On the day of the prison break, Eramis is nursing a gut wound.
It's not fatal, or at least she doesn't think so. She won the match in the arena, but not before an arrogant Captain drove a Sword into her side. It cut through her Devil robes and left a bloom of blood that reminds her of the water flowers on Riis. Athrys loved water flowers.
She's dozing when Variks arrives at her cell.
She opens her eyes and then narrows them immediately. Despite the wound, she stands—too quick, she gets dizzy—and steps toward the cell door.
"Traitor," she says in greeting.
Variks flinches. He shakes his head, lowers his eyes. Even with the door between them, she can see his fear. It buoys her.
"There is change to come," he says quietly in Eliksni and then looks over his shoulder. His eyes dart back and forth, fearful, suspicious. He switches suddenly to the clumsy common language of the Guardians.
"Change Variks will make, yes? Change Variks will lead. But Variks, too, will need a leader…"
Eramis laughs. "You wish to make me your prisoner-Kell?"
"No," Variks cringes. "Variks wishes—"
"I do not care what you wish, Variks the 'loyal'," she says. There are Eliksni who change in the shadow of prison bars. They fall. They shrink. But Eramis has grown. She must show Variks that even with this steel between them, he is smaller. He is still a Dreg pretending to be a vandal. "If there is justice in this world, one day, I will dock your last two arms and leave you for dead."
Something in Variks's eyes hardens. They share a tense silence. Finally, he says, in a voice as cold as Ether, "Do not say that Variks did not try to help."
He leaves, and Eramis settles herself again on the floor of her cell.
Later that day, an alarm sounds. The warden projects a message in Variks's voice. The doors of her cell open, unprompted, as frenzied Eliksni and Cabal charge through the prison, thirsting for freedom.