04/17/3060 18:39 Location – Hall of the Khans, Strana Mechdy, Kerensky Cluster
Wolf Khan Vladimir Ward and his SaKhan Marielle Raddick left the Hall of the Khans in disgust, both removed their ceremonial masks and handed them to the attending Laborer. His former Bondswoman’s trothkin General Victor Steiner-Davion was waxing lyrically about the evils of the Clans. Vlad and Marielle had abdicated the vote but it mattered not, the Grand Council had betrayed their very nature by allowing this Freeborn a chance to refuse the invasion. Cowards that they should make deals with pretenders, the Star League was to be reborn under the Clans and a new Golden Century would follow. Nevertheless he would win this “Great Refusal” as he has overcome every challenge set before him, the Wolves cared not for the concerns of sheep.
The relocation of Ghost Bear and betrayal of Nova Cat were unwelcome surprises. However, Khan Ward already had plans on their soon to be former holdings. No doubt that was cause for Abjuration or Annihilation but one step at a time.
04/23/3060 15:17 Location – Bloody Basin, Strana Mechdy
General Victor Steiner-Davion sat in his Daishi as the last pulse burst brought down the final Ebon Jaguar of ilKhan Lincoln Osis’s Binary. All that remained of the Jaguars was twisted steel in the sands and three Elementals. The battle had been hard fought, his foes had broken all the rules of Zellbrigen; Danai Centrella and others had been lost, a senseless tragedy but the risk anyone takes when they strap in to a Battlemech. At least she had a good evening before she died, Victor felt guilty that he had brought her to this terrible place and over what Omi might think; she couldn’t hold it against him they weren’t married yet, it actually would have felt worse had he said no.
_“Lincoln Osis, this is Victor Steiner-Davion, surrender your forces and accept the results of this trial. You are defeated and with it the Smoke Jaguar threat is ended.”
“Victor you may have defeated my Mechs but I challenge you personally. The whole purpose of a Trial is to find out who is a better Warrior not who has the better War Machine. Come out and fight me… or cowardly shoot me from that Dire Wolf.”_
Lincoln Osis stepped out of his Elemental Armor, his dark skin covered in sweat, he limped and had several injuries left over from the defense of Huntress. No doubt his injuries were what kept him out until the end. He was not at the top of his game but he was a monster, topping 2.3 meters and 172Kg of Battletested Clan Elemental.
Victor thought about for a moment watching the man through his Daishi’s targeting screen. His mech had been heavily damaged and most of its weapons were offline but there were still enough lasers to turn the man into Char in the blink of an eye. Now without a radio uplink Lincoln postured and beat his chest daring Victor to come out and fight him, making crude gestures of where to shoot him if he was a coward.
While Victor was normally even-keeled and pragmatic but he was enraged and decided to finish the Smoke Jaguar by his own hand and put this long and bloody campaign behind him. The Daishi knelt down and Victor grabbed the Katana given to him by Coordinator Theodore Kurita as a pre-wedding gift. Walking towards his foe his combat boots kicked up the fine red sand that gave the Bloody Basin its name; the sand blew in distinct “veins” it was a figurative heart of the Clans, a heart that Victor would cut out to save the Inner Sphere from their tyranny. Along the way he discarded his cooling vest and drew the Katana its polished blade reflecting the light of the alien sun it now fought under far from home, placing its scabbard into his belt.
He had been preparing for this moment all his life, the culmination of all the training and sacrifice he had endured for the people of the Inner Sphere. Once Lincoln Osis was defeated he would return The Hero, marry Omiko, and remove his scheming sister from Tharkad if he had to in order to claim his Birthright of First Lord. Then the Second Star League would bring about a new Golden Age and he wouldn’t need to win another battle. He was sick of war, had seen far too much of it in his thirty years, tales of Valor were no comfort to the families of the fallen.
Victor drew closer to the Smoke Jaguar Khan, both were ready to do battle and his remaining unit was watching in the event that the Jaguars try something. Lincoln Osis cracked his knuckles and stretched his neck. _ “I see you are not a coward, good”_
The pair began their duel, Lincoln Osis was slower but he wasn’t as injured as he let on from a distance. His fists were hardened by decades of combat and hit like Sledgehammers. Victor had been in many fights and slashed with his sword dealing what would have been mortal wounds for a normal man. But Lincoln Osis was no normal man, he was a Clan Elemental, the Khan of Smoke Jaguar, and the ilKhan; his will was iron, just as deadly as Victor’s steel and he reveled in the melee. Sensing the end was near Lincoln gave Victor a golden opportunity to stab him, the Prince took the bait and drew closer stabbing his Katana into the monstrous man. Faster than he had ever seen Victor’s sword arm was grabbed and pulled deeper trapping him, in his death throes the Elemental had one last strike to give and Victor knew it would the end.
As he saw the bloody fist coming down on him time slowed, every mistake and triumph, all of his good and bad deeds were remembered. He knew better, the first rule of combat was never fight someone who has nothing left to lose but had been blinded by passion. Everything that could have been, was, and never would be flashed through his mind as the instrument of his death neared. He was at peace with it, he had done the best he could, and prayed the Inner Sphere would prove worthy of his sacrifice.
IlKhan Lincoln Osis’s death blow took the life of The Golden Prince. The two Warriors fell, their blood mixing with that of so many others that had fallen this day. The red sands covered the fallen as the Kathil Uhlans ended the Smoke Jaguar Elementals in rage and wasted the fallen Mechwarriors. Colonel Andrew Redburn jumped out of his Hellbringer and pushed the dead Jaguar Khan off Victor attempting to treat his injuries but it was too late and he cradled the dead man, weeping for his loss and that of the Inner Sphere.
Khan Vladimir Ward watched the end of this Trial from the wreckage of his Gargoyle and mourned the loss of Victor Steiner-Davion in his own clan way. The Inner Sphere may have lost one of its best, some portion of his mind felt compelled to do something, and later inform the White Wolf of what had occurred here.