Through the Ghost.

Caer wandered the length of the hallway to the crews new home and heaved a faint sigh. It was nice to be in some peace and quiet after the noisy dinner that they had just had. She couldn’t help but smile though as dinner tended to be a noisy affair now days with nearly a dozen people eating in one room depending on if her parents had opted to come over or not. There was Neirov and Dymetrya, Xaishen and Raiyden, Arten, Kheniath and Remii, Ayliah, Tomuraan and then herself. Ten people total and then her parents made a full dozen, goddess help them if any other family member like Xaven or even a non-family member like Sharise opted to come over.

She could hear Sharise now telling some boisterous story about a feat that was likely blown out of proportion now, her palm smacking the table as she regaled some exploit that happened here on Alpheridies and Caer couldn’t help but shake her head at her rather gregarious master. Moving further down the hallway, she let her fingers trace along the wall feeling the smooth paneling as she ghosted along.  It felt cooler on this side of the house, the heat of the kitchen and the company had nearly made her dizzy with all of the noise piled on top of it.

Caer turned the corner of the hallway and came to a stop as she realized it wasn’t a full hallway but a shortened one that led to what looked like a room. The door was closed and she frowned a bit in confusion at the suddenness of the door being there. Sparing a ‘look’ over her shoulder she moved towards the door and pressed the release panel to open it; it slid open and the faint smell of dust and misuse wafted forward along with the smell of what might have been flowers from the garden long since dead. She wrinkled her nose and headed inside, her head turning left and right.

She didn’t need the light to see the room was unoccupied and had been so for a handful of years. Her senses reached out and she spotted the bed, two dressers as well as a couple of comfortable looking chairs, an empty weapons rack and a handful of other items that seemed to had been left behind.

Caer brushed a finger over the dresser, the digit coming away with a thick smudge of dust, the motes dancing through the darkness even here she could sense the old presence of a long gone person she didn’t recognize.

Speak of the devil
Look who just walked into the room
The guilted and faded
Notion of someone I once knew

All the perfect moments are wrong
All the precious pieces are gone
Everything that mattered is just
A city of dust
Covering both of us

“His name was Vennan.” The voice came out of the shadows, causing Caer to spin and crack her elbow sharply on the dresser. She hissed as she rubbed it viciously trying to get the pain and tingling to stop.

The woman stepped out from the darkness, how had Caer missed her she didn’t know but she remained silent. Caer watched the other one warily as she approached and tugged a sheet that had been hanging over something on the wall. Caer ‘glanced’ away from the presence to the image of a couple standing side by side, their dress the same- the same as hers. The trappings of a Luka Sene Seeker.

One was a young man with a slender form, the kind of form that reminded Caer of Raiyden… he was wiry. He had sandy blonde hair with a tapered jaw line, almost an elfin looking face. The man bore a staff upon his back and the woman next to him the twin blades on her hips, looking like a mirror image of Caer save that the other one had longer hair that framed her face and trailed off past her shoulders; Lyrae’a. Caer shivered as she looked upon the visages of the two. They looked so painfully happy and she noted that their hands were clasped together, his over hers in a gentle and caring manner. Their lips were curved upward in the barest of smiles and their poses were relaxed and natural as if they’d been caught in a candid moment despite the posing.

“He was a Seeker, a good one too. He probably surpassed most in the class and I can probably guess that most thought he’d take the place of one of the teachers in a few years. You’d have liked him, Caer. He was one of those types who lived for a bloody fight and wouldn’t back down for nothing, in fact I had to tell him a few times to back off because I knew he kind of scared the others.”

Caer frowned as she listened to the story, wondering why she was even telling her this.  Caer briefly wondered why either of them were in this room, it seemed more like a tomb than a place where someone once lived.  She opened her mouth to speak, but a hand waving in the air cut her off.

“Listen. Just shut up for once and listen, okay? We went on a hike, a four day mission. It was only supposed to be four days but a huge storm came in, they said they’d never seen anything like it before or since. A foggy mist rolled in outside the city and it made everything slippery. It was hard to navigate because you were so busy trying to make sure you didn’t fall and drag everyone with you. Ven and Lyr got separated… couldn’t find them anywhere.” The voice trialed off and a soft rustling of cloth caused Caer to glance over and lick suddenly dry lips.  She had so many questions, but didn’t dare open her mouth.

Raiyden had told her story, part of it anyways but she remained quiet letting the one next to her tell the story in her own words. She’d been waiting for it for days.

“Eight days, Caer. Eight Ashla be forever damned days. Ven fell you see. Didn’t even realize his leg had snapped until he’d fallen over, it was so cold and numb. He didn’t even realize the bone had gone through the skin and was poking out of him like some sick looking broken spear shaft.” The voice cracked and Caer saw fists clench at their sides. “He dragged me down with him right there in the river bed we didn’t even realize we’d got caught in.  I had no medical skills, just a small field kit and a transponder that busted when I fell. We had nothing and neither of us were capable of telepathy.”

Lyrae’a lifted her head and looked to the image of the happy couple standing there looking proud. She clenched her jaw. “He started screaming. I couldn’t stop him, he just saw his leg and he just… screamed. I never heard anything scream like that before and I had thought someone surely heard that, right?” She snarled and slammed her fist against the wall, making Caer and the image jump simultaneously. “But nobody did. We were a pair of stupid kids and scared out of our mind. I should have killed him there, but I couldn’t, if I had known then what I do now I’d have slain him right on the spot and ended him suffering. ”

Did you hide yourself away?
I can’t see you anymore
Did you eclipse another day?
I used to wake up to the colour of your soul

Did you hide yourself away?
Are you living through the ghost?
Did you finally find a place
Above the shadows so the world will never know?
The world will never know you like I do

Caer stood there in shocked silence as she stared at Lyrae’a and forced her jangling muscles to relax. She cleared her throat gently and said nothing. It felt wrong to her somehow to even speak now in what she realized was something that she would likely never get the chance to hear again. Her heart hammered in her chest and she shoved the startled emotions from her mind violently so as to not rouse her brother or Tomuraan.

“He was in agony once the numbness wore off. I did all I could, I swear on your precious Jedi boyfriends honor. I prayed, I begged with the gods and they abandoned me as much as the others seemed to have.  I used all the medicines in the field kit to stave off the infections that were tearing him apart from the inside out; the whole things at once. Nothing helped. It smelled by the second day. Have you ever smelled the smell of decaying flesh? Infected? It’s got a unique smell… you can never quite be rid of it once you’ve had the smell in your sinuses. By the fourth day we were missing…” She trailed off and lowered her head, rubbing at her mouth as if trying to get that smell out of her nose even then. “There were bugs, things. You know, I did my best.  It wasn’t enough. Ven was delerious at that point, asking if we were at home and if he could see his mother. It’s true what they say you know- about dying men always wanting to see their mothers. I just held him until he was gone.”

The silence that followed seemed endless to Caer. She didn’t dare look over at the person next to her, she could tell that Lyr was needing a moment to herself, but neither did Caer seem like it was okay to leave.  Lyrae’a spoke up her voice soft. “We were engaged to be married. If he had just waited another two minutes…held on another two bloody minutes we could have had him in stasis and in a medical facility.  He died in my arms just as the medical transport was landing.”

So many silent sorrows
You never hear from again
And now that you’ve lost tomorrow
Is yesterday still a friend?

All the bridges we built were burned
Not a single lesson was learned
Everything that mattered is just
A city of dust
Covering both of us

“Sharise wasn’t even there. But one of our other Masters was, you might have met him- Luukas. He apologized for being late and said they’d have been there sooner. Do you want to know why they were late Caer?” Lyrs voice took on a hard and bitter tone.  “Sharise was drunk. My fiance died because Sharise got sith faced drunk and passed out. So while her students were scrambling to get help, she was pissing herself and passed out on the floor. My fiance died because of her!”

Caer jumped and pursed her lips tight, she wished she had Raiydens empathy, wishing so badly to find out if the woman told the truth or not.  “How was she not fired, stripped of her ranks and sent packing?”

Lyr barked a bitter, hollow laugh. “Council. They owed her favors. She kept her job over some debts owed.  Do me this favor Caer. If you love your family and love your brother and even that do-gooder Jedi lover of yours, get as far and away from this place as you can. Get away from here and forget this hell hole exists. Or they’ll kill you too. If not physically then emotionally.”

Caer clenched her jaw and shook her head. “I can’t do that. We both know that and you know Raiyden won’t leave this place. I don’t even think for you.”

Lyr turned on Caer and grasped her hands, causing Caer to go stiff, she bit back a snarl as the other woman spoke. “Caer, shut up. Do you know why I envied you Jedi? Why I wanted so badly to become a Jedi? Because you never had to worry about ever hurting anybody or anything. Forbidden to love, forbidden to have relationships? I envied that. Even from little on up and I envied it more after he was gone.”

Lyrae’a let go of Caer’s hands and stepped back towards the shadows, the woman becoming blind even to Caers force sight, startling the older Miraluka. The voice sounded farther back. “Forget I was here, forget this place exists.  Either that, stay here, marry your man like I couldn’t marry mine and replace that sham of a Luka Sene blade dancer. Just don’t ever take what she says at face value, ever Caer. This place is death otherwise.”

Caer opened her mouth to speak but even she could sense that the younger sibling was gone. She licked her lips and opened her hands, exhaling slowly as she realized something rested in the cybernetic hand. Looking down she felt and saw the force heat reveal a ring in the palm of her hand with a folded piece of flimsi.

Hands suddenly shaking she lowered to her knees and looked up at the painting, her senses trailing to the hands that were clasped then to the other hand of Lyrae’a’s, the silver band with the half ring of precious stones embedded n them adorned her finger. Caer lowered her head to the ring once more and swallowed as she opened the note.

“If Raiyden wants me, he can find me at these coordinates. He must come alone, no boyfriend, no family, not even you. Keep your boyscout boyfriend away for that matter. Have him return this to me as proof that you two spoke and he got the message from you. Tell no one what we spoke of, I will know if you do. What is on the official report is different from what I told you.

-L” 

Did you hide yourself away?
I can’t see you anymore
Did you eclipse another day?
I used to wake up to the colour of your soul

Did you hide yourself away?
Are you living through the ghost?
Did you finally find a place
Above the shadows so the world will never know?
The world will never know you…

Caer slumped over nearly folding in on herself as she held the note and rubbed her face with her free hand.  Getting to her feet she replaced the sheet over the image of the happy couple, the last look she got was of a smiling man with a pleased expression on his face.  Tucking the ring away she headed back for dinner.

-Through the Ghost: Shinedown