Suriel looked at me, eyes wide. I felt the grief of ten thousand years. Regret you can’t shake off. Remorse that nothing in the universe is ever going to expiate. It wasn’t unfamiliar. “We always/never knew you were/will be here.”
I thought about that. The Niskivim might have trouble understanding us. But they are not cruel.
I let out a breath. “Weren’t even on the map, huh? Okay. I believe you. I always thought your kin were holding back outside Cibola. I mean, hand to hand combat? You have to be more capable than that. But what are the khrall? And how the hell did they get away the first time?”
Shame washed over Suriel and me, the darkness that hides all secrets. “There were/will be two/ powers. Niskivim share/grow stronger the more of /us/ there are/will be becoming. Khrall steal/get stronger/ the less of them there are/were begin to be. Only nine were/won’t remain.”
Less sense. There was something he wasn’t telling me. “I mean, what are you fighting for? What do you want? What’s it all about?”
Suriel ducked his head toward me, a strange sliding motion. “What/ was is will be/ ren’al?”
I knew that word. Memories of my dreams, my hibernation visions of Suriel sitting outside my cockpit on the way to Thaeron. Of being someone else. Malakan, the man who would bring the new Profusion, the very first Auger. “A cube,” I said. “That contains many other cubes of identical size. Probably an infinite number. It unfolds like a flower. It promises the secrets of the universe. It seems to give them. It seems to have...strange relationships with both space and....say, it’s like you, isn’t it?”
Suriel sat back. “Time not/line/ not circle. More/ dimensions. /Sphere. /Irregular.” He reclined further, satisfied.
“That doesn’t help!” I said. “How does that connect to anything?’
Suriel looked frustrated. I felt dumb. “One/all can/not change the /center,” he said.