"You're going to die," said Cassian.
Jezebel did not look up from his careful dissection of a human eye. Cassian watched him idly for a few moments, studying the intent expression, the meticulous fingers. When he at last laid down his scalpel, Cassian repeated his statement.
"Why, yes," said Jezebel, as if he were surprised that Cassian would bring such an obvious fact to his attention. "I won't live to see the new year, I think."
"Don't you care?" asked Cassian, the spark of anger that always accompanied these conversations flaring.
"My goals will be accomplished by then," said Jezebel, calm as the grave. "Living beyond that point would be unnecessary."
"You don't even want to try."
Jezebel was silent for a long, tired moment. Then he said, "Look at this eye."
It resembled nothing so much as a gigantic tadpole, with a bloody tail issuing from its bulbous head. The iris had once been brown – or hazel, more like, the colour people said they had when they thought brown was boring. But here there really were flecks of green, uncanny in their still, blank vision.
"It's not utterly tedious," said Jezebel, "but it's nothing special, either."
Cassian thought of Cain's green-gold eyes, like a cat's, like nothing else on earth or other places. God-touched, or something worse. There was something fundamentally wrong about them, as if he lacked some essential component, or had too much of it. The eyes marked Cain out as different, as something more or less than human, but all they really did was act as warning. It was Cain that made them special; it was Cain who had the thing - everything - that Jezebel lacked.
"Neither's he," Cassian said, bitterness welling in his throat.
"Yes, he is," said Jezebel, infuriatingly certain, and returned to his work.