(Page 70) [spoiler]i still remember a year ago when someone told me to check Ishtar collective, when forsaken had come out. I was half way through the barons, I’d been looking far and wide for any info on Variks and had been repeatedly vastly disappointed. I barely took in the words, I sped read the whole Most Loyal book, literally freaking the f^ck out but so relieved such an important character to me was safe and doing something epic. I read it again and again, it invoked so much emotion in me and I hope I could slightly convey that in this page, it’s been a long time coming. Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Thanks to my supporters who’ve been here since day one, or if you’re new![/spoiler] “Some security malfunction...?” Her ghost’s voice is confused as he scans the central control of the Prison of Elders. It’s quiet, too quiet. Shadow’s heart thumps painfully hard against her chest. She doesn’t take her brilliant amber eyes off him for a second, glowing in the dark. Anxiety surges through her like arc light. Her desperation reaches its breaking point. He pauses. “What is it?” She demands hoarsely. “I found the ship he used to escape— it’s not here, anymore, obviously...” She lets out a breath of relief, a weight off her shoulders that had burdened the awoken woman for a year. Her knees weaken, unable to support her any longer, and she rests her shaking hands on the console. “He made it out...” She wonders if Variks had been scared, and wishes desperately she could have been present to assist him. “Wait. That’s...” Her ghost lifts his glowing blue eye to her. “That’s not all.” The hunter tenses in anticipation. “There’s a recording...” He looks at her, and she leans in, nodding wordlessly, breathlessly, for him to play it. Her heart skips beats frantically— and then stops, as she hears a voice she was sure she would never hear again. “They call me betrayer.” Light surges over the hunter’s skin. A feeling like ice and fire wash through her blood. Her breathing hitches; time slows around her. “I, who was most loyal.” Shadow clutches the console, struggling to stay upright— her vision blurs against waves of hot tears. All she can do is listen, shaking. “They do not think I hear the words. Bug. Insect.” “Variks...” “Fallen.” She draws in a shuddering breath, caught with tears. She bows her head. Shadow thinks to herself how she was right. Variks did hear everything they said, every insult. Glitch watches his guardian quietly, expressionless. “I hear the words. House of Judgement always hears. No choice. To keep the Houses together." His gravelly voice pauses before continuing. “Judgment always hears." “The Great Machine stood in Judgment. Eliksni fell to fighting. Fell to hate.” She hears his voice catch and her heart feels as if it’s snapping into pieces. The sensation in her stomach is raw, hollow. She clenches her jaw against the pain in her chest. She feels his pain, his emotion as if it were her own. “Cannot stomach this hate...” She hears a ship’s engines roaring to life in the background. “Nowhere else to go. No one else to be, here.” Her chest tightens harder in pity. She understands why Variks wouldn’t want to stay here— but his next words catch her off guard. “And so I become Variks, the Kell.” Shadow’s eyes snap open in shock, her thoughts coming to a screeching halt. Her pupils dilate, the room swims before her vision. Kell? The awoken woman couldn’t have been more stunned if a drop pod slammed down onto her this second; in fact, that’s what it felt like just happened. [i]Kell...[/i] An odd mixture of fear, pride and love surge through her chest, threatening to overwhelm her as she comes to her senses. “House Judgment envoy to the Eliksni people." “He’s doing it, he’s really doing it...” She breathes out the words like a prayer, struggling for air. “No choice.” His soft, deep chuckle sets her heart ablaze, heat rushing over her skin. For the first time in a year, a genuine smile crosses the hunter’s face. “Eliksni must rise... yes?” “YES!” She cries out, raising her fists, allowing herself a moment to stand there, weak kneed and sobbing. Variks was alive, not only that, but a KELL. Just as she told him he should be. And now, she would follow.
Fantastic as always. Looking forward to the next part.