Brann had all but forgotten the cut on his face, but now Rafel said “Brann, best have that wound cleaned and salved”. Brann said “But it is nothing, Rafel. There are others much worse.” “But you are a commander” the Lightstone-Bearer said “and if the dirt should turn the wound bad, you will be incapacitated.” “Rafel is right, Brann” Tamorine told him, so he nodded , and went to join the less seriously wounded waiting for the Healers’ attention, where he sat with Tarn and Kerrin, talking over the day’s events, until one of the Healers took them to be cared for. Another Healer came to Brann, who felt constrained to apologise for taking his time from others. He explained what Rafel had said,and the Healer smiled, and said “The Lightstone-Bearer speaks truly, Brann. A few moments’ care now will save problems in future, and it will not take much of my time.” The Healer was quick and deft, and Brann’s cut was soon well cleansed, and salved, leaving him free to go his way. He found that the main cavern was much quieter. Some of the Lightfriends and Students had gone to find food for the tired forces, the wounded were in the Healing Place that the Healers had set up, and those left in the place were resting or talking quietly, some cleaning weapons or freeing themselves of the remaining dust from the collapse of the Dark City. Now that the initial confusion of their return had died down, the wounded were settled, and plans left to be made after all had rested, Brann felt he had time to breathe at last. He was hungry and bone-weary, but he could not rest till he had found Tamorine and opened his heart to her. She might reject him, but it would be better than not knowing.
He had not seen her in the Healing Place, nor was she among those waiting in the main cavern for food. In fact, she was nowhere to be seen, and no one he asked had seen her recently. Brann thought that perhaps she was with the Lightstone-Bearer, and so he made his way to Rafel’s Quiet Place, next to the Place of Prayer. The heavy curtain was drawn across the entrance to the Place of Prayer, but Rafel’s Quiet Place was open. Tamorine was not there, but the Lightstone-Bearer was seated in one of the carved chairs, a scroll in his lap. He was not reading it, though, but gazing thoughtfully as if into the distance. Brann was unwilling to break into his meditations, but Rafel, Perceiving Brann’s presence, turned his blue gaze to the Swordsman and asked “Brann? Do you need me?” “I cannot find Tamorine, and I need to speak with her”, Brann answered. “Have you seen her?” “Yes, she is in the Place of Prayer.” “Oh!” Brann exclaimed. “Then I will not disturb her.” But the Lightstone-Bearer’s eyes fixed on his, seeming to Bran to be touched with an inscrutable expression, as he said “I believe you should, Brann.” Brann frowned at this odd comment, but, trusting Rafel, he nodded, and said “Very well”, then turned towards the Place of Prayer. He pulled aside the heavy curtain and went in, letting it swing down behind him again. He felt a shock when he saw Tamorine. She was kneeling before the Crucible, but there was something frighteningly strange in her attitude. She was bowed over so that she was curled almost into a ball, her arms wrapped around herself, her honey-gold hair, unusually unbound, spilling down over her knees. She was rocking a little, as if in pain. Her whole body, Brann realised, spoke agony. He ran to her, in terror that she had some undisclosed wound from the battle, or that some sudden, deadly sickness had overtaken her. Dropping to his knees beside her, he exclaimed “Tamorine, what is it – what is wrong?” When she did not answer, he gently drew back her long hair and lifted her head. He had been very much afraid that he might see blood, but there was none. She had no bodily wounds, but something was hurting her grievously. Her face was wet, running with tears, and there was blood after all, a single bright bead of it on the poor, crushed lip that she had all but bitten through in her efforts to hold back any sound of her grief. Brann, made even more vulnerable to her pain by his love for her, cried out in mingled love and pity “Oh, my heart! What ails you?”
The girl’s mouth opened, as if to answer him, but the only sound that emerged was a painful sob. Brann could not bear her sorrow. He pulled her against him, holding her tight and trying to comfort her. It seemed to Brann that Tamorine relaxed a little in his embrace, and he lifted her face and wiped away her tears. His gaze fixed on her trembling, wounded mouth and he leaned towards her, murmuring her name. Her eyes seemed strangely frightened and she whispered “Brann, no!” But when he gently kissed her, her lips clung sweetly to his, and when the kiss ended and he told her “Tamorine, I love you!” she murmured dreamily, her eyes closed, “Oh Brann, my love!” Brann felt a surge of joy, but it was short-lived. Suddenly Tamorine’s eyes flew open, she stiffened in his arms, pushing him away, and cried “Brann, no! I should not have -” Her voice broke off, and she was crying again, bitterly. Brann, confused and unhappy, asked again “But, Tamorine, what is wrong?” She did not answer his question, but sobbed “Why did you say it? I could have borne it if only you had not said that you – you love me!” “Aye, I love you. And you called me your love -did you not?” A sudden doubt assailed him – yet she had returned his kiss so warmly. “Oh, Brann, I do love you – but I must not love you!” His head was spinning. “What can you mean, Tamorine? If you love me, I want you with me always. I want you for my Lady.” “Brann -no! I cannot – must not – love you. I can never marry you. Oh, I should not have let you love me!” “How could you stop me?” he demanded. “Is it that you are promised – betrothed to another?” “No, Brann. I cannot marry – you, or any.” “But why?” he insisted. “Is it because you are the Heir of the Mountains?” “No!” she cried desperately. “Brann -please do not ask me. Do not do this thing to me!” He was bewildered and angry now, and almost shouted at her, “Tamorine, I will have an answer! I love you, and you say you love me. Yet without any reason, you tell me you must not marry me. What is it that you will not tell me?” “Oh, Brann”, she answered him, sadly, understanding his anger. “Not will not – I cannot tell you. I beg you not to ask me – I cannot expose my shame, and my family’s.” She was weeping again, softly, and her gentle sorrow shamed him. “Tamorine, my love, forgive me! I should not have spoken to you so. But nothing could shame you in my eyes, when I have lived and worked and fought alongside you, and I know there is nothing in you that is ignoble.” But not all his loving or pleading words could persuade her, and in the end, knowing he was only hurting her by his insistence, he fell silent. He hugged her against him to comfort her, and despite her denial of him, she clung to him. Brann felt helpless, defeated, as he never had before any enemy. What was he to do?
After a while, Brann heard the curtain move, and the sound of quiet footsteps, and looked up to see Rafel standing there, gazing down at them. The Lightstone-Bearer’s expression was gentle and compassionate, yet somewhere behind it there was something else – a kind of hidden gladness, Brann thought. Somehow this encouraged the Swordsman, so that he exclaimed impulsively “Rafel, can you not help us? I have told Tamorine that I love her, and she says she loves me too. Yet she says she must not marry me, and cannot tell me why. In the Name of Light, give us aid if you can!” The Lightstone-Bearer answered, steadily, “Perhaps I can. If she permits it, I can tell you why, though Tamorine cannot.” The girl looked up at him, startled. “How should you know, Rafel?” “I do know, Tamorine. Shall I tell him for you?” Her hazel-green eyes widened, and then she nodded slowly, and said, “If you do know – oh, make him understand, Rafel!” Brann and Tamorine were still kneeling, clinging to each other. Now Brann slid into a sitting position, taking Tamorine with him, so that she was more comfortable, but still held close to him. Somehow, he was afraid to let her go. The Lightstone-Bearer began Tamorine’s story. “It was some years ago that this happened, Brann. Tamorine’s brother, Tamran, with Gamlin and some of his other friends were hunting higher up in the Mountains, and she was sent up to them with a message…” Brann watched Tamorine’s face as Rafel spoke. At first she seemed simply astonished that Rafel should know her story, but then, as he continued, the memories of fear and pain and shame twisted her face until she hid it in Brann’s shoulder. The Swordsman listened, appalled ,as Rafel told what had befallen Tamorine. Told how, coming upon four men seated round a campfire, she had thought them, from a distance, to be her brother and his friends. The men, though, had in fact been some of the Dark Lord’s garrison. They had seized Tamorine as, realising her mistake, she had turned to flee. Seized her, and raped her, and eventually beaten her savagely, and left her for dead. And even as Brann struggled to cope with the enormity of his love’s sufferings, Rafel added, sadly, “She was scarcely more than fourteen years old, Brann.”
The pain Brann felt for Tamorine was indescribable. He could utter only a deep, deep groan, as though his soul were ripped apart. Tamorine cried, despairingly, “Oh, Brann, now you see my shame! I could not tell you I was unclean…” “No!” he protested. “Not you! Oh, my poor, innocent love, it is the brutes who did this to you who were unclean, not you…””Tamorine speaks of a law of the Mountains” Rafel cut in. “By the law of her people, a maid or woman in such a case is unclean until her attacker has paid for the deed. Her nearest kinsman must find him and either cause him to come back and wed his victim, or slay him to avenge the attack.” “That is barbaric!” Brann exclaimed. “Why shame the victim so, or force her into such a marriage?” “It is not always a forced marriage” Rafel commented. “It has been known for a couple to arrange matters so if their parents refused a betrothal. But the law is ancient, and perhaps past its time.” He looked at Tamorine who said, almost defiantly ” But it is the way of my people, and a matter of honour.” “Tamorine’s brother left her care and tending to his Sword-Brother Gamlin and the others.” Rafel continued. “He knew he could trust them to carry her to safety, while he went after her attackers. He has never returned.” “And so” Tamorine said, taking up the tale now that the part she had dreaded Brann hearing was told, “knowing that he was lost, and I could never marry or be as other maidens, my grandfather decreed that I should be Heir of the Mountains in my brother’s place.” Brann groaned again. “And I mocked you for it! Oh, Tamorine, if I had known…” “Hush, you have more than made up for it! You have treated me most honourably and kindly, as your equal. That is why…” and she stopped suddenly, but Brann knew she would have said “That is why I love you.” “It is not the law of my people, that you are ‘unclean'”, he said, seeing hope. “By our laws, you may marry me.” “But not by the law of my people”, she answered, then “No, Brann, hear me! It is not pride! Our peoples have been enemies in the past, and were suspicious of each other still. Only this threat of the Dark Lord has united them. Our Swordsmen have learned to trust each other, have become Sword-Brethren and good comrades, and will carry that liking back to the rest of our two peoples. If we defy my people’s law, we may break that new bond, and all hope of unity. Do you not see it? Oh, Brann, Brann, I love you dearly, but not even our love and happiness is worth such a cost!” He looked at her with respect and admiration, but sorrow too. “Oh, you are right, Tamorine. But if there is no way for us, I swear I shall take no other Lady. If I cannot have you, I shall have none.” “Brann, do not make a vow you will regret! You will want sons, heirs…” “Not as much as I want you.” he said, firmly.
The Lightstone-Bearer said “Light is merciful. You asked me for hope, and for my aid, and I will give you what I can.” He smiled gently at them, and held out his hand. “Rise up now, and wait. I shall not be long.” Tamorine took the proferred hand and stood, and Brann too rose to his feet and stood beside her. When Rafel had gone, the Swordsman asked “What can he mean?” “Brann, do you think he can help us?” Brann looked into Tamorine’s eyes. The lids were still heavy from her prolonged weeping. He thought of all she had been through and love and pity and longing for her coalesced into an almost unbearable weight on his heart. He exclaimed fiercely “There must be hope for us! I love you so!” He could not forbear to hold and kiss her then, and she, despite her protests, held tightly to him, returning his kiss. They broke apart as they heard footsteps outside, and the Lightstone-Bearer reappeared, followed by one of the Masked Ones. The man silently removed his hood, and Brann was surprised to see that the man was younger than he had expected. Rafel said, “I want you to meet a friend of mine, who may be able to bring you some good news.” Brann stared at the man, guessing him to be a few years older than himself, though a bushy, dark-blond beard made it hard to judge. His unruly waves of hair were the same colour. Streaks bleached into it by the sun, and the man’s sun-browned face, declared him to be much out of doors, and the poise and movement of his body was that of a Swordsman, unquestionably. Yet he had been one of Rafel’s Students, one of those who had escaped the ravages of the Dark Lord’s mercenaries. The man’s smile, showing a flash of white teeth in the tangle of beard, was open, warm and friendly, as were his grey eyes. Brann knew instantly that the Masked One was to be trusted. He knew, too, though he had never seen the man’s face before, that there was something vaguely familiar about it, something he could not quite place. Then, suddenly, Tamorine screamed. Her hands flew up to her face and she cried “Tamran!” and crumpled, almost fainting, against Brann. For a few moments he was too concerned with her to think of anything else, and then he realised that the other young man had come quickly to their side, and was helping him support Tamorine, gazing down at her with an anxious expression. Looking from one to the other, Brann knew then what it was that was familiar in the man’s face, seeing the resemblance to Tamorine. “You are her brother!” he exclaimed. “Yes, Brann, I am Tamran”, the Masked One answered, bending over his sister. He called to her, gently, “Tamorine, sweet! Little one, hear me. It is Tamran!” Tamorine’s eyes slowly opened , and, as she stared at her brother, filled again with tears. “Oh, Tamran! Dear brother, you have been gone so long. We all thought you were dead!” Brann released her to her brother’s embrace and they hugged joyously. Then Tamran said, sombrely, “Tamorine, I am sorry I have been so long about my task. But one by one I tracked them and found them – and I promise you their ends were not easy, little one, for what they did to you. And today I slew the last of them in battle. At last you are cleansed – free! It is over, sweet sister!” Brann’s heart gave a great leap. Tamorine cried “Tamran – they are dead?” And at his affirmation she gasped, and turned towards Brann. “Oh, then – Brann…” He swept her into his arms and demanded of Tamran, over the honey-golden head, “Tamran – is she free now to marry me?” “Aye!” Tamran smiled. “Rafel has told me what is in your hearts for each other, and I will be happy for Tamorine to be your Lady. I have fought alongside you today and know you are a brave and honourable Swordsman. I am glad she has chosen so well. And I hope we shall be Sword-Brethren, when you know me better.” “Gladly!” Brann answered. Then, softly, to Tamorine, “Well, my heart -now there is nothing to stand in our way, and your brother consents – will you be my Lady?” She lifted a glowing face to answer him “Oh, yes, Brann, yes!” “Light bless you both” Rafel said, smiling.
With all so happily settled, Brann and Tamorine were now eager to hear what had happened to Tamran in the years of his absence, and the four of them returned to Rafel’s Quiet Place . They settled in the chairs to listen, as Tamran began “I left Tamorine with Gamlin, I knew I could trust her to my Sword-Brother. I soon found the track of the mercenaries, but I could not tackle them one to four. I am no coward, but I knew if I were to go against all of them I would likely be killed, and Tamorine would never be free. ” He paused to smile at his sister, and went on. “At last they parted ways, two and two. I tracked one pair and surprised one of them. Despite what he had done, I offered him fair combat, telling him who I was, but he laughed and – he mocked you, Tamorine. He called for his fellow, but I was very angry, and I slew him before the other reached him, then I fought with him too. He was skilful, but I overcame him and he died – but not before I told him why!” He paused, as if, for a moment, reliving that fight, then continued. ” It had taken me some weeks, Tamorine, but two of your attackers were dead. I thought it would not be long before I could deal with the others, and return to tell you you were free. But Light meant it otherwise.” “What happened? ” Tamorine asked.” Why were you gone so long?” “First, I came upon a lonely house, which had been attacked by mercenaries. The man of the house and his wife were dead, but I found two children, boy and girl, who had hidden themselves away. Brave lad, he came at me with an axe, thinking I was another enemy. But I convinced them I meant them no harm, and helped them bury their parents. I could not leave them there, defenceless, and they told me of a village where they had kin, so I took them there. It took me a long distance out of my way, but what else could I do?” “As a Swordsman of Li’is, you did what any Swordsman would.” Brann told him. “I would have done the same.” His mind went back to the attack on Marvis’ farmstead, which had led him to this whole undertaking. Tamran said ” I am glad you agree, Brann. But the detour took time, and I lost the trail of the mercenaries. I had followed them, and listened to them talking, so I knew their names, but not where I might find them. I could not ride up to bands of mercenaries and ask for this or that one! I had to cast about to try to find them, not knowing if they were from the garrison in the Harbour Town, or the Dark City, whether they had somehow got up the Mountain from the Harbour or they had managed to come through the Spearcleft Pass. Either would have required much cunning, so I knew they would be expert at concealing their tracks, if they so wished. And while I searched, I had also to forage for food, for myself and my mount. In the end, I had to turn him free to fend for himself, for it was taking too much of my time to search out feed for him. So then I had to travel on foot, taking even longer.” “But even so, so many years have passed.” Tamorine commented. “Were you searching all that time, Tamran?” “No” her brother answered. “After many months, I found the third of them. He was with another, and I thought my search was over, but the second man was not the other I sought. I fought with them both, and killed my quarry, but the other mercenary wounded me badly, with a treacherous blow, and left me for dead. I was afraid then, for I thought I would bleed to death there, and you would never be free, little one!” “Oh, Tamran!” she exclaimed. Rafel said “Light did not mean Tamran to die, or you to live unavenged, Tamorine.” Their attention turned to the Lightstone-Bearer, who explained .”This is where Tamran’s story joins with ours. Some of the Ketai found him, and brought him to us in the caverns, for our Healers to tend. It was a long road he had back to health, for he took the Wound Fever, and more than once we feared for his life .And when he came through the Fever, he was weak and tired . He had fought a great battle, and won, but it cost him dear, and took him many months to recover fully.” Tamran took up the tale again. “When I had recovered from the Fever, and knew myself again, I despaired, Tamorine. For I had lost the track of the last man, and how was I to find it again? I could not return with my task unfinished, yet I did not see how I could accomplish it. And, as Rafel said, I was not fit enough to fight, even could I have found him. So I stayed with the Lightfriends and the Ketai to recover, and became one of Rafel’s Students, and learned the Way of Light.”
Rafel said ” When I understood why Tamran was so unhappy, I wanted to help him. The task of the Lightstone-Bearer is to undo, as far as possible, the works of Darkness, and I saw that it was the Darkness which ruled those who attacked Tamorine, and Darkness that kept her in the situation she was in because of the attack. So, with his permission, I set my Perception on Tamran, and the Lightstone enabled me to gather more information about his enemy from his thoughts than he knew he had. Then I spoke with Ket-Jal, and he told his Ketai to watch out for the man when they were out on guard.” Tamran nodded, and continued the telling. “The Ketai were faithful to their Lord’s commands, and to me. Always they watched and listened for news of the man, and eventually they brought news. He was part of the garrison of the Dark City. But how was I to reach him there? It may be that he had learned that I had slain his companions to avenge my sister, and was unwilling to risk facing me, for he never seemed to leave the Dark City, and I could not enter it.” Rafel took over the story again. “It was then that I told Tamran of the prophecy that the men of Li’is would rise up against the Dark Lord, and Light would lead them to us here. I told him we were awaiting your arrival, and then we would move against the Dark Lord in his City. But Tamran knew he would have to wait until that happened before he could finish his task and free you from the law of the Mountains, Tamorine.” “It was a long and weary wait” Tamran said ” and sometimes I doubted. But then the Ketai sighted your force. You did not see them, for they are skilful at concealing themselves, but they kept watch on you until you reached us safely. If you had been in danger, they would have warned you.” He smiled at them, and went on “Oh, I was so glad when the Ketai reported that the Swordsmen of Li’is were on the move against the Dark Lord. I knew I could go into battle with you, and finish my task. There were a group of us who all had family or friends to avenge, who had sworn to join the battle.” “The Masked Ones” Brann said. “Yes” Tamran said. “And when you joined us, I was thankful that I wore the mask. When I saw that one of your commanders was Tamorine – my little sister Tamorine, who I had left in Gamlin’s care, not knowing if she would live, while I pursued her attackers – then I wept behind my mask! I knew she had not only lived, but overcome what had happened to become a strong and valiant woman, and a leader my people respected. And I saw my Sword-Brother Gamlin, too, faithful to the task I had laid on him. I was so moved!”
Tamorine said, reproachfully, “But you did not reveal yourself to us!” “I could not, little one”, her brother replied. “First, because I had not finished what I had set out to do, and I feared you would beg me to leave things as they were, and not go on with it. And second, would it not have thrown your force into disarray if I had suddenly appeared? No, I would fight alongside you, and stay as near as I might, but I had to find and make an end of our enemy, before I could tell you who I was.” Brann exclaimed “Ah- I saw it, Tamran! I took note that there was one Masked One who fought with us, and singled out one particular mercenary as we fought through the streets. And was that you who warned us to leave as the buildings collapsed?” “It was”, Tamran admitted. “I disguised my voice, lest Tamorine recognise it. I had to make sure all were safely back here before I revealed myself to her.” “Gamlin!” Tamorine exclaimed suddenly. “Tamran, he has been a true Sword-Brother to you and to me, and he has mourned you as lost these past years. Should we not tell him?” Tamran looked thoughtful. “I had not meant to show myself to our people until tomorrow, to give them time to recover from the battle before I give them another shock! But Gamlin- yes, it would be good to see my Sword-Brother, and tell him I am alive.” Rafel smiled. “I will go myself, and fetch him. ” “But do not tell him why, not in the hearing of the others.” Tamran warned. “Of course not!” Rafel responded. He rose from his chair and went to find Gamlin. Tamran said “Brann, it is good that our two peoples have joined against the Dark Lord. For too long Li’is has been divided, each small enclave against its neighbour. Now that we know the Way of Light, once Li’is has been cleared of the remnants of the Dark Lord’s mercenaries and the Children of Night, we can work to unite all the people of Li’is as Children of Light.” “I hope that you are right, Tamran”, Brann replied. “There will be much to do, though, before we can achieve such unity.” Tamorine looked from one to the other, and said, firmly. “Do not think, either of you, that I will not have a part in such work. You may take back your place as Heir of the Mountains, brother, but I am still a commander of our people and a Sword-Brother to many. I will not be sent back to the Fortress !” “Of course you shall not be sent back!” Tamran said. “You are a Swordsman of the Fortress, and you have proved yourself in battle.” Brann agreed “Who would deny you a part in rebuilding Li’is, when you have fought to free it?” “Good!” Tamorine said. “I am glad that is understood.”
Rafel returned, bringing Gamlin with him. The Swordsman looked perplexed, wondering what this summons could mean. When he entered the Quiet Place, he scarcely glanced at Tamran. His attention was on his commanders, as he asked “Brann, Tamorine, do you have something for me to do?” Tamorine laughed “We do, Gamlin. Turn and look behind you.” Gamlin looked even more bemused at this odd request, but turned. Now he was facing Tamran, who asked “Well, Gamlin- do you not recognise me, Sword-Brother? It has been long…” Gamlin stared at this stranger, who seemed to know him, then a sudden comprehension swept over his face, and he gasped “Tamran? Is it you?” “It is!” Tamran confirmed. Gamilin still stared, seeming between laughter and tears, until Tamran extended his hand and said “It is good to see you, Sword-Brother – and to thank you for your loyalty, to me and to Tamorine.” Gamlin’s hand reached out to take Tamran’s in the Swordsmen’s handclasp, hand to forearm, and then he threw his arm around Tamran’s shoulders , and exclaimed “Tamran- Sword-Brother! I have mourned you these many years, and here you are before me, alive and well! Praise Light!” “Praise Light indeed!” Tamran responded. “For it is only by the mercy of Light and the care of the Lightfriends that I am alive.” “And – your task is finished?” Gamlin asked. “It is all done now, and Tamorine is free.” Tamran answered. “She has been like my own sister, since you left her in my care.” Gamlin commented. “And I am proud of her, as you must be.” “I am proud of her indeed! And I am happy that she is free, for she and Brann wish to marry.” If Brann had had any slight doubt about the nature of Gamlin’s brotherly affection for Tamorine, it was dispelled by the joy with which Tamran’s Sword-Brother greeted this announcement. “Ah, that is good! Brann will respect and honour her as she deserves.”
Tamran said ” Gamlin, say nothing to our Mountain forces yet. I will reveal myself to them tomorrow, but for tonight all need to rest and recover from the battle.” “I will not”, Gamlin declared. Rafel said “You will find food ready, now. Go and eat and then go to rest. Tomorrow we shall make plans. ” Tamran had his hood-mask in his hand and now said “I shall go masked this last night, so as not to be recognised.” “Then let me give you one kiss, before you don the mask!” Tamorine laughed, and went over to kiss his cheek. She smiled at him and said, “Tamran, you have made me so happy! Just to see you alive is enough, but to know you have freed me to wed Brann -how shall I thank you for all you have risked for me, dear brother?” “Live happy and in Light, little one, and that is all I would ask.” Tamran replied. He pulled on the hood again, quickly, and Brann suspected that it was because he had tears in his eyes at Tamorine’s words. He and Gamlin left the Quiet Place together, talking quietly but animatedly, and Rafel looked questioningly at Brann and Tamorine. Brann said “We will go and eat and rest, Rafel – but first I think we should give our thanks to Light.” Rafel smiled and nodded, and Brann took Tamorine’s hand and led her into the Place of Prayer. “Tamorine, my heart” he said, “It is time to thank Light for Light’s mercy to us.” “Oh, Brann, Light is merciful indeed!” she replied. “I thought I was bereft of all I loved – you, and Tamran. And Light has given you both back to me!” He took her in a quick embrace, and then they knelt hand-in-hand before the Crucible, giving heartfelt thanks and praise for the joy that had come to them out of what had seemed to be disaster.