Joy at their return replaced agony. With the music, strength that had faded grew. Knowing it would not last, she had to react now. I have to defeat him completely. She straightened and turned to face Skad.
He was not there. “We’re not finished. In the end, you won’t win.” The words faded. Bitterness of defeat was all that remained.
“But we’ve won this time.” She held up her left hand. “I have the ring. The power of The Discipline is mine to use for good.” A heavy weight lifted from her.
Keleon carried Mary through the doorway. Pulling the voices close, Colli lowered her hand and went to meet them. She touched the wound in Mary’s leg, with her left hand. Blood stiffened the material of Mary’s pants. Warm healing passed between Colli and Mary. The wooden fragment that stuck into Mary’s flesh fell into the stream, and floated away.
Mary stood, pushing away from Keleon. “It’s time to go home.” Mary took Colli’s right hand.
“I am home.” With her left hand, Colli reached to Keleon. Energy from the ring passed through the three of them. The voices joined in.
Colli sat up and stretched. It had been a good night’s sleep. Warm confirmation from small voices brought comfort she’d missed for too long.
“Hey sleepy head.” Mary stuck her head through the open door. “Keleon’s downstairs. We need to get going. Your briefing to the contingent has been set for tomorrow, lunar time.”
“I’ll be down in five minutes.” Colli twirled the ring on her finger, then pulled the chain with the coin from around her throat. “There’s one thing I need to do before we leave for the moon. Tell Keleon to prepare that thing he calls a car.”
“It’s good to have you back.” Mary smiled.
“It’s good to have the music back.” Colli drew the soft chorus of voices close, and prepared to face her new life.