I Know You

SPOILER WARNING

(If you’ve read The Sundered, you’re good to go. Otherwise, head back to the short stories for safer fare.)

I know you.

I knew you when you were born, a squalling red creature of wrinkles and tears.

I knew you when you fell into the cold, dead water of the Academy, and counted yourself fortunate that was only practice.

I knew you when you first knew a woman – a girl, a child like you – behind the book closet in your school.

I knew you when your first Sundered died, when you wept for loss and sorrow – and your father hid you in shame.

I know what you can be, Harry Iskinder. Painter. Creator. Teller of tales in word and color. I know that you can be the leader of men you crave to become.

I also know you will choose wrong.

Cowardly. Damaged. Too young. Too alone. Too determined to be alone.

You deny what you are, but I know.

I will make you what you ought to be, Harry Iskinder. I will repair the wounds and burns given by your own precious people.

For a time, you will not thank me.

In the end, you will. I know you.

You will never be alone.

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