"The same challenge rises before us, and all we can do is survive." —Eris Morn
Skiris looks out at the tangled clusters of cables and machinery that run along the rooftops of the outpost that the Humans call the Farm. Her mind sets steadily to work dissecting all of it, categorizing each portion of scrap by its respective worth in Ether.
One of the Corsairs strides past, and Skiris returns her gaze at once to the transmitter she is fixing. The Awoken woman does not even slow her pace, but Skiris feels her own limbs stiffen with panic.
Beside her, Riksor chitters in amusement.
"Be at ease. We are not intruders here."
"You have been of House Light for a long time," Skiris observes, smothering her frustration into cold neutrality. She does not wish for the Awoken to see the two of them speaking angrily.
"My father was of the Gentle Weavers," Riksor says. "He died a Wolf. He did not trust peace either."
Skiris thinks about that House's great fleet, shattered by the Awoken Kell before it could ever threaten this world.
"This is different." They are not servants to the Awoken. Skiris has no idea what she is, now that she has crawled out of the ruins of House Dusk and come to the attention of powerful forces.
"Yes." Riksor's eyes are Ether-bright with joy. "We are Queen-guards."
You are only a stupid drekh, Skiris thinks. So is she, because Riksor's confidence helps quiet the insistent thought that disaster will come the instant Skiris stops worrying.
"Someday," Riksor says, "this world will belong to all of us."
She looks at him sharply. "The Eliksni?"
He laughs. "To Eliksni, too."