By Django_F3tt 41 Comments
Well, its finally finished. This is the final installment of the major battles Caedus underwent during his brief incumbency as Dark Lord of the Sith. Hope you enjoy.
There is one issue that I would like to get out of the way beforehand, as you read this blog keep in mind that I am under no delusions that Caedus has ever been the favored victor for a fight against the grandmaster on neutral ground. Luke has almost every conceivable advantage against Caedus, and most other Force users in the Star Wars universe for that matter. Luke had decades more experience as a Force user than Caedus. Furthermore, he has more experience than Caedus in fighting other powerful Force users, many of which were much more experienced than Luke at the time he fought them. He is, in my opinion, the most skilled swordsman to ever live. And lastly, he was stronger in the Force than Caedus, both in terms of potential, and how much of this potential was realized. However, this does not preclude Caedus from being in the same league as the grandmaster as a combatant (not necessarily his equal), which I hope to show in the following passages. So If it seems like I’m emphasizing Caedus’s abilities that’s because I am, however that does not mean I think he is surpasses Luke.
Just prior to his clash with Caedus, Luke entered the room, his presence in the Force concealed, where Ben was being tortured on the embrace of pain. Luke immediately springs into an offensive flurry.
"I'm afraid so, "he said. "I don't feel any Jedi presence at all, and if I don't, then neither do you-nothing real, anyway."
"That's because he doesn't want you to feel him, "Ben said. He sensed his father very near now, on the same deck and moving fast. "But he's here."
Ben glimpsed a dark figure stepping into the doorway. "I don't think you'll need any help finding him, Jacen. Dad's right behind you."
[Luke] was, in fact, standing in the doorway of a secret cabin filled with Yuuzhan Vong torture devices, watching his twisted nephew taunt his captive son.
Luke didn't give Jacen a chance to surrender. He just sprang.
Ben's jaw dropped, and Jacen started to spin, snatching his lightsaber from his belt and igniting it in the same motion, bringing the emerald blade around high to protect his heart and head.
But Luke was attacking low, striking for the kidney to disable in the most painful way possible. Jacen's eyes widened. He flipped his lightsaber down in the same moment Luke's met flesh.
The tip sank a few centimeters, drawing a pained hiss as it touched a kidney, then Jacen's blade made contact and knocked it aside. Even that small wound would have left most humans paralyzed with agony. But Jacen thrived on pain, fed on it to make himself stronger and faster. He simply completed his pivot and landed a rib-crunching roundhouse.
So here, we have Luke, with the element of surprise making his move against his nephew. To my mind the fact that Caedus was able to react at all to Luke’s attempted coup de grace, and readjust his defense in the middle of Luke’s thrust speaks volumes to Caedus own skill as a combatant. This is reinforced by his ability to immediately launch a counter-attack into Luke’s chest.
However, just how much sway Luke’s surprise attack had on the overall outcome of the fight is extremely suspect in my opinion. Caedus was able to mitigate most of the damage from the strike despite the surprise attack and I’m definitely of the belief that Luke is more than capable of dealing damage to Caedus without such tactics.
Furthermore, because Luke was aiming to incapacitate Caedus in the most painful way he could think of in that moment, I feel comfortable saying that Luke was going into this fight completely unrestrained.
Luke stumbled back, his chest filled with fire. Jacen had caught him on the barely healed scar from his first fight with Lumiya, and now his breath was coming in short painful gasps.
Good, Luke thought. This was supposed to hurt.
I’ve seen on other threads that the only reason why Caedus was able to land any of his attacks was due to Luke’s previous fight against Lumiya. This is a notion which personally, I disagree with. No where in this fight does it mention that Luke’s “barely healed” injuries prevented him from blocking any of Caedus’s attacks, nor did they prevent him from making effective counter-attacks of his own. However, I do subscribe to the notion that, because of how fresh Luke’s injuries were, Caedus’s attacks which made contact with those areas may have done more damage than they would have otherwise.
Jacen followed the kick with a high slash. Luke blocked and spun inside, landing an elbow smash to the temple that dropped Jacen to his knees. He brought his own knee up under Jacen's chin, hearing teeth crack-and relishing it. He parried a weak slash at his thighs, then drew his blade up diagonally where his nephew's chest should have been.
Here Jacen was able to dodge a possible death blow from his uncle. I’ve seen in other threads that Jacen dodging Luke’s attack in this particular portion of their fight is proof that it was a move of desperation. And therefore Luke can (and I’m paraphrasing here) “outduel and kill Caedus in three moves on a whim.” I can, to a degree understand why this argument has been made. Though personally, I find it to be a weak one. Jacen dodging an attack from Luke does not equate to him being desperate and Luke being able to beat him in three moves on a whim. If you believe Jacen dodging an attack is desperate, then you are put in the position of arguing that every other combatant in the Star Wars who has dodged an attack was also desperate, and by extension at the mercy of their opponent on a whim. Secondly, as the fight commenced Luke and Caedus clashed with their blades several more times. And during each, the fight was heated and inconclusive. Which in my view, completely contradicts the idea of Luke beating Caedus whenever he wishes.
Except Jacen was sliding backward, one hand extended behind him, using the Force to pull himself toward a tendril-draped rack in the far corner of the torture chamber. Luke leapt after him, bringing his lightsaber around in a low, clearing sweep.
Jacen stopped pulling and started to swing his free hand around. Luke was ready, had been expecting this since the fight started. Still flying through the air, he raised his own hand, palm outward, and pushed the Force out through his arm to form a protective shield.
The lightning never came. Instead, Luke was blindsided by something heavy and spiky, and his body exploded into pain as he slammed into a durasteel wall. He found himself pinned in place, trapped by a bed of thorns Jacen had hurled across the cabin. He felt the hot sting of the thorns pumping their venom into him. His hearing faded and his head began to spin, and he saw Jacen, one hand still raised to keep Luke pinned, sneering and taking his time rising.
As Luke pushed the offensive, Jacen was able to fool his uncle into thinking he would employ Force lightning and instead, smash him with a tendril and momentarily pin him against the wall. In this moment, there was a golden opportunity for Caedus to finish Luke off. One he foolishly squandered by taking his time to rise, unjustified in believing his power in the Force was enough to restrain Luke for as long as he wished.
There is widespread belief that Caedus was only able to pull off this maneuver due to a palpable environmental advantage over Luke, which, I’m skeptical of. IF the vines were completely hidden and Luke had no idea that they were part of the battlefield, I could accept this. However, that is not the case. As soon as he entered the room, Luke became acutely aware of their presence, and I do not believe him to be so incompetent as to forget their presence. But even if he were somehow to forget, he was reminded as soon as Jacen began pulling himself toward them. He even goes on later to make use of them himself. So all in all, I think the “environmental advantage” is insignificant in the context of this fight.
Luke raised his lightsaber, slashing through the thorn bed as he sprang. Jacen scrambled to his feet, barely bringing his weapon up in time to block a vicious downstroke. Luke landed a snap-kick to the stomach that lifted Jacen a meter off the deck, then followed it with a slash to the neck-
-which Jacen ducked. He came up under Luke's guard, holding his weapon with one hand and driving a Force-enhanced punch into Luke's ribs with the other, striking for the same place he had kicked earlier. Luke's chest exploded into pain, and he found himself croaking instead of breathing.
Here Caedus was able to once again dodge a mortal blow from Luke, then proceed to land a Force-enhanced punch into the exact spot he had earlier. Which is in my eyes, reinforces the notion of Caedus being in the same league as Luke as a combatant, because if he wasn’t, even if he had dodged Luke’s attempted decapitation, I’m skeptical as to whether or not he’d be able to effectively injure the Grandmaster.
Luke struck again with his lightsaber, using both hands and putting all his strength into the attack, beating his nephew's guard down so far that Jacen's emerald blade bit into his own shoulder. Jacen kicked at Luke's legs, catching the side of a knee. Something popped and Luke felt himself going down. On the way, he swept his blade horizontally.
Jacen screamed, and the smell of scorched bone and singed hair filled the air. Knowing Jacen would strike despite the wound, Luke rolled over his throbbing knee and spun back to his feet with a clearing sweep.
His blade met Jacen's in a shower of brilliant sparks. Luke freed one hand and drove a finger-strike at Jacen's eyes.
Jacen turned his head, but Luke's little finger scratched across something soft and bulbous. Jacen roared and stumbled away, shaking his head. Luke feinted a dash toward his nephew's blind side, then-as Jacen pivoted to protect his injured eye-Luke hit him with a Force wave.
Jacen momentarily engages Luke again before Luke gains the upper hand, though not before Jacen was able to deal Luke an injury to his knee. Luke’s use of an eye gouge is seen by many as a cheap shot. And rightly so, as it is difficult to see someone resort to a move like this as anything but cheap. However, I personally do not believe Luke using an eye gouge was an act of desperation. At least not in the sense that it crucial for him to resort to this or be cut down by Caedus. As I mentioned earlier, Luke surpasses Caedus in almost every respect. And while true, using an eye gouge is an unsavory tactic, I believe Luke did so simply because he had no reservations about keeping the fight “fair” against Caedus. He was brimming with rage and other powerful emotions after seeing his son tortured by his nephew, the last thing he would be thinking is keeping the fight fair. That is all. Even if Luke hadn’t resorted to this, I don’t think Caedus would have come out on top in this fight.
Jacen went flying, and it required only a soft nudge to steer him into a tendril-draped rack in the far corner. He hit with so much cracking and crashing that Luke worried the rack had broken, but the thin tendrils quickly entwined Jacen in a net of pulsing green.
Here we see Luke making use of the environment with just as much ease as Jacen did earlier in the fight, showing that the “advantage” that Caedus supposedly held was indeed negligible.
Luke started forward, his injured knee buckling each time he put weight on it. The rack's slender tendrils were tightening around Jacen, cutting into his flesh and oozing a yellowish irritant that made skin puff up and split. Jacen began to slash his lightsaber up and down, cutting the vines away two and three at a time. If Luke wanted to finish this-and it seemed like a good idea, given how battered he was himself-he had only a few seconds.
Here Luke himself admits that the injuries he’s sustained from his fight with Jacen are anything but superficial, and needed to end the conflict with the short amount of time he had left before he could no longer fight effectively.
Luke closed to within two meters without saying a word. What point would there have been? Jacen wasn't going to surrender, and Luke wouldn't have believed him if he offered. It was better to attack quickly, while he still had the advantage. He brought his lightsaber up to strike.
Again, Luke mentions he needs to end the fight while he still has advantage, again reinforcing the argument that he can’t end the fight whenever he wishes to.
"Wait!" Ben cried from behind him. "Let me do it!"
Astonished and appalled, Luke put a little too much weight on his injured knee-and fell as it buckled. He rolled beyond the reach of Jacen's lightsaber and looked back across the chamber. Ben was still strapped in the Embrace, but he had summoned the vibrodagger off the floor and was battling to cut himself free of the chair's lashing tentacles.
Giving his son no further chance to argue, Luke turned back to Jacen, who by now was almost free. Only one leg remained caught, though it was still entwined in a half a dozen places. Luke limped forward, circling toward Jacen's trapped side.
Jacen stopped cutting at the tendrils and flung a hand toward the ceiling.
"Dad, look — "
Luke was already throwing himself to the deck. A tremendous crash sounded from the illumination panel, and the chamber fell instantly dark. He rolled opposite the direction he had just been moving, but wasn't quick enough. The fixture smashed into his head and shoulders, slamming his face into the deck. He heard something crunch in his nose and was instantly choking on his own thick blood.
Here again, Caedus was able to injure Luke, despite it being from a Force attack.
Jacen's lightsaber droned twice, filling that corner of the torture chamber with flickering green light. Luke Force-hurled the light fixture off his back, then hobbled to his feet.
Jacen launched himself over Luke in a high Force flip. They exchanged perfunctory attacks as he tumbled past, then Luke was alone in the corner, watching the green column of his nephew's lightsaber move toward the door.
Jacen was running.
Luke spat out a mouthful of blood and Force-leapt after his nephew, at the same time reaching out to drag him back. They came together in a blinding flurry of sparks, their blades colliding faster than the eye could follow, filling the dark chamber with flashing fans of color. Blows came out of nowhere. Luke caught another kick in his knee and found himself calling on the Force to keep his balance. He landed an elbow and felt a bone in Jacen's face shatter.
Here both combatants vigorously exchanged blows with their lightsabers after Luke prevents the Sith Lord from fleeing the battle. And for the most part seemed to have been in a stalemate with their blade work, instead relying on unarmed combat to further wound each other. As mentioned earlier, this in itself should prove that Luke can’t outduel and kill Caedus whenever he wishes.
Jacen stumbled back, groaning, the green light of his lightsaber briefly illuminating Ben's face as the boy struggled to cut himself free. Luke pressed forward, angling toward the Embrace to keep Jacen away from Ben. Jacen fought his way over anyway, placing himself squarely between Luke and the chair, then gave ground and vanished behind the green ribbons his lightsaber was weaving through the darkness.
Luke Force-leapt after him, knowing that this Jacen- the Jacen he had caught torturing his son-would not hesitate to take Ben hostage... or to kill him. Luke landed half a meter in front of Jacen's lightsaber and quickly beat down his nephew's guard-too quickly. When he did not glimpse a face in the light of his own blade, Luke knew something was wrong and stopped.
Which was exactly what Jacen was waiting for, of course.
Luke had barely started to turn before a loop of thin tendril slipped over his head and tightened around his throat, oozing toxin and cutting deep into the flesh. The wound swelled and burned as if it were on fire. Luke whipped his lightsaber around, trying to cut Jacen off his back, but Jacen was already spinning away, tightening his garrote and placing Luke's body between himself and the deadly blade.
Here Jacen once again successfully baited Luke into smashing down his guard before attempting to strangle him with one of the vines, avoiding his uncle’s strikes.
Luke slammed an elbow into Jacen's ribs, but it was like hitting a permacrete wall. Instead of continuing to fight, he accelerated into the spin, using the Force to hurl them both into the nearest wall.
Jacen hit first, his skull clunking hard into the durasteel. The garrote loosened a little. Luke dropped his lightsaber, bracing one hand against the other so he could use the strength of both arms to hammer his elbow up under Jacen's chin.
The garrote went completely slack. Luke followed up with a palm-heel to the same target, using the impact to drive himself away from his attacker and buy some maneuvering room.
Once Luke lands some hits with his elbows, and smashes the both of them into the wall with the Force he is able to break free from Caedus’s grasp. After this point, Caedus is literally stabbed in the back by Ben, at which point the fight is ended.
Well I hope this post was an enjoyable read and adequately explains why I believe Caedus to be in the same league as Luke as a combatant.