Chapter 19

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The battle ring was a large open circular area in the center of the enclave. The blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds which shielded them from the hot suns. Around the edge of the battle circle, much of the rest of the tribe gathered under the tarp canopies to watch the battle unfold.

Venar was yet again, face down in the sand. His jaw ached from the blow he had just taken. The small wooden staff he had been given was sub-par compared to the sturdy engraved gaffi stick his opponent wielded. Bloodfist hovered over him waiting for him to return to his feet. He was a large towering figure over him. Sand people cheered watching from outside the battle ring.

Venar struggled to his feet. He wiped fresh blood away from the corner of his mouth. Sand particles stung in the wound. He straightened himself and planted his feet.

Then came the next blow. Bloodfist swung his gaffi stick with sharp precision and speed, a crosscut aiming for Venar's neck. This time, he was ready for it. He ducked underneath the attack and maneuvered his staff under and up and stabbed out, jabbing his opponent in the chin. The tribal chief shrugged it off, reaching out grabbing the end of Venar's staff and wrenching it from his grasp.

Bloodfist was much stronger than he was, his muscles bulging even from underneath the cloth wraps and mask. He was also surprisingly agile, quickly dashing forward and striking Venar square in the jaw. He staggered back a few steps, his vision blurring. He felt his airway begin to close as Bloodfist closed his massive hand around his throat and proceeded to lift him off the ground.

Venar could feel the raw brute strength the chief possessed as he was thrown hard to the ground. Sand flew up in a cloud from the impact, his mouth was agape but no audible sound was coming from it, his back ached from the abuse he was taking. Bloodfist was hovering over him again, apparently displeased with Venar's fighting prowess.

Venar slowed his breathing, drawing deeply on the Force. He propped himself up and brought himself into a crouching position. The ground began to rumble slightly and particles of sand around him began to hover slightly into the air. He closed his eyes and re-centered himself in the Force.

After what seemed like an eternity, he opened his eyes and sprung forward in a blinding dash striking Bloodfist in the chest. Using the Force to project his blow he sent the Sand People Chief flying backwards through the air to the other side of the dueling ring. The war chief was surprisingly agile, however, and landed in a crouching position as he slid backwards in the sand.

Both men ran forward to meet the other, each shouting their own battle cry. Bloodfist aimed his gaffi stick out in front of him like a harpoon. Venar, now defenseless, ran forward relying solely on the Force. As he neared the chieftain, he leapt up into the air, spinning in a wide arc over his opponent's head and landed down hard behind him. His feet and his fist struck the ground and unleashed a powerful blast of energy that created a cloud of dust and sent his opponent flying backwards yet again.

Bloodfist landed on his back and rolled head over heels a few times as the wave of energy carried him back a few meters. When he reached a stop, he quickly picked himself back up, but visibility was scarce. He could see only a shadow dart through the cloud. Then it was gone. He spun around. There was the shadow again, just outside his field of vision.

Wham! Bloodfist was struck hard in the back of the head and sent falling down onto his stomach. He rolled over to see the dust cloud clearing and Venar standing there, still without a weapon. Bloodfist felt fear seize him as the mysterious outsider reached out a hand and with an invisible grasp, and lifted him into the air.

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