Something has been nagging me lately. A disquiet that I wasn’t sure how to quell. So, this morning I decided to write the final scene of Sorrow’s Fall from Sarin’s viewpoint. This might have been a bad idea because it was intense.
Warning: Major Spoilers for Sorrow’s Fall including the end and several major revelations. Do not read if you have not read the book.
The book is only $.99 on Amazon so fix that then come read this. 😉
Below is the music playlist I wrote the scene to. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The air hung thick and heavy with the smell of ozone. Blaster fire seared the air. The Hyperian shock troopers were no match for the Sal’Ori but they just kept coming. Holding a hand to my side to stem the flow of blood I tried to locate Sorrow. I’d never imagined he would be powerful enough to kill an Ancient. Even as an Amalgam I’d been helpless before her. Rinkin and Diedre had received the worst of it. It would take some time to heal from Ophelia’s poison.
Sorrow was several yards away on his hands and knees in the grass. Qadira stood over him. She was saying something, but I couldn’t quite make it out. His dark hair was much shorter, barely brushing his shoulders. I wondered who had cut it and how they’d known it would hamper him. The dark vest he was wearing glittered with blood, more pooled under him. She’d already stabbed him twice from what I’d seen. How was he still moving?
“No!” Sorrow’s voice reached me clearly. Whatever she was saying it was upsetting him enough to drive him to speak. I started forward grabbing up a discarded phase rifle as he got to his feet. He staggered a few steps his determination flickering around the edges of his aura. It wasn’t as tumultuous as I remembered. He’d managed to find some emotional balance.
“…the fact that you are already powerful enough to kill an Ancient will please Grandmother.”
I steeled myself and pointed the rifle at Qadira. “And that is why we cannot ever let him fall into your hands again, Qadira.”
She laughed and took a few steps back as she looked at me. She wasn’t going to take me seriously. Swallowing hard I looked at Sorrow. He was so different now. Rinkin and Diedre had done a lot to help him but that darkness was still there, just waiting to be unleashed. I’d just witnessed how devastating it could be. What would happen if it was used-if he was used to further the war? He had no control. He would obey any order given by someone in authority over him. I would have to report this to Zaryfa. Her plan had failed. There was no way to save him.
Her only grandson. The first male child born in nearly three generations. And I was going to have to kill him. Drake had done too good of a job rendering him useless as anything but a weapon. Even though I had seen the potential within him, he couldn’t see it for himself. Gods why did it have to be me? The rifle shook in my hands as I selected my new target. He was facing Qadira his back to me. He trusted me. Why in the seven Hells did he have to trust me?
He staggered forward as the bolt hit him in the back. His shock lit up the area blinding me for a moment. Oh gods. I pulled the trigger again watching him sink to his knees. Gods this can’t be happening. Please don’t make me have to kill him. Please. I’ll do anything. Anything at all just don’t make me kill him.
The choice is not yours child. Zaryfa’s voice reached me from the ship orbiting overhead. He must die.
But he’s your grandson.
And Qadira is my granddaughter.
Why can’t I kill her?!
We spoke of this Sarin. She cannot become a martyr for the Purists. He has to die. Implicate me as you must for those who are listening.
Yes, My Queen.
So, you’re going to kill him yourself, is that it?”
Sorrow’s fear and pain was difficult to ignore as I stepped closer to him. My throat was tight and speaking took effort. “If I have to I will. I may not be able to defeat you right now, but I will take away your chance of using him. If I had not seen him transform like that I would never have believed it, but he is too dangerous of a being to be allowed to live. No one should have that kind of power.”
Especially not you, I thought to myself. She was already more powerful than any Barendi before her. If she succeeded in gaining Sorrow’s help either willingly or not, there would be no stopping her. The Hyperia would fall and with it the fragile balance with the outlying systems. It would be the chaos of the Clan War all over again. Only this time the galaxy itself might be destroyed.
“You have no idea Sarin. Why do you think Our Queen destroyed the Aram when she had the chance? This,” She pointed a finger at Sorrow, “this is the embodiment of what they were. Beings so beautiful and powerful they had to be destroyed at all costs. Yet, who could have foreseen the price? I know why you feel you must rebel. All the clans are dying out Sarin, not just yours. The Queen is well aware of this. That is why she allowed him to be born, why he was not aborted the instant it was discovered what he is. She will make sure that the clans prosper once more. The Barendi will once again rule the galaxy as they did centuries ago. You Baroness, could have your place in that galaxy.”
It wasn’t even a temptation. She had no idea who was working to thwart her. I looked down at Sorrow. He was staring up at me blood trickling out of his mouth as he fought to breathe. I could feel him trying to reach out to me, soft tendrils of disbelief and anguish. He’d thought I was dead. I could see the flicker of relief fading as he continued to look at me. I blinked back tears, forcing down the searing pain in my chest. I’d already felt him die once, I wasn’t sure I’d survive a second time. I kept the rifle pointed at him watching the hope fade from his eyes. His aura was flickering between fear, pain and despair. I kept myself tightly shielded. If he or Qadira discovered what I was actually doing all our plans would fail. Xenazia’s mental touch caressed my mind, her concern flooding me.
“Sarin, don’t!” Xenazia pleaded, “Didn’t you hear what she said! We could save our clan. He’s no threat to us any longer.”
“She is a liar Xenazia. You know as well as I do that we are both dead no matter what happens. The only thing I can do is make sure Zaryfa cannot use him to make war on the rest of the galaxy.”
“There has to be another way, Sarin please!”
“What other way, Xen?” I screamed at her part of me needing some outlet for this horrible pain, “Tell me another way then.”
“I . . . I don’t know.”
Qadira snorted, “You are pathetic. Hurry up and be done with it, or I’ll kill you both where you stand.”
“You are going to anyway so what does it matter?”
She laughed again. A horrid gloating sound, “I’ll let you live as long as you kill him.”
I let out the breath I’d been holding. It almost became a sob as I felt Sorrow give up. His will flickering out like a snuffed flame. I wanted to scream at him to tell him to run, if only to save myself from having to do this. I wanted so badly to touch him. To comfort him and tell him how much he meant to me. To tell him that I would always love him, love that part of him that tried so desperately to be more than what he was allowed. I blinked, tears burning down my cheeks. Taking a step closer I raised the rifle to point it at his head. I couldn’t let him suffer any more. He looked up at me his eyes pleading and my resolve threatened to disappear.
I can’t do this Zaryfa. I can’t.
There was no answer. I stared down into those deep green eyes and wondered when I’d fallen so completely.
“I never meant to hurt you.” I could barely get the words out, “I wish-I wish so desperately things could be different. Goodbye, Sorrow.”
Closing my eyes I pulled the trigger.
There was a soft thump. I didn’t dare open my eyes yet. Tears were still streaming down, I couldn’t stop them any more than I could block out the cold pull of his energy evaporating as he died.
The rifle thudded to the ground next to me. Qadira made a soft sound and I opened my eyes to see her kneeling next to him.
“I can’t believe you actually killed him.” Her voice was soft, full of wonder. “I’ve always wondered what it would feel like when he died.”
It felt like winter, like the infinite cold of space, like being ripped apart from the inside. Nothing would ever be the same.
“Are you happy now?” I choked on the words.
She cocked her head up at me. “Happy? You just killed my brother. My twin brother…this really hurts.”
“You expected something different Qadira?” I’d forgotten about Sher’Ak. “You spent all those years forging that bond and then expected to be able to sever it at a whim without backlash?”
She got to her feet but I didn’t miss the tremble. Her eyes glistened as she looked at me. She looked terrible. It seemed Sorrow had gotten in a few hits of his own. “I won’t kill you Sarin but you are still a traitor.”
I didn’t move as she turned and walked back toward one of the Barendi drop ships. I wanted to throw up. Sher’Ak was glaring at me.
“Nicely done Baroness.”
“Do not speak to me.”
“Sarin, lets go. There is nothing more-“
“Just…leave me for a moment Xen. I need a moment.”
Sher’Ak snorted. “Stupid. What a waste. Do me a favor Baroness and never contact me again. I might kill you.”
I nodded but my entire focus was on Sorrow. Collapsing on my knees next to him I reached a trembling hand toward him. How had this happened? I could still remember the first time I saw him. The jolt at realizing who and what he was had left me reeling for days. I was supposed to be his guardian, not his murderer. A sob caught in my throat as I ran my fingers through his hair. What was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to go on? Slipping my arms around him I pulled him close. He was limp and warm and I was reminded of the last time I’d killed him. Stopped his heart with a kiss. I wasn’t going to get another chance to hold him. I clung desperately to that memory as I shook with sobs. He’d always been so brilliant and powerful but now there was nothing. No bright colors and shimmering energy. Staring down at him through the tears I knew I would never feel like this about another being. I’d never meant to hurt him. At least now he felt no pain and could finally rest.
“I’m so sorry-so sorry.”
How long I stayed there holding him, I’m not sure. When I finally let him go his body was cold, the once brilliant green eyes faded and dull. I kissed him and brushed the hair back from his face. The blaster burn was an ugly mark on his forehead and I resisted touching it, wanting to erase it. Doing so wouldn’t fix what I’d done.
“We need to go Sarin.” Xenazia’s voice was soft, her mental touch hesitant.
“I-I can’t just leave him here like this.”
“Sarin, please. He’s dead. There is nothing you can do.”
“Don’t you think I know that?”
Her mental touch faded but she didn’t move away, instead wrapping an arm around my shoulders. I couldn’t fight her as she pulled me to my feet.
I cannot do this My Queen.
You must child. Believe me when I say it was for the best.
Sorrow’s Fall is available on Amazon in both paper back and digital. Audio book coming soon to Audible.com.