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Lt. Trovek - Path of the Prophets - Fooled


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OOC: The next installment in the Path of the Prophets series by Arys.

 

((En-route to Trovek Aaron’s Home, Bajor))

When Arys stepped outside Unity Temple, the Bajor’s sun had already almost set, and unfolding beyond its golden dome was a veritable symphony of color. Shades of scarlet and apricot warmed the sky while the gentle arpeggios of amethyst contrasted with the silvery light of the awakening stars and moons. Arys had never appreciated Bajor’s beauty before, and it came as a surprise that she developed an awareness for it at this very moment. 

The tears shed over Geleth and Ferri’s disappearance had dried up, and both guilt and fear had dissipated, leaving the Arys emotionally drained and her very soul contrite and broken. It was perhaps the first time in her life that she admitted that she didn’t know what to do or where to go. 

And yet she was moving with purpose, past the closed-down market and towards the nearest transporter pad.

There was no reasonable explanation as to why Arys chose to act against Lukin’s wishes for her to stay behind and wait for his return, or why that locked door in her older brother’s house suddenly held such relevance. There was no logical reason to hope to find Geleth and Ferri there when the girl’s badge had been located somewhere else, but Arys’ thoughts returned to that door again and again, intruding on what was rational, no matter how much she tried to focus on the hundreds of questions that awaited answer. 

‌It certainly wasn’t like her to surrender control to something she couldn’t see or explain. But more important than her own pride and self-sufficiency was to get her family back, and she focussed on that very thought when she materialised on the transporter pad halfway across Bajor, and belonging to the tranquil village that lay closest to Aaron’s residence. Lights within the small huts and houses shone invitingly, illuminating the gardens and paths that surrendered them. But Arys was headed in the opposite direction. 

It was odd how she, who after a year still regularly got lost on her way from Coranum District to sickbay, had somehow managed to memorise the path away from the charming little village, and past fields and woods towards the house Aaron had invited her into. 

The crisp air was filled with the song of birds Arys couldn’t name, though she was sure that she had heard them before. More than once Arys turned around, alarmed by the spongy crunch of dead foliage underfoot. Was someone following her? Or was her brain simply trying to make sense of the foreign sounds around her, imagining whispers where the wind rustled through the leaves, and footsteps where branches cracked in the distance? 

Despite Arys’s familiarity with the trail and her inexplicable trust to find the right way, she grew tense the longer she was walking, and the feeling didn’t settle as she found herself in front of the small farmhouse that belonged to Aaron. 

‌She briefly reminisced on how she had been surprised to find Aaron leading such a humble life, and on how Hilja had greeted her upon her arrival. It was fair to say that Arys had been charmed by Aarons unconventional family, but now it seemed that its glamour had died with the last rays of sunlight. The house lay abandoned and quiet at the end of the footpath that led to it, and as Arys once more knocked at the door, she received no answer. 

‌Trovek: Aaron? ::She called out, unsure if she was expecting a response:: Hilja? It’s Arys! 

‌On her way here, Arys hadn’t known what she had expected, but nothing had prepared her for finding Aaron’s family home abandoned. She hammered against the door, called out again, and tried her best to ignore the panic that slowly began wrapping around her chest. 

‌Around Arys, the calling of birds and the chattering within the trees had died down, the wind carried over the sound of hushed conversation, and Arys’ heart sank as she realized how precarious her situation was. She was alone, unarmed, an hour on foot away from the nearest village, and no one knew where she was. 

Arys had been so convinced that her mother Sileah had taken Geleth and Ferri and she had dismissed the thought that there was a chance the women had nothing to do with it, and that Lukin had only recently made a new enemy. 

She took a calming breath, deciding that this wasn’t the time to give into panic and forget her years of Starfleet training. First, get help. Tell people where you are. Arys tapped her badge and the short sequence of electronic tones indicated its activation. 

Trovek: =/\= Doctor Trovek to Narendra. =/\= 

Narendra: =/\= Go ahead, Doctor. =/\= 

Trovek: =/\= I… was looking to visit my brother, but I believe I am being followed. The next transport pad is an hour away. =/\= 

‌Narendra =/\= Do you need to be beamed up? =/\= 

It was the intelligent thing to do, but Arys hesitated and looked back at the door, placing her hand against it, feeling the spongy moss beneath her skin. Despite the potential severity of the situation, her reason for coming here hadn’t changed. 

Trovek: =/\= Not yet… I… ::she sighed:: It’s probably nothing. Trovek out. =/\= 

Arys cast a last glance into the direction of whispers she believed to have heard, then nodded to herself, and stepped away from the door. She knew that there was a garden behind the residence, and perhaps one of the windows would allow her to look inside. ‌

She walked around the farmhouse, climbing over flower beds and dew-drenched grass and the rotting remains of moba-tree. The garden itself lay quiet and unkept before her, and she could just about make out the bench where she had first met Jeni, but if any of the children’s toys in the grass still remained, she couldn’t make them out in the darkness. Her gaze followed the gravel-path that snaked around the grass and vegetable plots and towards the house itself, once more dark and still. 

Arys was about to turn around as she noticed a warm flicker of light in the rooms. Was someone home after all? If so, why hadn’t they opened her? 

Jeni: But it’s odd that a prayer room should be locked, isn’t it? Why do you think that is?

Trovek: I… suppose it’s to keep people from going inside?

Jeni: That is one out of two options.

Jeni. The woman who had kept putting ideas into Arys’ head, and who Arys trusted without having any reason to do so. 

Careful to be as quietly as possible, Arys made her way through the garden and towards the door leading to it. Now in closer proximity, she would see that the light came from a nearly burned-out candle by the window, growing weaker with each desperate flicker. There was a good chance that Aaron’s family had forgotten it when they had vacated the property, and they had likely been lucky that it hadn’t burned their house down. 

Arys would have called out again, but considering that she believed that she was being followed by someone, she opted to remain silent. Once she had reached the door leading from the garden to the living area, her fingers wrapped around the cold metal of the doorknob as she twisted and turned it. 

And just like that, the door opened with a loud creak that would certainly alarm anyone inside and outside the property. Arys bit her lip and quickly made her way into the house, closing and locking the door behind her, but if she had expected to feel safe, she was quickly disappointed. 

Only a few days ago the living area was bright and warm and full of life, decorated with more or less artistic pictures drawn by Aaron’s offspring. Children played on pillows and blankets in the corner, and the scent of homemade food had wafted through the rooms. 

Even if Aaron and his family were out for the evening it didn’t explain why the paintings and toys and decorations had all been removed. 

Trovek: ::whispering to herself:: No one lives here. 

The realisation caused Arys to stop in her tracks, and for a moment she simply stood there, unsure how to comprehend what was happening. If Aaron hadn’t been truthful about his humble lifestyle and family, what else had he lied about? ‌

Whatever mysterious assurance of her path Arys had followed, now she felt none of it. She had been fooled, led away from her family, and into the middle of nowhere. Obsessed with a door to a prayer room rather than with finding the child she had sworn to love and protect like her own. Trusting a person she hadn’t seen for decades, entrusting her with her hopes and dreams. 

‌Arys hissed and did the only reasonable thing. She reached for an empty vase on the dining table and threw it against the wall, watching it shatter in hundreds of pieces. The sound was accompanied by several swear words in several different languages, all of them wishing Aaron the worst fate imaginable, screamed against the quietude of the house. 

It was only when she caught her breath that Arys realised she wasn’t the only one filling the silence. 

Arys.

She blinked, taking a calming breath to ground herself. Someone had said her name, she was sure of it. 

Arys. 

‌There it was again, a weak, hoarse voice calling her from one of the rooms upstairs. Arys moved towards the stairs, once more listening for the voice that had called her name, and then froze. This wasn’t Ferri’s voice, neither was it Geleth's. 

TBC….

*****************

Lt. Trovek Arys 

Chief Medical Officer 

Starbase 118 Ops

J239809TA4

 

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