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Pass the Mic
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On the run. Sara had smiled at that: a dry smile, for no other kind was possible. Sara — and Pan herself — wished she wasn’t going in so underprepared.

She glanced around the wide, under-lit table at Ivan.

Ivan was a big man, and he towered over his two drinking companions. But it wasn’t his size that immediately alarmed Sara. It was his soft and calm eyes. So far, the gamblers had been spiky and aggressively direct, but the newcomer oozed potent ability held in restraint below the surface. She noted the number of his bets down. It was minimal, and she didn’t like that. Ivan, Sara knew, had a cool head for strategy and soaked up tactics like a sponge.

She nodded at the dealer at Ivan’s table. Thank the light Ivan didn’t get Pan to deal. Pan’s hustling skills were fast becoming legendary. Or at least the meat of back room horror stories.

Like Pan, the dealer was dressed in a crisp, emerald green uniform with spotless white gloves. Each gold button on his chest twinkled like a star in the soft, white illumination. The dealer pressed a button on a control wand, and a three dimensional holographic view of Moscow rose from the betting table’s glass top.

Sara had seen this hologram a hundred times, but she still took the opportunity to study this relief image. Moscow was built into the peaks of a mountain range that rose dramatically above the lethal atmospheric oceans of pollution covering the planet. The habitations were fat and tall, like the lids of forest mushrooms. Their skirts projected out over the sides of almost vertical mountains. It had a population of twelve million. Moscow was a fortress, built to withstand a war. She looked up. There was no land to see. Only millions of square kilometers of dimpled, stained clouds projected onto the ceiling of Cafe MIO. there were fast moving ribbons of pearly sculpture, dotting puffs of yellow fleece, iridescent bars of almost silver...

Ivan’s dealer, on the other side of the room, nodded. He was busy readying the men, free drinks and next round of bets. Sara knew what he was thinking. She could do with a few more day’s practice before working the tables. The drinks after betting had been intended to be convivial, to break the ice between punters who knew little about one another. Otherwise it’d be stiff and awkward.

On the run.

This Nox was something else.

Nox looked at the girl in red and the girl shivered. Nox’s faraway gaze tended to do that. There was a touch of snake about him, in his hooded eyes and elegant but elusive manner. He was slim, dark and good looking and, like many of the Moscow men, had a tattoo. Nox’s was a bright red and black dragon eating its own tail on his left inner forearm.

There was an uneasy pause. No one spoke. Sara knew normal men ached to unburden themselves and complain. But Nox didn’t volunteer anything besides his casual smile.

She cleared her throat.

“Right. Let me bring you that beer. I think we should both drink to your health.”

Turning down another dance, Sara had withdrawn quickly, walking down the carpeted floor and up the two steps to the bar. She waved to the bartender.

“This beer tastes ok?” she asked quietly.

The big, thick-bearded man leaned against the bar top and nodded without even tasting Nox's beer. His bared forearms were like hams and decorated, under the hair, with blue stars and spirals.

Sara snorted and grabbed Nox's beer bottle. "Thanks for the vote of underwhelming confidence."

“So, what did you do to the cult?” said Sara. “And what’s it like?” she added, sitting down next to Nox and letting her legs swing off the sofa.

“The light protects,” grinned Sara. She plucked the vodka bottle from the table, took a swig, and offered it to Nox.

Nox shook his head. He’d abstained from spirits the whole night.

Sara sighed, took back the glass and sipped again. She missed Ivan who’d kick back and drink the night away with her as hard as he’d probably work the next day. She understood Nox’s caution, and had no wish to see him turned into a raging, drunken mess. She’d seen men drink hard, shamefully, and paid the price for their mistakes in the dark days. She hadn’t missed that time in her career. There was no part of that hard path she wanted to retrace.

But she missed comradely Ivan who did drink vodka. There was a distance between them.

“So… this cult."

She toasted Nox with the glass. “If they’re sending people after you, I don’t think their hearts are in it. Maybe they’re on your side.”

Nox was disappointed in no more dancing. He'd be happy with that second beer, but dancing was more fun. More a thing he was proud of and happy to do. Drinking dulled the wits, made you feel less. Or more in his case since the last time he drank to excess he fucked a guy. He was sitting back at their table and Sara took a drag from the vodka bottle and offered him one. That was a hard no. He wasn't his father. And Jay was still very much on his mind. That entire thing was part of the reason he needed a second beer.

Sara asked about the Atharim - tho his referencing as a cult made him snigger. How they would hate him for that. It wasn't a cult - cults implied worship of some sort and the Atharim didn't worship anything. Nox shrugged. "I was just a grunt, did what I was told. Actually I did what my father told me to up until his death. Me and my sister had to figure it out all on our own after that - landed us in Moscow." Without memories of who the fuck we were, or why we came. And no one had cared one damned fucking bit then, why the fuck should they care now.

But then she said the most incredulous thing ever. The Atharim were on his side. "Duckling, I don't think trying to boil me alive in my own skin constitutes being on my side. If it hadn't been for happenstance I'd be dead." And if he hadn't met Jay, how would things have played out differently? He'd still be dead most likely at the very least he'd be in jail rotting somewhere with some dumbass drug coursing through his brain so he couldn't wield the power of the gods.

Nox realized he was poor company. The voice of his sister in his head was snickering at his thought. "I'd rather not talk about me. My life is shit storm after shit storm. And all I'm going to do Duckling is depressed you or piss you off. And I'd rather not do either." Nox put on his perfect smile and hide all the emotions behind it, fake it till you make it. He'd mastered it - and now he knew why. "Tell me what you like most about this place." He reached across and ran his finger down the side of her face brushing a stray hair away before letting it fall back to his side. Or at least that's what he'd say if she got uppity about the touching. Some places were like that. They can touch you, but you can't touch them. It's not like he had plans to even try to get laid - though that might take some of the tension off what was going on in the room across from his back home.
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She broke the contact and slapped him away with a laugh.

It was a straight put-down, and would be a blow to his pride, Sara imagined. She expected bitterness and resentment. She was surprised when she detected none.

Nox just grinned, letting it wash over him. He chuckled. That dirty laugh she liked so much.

Caught up in the middle of Nox’s winning smile, Sara laughed. For a moment, she almost managed to forget how this was her job.

Sara made an ushering sweep with her hand. She peered around.

The gaming room of Cafe MIO, lit a warm, romantic yellow, was thronging with people. They were arranged by groups in rows of cushioned sofas. Pan walked down the rows, chatting and exchanging pleasantries with the men. Her girls seemed ready. They looked fine. No one had the nervous look Pan always watched for. Pan noted with satisfaction Ivan at the table, and Nox sipping his 2nd beer. Sara, the new girl, had done her job perfectly. Pan nodded to Sara as she moved on.

Pan looked. The bar rattled with the uproar of people. Men and women were shouting and dancing. Wagers were paid out, back and forth, local currency, CCD cash, chips, coins, badges… Downstairs, one dealer was trying to get the man to pay up. Pan pushed through the oblivious, dancing men. Nine or ten spectators were gathered around the table now, and a few looked like they were ready to back the dealer up.

The man who refused to pay started shoving the dealer in the chest. They were all a lot taller than him. They were all a lot taller than Pan.

Pan cleared her throat and prepared to intervene. At that moment, the bouncer behind the dealer suddenly produced a baseball bat. It was a thick cylinder of hardwood with a metal center—solid, meaty. The man lunged forward—and stopped. The club came down near his head, which shut him up suddenly. The bouncer simply shrugged in bemusement as the man paid up.

“I hate a bad loser,” said Pan, from a few steps away. She was staring at the men surrounding the table. “This is entertainment. Sport. We come in here in the spirit of friendly competition and leave violence at the door. You’re pissed off. Well, tough. In the spirit of this place, I say take your money. We don’t want it. Your bets are wiped. Take your money. And get out.”

The bouncer tossed his baseball bat up in the air without even looking at it, and caught it again by the grip. “Well?"

The man fled. So did some of the other men. The other tables began to cheer and clap. The bouncer did a little bow. Pan was impressed. He kept control. You don’t start something like this if you can’t police it, Pan thought. First rule of showmanship.

As for letting the man go without paying?

Pan smiled at the stunned onlookers. It was all part of the show. Besides, one of her girls picked his pocket on the way out...

Sara saw Pan, far away through a sea of faces.

Sara thought she was about to get a reprimand for slapping Nox. Sometimes Pan could be a bastard disciplinarian, but only when it mattered, and it clearly didn’t matter now. Pan glanced over at Sara and raised her eyebrows in a “you never know” expression. Sara smiled to herself.

They nodded to each other. That was all that was needed. Sara saw Pan clasp hands with each of the VIP guests in turn. Sara liked Pan, and not because she was one of the most attractive things in Cafe MIO. She was good. Damn good. And she’d left a rewarding life in the palace to tend to her girls here. She was known to be fair, until she was pushed. And the man who didn’t want to pay, just pushed Pan...

Sara returned her gaze to Nox by her side. He was expressionless. Sara wondered how he was able to disguise his feelings so well. She’d have to ask him sometime. She didn’t really understand what made the man tick, but she valued his company. His tone was flippant, but his words made Sara uneasy. No one wants to get into a fight that’s already lost.

Sara stared at Nox, all the laughter gone from her eyes. “Go and do what you do. And I’ll stay here and do what I do.” she said, suddenly unsettled. “Still, the chance to take control. You had the right idea."

“Who knows why the cult want you dead. Probably doesn’t want ‘grunts' acting with initiative over and above higher ups. Well, Cafe MIO does. That’s why working here is fun. Here’s the thing. This is decision making on the ground, not where your boss sits and shouts orders at you. When you do well, you tell people you got lucky.”

Sara paused.

“Still, I don’t believe in luck. Well… I do, as it goes, but I don’t count on it. I believe we make our own luck in this city."

“Hey…” smiled Sara. “Look, Nox."

From far above, the sun had come out and the foam of clouds and lustrous mist had wafted away toward the edge. They looked up at the ceiling and saw the vast shape of the formations beyond the sun— in the suddenly gleaming light, they could see floating islands, each carrying upwards of two thousand trees.

“Look,” Sara repeated. "Pinch me. Are we flying?”

Sara could feel every organ in her torso vibrating. She loved that feeling.

Falling through the blackness.

The windows opened. Shutters peeled back along the sides of the room, letting in the immense gloominess outside. Ceiling projections began to collapse. Sara took a last, wistful look at the retreating specks of glow that twinkled out there in the dark, like stars.  Lines of deck lights winked on, casting their feeble glow up through the carpeted floor.

Sara smiled reassuringly. “I feel like a million CCD bucks now. You?”

Ivan occasionally glanced over at Nox and the hired gun, Sara. Well ok. Mostly at Sara. Not like he didn't know what Nox looked like. He'd been looking at his ugly mug all day. And Nox wasn't spilling out of the front his dress, either. Like seriously, wow.. Nor did he have an ass that begged to be worshipped.

Careful, Ivan. Bad habits. They were hard to kill. Truth be told, Na Rybalku needed his attention anyway. So of course, the new MIO being what it was, another girl was circling, touching shoulders, whispering in such a way that lips tickled ears. Bastards. As if being dressed in form hugging outfits wasn't bad enough.

Still, not like Ivan was a 16 year old putz who'd never talked to a girl. And he knew the game. He relaxed, letting himself chill as he watched each hand, watched each player. The pot increased after each failed na rybalku. You had to ante up, after all.

The sevens and fives already made a nice downturned pile in front of him. The other three players had their own collection. His hand was smaller, now. This was when everyone waited for their turn. Books would close fast, at this point, like the fall of dominoes.

First man out to win.

And so of course Oksana came by again. Clock work. He rolled his eyes, not reupping his order even as his ponied up again. He had an idea what the others were going for. He had four cards left. It was a gamble. Ask the right person in the right order and it was his. All of it.

Good thing this was a family game. And he'd learned to associate requested cards with each person using mnemonics. Shades wanted eights. Hitler mustache (seriously?) was out for threes. Lopsided boobs had been out for tens. And Lips?

He smiled, winking at her, as he asked first. Her frustration showed but his book wss complete. He went down the line, like clockwork.

Oksana clapped, kissing him on the cheek. He waved her off, pressing the console to transfer his winnings to his account. He stood, smiling innocently at the daggers they eyed him with, thanking them for the game.

Time to see what Sara and Nox were up to. He ambled over, though not without a drink order to Oksana. She seemed disappointed. Well, not like he had a problem or was gonna blow his whole paycheck on Na Rybalku. I mean, he loved fishing, but he wasn't gonna show off playing Go Fish.

Smile on his face, he dropped back down to the couch next to Sara and Nox. "Fun game. Any others you have in mind?" Not like that, of course. Even if she was up for it, no devil's threeway for him. Especially not with Danya and Zara calling from the back of his mind.
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Voices rambled round the table. It was so old-fashioned. So much decorum. Sara couldn’t pretend to understand the nuances of a gaming den yet. She remembered some of the royal dinners when officials had hurled abuse at each other across the table and then sat laughing over the port. There was no such frankness here. There was simply a culture of sanctioned consumption.

The young woman circled him. Ivan remained facing the way he was.

Oksana wore a long gown of yellow silk, with a fur stole, and an ornate headdress of silver wire and jewels. She was almost painfully beautiful and Sara saw cunning intelligence in her perfect face.

Don’t use him! Don’t you dare use him. Sara thought fiercely. She was hugely protective of Ivan. For different reasons. Maybe Nox wanted a friend. Sara thought him vulnerable. She sucked in her breath when she saw that look on Oksana’s face. The look that told Sara Oksana saw Ivan as a brand new toy… a toy that she would use in just the same way as the old ones. Things would not change. It made her ashamed of her coworker.

She swallowed, looked away, then smiled round at Nox. He sipped his beer, disinclined to speak further. Workers adjusted the lamps, refreshed food, then left them alone.

Oksana gracefully poured Ivan a shot of vodka into a crystal glass and handed it to him.

Ivan took it with a nod and then withdrew to Nox and Sara’s couch. Sara looked up at Oksana as Ivan came over and sat down in the large padded sofa against the wall.

Oksana paused. Outrage tried to escape her composed expression. She contained it well. “Drink?” She asked another guest instead, her tone harder.

Though Oskana was lovely, it seemed Ivan had already enough of her superior manner and courtly flirting. Responding to such things could get a man shot.

Sara shook her head and smiled. She wasn’t interested in rivalry. She’d rather cut off her right arm than to get involved in house politics. Too much for Sara. Oksana had a gift for this that quite dazzled Sara. She might eclipse Pan and lead Cafe MIO into the next century. Cafe MIO is large, but there can be only be one famous, lovely idol, can’t there?

She sipped her drink thoughtfully. She was beginning to wonder why Nox had come. It was clear there was a universe of difference between himself and Ivan. What could they have in common?

Sara looked up at Ivan. She had still to get the measure of this powerfully built man, but she liked him. And he and his shorter friend had been the backbone of Sara’s hostess experience.

What did they know of one another? Which one took an interest in the other? An ally, I suppose. She studied Ivan's face. He was serious about this—Nox having fun, and not a lot of intrigue. Leave that to Nox.

She thought about this.

Was there a point to this? Perhaps, perhaps not. She wanted to speak with Nox, get the measure of him. She wanted to understand his inner mind and see if there was any kindred flame there. But she didn’t understand and he wasn’t about to explain it.

Truthfully, Sara had no designs on either Nox or Ivan. Ivan especially. He has lofty ideas and is a generous and honest man. But surely he is also guileless, vulnerable. A crafty person could use him and betray him. It’s happened before. 

As for Nox, he smiles dangerously. But he seemed a surprisingly moral creature, but complicated... Simple, honest promises, can Nox make them? Does he live by them?

“Maybe,” smiled Sara, as if the idea was delicious.

“But these games are far above me,” she said honestly.

She took another sip of the drink.

“Walk with me."

With a bouncer trailing at a respectful distance, she led the pair out of the room, along a hallway where the soft, gauzy draperies billowed in a cool breeze and out on a terrace. Sara had retired with Nox, Ivan and the bouncer to a small garden space.

They moved through a grove of white platinum trees heavy with brass oranges, crossing iron lawns that creaked under their footsteps. The bouncer stalked away through the row of bushes with leaves of soft bronze, leaving them alone.

Sara stood back from the pair to admire Pan’s terrace.

The terrace was an ornamental metal garden. Bionic leaves grew and sprouted in ordered beds, and vines self-replicated in zigzag patterns of branches to form the little orchard. Metal bees and delicate copper-winged butterflies whirred through mechanical stems and branches, wire vines and tin blooms; above them rose oil-ripe fruits, swung from artificial plants, sprays of aluminum roses. It pleased Pan to let working machines evolve into natural forms here, with no purpose other than their own...

The terrace projected from the outer wall of the Cafe and was covered by a dedicated shield that kept the warmth in. They were about 4 meters up. Below, the vast sprawl of outer city Moscow spread out to the distant bulk of the wall. For a moment Sara gazed out at the wall—glossed in ice, through the crackling shield. Her gaze swept across the vast complex of houses below them...

A cigarette in hand and her mind full of troubles, Sara looked around. "Got a light?"

Sara slapped his hand away giggling. Whatever. Nox kept smiling and didn't let it phase him. He didn't really care and he wasn't going to play the game tonight. If he really wanted it, he could easily find it, he was pretty sure he could just go home and get laid easily enough, though it wasn't a girl... and it wasn't easy. Nox sighed inwardly his life was fucking complicated.

Ivan came and sat down with them after a win asking about other games. Nox could have taken that in another way but again he really didn't want to play the game. Elsie, then Jay, then Sage... his luck was shit. Not that anything bad had essentially happened with Jay other than the fact he had walked out without really saying good-bye. But he couldn't fault him there. He would probably do the same thing, had done it on my occasions. Emily came to mind and that bit him in the ass on a few occasions - really didn't help matters that Cruz was dating her sister.

Sara called them with her, and since Nox had no where else to be he grabbed his bottle, shrugged at Ivan and followed the girl in the red dress. She lead us out on to a terrace. And what Nox saw was absolutely marvelous. The mechanic garden was breath taking and not just for it's inherent beauty but because it held potential. Sage would have a field day here. But he was pretty sure even that would get boring to the hacker. But it gave Nox ideas.

Nox drew up on his gift despite the memories. The pain spiraled from there but Nox didn't wince he was getting used to it as he had the pain of waking up with nightmares his whole life - the only difference these ones were while he was wake. Images so vivid he would never forget them. Nox was forming a weave of air to retrieve one of the mechanical bees to investigate when Sara asked for a light. And without a thought Nox held out his hand a small flickering flame appeared on it even as he split the flow and grabbed a wistful bee. The bee floated unnaturally to him and Nox turned his weave into a bubble of air that trapped the bee in front of him so he could examine it while it flew around in confinement. Nox tied of the weave so he could do the more complicated one and still hold the flame for Sara.

Nox bumped Ivan in the shoulder and showed Ivan the weave he'd seen Ascendancy use back in Siberia, the one he'd used to find the tiny little pendant that bothered him so much. But it was finer, more delicate as he poked it with the bee flying around. He wasn't going to find anything useful expect the metal inside, but it beat taking it a part. He was pretty sure the proprietor would be upset if he dismantled it.
Damn but this garden was amazing. He felt like he was in a fantasy land. Truthfully, despite the eye-candy (ok, the girls were a huge selling point- Sara being one of the most stunning women he had ever seen), the MIO had changed too much in his opinion. It wasn't a local hangout anymore. It was upscale and swanky- never his crowd.

And yet, the effort and expense of this place....well, you couldn't deny it. He watched the various "creatures" in awe, and then only smirked when Nox popped a flame of for Sara without thought. Yep. Guy was out and proud. Heh. Idly he wondered if one day channelers would have some sort of Pride Parade. It was far less of an issue these days, but you always had hold-overs. It would be interesting.

He realized he hadn't told Danya he could channel. It hadn't even occurred to him. Why? He hadn't with his parents until later- much later. Why keep something so important private? Especially now that Domovoi was going to increase in importance, it would come out eventually. 

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he decided. If some sort of event happened, he would be there. And more importantly, the next time he saw Danya, he'd tell her. She deserved to know everything about him, if they were to have an honest shot.

Nox channeled at the bee, housing it in a bubble of air he tied off. Nice. Ivan liked that. Then, he channeled finer threads- more like hairs- that seemed to.....resonate with the metallic pieces inside the bee. Ivan crouched down, making a flame of his own on his palm, so he could examine the outside. The work was exquisite, he knew, from his own milling. This was grown, somehow, atom by atom, in a crystal lattice. It had that shimmering that sometimes happened when light hit water with a touch oil in it.

"Let me see," he said, letting the flame drop. Instead he formed the same weave Nox did....but damn it! He couldn't get the threads fine enough. Like feeling at a shape with your knuckles rather than your fingertips. More need for fine motor control. He wanted to see soooo badly!

He looked at Sara. The craftsmanship was to amazing to ignore. "Where are these from?"
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Sara, quite unmanned by her glimpse of Nox channeling fire, slowly remembered who and what and where she was, and fell back a little.

The power really messed her up, didn’t it? She’d gotten so self-reliant, she’d forgotten how to trust anyone with her secret.

She tensed and took a few steps forward so that she came up face to face with Nox. His fascination with the bee brought a smile to Sara’s face.

She was silent and still for some time. But later, she held Nox’s hand between hers and kissed his fingertips.

“No… hey, come on now,” she said, “I love that you can summon fire, but it’s my fault. I let my fears come between us. There’s nothing about you I don’t like… well, except… maybe the facial hair."

Sara kissed Nox’s face, beside his eye.

She helped herself to Nox’s beer, but didn’t offer Nox or Ivan any.

Drinking, Sara half-smiled at Ivan, as if amused at Ivan’s fire following Nox’s.

Sara studied the tall, young man for a moment. His clothes were clean and well fitting, but the man was a mess. He had fresh scratches and contusions on his face and an agony of fatigue in his pale eyes. He also appeared to have an arm wound. She concluded this was probably not a man to cross.

Sara inhaled deeply before replying.

“Yeah, sure.” The woman in red smiled proudly. "These are nano-bots. Responsive to light. They’re spliced with metal scraps and encouraged to grow on their own,” Sara recounted the technology of a refractory topiary for a few minutes. What detail she left out was readily reinforced by the hedges and bees around them. “Is this bee very interesting, duckling?” Sara raised her eyebrows at Nox.

Sara bent down and laid her hands on Ivan’s shoulders, gently urging him back onto his feet. The woman in red gazed up into Ivan’s face. There were tears welling in Sara's eyes.

She continued to stare into Ivan’s face, “By all that’s holy, Ivan,” she said softly, "you have been to hell, haven’t you?”

Sara shrank back a little but Nox hardly noticed, the bee was fascinating and he wished he could spirit one away for Sage to play with. The tech could be useful at the house, if they could get it to replicate in specific functions. Sara's hands around his won brought his attention back to her, the light touch of her lips against his fingers were tender and sweet but it was her sarcasm that had him grinning like a fool. "Don't like beard burn?" He joked and pressed a tender kiss to her cheek in response to her own tender gesture.

But Sara turned her attention back to the mechanicals and Ivan's question and Nox was still fasinated by the bee and Sara called him duckling. Making him chuckle even as he rolled his eyes at her attention on the cop. It was her job. Nox felt a pang of jealousy but let it wash over him with the pain of the power coursing through his body. "I want to take one of them home with me. I think I can find uses for this tech." Nox didn't imply that they were for protective purpses, but even Sage would have fun with this. And making it do what he wanted, well that could be fun in and of itself. Programming might be fun then. Nox thought to himself, Aurora giggled in his head fits of laughter at Nox sitting at a computer writing code. "Shut up!" he whispered to himself. Talking to himself was going to become a bad habit people were going to start to stare.
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A rustle in the foliage.

Frowning, Sara felt her skin itch. It made her think for a moment of her father. She wondered what eventual fate had befallen him, and was surprised to realize she didn’t care. She doubted she would ever see him again.

Even so, Sara had the crawling sensation that infectious bugs were burrowing all over her. She wished she could stop reaching for the power every time she sensed danger. She was grimly sure that her father had a lot to answer for.

Her frown deepened as she looked up at Nox. She realized, suddenly, that she wasn’t frightened of Nox. The kiss on her cheek he gave was melt-in-your-mouth and oh-so-delicious.

She was quite aware she was in all kinds of danger around two male channelers, but the fear refused to come. If anything, her pulse rate had dropped, and a terrible clarity settled upon her. She tried to remember the last time she’d felt real fear. Father had stolen that from her. Terror had been such a permanent fixture, around her at every moment, that the fear response had simply burnt out. So had everything else: desire, appetite, basic human traits like feelings. All she’d been left with was the simple, pure will to live. Were they also hardened by experience?

She hadn’t caught much of Nox’s whispered exchange, but she knew something spiky had just gone down. “Why take it? Pan won’t like you.” She pretended to search her dress pockets. “I don’t know. Should I shut up? But I can’t find my smokes.”


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