Carver, a sharp knife of a man, hunts the dead for a living, only now someone's hunting him.
When war breaks out, keeping Riven's ashen avenues clear of all the new spirits gets tougher. They're angry, trying to take bites out of Carver's hide. Makes taking Selena out on the town dangerous. Not that she's afraid, seeing as she's one of them, but it's hard being romantic when you're on the run from a bunch of bloodthirsty ghosts.
So when a strange spirit tells Carver he's got a solution for all of the hunter's problems, Carver listens.
Turns out all he's got to do is die.
Now, as Riven is buried in a tidal wave of angry spirits, Carver has to find out who wants him dead, and why.
The door opened inward, revealing an even greater disaster on the other side. Rubble from a caved-in roof spread across the floor, stone blocks split in half or smaller pieces scattered around. Dust swirled and danced in Riven’s cold light. The same gray cast colored everything in this world. Sitting on the rubble, head between his hands, was a man. Or at least what used to be one.
His hair was thinning, some spare spidery wisps falling to touch his dirty white collar. A bow-tie hung askew beneath his neck, the lone spot of black until the man’s torn trousers. He’d lost his shoes somewhere on the way to here. I noticed the watch on one hand, gold and shining. Rare to see something like that come through. Must have been a present, a treasured gift.
“Be careful,” Selena whispered. “This one’s got an edge.”
“It won’t get close,” I replied, and raised the lash.READ MORE
As my lash went into the air, its length whipping up and stretching over my right shoulder, the man looked up at me. No matter how many times I’ve seen their eyes, they never fail to send a shiver running through my nerves. Pale blue fire burned where their pupils should be. The sign of a spirit that’s been consumed, that’s lost what little remained of who they were.
“Now you’ve come again,” the man said, standing. “Come to take what’s mine, as you have so many times before.”
“This will be the last, I promise,” I said, and then I swung the lash. It went forward, snapping in the air. The lash wrapped around the man’s neck, the metal points digging into the spirit. The points made the man’s gray skin stretch and warp as they dug in, and then I twisted my wrist.
The lash turned the same color as the man’s eyes. Blue fire tracing from my hand down the length of the lash and through those points into the man. The spirit howled, an otherworldly noise carrying all the pain the spirit had suffered to bring him here. To Riven and to let him stay.
As the blue flames covered the man, he fell to his knees and grew silent. Seconds later, I saw his eyes extinguish and twisted my wrist back. The lash returned to its normal black and, with a flick of my arm, I withdrew the coil and watched.
The man stood and walked towards me. I stepped aside, back into the room with the chair, and Selena moved with me. The man kept walking, right by us, through the room, and down the stairs at the other end. He would keep walking on a long journey until he reached the Riven’s center. The thing that both made Riven necessary and terrible. The Cycle.COLLAPSE