Let go of yesterday.

Caer rested her cheek on the door frame of her room, she had watched him sleep for some time, her palm resting gently over the soft curve of her hip, the other hanging loosely at her side. She wore only the simplest of outfits just a sleeveless shirt that she tended to favor as well as a pair of pants that were slightly baggy on her smaller frame; the armor having been long discarded.  No, there was no need for it today, she had taken a day to herself, a day to just mull over the things that had happened the past few days.

She had spent a lot of her time with Neirov, the enigma that was the Mirialan who she had grown up with, fought along side, had bled for and had even done her best to protect from the Council. Her and Raiyden both had done their best to keep him safe from the Councils wrath.  They had done everything they can to keep Neirovs actions under the radar for years, while striving to bring him back from the brink of the dark side. The struggle was like the ebb and flow of tide, he would respond and then slowly slip away again.

Neirov had slipped from their lives and Caer had been left wondering in silence if he was alive. She never spoke of these concerns to her brother; no, Raiyden didn’t like to talk about Neirov. It was as if Raiy felt like Neirov was a personal project he had failed at. Caer understood that her brother disliked the idea of failing at anything.

Caer watched Neirov’s aura through the force as he rested. There were times he seemed troubled, as if struggling with something greater than himself. But that was the force, wasn’t it? Greater than them all? But to see Neirov, it seemed like he was a mighty river. It appeared calm and cool on the surface, but beneath it, it was a torrent of undercurrents and danger. He had a way about him that drew her to him. She had always liked Neirov, she had always enjoyed their times they’d had gotten to spend together. Even the arguments they had, she had found memorable.

She pulled away from the door frame, padding quietly barefoot to the side of the bed. Yes, she had offered her bed to him and he seemed happy to take it. Caer didn’t mind either, the feel of someone next to her comforted her.  She would have been unwilling to confess that she had sometimes wondered what it’d be like to have someone wake up next to her, that she sometimes wished that she could feel strong arms around her as she slept.

Their sharing of the bed was innocent in all its forms. Their feelings tightly bottled up, shored up like a wall holding back potentially dangerous waters.  They both had been taught that any feelings, any hints of love, caring,  or even the more baser instincts were forbidden.

But why even after being released from the Order did they still keep these emotions away?

She sat down on the bed gently, trying hard not to wake him but even as the realization hit her she felt the bed shift slightly under her weight. She cared for him.

More than cared for him. And she was afraid.

These emotions were wrong. Everything she’d been taught- no they had been taught had been drilled into them. Passion was a way to the dark side, loving was an attachment, everything to do with the emotions of caring, loving, sexuality, it was all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Balling her hands into fists she pressed her palms to her face and fought the tidal wave of emotions. Hadn’t she said the same thing to Amaare when they’d spoken? That she had no idea what she was doing? He had accepted it, he had said that he understood and he had left.

So why did she feel this way now? She still had no idea what she was doing or even thinking. It was within the thought process that loving, caring for someone was almost instinctual in it’s rightness, but the training in her screamed for her to stop, for her to step back and analyze these emotions like they were some piece of tossed off archaeological artifact, categorize it and file it away under ‘do not use’.

The internal struggle was the worst, little voices whispering it was okay. Things were okay, it was alright to wrap her arms around him, lay down next to him and move in close, give in and let their bodies touch, her head tucked near his shoulder… to let the emotions close in on them and blanket them and open the door of opportunity they had long since been denied.

What was so wrong with that?

Everything, nothing, a little voice whispered inside her head.   She drew her hands away from her face and sighed softly, the tug of war of voices going on in her head making her feel like she had nowhere to turn to. Her brother would not understand, likely would not approve.

Caer got to her feet and turned, watching the sleeping form of the Mirialan in her bed. His skin looking pale for his kind, the eye lids closed in slumber, the tattoos his kind held in high regard standing out against the pale green skin. His expression was nearly troubled as if dreams plagued him- unpleasant ones. His hand was stretched out across her side as if seeking something. The other arm pinned under his head.

What was so wrong…

Nothing, everything…

Then why did her body and mind tell her to crawl into that bed, crawl under the blanket with him and sleep? To let whatever happen, happen?  The words fluttered in her mind like trapped birds.  Nothing, everything, go, let nature take its course, trust yourself, trust him. 

She bit her lower lip and tugged the cover back.  The little voice settled, as if waiting to see if it needed to speak up again.

Climbing into bed, she felt the Mirialan shift and waken only briefly; her back to him she didn’t ‘see’ this, she felt it through the ripples in the force. Growing still as she rested on the bed, she nearly jumped as she felt a strong arm slip over her side and pull her close.

No words were exchanged, Neirov soon settled, his breathing evening out to the rhythmic sounds of one who’d fallen back asleep; Caer closed herself off from the force, essentially closing her ‘eyes’ as she felt herself relax there.

Her thoughts as he relaxed and fell into true sleep were, Trust yourself, trust him… let go of yesterday.

Tomorrow would come and this would start all over again.

She felt the arm tighten around her and she smiled faintly.

Or, perhaps not.

 

 

Be still and know that I am with you.

The wind of Voss hit her body with a gentle nudge, the scents it carried were fresh, free of pollution. Any smells that would be associated with combat were kilometers away, and she was happy with that. Caer was happy to feel the breeze on her face, catch the smell of the grasses, the warm dirt and the smell of the wild flowers that grew.  Her fingers idly reached out and brushed against the long stems of grasses that swayed around her like happy dancers, the breeze their choreographer and the birds that sang their musical accompaniment.

 

She couldn’t help but smile as the entire feel of the planet around her caressed her, and as she lay down in the grasses, hidden from all sight, she felt enveloped in a type of safety she hadn’t felt in  what seemed like a very long time. No, things were not perfect, not by a long shot, but she at least for the time being felt okay.

The plague that ran through her was in check, thanks to Adria; it could possibly stand a chance for a cure.  The hope was there and she was content to keep it close to her. To allow that hope to bloom within in her was enough to let her wake up every day and deal with what had to be done. Even if it meant dealing with needles every three days, those days hellish for her, the thought of having something injected into her, the thought of the sharp needle piercing her skin, it made her want to throw up thinking about it.

So she didn’t.

She thought about other things instead.

Caer thought about her brother Raiyden; thought about how hard he worked for her, for their cause and for the Republic. She loved him in the only way a twin could love their sibling who shared everything from the womb to even the simple things in life.  Raiyden was her balance, the cool waters to temper her fiery zest of life. They were balance and each others equals. Without one or the other, they were weakened, half of the being that they could potentially be.  Caer smiled as she thought of her brothers aura, the way he shone so bright and complete; even with the illness running through them, she could see that spark of life that he carried.

The wind shifted and the flock of birds that surrounded her in the trees took flight, their wings a thousand hearts beating at once, fluttering and chirping, they took to the skies, circled around and landed once more.  Like the shift in the winds, her thoughts also shifted to something else.

Neirov.

The Mirialan confused her, made her feel things she wasn’t sure she wanted to feel while around him.

Ever since their time on Tython, he had worked with Caer and Raiyden. A perfect trio that even the Masters or Council could not deny made a good group dynamic. Caer was the one who forced their opponents to focus on her, to draw their fury,  and let them try to destroy her- her innate ability of the Force helping her temper their blows, counter attack and harry the enemy while Raiyden, used his skills to keep her alive, the force flowing through him and into her, allowing Neirov to come in, destroy and disarm the enemies as they came. She was the shield, Neirov was the sword and Raiyden was the serenity and temperance to allow them to survive their ordeals.

Neirov was a enigma. She couldn’t recall just when the pivotal moment had come that had changed him. What tragedy? What problem? What moment had it been when he’d had slipped so far from her grasp. Even now, she could recall the conversation they’d had.

He had come onto her ship in the night, like the silent ghost that he had become in her life. A ghost she could touch fleetingly, share her words of support and comfort. He had delivered information she could use, without her asking to; no, he had given her this stuff freely-  like a messenger he dutifully continued to support the cause of the Republic. He had been removed from the Order. The words had come as a blow to her, her heart aching because she knew what kind of blow that was to any Jedi.  She couldn’t remember the conversation fully, but she remembered reaching out to touch his face, his skin warm, smooth and yielding to her touch.  His arms around her shoulders, pulling her into a hug before he walked away, fading from her ‘sight’.

Caer had sat on the edge of the bed for a while, half  wishing, half hoping, a lot of praying that he’d come back.

He hadn’t.

A cool breeze sent ripples of gooseflesh up her arms, the wind growing stronger for a moment, as if attuned to her mood and as if to say ‘calm yourself’ before it died down into a gentle whisper again.  It urged her to change her thoughts, urged her to think of other things.

Amaare was someone who she had felt a keen interest in. She wasn’t sure if what she felt was right or even near to what most normal people felt. Her heart skipped when she saw Amaare, his aura was bright, cheerful and whenever he was around, she found herself feeling better. Her thoughts when on Nar Shaddaa were if he’d be there, if he’d be happy to see her.

They had met last night and Caer had asked him many questions, had become  close to him and in the end he had kissed her. Had opened up to her. He had made her feel alive and sent little shivers of joy down her spine.

Caer couldn’t be certain what it was she felt.  While many said she tended to over analyze things, she knew that she needed to think this through entirely. Was she in love? Was this just an infatuation with a guy who happened to pay more than the usual attention that most people did not? when he was near her, she felt good, he stirred some of those same feelings in her that Neirov had. She wanted to be close to him, wanted to feel his hand on her, feel the warmth of his touch.

She wasn’t sure what she felt, she just knew that her mind and body agreed that everything he did felt right. He was intellectually stimulating, their conversations could easily last hours. She loved how Amaare was so willing to make her smile but at the same time, so willing to also converse with he on a plethora of subjects.

He had surprised her by kissing her. She had been hesitant when she had kissed him… but when he’d returned that kiss and with a passionate feel she had been stunned.

It had felt right.

Caer smiled as she brought a hand lazily to her lips, her fingers brushing over the lower lip before resting it on her chest. Her thoughts became hazy, the warmth of the sun, the cool breeze and the song of birds lulling her to sleep.

The feel of water in the darkness.

The water ran over her in rivulets, hitting her face and pouring over her hair and down her body. She stood in total darkness, blunting herself to her own special vision, in short- the Miraluka version of having her eyes closed. It felt good and safe in here, inside the darkened shower. Somehow the water pouring over her helped her feel better, made her feel like she was watching the unclean that coursed through her body.

Unclean. That’s how she felt. She felt like she was swaddled in a filth she couldn’t be rid of.  Caer had never minded being dirty, not physically; after all she’d seen her fair share of blood, guts and glory- or whatever it was heroes and such talked about.  She’d rolled in garbage, she’d fallen down mud pits, slogged through disease infested swamps. She had survived ship crashes,  back in corner scenarios, and assassination attempts.

Adria had bought them an indeterminable amount of time, and as she reached for the bottle of shampoo, she wondered how much. Days? Weeks? Months? Years?  There was just no way of knowing and while Caer knew that her life- no matter which one she chose to live- either as a Jedi, a Luka Sene, or even a regular civilian could be cut short by the powers that be. Ashla knew that she didn’t exactly live a cautious life.  Nothing about the galaxy she lived in said it was safe or she had a chance to live to a ripe old age.

But. She never wanted to consider going out like this. Not like a monster, her body slowly becoming not her own. Turning into something that would not stop killing until it was killed itself.  Her hands moved through her hair, washing out the dirt, sand and grime that seemed to accumulate daily while being on Tatooine.

Her hands moved over her body, feeling the contours of her sides, breasts and hips. She tried not to think of what it might be like to lose it all.  Lose everything she had worked so hard for. A future with the Luka Sene,  friendships she could forge with so many others, her position on Voss,  maybe even finding someone to love.

She could do that now, fall in love. No longer constrained by the Orders doctrines. It wasn’t why she quit, though some might see it that way. But she could’t help that.  Caer wasn’t even sure she could do that now. Who would want to fall in love with someone who could potentially kill them? Or worse yet, transfer the disease to them?

Caer couldn’t worry about that right now. The important thing right now as her brother Raiyden. She sighed and rinsed off, the soap foaming up at her feet and swirling down the drain where it’d be recycled and filtered to be reused later on the ship.  Clean now, she continued to stand there, turning the heat up with a touch of her fingers, she let the hot water wash over her.

She let her fingers wander to her lips and furrowed her brows, her fingers brushing against her bottom lip. Her conversation with Neirov. Her mind wanted to tell her that the brushing of lips was imagined, she had thought of it as a dream or perhaps some sort of fever imaginations. It was hard to tell. Their conversation sounded almost like a goodbye.  He had boarded her ship, brought medical supplies and had spoken to her.

Caer could barely recall the conversation. She’d felt feverish and terrible last night and half of it seemed like a dream until she had been approached by the ship droid, sounding confused about Imperial medical supplies.  Then it had snapped back into sharp relief, Neirov saying he didn’t belong, that he felt she and her brother despised him.

All of it untrue on some level. Some part of her loved Neirov, though the thought of ever saying anything like that to anyone seemed a little premature and embarrassing. She cared a lot for Neirov and no matter what he thought they thought about him, she only ever wanted to put a smile on his face, see the life in his aura and make him feel like he belonged somehow.

But even he admitted that he didn’t belong. No matter how hard they tried. Lowering her hand, she let it fall loosely at her side, feeling at a loss as to how to fix the damage that was done between her brother, herself and Neirov. She half wondered  if there was any chance to fix anything at all.

Or if there was enough time.

Shutting off the shower, Caer once again attuned herself to the force- basically ‘opening her eyes’, she wrapped a towel around herself, drying of and getting dressed. Today was another day and she had work to do.

I can’t do it alone. I’m reaching out, rescue me.

This waking nightmare lingers

When will the mirror stop telling lies?

I don’t know where I’ve been

or where I’m going

But I can’t do it alone.

I’m reaching out.

Rescue me show me who I am.Cause I can’t believe

This is how the story ends.

Fight for me, if it’s not too late.

Help me breathe again.

No, this can’t be how the story ends.

The thrum of the ship was silent. For once the ship sat on solid ground, unmoving and likely not to move any time soon. The shadows that felt across the still forms of the powered down ship seemed to cast the pair in sharp relief. The light from the hallway cutting through the shadows of the room as sharp as any blade.

The two forms inside of the room were close, the woman kneeling on the bed, head bowed, all armor off, wearing nothing more than a simple body suit that at a casual glance would have appeared to be a bare form. The white hair practically glowing in the light that came through the open door. The woman’s head- Caer’s head- bowed in contemplation, meditation, the faintest hint of stress on her features were the only thing to betray the turmoil she felt.  Her face still held the cloth she favored to cover her eyes, having thought of no reason to take it off, even in her private sanctuary of her bedroom.  No time for it, no thought to it.

Her fingers brushed the hair from Raiydens face, his head in her lap as he rested on her bed, his body covered by a thin sheet. She’d removed his armor but had left most of the robes on. Her hands on either side of his head, she steadied her breathing, matching his inhalations and exhalations with her own- in perfect sync with her twin brother. She’d done her best to make him as comfortable as possible. It was her duty as his sister, as his twin to ensure his safety. That was her job, always had been. She had been trained from childhood on up to protect her brother, to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. Now she’d essentially doomed her brother to a lifetime of potential suffering.

It broke her heart, made her feel sick deep down inside; and no amount of meditation would make her feel okay, no amount of peace would bring back a sense of balance. She had chosen to come to Tatooine during this chaotic time. She had chosen to stay on the planet during the initial outbreak and volunteer to help those who couldn’t protect themselves. She had gone alone, but Raiyden had followed.

Just as she knew he had.  She mentally damned herself for condemning her brother.

I’m locked up and waiting for you.

I’ve lost so much more than I’ll ever know.

Love has the truth forgotten.

Find me now, before I lose it all.

I’m crying out.

Rescue me show me who I am.

Cause I can’t believe

This is how the story ends.

Fight for me, if it’s not too late.

Help me breathe again.

No, this can’t be how the story ends.

He’d always been the weaker one. Not mentally no and of course he had strengths where she only dreamed of having. But physically. He had always been more susceptible to little ailments.

It had been a scratch. Both of them. Nothing important right? Nothing serious. Neither had realized it. They had faced the pack of creatures and had decided at the last second it was too many to handle. Caer had thrown herself against Raiyden, sending them both tumbling down a precipice that could have ended worse if it hadn’t been for the sand dunes below it.  The thought of getting away safely had been their priority. There had been nothing to do other than escape and as they had run through the desert sands with a pack of blood thirsty beasts behind them, they had counted their lucky stars.

Caer’s jaw clenched as she brushed her hand over her brothers cheek, startled momentarily as a hand reached up suddenly and gripped it firmly. She relaxed as she rested her hand on his cheek, his own hand covering hers.

Raiyden didn’t speak, they didn’t need to speak aloud. There was no need for it with their bond as twins; even the most basic of siblings without the force would have a connection of some sort.  She smiled ever so faintly at his touch, feeling his love for her conveyed in that simple touch. The implicit trust to see this through and the confidence that she would be there for him.  She wished so much she could heal him. Find the magical components through the force, through her own hands to purge the sickness from his body. To pull the disease from him and take it into her.

She had begged Adria, had pleaded with her and had even tried to bribe her to make Raiy well.  No thought to herself, not caring what happened to her with this damnable disease; all she cared about was Raiyden. He had been through so much already, he didn’t deserve to go through anymore.

Caer felt his hand slip from hers and fall onto the bed. She bit her lip, a momentary panic rising up in her as she thought something was horribly wrong, but no, Raiy had fallen asleep again. She bit back a soft cry of relief, the urge to sob welling up in her as she bowed her head in total silence.

Shifting her position carefully so as not to reawaken Raiyden, she continued her vigil over her brother. Only rousing to get him food or water when he asked, anxiously waiting for Adria’s call.

Fight for me.

If it’s not too late.

Help me breathe again.

No this can’t be how the story ends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BueLEB7-kkE

Get through this.

Disclaimer: the people I wrote about in the journal I did so with the implied consent that comes with Rp.  Vertigus and Amaare are two people who I have had the immense pleasure of rping with and I hope they don’t mind me using the experiences I’ve had with them to write about in Caer’s journal. Nia, I have have permission to write about. If either people have issue with my interpretation, I apologize.

 

Caer straightened her back and leaned over the railing, her hair and eye covering fluttering in what passed for air on Nar Shaddaa.  It the heat of the buildings, the smell of the fumes of factories,  the plethora of unwashed bodies, the perfumes of washed bodies, the stench of Hutts, Rodians (they made her sneeze), and the other species that called this world home. She could almost recognize a species by smell sometimes over the heightened senses of her force sight.

It felt good out there, under the night sky, even if she couldn’t see it. A cool breeze wafted in from somewhere, momentarily driving away all the smell and giving her a rather rare treat of something more pleasant. It helped cool her temper even hours after the whole incident. She shivered slightly the cool breeze causing her flesh to raise in little bumps along her arms, shoulders and neck, the exposed belly and along her lower back. A shiver ran down her spine as she inhaled deeply. The sweat along the back of her neck cooled, making it feel itchy but she kept herself from letting go of the guard rail and scratching.

She knew she had overstepped her boundaries with the Darth. Vertigus, if she recalled his name correctly. She only ever heard Nia call him Verty. Admittedly it amused her, but she knew she shouldn’t have said something. It had almost come close to costing her at minimal a friend and at most her own life. Both had been smart enough though to let cooler heads prevail and part ways. It had only been a small choke hold on his part and a healthy warning shove through the force to get their points across.

Caer also knew enough not to bother apologizing. It’d be seen as weakness to the Darth and she was his equal in status  in terms of title, if not in power- that she could ascertain at least.  That would be something they would only be able to test in full on combat and that wasn’t something she was eager to try. She really had no problem with the pureblood. He seemed amicable enough when in neutral territory. It was with a bit of sadness that Caer felt when realizing that if they were anywhere else that either one would be fair game. She liked him well enough and if it came to it, she didn’t particularly want to kill the man, Nia seemed to like him enough to tolerate his possessiveness of her.

Caer’s lips quirked into a small smirk as she considered that. She wondered if Nia had any idea how possessive he seemed of her. Monopolizing her time and sitting or standing supremely close to her. Caer was naive in a lot of ways, but she was not naive to ‘see’ that the man wanted to claim her friend as some sort of prize as if from a festival contest stall.  Like some sort of doll that he could carry around and say “see what I won!” and then when the novelty wore off, he’d find a new stall with new prizes.

Of course she’d never tell Nia that, it just wasn’t something that was very proper to say to a friend even if it was possibly truth. Besides, Caer knew that Nia wasn’t naive in any way, shape, or form. The woman had decades on her when it came to experiencing the unsheltered life of childhood, teenage years and adult hood. Gods knew that she was a woman who while upholding a set of morals Caer would not call loose, she did know that Nia got into things Caer only could imagine and probably not very well.

She contemplated the fight of tonight and nodded to herself. No, she would not apologize to Darth Vertigus, but she would treat him with the same respect that she would expect he treat her. It was only fair, and in neutral territory there was no need for her to agitate an already labeled enemy of the Republic and the Order.  Perhaps that was something to consider, her comfort with Nia and in extension of that, she grew comfortable with the Darth because Caer did view him as an extension of Nia.  It wasn’t something she’d do again.  No, she would just act as if nothing had happened with only a few minor changes in her attitude towards the Pureblood.

Her and Nia had already apologized and it was because of Caer she had almost lost her friend because of allowing her temper to get the better of her after the fight.  Nia had been the one to call her up and apologize, and in turn Caer had apologized as well. It was Caers fault for letting her temper get the better of her. It had always been one of her weak points in training.

She had other things to consider now as well. Eira’s little deviance of somehow getting Caer and Amaare out on a date. Caer had been so flustered and it had taken all her skill and training as a Jedi to keep her ground and not bolt out the door like a youngling with her hair on fire. She had managed to only just sink behind the bar in utter embarrassment and the urge to kick Eira n the shin was one that had been rather strong. Amaare had taken it in good humor and Caer had agreed to go but even still now as she let the nights alcohol settle in her system rather than purge it, she realized that poor Amaare may have been pressured into agreeing. Even after her call to Nia she would likely give the poor man a chance to slip off that particular hook if he chose to.

For now, however it was time for bed and even as she turned away from the guard rail and made her way to her where her ship was docked- 44zesh, she remembered- she couldn’t help but shake her head. If this was what it was like to be considered ‘a normal civilian’ she had to wonder just how she was going to survive all of it.

No war, no contest of wills, no battle or even diplomatic mission, none of her training had ever prepared her for being just a normal every day person.

 

The Catalyst.

Caer exhaled slowly as she went through stretching techniques, the floor of her ship cool beneath her feet, feeling and hearing the thrum of the ships engines as it traveled it’s way through hyperspace. Her right arm stretched over her head, her left hooked behind her neck, gripping the upstretched arm. She slowly brought her right foot up the inner side of her left leg and  held her position there.

It was a lesson in balance, focus and awareness. She was aware of everything around her, from the statue to the right of her, to the bed in front of her even the small lump in the rug that was just under her foot.  It forced her to consider every angle of her position and also internally reflect on how to maintain the perfect balance.

Raiyden had read her the letter from their home world Alpheredies. She had to suppress the muscular response to frown as she thought about that; they’d not heard from their home world since they were infants, taken by the Jedi order to train as Jedi. Not from their mother or father- Caer had no idea if they were even alive or if they had any other siblings. For all Caer knew, her parents had no other children, died alone or were possibly living and clueless that their children were returning home.

Caer felt an odd sort of detachment to the thought of having parents. The Order had been her mother and father. The many Masters and teachers had been her parent in some fashion; guiding, caring for and raising her and Raiyden. The thought of someone actually giving birth to her and her brother only seemed trivial to her. It was as if she had been created for the sole purpose to become  Jedi.

Even that had not been without it’s trials and tribulations. It had come at a great price and it was something she wondered if she could move past. Yes, she admitted, she had a ‘forbidden’ attachment to her brother. She loved him very much and would do everything for him to make sure she was always there for him. There was no option in that.

Caer thought about the words he had read her, still holding the pose perfectly still, statuesque in her humanoid way. We have been kept apprised of your growth and we are impressed with what we have seen. We of the Luka Sene wish to invite you back home for further evaluation and to extend an invitation to our order.  There is no need to rush any decisions, but we wish to speak with your futures with your people. Please discuss it among yourselves and contact us at your convenience.

Exhaling slowly, she switched positions, slowly lowering her limbs and then taking up the same position on the opposite side of her body. Holding her pose, she considered just what this would mean for her and her brother.  It could open up many opportunities for them both.  She knew this and so did Raiyden. They’d spoken about it deep into the hours of the night. It had only been when exhaustion had claimed both of them that they stopped talking. She ending up on her bed and he with a blanket on the floor of her ship.  She couldn’t help but let a smile tug at her lips as she recalled waking up a few hours later and nearly stepping on him because she’d forgotten he was there.

Even now, some hours later as they made their way through space, she wondered what it all could mean for them. What it could mean for Rulan, for Neirov and for even Dalken and Arenz. Rulan would likely be assigned a new master, Neirov could choose to stay with them or go his own way, the same with Dalken and Arenz. Though she had a feeling Arenz would stay with them and with the Order. She couldn’t say for certain about Dalken; she’d not seen him for some time.

Time would only tell. She first had to make the first steps and that was contact the people she needed to. Raiy had already sent a notification to the Council and they were just awaiting word from both of them to be summoned to Tython. Caer knew that leaving the Order would not be something easy to do, it would be even more difficult to convince others that she and Raiyden were leaving for good and honest reasons.

She grimaced as she dropped from her pose and to her knees, exhaling heavily as she concentrated on relaxing the tense muscles. Yes, all those ex-Jedi that dropped from the order for various reasons.  She over heard some of them in the bar on Nar Shaddaa frequently boasting some things she thought good Jedi shouldn’t boast about- she often felt that the image of Jedi were ruined by those just as much outside the order as those in. Even now as she considered her own position in the Order, she felt that once she left, she would still do her best to maintain that image. Gods both knew that she tried hard and sometimes failed, but she did her best and that was all she could do.

It was a precarious balance, she supposed. She would essentially become a ‘normal’ person after leaving. But many still knew her as as Jedi, many would recognize her for what she used to be and demand that she adhere to those previous traditions. Goddess Ashla knew she would probably end up adhering to a Code she no longer needed to adhere to. She’d have to untrain herself from a lot of things that were ingrained into her from birth.

So much to think about.  Force knew that this was the right choice, however. Leaving the Order was best for her, for Raiyden and ultimately the best for the integrity of the Order. Her attachment to Raiyden, her passion for battle. Both were considered dangerous, unwanted and a path to the Dark Side.  Taboo things for Jedi.

But as Luka Sene, they were welcomed. Warriors could hone their skills. She could show sisterly affection for Raiyden without fear of repercussion and the ultimate truth of it all was that she and Raiyden both could serve their people and the republic in capacities best suited for them. They both could pursue their passions without hindrance as well as learn so much more about their culture and people first hand without the colored perceptions of other Jedi.

The more she thought about it, the more it made her smile. Unable to maintain her meditation and relaxation she bounced to her feet and headed for the main bulk of the ship. “Hey Raiy! How about breakfast!”

His face is a map of the world.

Caer walked along the stench filled walk-ways of  Coruscant and had to hide a grimace as a particularly strong stench of urine and feces greeted her nose, forcing her hand to remain at her side and close to her saber as she passed a particularly dark alley way where said smell came from. The soft sounds of the planets rodents and carrion eaters greeted her ears as she progressed further into the innards of Coruscant, feasting on it, nesting. Some of those things in the dark that skittered were not of an animal nature, quite sentient beings who watched the Jedis passing with calculating, hungry eyes.  She felt them, yes, even through the force ‘saw’ them as only a Miraluka could. Hiding behind walls, some trembling in fear, some licking their lips and wondering what she may taste like, hungers of all kind waiting to be sated.

She wondered just how many things down here hunkered, hungered, hated and loathed her uniform, her confident walk, the saber at her hip, the full belly. She gave a soft sneer as she felt the sudden urge to blame the Council, the Order for all of this. It was because of them she had a full belly, because of them she didn’t have to worry about being a slave to some heartless master, because of them she was able to sleep in the comfort of a ship or a hotel room.

No, that wasn’t fair. The Council, the Order was not to blame for all the wrongs of the galaxy. It wasn’t fair to her or anyone else. The galaxy was as it was. There was no way to save it all. But they’d damn well die trying if the Order had anything to say about it.

However, she had to wonder just how far would they go? How far did they dare go? These were questions that always seemed to be shunted aside when she asked, and even now as she progressed on her secret mission to the farthest pits of Coruscant, she couldn’t help but hear the quiet sobs of a soul lost to hopelessness, couldn’t help but purse her lips as the sound of fists hitting flesh, the low mumbles of threatening voices. The tenseness of her features were only visible in the dim flickering lights of the holo-ads that flashed in muted colors,  for seedy bars where slave girls danced naked, gyrating for credits to be paid to their masters, drug dealers and users alike.

She rounded a corner, leaving the ‘street’ behind and entered what appeared to be a housing project, run down homes stacked atop one another, steam rising from the permacrete streets, pot holes exposing wiring and pipes.  She stopped and stood there, listening, ‘seeing’ through the various buildings.

Aware of everything around her. A Rodian to her left, drooling from his snout, one of his antennae stalks severed, the stump twitching slightly as his drug addled mind bubbled and festered, slowly killing him.  A Nautolan and a Humans auras showing them to be in heated debate, standing over the cowering form of a terrified Twi’lek girl.

Shifting her head from left to right she ‘saw’ the every day lives of these people here in the lower quarters and she felt repulsed, saddened beyond belief, angered at the injustice. This place was a barely beating pulse in the great pearl of the galaxy known as Coruscant.

A flash of darkness only she could see.  Through the force she located the being she sought and her own pulse quickened, her nostrils flaring slightly as her fingers twitched ever so slightly to reach for her saber and rush headlong into the alley way she sensed that darkness from.

The man she sought was one she had known for years. A former master, he had been a firm, gruff and rather acerbic being who’s love for combat rivaled her own.  He was a Human who out distanced her in age by a good ten to fifteen years but still moved like he was twenty one. He had been a good Master when she’d trained under him, he had been a saber master who had been highly respected and loved by many students.

Herself included.

Pulling her saber from the clip on her belt, she proceeded down that dark alley way, her footfalls as silent as the wind seemed to be down here,  the darkness did not bother her, she lived in perpetual darkness. She was aware of everything around her in the force and that pulsating shape of her former Masters Dark aura drew her to him like the proverbial moth to a flame.

He had fallen, seduced by a Sith woman, who had posed as wanting redeemed, brought to the light side. She had spent years tainting him, coercing him to the Dark side,  and he had finally succumbed to her desires, he had killed her before she had managed to escape being caught by the Order, but she had done her damage.  He had fallen and he’d fallen hard, fleeing his station on Corellia and coming to Coruscant to hide out.

“Padawan Estherian, it’s good to see you.” The voice made her tense and she could hear the malice in it, the way it tried to take her name and use it against her.  She had not heard him slip up behind her, but should she have been surprised? Not really, he was a Master many her years.

“It’s Master Estherian now, Master Krael.” She slowly turned, realizing she was in what was essentially a box with no way out; no way out except through her opponent.

His features were twisted, corrupted by the Dark and even without normal sight she ‘saw’ just how corrupted he was, his aura pulsating with the darkness, twisting and twining like tendrils of shadow.  He straightened up, easily towering over her by a good foot. “Indeed, they hand out that title to just about anyone now days, don’t they… but you were one of my better students. So not surprising.”

His words made her want to curl up like a sand viper. She wanted to lash out and it was with sheer willpower that she did not. It was his ploy, his game. Trying to make her react violently.  Instead she steadied herself inwardly and spoke in a clear and steady tone, “Master Krael, by the order of Grand Master Satele Shan and the Jedi Council I have come to arrest you and take you back to Tython to be placed under treatment.”

Admittedly that sounded ridiculously stupid in her ears and even she had to hold back a snort as Krael cracked up laughing, an unpleasant sound that was interrupted by a hacking cough.  “Really, Master Estherian… you honestly believe that tripe that they spoon feed you? STILL?”

Caer sighed inwardly and wanted to truthfully answer no, but even she wasn’t that stupid to do so. Instead she just shook her head sadly and lifted her saber as a way of giving him one last chance. “Please, I’m asking one last time. If not I’ve been given permission to dispatch you, with extreme prejudice.”

Krael summoned his saber to his hand and ignited it, the livid red colored saber casting a sinister reflection on his face. Her own purple saber cast a lesser glow, giving her a more washed out look, her expression drawn and grim; this decision paining her more than she was willing to show- or even capable of showing.

“You can’t possibly win, Estherian. You know as well as I, that i have always been the superior blade master. Very few could defeat me and fewer still who have even tried.” He swung his saber casually, striking one wall and causing sparks to fly in her direction. She felt the sting of the sparks hit her skin, causing her muscles to twitch but she held her ground, taking up her stance and rolling her shoulders until they felt loose and relaxed.

He came in as a flurry of aggressive attacks, she could sense his fear, his hatred and anger getting to him, driving and fueling him. She let him come in, easily deflecting each attack, despite how strong they were- and he was strong. She felt each shock hit up her arm as he struck, and she compensated for his blows with the force.  She countered with blows of her own, each testing one another, each one giving and taking.

It seemed to happen instantly.  One moment their sabers were locked in combat, the snap hissing of his  blade locked against hers, their faces mere inches from one another. Her body sliding down and  and under that saber, her purple blade  sliding through his body and out through his back.

Krael grunted, confused by his sudden inability to hold his own saber as it clattered to the ground, his hand slackening from around her throat.

They slumped to the ground together and she extinguished her saber, catching him in her arms. She rested a hand over the wound and lowered her head.

“It didn’t have to be this way, Master Krael.” She spoke softly, her voice full of pain.

He coughed and pushed her hand away. “You knew it had to be. You knew it because the Order told you to. ”

She gasped as he suddenly gripped her face and jerked her close. He whispered, his rancid breath on her face. “Ever stop to consider… padawan… they’ve been lying to you this whole time?”

She felt his hand slip from her face, tearing the cloth she wore around her eyes from her face, exposing her face fully. Sightless sockets staring down at the now dead body of a former master.  Her heart wanted to break and even as she called for the reinforcement troopers waiting to extract her, she had never so badly wanted to cry. Searching for anything else, she found  a datapad tucked away in the folds of his own clothing.

Picking up his saber and the datapad, she wrapped them in the folds of her cloak and clipped her own saber to her belt.  Later that evening, on the safety of her ship, she was freshly dressed and washed, her report to the Council securely sent away, she held the datapad in her hands.

Switching it on, she tabbed to the audio section, listening to the voice of the man she’d just killed.

“I wish there was some way to convince them. Convince them that nearly everything…everything the Order stands for is wrong.”

(to be continued?)