Heart of stone.

<The Estherian Estate>

The Estherian Estates were quiet, most having retired for the evening save for a few servants and medical staff that were of the night shift. Most were just a skeleton crew there to keep the house running an to assist any elderly or sick that might need attended to during the evening. Those such as Caers group or a couple of the elderly who needed around the clock attention for various ailments that came with growing old.

Most of her crew was asleep, Raiyden always the first to succumb to his injuries with Arten and Tomuraan coming up in a close second and third for exhaustion. Caer was tired, she felt consistently tired but it seemed like no matter how hard she tried lately, there wasn’t any such thing as sleep.  There was too much to think about and the fact that every time she slept it didn’t help that the highlights from the fight kept playing over and over in her mind. Each dream or nightmare depending on how the gods were feeling that night would determine just what her mind would produce.

She wore clothing of Miraluka make, home made- or rather made by whoever was responsible for tailoring on the Estate. Caer wasn’t sure how all this worked. Her father had explained that their estate was self sufficient and often times offered various things for those outside the estate to use and buy. It had fit her comfortably, like an old outfit that was made just for her, the cloth comforting against her skin and she had a suspicion that perhaps Tom or even her mother had taken her measurements and had the clothes made as she and her crew recovered.

Caer walked along the well tended paths of the family flower garden, the flowers so unrecognizable to anyone to a normally sited person, but to a Miraluka they were truly beautiful. She didn’t think anything that came from her world could really be beautiful but there it was. She stopped at a clump of rather aromatic flowers that seemed to glow almost on their own in the planets darkness.  Night sounds of bugs could be heard among the flowers and she couldn’t help but smile a bit to herself as she listened to the gentle sounds.

It wasn’t often she found herself alone and less often that she found herself truly appreciating the things that were around her. Some part of her wondered if she was selfish or if she had some inability to genuinely see the fabled silver lining.

“Your mother planted those shortly after you and Raiyden were born.” The rich deep voice of Lynnas came from a nearby open doorway.

Caer jerked up and realized that it was the doorway to her fathers study. She straightened a bit and smoothed her hair to try and cover for her startlement. Caer shrugged and watched as her father came down the small stairs and onto the graveled walkway. “I couldn’t sleep. Is it okay to be out here?”

Lynnas gave her a strange expression and nodded slowly. “Of course. This is your home, you have no need to ever ask permission to go anywhere. You or your brother.”

Caer frowned and just kind of ducked her head, her face turned to the flowers she had just been caught sniffing. “It’s something that’s difficult to get accustomed to.”

Lynnas chuckled and approached. “Don’t look like you just got in trouble. Please, Caer, we just want you to feel welcome and to relax, is that so hard to believe?”

The womans expression flattened slightly, and she shifted her weight uncomfortably as she noted her fathers gaze was on her. She could sense through the force that he was slightly apprehensive himself and was grasping at straws. She licked suddenly dry lips and brought her shoulders up in a slow shrug. “I… just have a hard time father. That’s all. All our lives we went not knowing who you guys were. No idea if you were alive or dead or even if you cared about us. We weren’t allowed to even consider it because it was considered an attachment and a distraction. By the time we were old enough to really understand what we could have and were supposed to have, I at least had moved on from feeling anything one way or another about it.”

The dark skinned man flinched a bit and then nodded, when he spoke his voice was soft and full of regret. “I think we made a huge mistake Caer. We thought sending you to the Jedi order would broaden some horizons that most people around here would not normally get to experience. It was a mistake on my part to encourage the Order to take you both and we see that now. But you can agree that what you learned has helped you in many ways, yes?”

Caer took a deep breath and held it as she observed her father. She seemed stunned by his statement and admission that they’d made the mistake that they did and she found the anger that had been festering inside of her melting away. She suddenly felt hollow and drained. “I… yes. We have learned a lot, I suppose, father. I’m just so angry that you felt like it was okay to dictate what we wanted. I’d have been happy here my entire life.”

“What about your friends? What about Tom?” Lynnas stepped up to her side and gestured to the house where the group stayed. “If you’d been here, you would have never met them.”

The young Miraluka woman was silent for a moment, her expression unreadable. Lynnas watched her as she struggled with the inner emotions he could sense and waited patiently for her to come to her own conclusions and decisions. He hadn’t spent most of his life thinking that impatience would make people move faster. If anything, he noticed people tended to balk more when met with impatience. He sat down on a nearby bench, patting the empty spot next to him. “Come sit with me, daughter.”

Caer sat down and folded her hands in her lap, the cybernetic one resting on her leg, her real hand resting on top of it as if she could hide it. Not that it mattered, it looked just as real as her right one. The only difference being that she knew it wasn’t. Lynnas smiled and took her right hand and held it in his. She stiffened and forced herself to relax. “Caer, I know you think we did a bad thing. Maybe we did, but you shouldn’t regret what you didn’t have. You’re with us now and it’s something I look forward to. Your crew as you call them have been your family so far and you should cherish that. If we had not sent you away, you would never have met Neirov or Tomuraan. You would not have such an inquisitively intriguing padawan. Raiyden would not have such good friends like Xaishen.”

“I know you’re right but some part of me misses and hates the fact that I never got to know my parents. Have no idea what it’s like to get tucked in at night and told we’re loved.  Waking up for school and being told to hurry by a mom who made us breakfast.  It sounds stupid and immature, but there it is. There’s no such thing as love or fondness at the order. Just brisk and level headed care for one another that does not extend beyond the type of professionalism you’d find at a morgue and working with corpses. Except we’re all friggen living corpses sent off to be tossed to the first Sith. ” Her tone had taken on a bitter sound and she felt some satisfaction at seeing Lynnas flinch and purse his lips at her comment. “I learned a lot there, don’t get me wrong. I learned how to fight and how to survive. But I don’t think the Jedi Order has the capability of teaching anybody how to live.”

Lynnas heaved a great sigh as if he’d been accused of something terrible. His voice was soft and sad sounding as he fumbled for words to fix this mess. “Caer. We love you and your brother. So very very much and it hurts me to see you hurting like this. Leave the order permanently, come here. Train as a Seeker with Sharise, take her place and live like you were meant to. You don’t have to forgive your mother and I, but at least accept our love and willingness to put right.”

Caer sighed and got to her feet, nodding. “All I can say is I’ll try father. I’m here and that says something. As Raiyden. I have a hard time with this stuff. But just know I’m here and all I can do is try to figure out how to love people I should have known my whole life.”

The Miraluka woman turned and headed down the path towards the rooms where her husband slept.  Lynnas watched her through the force and pressed a hand against his chest over his heart, looking a little wistful and sad. “Good enough for me, daughter mine. Good enough for now.”


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