The demon blood had stiffened on her battle tights. It flaked away in small patches, covering the cell’s wooden bench in spots of darkness every time she shifted.
Her thighs hurt from laying on the hard surface, her hips and shoulders too, all those soft points objecting to a night spent in close contact with something never meant for sleeping. Not that she’d intended to sleep, not with her cell mate looking at her with hard calculation, but exhaustion had pulled her eyes closed almost as soon as the door slammed closed behind her.
She hadn’t dreamed, not even of that dark space between lives.
The dull throb in her legs and arms brought her half from sleep, but it was the dull itch between her shoulder blades that woke her.
Someone had lowered the lights during the night, leaving the cell in half-gloom, but the figure across from her was easy to make out.
A man sat where the hard-eyed woman had. Lean and pale he slouched against the wall, his white-blond hair model perfect, the dark roots just so. He stared at her out of pale, black-rimmed irises that had always reminded her of light trying to escape a black hole.
He smiled. ‘You’re usually harder to find.’
Byrne was up and across the cell, teeth bared, summoning her trident to her hand. A force like an anvil sent her crashing back into the wall. Starlight burst behind her eyes, coming with sharp pain as her head hit the concrete, trident dissolving before it had formed. She must have lost a few seconds there, because when she blinked he was above her, staring down, and for a heartbeat she thought she saw concern replace his smile.
‘I’m going to kill you,’ she said.
The smile flooded back to his face. He crouched. ‘You always say that, but so far…’ He gestured to his unruffled T-shirt and jacket. ‘You’re not doing too well.’
Byrne struggled to stand, getting her feet under her before the same force that had sent her into the wall pushed her back down.
He shook his head, brushing his hands down his jeans. ‘I don’t know Byrne, twice in two lifetimes your sister has died on your watch.’ He folded his arms over his knee and leaned in close. ‘Maybe you should get another job?’
She spat. The blob of saliva hit his cheek, and he jerked like she’d hit him. His expression turned to stone, and even though she couldn’t see his eyes, she could see his anger in the fine tremble of his hand as he wiped the spit away. The same anger made the invisible band holding her down tremble.
Satisfaction coursed through Byrne’s blood and she smiled, showing teeth. ‘She’s not dead arsehole.’
‘She will be.’ He didn’t look at her, but at the spit on his hand. ‘She’ll make sure Suun sees to that.’
‘Not if I told Suun I won’t follow.’
His head snapped up. ‘You can’t do that,’ he said, but was the hint of a question buried under the certainty in his voice.
‘I can,’ she said, satisfaction running through her veins as she felt the invisible band crack. ‘Nova may stick a knife between her ribs, but you’ll still be stuck with me, Tellamoth.’
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!!! Very Important Question time !!!
Do we think Tellamoth is truly evil? Might he be a) redeemable or b) not guilty of the things we suspect he is?