Category Archives: Part 3

Chapter 50: Eighteen Months

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There couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a wedding.

Well, maybe there could have been. Back on Vescent, one of Leta’s long-term patients had relapsed in her absence. There had apparently been a violent riot on Ellegy, the first in nine months. And someone had been shot to death outside of Paradiex’s city hall.

But those were all things that Leta easily pushed from her mind as she watched Cyrus and Addy Atelier walk down an aisle of their friends and family, hand in hand, smiling so bright they shone. And in that moment, things were perfect. Continue reading

Chapter 49: Refuge

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Leta grit her teeth and steadied her hand as she pushed the needle through the flesh and expertly tied it off. “There you go, all done,” she told the little girl who opened one tear-filled eye to peer down at the stitches in her arm. “You were very brave.”

The child sucked in a breath, her father provided Leta a word of thanks and the two of them headed out of the shelter into the camp just as Daelen, carrying a huge box of supplies that covered his face, walked in.

“You should be resting,” he told her, not for the first time, as he slid the boxes on top of the spent ones.

“I’ve rested enough,” Leta shot back without hesitation, already hovering over the crates before he even opened them. “Did you bring me more gauze? I’m running low.” Continue reading

Chapter 48: Beam

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Leta had never forgotten the day they lost Archeti. The feeling of the planet quaking beneath her feet, the dark storm swirling overhead, the sickly glow cast over the city that felt like a poison had spread through every brick, every slab of concrete, every breath of air. It had haunted her dreams on cold, lonely nights when the rain had battered her windows on Vescent. And as Cyrus landed E’etan’s ship in the middle of a deserted street of Paradiex and Leta peered out of the missing door, she was living it again. Only worse.

Wind whipped at her hair as she took in the scene. It was as bright as daylight in summer, but the wrong color entirely. Debris littered the street and tumbled along the pavement, driven forward by the constant shake of the ground beneath her feet. Moments before, her ears had been filled with the boom of the ark’s cannon and the high-pitched whirrs of Carthian fire. Now, below the clouds, all she could hear was the crack and crumble and churn of the Nautilus and the sound of her own blood pounding against her eardrums. Continue reading

Chapter 47: Ark

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Leta hissed out a pained breath and seized her throbbing arm. It was badly bruised already, probably broken and, like the rest of her body, hurt like hell. Two times today she had fallen out of a moving ship. Two times she had crash landed with nothing but her own body and surprising luck to protect her. Gods, who had she become these past few years?

But existential crises weren’t important right now. She’d survived the fall onto the surface of the Nautilus by some miracle (or perhaps the will of the dov’ha? She was on Satieri now. How did the Ridellian gods work again?), and damned if she wasn’t going to use it. Leta allowed herself a few seconds to fill her lungs before she kept moving down the Nautilus’ hallway again, one hand on a railing for support. Continue reading

Chapter 46: Heights

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Leta gripped the edge of the chair and held on as Cyrus banked the late Councillor’s ship right to avoid a stray blast from the firefight above them. Standing over him as he twisted the controls, she’d seen in coming. Fiearius, however, in the navigator’s chair beside him, his eyes locked on the console he was using to send out commands to the various fleets he was juggling, didn’t.

Dov’ha ti’arte, Cy, could you fly this thing any rougher?” he growled as he righted himself from where he’d slid off the chair. Continue reading

Chapter 45: Traitor

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Silence blanketed the room as Fiearius stared at the sight before him. Leta, here, on Satieri, standing in E’etan’s doorway, hand grasping the frame to support herself, breathing heavily and looking like she’d been trampled on by a surging crowd. Her clothes were ripped, half a sleeve entirely torn off. Her braided hair stuck out at all angles. Tiny streaks of blood covered her skin.

Leta stared back at him, her eyes wide and filled with worry, maybe relief and behind them, a thousand questions. Gods, it was good to see her. But at the same time–

“What the hell are you doing here?” he finally breathed. Continue reading

Chapter 44: Arrival

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This felt terribly familiar. Corra’s fingers tapped against her cheek nervously as her eyes scanned the expanse of black out beyond the Beacon’s bay window. Nothing looked back at her but the dark shape of Satieri, silhouetted against the light of its neighboring sun, but that didn’t calm the ocean of worry roiling through her veins.

She’d only been to Satieri once and the circumstances were eerily similar. Leta and Cyrus mounted a dangerous mission on the planet’s surface while Corra and Finn sat stagnant on the Beacon, waiting for them to return, useless and powerless in the outcome. That time too, she had whittled away the time in prayers that all would turn out as Leta hoped.

Finn also seemed to be using the opportunity similarly. He paced the floor of the bridge relentlessly, back and forth, back and forth, silent and stoic. An unlit cigarette sat between his fingers, a desperate lifeline he was at least coherent enough not to partake in. Continue reading

Chapter 43: Motivations

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“And why exactly do you expect me to believe that?”

Dorrion E’etan crossed his arms over his chest and regarded the man next to him. This man who had been hunting him for years, a man who E’etan had, quite admittedly, wronged in more ways than one, a man who he had always assumed would be his end. And yet here they stood, united at last and he wanted to ally with him?

Impossible.

Fiearius knew it, too. “I don’t expect you to believe it. Hell, I’d be surprised if you did.” He provided E’etan a sideways smirk. “Way I see it though, you got two options.” He raised one finger in front of his face. “Believe me. Help me. Save this fancy apartment you waited so long for from being destroyed. Or.” A second finger joined the first. “Don’t help me. Be worthless. And I’ll just kill you.”

E’etan snorted his skepticism. “Option three, I just kill you.” Continue reading

Chapter 42: Bad Taste

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“You know what my advice will be,” Finn was saying, eyebrows arched knowingly on his forehead.

“Yeah.” Fiearius sighed. “I know.”

A crooked grin came to Finn’s face. “If there was ever a time to be gutsy … ”

Now, Fiearius laughed. “Kind of bad taste though.”

Finn waved his hand dismissively. “No such thing as bad taste at the end of the worlds.”

“Dov’ha ti’arte,” Fiearius hissed through his teeth. “Can we not throw those kinds of words around please?” Continue reading

Chapter 41: Council

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Fiearius’ fist hit the table. “Bullshit.”

Leta snorted a quiet laugh at how many of the Carthians gathered in the cramped meeting chambers of the dreadnought flinched.

“We took out the ground turrets on our descent, there was one left, but it didn’t have the range to hit any of your ships in orbit,” Fiearius snapped, his teeth bared as he glared across the table at the stoic figure of Gates who had yet to say a single word in this meeting. “So I call bullshit on your ‘we were being attacked’.” Continue reading