Secret War: Warhammer 40,000

Chapter 19

“What? Really?” said Arlathan as he looked at me, his brow furrowed in disbelief.

I met his look, pursed my lips and shrugged, why was he looking at me for?

+Yes really,+ said Karmen. +I encountered another psyker in out of body form near to where the conduit was. We fought all over the hive, but I managed to get the upper hand and make the other psyker retreat. I was able to track it back to its source.+

“Did you get a positive identification of the psyker?” asked Brutis.

+No, but it was exceptionally powerful. One of the most powerful human psykers I’ve ever encountered.+

“Where was the source?” asked Wesley.

+I was able to find a location, he has set up shop in a large abandoned mansion complex. On the upper hive forty-five kilometres north-east of here. It is well but subtly fortified and crawling with mercenaries.+

Wesley sighed and facepalmed, “if we weren’t so busy with our own war, we would’ve been able to stop him earlier.”

“That I think he was counting on,” said Brutis. “Now let’s just hang on a second here, Karmen. How can we trust you? How do we know that you’re not just leading us into another trap? Like the one we just went through?”

I folded my arms over my chest and frowned, finding I couldn’t help but agree.

You do not, said Karmen. But I swear to you I am not lying, but as of now there is nothing else you can follow. So you have very little choice in the matter. We need to take this risk if we are ever to stop Edracian.

“This time we will be ready,” said Castella.

I looked to Glaitis, she was now visibly brooding and glaring around the room at no one in particular.

A cold shiver crawled up my spine. I knew that expression, it reminded me disturbingly of my mother when she was having...problems. Had Glaitis finally snapped? She did just try to stab her longest-serving employee in the back, so perhaps so.

I decided to keep an eye on her, who knows what the hell she would do.

Suddenly her attention snapped to me, and I barely fought the urge to flinch away. Her cold blue eyes met mine, then again she was back glancing around the room.

I shuddered out a sigh, realising then how utterly terrified I’d been.

+Indeed,+ said Karmen. +Now we know of Inquisitor Edracian’s capabilities we should be.+

I don’t know about that, I thought.

Brutis and Wesley shared a look.

“Hmm,” growled Wesley, stroking his chin. “I will concede your point I do feel we have very little choice in the matter.”

“Still smells like a fething trap to me,” said Brutis.

Wesley nodded, “I think at times a trap needs to be sprung to find anything. Look at what happened in the Underhive? Also, I have something else I should tell you. I sent out another communique. To another friend of mine, another Inquisitor, one who was also an Interrogator under Edracian. A woman named Jelcine Enandra of the Ordo Hereticus, I told her almost everything.”

“You sound most upset about that,” said Castella.

Wesley sighed and scratched his head, “a few years ago we had a falling out with her, and that is one of the reasons I think, why my master has lost his sanity. We found out she was a radical, one of the Attenlous Seculous philosophy.”

I raised an eyebrow, that sounded a bit like my name. I also had no bloody idea what it meant.

Wesley saw me and shook his head, “Attenlous Seculous is a new and upcoming ideal within the Inquisition of the Calixis conclave. They believe that the holy Ecclesiarchy is a blight upon humanity and the Imperium. Believe we need to get rid of it entirely. She and my master almost came to blows over this, and we haven’t been in contact with her since. He is a very religious man and despite being in the Ordo Malleus has deep ties within the Ecclesiarchy.”

I hid a smile; I liked the sound of this Attenlous Seculous philosophy.

“Until now,” said Arlathan.

“Indeed,” said Wesley. “I am that desperate, I hope, I pray she will be able to get her to help in time. Even if she’s still alive.”

Castella nodded, “I understand, but at least now we know we’ve got someone, somewhere willing to help.”

Wesley nodded as well, but still looked unconvinced.

“So what now?” I asked.

“I’d say it’s obvious,” said Brutis. “We attack Edracian’s base as soon as we can.”

He looked over at the Mimic as It was only just now climbing to its feet, trying shake away its dazed state.

“Finally, you’re up,” said Brutis. “We need to get moving; we’ll need your mercenaries.”

“Yeah, I heard,” it growled, giving me an enraged look.

I just smiled back.

“Good!” Growled Brutis. “Hurry it up and get them organised then.”

With a sigh, the Olinthre-thing deactivated the shield, activated his comm-link and began barking orders.

“So this is it,” I said. “This could finally be the end to this farce.”

Wesley looked at me wearily and said, “I think you were right before. This isn’t the end kid; we’re far from that. Edracian I doubt has done this alone. I think this is just the beginning.”

Wesley, Arlathan and The Mimic were the first to emerge from the curtains, all three yelling orders at their respective underlings. The rest of us followed them in silence; I was smoking one of my last Lhos as I’d donated many of them to Castella, Hayden, Arlathan and even Darrance. We were all a bit spooked and needed something to help our nerves.

Glaitis had glared at me balefully as I’d given them out, by the Emperor I wished she’d go back to her old self.

Glaitis, Castella, Hayden, Darrance and I were the first in the elevator, and we began our descent, toward the bottom floor.

“Mamzel Glaitis?” said Darrance, uncertainly. “What are we to do?”

Glaitis didn’t answer, she clenched her jaw and balled her hands into fists, and I instinctively reached for my sword.


“I heard you, Darrance!” she snapped suddenly. “Damn it I am not deaf!”

“My apologies, mamzel,” said Darrance.

“Your apology means nothing!” she snarled. “You disobeyed my direct order! I told you to stand down!”

“And we did,” stated Hayden calmly. “Once the situation was defused. We couldn’t stand idly by while one of us was being threatened.”

Glaitis turned her attention to me, her eyes wide with anger.

“One of us? One of us? Because of this foolish boys’ decisions, this world may end! He is a fool and a coward who deserves to be threatened!”

My attention fell to the floor, unable to disagree with her on that.

“Yes,” agreed Castella which hurt me more than It should’ve. “Yes he was, and yes he did, but I think after what he just did, he hasn’t earned our forgiveness. He has earned our respect. He deserved to be stood up for, and I’d do it again without any hesitation. Despite all the foolish mistakes he’s made.”

Glaitis showed her teeth and shook her head, “I will have you punished for such insolence, how dare you! I am your-!”

“You know you cannot do that,” said Hayden. “Do not threaten when you have nothing to back it up with.”

Glaitis growled in rage and reached for her sword but found all three of them already had her covered with their own. Hayden using his auto pistol sidearm and Castella her sword.

“See what I mean,” said Hayden. “And you tried to stab me in the back if it wasn’t for Attelus. You would’ve killed me. Thank you, by the way, Attelus.”

All I could manage was a wide-eyed nod.

“We disobeyed your order, sure,” said Hayden, then his expression darkened. “But I am not sure that your orders deserve to be followed anymore.”

She glared at him, witheringly.

“This is just conjecture, but I know you, Glaitis,” he said, “and I bet you knew exactly what we were going into.”

“I did not,” she said, now icily calm. “That I swear.”

Hayden smiled and shook his head, “I doubt that you have made plans that are impeccable, you seem to know things before they happen. You’ve guided us with this foreknowledge. How do we know that this was any different? How can we tell you’re telling the truth?”

“I didn’t,” she said sounding more urgent now. “I didn’t know.”

“I have worked for you for decades, Glaitis,” said Hayden. “Never had I had such loyalty to a superior before, but over that time my loyalty has been stretched thin. What we just went through was the last straw, how do we know you will perform another stunt like this, huh? Before you almost stabbed me in the back? Literally!”

“You disobeyed me!” she snarled, she then looked to Darrance with wide eyes.

“Saderth!” she said, and it took me a second to realise that must’ve been Darrance’s first name, never had I heard it before. “Saderth help me.”

‘Saderth’ shook his head, “I am sorry mamzel, but as much as it hurts me to say it, I am inclined to agree.”

Suddenly Glaitis expression turned into one of pure rage, and her attention snapped to me,

“I see!” she snarled. “I see now that he’s manipulated you against me! The child has manipulated you. Can’t you see! He’s using you! I bet he doesn’t even know it! If anyone should have your-!”

“No!” interrupted Castella. “He hasn’t; this was all you, I’m sorry Glaitis this is all you. I’m sorry.”

I looked away from Glaitis’ intense glare, unable to handle it anymore. I couldn’t believe this was happening, never had I thought these three would feel this way. It came out of the blue that’s for frigging sure.

Deep down, though I couldn’t help but agree with Glaitis, perhaps I did manage to manipulate this? I clenched my jaw at that thought. Did I do it...subconsciously?

Just then the elevator found the bottom floor and with a ding! The doors opened, and we walked out. Glaitis still at gunpoint. There were a few mercs and other employees in the lobby who watched with great interest.

“Move on!” said Castella, waving her hands. “Nothing to see here!”

Hesitantly, they did as told.

“Castella. Darrance and I will take Glaitis back to her tower,” said Hayden. “You and Attelus stay here and watch over the preparations.”

Castella and I nodded acknowledgement.

Glaitis laughed, “what? Where will you put me in my tower? Seriously, Hayden? All the men who guard it are under my employ. I sign their paychecks they will let me out, that I assure you.”

Hayden turned to her, his expression as hard as steel, “you will find, Glaitis that you might pay them, but they are loyal to me because unlike you I’ve bothered to talk to them, get to know them and think of them as more than pawns, that I assure you. Darrance, take her weapons.”

Darrance nodded and did as told, telling Glaitis he was sorry over and over as he did.

“You two will be alright?” asked Castella.

Hayden nodded, “see you soon.”

Castella and I watched them leave.

I was unsure what to say, still utterly shocked by what I’d just witnessed.

“You okay?” she asked after a few seconds.

“Yeah,” I stammered. “I just can’t believe that just happened.”

She laughed, “yeah, I understand that. I’d be shocked if I was you too.”

“Even Darrance,” I said, and turned to her. “How the hell did you convince him to take part?”

“You must understand, Attelus,” she said. “We have been working under her for much longer than you have. We have had the same concerns as you for a long time now. The incident in the underhive was, as the old man had said, ‘the last straw.’”

I nodded, aware that Glaitis didn’t actually know about the daemons, as it was blocked to Farseer Faleaseen’s sight. I chose to keep that quiet, of course.

“How did I not know?” I asked. “How the hell didn’t she know?”

Castella smiled, “we’re just way better at hiding it than you. We better get moving, we’ve got a bit to do, still.”

“Wait,” I said. “I need to do something.”

“What?” asked Castella.

I grinned, “I need to find my friends first.”

I called Garrakson and Torris over my commlink, and we organised to meet at Vex’s office in fifteen minutes.

“How will they feel about me being there?” Castella had asked.

I’d just shrugged and said, “they can deal with it, I’m sure.”

Then I endeavoured to find the mail room, I’d never been actually in there before, but I’d walked past it once or twice, but if I was good at anything, it was finding places and locations. Not things though, finding and locating things that seemed to be something different entirely for me.

It only took me a few minutes to locate it, and as I entered, I turned to Castella.

“Is it okay if you stay out here, while I do this?” I asked.

Castella frowned, “only if you tell me what it is you’re doing, exactly.”

I sighed and glanced around the corridor, “this might be the end of the world, Castella. I need to organise us to make sure we have an avenue of escape. Just in case.”

Castella raised an eyebrow, “so you want to save the people who work in the mailroom?”

I nodded, “one in particular.”

“How?” she said. “Do you have a ship capable of warp travel hidden somewhere?”

“We do,” I said. “Up in orbit.”

Castella sighed, “yes, but...”

“But what?” I interrupted. “We can surely afford to take on a few more.”

“Yes but that’s not the point...”

Castella paused in her sentence as a few workers wandered by.

“Yes but that’s not the point,” she said. “Do you honestly believe that they will believe you? What are you going to do, go in there saying that the world’s going to end? They won’t believe you, and even if they do, they’d most likely panic with fear and even if they didn’t what would you have them do?”

I frowned, “you’re sounding uncharacteristically cynical, Castella.”

“No I’m not,” said Castella. “If anyone’s being cynical it’s you. I believe we can stop this, so I find this irrelevant.”

I shrugged, “I don’t think it is, I have to do this Castella. I want her to live. She deserves to live.”

She rolled her eyes, “alright let’s just say this person; she believes you and Omnartus is destroyed and she manages to escape with us. What do you think she’d do? Her world was just destroyed, all her loved ones dead. Everything is gone.”

I saw where she was going with this and my attention fell to the floor.
“I have to try,” I sighed.

Castella’s expression hardened, and she opened her mouth to say something but stopped when the door to the mailroom suddenly opened.

An older man stepped out who was vaguely familiar to me. He frowned at us.

“We can hear you,” he growled.

We just gaped at him stupidly.

“Get in here,” he said with a twitch of his head.

We did as told, filing quickly into the large, brightly lit office and looking more than a little embarrassed. Three others sat at desks looking at us with scrutinising gazes.

One was Adelana; she sat the nearest. Her arms folded, her expression unreadable but her attention was firmly on me. The other two were a tall, lanky young man, not much older than me; he was looking at Castella with wide eyes, his jaw lolling dumbly. I couldn’t blame him; Castella had that effect on me the first time I’d met her and I didn’t think it often that an attractive woman wearing a very tight body glove would walk through his door. The other was an ugly weathered woman who may have been in her mid-forties, I couldn’t be sure.

Again they were eerily familiar for me. My dream was now a blur I struggled to remember, in all honesty, I wasn’t even trying to remember it.

“Adelana?” said the ugly woman. “Do you know these people?”

“Only one,” she said quickly, she smiled at me. “Attelus?”

I smiled back, wondering if Karmen was watching this and dearly hoping she wasn’t.

The old man sat at the desk next to Adelana, folded his arms and glared at me from under a hooded brow.

“Attelus Kaltos? You’re Attelus Kaltos?” he said with a sneer, then he shook his head and muttered something about me being ’the scum of the ‘verse.’

I clenched my jaw but let it slide, I deserved it, in all honesty. If he knew even half of what I’ve done, he’d think even lower of me, somehow. It also took balls to potentially insult someone so armed and armoured almost to their face. I couldn’t help but feel a bit of admiration for him. He was just lucky I was so forgiving.

“Attelus Kaltos,” said the woman. “You’re quite infamous around here, after what you did to Vex. I have to say he is an arrogant little brat at times, but he didn’t deserve that, no one deserves that. Can I ask you a question, young man?”

I sighed, put my hands behind my back and began to pace. I could think of quite a few people who deserved that. Myself being on the top of the list.

“Sure,” I sighed. “Fire away.”

“Why did you strangle a kid? I don’t understand it. Why would you do that?”

I swallowed and stopped my pacing.

“I thought he’d betrayed me,” I answered hesitantly. “We had an agreement, and I’d thought he’d sold me out. I let my anger get the better of me, and I regret it ever since.”

The old man sneered again, “and I bet he bloody well didn’t,” he growled.

I shrugged, trying hard to keep the smile from my face, “as it turned out, he actually did.”

Indirectly and unknowingly but theoretically he still did, the best way to lie is, to tell the truth.

The old man just smiled coldly and reclined back in his chair

Adelana frowned, “I heard, we heard about how Vex punched Attelus before so I think he got him back.”

“Yeah!” laughed the old man. “I’d say it was least he deserved!”

“It was enough for Vex,” said Adelana. “If it was enough for him, so it should be enough for us.”

“Enough for you, anyway,” said the boy.

“That’s enough,” said Castella. “My name is Castella Lethe; I am Attelus’...”

She paused and glanced at me, “colleague and there is much to tell you.”

The old man laughed again, “another bloody merc, eh? You’re all the damn same.”

I clenched my jaw and took a step forward, “now can I understand how you can hate me, I really, really can,” I said softly, ” and you can insult me all you want and I’ll let it slide, because, as you know, I deserve it, but don’t you even dare insult her. She’s done nothing. Now show her some respect and introduce yourself or I may make you do it. Okay?”

The old man very abruptly straightened in his chair.

“Grayhelt, Solvej, I’m the manager here, this is Seleen Gorret,” he said, indicating the ugly woman, then the young man, “the kid’s Velg Tevven and you already know Adelana Halgen.”

“I do,” I said with a smile, nodding again to Adelana, she smiled back and averted her attention to the floor. I managed to catch in the corner of my eye Tevven bristle slightly at that.

I pursed my lips shrugged to myself, fair enough, I thought.

“Mr Solvej,” said Castella, “are you by chance, ex-guard?”

Grayhelt’s eyes narrowed, “yeah.”

Abruptly she unclasped her auto pistol sidearm from its holster and handed to him. Hesitantly he took it then she took three clips from the pockets on her belt and placed them on his desk.

’You do know how to use that, right?” she asked.

Grayhelt slammed a clip home and racked the slide with practised ease, “I do,” he said. “Although it’s been many years.”

“We heard some of what you said,” said Adelana, her large blue eyes wide with fear. “What in the God Emperor’s name is going on?”

I sighed and slipped my hands into the pockets of my flak jacket, “we can’t tell you much but, but...”

I trailed off, and yet again I sighed then glanced at Castella, who met my gaze.

Then an idea hit me.

“If and when anything happens,” I said, starting to pace the room again. “Anything even slightly untoward, in the next few hours. Promise me, swear to me, that you’ll go, without a second’s delay, straight to Vex’s office, and there you must stay until we come for you, understand?”

“Why?” asked Tevven.

“Because there you’ll be protected, please promise me you’ll do this,” I said.

With wide eyes they shared glances.

“Uhh okay, sure,” said Gorret.

“You’re weirding me out here, Attelus,” said Adelana, nervously.

“I’m sorry,” I said, and tears suddenly welled in my eyes. “I’m sorry, Adelana. I didn’t want this. I didn’t mean for any of this. I’m so, so sorry. Please forgive me.”

They looked at me with utterly confused expressions.

I sniffed, wiped away the tears and turned for the door, “please just do as I say.”

Then I left.

Castella followed me out and side by side we started down the corridor. For quite a while we walked in silence.

“I see why you want to save her now,” Castella said eventually. “She’s pretty, seems nice too. I like how she stood up for you.”

I didn’t answer, just frowned.

“Speaking of which, I hope you are aware that I don’t need you to standing up for me, right?”

I stopped and turned to her, “I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I didn’t mean to...”

She grinned, “don’t worry I’m kidding! I thought it was sweet! That guy was a smug jerk; he deserved it. Thank you, Attelus Kaltos.”

I grinned back nervously, “it’s the very least I could do. After all, you’ve done for me, Castella Lethe.”

She pouted and shrugged, “well it’s a start I guess. You’ve still got a crap ton left to do before we finally break even.”

We started to walk again.

“What will it take for me to make it up to you, Castella?” I said.

She smiled, “how about you helping stop the Exterminatus before it even starts. That’d do it.”

I nodded, sounds about right, I thought.

We walked through the lines of cogitators toward Vex’s office. I could see much to my relief the stormtroopers that the poor, deceased Olinthre had ordered to guard Vex was still there. Still ever stoic and disciplined. I couldn’t do that, it’d bore the bloody hell out of me, and my mind would wander making me less attentive. That was yet another reason why I’d make a frigging terrible soldier. Despite what Garrakson and before him, Estella, claimed.

As we approached, I again glanced around the cavernous room, seeing the serfs were still at their cogitators, working attentively away. None sparing even Castella a glance and I couldn’t help but wonder, were they all bloody eunuchs? Did they have no soul? No humanity?

I shook my head; I just couldn’t comprehend it. I might be a ruthless killer, struggling to cling onto the last vestiges of my sanity but I’d much rather be that than anyone of them

We reached the entrance of the box office as one of the stormtroopers raised his hand, making us stop and activated his vox link saying.

“Attelus is here, but he has another with him named...”

“Castella Lethe,” said Castella.

The Stormtrooper nodded and repeated her name into his vox, a second or two later he looked at me.

“Sergeant Garrakson asks if she can be trusted.”

I smiled and said, “more than many, more than myself.”

The Stormtrooper nodded repeated my sentence and after a few seconds, wordlessly waved us through.

The others parted to let us through, their potential emotions hidden behind their helms, but this close I could tell by their subtle body language they were bored and annoyed.

So they were human after all, more than the seemingly mindless automatons sitting at their cogitators anyway. That horrid, constant crashing of working cogitators must’ve been wearing on their nerves. Hell, it was hard enough for me to bear and I’ve only been in the room for a few minutes.

The poor bastards have stood around here for hours.

We finally entered the large, stark white box office finding Garrakson and Torris standing around while Vex sat, lazily typing at one of the many cogitators inside.

“You’re late,” growled Garrakson. “I hope you’re aware we’re about to move into another battle, right? Olinthre is ordering almost the entire contingent to move we don’t have the time to wait around for you...”

“I know,” I interrupted, raising my hands in compliance, “and I’m sorry, we had to make a detour on our way here. An important one.”

“More important than this?” said Garrakson.

I said nothing, just clenched my jaw.

“Well it better have been bloody damn important,” said Garrakson. “Anyway, what did you want to tell us, kid?”

I sighed, glanced at Castella then took the last Lho from its ceramic container and pulled out my lighter but was stopped as Vex suddenly shouted.

“No smoking! The smoke could damage the circuit boards!”

I frowned, fixed the kid with a withering glare, but still did as told.

“I see you’ve smoked through most of that pack, already,” said Torris.

I shrugged, “gave out a few to my friends just before, but I am responsible for smoking the good majority.”

Torris’ already large eyes widened in mock disbelief, “Attelus Kaltos for once, actually sharing out his precious Lhos. Never thought I’d ever live to see the day!”

I sniggered and shook my head.

“Desperate times,” I said.

Castella’s sudden snorting laughter made me blanch and turn to her.

“I like this man, he’s funny!” she exclaimed.

I rolled my eyes and slipped my hands into their pockets; she was back on her crazy side now.

Frigging great.

“Enough mucking about!” snapped Garrakson. “Attelus get your latest girlfriend in line, we haven’t the damned time! And you too Torris!”
Garrakson turned back to me, his eyes hard, “why did you call us here?”

“Alright, alright,” I sighed and glanced around the room, wondering where to start before it finally hit me.

“Jeurat, I was honest with you, I think it’s about time you’re honest with me.”

Garrakson’s brow furrowed in bemusement and he folded his arms across his chest, “what the hell are you on about?”

“Do you have access to Taryst’s quarters?” I asked.

“What? No,” he said.

“Really? Are you sure?” I said.

“No!” he bellowed. “I don’t know what you’re on about.”

I smiled knowingly, “I know now of the relationship you and Taryst once shared, that you were both close.”

Garrakson gaped and gave Torris a glance, “how did you learn that?”

I shook my head, “It’s just one of the many, many truths I’ve learnt today. Now answer me, Jeurat. Now do you have access to Taryst’s quarters or not?”

“How many times must I tell you!” he snarled. “I don’t! Now tell me how you found out about that!”

I blanched, despite myself, pretty sure he was telling to the truth now. I’d asked because I still thought he might have gone back to Taryst’s grotto to investigate the bunker. But it seemed that suspicion had been wrong.

It certainly wasn’t the first time I’d been wrong, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t the last.

He does, came Karmen’s voice suddenly through my thoughts which made me flinch in fright. His retina is capable of opening the lock.

I opened my mouth to reply, but she quickly shushed me.

Only you can hear me now; I do not want you suddenly talking to yourself and making everyone suspicious. He still has access, but he doesn’t remember it because Taryst had me erase that from his memory.

Typical, I thought.

I suggested that Taryst just change the password, but he refused. He wanted to keep Garrakson as it.

Or he could’ve just lied and said he changed it, I thought, then I felt a pang of sympathy for poor Garrakson. The person he loved had ruthlessly ordered his mind psychically manipulated just so he could keep a damn password. Taryst could you have been any more of a bastard?

“Attelus!” snarled Garrakson, knocking me from my reverie. “Answer me now!”

I sighed, “Jeurat, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? Sorry about what?” he demanded.

“You do have access to the bunker,” I said. “You just don’t remember it.”


“Taryst, he had your memory of it erased,” I said.

Suddenly Garrakson’s eyes widened, and he straightened with a gasp. As I assumed Karmen brought back the memory as she’d done in the top of the tower a few hours ago.

“Jeu? You okay?” asked Torris.

“Yeah. Yeah I’m okay,” said Garrakson. “I remember now; I just can’t believe he’d do that to me.”

I frowned and dropped my gaze to the floor.

“This world may be ending,” I said. “Sooner or later it might be destroyed by exterminatus, that bunker might be our only way of survival.”

“Exterminatus?” said Torris. ’How?”

“It’s hard to explain,” I said. “I don’t have the time to explain it all, but...”

I hesitated, sucking air through my clenched teeth.

“It’s not just that down there,” said Garrakson. “There’s also a ship we can use.”

“A ship?” asked Vex.

“Yeah,” said Garrakson. “A well maintained and fast system ship, we could use to escape.”

He looked at me, his eyes watering, “Attelus, please tell me, I need to know. Taryst is dead, isn’t he?”

All I could manage was a half-hearted nod.

Garrakson sighed, “I’d thought so. I’d known so. Now I won’t ask the how or the why, but tell me this, did you kill him?”

I met his gaze, “no, I swear on my life. I swear I didn’t kill Taryst.”

Garrakson didn’t say anything for a long time; he just studied me intently.

Finally, he straightened, “no you didn’t, I didn’t think you did.”

I sighed, “I’m sorry.”

Garrakson shrugged and sighed, “I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, there’s nothing to be sorry about, kid. I just wished you’d told me sooner.”

“I just thought...”

“Yeah, I’m sure you thought a lot of things, kid,” he interrupted but sounded more sad than angry. “It’s alright I’d have probably done the same if I was you. Thanks for telling me, at least.”

I couldn’t help but sigh with relief, pleasantly surprised that Garrakson was letting me off so lightly.

“I hate to ask this,” said Torris, “but how long have you known?”

“Just today,” I said, swallowing back the guilt.

Torris nodded and folded his arms across his chest, “I also have to ask. What’s wrong with Olinthre?”

My eyes widened despite myself; it was only a split second before I controlled myself.

“I wouldn’t know,” I said, glancing at Castella to see how she’d reacted. She met my eyes but showed me nothing.

Torris smiled and shook his head, beginning to pace the room.

Garrakson shook his head as well and groaned, “you wouldn’t know how long Taryst has been dead for?”

I clenched my jaw, “no.”

“And still you lie, Attelus,” Torris said. “Olinthre isn’t himself, Taryst isn’t himself, what the hell is going on?”

I froze in fright as it suddenly hit me, I was backed into a corner. Especially because Garrakson now knew he had access and the password.

I sighed and slid my hands into the pockets of my flak jacket. I had no choice I had to tell them. I had to tell them everything.

So I did, I told them everything. Well, almost everything.

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