With the cadet girl standing by the door, head bowed, the two stared each other down. The conversation did not yet begin.




" Nova, I would like for you to return to Rasha with me," Mordau began.

" I would rather not," Nova replied.

" I understand that what I did was wrong," Mordau continued. " It was war."

" You said we were to discuss Prima. Then let us discuss Prima, and nothing else."


" I want you to disown him," Mordau stated. " For your own sake."

" I refuse."

" I've discovered the identity of his father," Mordau said.

Nova stiffened, sitting up.

" You what?"

Mordau stared directly into his eyes.

" It was my older brother," he said. " Who is not of nobility. And so, accordingly, when this comes out during his trial, Lyewa-Prima will have his title stripped. This will affect your faction significantly-"

Nova sighed, deeply, setting a hand to his forehead.

" ... I'll grant a title to your mother, then," he said.

" You absolutely may not," Mordau snapped. " What the fuck is wrong with you?"

" If the only issue is that your family isn't nobility, then I can fix that easily," Nova said.

Mordau stood.

" You know if you do that, you will be destroying my place in the House of Commons-"

" Prima is my brother, and he is indebted to me," Nova said. " I will not betray his trust."

" Why does he mean so much to you?! You disdained him only last year-!"

" I did not understand him last year!"

" I don't understand you as you are now!"

" How unfortunate for you, then."

" Who are you?" Mordau asked.

A pause.

" Who are you? You are not Nova. You don't carry the cast of his face, your hair is bleached, you waltz around with humans and their ilk- Where is Nova? What happened to all your rage, your anger, your elegance, your dedication? You've forgotten yourself! You're not well!"

" ... If this is all you've come to do, then you should return to Sturm," Nova said.

" Nova-!"

" Prima's birthday is this weekend. He is turning eighteen. I would rather you not try to disrupt the festivities."

" Nova, you know I would do anything for you," he pleaded. " I'm trying to protect your reputation. I'm here for your sake. You've been around these people for too long."

" Would you rather a title of Besca or Bedan?" Nova asked. " That is the only thing I have left to say to you."