His expression hardened. “Don’t pity me, El. I don’t need it.”
“You say that like pity is a choice.”
“Everything is a choice. I learned that in the camps. The chief business of
life is deciding how best you are going to be unhappy. You can choose to feel
or not to feel; you can choose to exist or not to exist; and you can choose if
others live or die.” He laughed again, even more abrasively. “So long as others
don’t choose first, of course.”
“Maybe it’s not that simple.”
“You tell me that man chose to work for Arminius. And that he chose to
help murder your sister.”
“He wasn’t forced to do any of the things that he did,” said Torsten
darkly. “He did it because he wanted to.”
“Perhaps he did,” replied El quietly, “but what about you? Are you the man
you are today because you spent eight years in the camps, even though you
were innocent, or because you just chose to be this way? Would you apply
your harsh logic to yourself?”
His jaw tensed. “He deserved to die for what he did. That’s all that matters.”
El hesitated before answering. Who was she to challenge him? “You can’t
be so selective, Torsten. If you say that man chose to do certain things in his
life, then you must say the same about yourself.”
“And what’s that?”
“That you are the product of your choices and not of your circumstances.
But I think you know that that isn’t the whole truth. The forces at work outside
you can be as powerful as the forces at work within you. And both are
responsible for the darkness.”
Only one can save them.
The Rebellion has fallen.
The door to the Outside has been opened.
And the one who opened it—Jurien Arminius—is now the most powerful man in Darcentaria.
But everything they have known is about to change forever.
Separated by Arminius but fighting to get back to each other, El and Torsten encounter unlikely allies that reveal stunning truths about each other, the Outside, and the very beginnings of Darcentaria itself.
Jasmine is married to David, and together they are the proud owner-parents of five warring pet chickens who tolerate each others' existence—most days. When tempted away from the keyboard, she enjoys reading, thinking about lasagna almost as often as Garfield the cat, and working towards her black belt in karate. She vows to one day write the perfect fight scene. Jasmine makes her home near Sydney, Australia, where most animals want to kill you and drop bears enforce a daily reign of terror. If you're reading this, please send help.
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