Force of Wills: The Ties that Bind
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09.08.2012 , 11:36 AM |
It was late when Ardyth returned to her estate; she was unsurprised to see Pierce awake when she returned. He was a night owl, but tonight was different, he was sitting in the great room on the couch, shirtless watching Hutt ball, a beer in his hand. His barrel shaped chest and hands were wrapped in gauze. His face bore a new scare. She watched him impassively from the doorway.
“What happened?” She finally asked, curious as to the cause of her husband’s injuries.
“Your father’s Rattataki, and Jeasa, interrogated me.” He finished his beer and threw the empty bottle on the floor with the rest.
Ardyth raised an eyebrow, it was bold of Rateah, and to bring Jaesa meant she suspected Pierce might have lied about something. “What was it she was after?”
Pierce considered her, he hadn’t shared any of his past with his wife, and up until then it had worked for them, but now. “My parents were traitors to the empire. They had plotted and my father killed a Sith Lord. Apparently they were part of some secret anti Sith society. A few months back I get a message from my mum. She’s dying, wants to see me, reconcile. She gave me a data cube. I didn’t like the smell of it, dangerous business, bad enough I’m the son of a traitor, don’t need treason following me home. I gave the cube to Oriah before she left.”
Ardyth considered what he said, “Your parents were part of the Star Cabal?”
“That’s what my mother said. How did you know?”
“It’s been my father’s obsession for the last twenty five years. Why did they torture you? Did you try to lie?” Ardyth knew she would normally be livid with anger, hungry for retribution against those who would dare come into her home and harm her husband. Pierce knew it to, he eyed her with confusion.
“No Ardyth, I didn’t lie. Jaesa didn’t appreciate the pet name I gave her, let me know it. The two of them left me in a smoking heap on the floor when they left.” He reached out and took her hand, turned her face to him trying to search the familiar face, something was wrong.
“So you didn’t kill her, curious. Her half eaten body was being pulled out of the ravine when I returned.” She stood up, letting his hand fall away from her. She looked him over with a critical eye, “will you be well enough to fight? The Emperor has tasked me with something of great importance, I would have liked you by my side in the fight to come…but if you’re not well I can recall Broonmark from Ilum.”
Pierces eyes narrowed, “I’ll be fine. Ardyth, what’s happened to you? You’re not yourself.” He stood up, grasping her face in his hands, it was as if she was there, but missing. Her eyes took on an almost fanatical gleam.
“The Emperor has seen fit to bless me, he has given me a great gift. I am immortal, I have more power than I have ever known. Isn’t it wonderful?” Ardyth gave her husband a wide smile, though her eyes remained empty save for a faintly crazed look.
Pierce continued looking down at her, into the golden yellow eyes he loved so much, he kissed her, her familiar lips molded to his own, he opened them with his tongue, tasting her familiar taste. When the kiss ended, she didn’t bite her lower lip like she always did she looked at him as if calculating, the dark passion that fueled them was absent.
“The Emperor’s gifts are always double edged.” He said gruffly, quietly. He was afraid, though he didn’t admit it to himself.
“They are.” She traced his lips with her finger, “I no longer feel emotion, I no longer have my senses. There is no taste, or scent or colour, I remember loving you, but, I can no longer feel it. I feel only the energy of the dark side, not what fuels it. A small sacrifice for the gift I have been bestowed. The Emperor is good.”
Pierce could only stare, frozen in place. It was as if everything he had loved about her had been drained away. “You can’t feel this?” He kissed her again, passionately, willing her back into his arms. She didn’t return.
“No. I realize you are a man, with appetites, if it would please you, I can still make my body available to you, or if you like, you may buy yourself a slave, it doesn’t matter…I do however still require your loyalty. Can I still count on you Pierce?” Ardyth replied to his kiss, she did miss his scent, she had to admit to herself.
Pierce tried to keep the horror from his face, use her body, how could he take pleasure from an empty husk, and yet, he loved her, the idea of a slave repulsed him. “My Lord, you can always count on me.”
She nodded to him, and left him standing in the dark room alone. Pierce eventually followed her to their bedroom, numb.
Force of Wills
Force of Wills: The Ties that Bind