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The Return of the Vanished

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#1
Kian Karr

Kian Karr

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Kian Karr was making his way toward where he believed Corvus Raaf and Kana Truden to be. Alderaan was such a different place since the last time he had been here. The Vong had done a number to it. He remembered it being a beautiful world, but now there was something sinister about it. Or perhaps it was just the way he was feeling, given all that had happened in the last day. 

 

Kian had arrived on Alderaan through a nightmare. He had awoken in a dark, monstrous place where the very air smelled thick with blood. He had seen things.....things long since forgotten before he had fallen into a glowing pool of blood and found himself on Alderaan. He had awoken with a rage in him the likes of which he'd never known, and he had killed because of that rage.

 

That was the part Kian was still trying to come to grips with. 

 

Then he felt her. Roshki Belawiiks. The force was....different to him. Odd. But when he felt his students presence in the force, he immediately feared how she had come to be here. When he felt the rage boiling in her force presence, he knew she had come the same way he had. 

 

Kian ran. He ran in the hopes that he could reach her before she did what he had done. He ran in the hopes that he could save her from the guilt and disgust that he felt over the killing. But Kian didn't run fast enough. When he came across Roshki, the rage he had felt in her was gone.....and that meant only one thing. 

 

"Roshki?" Kian called quietly as he approached her. 


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Kian's Lightsaber | Kian's Robes | Kian's Ship: The Shadow | Kian's Starfighter: Storm of Dorin


#2
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

At the same time the rage drained from me, I came back to myself.

 

And then, immediately, I wished I was still drowning in the mindless rage, for what lay before me was worse than anything I'd ever been faced with.

 

My clothing was practically tattered, to the point where my sleeping gown would only be good for rags -- if that. Every part of my body hurt, and I had so many scratches and bites on me that I looked like I'd been dragged through a blender. My feet, too, were throbbing horribly, making me wonder if they'd have to be cut off. But that wasn't the worst of it.

 

No, the worst of it was the body of the Rodian which lay beneath me. At least, I assumed it was still the Rodian. His face...it was awful. There was no way to tell what species he was, just by looking at his head. I couldn't believe it. There was no way I'd committed this...this atrocity. This murder. I mean, I wasn't a killer -- I was a thief, a vandal, but not a murderer! Maybe this is just a bad dream, caused by a high or something. Yeah...that's got to be it. But try as I might, no matter how many times I opened my eyes, I was still there. I was still on this planet, hunched over the evidence of my crime. I looked around, still trying to convince myself this was just a dream.

 

My memory was telling me a story which I found hard to believe. It said I had been transported to a bloody wasteland, fallen through a pool, and then ended up here and...and killing this stranger. That was the worst of it all -- I had killed a stranger, someone who'd done nothing to me. I didn't know this man, I never knew him. I had no quarrel with him. But one glance at the bone in my hand -- that object which seemed to radiate accusations at me, reminding me that I'd taken a life -- that bone, yellow and caked in blood, a testament to where I'd came from earlier -- it eradicated any hope I had of this being fake.

 

Oh, gods. The Rodian, he probably had a family. A spouse, kids, parents, a life. And I'd taken it from him, all because of some outlandish impulse. And I couldn't control myself -- that was the worst part. I'd had no control. Now, some might argue that this made me less guiltly, but I had to argue against that. It was my body, my mind, no one else's.

 

As the self-loathing, guilt, and other crummy feelings rose up in me, a great wail of anguish rose up too. I shouldn't have been here, I cried internally. This happens to other people, not me! I'm just a street rat! I'm not a murderer! I don't have it in me!

 

But oh, you do, a little voice whispered. You do, and you did. The evidence is before you.

 

Great, voices. I really and truly was going insane.

 

Suddenly, I became aware of another person coming towards me. I glanced over, once, and did a double-take. Oh, no. No no no no nonononononono! Not him! Why did he have to be here?!

 

As Karr approached me, I scrambled away from the body, from him, and waved the bone around. "Go away," I whispered hoarsely. Tears were starting to fall from my eyes, despite my best efforts. I cleared my throat. "Go away!" I said, louder this time. "Go away, Karr! I don't want to hurt you! I don't want you to be like him!" At this point, my voice was a loud screech and I gestured frantically at the body. My eyes were wide with -- with so many emotions. Fear. Angst. Horror. And, most of all, conflict: I felt shame for blaming Karr for my predicament, and I felt despair over letting him down. After all, there was no way the Jedi would let the Kel Dor keep me after killing a civilian in cold blood.



#3
Kian Karr

Kian Karr

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Kian saw the body on the ground, saw the look of horror and guilt on his apprentice's face and the blood on her hands and realized that he was too late. He was too late to save her from the horrors that followed escaping that place of darkness and despair, but he would be damned if he would abandon her now. 

 

"Roshki it is alright!" Kian said loudly so that she could hear him over her own yelling. "It will be fine." Kian said trying to calm her down. She seemed pretty rattled from it all though. He knew she hated it, but Kian reached out and touched her mind with his. 

 

Roshki, do you feel the rage and the anger now that you felt when you killed him? Kian asked, knowing the answer to the question. You couldn't control it. It wasn't you, it was that place. Kian said reassuringly. Stepping closer Kian spread his arms, showing her the blood covering his tunic. 

 

"You are not the only one that came out of that pit full of rage and a blood lust." Kian said, his own guilt bleeding into his voice. Kian stepped closer and dropped down on his knees in front of the young Jedi. "I wanted to stop. A voice in my mind kept telling me too, but I couldn't. I was no longer in control of myself." Kian said, tears welling in his eyes beneath the mask. "I am a Jedi Master Roshki, and I had no control over it." 

 

"And neither did you." Kian said, glancing over at the mangled body. "That wasn't the girl I know." Kian said smiling warmly beneath the mask. "That wasn't you." 

 

Roshki Belawiiks


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#4
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

“No, it’s not alright!” I said even louder. “Nothing’s ever fine!” Didn’t he know that was the biggest lie in the whole universe? Nothing was ever going to be fine. There was no such thing as “fine”; there was only pain, and hate, and….murder. Bile rose up my throat and I looked again at the body.

 

I clasped my hands to my head as Karr’s voice echoed in my head. How could he? How could he violate my mind at a time like this?! Despite my outrage at the mental intrusion, I still listened to what he had to say. I listened, and then I shook my head.

 

He didn’t get it. But then, how could he? Karr had been one of those bona-fide Jedi who did no wrong and knew no evil. The act horrified me, and yes, it was probably because of the hellish place, but that wasn’t it. That wasn’t it. It was that I was able to do such an act. No, I couldn’t control it, but did it have to be that strong? Out of the blue, I recalled something my grade-school teacher had said, in one of the few class periods I didn’t skip.

 

“The universe likes balance. For every action there’s a reaction. And you can’t just destroy things, nor can you create things. Oh, sure, you can take things apart and rebuild things, but you can’t pull things out of thin air. For example – if you punch a wall with all your might, that strength you use was always there, but now you’re using all of it. Make sense?”

 

At the time, it hadn’t, but in the midst of this my brain had finally made the connection. And that was the reason why the act was still so horrifying.

 

I wanted to yell at Karr again. I wanted to get it through his thick skull that it was me, no matter how much I hated it. That rage and bloodlust, it’d always been there, right? It didn’t appear from nowhere, I wanted to scream at him. It was in me, this whole time! That place just brought it all out! But any retort I had died on my lips when the Kel Dor dropped down in front of me.

 

My anger was replaced with a feeling of helplessness, watching him; listening to him confess that he, too, had gone through what I had. Honestly, I didn’t know what to do – in case you hadn’t gathered by now, I didn’t do too well with touchy-feely things. Even amongst my friends, nobody exposed themselves like that. It was taken as a sign of weakness, and weakness was never tolerated.

 

And yet, Kian Karr, senior Jedi, was here exposing his emotions to me. Unsure of myself, now, I reached out with my free hand…and quickly retracted it. Instead, I said clumsily, “It’s like you said – it was the place making you lose control.” My tone went from sympathetic – if a bit hesitant – to a harsher sound. “But you have no idea if that was the real me, Karr. You don’t really know me. I don’t really know me. No one knows me.”

 

Somewhere, the back of my mind noted the sudden mood swings. Oh, dear. Please don’t let me be going into withdrawal.



#5
Kian Karr

Kian Karr

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Roshki Belawiiks

 

Kian too noticed the subtle change. The switch from doubtful and fearful and to more aggressive. Kian bowed his head at her words and remained quiet for a moment then looked up and smiled warmly beneath his mask. 

 

"Roshki, I might not know you as well as I would like to yet, but I know," Kian said pointing at the bloody body besides them, "that that isn't you." Kian finished. "I have looked into the eyes of those who kill without thought or remorse. Believe me Roshki, you are no killer." Kian said, his voice taking on a steelier, sincere quality. 

 

Kian examined the girl's face carefully, looking to see if he was getting through to her. He wished he could offer her more comfort, he wished he could wave his hand and make all this better, but he couldn't. Whatever was happening was effecting everything. Corvus, Kana, and himself had all gone through the blood pool and come out on the other side as murderers. 

 

Then he felt it. That light twinge of apprehension....that feeling when the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Kian looked over his shoulder and scanned the horizon. He sensed nothing in the force, but he trusted his feelings. Rising up, Kian turned away from Roshki for a moment and watched the horizon with renewed attention. Then he saw it. Movement, slow and stealthy, like that of a predator. 

 

"Roshki." Kian said turning back toward her and pointing in the opposite direction of the horizon. "RUN!" Kian yelled, wanting the girl to sense the urgency of the demand. 

 

Kian didn't get a good look at what was hunting them.....but what he saw he recognized. 

 

Voxyn. 


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#6
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

My head was lowered, my eyes averted. The faith and convicion Karr had for me was...unusual. No, screw that, it was karking abnormal for anyone to view me as something outside of a disappointment, street rat, scum, druggie...the list went on.

 

Why me? I wanted to ask him. Others would have given up on me by now. But why do you keep me? Why do you have faith in me? To ask him, though, would be to reveal more vulnerability than I already did. And no matter what experience I'd gathered, no matter who I was now, a small piece of the old me refused to let go.

 

I could feel Karr studying me, so I drew my knees close and rested my chin on top of them. The bone still remained in my hand -- I couldn't bring myself to let it go, oddly. Throughout this whole ordeal, it had become almost a part of me -- though trust me, I still felt a sense of revulsion for it.

 

When I glanced up, the Kel Dor was still watching, and a bit of my old fire came back. It was on the tip of my tongue to say, "Take a picture, it'll last longer," but then something happened. All of the sudden, my Master stood up and stared at the horizon. Remaining on the ground, I nonetheless frowned in confusion, and apprehension. My spine was beginning to prickle, like something was watching us.

 

What the...?

 

"Roshki, run!"

 

The urgency startled me, and I started to stand up. As soon as pressure was put on my feet, though, a burning pain exploded and I let loose with a hiss. "Karr, I can't! My feet...!" I gestured helplessly at them. "I didn't have shoes when I went to...to that other place. There were rocks everywhere, and acidy stuff. My feet are too injured to run, much less walk." I curled my lip, utterly disgusted with my helplessness and realising there was nothing I could do. The soles and heels were red, swollen, and bloody. Even if I had shoes to put on, I very much doubted there would be any way I could get moving and escape whatever threat the Jedi had spotted. Yay.



#7
Kian Karr

Kian Karr

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Roshki Belawiiks

 

Kian glanced down at the padawan's feet and saw the state of the injuries. Kian had been in such a rush to get to his padawan, and had been so distracted by her state and the victim next to her that he hadn't even noticed the wounds to her feet. Seeing no other option, Kian ducked down and, without even bothering to get her permission, grabbed her legs and threw her over his shoulder. 

 

"Sorry, but we have to go." Kian said. He knew how dangerous Voxyn were, he knew that the two of them, out in the open here, were in grave danger. Kian had faced a few Voxyn before when the One Sith had first invaded Alderaan, but he had been backed up by an elite special forces unit. On his own here, tired and with an injured padawan, their odds were far less then he liked. Kian began running, moving as fast as he could with the girl over his shoulder, but he knew the beast would be gaining on them. 

 

It wasn't long before they hit the treeline and Kian was slowed even more from the foilage and the uneven ground. This wasn't good. Kian considered making a stand, but out here n the open, he had little chance for success. Kian's feet slid as he came down an incline in the path he was one and quickly found himself cut off by river running through the woods. 

 

Kian could see a small waterfall that fed into the river and a small dark area beneath it. It may have been a cave, or just an alcove beneath the waterfall, but Kian was running out of options, Roshki wasn't heavy, but he wouldn't be able to outrun the Voxyn carrying her. 

 

"Hang in there kid." Kian said jumping onto the rocks surrounding the river and making his way toward the opening. He had to slow down, least he slip on the moss covered rocks. When Kian made it past the water, he was relieved to find that it was in fact a cave system. Kian carried Roshki in several yards and layed her down. "Stay here." Kian said turning and walking back toward the opening. It wasn't a large opening, Kian had to duck when he'd entered. 

 

He had to stop the Voxyn from following, or at least slow it down. Kian eyed the walls for a few moments, they were a strange mix of stone. Some dark brown, and black in other places. Pulling his lightsaber off of his belt, Kian drove his blade into the rocks above the entrance, pushing it through the stone toward the cracks that were there. The blade crackled and sparked as it cut through the rocks. Kian's blade hit one of the black colored sections and he found, to his surprise that it wouldn't cut into it. Pulling his blade, Kian cut at another seam, and then another. Glancing up he saw the Voxyn had made it to the river. The creature snarled as it leapt onto the rocks rushing toward him. Shoving his blade forward again, there was a cracking sound and Kian dove back toward Roshki as the ceiling collapsed and they were both bathed in a cloud of dust and darkness. 


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Kian's Lightsaber | Kian's Robes | Kian's Ship: The Shadow | Kian's Starfighter: Storm of Dorin


#8
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

I let out a squawk as Karr scooped me up, which startled me out of the nice little cloud of self-hate and misery I’d been building around me. Without the black emotions clouding my thoughts, I snapped, “You know, you could treat me a bit more like a person and less like a potato sack!” Actually, it sounded more like, “yOU KNow yOu cOULd tREat ME a BIt moRE LIke a—“ Well, you get the idea. Thanks to the Kel Dor’s gait, I was flopping up and down like a fish, making my words sound more comical than anything else.

 

As I continued to be hauled in an undignified fashion, I managed to catch a glimpse of what my Master was running from, and my complaints ceased.

 

This…thing was unlike any other creature I’d seen. For starters, it had waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many spines and teeth and claws for my liking. And I could have sworn the creature was enjoying its chase – and not in the good way. We were the nerfs, and it was the nexu. Oh, joy. The idea of that monster catching us was enough to make me worry more about that than the branches which kept hitting my face and rump.

 

Soon enough I heard water. A waterfall? Maybe. Not that I could look, anyway – any rutching around on my part would likely results in Karr dropping me, and both of us being eaten in no time. Even so, I couldn’t keep a yelp from escaping me as we bounded over rocks. So not just a waterfall, then, but a river, too. “Double Kay, I’m pretty sure a creature like that isn’t going to be scared by a little stream.” I doubted he could hear me, but oddly enough it felt good to say that out loud. It beat me why, though.

 

Next thing I knew, we were in a dark area and Karr was setting me down. “Yeah, like I’m going anywhere,” I muttered. “Bad feet, remember?”

 

Alright, so maybe I should have acted more gracious towards my Master: after all, not only had he saved my life (maybe), he also didn’t give up on me. I was grateful for him, and if we ever survived this ordeal I’d probably give him less hassle on things. But I’d always found it hard to express gratitude without making things awkward, so I ended up developing a habit of not doing it in general.

 

So, instead, I just sat there and watched as Karr began to cut the rock. Out of the blue I noticed his efforts become more frantic. I couldn’t hear much over the roar of the waterfall, and my vantage point didn’t really let me view anything past the Kel Dor, but I didn’t have to think hard to figure out what was worrying him. The creature’s caught up! I thought, and I could feel the blood drain from my face.

 

Before I could do or say anything, the ceiling of the cave began to collapse, and I all saw was Karr leap towards me before dust clogged my nose and the world went dark. Right before the rocks hit, I heard a voice shout, “Master!” Wait... I was the one who screamed. But could you blame me? The ceiling just collapsed, a monster thirsting for our blood was outside, and it was dark. Not to mention, my Master could have been hurt.

 

Speaking of which, after I’d stopped coughing I began to crawl on my hands and knees, searching the cave floor. Odd, but I still had a sense of where everything was. Oh, right. We Togruta have a superpower! Well, not a superpower exactly, but apparently Togruta had this special sensy-thingy that our montrals were used for. I’d always wondered why we had fleshy projections on our head.

 

Fearing the worst, I called out, “Double Kay! Are you alright?”



#9
Kian Karr

Kian Karr

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"Master!" Was all Kian heard over the crumbling of rock and then he felt sharp, stabbing pain radiating up his arm. For several moments, Kian didn't move, he didn't dare. He waited until the dust cleared, leaving them in darkness. Glancing over his shoulder, Kian could no longer see the light from outside the cavern entrance. He had succeeded in sealing it off.....now he just hoped there was a way out. 

 

Then Kian made the mistake of trying to move. The sharp pain radiated through his forearm once more. Turning to the side, Kian saw that his arm was pinned beneath a large slab of stone. Kian grabbed at the base, and pulled up just enough to pull his arm free. Doing so caused him to grunt in pain and for a few moments, Kian lay motionless, allowing himself to recover. 

 

"Double Kay! Are you alright?" Kian heard Roshki Belawiiks voice not far from him. 

 

"I'm alright." Kian said using his free hand the rip a strip of cloth from the base of his robe and slinging it over his shoulder, tying it tight so his arm wouldn't move. "AHHHH." Kian let out as he did so, trying to muffle it but not succeeding. "Just a bit banged up." He added and rose to his feet. The darkness was suddenly driven back as Kian ignited the blade on his lightsaber, casting a yellow glow over everything. Kian could hear the growling of he Voxyn outside the caved in entrance. If there was away out, there would also be a way in and they would need to find it before the Voxyn did. 

 

Turning back, Kian saw Roshki crawling across the floor. 

 

"Here, hold this." Kian said kneeling down in front of her and handing her his lightsaber. Kian opened the small medical pouch on his utility belt he wore everywhere. Within the pouch he found a few bandages and a single syringe of kolto. "Sorry, but this will hurt a little." Kian said and he injected the Kolto into her foot before she could argue. Kolto was an amazing substance. It wouldn't miraculously cure the wound, but it would ease the pain substantially and accelerate the healing process. Taking the bandages, Kian began to apply them to her wounds. It wasn't much, but it would help. 

 

Finally convinced that he'd done all that he could, Kian took back his lightsaber and helped Roshki to her feet. "Should I carry you again." Kian asked and let out a laugh, which sent a shiver of pain through his broken arm. "Let's see if we can find a way out of here." Kian suggested and lifted his lightsaber out ahead of him, lighting the dark corridor ahead. 


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#10
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

 

At the sound of his voice I began to crawl towards the Kel Dor, cussing like a fiend under my breath. No doubt, my knees would be all bruised up. By the groan that echoed through the cave, he most definitely was not okay, despite what he said. I let out a soft snort. Karr, you’re a horrible liar. Stick to waving your saber around, will ya? Let me handle the fabricating.

 

The sudden light provided by his lightsaber stunned me, and I sat back on my rump, blinking. Ow. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the universe’s new punching bag. Alright, alright, so maybe I was whining a bit; after all, there were bound to be folks in worse shape than I was now. But considering the limit of my life experience, and couple that with the amount of crap stuck into a little bitty time period? I deserved more than a little slack.

 

My fingers curled around Karr’s lightsaber, and I held it up high so that the chances of anyone impaling themselves were slim. In the new light, I was able to see what, exactly, Karr had done to the opening. Viewing his handiwork, I let out a low whistle. “Well, now. You should add ‘demolitions’ to your resume, Double Kay.”

 

You might be wondering why, all of the sudden, I’m back to my old self. After all, the aforementioned crap should’ve left me shell-shocked. And it would. Eventually. Right now, I didn’t want to think about what happened. I didn’t want to revisit those horrible memories.

 

So, I did something I’d learned from an old war veteran who’d become a fellow bum. I shoved the memories away and locked them up. I then covered them in DO NOT OPEN tape and dropped it into the bottom of the proverbial ocean. Once I was all alone and out of a situation where I wasn’t going to drop dead immediately, then I’d take them out and deal with them. Right now, though, I was more concerned about oh, I don’t know, surviving?

 

Especially since during our brief jog through the forest, I’d dropped my bone. Dammit.

 

“Wait, what? What’ll hurt—OW! That was my foot!” I scowled at him. “What did you just inject?!” I asked as he began to wrap my feet. At first, the motions were hurting my foot, and I couldn’t help but wince. Then, though, the substance kicked in and the pain began to recede. Not AV, then, I thought, both disappointed and relieved. Though an injection of that would’ve obviously offset any withdrawal going on, I wasn’t ready to deal with whatever I would let slip while UTI (that’s Under The Influence, in case you were wondering). Still, it was similar to what AV did, and I had to think for a moment. “Oh, kolto. Thanks.”

 

Finally, the Kel Dor took his lightsaber back and helped me up. I tentatively applied my weight to each foot, happy with the fact that the pain had receded enough to be bearable. “Ha, ha, no. I think I can manage.” I noted his discomfort and, in a more serious tone, I added, “Besides, I don’t think you’d be able to carry me, anyway.” Turning my attention to the dark corridor ahead, my eyes sought to penetrate further into the darkness.

 

“Do you think there’s anything edible that way?”



#11
Kian Karr

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Kian walked cautiously down the path. It was relatively tight, and Kian, not a particularly tall individual, was forced to duck at times to avoid hitting his head. Each time he ducked, Kian found himself wincing from the pain in his forearm. The bone was certainly broken, but he had been lucky enough that the bone wasn't broken through the skin. Glancing at the walls as they went, Kian was fascinated by the dark patterns swirling through the rock. Whatever it was it was lightsaber resistant. Phrik perhaps? Kian made a mental note to investigate further if they got out of here alive. 

 

"I wouldn't count on it." Kian said over his shoulder to Roshki's request for food. He still wasn't sure there was a way out of the cavern system, but he wasn't going to tell her that. Coming around a bend in the path, Kian felt a light, cool breeze. It seemed as if they were coming up on a larger chamber ahead. As they left the tight confines of the path, Kian was surprised by the shear size of the cavern they entered. The ceiling had to be a half a kilometer high and the floor dropped off into darkness. Ahead of them was a single pathway that went across. It was a bridge, not too narrow, but narrow enough for Kian to be concerned with the crossing. Kian could see all this thanks to a small opening at the top of the ceiling that allowed some natural lighting in. Kian deactivated his lightsaber and clipped it to his belt, freeing up his good hand. 

 

"Be careful crossing." Kian said, stepping onto the bridge and putting himself on the left side so that his good arm would be facing Roshki. "If you need support, don't be too proud to ask for it." Kian warned. 

 

The crossing would take time, as the cavern was far larger then Kian would have believed at first glance. 

 

"How are you doing?" Kian asked, wanting to gauge where his apprentice was mentally and physically. 

 

 

Roshki Belawiiks


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#12
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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What?! No food?! It really was my worst nightmare. My stomach groaned in agony, and I gave it a sympathetic pat. "Well, that sucks."

 

We walked mostly in silence. Karr seemed preoccupied with the black streaks on the walls, so I turned my thoughts inward. Not really a smart idea, considering what'd happened earlier, but I had my reasons. And for once, they weren't smart-alecky.

 

The kolto's effects were still in play, which was why I wasn't curled up in a ball on the floor, bawling like a baby. At the same time, thought, the kolto would also be the reason I would be curled up in a ball, bawling like a baby. Especially without food. Remember, earlier, when I mentioned something about going into withdrawal? Yeah. Right now, I was in what I liked to call "Stage One" of my withdrawing process. Or whatever the hell it was called.

 

See, everyone goes through withdrawal differently, particularly those using painkillers and euphoriants like A Vrassa (my own poison, if you recall). Anyway, I've been through withdrawal a couple times in the past. And let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. At all. A Gammorean would have a better chance in a beauty pageant than my withdrawal episode. But what I did learn was that my symptoms pretty much came in three stages.

 

First, Stage One -- what I was currently going through. Mood swings, intense hunger, and sometimes there was even some dizziness going on. The kolto helped to subdue these a bit, but that also meant I was in the fast lane for Stages Two and Three.

 

Stage Two is the furthest I ever got in an episode. I've never finished because it was so horrible. All of my nerve endings and pain receptors came alive, and I felt like I was not only being burned alive, but that a giant Hutt kept running me over. Every nick I'd received before would feel fresh and hurt like a bad one. Accompanying the pain was also nausea, some vertigo, fevers, and worse -- rambling. It was the rambling that worried me, especially with the Kel Dor here. I didn't know what I would end up telling the Jedi, but I knew that none of it would be good. None of my secrets would be safe.

 

Stage Three... I have never made it to Stage Three; usually by the middle of Stage Two I had already gotten my fix and was good to go. But the main reason was I was always too scared to find out what would happen. True, there was a chance I'd be cured of my addiction, but there was an even greater (and more likely) risk of me dying. Wouldn't the universe just get a kick out of that? Of me dying, right here, after surviving all of the other crap? I could just see it now: my headstone, with the words "Survived hell, but died by a demon." Someone, somewhere, was laughing at that.

 

I nearly bumped into the Jedi as he stopped, drawing me out of my musings. When I looked for the reason why, a soft whistle escaped my lips. This place was huge! And the only way to cross the Chasm of Death? A small, narrow rock bridge. Go figure.

 

Karr stepped onto the bridge, staying to the left side. "Pffft, I've crossed smaller bridges than this, back in the day. I'll be fine!" I sensed his question was directed more towards how my mind was feeling, but I wasn't up to answering yet. Which might have been an answer enough. Ho-hum.

 

I walked up to the bridge and my Master, squeezing past him until I was in front. "It'd be easier to go single line, rather than side-by-side. Then we don't have to worry about jostling each other over the edge." My feet began to carry me forward, and I went for a few steps before peeking back. Shaking my posterior in a taunting manner, I peeked over my shoulder at the Kel Dor. "You comin', or are you going to just stand there and look pretty? Because if you are, I'd suggest you not quit your day job."

 

Kian Karr



#13
Kian Karr

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Kian stared at Roshki for a moment, considering her words. "Careful," Kian said following her, "It would be awfully easy to lose your footing and fall to your death." Kian said, making sure to say it as dryly as possible. He chuckled to himself as he followed her and he continued to eye the cavern. 

 

"That wasn't really what I was asking about." Kian said as they crossed, referencing his question about how she was doing. "What happened back there must still be bothering you." Kian said shifting his arm in the sling. "What I did is still bothering me." Kian admitted. He had seen a lot of horrible things so far in the war with the One Sith and his dealings as a Jedi Shadow. He'd seen his fellow Jedi die, he'd seen innocents slaughter because of the whims of men and women so corrupted by the darkside and their thirst for power that they couldn't see or didn't care about the horrors they were committing, and he'd seen good people do bad things convinced they were in the right. 

 

While all that was horrible, it was the blood on his own hands that haunted him most nights. The worst part of it all had been watching, unable to stop it, as he killed those Vong. 

 

Roshki Belawiiks


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#14
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

I threw back my head and cackled briefly, the noise echoing around us. "Double Kay, you've obviously never traversed the slums of Commenor. They've got catwalks and walkways smaller, longer, higher, and way more dangerous than this." A smirk was still on my face even as he said what I suspected -- that his question had another meaning -- though it soon became strained. Not looking back, I answered, almost tersely, "That's you. This is me. I'll be fine. Let's just worry about crossing the bridge thing, alright?"

 

Stupid response, I know. With that, there was no way Karr was going to let it alone. That Kel Dor could be like an akk dog on the scent of a meal when he wanted to be.

 

My feet stumbled as a wave of vertigo hit me, and I had to stand still with my arms out. Oh, no no nononoonononononono, I thought. Don't let me fall off the bridge! Don't let it start now! I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. We were almost halfway now, and it wouldn't be too long before the Jedi and I would get back on solid ground. I just needed to hang in there for a moment.

 

To cover my dizziness, I asked, "I had a thought. What if that creature came through the hole in the roof? And what was it, anyway? It's breath was as rank as a dead Rodian."



#15
Kian Karr

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Evasive as ever. Kian wasn't entirely surprised, he was pushing for an answer she was likely very hesitant to give. But she was starting to open up more about her life before the Jedi, even if she didn't realize it. Small comments here and there about Commenor. In time these would reveal a greater picture to Kian, he just had to be patient. He was about to push for more information when he saw her stop and for a moment he thought she was going to fall. Kian did nothing, he watched to see what would happen and was satisfied that she would be ok. 

 

Still it was odd that she would stumble like that.....then again she was likely tired, malnourished, and in pain. Then Roshki asked about the Voxyn coming in through the hole. Kian had thought of it and was actively scanning the area with his eyes. He couldn't trust the force and even if he could, it rarely helped much with a Voxyn, being of Vong design. 

 

"It was a Voxyn." Kian said. Not sure if Roshki was read on the creatures or not, he added: "They are creations of the Vong breed with a single purpose. They hunt and kill force sensitives." That was why Kian was sure the creature was tracking them.....unless the force was acting strange for the beasts as well. Kian couldn't be sure. It had tracked them too the cavern pretty easily, but that hadn't been all that hard. 

 

"They are incredible dangerous and very, very hard to kill." Kian added realizing that he was probably bringing down the mood a bit. Still, he needed Roshki to have a full understanding of what they were up against. Kian let that hang in the air for a time. They were almost to the other side of the bridge when Kian spoke again. 

 

"'I'll be fine' implies that you aren't fine right now." Kian said reflecting on her words. "And you shouldn't be, what you did, what I did, it isn't something we should just shrug off. We owe it to the lives we've taken to reflect on them, we owe it to them to understand what happened and ensure it doesn't happen again." Kian pressed, turning this into a teaching moment. 

 

"If we allow ourselves to pursue what we want based on emotions, we become what we were when we emerged from the abyss. The darkside clouds our judgement and we act out in fear or rage. The path of a Jedi means we do not allow ourselves to be ruled by our emotions, we do not allow ourselves to give in to rage, fear, hate, or any other emotion. We feel them, but we don't let them control us."

 

"If we can't do that......then there will be more blood on our hands." They were at the other side now glancing back and forth, there appeared to be two ways to go, one on the left and one on the right. Kian stopped for a moment to consider which way they should go and waited to hear what Roshki had to say. 

 

Roshki Belawiiks


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#16
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

    We all have demons. I've just decided to feed mine.

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Kian Karr

 

“Oh.” I’d never really read of these creatures, but the very fact they were Vong creations didn’t surprise me. That thing was certainly ugly enough to pass for one. But the name…it jogged something in my memory. “They were originally made on Myrkr, right? A mix between one of the native creatures and one of the Vong creatures,” I said, walking forward. Rubbing my chin, I was about to go on when I shut my mouth. Bah! There I went again, sounding like someone I wasn’t – a student. Karking Jedi, I grumbled. I tried to remedy that with a snarky comment, but I couldn’t muster one.

 

Both of us were silent again, with nothing more than the faint light and the echo of our footsteps for company. We were almost to the end, and I could feel my legs start to go weak with relief. But that didn't last, as Karr decided to speak up again.

 

I listened to his words, and I began to feel angry. At what, I didn't know. Perhaps it was the way he made it sound, like as though I was perfectly fine with the fact that I had, not too long ago, just killed another sentient being without provocation.

 

As if it meant nothing to me.

 

"Alright, so maybe I'm not fine now," I spat out, my hands clenching and unclenching slightly. "But I don't need your help. And don't--" We were off the bridge now, facing two entries, but I ignored them for now. Instead, I whirled on my Master, jabbing my finger at his chest. "Don't think I've forgotten about him. About what I did. Don't think for one second I'm not doing what you're saying -- reflecting on what happened, trying to come to terms with it, trying to make sure I won't slip up again. Because if that's what you think, then you're no better than them!" I glared at the Kel Dor, my voice dripping with venom. "And the fact that you think I'm some...some mindless beast that acts on instinct-- As if I don't actually think about what I do-- I'm not a Jedi, but I'm not a monster, either."

 

I was angry now, and I knew that if I didn't calm down soon enough I'd not only portray myself as a hypocrite, but I'd also prove him right. But his words, while intended as a lesson, stung more like an insult. And if I was to be honest with myself, it was my fault. I was, after all, the one who gave the impression that I didn't care -- that the entire galaxy was just a joke, one which I was too good for.

 

And, let's be honest here: it wasn't the first time someone had made a comment or five that resembled Karr's own words. I'd heard them plenty of times. Hearing them from him, though, was...different. Before I could figure out why, I let out a breath through my nose and pointed to the tunnel on the right. "We're going this way." It wasn't a question, and I wasn't waiting for him to naysay me -- instead, I started off towards my choice as soon as I'd made it.



#17
Kian Karr

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Kian watched Roshki both physically and through the force as she yelled at him. He said nothing as she let the flood gates open and the anger come pouring out. As she spoke, Kian couldn't tell if she was really angry at him, or if it was a defense mechanism. Anger turned outward to avoid reflecting on the anger she felt at herself. When she finished and declared the way they were going Kian smiled under his mask and followed a few steps behind her. 

 

"I don't think your a mindless beast." Kian said after a moment of silence as they walked on. "I never said that, which makes me think that who you are really angry at is yourself. Perhaps you're angry that you couldn't stop yourself from doing what you did or perhaps you're angry that you're starting to show promise as a Jedi and because of it you feel vulnerable." Kian said, not convinced that these were true, but giving examples as to why she might be acting the way she was. 

 

"What I do think is that you've spent a large part of your life hiding, Roshki Belawiiks. I think you've hidden how you feel and what you think behind veils of cynicism and cockiness." Kian said, his voice even and not judgmental. Kian didn't mean these things to be insulting, he simply was relaying what he'd observed in the girl. "I think you've spent your life trying to numb yourself to the world around you and to the turmoil within." Kian had noticed this in their first meeting together. He had felt in her something like that and his belief in it had grown even more in their time together. 

 

"But what you hide away are some of your best qualities. I see a strength in you that I doubt very much you believe you posses. I see potential to be something more than you perceive yourself to be." Kian fell silent for a few moments and then finally asked. 

 

"And I for one would like to know who them are?" Kian asked, wondering who it was he had reminded her of. Kian prepared himself for another blast of anger from the girl, but he felt that they were making progress trapped in the cave. He felt that this discussion could open the door to possibilities....or slam it shut forever. Kian had to be careful in how he proceeded....but not too careful. 

 

Roshki Belawiiks


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#18
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

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Kian Karr

 

Oh, I was in deep poodoo now. I’d dug myself into a hole which, little by little, had grown. If I wasn’t careful, the walls would be too high for me to crawl out of, and I’d have to come clean to the Kel Dor. Once again, my stomach performed backflips at the thought. But it wasn’t just that which caused me anxiety – there was something, something in the words Karr spoke which made me go back through my memories.

 

Oh, gods. What if he knew? What if he knew about the A Vrassa in my room, the needles and things which I used to escape this world? My eyes widen slightly. There. Yes – that sentence! My brain latched onto it and ignored all else, for the time being.

 

"I think you've spent your life trying to numb yourself to the world around you and to the turmoil within."

 

There – a stress, on “numb.” What could it mean? I knew I was being paranoid, but this was a secret I’d kept for so long from the Jedi, and to find out my own Master knew? But then, if he knew, why would he keep it a secret? Maybe he’d just found out, but in the middle of the whole vanishing act he’d forgotten about it, but now that we were together he remembered? What if as soon as we left, he had me locked up in some prison for substance abuse, or put me in some – my mind shuddered at the thought – at some rehab centre?

 

One half told me I was being paranoid and irrational – why would Karr wait this long? And even if he’d just found out, he would have told me, right? Be all High And Mighty Jedi on me, giving me lectures on how good little Jedi don’t use the bad drugs. But the other part told me I needed to keep my secret safe, and to play dumb as long as I could. After all, a secret’s no good if half the galaxy knows it, right?

 

I let out a soft sigh which promptly turned into a loud snort at what the Jedi said. Again with the whole “Oh I see a bright shiny light of potential in you” “Oh you’re going to be a wonderful Jedi, I just know it.” My mouth opened to fire off some snarky response when the next question caught me off guard.

 

I stopped, just now noticing my feet throbbing dully. So far, though, there was little to no pain. I turned slightly to look at the Kel Dor. “No one,” I snapped. “Everyone. I—I don’t know.” I waved my hand dismissively. “I was being generic.” That simple phrase gave me a startling sense of déjà vu, and it took me a moment to realize why; I’d said the exact same thing to Karr, the first time we’d met. That meeting…despite all that happened, it was surprisingly fresh in my mind.

 

"Do you think it advisable that you begin it with lies?" Karr asked me, a hint of curiosity about him. For what, though, I didn’t know. But I doubted it was good.

 

“It is if the lies get me what I need,” I retorted. Okay, so maybe a little harsher than necessary, but aside from my irritation I also felt a glimmer of begrudging respect for the Jedi.

 

"What is it you need?"

 

What did I need? I needed AV, for one thing…I needed my old gang again. They never tried to turn me into something I wasn’t. And we had good times, too. But I wasn’t telling Karr any of that. So, instead, I replied, “I was being generic. Sometimes you have to lie to get what you want or need. Truth doesn’t always cut it, you know.”

 

I shook my head, the memory already fading. Already, it felt like my old self was but a distant memory, and it scared me. I didn’t want to change – I liked my old self.

 

Reaching a hand out for the wall, I slowly slid down and landed on my butt with a soft “oomph.” The back of my head rested against the wall, and I could feel the coolness of the stone seeping into my montrals. Another wave of dizziness overtook me, and I closed my eyes. “Just…give me a moment. Then I’ll be good. How’s your arm?”



#19
Kian Karr

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Kian watched as his padawan slumped down against the wall. He didn't entirely buy her 'generic' argument and it had a somewhat familiar ring to his ear. He couldn't quite place it, but his memory was telling him she had used it previously with him. It was hard to remember though, so much evasiveness, so much posturing. Kian had spent time trying to break through the walls that Roshki put up and he was beginning to think he was making some headway. 

 

"It hurts like hell." Kian said kneeling down in front of her to catch his breath for a moment. The movement caused a fresh shot of pain to radiate through his forearm as if to augment what he had just said. Kian eyed Roshki for a moment, allowing the silence to build. Kian wasn't blind. He knew something was wrong with the girl, something that was more than just the events of the past day. Something had been up with her since the first day they'd met. It was little things. Bits and pieces of off behavior that added up over their time together. Kian hadn't pressed because he had known that doing so would have caused her to run, but there was something about her change in behavior.....he felt like he finally could, at least cautiously. 

 

"I'm not an idiot Roshki." Kian said, finally breaking the silence. "I know something is up with you.....I've known since the first day we've met......I just don't know what it is." Kian said, admitting it to her. "Is it something you might want to share?" Kian asked, wondering if being this blunt was a good thing or a bad thing. With the Roshki of several months past it would have certainly been a bad thing, but she had grown as a person more than he thought she realized. Still, he had to be somewhat careful in his approach. 

 

"And understand," Kian said wanting to make this adamantly clear, "that there is nothing you can tell me that is going to driving me into a rage, or make me sever all ties with you, or make me throw you to the wolves." Kian said and he meant every word of it. "I hope I've shown you so far in our training together that you can trust me."

 

Roshki Belawiiks


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#20
Roshki Belawiiks

Roshki Belawiiks

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Kian Karr

 

A breath of air escaped my lips, and a sense of defeat began to well up in me. He knew. He might not know the specifics, but something in his tone told me he knew enough. I didn't even bother trying to fib my way out. There goes Plan B, C, D, and the rest of the damned alphabet. My Master then offered reassurances, claiming he wouldn't ditch me, but it did little to reassure me. "Trust isn't something I dish out on random, Karr." Life just isn't like that.

 

I squeezed my eyes shut, wringing my hands in my sleeping gown -- mildly surprised that it wasn't shredded. I absently made a note to thank the manufacturers before returning to the task at hand. Right. The truth. "The truth doesn't always cut it," I murmured, more to myself than anything. "But sometimes it's the only choice left." Another sigh, and I wondered how I could have let myself get to this point -- backed in a corner, knowing if I didn't come clean, this...relationship Karr and I had built up would be ruined. Oh, it'd still be there, but it wouldn't be back to this point.

 

That was another thing which had surprised me. For years, I had shut everyone out, losing myself in a world of crime and highs. And yet, somehow, this annoying, persistant, almost fatherly Kel Dor Jedi had become -- dare I say it? -- my friend. This Jedi, who I only knew for a short duration of my existance, was someone I'd trust with my life more than I'd trust my gang, whom I'd known since childhood.

 

But could I trust him with my secrets, too?

 

Before another maidenly (and vomit-inducing) sigh could escape me, I reopened my eyes. My decision was made.

 

"I once told you that I discovered my abilities when I went on a speeder-ride-gone-wrong. Obviously, that was a lie." I paused, looking down at my lap again. Build up to it, I told myself. Ease into the truth, it'll be better. You're in it for the long haul -- this is an all-or-nothing thing! You coward! "When I was seven is when I really found them. There was this kid in my class, a real stuck-up bully who loved to squash others. For a while, he'd tried to pick on me but a quick conversation with my fists corrected that really quick." A brief grin lit up my face. That was the best day of my seven-year-old memories, beating up that loser. "In fact, he didn't bully anyone for a while -- he was too scared I'd come back for a second helping. But...it didn't last." A frown, now. "The bully reset his sights on this little whelp of a kid, a little six year old who was probably half my weight. Like, seriously, the kid probably fell down in a breeze. In any case, he became the bully's new target.

 

"I'm not proud to admit it, but I ignored it at first. I mean, it was just the basic name-calling and gimme-your-lunch-money stuff. I guess my brain figured if the kid couldn't get the guts to stand up to the bully, there was no point in saving him. Perverse logic, but whatever. One day, though, it became physical. The bully and his groupies had surrounded the kid and were pushing him around, throwing in a punch or kick for good measure. It was recess, and the adults were busy, so I decided to take things into my own hands.

 

I closed my eyes again, the memory fresh in my mind. In fact, I could see it as I recounted the story to the Kel Dor.

 

I shoved my way through the circle of boys and girls, intent on figuring out what was going on. Me being all joints and jabby elbows, this wasn't so hard. When I got to the front, i could just feel the anger building up.

 

They were shoving the little whelp back and forth, and his bruised skin gave testament to what he'd already been through, and it didn't look like he could handle much more. Any kid should've been able to handle the name-calling, but this was too much!

 

My mad face on, I balled up my fists and stomped towards the ringleader, who didn't notice me right away. He was too busy cheering and taunting. "Gravi Mordet! Stop right now!" My voice was high-pitched and childish, but my anger and tone gave it enough "oomph" to warrent a scared look from the bully. Clearly, my lesson was fresh in his mind, too.

 

But the threat of my fists didn't deter him. With a faint sneer that chased away the initial look of fear, Gravi said, "We're teaching him a lesson. He didn't give me his money like I told him to."

 

That set me off, and before I knew what was going on, I felt a sense of power build up in me. "Gravi Mordet," I intoned in a low, lethal voice that should not have belonged to a seven-year-old, "You will stop pushing this kid." Suddenly, the bully's face became blank, almost slack-jawed.

 

"Hey, guys, I'm gonna stop pushing this kid." And he did, must to the dumbfoundedness of his peers.

 

A faint look of surprise crossed my features, only to be replaced by a wicked grin. "You will leave this kid alone, or else I'll punch you."

 

Gravi blinked a couple times before intoning, "Everyone, let's leave this kid alone. I'm bored and I don't want to get punched by Roshki." With that, the bully spun around and walked off, his friends running after him.

 

I watched them for a few minutes, a grin plastered on my face before I turned to check on the kid, who was curled into a ball. "Hey, you, you alright?" When I didn't get a response, I tapped his shoulder. "Gravi's not gonna bother you no more, alright? So you don't have to worry." That got a reaction out of the kid, who looked up at me with not gratitude, but fear, startling me slightly.

 

I let out a huff. "The following day, I was called to the office. Gravi and his buddies told the principle that I'd taken over his mind and made everyone beat up the kid. Even worse? The kid wouldn't back me up, saying it was all true. Apparently my little trick scared the pants off of him. My parents didn't believe, me either." Massaging my feet gently, a grim look settled on my features. "I guess you could say that's when my delinquincy began.

 

"After that, it was the same old story. I'd go to a new school and spend most of my time making a nusance out of myself. The teachers and I got to see each other a lot, for all the wrong reasons. When I was old enough, I'd even skip school, and eventually I tried to see how long it'd take for them to kick me out. About that time, too, I'd fallen in to a group of kids like me, and together we'd run around the slums of Commenor and get into all sorts of mischief. My parents disproved of them, which made their company all the more desirable. And, then, when I was 17, I left home. For good."

 

Ah, now was the moment. Now was when I could choose to reveal my deep, dark secret, or to let it fester within me. Ah, what the hell. I'm already this far.

 

I took a deep breath, fully aware that what I said next could change my life -- particularly if Karr didn't keep up his promise. "For about a month or two, I avoided the drugs that the others used. I'd take a nip or two of alcohol, don't get me wrong, but glitterstim, death sticks, all of that: I avoided it. I saw what it did to your body, and I didn't want that to happen. But one day, at a party, one of my friends -- her nickname was Poison, as in "What's Your Poison?" -- presented me with this stuff she said was great for what I wanted. It was a common euphorant found in medical kits, and was pretty easy to get your hands on. It made you feel blissful and happy, and took about five times as long to affect your body as it did the other stuff. I was skeptical at first, but...eventually, I bought it." Eyes shut again. I couldn't believe it -- I was spilling my guts for the first time in my entire life. "It...it was -- is -- called A Vrassa. I've been hooked on it for...I don't know. Two years? Three? I've been responsible with it, though. I can go an entire two weeks without having to get my fix." I fell silent, waiting with baited breath to see how Karr would react to my story.