The sands of the sith tomb under the tundras of Ziost were sheltered from the ice above, but the damp walls of the cavernous expanse were still frigid to the touch and the draft that carried in was bone-chilling at the best. A low fire hung over the ceiling above, illuminating the small room with a reddish-brown hue while spreading some modest amount of heat over its small space. The walls were wrought of stone, covered in ancient Sith hieroglyphs that were fading with advanced age, and the ground was a fine, golden, sand that resembled nothing of the world above. A soft pitter-pattering of moisture dripping from condensation could be heard echoing from somewhere far off, but there was only a slight draft, from fissures in the ground that allowed some air to leak into the crypt, to hint at a connection to the world outside.
Bastion had been an unforgiving fight.
lay near a wall, an old blanket thrown over her for added warmth, in more or less a heap. Vesta stood not more than a few paces away, his expression stony and irritated as much was weighed on his mind. A night or two had passed since he'd vanished with her and brought her deep into this hidden sanctum, his sword still leaning against the wall where he'd sat it when he'd moved to lay her down. Not much had been said between the two of them from then til now, the first day had largely been sleep and the second wasn't much more than a few awkward apologies and implications of understanding. Now it was the third, and the events of their fights were slowly starting to come to the forefront of the Sith lord's mind as he contemplated his steps forward from here.
Word on the outcome of Bastion hadn't reached his ears, his thralls nearby had determined that the fighting had only intensified after he'd created the vergence in the force in Ravelin. Initially he had intended to deposit Quinn here and return to fight until the conflict was over, but her condition had made a turn for the worse following her initially recovery. He'd been standing by her side ever since. He recalled that instinctual feeling, that connection, between the two of them that had felt far more intimate than the already invasive bond he shared with his father. Where she had felt sand burying her, he could feel that same weight - where she had began to feel suffocated by debris, his own became labored. Red eyes glanced down at the Echani, wondering if his suspicions were true, the ramifications of such brushing aside much of his concerns he'd had for her well-being.
"You awake?" He asked, his voice low - he hadn't had the chance to say much in quite some time now.
A rare occurrence, to be sure, however it wasn't wholly a covetous status for many to be as one might have expected - advantageous in theory, but in practice it blurred the lines between two individuals. It was perhaps even this closeness, this oneness, that put him in this somber mood in the first place - he would have, should have, been enraged with her for not listening to his warnings, for getting hurt after they'd spoken at such lengths on the importance of the two staying safe for the sake of the other. Instead he felt some degree of guilt, even some of her fears, leaking into him. He grunted, stepping away from the spot on the wall he'd been leaning against, and walked over to grab at the hilt of his sword. He held it aloft, swinging it noisily through the air before looking back at her, sighing.
"It seems I was wrong about you."
He leaned forward to set the sword back down against the wall, its blade pointing down into the sand, before rising back up to look back at her.
He paused after that, there was the instinctive worry - that paranoia that he was saying something entirely different than what he knew himself to intend touched upon his mind. He frowned. That confirmed it."I thought I had spared you because of a fluke, that my infatuation with your physical... nature.. had pierced through my resolve on the night we had met." He said, scowling at himself as he began to explain his meaning. "My obsession with you - with perpetuating and correcting the conflict our parents had - formed a bond between us in the force before we even laid eyes on each other."
His lips hadn't moved, the words seeming to flow from his mind to hers without even the mildest touch of the force - as if their psyche were now sharing the same space.
"A bond that should have been formed by our first night together was instead strengthened."
He shook his head, his lips pressed together in a thin line.
"You and I exist as two different people, physically. But in the force.. we've become one."
Quinn didn't remember much after feeling the cold stone settle and suffocate her form. Her mind did its best to force away her life's terrible fleeting moments before it threatened to expire. Still, she could feel the soil between her fingers and her master's strength, carving her out of her stone tomb. Sleep came too quickly for her as she felt the days pass by her. Brief moments of alertness allowed her to apologize and express her undying love for the Shi'ido. Promises of it never happening again followed, but they were promises she knew she would struggle to keep.
The Echani didn't question the happenings on Bastion. She feared the answer. For most of her life after leaving Eshan, Bastion had been where she had built a life. A small life, but it was one she cherished. It was all gone now, even if they were victorious. The surface of the planet would never recover, only knowing the death of its inhabitants. Quinn stirred, feeling the nightmares of the war creeping against her mind.
Peace was in this cold, but she found warmth under the pile of blankets he had given her. She wanted his warmth, but she knew he needed to protect them with her in this state. Knowing that Vesta was necessary with the forward command, Quinn felt guilty keeping him here. Though she was happy with that guilt, it meant that she could keep the Shi'ido with her and not defend their home. Instead, he was protecting her.
His velvet voice caressed her ears; amber eyes fluttered open slightly as she starred through the small flame to see him. "Hmm?" It was all she could muster, her health had taken a turn for the worst only a day ago. Yet, she was a fighter, and she was already starting to look better than before. Shifting, she tried to wake herself up. It seemed her master had something to say. Quinn could feel it. There was something different - it worried her, but she prepared herself for it.
Looking at him, she watched his movements, the way his face adjusted to his thoughts. Vesta, despite being so quiet and reserved, showed much of his emotion on his face. Specifically, his brow. Quinn nodded as she tried to follow along with his thought process. What was he getting at?
Her voice quiet, weak as she responded, "What do you mean? How could a bond be created without us meeting?" A hand rested against her face as she tried to think. Did they meet before this? No, Vesta was created and not born as she had been. There would have been no way they could have met before their mothers took each other's lives. Quinn felt her mind waking up a bit more as she could feel his emotions as he had come to this conclusion. She had assumed it was her innate ability as an empath, but it was something more.
"Vesta? I love you, that's why we share a bond. I'm not understanding." She moved from the blankets and reached out for him, hoping that he would reach back. Quinn could never explain the desire to be near him at all times. She shared his obsession - she needed him more than anything.
There was the lurch, the familiar shift in pressure - the fluttering in his stomach, the physical sensation of worry that brought faint pricks just behind his forehead as his eyes found hers. They never needed words to know when the other was needed, her hand reached out as he moved back towards her, the rustling of his clothes muffled by the echoes of the constant drip of moisture in the background. "It doesn't matter, Quinn." He said, his arms wrapping around her as he rested his chin against where her neck met her shoulder. "Just that we're together." His voice whispered, his hold growing marginally tighter, as he stared pensively into the wall behind her.
"Everything needs a purpose."
His voice had grown detached, and there was no telltale sensation of vibration in his throat to suggest it had been vocalized - instead it came distant, like the subtlety of the sound of condensation falling to the ground in the dark. "Not like a tool, or a plan.." Vesta tried to explain, drawing away from her as he spoke, his words clearly coming from his mouth as his lips moved. "A reason to be - all of us look for that, in some way, even if we don't realize it." His hand reached out, the sword he had laid against the wall drifting to his hand to be gripped gingerly around the hilt. "Some, like my cousin - or this sword - they devote themselves to a purpose, a singular reason for being. To spread the darkness from one edge of the galaxy to the other, the blade, and to preserve the Sith in the form truest to him, for my cousin."
He set the blade back down, against the ground, and gestured to the fire that gave them warmth, drawing more of its heat down to them, sparks playing at his fingertips. "Fire serves so many purposes, to immolate but also to give us warmth, or light in an otherwise pitch black darkness." He said as he curled his hand into a fist, the small embers dying as he smothered them in his palm. "Like fire, I feel I have many reasons to be here, that I am not bound by something as nebulous as purpose.. but if I had to identify the one single thing that keeps me tethered, Quinn Varanin
, it would be you." His head turned towards her as he spoke, watching her features carefully, caught by her delicate intricacies.
"That is what we are to each other, Quinn. You and I are eternal, but more than just to each other, in the force, too."