In the first several months of her freedom, Eramis curses Misraaks the Forsaken.
He is a wish-to-be Kell, a captured traitor, a four-armed Dreg cringing before a false queen, playing pretend among the enemies of the Eliksni.
And worst of all, the most humiliating: he has beaten Eramis.
She has failed to acquire the SIVA weapon, failed to shame the Guardians, failed to reignite the fires of the House of Devils. Her failure haunts her.
Now she sits in the bridge of her stolen Ketch, straight-spined, staring. Staring at some distant point that she has long passed, one she can never return to.
Atraks, youngest of her council, watches her from across the room. She closes the gap between them.
"My Kell," she says. She has a voice like a child.
Eramis is quiet for a beat longer than she needs to be. Finally, she says, "You are too young to remember the old house. What the Devils were before."
Atraks bows her head out of respect.
"This failure has no sting for you," Eramis bites, bitter.
Atraks keeps her head bowed. Then, slowly, she raises it. Her eyes dart over Eramis's face, searching. "I am too young to remember," she agrees. "But my eyes are clear. I can see what the Devils will be."
Eramis opens her mouth to remind Atraks of her place, and then pauses.
Something in her mind has unlocked.
She stands to her full, towering height, stretches her second set of arms.
"No," she says. Clarity has descended on her like a Riis rain shower. "The Devils are nothing."
She begins to walk out of the room, purpose in her step, fire reignited in her belly. "The Devils are dead."
House of Anarchy. House of Ruin.
House of Eramis.
"We must become something new."