioress, and as soon as the sword had pinned her down and the fist smashed into her face, she knew she couldn't hold back any further. The ensign wanted it to be rough...clearly, she didn't need to say it any more than she already had: she was no longer in a 'sporting' mood...so rough, violent conduct would have to suffice. Drinking in the anger, Thess snickered, the effort not even harming her in the least as the damage from the punch healed almost instantly. The sword came next, trembling against the bite it had made into the earth beneath them as it slowly pried itself loose, letting it float in the air a good distance up. "Well played," she remarked, a very rare bit of praise from her for the day. "Well played, indeed..." With that, she quickly snapped her legs in and up, shoving the ensign bodily away from her, and swiftly rose to a standing position, holstering her lightsabers and grabbing the jian from midair. As soon as her hand grasped the blood-slicked hilt, the weapon shifted form back into the near-demonic form it had held earlier; the blood from Laurel's injuries still stained it, the blade glistening red from the unintended cut and the hilt's stain hardening into an eerie ribbon of red that jutted from the handle.

In a single swift motion, the blade arced up, before it sank into the earth, point faced downward, and the weapon rested in the ground, buried up to the hilt. Anger fueled her movements as she stalked, grabbing the violet-edged lightsaber and re-ignited the blade. Saying nothing, she stalked forward, positioning herself between the ensign and the buried sword. Her anger, of course, had clearly gotten the better of her by now, especially as she fed off of whatever fury had gripped the ensign, and she began swinging the single weapon somewhat more wildly than she normally had, the anger beginning to blind her somewhat to what was going on around her. It wasn't the first time it had done that...though it was the first time in a good while.

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2011-09-23 03:50

Wolfgang had tried, as much as he could, to maintain little more than the role of a passive observer in what was transpiring before him. It had been his choice to contact Thess and try to get her involvement in this matter...perhaps he should have chosen someone else, someone with a little stronger of a penchant for control and restraint. Instead, he'd chosen someone he knew could deliver results, and given what he was looking for, the results were of a sort that he knew this particular woman could deliver. Still, watching on made him more and more worried by the instant. Relief had washed over him, briefly, when Laurel managed to pin the Dark Jedi down, but... well, that all changed in a flash. Shaking his head, the high-colonel sighed to himself, rather softly. Next time, he resolved, he'd make sure to do it right...to get someone who could deliver results with a measure of controllable output. This was fast descending into little more than a temper tantrum, and the commando was not thrilled with it.

It was the snap-hiss sound, that familiar calling card of a Jedi's signature weapon, that set him on edge. Thess was raging; he could smell the hate in the air, palpable and no longer perfectly focused. She'd lost it, and was no longer completely in control...one of the reasons he imagined the Dark Jedi weren't so well liked. The ones that were prone to outbursts like this...they could destroy an entire fleet in the blink of an eye, if left unchecked. Calmly, yet with a speed that belied his purpose, Wolfgang quickly stormed the distance between himself and the Dark Jedi, approaching from her blind side and snapping forward with his mechanical arm the second he was close enough. A brief flicker of a grin caught his face as he saw Thess flinch under his grasp, enough evidence that she hadn't been expecting it...perhaps a blind, Force-induced rage, then, and not one of her normal, slightly tamer moments of anger. Without hesitation, he increased the pressure, causing her to drop the weapon...

...and with that, she sagged to her knees, and he let go, watching her collapse there. That, in its finality, told him it was a Force-induced rage; he'd seen her endure them a few times before, and they always left her drained in the end. Her normal anger wasn't so bad. Without turning to look at Laurel, he sighed softly, speaking to her as though over his shoulder. "Relax," he began, letting a relaxed smile form on his face. "Just...take it easy."Still, he backed away a bit, waiting for the two of them, his eyes never once leaving the Dark Jedi.

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-09-27 00:23

Laurel cried out briefly as she was pushed backward and away from her position atop Thessalia from the blow, hair sweeping sand as she pulled herself up from the ground to sit and warily watch Thessalia’s triumphant jump to her feet, flicking the sword- now transformed again to suit her -behind her and advancing upon the ensign, idling a sole light saber in her hand with enough vehemence to churl the air with its hiss and glow.

Acrid, embittered anger coated Laurel's tongue, not dissipating for the moment as she eyed Thessalia as one would regard a wild animal, her features softening mildly as the minutes wore on.
Sobering now, she breathed outward evenly, placing a palm against her cheek where her opponent had struck her, pouting though she could not deny that she herself did not deserve it. It may have not have been the most ladylike of conduct during a fight, but honestly: What typical noblewoman would find herself in a fight with a Dark Jedi? Secondly, Laurel could not deny that the act did not give her a small bit of satisfaction. Served the both of them right.

She sat with her legs beside her in the sand, the grit now most likely filling her wound. It would probably mean that they would use a bacta patch in order to heal the injury, a thought that made Laurel's skin crawl. She always had an aversion to the viscous substance; it had always just seemed so repulsive to her for whatever reason, and avoided its usage whenever she could. The mere thought of being submerged in a tank of it made her shiver in revulsion.

The ensign jumped as she saw the bulk of the High Colonel move to quickly restrain Thessalia, her mind now focusing again on the scene at hand as deduction suddenly snapped with her mind and made her bolt upright to attention. If given the chance… would the woman have proceeded to strike her down? Seeing the raw, relentless fury that puppeted Thessalia’s movements, there was no way Laurel could have doubted as much.

Laurel looked down at herself, making a face at the mess of blood and sand that she had haphazardly managed to get all over herself, more annoyed with the copper smell in the air than repulsed. Wolfgang stood between her and the Dark Jedi, daring not another breath lest any further provocation of attack on her part. The High Colonel spoke lowly, calmly to her though he obviously knew that to turn his attentions from Thessalia would have been recklessly foolish in the current state she was in.

How was it that these beings, unstable and catastrophic in demeanor as they were, were taught some of the most forbidden, deadliest arts in the galaxy? Heaven forbid that one were to truly fall into some berserk state of rage and could not be controlled… what would anyone have been able to do then? With grim realization, Laurel remembered that the reason why she wanted to undertake this training in the first place was to safeguard that she would never feel as helpless as she had when she had been abducted at the ball, in her own home; but the events of this day had only made her feel all the more so.

Wolfgang’s sudden interference into the haze of their aggressions seemed to calm the both of them down, nonetheless. Laurel carefully, hesitantly stood up to walk to where the ocean lapped along the shore, walking knee-deep into the water and stooping to dip the better length of her arm into it; the sting of the seawater turning he slice in her hand into a dull, persistent throb after a few moments. The mess on her clothes would need to be remedied later if not outright thrown away; at the very least, she still had the hotel to return to once all this was said and done with to rest and bathe properly. Sand, blood, ocean water, and spent adrenaline had congealed itself within her being, now leaving the ensign tired. Once she was satisfied that she had rinsed herself off as much as she was able, she wandered back up to the beach and stood beside Wolfgang, a bit behind him, still cautious of the Dark Jedi who now sat silently on her knees in the sand.

“Is she going to be alright…?”
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Azra Avasara » 2011-09-28 06:14

A soft sigh escaped Thessalia as she looked up at the two of them, brief flashes of anger still flitting about in her eyes. She was angry...at Laurel, for having the audacity to assault her as she had; at Wolfgang, for daring to step in and try to restrain her; ...at herself, for losing grip over herself. It was this last point, of all three of them, that had managed to keep her mostly in check as she got up, still managing to briefly glare daggers at the others. Only for a few seconds did she bother to clutch her wrist; the Force had dulled the pain almost as soon as Wolfgang had let go, and there was little reason to hide that fact behind any preposterous lies of prolonged suffering. She wasn't hurting from it, and by now, it was probably a safe bet that the ensign knew it.

It was also something else she would have to consider later, when the time allowed for a more private reflection on what had just taken place. For starters, the high-colonel's strike had taken her at a pressure point; the distinct lack of prolonged pain was worrisome, in and of itself. More so, though, was the fact that she hadn't even sensed his attack until he'd landed it. Had this been an actual battle to the death, and not something he'd arranged ahead of time...it was entirely likely that she would be dead. The thought unnerved her, which was...a very rare sentiment, usually reserved for recent ruminations about the fate of her relationship with her husband. Shaking her head, she looked at the ensign...

...and forced herself, if just that little bit, to fight back the bile-laden scowl and instead offer the young woman a smile. "I appreciate your concern," she said, the more diplomatic tonality of her voice clearly forced, "but I'm fine. The Force has a way with such things..." She didn't bother to elaborate much; it was, after all, the truth. Just as suddenly, the peacefulness in her voice vanished, replaced by something...colder, calmer. "I would hope you have learned something, and I am pleased at how you adapted to the situation of overwhelming force. I admit that I didn't expect it of you...well played." She held the previously-injured hand out, as though gesturing to something...through, the ensign. "I offer you this choice, young one...to be healed, or not. You have earned the right." In the back of her mind somewhere, she snickered softly at her choice of words, remembering someone who had offered her the same choice. She had refused him, and done it herself, though it hadn't been to spurn her master or anything of the sort. No, she'd done it to reinforce to herself that she could...that there was more to her ability than simply doling out death and destruction.

This, again, got her thinking back to what the ensign had helped her uncover, what had startled her so about the training just recently. She wasn't too thrilled with the implications, but they were things she had to consider, all the same. "I leave you a choice in this matter," Thess remarked softly, her voice still calm, almost frigid. "...Yet I do not give you an option in the next." Behind her, the sword trembled once, shifting one last time to look as it had before it had been drawn earlier.

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-10-03 03:10

Laurel brushed her bangs from her eyes, tolerant. To approach Thessalia after her barely concealed outrage would be like walking into the maw of the beast if she were in fact lying to her. Laurel could have been indignant and refused; Her pride had settled a hardened lump within her stomach, and she narrowed her eyes, unsure.
“…Very much tired of second-guessing your nonsense right now.” She mumbled, quietly, to herself in her native tongue. Still, there was no doubt that Thessalia knew what she was saying regardless. Hesitation, annoyance.. And still yet, a small inkling of compassion splintered itself within Laurel’s being in conflict like a fresh wound, and she took a deep breath to collect her thoughts.

For as much Thessalia looked upon she and Wolfgang with such ire, Laurel couldn’t help but wonder when the last time she had spent any significant, meaningful time with anyone had been; It was if she were a petulant child that demanded a reaction through her misbehavior. Something profound had arisen within Laurel with the two women meeting, something poignant and stark amongst the cauldron of feelings within her: Even if with her seemingly infinite power, influence of the Force, it still did little to make the Dark Jedi happy. At least, not in a noticeably benevolent way. This anger, venom Thessalia had so thoroughly cloaked and veiled herself in was the habit of someone who had spent much time with pain in their soul: Who was she, or had been, underneath? Bravely, Laurel strode forward, upright as her hair whipped about her. “You have my sincerest gratitude, Miss Avasara. And I am humbled. Honestly.”

Who was she, to be even entertaining such thoughts about a woman who could so easily fell her without a second thought? Who at its very least, outranked her so significantly? Truly, such trivial things mattered little; Rank, power, influence.. she still felt, and hurt from something, monstrous and livid within her soul. Even she could not hide that. Laurel went to stand close to the smirking Thessalia, bowing down to her respectfully before moving to stand upright again. She then offered her hand, palm opened and face up; yet, she as well was proffering something of her own with the gesture. Laurel wasn’t so vain to think that she would accept an offer of friendship or camaraderie persay.. but… something… something. Even in its smallest measure, she could offer understanding.
Hope.
Laurel lacked the proper words for it, yet the Something rested within her with a winged peace, resolute.
Nobody was ever truly alone unless they wished it so.

Behind Thessalia, the briefest glint of quicksilver shone in the sunlight, the sword from where it now stood upright and buried up to the hilt as if marking the grave of a fallen warrior, impromptu on the battlefield. Laurel was not sure what the significance of it meant, but had faith in that it was not to bear as some malicious gesture.

"...Yet I do not give you an option in the next."

She hoped.

Their fingertips brushed against one another, and she did not flinch from the contact, feather-light. The ensign was practically prostrating herself before the Dark Jedi, leaving herself vulnerable, throat bared before the alpha in submission; it was Laurel who depended upon her now, asking for her help. Her pride had no shelter here, not when she felt she could honestly help another in need if even for a heartbeat of a moment. Laurel did not need to say a single word, an intelligent flash of understanding sparking within Thessalia’s eye.

“Only take it if you mean it.”
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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Azra Avasara » 2011-10-05 03:17

The smirk that had briefly adorned Thessalia's face darkened into a grim scowl, harsh and uninviting...bleak and unforgiving. To say that she had heard the ensign's mumbled sussurrations was an understatement; though untranslated from her native tongue, the words had broadcast themselves rather vocally within her mind, echoing with their clear-yet-unclear meaning, baring themselves to her without hesitation as they practically shouted at her from within. Nonsense, eh? she thought, her temper trying to flare behind the stone-like visage of veiled anger. Fancy it what you will...and spare me the pathetic deception of your false gratitude. She didn't dare say these words, not with the high-colonel near, but the mere feel of her aura gave them away without the slightest hesitation or miscommunication.

Instead of speak, Thessalia merely stood there for a few moments, eyeing the ensign as calmly and icily as one might eye a disobedient servant and contemplate just how to execute the miscreant to send the best example. Laurel was, as her stance suggested, submitting herself as though to her own demise, and it struck the Dark Jedi as slightly off-putting. Had she wanted to kill the other woman, it would have been but a trifle to do it, and she could have easily--if only slightly so--taken care of the commando as well. That, however, had not been her intention, or it would have been done already. After a few more minutes of the eerie silence stretched on, the Dark Jedi's lips curled into a darker frown than earlier. "If you are attempting to offer me your life as forfeit..." she mused to break the stillness, "you offer a wasted gesture; I am disinterested in claiming it, and would have taken it earlier had I wanted to. Not even your pet guardian would have been enough..." The silky-smooth voice of such ire, such misguided hate, seemed to almost naturally alight itself at getting that last jab in against the soldier standing just off to the side, and as she turned her attention to briefly look at him, Thess offered him a cruel smirk. Letting the gesture vanish, she turned her focus back on Laurel. "I presume," she resumed icily, "that your refusal to offer a straight answer is an admission of need."

Very calmly, Thess grabbed the ensign's injured hand, clutching perhaps just a touch too tightly; within seconds, the Force flowed freely between the two, as though a dam had burst and water was gushing in. Wounds began to form on Thessalia's body, in stark mimicry of where they had been on Laurel. At the same time, Laurel's own physical recovery began to speed up under the whim of Thessalia's control of the Force. It was...a gradual process, both the transferring of the injuries to sustain a source of pain as the fuel for her efforts, and the acceleration of Laurel's healing; a few minutes later, it was over, and Thess released her almost-ironclad hold. "And your need," she said once she released the grip, "is now met with a response."

Blood dripping from the freshly-inflicted wounds, Thess turned her mind's attention to the longsword that lay in the earth, willing it to rise. It did so, and elegantly flew into the outstretched, waiting hand. A blood-slicked hand wrapped itself around the blade, resting underneath the edge to cradle it. "I do not give you an option in this matter," she said again, reinforcing that the next event that would come to pass had been decided already; that the ensign had lost, for that brief moment, any control over the situation. From there, silence ruled for a short moment as the Dark Jedi eyed her sword, the weapon shifting form every few seconds as though trying to find a phase that suited the bearer's mood. Eventually, it stopped, settling for how it had looked when it was first created, first gifted to her long ago.

"I remember the day this weapon was conferred unto me," she said at last. "A gift, from master to student; it was bestowed to me as my reward, the day I graduated from my training as a Dark Jedi. A gift from my master...the Emperor." Shifting her grip on the weapon, she took the hilt by her wounded hand, and twirled the weapon around in a grand, sweeping arc, and then brought it back to rest as she had originally held it. "It was never smithed...it merely came to be, forged of the Emperor's will...made not so much by his command as by his control of the Force and how it flows. Over the course of the time it spent in my custody, it...adapted to me; absorbed a measure of my power.

"It was bestowed on me for completing my learning under him." With the hand that held the hilt, she gripped it tightly, arcing it in the air again, shortly, and slashing it down to point at the ground. "You have shown me something today, ensign...shown me that, perhaps, I am not yet done learning. It is something for me to reflect on later, but what you have shown me...will serve me well, both alone, and in training my apprentice. As a gesture of my thanks..." Once more, she lifted up the weapon, cradling it from beneath by both hands. "...I bestow upon you this sword."

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Re: A Time for Nobility

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2011-10-11 03:01

Laurel stood, absolutely dumbfounded at what the Dark Jedi had said. Then small, rising; a chuckle that bloomed brightly into glowing laughter that she couldn’t suppress within herself no matter how hard she had tried. Her previous fears, apprehension burned away as she looked up at Thessalia with mirth. The ensign startled and jumped when the woman’s face snapped at her with such a biting look that she had to bite her lip, and she instantly forced her grin from her features. It was a practiced motion, one easily learned for anyone with proper military bearing, her lips moving into another easy smile after a moment. Before she could say anything however, she winced as the Dark Jedi gripped her hand in a tight vice, obviously still insulted, an unfamiliar surge moving over Laurel as she felt her power’s influence upon her.

The ocean itself crashed again within her in an icy wave, be it by Azra’s influence or no, the surge threatened to consume Laurel entire until scant moments later, it was gone. In return, The hand she now held, her healer’s, now came away with blood, the bruise more than likely darkening her side as well, though she showed no outward indication of such. The realization of it saddened Laurel; The woman just seemed to be a receptacle for pain, sadness, as it were.

Stop it.

“I apologize, I was not mocking you by laughing, I promise. But, Miss Avasara.. What I extend to you is not the forfeiture of my life. And I am more than assured that you would have been able to take it with or without my consent, regardless. Only.. ”
Laurel blushed, suddenly embarrassed. “I would never mean to offend you, and I know that compared to what one as such as yourself is capable of, it would certainly seem laughable for myself to offer anything to you. But. It would seem that despite this perhaps, maybe there is something more that could be made between us. Other than fighting, I mean.” Laurel was rarely ever at a loss for words; Indeed, articulation was something she had always prided herself on, and here she was, rambling on like a child.

“Perhaps you relish in your solitude, perhaps not. I understand that being alone is certainly not the same as being lonely. but should you need a break in such monotony,” Laurel gave her a steady look. “..even if only to beat me up a little more, you don‘t have to be lonely.. If ever you so choose.” Not as a friend per say; that would be assuming far too much on Laurel‘s part. She didn’t think Azra would ever consent to such an offer, but the woman was obviously full of surprises; who could ever truly know? At the very least, Laurel wanted to make it absolutely clear that she did not pity her- after all, she could hardly consider them both as equals, but at the very least, she could try.

The sword she had been wielding earlier came into the fore, at rest in Azra’s palms between the two of them, now proffered before her. She had begun to tell of how she had come upon it, and Laurel began to shake her head when she had begun to realize what the Dark Jedi was intending to do. It was a gift, she had said, from master to student; Yet, the ensign could hardly even come close to an iota of being considered a student to the likes of such a skilled woman. Surely, their sparring together was probably nothing more than a mere day of playing on the beach to the Dark JedI, whilst Laurel had spent the time strategizing the whole ordeal as if it meant life or death. For a moment, it nearly had been just that.

Laurel eyed the sword with a renewed awe, and humbled, looked down at the sand below.
I could never accept such a precious thing. Who am I that would so deserve something so.. so..
The protest that had arisen died upon her solemnly upon her lips. Hands clasped, moved, she bowed deeply before Azra, and did not rise, thoroughly humbled. “I.. I don‘t know what to say. Truthfully, I am not sure as to why you would choose to bestow one as such as myself with such an honor, but I am exceedingly grateful. Thank you.”

Her hands hesitated beneath the cool steel as she stood upright and extended her arms to take it, almost imbued with a sense of wonder at its touch.
Forged of the Emperor‘s will….
To behold, to wield such power was nothing short of a miraculous feat. Dominance. Strength.

It was then, that Laurel knew that she never wanted to be weak, or to be seen as such, ever again.

She was not truly sure how she felt about the person she had uncovered within herself this day: Someone bold and reckless; foreign within her being. To taste the razor-thin edge of such a challenge sent an odd thrill through her, and she uncharacteristically smirked. A being of paramount grace and force; an exquisite manifestation of sheer power.
The great and terrible beauty she had been foretold she could be, if given the chance; to shed the skins of what she was to arise into the pantheon of something more.
Not merely could. Would be, if she had anything to do about it.
Weak, sheltered, insignificant. Never again.

Quickly, Laurel’s eyes focused again on the woman in front of her, awakened from her reverie.
These thoughts were rapidly starting to scare her.

Still, there was one more matter to attend to- she steeled herself. “I am grateful, but I will also let you know one more thing of note,” Laurel carefully leaned forward, moving until her lips were barely a hair’s breadth away from Azra’s ear, intimately close. “We will meet again; I vow my promise in mastering the blade you have bestowed upon me, and I assure you that I will seek you out when I do. However. Should you refer to the High Colonel as my ‘pet’ as you put it, or anything else that suggests anything other than the utmost respect of him within my earshot, we will have a problem.” Laurel pulled back and smiled, her demeanor still light though she meant every single word as if sworn in blood. She had the distinct feeling that the Dark Jedi was used to saying what she pleased because of her station, and Laurel would let it be known that she wasn’t phased by this- or even regarded it as acceptable -in the least.

Carefully, she took the sword within her hands, and held it almost lovingly against her chest. If one of such great knowledge saw her as worthy of possessing it, she would have faith in this judgment as well. Her manner was mild, the events of the day crowding over her, overwhelming. Her mind fought between finding the peace of their resolution, to feeding into the dark desire that had begun to bloom within her; it beckoned, seductive.

She settled within herself a goal, even given her current mindset, that was still almost insurmountable to even fathom. Yet, she would rise to such a challenge, undaunted:

Laurel would prove, to both of them, that someday she would be able to stand as Azra Avasara’s equal. Not as a Dark Jedi, or even a Force user if that were even possible, but in mettle, temerity. This, she knew, would take a considerable amount of time and effort, but she could be patient.
Time.
There was always time. She would make it so.
Fortune, after all, favored the brave.
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