He was pacing pack and forth, a data pad in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Probably reading reports about remnants of the carnage his sister caused. And he himself. That part weighted especially heavy on him. With a frown on his face he swapped with his finger over the pad.
Cathelia had to admit, that Arcann looked pretty handsome without that atrocious mask and the orange eyes. Now they were blue like a sea, bathed in the sun, calm and kind. Not his hatred burning inside right behind them. Not like the eyes he had before the ritual. And the eyes she saw every time she looked into a mirror.
“You should talk to him.”
Cathelia startled. She had been so lost in thought that she didn’t hear her sister approach.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She tried to suppress the heat soaring in her cheeks. She looked at Ezebail, her twin sister. So much like her, yet so different. Almost snow-white hair, cut below her chin and worn openly, unblemished skin and brown eyes. Cathelia’s hair were raven-black with strands of gray, and she had them tightly bound into a bun at the back of her head. The right side of her face was covered in scars and her eyes burned fiercely in orange, just like Arcann’s did.
“It’s not what you think”, Cathelia snapped at Ezebail.
“Of course not.” The older sister answered with a smirk on her lips, which only increased the heat in Cathelia’s cheeks. “It isn’t the first time I find you standing around, watching him.”
“It’s not that,” she repeated, turning her face away from Ezebail. “I’m just…” She stopped mid-sentence, staring at her feet.
“Do I have to worry?” Ezebail asked with a frown on her face. That was so not her sister, shy and at a loss for words. She also wouldn’t just stare at someone she had a crush on from a distance. No, the Cathelia she know would just take what she wanted. Well, trying, at least.
“Wondering. I’m just wondering. I mean… do you think, the Voss could… do for me what they did for Arcann?” She said that last part so quietly that is was nothing but a whisper.
“Wait, what?” Now it was Ezebail who stared, in turns at Arcann and her sister, trying to wrap her head around what she just heard. “I think, we should continue this conversation somewhere else.” She grabbed Cathelia by her arm and together they left the war room, heading towards their private quarters.
It was a cold day. Not that there were any warm days on Ziost, but this one was particular frosty. Two little girls, not older than six years, wearing old and dirty rags, were sitting in a hidden room between the walls that was their home. No, not their home, their entire world. It was all they knew, all they had ever seen. Sometimes their mother would tell them stories of other worlds. Of something called a sun. And stars, which were actually the same, but still different. And she would talk about escaping Ziost. One day. This day would never come. And so the girls spent another cold day between the walls with nothing but themselves, hugging each other against the cold. And the screams.
The man who owned the walls was mean. Every day, someone outside the walls was screaming. Sometimes it was their mother. Today was such a day. Cowering in each others arms, tears rolling down their hollow cheeks, they would listen to the screams, which would then haunt them in their sleep. Their mother never told them what happened. Sometimes, she came back and had only bruises. On other days, she was bleeding. That man that owned the walls was not a man, but a monster. And he was their father.
Little Cathelia clenched her small fingers into fists and pressed them onto her ears to keep the screams out. Ezebail, the older one by six minutes, tightened her hold on her sister, rubbing her back to calm her down like she always did. But something was different today. Cathelia didn’t calm down. Instead she started hitting her ears with her little fists, her eyes squinted shut. The interval in which she hit herself became shorter and shorter. Until she suddenly stopped. Cathelia opened her eyes and mouth and an otherworldly scream came out of those small lungs, her eyes blazing like fire with the hatred she built up inside her all these years. Around them, the walls burned down.
When the fire had been put out, not much remained from their home between the walls. In the midsts of the ashes, completely unharmed, a father saw his children for the first time. He took those tiny hands and led them out of the walls. Their mother was nowhere to be found.
“Why do you think you need healing?” Ezebail asked while pouring drinks. “Do you really compare yourself to the old Arcann?” She sat down next to Cathelia, handing her a glass, filled with red Alderaanian wine.
“Of course not. I didn’t massacred whole planets. But… there is something inside me ever since that night on Ziost. And it takes all I have to keep it down.” She clung to the glass of wine with both hands, looking into the red liquid to avoid Ezebail’s gaze.
“You have never talked about that night.” She put her glass down and her hands in her lap.
“You mean the night our father took us away from our mother and threw us into the Rancor’s den aka Sith Academy? No, I don’t talk about that night very often.” Cathelia stood up and started pacing around the room, still clinging to the wine glass.
“We survived, didn’t we?” Ezebail said calmly. “And we grew stronger.”
“Barely.” Cathelia pointed towards the scars on her face. Ezebail knew that those weren’t the only scars her sister had. Just the visible ones. The right side of her body was almost completely covered. Another fire accident at the Academy. “And what about you? Buried alive by Darth Baras. Almost killed by your husband. And what about mother? Probably dead.” She was almost shouting now.
“I have Theron looking for her. Nothing so far. If she was still on Ziost, when Vitiate…”
“No, she wasn’t. Because he had already killed her, probably right after he put us on that fucking shuttle.” A red aura was forming around Cathelia, gaining in intensity as her rage grew. “I wish I could kill him. Slow and painful. Let him scream like he made mother scream. Dislodging his joints, starting with his feet. When he can’t move, I’d peel the skin from his bones, centimetre by centimetre. And when I have enough of his screams, I’d rip out his throat with my bare hands.” Cathelia looked her sister right in the eyes. She couldn’t say if she was worried, shocked or frightened.
“You carried that inside you all those years?” Ezebail asked. “Why didn’t you talk to me?” She stood up and wrapped her arms around Cathelia’s trembling body.
“You are always so calm. So reasonable. Hell, you even forgave Quinn. I… I think I was ashamed, because I’m none of these things.” Again, their eyes met. There was no pity found in Ezebail’s gaze. No superiority. Only heartfelt concern.
“I can talk to Sana-Rae, if you want.”
Cathelia only nodded, tears running down her cheeks. She buried her head in her sisters shoulder. Ezebail tightened the grip around her, stroking her head. Neither could say how long they stood there, entangled. It didn’t matter.