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This is the place to post stories you have written about your character's timeskip. What they got up to in the five years between the fall of the Gav Daragon and the rise of the Empress Teta.

TOPIC: Future Paths, Uncertain Roads

Future Paths, Uncertain Roads 1 year 2 months ago #15593

Lost Ashes, Finding Meaning

+3 Months after Zakuulan Invasion

Coruscant Diamond Cantina, Old Galactic Market, Coruscant.


Clanging and clattering, the overwhelming sounds of deep bass and heavy music from the band at the front assaulting ears, footsteps from clunking, thudding shoes as the people of the dingy Old Market bar went about their business.

Did any of it really matter, though?

“Gone?”

The words sting, and Gloridenis feels as if his whole world has finally come crashing down, shattered into many thousands of pieces like a broken mirror. First the loss of the Gav Daragon and the many hundreds they were forced to leave behind, but now…

His father bows his head, and while the hologram may only glow in a bright shade of blue, Gloridenis can tell that his father has been in mourning over the news he’s now passing on.

“Yes, son. She… She died doing her duty, aiding the Republic in it… in its darkest hour. We can only hope that our own ends can have the same meaning.”


As the memory washes over him, he feels another shock of numbness assault his system, strike deep at his very core. Gloridenis blearily reaches for the glass of… something on the bar that’s been set down before him by the barkeeper, wrapping his hand around the cup and lifting it to his mouth. He throws it back in one swift gulp that leaves him grimacing, but truth be told, he’s simply too far past caring what he’s drinking at this point.

He just needs to forget.

Shattering, the world crumbling down around him, the walls of his reality closing in on him. He tries to run, tries to escape the horror, the crushing feelings of grief made manifest in his own head. He’s faced down Imperial soldiers, Sith, any number of threats, even Rancor but there’s no greater enemy than his own mind, he’s come to realise.

Glancing at the glass for but a moment, he shakes his head to try and clear the growing fuzziness. He’s trying to decide what to do with himself, doesn’t really know where to go from here. What’s left?

He’s about to reach for the bottle to refill his glass as he feels something strong connect with the right side of his face, launching him from his stool and onto the floor where he groans and mutters obscene comments below his breath.

“Is this what Bayalana would have wanted you to do with yourself, Glori?”

At the mention of her name, he immediately stops muttering, turning himself resignedly to try and force himself to sit up and look at his brother. Dressed in his pristine Coruscant Defence Force uniform, Yuularen doesn't even bother to try and cover the fact that he’s just solidly slugged his brother or that he’s trembling with barely concealed anger. The music seems to awkwardly fade away as the band stops playing, leaving the entire club to turn and stare at the growing spectacle.

“She was out there fighting for the Republic, doing her duty, and she died for it. And yet here you are, drowning your sorrows in a cheap club and defiling our sister’s memory instead of doing your own duty. I don’t even know how you can live with yourself right now.”

Gloridenis cringes and recoils somewhat as the words leave his brother’s mouth, the dull thud and numbness replaced with a searing cut through his very being, as if he’d been run through with a lightsaber. This pain, though, cuts deep. At least if he’d been run through he’d be dead.

While he internally falls apart, he notices Yuularen shake his head in what he can only assume is disbelief at what he’s seeing.

“You disgust me, Gloridenis,” he says, and it’s another slice through Glori’s already shattered spirit. “I can’t believe that what I can see before me is the strong, proud brother I once knew. Do us all a favour and get your act together. Sober up and get back in the fight, find a purpose, or so help me I’ll do what the Empire couldn’t and kick your ass myself.”

With that Yuularen straightens his uniform, clasps his hands behind his back and calmly marches out of the club, the eyes of the patrons all following him as he leaves. When he’s gone, Gloridenis can almost feel them all slide to him, vaguely hearing the barkeeper calling that the show’s over and for everyone to get back to their own business.

Even as he slowly stands from the floor and glances around as the club gets back into the swing of things once more following that little interruption, he can practically feel the stares of pity and sympathy when it appears nobody is even looking at him, but he’s smarter than that. He knows they’re all judging him, making their own opinions, forming their own ideas.

There’s no way he’s walking out of this with his pride intact, but it’s time to at least salvage some of the situation.

Silently, he places a credit chit worth far more than he’s spent on the drinks over the night, not even recognising the fact. He dusts off his clothing as well as straightens his jacket and marches for the door only moments ago his brother had departed from.

"Friendship. Loyalty. Honour. Strength. Victory. Let these be your watchwords."
"No matter how bleak the outcome may be, remember this. The eyes of the Republic and all its citizens are upon us. They place their faith in us. Do your utmost to ensure this faith is not misplaced."
"Gloridenis Rexicalus - Action-y librarian." - Marasi Kengon.
Last Edit: 11 months 2 weeks ago by Gloridenis Rexicalus.
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Future Paths, Uncertain Roads. 11 months 2 weeks ago #16071

Burning Cinders, Flashing Darkness


13th of the Second Month, 18 ATC.


Jurio, Jurio System, Corva Sector.





Dripping.

Water falls from a canteen as an Imperial soldier turns it upside down, shaking the container hard in an attempt to draw the last precious droplets, though it fails. There’s none to be had. He grunts, places the cap back on the thing and roughly shoves it back onto his belt, a loud clang and clatter forming as a result as it smacks against the heavy plating of his red-striped black armour before one of his nearby friends points at him and nudges his other companions, sniggering at their fellow’s misfortune.

Laughter.

Several soldiers are camped around the small fire, placed dead centre of the courtyard they’re situated in. Behind them lies the spaceport servicing Juriss City, the constant hum and thrum of shuttles and spacecraft accompanying their loud voices as the busy working day continues to flow around them, civilians wandering in and out of the intimidating, jet black building. Nothing seems all that out of place, just the usual day in an ordered city, the same as any other in the Sith Empire.

Perhaps they’re defeated, bowed, humbled, but they still cling to the old way of things.

The cracks are plastered over.

Footsteps.

They’re loud, almost loud enough to drown out the sounds of the shuttles as they arrive and depart from the spaceport. The patrols of Imperial soldiers and the regimented footfall of the general populace as they go about their routine sees to that, though one set doesn’t follow the same thrum.

Doesn’t quite manage to replicate it with that level of regimented, perfect certainty.

The figure blends seamlessly into the crowd, the garbs of his choice betraying nothing of his otherness, his distinct lack of belonging in this crowd, with these people. To anyone looking, he’s a normal man with neat, tidy brown hair that's greying in places while a thick beard dominates his features. He might be better dressed than some with a tasteful and simple black robe, but nothing to really make one glance at him for long, nothing to really make him stand out.

Staring at him creates a certain aura, a feeling that he's unimportant in the grand scheme of things. There are more important things to see.

A tall, grizzled civilian crashes into the man, growling at him before shoving him aside with a short-tempered, “Step aside, fool.” With muttered apologies and a hasty bow, the man is on his way calmly and quietly from the scene of the incident, though there’s a flash of red as something appears to slip into the folds of his robe. Perhaps one or two glanced at the two men as they’d suddenly interacted, perhaps they didn’t, it doesn't particularly matter.

The crowd carries on.

Click.

Without warning, a chain of explosions smash the relative peace and quiet of the Juriss City spaceport, screams and cries of horror erupting as order is shattered by the raging infernos that break out not a moment after the bang ceases. The crowd breaks and the steady thrum, the regimented footfalls of the previous minutes becomes a distant memory in the minds of those present.

The Imperial soldiers scramble to try and figure out what’s going on, rushing to sound an alarm but they’re quickly swamped as the civilians try to flee from the spreading wildfire behind them, fleeing from the death and destruction wrought only yards from them.

Wandering through the alleyways a distance away, the man from before turns back to glance in the direction of the sounds of chaos and sirens. His lips set in a firm line and his eyes appear to harden, before he utters a quiet commitment.

“Victory for the Republic.”

Then he’s gone, slipping into the darkness.

"Friendship. Loyalty. Honour. Strength. Victory. Let these be your watchwords."
"No matter how bleak the outcome may be, remember this. The eyes of the Republic and all its citizens are upon us. They place their faith in us. Do your utmost to ensure this faith is not misplaced."
"Gloridenis Rexicalus - Action-y librarian." - Marasi Kengon.
Last Edit: 7 months 1 week ago by Gloridenis Rexicalus.
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Future Paths, Uncertain Roads. 8 months 5 days ago #16602

Chapter 3 - Dancing Memories in the Dark


Ilum

29th of the Eighth Month, 18 ATC


Sparks fly as red and blue lightsabers clash. Shrill, near-insane laughter fills the air, then cries of pain. Footsteps, blaster fire. Explosions, flashes of bright red and orange. Clattering as a lightsaber hits the ground, then a body.

Silence, then trudging - trudging into the gathering snowstorm….



Howling winds buffet the outside of the dark ice cavern, sounds of the snowstorm blown up outside serving as a constant reminder of the harshness of the outside world, and the suffering that it can bring.

Within the cavern, a shadow looms against the backdrop of a small fire, puffing and fluttering and struggling to stay alight in the bitter wind. The figure wields a shadow, poking at the flames which sputter in response, the whole thing bursting to life as a small log is added to the smouldering fire, displacing ash and bathing the cavern in a weak orange-red hue.

The shadow is revealed.

Gloridenis stands, shuddering slightly, the mop of tarnished auburn hair atop his head moving with the breeze, flapping about his face. He brings a hand up to steady his shaking hair, adjusting the small circlet he wears as he does so - for a moment he brings a hand to his eyes, vision momentarily blurring as he sways unsteadily about his feet before he comes crashing down with a loud groan.

Shakily, Rex attempts to stand, but falls back down to the snowy cavern floor, his injuries and the need to preserve core functions taking the most of his remaining unspent energy. His hands move more slowly as time goes by, and his body no longer responds to his commands as quickly as it normally would; his features, barring only the slightest hints of colours, now finds itself a deathly pale white. The clothes he wore and the robe, clearly of a good cut of cloth once before, are ripped and torn all over - in some places, specks of blood are found; blots of red dot the fabric all over his body.

His chest rises and falls slowly, tiredly, and clearly painfully; his breathing is ragged, coming sharp and fast. With his ribs so badly damaged, he doesn’t understand how the whole structure hasn’t come crashing inwards yet - the bruises littering his body are painful, raw and fresh, layered from the continuous beatings.

Rex’s bloodshot eyes stare past the tattered, ripped scraps of his trousers, frowning slightly. Mustering what strength he has left he lifts a hand and tries to pull back the scraps of cloth covering his wounds, biting his tongue to keep the scream of pain trying to work its way up his throat as he finds them stuck to his skin by dried, crusted blood. He soon puts to rest the idea of trying to inspect his wounds clearly, his vision blurring slightly and his head sagging as a wave of fatigue crashes over his body; his hand falls to the snow, breathing becoming even more sharp and laboured as the cold sets in and the pain becomes too much for him to keep trying to move.

It feels as if his limbs have become lead; hard, cold and unwilling to give him much leeway or control over his actions. At the rate things are going, and with the blood he’s losing, the end certainly seemed to be advancing quickly towards him, no longer the slow, inexorable advance that it once appeared to be.

Death seemed to be eager to claim him.

His eyelids droop and fall, drifting closed slowly, gracefully, as the warm and comforting embrace of rest lulled him to sleep. He just needed rest… Rest would give him more energy, take him away from this place for just a little while...

Sleep… rest… so long… so… tired… just a f-few minutes of rest… I…

His eyes blearily open wide, blinking rapidly in an attempt to stay awake, stave off what he knows at this rate to be inevitable for just a little longer. He shakes his head once, twice, a third time to keep the blood flowing and his eyes open, before growling and smacking his head against the surprisingly hard snow wall.

“Ugh, stay awake you bloody fool!” he shouts to himself, though it comes out as more of a hoarse whisper than anything even closely resembling a shout. Despite his best attempts, he feels his eyes start to fall again, his hoarse whisperings becoming little more than pained and fatigued mutterings.

“C-can’t s-sleep… can’t... can’t sleep... Need to… need to stay awake… I…”

The harsh howling of the wind outside and the sudden gale that blows its way through the snow cave cause his eyes to widen once more, bringing him back from the brink again as the sharp cold pricks at his exposed, bloodied skin. At least if he can feel that, well, it had to be a better sign than everything else that was happening to him.

It meant he was still alive, despite how much his body protested otherwise.

“Huh… Maybe this is… is penance for… for what I’ve done…” he mutters tiredly, groaning.

Fires rage around the old headquarter building of the Dromund Fels military garrison, the windows billowing smoke as the screams of civilians and soldier alike fill the night air. Bodies litter the ground, whether thrown by blast and knocked unconscious or killed, it doesn’t matter. People wander the streets, shell-shocked, their facade of order and law shattered, tattered and ruined - and there, at the centre of it all, Gloridenis stands, depressed detonator still in hand.

He shouldn’t have been here. He should’ve been far away before it happened, before he could see and feel the carnage.

How did it all come to this? What would his family, his old crewmates, those who knew and cared for him, think of the monster he’d become? He was a murderer, he’d planned this, he’d executed this. So many operations, so many attacks… All this pain, this horror, this grief, what for? In his quest for senseless revenge, to bury his own pain, he’d become the very thing he’d been fighting against.

The detonator falls, clattering down onto the cold, hard durasteel floor. Once, twice. Then Rex does what he’s become so adept at for the last two years, since Zakuul threw the galaxy into chaos.

He runs, and doesn’t look back. Away, far away, hidden from his crimes. There was only one place left.


The small burst of energy he feels as the memories stir gives Rex the motivation he needs to force himself to shift and sit up more against the walls, trying to wrap the tattered remains of his cloak about his person as much as possible, shifting a little closer to the fire in the hopes of gaining just a bit more warmth.

Was that so much to ask for in this icy, gods-forsaken tundra? This place that was supposed to be his salvation, his sanctuary?

The dying fire takes the brunt of another gust of wind, flickering flames causing the ‘room’ to dim momentarily before bathing the room in a sudden flash of orange and red; a flicker highlights a shadow, movement causing Rex to tiredly glance around the room. With barely any energy left to keep himself alive, he doesn’t bother trying to move his body, trying to keep it as still as possible. When the lights settle again, his tired eyes finally give up their search for the mysterious shadow, dismissing it as little more than a pain-induced figment of his imagination. Maybe it was the ghost of all the suffering he’d wrought.

The fire dies down even further with what seems like hours going by in the meantime, the passage of time losing all meaning. All he knows is his body won’t even respond to his commands anymore, and his energy has dwindled to absolute zero… His body cries out for rest, aches and protests for it, and his mind finally starts to give up, his will failing.

His eyes drift shut, slowly, despite the desperate protests the one remaining active part of his mind makes, and then he feels so blissfully numb, all pain disappearing with a wave of comfort and relief washing over his body as he finally lets go…




What he wakes up to certainly isn’t what he was expecting of the afterlife.

Or to be quite honest, he wasn’t really expecting to wake up at all, more thinking it’d an empty nothingness, a vast, empty oblivion for the rest of eternity, or maybe even a hell.

Bright light shines and filters through the tree canopy covering him, the trees themselves not all that tall, and he appears to be within what… At least, well, it appears to be the small, quiet area that he’d discovered long ago back on Taris, the place where he’d often spent time with Jackson and Sarah.

“It can’t be… But it has to be, it looks so much like it…” he mutters, looking around.

The area is just as he remembers it, the many bright, vibrant wildflowers of so many different species of plant dotting the place, making it appear so full of life on such a hostile, ghostlike planet like Taris; the small clear pond sat in the centre of the clearing makes him smile, as do the three seats settled around it, fond memories running through his mind. He smiles fondly as his gaze rests on the three small water lilies that had been placed there by the three of them so long ago.

“The first time he, Jackson and Sarah had stumbled upon the place completely by accident while getting lost on their normal patrol, looking over the place in surprise and awestruck wonder that it actually existed naturally here of all places.

The times they’d all come here while off-duty instead of the cantina, playing games, wrestling and acting like children after a long, boring day at the garrison; the times they’d come here with drinks and gotten pleasantly drunk, but not to the extent of being completely out of their senses.”


He smiles gently as he remembers the time he and Sarah had come here, alone, just to get away from the base and spend time alone together.

“They’d done nothing but talked and held hands for a while, he remembered, a fond smile gracing his features as he thought. Then they’d agreed to come up and clear the place every now and then, cut back the flowers and keep the place presentable and beautiful just for their little group, before Rex had simply sat and gazed over the woman next to him, his brown eyes meeting her own light blue ones as he reached over to tussle her blonde locks, sending them cascading down and covering her soft, gentle features while she laughed delightedly.

Or perhaps the time he and Jackson had come here. That day had been a strange one indeed.

Gloridenis remembered it well, the time he and Jackson had come up here, laughing and joking and generally being the same childish fools they always had been around each other since they’d met. That day had ended in a way he certainly hadn’t been expecting, though, he recalled, being exposed to an idea that he’d never actually thought of before; a look in Jackson’s deep brown eyes so strikingly similar to his, his untidy, scruffy brown hair falling slightly about his surprisingly smooth, soft features. A fondness present that Rex hadn’t known was shared, characterised by soft touches and stupid jokes, comfortable times spent together.“

Breaking from his reverie a moment later, cheeks flushing slightly as he pushes away the memory for a moment. He tries to think, wondering how exactly he’d managed to wind up here of all places after having just been on Ilum…

At least, he thinks, it was Ilum. Wasn’t it? He'd done... Something, something to make him flee there. Then there'd been some fight.... Something.

“He remembered a numbing cold and biting, icy wind attacking his already battered, bloody and bruised body as he stumbled through the endless expanse of snow falling in blankets at his feet and covering his clothing and hair, deepening the already horribly thick ground below his feet. A sharp pain runs through his body before his memory of the place clouds and disappears, along with the pain.”

When he looks back to the small pond and the chairs, he sees Jackson and Sarah sitting in their old seats. He doesn’t even blink or bat an eyelash at the fact they’ve suddenly appeared out of nowhere, instead gazing at them with a wide smile, even though some part of his mind tries to cry out the fact they shouldn’t be here, this wasn’t possible, they weren’t dead like he was, why were they here?

They smile back, the both of them beckoning him closer and gesturing for him to take the only empty seat still there. He moves forward slowly and settles down in the chair with a soft sigh of relief, feeling as if a weight had been lifted off of his very soul at being back in the place with the people that used to bring him so much comfort. He’s silent for a few moments as he adjusts himself to the world he has found himself in, looking around over the area, memories still running through his mind as he smiles and chuckles to himself.

The both of them remain gazing at him intently, small smiles gracing their own features whilst they wait for Rex to stop looking around and remembering so that he’d to give them his undivided attention. It isn’t until a few moments later that he finally turns his gaze from the surroundings to his two best friends, watching them curiously for a moment, tilting his head to the side with a childishly curious grin. That earns a familiar grin out of the two of them, causing them all to chuckle and laugh like they always had with each other before again, the place quietens.

It’s Rex that speaks first, his tone inquisitive and look curious.

“So… I’d ask where we were, but I think I have a pretty good idea. Which finds me with the desire to ask why exactly you two seem to be here, as well. Surely it isn’t possible that you’d be here, right?”

Jackson and Sarah looks between themselves for a moment, an unreadable understanding seeming to be communicated between only themselves while he watched on, waiting patiently. A moment later they both turn their attention back on Rex, but it is Jackson that speaks, Sarah sitting back in her chair.

“Well, yeah, you’d sorta be right there Den. But how we’re here isn’t important, and more, why we’re here, y’know?”

Rex smiles slightly at the old pet name then nods afterwards, thinking over that sentence as he waits. Jackson looks over him for a moment before settling back into his own seat more comfortably, smiling fondly at him. After a moment he carries on.

“Well, see, thing is, Den, we’re sorta here to give you a kick. Y’know you’re just as stubborn now as you were over a decade ago, right bud?”

Rex blinks at that, raising a brow. “Give me a kick? Whatever for? I’m dead, aren’t I?”

Jackson rolls his eyes good-naturedly while Sarah laughs, shaking her head affectionately at his predictable thought process.

“Only you could immediately think the worst, Glori,” she starts with a smile. “You aren’t dead, no, but you’re pretty close to it. Or you were. Not so much now. Just being stubborn, like Jackson says.”

Her eyes sparkle with an old, familiar mirth that Rex feels like he hasn’t seen in years, her lips twitching upwards into her trademark grin that he loved so much.

Still does, if he thinks about it, really.

His thoughts are interrupted again as Jackson starts speaking again, his arms folded across his chest and one leg resting over the other as he sits back, grinning.

“Yeah, stubborn. You’re not dead, like Sarah says. You’ve sorta buried yourself deep in your mind, see? What happened on Ilum was real, all of it, including you passing out in that cave… Along with the rest of the less pleasant experiences.”

Rex blinks upon hearing that, his expression falling slightly while his eyes cloud darkly. As quickly as it appears, though, his old expression soon works its way back to the forefront.

“Now, well, considering how bashed up you were it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that this,” Jackson notes, waving a hand around the area, “is your mind. And you’re in a coma. Have been for a while. Which you wouldn’t be, if you weren’t so stubborn that is.”

He finishes this with yet another roll of his eyes while laughing at the dumbfounded expression plastered upon Rex’s features. After a moment he falls quiet, then he leans forward in his seat, affectionately patting Rex’s knee while said man scratches at his neck, mumbling something that sounds suspiciously like an “I knew that…”.

“At any rate, Glori, that’s where we are.” Sarah pipes up with a smile. “We wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if you’d been less stubborn and actually woken up when you should’ve. So, now you’re open enough to actually meet us here, it isn’t too much of a step to… Well, wake up.”

Jackson nods, leaning back in his seat again and slinging an arm around Sarah’s shoulder with a grin.

“Yep. Hard part’s over, Den. Question is, we gonna sit here forever in your mind, or are we gonna, y’know, get outta here so we can all meet up for real?”

Rex sits quietly as he takes in this new information, now clearly seeing these aren’t actually Jackson and Sarah as he’d originally thought, but figments of his imagination. Or, well, his subconscious telling him to do something.

Damn his subconscious was smart.

Using these two people to get Rex to actually cooperate and wake up? He had to hand it to himself, he thought with a smile, just how clever that was. But then he frowns, the memories, his shame, flooding back. Did he really want to face that? Was he strong enough?

Jackson continues to watch Rex, his previously cheery expression cracking somewhat, smile now considerably more strained. “You can’t stay here forever, Den. Eventually, you’re gonna eat yourself alive with the guilt, and we can’t help you. You need to be brave enough to face what’s to come.”

Silence descends upon the small glade as the full weight of those words sink in, permeating Rex's very being and shaking him. Ultimately, he knew Jackson was right... Eventually, he pushes his chair back and turns to face the thick forest surrounding them, his back to two of the most important people he’d ever known.

A small sigh escapes his lips before the corns of his mouth twist upwards into a forced smile, turning back to look at the other two who sat watching him curiously. At his smile, they instantly brighten up, suddenly hopeful, but they know it’s a close act. He knows they know.

“Alright, well,” Rex starts, rubbing at the back of his neck with a shy smile, “if I’m gonna wake up, how exactly do I do it? You two seem to have all the answers, so…”

“Easy.” Sarah says, waving a hand dismissively. “Look behind you.”

Obliging her, Rex turns back to face the dark, deep forest, not quite sure what to expect. He certainly doesn’t expect to see what appears to be a distant light in the darkness, a light that hadn’t previously been there when he had looked less than a minute ago, he swore. His jaw drops slightly and he fails to notice the sounds of two chairs being pushed back, soft footfalls trampling grass underfoot as they approached.

It’s with great surprise that he reacts as he feels Jackson’s arm slung around his shoulder whilst Sarah’s wraps around his waist, an identical dumbfounded expression to the one just moments before passing across his face; they both laugh at his expression, shaking their heads and pulling away, leaving him standing there by himself once again.

“Go on, Den, time to get going, yeah? We’ll be there when you wake up, I bet. You’ll see. We’ll sort the mess out yet.” Jackson shouts, grinning, then shooing him on childishly while Sarah shakes her head at his antics.

A soft smile graces her lips as she sees him hesitate slightly, unsure; she gently points towards the light, nodding in its direction, an unspoken command. With one last look back at them, Rex looks forward, to the light in the forest. With a deep breath, he begins walking on the path forward, putting one foot before the other.

It doesn’t take him long to disappear from the clearing, and when he looks back, all he can see is the bark of thick, dead Tarisian trees and the thick forest canopy, no traces of where he was standing all but five minutes ago.

“No going back then…” he thinks, steeling himself as he puts his best foot forward.

The light becomes brighter as he keeps moving closer, starting to completely fill his vision, but he begins to hear a faint whirring sound. It starts as a faint hum, barely above a whisper, but the closer he gets, the louder it becomes, and before long it fills his ears completely. By now, the trees have all but disappeared from view, light consuming the path forward.

Then his limbs begin to feel heavier, almost leaden like before, a sharp and sudden pain passing through him with each step he takes. These sounds… These feelings… He knows, then, realises, that with each step he takes he’s getting closer to reality, closer to waking up, closer to finally being alive again.

Then the weight is suddenly lifted, and the light starts to darken and dim slowly, fading away back into nothingness.

Rex panics slightly as he begins to fall into darkness, fearing perhaps he’s actually been fooled, that he’s walking towards death and endless oblivion… But Jackson and Sarah would never lie to him, would they?

Well, his own mind, which is what they had been, certainly wouldn’t lie to him. Why would it want his death? It was him after all, and he knew he certainly didn’t have a death wish.

Yet a moment later he feels his legs fall out from him; then a feeling of falling, down, down, into a never-ending chasm… And then, as quickly as it started, it suddenly stops.

Hushed voices surround him, a faint, quiet beeping in the background. Then, slowly, almost torturously so, he starts to feel.

First it starts with his toes… Then he can feel his legs! And then, almost too suddenly, he can feel a slight pressure on both of his hands.

Hushed voices quieten to nothingness, only the faint hum of machinery, he was sure, was left in the background.

Soon enough, he could feel his entire body. Only it feels so very heavy, so goddamned heavy, as if someone had laid a starcruiser atop him to stop him from moving. He tries in vain to get his limbs to move but at best all he manages to do is lightly move his left hand… Curiously, he feels the pressure on it tighten in return to the attempt to move his hand; Rex stops a moment and thinks, very carefully, before it suddenly dawns on him.

He’s warm. It isn’t windy, and he’s in a soft bed. And that pressure… Someone must be holding his hand. So his mind hadn’t been lying to him after all.

With the energy that he can summon up he focuses all of his efforts into simply trying to open his eyes, even if only a sliver, just so he can actually see what’s going on around him. The hum and whirring of the machinery remains his only constant companion aside from the pressure on his hands, and at this point, all he wants desperately is to open his eyes and see the light, to actually wake up and be able to live again.

It takes him too long for his liking, and it expends far more effort than he’s ever going to be comfortable admitting to, but he eventually succeeds. The sight that meets his gaze as his eyes crack open (still much too slowly) make his heart soar, and without even a command from his mind, he feels his face break out in a tired, weak grin. There, sitting in the seat to his left, is Jackson; his eyes are wide and slightly puffed, obviously from crying, and it makes Rex’s smile falter slightly.

He doesn’t move, simply stares, baffled as he sees Glori had actually woken up. His mind seems unable to comprehend after a month of constant watching after arriving at the base, carried in by a recon patrol who'd noticed his tracks in the calm snow, that he was awake. He was little more than a half frozen, battered and bloody corpse before, and yet now he was awake? The small, tired smirk that appears on Rex’s still-bruised features snaps him to, but still he doesn’t speak.

“Hmph. Good to know I can still make you speechless without even trying, Jack.”

What was originally supposed to come out as a teasing remark, instead comes out a somewhat quiet, tired sound, about half as loud as Rex’s voice usually is. But it’s enough to cause a tightness on his other hand to develop, a tentative “Glori?” being uttered.

He looks left, head moving far too slowly yet again. If he thought Jackson looked bad Sarah looked far worse. Her usually bright blonde hair was now a dirty blonde, her eyes red and puffed with deep tear trails from them, and it makes Rex’s heart constrict horribly.

He nods, slowly, managing his brightest grin for the both of them.

“It’s, ah… Yeah, it’s me. Sorry to have worried you both so much, y’know, I didn’t mean-“

Rex is cut off as he’s assaulted by both Jackson and Sarah jumping up from their seats and burying their faces on either of his shoulders, their arms wrapped tightly around his middle, almost painfully so, yet he does not protest. Instead he sighs with relief, glad to finally be back in the real world, and firmly glad to be in a nice, warm hospital rather than out in the icy tundra.

“We feared the worst… We didn’t think you’d ever wake up, Glori, it was terrifying, we thought we’d lost you forever…”

The words are whispered quietly into his right ear, her warm breath causing him to shiver in response and release a sigh, trying his best to squeeze her hand as comfortingly as he can. "I know, I know... I'm so sorry for causing you both so much pain. I promise I never meant to." he replies, face contorting into something of a grimace as he imagines just how much trouble he had put them both through in his stubborn desire to keep himself buried as deeply into his mind as he could. Not even just that, he knows, but the years that went by with him simply disappearing from their lives… He doesn’t know how they’re still here.

Just as he thought things couldn’t get much stranger than this, the two people outside his family he’s ever been so close to both hugging him tightly and keeping their heads firmly planted on each of his shoulders, he feels Jackson shift on his left side and look up into his eyes, smiling a broken, tired smile, a small tear trailing its way down his cheek. Rex grins and laughs when he feels him reach up a hand and ruffle his already tousled, unkempt auburn locks affectionately, shaking his head at Rex’s reaction. To him, it already feels just like things should be.

“You gave us quite a scare there, Den. Been a month and you still look terrible, y’know. After all this time, ever since you dropped off the face of the galaxy, yet you still can’t look after your own ass without us having to rescue you?”

He waggles his eyebrows like a fool, drawing another chuckle out of Rex and Sarah, who had finally pulled her head away from Rex’s shoulder to settle back into her own, decidedly less comfortable looking seat to watch them both interact like they always did.

She watches with a grin as Rex responds flippantly, saying, “Meh, you’re just jealous because I have a better ass than you, Jackson. Always have been.”, and the two soon fall into the familiar routine of bickering and teasing, as if Rex didn’t look like a black and blue mess of bruises wrapped up in layer upon layer of bandages to cover his still-healing wounds, as if they weren’t stuck on the frozen ice-ball that was Ilum, and he hadn’t been through such horrible traumas. But she knew, she could see from the way Gloridenis’ eyes wavered, that he wasn’t quite all there. Something weighed upon him, but that would have to be dealt with later. She’ll ask later.

Instead, she watches them both bicker with an ever-widening smirk, knowing neither of them is really going all-out on the other (even after all the years that had passed by, all the galaxy-changing events, they all love each other too much for that, she thinks to herself), she can’t help but be glad that after all of this, everything was finally starting to get back to how they were in the old days, when they were stationed on Taris and life was simple. After years of separation, the trio was finally back together.

And Rex, through all the bickering, maintains his jovial attitude, with a fond smile never leaving his features. After a while they all fall silent again, simply content to just sit down and appreciate the fact everything is on the up, the three of them grinning at each other as they think up their next prank in their minds. Rex is glad for their company and their grounding influence on him, for the galaxy certainly didn't seem like such a dark place with them in it, he thinks. He’s just happy to be back home again.

But deep down, Rex knows this can’t last. The words of his subconscious echo through his head, repeating again and again. “You’re going to eat yourself alive with the guilt...”

He didn’t have a choice. The truth needed to come out, and it would. It had to.

For now though, he wanted to live in the moment.

"Friendship. Loyalty. Honour. Strength. Victory. Let these be your watchwords."
"No matter how bleak the outcome may be, remember this. The eyes of the Republic and all its citizens are upon us. They place their faith in us. Do your utmost to ensure this faith is not misplaced."
"Gloridenis Rexicalus - Action-y librarian." - Marasi Kengon.
Last Edit: 8 months 5 days ago by Gloridenis Rexicalus.
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