Ask Light Up The Dark

Discussion in 'Outer Rim Territories' started by Nikka Toren, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Nikka Toren

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    Ord Cantrell
    Hole-In-The-Durasteel Wall Cantina
    20:52

    When she had finally left the medical ship, she was so relieved. It had been three weeks since the failure of Ilum. She could hardly stand another day of observation, charts, and both organic and droid medics coming in to poke and prod at her. She was going stir just sitting there with her own thoughts... and memories.

    Kark. Her shoulder was memory enough.



    But... she was still trapped. Obligation soon meant that she would have to return to her Master; she was not truly at risk here, true, but she wasn't going to test the waters by staying here too long amidst smugglers and ne'er-do-wells for too long. She just wanted one drink in peace.

    One drink, and then she would leave.

    That was always the best lie she told herself... especially when she knew deep within that that just wasn't going to happen.

    She had shorn most of the length of her hair off. Now it was just to the tips of her shoulder blades. She was dressed in her tailored pilot's suit, the cut of it a perfect emphasis to her build. After such an extensive time training, no less... despite physical therapy warning her to take things simply, she still trained until she was dizzily sick, and meditated for hours at a span with neither food, nor drink, nor company.

    And yet... she still had no answers to what happened that fateful time.

    Since she had faced down a Sith and somehow survived, she decided to face some other demons as well. Old ones that resurfaced with her regret. Ord Mantell... that fateful place where she had nearly given up her freedom to be with someone who would have given her a home, when she was still young enough to care. When they were both young enough.

    But here she was, drinking at Ord Cantrell instead.

    The atmosphere wasn't the liveliest, she had to admit... and she had been to some lively ones. But it was nice, for now, signature within the Force suppressed... allowed to be alone with her glass and little else.

    It was too bad he wasn't here. She would ask him many questions, but it would start with why. From there... the future was uncertain, even with her nightmares and dreams. But she needed a break. She was just questioning the wisdom of this one.

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  2. Zeven Visz

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    Of all the places for him to end up, Ord Cantrell was one of the places he would never have guessed. He had taken some leave from the Empire with some of his saved leave and had simply sat down behind his ship's controls and plugged in the first destination that he had thought about... and ended up here.

    Ord Cantrell was a holiday resort planet with a kind of seedy underbelly which meant that precisely no one cared that he was a Sith, meaning that he was perfectly fine to go for long walks to clear his head and then drink to muddy his thought process right back up again. Right now he was puffing on a cigara as he ambled back towards the bar he had developed something of a preference for due to their lack of any real rules against smoking inside and cheap whiskey.

    Probably not a moment too soon either because his scar was aching again.

    The scar from the vibroknife was closed and mostly healed already, but it was still a little bit tender to the touch and would often ache at odd times. Rolling his eyes at the bouncer at the door, he walked into the bar. Taking a puff of his cigara, he put it out in an ashtray as he made his way over to the bar.

    "Zev!" The bartender noticed him with a shout, "The usual?"

    Had he come here often enough to have a usual? He supposed that he technically had now that he thought about it. Zeven grinned a little bit and reached the bar.

    "That's right - bottle of whiskey and the glass. You know me so well."

    He wasn't actively using the Force so no one who wasn't actively scanning the Force would know he was a Sith so everyone here had been mostly friendly. Although his entire focus so far was on the drink. He wanted to drink before he got to thinking about Illum again... it was a viscous cycle with only two choices; get drunk or deal with the questions that thinking about the quest for the Blade brought up.

    Which was why he always ordered the bottle.


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  3. Nikka Toren

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    Of all the places in the Galaxy, she hadn't anticipated meeting the very sole object of her thoughts. Right here. In the same bar. The voice. The presence. Her shoulders stiffened, with a twinge of pain that brought a grimace to her lips. The bottle of Gizer ale that sat on the bar was already one glass short; she downed the rest of the contents of the glass with a sigh, then straightened up.

    Why here? Why now? She wasn't ready to face him... especially since this bottle held all the answers she could wrap her head around. But him? How could she wrap her head around the idea that a Sith had spared her life. Not only spared her life, but carried her through Ilum's caves back to her ship. Back to a place where she could leave to recover from all the physical wounds. But there were mental ones; self-doubt, which was addressed. An odd hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach always happened when she recalled how he had chosen, instead of killing her outright, to make sure she stayed down.

    She slowly turned her profile in his direction. Her hair drifted over her shoulders, framing a face that was paler, but still calm. Still as collected as usual, but subdued. It was as if whatever had happened during the trials had changed the Miraluka. Not in extreme, but just perceptibly enough.

    She tilted her head slightly, her voice smooth and lightly amused.

    "Your usual, hmm?"

    She then turned to him fully... his Darkness ever so prominent with the faintest halo of Light around his form. The Light of Life; again, his face rose unbidden, and her palms tingled with the memory. Her elbow propped on the bar, her fist propping under her chin.

    "The Gods have a funny way of tormenting me in the least expected ways."

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  4. Zeven Visz

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    Zeven took the whiskey bottle that he was handed by the bartender and he was about to pour his first drink when she spoke. It was a testament to how far from his mind he was trying to keep her that he had ignored the feeling that he had sensed someone familiar the second he walked in her. He had pretended the feeling didn't exist so effortlessly just so that he didn't have to accept that he had actually felt her presence.

    But there was nothing to stop it now.

    His hand shook just a tiny amount before he let out a slow breath and resumed his previous action, pouring out a small glass of whiskey for himself. Setting the bottle down, he downed the glass of whiskey before finally turning to look at her. She looked... different. The haircut was the obvious difference but there was a difference in how she carried herself and in how she felt in the Force now that he was aware of her.

    Whereas before she had felt like a candle's flame, now she felt like a lightbulb. She had always been a source of the Light but before she had been unrefined and prone to change. Now she seemed more steady.

    And why did he care?

    Gods, the questions were back.

    "Nikka Toren."

    He turned to fully look at her, looking her up and down quickly before refocusing on her face again.

    "Honestly surprised you survived." he declared before joking as he started pouring out another glass of whiskey, "Your hair looks good - you cut it?"


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  5. Nikka Toren

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    She calmly, almost gracefully, pulled the top off the ale. The bartender looked between them, before wisely walking off. But truthfully, she hadn't even noticed. She carefully poured a measure of the drink into the glass, as artfully as someone sighted could, before daring to stopper it once more. She tilted her head again, slightly, as if to acknowledge the use of her name, but in truth it irked her.

    She could feel his eyes on her, testing her. Measuring her out. Good. She hoped for this reaction; if it was anything more than that, it would have alarmed her. "Good. Now that we're onto basics of names, it's good to see you again. Zeven Visz."

    Her voice was cool, calm, as she took a slow sip of her drink, savoring the sweet ale a moment longer. There was a faint huff, as if to conceal a very soft, sarcastic laugh, perking a brow. "You should give me more credit," she paused to take another sip, slowly crossing her legs with a slightly sardonic smirk.

    "And your observations do you credit," continued her tone with the edge of a sarcastic drawl; she was still prickly, and seeing him here was just as much a shock. "Come by here alone often?" Her tone was innocent, but implied; she was not up for a round two of who-stabbed-who. She wanted to know why. Not play mind games while getting steadily more and more incoherent and drunk. With this ale, it would take a long time... but she was willing to bend the rule and play at drunkenness if this was the route he was comfortable with.

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  6. Zeven Visz

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    Good to see him again?

    He doubted that very much.

    The last time she had 'seen' him, he had his lightsaber sticking out through her shoulder and was shocking her into unconsciousness. It was not a pleasant memory for her, no matter what she said. The fact that she used his name made him smirk a little bit as he looked at her.

    It seemed that he had made an impression upon her... and he did so love to be memorable. He sipped at his whiskey, not wanting to get drunk around someone who had impaled him not too long ago. Though he honestly thought that the credit was likely better off with either the zeltron or himself - she hadn't done anything to survive the fight except let other people help her to recover from it in the safety of a medical bay he'd bet.

    Whereas Zeven had attempted to go back to work the next day, only to be basically told to take the medical leave so that he remained combat effective.

    "Medical leave." he told her honestly, "So I came here because some short-stack shived me."

    He smirked a little bit as he looked her in the eyes, or where they should be anyway, and asked directly.

    "What are you doing talking to me, Nikka?" he asked bluntly, "The last time you were awake with me, I stabbed you and won the Blade. Which, by the way, is not on me. So tell me then... why are you talking to me? I'm the enemy aren't I?"

    He was starting to miss the bottle - there were far too many questions already.


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  7. Nikka Toren

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    Well, at least he knew who she was.

    The last time they'd met, it was a bitter loss for her. But time alone left to think had gotten her back on her feet, and stronger. Stronger than before. Her shoulder still ached, and sang pain when the air was a certain pressure or temperature, but... she was oddly relieved that she hadn't hit something vital, like the liver. Or a blood vessel. He was very fortunate she knew exactly what she was doing; if he'd have tried to block her, she could have given him a slow, painful death.

    But here he was. Grumbling.

    Her grin widened when he mentioned being shived. "Oh, poor you. I got stabbed too. And because of that person, I left medical myself. Not by their terms, but rather by, ah... a sense of being tired of being poked and prodded."

    She lowered the raised brow, then took one long drink, then sighed. Shook her head imperceptibly.

    "I should ask the same of you, Zeven." She shot back, fingers tightening around the glass. Her face met his head-on, lips pursed slightly. "I know it isn't. You wouldn't dare to use something that someone was willing to lose their life for."

    She hesitated, then shrugged, returning to gulp the last down before refilling the glass calmly. "Aren't you? That's the thing that puzzles me..." she murmured. She held the glass over her lap, idly swirling the contents. "I should be more than pleased to see you gone... but I'm not. I'm... not sure."

    She carefully set it down on the bar, facing him squarely once again.

    "So then, since you're so intent to ask. Why did you spare me?"

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  8. Zeven Visz

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    Ah at least she wasn't so insufferably Jedi-like and patient with everything - though he doubted that there was truly a being in the Galaxy that enjoyed being confined to medical quarters. There was just something so helpless about being at the mercy of the medical professionals.

    That and going stir crazy was a genuine concern the longer you were in their care.

    "Yes, well you didn't stay down." he told her bluntly, "I told you to stay down and then you went right on ahead and got back up. Leading to yourself getting stabbed, me getting stabbed and you being shocked until your brain decided it was time for you to go to sleep."

    He scowled slightly - great, more questions.

    "It's not with me because I haven't bound it to my will yet."

    He had decided that he was going to keep The First Blade for himself but in order for him to use it, he was going to have to bleed the crystal and that was something he wasn't looking forward to. The crystal was a beacon of the Light and corrupting it was going to be something of an adventure in and of itself.

    Probably more dangerous than finding the blade in the first place really.

    And then she asked the question that he had been hoping she wouldn't ask. Setting his drink down on the bar, he didn't moved but stared at her hard.

    "Why do you want to know?" he bit back reflexively, "Do you wish I hadn't?"

    Stepping back from the bar, he glanced at her for a moment before tutting.

    "I thought about it, alright? That what you want to hear? I thought about cutting you down with the Blade. Think of the irony... a Jedi cut down by the First Blade." he paused as he looked at her, "But when I looked down at you... down the length of the blade at your vulnerable body? I didn't. I could have done but I didn't. Is this the part where you explain you'll be my nemesis now and I can start regretting that choice?"


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  9. Nikka Toren

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    She could sense his emotions, along with the always-tangible presence of the Dark Side. Most of those that were not sensitive merely tacked it to what she was sure was an inspiring presence. She just found him being ridiculous at this point, and her disbelief was palpable.

    "Of course I didn't stay down, you fool!" Her voice was hard. "And for getting shocked, it was a relief you had to cheat to knock me down, because I would have kept going!" If she had eyes, she would be glaring back, more in annoyance that he had to bring up that memory in particular. "I didn't want to stab you, but as I recall I was limited in my choices with you holding me in place!"

    "Yes, I wish you hadn't!" She suddenly cried out bitterly. "I had to go through hell again because of you!" She stepped up closer to him, her voice low, intense, almost as cold as ice. "I expected it. It's what you do, isn't it? Kill anything that stands in your way?" She leaned up, her face close to his, her tone even more quiet, almost a whisper.

    "Why would I declare you a nemesis? You regret sparing me already, don't you?" Her voice was as cold as ever, but there was regret there as well. She wasn't angry... but she was tired of feeling that ache in her chest, and that sour note of discord whenever she thought of any reason why he would spare her.

    He didn't care. She was just another enemy. She wouldn't care; he took something that was sacred to her cause.

    But why did that thought feel so hollow?

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  10. Zeven Visz

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    He had told her to stay down at the time because he didn't want to fight her. He hadn't wanted to end her and he knew that when they fought the chances were that one of them was going to be forced to kill the other. As it happened, he had managed to win their battle without having to actually go through with the kill. There had been another way - there wasn't always going to be another way and she needed to realize that.

    "I gave you a chance to walk away before combat truly began - before the likelihood of death increased." he told her before snorting in amusement, "You fought a Sith... and you complain about cheating? We make objects fly through the air with our minds, Nikka. To not use that power during combat isn't some form of honor; it's wasteful."

    He blinked once.

    She wished that he hadn't?

    She stepped closer to him and he narrowed his eyes as he stood away from the bar and took a step closer to her as well. They were well and truly in each other's personal space now. He looked down at her from his position high above her. She was so gods damned small...

    "Why don't you take a look?" he suggested hotly, "Take your hand and place it on my face. SEE me when I tell you that I do not regret letting you live. I don't fully understand WHY I didn't kill you... but that's the simple beauty of being a Sith. I went with my gut and that's all the reasoning I need because I acted based on my emotions; a pure decision."

    He leaned in close, speaking softly beside her ear.

    "Is that what scares you, Nikka? The idea that I got what I wanted by sparing your life? Do you worry there's some ulterior motive? That I want to turn you? Bring you to the Dark Side as my apprentice?" he urged her before leaning back out and shaking his head, "None of that. No secrets. No plan. I could have killed you and my gut told me not to... told me that I would regret killing you, so I didn't."

    Simple.

    ... right?


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  11. Nikka Toren

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    She had wanted to fight him. They both knew that the Blade had been sacred to both of them; but he was just going to use it and abuse it. Did he not expect she wouldn't fight for it, to both their deaths if she had really wanted to? She knew if they ever met on the battlefield again, he could very well kill her. But she was not going to sit idly by and let him take what he wanted. She had helped him because she needed him to gain access to first the holocron, then the blade itself. But not dying... that meant returning. To failure. To pain. To old fears and nightmares that she had assumed she drowned out.

    She did not back down in the least, but clenched her jaw. "Wasteful? I chose to not do it because I had expected a battle worthy of the Blade, but you just wanted an easy victory. Don't tell me that you spared me because it was wasteful."

    They were close enough, she could smell him. The bite of antiseptic and kolto, courtesy of her. But something else. His breath. The faintest sound of it; was he amused by her? She held her composure, as tall as she could manage. Calm, unafraid. He wanted to talk instinct?

    She wasn't afraid of him, even if her death was at his hands.

    "Oh yes, I'm sure you'd like that, wouldn't you." She said this icily, hands on her hips. "And what do your emotions tell you now? To yell at a blind woman? Oh yes, very clever," she said sarcastically, tilting her chin up just enough so that, if they had eyes, they would have met, unflinching.

    She stiffened at his voice in her ear. "No."

    The word came out flatly.

    "You don't know what my fears were. You don't know what I face. I don't fear death." She truly didn't; what her fears were had been much, much darker, but she wasn't about to voice them. "No secrets. I even thought of taking initiative. Of striking you down as well. But I didn't. And I never will... because for you, to be left alive is the most powerful regret alive. And... because I don't think even I would have struck you down, code or not. But how can I not regret it?" Her voice became softer, head tilted to the left ever so slightly. "Why shouldn't I regret you letting me live? Give me one damned good reason."

    The barkeeper couldn't understand a word, only that they had raised their voices and abandoned their glasses. He sighed, and shook his head. Kids these days... didn't they know how to compromise in arguments anymore?

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  12. Zeven Visz

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    The conversation about his conduct during their battle for the blade was, as far as he was concerned, done. There could be nothing more gained by continuing to talk about it. She believed that he should have conducted himself with honour, proving himself worthy of the blade by fighting and winning with just the blade. As much as that would make for a better story, Zeven didn't care about how he achieved something; he only cared that he achieved it.

    So if his victory had been because of something other than his skill with a blade...? So what?

    There was no shame in victory.

    He rolled his eyes.

    "Don't play the blind card." he snapped at her bluntly, "It is beneath you. You see better than almost anyone else in this building right now and you have the gift of seeing through the Force. So don't try and scold me. I will speak to you as if you were anyone else - your physical lack of sight doesn't make a scrap of difference to me."

    And it really didn't.

    No though? Well at least she could give him a straight answer he supposed, even if it was just for her to attempt to immediately dispute everything that he had said with nothing but a single word. He scowled a little bit, still incredibly close to her, as he took in what she said.

    "Don't regret being left alive because living is a victory."

    As a slave, Zeven had learned that living to see another day was a victory in and of itself. He had sworn that he would master each of those little victories, every day he woke up, and he would use them to grow. He would push himself until he achieved victory against that which he had hated, his former Master.

    "Because you get to continue to live, to strive and to grow. Because you live." he took a half step back, "You'd be amazed at what you can live through because you have the promise of more, of life beyond your current state. I let you live and you should be grateful - you should enjoy the life you have been allowed to keep because I didn't want to kill you."

    And that was the crux of the argument.

    He hadn't wanted to kill her - not then and not now.


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  13. Nikka Toren

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    "I'll play it when I please," she snapped back. "I may See much, but I cannot See you. I cannot even begin to understand you." And that was the biggest frustration; he was such a mystery, even after those harrowing events of Tython and Ilum. He had saved her, and seemed to regret having to fight her. That alone was strange. Stranger still he concerned about her living and having it as a gift at all. For a Sith... he had compassion. For her.

    And truth be told, she didn't know how to process that thought.

    "I live for something. I live for my cause." She stated this simply, then sighed. "But am I ever allowed to know you? To understand this strange draw I feel? I would never ask you to join me," she stated simply, the words as heavy as stone. "I know that... you never will. But can I at least understand why you want me to embrace life?"

    She was curious as to what he'd answer; every time she had encountered any of his kind, mental or not, they would never talk to her. Spare her. Worry themselves over her unwillingness to embrace life as if it were a gift. She never wanted to kill him either, but it was like being at a crossroads. Sooner or later, these hidden questions would surface; and they would either be answered now, or build under them both until they would swallow them whole.

    She was not going to wait until then.

    "What does your instinct say about me?" She pressed, crossing her arms beneath her bust. "For curiosity's sake."

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  14. Zeven Visz

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    Hmm.

    Sounded about right - her sight was something she would use as an advantage whenever she chose to. It made sense to him so he wasn't about to make a big deal out of it he supposed. Instead he just let the topic go because he was never going to win that argument. Something he had learned during his time as a Sith was to pick his battles - there was never any reason to die on a hill when you could just fight another day and the same was true of verbal and mental arguments.

    This argument wasn't important to him so he dropped it. Some might say that she had won the argument by default but he would argue that if he hadn't lost anything then she couldn't have won anything.

    She lived for her cause.

    "Living for your cause is like saying you live, day to day, to experience breathing. A cause is something that drives you to live but you can't live your life for it without restricting what it means to be alive." he philosophized before shaking his head a little bit, "What do you even want to know me for, Nikka? You know I won't walk the same path as you so what is it that you hope to achieve by knowing me more?"

    Why did he want to see her embrace life? Simple.

    "I have seen countless men and women waste their lives. Waste their potential and their dreams and all the rest... because they were too gutless to fight, to push to live a life of their choice. I had to do that. I had to push for my life to be my own and when I took it, I ran with it and I enjoy it." he told her before bluntly revealing the truth, "I was a slave. My life was not my own. I took it."

    Looking down at her, he paused for a moment. He thought about it as he noticed how close together they were. When she asked him what his instinct said about her he thought in the long term first before deciding to answer in the short term.

    "Right now? It's arguing points for shouting at you. For debating with you. For attacking you. Instinct and emotion are liberating - they let you experience life as it is meant to be lived." he smirked a little bit, "There's even a little voice that's asking a curious question..."

    He leaned in closer to whisper to her.

    "I wonder... how soft are her lips? Does she follow me to my third favorite bar for reasons beyond the philosophical?"


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  15. Nikka Toren

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    And that was where the path diverged.

    She could have turned and walked away. But beyond the calmness, there was a curiosity. A need for answers; a desire to know why she felt this way. Even with her previous companions, she did not feel quite in this way. It wasn't deep; for both of them, this was outside of the realm of Jedi and Sith, outside being Old Empire and Galactic Alliance. This was two people, talking across a crevasse of different experiences. He lived with instinct and emotion; she was instinct, certainly, but also calmness, clarity. Both driven for their causes. He claimed he lived for his life, but what did that entail? That was too vague.

    She wasn't going to question it. Even she couldn't explain why she wanted to know; his face haunted her thoughts, how he was gentle with her even when she had harmed him, how he answered her questions with questions of his own, defending his own thoughts and questioning hers in equal turn.

    Perhaps because for the first time, she felt that this pain would never ease, but she would adapt around it. And maybe, in time... he could join her. Maybe his cause to live would be more than breathing, as he said.

    "Who says I do not feel?" She queried, arms still crossed. "I feel much. I sense much. But I do not let it rule me. My feelings, my attachments, do not hold heavy chains over my mind."

    "I fight." Her voice rang of steel. "I fight every day for what I believe in; even you do not know how much I have fought for what little I have. My dreams," she pressed a hand to her chest, "were taken from me by someone I trusted. My life, taken by others. Dictated by others. But as I am, as you see me... I am free. With those I also believe in." She knew he wouldn't quite understand. But she was oddly fine with that thought; there were some things they would never understand.

    Ah, that whisper again. He still fought, despite getting stabbed the last time he tried. He pushed... she would always push back.

    So she tilted her face up, until they distance was infinitesimal. Not even an inch. Her voice was a challenge, but there was a wry smile in it. "I did not follow you. But... what would you do to find out?" Undeniable, the need to know. Even though right now they were both uncertain.

    This was a dangerous game. Perhaps enough, that it would kill them both. But she was tired of hearing questions and all the wrong answers. There was no time to beat around the bush. And if he was unwilling to answer her questions...

    She would leave. And perhaps never turn back. Perhaps he was right; they were too different.

    @Nefieslab
     
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  16. Zeven Visz

    Zeven Visz Character

    Old Empire
    Level 2
    1,128

    Sith Acolyte
    Messages:
    110
    OCC Account:
    Nefieslab
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    She didn't understand.

    She believed that she was living life as it was meant to be lived and he disagreed. By her very nature as a Jedi, she was restricting herself, her life, in a way that Zeven would never be able to tolerate. How she lived her life was, to his mind, a waste. She limited herself for no reason save to stay in touch with the Light, a side of the Force that he saw as intrinsically worth less than the Dark. The Light was restricting and limiting while the Dark was liberating and freeing.

    Through his power in the Dark Side, his chains were broken.

    Through her connection and faith in the Light Side, her bondage tightened.

    It was intriguing to see in someone like her, someone he had actually gotten to know a little over the course of their little quest together. Truth be told, she was the person he had spoken to the most who hadn't been another Sith. Perhaps she was merely someone he found interesting because of the contrast? No, that wasn't it.

    Reaching up, Zeven cupped her face with his hand and slowly dragged his thumb across her soft skin. His thumb pad slowly dragged across her lips.

    They were soft.

    "That's enough questions for now." he told her in a slightly husky whisper, "Come find me again if you want to ask more questions."

    With that he pulled his hand from her face, left some credits on the bar for his bottle and nodded to Nikka before turning around and leaving. There were things, thoughts and feelings and urges, that he wanted to mull over before he gave into his instincts. He wasn't, after all, an animal who followed only his instincts. Besides...

    He had a feeling they would meet again.

    /End Thread
    @Killa Ree
     
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