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The Sleeper and the Silverblood

In this 140k-word modern fantasy, two immortals—an ostracized spy and her VIP handler—seek to define their identities beyond their ancestral legacies as an enemy plots to manipulate their people's immortality.

Kitara Vakrenade longs for the chance to overcome a legacy of ancestral treachery. Storm Avensäel craves validation beyond the color of his blood and his father’s political position. So when veteran spy Kitara, a half-Fallen Sleeper harboring more than one dark secret, is paired with her new handler Storm, a powerful silverblood nursing a bitter grudge against her, sparks fly—sometimes, literally.

As Storm tries to reconcile the villain of his youth with the beautiful woman he’s getting to know—a woman whose allure grows stronger every day—Kitara investigates a fellow agent’s murder in Earth’s immortal underbelly. Then she discovers a plot hinging on the Fallen—Valëtyrian criminals brutally stripped of their immortalty…and the heart of both her family’s disgrace and Storm’s childhood tragedy.

Struggling with the lies that bind them, Kitara and Storm strive to define their identities amidst a growing web of lies, sorrow, and mistrust while an enemy threatens to redefine their existence altogether. 

Sarah J. Maas’s House of Earth and Blood meets Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series in The Sleeper and the Silverblood: a 140,000-word standalone modern fantasy novel with romantic elements. Featuring multiple alternate worlds while primarily set in our own, The Sleeper and the Silverblood follows a pair of winged immortals slowly burning through a not-quite-enemies-to-lovers romance while fighting internal and external demons to protect their friends, families, and home world. 

Inside an unremarkable office building nestled between a convenience store and a storage facility, a woman with golden wings subdued her adversary in a dance of bloodless violence. Every movement promised death to those who challenged her, an inescapable fate, a terrible beauty. 

Such a shame no one else appreciated her deadly grace, aside from the training holograms she so effortlessly defeated. 

As she prepared to engage with another faceless glowing body, the projected image froze, glitching with a broken visual, then cut out entirely.

“Damn secondhand equipment.” Slicking back the loose tendrils of her platinum blonde hair, barely damp with sweat, Kitara Vakrenade strode across a gym humming with technology that belied the unassuming exterior of the building humans perceived. Frowning, she tapped a crystalline monitor mounted to the wall, which didn’t respond to her input. 

Such was the norm for the Valëtyrian outpost in Spokane. Secondhand. Low priority. Ignored.

It didn’t escape her notice that this assignment mirrored the rest of her life. In fact, the High Councilor probably orchestrated it intentionally.

Giving up on the frozen, glitchy monitor, Kitara reached instead for a smaller crystalline device—her phone—and checked for notifications on the transparent screen. The last time, it drove her to the small training area to relieve her crushing disappointment.


If being ignored and low-priority was the defining attribute of her life, denial was a secondary thread. Denied a new post, denied additional responsibility; hell, denied an assignment utilizing even a fraction of her skill. The list continued, if Kitara let it. Denied a family, denied her one friend, denied anything but the soul-crushing tedium of her forgettable assignment in Spokane.

Denied, denied, denied. 

It made the fourth time this year the Agency of Interrealm Defensive Operations had rejected her reassignment request. Her facility’s local Commander didn’t make the decisions—Kitara knew the High Councilor directly vetoed them from his lofty location in Valëtyria. With her two allies on the High Council either deep undercover or enmeshed in human politics, Kitara had no one to advocate for her liberation from the crushing ennui. She’d alienated just about everyone else.

Merely existing as the child of a Fallen would do that.

As she traversed the labyrinth of cubicles and conference rooms, Kitara drew her wings back into the confines of her shoulders: a skill she and nearly every other winged immortal learned in early childhood. Most did so out of convenience—after all, with an average wingspan of nearly eight feet, knocking over objects or bumping into doorframes or any other number of small mishaps was inevitable. 

But in Kitara’s case, she hid them to obscure the glaring reminder of her otherness. The darkness tainting her bloodline, made obvious by the black flight feathers fringing her otherwise tawny gold wings.

A reminder of something Fallen…and something darker.

She returned to her small desk tucked in a corner of someone else’s cubicle and dropped into a creaky rolling chair with a sigh. Even her workspace wasn’t her own space.

Her profession demanded it. Living in the shadows of others’ lives so as to easily slip into the latest persona constructed by the AIDO. Don’t leave a mark. Don’t leave a trace. 

Like the holograms of the glitchy training program, once their usefulness was spent, they ceased to exist.

You cannot exist.

Those words weighed heavier on Kitara than her fellow Sleepers: the few Valëtyrian immortals capable of infiltrating enemy territory as double-agents. Her eyes drifted naturally to the miniature photo framed on her desk—the single iota of personalization she’d managed to scratch out here. Her jewel-green eyes lit with laughter, and her arms circled around a shorter girl with curly dark hair and eyes the color of the furthest reaches of Valëtyria’s alien cosmos. Her single source of light, for a little while.

Devika, her adopted sister. 

A shadow loomed over her desk, and Kitara looked up. 

Another angel—nearly as anonymous to her as the faceless sparring holograms—dropped a stack of paperwork in front of her. “Reports of Ostragarn’s most recent raids and blood sources,” he announced without preamble. “I need them indexed and cross-referenced by the end of the week.”

“Sure,” Kitara replied. “Anything else?”

The angel had already turned to leave, shoulders stiffened by the indignity of addressing the half-Fallen. “If you could get the ‘Georgias’ and ‘Naples’ and ‘Parises’ right this time, that would spare us the headache of spending nearly two days untangling it.”

“You got it,” she said through her teeth, refraining from pointing out someone else did the reports the week prior. 

To them, she was an assistant, a secretary, a janitor, a gopher. They didn’t bother learning her name much less learn to distinguish her work from someone else’s.

“Have a good night.”

He didn’t deign to respond, sweeping from the borrowed cubicle with all the pompousness an intact angel could muster in the face of Fallen offspring. Not all Valëtyrians acted like this; in fact, most Valëtyrians were pretty open-minded about the Fallen since the AIDO installed one onto their High Council some years prior. But out here in the backwater? Opinions and mindsets evolved as slowly as Valëtyria upgraded Spokane’s secondhand, glitchy tech. 

Once a criminal, always a criminal.

Even if the sins were those of the parent, not the child.

Kitara pulled the stack of paperwork toward her and rolled her shoulders before she began to skim the data.

Never mind her existence bordered on miraculous, given the low birth rate among Valëtyrians. Their evolution just didn’t allow for it. Infinite lives, finite resources. And if stripped of that immortality? No Fallen should have conceived, much less survived giving birth to a fully-immortal child. 

For all intents and purposes, Kitara’s existence was not just rare, it was impossible.

And that didn’t even factor in the contribution of her father…

No. Kitara would not think of him. To think of him would only bring memories of that day—

Her phone chirped, and Kitara pulled it from her pocket, grateful for the distraction.


A video call.

Glancing around for anyone who might disapprove of taking a personal call, Kitara slipped in a pair of earbuds and answered with a smile. “Hey.”

Just a glance of the other immortal’s familiar face soothed Kitara’s soul. 

Devika smiled back. “Hi.”

Kitara leaned back in her chair and propped her phone on the desk. “How are you? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, things are great! I just wanted to check on you, see how you’re doing.”

Wherever Devika called from, Kitara couldn’t identify the time of day. The angel’s background consisted of bookshelves and not much else. “How’s the new Historian gig going?”

“It’s so awesome, Kitara. It’s nothing like Spokane…not even a little.”

“In a good way, I hope?”

Devika snorted. “I didn’t realize how outdated Spokane’s tech was until I got to headquarters. Everything here is so…state of the art.”

“Even the library?” Kitara asked, her tone teasing. “Or have they retired the ancient methods of paper and ink?”

“Both, actually,” the other woman said, gesturing vaguely behind her. “They’ve got hard copies of anything that was originally scribed that way, but everything is digitized too. It’s all holoscreens and tablets and instant searches. Literal heaven.”

“For you,” Kitara said with a grin, carefully hiding her pang of jealousy. If Devika suspected for a moment Kitara wasn’t handling their separation well, she’d consider quitting. Kitara wasn’t about to let her do that. “Give me old-fashioned sparring dummies any day.”

Shrewd as ever, Devika replied, “The holo targets glitch on you again?”

“It’s like you can read my mind.”

“No, but I know it’s not cold enough there for jackets, and still you’re wearing one.”

Kitara glanced down at the nondescript hoodie she hadn’t bothered shedding while holo-sparring. “So?”

“So, on good days, you don’t need it.”

The Sleeper sighed, and her smile slipped a little. “My reassignment request was denied. Again.”

“Oh, Kitara, I’m sorry.”

Kitara picked at the peeling surface of the old desk chair and looked away. “It’s fine. I didn’t expect anything different really, but he could at least do me the courtesy of pretending to consider it.” 

Devika’s eyes shimmered for a moment. “I wish you could come here. Stars, you could make such a difference here. I just know it. They’re wasting you in Spokane.”

“I’m not even requesting a headquarters assignment. Anywhere else would be better. But Cornelius wants it that way,” Kitara said bitterly, naming the High Councilor sans title. “As if I don’t have enough reminders of my parents’ sins, he wants me thinking he might officially exile me any time too.”

“Kenric wouldn’t stand for that,” Devika staunchly maintained, her brow furrowing. “And his opinion holds a lot of weight as headquarters’ Commander.”

“Not when it comes to anything relating to the Fallen.”

They both quieted at the reminder, at their collective memory of the devastation writ on their adopted brother’s face as his heart broke ten different ways.

Kitara sighed. “Even if he could do anything, I don’t know that he would. We’ve barely spoken in the last five years.”

“Kenric loves you,” Devika said without hesitation. “Are you telling me if he needed you, you wouldn’t drop everything to help him?”

“Assuming I knew where he was,” Kitara replied, the corner of her mouth turning up.

 Devika laced her fingers together. “And I bet, if he did need your help, you’d find HQ’s location in less than an hour. You’re good at what you do, Kitara. The only reason you don’t know our exact coordinates already is because you’re politely following protocol that says you can’t.”

Kitara snorted at the astute assumption. After Devika’s transfer, she had considered doing exactly that for her own peace of mind. But she hadn’t wanted to give Cornelius additional leverage over her life if he found out. 

She was good, but he was the High Councilor.

“Kenric would do anything for you, including argue with a High Councilor,” Devika continued, oblivious to her friend’s introspection. “Even if he did get distant, after…” 

Kitara nodded, glancing away with a twinge of discomfort. They hadn’t known how to help him then, and Kitara wasn’t sure they’d be able to help him even now. “I’m just glad you are both there together. You can watch out for each other.”

“But who watches out for you?”

The Sleeper looked back at her friend’s concerned expression, her gaze hard. “You know better than anyone I can take care of myself.”

Another violent memory. Another moment of pain in their collective lives. They had all experienced their fair share in different ways.

Devika’s smile was strained. “Well, luckily you don’t have to worry about any silverbloods out there.”

Kitara’s eyes narrowed in scrutiny of her friend. “Are you second-guessing your decision to transfer again?”

“No, not at all. He’s not here, it’s just…” She hesitated. “I see Storm in passing sometimes and—” She grimaced. “Shoot, I probably wasn’t supposed to tell you that.”

Kitara waved a hand at her. “Just you and me here, Dev. Your mental health is more important to me than the AIDO’s headquarters’ policy. Cornelius’s son?”

“I assume so, unless there’s a third one nobody’s known about.”

Kitara snorted. “We’ve a better chance of assimilating Ostragarn than somehow overlooking the existence of a third silverblood.”

“My point exactly. Still, I give Storm a wide berth.”

Kitara’s brow furrowed. “Any nightmares?”

“A couple, but after I got settled, they haven’t been as bad.”

“You can always call me if you have one, okay? I’ll always make time for you.”

“ I’ve been okay. My quarters are right behind the library, so if I have a bad one, I just go get lost in some books.” 

“It does sound like heaven for you,” Kitara teased, pleased when Devika’s lips turned up.

“For me, nothing could be closer.”

Kitara returned the smile. “You’re happy there, silverbloods or not; I can see it. And honestly, that’s what’s most important to me. That you’re happy and safe.”

 Devika nodded, though a shadow briefly crossed her face. “I am happy here…but I’d be happier if you were here too.” 

Kitara managed a small smile despite the ache of missing her friend. “Maybe someday.”

“Someday.” Devika echoed back, her eyes reflecting the same yearning. For a moment the silence hung between them, heavy with unspoken promises and whispered wishes.

“But until then, try to avoid entanglements with any silverbloods, okay?” Kitara feebly teased. “I don’t think headquarters would appreciate me razing the place to get to you. Which I would, you know.”

“Absolutely, wouldn’t dream of putting you through that trouble,” Devika replied, her voice laced with a wistful kind of humor. “Can you imagine the paperwork?”

They shared a laugh, but the harsh truth of the words tainted the humor. Still, they clung to the moment of shared levity like a lifeline, an ephemeral balm for their long-distance friendship.

“I love you, Dev,” Kitara said. “Talk again soon, okay?”

“We will. I love you too.” 

The call ended, leaving Kitara alone once more in a space where she had no place, amongst supposed allies who saw her only as a potential threat…or didn’t see her at all.

They thought her half-Fallen, tainted with shadow and too lowly for their notice.

But therein lay the irony: they could never know the true extent of the invisibility she wielded, the unabridged darkness of the legacy she inherited, the full weight of the secrets she bore, or the level of destruction she had wrought to protect her loved ones.

They could never know how the reality of Kitara’s unnoticeable existence held the potential to noticeably unmake their own.


Outside the library of AIDO headquarters, down a hall of marble columns and gilt scrollwork, past a statue of an angel brandishing a book aloft, and across a two-story lobby featuring spectacular crystal chandeliers and mezzanine balconies, dense clusters of whispering immortals lingered just outside the personal space of a silver-eyed angel studying the ceiling of headquarters’ recreational lounge.

Like he was the sun, and they planets in his orbit.

Hell, to some of them, he was their sun. Their shining star, their source of light.

But Storm Avensäel had no desire to be these immortals’ sun or anything else.

What he wanted was choice. The option to choose his own path, to dictate his own destiny, to have any kind of say over his own life.


Denied. We’ve discussed this, Storm. Next time, I won’t give you the courtesy of a personal reply.

– Dad

Storm scowled at the ceiling, remembering the abrupt missive. 

Denied, denied, denied.

Despite glowing recommendations from his commanding officers, his instructors, even the High Warrior himself, still his father refused to grant him a chance.

Every other Major in the Warrior profession commanded their own regiment. But not Storm. No, Storm’s hard-earned rank may as well have been ornamental.

Major Avensäel. Majorly useless. Good only for smiling and placating and “inspiring,” as his father would say.

An angel in a white t-shirt and camo tactical pants crossed the invisible barrier separating Storm from the other loitering immortals. Yawning, he flopped into a neighboring chair. “‘Sup.”

“Hey, Declan.” Storm didn’t look away from his intense study of the ceiling.

“Did someone run over your dog?” Declan noted the silverblood’s surly expression.

“Dad vetoed my request for my own regiment,” Storm muttered. “Again.”

“Didn’t the High Warrior personally suggest you command one?” Declan asked, his brow furrowing.

“Yep. My Academy instructors too. He didn’t care.”

“That sucks man, sorry.”

Storm finally turned to look at his friend and the closest thing he had to a brother. They had been almost inseparable since their days together in Valëtyria’s military Academy nearly three decades ago, when Declan became his temporary Guardian.

Guardians held a role similar to Warriors, except their role tended toward strictly defensive, not offensive, measures for the AIDO. Warriors sought out battle and made up the majority of the AIDO’s active military, constantly changing locales at the direction of their commanding officers, while Guardians remained at one post for years at a time.

In Declan’s case, he had been assigned to Storm during Storm’s years at the Academy. By the time Storm graduated, they’d developed a strong bond and stayed close. Now Declan headed a regiment responsible for protecting AIDO headquarters. It was a prestigious assignment: one Storm envied him. 

“How is it you got to be a Captain at headquarters, but I’m still stuck placating the masses?”

Declan snorted. “I don’t go looking for fights, that’s how. You’re constantly itching for one.”

“I’m a Warrior,” Storm complained. “We’re supposed to look for fights.”

“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”

Storm ran a frustrated hand through his ink-black hair. “Maybe I wouldn’t be itching for a fight if I had an appropriate outlet for my energy.”

“We could go for a duel,” Declan suggested. “I don’t mind helping you work off some frustration.”

“Don’t tell me you and Zayne want to keep being my pincushions every time I’m in a bad mood?”

“Dude, if you weren’t my friend, I’d tell you to fuck right off,” Declan retorted, but laughter sparkled in his eyes. “You’re not that good.”

He was, and they both knew it. These days, Declan and their other friend, Zayne, could only take him out if they faced him together, and even then, it wasn’t a guarantee. With excessive amounts of free time and access to a cutting-edge military gym, Storm had honed his skills to just shy of Sleeper-level proficiency. Declan and Zayne, however, had jobs and responsibilities.

Storm would have preferred the latter to the former.

“Maybe I should switch professions,” Storm muttered. “Become a Guardian. Then I might be allowed to do something.”

Declan snorted. “Not with that chip on your shoulder. I don’t think William would let you in.”

“Maybe Alasdair could put in a good word with him.”

“Maybe,” Declan conceded.

“Where is he, anyway?” Storm asked, glancing around. 

The Guardian shrugged. “Dunno. Said something about a last-minute emergency.”

“That could mean one of his machines needs a reboot, or there’s a horde of Ostragonians bearing down on us,” Storm complained.

“Yep. And we won’t know till he’s done.”

Another friend who had a job and responsibilities, whose existence mattered beyond the circumstances of their birth.

Storm barely managed to suppress a bitter sigh. “I don’t know how to make my dad understand the color of my blood doesn’t matter. That the way I was born doesn’t matter. Not really. He and my mom had sex and I showed up, so what? Who cares?”

Declan sat back a little, like Storm had slapped him. “That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?”

Storm glanced at him. “Am I wrong?”

His friend looked around at the loitering immortals and lowered his voice. “You are and you know it.”

Storm snorted. “Don’t tell me you’re in awe of my very existence too.”

“I won’t kiss your ass like the others do, if that’s what you mean, but yeah, man. Obviously.”


“You and Phoenix are the only recorded natural-born children of the Myragnar. That means something. Hell, even most Valëtyrian kids are test-tube babies these days.”

The ethereal Myragnar—his mother’s people—were considered some of Valëtyria’s strongest immortals, rumored to possess metaphysical abilities beyond those of other Valëtyrians. However, they’d hidden in their realm for so long, it wasn’t clear how much of that was truth or hyperbole. 

“I think I’d prefer to be a test-tube baby.”

Declan frowned. “That’s asinine,” he admonished. “You were born with advantages and abilities none of us possess. People dream of being you.”

A flicker of guilt crossed Storm’s face. He hadn’t meant to hurt his friend, but his frustration ate at him, gnawing away whatever sense of decorum he had left.

“I don’t want them to dream of being me, Declan,” Storm said, quieter now. “I want them to see me.”

His words hung in the air, a palpable tension settling between them. The silence filled with the hum of the surrounding immortals and the distant echoes of headquarters. 

Declan studied him for a long moment with bright blue eyes, brow furrowed. Finally, his expression softened. “Sometimes, I forget how much it bothers you.”

“Everyone does,” Storm muttered, “because it’s easier to forget.”

The recreational lounge buzzed with activity around them—immortals chatting quietly, book pages rustling, and the soft clink of spoons against coffee cups—but to Storm the world felt too quiet. Too distant. A sphere of existence that saw him and yet remained oblivious to who he truly was.

“You’re not just a silverblood,” Declan said finally. “You’re Storm Avensäel.” He shrugged one shoulder slightly. “You’re my friend and my brother-in-arms. You’ve got your faults—stars, do you have your faults—but you’re more than what they see. It’s not about proving yourself to them or to your father.”

Storm sighed, sinking further into his chair. “I don’t know,” he grumbled. “Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m fighting for anymore.”

Before Declan could reply, the comm unit on his wrist chirped in urgent staccato. 

“For fuck’s sake, it’s my day off,” the Guardian complained, pulling out his phone. As he read the notification, his expression sobered. “Shit. I gotta go.”

“What happened?” Storm asked, straightening. “Can I help?”

“I don’t think so,” Declan said, standing and pocketing his phone again. “It’s something at the perimeter, maybe just a drill, but they need me up there.”

“All right.”

Declan clapped a hand to his friend’s shoulder. “Try to lighten up. Something’s gotta give eventually. He can’t keep you locked down forever.”

“Wanna bet?” Storm muttered.

“Just keep appeasing the masses and doing the mascot thing for a bit longer. You know who you are, what you’re capable of. Don’t let anyone—not even your father—tell you any differently.”

“I’ll try.”

Declan disappeared from the lounge, and Storm pointedly avoided the gaze of the nearby immortals hoping to catch his attention. The problem was, Storm lacked certainty in his own identity. He knew what people saw when they looked at him: a silverblood, a prize specimen of their kind, the natural-born son of a Myragnar, a miracle. But beyond that, how could he expect his father or the masses to see him as something more when such clarity eluded even himself?

“As a silverblood, you have a duty to embody the best of not just Valëtyria, but the Myragnar as well,” his father told him once. “To aspire to less dishonors your mother’s legacy.”

They’d stayed hidden in their citadel, Myragos, so long, sometimes Storm wondered if any of the Myragnar still lived, scarce as sightings of them were. The way Cornelius Avensäel talked about his wife sometimes, some might think she was already dead. 

Not that the High Councilor spoke of his wife much anymore, and Storm found himself automatically following suit. Everyone else stopped asking about her years ago. Hell, maybe most of them did think of her as dead.

Maybe all the Myragnar were as good as dead in the eyes of Valëtyrians, which led to Storm’s current predicament: symbolizing one of only two remnants of the Myragnar’s once-great people.

He clenched his fists over his jean-clad thighs. His honor-bound aspirations regarding his mother differed greatly from his father’s—he intended to do her legacy justice by following in her footsteps as a Warrior. A leader. Someone the masses respected for more than something so paltry as the color of her blood.

But he couldn’t become that great Warrior leader if his father shot down his every attempt to assume a commanding role. Almost as if the High Councilor couldn’t bear the similarities between them, the reminder of what led to his wife’s condition.

The people might see him as their sun, their beacon of hope…but his father saw him only as an extension of what he’d lost.

If Storm ever had the opportunity to face those responsible for shattering his family, no one—not Warriors, not Guardians—would deny him the true fight he’d desperately craved for so long.

No one. 

Not even his father.

That one even escaped unscathed from that encounter had eaten Storm alive for nearly half a century.

And for her sake, she’d better pray Storm never found whatever dark, squalid corner of the cosmos the AIDO had stuck her in since then.

KITARA VAKRENADE is a Sleeper agent for the Agency of Interrealm Defensive Operations (the “AIDO”) of Valëtyria—an interdimensional realm of technologically advanced angels. Following another agent’s murder, Kitara accepts an assignment in Bucharest to find the suspected perpetrator: a pseudonymous immortal called “THE MAKER.”

STORM AVENSÄEL, son of Valëtyria’s High Councilor, becomes Kitara’s new handler, despite believing Kitara’s family responsible for his mother’s decades-long coma.

Kitara goes undercover as a Fallen: a Valëtyrian genetically stripped of their immortality via a Valëtyrian-formulated compound. But Kitara hides a darker secret, one that manifests occasionally via an inherited destructive power she sometimes struggles to control. Storm’s friends, DECLAN, ZAYNE, and ALASDAIR, are introduced.

Kitara meets BAYLEN, who works for the Maker. While she tries to use him to identify the mysterious immortal, Baylen reveals knowing of Kitara’s dark parentage and more: her father’s twin, SHYAMAL, assassinated her family. Insisting he is not her enemy, Baylen speculates Ostragarn’s current leader, ITZAL, plans to use the Fallen against Valëtyria. He also shares that Ostragarn put a price on her head after she escaped her family’s assassination.

Storm’s opinion of Kitara warms after learning his mother tried to rescue Kitara’s family from the assassins, and they find themselves drawn closer together. Most Valëtyrian information about the Fallen is locked in Myragos, where Storm’s mother’s people, the Myragnar, live. Storm portals there to learn more and discovers the Fallen formula was originally developed as a weapon against the Ninthëvels, a powerful family of now-deceased angels.

Someone tampered with the Fallen formula, leading to the destruction of the Myragnar’s home realm. Storm theorizes Itzal plans to use the Fallen formula to try and do the same to Valëtyria, then discovers a file revealing Kitara’s father was a Ninthëvel.

Feeling misled, Storm confronts Kitara about her parentage. Baylen reveals he knows so much about Kitara because the Maker led Shyamal’s assassins to her family. Itzal’s people ambush Kitara after discovering the bounty on her head. Kitara uses her father’s destructive power to defend herself, after which Storm arrives to take her back to the AIDO. Kitara explains her heritage to Storm, including how Storm’s father swore her to secrecy upon her initiation into the AIDO. Storm admits he’s fallen for her, and their relationship turns romantic.

Itzal incapacitates a large number of AIDO facilities and steals the Fallen formula before brutally severing the wings of Valëtyria’s angels. Headquarters’ Commander is among those mutilated. Baylen unintentionally reveals he is the Maker. He killed the AIDO’s former Sleeper who was, in fact, an Ostragonian mole. Baylen further reveals he is Shyamal’s son, and he has searched for Kitara, his cousin, ever since his unwitting role in her family’s assassination.

Itzal attacks headquarters and abducts Storm. Storm’s mother wakes from her coma. Baylen agrees to help Kitara rescue Storm, then claims he, “the Maker,” can restore Valëtyria’s angels, demonstrating as much on the Commander.

Baylen, Kitara, and Declan portal to Ostragarn where Itzal tortures Storm. They attempt to negotiate a “faux” trade, but Itzal Fells Storm, explaining the Fallen formula will allow him to control Valëtyria. He then attempts to Fell Kitara, only for them all to realize that because of her mother’s genetics and her father’s role as the formula’s creator, she can’t be Felled. Kitara kills Itzal, inadvertently leveling his entire base, and Baylen portals them back to the AIDO. Kitara desperately attempts to “unFell” Storm, ultimately succeeding.

Kitara wakes in Valëtyria’s long-term infirmary. Reunions abound. Storm’s mother explains Kitara’s father developed the Fallen formula, after which Shyamal impersonated him to sabotage it. Her father was not a traitor and was always their ally. Storm’s mother further reveals the former Sleeper, who Baylen killed, kept her comatose to deal her blood as currency in Ostragarn. Storm suffers from PTSD. Baylen offers Kitara an opportunity to join his organization as his right hand, which she accepts. Storm opts to join them, deciding to switch professions and become a Guardian. Storm and Kitara explain they are not renouncing Valëtyria but instead want to define their own identities outside of it. Kitara then successfully unFells Robert.