You must go down, Suriel had said.
“Our men are terrified,” Nogilian said again. “They don’t know what happened with the ship.” He meant that he didn’t either. I’d ordered them to stay put in the caldera, shimmering golden lights and all.
What would you do? I wondered again. What could you possibly give them to atone?
“Old friend of mine,” I said. “Enemy of our enemy. The ship doesn’t like the nightwind.”
I watched Jerem Cozak’s assault, mind following two tracks at once.
Suppose you had without realizing nearly destroyed a civilization. Suppose that same civilization was collapsing around a simple problem: you could talk faster than light, but never travel that way.
The gate was collapsing. Jerem Cozak was minutes from breaking through. Then he would charge into the trap that was going to kill him.
Was there a Healing Well in Kasora? I had asked Nogilian. Did it go shut about the same time?
I turned and started walking back toward my valkyrie.
What would you gift the ones you so nearly extinguished? Would you maybe give them a bit of super-intelligent technology? Something to help them crawl back from the dark years down the road?
I started trotting up the snowfield.
These Arks, anything else go quiet about that time? I had asked. Jerem Cozak had always spoken, from the very first, as though he would finish in Kasora.
Let oceans swallow you, he’d once said to me.