I know you by heart.

Estherian Estates-  Estherian personal medical facilities.

 

Voices permeated her thoughts before anything else. Then pain and more voices.

Then finally silence.

The void of emptiness that had invaded her soul for the past weeks was suddenly full again, though the feeling of it was brackish and chilled despite it being a familiar presence inside her very soul. Raiyden was here back with her and she could sense his mind and soul ravaged by the time he’d spent in the hands of the one called Anubis.

Raiyden was so tired, so literally drained that it hurt her physically to sense how much he ached and how much of a shadow of himself he used to be. She didn’t have to touch him to realize just how close he’d come to dying; it was all there inside his mind and in the bond they shared.  He had become brittle and fragile to touch and even her body trembled in fear of losing him if she even breathed on him.

The heat of battle had worn off of her long ago and now she was left a shivering mass of nerves; a feeling of emptiness inside of her, her heart aching at the sight of her beloved brother hurting more than her.  This wasn’t how things were supposed to work; Raiyden was never meant to hurt. Her job had always been to protect him, keep him safe and in a shelter of protection that would keep him from ending up the way he did.

She couldn’t even bring herself to be mad at him anymore. She didn’t have it in her to even be angry at the thought of him running off with Xaishen to hunt down Lyrae’a their sister it wasn’t any of their fault that Anubis had been spending months orchestrating this whole thing from the beginning.

And for what? To break her, to destroy Raiyden.  To shatter the hearts and bodies of their friends and the people who fought along side them. Was that really it? It couldn’t have been just that- nobody went through all that trouble to just destroy a couple of Luka Sene. Did they?  Caer couldn’t shake that feeling from the darker corners of her mind that things were not over. Not permanently anyways.

The events of that mission replayed in her mind over and over again to tease her, taunt her and point accusing fingers at how badly she had failed in keeping her team safe. It made faces at her from the shadows and teased her mercilessly about her short comings.

Neirov had nearly been killed by the whole event, the man still lay in a coma in a room not far from hers and there had been no sign of him awakening any time soon.  Her heart clenched every time she recalled the sickening wet crack and thud as Anubis had tossed Neirovs body around like a child’s toy, the green skin paling as he lay motionless on the floor of that fetid smelling place.  Even a few days later she woke up, startled out of her nightmares thinking she could hear that sound again. Goddess knew she’d not be able to crack an egg without wanting to throw up for a while.

That’s if she could ever make use of even doing the most menial of chores again. Going to the fresher and dressing herself had become an ordeal that while outwardly she met with a brave front and with a bit of humor, inwardly she cringed and hated herself for her own weakness.  She could still feel the sharp sting and blinding white pain as Anubis had severed her hand from just above the wrist, the blade she had been wielding clattering to the floor.

She’d won though. Her and Kheniath had won, the two pairing up to take down the man who had put them through literal hell for months.

Her hatred for Anubis spiked.

He had tortured her padawan Arten, injecting him with a virus, a poison or something that currently had no cure.

He had tormented Kheniath by forcing him to become a sleeper agent and then setting him off among their group to cause damage. Kheniath now suffered from seizures that seemed difficult to control.

He had tormented Xaishen by keeping him from the thing he loved, her brother. Baiting him into continuing to make those horrid drugs to keep him under control.

He had tormented her mind, projecting images and ideas into her mind to set her off balance and in the end had severed her hand from her body.

But they had survived every single thing he’d thrown at them. Her hatred melted away and flowed off like so much melted ice water into a vast ocean and her body visibly relaxed on the bed where she lay. Stretching her senses out before her she ‘saw’ Arten sleeping the sleep of the sick, Ayliah at his side resting with her head on the bed.  She saw Kheniath propped up on a chair and lightly snoring with a datapad dangling from his fingertips.  She sensed Dyme’s worry tugging at her heart like a puppy tugging on a stubborn blanket as she kept vigil over Neirovs bed. To her left, Tom meditated next to her always aware of her constant ebb and flow of energies, his meshing with hers in a way that only a couple so steeped in the force could do. To her right, she saw her brother Raiydens presence, still and at rest.  His own presence was meshed with hers on a much deeper intimate level, the kind of level only twins could have. He idly reached out for her hand and she reached back. Squeezing she conveyed her love and joy for his return.

This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah – still good. (Lilo & Stitch)

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