It’s one hour and thirty minutes into the trek before Desolas realises that Saren hasn’t said anything since they left. He frowns. Usually, the silence only lasted for the hour.

The sun is directly overhead, casting the blue-violet shadows of the rich foliage like a cloak around the brothers. The trail—an old one, and their favourite—is well nigh covered by the undergrowth, a bountiful spread of waxy green and red leaves and strings of small white flowers. If he listens closely, he can still pick out the jingle of the river they crossed ten minutes ago, using the same old log that he helped place in the summer of ’39. He smiles to himself. Saren hadn’t even been born, then. And now, it was difficult to imagine life without the little ankle-biter.

Continue reading Marked



“Glad you could make it,” sir. Old man. “Saren.”

“Getting out of board meetings is as simple as it is liberating.”

“Sure. You and your Spectre mind tricks.”


“Never mind. Tea?”

Saren took the cheap aerogel cup with gloved hands and set it on his side of the table. He watched the steam curl and uncurl. Then he sighed and took a sip.

Continue reading Morning

Muscle Memory


Nihlus turned on the cold water as far as the tap could go. After a few minutes of this, after he began to shiver, he cranked up the hot water instead.

The air was heavy with steam—he hadn’t turned the extra cycler on—but that was just fine with him. His face had been contorted with pain in the beginning. The expression had gradually relaxed, turning into a sort of simultaneous grimace and frown. The water running between the crevices of his back plates was scalding. He let it burn its course.

Love. How he hated that word. He pressed a clenched fist to the glass panel. Burn it. Burn it all.

Continue reading Muscle Memory



It’s easy to blame oneself after the fact – hindsight is always perfect. Not as easy to pinpoint where it all started to go wrong. If I had to guess, I would say: from the first moment we met.

Falais and I met between blue sky and ochre sandstone, in the company of feral varren and a broken radio. Saren and I met in the Citadel Archives, which, as any visitor can attest, breathed down one’s neck like a ghost even in the absence of translucent holos. He was watching a recording on a private screen; the light flowed over his face, the shadows lingered in every scar. I spared him a glance.

“Councillor,” he said. I had held the title for four months.

“Spectre,” I inclined my head. He probably hasn’t held his for much longer, I thought. Statistically speaking. I wondered about his age, and made a mental note to consult the roster after I retrieved my copy of the Niellan Agreement. He looked to be about thirty.

Continue reading Safehouse



Nihlus opens his bleary eyes. The room is off-white; the ceiling, the walls, the furniture are all sleek and modern and spotless. He didn’t notice that last night. The large window on the north wall is not entirely covered with snow, though a fair amount has gathered at its corners, piled high in triangular patches on the bare steel frame. Again, sleek, and modern, but indiscernible for now under its soft white coat. A single moon in the sky, huge and round. Perfectly so. Crisscrossed with snowflakes that leave white streaks in his after-vision.

Continue reading Snowblind