Pandora: The Serpent’s Snare
I've debated a long time on weather I should send this to you....Likely I still wont. If I had half a mind Id delete it now and let you live out the rest of your days believing I was alive and well...considering. But likely you already know that is not true. The force works in mysterious ways, I think even the prideful Sith Lords and followers know the truth in that.
Through your gift of protection a discovery was made. We know now that this 'plague' for lack of a better term is passed through touch, even inanimate objects can be contaminated and a source of travel from one host to the next. I found a cure! Sadly though....we are running out of time, and the source of this cure is...un-reliable.
They say she is a miracle worker, some claim she was sent by their gods and others are unsure what to make of her gift. I say she is no different from the rest of us, a force user who wants to be left alone. By the time we reach her...i don't expect her to be alive, either used up by the force and demands of the mobs or the hunters that apparently are tracking her as they do me....she has little chance, save perhaps one. And even if she lives by the time we find her, she cannot cure all of us, and I will kill her myself before I let her fall into the hands of General Darmuk or some other creep seeking to control her power. It is a dark day for all of us, and all we have to hang onto is hope....for all the good that will do.
I have picked up allies along the way. A Jedi, Master Riordan, a Sith Kieran, first apprentice of my late Master, and Blademaster Istara Andel, Leeto, and your kin have all joined, which I am sure you can guess has made for some interesting encounters. No one trusts anyone, and it is only I that have kept us together with no blood shed, I and my foolish belief that we will find a cure in time. They have put faith in me...and I don't know if I truly deserve it. What do I know of plagues and cures? Still, they have proclaimed me 'Sword Kin' and we are now en-route to Corillia
I....I miss you Bahlir... I wish you were here with me now, I could use your strength. Even now I can feel it coercing through me...eating away at me slowly. I feel so...weak. Physically, my body is unable to perform the simplest of tasks. The force is....fuzzy, i can no longer reach for it as i used to, almost as if it were turning against me, abandoning me. My confidence....fades... I can only imagine how you fair, this is not how I envisioned us to die...
...Be strong my love...My Bahlir....
Triss gagged as she looked up from the data pad she had so intensely been staring at for hours. Raising the back of her hand to cold lips as she stared apprehensively at a plate of food shoved underneath her.
“By force” she coughed in complaint, trying her hardest not to take in the ‘aroma’ of the meal in front of her “What...is...that?!” For the last few day’s Trisskar Vander had begun to worry her companions, skipping meals and locking herself in the cockpit of the Kage-Maru. In truth the reality was simply that she could no longer handle the smell of food or the taste of food. Her stomach obviously rebelling as one result to the plauge that gripped her. Thus far she had counted herself lucky, able to get to a bin or sink before emptying what little was left in her shriveling stomach. Or perhaps the luck fell to her companions, she felt embarrassed enough as is having them treat her like some sickling...even if it were mostly true. Everyone knew the inevitable was drawing closer, a shadow reaching it’s fingers out as the light ever so slowly...faded.
"You're of no use to anyone if your Malnutritioned"
Triss scrunched her face up in distaste as she placed her data pad down and pushed the plate away "No use in waisting food either" she grumbled, hiding a similar growl her stomach made in protest
"Then don't waste it" He said calmly.
Triss sighed and looked away from the plate as if it were offensive "By not eating, I’m not waisting. Cant seem to hold anything down these days..." she muttered
"Then eat slowly."
Triss shot the young sith, Kieran Ingetsu an irritated glare "Are you always this annoying?" she snipped
He simply shrugged in response "I don't know, are you always this stubborn?”
Triss coughed dryly into a fisted hand, a cough mingled with an amused chuckle as his counter question the memories of Sadiks usual complaint to her ‘stubbornness’ and hers of his coming to mind "Perhaps..." she eventually responded
Kieran shook his head and briefly glanced at the datapad sitting next to Triss’ hand. A Jedi, "Friend of yours?"
Triss followed Kieran's gaze down to the datapad resting next to her. When she put the pad down she had quickly closed out the letter she was working on, causing the screen to flip to the next opened window. It was a close up image of a Jedi commonly seen in the most recent holo reports. Quickly Triss reached over and pressed the power button, the screen went black "and if he is?" She growled, stuffing the pad into the satchel hanging from the back of her chair
Kieran shrugged, "How does he fit into all of this?"
Triss sighed as she sat straight and picked the fork up, poking absently at the food "It appears that he is protecting that ….girl... from the holo vids. The one that can cure..." Triss didn’t sound particularly happy at that fact either. A touch of possible jealousy tinting her tone of voice.
Triss and Bryen had been partners once during a mission that went astray on Onderon. A relationship that quite quickly turned into something more then either of the pair would of expected it to, one that wasn’t meant to last, or so she kept telling herself. In the end it was her who had broken the ties before the strands could knot together forcing both to turn their backs and walk away. It was a difficult departure for the both of them, and secretly...Triss had remained infatuated with the boy. At least until her heart found another...so why did it hurt knowing that...like her with Sadik...he had found away to move on.
"Do you think he'll cooperate with us ?" He watched her poke at her food and crossed his arms, Waiting for her to start eating.
"He will cooperate..." She responded "...I know he will...." the last was whispered as she stabbed a peace of the food and cautiously popped it into her mouth. It only took a moment for the taste to register upon taste buds, the contents scratching her throat on the way down and her stomach turning in disgust as a result. Her face went pale and she groaned, dropping her forhead down onto the back of her hand as she fought with the inevitable outcome
Kieran smiled slightly as he carefully watched her "How do we know he's even alive, or the girl for that matter?"
Triss took a few moments to compose herself, swallowed the bile that seemed to rise up in her throat, when she did answer, her voice was choked and strained "Bryen is alive" she insisted,
"Try drinking some water, it should help"
Triss glanced at the cup of water as if Kieran had just suggested she drink poison "Your enjoying this...aren’t you?" she grumbled as she reached for the cup and took a sip
He shook his head, ""Not particularly, No"
Triss sniffed disbelieving as she took one last sip and leaned back, seemingly abandoning the rest of the food on the plate "Even if the girl lives, she likely wont do us any good. There are too many infected"
"The others don't matter to me." Kieran said plainly.
"They should, All it takes is one touch...one touch spreading to millions until all of our kind is wiped out. Including you. If we are to stop this, we need to make sure everyone has access to a cure. I am the least in need of it.”
He gave a frustrated sigh then "Why do you have such a low opinion of yourself?"
Triss shook her head "Not very smart are you?" she growled her hand sat resting on the hilt of a gold tipped sword, thumb caressing the metal as if it were precious to her. "There is only one person I care to give the cure to. After he gets his, and if there is more to go around, then trust me when i say, i will make use of it"
He shook his head again, "That’s all well and good. You can save whoever from the plague. But whose going to save them from you?"
Triss rose a brow at that "What are you talking about?"
"I am many things, but I am no fool" He said, "I'm talking about the beast inside you, the one thats eager to rip it's way through your very flesh in order to get out."
Triss’ thumb ran over a sharp point of the pommel she was caressing, the metal biting into flesh. But instead of yelping out in surprise or pain, she pressed her thumb harder into the metal, ignoring the sting as emerald orbs narrowed dangerously. A low growl sounding at the back of her throat as she ever so slowly she leaned forward, as if threatening the person across from her to say or do something...stupid. "How...do you know about that?"
He chuckled "It's hard to miss when you're growling at me like that. "
Triss blinked at his comment and shifted a bit in her seat, not realizing until he had mentioned it that she really was, growling like an animal would....like Sadik would at times. The threatening rumble at the back of her throat fell silent as she as she realized her mistake. Ever since she had met Sadik...she had unwittingly come ever closer to the 'creature' inside her, as if she were giving into a part of herself she had hidden from the outside world for so long... blushing Triss leaned back into her chair
"I saw it” he continued to explain “for a brief moment...during our duel. You were on the verge of losing control there"
Triss appeared to get uncomfortable as she brought her hand to her lap in order to inspect the cut on her thumb, a distraction "I was doing just fine" she countered
He shook his head "You've caged the beast, you haven't tamed it. Ignoring the problem hoping it'll go away won't help either" He reached over and picked up her plate
"I'm working on it" she merely stated matter of factly
"Really?" He rose an eyebrow, "Then why did you go pale when I mentioned it?"
"I..just...dont like talking about it." She stated, looking even more uncomfortable as she reached for her glass of water
"Because it's beyond your control" He pointed out.
Triss found herself growling again, her fingers tightening around the glass turning knuckles white as she hissed, starring into the clear liquid "Look, I know my weakness' lets just focus on one thing at a time eh? Whats the point of controlling this...this...monster...if I'm already dead?"
"First off, You're not dead yet" He set the tray down, "Second, If You learned to control it, You could be more powerful than anyone on this ship."
"And what do you propose I do that I haven't already tried?" she snapped, her voice raising in annoyance as she turned her glare onto Kieran
"Alchemy can do many things,””He explained, this kind of situation is not unheard of. "
Tapping impatient fingers on the glass she closed her eyes and breathed a frustrated sigh "Alchemy....Your starting to sound like master"
Kieran chuckled and folded his arms "I'll take that as a compliment. The point still stands, It can help you. Although it is incredibly risky."
Triss sighed again in annoyance as she pushed the cup away "What isn't these days." It was more a statement then a question, for months now nothing was without risk, or easy...
He leaned in then "You're going to survive this, You Have to."
Triss leaned in as well, fist on table as she growled almost challengingly "Why do you care? I am just a little girl our Master dropped at your feet"
"Because he believed in you, and that means something to me!" He said sternly, almost yelling.
Triss sat motionless for a time, her gaze studying his before she leaned back in defeat
He sighed, "Y.. We're all that’s left of him, his teachings. If we don't learn to cooperate, then all he did for us would have been for nothing... “ Kieran shook his head as he leaned forward and reached for the tray of un-eattened food. "If you can't keep food down, I can arrange for nutrients to be fed to you intravenously. If You like.."
A small hand dropped atop of the tray next to the plate of food, preventing him from moving it anywhere. A silence passed between them before she worked up the words she knew she would regret “I’ll...finish it” She muttered, much of her hostility vanished. Taking in a deep breathe she then carefully pulled the tray closer to her
Kieran smiled down at her, even though she wouldn’t see it as she reached for the fork and began to poke at the meal once more. Silently Kieran backed up into the shadows and left her to eat in peace.
Riordan was lurking in a shadow when Kieran came out of the room. Far enough away that he couldn’t be hit with a normal saber attack and primed just in case the young Sith decided to start throwing lightning at him or something. Old habits of creeping up on Sith refusing to die from the Jedi’s times as a spy.
“Interesting,” he said from his shadow. The telepathic tone ringing of curiosity and amusement “She didn’t throw it at your head and you still have it. Guess Leeto owes me five credits.”