Technically, Ekos wasn’t lost.
Hurtling end over end, nose over thruster through the cold deep in the dying light of a riftspace tidal wave. He only hoped the wave of byte and digit and signal flares he’d worked it in passed all the intended checkpoints.
He felt lost.
He’d destroyed the solar system, shredded riftspace throughout, and left the enemy squadron in smatterings and pieces. His own hull was damaged, engines not firing, adrift wherever he’d fall or riftspace would take him.
Ekos had been alone too long already, but now—
It burned within him coldly, he wouldn’t be found.
It was early evening at the great Summer Court, but it was storming outside and already quite dark. The lanterns and chandeliers had already been lit, and there were those who shivered when standing near any of the great windows of the royal hall. It had been winter for a very long time.
The second time Ishalat saw the Stone Prince, her heart clenched with the fierceness of her anger. He had the sword at his belt that had slaughtered hundreds of her people and the expression on his face was known for: nothing, in the terrifying manner of those who do not care what blood stains their hands if it is for the object of their own loyalty.