“Now your blade,” he said, and I handed the Profusionist dagger to him, and he held it in the palm that I had cut, hanging it downward. We waited together in silence while his blood ran down its blade. When it reached the tip, he handed it back to me.
“It is loyal to you,” he said.
“I’m an ominifex,” I replied, “though I do not know what that means.”
He nodded. “You have been talking to the Never-born. You are one can operate any Profusionist technology. Marcus and Julius are omnifex, as I am myself. Others are soldiers only.”
“When the Temple tested me, I couldn’t wake any machines at all.”
“The Historians suppressed such reactions, for few of them could do the same.”
I felt the blade warm again in my hand. “What will I do with it?” I asked. “Hack the wall apart?”
“Slide it along the western wall, for no less than a hundred paces. Gently, or the machines of the wall will trap your blade. Return when you are done. The scouts will guide you there and back.”
I snorted, feeling the cold dark rise within me. “What will that accomplish? Cut it a bit? The wall will heal before I leave. And why does it have to be me? Anyone could have held this dagger – or if not anyone, then Marcus or Julius at least.”
“Those men have their tasks. You have yours. You will understand when it is accomplished.”
“Marcus said that this is going to kill me.”
His face darkened. “Marcus and I do not always agree. The Never-born lived in a time very different from this one.”
I said that they had done many other things as well, and told him what Julius had said to me.