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you-say your name-send you a message-and you will know I was right." Again her eyes closed. "As usual." Her lips pressed together in the slightest of smiles. Then she looked up at him, and he realized her gasping had stopped.

He could see her failing, the intensity in her grey eyes fading. The words were a whisper of breath. "Kiss me good night."

He leaned down and kissed her soft, precious lips. Her final breath seeped into him, and he tried to tell himself that it was her soul entering him, that she would always be with him. But when he pulled away, her head drifted to the side, her eyes blank, her face slack, and he knew that she was gone. The spike had reached her brain.

Her heart beat a short time more, then slowed, stumbled, stopped. The hair faded from her head. All that she was, all that she would ever be, was gone. There would be no message. He cried out.



* * *



Galen closed his eyes against the light. The candles had burned out long ago, and he had grown accustomed to the darkness. He had sat there, beside her, for hours, for days, for years, forever-it made no difference. There was nowhere to go. There was nothing to be done.

Yet the light. And the breeze. He flicked his eyes open and closed. He sat on a bench, outside. His left hand was extended. Isabelle's hand was not in it.

He squinted his eyes open. The air smelled of the sea, and home. Beneath his feet was the mak, around him ranged Elric's circle of stones. Elric stood a few feet away, watching him.

Galen did not want to be pulled away. Galen did not want to see, do, or say anything ever again. He wanted to be dead, dead with Isabelle in that vast tomb of rock. He folded his hands in his lap, prepared to wait.

"Isabelle is dead," Elric deduced.

Galen said nothing.

Elric's
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