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To Be A Master

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#1
Krest

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Within the grand hall of the Iridonian Palace it's King stood wearing nothing but a pair of slacks. Around him was a simple white ring, which on his planet was a sign of challenge. Of a duel. Around the ring stood the high ranking members of the Honor Guard. The twins, Lero, and other thus far unnamed soldiers in their signature armor with their weapons by their side.

 

Krest had his Templar's Edge in his hand, and he stood waiting for the man he had summoned. Vaulkhar would be tested for his mastery much like an Iridonian was tested for adulthood. In a ring with their mentor.



#2
Vaulkhar

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The half breed had walked a long road to reach this moment in his life...

 

From the moment he left Junction with his adoptive parents he strove to find purpose. Years were spent mastering his ability to see through the force, to help him find what it is he sought. When he learned there was more to the galaxy and his story was not yet told, he left his parents and sought out the man who truly brought him into this world. Kaine Zambrano; his father. It did not take him long to track down the Butcher King. And it took even less time for Vaulkhar to be enrolled into the Sith Academy of Coruscant under his father's direct order. No Zambrano would remain untrained. No Zambrano would sit idle in the galaxy as enemies of the empire stood tall. His teenage years were spent turning him into a child soldier unlike any other. His peers could not touch him, his instructors unable to quell the burning rage that surged through him with each day that passed. He sought more than lessons, but at the time he was unaware. He sought friends, family, a reason to fight... None of which was given to him at the Academy. Rather, it was taken from him and he was forced into a lonesome life of self destructive training. It wasn't until his twenty first year the first man he ever considered his father came into his life.

 

Vengeance.

 

The Sith Lord found him eviscerating a series of acolytes within the academy in single combat. One by one they fell to his prodigal mastery of the saber and force alike. His skill and anger piqued the interest of the man, but to him Vaulkhar still was raw and untrained. The dark side energies leaked out of him without control and he sought to change that. He took Vaulkhar and molded him into a great weapon. A weapon who faced Jedi Masters without fear. And won. Together Vengeance and Vaulkhar were an unstoppable force on the battlefield. Together entire planets felt their fury when they were called to war, wading through the thickest and bloodiest of battlefields. But like all things Vaulkhar has ever truly loved in his life, Vengeance was soon taken from him. His former master up and left the man imprisoned by the Silver Jedi and never even thought to find Vaulkhar. Alone again, the half breed continued to search for what it is he had always wanted.

 

Soon enough a former master from his past emerged, Darth Ferus, and together the duo began their own unwholesome rampage that took the galaxy by storm. Under order of the former Sith Assassin, Vaulkhar killed anything from Republic Agents to Politicians who dared speak out against the empire they served. Was it fulfilling work? Not in the slightest, but within it Vaulkhar found purpose. His blade was a weapon to be guided and released on any fool who challenged the might of the One Sith. And for sometime that is what happened. Vaulkhar was sent out, he killed without mercy, and returned to his normal life until another was to be slain by his hand. The work eventually weighed the half breed down and he found himself unable to awaken in the morning without falling back asleep. His desire to train waned considerably and where once some semblance of joy could be found within him, only self loathing and contempt remained. Vaulkhar found an escape; the Outer Rim. With Ferus' permission he retired to the Outer Rim to recover until he was needed once again, whatever that may of meant.

 

Months went by until he was called into action. This time it was different.

 

Darth Ferus, now known as Krest, did not seek Vaulkhar's skill to murder. Rather, he sought the half breed out to help him free the people of Commenor from the Sith's grasp... His father's grasp. There was fear within Vaulkhar's heart at the very idea of standing up against Kaine Zambrano, but he quelled it and pushed on...

 

Now Vaulkhar stood at the precipice of his future. With a deep breath he pushed his way into the Grand Hall and strode towards the circle his master stood within. Much like his master and king, Vaulkhar wore only a pair of comfortable and flexible pants. His lightsaber was gripped tightly in his right hand. Without saying a word he stepped into the circle.

 

Krest


Edited by Vaulkhar, 13 September 2018 - 11:05 PM.

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#3
Krest

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The elder Zabrak wordlessly pulled free the sword in his hand from it's sheath, tossing the altered steel casing outside of the ring. In both hands he took the dull metal sword, and with a quick flick of a switch the signature green blade of the Templar's lit up to give the weapon it's deadly edge. Krest watched Vaulkhar , eyes narrowed in focus. He had been watching the half breeds progress in the Sith for many years now, but never once with a clear mind. To make a deadlier warrior. A deadlier assassin. A tool, a weapon. There was nothing the King regretted more.

 

He knew his words could no longer reach the Epicanthix, not as they could before. The hardened heart of a killer was a point few ever returned from. Krest had twice, though the second time involved his death and resurrection. The first, however, was a completely different subject. The Zabrak, a boy barely above sixteen, was already a merciless killer and bounty hunter, slaughtering all who stood in his way until the day he was found by the Templars and promptly beaten into a pulp.

 

This was more then a test to see if the boy was ready to be a master. As red flooded the kings otherwise blue gaze his true purpose for this fight was the only focus to the rage he allowed his body to succumb to. He would pull the boy from the brink of no return.

 

As quick as a bullet the larger man burst across the circle with his sword in both hands. A single slash, from waist to shoulder with all the strength the Zabrak could muster. The duel begins.



#4
Vaulkhar

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Vaulkhar long since passed the precipice into a place he'd likely never return from. Even if the man managed to reignite some semblance of feeling or purpose within the half breed, it was unlikely he'd ever find the same level of mirth or joy he felt before he was tainted by the training of the Sith. Stepping into the ring he knew what to expect. His first ever meeting with Krest was an impromptu battle on Coruscant where the master quickly tried to overwhelm him. He knew the man's style as well as Krest likely knew his own. As the king launched himself forward a smirk tugged at the corner of the half breed's lips. Some things never change, it was something he truly appreciated.

 

The force blanketed his form almost entirely as his own body blurred. He dropped low and hit the ground rolling. He quickly straightened on the other side of his master and gripped the hilt of his lightsaber within his right hand. It ignited with an angry hiss, the sand beneath their feet a clashing of green and orange as the two colors swirled about for control. He pressed forward to return the assault, mercilessly striking for the back of the man's head as if to decapitate him in one swing.

 

He loved Krest as a mentor and friend, but battle was battle.

 

Krest


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#5
Krest

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There was the faintest smile on the corners of the Zabrak King's lips as Vaulkhar rolled away. Krest indeed was sticking to his old habits of overwhelming his foes as quickly and brutally as possible. But there was a major difference between Coruscant and Iridonia. Sand, unlike Metal, answered the Iridonian's call. Without looking to the boy and his strike the man slowly stood, sand swelling around him. A simple wall of sand erupted forcibly between the pair, catching the lightsaber's blade in it's swirling mass. What should have immediately turned to glass didn't, and for the blind Epicanthix the reason would be as bright as the sun.

 

Krest was manipulating the earth directly through the Force. All at once the sudden wall dropped back down, revealing a blur of ashen skin as once again the Templar struck out with one hand on his blade. The other swiped through the open air, and the ground between them once again erupted with sand. This time a pillar aiming to smash into Vaulkhar's chest and force him clear out of the ring.


Edited by Krest, 14 September 2018 - 11:19 PM.


#6
Vaulkhar

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Vaulkhar grumbled in annoyance as the earth itself rose to contest his strike. He knew the force was capable of many feats of power, though he always found such as parlor tricks. He had very little respect for those sorcerers who sought to strengthen themselves outside of the battlefield. Call it a character flaw but it was something he was proud of, his capabilities with a saber and willingness to train that. As the earth began to fall and once more rise, the half breed launched himself into the air, further propelled by a concussive blast of force energy left in his wake meant to force Krest back and away from him, out of the ring. Narrowly avoiding the earth, he twisted and twirled in the air so he once more faced the Iridonian King.

 

As he fell, the force gathered around his saber and with a horziontal slash, the energies were shot in the direction of Krest. Much like the earlier blast, it would explode on impact. Vaulkhar hit the ground and rolled to his feet once again, launching himself at Krest into a series of swift, measured strikes at the man's bare chest. His form would follow only a split second after the blast of force energies.

 

Krest


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#7
Krest

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The Zabrak King kept his footing as the blast washed over him. He slid back, one heel lightly touching the line of the ring as the sand below him held his feet to keep him level. Simple parlor tricks sure, but they did have their uses. With his form bound to the ground he couldn't dodge the next coming strike. He brought his saber up, grinning. It had been a while since he last felt pushed into a corner, and the rush was no lie.

 

Krest met the blast with his sword, twisting his wrist to knock the blast away from him. And his sword in the process. The concussive blast ripped his sword from his hand, leaving the King unarmed. His hands came up next, catching the energy of the saber in his bare hands. Another trick as Vaulkhar would put it. He absorbed the very heat of the plasma weapon to shield himself.

 

And empower himself. On the last strike the force he had been building unleashed in a powerful blast to knock the blind man away and create some space. And maybe even knock him out of the ring.



#8
Vaulkhar

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"Ah fuc-"

 

Vaulkhar managed to create some semblance of a shield between he and his master as the force exploded outwards towards him. Unfortunately, "some" wasn't enough to keep him from feeling it. His body was blasted back and he went tumbling across the sand. His shoulder slammed forcefully into the sand, slowing his momentum enough for Vaulkhar's to jam his cybernetic arm deep into sand to lock himself in the ring. As his body came to a sudden halt, the sound of metal creaking would reverberate around the chamber. The half breed's heels slammed into the sand a mere inch from exiting the ring, though that wasn't the worst of his current situation. His cybernetic arm itself hung limp as he forced himself to his feet. The sheer force behind his emergency save crippling him.

 

"Damn," Vaulkhar grumbled as he eyed Krest. His lightsaber sat inches from him. With a sigh he launched himself towards his master once again. He dashed across the sand while simultaneously summoning his saber to his grip. However, he cut right rather suddenly, twirling his body in a complete 360 to catch the saber and activate it. Spinning on his heels he'd send a horizontal strike directly towards Krest's gut, aiming to disembowel the man.

 

Krest


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#9
Vaulkhar

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"Ah fuc-"

 

Vaulkhar managed to create some semblance of a shield between he and his master as the force exploded outwards towards him. Unfortunately, "some" wasn't enough to keep him from feeling it. His body was blasted back and he went tumbling across the sand. His shoulder slammed forcefully into the sand, slowing his momentum enough for Vaulkhar's to jam his cybernetic arm deep into sand to lock himself in the ring. As his body came to a sudden halt, the sound of metal creaking would reverberate around the chamber. The half breed's heels slammed into the sand a mere inch from exiting the ring, though that wasn't the worst of his current situation. His cybernetic arm itself hung limp as he forced himself to his feet. The sheer force behind his emergency save crippling him.

 

"Damn," Vaulkhar grumbled as he eyed Krest. His lightsaber sat inches from him. With a sigh he launched himself towards his master once again. He dashed across the sand while simultaneously summoning his saber to his grip. However, he cut right rather suddenly, twirling his body in a complete 360 to catch the saber and activate it. Spinning on his heels he'd send a horizontal strike directly towards Krest's gut, aiming to disembowel the man.

 

Krest


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#10
Krest

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Krest hand't just been standing around as Vaulkhar hit the ground. Instead he had been focusing downward onto the sand below them. "Careful boy." It was a friendly warning, and a distraction. The sand surged forward like a wave, rising just as the Epicanthix did from where he landed. Rather then stay loose sand they hardened into points and flew forward to skewer the boy. The King wasn't going to make it easy.



#11
Vaulkhar

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As Vaulkhar launched himself forward, he found himself face to face with a series of sharp, earthen spikes flying towards him. His eyes narrowed and closed entirely as he allowed the force to guide him. He hit the sand, narrowly avoiding one before rolling to his left, onto his stomach. Another passed by and he jumped to his feet, moving forward. He pushed forward, dodging left and right, avoiding any major damage, though the tips of a few of the spikes manager to tear at his torso. One ripped at the flesh on his left side, the other tearing at his right torso. Blood began to run freely from the wounds, though as Vaulkhar's eyes snapped open, a molten orange with flecks of crimson swimming through the lava-like pools. Without hesitation his limp cybernetic arm was dragged upward to take the final spike directly. The metal stopped the earth, though the earth stopped his momentum. A grunt escaped him, but once more he began the slow process of moving towards Krest.

 

The cybernetic arm was now dented where the impact was made, hanging at an odd angle. He was fond of the arm, it carried him through more missions than he could remember. The anger surged through him, though he maintained himself. Instead, Vaulkhar channeled it in his desire to move forward. The sand around his feet would shift away from him in waves. He pulled his left arm back before launching it forwards in another, concussive blast of force energy. All the while he strode towards his master.

 

Krest


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#12
Krest

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Krest's eyes narrowed as Vaulkhar stalked forward. The boy was determined at least, and for that he certainly had the Zabrak's respect. But it would take more then that to prove his mastery. Another wall of sand erupted, hardening to catch the force blast head on. The wall blew apart on contact, almost sending Krest right out of the circle. Shards of the compressed sand ripped across his flesh as he held his arms to cover himself.

 

The most he could do then was prepare, glaring over his crossed arms at the boy as he charged forward.



#13
Vaulkhar

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Vaulkhar allowed his lightsaber to remain where it sat within the sand as he charged towards Krest. As the wall of sand blew apart, the half breed was upon his mentor in an instant. He cleared the space between them in the blink of an eye with the aid of the force. This time however, rather than utilize any fancy footwork, he aimed to take a book out of his master's page. Krest would likely see and feel the dark side energies channeled around his apprentice. Rather than blast the energy at the Zabrak King he kept the energy encircled around his fast. He came in low and he came in fast, launching and series of blows aimed at the man's abdomen. His movements were precise and well measured, his training and hand to hand combat not at all lackluster. On top of that, any blow that would land would release a surge of concussive force energy. It's almost comedic to note that he swung his limp, cybernetic arm like a club.

 

Krest


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#14
Krest

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Iridonia was home to one of the most brutal forms of hand to hand in the Galaxy. A Zabrak's nails were actually extended bone, giving them razor sharp claws. Their horns similar. Their naturally tough bodies were at their best when under a beat down. Yet as the King stood and took the blows from Vaulkhar he felt his body slowly bruise. Each blast that slammed into his stomach that he couldn't block sent a shower of pain through him, the blasts barely withheld enough for the man to keep his footing. But he was taking the attacks, his body hardening as he pulled sand up his legs to where he was being beaten to act as a cushion.

 

He was doing the bare minimum to keep himself from being snapped in half, and as soon as the blows seemed to slow the King would lash out. He'd go right to snatch the boys cybernetic club out of the air and yank hard, aiming to suddenly flip the boy over his shoulder. At the same time the sands below Vaulkhar would suddenly and violently shift, trying to force him off balance to aid in the toss.



#15
Vaulkhar

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The moment Vaulkhar slowed and Krest began his own counter, the half breed's scowl turned downwards into a frown. He grit his teeth and summoned the force around him once more. His left arm tugged back as the energy about him was focused around his left arm entirely. As he was propelled upwards his other arm struck out to the weakest point of his limp and hanging arm; the crook of his elbow. The force-blade encompassing his arm struck out in a fury, severing the cybernetic arm from his flesh without a second thought. With the anchor holding him in place by Krest torn away, he was launched upwards instead. Once more he shifted in the air, tucking his legs upwards against his chest before launching them towards the roof to begin twirling in several turning somersault. 

 

As the half breed fell heel slashed the force blade through the air several feet above his master. The energy carved through the air, slicing through the remnants of sand while surging towards Krest's chest. Each blow thrown was meant to be a crippling and/or battle ending blow. With his momentum dispersing he began to fall towards the ground once more.

 

Krest


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#16
Krest

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Krest blinked slowly as he stared at the forearm of Vaulkhar 's. Without the boy attached. A fox stuck in a trap would gnaw off his own leg to continue the struggle of life. A small smile formed on the Zabrak's lips at the newfound respect he found for the Epicanthix. But, flailing for survival was not a replacement for skill. Inhaling deep he let his body suddenly relax. A staple of Soresu.

 

With seeming minimal effort the King began to weave through the slashes enough to avoid any lethal or crippling blows. His ashen skin stained with red as he was continually clipped by the force blade, wounds suddenly opening in the blink of an eye. He was again conserving his energy, taking the damage to prepare for his next blow. Once the Epicanthix began to fall it came.

 

Surging from the ground Krest lept upwards, leaving a cloud of sand in his wake as he did. In the blink of an eye he was in front of the falling Zambrano, though with a new deep wound on his chest. A battle ending wound earned from his inability to dodge midair. This was to be his last strike less he risked bleeding out anymore than he already was. Using the momentum of his jump he would twist midair, swinging his metal leg around to catch Vaulkhar in the mid section and send him slamming down to the ground outside the ring.



#17
Vaulkhar

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To Vaulkhar's credit, he managed to twist enough in the air to face his master. He sent his left arm up to defend himself, but it just wasn't enough. Krest's cybernetic arm slammed into his own, a faint crack echoing from the blow. His fall nearly tripled in speed as he was launched towards the ground. He slammed against the ground with a loud thud, a cough escaping his form as a mixture of blood and spittle flew from his lips. Vaulkhar's vision swam and he peered about, black spots dancing within his gaze. The moment reminded him of when a shell blew up a ship landing only a dozen yards from him. The ringing in his ears, the dizzying feeling of nausea threatening to overtake his senses. With a deep breath, he forced himself to his knees. The wounds he sustained still bled, staining his chest and side with a prominent crimson ichor against his pale flesh. Bruises danced along his flesh, worse in some areas than others.

 

Through it all, Vaulkhar simply grit his teeth and pushed himself to his feet. Rage burned within his gaze, though he made no further attempts to fight back. He was aware of his loss, he simply accepted whatever came of it with pride, on his feet. As a warrior would.

 

Krest


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#18
Krest

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Krest could only let out a sad laugh as he too fell to the ground. He slammed into the sand, his whole body burning with pain from the bruised and broken ribs he surely had after Vaulkhar 's strikes. He too moved to stand, but unlike the Epicanthix there was no rage in his gaze. In fact, upon standing the King bowed his head to the boy in apparent defeat. For when the pair fell only one fell to the outside of the ring.

Krest.

 

"You've grown strong, Master Vaulkhar."



#19
Vaulkhar

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Vaulkhar maintained his rage briefly, dark side energies swirling around him as he awaited his master's words. With both the deceleration and the realization his mouth fell slightly agape, his head tilted to the side in surprise. He allowed his hold on the dark side to momentarily slide away. He straightened to the best of his ability, though his remaining arm pressed weakly against a rather large bruise along his rib cage. The stump of his former arm just hung there awkwardly, as missing limbs do. He only now noticed where his master stood, his widened gaze growing further in surprise. He quickly lowered himself into a bow, eyes closed tight as it all clicked in his head.

 

He, Vaulkhar Zambrano, had finally been awarded the title of master.

 

"T-Thank you, Master Krest."

 

Sure, he won on a technicality. Had the fight continued further, chances were he'd of been beaten down if he wasn't able to pull something out, though with the rules put into place he had won. A damn good surprise.

 

Krest


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#20
Krest

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Krest smiled at Vaulkhar as he slowly stood straight again. Though only for a moment longer. His usually ashen skin had paled considerably, and with one last laugh the Zabrak fell into the sand. The Epicathix had won when Krest launched himself up to strike, and the only way for the King to have won was the technicality of knocking the Zambrano out of the ring. Whether the boy believed it or not was a whole other matter.

 

The guards rushed over to their fallen Kings side and to Vaulkhar's all ready to administer what ever aid was needed. Krest continued to laugh here and there from where he rested on the ground, rolling onto his back so he might look up at the boy. "Don't let it get to your head too quickly, but enjoy yourself for a bit. You've earned at least that much." Once the bleeding was at least stopped he'd stand back on his own to legs, letting out a pained sigh.

 

"That trick you did with the air. Scary stuff y'know. Deadly."