DeathWatch II No. 46 – Finish That Thought

This is Issue #46 of DeathWatch, Book II: tentatively called Heart Of Ilona, an ongoing Serial. Click that link to go find DeathWatch, the first in the series, or start from the beginning of Book II!

Happy Reading!

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* * *

“You’ve got gravispherae,” Nixus laughed aloud, rolling her eyes. “Coryfrater, you’re in for a world of adventure, with this one. You think I’m going to believe anything you see in your visions? They don’t mean anything. You believed I would have killed my own brother?”

You’re in for a world of adventure.

Jules stopped in her tracks, staring at Nixus. She pointed a finger at her, saying, “Your Legatus. Sollerti. He’s your lover.”

You’re in for a world of adventure.

Nixus snorted, shaking her head. “Common enough knowledge.”

You’re in for a world of adventure. Jules shook her head, wiping her eyes.

“Damnit, Jules,” Cory hissed, reaching to pull her over to a chair. “Why would you do this? I thought it was going to kill you last time!” he sighed, walking to get her a glass of aetheris, frustrated.

You’re in for a world of adventure. Jules wiped her eyes, hissing, “His last thought, every time he died, was fury that he did not demand your father’s blessing.”

Nixus leaned in, growling, “He’s not dead.”

“Yet,” said Jules.

The punch was loud; Jules falling right off the chair was louder.

* * *

“To me!” Jules screamed. She kneed the horse in its ribs and commanded what was left of the cavalry to crest the hill. The world around her was grass and blood; the sky was fire and grey, smoke and lightning, smaller airships, missiles of varying strengths. “ILONA, TO ME!”

Cresting the hill, Jules saw the field of green studded with the husks of ships, Krieg and Ilonan alike.

Something fell out of the sky and crushed both her and her steed, and the eight mounted soldiers who were with her, rendering them into red mud against the once-green ground.

* * *

She hit the floor, wobbling, and blinked up at Nixus, trying to focus.

You’re in for a world of adventure.

Soror!” Coryphaeus cried at Nixus, going for Jules.

* * *

The body was familiar; she realized it was Coryphaeus. She let herself get out of the way, let the body do the work, let it dance with its swords, let it carve through the flesh of the soldiers that struggled to bring it down — until she was suddenly face to face with a man who towered above her, bloody from beard to boots, but there was something about his face, something unfamiliar to the body she wore, but disastrously familiar to her.

Coryphaeus brought up his swords to block the strike, but the Kriegsman shattered them with his own blade. It looked down on Coryphaeus, on Jules, with determined hunger. “Allt mun falla aur moshchyu av Krieg,” the man growled, swinging once more.

Jules felt the blade carve into her ribs, dig sharply into the vital parts of her. She dropped her sword and stumbled forward, blood already at her lips as she grabbed at the man’s armor, holding herself up, desperate for one last breath, to say one last thing, forcing it past the body that died and took a piece of her with it.

“…Danival?”

* * *

Coryphaeus curled Jules into his arms, protective, looking at Nixus, frustrated. “The fuck are you doing?”

“Your brain’s as addled as hers if you think I’m going to listen to this idiocy disguised as prophecy!” Nixus shouted. “She nearly got you killed by the Prince! Look at yourself! She’s made you weak! You’re so caught up in having this woman — what, do you think somehow this will finally make you a real –”

* * *

Death. Blood. Fire. Fear. Soldiers and children. Ships. Horses.

The world was on fire.

She stood amidst a field of dead soldiers, and watched Kriegsmen bearing down on her.

She put her pistol in her mouth, and pulled the trigger.

* * *

Coryphaeus’s head snapped up. He cocked his head to the side, and Nixus realized her error a moment too late to do anything but feel embarrassed and guilty.

“A real what?” he said softly, brushing Jules hair out of her face, holding the woman who seized in his arms. He watched Nixus, rage and pain and disbelief on his face. “Go ahead, Nix. Finish the thought.”

Nixus stared down her brother, furious with the situation, even more furious with herself. “I didn’t–”

“You didn’t what? Realize just how much you sound like him?” Coryphaeus wondered, narrowing his eyes.

It was Nixus’s turn to flinch. She swallowed roughly, shaking her head. She couldn’t meet his eyes for a moment; a sick sort of shame welling up within her. “Forgive me,” she said, her voice hoarse. “Coryfrater, please. I have never wished to take back my own words so fiercely.”

“You words matter little, soror,” Coryphaeus said, his jaw still set in rage. “If your thoughts matched them, perhaps you should simply say them, rather than hold them in.”

“No,” Nixus said, her eyes widening, her expression wounded, worried. “No! Cory, I–”

Just then, there was a great banging at the door of Coryphaeus’s front hall. “Legatus! Legatus, are you in?” Someone tried the door, found it open, and came in running. Coryphaeus tensed, staring, but ended up simply looking baffled as he looked upon someone wearing the servant livery of his father’s house.

Legatus. Sumus,” the servant gasped, doubling over, panting. He stood up, looking at them both. “I’m afraid I have terrible news,” he said, his expression worried.

“Out with it, man!” Nixus snapped.

“It’s your father, he — I’m so sorry. Exosus Aecus has passed,” he said.

Coryphaeus stared at the servant, his jaw dropping. “Passed? You mean… you mean he’s dead? My father? My father is dead?”

Nixus’s brows shot up. “How?” she wondered, looking suspicious. “Was he ill?”

“No, Sumus. I’m so sorry to deliver such news.”

“Was it an accident?” Nixus barked, gripping the edge of the table, staring down the servant.

“Your mother has sent me to make certain you come to the house now,” the servant blurted, looking at Jules awkwardly.

“Now?” Coryphaeus said, still looking shocked.

Inutilis fragmen stercore! How did my father die?” Nixus shouted.

The servant stuttered and stammered, struggling to get the words out, watching Nixus as though she might blame him for the whole situation. “He… he was… He was found in his offices. Dead by his own hand.”

Coryphaeus and Nixus were both about to speak, but then suddenly Jules woke, gagging. She laughed again, almost drunkenly, and said, “I’m not sorry.”

* * *

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