In defense of our dreams.

<Personal journal entry of Caer Estherian.>

 

We’re finally off Alpeheridies, and as I write this I can be comfortable in the knowledge that I won’t have to see my family for some time. It’s not that I hate them, it’s that I’m uncomfortable with so many aspects of their lives. I think the things that made me the most uncomfortable was my parents discomfort and inability to do anything about us and their almost over bearing desire to make us feel welcome. It was kind of embarrassing at times to see them watch us and try to figure out something to say for the sake of conversation or to try and make us feel comfortable.

Raiyden wants to come back and work on fixing things. Some part of me just wants to shut it all away, forget they exist and move on with my life. I was happier when I didn’t know their names or that they had willingly sent us away only to retrieve us like trained puppies when the Order was done with us.

I guess I’m a little bitter by the fact that Raiydens life, my life has been put the grinder of a predetermined destiny that we have no control over. Even now we’re pushed to become things our parents want for us, not what we want for us. Even now we’re nudged here and there either by the Luka Sene or by our parents to become something they have envisioned for us. Nobody asked what we wished for ourselves, nobody bothered to speak to both of us and ask us what our desire was and how we saw ourselves.  Of course it doesn’t mean that we would get what we wished for, but to simply have been asked… that is something that can go farther than getting what we want. The courtesy, the kindness of at least an illusion of freedom of choice; the ability to say one way or another if we wanted such things for ourselves.

Nothing feels like salt in a wound more than knowing someone playing you like puppets and then apologizing for it when they realize that you weren’t happy about the discovery.

Sharise understands. She’s one of the few who I think I can genuinely feel comfortable around, saying what I want, how I want and not getting continually frowned at like I was the worlds greatest disappointment to come along since the Sacking of Courscant. Between Raiyden wincing every time I get a stormy look on my face and open my mouth and Arten  giving me the kicked puppy expression, Sharise has been a nice bright spot on this whole trip.  We worked out nearly every day and though it left me sore most nights, she gave me some pointers to keep my leg protected so it wouldn’t be exploited. We also drank a lot while practicing- she claimed it was so I would be able to combat in any condition and not have to rely on a clear mind to keep me alive. I think that’s what I love about her, is that she knows that we always can’t be in a state of clear mindedness, that we can be drugged or even poisoned. Alcohol was the closest we could come to mimicking those behaviors and she was pleased with my progress.  She suggested I get a mobile leg brace to keep my leg fairly well protected and slip it on under my legging. I think I might try it and see how I do and if anyone notices.  I got a nice dressing down from her for not keeping up on my practice. She was really pushing me to move back to Alpheridies and train full time, but I can’t do that until I’m comfortable with Arten facing his trials, and I will not abandon him until he either becomes  Knight, the Order decrees that I’m not fit for him as a master or one of us dies of old age.   Which at the rate things are going, we might be hitting the latter than the two former, but i have hope for him and will continue to work with him.

It’s funny to think that I didn’t like Sharise at first, her preferences for men and women bothered me and I had flat out refused to let her teach me when she hit on me.   Now she’s one of my best friends knowing what boundaries she cannot cross.

There’s something about same sex pairings that bothers me. I don’t like it and it seems unnatural to me. How can you love someone of your own gender sexually and be okay with it? It’s wrong somehow and I can’t put it into words that seems sufficient enough for anyone who asks me why I’m against such pairings. Maybe it’s because in my mind people are meant to behave a certain way. Maybe it’s because I see these people day in and day out with no decency of their own to speak of. I only tolerate Raiyden because he does have the decency to keep it quiet. Everyone else seems far too busy flaunting their sexual preferences like it was ticker tape in a parade.  I think what makes it worse for me is that these kinds of people feel that it’s necessary to foist it onto others as well as if I should be the way they are.

I don’t agree with it, I want nothing to do with it and if I had my way about it, I’d probably purge those who were this way. Just for a bit of quiet sanity that didn’t involve some woman jiggling her sexuality in my face. I still don’t regret punching that one woman in the face for hitting on me and then attempting to grab me. I’ll break her jaw next time.

I love my brother and I’d never let this slip past my teeth, but I wish he was straight sometimes. It’d make things a lot easier, but as long as he’s happy and as long as he has someone to care for him, I can’t deny that to him. It wouldn’t be fair to him or to me. He’s been there for me all this time, the least I can do is accept him for who he is and love him for being him.

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Personal journal entry from Miralukaville.

<From the personal records of Caer Estherian>

 

Our stay here comes to a close and I find myself happier for it. This place doesn’t feel like home to me and I’m not sure it ever will. Maybe someday but right now it’s not home to me. I know it hurt those who are my parents, but I can’t change how I feel. It’s an uncomfortable situation for everyone and nobody is happy.

I think the only time I feel comfortable at all is when I’m with Sharise. She seems to be the only one here who has any comprehension of how uncomfortable I am here and while she doesn’t sympathize with me or allow me to wallow in my own self pity, she does keep me busy enough to forget where I am. She also understands me far more than most anyone who I live with.

One thing I have come to realize is that Arten is not ready for his trials. I had hoped he would be, but unless he’s going to miraculously surprise me with being a confident young man capable of wielding a saber and getting himself out of situations that are considered violent without blanching at the prospect of violence will I feel confident enough for him to take his trials; as it is he gets worried if violence might happen and that’s not how a Jedi should react at all. He fears violence and that is a deadly bad habit to have if one is going to be roaming the galaxy and helping those who cannot protect themselves. There are some situations you simply cannot talk others out of. I absolutely refuse to send a person out unprepared for all aspects of living as a Jedi and he’s simply not ready.

I’m going to have to work with Arten one on one. Watching Sharise with him yesterday was proof enough. He was afraid of embarrassing me and was more worried about what I thought over his own safety!  Sharise could have ripped him limb from limb and he’s worried about embarrassment!? Ludicrous. He should have been one hundred percent focused on the person attacking him, not chasing butterflies of emotion and insecurities.

This is a failing on my part, being concerned with my trip here over my padawans training and there’s nobody to blame for it but myself. I should be focused on him, not on what others think I should be focused on.  After these trips are over, I plan on focusing my attention on Arten fully. I can’t wait to get off this damn planet.

Nobody has spoken about Lyrae’a our long lost sister. I keep waiting for it, waiting to hear about her… but I think there’s really nothing more to discuss about her. We just have to seek her out, bring her back..and let the Sene order deal with her as they see fit.

I need to speak to Raiyden about this.

Wasting away in Miralukaville.

<From the personal journal of Caer Estherian>

Alpheridies isn’t what I expected it to be and the family even less so. I don’t like it here. It’s too formal, too nice, too… fake.

No I take that back, everything is genuine except for the feelings of comfort. Nothing here is comfortable and everything feels like one huge bulging sack waiting to be cut open, spilling all the secrets it holds. Uncomfortable contents nobody really wants to look at and the kind that could reach up and bite you.

I dislike it. I dislike how the people who gave birth to us are total strangers but try and pretend they know all about my brother and I. How the other family members try a little too hard to be familiar with us.  We’re here for  a purpose, not because we want to be. Raiyden is as painfully uncomfortable as I am, though he seems to be handling it better than I am.

Then again, he handles most things better than I do.  He’s always been far more patient than I have been. I don’t have the patience to sit through awkward situations and I don’t have the desire to really pretend I’m okay with any of this. None of us are okay with any of this and all of us are just waiting for things to finally get to the point to where we arrive to the moment when we’ve run out of things to say or do and get to the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

Raiyden and I have not had a chance to speak with our parents privately yet and I’m not sure just how much longer it will be before we have to.  I don’t even know why I call them my parents. They didn’t raise us, they just donated the genetic coding to make us. Her name is Kyriah, his name is Lynnas. My sisters name isn’t Kosruk, it’s Lyrae’a. I have a dozen aunts and uncles and a bunch of supposed cousins and other assorted relatives. They live on a huge hundreds of acre plot of land that has a dozen houses on it all for the family. Lynnas is on the council and Kyriah is a healer with the Luka Sene, he’s also a half Miraluka or whatever they call it. His mother was Human, that’s all I really know.

These people feel nothing like a family to me. I see them and they are  a family; to each other. All of them with the same force potential my brother and I have if not more in some cases.  They have close binds and a sense of love among one another is very powerful. I can see it in how they acted towards each other in dinner tonight.  Everyone was happy to see each other and they were so familiar. We felt like intrusions on their sanctuary and it bothered me to sit there and listen to them attempt to include us in on conversations we had no idea about.

I think things would have gone much better if Arten hadn’t of blatantly blurted out about Kosruk in front of the entire dinner party. I sometimes wonder what the hell goes through his head. Even Xaishen looked shocked and I’ve never seen Xai look anything other than bored or blank looking. Lynnas and Kyriah looked uncomfortable and ashamed. I have never wanted to invoke violence on my padawan before, but I was sorely tempted then.

So I left. I just excused myself and left. I couldn’t have possibly felt more disappointed in Arten. I am not sure if I ever have to face something so personal like this again will I allow anyone other than Raiyden to come with me. I don’t want to deal with people opening their mouths to sate their curiosity.

I feel bad that I left Raiyden to deal with everything and I know Tom likely helped him. I just hope Dyme and Neirov didn’t make the situation worse. By that point I had a pounding headache and just wanted left alone.

Tomorrow is the meeting. We’ll find out what the Sene council wants and what might happen with Neirov. I just pray that Arten can keep his mouth shut so as to not cause more friction.

 

 

Home again, home again.

<Personal journal of Caer Estherian>

 

Arten is a mystery to me even after all this time. I find myself at a loss as to how to train someone who seems to  have an odd grasp of the Force. I have no idea what his previous masters taught him and he seems exceedingly reluctant to speak with anyone about his former life. I confess, sometimes I wonder if he had any training at all. Tomuraan says that he feels that Arten was neglected by everyone around him. I have to agree, I feel a bit angry towards the Order for the way they kept ignoring the boy as if he wasn’t their problem anymore.

I’ll never forget the look on Shans face when I confronted them about how they had ignored Arten. How much I felt they had neglected a kid and overlooked his training and how I felt it was selfish of them.  The look on Kaedens face and Shans face when I said I’d train the kid because nobody else would.

He’s come a long way since I had first met him on Nar Shaddaa, or was it Tython? I can’t quite remember when or where exactly I met him but I recall that he seemed so lost and for a while I even had trouble taking him seriously. I thought he was a kid pretending to be a padawan so people would leave him alone.

He’s come so far and I’m really proud of him though.  He’s mostly stopped wandering into clumps of Sith and asking if they’d like to join the light side and I think that the crew has done a good job in teaching him what they can.  He’ll be a true Knight I think; he’s got a heart for others where many Jedi have become jaded. I think that he’s got the potential to actually be on the council if he ever wanted it. I have never seen a boy or a man with a heart like his that is so devoted to the Jedi Code and the Order and he does not waver.

He just needs to to learn how to whup butt. That’s all. Once he’s got it down that sometimes combat is necessary over talking, he’ll be good to go.

This trip to Alpheridies is going to be nerve wracking. It’s already stomach churning inducing and I find myself unable to sleep, hence why I write this journal.  I sent word to Master Sharise we were coming and of course when she wrote back “Bring that green guy who you’ve been avoiding telling me about! If you don’t I’ll send you packing with throwing knives aimed for your backside!”  She also wrote to tell me that she also wanted to look at my leg and see if any permanent damage had been done that might interfere with my training.  Raiyden said I should be okay, but… well Sharise and I still worry.

No, what I do not look forward to is meeting my parents. I never cared to really meet them before. They gave us to the Order it should have been left at that. I know Raiyden is nervous as well and angry. All this mess with Kosruk has put us both on edge and feeling slightly embittered towards our parents. They’ve not written us at all which leaves us to wonder if we’re going to be facing a potential explosive situation at home.  We really don’t know what we’ll be facing when we get to our home world and it’s been rumored that we have a rather extensive family.

We’ll see when we get there, I suppose. I just know I’m not sure if I’m ready to face my parents quite yet and I don’t know what I plan on saying. I know Raiyden wants to say a lot and I’m half afraid that his temper will be in control. When he gets mad, he lets the world know it; as an empath it’s kind of hard not to tell when he’s mad.

Tom will be there for Neirov, especially when Neirov goes before our council to speak to them about Kosruk and his knowledge of her. I’m not sure how Neirov feels about it, I’m going to assume he’s afraid or at least nervous. Arten and even Xaishen will be there. We’re supposed to be on Alpheridies for a week.

I just hope this doesn’t turn into a speeder wreck. I still need to finish packing and make sure Raiyden doesn’t over pack. He’s so bad at that.

Strings.

Caer sat and ‘stared’ at the instrument on her lap. Her leg wrapped in cooling packs to keep the swelling down, back propped up by pillows. Incense burned in little pots next to her and she felt somewhat relaxed. The trip and the walk had cost her, but it had been worth it. Even as she looked down at the instrument in her hand, fingers running over the strings and the shape of the instrument, it almost didn’t seem real.  She brushed another finger across a single string and listened to the sound of it ring true. She inhaled slowly as if tasting the note, mulling it over like a wine flavor. It had a sweet sound to it, if she could put a color to it, it’d be yellow.

Tom had surprised them with a trip and had surprised Caer pleasantly with a synth-viola. The man, Zanzibar an apparent friend of Tom, had been kind enough to indefinitely loan her one of the treasured instruments; his theater recently upgrading their instruments.  Caer wasn’t sure how Tom had worked it out, but she was grateful for the instrument. It didn’t matter to her that it was previously used, that meant it was used to being played, far easier to work with than a brand new one.  A new one would mean breaking in the strings, forcing the instrument to become used to being played.

She picked up the bow, the looking it over, it seemed in immaculate condition; whoever had owned this instrument last had taken very good care of it. She saw only a little bending as there should be in a bow; the grip was somewhat worn but again that only gave the bow character. It was flexible enough to make it easy to play.

The synth-viola was well cared for, the neck seemed undamaged at any rate and the upper bout and lower bout were carefully cared for and only a scratch or two indicated an accidental bump on the side. Nothing that would damage the sound of the instrument. The scroll work was a little dinged but it was expected when one got into their work. Caer’s own Mandovial had its share of small dings and dents or scratches. She took great care to observe the finger board and noted absolutely no wear or tear on that, which was to her, the most important thing.

Bringing the chin rest to her chin, she fitted it close to her and exhaled slowly Bringing the bow hand up to the instrument she placed it at the waist, just a couple inches from the bridge of the instrument and slowly drew the bow across the “A” string. It sang out with a mournful sound and she smiled.  Caer carefully played over the D, G and C strings, each giving them a few times over to hear their keys ring through the air. Her fingers pressed against the next, attempting different ranges and found that at least the fingerings were not that much different from her Mandovial; good. That meant she would learn a little more quickly.  It was tuned and for that she was grateful, Zanzibar or someone had tuned it before passing it onto her. She’d have to learn how to do it herself, but that only made her more excited at the prospect of getting so intimate with an instrument.

It would take her months to even grasp the basics. It would take her years for her to become decent and it could take decades for her to even be considered good.  But it had taken her nearly twenty years to learn the Mandovial as well and she had the patience for that at least.

Lowering it she smiled down at the instrument. She brought her fingers to slide down the strings and listen to the sound it made, giving a smile of enjoyment. It had given her something else to think about other than Kosruk, Neirov or even the rapidly rising pain in her leg. At least her side had stopped hurting; all thanks to Raiyden.

Sighing, she set the instrument in its case and sealed it shut. She carefully laid it aside and got comfortable in bed.

Maybe I should have been a professional synth-viola player instead of a Jedi… 

Cold Cruel Harsh Reality

Caer’s body was a ball of fire and ice, simultaneous feeling like she’d been burned inside and out and then dipped in a salt lake on Hoth. Her breath was ragged and it felt like no matter how hard she tried to inhale deep, her lungs would not permit it.  Her leg screamed white hot pain and her side followed it with a chorus of pain of its own.

Caer had grown tired of seeing her crew torn apart by one womans actions- no that wasn’t fair- by hers and Neirovs actions and she’d sought the Miraluka relative out. Caer had gone to find the woman, angry and wanting her to put an end to this. She had challenged Kosruk and had lost, the fight lasting no more than several minutes; no epic thirty minute fight to the death, no long winded monologues. Just fast and dirty fighting. Caer had found out rapidly that things were not as they seemed.

The Seeker Caer had tracked her to Quesh, a disgusting pit of a planet, a festering wound in the galaxy. It only figured that Kosruk would have set up there and not on Dromund Kaas like she’d told Neirov.   Caer had gotten the information from a Luka Sene contact that had been keeping an ‘eye’ on Kosruk.

“I warned him what would happen.” Kosruks voice had cut through a haze of pain. “My masters will be less than pleased and I truly did not wish to kill you.”

Caer sat propped up against the wall where the woman who looked just like her had carried her. She felt the bones grind in her leg as Kosruk adjusted her so that she was semi-comfortable. She could taste the coppery blood in her mouth and she had to fight the urge not to throw up, fighting the waves of pain. Kosruk clipped her sabers back to her hips and stared down at the Miraluka woman who looked so much like her.

She seemed to examine the woman through the force. “You honestly believed you could take me in a one on one fight and win? You’re stupider than Neirov indicated.”

Caer coughed and then gasped as the wound in her side screamed at the jostling it took. The fight had been brutal and short- brutally short if truth be told. Kosruk had Caer down in a suprising short amount of time, having successfully broken Caers leg in no less than four places before the woman had any idea what had happened.

Kosruk had not been without her injuries. Caer had managed to land a few blows of her own, causing deep scoring on the womans side as well as giving her a nasty bruise and a couple cracked ribs.

Tom and Arten had found her, Raiyden and Neirov coming in behind. She’d been blissfully unaware of their presence until Tom had spoken in her mind. She had been relieved that they had found her.

Caer woke on a ship, she wasn’t entirely sure that the ship was hers or if it was Toms or Raiydens. She could hear Xaishen and Raiyden speaking softly about healing and pain killing options, Raiyden letting Xaishen know that Caer had a natural resistance to drugs in general as well as pain killers.  She’d sensed Toms and Artens worry as well as Neirovs brooding presence.

She had slipped back into unconsciousness after that.

Caer had no idea what she could expect when or if she woke.