Your promises, they look like lies.

Your honesty, like a back that hides a knife (knife)
I promise you (promise you)
I promise you (promise you)
And I am finally free

Run away, run away, I’ll attack
Run away, run away, go chase yourself
Run away, run away, now I’ll attack
I’ll attack, I’ll attack, I will attack

Caers boot-heels clicked against the permacrete as she made her way back to the ship. She was aware of her surroundings, no matter how fuzzy they may appear. Yes, she was rather drunk and was working on purging the alcohol that coursed through her via the Force, however it was not an instantaneous sort of deal. It took time to purge anything from ones system.

Her mind was on the events of tonight. The fight night had been successful for Nia or so she had thought. Enough people were there at the fights and she saw that the heavy was furious and heavy. Enough Sith had been there to make her inner Jedi want to throw up and then bathe in it- it would have made her feel cleaner.  Kyic had been there and as an added bonus Kruven. Thankfully Kruven had the brains to stay away from her.

Kyic on the other hand…

Her hand curled around the hilt of her saber and she had to pause in her steps to imagine the idea of just killing him once and for all. Was it wrong to think that way? Yes, it was. But it was also wrong to leave a dangerous animal roaming free to do as it pleased after knowing it was a dangerous animal.

The way he had approached them had set her instantly on her guard though for all outward appearances she appeared happy to see him, her humour masking the fact that she was fairly on edge and just waiting for him to lash out at the two of them and Neirov.

Caer inhaled slowly and then held it for a few seconds before exhaling slowly. The man had been cordial. Too cordial and the fact he had not made any barbs or acidic comments towards her or Raiyden had not bode well for either of them. In fact he’d been too civil. Far too civil for a Sith and one that when they had parted last time had been under open threats.

No, this reeked of wrong.

Especially when he had taken up the offer to speak to Raiyden privately and without any hint of animosity, a month after the request had been made.  Raiyden of course had readily accepted the invitation and Caer had to curb the urge not to bash her brother between the eye sockets for not seeing it for the trap it obviously was.  Even Neirov had been nervous about the whole exchange but there’d been little to do about it because of it being such an open and neutral venue in which they’d been surrounded by Sith.

The night had gone from slightly paranoid to extremely when she had stopped by the Slopes to celebrate and had ran into Dyme, Lyka and the Chiss agent she still wasn’t sure she’d ever caught the womans name.  Raiy and Neirov had opted to celebrate as well.

She’d ran into Kyic again when she’d returned from changing from heavy robes to a lighter and more free flowing outfit. Somehow he’d managed to hear her talk about the fact she liked to dance.

Caer could hear the exchange inside her head even as she rounded the corner and waited for a air-taxi to take her to the shuttles that would take her to her ship.

“I heard you liked to dance.” The Siths voice was cordial enough, though it carried with it only a hint of challenge. As if daring the Miraluka to take it anything other than an innocent question.

Caer had played the game. She’d played it well enough answering flippantly that she did enjoy dancing, laughing off the tension that coiled up in her belly. “A fighter should know how to dance, after all isn’t combat a dance?”

Their conversation had continued along the same vein for some while, him making a remark about perhaps wanting to dance with her, though both knew that they were indeed dancing another type of dance. Wary words meant wary steps. Ones they might have performed in the political arena had the Voss project flourished.

The massive Zabrak had stared down at her, commenting on how they would likely dance very soon.

Caer had done her best not to look alarmed. Something about the comment, something about the way he’d spoken it had set her on edge. It had screamed something was extremely wrong with this whole thing and Caer had excused herself as quickly and as politely as she could.

They would fight, Caer sensed it and he had warned her. He had warned her the only way the Sith knew how and she would heed that warning.

Sighing heavily she leaned back in the seat of the shuttle and waited for it to launch. Resting her head on the back of the seat. It was late enough that not many others were on.

Her thoughts turned to Nia and she had to feel genuinely sorry for the woman. She’d gotten in over her head like Raiy said she had and while Caer kind of felt it was not their business to do anything about it, she could sympathize with the Zabrak woman. Caer had noticed how tired she had appeared and when Caer had witnessed Kyic and the one named Dhen nearly go toe to toe (her bet had been on Kyic..really. ) only to watch Nia walk away from them both, she knew something had been horridly wrong.

It was only when she’d caught up with the woman and hugged her, did she sense the roiling tension in the tiny compact body and the emotional distress she was barely hiding. Caer had offered to talk and she wasn’t sure if the woman would take her up on it.  It had alarmed her that Nia had made the comment to kill her and it had scared her more than some part of the woman really meant it.

Caer felt protective of the woman for some reason and it made her want to find the source of this pain this woman was feeling and destroy it.

Shaking her head she rubbed her face and ignored the stares of the other passengers as she gave a short grunt of pain as the first stirrings of a pounding headache were coming on.

What she really wanted was a warm bed, a warmer body in that bed to curl up next to and to pass out for a few hours. She’d contact Nia when she was more sober and then speak to Raiyden about what Kyic had said. Caer felt it was at least important enough to mention to Raiy what had transpired between her and the Sith.

But for now she had to get back to her ship and get her head together.

Lost in the Echo

Caer paced back and forth, trying to catch her breath and sort her thoughts out.  She ran a hand through her messy hair and heaved a heavy sigh.

Why was she always the one to see the obvious? She was the supposedly the sightless one. Why didn’t they see the fact that a pureblood was sitting right there trying to undermine everything they’d worked for? Just like Drayviakki?!  The thing sitting at Raiydens table was a Pureblood Sith.

Purebloods simply were not ‘good’ or ‘light’. There was no such thing to the demonic looking beasts. The dark side pulsed in the man and she could see that he had an extreme control over it, a very firm grip on the darkness that moved through him like currents in a river.

Yes, they would be calm, collected and even friendly, but there was never kindness in a Pureblood. Never a moment when they weren’t considering the idea of destroying everything you loved.  Just like with Kruvens sister or worse yet, Kruven himself.

She fairly snarled as she recalled the name and that night, turning on her heel hard enough to create a divot in the dirt. Caer continued to pace, trying to calm her shattered nerves.  Kruven hadn’t wanted help or salvation, he wanted nothing more than to have something to boast, to claim that he did what no other could do and that was weedle his way through Caers already broken defenses.

The sight of the Pureblood at Raiydens table had unnerved her in a way that she hadn’t expected. It was startling how when she saw his eyes, the way he sat with a nervous smile on his face that she was completely thrown off by the harmless looking red-skinned man sitting there as if he belonged.

He hadn’t. In any capacity other than maybe under her boot-heel and gagging out some sort of pleading for his life. But she’d been stopped, by all of them. She felt like she just was swimming up a powerful stream.  Caer hated the fact it felt like she had to fight her brother on this, but wasn’t it for his own good?

How soon would it be before she’d be hunting this one down too?  Tearing him apart for hurting them, for hurting Raiy?

She didn’t trust easily. He trusted too easily.

Maybe she wasn’t fit for leadership. Caer had often wondered that in the past, but as of late she had wondered it more and more. Maybe she was leading them down these paths.

Ever since Voss…

Sighing she shook her head and slid down the wall to land on her butt, resting her head on her knees. She just wanted to escape for a bit.

She felt so trapped.

Exhaling she finally gave in to the emotions and let herself be helplessly angry for a while. There was no harm in that. She would deal with the Pureblood later.

Can’t walk away from who you are, never give in.

In the shadows it awakes the desire
But you know that you can’t realize
And the pressure will just keep rising
Now the heat is on

Muscled legs were taught underneath the armored leggings, the muscles twitching and jumping, as if anticipating the exercise they were about to get. Toes curled in their protective shoes as if trying to grip the dirt that they rested on top of, the only thing stopping her was the thick soles that gripped on their own.

Her fingers flexed and gripped the two handed light saber she favored, the cylinder that housed the crystals Neirov had so lovingly made for her hummed with the recognition of a song she could sing in her sleep. Her and Raiydens song.  It hummed through the very metal of the saber and through her arms, deep into her very being.

The rest of her body shivered with the anticipation of what was going to come. She was surrounded by the darkness, both in literal and the Force. Her sheer will drove back those little fingers of dark, that threatened to tease her skin, worming its way through her armor to touch the small of her back, her sides and breasts. Teasing and tantalizing, threatening to go further if necessary just to make her turn her head in its direction. The darkness caressed her, whispered in her ear, the voice sounding so familiar yet not. Sliding those tendril like fingers along her thighs and over her hips.  Her shivers became trembling, but she maintained her focus.

It’s too late, there is no way around it
You will see for yourself many times
In the end you will give up the fight
It’s inescapable

‘Cause you’re losing your mind 
and you’re sleeping with wide open eyes

Where is the edge
Of your darkest emotions?
Why does it all survive?
Where is the light
Of your deepest devotions?
I pray that it’s still alive

He was there in the darkness. She sensed the swelling of the dark side coming from him and just beyond that was the light in the darkness she had sought. The reflection to her soul. The mirror.

She had her target.

She tore away from those tendrils, even as they chased after her and sought to drag her down and pull her back, the finger like appendages brushing her skin as she ran.  She could sense the pain her mirror was in, how much they suffered at the hands of the shadows, fighting the barbs and the nettles that tore at his very being.  His silence rang out louder than any scream through a mountainside.  He suffered and she suffered with him.

The darkness stirred feelings in her, feelings she wasn’t sure she welcomed but accepted them all the same. They fueled her, they gave her what she needed to face what was coming.

Her mirror was surrounded by the darkness,  being assaulted by it in ways she didn’t want to imagine.  He was using it against her mirror and she disliked the way it felt, disliked how it made her shiver and shudder how it made her steps falter.

She was close.

Her mirror lay just ahead and Caer pushed aside the tendrils of darkness that threatened to consume her body and soul. Her willfulness pushed aside those tendrils, the light inside of her bending them, twisting them back,  pushing them aside so that she could reach the mirror of her soul.

It’s the rule that you live by and die for
It’s the one thing you can’t deny
Even though you don’t know what the price is
It is justified

So much more that you’ve got left to fight for
But it still doesn’t change who you are
There is no fear you’ll ever give in to
You’re untouchable.

Her saber ignited, the light it gave off was a pale purple color and that was when she saw the source of all the darkness, the very core of the tendrils.

The Human males skin was nearly dark enough to blend in with the shadows he controlled. His bright yellow eyes- once green she recalled warped by the Dark side roamed her body and then up to meet her face.  The mans bright white teeth seemed to impossibly shine in the dark.

Drayviakki.

His voice, soft and soothing, like a balm over a nasty burn whispered all around her. “So glad you came Caer. So very, very glad you arrived just in time to see what I have long wanted to show you.”

Drays hand reached for hers even as the other one, parted the darkness and smiled warmly at her. The kind of smile one would imagine a snake having just before it devoured a baby bird.

Raiyden. Her brother, her Mirror.

He hung before her, the shadows twisting and writhing over his body in such a perverse manner it made her want to retch. The way the shadows touched him made her anger rise, spiraling up through her very being like a geyser.  His body at the mercy of the shadows and at the mercy of Drayviakki.  His lips parted in an open scream that he only seemed capable of hearing.

You can’t stop yourself
Don’t want to feel
Don’t want to see what you’ve become

You can’t walk away
From who you are
Never give in

Where is the edge
Of your darkest emotions?
Why does it all survive?
Where is the light
Of your deepest devotions?
I pray that it’s still alive.

The rage and hatred boiled over and Caer felt herself moving, as if flying towards Drayviakki, the mans eyes widening as she seemed to be there in a blink of an eye. She cut at him, her saber swinging for the man, driving him back. The shadows screamed and undulated around her, trying to pull her off of the Human who had dared hurt her brother.

Her own screams of rage mingled with the shadows and she felt her self slip. The floor seeming to tilt without warning, the woman driven to her knees.

Dray observed as he stood near Raiyden, grinning as he strode over, looking down at the kneeling Miraluka. His hand reached out to touch the white hair that adorned her head, sliding a hand over her cheek and to tilt her chin up, forcing her to look at him.

“You fell, my dear Caer. You fell.” His voice crooned.

Caer ‘looked’ into the mans very being and gave him a weakened smile, the darkness curling up around her like a shroud.  Heart hammering in her chest she gave him a bigger grin.

The look of shock on Drays face as three sabers pierced his chest at the very heart of him. His eyes rolled in his head and Caer got to her feet slowly.  Her saber flicking off.

“I did, Dray.  I did.” She looked to those who were with her. Tomuraan to Drays right, Neirov to the left and Raiyden in the middle, his form practically hidden by Drays. Until the Human fell to his knees. The grim look of  determination on her brothers face as they all turned to stare at her.

“I fell so they didn’t have to.”

Caer slept.

We knew the world would not be the same.

Caer didn’t even know where to begin with sorting out her thoughts.  They felt like a jumble up mess inside her head as she lay next to Tom, feeling emotionally, mentally and physically drained.

The past week had been one ordeal after another, first her apology to Niatara. She felt it had ended on a positive note, and though she was uncertain if the woman had genuinely forgiven her, at least Caer had gotten it off her chest that things had not gone well.  That at least had been a highlight to her week and one she could count as a good thing among the slew of bad that had happened and could still potentially happen.

Then there was the talk with Kruven. The man had confused her, intrigued her and worst of all made her actually want to help him. Why was beyond her, other than she recognized that he was as screwed as she was, if not more. It had taken some convincing the others to agree to meet with him at their usual meeting spot. They had spoken to him, Tom, Neirov and Raiy asking their questions, Dalken there as back up or emotional support. Though she had no idea really why he’d been there.  The talk had gone well and she was proud of her group for doing so well. They had parted, the Sith saying he still had much to think about before departing.

At least she’d not seen hide or Lekku of the Twi’lek Zuri-nova. Caer had been furious with the woman after the Twi’lek had accused her of sounding like a slave owner. The context had made no sense to Caer or to Dyme who had been just as confused as Caer. There had been no conversation about slaves or owning slaves and the woman to who Caer had been speaking to obviously was not a slaver either. They had been talking civilly about the idiocy of the galaxy when Zuri had spewed her outburst and then promptly clammed up.

It had angered Caer enough for her to walk off and when Zuri had attempted to apologize, Caer had told her she didn’t want to hear it; and Caer hadn’t. She had a particular idea about slavers and slavery in general and most of it was that she and her brother had spent most of their lives fighting to keep people free from the tyranny of the Empire and here the Twi’leks went out of their way to fling themselves into that ideal without a second thought. If there was one thing Caer did not stand for was willful idiocy. Zuri had sputtered some sort of apology and had clicked off her comm.

Caer hadn’t heard from her since.

Not that Caer hadn’t been too busy with things of her own, she had been busy reconnecting with Neirov and Raiyden,  talking to Dyme, Toms sister as well as spending as much time as she could with Tomuraan. And why not? He was brilliant, funny and a steady wealth of patience and tolerance. She sometimes found herself awed by how he relied so much on his masters teachings to guide him.  She also realized just how he made her feel insecure sometimes. Caer realized he would never do so purposely, or that he’d go out of his way to do so; in fact she knew he’d be disappointed that she felt that way. Caer always knew she was the brawn of the group, never the brains. Sure she could whip out a good tactic when it came to attacking, but Raiyden was the one who fed her the information on which to formulate her plan of attack.  But Caer had often found herself laying awake at night wondering what it was that Tom saw in her.

That would be that self doubt talking. She knew it and she did her best to keep it under control. Sometimes like now, it got to her.

It had been a rough couple of days, some things she didn’t want to remember and purposefully blocked from her mind. It was with the pure sheer will of her survival instinct that she’d refused to recall what had happened to her brother and to her during her imprisonment of her and her brothers mind. Playing host to Drayviakki’s mental assaults and the attempt to twist and turn them against one another. The worst of it being that Dray had wanted to turn Raiyden against her, to use his knowledge of the force for his own gain.  What Raiyden had learned from his decades of study of the sentient body as not only a mind healer, but as a physical healer. He had tried to use Caer against Raiyden and even now Caer wondering if her brother had been as close to cracking and giving in as she had been.

Again she had failed him and again he would have to clean up the mess. It made her feel guilty and even as she turned over to try and sleep, the guilt gnawed at her. Dray had used her against Raiyden. Caer felt bad that she’d fallen into the trap and had caused her brother so much pain and anguish.

She’d do better, she’d fix this mess one way or another. Even if it meant going to Dromund Kaas and hunting down Drayviakki an his Master herself.

Sleep claimed her, too mentally exhausted for sleep, she slept dreamless.

 

Crack the shutters open wide.

Crack the shutters open wide
I wanna bathe you in the light of day
And just watch you as the rays
Tangle up around your face and body

I could sit for hours
Finding new ways to be awed each minute
‘Cause the daylight seems to want you
Just as much as I want you.

The blankets were warm and the room felt comfortable, the bed felt far too welcoming for her to even want to get out of it any time soon.  She was snuggled against an even warmer body, feeling entirely too content to remain there until someone either ousted her from her spot, or the other form in the bed decided it was time to move for the day.

Instead she thought about the past couple days and just how things had lead up to this morning.

Her talks with Tom both verbal and mental had revealed their attraction both mental and physical. How could they not? It was so easy to see why Caer felt so deeply towards the Mirialan. He had given her a new perspective and he had helped bring her back from that brink of pain and darkness that had almost consumed her. Tom had given her a chance to really comprehend that she’d been through the fire of her ordeal and that now was the time for healing. She still had so far to go and she knew this. She still felt insecure in many things and it was a constant struggle for her not to blame herself for everything that happened. But he’d been there, encouraging and willing to be there for her.  Of course nature had taken its course and even afterwards she had been happy things had gone the way they did; she’d felt no pressure and he’d been very attentive to everything. There were absolutely no regrets.

It’s been minutes, it’s been days
It’s been all I will remember
Happy lost in your hair
And the cold side of the pillow

Your hills and valleys
Are mapped by my intrepid fingers
And in a naked slumber
I dream all this again

She curled up in the blankets and kept her vision to a minimum. She didn’t want to face the world yet, she was too content to just lay there and not say or do anything.  She recalled all the conversations they had, everything from their first meeting to their talks in quiet out of the way places on Nar Shaddaa. Even then he had reached out to her, comforted her or even laughed with her. Sharing special quiet moments.  Her favorite memories being those of when he’d come all the way to Voss to just say hello, talk to her or just help her relax by giving her some badly needed advice or an ear to listen to.

However, the memory she cherished the most was the trip to Dantooine. Several days of unwinding, exploring the hill sides and the back breaking farm work as she helped his friends get things in order for their farm. She recalled sitting in the camp site telling him that she enjoyed dancing in the rain. An admission she wasn’t sure she’d told anyone, not even her brother.

Smiling she allowed herself access to the force, watching the Mirialan next to her sleep.  She couldn’t help but smirk at the fact that while the man slept his hair didn’t seem to look mussy or out of place as to where she knew hers was always in a perpetual state of disarray. Chuckling to herself, she watched him sleep until he woke up, starting the day together.  They both had to be at Neirovs hearing in just a few short hours and both had so much to prepare for it.

Caer had a good feeling, keeping hope that Neirov would be alright, that his judgment would go well. She had to, there was no other way. She would be damned if she’d allow them to break up her family.


Crack the shutters open wide
I wanna bathe you in the light of day
And just watch you as the rays
Tangle up around your face and body

I could sit for hours
Finding new ways to be awed each minute
‘Cause the daylight seems to want you
Just as much as I want you

No song thanks, just brain bleach- or maybe a cold shower.

Caer ‘stared’ blankly at the window, not really seeing what was out there. She was still trying to absorb what the day had thrown her plus the dream that had topped it all off.  The dream that left her wide awake and shivering in a cold sweat. She had done her best not to wake up Tom and was relieved to find that he’d already gotten up for the morning and was out doing whatever it was he did in the mornings before meeting up with her.

She held a cup of rapidly cooling caf in her hands , not even really sipping it.  Caer didn’t seem to really see what was in front of her or pay much attention to her surroundings.  She placed her hand on the table, shivering a bit as she tried to shake off the dream that had plagued her in the night.

At least it wasn’t her usual set of nightmares that most times recycled a host of people she cared about being offed in grotesque and horrific ways, usually starring somebody from her past who she’d either killed or the worst ones were where she was the one doing the killing of the loved ones.  Those were always the ones where she woke up with her teeth grinding hard enough to cause her jaw and neck to ache, biting back bile and the hearty urge to scream. Most times it worked, there were a few times she had screamed loud enough for Raiyden and Neirov to come running.

This dream had been different. This dream had been far scarier than anything her mind could have conjured and she knew that the force had interfered.

But why?

Why dream that, and worse of all why dream of him?

She could hear her second Masters voice in her head and sighed. “The force works in mysterious ways, Caer. Just as the force brought your brother and you to me, it also gives us messages and hidden meanings int he forms of dreams that can sometimes come as visions.” The Nautolans huge black eyes stared at her patiently a hint of a smirk on his lips. 

Caer had just wrinkled her nose and rolled her shoulders.  Raiyden had nodded and hung onto his every word.

Shaking her head, Caer set the mug of caf down and drew her knees to her chest. She was wearing an actual outfit today, though she had to fight the urge to slap on the armor after that particular dream. Even now her cheeks threatened to burn with blush and she quickly picked up her cup of caf and drank it, burning her tongue and throat as she downed it without really bothering to realize it was still hot.

Why dream of him? Why dream that? Especially that with him?

What had the Pureblood done during their brief meeting in which they both admitting having to escape watchful eyes to even have a conversation?  Caer had slipped out under the guise of another mission and had spoken with the Pureblood on Alderaan;  their conversation had been somewhat intense, but in the sense that the subject matter had been very serious.

The dream had been strange, sexually charged and it was one that brought shame to flood through her face, neck and shoulders. She poured herself another cup of caf- she really didn’t like caf- and started to drink it down.

The dream had started out with confusion, inside a chamber that held opulence that only a Sith could pull off. A room of rich wall tapestries, low lighting and the Dark side written all over it. She had tried to move and of course she’d found herself tied down. If she’d possessed the ability, she’d have rolled her eyes, instead she thumped her head on the table she found herself tied to.

It’s just a dream, she told herself; a very weird and  force laden dream. She could see the force both light and dark permeating through the fabric of the dream.

The Pureblood  had come into the room and he had only worn whatever gods he worshipped had graced him with at birth. Or did Purebloods hatch? Caer couldn’t remember.  Not that it really mattered because well there was a nearly naked Pureblood Sith staring at her and she was tied to a table.

Well, she thought, this dreams going South fast.

However, Caer had assumed torture. The typical horrible type that usually involved force lightning, punching and mental torment.  This dream couldn’t have been farther from that.  No, it’d gone much further than even her limited imagination could come up with.

The Pureblood had teased her, both verbally and physically, his hand trailing up her side. He’d told her she’d looked …what was the word he’d used? Delicious. It had made her shudder. As to whether or not that’d been a good thing or not she still couldn’t figure that out.

Of course she’d protested. Hadn’t she? She remembered protesting as things had progressed in a direction that she’d been helpless to stop, she had adamantly stated she had someone- her words going ignored. Intimacy of the level beyond her experience, the feel of his skin against her own had left her feeling dizzied.

She had asked if this was his dream or hers. Neither one of them could figure it out.

After… what had happened, happened (Caer found herself drinking more caf- really the stuff was awful) the Pureblood had spoken to her.  She remembered the conversation, how it turned out and even as she faded from the dream, she heard their conversation. She had told the pureblood flat out that she loved someone else and nothing would ever change that.

“I dont’ feel love right now, my dear.”

“Of course not. You’re a Sith. … Sith don’t feel such compassions. Only lust…” She had paused. . “I’d never love you anyways.”

“Why is that? Let me guess, because I’m Sith.” He had teased her, grinning at her expression. “You’re wrong, dear. I do feel love. I loved once.”

“Well nobody ever said you’re stupid.” Her tone had meant to come out caustic but really it just sounded flat.

A long silence had ensued, until she’d finally asked, “Why..?”

The Pureblood had held her close and she’d done nothing to stop it. “I think that would be quite obvious, Caer.  A Master like you can’t feel?”

“Is this your strange way of telling me you want something?” It was the only thing that came to mind as she tried to pull away from his touch.

“Indeed, I enjoy your company…a lot.” The slender Pureblood seemed a bit discomfited by the way the woman pressed him, as if wanting to say what was on his mind.

“I told you I’m with someone.” She frowned.

“With someone?” He had stared at her intently. “Are you saying it could never be then?  I thought I felt something….”

“No. Kruven.” She had clenched her jaw, this dream was so odd and some part of her hated it. “You’re a Sith, I’m… a seeker of light.. you think we could have anything?”

The waking world called to her and she only dimly heard his words, see him as he hung his head, whispering, “It…could have something…”

Caer shook herself out of her thoughts and sighed heavily, rubbing her face and rolling her shoulders as she tried to ease the tension that was slowly building up in her shoulders.  She had thought about it, long and with great care.

Was he asking her for help? In his own weird Sith like way? Caer knew that sometimes Sith could do odd things, deliver strange messages. She had seen him just no more than twenty four hours previous.

Something about the way he’d acted, the way he’d spoken to her. It didn’t sit right with the typical divide and conquer type Sith. Not the way Kyic was; that guy made her skin crawl. Kruven had always been a civil and polite Pureblood- (then again Caer had noticed the difference between Zabraks and other species. Zabraks had all the manners of rancors.) Purebloods were generally two types, boorish brain mashers or civilized polite beings who actually could string together more than a few words and have make sense.

That had to be it; it was the only way for this dream to have transpired. He was asking her for some way to help him. He was as much of a political prisoner if not worse off than she was. Dromund Kaas and the Sith in general did not take failure lightly.

Now she felt obligated to help him. Well, no that wasn’t fair at all. She felt the need and desire to help him. The way he’d hung his head, how he had thought… shaking the feeling off she chewed on her lip thoughtfully. She’d help him, however she could if that was what he really wanted.

Sighing heavily, she pushed herself away from the table to face the day. She would have to face her brother, who she knew would likely question her if he felt the ripples of the emotions through the bond they shared. Chances were Tom would feel it too and she fairly dreaded even talking to either of them about it.

Well she’d either help the man, or bash him over the head until he couldn’t do more than twitch and drink his food through a straw for the rest of his life.

To get a dream of life again

Caer rested in the comfortable bed, her arm draped over the edge, the other wedged underneath her, her elbow bent so that she could rest her hand over Tomuraans hand that was draped over her side.  She had woken in the middle of the night from a startling vivid dream.

No, that wasn’t accurate. It was more of a recent memory than a dream; though thankfully not one of her usual nightmares.  She had Tom to thank for that, at least she didn’t have to worry too much about having the horrid nightmares when she was in the same room with someone.

No, the afternoon was not a dream at all. She had been asked to meet with someone who knew Kruven. She had not told anyone her true destination as she had headed to Voss, simply telling everyone she was on a mission. She had met with the people in question, though on edge and sensing a trap.

I was looking for a breath of life
For a little touch of heavenly light
But all the choirs in my head say, no oh oh

They had asked her about her ordeal. They had asked for details and she had given them. Some part of her wondering just why. She had endured the questioning, endured the rehashing of memories. The woman who had questioned her had thanked her and had said that Kruven was as much a victim as she. That Zaydia, his sister had tried to destroy them both through various means.

For some reason that had angered Caer. Kruven had been as much of a scapegoat as she had. Except Kruven had the Sith on his side. They had launched an investigation to save not only his ass, but hers.

And here the Republic had been more than happy to point the finger at her and say “it’s her fault!”   They had been more than willing to make sure everyone knew that she had been the one to fail, the one to take the blame, placing squarely on her shoulders. Somewhere Caer had begun to wonder if that was when she’d started to crack.

To get a dream of life again
A little vision of the sight at the end
But all the choirs in my head say, no oh oh

It had been a moment of uncertainty that she had volunteered to go with them to Tatooine. Back to that place where she’d been found. She had volunteered and told them she’d go, she wanted to find Zaydia as much as they did. Not to redeem her.

To destroy her.  To completely and utterly render Darth Tormentia as helpless, hurt and scared as Caer had been. There would be no turning her over to the Jedi council. There would be no attempts at turning the woman to the light, she was beyond that, Caer was beyond the thought that redemption worked with most a

Who’s side am I on? Who’s side am I?
Who’s side am I on? Who’s side am I?
Who’s side am I on? Who’s side am I?

And the feel of it rushes through me
From my heart down to my legs
But the room is so quiet, oh oh oh

The trip to Tatooine had been one of complete secrecy. She had shown Vayle and Nicodemus the location where he’d been found, a wreckage of flesh and bone;  they had found a holocron- of course the witch wouldn’t be there. One in which Darth Tormentia had appeared. To mock them of course.  To mock her. She had kept herself together well, had learned a very important thing.

Nia hadn’t been involved.

The thought had both shamed and elated her. The thought that the person she had wanted to blame, the woman who was genuinely innocent in all of that mess had been telling the truth. It had made her feel both ashamed and relieved that the woman had not truly been involved, the doubt warring with the logic was finally over and she could believe once and for all that the Zabrak woman was innocent. At least in that.

All in all Caer had done well, her afternoon had been spent on Tatooine with nine Sith. One of who she’d needed to threaten only once, some inconsequential child who seemed bent on wrecking the mission by being hostile. The other Sith had even grown agitated at the childs antics.

And although I wasn’t losing my mind
It was a call that was so sublime
But the room is so quiet, oh oh oh

It was only Zaydias words that kept Caer riveted to the scene. Ignoring the baking heat of the twin suns, the Darkness that surrounded her like a blanket, threatening to welcome her, make her feel safe and secure and then suffocate her like an helpless infant.  Caer had listened to the taunts, to the woman’s poisoned words and felt her anger, her agitation grow and she realized that the Dark side was trying to worm its way through her.

Who’s side am I on? Who’s side am I?
Who’s side am I on? Who’s side am I?
Who’s side am I on? Who’s side am I?

It’s a harder way
And it’s come to claim her
And I always say
We should be together
I can see below
‘Cause there’s something in here
And if you are gone
I will not belong here 

Caer thought of Tomuraan- the way he’d handle this situation. She focused her thoughts on the Mirialan as she stood there, listening to the two Sith speak, listening to the holo of Zaydia talk about how she enjoyed hearing Caer scream, how she would not make things easy. Of course not, why would that ever happen? Caer had wondered if there was actually real information to be had on the holo. However, the Sith with her had taken the holo, for their own purposes.

It had been with some disappointment she had left, leaving the Sith behind and heading back to Tomuraans ship.  He’d found hr there, meditating and had joined her. They had slipped into their bond, their little place inside the force where they could talk, see each other for what they really were.  That safety of their minds intertwining, matching and sharing their thoughts, ideas, and worries through the force was something that Caer always looked forward to. It gave her a sense of balance.  She felt like she was okay inside that place again, that there was nothing there that could hurt her.

Nothing could. Tom would never allow that to happen and while she was mentally weak with the force, she knew that inside there, inside that special world nothing could happen.  Tom had opened up to her in ways she had not expected him to. Revealing his own fears, his own doubts and in some huge way, it had made her realize, Tomuraan was just as  vulnerable as anyone else. He was just as mortal and had those fears and the thought of being that lost kid who didn’t have any idea what to do anymore than she or Raiyden or even Neirov did.

It made her love him more for it.

Yes, she admitted she loved him. Perhaps not on some deeply emotional profound and life altering level that the stupid romance holos always wanted to tout, but it was there.  She had realized her feelings for him the night after her and Raiydens fight. He had admitted he loved her, had for a while, but she had been unsure. Her mind had been so chaotic when he’d said that she’d had no idea how to react. He’d understood though, and that had made her realize that yes, she did care for him, deeply. He had put no pressure on her, he had made his emotions plain to her and she had balked a bit. He accepted that.

He knew she needed time and accepted that.

Their meditations however had changed everything. The opening up, the talking, the admissions of feelings and curiosities. Tom and Caer had spoken for hours, then he’d kissed her.  The kiss had sparked emotions, feelings and thoughts in her that had shaken her, but in a good way.  Caer had tried to reciprocate that, but her efforts were clumsy at best. Some part of her had been amused by that.

They’d talked for a bit more, deciding that perhaps sleep was in order; she had agreed. One more kiss and they had curled up, that physical contact doing more for her than anything. Just the fact that someone was there by her side, and had faith in her was enough for her to sleep a dreamless sleep. The taste of his kiss still on her lips.

And I started to hear it again 
But this time it wasn’t the end 
And the room was so quiet, oh 
And my heart is a alive again

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head.

The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though i still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out

Numb. That’s all she really felt, both inside and out. There was nothing right now that she felt as Tomuraan had coaxed her to his ship, got her out of the wet armoring and into a fresh set of borrowed clothing that was slightly too big for her. The Mirialan being a perfect gentleman, making sure she was comfortable and not pushed any further than she’d already been pushed today.

He’d coaxed some water and a bit of food into her before setting her to bed, his words inside her mind gentle and assuring. Everything about him was gentle and assuring and sometimes it confused her how he could be so placid in the maelstrom of her mind.

Now she lay in the bed, the Mirialan next to her sleeping, but lightly in case she needed anything. She sensed that if she were to move, he would wake. So she lay there, her cheek resting against a pillow, her hands curled to her chest, the eyeless face ‘staring’ into the darkness. Caer felt the strong arm around her side and she took comfort that in the darkness there was an anchor.

Caer had calmed down considerably, her rage and anger subsiding. They were still there, deep down, buried under the bodies mental and physical weariness.

All of this because of Raiyden. All of the rage and anger, the hurt and the sense of betrayal.  All she had wanted him to do was see the idiocy of his attempt to reach out and appeal to Niataras sense of compassion. As far as Caer had ever seen of the woman, she had absolutely no compassion. What little she knew of the woman (and admittedly it was very little) the woman had no sense of compassion.  She had only heard the one side of the conversation, had heard the name and had drawn her own conclusions.

As had everyone else around her that had over heard the conversation.

Caer hadn’t even had a chance to ask anything before Raiyden had seen the looks on her face and had told her not to even ask, that he wasn’t going to fight with her about it.  Things had progressed from bad to worse steadily from there, the two exhcanging words while Neirov and Tomuraan did their best to do damage control.

It hadn’t worked.

I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing
With a broken heart that’s still beating
In the pain, there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on
I’m barely holdin’ on to you.

She had pointed out the idiocy of his actions or attempted actions, and he had claimed that he had no intention of meeting with anyone. Raiy had been very vague in that regard as to who he was meeting with. Everyone had just assumed Niatara. He’d not made any comment as to what his reasoning was or why, immediately jumping to the defensive. Caer had been all over that like a Gurrek on a hapless victim.

Raiyden had tried to walk away from it, thinking himself the victor of the spat; Caer had other plans. She had launched at him after chasing him down, plowing into him so hard that they both tumbled into the small creek that ran by the Padawan training grounds. The various people stopping and staring, catching the negative currents that ran around the twins like so much electricity. They had not interfered though, noticing Tom and Neirov being there.

Neirov had been the one to pull Caer off of Raiyden, if not Caer might have drowned the man. She didn’t want to think about it. Tom had helped Raiyden to his feet and had attempted to smooth things over, trying to pull them apart enough to cool down.  Neither one of them were having that.

“You! You don’t even trust your own flesh and blood!”  Raiys voice echoed in her ears even now.

“And you want to throw yourself into a situation you had no control over! You wanted to do what, exactly? Huh? Pander to someone who you can’t pander to?! For who? For what purpose? Some sense of being right?”  Caers voice had cracked, sounding far too emotion filled for her liking.

Tom had tried extremely hard to calm them, to help them come to terms with exactly what they were feeling. Fear. Fear of losing each other, fear of losing what they all have. The fear of being replaced, the terror of thinking the next betrayal would come from within. Raiy and Caer were past that, past the wise words, past the calm and collected conversation that should be taking place. The twins were only focused on one thing and that was to see who could hurt who the most.

Even as she lay in the darkness of the ship and in the safety of the bed, her heart ached at the words that had been exchanged next.

“You were going to throw your life away for someone who’ s only goal in life is to see how many people they can hurt!” Caer’s words were spat out, even as she struggled against Neirov who held her with a vice like grip, pinning her arms to her sides.

Raiyden had leapt upon the chance to tear into her with everything he had, standing there in soaking robes in the middle of the creek he laid into her with the most hurtful things he could possibly conjure. “She deserves the same chance as anyone else and she has never done any harm to myself so how’s that goal working for you? Do you have something personal against every being I ever deign to call friend? Do you? It certain seems so. You tell me I’m  stupid for risking my life for others, but you forget one important fact my dear sweet sister, I am a healer! By nature! I am meant to aid others. I have the compassion to do so! You can spit your caustic venom and swing your awesome saber bu tin the end I have to clean up the mess you leave behind! Tell me how wrong i am for extending a hand to Niatara? Wrong because YOU don’t trust her somehow means I should do the same. I have done nothing but reach out to you and you have done nothing but slap my hand away! Perhaps you have more in common with Hudgaar recently than you realize!” 

The words had hit her with everything they had intended to and she had immediately gone numb from them. Too stunned, too hurt and too shattered emotionally to even respond. She had turned and ran.  Caer, the woman who had never run from anything in her life not a fight, not a Sith and not even a horde of children. She had bolted and had ran until she’d come upon the cave far up in the hills of Tython. She’d pushed her way through the cave, listening to the dripping of water in distant dark corners. She sensed the Force all around her, swirling and touching her, trying to soothe the aching heart, the raw emotions and the rage that flowed through her. It helped further numb her, like a Novocaine for her soul.

Tomuraan had found her, of course. Through their link in the Force he had sought her out to make sure she was okay. Not Raiyden. Not Neirov. Tomuraan.  Some part of her had not been surprised.  Some part of her had resigned herself to the fact that things would never be the same again.

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I’m an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for a purpose, they’re still looking for life

He had sat there silently for some time, recognizing she needed time to herself. Caer had really just wanted to be alone entirely. But she knew she’d never get him to leave if she wanted him to. It was hard enough to speak as it was, the words would not come to her tongue and the mental connection felt too sullied by her anger and rage to use without it bleeding through.

So he had sat there, the Mirialan not speaking for quite some time. When he had spoken he spoke of the first night they’d talked. Seeing her in the outfit she’d worn, a white one with a bit of a cape that the Jedi always seemed to favor (Caer never understood why, capes were stupid in her not so humble opinion).  He’d been glad to see her, glad to speak with her again and had always looked forward to talking to her since that time. Tom had sighed heavily as he’d realized she didn’t seem to either be listening, or didn’t respond.

I’m hangin’ on another day
Just to see what you throw my way
And I’m hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be OK

“It’s never easy, not seeming to be understood. Feeling like your words are falling on deaf ears. That others don’t realize what you’re trying to tel them. Sometimes people don’t listen to us at first. Or they don’t like what we have to say. Doesn’t mean that they don’t want to, it just means something is keeping them from wanting to admit something. it’s hardest with ones we love because all we want to do is to protect them and keep them safe. Master Tioh once told me, though, that people aren’t things to be put away  in storage. That as much as we might want to, we have to understand they have to walk around too.” He had sighed heavily, though his words were soft, the man obviously trying his best to reach through to her common sense. “Raiyden knows this too he just doesn’t know how to deal wiht it. He’s used ot how things were, where they were a few months ago. Not where they are now. Changes scare people more than anything else in the galaxy.”

Caer had not said a word. There was nothing for her to say; whether he was right or wrong, it didn’t matter at that moment. She was still trying to sort out all the wrong that felt like had happened.

He had opened up his mind to her, that link that they had shared for so long; since her return from her forced vacation. The link opening more and more, until there was nothing left locked away. He touched her mind and he had spoken to her on a far deeper level than previous.

An admission. One that she would keep to herself, cling to it and try to understand. The emotion that had so long been unobtainable, kept on that shelf. Now brought out to be explored, looked over and tested. No, not tested. This emotion wasn’t a test of any sort. It was what it was.  Nothing more or less. She understood that much. Even in her naivete, she comprehended just what he was offering her.

She had accepted that and had offered it in return.

Such a simple yet complex thing. A distraction from the ache she felt, the loss. Even as she fell into the troubled sleep- she knew the nightmares would be fantastic tonight, she still cradled herself into that new feeling that was now beyond a link and more of a bond than previous. She’d hold onto that.

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven’t forgotten my way home

I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing
with a broken heart that’s still beating
In the pain(In the pain) there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I’m holdin’ on I’m holdin’ on I’m holdin’ on
I’m barely holdin’ on to you