All things considered, Diona's cell is not too bad.
There's light in it. It is clean. No loudspeakers droning out non-stop propaganda. There are no rats waiting to gnaw at her.
Unlike the filthy cell the Inquisition put me in.
The one she put me in.
Bile rises in my stomach. I try to suppress it as I cross the threshold and look upon her.
My tormentor, my protector. My
She is sitting in her energy cage. I figure she is meditating. However, she is alert and rises the moment I enter. For a moment we just stand there. It may be as awkward for her as for me.
"Elpsis," she says.
"Diona." What do I want from her? An apology? A chance to hurt her? Both? Hell if I know. "Enjoying Firemane hospitality? No rats, no lice. No one pouring hot water down your throat or frakking with your mind. No one drowning you."
"I'm sure you'll be inventive if you want retribution." Her tone is almost conversational, and yet she sounds...resigned.
It makes me angry. "You'd deserve it," I snap harshly. "You locked me in that hellhole and let them torture me even though you knew I was innocent. You let them twist my mind until I was a puppet on strings."
She does not waver. "Yes."
"'Yes'? That's it?! That's all you have to say?" For a moment it feels like the ceiling is shaking. The floor beneath my boots trembles.
"I cannot say anything that would satisfy you. I let them do horrible things to you. I have done terrible things to many people. If you want to kill me, you are in your right. But get it over with."
I make a mental gesture and the energy cage shuts down. Then a telekinetic blast slams into her stomach and pushes her against the wall. I am certain she must have suffered a cracked rib. I pin her to the wall. She does look away, or beg. She just stares at me. Resigned. Defiant. Just waiting for me to end her. I hate her for this. I can imagine her bursting into flames. Burning from the inside out.
"I want an explanation." My tone is icy. I can feel the fire burning inside me. "Why? Why did you do it?"
"Because...because I believed it to be my duty," she declares harshly. "I was raised in the Dominion. The Order and my sisters were all I had. They are my family. I was moulded into a warrior. We were assailed by threats - horrible ones. I believed myself to be a shield between them and my people. It has been my lifeI did my duty, or people died. When your Firemane landed, we believed you to be another enemy who had come to assail us."
"But you realised I was innocent..."
"I developed doubts after I touched your mind, yes. And I hated you for making me doubt my cause. Because...because if I was wrong about you, then everything I'd believed in would have been a lie. Everything my sisters and I had fought for. Everything my template fought for. Eventually I could not close my eyes."
"You asked the Grand Inquisitor for permission to go to the frontlines with me. What did you intend to do?"
"Get you away Bring you back to your people."
"You would have died."
"Undoubtedly. Probably by your hand, or theirs. You might never have been able to snap out of your indoctrination. But it was worth a shot. You deserved it. Death was better than whatever the Grand Inquisitor had in mind."
I take a long breath. "A good deed does not wash out the bad."
"No, it doesn't. I make no apologies for my actions. Nor shall I be craven and beg. So will you take your revenge now? I will not stop you."
"Just kill her already. That Jedi worm deserves it." Either my senses are off or Nyssa has gotten better at sneaking. Suddenly she is at my mind, snarling in anger and full of hatred. "She hurt you. She tortured you."
"Sith." Diona's hateful tone matches her revulsion. "This is between Elpsis and me."
"Shut up, Jedi. Elpsis is my friend, and you hurt her. I'm the Sith here and you lot did worse than I've ever done."
"Both of you, shut up. It my decision. Mine alone."
"Then end it. I am ready to die. I don't fear death." No, she does not. She has been ready for a long time.
"No...I won't. I'm not making it that easy. Just as a good deed does not wash out the bad, a bad one does not wash out the good." I take a step closer to her, then another. "I can still feel it. I don’t mean ‘in my tender heart, it still pains me so.’ I can still feel what they did, in my body and soul, standing here, right now. You will live and you will do penance. I won't let you die. You will live with what you did." I release my grip on her, she stumbles, and I turn away.
"Are you out of your mind?" Nyssa thunders. "She's the enemy. After all she did to you, you want to let her go scots free? The moment you turn your back, she'll betray you. She wouldn't show you mercy."
"Mercy?" My laughter is without mirth. It agitates my throat and causes me to cough. "Is that what you call this?" I ask rhetorically once I have calmed down. "Killing is easy. Living with what she's done is worse for her than death. I won't give her an easy way out. Her life is mine alone to take and ending it is too merciful."
The door closed behind us. "Corporal," I beckon the guard on duty to come close. "Has anyone else been there to visit the prisoner?" I demand of her.
"No, ma'am."
"Good. No harm is to come to her. No roughing her up for questioning, no 'punitive measures', no 'enhanced interrogation' are we clear?"
"Uh, ma'am. I don't have the authority. What if..."
I brush the words aside with a wave of my hand. I am a Mistress of the Order. I've shed blood for it. My word has weight. It's time people understood that. Let mother rage all she wants. She has no power over me anymore. No one ever will. Not again. "I don't care if Sergeant Solveig, a Truthseeker or even my mother come down here. She's my responsibility. She helped me escape the camp. She will not be harmed."