Do you still believe in love, I wonder.

Hey brother, there’s an endless road to re-discover.
Hey sister, know the water’s sweet but blood is thicker.
Oh, if the sky comes falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

OH gods my heart aches for you brother. I can’t bear to watch him slip further and further away from all of us; from me.  Your features are so haunted and your heart… it aches. I can tell it’s broken and my very soul shivers at the pain you are bearing without complaint, without admittance.  You square those shoulders, carry the burden with grace and aplomb and you do not flinch from the pain that has been undeservedly afflicted on you.

What has Bogan set before you as your path, brother?  What test does our sweet Ashla put you through with all of this?

If only I could take your pain, your hurt, your self doubt, your broken trust and lay them at the feet of our Patrons. I would seek answers that we both may be afraid to hear.

Our defeat on Nar Shaddaa. It was nothing short of that. Routed from that place and sent packing to Alpheridies after Vaulks place had been nearly destroyed. Only to find out that one of the apprentices still lives…and sent a strike team to our home.. nearly kiling our mother and father. Nearly killing your children The fact that Daedalus died at the hands of Tomuraan- or was it someone else? I cannot remember… Perhaps the one known as Kali? Only showed the hand of Darth Karnus – the one who beat me so severely that our Ashla had to sweep in and save me from my own demise at the cost of my memories most precious to me. Darth Karnus- the true father of Daedalus and Xaishen.  Karnus who tore your love away from you- your Xaishens very spirit and tucked it in some far flung corner of the galaxy for us to hunt down, while he resided in his own son for goddess only knows how long.

That’s what eats at you the most, isn’t it? Not knowing, never knowing just how long that face was Xaishens…but the words and the very soul was Karnus. The intimate nights you were alone with him thinking it was your soul mate, your bonded. Never the wiser as he held your children- my nephews in his arms.  You question it all, don’t you? Each laugh of his, each tender word… each caress.

You feel so betrayed and your very nature wants to curl up and hide away, build your power and lash out when time is right.

But you’re not sure if the time will ever be right.

People fight over your loved one. The body of Xaishen that houses the soul of his father. The galaxy wants him but you can’t let them have him because you know that all they want is to mete out justice. Their idea of justice, anyways.  They just see the enemy and not the soul inside. They see the evil and not the fact that Xaishen hasn’t been in control of his own body for upwards of six months.

Hey brother, do you still believe in one another?
Hey sister, do you still believe in love, I wonder?
Oh, if the sky comes falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

Nobody knows how to react around him…or you Brother mine. We all want to be sympathetic, but how can we? We have no right to be. We can’t empathize with you because we as a  whole have never been in your situation. We … Tom, Neirov, Lucien, Dyme… nobody has been in that position. Even Lyrae’a who has lost so much cannot share the pain you feel. It’s a pain unique to you and only you and we are just watchers… perversely watching you in your not so silent tragedy being played out with a live studio audience.

But know that for each of us watching… being bystanders we would happily participate even for a moment if it meant a second of respite from the pain you suffer, Raiyden.

We have all lost so much.

But I think you … you my beloved souls mirror… you have lost the most. In this ridiculous war you have stood on the front line… an unwilling soldier to a war you never wanted to be a part of. None of us ever wanted to be a part of- yet here we are, soldiers on the front line to a war we never had a say in. With enemies we never wanted or begged for.

I pray for you brother. I pray every day for some salvation from this hell we’ve found ourselves in. But mostly? I pray for you. I pray for your peace of mind and I pray so very hard that I do not find you one day gone from my mind forever, losing your battle in the will to live. That…that is my greatest fear  I pray that each dawn will bring me closer to finding Xaishens lost soul and presenting him to you- whole and your true soul mate once more.

Mostly, I just pray for some kind of answer. An answer that they are not quite wiling to help me out with yet.

I have to keep searching brother.

For you.

What if I’m far from home?
Oh, brother I will hear you call.
What if I lose it all?
Oh, sister I will help you out!
Oh, if the sky comes falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

Hey brother, there’s an endless road to re-discover.
Hey sister, do you still believe in love, I wonder?
Oh, if the sky comes falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

What if I’m far from home?
Oh, brother I will hear you call.
What if I lose it all?
Oh, sister I will help you out!
Oh, if the sky comes falling down for you,
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

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My hearts beating faster-I know what I’m after.

Caer quietly slipped out from the bed, careful to pull the sheets back as quietly and quickly as possible.  Goose flesh rose along her legs and arms as the cool air hit her warmed skin. She seemed to glance towards the bed as if it called her back. She shook her head and pulled on a robe that Raiyden had given her to use while she recovered. Now she could at least move about the palace without needing help or feeling like she was going to throw up and pass out.

She had mended. It had been a slow and painful process. The stumbling and the falling on her face. Being beaten down  over and over had finally reached a crescendo. She had lost in the worst way imaginable. Losing not only the fight against Daedaluses apprentice; but she had also lost her voice- the ability to speak; but worst of all, she had lost precious memories.  People and faces were no longer familiar to her- friends who had been with her not only for most of her life, but friends she had once loved and cared for. Bogan had promised her- she would live, but she would lose some of the most precious things to her. His voice she would never forget. Those words would be etched into her heart for the rest of her life.

Crossing the room she leaned against the window that lead to the balcony. Her back to the window, Caer knew she was safe from sniper shots. Vaulk had seen to that, using ludicrously expensive shields to keep his home safe. Wrapping her arms around herself she watched the form on the bed sleeping. She could see through the force of the little currents of the force swirl around the shape on the bed. It was steady on the surface, like a river that ever moved on towards its destination.

But underneath… she saw the turbulence.  The dark current that threatened to suck in anything that swam too deep. The cool exterior, the confidence hid so well the rage and cold calculating his revenge on Daedalus.  The name invoked rage in the Pureblood that Caer had never seen before and on some level it kind of scared her; but on another level it bolstered her own self-confidence.  He kindled a fire in her that she never felt before- or maybe she had forgotten it. To her it didn’t matter anymore. The past was the past and she couldn’t dwell on what she could or could not remember. It would just break her down.

Steel to my trembling lips,
How did the night ever get like this?
One shot and the whiskey goes down, down, down
Bottom of the bottle hits
Waking up my mind as I throw a fit
The breakin’ is takin’ me down, down, down

The shadows of the room hid Vaulks face, but she didn’t need light to see it. She could see on a level so few had privilege to. He was asleep, she could tell that by the way his aura flowed smoothly. She could see each ridge and scar on his face. The dusky red skin etched with a thousand stories and a thousand more secrets. Caer knew well the danger of getting close to a man like Vaulk; he was a pureblood and by their own design they were never a kind or caring species. They were renowned for their cruelty and their conquering ways.  She had learned about them in the Jedi temples, hearing the tales of what the Sith would do if they ever got a hold of her. What they never told the Jedi was that there were always aberrations to the norm. The few that were content to rule smaller pieces of the world around them. The ones who were just as happy to rule their personal kingdoms with cold iron fists.

Vaulk. He was one of the few who was not after the galaxy. He wasn’t after a seat on the dark council or a Darths title steeped to the elbows in blood. His hands were just as bloodied as hers. Caer couldn’t deny that. But that was the thrill of it.  The past two years she had known Vaulk he had done some horrible things, some she had participated in.  She wasn’t proud of it, but she only had to answer to two beings- Ashla and Bogan. They absolved her of the necessary sins and punished her for the unforgivable ones. Everything else didn’t matter.

She exhaled the sound barely audible to even her own ears. She could watch him sleep for hours. Something about him drew her like a bird to a shiny object.  Each touch of his sent shivers of anticipation through her; his voice would enthrall her some days- most days she wold follow him around as he did his daily work of ensuring the safety of his world.

And he was losing it. This world he had so carefully crafted. Like a castle of glass, his world was crumbling around him and Caer couldn’t help but feel like some of it was her fault. A lot of it she placed on Xaishens shoulders, but some of it had been her own doing.

My heart’s beating faster, I know what I’m after.
I’ve been standing here my whole life,
Everything I’ve seen twice, now it’s time I realize
It’s spinnin’ back around now, on this road I’m crawling
Save me cause I’m falling, now I can’t seem to breathe right
Cause I keep runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’
Runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’
Runnin’ from my heart.

He had called her his. That she belonged to him and if it had been any other man other than Vaulk, she’d have cut him down. A few had tried and all had failed. Until Vaulk. They had that talk after she had awoken. Mind to mind- they had talked long into the night, his hand possessively on her waist as he helped her stand and look out at the world that she hadn’t seen for almost a month. She could still remember the heat of his breath on her neck, stirring the hair along the nape and sending a shiver to chase along her spine.

He had asked her what she wanted from him and she had responded that if he was ever going to choose to destroy her at least to give her a fighting chance. He had smirked and said that he’d have never had it any other way. After that he had taken her to bed, tucked her in and sat in the nearby chair, watching her as she fell into a healing slumber.

Caer knew that the others hated it. That her loyalty to Vaulk almost rivaled that to her family and the Luka Sene. But the others had no idea what Caer and he shared- what they had done to keep the girls of his Palace safe- whole and free.

She didn’t regret a second of it.

‘Round and around I’d go, addicted to the numb
Living in the cold
The higher, the lower the down, down, down
Sick of being tired and sick of waiting
For another kind of fix
The damage is damning me down, down, down

Crossing the room again, she moved to the mask on the table, the fanged mask of the snake. Fingers gently brushed against the ice cold metal of one of the elongated fangs. He was a viper. A creature to be wary of and to handle with caution. Caer was so keenly aware of what could happen if you played with snakes; one was liable to be bit and no anti-dote in the galaxy could save her.

Her lips curled into a faint smile as she thought about that analogy. Had she not survived worse? At the hands of Anubis? At the battle of Kullus? Had she not survived the dark magics that the apprentice of Daedalus had assaulted her with? What was a snake bite compared to any of that?  There was nothing in the galaxy that she would ever flinch from again. There was nothing left- her whole life and soul had been stripped bare, layer by layer and she had been rebuilt from the core of her being back to the skin that housed that very soul.

Picking up the mask she placed it over her face and turned to the mirror that  hung on the wall. She saw the eyeless holes, hiding her face in shadows; giving her a haunting appearance as the fangs of the mask curled under. Smiling to only herself she lowered the mask and set it back on the table.

Stripping back down out of the robe she slipped back into the bed, pulling the blankets up around her once more; her arm slipped around the waist of the Pureblood, her body pressed against his, feeling him stir only briefly only to fall back into that slumber.

Her last thought before sleep reclaimed her was that in the end of it all… someone always belonged to someone else.

And she didn’t mind.

My heart’s beating faster, I know what I’m after.
I’ve been standing here my whole life,
Everything I’ve seen twice, now it’s time I realize
It’s spinning back around now, on this road I’m crawling
Save me cause I’m falling, now I can’t seem to breathe right
Cause I keep runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’
Runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’
Runnin’ from my heart.

Woah ohhhhh,
I’m coming alive.
Woah ohhhhh,
Wake up now and live oh!

 

It’s do or die.

The moments leading up to this had been peaceful. Calming and relaxing. I had brought Vaulk into my mind as easily as I could bring Raiyden or Tomuraan. We had spent time together and he’d been a good distraction for me. I knew the storm was close and I just wanted to see him one more time before all of this. 

The darkness engulfs me as completely as a burial shroud. Even my innate force sense of sight cannot penetrate this darkness. It batters my very core, shaking me, stripping me away to bare nothing.  Everything I knew is gone.  Everything I had become is painfully stripped away, layer by layer; experience by experience and I am stricken to my very core.

The cliff side erodes inch by inch and as I dig my heels into the rocky ground, I summon up every bit of will power to fight this storm. The world is crumbling around me and I witness everything I have ever been had ever hoped to become shredded by the screaming air as it tears my little world apart. 

Am I dying? Is this what dying feels like?  

Just one more time before I go
I’ll let you know
That all this time I’ve been afraid
Wouldn’t let it show
Nobody can save me now, no
Nobody can save me now

I hear the voices now. They’re screaming at me. The voices of the countless people I’ve killed. Whether I felt they deserved it or not. Whether someone else arbitrarily decided they needed to die for their world views. Every man, woman and child I let die because I didn’t make it in time or I couldn’t save them- the need of the many outweighing the needs of the few.

They whisper “…why” 

…”I hate you! you didn’t save us!” 

…. “you deserve everything that happens to you…” 

…”Rot in hell.” 

…” you are a shame to your order!” 

…”Sick. You’re sick…”

Every word is like a blow, physical and painful. A fist to the gut, knife to the back or a brutal kick to the face. It’s torture and it nearly drives me to my knees, but I manage. I manage to stagger forward and push my will forward.  it’s everything I can do to stay on my feet, but I try. 

The screaming intensifies, the words become harsher. Calling me names and accusing me of things I’d never done. The words continue to hurt. to tear at my very soul. I feel them chipping away at my essence, putting chinks in the armor that I have tried to build myself up with. The cracks start to widen, becoming gaps that I can’t protect or even try to turn away from these knife like words that bury deep into me.

Stars are only visible in darkness
Fear is ever-changing and evolving
And I, I feel poison inside
But I, I feel so alive

 

I am terrified. I can’t stop this. Why can’t I stop this?  Why can’t I will this to leave me! I am lost in this storm and I can’t find my way out. There’s no way out and I’m clawing, tearing at everything around me. Shredding the voices and the feelings and the negative emotions. The memories of things i buried deep down inside of my mind. Things I never wanted to remember but I’m forced to. It’s laid bare before me and I tear it apart. 

The past is shredded. My fights with Raiyden, my nights with Tomuraan, my joys, my sorrows. My moments in the sun and my dark nights that defined me as a person. Every memory, every experience is torn away from me in this maelstrom of my mind. It’s all I can do to try and hold on, keep myself together as much as I can. 

I’m so tired. So tired and scared and alone. I want Raiyden. I want Tomuraan, Vaulk, Neirov.  I want my companions and friends with me. I need them to back me up and keep me safe and sane. 

But I’m alone. So utterly, completely and inexplicably alone. The darkness is so complete and I can’t struggle. I’m tired. So damned tired and scared.

Nobody can save you now
The king is crowned
It’s do or die
Nobody can save me now
The only sound
Is the battle cry
Is the battle cry
Is the battle cry
Nobody can save me now
It’s do or die…

Just make it stop. Make it stop. Someone save me.

“Save yourself.” 

The words pierce me like a thousand needles. How I imagine burning skin would feel if suddenly doused in water. It hurts and it almost drops me completely. I just want to lay down right there and let go. I just want…so much…to let go. 

“Get up and save yourself, you worthless prat.”

The words infuriate me. They make me angry and I want to slap the smug son of a bitch who said that. But i have no hands. I have no body to do anything with.  But the words, they make me rage and I scream with a broken voice to back off. I am worth something. I always have been and I always will be. 

I’m good at what I did. I wasn’t at fault for all those people I couldn’t save. Everyone I did save though is what matters. I saved my friends, my family countless times and there is no doubt in my heart, my mind that I have done the best I could do given any of the circumstances I had to face. 

I raise my fists, i raise my voice and I scream into that maelstrom and i defy it. I dare it to destroy me. I goad it into trying to tear me apart. 

I fight. 

I do what I have always been taught to do. To fight for others and now I fight for myself. 

Just one more time before I go
I’ll let you know
That all this time I’ve been afraid
Wouldn’t let it show
Nobody can save me now, no
Nobody can save me now
Truth of my convictions pour through me. 
The light descends on me and everything is bright. I’m helpless as I’m pulled away. Pulled inside out and twisted and torn. Then I am put together again. Made whole.
 
My world explodes and I am consumed.
 
Stars are only visible in darkness
Fear is ever-changing and evolving
And I, I feel poison inside
But I, I feel so alive
 
 

 

Is it worth saving me?

I figured out some things. 

How to function better here in my little mind scape better than i was doing before. Tom and Raiyden helped me out a little as well as Nago. I still have no idea who Nago is, but he’s willing to help and that’s something I could use right now. The power of my imagination is almost limitless here. If I’ve seen it, I can make it appear. I just have to know the details, the way things were as I remember them. 

I think that’s why I imagined the beach first. Because I love the beach and the oceans. Glee Anselm is one of my favorite memories. The warm air, and the warmer water along with the smell of the salty breeze. It was so soothing. Especially after all the nightmares we’d been living through back then. The time I spent with Tomuraan was pretty special.

Now, I have managed to find my way up this cliff side. It took Raiydens help to find the way up, but we did it. I miss my brother so much and my heart aches every time I see him; but at the same time I am so happy to finally get a chance to hear his voice. He talks to me about what’s going on out there, how things are going.  It’s strange to hear someone talk about you like you’re not there. But I’m not. I’m here, stuck in this twilight zone of … this. This quasi-existence. 

Prison gates won’t open up for me
On these hands and knees I’m crawlin’
Oh, I reach for you

Well I’m terrified of these four walls
These iron bars can’t hold my soul in
All I need is you
Come please I’m callin’
And all I scream for you
Hurry I’m fallin’, I’m fallin’

Vaulk came to visit. I think I wanted him to come, to see me. To talk to me and keep me entertained. We didn’t say much, just walked quietly along the beach up the path and to the small house I’ve made for myself. There really wasn’t much to talk about, mostly small talk about the girls and how things were going in the outside world.  It was good to see him though, to hear his voice and to just sit in silence while the storm moved ever closer. It’s almost always dark now, almost always a perpetual darkness that can’t seem to go away and I can’t help but be scared by it. 

I hear whispers in the storm. I can’t quite make out what they say, but I can hear the hissing and cracking of words. Like dead leaves scraping on a window. The kind of sound that makes me want to hide under the blankets and cover my ears. Like I used to when I was a child and we’d get those awful storms on Tython. I’m afraid of what the whispers say, even more afraid of what the storm will bring.

I just want to hide. I’ve tried to will the storm away and it just continues ever onward, moving closer and closer. I can’t even go to the beach now because the waves are too high. It’s completely obliterated the small lean-to I had and I can hear the waves crash against the cliff wall; a never ending background noise I fall asleep to every night.

Some part of me wonders if I really want to live. It I should just let go. I’ve caused so much hurt out there and I’m scared to go back out there and know that I could possibly hurt more. Tom and I spoke at length about all the things that happened and that we’ve always come back stronger and more resilient than before. That we could do good and have to have faith in people around me. Faith in Ashla and Bogan. 

have faith. I know I do. When I left the other I discovered that my people had a deep rooted ideal of believing in a god and goddess. I fell into that religion with a fervor. My god and goddess are as much as part of my life as Raiyden is. Or Tom. Even Arten or Neirov. The people I love with my whole being. If my goddess or god asked me to sacrifice myself for the good of my people, i would do so without hesitation, without question and with every fiber of my being would I throw myself wholly into the way of whatever threatened the Miraluka people. 

Show me what it’s like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I’ll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I’ll leave this life behind me
Say it if it’s worth saving me

Now I’m faced with this choice. Do I let go or do I stand and face the storm? Do I come back and deal with what the fates have dealt me? Become something better than what I was previous to this? I used to make these decisions for not only myself but for others. I used to be able to make choices for people who would lay their lives down for me as much as I would for them and here I am, unable to decide if I want to let go of my own life to move on to whatever awaits me in whatever afterlife my creators have deemed me worthy of or if I want to remain and come back to the place where I left off, pick up the pieces and move on. To move past the bitterness,the hurt and the anger that I’ve felt manifest in me over the past few months. 

Am i worth the effort? Like I told Tomuraan, I was so focused on worrying about what other people thought of me. Worried about what people who really didn’t affect me one way or another thought about me. That I wanted people to care about me when they didn’t need to or have to and I let that bitterness get to me. Those people I tried hard to get to notice me, notice that I was capable and willing to help out. Those who didn’t really didn’t care. When I had people like Raiyden, Xaishen, Tom and Jallira to worry about me. To care whether I lived or died. I know they do and I know that it’s because of them that I’m here and clinging to a ghost of a life that in the end, is ultimately up to me as to whether or not I go back to them or if I move onto the next life. 

They are what matter most. They are what I would choose to live for. Not anyone else. There is a fine line between duty and loyalty. I messed that up. I blurred the lines and i ultimately ended up feeling betrayed by people who had no ill intent. They were just on a different side of the line than I thought they ought to be. 

Heaven’s gates won’t open up for me
With these broken wings I’m fallin’
And all I see is you

These city walls ain’t got no love for me
I’m on the ledge of the eighteenth story
And all I scream for you
Come please I’m callin’

And all I need from you
Hurry I’m fallin’, I’m fallin’

More peals of thunder and crack of lightning. I jump with each crack and I try to build the walls up around that much more. But the storm will come. I’ll have to face this head on and I’ll have to raise my fist in defiance or I’ll have to bend and break under the gale force winds. 

Say it for me
Say it to me
And I’ll leave this life behind me
Say it if it’s worth saving me

 

I am sinking.

Caer sat on a beach, watching the waves roll towards her bared feet and legs and then back out into the vastness of the ocean that spread before her. She was wrapped in only the simplest of summer dresses. The sun seemed to be just the right temperature, the wind blew just right.  She wanted to say that she was on Glee Anselm but it wasn’t right… something was off. 

Her brows furrowed as she folded one ankle over the other. She had to get back to something though. Something important. The kind of important that one didn’t so easily forget. But what was it?

Give me release
witness me
I am outside
give me peace

“Maybe it’s not so important.” A male voice spoke up next to her and Caer couldn’t help but jump. A man with tanned skin, black hair and a beard smiled and motioned for her to remain seated. “Excuse the intrusion.”

Caer nodded warily and scooted over a little to put a bit of distance between them. The man looked amused and chuckled. “Are you always so untrusting?”

“I’ve got cause to be… people don’t usually show up randomly on other peoples beaches and start talking to them like they know each other. Who are you anyway?” Caer tried to place the mans face, the aura and couldn’t. 

“Well, you can call me Nago. I heard your question and felt I should come and speak with you.” Nago gave a small dip of his head. “Do you really think that what you wish to do is terribly important?”

Caer gave him an odd look. “you have no idea what I think is important or not. You don’t even know me or what I do.” 

“Alright then, tell me what you do.” He gave a genial smile and gestured to Caer to go on. He got comfortable and seemed to not mind that Caer was still wary of him. 

“I help others. Least I thought I did, or I was; but too many people got hurt under my watch. Now I’m here.” Caer gestured vaguely to the area around them. “I was helping some people I cared about and now… now I think I’m in purgatory for letting them down.”

“Maybe you are. What was so important about a bunch of women who sold their bodies for sex that you would die for them?” Nago turned his gaze from the ocean to her. “Importantly why would you willingly work for a man who for all intents and purposes makes money from these women? A Sith no less?”

Caer pursed her lips and looked to the man. “Look, I don’t know who or what you think you are, but those women have every right to be protected and to live as much as you or I. These women do the things they do because they want to, not because they have to. And do you honestly think anyone else is going to help them? If they went to some Hutt they’d be laughed out of their strongholds.”

“You could be doing more important work. Helping save the galaxy or helping protect Senate members.” Nago gestured to her. “You’re strong, have a lot of experience and you’re respected among the Luka Sene.”

“You know who call themselves heroes? Egomaniac white-knight wannabes. That’s who. People who delude themselves into thinking that they are so well known, so well liked and so well regarded that they basically storm in and all but use ‘i’m here to free the shit out of you’ as their battle cry.” Caer snorted and picked up a pebble, tossing it into the water. “They’re the type of people who are so concerned about justifying their own causes that they can’t accept the idea that some people don’t want help or saved.”. 

Heaven holds a sense of wonder
and I wanted to believe
that I’d get caught up
when the rage in me subsides

“Rather vehement statement from someone who is so devoted to balance.” Nago chuckled as he too picked up small rocks and flung them into the water. 

“It’s not a matter of balance. The light can be just as damning and damaging as the dark. Any good student of Ashla and Bogan understand this. Anybody who understands balance knows this. The light side can be just as oppressing as the dark side. Rules, regulations, requirements, laws on top of laws all for the safety and integrity of society. These things can crush the will and hope of those who live in the land of the ‘free’ as much as anyone who lives under the law of tyranny and hate. How can anyone want to live in either world?” Caer rubbed the bridge of her nose and scooped up a handful of sand, watching it slide between her fingers. 

“Many do not understand the difference. Do you think people are happy to live under tyranny and hate?” Nago watched her approvingly. “You have to keep in mind that these people may have known something different before tyranny and hate came into their lives.”

“Who knows? We’d have to ask them. Some people thrive on fear. Some break under it. Just like some thrive on laws and rules and regulations while others chafe and buck at the system put in place to protect them. There’s always extremes as well.” Caer kept her face directed towards the ocean. She found the constant rolling of the waves soothing. 

In this white wave
I am sinking
in this silence
in this white wave
in this silence
I believe

“And that is why you choose to live on a lawless planet with a man who sells women for sex and drugs? Because that is balance?” Nago continued to watch the young woman sitting next to him. 

“No. I don’t care about the sex or the drugs or that people are making money off of either. That doesn’t interest me.” Caer spoke resolutely. 

“Then what is it? Why is it so important to you?” 

Caer took a deep breath and then faced the man fully, shifting to rest on her knees and fold her hands in her lap. “Because I have to. There is nothing out there in that galaxy that I need or want to do other than protect those who can’t help themselves. Who’s voices are too small, who’s bodies are too hidden in shadows for anyone to take notice of them. Because I know damn well any so called hero I know? Wouldn’t blink twice and just continue to walk on by if any random whore on the street begged them to stop the killings. Those girls? They don’t deserve that. Five of them are dead because of me. Five. They died in terror and pain. Nobody would hear them cry.” 

Caer fell silent after a moment. Taking a shaky breath. “But I do. Every night I go to sleep. Every night since the first, I hear them crying and pleading for their lives.”

Passion chokes the flower
’til she cries no more
possessing all the beauty
hungry still for more

Nago turned his face away from her and watched the sun slowly sink into the ocean, the sky blowing up into brilliant, pinks, purples and greys. “A noble cause.” 

“No. It’s not a noble cause. It’s called being a decent sentient being. Something the Jedi order forgets. Something that many heroes forget. Something the Senate and other people all the galaxy over forget. Too busy preening their egos, fluffing each others egos… impressing the people with the money and the prestige.” Caer looked down at her hands and seemed to just be suddenly tired with her rant to the strange man.

“You have a low opinion of your fellow men and women. It seems to be you’ve let bitterness into your heart and into your mind, letting it poison your thoughts and outlook on life. I feel sorry for you. But I do not pity you. Just that I am sorry you cannot see the more positive things in people and what they strive to do.” Nago got to his feet and brushed sand off of his legs. Staring down at Caer he gave her a sad smile.

Caer got to her feet as well and regarded him with a somewhat aloof expression. “Maybe it’s because I guess it’s hard to see the good when you have to wade through so much crap. Even the most perseverance of people will eventually give up looking for the lost wedding ring they treasure when they’re neck deep in the village outhouse.”

Nago regarded her with a look then threw back his head and laughed. “Interesting analogy, Caer. I’ll have to use that some time. Perhaps we will meet again.”

Caer said nothing as Nago turned and walked away. His form becoming enshrouded in fog until he disappeared entirely. Only then did she sit back down and rest her chin on her knees, wrapping her arms around her legs.

This was such a strange place to her. Now if only she could remember why she was there.

In this white wave
I am sinking
in this silence
in this white wave
in this silence
I believe

I have seen you
in this white wave
you are silent
you are breathing
in this white wave
I am free. 

 

Shatter Me.

I see them, standing there each wearing expressions that range from stony and stoic to heart broken and doing their best to hide it. I can see all of them there in this tiny room, nobody saying a word, but the emotions that they are conveying through posture and through expression is enough to feel like they were speaking all at once.

I want to reach out and touch them. Some part of me wants to reach out to those closest to me and just be as reassuring as possible. I was never really good at being very reassuring; one of my many faults that I seem to have cling to me like so many scars.

Voices, quiet and murmuring. Conversation that is on the edge of my hearing. I strain to hear the words, my very being trying to pull closer without being obvious about it; It’s Vaulk and Xaishen speaking and their words are almost inaudible. I try to edge closer, however Vaulk enters the room and I immediately take up my position again and try not to look like I was obviously eaves dropping.

Vaulk looks so tense and is closely followed behind an even more tense looking Xaishen. Xai bends over and whispers something quietly in Raiydens ear and my brother grimaces. He lowered his head and nodded to something.

I wish I could hear them. I wish I could move closer but I feel so rooted to the spot. Like I’m pinned down and unable to reach out to them. Especially my brother. His face, it looks so forlorn and as if he were a little more than lost.

“Raiyden…” My voice is a whisper in a wind, snatched away and shunted off into the dark room. I’m confused now and I don’t know why he isn’t responding to me.

Vaulk looks at me, those gorgeous yellow eyes I can’t help but look at. I open my mouth to speak but I realize he’s not looking at me, he’s looking through me. My mouth slowly closes and my chest aches a bit. Those eyes look cold, frightening. Sith. The kind of Sith I would normally put down for looking at me that way. The kind of look that makes your teeth grit, your muscles tighten and your fingers curl into fists.

He looks away and excuses himself, brushing past me. Xaishen and Tomuraan follow a short time later. Leaving me alone with Raiyden sitting next to an empty bed. My confusion just seems to grow as I see him looking at that bed and then putting a hand to his face, the stubble of his chin rubbing roughly over healers hands.

Again I find myself rooted to this spot, trapped in a tiny bubble. Every time i try to move, to call out it sounds hollow, empty…discordant. It hurts my ears and rings down into the very core of me. Making me want to double over. My head and arms ache. My chest is on fire. The room around me flickers and goes on the fritz, like a bad and corrupted holo-file.

Then it snaps back and I see the room for what it really is; an illusion shattered. Vaulks place, I recognize the room as my own. My effects there, my holo journal and the other assorted clothing I hadn’t yet had a chance to pack away.

Then I see the bed. A lump of flesh lays there, a head rests on the pillow, my pillow. The face a unrecognizable lump of bruises, dried blood and a pulped nose. Swollen lips slightly parted to let out rattling gasps of air- uneven and halted. A handless arm rests on their side, the cybernetics stripped and laid bare for the world to see. The other arm in a held position by a plasti-cast.

I realize what it is. Who it is. My throat catches and I try to reach out, but I’m held back. My voice tries to cry out and I am silenced. My heart breaks knowing I am the cause of these peoples hurt and worry. 

I can’t remember, I can’t remember what happened to me or why I’m like that.

Raiyden pulls a small case from his side, I recognize its shape and what it is immediately. My synth violin! He pulls it open and oh so gently pulls out the instrument and it’s bow. He cradles it under his chin and I see him inhale deeply, playing a soft warm up of scales. His fingers, those delicate, long and life giving fingers touch the strings and grip the bow gently, as if he’s afraid of shattering the instrument.

Then the tune begins. I hear it. It’s not muffled as if played through a bubble. I -feel- it.

I pirouette in the dark
I see the stars through me
Tired mechanical heart
Beats until the song disappears

So haunting, so genuine. The emotions my brother displays on his face, flowing through the world around him through song. He’s always been so good at conveying his moods through our music.He could say a million things with any instrument in his hand and the violin sings an opera of hurt and worry. The feeling of being so alone. 

His fingers dance across the strings like they have a will of their own- maybe they do. The hand drawing the bow is like watching water flow. His expression is one of sorrowful concentration and I feel my own emotions start to come alive. 

I -hurt- for him. Oh gods I hurt for him so much. I want to rush to his side, tell him everything will be okay that things will right itself. Because it always rights itself.  As long as we are together it will always right itself and we’ll come back stronger.  I’m scared. I’m scared by the passion in which he plays. The melody caressing my very soul as if begging it to come back to him.

Somebody shine a light
I’m frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

I can’t help but bring my hands up and start to mimic his movements. Each stroke, each finger movement, each little nuance of the way the body moves as one plays their heart out. I can hear the music double. I can hear us play in tandem. Our melody joins like our souls are joined and we play. 

We play for one another, the ghost and her brother. I realize now everything. I am not here. Not really. My body lays there, broken, battered and shattered. Maybe beyond repair. I have no voice, no way to reach out to those who are trying to fix this broken shell. 

I am a ghost. I’m clinging to the last vestiges of my body and maybe it’s the sheer will of my brother that keeps me here. I look at the shape on the bed and that isn’t me. That isn’t a warriors body. That isn’t my body…. 

So I play. I imagine the bow in my hand, the violin beneath my chin and I play silently with my brother. I play my very soul out. I want him to feel me here! I want him to feel that I am still here and I won’t go anywhere. Not without him. Not without my Souls Mirror. We made a promise. We made a promise when we were children that one couldn’t leave without another.

Shatter me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

If only the clockwork could speak
I wouldn’t be so alone
We burn every magnet and spring
And spiral into the unknown

I watch as Tom and Vaulk stand at the doorway, Xaishen off over to the right of Toms shoulder, listening. I can see them trying to give their silent support of my brother. 

We play. We play and I sense no time passing. I sense no changing of the day into night or the night into day. Raiyden plays. He plays the song I love so much hoping that I hear him. 

I hear you brother. I hear you and I want to tell you that I hear you and I play along side you. I know you can’t hear me, but I can hear you.  The music reverberates through me, that little shred of life still clinging, 

If i break the glass, then I’ll have to fly
There’s no one to catch me if I take a dive
I’m scared of changing, the days stay the same
The world is spinning but only in vain

He stops. After a while Raiyden stops. His hands tremble as he puts away the violin back in its case. He is exhausted and I see Xaishen move to his side,hurrying to raise him up and lead him out of the room, I can see by my brothers posture he protests and tries to stop Xaishen. But even Tom steps in and helps to lead him out. 

It’s just Vaulk now. I watch as he moves to take my brothers chair and with all his usual stoic grace he sits and folds his hands in his lap. I’m so used to that posture. Working for him this long? I know more about him than I think he realizes. He’s tense, but somehow still managed to look as if he wasn’t concerned. 

Was he concerned? Or was he angry that someone had taken an asset of his and rendered it useless?

I’m pulled away suddenly. With a violent force that I have never recognized before. I feel my spirit dive and tumble like so much water down a rocky waterfall. I cry out with a silenced voice, ghostly hands strike out to try and grasp onto something. 

Then it stops. I stop. The darkness around me is absolute and I wonder for a moment…am I truly dead now? Is this what it’s like? Darkness?

“No child. No.” The voice reverberates to the very core of me. The voice of my Mother. The Mother. I nearly weep in relief. ” You’re not dead…” 

“Yet.” The second voice is a baritone and rich voice. Solid and steady like the very earth itself. The voice of The Father. 

I lift my head up and try to see them. I feel strong hands pull me up and cradle me like a frightened child and I suddenly realize, I am a frightened child. “What is happening, Father?” 

“You’re dying, Child.” His words shoot through me like an arrow to my soul. 

The darkness consumed me and I was falling into darkness.

Ashla and Bogans voice faded from  my ears with these words, “Fly or fall. The choice is yours.” 

I tumble, scared and feeling as if all control has been ripped from me. The sound of violins reach my ears. But so far away. 

Play Raiyden. Play please… 

If I break the glass, then I’ll have to fly
There’s no one to catch me if I take a dive
I’m scared of changing, the days stay the same
The world is spinning but only in vain
(Hold me)

Somebody shine a light
I’m frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

Shatter me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

-Shatter Me Lindsey Stirling and Izzy

 

 

 

Sick and Twisted Affair.

Caer flopped into the over stuffed chair and rubbed her temples.  She let her ‘gaze’ look around the room and couldn’t help but smirk a bit at Vaulks choice of  decor, richly made tapestries, thick rugs and of course some of the best furniture one could buy. The chair she was sitting on probably cost more than her ships maintenance. The paintings in the room depicted various things but the main theme seemed to be beautiful women and men in various poses. Likely present or past employees of the Purebloods.

She loved this room. It was cozy. It had a feel of being lived in and it was clean. It was a clean sort of clutter that she didn’t seem to mind and it didn’t stir up her neat freak desire to clean it. Books stood in several book shelves, couches were lined with pillows and throw blankets.  A bar stood off to one side, adorned with different types of drinks and of course glasses. She could tell he hadn’t been in recently, there was no wine glass sitting on the table.  Which meant he was probably in the control room brooding.

Sighing she jumped when a hand appeared before her holding a glass of wine. One of the male dancers she recognized as Surshan smiled, the young man gesturing to her. His accent when he spoke was exotic and she couldn’t help but smirk as he spoke, “We saw you come in, you looked tired so I was sent by the girls to see if you had anything you needed.”

Caer chuckled and shook her head taking the wine glass. Alderaanian red. Her favorite. Her girls and guys knew her so well. “Thank you Surshan.  Vaulk know I’m here?” She paused as she drained the glass and then shook her head. “Stupid question, of course he does. What’s his mood today?”

Surshan gave a gentle roll of his bare shoulders and refilled her glass once she’d emptied it. “The same. Though no more girls or families have been attacked, which in my opinion is a good thing. Many of the girls have hired a body guard so maybe that deterred them.”

She nodded at Surshans words and sighed a bit. “Doesn’t mean much. That’s for sure, and I’m sure most of them are still worried sick. Anything at all from the kidnappers? No ransom notes or anything?”

Surshan sat down on one of the couches across from her and shook his head. “No, that’s the weird thing. Nothing at all. No word on who did this and that’s what’s so strange. Gangs are always happy to take responsibility. Think that it gives them street cred and all that; but not this time. Nobody has claimed anything and in fact a couple rival gangs sent envoys to assure Vaulk that it wasn’t them.”

Caer arched a brow. “How’d that go?”

“Well, none of the guards have been asked to dump a body, so that’s something.” Surshan grinned.

“Huh. Well he knows I’m here so I’m sure he’ll be along shortly. Got someone to finally tell me that they ‘might’ have seen something but I’d have to pay them a thousand credits for the info. I told them that I can tell if they’re lying. They swear that they might have seen something, but it’s one of those gray areas of whether or not the actually did see something or if they believe so much they saw something because they’re so desperate for money that they convinced themselves they saw it.” Caer took a drink from her glass before setting it aside. “Either way I want to talk to Vaulk about it before I hand some mook a grand.”

The young man nodded and got to his feet. “In the meantime, what can I do for you?” He winked at her as he slid onto her lap.

Caer snorted and gently shoved him. “Get your oiled ass off of me for one. This is genuine leather.”

Surshan gave a little pout and kissed her cheek, not moving from his spot. “You wound me! I can give you a massage you know, I’m great with my hands.”

“And tongue, and legs, I know. I’ve seen you perform.” Caer gave him a smirk. “But sure a massage would be nice.”

Caer waited for Surshan to get to his feet and then took his hand as he lead her to the table in the back. She peeled off her armoring and under top, crawling onto the bed and flopping onto her stomach. “Mmmph. Bed too soft. Going to sleep.”

“That’s fine, honey. You know you’re going to anyways.” Surshan chuckled and dug around a box for some oils. The younger man crawled onto the bed straddling Caers hips and began to gently work his thumbs and the palms of his hands into tense mucles. “Good heavens. I won’t even ask you what has you all knotted up. I know. But do try to make my job a little easier.”

Caer made a grunt and turned her head to the side,  one arm tucked under her head. “Yeah, I’m pretty tense about it. I hate it when Vaulk is angry. He’s that quiet angry that puts you on edge, you know? Loud angry I can handle, I know what might happen. I know when it might even happen. But the quiet angry? I can’t really handle it that well. It’s like being stuck in a room with a poisonous snake. Sure it might not bite but then again it might.  Even I’m not invulnerable to Vaulk and his moods.”

The young man chuckled and continued to work on her shoulders brushing her braided hair to one side. “Nobody is, but Vaulk also knows what many don’t. When to stop and who’s to blame. If you screwed him over some how? Sure, he’d probably put a contract on your pretty little head. But you’re his favorite little Miraluka.”

“For now. But that’ll change eventually. Even I know it. We serve a mutual interest in one another. Nothing more and nothing less.” Caer murmured.

“You want it to be something more?” Surshan asked, not even pausing.

“Oh please, as if that would ever happen. Besides, you do not fall in love with a guy who pretty much could murder you at his whim. It’s bad business…and bad relationship practice. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows never to go for the bad boy. Bad boys generally tend to be the abusive type who kill their girlfriends or end up killed.” Caer couldn’t help but give a little groan as a particularly nasty knot was worked out from between her shoulder blades.

“So what do you want, then?” Surshen chuckled and dug deeper into the muscles on her shoulders.

“You would ask the million credit question.” Caer sighed or tried to; it was hard to do something like that  while on her belly with a man straddling her back. “I don’t know. I want to feel wanted by someone- and not for a few hours and a few credits, so you shut your mouth.”

Surshen laughed out loud on that and rolled off Caer, flopping onto the bed next to her. “Oh come on now, it’s not so bad. Especially once the lights are off.”

Caer rolled onto her own back, grabbing a pillow and covering her chest. “I’m a warrior. I respect what you guys do, but I just can’t do that. I’d get bored quickly. Besides I’m not going to quit my job as a Luka Sene just to bounce sheets all night long. I do get jobs from them sometimes and I can’t just give that up. Besides, I’m so stupidly picky as to who I let near me. Being one of the girls would end disastrously for me.”

The young man propped his head up with his arm and gave her a faint smile. “Totally can respect that.  It’s not an easy job and nobody really wants it. It’s one of those things that you fall into.”

“Do you think he’d actually want me here permanent like?” Caer lifted her head and turned to ‘look’ at Surshen. “I know me being here once in a while works but I’m not sure how he’d feel if I suddenly decided I was going to take up residence.”

Surshen grunted a little as he sat up. “Who knows.  All you can do is ask. Hell, if you want try to make it sound like it was his idea.”

Caer threw the pillow at the mans back and rolled to put her shirt back on. “Sure, because you know I’m totally capable of that.”

“Sure you can. It’s not like you’re incapable of talking to him. I’m pretty sure you two have some pretty good conversations and do a little more than bang each others brains out.” Surshen chuckled lightly and got to his head, heading for the door. “Boss should be back soon. I got to get to work.”

Caer waved him off and then sighed flopping back onto the bed. She rested an arm over her face and fell into a sleep as she waited for Vaulk.

Hunting for family.

“When did you last see her?” Caer asked quietly, her voice soft and full of sympathy.

The woman tried not to let the tears fall from her eyes, but they spilled over onto her cheeks the harder she tried to fight them. “Three days ago. She was with her friend Marlee’a. They were supposed to just be out front. But then Marl screamed and came running into the apartment hall crying. Her face was covered in burns. She said a man came and threw something in her face and then took my little Suki.”

Caer’s jaw clenched and she nodded, giving a gentle pat on the woman’s arm. She stood up from the broken and dusty couch and adjusted her blades on her hips. “I’ll help find her okay?”

The woman nodded and thanked her for her time, showing her out the front door, begging Caer into swearing she’d call her up first thing if she found her daughter. Dead or alive.

Caer had gone door to door in the apartment, asking the tenants if anyone had seen or heard anything. Most feigned ignorance or worse outright slammed the door in her face, too scared or too reluctant to come forward. Frustrated she shook her head and headed back to Vaulks place.

He’d asked her when she’d shown up three days ago to ‘take care’ of a matter for him. One that would require some discretion but not so much that the message would not get across to the ones who were treading on Vaulks territory.

Neither he nor Caer liked to see the girls abused and when someone had taken it upon themselves to start kidnapping some of the workers families or the workers themselves, Vaulk had not reacted kindly to the transgression. She had shown up after her blow up with the Marran and the best place for her to cool her heels had been Vaulks place. He’d take her mind off of things at least for a little while. Plus the bonus of working off some tension might have also been part of the reason for her arrival on Nar Shaddaa.

This was something she could do. Something she could feel useful in. Hunting down and dealing with those who would do harm on someone else. Especially when those someone elses were just trying to make a living the best way they knew how on a planet full of Hutts, cut throats, Sith Lords, Jedi’s and whatever else happened to be skulking about in the depths of the planet.

She didn’t care or mind what others thought went on between her and Vaulk or what her work entailed with him. If people wanted to think her a whore… well there were far worse things to be called than a whore. Besides she knew the work she did for Vaulk helped more girls than she’d probably helped in her entire career as a Jedi.

Caer had told the Arbiters she’d been hunting a fallen Seeker and she’d continue to tell them that. They didn’t need to know what she was up to and she knew they would never understand helping someone on Shaddaa. Especially a Pureblood who owned a brothel. Believe the lie, she told herself. She was hunting and she was doing good. Just not necessarily their idea of good. Caer also knew that Tom would frown heavily on such an idea, since he well.. hated Vaulk with a passion.

So she’d come back to the planet to resupply and hopefully speak with Tom, but he’d not been around. Only two arbiters, the cat guy Caer called grunt kitty and Toms new girlfriend. She had found herself lectured once again when she’d cracked a few jokes about her outfit being a murder outfit.All she could do was internally shake her head at the fact that people seemed to think she’d just happily go off and murder people for shits and giggles. As if she was genuinely too stupid to realize the difference between right and wrong. She’d given up even trying to speak with them after that wondrous experience and had gotten her supplies and left the Monastery again.

She’d need Noodle for this job and that was who she’d gone to pick up. He could smell things and give her information other creatures could not. He could also point her in directions she might not think to go in. Sure he was just a cat, but he was a cat who she connected with and could use her animal empathy to communicate with. With any luck he’d be able to help her find the missing girls, help find the ones responsible for it and then she could make Vaulk happy. Caer liked it when Vaulk was happy. Not that he ever hurt anyone or that he ever became unnecessarily violent, no. But he did have a way about him that made it seem like the room dropped twenty degrees and he would brood or worse disappear into his rooms. She hated it when he did that because then she felt like she couldn’t go into his inner sanctuary. So.. when he did that, she would often go and hang out with the girls who would sit and gossip or teach her dancing techniques or sometimes try to convince her to do a show with them.

This is why she did what she was doing now. Because those girls were important to her. Those girls’ families were important to her. Maybe it was because they worked hard. They weren’t heroes. They weren’t in the news or rub elbows with Kings, Queens, Senate or the Council. They just did what they had to do in order to survive.

She could respect that. She’d learned a lot more from those girls and guys who worked for Vaulk. They were paid to strip, have sex, sometimes even do some pretty questionable things, but she couldn’t help but like them. Her time with the Syndicate and the time with Vaulk had made her feel fond of those girls. She even had some feelings for Vaulk that she’d never tell anyone; she didn’t want to ruin that good ship by admitting she was rather fond of him too.

Punching in the settings back to Nar Shaddaa, she rubbed the spot between Noodles eyes as he sat in the co-pilot seat. “C’mon Noodle. Let’s go find some missing girls.”

The cat blinked at her and then proceeded to lick his armpit. She sighed and punched the hyperdrive.

I’ve got nothing to hold onto

I cant run, too dangerous to open the door
I cant hide, theres nowhere to go anymore
Ive got nothing to hold on to
I cant break through, living in the eye of the storm

“You’re not happy here.”

Caer could still hear the words he spoke to her standing there in the middle of the pathway.  Tom had stood close to her, his words soft and concerned. It brought back memories of fonder times of the two of them talking for hours about philosophy and life in general. But his words pulled her back to the current time and she had taken a step back to put some distance between them.

How was he able to put so much inflection and tone in those four words? He’d always had a way with words.  Not like her, she couldn’t make it so that she could say something and have it come out the way she intended for it to sound. It always came out wrong, always came out like she had no idea what she was talking about or worse yet, she meant it to be rude or mean.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy. It was that she had nothing to do. She had no purpose, no use and the idea of it chafed her worse than wet leather. The fact that it felt like she’d become less and less of a person and more of a thing to be used, a tool to be wielded; no individuality, no distinction from anyone else. There was nothing to her anymore.

The worst though was that she couldn’t seem to bring herself to really care. She felt so… defeated. She had never felt like that before and it seemed like she just couldn’t bring herself to really want to fight anymore.

The need to get up every day, the need to put on an attitude that wasn’t her, the act of going through the motions of just getting up, facing people, eating food she didn’t really taste, having conversations she didn’t really care to engage herself in and later remember; it just wasn’t there anymore.

I’m watching all of these dark clouds
Im watching blue skies turn to gray
And the lightning has struck ground
And a million eyes start to rain
Im watching everything go down
Im watching everything wash away
Lonely streets don’t talk now
Nobody hears what they got to say

All her conversations turned to fights. All her efforts melted in the rain and all her accomplishments felt like she’d buried them under the lowest level of Coruscant. Had she really become that different? What had been so life changing that she couldn’t be the person she used to be. Off hand comments that those she knew used to make people laugh or chide her teasingly were now the source of everyone’s ire.

It was depressing. That’s what it was. It was depressing to feel like she had to struggle to even just be herself. Deep down it hurt and she buried that hurt more and more every day. It hurt and depressed that she served no purpose. It hurt even more knowing that it was partially her fault. Her fault for trying to be the good soldier. Trying to do the right thing and failing every time.  It was easier to bury that hurt, the low self esteem and the lack of usefulness with a flippant callous attitude that pushed people away.   I t was just more simple to make people want to be anywhere else than near her.

I know I got to be strong
But its hard to hold on and on and on and on and on

She was lonely on some level. She knew that was a big part of it. Caer knew that her attitude of kriff ’em and leave them probably made her sound sluttier than she intended, but it seemed like that was what was expected of her. Afterall it was easier to claim being more promiscuous than she actually was. It wasn’t even the idea of being with someone, but more the thought of having someone she could go to and talk without judgement. Someone she could trust with her life. Vaulk was good for a lay or two and some good drinks, but she knew that he’d turn on her faster than a rabid manka cat if the mood struck him. She supposed that was part of the appeal.  But still- she wanted a confidant. Someone she could trust implicitly. Someone who wouldn’t hold anything over her head, stab her in the back or worse, go tattling over a needed vent of frustration.

So numb, surrounded by a violent force
Inside, fighting through a deepening war
I need something to hold on to
To get me through, living in the eye of the storm

Caer thought about the past few days. Her conversation with Ani and how she said she wanted to try and fix things. That she wanted to try and find a way to fit into the group. It was something she had wanted to make an effort towards.

But the conversation from earlier made her want to reconsider that effort. Caer didn’t want to think about the whole mess, she didn’t want to consider the ramifications of it all. But her mind rolled forward like an overburdened mine cart set free on a track. Caer’d had no idea that Alti had been taken. She’d just assumed the woman had ran into pirates- it was kind of in her job description it seemed.  She’d dismissed it as something she assumed someone else was handling.

Then the subject of Vyennis had come up and Caer had made her usual comments. Usually a ridiculous and totally impossible threat of violence towards someone and the backlash had been almost enough to knock her off the ledge. It had been hard not to throw up her defenses and claw back at all the cattiness that had been thrown her way.

Instead, she’d walked off. She’d forced herself not to feel anything and walk away with her head held high.

How did any of it make sense? A joke about violence go so terribly wrong, yet when a conversation so casually spoken on comms about crushing kneecaps and harming a prisoner was considered okay? Where did this double standard come from and how could she learn the rules of the game so she could participate?  That was what she’d nearly asked Tom as they stood there and he tried to draw her out.

She was so tired of trying to learn rules that felt like they were constantly changing. It exhausted her to try and keep up. Instead she had told Tom that it seemed ridiculous that a conversation would take a turn like that since everyone played knights who wear white gloves to hide all the blood on their hands. Nobody was an innocent. Nobody was free of the blood.

Caer couldn’t even remember what his answer to that had been. She’d just walked away.

And she kept walking.

Watching open hearts breaking
Watching lovers turn to enemies
All of our memories fading
We forget the ones we really need
Watching evil men break dreams
Watching good intentions turn to greed
Never satisfied taking
All the power just couldn’t be

Now we got to be strong
But it’s hard hold on and on and on and on

I can’t run, too dangerous to open the door
I can’t break through, there’s nowhere to go anymore
I’ve got nothing to hold on to
To get me through living in the eye of the storm

-Eye of the storm

Trapt.

Where do we go from here?

Jallira was dying.

Jallira was dying.

Caer rolled up another piece of cheese with a thin strip of meat and chewed on it though it tasted like cardboard in her mouth. The thought of someone she thought of as a sister, someone she cared for deeply only had weeks to live and it made her stomach flip flop lazily making her feel nauseous.

Giving up on food, Caer abandoned her plate of food on her bed and the movie she was listening to as she paced the length of her bedroom on her ship. She felt more comfortable here than she did in one of the barracks at the monastery. The carpet between her toes were somewhat comforting though the movement was helping to calm her mind somewhat.

Running a hand through her messy hair she came to a halt in front of the bed and flopped onto it, spilling the meat and cheese she’d been eating over onto the floor. Noodle, her fanged Tiglon cat scrambled out from under the bed in a mad dash to grab up ever morsel  as fast as his tongue and legs could manage. Caer ignored the cat and just flopped an arm over her face.

Death by combat, that was one thing. War, even starvation was something she’d seen in her long career as a Jedi. She’d seen cities decimated by bombings, she’d seen villages wiped out by lack of food and everything in between. But watching someone die was something she couldn’t get used to.

Anxiety gnawed at her chest and belly, making it feel like it was difficult to breathe. She stopped and closed off her senses for a moment, letting the darkness fill in the vision she relied upon so much. She started slowly with forcing her muscles to relax. First the muscles in her face, head and neck, then shoulders, back and on down until she was kneeling on the floor and breathing regularly again.

She turned her thoughts to other things.

Raiyden did the smart thing and sent Lyrae’a off back to Alpheridies with the kids. She knew of hiding places there that even Caer and her family knew nothing about.  She knew there was a cave system on their properties that she hadn’t had a chance to fully explore yet and maybe she can take them someplace there, keep them safe under the watchful presence of our god and goddess.

Caer missed home sometimes. The Estherians had been a presence since the beginning, helping build up the people and the planet responsibly in their quiet little way. The home though… it was beautiful. It covered several dozen acres and it’s like a sprawling self sustaining village. Father and mother had the main house along with the kids if they really wanted to stay there, plus seven or eight little private houses for guests and dignitaries who visit. Then there’s the Fosters house, where those who’s kids are visiting or getting training for diplomacy from father, healing skills from mother or just need a place to stay while being wards of the people.

Lyrae’a will take good care of the kids. Or so Caer hope. Lyr had always wanted kids. Or so that’s what mother has said about her. Lyrae’a refuses to talk about herself or about her past really and Caer could understand. The woman had had a very painful life. Had lived through a lot of heart ache.

Maybe she’d take Sheenah up to see Alpheridies sometime. She would show her the cave system, introduce her to Ashla and Bogan, show her what the food and the people were like there. Maybe she could find something peaceful up there to latch onto. Or that was Caers hope. She’d of course have to get permission from the Archon and Arbiters but that wouldn’t be too much of a problem she thought. Alpheridies all but flung themselves at the Republic, so it wasn’t like they were going to run into any Dark sided people there.  It was hard to be dark side and hide well on that planet.

Rubbing her temples she felt the beginnings of a migraine coming and it reminded her she needed sleep. Shoving the now sleeping Tiglon off the bed, she stripped down to nothing and crawled under the covers, soon falling asleep to the sound of Noodles light snoring next to her.