The Clone Wars: Knightfall Vol: 7.5
*Chink* ccrrssSSHHH- PHOOM!!
A clone launched rocket slammed into the ground mere paces away from Shakkra Kien. The concussive wave threw him aside several meters. Vader strode forward from behind the shadows, the first few squads following suit. Hustling from Shakkra Kien’s flank, a lone masked knight came sprinting. The squad nearest Vader raised weapons; fingers tense upon their triggers. Without a word, the Sith’s robotic hand raised, holding the barrage momentarily.
The guardian helped the dazed Chagrian master to his feet. Activating their golden blades, the pair retreated toward the main gates they presided over. More troopers poured through the entrance of the dark ramp; not realizing the advance was bated. Shakkra straightened himself, then recalled his single handed saber from the floor, charred in black.
“Skywalker…to what end?!” the tall, horned knight bellowed. Guardians stormed from the rear corridors, their boots softer due to the material footing. In silence, guardians assembled in lined ranks. Each activated their golden blades for the fight to come.
The cloaked Sith slightly grinned raising his saber into an attack pose, “Finally..Yours..” A very brief moment ensued. Vader’s foot charged forward, leading across the large atrium, a sea of blue and white racing behind.
The horned Jedi master’s voice rang above the thunder of boots, “Brothers of the sabre, DO NOT YIELD!”
A blue blade extended from the hilt in his one hand. Kien led his silent stampede toward the clone mass! Guardians spiraled their blades, plowing deeply, deflecting incoming bolts unfurled by the clone invaders. Two formidable, faceless masses ensnared one another, unwilling until death parted all. The armies clashed! Guardian Knights were the most organized and skilled nemesis the 501st faced that night. Their dual blades reflected deadly, blue lasers back into their clone senders! Armored troopers fell in droves; severed limbs littering the floor. The hall echoed with screams of agony. Its gems violently imitated the ferocity of the raging fight!
Jedi felled by enormous explosions and rotary cannons lay scattered across the floor. Bodies doused in smoldering entry wounds, the scent of burnt flesh mixed with melting armor.
Vader’s fist established foothold in the entrance of the chamber. A guardian charged forward, throwing his blade with sniper accuracy through the chest of three rocketeers simultaneously. Before he was able to recall the blade from the dispatched foes chests; two rotary cannons took advantage of the circumstance, showering him in a flurry of blazing bolts. His shoulders were the first point to lurch back and forth, the impact pushing him from one side to another until overcome. Looking to one another - the clones nodded in satisfaction at the job well done, both earning them glowing orange necks, felled by a fellow guardian. Continuously clones and Jedi slew one another.
Helmets and masks alike coated the tiles. Shakkra’s eyes scanned across the dying while effortlessly dispatching clones. Several lifeless robed figure’s faces were exposed. Faces of different color and species lay ‘neath the vail. No longer did guardians focus efforts to disarm their enemies, as they often did. There was no energy to use on preserving life, except their own.
Vader threw disoriented guardians into swaths of troopers who leapt on their prey, murdering them by any means possible. Vader headed straight for Shakkra Kien who made quick work of clones both far and near. The double blades acted as his shield, the blue blade then hurled to devastating effect. Whilst the battle thickened, Kien’s voice echoed above all, the walls seemingly carrying his voice above all others, “Fight! What awaits is immortality – Give to them an end!”
Clone troopers continued filling the hall, at times climbing over the dead to get to the action. Vader gripped a protector in the force, pulling him away from the troopers he was fighting. The blue of his saber erupted through the mask the suspended Jedi.
Kien held his position near the archive gate. Guardians fought vigorously to keep the bleached, soulless troopers at bay. Vader passed three-quarters of the room, Master Kien saw the opportunity he had been waiting for, “Sentinels, ARISE!!”
Vader observed Kien’s gaze shift upward silently. High above, dozens of Sentinels, extremely adept Guardians, bounded from their perches. Nearing the floor, each simultaneously threw out their arms, releasing shockwaves that crushed clone troopers beneath their power; fragmenting armor. Their chaotic ranks utterly dispersed. Troopers that were isolated rapidly met their ends by lightsaber. The clones pushed back into the entrance they had poured through shortly before. A guardian raised his saber, “Hold the high watermark! Do not let them cross unless departed!”
The battle of the causeway raged!
Shakkra Kien and Vader, alone, the pair isolated by the newly formed wall of guardians. Golden, brown robes wavered, charging the 501st. “Today your lesson has come at a high cost Skywalker. You are only a shadow of yourself.” Kien’s face was stern. He did not gloat though the battle appeared to be in his favor. Saturated with raw emotion Vader’s mind flashed a vision of Padme, fair skinned in the Naboo sun smiling toward him…barely able to revel in that moment, she screamed out! Red fire rained down enveloping her, smoke stifling his love, choking her. Tears streamed down her cheek…she was dying..
The vision hadn’t lasted long enough for Kien to notice any lapse in Vader. Anakin’s heart throbbed heavily; his resolve renewed from the horrifying vision. “I must…I need to save her!..YOU…killing her..delaying..betraying ME!” he said beneath his breath. His words relatively unclear in all the commotion. Kien’s brow perked with confusion; attempting to interpret the emotional rant. Now was the time to strike!
The blue master flew with haste to Vader. Blue sabers collided, sizzling between the pressure and grind applied to them. Kien glimpsed the fiery hate of Anakin’s eyes…Sith eyes only for a moment before Vader pushed sharply! Both spiraled with brilliant finesse. Their sabers fluidly struck then countered; each using the strength from the other to commit another attack.
The fight wore on. Saber strokes evolved wildly, cutting groves through the stone at their feet. Sparks flew into the air as both knights attempted to gain the upper hand. Clone troopers again and again clashed against the defenders in an effort to reach their isolated lord. The soldiers fought tenaciously, but the rifles and carbines could not make a dent. A squad of snipers joined the fray.
Guardians holding position noticed a lull in the continuous blitz. From the dark, a shield wall approached one step at a time. A hard metallic clank rang when the shields slammed the ground. Alternating with the severe echo, a stomp thundered when the troops took their next step, each bracing behind their shield. What trickery lie in wait? The grey metal wall drew near…both Jedi and Clone clenched what fatal tool was at hand. The shields slammed down again, halting the advance.
An awkward silence was born..
All blaster fire had ceased.
Phap* Skrat* Phoom*
A chain of snipers fired simultaneously from the cover of the metallic curtain! Handfuls of Jedi fell with bolts landing amidst their masks and chests; the velocity so fast - sabers unable to deflect. Again a volley tore through their saber wall, some attempting to crawl from the torn gate.
Thousands of blue lasers cascaded into the Jedi as multiple rotary cannons cut loose their fury; the balance began to turn. Lightsabers swirled in vain, overcome by sheer volume! The knockout blow soon came. Their task of defending such a storm was as futile as struggling to keep drops of rain from hitting the ground. Any trooper within throwing range primed a detonator. “NOW” barked a clone. In tandem, clones threw their grenades as rocketeers unleashed their explosive payload. The floor vibrated when chunks of stone dissolved from the sheer power!
“This was the time” thought many clones, “Now BROTHERS!! For the Republic!!”
The surge of the 501st followed! Clone troopers poured in as a singular mass! All thought of self cast aside. The clone troopers sprinted into the guardians at the gate. Sabers cleaved shields and armor, but the Guardians were overcome by troopers who began tackling them. The room was disarray as fighting devolved into primal hand to hand combat! Surging forward many tripped over the bodies coating the floor. The double bladed sabers were more cumbersome than the single handed variant in battling odds of this caliber.
During the chaos, few Jedi sabers lost. For those whose blades were, their resourcefulness was put to a dire test. Hotsh, a squad leader and sharpshooter, calmly entered the conflict with his squad of batch brothers. Remaining undaunted, his team took pause at the sight, sound, even smell of the carnage.
“Left! Left! Left!” Hotsh hollered, motioning to his men with sharp jutting movements of his forearm. The small group darted in and out of several struggles. The squad leader’s armor severely impacted the column; seeking refuge. Pike ran towards squad mates Hotsh and Wraith.
A body of a Jedi Guardian unexpectedly crashed him from his feet. Disoriented, Pike struggled to gain his awareness. Back and forth his body moved. Deathly wrestling took place on top of him. A myriad of troopers brawled to restrain their temple host. Pike’s ears were filled with sounds of muffled boots sliding, losing grip on the floor. Lowly grunts from the struggle filled his pressed helmet, screeching against the stone surface.
“Ahhh!” the Jedi’s voice echoed between the floor and tattered armor. One clone bent an arm across his and Pike’s body. Another pair did their best to fatally subdue him with their bare hands. A force blast propelled one trooper off of Pike, hurling the clone toward the ceiling with a scream that ended abruptly upon impact with the floor. Forced to square off, the two clones prepared to charge the Jedi as Pike pulled himself to his knees.
Hotsh raised his rifle to eliminate the target, but the pair obstructed his aim with their stance. “Move!!! Down troopers!” Hotsh ordered, but with no effect. Without another breath of hesitation, the pair of 501st clones projected themselves toward the Knight! The squad leader watched in pending terror as his comrades bodies lurched towards their target! Spiraling gold blurs quickly sent them reeling to their demise, cut down. Hotsh again lifted his rifle! There he saw Pike looking a small glowing cut in his chest plate. It had been unknowingly cloven during the Jedi’s corkscrew parry! Pike removed his helmet which clattered on a small unobstructed plot of ground. In one diligent motion, Pike leapt to his enemy, unsheathing the dagger from his chest rig!
In simultaneous moments, each thrust their blade deep within the chest of their foe. Together they sauntered to the floor, gripping one another. The lightsaber deactivated. Pike’s hand reached up, harshly tearing away his enemies mask, exposing the green countenance of a Rodian. As if surprised, Pike’s eyes widened. Pike’s face grew pale. Both engaged in a final gaze… their corpses slumped away from one another.