Four Souls on a Broken Sea - Uncharted

Four Souls on a Broken Sea

By Andrew Knighton

The spray hitting Evrier wasn’t just water. It was stinging grains of sand, limp strands of weed, pebbles rattling off the battered howdah and thudding against Maiwee’s flanks. The huge jellyfish didn’t flinch, but Evrier felt her pain, tremors running from her mind into his. Her tentacles tugged at currents that threatened to break them against the cliffs or crush them in the tide sweeping through the rocks ahead. Evrier drew himself in tighter, tried not to wish that he was back in the safety of his study. Faith had led him here; Father Earth wouldn’t let him die.

And yet…

“Are you sure this is safe?” he asked, raising his voice through the howl of the wind and the roar of water.

“If you wanted safe, you shouldn’t have come to the Swarl.” Cullen clutched the edge of the howdah, his eyes growing blank as water ran across his tattooed face and through his sun-bleached beard. Dirtwing, the gull swooped lower. “It’s now or never, if you want to follow your light.”

The sea to their left dipped, rose, a wave curling up the cliff before crashing over them. Evrier clung to the howdah’s edge and to his sea chest, fingers rigid, knuckles white. He stared at Cullen. How long had he known the man now — two weeks, three? Drawn together through a chain of acquaintances, a man whose weathered face seemed a testament to the wisdom of the wild. Should he have put his life in a stranger’s hands for nothing more than money?

Another wave boomed off the cliff, rattling Evrier’s teeth. Did he taste sea or blood in his mouth?  He squeezed his eyes shut, closing out the fear of death and the salt spray.

Two other minds echoed within Evrier’s. One was the part of Maiwee that he knew, a mind swelling around the edges of his own, flowing and featureless as the ocean. She wasn’t as scared as him; her heart wouldn’t have hammered like his even if she had one. Still, she didn’t want to go this way.

The other mind was human and, therefore, infinitely stranger. A mind bright and shining soul calling to him.

Evrier opened his eyes and forced himself to face the shrinking gap ahead.

“Hold steady.” He forced the words out. “For Saint Cynest.”

The current grabbed them, and Evrier screamed as they were flung at a cliff face. He seized the wooden disk hanging from his neck and spat prayers to Father Earth. Cullen stood at the rail, steady as a figurehead, letting the world break against him.

Maiwee lurched, tentacles slapping off rock. She twisted, spun. They hurtled along the base of the cliff, down the narrowing gap. Cullen howled exhilaration. Dirtwing screeched. The world was rocks and waves, and Evrier was about to be crushed between the two.

Then they burst through the gap, into the stillness of a lagoon.


“Why a jellyfish?”

Cullen was sitting on a ridge of coral, pink clusters growing slowly on either side of him. His folding knife slid through the belly of a cod, spilling its guts across the wet sand. Did that ease with the blade come from being a son of fishers or from soldiering? Evrier couldn’t imagine doing either, hands callousing day by day around wet ropes or the shaft of a pike, caught in the surge of battle or of the sea, but Cullen talked about both if they were the most natural things in the world. He was quite unlike the people Evrier knew.

Dirtwing hopped across the sand, and Cullen flicked the fish guts to him. The gull gobbled up the glistening remains, beak clacking, yellow slathered in red.

Charcoal scratched across the paper as Evrier chronicled the day’s journey, the simple, familiar act of writing soothing his soul. The Swarl Sea was said to be unmappable, its shifting reefs and sandbars baffling cartographers. Some said that the islands themselves were adrift, ripped from the earth during the Sundering, grinding across the seabed like pebbles beneath the waves. But a scholar did not accept a world beyond his comprehension.

“I said—”

“I know.” Evrier tapped his charcoal pencil against the page. “One moment.”

He scrawled two last lines, closed the book, buckled its wooden covers shut, and placed it in the centre of his sea chest, next to a padded leather bag. Finally, he turned his attention to Cullen.

“I chose to bond with Maiwee in an effort to advance human understanding,” Evrier said, straightening his doublet. Explaining his work to outsiders always felt like a performance. “Veshekti of Sal Rack has shown beyond doubt that the greater jellyfish consists of multiple creatures gathered into one. No one at the Grand Marlesan College had bonded with such a creature before, and so, to accentuate our understanding of the world, I rose to the challenge.”

“Multiple creatures, eh?”

“That’s right. I have successfully bonded with two of the four entities that constitute Maiwee, but the others remain elusive.”

“Elusive, huh?”

Cullen, having spread the fish on a driftwood grill, set it over a fire that hissed and spat where it touched the sand. He looked as comfortable as he had in a dockside bar, or outside the temple where they’d had their second meeting. Evrier envied the man’s ability to settle anywhere; he himself felt nervous not knowing that his next meal waited in the refectory. Touching the wooden disk that hung from his neck, he offered a silent prayer: he wouldn’t give this work up for every book in the college, but still, let it be done soon.

From the water’s edge, one of Maiwee’s tentacles uncurled, reached toward the heat of the fire, then withdrew. In Evrier’s mind, curiosity and alarm battled.

“What about you?” Evrier asked. Unlike some of his colleagues, he understood that it was polite to ask. Perhaps that was why the saint had reached out to him as her messenger. “Why choose a gull? Most of those who can bond to beasts choose something more glamorous: a horse, a dog, a griffin or dragon if they’re warriors and have wealth.”

“You take what you’re given.” Cullen shrugged. “And I’ve never settled anywhere for long, but land or sea, town or country, Dirtwing don’t mind, do you?” With a croak, the gull flapped into the air. “At least, he ain’t said so.”

“You must have somewhere you call home.” Evrier thought of the college, with its bustling halls and musty library, of his family’s estates, with their winter hall and their summer riding grounds.

 “In my soldiering days, they said home’s where your comrades are, but most of mine are dead.”

Evrier turned his gaze away, not knowing what to say to that. “And your family?”

“My nephew says I’m like the tide, always rolling in and out, but my sister says you know when the tide will turn up.” Cullen pointed his knife at Evrier’s sea chest. “What’s in the bag?”

Evrier smiled. This topic was more to his taste.

“An offering for Saint Cynest. I hope that, when we find her remains, it can bring her peace.”

Cullen touched his tattoos, a Dunvari gesture Evrier still hadn’t quite understood, an assertion of the self tangled up in recognition of something larger.

“Cynest’s the one who united Marlesan?”

“That’s Lisana, Cynest’s wife. She drew the nation together through her quest for vengeance against Count Henrard.”

“History.” Cullen rubbed his brow. “Dusty books and old stories. Give me a day at sea instead.”

“This is my life’s work you dismiss as dusty books and the faith of half the known world.”

“Aye, but the other half think your saints are horse shit.” Cullen laughed darkly. “I’ve seen the blood spilled over that.”

Evrier glared. “That is why these bones matter. Truth, and inspiration.”

Dirtwing swooped across the waves and gave a harsh cry as his claws scratched Maiwee’s back. Evrier felt the beast’s pain under his own skin.

“Cullen, stop him.”

“He’s only playing.”

“I said stop him!”

“Fine.” Cullen’s eyes grew distant. Evrier had never known anyone who could maintain their bond over more than a few feet, but the sailor sent his gull swooping around the shell-strewn lagoon, over the cliffs they’d come through, then back around to settle by the fire. Soft mist swirled over the water as he passed. “Happy now?”

Evrier didn’t answer. He was tired and aching, exhausted and exhilarated by his quest, grateful for Cullen’s guidance, and maddened by his attitude. He slammed his chest shut and locked it tight.

“Is that fish ready yet?”


Evrier had never seen waters like this outside of a cooking pot. Steam billowed, condensed on the rock piles, plastered his hair to his head and his doublet to his skin. Maiwee’s discomfort at the cold northern waters had faded, and the mind touching Evrier’s was as placid as a well-fed infant.

“Extraordinary.” Evrier tried to sketch the rocks, but his pencil tore the damp page. “I can see erosion in action, the condensation forming channels as it dribbles back down. But some of the rock is still rough, so the passage can’t have been this way for long.”

“None of them are.” Cullen tapped the tattoos on his check, a stylised ship from his days as a sailor next to the broad knife of a Dunvari fighting scout. The third was a black ring, something Evrier didn’t know. “That’s why you need specialist navigators like me and Dirtwing.”

“Yet even you have never seen the place I seek. Saint Cynest herself guides us.”

In Evrier’s mind, a bright vision hung in the air up ahead, the saint’s spirit urging them on. He breathed deep, his chest swelling with pride and awe that she would choose him as her messenger, making him the custodian of her remains. It was a long way from the library, stables, and dissecting rooms of the College, where each discovery was born from months of painstaking discourse. For humanity and for the true faith, he was going to make a breakthrough far beyond his peers.

Ahead of them, Dirtwing rose on a gust of warm air. Rock faces vanished in the thickening mist. The air grew denser, clammy against Evrier’s skin.

Rumbling drew his attention to the right. Above one of the islands, black smoke bloomed.

“What is that?”

“Bad news.” Cullen frowned. “Can you make your beast go faster?”

“I can’t make her do anything, but I can ask.”

“Then ask, and fast.” Cullen’s finger tapped against the howdah as he looked up the column and then along the channel ahead. “Faster if you don’t want to turn back.”

His holy mission left Evrier no space for retreat. He placed a hand against Maiwee’s soft flank, strengthening their connection, and urged her to more speed. Her response surprised him. While part of her remained placid, another part was panicking. It took torturous moments to disentangle her thoughts, which were caught between boiling water ahead and a burning sky behind.

“Is there another way?” he asked. “Not through this water?”

Maiwee’s distress was becoming his own as if the rising heat was in his flesh.

“Only back,” Cullen said. “And even that…”

The cliffs behind them shook like fevered giants, shrugging jagged rocks into the channel. Smoke bubbled through the water, black currents rippling out.

“Faster!” Cullen yelled. “Now!”

Evrier’s mind was full of panic: his, Cullen’s, Maiwee’s. Even Dirtwing, buffeted by the swirling air, screeched in alarm. Evrier pressed his fingers into Maiwee’s flesh. Faced with the heat ahead, the beast wanted to turn back, but Evrier saw the troubled water behind, a bubbling, smoking circle coming closer by the moment. He all but forced her to expand and contract the muscles of her bell, pushing against the water.

The heat pulsed through him like the pain from a rotten wound. The further they pushed, the worse it became, but he couldn’t let Maiwee turn back, as a cliffside collapsed and ashen waves rolled in their wake. One part of Maiwee’s mind was like a child, bewildered and distressed, crying out at what he did to her. Another part shared his desperate determination.

Water bubbled around them. Maiwee’s heat was a pain-racking Evrier. Cullen’s head flicked back and forth, trying to spy a way through the white world of mist.

Then a light shone bright for only Evrier to see.

“There!” Did the words come out loud, or only in his mind, racing down the connection to Maiwee? Water churned behind them as she pushed forward, senses deadened by pain, clinging to the only thing she had left: trust in him.

The saint’s arms opened to welcome Evrier, and for a moment, he thought that he was going to join her.

Then the mist thinned. The channel calmed. The throbbing pressure of the heat eased, just a little, just enough to be borne. The saint’s light faded to the grey of a northern sky. When Evrier opened his mouth, the water that dripped in tasted of ash, but at least the islands around them no longer shook.

Dirtwing swooped low over rolling waters, flicked his wings, and turned away.

“Follow him,” Cullen croaked, staring back at the billowing cloud. “He’s found a place to rest.”


Night was falling as they made land on a swampy shore, amid trees that Evrier’s colleagues had told him he wouldn’t find this far north. One moment, the wind was warm and ashen from the south, the next icy cold from the north. Both sent a shiver of pain through Evrier, pain that wasn’t his own.

Maiwee drooped in the water, her body all but submerged. They’d removed the howdah and dragged it onto the shore, but Evrier still felt its weight. He felt the sting of accusation, too. He was meant to be the one who cared for her, and instead, he’d led her into hurt that throbbed through every tendril.

“I’m sorry.” Evrier sagged by the campfire, staring at her through flames and water, trying to show his guilt and contrition.

Maiwee drew deeper into the water. From a branch above, Dirtwing croaked disdain.

Cullen emerged from the trees with an armful of leaves, which he dumped into the pot he’d left bubbling over the fire. The stink emanating from it grew.

“Do you have to do that?” Evrier snapped.

“It’s for her.” Cullen nodded toward Maiwee as he stirred the pot with a stick. “To ease the pain.”

“Pain she wouldn’t be in if it wasn’t for you.”


“Yes, you. You set our course past that burning island.” Perhaps he couldn’t make Maiwee understand his shame, but he could at least make Cullen accept his part.

“You wanted to head northeast.”

“The saint commands it, but there must be other ways.”

“Always. That doesn’t mean I can find them.”

“So you took us down the most dangerous route you could?”

“Like you could do better.”

“I couldn’t do worse.”

Cullen snorted and waved the stick at Evrier. Drops of stinking goo spattered his doublet, and he recoiled.

“You’ve got no storming clue what you’re talking about. There are no safe passages here, no ways that won’t risk all our lives. But I’ve got us this far, so don’t go blaming me, you moon-touched heap of ash.”

Cullen took dried herbs from a pouch and flung them into the pot, then stirred, clanging the stick against the sides. Evrier, his chest clogged with fragments of retorts, turned to his sea chest and the notebook inside. It was easier to find the right words when you were putting them down on paper.

After a few more moments, Cullen wrapped his hand in cloth and lifted the pot off the fire. Shells crunched beneath his feet as he tramped down to the water’s edge. There was a hiss of steam as he placed the blackened iron base in the water, and Maiwee flinched away, her pale flesh rippling.

“It’s alright.” Cullen’s eyes grew unfocused and his voice soft. He reached into the water, fingers touching one of Maiwee’s slender tentacles, and to Evrier’s surprise, she moved towards him.

Cullen let a little seawater into the pot, then scooped out a handful of green-brown paste. He spread it gently across Maiwee’s flank, where the worst burns were. Down the connection between them, Evrier felt her relief, and he sighed as he sat back, his spine to a tree. This was much better.

Maiwee’s flesh heaved and rolled as she drew herself into the shallows, pressing against Cullen. He spread the salve across every inch of skin that lay above the water, massaging it in more gently than his calloused fingers should have allowed.

“Let that sink in, eh,” he said, resting a hand on the trembling flesh. “Then we’ll roll you over and do the other side.” He smiled. “You understand, don’t you?”

“I very much doubt it.” Evrier crossed his arms. “Few can make themselves known to a mind like hers.”

“Minds,” Cullen said, walking back up the beach. “You said there’s four of her, remember?”

“Which makes it all the more impossible. No offense, but all you’ve managed so far is a gull.”

“Did it cross your mind that might be my choice?” Cullen laid more driftwood on the fire, then set to gutting a fish.

“You said you took what you could get.”

“Truer to say that I took what I could stand.” He flicked guts and scales across the sand, and Dirtwing swept down to feast. “Imagine being a fisher’s kid, out on the boat with your ma and pa, hauling in the nets day after day. You’ve got this gift, powerful strange, no one in your family’s had it before, and there’s no fancy scholars or Marlesan horse masters around to explain it to you. All you know is that you can feel the panic of the fish as you drag them in. Every single one of them a bright, flashing mind that’s reaching for yours, tugging at that connection as it flaps and chokes on the deck. Your whole heart is screaming, and the screaming only stops when you take a knife or a hammer to the fish, which ain’t a pretty thing to feel. So you learn to push it away, hold it back, and keep life at arms’ length because it’s that, or you can go thundering mad.

“Then one day, someone sees what’s in you. They teach you what it means when minds touch, show you that you’ll need that bond to feel complete, to play your role in Father Earth’s creation. But if you get close, you risk hearing all the screams again, so you pick a companion who’s happy keeping his distance. Ain’t that right, Dirtwing?”

The gull hopped over to Cullen, head tipped on one side. Evrier stared.

“All those fish,” he said, clinging to a detail he could grapple with rather than sink beneath the waves of horror. “To connect with them, you must have an extraordinary gift.”

“Maybe I could have been magnificent.” Cullen waved his knife at the surrounding sea and the islands beyond. “But here I am.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why?” Cullen held out a finger, and Dirtwing tapped it with the tip of his beak. “I ain’t.”

Across the water, a figure of shining light stood, pointing to another of the islands, and Evrier felt a bright soul touch his.

“Tomorrow,” he said, more certain of that word than of anything else in his life. “Tomorrow, we’ll find her.”


“It’s one of the great tragedies,” Evrier said as they drifted toward the bay, Maiwee’s body pulsing cautiously through the slow current. “Cynest, a righteous follower of Father Earth, stands in the way of Count Henrard, who betrays and beheads her while they’re travelling through the Swarl. Cynest’s wife, Lisana, is forced to leave the body behind as she flees for her life but vows vengeance against Henrard. When he enters into a pact with followers of Mother Sky, Lisana draws together the riders of Marlesan to defeat them, a fractured people uniting for the cause of justice. Henrard is defeated, the true faith prevails, and a nation is born.”

“I’ve got a cousin who worships Mother Sky,” Cullen said. “Several of them, actually.”

“People fear for the future, so they’re scrabbling around for something to save them. We need a symbol to show that their hope lies with Father Earth.”

“Something like a saint’s remains.”


They passed through cliffs of towering chalk flanking the entrance to a bay. Within, the waters were a clear and beautiful blue, the sands coral pink. A stream ran from a gap between the far cliffs, separating those sands as it ran to the bay. In Evrier’s mind’s eye, a woman walked on the waters, her golden hair flowing, skin glowing like the moon. The saint had never been so bright or clear.

Maiwee’s skin was cool and steady beneath his palm as he urged her across the bay and up the stream. Stones scraped her tentacles as she forced herself up a water course little wider than her body, but his excitement kept her moving, muscles expanding and contracting, pushing them on.

The route they followed was beautiful: clear waters beneath a blue sky, flowers trailing from the cliffsides, birds trilling from reeds along the banks. An island worthy of a saint.

“What’s with the rusted crap?” Cullen asked, pointing at a rod protruding from the mud.

“A boat that got lost, perhaps,” Evrier said. “Don’t worry about it.”

“There’s old bricks, too. Someone had a house along here once.”

“The stories are clear. They went into the wild.”

“If you say so.”

“I don’t, she does.”

He pointed ahead to where the bright figure of Saint Cynest stood on the bank. Behind, the cliffs gave way to a cluster of trees and beyond that low, marshy land. They reached the bank and descended from the howdah, sliding down Maiwee’s flank into the mud. Squelching footsteps carried them to the edge of the trees.

A skeleton lay amid the roots. The body had been laid out with care: legs straight, arms folded, a brass disk on a tarnished chain between crossed fingers. The flesh was long gone, bones bleached, all but a few scraps of clothing rotted away. Evrier sank to his knees and gave a prayer of thanks.

“Holy Cynest, I have come for you.”

Evrier stared at the bones. Every breath felt like the sea swelling in his chest. He had seen relics before, but this was different. These bones had lain here since before his nation was born.

Out of the trees, Dirtwing cawed softly. Even the wretched gull was touched by holiness.

“Thought you said they were travelling through.” Cullen walked past, heading for the swampy ground. “That they were exploring uninhabited islands.”

“Do you see anyone else here?”

Evrier opened the leather bag that had been safe inside his sea chest. He took out a skull and placed it reverently by the saint’s feet.

“Holy Cynest, I bring you this symbol of justice,” he said. “The head of your murderer, Count Henrard.”

“How in Moon’s name did you get that?” Cullen was at the edge of the swamp, prodding something his knife.

Evrier didn’t answer. He was a law-abiding man, but faith and scholarship had led him to people best not spoken of. Grave robbing was a mortal crime, even when the grave belonged to a sinner.

He looked toward the bright light that was Cynest. He expected her to smile beatifically or perhaps to fade away, granted peace now that her resting place was revealed. Instead, she stood with legs planted and teeth bared, staring at her own skull.

“There’s wild breadweed in the swamp, and rotting fish traps.” Cullen returned, shaking mud from his fingers. “Plus Dirtwing says there’s a ruined house behind the trees. Either someone moved in and didn’t move this body, or the island wasn’t as empty as your saints claimed. Strange, huh?”

“I’m sure you’ve misunderstood. Sometimes, it takes a scholar to piece the evidence together.”

Evrier stood, scowling. He’d wanted time for prayer and contemplation. Perhaps he could send Cullen off to scout around the island, letting him spend time with the saint.

“Don’t touch her!” he snapped as Cullen crouched by the bones, fingers outstretched.

Cullen held up his hands.

“Alright, but you should see this.”

“What?” Evrier moved closer. Why had his body tensed? He’d achieved what he came for.

“You said she’d been decapitated, but the head’s with the body.”

“So Lisana put it back. We make peace with grief by caring for the dead.”

“You said Lisana was chased off by the count.”


“Whoever. There’s no damage to the bones of her spine. Chopping a head off leaves marks.”

“How would you know?”

“Used to work with a gravedigger.” Cullen tapped the third tattoo on his cheek, the black ring. “Good way to avoid living creatures. It’s also how I know that someone smacked her head in.”

He tilted the skull to one side, revealing a cobweb of cracks.

Evrier swallowed. If Cynest hadn’t been decapitated, if the island hadn’t been inhabited, if Lisana hadn’t fled in desperate fear…

He ran his fingers across the skull, and they tingled at the touch of blessed bone. When he looked up, the glowing saint met his gaze.

“Lisana killed you.” Evrier’s voice shook. “The two of you lived here, and you quarrelled, so she killed you, and she ran, and she blamed Henrard and…”

The saint nodded.

“But why?”

Cynest, silent still, placed her hand on her chest.

“And why lead me here?”

Ghostly fingers touched glowing lips, then gestured outwards, throwing her words to the world.

Evrier froze. He should want this. It was his life’s work to find new knowledge, and this would see his name cast far and wide, the scholar who revealed a long-hidden truth. But what about the faith, built on stories like Lisana and Cynest? What about Marlesan, a nation cracking under the pressures of a changing world? Would he rip away its foundation?

With trembling fingers, he opened the leather bag and started gathering the saint’s bones.

“Thought you’d be more careful with your relics.” Cullen laughed. “Excitement’s beating caution, huh? Wait there, I can cut up my blanket, wrap them in wool for the journey home.”

“They’re not coming home.” Evrier waved the sack downriver toward the bay. “We’ll dump them into the Swarl, where no one will ever find them.”

The saint stared at him, her mouth open in a silent scream.

“I’m sorry,” Evrier said. “But some things matter more than the truth.”

The ghost sank to her knees, head in hands. Cullen, oblivious to her presence, narrowed his eyes.

“Sure, we could do that,” the guide said. “But we don’t earn anything by coming back with nothing, and Mother Sky’s people might pay a lot for these bones and their truth.”

“A truth you must never tell.” Evrier rose, the whole skeleton in his sack. He spoke with urgent intensity, fixing his gaze on Cullen, though he knew it wouldn’t be enough. “You are bound to silence, if not by faith, then by our contract. I hired you for this work.”

“You hired me to find the place, not to hold my tongue. Like I said, I’ve got family who follow Mother Sky, and they’ve got friends with money.”

 “In that case…”

Evrier couldn’t have beaten Cullen in a fair fight. His guide was an outdoorsman, a former fighting scout, made of scars and muscles and calloused skin, while Evrier was pale and lean, better with a quill than a spear. But he had studied anatomy, and he didn’t have to fight fair.

He slammed his foot into Cullen’s shin, delivering all the force he could. There was a crack and Cullen fell, clutching his leg.

“You fuck!”

“I’m sorry, but this is more important than us.”

“You can’t leave me here. I’ll never get home!”

“I wish there was another option, but—”

With a shriek, Dirtwing soared down. Claws gouged Evrier’s scalp, came away with bloody clumps of hair. He swatted the gull with the sack, slammed it into the dirt, stamped on its wing. Feathers crumpled. Dirtwing and Cullen screamed.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

Evrier ran down the muddy bank, flung the sack into the howdah, scrambled up after it.

“Maiwee, time to go.”

The jellyfish trembled, stirred, shifted into the flow of the stream.

Something wet snaked its way around Evrier’s leg. Two more wrapped around his waist, and others pinned his arms. He gasped as Maiwee’s tentacles tightened, lifting him into the air.

“Stop it!” he shrieked as his joints twisted under the pressure. “What in the Father’s name are you doing?”

“What I asked her to.”

Cullen was crawling down the beach, broken leg trailing through the mud. He reached Dirtwing and laid two fingers against the gull’s head. Dirtwing stopped his frantic flapping as Cullen accepted his pain.

The guide looked at Evrier, teeth bared, stare fevered with hate.

“How…” Evrier croaked as Maiwee’s tentacles tightened around his chest. She was still obeying him, heading into the current, turning to swim for the sea. Yet she was against him as well, his bones clicking and cracking within a grip that wouldn’t let him breathe.

“Four creatures in one,” Cullen said. “Two of them bonded to you, but two kept their distance, and those are the creatures for me.”

For the first time, Cullen looked directly at the glowing figure of Saint Cynest. As the world around Evrier grew dark, she still shone bright, and her sobbing became tears of joy. Evrier felt as though his lungs were burning from the inside, but she burned more brightly than the pain.

“Holy martyr.” Cullen’s voice was all that remained in the dark. “Let’s go share you with the world.”

About the Author

Andrew Knighton has been writing for longer than he likes to admit, creating short stories, comics, and the fantasy novellas Ashes of the Ancestors and Silver and Gold. Working as a freelance writer, he’s also ghostwritten over forty novels in other people’s names. He lives in Yorkshire with an academic, a cat, and a heap of unread books. You can find more or his fiction, commentary on his stories, and social links at

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