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claw of the hand, closing itself around the fingers.

For a time after that, there was little external change. Then a tiny slit appeared in the skin just above Elizar's elbow, and yellow-brown pus began to stream out of it. Several other slits appeared up and down the arm, releasing more of the liquefied tissue. It smelled like rancid fat. As the ruined tissue drained away, the new skin became baggy and wrinkled, hanging on the remnant of the arm.

At last the pus stopped draining, and the tiny slits healed. The structures beneath were now being rebuilt, nerve fibers growing along their old pathways, tracks of collagen forming to act as the foundation for tendons, muscles being reconstructed from what had been undamaged. The arm began to regain its shape, and the skin was pushed outward, wrinkles smoothing out. The arm gained a slightly pinkish tone. Finally, the hand opened, relaxed.

Ing-Radi at last straightened, and her humming stopped. The arm had an odd look to it, too uniform, too soft, yet it appeared restored. Elizar was asleep, his breathing calm, his color good.

Isabelle gasped as Ing-Radi fell over into her arms. "Are you all right?" Isabelle asked. "Do you need anything?"

"I am fine," Ing-Radi said. But her skin had gone from its normal intense orange to a paler shade, and she seemed unable to straighten.

"She needs rest," Kell said. "Blaylock, if you please."

Blaylock gave a short nod and knelt beside Ing-Radi, taking her from Isabelle.

Galen realized that his legs below the knees had gone numb, and the rest of his body was stiff. Many hours had passed since Ing-Radi had begun her healing. He'd somehow been caught in her song and lost track of time. At some point most of the mages had left or been sent away. All that remained now were the
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