Lynx left Mina’s cabin at Nisala’s request, and Mina sighed heavily. Everything is twisted up. Inside and outside.

Lynx, along with Milisandria, had saved Mina’s life from the beast.  The beast I conjured…with that song. The beast that nearly killed both Milisandria and I.

Lynx, who also bore a symbol, a mark like her own. Mina picked up the paper, looking at the sketch she had drawn of the mark on Lynx’s side. And Lamb has one too. What does it mean? Are they North and South? She held it as if she hoped something would echo inside of her, rubbing her thumb across the design as softly as Lynx had smoothed back Mina’s hair.

Lynx had made her other interests clear as well.  She is quite lovely, in a feral sort of way. Her tenderness is surprising, but also…appealing. A discreet embrace, a sharing of beauty to escape the loneliness.

She shook her head against the pillow.  I should not. Wearily, Mina dropped the paper to the side. So far, Mamban had been a tumultuously emotional experience, and she still felt swirled up in the maelstrom and out of control.

I’m cut off forever, my bond sundered. What does this mean? Not since the time of Tinuvefaer has a Tuathan ruler been unbonded. And how did this affect such things as cyrete and irisur? It had never occurred to Mina that the two might be integrally connected to the bond, and now that the bond was broken, would those cultural forces also be gone – leaving her outside of the push and pull of the centuries?

Mina searched inside herself for any hint of the traditional ties, the interconnectedness of culture and spirit of Tuatha. But she could not sense anything there – except an unfathomable emptiness.  She had never felt so utterly alone.

Freedom, the Sunderer had called it, and indeed, Mina noted that she was free of the piercing pain of the LeyLament.  If they were gone, irisur would not force her hand and cyrete would never direct her path. All decisions, foolish or wise, were her own.  There was a freedom in that, Mina felt, but it was blind and without context – a fumbling forward with no sense of direction.

The Gods had said it was too soon, but here she was.  Why hasn’t Arthion been severed from Tuatha?

Arthion.  Mina rolled over on her side, staring at the mark on her arm.  The combination of uncertainty and ridiculous joy at seeing Arthion again, even just hearing his voice that first night in front of the inn, pierced her chest deeper than the LeyLament.

He had been tremendously successful since leaving. Rhon Tai, the famous jewel-thief. Mina grinned in spite of herself, despite the tightness in her chest. Arthion had come into his own – unburdened by the straight-laced demands of being in Tuatha, he had opened up and rounded his sharper edges.  He says Milisandria helped him become who he is.

Her grin faded, staring at the wall blankly. Who is she? I had been suspicious of her, even thinking perhaps she stole Erudima onto the ship in an attempt to undermine House del Solarion. Mina rolled her eyes at that thought. So mistrustful, jumping at shadows. Milisandria stood in front of the beast as I lay on the deck, unable to do anything against that which I summoned.  She is strong and brave, as well as well-connected. A lady of a powerful household, intelligent and…beautiful.  A good match…

Mina bit her lip, refusing to finish that thought. She turned her mind back to the events of the day, but before she had much time to ruminate on them, she fell into a much needed slumber.