The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark #2)

The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark #2)

Veronica Roth


To my dad, Frank, my brother, Frankie, and my sister, Candice:

we may not share blood, but I’m so lucky we’re family.


“WHY SO AFRAID?” WE ask ourself.

“She is coming to kill us,” we reply.

We were once alarmed by this feeling of being in two bodies at once. We have grown accustomed to it in the cycles since the shift occurred, since both our currentgifts dissolved into this new, strange one. We know how to pretend, now, that we are two people instead of one—though we prefer, when we are alone, to relax into the truth. We are one person in two bodies.

We are not on Urek, as we were the last time we knew our location. We are adrift in space, the bend of the blushing currentstream the only interruption in the blackness.

Only one of our two cells has a window. It is a narrow thing, with a thin mattress in it and a bottle of water. The other cell is a storage room that smells of disinfectant, harsh and acrid. The only light comes from the vents in the door, closed now but not fully sealed against the hallway glow.

We stretch two arms—one shorter and browner, the other long and pale—in unison. The former feels lighter, the latter clumsy and heavy. The drugs have faded from one body but not the other.

One heart pounds, hard, and the other maintains a steady rhythm.

“To kill us,” we say to ourself. “Are we sure?”

“As sure as the fates. She wants us dead.”

“The fates.” There is dissonance here. Just as a person can love and hate something at once, we love and hate the fates, we believe and do not believe in them. “What was the word our mother used—” We have two mothers, two fathers, two sisters. And yet only one brother. “Accept your fate, or bear it, or—”

“‘Suffer the fate,’ she said,” we reply. “‘For all else is delusion.’”


LAZMET NOAVEK, MY FATHER and former tyrant of Shotet, had been presumed dead for over ten seasons. We had held a funeral for him on the first sojourn after his passing, sent his old armor into space, because there was no body.

And yet my brother, Ryzek, imprisoned in the belly of this transport ship, had said, Lazmet is still alive.

My mother had called my father “Laz,” sometimes. No one else would have dared but Ylira Noavek. “Laz,” she would say, “let it go.” And he obeyed her, as long as she didn’t command him too often. He respected her, though he respected no one else, not even his own friends.

With her he had some softness, but with everyone else . . . well.

My brother—who had begun his life soft, and only later hardened into someone who would torture his own sister—had learned to cut out a person’s eye from Lazmet. And how to store it, too, in a preservative, so it wouldn’t rot. Before I truly understood what the jars in the Weapons Hall contained, I had gone there to look at them, on shelves high above my head, glinting in the low light. Green and brown and gray irises, afloat, like fish bobbing to the surface of a tank for food.

My father had never carved a piece of someone with his own hands. Nor had he ordered someone else to do it. He had used his currentgift to control their bodies, to force them to do it to themselves.

Death is not the only punishment you can give a person. You can also give them nightmares.

When Akos Kereseth came to find me, later, it was on the nav deck of the small transport ship that carried us away from my home planet, where my people, the Shotet, now stood on the verge of war with Akos’s home nation of Thuvhe. I sat in the captain’s chair, swiveling back and forth to soothe myself. I meant to tell him what Ryzek had told me, that my father—if he was my father, if Ryzek was even my brother—was alive. Ryzek seemed certain that he and I didn’t actually share blood, that I was not truly a Noavek. That was why, he had said, I hadn’t been able to open the gene lock that kept his rooms secure, why I hadn’t been able to assassinate him the first time I tried.

But I didn’t know how to begin. With the death of my father? With the body we had never found? With the niggling feeling that Ryzek and I were too dissimilar in features to have ever been related?

Akos didn’t seem to want to talk, either. He spread a blanket he had found somewhere in the ship on the ground between the captain’s chair and the wall, and we lay on top of it, side by side, staring out at nothingness. Currentshadows—my lively, painful ability—wrapped around my arms like black string, sending a deep ache all the way down to my fingertips.

I was not afraid of emptiness. It made me feel small. Barely worth a first glance, let alone a second. And there was comfort in that, because so often I worried that I was capable of causing too much damage. At least, if I was small and kept to myself, I wouldn’t do any more harm. I wanted only what was within arm’s reach.

Akos’s index finger hooked around my pinkie. The shadows disappeared as his currentgift countered mine.

Yes, what was within arm’s reach was definitely enough for me.

“Would you . . . say something in Thuvhesit?” he asked.

I turned my head toward him. He was still looking up at the window, a faint smile curling his lips. Freckles dotted his nose, and one of his eyelids, right near the lash line. I hesitated with my hand just lifted off the blanket, wanting to touch him but also wanting to stay in the wanting for a moment. Then I followed the line of his eyebrow across his face with a fingertip.

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