Chapter 2

Verse 8:2 — The Witch

We were the last surviving siblings. That's what this has always been about for Xivu Arath. She wanted us all to survive. She would throw everything she could at us, so we could learn to survive.

Didn't quite work, did it?

My brother's greatest acts of navigation were his metamorphoses. That was his tactic: he would change everything about himself so that he could survive this universe. Meanwhile, my sister cuts the universe apart—makes it as sharp as she—until all that's left is her and her love.

I'm a little bit of both. No need to choose. I don't have my brother's fear or my sister's vanity.

Even in his infinite adaptability, Oryx could not withstand the Guardians. So Xivu Arath wants to prove she can by being as rigid and unyielding as she always has been—no need to fix what isn't broken. Overwhelming force, tactics, and intimidation.

We are who we are, and we chose our morphs carefully. I wanted life. Xivu wanted vengeance and dominion. Oryx wanted to venture out, deep in thought, and feed on the delicacies of truth.

Well, he got what he wanted. Now Oryx knows death more intimately than any of us. No bringing him back.

Poor Xivu's distraught. With all that war and ruin to hide behind, she thinks she doesn't show it. Deep down she believes Oryx must have survived through their logic. She believes he'll be conjured back just like he conjured us.

That was a long time ago. We've moved past that. Despite everything to come, I will live on. With and without them.

Should I say that I miss my siblings? That I miss the times when the threats of death and short lifespan were still with us, when we piloted our needle, when we dove and became what we became?

No. Xivu is the sentimental one. We are not who we were. Who we were no longer exists.

I sound like my brother.