LegendsLog:Battle of Balmorra II
The Battle for Balmorra has ground into an uneasy stalemate, punctuated by daily skirmishes, probing of defenses, and the occasional orbital clash. The Mandalorian advantage in fightercraft has given the invaders a marked air superiority, forcing the Republic forces in the trenches to eschew high ground. Thus, when Jedi are discreetly deployed to a forward position and the Generals send word to prepare for an offensive aimed at recapturing the Troida Military Workshops, the massed troopers, speeders, and mobile artillery are ordered to advance up Gorinth Canyon, to limit their exposure to Mandalorian aircraft.
The Republic fleet will time an attack to lend support and prevent any orbital bombardment falling on the ground troops, and a diversion has been aimed at the planetary capital of Bin Prime to draw off enemy support, but the Mandalorians have had a week to fortify their conquests, and the offensive is expected to be bloody. Not least of which due to the dread felt by ground troops at the prospect of advancing through a long, steep, fortified canyon.
But they have their orders, and- more importantly- they have the Jedi, and so the troops are ready. When the signal comes that the fleet engagement has begun, a hundred troopers, three combat speeders, and a hovering artillery piece move out. Gorinth Canyon is steep and jagged, a twisting network of ravines winding between high plateaus formed of the same worn, ruddy-brown rock as the surrounding terrain.A
Gorinth Valley was not beautiful. It was ugly. Much like the overcast sky, the trails of smoke from factories, the smell of the air (if air could be ugly). It all smelled like blood, like war, like the burned ozone of battle, much like cordite hung in the air from the discharge of slugthrowers.
Brianna Kae, the Handmaiden, walked alongside the front line troops. Leading a platoon of troopers, the white haired Echani stood out against the rank and file. She wore dark grey tunic garments and had a cape of a matching color. Her lightsaber was held in hand, though silent and at the ready. If Brianna was uncertain or worried, it did not show on her face. She remained focused, trusting that their General, Meetra, knew the right course and everything else? Fell to the will of the Force.
Gerus was not one to march in a main column of an army or detachment. Though, that didn't deter him from not doing his best to help where he had strengths. That was scaling along the upper parts of the valley in order to scout ahead. Yellow eyes hawkishly gazing as he steadily, carefully made his way through the winding upper paths that the pack animals would likely have taken to get into the main pass. He was better working as a ranger, being a sentinel among the Jedi. He reaches out with the Force as he peered ahead and further down where the column was heading, so far unnoticed. Though, he was sure that was to change. His pale face was still covered in soot, not finding time in his weeks here to really do much about it. One fight after the other. His sweat mingled with the dirt creating a messy sweaty sheen across his brow, matting what strands of white hair that loosed from his tail to his cheeks and face.
Ever the General, Meetra Surik was leading from the front. Wrapped in her cloak and with her lightsaber at her hand, the brunette woman in the darker tones swept senses both physical and force-given over the valley. This offensive was going to be brutal, the fighting was going to be fierce. If nothing else, memory and experience alone had showed her what these rogue Mandalorians could be capable of...and once more it needed to be stopped.
"Be on your guard, Mandalorian honor or not they are not above ambush tactics."
From high above, Gerus sees tiny flashes of light high in the sky, as the two fleets join battle in space. He also sees several larger, nearer, streaks of smoke and vapor as fighters dogfight in high atmosphere. Of more earthly concerns, he also spots a sentry sniper's position atop the canyon walls. The Mandalorian sentry is more occupied watching the air duels overhead, and has yet to spot the Jedi. Below, the column has not yet come into view.
Brianna has nothing to add to the General's warning. The men take to it well, spreading out at the call of Sergeants while the officers take a central rear position to have a view of their formation and the progress of their column. Brianna continues walking beside her old Master, keeping stride with ease yet remaining silent.
In one of her quiet scans, Brianna points out a trap that's been fashioned from their environment to Meetra. Without speaking to it, she leaves the matter of addressing this obstacle to their officer in charge.
Gerus narrows his brows as he is purched behind a boulder overlooking the Canyon walls. There he can see the snipers. Ducking below the boulder, he pulls out a comlink. "This is Knight Commander Blaze to the main column. I've got snipers ahead of your, be advized. I'm going to try to move in and take them out. You might want to send in your own special warfare unit to take care of them before bringing the bulk of the column through." Sniper hunters were harsh and brutal men, patient, calculating. A sniper battle could last seconds... or weeks. They didn't have time for the ladder so they might need the Sential's help. Bow, he starts to move towards the closest sniper, taking his primary saber from his belt and into his hand yet not ignighting the blade just yet.
"Engineers, sweep and clear our path. The rest of you? Defensive positions. This was likely more than just something to slow us down, but controlled detonation will give us away." A breath, her eyes go to Meetra and she looks over towards Brianna at Gerus' warning coming through their Commlinks. "Come with me," she speaks to the other woman before turning back to the Republic commanders of the column. "Commander, warn your men of the snipers. We do not have time to drag things out, the fleet will be on its way shortly and we are needed for the offensive. We will clear the path quickly and then signal when you can move, until then, maintain a defensive position."
"Yes, General," the commanding trooper acknowledges Meetra's orders with a smart salute. The orders are relayed, and the column's engineers hustle forward to undertake their assigned task. Disarming explosives quickly. Good times.
Presuming she knows the location of a sniper, Brianna lifts her hand with the intent to draw upon her influence over the force to append the watchful sniper from their place. To her disappointment, she only finds rocks, and dust, and more rocks. She releases this hold to set down what was gathered, and looks to Meetra for her lead when asked to follow her.
Gerus ends up on a cliff just above one of the snipers. Taking a deep breath, the sentinel gathers the fore around him and lets it coarse through him. His heart slows, his pupils dilate, and hair stands up on end. Then, he jumps, flipping forwards to land on his feet just behind the Mando. His blade ignites and he swings but it hits nothing but rock. The Mando saw him coming and jetpacks away from the deadly Jedi weapon. Gerus raises a single brow, watching the sniper.
A woosh of momentum through the air, Meetra's cloaked form leeps in a dark blur upwards far further than what her legs should allow. The touchdown is about the only warning the sniper gets, the announcement that he'd been discovered laying in wait. A lift of her hand, the Jedi General makes a lifting motion, hoisting the sniper into the air with crushing force before slamming him downwards. It's a little brutal 'for a Jedi', but there were her men's lives at stake."
In the skies of Balmorra, the air battle intensifies and draws nearer. Near enough that Gerus can begin to identify the lopsided profile of Mandalorian Davaab fighters dueling with outnumbers Republic Aurek and Star Saber ships.
But then he has more immediate challenges. In lieu of firing a long rifle at the Jedi, the Mandalorian sniper who escaped on her jet pack presses a remote detonator switch. One of the engineer teams- the trio at work on the colossal Deadfall trap- had completed their work in admirable haste. The team working on the anti vehicle mine were not so fortunate, and all three share the full force of the sudden explosion.
With secrecy now lost, the column's commander chooses to order a swift advance. Another hundred hasty strides ahead, they will come into sight of the invaders' defensive line, an earth, stone, and durasteel barrier two meters high which blocks access to the Arms Workshop, guarded by scrambling warriors and the tall profile of a defensive turret gun.
The turret was the main concern for their column because they were forced by their environment to walk within the confinement of the canyon walls. A turret like this made numbers count for nothing. They could fire relentlessly and that turret would destroy their people before they even reached the lines.
Failing already once in her endeavor, Bri was subject to the view of their engineers being consumed by the sudden explosion. She turns, raising her hands up trying to manipulate the force to angle the turrets muzzle up. The sound of the metal grinding could be heard up close, but she was having no luck in the endeavor of actually disabling the weapon, and it was beginning to tax her.
Gerus's eyes widen as the detonator is pressed, head turning rapidly towards the explosion. He felt them die as the force flowed through him. Without hesitation, he reaches out with his free hand raising, grabbing her form with the force. He raises her up, yellow eyes making contact with hers behind that helmet... Then, he tossed her violently into the wall of the fortification. The force of the impact was so much that as he body careens into the durascrete it echos through the canyon. It cracks and craters the wall. She falls to the ground, unable to continue fighting from her injuries and wounds. Now it was time to advance towards the fortification, which the Sentinel does, his blue lightsaber blazing in his hand.
The commander is moving, her orders weren't being followed exactly but...well, no plan survives first contact, right? With her target down and the fight revealed, the brunette exhales and wills the forst to speed her forwards. It probably looks somewhat insane as the woman charges the position, but when the double-bladed weapon ignites and the twin beams of silver-glowing plasma are revealed? Well, it's pretty clear the target was a Jedi. A Jedi playing bait.
The Mandalorians at their barricade open fire with a mix of blasters, grenades, and slug throwers the moment the Republic troops and their lightsaber wielding leaders appear. The column commander had ordered a combat speeders to advance first, with a squad of troopers running behind it, for cover. The Turret- grinding metal and all- spins to life, directing a ruinous cascade of heavy blaster bolts at the speeder, damaging the repulsor coils and leaving the vehicle stranded and exposed, the troopers behind it huddling for cover, while returning fire. Three fall, with another two wounded.
Perhaps worst of all, a transmission has been sent, and four Mandalorian Davaab fightercraft begin to break from the larger skirmish in the skies, opposed by a Republic Aurek and an old Star Saber.
Meetra weaves and dances, her double-bladed weapon slicing through armored foes as she tries to keep focus on her and away from the Repubic troops. Her saber swats away bolts, her form moves and she even kicks away one or two of the men before the resounding impact of the slugthrower against her back shoves her forwars. Even with the force to lessen the damage, noone likes a backfull of buckshot. Grunting in pain she twists, stabbing her weapon through the offender before cutting down two more.
"Get to the gunners!" she calls above the fight to the other two Jedi. "We need to cover the troops!"
Blaster bolts go in every direction as troopers run past Brianna. She raises her hands up, focusing more and grunting, the sound lost on the sounds of battle. Her influence of the force begins to focus more resistance on that turret, and it turns the muzzle off target. <<"Armor.. engage the turret. It is off target!">> Brianna commands, her voice strained as she continues to pour her concentrated effort into making the turret disabled.
Gerus wasn't overly intelligent, but he wasn't stupid either. He had common sense at least. He could figure out through out this theater in the war on Balmorra the weaker points in the mandalorian armor. All that was left was to take the wall as quickly as possible. With Bri taking on the anti-vehicle turret, Gerus leads a section of troopers up the wall and into the company of Mando Warriors. "Ahhhhh!" Gerus roars as he slashes down with his saber, bifurcating one. Then beheading another, before ending with another bifurcation. It was brutal and... violent, yet the Knight's calm was still there.
The mobile artillery piece would have been dead to rights with the enemy turret in play, but the moment Brianna forces it off target- its bolts poured harmlessly into the cliffs and sky for a crucial handful of moments, the artillery crew are quick to answer the Jedi's order, hovering around the Ricky bend and bringing their weapon to bear on the Mandalorian fortification. Several warriors curse and flee the turret at the sight, in the instant before a concussive ruby blast obliterates the war machine, sending dust and smoke into the sky, and sending the remaining troops and speeders pouring toward the beleaguered barricade. Overhead, one Davaab is shot down, before the Star Saber is gunned down in turn, it's pilot ejecting before the long fighter impacts the planet's surface. Two Davaab pursue the Aurek away, leaving one Mandalorian fighter to dive downward its course tracing the length of the Republic column and roaring low to begin a strafing run.
The turret is destroyed, thank the gods; but a new threat looms overhead and Brianna is taken off her feet when a slug round takes her shoulder. It punches straight through her, emerging from her back with the expulsion of pulverized blood that appeared, from a distance, like a pink mist. She cries out, falling over and laying there a moment, suffering an episode of vertigo as people run by her.
Brianna's first fear is being trampled, but troopers stop to hoist her to her feet. She finds that her body bends naturally toward the pain of her bleeding wound and that her arm is incapable of movement as a result. There's little time to assess! A ship begins a strafing run, and in the heat of the moment, Brianna uses what strength remains in her to erect a barrier through the force to absorb the blasts intended for their troopers. She screams from the effort, feeling her body breaking under the weight of the strain mixed with the pain.
Gerus raises his blade and shouts, "PUSH FORWARD!" Before rushing forth towards the retreating warriors. The Turret being taken out might embolden them and even though he wasn't exactly the most charismatic person, he could at least bolster that good vibe of taking the fight to the enemy. His blade hums deadly as it swings into another warrior, carving deep and true. Two more feel the bite of the blue blade, cauterizing and searing all it touches as it slices through them effortlessly. He turns his head to watch the incoming fighter but trusts his compatriots to handle it while the focuses on pressing the attack with the ground troops.
Meetra's blade continues to carve through, even as her orders are carried out, even as she hears Brianna call out in pain. She had to keep fighting, keep protecting, keep moving forward through the heat, mud and scorched bloody plate till things were done!
The Davaab fighter screams low over the canyon, it's cannons sending salvos of destruction down onto the exposed Republic column, yet as the fighter banks around to admire the fruits of its cannonry, the rising dust reveals an intact column, saved by Brianna's power. The sight together with the swords of Gerus and Meetra are enough to send the surviving Mandalorians into full flight, as in the same moment a Basilisk war droid streaks into the air from within the factory complex, a rider in the livery of Clan Jebdri on its back.
The salvos drown out Brianna's screams, the impacts creating their own shock waves that thunder outward in brief plumes of cascading dust and grounded rock, the concussion redirected to the canyon walls being the culprit of this. No debris falls upon the troopers, no impact of laser cannon finds them, but the weight of this finds Brianna who has fallen to her knee to hold the shield up. Her shoulder is now ripe with her own blood. It is not bright like it would be with an arterial injury, but dark and copious. Tears find her eyes, trailing down one scarred cheek.
Breathing heavily, Gerus stops as the Basilisk launchs up and away. He watches it a moment before Purcing his lips together in determination. Reaching out with one hand he closes his fist. Then, the Echani continiously pulls it forward violently towards his chest. Inside the cockpit of the war droid, the Clan leader of Jendri's head is being smashed repeatedly into the control console of the massive mechanical war beast. His helmet cracks and blood starts to pour out. He was not going to be pretty if he lived through this.
Shrapnel, waves of small partacles and metal surge upward towards the fighter as it strafes Brianna's shield. It pelts steel, cracks glass and savages intakes...but the vessel is merely driven off rather than destroyed.
Exhaling as the enemy retreats, Meetra lowers her hands. "Establish our forces and tend to the wounded," she instructs, then she's headed towards the wounded Echani woman, seemingly ignorant of her own perhaps worse bleeding.
The forward elements of the column have ascended the two-meter high barricade, squad by squad, and gained the first large building which composes the Troida workshops. The combat speeders and mobile artillery turn their armaments skyward- flak from the cannon, repeating blaster turrets from the remaining combat speeders, and under this onslaught the Davaab pilot sees another strafing run wasted and banks away to escort the Basilisk and its badly wounded rider to a stronger position. The Jedi have carried the day.