The heavy duty droids were bashing away at the barricade. The clones had built trenches from furniture and scrap metal and took shelter behind their nests. The commando unit had lined up in rows of battle ready soldiers – they were the driving force behind the counterattack. The other clones had longer range weapons and would support them through heavy fire. A squad of them also joined the Commandoes. Wraith and Elara were at the very front acting as vanguards. Behind them, the commandoes were divided in two groups and were to follow their charge. The Captain stood next to Wraith and Elara.
After Wraith had given the order, the clones scattered inside a nearby armoury and recharged their weaponry. They replaced damaged gear and replenished their ammo packs. Wraith and Elara had armoured themselves: Wraith selected only leather materials – he was accustomed to speed and manoeuvrability and feared that bulky armour would interfere with his Force power or his nimble movements. Elara, however, adapted some heavy clone armour. It felt light to her; after all, she was used to her Clan’s steel armour.
As they waited, Wraith noticed the clones fidgeted. He could feel their uneasiness.
“Say Elara,” he called. “How about a wager?”
She raised her eyebrows. “What kind?”
“Given that you saved my hide on Dathomir, how about you take it easy and let the man do the heavy lifting?”
She snorted. “Like you can keep up with me.”
“Twenty credits says I rack up more droids than you.”
“A hundred say you’ll eat my dust,” she shot back. Wraith heard some of the clones snicker.
“How about you Captain? Commander?” he called.
Talon spoke out. “We’re not allowed to gamble, General,” he said sternly. Then a grin stretched on his lips. “But if I were to bet, Sir, I’d say General Elara would win.”
Wraith gave him a quizzical look.
“She’s got the bigger stick,” replied Talon as nearly clones snickered.
“We tend to side with whoever holds the biggest weapons,” added Maze.
Wraith grinned. He activated his twin lightsabers, flooding the corridor in flame colored light. He heard gaps. His lightsabers twirled as he exhibited intricate flourishes. He conjured them into a lightsaber staff, twirled it around and stopped in an impassive pose.
“So who’s got the bigger stick now?” he asked cheekily.
Elara snickered. She extended her pike to full length and activated her lightsaber. Purple light invaded the flame’s territory. She spun the pike around, executing some very impressive moves. She too finished in an impressive pose.
“She still does, Sir,” replied Maze simply. This time Wraith heard laughs. He pretended to sulk and separated his weapons.
“You guys suck,” he said mockingly.
There was a tremendous shudder and cracks appeared in the stone barricades. The droids were breeching in.
“Hey, boys,” yelled Wraith as he looked towards the barricades. “I know we don’t know each other that well, so how about we scrap some droids and go out for a drink later?”
Their voice was in union. “Aye Sir!”
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” he roared back.
“AYE SIR!” Their voice shook the building. They were no longer afraid. Rather, they felt their souls on fire. The droids breeched completely and battle droids ran towards the clones.
Wraith readied himself for battle and yelled a final order.
With a burst of Force speed, the two Force users met the droids first. Wraith’s lightsaber twirled, creating a barrier against the blaster fire. His Shien training proved efficient in redirecting laser, giving him enough time to close the distance that a swordsman needs. He felled one droid after another. A super battle droid closed in, its arm extended. Wraith spun, slicing off one arm then the droid itself.
“Droidekas,” he heard a close yell. The bent droids were shooting at clones, their shield generators stopping any return fire. Wraith levitated one and threw it into a second one. That created a domino effect, toppling over the entire row. Clones rolled grenades at them and most of the droidekas blew up or sustained heavy damage.
More showed up. They were proving too much for the clones. Wraith thrust out both hands. He altered the natural magnetic field around him and extended it. The field covered all the droidekas and the magnetism moved up their shield generators, shorting them out.
The clones returned fire.
Wraith’s magnetic field pushed the droids far and then he switched the polarity, causing attraction instead of repulsion. All those droids shot back into him. But he was prepared.
With his twin lightsabers he used the Niman Jar’Kai technique of Rising Whirlwing. The flame colored blades spun around him with such velocity that all the clones saw as a solid flame covering Wraith. The lightsabers shredded through the droids, reducing them to shreds.
Elara’s mastery of the halberd was reflected by the way she used her lightsaber pike. The lavender blade sliced through a droid, cleaving it in half. She plunged the end of staff into a battle droid and channelled the Force. With a burst of effort she lifted the droid upwards, over her and into a second battle droid. Her blade sliced through another one. She channelled a fire spell through her weapon and the last third of the staff superheated to a glowing orange. She plunged it through a droideka, gently, the weapon parting the shield generator and cutting into the droid as if it were little more than air.
When she felt Wraith using his magnetic spell, she took advantage of it. She channelled the Force and slammed the butt of her polearm on the ground. The Force wave uprooted all droids, to be caught in Wraith’s magnetic field. At the same time she used an earth spell to root herself against his spell. She paused to watch Wraith slice through the droids like a buzzsaw. Movement caught her peripheral vision.
An assassin droid crawled against the wall stealthily. Wraith was too tired to notice it closing in on him.
She held her weapon like a javelin and threw it with all her might. The pike shot into the leaping assassin droid and held fast. The assassin droid was now hung like a grotesque ornament.
More droids closed in on them, this time led by a second battalion of assassin droids. Elara realized that this army was too thick for the clones to handle and Wraith was only just recovering. She sped ahead, unarmed. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t thin out their advancing numbers.
Fire, bright and thin, shot from her hands like a laser beam. She sliced through the droids with ease. The surviving droids retaliated with blaster fire. Undeterred she leapt in an impressive display of acrobatics and twisted. The thin flames sliced through the droids.
She landed and behind her an assassin droid loomed over her, holding a vibro knife. She didn’t have time to react and braced herself for the killing blow. It never came.
Wraith’s lightsaber sliced through the droid as he appeared over the Witch. He conjured his weapons and sliced through another droid. Laser fire shot at them and met his Force barrier. He grabbed Elara and teleported. He dropped her amongst the clones where she retrieved her weapon and disappeared again in a single step.
He appeared in the midst of the battalion and retaliated with a barrage of vicious strikes. He gave himself over to Juyo, allowing its brutal attacks to reflect his intentions. He would not allow anyone to know the only person he ever loved. He will destroy them all.
The clones and Elara watched in silence as Wraith unleashed one feral attack after the other. He felled the legion and straightened his shoulders. His eyes met Elara’s and gave her the thumbs up. She smiled back.
Just as he was about to rejoin the troops, Wraith felt its presence. Something foul, dark and twisted. He spun and saw a shadow move erratically. The figure looked humanoid and grotesque. It was disfigured and cloth in rags.
And in one hand, it carried a red lightsaber.