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Laehval tTemarr

Caught Between

It was hardly the family reunion that Laehval had expected. Of course, she had not expected one at all. So perhaps it was more accurate to say that it was not the family reunion that she would have wished for, if she were prone to such silly things as wishes and hopes and dreams.


She did not dwell in a fantasy world of her own making. Laehval was a Rihan woman of facts and figures, of duty and logic. She was known for her temper that mirrored the destructive flames of the sacred Fire Element that she held most dear. She was known for her passion and ingenuity for all things engineering. But she was not known for her sentimentality.


Love, consideration, and emotional vulnerability were not her strong suits. If anything, they were the bane of her existence and a reminder of the weak, insecure woman that she'd once been. She'd driven a dagger through that woman's stomach to obliterate her completely, but the experience did not kill her. Rather, it made her stronger than she'd ever been. She had risen like a phoenix from the ashes of her wretched life and had not squandered the second chance at life that the Elements had bestowed upon her.


That strength had sustained her as she'd led the Talon through necessary danger, as she'd sought to make her crew whole once again, and as she'd striven to craft herself into something better than she'd once been. She'd put the past behind her, done her best to forget the mother that despised her and the apathetic father that hadn't the fortitude to break free of his wife's tragic nature. Laehval was far from perfect, and still had not mastered the violent emotions that were prone to spill over in times of strife, but she'd become a constant, infallible anchor for those that needed her support.


And yet, with the murmur of a single name, her pillar of strength threatened to crumble.


"He said his name is Trilus. He is your father?"


Laehval's heart soared in the same instant that her stomach sank. "Yes. Can you tell me if he is well? Does he have injuries? Does he need medical attention?"


The man nodded and paced to the other side of the cell to speak with the captives in the cell beside him. From her vantage, Laehval couldn't see into her father's cell. She inched as close as she dared to the buzzing forcefield that held her prisoner, but her father was several cells away and unreachable. Impatiently, she waited for the man to return with news, doing all she could to keep her temper in check. Screaming would do nothing for her here and would only draw the kind of attention she wished to avoid. Better to remain silent in hopes that the guards wouldn't show any interest.


Her mother had been the catalyst for her imprisonment. Au'rial t'Temarr had given her life and little else. Laehval owed her mother nothing. She had not been surprised when her mother eagerly turned her over to the Tal Shiar as a traitor to their people. But having her father imprisoned? Laehval had not even dreamed such a thing could happen! Her father was a well respected magistrate of their small mountain village. So how did he come to be imprisoned within the Tal Shiar cells? It had to be her mother's doing.


"He is gravely injured, but alive. They interrogated and tortured him severely. He is fading in and out of consciousness, but he knows that you are here. "


"Are you certain it is him? If he is awake, ask him when I made him happiest."


Another wait began as the man moved back to relay the message. She hoped it wouldn't become garbled in the telling.


When he returned, he looked uncertain, rubbing at the back of his neck with one hand. "Ah, I'm not sure if they told me this right, but he said 'I have always been proud of you, but I cherish most the memory of the time you reprogrammed your mother's replicator to only accept commands spoken in a robotic voice.'"


Laehval slid down the back wall of her cell as the air left her and the sinking feeling settled in the pit of her stomach. She pressed her fingers against her forehead.


"Did I say something wrong?"


She shook her head. "No, he is my father. There can be no doubt. Tell him that he will not be captive for much longer. Tell him to stay strong. Tell him that I will see him soon and we will be leaving this forsaken place soon."


The man blinked at her. "Are you telling him that to make him feel better? Or because you believe it to be true?"


Laehval lifted her steely gaze. "Both. Please... tell him."


As he slipped off again to the other side of his cell, Laehval glanced to cell next to hers and her fellow crew trapped within. She wasn't sure if any of them had discovered a way to escape Tal Shiar custody, but she did not doubt their ingenuity. Her crew was nothing if not determined.


She only hoped that what she told her father hadn't been a lie. "Elements protect him," she murmured under her breath. Laehval wasn't prone to losing herself to hopes and dreams, but she couldn't help but fantasize about the day that she could repay her mother for the misery that she'd caused.


If her father died of his injuries, Laehval's retribution would be swift and absolute.


And nothing, save death itself, would keep her from plunging a dagger straight into the heart of Au'rial t'Temarr.

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Excellent, indeed. Intense.

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