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The Sanctuary of Regret


MishaCantu's Avatar


MishaCantu
11.04.2018 , 02:14 PM | #441
Well, hell...

Spoiler


Sad, but looking forward to the next.

Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
11.05.2018 , 12:49 PM | #442
Quote: Originally Posted by frauzet View Post
*sighs*
Spoiler

Looking forward to the next part. <3
I'm glad you enjoyed that, it was meant to be of comfort and I hope it succeeded. Thank you for reading and commenting.


Quote: Originally Posted by MishaCantu View Post
Well, hell...

Spoiler


Sad, but looking forward to the next.
I'm glad you liked Deston's observation, he's a clever little guy.

Well, in saying that, in feeling that, you've given me a marvelous compliment and I appreciate it. The story is what it is and while it will be my last for quite a while here, I always like to include a way back, if I ever decide to continue. I'm thrilled that you still enjoy my Marr. I love him and there is always that bit of hope and panic that I've done him justice.

Theron's been through hell, more than he deserves. I think the best thing for him right now is closure and distance and I think talking to friends on Tython will help him regain what he needs in time. It makes sense to me that he'd seek out Gnost-Dural, given their friendship.

Thanks so much for the kind and insightful comments and for reading. Not every story is a happy one, but I'd like to think they all have some grains of truth, wisdom, and hope.

Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
11.10.2018 , 06:50 PM | #443
The Sanctuary of Regret

Chapter Sixty


Scourge watched the eddy of bubbles coil around Liatrix’s body while the medical droid drained the treatment tank. No amount of kolto would remove the self-inflicted lightsaber scar, nor the pale trees of electrical damage coiling from her hands to her elbows like thready gloves. But the kolto would reinforce the layers of delicate reconstructive surgery mending her organs.

This afternoon was only the latest of many such afternoons. The rhythmic beat of life-sustaining equipment working persistently in the background was the only sound testing Scourge’s awareness. At other times, conversations between Kimble and Quinn would prevent him from sinking too far into his own thoughts. Their ideas, their plans circled the surface and whether he cared or not, became a part of him.

‘Plenty of sick and homeless pirates to keep Kira and me busy for years,’ the doctor had announced as if Scourge cared where he would end up. ‘And best of all? No Hutts and no Justicars.’

Quinn, while alert and dedicated to his duty, said little—the mark of an intelligent man, Scourge thought. Over time, and much to Scourge’s chagrin, he was forced to admit he and the Imperial shared many qualities in common.

Scourge had yet to meet Quinn’s wife, Darth Fernal—the only other to have served as the Emperor’s Wrath—a dubious distinction if ever there was one, but a distinction that still commanded respect and terror the galaxy over.

Fernal traveled with Nox, Vowrawn, and their entourage, their vessel due to arrive at any time. Playing to their own motivations and politics, Scourge suspected none of them cared to make the rush trip required, save for Quinn. The others would arrive in their own good time.

Though the introduction to his successor would prove enlightening, another introduction concerned him far more—the one he and Liatrix would share with their daughter. But hand in hand with anticipation came the inevitable crush of anguish and trepidation that followed a parent who had outlived his child.

Would remembering Toska diminish or enhance the bond with the true daughter of his blood? Was it a betrayal of the child he’d lost? If he feared anything it would be the answers to these questions, that only time could answer.

The droid transferred Liatrix to the table and initiated a sequence of drying, disinfecting and binding her wounds. The nearing voices in the hallway suggested this afternoon would be one of distraction and for once, Scourge was almost grateful for it.

“Hey Quinn, you won’t believe what I heard on the holonet earlier,” Doc said upon arrival. “Go on, guess. You won’t guess. Not in a million.”

“Tell me or don’t,” Quinn replied coolly, “But spare me these guessing games you enjoy so much.”

“A’right, a’right. You could afford to loosen up though. Trust me, I’m a doctor.”

“That may impress some of your more obtuse patients, however, I fail to see how it’s pertinent to my attitude.”

Scourge smirked.

Doc cocked his head like a confused Akk pup but was not to be deterred. Scourge had to award points for tenacity.

“So get this,” Doc began. “You remember Darmas Pollaran right?”

“Of course, I remember.” Quinn froze. “What about Pollaran?” He asked, his tone choppy.

“Get this, Republic authorities found him orbiting Belsavis.”

“Did he put up much resistance?”

“Nah.” Doc shook his head. “Near as they can figure he’d been strangled by a droid and shot out the airlock. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, I’ll tell ya.”

“Are you certain?”

“Yeah, no doubt about it. The spy guys were monitoring it, so I listened in.”

“You eavesdropped. Hmph. Perhaps you missed your calling among the SIS,” Quinn quipped.

“Y’know, my career counselor said the exact same thing, but medicine, that’s the real action, and I’ve seen a lot of action,” Doc said, pulling double-guns with his fingers. “One of these days, the Journal of Xeno-Medicine will sit up and take notice of Ol’ Doc.”

Quinn’s nose crinkled. “That rag…”

Scourge stood, unfurling to his full height after sitting for too long. “When will she wake?” He interrupted.

“Today, I hope,” Doc said. “The Kolto is healing nicely—keeping her immobilized was imperative and seems to have paid off.”

“Perhaps a change of scenery would be of benefit, my Lord. You’ve been here for days on end,” Quinn said. “We would notify you of any change.”

Scourge twisted his left tendril ring. “Any word as to the ship?”

“Speak with Lana regarding their arrival,” Quinn offered. “I’m sure she has a more accurate assessment.”

“Hmm. Thank you.”

“My lord, there is one more thing, if I may be so bold…”

“What?”

“Your daughter, despite a troubling beginning, has grown to be a calm, clever, child, however that could take some time to re-emerge in an unfamiliar setting—a new setting, new people...”

“Because I’m a stranger to my own child.”

“I meant no offense, my lord.”

“None taken, I was merely stating an unfortunate truth.”

“I only meant to make you aware of the challenges. Such as the attachment she’s formed with one of Nox’s men—a former pirate captain and Republic deserter. Regrettably, now a constant to your daughter and a source of comfort. My wife went so far as to offer him employment on our crew, however, he refused.”

“I can see why,” Doc mumbled. “Brrrr.”

Scourge frowned. “Andronikos Revel.”

“Yes, my lord, clearly you’ve made his acquaintance.”

“I have,” Scourge glanced at the hospital bed where Liatrix now rested and started for the door. “If there are any changes…”

“We will inform you immediately, my lord.”


Scourge swept into the control room, but before he could make his demands, Lana closed the path between him and Theron and Balkar. “Lord Scourge—the ship will be making its descent within the half hour,” she announced. “You must terribly excited.”

“Excitement is hardly adequate, but it will suffice.”

“They’ll be landing on shuttlepad Alpha. A trip to town won’t be required.”

“Good,” he clipped, his attention landing on the spies. “Is it true about Pollaran?”

Theron nodded. “Yeah, it’s true. A contact of mine on Belsavis, confirmed it, just minutes ago.”

Scourge responded with a final acknowledging look and left the control room.

“It appears you two have managed to set aside your differences,” Lana observed.

“Well, I don’t know about that, but if he was gonna kill me, he’d have done it by now.”

“Hey, I’d call that progress,” Balkar chimed in.


*


Sephna toyed with the floppy-eared blue holo-monster on the Dejarik table and Andronikos watched her wistfully. After today, that would be it. “Hey kid, what’s with you and that Ortolan, huh?”

“Deston liked them,” she whispered.

“Yeah? Like you like Loth-cats?” He teased, rubbing her nose with the nose of the stuffed animal he’d given her what seemed like forever ago.

She nodded but tried hard not to blink. When he pulled the toy away, she wept and tried to hide it.

“Whassa matter, hmph?” Andronikos sighed.

“Deston’s gone. I felt him go away. Promise me you won’t go too.”

“Can’t, kid. Piratin’ ain’ no life for a kid. Look, you don’t need me. You’re goin’ back to your parents.”

“And what if they go away again too?”

“They won’t. This is for keeps. Don’t tell me you don’t wanna meet ‘em.”

Her lower lip shook. “I want you to stay, Nik. I-I love you,” she stammered and launched herself across the table to hug him.

His eyes widened. Reluctantly, he closed the hug and held her. Her tears stained his cheek and trickled behind his collar like little steaming snakes.

“Stay,” she hissed in his ear. “Don’t leave me.”

At that, he pried her away and watched her with feral blue-grey eyes. “Cut that out,” he warned.

“Why? You like it when she says it.”

“I said, cut that out. I ain’ sayin’ it a third time.”

“Why do you like her and not me?”

“It’s not like that. It’s different.”

“Cuz she’s grown up?”

“It’s just different. Besides, it’s time this comet broke orbit anyway.”

Sephna’s brows pursed. “Someday, I’ll find you and you won’t know it’s me.”

He pried her off the rest of the way and plunked her on the table. “I’d know you anywhere, kid. C’mon now. Don’t you be like her. You don’t have to be. I like you plenty, just as you are, you get me?”

She nodded grudgingly and pouted in such a way no father could deny, but he wasn’t her father or anyone else’s and that made him bulletproof. He flicked her lower lip with his index finger. “Pull that back in before a womprat chews if off.”

An even more grudging smirk lifted her lips and she retracted her pout. “I’ll see you again someday.”

“Not if I see you first. Now go wash your face—brush your hair. This is a big day for you. Like it or not, and put on that blue dress I got ya. That’s how I wanna remember you.”

Sephna collected her toy Loth-cat and shuffled to the refresher.

Fernal emerged from the shadows. “Why Captain, who would’ve guessed under that gruff exterior exists a good man.”

“Don’t go ruinin’ a man’s reputation, uh?”

“Not to worry, Captain. I’ll take your secret to the grave,” she said, offering her hand to shake. He accepted and held her hand briefly. “It’s bin one helluva trip, huh?”

“That it has, but new beginnings lay ahead.”

“And who would’ve guessed under that Sithy exterior lies an optimist.”

“Don’t go ruining a Sith lord’s image.”

Andronikos chuckled. “Thanks for everything.”

“Likewise. I take it you’ve sorted your loose ends here?”

“Workin’ on it.”

“And then what?”

“Same as always—gonna pick a direction and go in it.”

“Simple plans are always the best ones. I wish you well, Captain.”

“What about you and the General?”

“He craves Dromund Kaas like air. It’s been a long time, but we’re finally going home.”

The proximity alert chimed. “Looks like we’re here,” Andronikos muttered and returned to the cockpit to bring the vessel in.

Fernal’s gaze fixed on the double doors leading to the Captain’s quarters. Inside, Nox and Vowrawn spoke, but she chose not to linger or speculate and made her way to her bunk to catch a few rare and precious moments of meditation before disembarking.

*

Jonas refilled his caf and watched the control room lights dance on the surface of the inky liquid.

“I know what it’s like to lose...You okay?” Theron asked.

“You know what? I am. It’s a load off. No more lookin’ over my shoulder. No more resentment. It’s over. I always knew, one way or another, how things with him would end. I’m amazed he lasted this long. Makes me wish I was the one that pulled the trigger.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“S’pose not.”

“You’re still welcome to join me on Tython.”

“Thanks,” he said raising his mug. “A little peace and quiet never killed anyone, right?”

Lana smiled. “I’ll hold down the fort till you get back. Then we can begin putting this Chrono nightmare to bed, once and for all. No one should have a weapon of that nature.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Theron said. “For now.”


*


Deep fluid tones were the first thing to worm their way into Liatrix’s consciousness, then the warmth on her face and the bright light above shedding that warmth.

The light was deceptive and for a moment she believed herself back on the beach, but the acrid smell of medicine hung in the air, soon followed by the beeps of equipment announcing her awakening.

“My lord,” Quinn said softly. “Welcome back.”

“Quinn?” Liatrix blinked, her brow creasing as she puzzled through how his presence was possible. “You’re alive?”

“Quite.”

“Did you find her?”

“I did. Perhaps later, you’ll meet her. They’re due to arrive at any moment.”

“I’d like that,” she rasped.

Quinn tipped a glass of water to her lips. “There is someone else, you’ll wish to meet.”

Liatrix lowered the glass. “How long have I been out? Deston?!”

“I’m sorry, my lord.”

She nodded. “I remember now.”

“For what it’s worth, you have my condolences. I took the liberty of seeing to arrangements.”

“Thank you.” She sat up a bit more. “Where’s Scourge?”

“He went out to meet our latest arrivals—including, I’m pleased to say, your daughter, Sephna.”

“She’s alive?”

“Indeed. A long story, one better heard directly from your family.”

“I want to be there. I need to be up,” Liatrix hoisted herself up, wincing before swinging her legs over the side of the bed.

“Take care, my lord. You’re still recovering.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll try not to get into any fights…my clothes?”

Doc emerged from the anteroom with a set of fresh robes. “Hey, beautiful, welcome back. Thought you might be lookin’ for these. I know there’s no sense holdin’ you back, just don’t overdo it. No bending at the waist, no overexertion. I’ve left instructions with Scourge.”

“I’ll behave—before you two disappear on me—I just want you to know, I’m grateful, for everything you’ve both done for me.”

“Service is its own reward,” Quinn said.

“Moments like this, tend to make Ol’ Doc a bit choked up.”

Quinn nodded. “If you wish to call it a day, Doctor, I’ll escort the Commander to meet the others.”

“Thanks,” Doc barked and disappeared again.

“I’ll give you a moment,” Quinn murmured and left the room to notify Scourge.


*


The exterior doors to Keeper’s base parted, the sharp beam of daylight cutting between them like a lightsaber. As the doors widened, several silhouettes dimmed the brightness to a more comfortable level and Quinn dropped the hand visoring his eyes. “At last,” he whispered.

“Thanks, Quinn,” Liatrix said, taking a few careful steps forward.

Vowrawn emerged from the group first, hand extended. “Lord Incarnal, Commander, it is my great pleasure to see you’ve already made such strides in your recovery.”

“Thank you, Lord Vowrawn—you’ve given me the greatest motivation I could ever hope for.”

“The gratitude is quite mutual, I assure you. Thanks to you, we,” he said, beckoning to Nox, “Can go home again.”

“We all can, finally. The long nightmare is over,” Liatrix added. “Though I’m not quite sure where home is at the moment, and much needs to be settled between us.”

“Not so much as one might think—Keeper informed us, you wish to rebuild and continue with your father’s vision of a strong, unified Empire.”

“That was my thinking yes.”

“That requires an Emperor,” Nox oozed. “A capacity Vowrawn and I have shared for many years and one I wish to continue in. I have inducements to see that happen. Give up your claim, Incarnal.”

Liatrix said nothing but watched the next moves unfold.

Fernal emerged from the bright light next, “A child is not a bargaining chip,” she threatened.

Scourge towered behind Fernal. “Vowrawn, what is the meaning of this?”

“A miscommunication it would appear.” Vowrawn clamped Nox’s elbow. “Without lifting a finger, our home has been returned to us. You are not the only one with inducements,” he said, raising a sharp brow.

“Does that mean you will remain here, among the living? That you’ve made your choice? I won’t tolerate any more talk of prematurely returning to the afterlife. We need you.”

Vowrawn smirked. “My dear, my decision to remain was made months ago. Long before our child was conceived.”

“Is that true?” Nox demanded.

“It’s true,” Fernal said flatly. “I can confirm it.”

Nox whirled on Vowrawn, her features softening. “And you said nothing?”

“Your conniving never ceases to amuse and delight. I’m a hedonist above all else. Are we in agreement, my dear? Darth Incarnal will serve as Emperor, together we will rebuild. See Marr’s vision to fruition.”

“Very well, we’re in agreement. My thanks to you, Empress, for ridding us of our great obstacles to a better life within the Empire.”

Liatrix nodded. “We all had a hand to play. We can finalize everything later. Right now there’s only one thing I really want to do, and that’s to reunite with my daughter,” she said, eagerly squinting at the light.

Scourge motioned for the child to step forward, and warily, like a wild creature, she took a few tentative steps away from the pirate shadowing her, but before she got too far, she leapt back and curled into his side and shook her head, her Loth-cat toy squashed against her chest.

“We talked about this, kid. C’mon,” Andronikos clasped her hand and marched her to her mother, Scourge following them closely.

Liatrix knelt carefully despite Doc’s orders and offered her hand. “I like your Loth-cat. Can you come closer, so I can pet him?”

Sephna nodded and extended the toy to her. Liatrix smiled and admired the toy animal. “Your dress is really pretty. You have no idea, how much I missed you. I’m sorry I ever left. I didn’t think I’d be away long…”

Quinn and Scourge exchanged glances, the latter placing his hand on Liatrix’s shoulder. “It’ll take time. We’ve been apart far too long.”

“You can’t know how happy I am to see you, Sephna,” Liatrix added. “I hope we can get to know each other, I’d like nothing more.”

Sephna nodded but kept her distance. “You look like Deston’s pictures.”

“I wish he could be here with us, right now, all of us, together.”

The child hugged her toy and turned back to Andronikos.

He clasped her arms and held her at their length. “These are your people, kid. Not me. I told ya, this comet’s gotta break orbit. Someday you’ll understand.”

Andronikos straightened and regarded the group. “That’s my cue. There comes a time even the stars burn out.”
Without a backward glance, he marched up the ramp and disappeared into the light.

“Andronikos…” Nox called after him, but no reply came.

Sephna sobbed and Scourge drew her up into his arms. She buried her face into his shoulder and clung to him.

Liatrix soothed the child’s back. Goodbyes were never easy, and no sooner had the thought scrolled through her mind, her gaze landed on Theron, leaning against the wall in the shadows.

“We should go,” Scourge murmured, the child’s eyes growing heavy with sleep.

Liatrix nodded. “It’s time.”

Vowrawn caught Liatrix’s arm. “There is one more thing—if I may have a moment…”

“I’ll catch up to you at our ship,” she whispered to Scourge. “Of course, Lord Vowrawn. What can I do for you?”

Vowrawn pressed a palm-sized datapad into her hand.

“What’s this?”

“Coordinates—I think it’s something your father would have wanted you to have. You’ll understand when you see it. It’s isolated, but I’ve arranged for all the amenities to be brought in. You’ll want for nothing as you recover. It’s yours.”

Liatrix examined the coordinates. “The Chommell Sector…I’ve never heard of it.”

“Few have. It’s quite uncharted for the most part, but a world of unparalleled beauty—a perfect location for our Empress to call home and you need not fear intrusion. Only I have the coordinates and I don’t plan on sharing them.”

“Thank you, Lord Vowrawn. I have every faith that we can restore the Empire to what my father would’ve wanted.”
A shadow fell over Vowrawn’s shoulder. “As do I. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other matters to attend.”

“Of course.”

Theron stepped around the rejuvenated Sith lord and stood before Liatrix. “Hey.”

The silence passed between them, heavy and unpopulated and starved with no hope of being fed.

Liatrix glanced at the floor, before braving a final look into his eyes—a face she’d never see again except in dreams and nightmares. “Theron,” she began. “I don’t know what else there is to say, except, I’m sorry…for everything.”

“Yeah, me too,” he murmured. He considered telling her about the spark, the warmth of the moment shared with their son but thought better of it. A spark could forge hope and promises—dreams he needed to consciously set aside for good. The door needed to close and for better or worse, darkness needed to fall between them. “There’s only one other thing to say—and that’s goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Theron,” she whispered. The amber in his eyes seared itself into her soul—an ember never to be forgotten or seen again.

She watched him descend into the darkness into the base, and when he was gone, she started up toward the light.


*


Her father had always told her, that time is not the constant we believe it to be. It passes differently for everyone, despite man’s attempt to harness it, control it, or measure it.

Liatrix stood before the lake, slowly darkened by the incoming night, the first stars dotting the purple surface and defining a path for the world’s three moons to make their nightly pass overhead.

She set the last of the stones in place to complete the cairns she’d built—one larger and one smaller. Pleased with her work, she leaned back, fingers cooled by the moist grass poking up between them.

Sephna watched from the duracrete balcony and turned back to her father. “What’s mama doing?”

“Remembering,” Scourge said softly.

“But it makes her sad.”

“Perhaps, for a time. But until we know sadness, we can never fully understand the value of pleasure or regret.”

“Do you think I could go help?” Sephna asked.

“Why don’t we both go,” Scourge said, hoisting his daughter to his shoulders. Together, they walked to the grassy bank, and Liatrix stood to meet them. Scourge drew his family close under his arm.

“Can we help, mama?”

“You already have,” Liatrix whispered and squeezed her hand.


~The End.~


((Roll credits))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLVo...DtozSM&index=2

A/N: On September, 15th, 2012, I began a journey, one I never dreamed would become what it did. A series, five stories long; 613, 577+ words total and now concluding on November 10th, 2018. Six years of weekly chapter updates and a labor of love. If this story was a child, it would be starting its first grade of school. Scary and amazing at the same time.

I would like to thank everyone who followed along with the stories over the years, it means the world to me to share my SWTOR vision with all of you. Your comments and continued support over the years have buoyed me and were the fuel that kept me going, so I thank you all most humbly.

Now, I move on to write other stories that fight for my attention, original stories that beg me to tell them, so I shall do that! A writer’s work is never truly done. Thanks so much, everyone, it’s been quite the ride.

Eiter's Avatar


Eiter
11.10.2018 , 10:46 PM | #444
Thank you for the stories. They've invigorated my appreciation for the game by expanding on its tales, and inspired my own imagination. Helluva ride indeed, and I've enjoyed every bit of it.

Good luck with future projects.

MishaCantu's Avatar


MishaCantu
Yesterday , 03:55 PM | #445
Drum roll...

Spoiler


I've enjoyed each step along the way but time to set your feet on a different path. I wish you well wherever it takes you. Keep in touch. You know where to find me.

taxidermis's Avatar


taxidermis
Today , 07:15 AM | #446
Bawls uncontrollably* I'm gonna miss your writing... I've followed this story since the beginning and all I can say is bravo! It has many times filled my heart made me laugh made me cry. Best fan fiction ever. Thankyou for sharing it with us
Livin the best Star Forge life and lovin it!
Click here for 7 days of free sub plus a box of goodies!!-http://www.swtor.com/r/sb7Qbn
Come check me out on you-tube for weekly SWTOR content @SWTOR-NERD

Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
Today , 01:44 PM | #447
Quote: Originally Posted by Eiter View Post
Thank you for the stories. They've invigorated my appreciation for the game by expanding on its tales, and inspired my own imagination. Helluva ride indeed, and I've enjoyed every bit of it.

Good luck with future projects.
Thanks, Eiter <3 You have no idea how much your kindness means to me. I'm so happy you've enjoyed the stories and through them gained a few things of value.



Quote: Originally Posted by MishaCantu View Post
Drum roll...

Spoiler


I've enjoyed each step along the way but time to set your feet on a different path. I wish you well wherever it takes you. Keep in touch. You know where to find me.
Yup, time for the deep cuppa and a bit of rest. Some dark chocolate to go with that wouldn't be a bad idea either lol. Thank you so much for the insightful and kind comments, the encouragement, all of it, over the years; you really can't put a value to that, only gratitude.

I'm glad you found the endings fitting, in a sense new beginnings for all, a long time coming and perhaps in varying shades of worthiness, as it so happens in life I think. Andronikus is better off being free to do his thing, he's been a part of Sith games for too long. He's more of a Rook than a pawn and deserves to go stretch his legs. Vowrawn likes the game and I figured if he was exposed to it long enough, the need to play would find him again.

Theron will need time to heal, though I'm not sure he ever fully will, given the scars he carries around from his parents. Jonas needs time too, but in a different sense. Both need to heal, but both have new beginnings and yet something they can return to as well.

I doubt Lia will ever fully let go of her grief, some prisons are of their own making, but now that she has her family back, she too will have a chance to heal and consider her father's life, what he did, and how it relates to her own and if she's willing to make the sacrifices he did. Armed with Keeper's information, she's in a better place to make these choices.

Thank you again for your unwavering support. I do indeed know where to find you, and of course, you know where to find me too. <3


Quote: Originally Posted by taxidermis View Post
Bawls uncontrollably* I'm gonna miss your writing... I've followed this story since the beginning and all I can say is bravo! It has many times filled my heart made me laugh made me cry. Best fan fiction ever. Thankyou for sharing it with us
*hugs* Thank you so much Taxidermis, your comment really brightened my day, and I appreciate you sticking with it all from the start. I'm happy you enjoyed them and that they took you up and down the emotional spectrum of the human condition. That's really the best thing any writer could aim for, and it means a lot to know that I succeeded, even a little. Thank you again. <3