“It’s not your fault.”
Out of all the Veth to approach Istoria, she never expected Iatre to be the first. He may have been incredibly young compared to her, but there was a wisdom and a wisp of intelligence in Iatre that most other Veth lacked or lost. Really, she should have reached out to him sooner.
“I know. I just told him the truth, gave him the map and told him what he could do, based on evidence from the past. Otherwise it’s not my fault.”
“It’s Death’s fault.” Iatre was blunt as he spoke. He had liked Arkay, more than any other Veth. “She has driven Arkay to the edge so many times. I haven’t even been here that long and I’ve seen it. If you hadn’t told him the truth, he would have said yes to Death and she would have just continued to torture him. Like everyone’s been saying, it’s a cycle.”
Istoria blinked. She knew Iatre was smart. But here he was, standing in her office, pointing something out that she’d never noticed. Everything Kinisis did was a cycle, and apparently torturing her Veth Primes just happened to be a part of it. Deep down, she knew that already, but at the same time, Istoria had hoped that maybe Kinisis had changed. Clearly she hadn’t.
“I wish I could help him. I couldn’t help the other Veth Primes. All those she fell in love with then destroyed…” Istoria looked down at her desk. She felt helpless, not for the first time. “He’s… going to suffer.”
“Where is Arkay now?”
Istoria looked back up as Iatre leaned down in front of her.
“Where is he?”
“In the black box.”
“The what now?”
“The black box. It basically simulates whatever Kinisis wants. In this case, she threw Arkay inside and decided to just do… stuff to him…” Istoria hesitated. “Probably not very nice stuff. Probably pain and suffering as always.”
Iatre sighed, then pulled up a chair and sat down. “I wish there was something we could do.”
“Yeah…” Istoria knew that feeling. She had buried it a long time ago, but every so often, something would happen and that helplessness, the inability to do anything, would come rushing back. There was nothing they could do though.
“All seems rather sad… like me…”
Iatre’s wording was odd.
“Is there something else wrong?” Istoria asked.
“Oh, no, nothing…” Iatre paused. “Just the fact that all my work on the V9 Veth was absolutely pointless when Death can make us all into whatever she wants whenever she wants… What was the fucking point of Death taking me and turning me into a stupid monster and making me work on a project she could complete instantly if she wanted to?”
Istoria smiled slightly. “She could, but she likes it when we figure things out for her. It’s also to keep up with appearances with a bunch of stupid rules between her, Kairos and Kenos… I’m sorry, I should have told you…”
“It’s fine…” Iatre hissed. “I am not a fan of my intelligence being wasted… And with Arkay not around to talk to, I feel wasted myself…”
“Well you could always sleep- uh, stay here with me…” Istoria spoke without thinking. She wondered if Iatre had heard her, and breathed a deep sigh of relief when he didn’t. He was preoccupied with everything else.
“You can stay here with me. I appreciate your intellect. There is nothing we can do right now anyway…”
Iatre rolled his eyes. “Sure. Why not. It’s not like I’m useful for anything else…”