The street stank. Somewhere amidst the broken depths of steel and rock, something had nested and died. The lower levels were always like this; a decadent monument to the insanity of city life. The surface might not be Nar Shaddaa; Coruscant was brighter, its spires shining like gold in the filtered air of republic dignity, the domes and government buildings glistening in the feverish crimson of dawn's light. The blue sky opened up across the world like a dream of something better, promising the land of possibilities.
It was a lie. All of it was just the painted smile on the belly of a rotting Bantha, the dirt quite literally having been brushed under the rug. Underneath the golden spires of the senate, far away from the glorious blue sky and deep underneath the brilliance of the republic hemisphere, it was Nar Shaddaa all over again. Câein didn't mind, however. The stink of food tossed on the street and left to decay reminded him of home, a place part of him wished he'd never left. His coat flickered over the battlefield of littered take-out boxes and abandoned booze bottles, memorials to temporary moments in sentient life. The containers of trash lining the walls of the narrow buildings hadn't been emptied for at least a couple of hundred years, or so it seemed. They spilled over, adding their own contribution to the filth of Coruscant's lower levels.
As traffic raged and bellowed above, Câein's mind was at war with itself.
'Reaver is dead,' it said, a cold voice that reminded him of his own, but at the same time it was foreign; the voice of grief. 'Of course not! Kol's got it wrong, Reaver can't die! After everything it's... Well, impossible!' Yet in the deepest and coldest reaches of his heart, he knew the truth. Truth always lived there, cruel and hidden from the rest of his awareness to spare his soul from being set aflame.
His eyes shuddered with unshed tears, blurred his vision and distorted the world. He had no destination in mind, no particular road he was compelled to follow. He knew what he wanted, and he would walk until it found him. Oblivion called; the mindless nothingness of the void where only the prospect of a dulled heart and the promise of dreamless sleep reigned. It wasn't death, but perhaps as close as you could get. His chest didn't throb, but burn. Somewhere inside of him, sinister termites of grief and loss had begun to feed on his remains. He felt broken, hopeless and unmade. The mortality of life swirled and danced around him, mocked him as he realized that if Reaver, this stoic pillar of strength that kept part of his world floating, was dead, well... Then anyone could die. Koldrax could die, Ezrab, Orn and perhaps even himself. Yet now it was Reaver who had been left behind. He'd pulled the short straw of fate and been chosen IT by the Galaxy. The corner of Câein's existence had caved in. Roll on snare drum; let it go out with a bang. Yet it hadn't, it had gone out with a lightsaber through the chest. Reaver, his brother, slaughtered by the Sith.
The final string of his self-control snapped. He fell to his knees, his teeth gritting together in cramps of sorrow and loss, tears streaming down a face hidden behind clawing hands. He sobbed silently, sobbed for the void Reaver had left behind, the stiff warrior who always showed so little, yet carried a deep and rich world of companionship, loyalty and friendship within him.
"Fucking shit!" Câein roared, slamming his fist into the alley's unrelenting ferocrete. Pain shot through the flesh, but he didn't notice. Loss rocked through his body, forcing him to quiver as his pain grew more powerful, transforming into a vile beast that slashed and pulled at his heart.
"How the fuck can he be dead!?" He cried in frustrated anguish, a question bearing no hope of an answer. If the force watched him, it did so quietly, not minding Reaver's death any more than any other God ever spawned by the fragile minds of unenlightened humanoids.
In lonesome, quivering despair, he got to his feet. His mind whirled with the foreign vertigo of being not a stranger, but a prisoner in his own life. Something had changed, Reaver had died, and even if just temporarily, he had taken a part of Câein's world with him. Daedon had done the same, long ago, the brother who were actually tied to Câein by blood. A part of him, the wounded, bleeding and tiny part that always spoke in self-interest, hated Reaver for daring to die. He had no right to hate a man for a death which had not been planned, yet the darkest reaches of his being hated him regardless.
Time would heal his heart, Câein knew. Before then however, he would wish that Reaver had never existed at all, if only so he'd been spared his pain. He stumbled out of the alley, onto a street deprecated of all life, and only home to a few sleepy roamers. A few brave neon signs flickered in the dark, lighting the thin layer of exhaust into colorful clouds. Down the street stood a speeder someone had seen fit to decommission, taken apart piece by piece until it was nothing but a decaying wreck. Upon the rusty exterior someone had spray painted;
"Fuck the cops," with large, furious letters.
Câein followed the road down that way, but only for a few miserable minutes. A sign above a rusting cellar door announced;
"Doodo's." A crimson holo-sign of a feminine Twil’lek flickered in and out of existence just beside the door.
Câein entered, and found his oblivion.