You light up a small fire and bake chestnuts and prawns for lunch and
wash them down with young rose wine. The blue-haired girl nestles
against you, resting her cheek on your shoulder, and the yellow swirls of
flame dance in her wistful eyes, becoming flashes of light when Theo
starts telling another one of his incredible stories of battles and feats...
and Zev doesn't know they are all true.
And none is dead - all strong and jovial and avid for life, laughing,
teasing each other as usual, wrestling on the blue springy carpet of
The pale sun caresses your face as you lie looking how long strings
clouds flow over you in the sky. And when the dusk comes, everybody
keeps so quiet, watching the huge disc falling behind the horizon. And
your son gets drowsy and you take him to the Moth in your arms...//
The leather is rough around my wrists and ankles. I jerk trying to free
myself but only feel the cuffs shrink and the first trickles of blood run
over my fingers and insteps. I've known it will be like this but I've had to
make an attempt. The collar around my throat is so tight that it makes
every breath a torment - but not tight enough to stop it all together. I
press my head to the cold metal of the panel. I know I won't leave it
Amusing... I didn't intend this day to be the day of my death, no matter
what His Shadow could have thought. Well, I was wrong and he was
There is a dark field in my sight, with my eye gone, and that's why
notice him at once. Then he steps in front of me and I look at the white
tranquil face with the long strand of black hair falling over it. The hazel
eyes look at me levelly, meeting mine briefly and then sliding down
along my body. No interest in this gaze, no enmity - nothing.
Brunnen-G... How I was mistaken. The short pang of hope when I saw
him there, on the bridge, was gone - and I don't have to feel sorry. The
prophecy can't bring us the victory. We will win with our own efforts.
"You will not bleed to death sooner than necessary," I can't see what
doing but the dull sickening pain in my chest becomes a flash of agony. I
gasp hitting the back of my head against the panel, trying to stay silent.
The assassin makes a step back and I see the bloodied bi-dent harpoon in
his hand, the wire pulling it smoothly into the sheath in his sleeve. The
flows of blood are very hot leaking over my chest but he is right, it will
take a while to kill me.
"His Divine Shadow ordered me to make you beg to kill you before you
die," the voice is even, husky silken voice that must have sounded
beautiful in singing. I lick my lips; they taste salty - cracked and
bleeding again when the crust is melted.
"I beg you to kill me."
There is no humiliation in it; my pride means nothing any more - and
death is too unavoidable to bother.
"No," a small pause when he tilts his head awry slightly, as if listening
something I can't hear. "You don't really beg. I will be hurting you until
you do plead."
All right. I've guessed it won't work. I shrug feeling the joints of
shoulders burning when I pull on my hands. It is going to be a long day.
//The day of your victory. The day to redeem these millions who died
it... the only day that makes you go on - with all these lives behind you.
The broken rocks of Erico, ugly caricatures of bony hands reaching for
the blazing sky. The smell of metal in the air from destroyed bodies so
sharp that breathing seems impossible - and you don't want to breathe.
But there is the warmth of LEXX key leaking into your palm in a golden
flow. The might. The most powerful and perfect creature that is yours
You think you will bring it all to the end and see how the faces of
you saved light up with gratitude and peace. You won't. It must have
never been your destiny; you just wanted to hope it was. But Theo will do
it. The key lies down in his hand so naturally as if it belongs there and
for a moment you feel cold and sorry to part with it. Silly feelings. Theo
will do it the same good as you ever could.
He won't let you down.//
The assassin walks to the small table with shiny tools placed on it
see the subtlest expression of thoughtfulness on his beautiful face. The
thin long fingers soar over the sharp blades - choosing - and my gaze
follows them involuntarily. I may be ready to deal with pain; but a part of
my mind still screams for escaping it.
It is good that I know it won't be possible - or I would try.
The soft metal clicks when he takes the pliers and it makes me bite
lips. I make my face a mask when meeting his eyes as he comes up to
me. His hand is cool when he strokes my chest; soft fingertips and steely
strength hidden in them, the smooth points sliding up and down.
I am naked - I can feel it upon the journey of his palm over my body.
intimacy of the touch is harrowing - while he just explores me, looking
for the place to start hurting. My lockets and amulets don't hinder him -
they are gone. There was poison in one of them... but, maybe, it is better
like that: how tantalizing it would be to have it so close but out of my
The pliers clasp on my nipple and I close my eye.
//Have you ever thought what you will recall when you see it coming?
doesn't have to be good... or pure... or indestructible. It doesn't have to
bring peace. Sometimes it can be pain.
But you still welcome it.
Theo's naked body in the flickering of dying fire... glistening with
strong and smooth and flushed as he lies opened for you, his dark eyes
smiley and adoring, his solid pecs smooth and bulging under your palms.
The arch of his back as he leans towards you. His smell, his little groan
as he comes - the incarnation of sex. He belongs to you - and you belong
to him at these moments.
Giggerota... her sly golden eyes and the small defiant smile, her lips,
soft and sweet despite all the blood they have tasted. She would try to kill
you after the night you would have but you can't blame her for it. No
more than you can blame cluster lizards for what they do.
You can blame Stan for what he does, however. You remember his eyes
sparkling with unshed tears, his voice trembling as he gives you the vow,
and your son smiles looking at him. He believes what Stan says and you
believe Stan, too. Stan the traitor: You don't have time to tell him that
your son is dead:
The green waves of energy sweeping everything on their way. Everything
alive. So clean - no blood, no crippled, agonizing bodies. Just pure
death and nothingness. You wish you could die like this: not bleeding
and pissing yourself and squealing like a pig - as you do now.
Cluster lizards make a clean death, too, if you have enough will to
it. Merciless, exact machines, the coils of their bodies holding immense
force, the fetid smell of their muzzles suffocating. You don't feel fear
looking at them as they hit the bars just in inches from your face. And the
bug bomb crawls softly from your nostril...
Zev... You have a lucky day, don't you? These sparkling eyes looking
at you with shyness and amazement. This soft mouth, accepting yours so
generously. The kiss like this - one will like to die with it in his memory,
And the assassin... The grace and long locks of Brunnen-G and cold
agony of his touches.
You know what you are going to recall. Recall it now, then - because
I don't want to scream; my jaw aches of how tight I clench my teeth.
eventually he gets to me - and when I cry out once, I can't stop any more.
My voice is hoarse by the time when he finishes at last. Blood is cool and
sticky on my chest, new trickles almost imperceptible - but they hiss
when he brings the burner to the wounds - and I scream again, dizzy of
beating my head against the metal and feeling sluggish blood crawling up
in my throat.
He leaves me again. I don't suppose that it is the end - come on, His
Shadow's assassin can do better than this. I can take more and he won't
stop before I can't.
His white hands are coated in bright scarlet and he wipes them, not
because it bothers him but because it is not convenient to work with his
fingers slicky. Another instrument - long narrow tweezers, so delicate
that I may wonder what they will be able to do to my body. Well, I
should not doubt his skills.
"How many people did you kill?" blood is sweet and thick in my mouth,
not only from the bitten lips and tongue but rising from inside: the
harpoon must have pierced my lung. The lowered head turns up to me,
the serene transparent eyes meeting mine.
"I don't know. As many as His Divine Shadow ordered me."
"Did you enjoy it?" it hurts to speak, the collar cutting into my throat
every word - and I know these is no point in speaking. But I don't want to
die before I am dead!
The full-haired head shakes slowly - a gracious flower on the thin stem
of the neck - his voice doesn't falter; it never falters.
"I don't enjoy anything. I am dead."
I know it; the fate worse than any other punishment.
"For how long?"
"Time doesn't mean anything when you spend it in the cryochamber. I
don't have to speak to you, Thodin the arch Heretic."
I smile. Right!
//Blood on his hands will be never so thick as it is on yours. For how
many could he kill? Thousands? Working with his wrist weapon... He
doesn't know what it is to look at the living planet beneath and then see it
explode in the sea of fire. Men, women, children dying even without
having time to understand what happens.
Or, maybe, he knows.
What he doesn't know is how it feels when you are the one who presses
the button and destroys the whole world. Millions dead so that milliards
could stay alive.
Who do you hate enough to wish them to know?//
The tweezers move in my body, tearing it from inside. The jet of blood
that hits the floor becomes thinner and turns into drops at last. I am too
tired to cry out any more but I can't be silent, either. My sobs remind
chuckle - ugly cackling laughter - and some part of my mind tells me that
it sounds insane. I am not insane, however. Not yet.
"What now?" the moments when he walks back to the table to put the
tweezers and choose another instrument are a brief repose - only the pain
has already settled too deep to go away so quickly. It will go away only
with my life.
"Now I am going to castrate you," his head is lowered thoughtfully,
voice soft and satiny, almost lulling. His profile is so clear, its fairness
almost beyond imagination, the dark silk of the lock casting a long
shadow on his face. The tool he chooses is the big tongs and my insides
go up. I look straight in his eyes when he walks back to me.
"What is your name?"
The pause is hardly perceptible, his steps don't slow down.
"You don't need to know my name, Thodin. It is enough that I know
Why do I still hope that he must be the one? Because to die of the hands
of a simple assassin is too bitter? Wrong. There is no bitterness in me. It
has always been LEXX - and our fight - that has mattered. Not Thodin.
"You could be the one who would destroy the Order. If you were
No muscle twitches in his face, even his dark eyelashes don't fall.
the tongs clasp on my balls and before he starts, I rush out:
"What is your name, Brunnen-G?"
He draws the handles together - and when the pain washes me off with
the first wave - it comes to me at last and I scream, the words replacing
my cry of pain:
"You don't remember, do you? You don't remember your name?"
//"What is your dad's name? Come on, you know!"
Your son giggles. He just doesn't take Stan seriously. But when he does
speak, it is Stan's name he says. He doesn't understand it when Stan
disappears, he wants him back. He keeps asking about him even when
you anathematize the traitor's name. He doesn't know how many people
die because Stan wants to live.
He gets to know it, after all. Too early to know such things - but it
life. He learns what he has to know - how to hide, how to kill. How to
He believes in our fight instead of believing in fairy tales.
He knows he will die. But he still calls for you when they tear his
I am sorry I was not there for you, my little one...
So much for the names.//
The wound in my groin gushes blood on the floor. He stands in front
me, the slick tongs hanging in his hands, his soft golden eyes searching
my face. Does he wonder for how long I will be able to last?
"Poor kid," my words are so muffled that it makes me smile in
amazement. I know he understands me, however - his senses are
sharpened - and it is not that I am the first man who tries to speak to him
with his mouth full of blood. "He took your memories. Just as he takes
memories of everyone he kills."
He doesn't interrupt me. His eyes are serious but with no more expression
than they have held before.
"You do feel cold, don't you?" I say softly. "Memories are what make
you warm. But they can be killing you, too."
"I am already dead," he says. I shake my head. He doesn't understand
now... or, maybe, he doesn't want to understand.
The tongs enter the open wound in my groin, turning there, and my brain
screams but I just splash some more blood from my mouth.
//"Surrender and he will be freed."
You don't believe it. The son of Thodin... huh! You am not mad enough
hope they will let him go. But you need to surrender. You need to be on
the Cluster on the day of the execution. It is the point of everything,
And you still think that, maybe, they will send him to the orphanage,
something like this. Maybe, you will never find him again, even after
your victory - but he will live.
As if you can help but bring your own sacrifice - after all these lives
have sacrificed by then.
He is still alive when they let you see him, blood leaking from his
and on his legs - and he trembles when you take him because he doesn't
recognized you, he thinks you will hurt him. Only he can't fight you, can't
It is the last victory of His Shadow - you give it to him. But your
breath... Can you let him have it?//
"Don't... don't let him take my memories as he took yours..."
For a moment I think I notice a flicker of understanding in his amber
eyes - a tiny spell of time when he looks at me and it seems he sees me.
Then he shakes his head, the silky strand dancing over his left eye, and
his face becomes a mask of haunting beauty.
"His Divine Shadow ordered me to rip out your tongue."
"As if it can help him!" now I don't speak for him, I scream for the
who isn't present but still is there, listening to us, controlling. "His
Shadow will be defeated. He has created his death when he created
The knife flashes in his hand, forced between my teeth, and it feels
flame, not like a blade, burning through the tissues. The flow of blood is
scalding, filling my throat, choking me, and I swallow it to be able to
breathe. Through a thin red veil I see the pale tranquil face and the soft
lips tremble slightly in the effort as he drives the gory lump out of my
//That is all, it is over, you will never be able to call the names
of your comrades-in-arms, of the woman you could love... of your son.
Not a bad thing, taking into account how many of them are dead...//
I see his hand unclenching, dropping my tongue on the ground - an ugly
clot, a useless piece of meat, deader than the one who has taken it. His
luminescent eye look at me.
"You can't beg to be killed now," he says quietly. Blood gurgles in
throat as I laugh.
I'd like to ask how His Shadow will like it. I can't, of course - and
would be a trashy question, after all. The fire in the back of my mouth
"But you will die all the same."
I smile, settling against the cold metal. Peace... He raises his hand,
wrist turned towards me, the shiny stingers looking at me, and I catch his
eyes, shaking my head furiously.
"What do you want, Thodin?" my name is like warm honey, said in his
smooth voice, and I wheeze, caring for being coherent no more than for
He listens - he understands me; I recognize this slightly absent
expression as he checks the compatibility of my request to His Shadow's
"I am killing you," he says. Then he makes a step towards me.
I pull my hand. The cuff tightens around it, almost crushing the bone,
pain is blinding - but I don't stop. I yank it, flaying off the skin,
dislocating the joints, with a distant part of my mind wondering whether
I will free it first or the cuff will cut it off.
I have it free. Not good for anything but what does it matter? Blood
dripping on the ground from my fingers as I raise my arm and put it
around his neck.
His cheek is smooth under my skinned fingers, marble-white against
scarlet - and he continues to look at me with his serious eyes, the
innocence in them almost childish. I pull his head to mine - these few
inches that are between us - and press my bloodied lips to his, soft and
cool and yielding.
It is not really a kiss - I have no tongue to thrust it in his mouth
- but I
hold him and he lets me - and I breathe out giving him everything I have.
Theo's hard chest under my fingers, my son's dulling eyes as he dies in
my hands, the strength of the cluster lizard I watch so closely, Zev's
fragrant mouth... I let it out in a flow of golden light leaking from my
lips to his and he inhales it - and his dark soft eyelashes tremble as if in
amazement. I feel my mind getting empty - but it is a good emptiness.
And then something comes from him to me, too. Not gold, just very pale
- the images dissolved to almost imperceptible. The song that would be
with me forever if I was supposed to live. My song. The moon-like face
of an old woman - taking my hope, giving the hope back. The girl
cupping her palms around my face.
Kai... his name is Kai.
I smile. The flash of white pain when the knife of His Shadow enters
The hissing sound of the harpoon shooting - and withdrawing again -
through my ribcage, breaking its way out, with my heart forked on it.
Perhaps I scream; I don't hear it any more. I don't know anything any
more. My senses are leaving - and my memories have already leave me.
My vision fails me - and in the last sparkle of consciousness I see Kai
standing with my heart in his palms, the expression of concentration on
his tranquil face slightly broken as he listens to something.
//Meet me on the other end, please.//