Sorores suas in Sanguine

There’d been only three of them who survived. They’d been ambushed by that – thing. A thing not seen that couldn't be unseen. A whole company. Two hundred soldiers. All three sodals. Only the three of them left. It was never clear, but Paige could never stop seeing it.

Roiling and hard to see, even in full flash. The three of them had been thrown clear. They didn’t even know by what – and then there were the sounds, Brutal. Wet.

Catherine had to dig her way out – through the bodies, blood running into her mouth and flesh coming away in her hands as she fought for air. She found Paige first, sitting next to what was left of a soldier, falling apart. She still saw it – the body torn open, bowels strung out as though something had tried to eat them.

The Aleph had used that, turning their trauma into an advantage. They made them figureheads - emblazoned Sorores suas in Sanguine on their hardsuits so the others would be able to rally around them. The Sisters of the Blood, that was the mythology they built around them, the three who dealt in death. It made them better in only the worst ways. They were sent in to win the unwinnable and given access to dangerous amounts of neph.

They’d been designed to fight. Rebecca pretended they were hunting it, and they all believed the lie. There were engagements Catherine couldn’t even remember. She’d sink her full dose of neph and be someone else until the dropships returned for evac.

Rebecca was their anchor. She made it a game to see who could kill the most. Paige always won, but she never cared. She wasn’t interested in the winning. The killing kept it away. The adrenaline kept her from seeing it come through the trees - from seeing that soldier. Every second she spent killing them, was a second she was free.

Two hundred soldiers, not a single one of them whole. Every step - over or into someone they’d known. They spent hours looking for survivors; forcing themselves to brave the aftermath, before they found Rebecca – standing in the middle of it all, calmer than she should have been.