Murrv’s footsteps echoed around the dimly lit street as he walked home, his small bag of training equipment swinging at his side. As his eyes picked out dark alcoves and alley entrances, looking for threats, he pondered the look that Pruuna had given him as he left her apartment. Would his late brother’s wife wish him ill enough to do something drastic?
As if in reaction to his thoughts, his visual scan picked up movement ahead on the empty street, as a stout Togorian emerged from a crossing alley, the orange stripes on his jet black fur dimly reflecting the distant neon lights of a bar. Any doubt as to the young male’s intentions vanished with a hum as he brought a vibro-sword up into a mockery of a salute.
With a practiced eye, Murrv observed the Bravo’s stance and the way he held his weapon, and a small tendril of concern caressed his mind. This cat wasn’t a common street tough out for a quick score for spice, he had training, and likely from Weapon Master O’ruulth at the Academy if Murrv didn’t miss his guess.
A quick flick of the head showed Murrv a second Bravo stepping out of an alley behind him, this one with charcoal fur, and his ears turned towards his back in time to pick up another soft buzzing sound from the smaller newcomer.
“Out for a stroll youngsters?” Murrv called out with a smirk, as he dropped his bag to the street’s wet flagstones and drew his own vibro-sword, the tone of it’s soft buzz clashing discordantly with that of the Bravos’ weapons. “It’s not safe to walk around with bared blades you know, someone might get hurt.” he smirked as he sidestepped towards the edge of the street and raised his blade into a high-guard.
“There’s only one person getting hurt tonight, and it’s you old man.”, responded the larger black-furred Togorian as he began closing on the old warrior.
Having now pegged the larger of the two as the leader, Murrv distanced a little more from him by stepping backwards towards the smaller Togorian behind him. Using the glass of a shop-front, Murrv kept the flanking Bravo in view, his senses vibrating in a flood of endorphins.
Sensing an opportunity to end this fight quickly (and taking Murrv’s bait), the Bravo flanking Murrv lunged forward and swung hard for his neck, only to catch air as Murrv ducked the blade and counter thrust behind him, rewarding the youngster’s brash action with a deep score along his ribs. Following the thrust with a pivot, Murrv put the now bleeding attacker between himself and the approaching Leader.
“F’ellth, you fool!” the larger Togorian hissed. “I said to take him together.”
F’ellth’s ears flattened as he whined, “But he’s old and slow Rowwlv, you said so yourself!”
Murrv grinned wickedly at the two, continuing to slowly back up to keep them in front of him with his blade humming in a high-guard.
“Old and slow doesn’t mean unskilled you worthless cub, now do as we discussed!” Rowwlv growled.
Murrv sighed inwardly as his two attackers began to split apart, forcing him to keep backing up to avoid being flanked. He made a few feints to keep them off balance, aggressively slapping at the tips of their blades with his own to prevent them from finding a rhythm, but he knew he needed to even the odds quickly before he made the inevitable mistake that would leave him skewered.
Letting F’ellth move a little more towards his weak side, Murrv was ready when the youngster finally gave a quick thrust with his blade. A fast step back saw the blade pass harmlessly in front of the old warrior, at which point Murrv grabbed F’ellth’s sword-paw with his own and yanked, simultaneously parrying a slashing attack from Rowwlv coming at him from the right. Finishing his parry, F’ellth let his own blade carry between him and a stumbling F’ellth, bringing it across his body and cutting deeply into F’ellth’s midsection. The smaller Togorian collapsed with a cut off shriek, and Murrv stepped quickly backwards to avoid an eruption of foot-entangling entrails across the flagstones.
While he had not forgotten about Rowwlv, a sharp sting across Murrv’s strong-side shoulder, followed immediately by the prickly feeling of warm blood tickling his fur let him know that Rowwlv hadn’t forgotten about him either. Murrv responded by jumping to the left while quickly bringing his blade back up to guard the right side of his body, and he turned to face his last attacker, continuing to slowly circle away from the fresh carcass adorning the road. A quick glance at his shoulder brought bad news - the large bleeding gash meant that arm didn’t have long before it would numb and cease working, and while Murrv was pretty good with his weak paw, he’d need all of his skill to deal with this last opponent.
Rowwlv smelled the blood in the air, and he allowed himself a small smile. He stepped back a moment, watching the older warrior warily, content to wait for the blood loss to weaken his opponent.
Murrv bared his teeth in a snarl, and then drew his vibro-dagger with his left hand. “I’m not finished with you yet, boy!” he bellowed, stepping quickly forward and making a sweeping feint at Rowwlv’s head, with a change-up to a leg strike mid-swing. Rowwlv correctly anticipated the leg strike, and tried to parry low, only to have his blade trapped by Murrv’s dagger. Murrv angled his blade up with a cut to the groin, and as Rowwlv fell to one knee, neatly took his head off with a strong blow. Murrv’s eyes watched his own vibro-blade spraying blood into the air as it spun in a flat arc across the street from his nerveless fingers. “Not an instant too soon.” he wheezed quietly to himself.
Quickly cleaning his dagger on Rowwlv’s clothes and sheathing it, Murrv bent over, using his left paw to search through the corpse’s pockets for anything that might reveal the origin of this attack. As he pulled a small data pad from a cargo pocket, a blaster shot split the fragile quiet of the empty street.
Murrv’s body slowly toppled over, joining his late assailants on the cold, wet flagstones.
Rurrv F’laar, Elder Councilman of the F’laarian Clan, saved the work on his terminal and got up from his desk. Grabbing a small satchel, he climbed the stairs to the mosgoth perches on the roof of the small building.
Vullk nuzzled him as he got near, and he gave the huge flying beast an affectionate pat before tying in his satchel and hopping up onto the saddle that clung to the creature’s back near the base of its wings.
A fresh breeze brought the scent of the freshly blooming flowers that lined the street below, and Rurrv gave a deep voiced howl of satisfaction as, in response to a gentle tug of the reins, Vullk propelled them into the air, turning south towards the F’laarian Camp.
Clearing the edge of the city, Rurrv kept half an eye on the skies above him, wary as always for any signs of a wandering liphon on the hunt for a quick meal. The vast grasslands, dotted with copses of old growth forest, undulated off to meet the blue-green of the horizon.
A jerk of Vullk’s head was all the warning Rurrv had as a brief flash emanated from a small thicket of trees to his right, followed by a lengthening contrail streaking up towards him. Sawing on the reins, Rurrv put his mosgoth into a tight turn towards the missile, winging over into a dive that corkscrewed towards the fast approaching missile.
Through eyes watering from the shrieking wind, the Elder Councilman saw the missile’s smoky tail veer by on the left, for a moment fooled by the rapid maneuver, followed by a kink that belied the 20grav turn ordered by the guidance package as it reacquired the combined heat of cat and rider against the empty expanse of sky.
From within the thicket, slitted eyes narrowed in satisfaction as contrail and plummeting mosgoth merged for a moment, followed by an expanding directional starburst of steam and gore.
Back at Mrrowl’s home, a green light on Pruuna’s comm device activated as it chirped once, twice and then fell dark and silent.