Chapter 7

The datapad hit the tiled floor with a sharp crack as it slipped from Eido's shaking hands. Jumping to her feet, she scrambled to pick it up, inspecting hurriedly for damage. Her shoulders slumped slightly as her eyes landed on the thin fracture across its face.

Eido took a breath, Ether hissing through her rebreather. It didn't calm her.

She stood within one of the half-ruined rooms of the Eliksni Quarter. Privacy was a luxury in this place, and Eido took it where she could. Now, staring at her datapad, she was even more grateful for the quiet.

Eramis had heard Eido recording her Scribe's logs. What else had Eramis intercepted? All of House Light's communications? The petitions to the City for supplies, the transactions for The Ether Tank, her father's instructions to his people?

Eido knew that this wasn't possible—or shouldn't be. But her Scribe's logs were unencrypted. She realized now how naïve that had been.

She took another breath. Eido had reached out to Eramis before, calling for Eliksni unity, and did not think she would receive a reply. But now she knew that Eramis had listened. The Kell had reached out in turn. When Eramis interrupted her Scribe's log, there had been pain in her voice. A pain Eido had never known—a pain she realized her father had tried to keep from her.

"Eido," Misraaks said, appearing at the threshold of the door. His voice was gentle, but Eido flinched nonetheless as her thoughts broke apart. It was worse, somehow, hearing him speak gently. She turned over the cracked datapad, as if to hide what had just transpired.

"Yes, Misraakskel?" she answered, too clipped. He bowed his head. Eido stared at her father's silhouette offset by the crumbling building.

Silence hung between them for too long a moment.

"The Guardian has returned," he said, eyes averted. "We have collected another relic."

Even now, there was so much unsaid.

"A relic of Nezarec," she finished flatly for him. He had known since the beginning. He had known and he had lied, while Eramis had not turned away from the truth.

Misraaks said nothing. Eido had been insulted, hurt—and she knew deep down, he would not apologize for any of it.

"I will study it once I am finished with my Scribe's log," Eido said. She turned away from him, and soon, her father's footsteps faded.

She looked back to the datapad as if Eramis would speak to her again, now that Misraaks had left. But there was nothing. Eido sighed, her thoughts still racing.

Eramis had said she could not turn away from her violence or her vengeance. Eido did not believe that—she could not believe it. This violence was not the Kell's spirit. Eido had to find the part of Eramis that did not rage at the past. Eido had to show the Kell of Darkness a future.

Silently, the Scribe of House Light began piecing together the coordinates to the next hideout herself.