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Lt Trovek - Path of the Prophets - Seedling

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OOC: Arys has been working on this wonderful story arc.  This latest installment highlights struggles that parents sometimes deal with.
((OOC: Not a happy sim. You have been warned. ))
((Arys' and Lukin’s temporary quarters, City Hotel, Bajor))
((Time Index: Two hours after Geleth and Ferri went missing))
Arys hadn’t chosen motherhood, and she was well aware that she wasn’t going to make “Mother of the Year 2399”. She cherished her alone time, only watched Geleth when both Lukin and Ferri were unavailable, and there were times she perceived the little girl as an annoyance more than anything else, and as someone who took time away from her and Lukin.
If she was honest with herself, there were times Arys felt… tricked. Lukin had lured her to Cardassia, knowing full well what she would find there, and having prepared the way to adopt Geleth. Everything had gone so fast that Arys barely even had time to think, much less to make an actual choice on the matter. Were she still a Counsellor and were she her own patient, she would call it manipulative.
She didn’t love Geleth. She loved Lukin. And that was a difficult thing to admit, even to herself. Because, really, what was wrong with her? Why did affection come so easily to others?
Arys made her way to the corner where a few travel crates stood packed and ready for departure after their last afternoon on Bajor. The biggest one belonged to Geleth, and Arys opened it carefully. Arys and Lukin preferred to travel lightly, but Geleth insisted to take along as many plushies as possible. One of them was the Hornicorn Tito had gifted her, and Arys gingerly took it out of the crate.
Tears came, but Arys wasn’t sure if they were out of fear or anger. Despite her evident failings, she wanted Geleth to be safe and happy. Even if she was an awful mother. Lukin made more than up for it, but that too made Arys angry. Why did it came so naturally to him? Why wasn’t anyone helping her to figure this stuff out? Was she supposed to just have some inherent knowledge of how to be a decent parent?
The doorbell chimed, but this time Arys didn’t even feel any desire to open it. She knew it wouldn’t be Ferri or Geleth, and everyone else who meant something to her was either on their way to find them, or unaware of what had happened.
The chime came again, and Arys’ jaw tightened. She wanted to lash out, tell whoever was so persistent that they had picked a bad point of time to go on her nerves. She got up and opened the door with hiss.
Trovek: What?!
Of all the people Arys had expected, the woman in front of her wasn’t one of them, and her appearance took the wind out of Arys’ sails. She took a calming breath that did absolutely nothing, wiped her tears out of her face, and with as much composure as possible she asked:
Trovek: Jeni. What are you doing here?
Jeni: I thought you could use some company.
The Bajoran woman didn’t seem surprised to see Arys in the state she was in, neither did she seem to judge her. Instead, her voice was steeped in compassion.
Logically, that would make Arys suspicious. Did she know anything? She was part of her brother’s sect, even if they seemed to have split from Sileah. But when she inquired, her voice didn’t convey those suspicions.
Trovek: ::defeated:: Why?
Jeni: Just a feeling. May I come inside?
Arys nodded. She had so many questions. What did Jeni know, how did she know where to find Geleth and Ferri? But as the woman stepped inside and embraced her, those questions faded into the background and all Arys felt was warmth and comfort. Tears came again, and this time they wouldn’t stop.
Trovek: It was her. I know it was her.
Her. Sileah. Arys’ mother.
Jeni: ::softly:: You think it was her. You don’t *know*, Arys.
Trovek: I do! ::she insisted::
Arys hated her mother, as much as that was possible.
Sileah had been a mixture of emotionally absent, negligent, and abusive. The woman’s motherly affection had only ever belonged to Aaron, Arys’ older brother. Of course Arys knew that Aaron had been a sick child with special needs and that Sileah had suffered from depression after having Arys, but that didn’t invalidate decades of feeling unloved and not good enough.
Jeni: When have you last spoken to her?
Arys didn’t understand why that mattered, and she understood even less why she answered the question.
Trovek: I… I think more than half a year ago. I had just transferred to Ops and I wanted to speak to my father.
Arys’ father had sold their family home, quit his job as Chief Physician, and left Earth. Arys had assumed he would be traveling to Bajor to reunite with Sileah.
Jeni: But he wasn’t there.
Trovek: ::shaking her head:: No, he was not.
And Arys didn’t know where he might have gone. Sometimes she wasn’t even sure if he was still alive, and there were moments she hated herself for their last conversation having been an argument.
Jeni: And you told her that you are going to find Taril.
Again Arys wondered how Jeni could possibly know that. Had she been in the room, out of sight? Had her mother shared the conversation? And, most importantly, why did her mind simply dismiss these thoughts of suspicion without a single logical reason to do so.
Trovek: Yes. She warned me. She said it wouldn’t end well.
Jeni: But you didn’t argue.
Trovek: No we didn’t. I said I would call again. Then I found out about Taril’s death and… didn’t talk to her again. Obviously.
Jeni: You think she killed Taril.
Trovek: Yes. She left him to die of exposure before.
Someone who was capable of leaving their own child to die of exposure was certainly also capable of having them killed, and of kidnapping a child. Two children. Ferri was barely twenty years old.
Jeni: That’s what the files said.
Arys nodded. The files she had received upon her grandfather’s death detailed how Sileah had killed the Cardassian who had gotten her pregnant, and wasn’t seen again until months later, when she left her newborn child out in the cold.
Jeni: The Cardassian files. ::Jeni reminded Arys::
Arys nodded again, and she knew what Jeni was implying. Deep down, she had thought the same. As much as she hated her mother, she knew that she had received a one-sided narrative of the events.
Jeni took her hand.
Jeni: Maybe you can find answers.
Arys peered at the other woman, for a moment unsure what to respond. She knew exactly where this conversation was going.
Trovek: Let me guess. I should pray, or go to the temple. ::she pulled her hand away:: How about no.
Jeni: Because you don’t have faith.
Trovek: I don’t. I don’t believe in the Prophets, at best I acknowledge that they are wormhole aliens who somehow managed to convince all of Bajor to worship them. I’m sorry to offend, but that’s just what it is.
Geleth had wanted to go to the temple, which had quickly become her favourite place on Bajor. Arys hadn’t wanted to go, and instead, Ferri had agreed to take her there. Had Arys been willing to accompany the child, Ferri would have spent her time with Aine. Geleth would be safely home.
But they weren’t safe, and they weren’t home, and that was because Arys had been selfish. Again.
Jeni: It doesn’t matter, Arys.
Arys blinked and let Jeni redirect her thoughts to the matter at hand.
Trovek: What?
Jeni: Perhaps they are simply wormhole aliens. But that doesn’t change that faith in the Prophets helped Bajor to survive the occupation. You know of the orbs - it doesn’t matter if they provide visions or hallucinations. ::she paused and once more took her hand:: You know of countless people who have experienced guidance and comfort. Why would you be exempt?
Arys closed her eyes. Decades ago, she had tried to find a connection to the prophets. She had prayed with her mother and her brother, she had celebrated Bajoran holidays, and she had spent her time studying what past kais and vadeks wrote.
Trovek: I guess it … was always Aarons thing. Not mine. I tried. It didn’t work.
Aaron had received visions and healing from his illness, and every step of his path seemed guided by the divine. Arys had received silence.
Jeni: Just because it didn’t match what Aaron seemed to experience, you assumed it doesn’t work for you.
Trovek: … Yes.
And it had been one of the reasons she turned away from her Bajoran heritage, and any kind of tolerance for religious beliefs.
Jeni: You felt that you weren’t good enough.
Arys nodded and fell silent.
Despite her success in the medical field, self-doubt and comparison with others were often present and followed her home every evening. Home, where Geleth *insisted* that Lukin read her the goodnight story and tucked her in, and where the little girl wanted to ‘eat what Lukin eats’ and did chores because it would make Lukin proud of her.
She was trying what she could - allowed sweets and longer PADD-times, purchased things she liked… and Geleth still preferred the stricter parent. The one who wasn’t even related her.
It was unfair.
And perhaps that was the answer. Arys loved Lukin, and Arys loved Geleth too. But Geleth didn’t seem to love her back, and that … hurt. So Arys avoided her.
The Prophets didn’t seem to answer Arys, so she avoided them.
Jeni: Faith can grow. So can affection, Arys. ::she smiled gently:: And both can grow to look different than we’ve imagined them. ::she paused:: All I am asking you is to give it a chance. A seed cannot grow if you do not water it.
Arys was sure she had heard that phrase before and she was certain that she had ignored it because it sounded stupid. Ignoring it now would be easy. Dismissing it would be easy.
She did neither, even if she didn’t quite know why not. As a matter fact she didn’t know why she even listened to Jeni in the first place. None of it made sense, but Arys was too drained to ask question.
Trovek: Okay. ::she nodded, once more wiping the tears from her face:: I… can give it a chance.
[End Scene]

Lt. Trovek Arys
Chief Medical Officer
Starbase 118 Ops


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I really enjoyed this sim and the complexity of emotion in Arys.  There is some great exploration of past trauma here!

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