She was dead.
She was dead and the 'verse was mourning.
It just didn't know it yet.
He had her body put in stasis, in a sepulture, covered with glass. She looked like she was sleeping.
Once, he had not been a man to dwell on the past. Or on revenge. Besides, he had killed the man who had killed her before she had breathed her last breath. There was no revenge left to take.
Except on every living thing.
Except on life itself.
Because of her, he could.
Because her death gave him the greatest fighting force ever known, fanatically dedicated to death already.
But even a genocidal rage can fade.
She was three days dead.
He had killed so many people in those three days. Killed, converted, tortured. Drank their pain like mother's milk.
It had not brought him peace. It had been deeply satisfying.
It made the army adore him. He could smell it on them. Hear it in their voices.
Maybe that was why it was not so satisfying any more.
Maybe it was time to leave the Helion system. Find something else to torture.
That'd just make the army adore him more.
But he should leave Helion Prime.
Should he bury Jack – Kyra? Should he build her a shrine?
How would Kyra want to be buried?
With the old man dead, he had no idea how to find out.
He stopped thinking about it.
Six days later. Another boring meeting. His mind was wandering. It wandered back to the holy man, dead.
The holy man was married. Had a wife and daughter.
Daughter . . .
He pushed back from the table. Boring meeting was over. Gestured with his head, and ten men fell into step around him.
They made their way to the old town. There were still people there; people not judged worth converting or killing yet. Children, mostly.
He found the house he had left them, the wife and daughter. Abu's necklace was still on the door. He hesitated at the threshold. He should do this gently. They had seen their planet brutalized, their streets run red with blood, their family torn to shreds.
He did not feel gentle.
He did manage not to kick the door in. Walked in softly, alone. He called softly, "Ziza?" That sounded kind of like gentle.
A rustling. A hesitant head poked out from behind a curtain. A flash of joy. "Riddick!"
His arms were suddenly full of five year old girl. He swung her up in the air and felt her joy wash over him. He hugged her tight, surprised at the prickle in his own eyes. "Your mother here, kid?" He managed to keep his voice steady.
She nodded. "Mama!"
After a pause, Lajjun emerged from behind the same curtain. Hesitant. Afraid. He should say something comforting. Let her know she was safe.
Yeah, right. Safe. The woman who had not kept his Jack safe. He shifted his grip on Ziza, moving her securely to his hip. He favored the cringing woman with a sardonic smile. "Coming?"
Without a look back, he left the tattered building, pocketing the holy man's necklace as he left.
"Did you find Jack?" Ziza asked as he loped into the Necropolis, his men and Lajjun following.
He thought about not answering. Finally, heavily, he told her.
"Where is she?"
Ziza was quiet for a long time. He started thinking about where to keep her. Where would be safe. Little girls should be safe, damn it.
Except the ones I'm killing.
This little girl broke into his increasingly dark thoughts. "Can I see her?"
He shrugged. Kid's got guts. "Sure." He could hear Lajjun protesting. Ignored her.
He took her to Kyra's body laying still, still serene. He could look at her now without executing the next person he saw. Executing. That was administrator talk. Damn. He was becoming an administrator.
Ziza stared at the body, solemnly. He put her down, suddenly feeling burdened by her weight. Lajjun came around fast to try to scoop her up. He gave her a measured look and she backed off, her fear a palpable presence in the crypt. Amazing that Ziza did not feel it.
Or maybe she did. "Riddick?" Ziza said, hesitantly subdued.
"Where's Auntie Jack?"