Hail the King of Death.

<Personal Journal of Caer Estherian>

I ruled the world with these hands,
I shook the heavens to the ground.
I laid the gods to rest.
I held the key to the kingdom lions,
Guarding castle walls.
Hail the king of death.

The Miraluka woman looked thinner than usual and her expression tired. She brushed her hair from her face and then gave up as it sprang right back to where it was before. She stood in a room that was sunny and the sound of birds chirping  outside a open window. The holo only caught a small frame but it was enough to see she was alone in the room.

The womans voice was soft, contemplative as she continued to gaze out through the window. “You’d think that after all any of us have been through, that we would be used to this sort of thing by now. You would think that there would be that little voice in the back of my head that would say I should have seen this coming from a mile away.”

Caer turned and sighed facing the camera though she didn’t seem to be actually paying any attention to it and her covering where her eyes should have been kept any indication of such from being seen anyways. She chewed on a ragged nail on her index finger and gave a little sigh. “But I didn’t and nobody else did either, you know? You just don’t see those things coming and it seems strange that we all thought we would waltz in, beat the bad guy and swagger out like the big heroes on campus. Except that it didn’t happen that way. In either mission we’ve had back to back. Alistere died saving all of us and now Lucien.”

Then I lost it all, dead and broken.
My, back’s against the wall.
Cut me open.
I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.
Because I built these walls to watch them crumbling down.
I said, then I lost it all.
Who can save me now?

There was a long pause and Caer just seemed content to sit in that silence for a few moments. When she spoke it was again with that thoughtful tone. “It happened, though; seeing him being overwhelmed by those… things. I’m not ready to talk about it to anyone yet. At least not to anyone who wants me to talk about it, it’s still to close and too fresh for me to want to talk about it in great detail.”

“I can’t sleep. It’s impossible for me to even think about falling into that slumber because I know what’s waiting for me. I know what is going to be there when I finally fall asleep. He’ll be there waiting and I can still smell the dessication, the decay and the stench of dust and crushed bone. But I think what’s worst is that I can smell the fear.  I can smell that rancid smell of desperate people trying to escape and live so they can go home and crawl into a bottle, crawl into a meditation or crawl into the arms of another and forget it ever happened. It even over powers the smell of blood and putrification.  Just one of those things that I don’t think will ever go away.”

Caer fell silent and took a drink of something from a long stemmed glass. She swirled it in the glass before draining it fully without pause. She exhaled and set the glass down, refilling it again and taking a slower sip before speaking again, her voice husky from the wine. “Some part of me really wishes I had died there. It’s cowardly and it’s cheap but some part of me wishes I had stayed behind and done what should have been my duty.”

Her voice dropped to a whisper she lowered her head and looked down at her hands. “But I was too afraid. I was scared of if I had, would I have had the strength, the courage… the balls to do what Lucien did. My friend and my Master stepped up to the plate and he took one for the team while the rest of us ran like frightened Bantha. To spend the next gods knows how long safeguarding a malicious spirit along with two other beings who had been doing it for… hundreds of years.”

I stood above, another war.
Another jewel upon the crown
I was the fear of men.
But I was blind I couldn’t see,
The world there right in front of me.
But now, I can.

She put her face to her hands and fell silent for a long time before slowly lowering them again; the chirping birds an odd back ground noise to the words being spoken. “I can’t lead these people. Not like this. I can’t lead my crew into another unmitigated disaster and hope, pray and beg the gods to pull us through another one without casualties. I can’t give my crew hope when I have absolutely none for myself. I can’t give them confidence when I mine was left back there on that temple floor with my belongings and corpses. I can’t command a presence when I feel like I should be tucking tail and slinking off into the nearest alley and obscuring my existence.”

Caer took a shaky breath and another slow sip of the drink. She tapped her finger on the table where she sat and then finally folded her hands in her lap. She licked her lips, moistening them and she seemed uncomfortable in her chair. “I put my relationship with Tom on hold. It might seem insignificant to anybody, but I again feel that sliver of yellow cowardice knifing its way into my heart. I know what I’m doing is right for us. It’s not fair to him to have to deal with … this… all of me like this. I don’t think it’s fair to him to have to constantly come to my rescue when I fall apart. I’ve become a spectacular disaster and I know that he’s doing his best. I know I hurt him especially after he had just told Shan that he was leaving to be with me… but I also know that until I can become the person I either used to be, or reforge myself into something better and stronger that I’m no good to anyone on a personal intimate level let alone a professional and public level.”

Because I’ve lost it all, dead and broken.
My, back’s against the wall.
Cut me open.
I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.
Because I built these walls to watch them crumbling down.
I said, then I lost it all.
Who can save me now?

I believe that we all fall down sometimes.
Can’t you see that we all fall down sometimes?

Caer lifted her head as if listening for something. After a moment the sound of a door closing in the distance would close. “My brother is all but shattered. This whole ordeal completely unnerved him. I’m glad he has Xaishen to help him out. I’m just glad for Xaishen.”

A pause before continuing. “He offered… offered to take over the Crew for me temporary like until I can get myself together. He came to me in the middle of the night when he saw me pacing in front of my ship after a spectacular nightmare and we talked a little. He said that if I would help take care of Raiyden and get myself together he would offer to take over for the Crew for a while. I told him I’d think about it.”

“But I know I’ve already made my decision.” Her fingers reached for the glass again, curling around the slender stem and then taking a slow and long drink. She wiped her hand across her mouth. “I already know what I’m going to tell him.”

She got to her feet and crossed out of view of the camera, the image showing a window with  a clear blue sky and Alderaanian mountains before it clicked off.

I believe that we all fall down sometimes.
Can’t you see that we all fall down sometimes?

I believe that we all fall down sometimes.

Yeah

 

Who will tell the story of your life?

In the end
As you fade into the night
Who will tell the story of your life?

They had ran through the halls, the creature chasing them. Caer couldn’t remember the last time they’d actually slept or eaten a good solid meal. She also couldn’t remember at that point and time what it felt like to have the sun or the rain on her face. She prodded her friends on as the creature they’d been forced to face hunted them through abandoned hallways.

Terror, sheer terror had greeted them the day they had awoken to find that their quarry was nothing more than a crazed Sith ghost. The journals they had found in three of the four rooms had revealed so much, so much that should have sent them packing out of the temple.  They had been written by a Jedi Master named Arnak and a Bothan Knight named Esk’rey.  Who had been trapped for centuries fighting a ghost who had gone mad with power.

We received a new Jedi Master today after our other Master had fallen ill with a local illness. He passed away over a month ago and it seems as if we were to never get one. There was even talk of sending us back to the temple on Coruscant. But we received word that our new Master will be arriving today. Many of the Knights and Padawans are relieved as our research is extremely important.

 Our new master is Master Jedi Wiles. He is an elderly looking Human with grey hair but a very straight form. He seems kindly and obviously knows what he’s doing. We met him during a break in our research today. I found him to be very attentive but his gaze was a tad unsettling, he says he’s dedicated to helping us achieve our goals and wishes to see our research complete.

 Four padawans are missing but Master Wiles doesn’t seem too concerned about it, if anything he said that the construction of the temples corners need to be complete. Several of us are concerned about his apparent lack of concern but there’s not much we can do. A couple knights went to the city port to see if maybe they ran- it’s kind of common that some Padawans can’t cut it and run away. Most times they return but sometimes they don’t.  – The knights returned, there is no sign of the missing padawans.

 People are falling ill, many are dying and there is no rhyme or reason for it. The children are the first to go and now adults are falling ill. Master Wiles has sent some of our healers out but they return exhausted and unable to fathom a reason.  Master Wiles is acting oddly, almost obsessed with the four “posts” as he calls them of the temple. They were complete some months ago but he now has some of our other members here working day and night to … do something with them. They won’t speak of it and have been secluded from the rest of us.

Bodies..so many bodies and they smell. I can’t escape it. They’re stacked in the hallway. Jedi Knight Arnak and I have hidden ourselves in one of the store rooms and we set a distress signal; we pray that it got out in time. Wiles was not as he seemed. He’s a Sith Lord and a powerful one powerful enough to hide his true intent to us and many others. He’s killed them all. Poisoned all of the food, they all died in horrible ways, bleeding out as they stood there, their leggings and shirts soaking with blood as it just… fell out of their orifices. Even the young ones were not spared. Their screams still echo in the hallways and dormitories. Master Arnak is grim but determined to purge our temple and bring it back to what it was.

Born a saint
Though with every sin I still wanna be holy
I will live again
Who we are
Isn’t how we live we are more than our bodies
If I fall I will rise back up and relive my glory.

Those journals had revealed so much and the ghosts of Arnak and Esk’rey had both divulged so much more. That they’d needed a third guardian to help them keep Wiles in check. He couldn’t be destroyed, he was tied to the temple and the temple was the only thing keeping him from being freed; as long as there were others of the Light to keep him from escaping.

So Lucien had volunteered to sacrifice his own life to be that third guardian to keep Wiles from escaping a dying planet and out into the galaxy to wreak havoc. Caer would never forget the look on his face as he’d fallen into the pit of blood, going under even as Wiles attempted to choke and beat the life out of every single one of them. Dyme and Kheniath firing wildly at force controlled ropes of blood, Raiyden falling beneath a mental onslaught, Neirov being besieged by malevolent spirits. Caer herself falling beneath an attack of her own, where saber or blade would do no good.

It had been Lucien, the force ghosts Arnak and Esk’rey who had ultimately saved them. Lucien dying to become the guardian and help guide them back out. She remembered telling- no- commanding him to come with them, that the mission was a loss. He had pulled rank on her and he had told her to go. As the senior member of the Seekers he had that right.  Her heart hammering in her chest as she’d tripped over dead bodies laying in the halls. The illusion of Wiles broken, revealing a hellish nightmare for them to wade through.

The last thing she’d seen of Lucien was his sure smile and a half-cocked salute. After that she’d turned and they had all fled to the Starport, without stopping. Covered in the blood of innocents, ash and bone dust they had made a harrowing trek back to their ships and had launched as soon as ships were warm enough to take off.

In the end
As my soul’s laid to rest
What is left of my body
Or am I just a shell?
And I have fought
And with flesh and blood I commanded an army
Through it all I have given my home for a moment of glory
(I gave it all)

As they had lifted up into the air, Caer had seen the three beams of light over the temple. Arnaks, Esk’reys and the now deceased Luciens light.

She didn’t even have the energy to cry. She’d turned her ship and had gone into hyper space as soon as she was clear of the planets gravity well.  With that she’d stripped her unconscious brother of his bloodied clothing, stripped herself down, bathed and redressed them both and collapsed into bed to sleep off the waking nightmare.

She’d have to go and tell Luciens father with Arten that his son died protecting people he owed absolutely no allegiance to. Caer had lost yet another master and that hurt more than anything in the galaxy right now.

In the end
As you fade into the night (oh whoa oh oh)
Who will tell the story of your life (oh whoa oh oh)
And who will remember your last goodbye (oh whoa oh oh)
Cause it’s the end and I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid to die

Who will remember this last goodbye (oh whoa oh oh)
Cause it’s the end and I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid to die

 

Time is running out now.

We’ve been seeing what you want,
You’ve got us cornered right now
Falling asleep from our vanity
May cost us our lives

I hear them getting closer
Their howls are sending chills down my spine
Time is running out now,
They’re coming down the hills from behind

Caer huddled with her brother in her arms, the darkness around them complete, even to her senses. Her sight was deceiving her in ways she didn’t understand and what made things worse was that she wasn’t sure she could trust anybody else either. She was sore, exhausted, hungry and terrified beyond all reasoning. She’d seen things tonight that had unnerved and unbalanced her.  Her stomach coiled in tight knots and she had to force herself not to curl her fingers into the palm of her hands, she’d already cut the palms twice from clenching her fists so hard that the nails pierced skin.

Kriff this place. Kriff it to the darkest pits. She just wanted out of here and wanted to get her crew out of here with minimal damages as possible. Every noise was a reason for panic, ever silence doubly so. Each breath was as loud as a scream and it felt like the tiniest movement would bring repercussions that the crew were not ready to face.

What was supposed to be a simple rescue mission had turned into a never ending nightmare. The planet Kullus has been nothing more than abandoned ball of dust, the massive star port dark and empty had been the tip off something wasn’t right. Piles of clothing everywhere, sorted and color coded as if some mad man with OCD had piled them there then hid away. The city abandoned, nothing seemingly touched. The night in an apartment had been draining but they’d kept hope that someone would be alive to talk to, to get answers out of.

The creepiest thing had been when Neirov had sworn he’d seen someone drag a kid down an alley way. They had chased after him and had nearly crashed into a wall. A wall that had been lined with crucified dolls and stuffed animals. Caer still felt the urge to throw up even now.

She stroked her brothers hair and huddled against the wall, the darkness feeling oppressing and cold. She shivered and tried not to think about the past three…or was it four..days. The screaming winds that chased them into the temple, the whispers, people going missing, the frayed tempers and finally the manifestation of that lunatic who had nearly killed them all tonight.

Her heart hammered in her chest and the ice prickles of fear  running through her. She swallowed the lump in her throat and just hummed under her breath trying to put that visual of that haunted and grotesque face out of her mind.  The whispers and the sensations rolling through her mind and calling up every detail.

What had helped them? Something had pulled that horrible creature away from them, pushed it away from them and had disappeared. Arten, Lucien and Neirov had spoken of a Bothan child, but Caer had yet to witness this creature helping them. Besides if it was a child why hadn’t it produced itself and why wasn’t it with them here right now? It had taken that unseen helper, Caer acting as the shield, Raiyden as the balance (as tenuous as that was during that situation) and Neirov acting as the sword directing their energies to drive the thing off. Dyme and Kheni had unloaded everything they had into the creature.

She just wanted to run. Why didn’t they just run? There was nothing here. Nothing worth saving and if anything WAS alive in there, it sure as hell wasn’t anything they could help.

Because it was Artens mission and he hadn’t called it off. To do so now would be mutiny and Caer knew this.

We’ve been searching on and on
But there’s no trace to be found
It’s like they all have just vanished
But I know they’re around

I feel them getting closer
The howls are sending chills down my spine
Time is running out now
They’re coming down the hills from behind

She just wanted to go home. Make them all safe and sane again. She wanted to see Tom and forget this nightmare. This was the culmination of every single nightmare she’d had as a child and adult rolled into one. It was like some vicious god of dreams had thought it’d be hilarious to stick her in her own personal hell.

But she knew others suffered too. So it wasn’t just her. Neirov had accused her of luring him off to discuss relationships and things best left between friends. Lucien had claimed that Neirov had walked away from the group. Both had claimed that she’d been seen in the halls luring people off. It had been unnerving at best and infuriating at worst.

Lucien looked over at her and offered an exhausted smile, his broken wrist elevated. She gave him a weak smile and leaned back, falling into a sleep that was really nothing more than hells playground. Tomorrow they would continue their way through this maze of a supposed Jedi temple and try to find a power source to open rooms and try to find their way out; otherwise they could just end up wandering the halls until they became ghosts themselves.

When we start killing
It’s all coming down right now
From the night that we’ve created
I wanna be awakened somehow
(I wanna be awakened right now)

(Song- When we start Killing, Within temptation)