Seems like yesterday was just a dream.

The Miralukas fingers strummed on the mandovial strings with a practiced ease in the darkened room. The notes were clear, each brush of finger along the metal strings ringing clear and true. Raiyden had at one time a few years ago had the Mandovial made especially for her for a birthday present; the gift had delighted his sister to the point of being moved to emotion close to crying.  While most Jedi would have frowned on such a display and the thought of the attachment the item brought, Caer had kept it close to her, leaving it on her ship and letting very few people see it.

It was engraved with little birds around the edging of it, interlaced with a complex design, that strung several knots together with the little winged creatures taking flight.  The neck itself was of one continuous carving of a group of vines that intertwined among themselves, the end of the instrument ending in one large vine that allowed the tuners to be laid into it.

If there was one true talent Caer ever possessed that didn’t require a use of a light saber or combat tactics (or sarcasm), it was with the mandovial and her voice. Both of them combined she’d been told several times before that she had a voice that could make men weep.  One of those times had been from a man who had been well into his cups and was, in fact, weeping; but it had embarrassed the Miraluka greatly; so much so that she’d stopped singing in front of troopers or in front of anyone other than Raiyden. Not even Neirov had heard her sing or play and with any luck nobody would.

The exercise she ran through now was more to strengthen the damage done to her wrist that it had suffered when it’d been broken. She ran her fingers up and down the fret board pleased that there seemed to be no extra strain or any sort of discomfort.  Once she was content that her wrist would not fail, she played a piece she’d learned ages ago.

The song that accompanied it was in their native language. A song about a brother in sister lost in a strange place who seek out the light through the unending darkness.  The song had many interpretations from the literal sense of a pair of siblings lost in the dark, to the more metaphoric sense of a brother and sister of the Miraluka definition seeking redemption from the darkness of the force. It was even argued in some circles that the darkness was symbolic of the Miralukas life on Alpheridies. Making most of the darkness, finding the light through the Force.

Anyone who heard it though agreed that it was just a really good song.

Caers fingers finished the final notes of the song just seconds after her voice trailed off. She sat in the perfect silence of her ship.  Getting up, she replaced the mandovial in it’s special case and locked it away in her closet, she was always careful never to let anything get to it and with her Orokete on the ship now, she didn’t need a curious and always hungry bird getting to the instrument.

As Caer turned, she just realized how quiet the ship was, how unnaturally quiet it felt. Her brows furrowed in confusion and she tried to shake off the ill at ease feeling.  It was not like she hadn’t been on her ship alone; Raiyden was always off by himself now and Neirov was trapped on Tython with Master furball.  Tom had needed to go off to perform some task that Caer did not ask about- it wasn’t her business where he went.

She could sense him in her head though and that gave her an amount of comfort.

Things had been so strained lately with everyone it seemed like she was walking on glass now days- no, more like weeks. She had to tread lightly unless she wanted to shred her feet.

It was worse between her brother and her. No matter how innocent either of them tried to make a conversation, something always made them argue. It didn’t matter if it was their opinion on some of the denizens of Nar Shaddaa, or if it was Caer asking where he’d been.  Something always seemed to come between them.  Drayviakki, the Voss incident, their differing opinions on beliefs, her threatening Hudgaar,  or Niatara or what to even have for dinner (though to be fair, Caer really did not want an Ithorian Dish for dinner, it had what looked like slimy grass in it. That was a valid argument.)

Raiyden didn’t like how she was; she was not as friendly, easier to snap at people and Caer had to admit, she was. But she had reason to be.  Caer was tired of Raiyden constantly being on her about her attitude towards people. Raiyden was tired of Caer always finding a reason to dislike everyone. Caer was tired of Raiyden constantly blindly trusting people for no reason other than that they hadn’t gutted him yet.   He trusted too much, she didn’t trust at all.

Yes, the woman could admit openly she didn’t trust people. Less so now than before and with good reason, but apparently those reasons were not good enough. Being taken and tortured wasn’t a good enough reason for looking at people with suspicion.  Being told the very people she -had- trusted had been behind all of that had happened. Of course that was just ridiculous thinking.  She didn’t know what was true or what wasn’t and after the past couple weeks, she didn’t really care. Caer did not trust easily before, it usually took an act of Ashla herself to get the woman to trust people- took her years to fully trust Neirov.

Yes, she had trusted Tom blindly. She hadn’t lied to the man at all when she’d told him that she had felt like she’d been nudged by the Force to speak with him all those months ago on Carrick Station.  Maybe it was his easy smile or perhaps the fact his aura was so clear and clean that had spurred her. Maybe it was the fact he was talking to a group of other people and she had a moment of weakness and wanted to be in on a conversation too, but she had approached. She had started talking and from there that friendship had grown.  Grown to the point that she felt him in her mind constantly, trusted him enough to go all the way to Dantooine with him and meet his friends.  It’d been one of the most fun and unique times of her life.  It was also the farthest she had ever been away from her brother.

The work had been hard, the days spent helping Toms friends work on their farm.  The evenings spent exploring with Tom and talking for hours about anything and everything. Caer had even tolerated some of the children who didn’t understand what Miraluka were and had attempted to assist her in everything (Raiy would have been impressed) and even tried to help her out by walking along with her and pointing out things she could trip over. Caer had done a very good job with assisting the workers in planting and had been very well behaved.  She’d been almost reluctant to return back home when the time had come.  Tom and her had gotten closer in their friendship and bond, no nightmares to speak of the entire time she was there.

No, the nightmares had returned when she’d come back to her ship; though she did well to keep them under wraps. That wasn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. Some nights she woke up drenched in sweat and shaking from the dreams that plagued her. Other nights she was unable to move, feeling like she couldn’t breathe and it took sheer will to rouse herself out of the night terrors, gasping for air as if invisible hands had tried to strangle her in her sleep.  Dreams of losing her brother, dreams of Neirov falling to the Dark Side, the recurring dreams of her ordeal with Kruvens sister. Or a combination of all those. It left her feeling unbalanced and shaken.  None felt like premonitions though, so she was at least grateful for that much.

Caer made it back to her room and crawled up onto the bed. She sighed heavily and then sat up as she heard a little scrabbling sound and then a dismayed peeping sound at the floor next to her. Leaning over she arched her brows and ‘stared’ at the orokeet with a bemused smile. “Okay you can sleep in here tonight, but you poop in the bed? I’m breaking off the relationship and you’re tomorrows dinner. Got me?”

The bird cocked its head to one side, staring at her with one giant eyeball and then made a meep sound s if it agreed to the terms. She chuckled and patted the bird on the head.  “I mean it.”

Curling up, she felt the bird wander in circles on the extra pillow for a few moments before nestling down and tucking his beak under his wing. Caer let herself fall into the lull of sleep. Silently hoping for a nightmare free sleep tonight.


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