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Flashback: Distractions

Dekkan Fray

RETIRED
Character
Vorzyd V
Outskirts of Efavan
Five and a half years ago
Vorzyd_zps95059616.png
The glitz and the glamour of a planet devoted to the almighty credit might of not seemed like the best place to lay low, but in reality it was quite a perfect fit. It was so overt, that it was covert - and kept a man on the run from his past out of the prying eyes of those that sought him. Hiding though was only one of the two reasons that Dekkan Fray had adapted to carve out a small place for himself in order to try and make sense with what had become of his life. The second reason for his current location outside of the capital city of Efavan was what the city and planet were famous for; distractions. It had been years since the final incident that had shattered his rage induced reality and snapped him back to what life was out here in the black. Now carrying a host of sins and memories of pain and tragedy, the solemn and often brooding melancholy needed a way to keep the demons of his past at bay, if only for a little while longer.

Work wasn't exactly the most entertaining or fulfilling of occupations, and yet it still provided him with something to dull the pain, and the flood of history that he was dealing with alone. Of all the employ that rested in the hands of the wealthy elite controlling the gaming casinos, there was not a man so guarded and so unwilling to socialize than that of Dekkan. He mind and emotions were a gated community that let no one in, nor let his pain out. Nights had been spent in drunken stupors so that he could fall asleep. Even then, his dreams still haunted him and woke him up countless times in the night bathed in a sheen of sweat. The big city lights from his humble apartment never tantalized or tempted him, but only served as something to redirect his attention. He honestly hated that kind of life, the carefree dupes that wandered the casinos every hour of every day. He wouldn't of stepped foot on this planet under different circumstances.

Months had gone by like years for the man, and while he was till in the prime of his life, his soul had aged ten times over. The weight and burden evident in slumped shoulders and a posture that indicated he was not living, that he was only existing. Every avenue he had tried to throw himself into in order to keep the torment inside had been a dead end. This was a land of immediate pleasure, with no long term appeal. It was instant gratification at it's finest, and what he was looking he wasn't finding, even at the bottom of a bottle. Still he had to make a living he supposed, and in doing that, his search for something to help had unlocked a single untapped source that might just provide something of a balm to his historic wounds.

They called them Companions. The hired escorts of the Galaxy, but they had been set apart from the Galaxy's oldest profession. There were of course overlapping traits involved, and yet the name and occupation had become respected, admired even. They had become ambassador's of their craft, and had done some significant dealings with the higher political parties and faction heads. Dekkan wasn't aware of their history, or their role in the Galaxy at large, all he did know is that he hadn't turned their direction yet. This was more than just a street-walker however. He wasn't going to find a companion combing the catwalks of the casinos and looking for a quick fix. This required assets, reach, and a respectful and dignified - honest- attempt.

Registry had been less than appealing as he was trying to stay off the radar, but assurances were made that his identity was in the strictest confidence, and not even an order from any government could get into their system and request or take any records. These Companions were true to their word. They had to be in order to charge what they did for their services. Credits were not an issue, at least not for such humble estates. The money would of gone to booze at any rate, and he had enough credits to warrant a single request. His application was meager, and not as upstanding as some of the others that might be given to this order. The image of a scruffy human with pain-filled soulful blue eyes and a rugged complextion was the face of the holo-vid. His words were not eloquent or classy, but they were honest. At the last, his parting words in the message simply said this:

"I suppose I'm looking for a distraction. And if it's any consolation - I'm not even sure if I deserve one." The self decpreciating value of his request was not lost on him, nor did he doctor it. He was simply being honest and straight forward. The fee for processing was entered and Dekkan hit send with a sigh. Sitting back in his chair, he looked over the half full bottle of scotch and lifted it to take another swig. Before pressing his lips to the top of the bottle's throat he lifted it with a smirk on his face at the holo-screen that had confirmed his submission. "Here's to hopin'. Cheers."

[member="Serrena Alcine"]
 

Serrena Alcine

Guest
S
The lights were low-set in the cabin, dimmed to a level meant to be restful for the young woman within. Raven curls fell in a silken cascade to her slender waist, with her supple form wrapped in a pale grey vine-silk robe as she reclined. Music threaded through the air beside the whorls of sweetly scented incense, while she uttered a soft, delicate sigh. This, she noted with a thought, was the proper way to travel.

The yacht slipped out of hyperspace with a grace that came of impeccable maintenance and extensive upgrades. A berth in a luxury suite granted as a parting gift from a client, to make her travel back to Oiran House one of ease and comfort as she had consented to travel so far to meet with him. A flickering crimson gaze was cast toward the viewport, the shade lifting from it with a softly spoken word in Cheunh. Stars were cast across the ink of space like so many jewels across a swath of silk.

Serrena rose in a fluid motion, bare feet padding along the warmed floor to the small desk set in a little alcove. A communications panel resided upon it, discreetly tucked away behind a faceted mirror when not in use. It flickered to life with the brush of her fingertips, and the pale-lit screen waited for her input. It wasn’t long before her code was entered and she received the messages waiting for replies within the Registry.

There were some few missives from clients who preferred to contract with particular Companions, which a graceful gesture bypassed. There was, however, one new message that caught her attention, and drew her to lean forward as she listened and observed.

Brevity, it was said, was the soul of wit. And it may have been true. But brevity, in her experience, was also the soul of pain. The gaze looking sightlessly into the camera spoke of too much seen and no comfort received. His cerulean gaze held her rapt attention, and without a second thought, she transmitted her acceptance of the contract. There was something within his expression, buried deep in his pain-filled gaze that drew her in and spoke to the part of herself she held the tightest to.

Serrena could not leave someone in so much pain without attempting to offer some measure of comfort. It would, she thought distantly, not likely be enough to alleviate the entirety of his burden. If she could but ameliorate a fraction of it, however, the effort would be worth it. Slender fingers fairly flew over the screen as she made arrangements with one of the smaller casinos, The Last Card. The cachet of having a licensed Companion in their establishment made them more than eager to accede to her gently worded requests of privacy and the discretion necessary.

The young woman sat back with a sigh, hands folding gently in her lap as she watched her last transmission flicker away and beam across the HoloNet. In two days’ time, she had sent, he could expect her arrival. For now, his soulful gaze etched into her mind’s eye, she sat in quiet contemplation.
 

Dekkan Fray

RETIRED
Character
Another long and whiskey filled night had edged into the darkened hours of twilight with a half empty bottle of deep amber hue residing in a bottle that was literal feet from a disheveled blend of sheets and one very unconscious man. Though the rough facade of a face buried in the somewhat comfortable mattress remained motionless, Dekkan Fray was a man relieving horror in abject silence. A seeming permanent crease rode over his forehead as small beads of sweat touched his brow. Strong digits gripped the tossed and turn blanket which now wound round his body like a cloth serpent. Digging his fingers into the sheets as if clawing in slow motion to escape the reality of a dream. It would had been different if this was an isolated incident in his subconscious mind. This however seemed to be a routine -- and while the visions that danced within his fractured dream state changed and varied from his years already spent, they all rang true with the self-same theme; a history of violence.

The man in the mask ducked behind a partially standing column as blaster fire ripped overhead in brilliant red bolts that peppered the landscape while he reloaded. Jamming the charge clip into his blaster, his weapons answered back barking out resistance to the officials that had him briefly pinned. Fifteen....sixteen.....seventeen. He counted the shots that rang out before he knew the clip would hold no more charge in their arsenal, and his moment of opportunity was seized. Feet hit the permacrete pavement in a mad run as the vibrosword as his back was unleashed in quiet grace. All manner of hesitation wiped from the canvas of his mind as this disguised figure ripped his blade across the abdomens and necks of those that dare fire upon him. Blaster bolts flash-boiled several others not close enough to taste the edge of durasteel death. Smoking holes gaped in those he had gunned down, and long angry scarlet wounds tore across the others. There were not the official police force - these were merely minute men responding to the call. A private militia of fathers and sons of whom he'd just created widows, orphans and grieving parents.

The skeletal smile never fading etched over the mask of black, creating that distinctively haunted expression that never died. No living eyes rested upon the figure in black that flicked crimson vitae from his blade and sheathed it against on his back before moving into the warehouse proper for looting purposes. He was not a simple thief however, this murdering masked man had a purpose, and it was all but locked inside his mind. A pair of coral eyes, though disembodied, did watch the proceedings, and his non-coperal teeth grit together in anger. He hated this masked man - hated what he was doing, and what he was attempting to accomplish. He knew better than anyone else the goal of this killer, because it was the self-same man that lay tormented in the bed. Pain and raged fueled both but for completely different reasons - and only the perfected vision of hindsight gave the harsh reality of what had befallen in his past years. The datapad in the masked man's hand beeped twice, and then once more to indicate the transaction had been completed. Only then did the image falter, and fade. Blackness enveloping the vision as the beeping continued to abound.

A grunt, and a sudden jerk of his entire body drove Dekkan from his bed to the hard wooden floor below. The trail of the blanket snaking around his left leg kept it propped slightly upwards as palms pressed to the floorboards. The beeping hadn't been from the datapad, but from the console on his desk. Back in reality, back in the dirge of self-loathing, Fray stumbled about until his coral eyes slid open to focus in the scant light of a few bright marquees that barely managed to pierce the shades of his window. No matter how hard he had tried, he couldn't block out the entirety of those spectacle lights from the town a stone's throw away from the beginning of the outskirt development housing. Kicking the sheets from his legs, the bottle of whisky began to slosh back and forth before his right hand snatched out like lightning and seized the bottle's neck. Planting the firm four cornered base to the floor, he used it as an anchor (ironically) to steady himself again.

"Kriffin alarm." He muttered, not understanding that the wake up call was not set from a pre-determined time. Drawing himself up, Dekkan staggered a bit before his anger started to fade into confusion. It was far too dark outside still to be time for the preparation for work. His oceanic eyes shifted to set on the console, of which he took a few measured steps towards and sunk into his chair. A double tap to the emitter brought up the holo screens. A silent curse to the holo-blue hues that assaulted his waking vision. Fogginess began to clear as the alert was accessed. His mouth shifted into an open gape as he read the line, and then again and for a third time before another utterance left his lips. "Huh." Genuine surprise touched his tanned visage while he sat back, and drummed his fingers upon the desk. He hadn't expected to get much of anything with his message, much less an acceptance notification in less than a week.


[member="Serrena Alcine"]
 

Serrena Alcine

Guest
S
She gave her new client considerable thought as the vessel slipped through hyperspace, recalling his soulful gaze and the pain held so tightly within his coral gaze. To what he’d seen, she could not speak, but it had left an indelible impression upon him that affected him deeply still. It was that glance, that few moments he spent staring into the holorecorder, his voice unnecessary to relay his need with perfect clarity.

It was that last glimpse of cerulean blue that remained fixed in Serrena’s mind and occupied her thoughts.

There was a study in contrasts, she mused silently, watching the stars slip past her window like so many molten, shimmering threads. The advanced technology of the ship that bore her towards Vorzyd V was in stark contrast to the leather-bound journal that lay now upon her desk. The crimson-dyed leather held no ornaments save her initials embossed upon the cover in gold. Pages of real, hand-crafted paper were bound carefully within, the smooth, cream-colored expanses simply waiting to be further filled with crisp lines of black.

Serrena wrote with a delicate, flowing script, and kept her personal gleanings about her clients within that very tome. There were no names listed, nor details by which her clients could ever be discovered. But she did not need such trifles...she chose her clients carefully, and would never forget what had drawn her to each of them.

Her reverie was interrupted by the soft chime of the comm panel, indicating that the ship was soon to exit hyperspace. She took a few moments to secure her journal and writing supplies before the stars resolved themselves into glittering pinpricks of light, heralding their arrival. It would be some time before a landing would be achieved, giving her ample opportunity to prepare herself.

She availed herself of the luxury of a warm, scented bath, savoring it until the water began to cool. Serrena chose to dress simply to meet Dekkan, in a soft, flowing vine-silk dress in a soft cream color, with a slightly more formal robe atop it. Her chestnut locks were left loose, hanging past her shoulders in gentle waves, while only a hint of gloss was applied to her lips, and a delicate line of kohl around her eyes.

As she deemed herself ready, Serrena rose and stepped carefully into her shoes, steps carrying her from her personal chamber and out to the common area of the ship itself. She sat by a window, crimson gaze cast outward as the vessel descended through Vorzyd V’s atmosphere, soon joining the air traffic over Efavan. It gleamed with bright lights and shimmering signs, holoboards scattered everywhere the eye could see, with advertisements for everything a sentient could possibly desire. They landed at the main spaceport, in a private docking bay that would offer the discretion she required.

The ramp lowered, and she set about lighting a myriad of tiny candles to give the small garden space an almost ethereal quality as the threads of smoke from the incense threaded through the flickering lights and soft foliage. Slender fingers set everything for the tea ceremony in place, each cup and tea leaf arranged aesthetically on an intricately carved wooden tray set amidst plump silken cushions. A last crimson glance as the music began softly, layered amidst the sounds of trickling water, and the moment was set.
 

Dekkan Fray

RETIRED
Character
Most men would have taken the entire day off for an event of this caliber. Perhaps a trip to the local tailor to have something custom ordered, and prepared for an evening with a companion. Even the possibility to getting a floral arrangement setup, with some exotic and hard to find flora and fauna to impress a Companion, and possibly win her undying affection. Feth that. Dekkan wasn't a diluted school-boy pining after a woman whose job it was to entertain, escort, and otherwise minister to. This wasn't some idle romance, or illustrious evening of extravagance to show a woman a good time. None of that mattered in the slightest to the worn down and weary soul of Dekkan Fray. This was another distraction, another in a long laundry list of things he had tried to ease his mind, and perhaps find a glint of peace, or a glimmer of hope that he might crawl out of this self-destructive lot in life he'd found himself in. Did he think this was the proverbial golden ticket to a world of pure imagination? To put it simply, no. He didn't have a lot left in his heart for belief to find a home. That had well been shattered quite sometime ago, and was only replaced with a dull ache, and a cage of demons that had their merry way with him whenever he tried to relax. Most men would do this differently, but Dekkan was not most men.

A half day was his only request, and while he wasn't the star employee of the month, he'd also never missed a day of work, and never complained about the job's he was given. He'd even work overtime just to indulge in a higher brand of drinks that made men blind and/or compliant. The request was easily granted, and he'd done his duty for the first half before turning to the meager apartment of a man just existing. The notice had come of her intended arrival, and a single first name that would haunt his mind for the next few hours until her shuttle touched down. Steam rose in plumes of white wispy smoke to laden the refresher as a man that should have been in his prime stepped onto the chilled tile floor, dragging his right hand across the reflective surface to stare at a face he barely recognized. The sallow countenance of a burdened and war torn man stared back at him with a blank and sullen look. A pair of tanned and weather beaten hands rose to the course and thick stubble that coated his jawline and chin, feeling the skin beneath the hairs until a sigh escaped his lips.

"Not winning any beauty contests anytime soon." The gruff tones edged out before he picked up a razor and dipped it into a pool of near boiling water in the basin. Another slow sigh escaped his mouth as he offered a bare shouldered shrug to his reflection. "Should at least be presentable." His lack of committal wasn't anything to do with Serrena however, it was a hopelessness that he'd come to adopt and apparently cling to as his only source of an unchanging anchor in the verse. The slow scrape of the blade against his skin sliced across the rough patches of uneven hair that tempted at the notion of a beard. All the while his eyes stared ahead, as if he was transfixed into a state where his body kept going, but his mind stayed impacted by his mirror image. He generally avoided himself in the mirror most days, as it was easier not to look himself in the eyes, but one really didn't have a choice when you shaved unless you wanted to unintentionally donate to the blood drive. Several minutes went by in silence, only broken by the razor's scrape. Soon enough a less hermit like appearance took shape as water splashed his face and was dried off with the towel around his neck. Looking ten years younger from the shave alone wasn't a bad start, but he had a long way to before he'd like what he saw.

The expanse of his body though was where the real damage lied. Scars and wounds covered his form in patches both in front and in back. He'd been through hell, and made it his stomping ground for more years than he liked to remember. For everything he lost, it was an unfortunate circumstance that he had never been able to loose one memory from the pack, retaining everything in perfect detail to ring in his mind whenever he'd let it slip and wander. The road-map of his history was written over the canvas of flesh, and it had left him marred and marked for the rest of his life as a silent but continual trail that he'd never be without. At the least though, for her sake, he'd be presentable, or at least he'd give that a fair shake at attempting. Dekkan was not a rich man, and he led a life that echoed that. He didn't have to sort through a long and sundry closet of fine threaded garments to select the proper attire. While he'd choose the best for the occasion, it wasn't going to stack up to any of her standards, he assumed. His profile certainly hadn't given that fine quality gentlemen aura - and he knew that right well.

Not more than ten minutes after the ramp had been lowered and a mood, than the clipping leather footsteps upon the metal were heard. Bridging the gap between sight and sound, a figure emerged from the relative quiet of Efaven's glitz and glamour. Paltry in comparison, but still clean and crisp - the figure emerged wearing a navy blue jacket atop a slightly tan cloth shirt and a pair of black and grey slacks that held use of side pockets at the hip and knee joint. Dekkan's hair was combed, leaving his natural part to the right, as a section of hair dusted his tan brow. Both hands rested within the pockets of his jacket as he without sound of mouth entered into the ship. Footsteps paused at the threshold and his nostrils flared to inhale the scent of incense and perfume that wafted in. A shallow sigh was taken and let out, as momentary relief struck him before even the image of Serrena fell into his coral gaze. For the moment Dekkan said nothing, but merely rested his gaze on her striking and remarkable crimson eyes. He'd only seen eyes like that on the Chiss species, but she didn't have their tell-tale blue pigment of skin tone. The gentle rustling of leaves in the air that swept from outside and babbling of a the centerpiece fountain gave an all too calming and tranquil mood to the introduction.

"Serrena I take it. Hope I didn't keep you waiting too long." He offered, unsure exactly what proper protocol was for such a situation. He wasn't a shy man, or entirely withdrawn that he couldn't articulate his feelings, but he'd been out of practice for a while, and it showed. A moment's pause was offered before he took another measured step inside, and gave the interior another good once-over. It was certainly upping the standards of what he'd seen in the town they just bordered. He could see why the prices were certainly elevated, and he felt all too unimpressive in their midst.

[member="Serrena Alcine"]
 

Serrena Alcine

Guest
S
The woman allowed him a few moments as he approached, his coral orbs taking in the sight that she and her shuttle presented. It was as warm and welcoming as any craft could be, given the fact that it was only a temporary living space, and not her permanent dwelling. As a Companion, she had no home save for her House, and the vessels she was permitted use of for contracting with clients didn't truly count.

With a tilt of her head, her crimson gaze was briefly shuttered by long, dark lashes and she took a small step to the side. Fingers reached out to touch the panel on the wall, raising the ramp that Dekkan had only just ascended. It would afford them the privacy and security alike, which was paramount.

"It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Dekkan..." she said after a moment, genuine warmth in her expression and smile alike. Crimson orbs held his coral gaze as she made a motion for him to step further into the living space. "...and no, you did not keep me waiting at all. Please, feel free to make yourself comfortable." A lift of her hand pointed to a discreet bench set off to the side of the ramp entrance, where there was space for his jacket and his shoes to be set aside.

Serrena stepped out of her own shoes and left them by the archway leading into the small space she had termed her 'garden'. It was planted with lush green vegetation and some few flowering plants, all of them difficult to maintain aboard a ship, but worth the effort in her estimation. A touch of nature was always welcome, and taking tea within the space was marvelously calm and soothing. Casting her crimson glance over her shoulder, she smiled once more.

"Won't you join me for a cup of tea? The cushions are wonderfully comfortable, and I think you'll enjoy it." she added after a few moments. Her voice was soft and soothing, though it held the trace of the Nar Shaddian accent of her childhood. She slipped into the room and waited for Dekkan to enter and choose a seat for himself. It would dictate where she say, as the proper tea ceremony etiquette would need to be observed.
 

Dekkan Fray

RETIRED
Character
Of the numerous and unmistakable differences between Serrena and himself, none was more pointed and obvious than the degree of class and grace that the woman held within even but a simple placement of her feet and silken movements. Dekkan did not match this in concord, or even hint at the ability. He was far more rugged, and casual in his stance and poise. Serrena's manner of dress, elegant and fashionable rode in stark contrast to the more gritty version of a humbled wardrobe, and down to earth gait of her client's step. While in reality this was a business transaction, for Dekkan it was an opportunity in which he had not yet traveled. His words had been plain, without grace, and simple, as was the life that he had been leading for years now -- if you called it a life. He was a drifter by terms alone, shifting like the sands of Tattooine from place to place without a rudder to steer. The wind blew, he went with it with the ever-diminishing thought that what he might find around the next bend in the road, or corner of the galaxy would right the wrongs in his ledger. Even being here, in the quiet calm of this affluent ship, he was skeptical at best about what kind of offering he might find here.

Did she know what kind of man had just boarded her ship? Likely not - and that was by design. Dekkan didn't want to let people in, not because he didn't want to relieve himself of the burden he carried - but simply because he rightly knew the consequences. There was blood on his hands, they were dripping with crimson vitae of countless souls that had once been laid waste in such callous and cold judgement that it tormented his sleep on a nightly basis. A twinge of reluctance coupled with the evident paranoia caused his form to turn, noting the ramp's accession to seal himself within a vessel of this stranger. She was a lovely woman, manicured to perfection and enticing without being illicit or overly sensual. Wholly evident in her greeting and welcoming tone that this was a place of comfort and pleasure - something he sorely needed, but rarely found. Not a word was spoken in return, as he took his time and shrugging off the dark blue confines of his jacket, and folded it militia style on the bench before slipping out of his shoes. Dark socks lined his feet, and the revelation of his cloth shirt of a beige hue outlining his still fit frame. Not overly muscular, but trimmed, and lean. His breath of the threshold into this 'garden' wasn't long behind, but paced at an even tempo.

The half-chiss had wisely given him time to acclimate himself before offering of the ceremonial tea. Digits of his right hand crept out to brush along the iron and brass of the fountain's decorative spout. The abstract and smooth figure of a winged guardian pouring out a stream of continual water into the basin below. Figures like this were a common occurrence on his original birthplace of Tyer. A senator's home had no shortage of luxury, and despite being absent from there for well over fifteen years now, he still remembered the paintings, the statues, and even the water fountain in their garden patio. Dekkan had come from money, but you wouldn't pick it out now, even he barely recognized the boy that had once called that place home. If he was lost in the man that Dekkan had become, he'd been buried long ago, under so thick a wall of protection that it was evident the child had lost all connection with the man he was now. Lightly tapping his forefinger atop the winged carving, his gaze flicked up at her beckoning, drawing his clear coral blue eyes to those radiating crimson orbs.

"This is a bit outside of my..." The words were weighed, considered and then dismissed as a miniature shrug of shoulders told his defeated posture. "...everything." It wasn't the tea, it wasn't her, it was the sum of the parts that made it something that he felt unnerved about. "I haven't taken a shine to company in a while, so I'll offer an apology upfront." Self-deprecating to a tee, but he felt she should be warned that his social graces and skills of polite society were severely lacking. No, he wasn't some lout that was going to embarrass himself by acting like a trained Wampa, without the training, but he'd misspeak plenty, and he'd not employ a great deal of guile. Dekkan only assumed that was the general manner of her clients - the cool collected rich and powerful. Monied individuals with classy threads, and hefty bank accounts - though he'd not insult her by stating such either. Tea, that was an interesting notion. He hadn't been swilling anything in the last few years that didn't have a lick less than whiskey - and he'd never had a cup of tea that'd bite like that either. A slight purse to his lips was involuntary given before he descended his frame to rest upon a thick and crimson cushion. Finding the corner where his back could rest against the apparent luxury.

There were questions running through his brain. Dozens of them. Questions about her, about this setup, and companions in general. On other topics, he was also dwelling on why she had picked him out of all the others. What was of interest in a man who barely saw the interest in getting up in the morning. This wasn't his field, he didn't even understand the scope of what to expect here. What Dekkan did understand though was he had absolutely no idea how to ask a single on of these with any kind of confidence. He was completely out of his element, leaving him with the only other option, but to rest his eyes on her own, and let the woman who had trained for these situations take the lead for the both of them.

[member="Serrena Alcine"]
 

Serrena Alcine

Guest
S
Fingertips graced the pure white petals of an Ithorian orchid, slowly tracing its' tear-drop shape. The bloom was her very favorite, though she could not exactly say why. The soft scent, the pure white petals that shimmered in the light, the blood-red center that was reminiscent of her reflected gaze...the precise reason why did not matter to the young woman. It was a beautiful, if delicate, plant that she spent considerable credits to keep around her as often as possible.

A soft, rueful smile curled her lips as she relaxed her posture a touch, though retaining her graceful movement as she turned. Crimson orbs were lambent in the soft light as they trailed Dekkan around the small, warm space. They traced over his lean physique, the set of his shoulders and they way they shifted as he spoke. Even if words hadn't emerged past his lips, she'd have been able to discern some of his distress simply by the way he held himself. Though still young in her service as a Companion, Serrena had been well-taught; but the instinct for keen observation had been something she'd been born with.

As he sat, she herself lowered herself to sit on a cushion opposite him. Fingers brushed over the shimmering cerulean cups as she set the pair off to the side to begin the preparation. It was muscle memory as much as ceremony, affording her the ability to carry on a conversation at the same time. It was not, perhaps, the proper protocol for a tea ceremony...but sometimes, a client's needs would trump some few of the traditions Companions normally adhered to.

"There's nothing to apologize for, Dekkan." she said softly, a measure of hot water joining the tea mixture in the bowl before her, a delicate brush-like object making a circuit within the bowl the appropriate number of times. "I get the sense...that..." Serrena's voice trailed off, her gaze cast to the whorls of steam rising from the sunken pot in the center of the floor, the source of the hot water now residing in both the bowl and the teapot.

She blinked slowly, her mind suddenly much further away from the present, and from Dekkan-

There were whorls of smoke, not steam, rising through the air, from a lit deathstick dangling between outstretched fingers. Fingers that bore polished crimson nails and the callouses that spoke of a life spent fighting. The deathstick was lifted to plump, shimmering lips, the inhalation bearing the chosen poison into her system. Crimson eyes were half lidded and hazily focused on the holoscreen on the wall in front of her.

Four holopics sharing the screen. Four men.

Andros.

Curt.

Savin.

Julius.

Handsome faces, vastly differing from one another. Taunting her fractured heart and soul. Reminding her of what she'd lost time and time again. She'd loved them - each of them - with every fiber of her being. She'd given each of them her heart. Each one had torn it to pieces and thrown it away, leaving her a shell of the woman she'd once been.

They'd not been worth the pain they'd put her through. She only wished she could forget.

But there was no amount of spice or alcohol that could take those memories away to leave her with any semblance of peace.

Not that a pirate and a whore like her deserved it anyway. So perhaps it was some form of poetic, karmic, Force-karking cosmic justice. A soft snort echoed through the space as she took the final drag from the deathstick and stubbed it out on her left forearm.

-as suddenly as the waking dream had possessed her mind, it released her. Her long, trailing sleeve pulled back, revealing an angry red welt on the otherwise flawless skin of her left forearm. It faded away after a few seconds, the result of a careless gesture with the ladle of hot water. Lost and silent as she had been within the space of her mind, her body had at least remembered the steps of the ceremony without her being entirely attendant as she should have been.

Crimson orbs blinked as she came back to herself and softly cleared her throat, hoping the lapse had not been noticed as she tucked away the dream in the back of her mind. Picking up the thread of the conversation and returning her attention to him, she finished the thought shed begun as she finally poured a measure of tea into each cup. "...that you have questions. You may ask me anything you wish, Dekkan. There is little I will not answer." Serrena took a moment to replace each item in its proper place before offering him a teacup in her outstretched hands and only after he'd taken it did she pick up her own.


- [member="Dekkan Fray"] -
 

Dekkan Fray

RETIRED
Character
He had tasted of the silver spoon before; many many years ago. Though the taste had soured in his mouth, and the silver had tarnished by not only years of neglect, but of the impurities later uncovered by deception so deep it was want to stay buried. It had not stayed buried however, the dark twisted web of lies and deceit had surfaced and only further bore bitter and deadly fruit. What a legacy to leave behind - especially in the progeny of one's family. In times of quiet retrospective thought, Dekkan had often wondered what had originally twisted the mind of the man he used to call his father. What more, pondering the implications of the treachery and treason that bore on his mother - in whom he'd also left in the wake of his earlier years. Yet none of these thoughts had plagued the man more than his own sins. Recorded in the faces and lives of those he took pursuit of vigilante style justice. Though the intent had been there, he hadn't been praised in the same breath as those taking the law into their hands - for what he took was not lawful. He was a renegade - an outlaw -- a terrorist. Now he was back, taken there by the luxury and lavish comfort of Serrena's abode. This place spoke of sanctuary, and yet what it brought to mind for the man before her was in complete contrast to serenity and peace - but he'd not fault her for trying.

While his own thoughts roamed across a callous and arid wasteland of a broken life, his coral gaze never wavered -- never faltered from the striking pair of crimson eyes peering back at him. Detailing the actual steps of this ritualistic tea ceremony perhaps as a simple reflex, or possibly for sheer interest, the pause in her words caused a small crease to form on an otherwise calm brow. The words trailing from her painted lips might have caused more of a stir to his questioning gaze, save for the action that would be considered clumsy on her part. Tempered metal heated from the boiling pot of water touching the seemingly tender flesh of her forearm drew his crystal blue eyes to the spot of contact. Recognition of the minute burn racing across her flesh in a flush of heat and discoloration was only secondary to the fact that her arm didn't twitch, her thoughts and actions didn't skip a beat in the manner of the preparation. Dekkan had only witnessed that a time or two in his life when outside of the military company he had kept with his brother. Those that didn't react from exposure, from the scorch of a burn, or the slice of a knife were normally trained in far harsher conditions that he could only assume came with the territory of a companion.

"Your arm." His silence broke as the vessel of tea was laid with grace in his cupped hands. Calloused skin of the fingers, a worn and weathered map of a man's hands that had seen hard labor for many years. Her skin was delicate, soft, and pure - and he certainly didn't match that description on any level. It wasn't the first question he had in mind, nor was it even phrased as such - but she'd given him an opportunity, and more than likely an out. "Didn't you feel that?" He probed a bit deeper. Taking the attention off of himself, resting it on her for the moment. He'd learned how to be guarded in many ways within the last several years of his life. Well away from an arm's reach - he didn't let many pierce the exterior, and was only here by the volition of trying something else -- anything else that would offer what he was seeking. The cup rested in one hand, held between his thumb and both ring and middle digit. The index used to gesture in relevance to where the skin had flamed crimson and then died back down to the muted tope hue resting over the rest of her exposed skin. Most likely not the question she was expecting either - but wherever she went during that elongated pause had distracted the woman enough he assumed to not even notice.

A shift in the cushions, while he set himself into a more comfortable position, attempting to relax in a setting he was both out of place, and somewhat familiar with. An aversion of the cobalt blues drifted to the cup of tea, and the ceramic construction holding the liquid. There was an age to it, but it was still polished and carefully painted - and intricate and graceful design - something that was completely lacking within the realm of anything Dekkan held to as a possession. There was a history to it, but he'd not ask to be regaled by a ceremonial vessel - the tea was to drink, not to admire (or so he assumed). Lifting the cup, a breath was drawn in ensnaring the vapors of the herbs and additives to the rising steam into the olfactory senses. The balm of relaxation drew him closer to a state of peace than he had originally found. This tea might not have the bite of a bottle of aged whiskey or low-brow 'Happy juice' but it was taking the edge off in an entirely different way. A shift of his eyes towards Serrena silently scrutinized before the first sip was taken in a slow divorcing of his lips. The flavor he didn't recognize, but it spoke of cherry blossoms and a hint of citrus - a melodic combination that infused the senses, but calmed the spirit.

"Not my usual brew. Then again, nothing here is usual -" A pause in his breath. "- most of the reason I sent the request." He admitted, unknowingly opening the slightest crack of his castle walls. The next words spilling from his mouth brought the real question he'd been pondering - at least one of them. It was the only one that actually mattered to him, the one that carried weight, and begged an answer he couldn't quite coalesce. "You must of had a reason - though I've yet to see it." His remark was on the side of glib, but not of insult or injury to her decision. Nor was it as self-deprecating as his original missive had been when he requested to be a client of the registry. He didn't quite grasp why she had accepted, personally or professionally. Dekkan may have come from money, but that was no longer the case or an aspiration, and he certainly didn't believe that his story was as flattering or appealing as the men she was most likely used to entertaining.

[member="Serrena Alcine"]
 
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