Chapter Thirty Two, Part Two
Rafe did. He thought for about three days, days in which Coop met with him briefly and Isabella not at all.
Finally, he set off to find her, using her kyra and the ka given off by her light dagger as guides.
Unfortunately, such a mental map didn’t take into account such things as walls, stairs, cook pots, boots, small machinery and the other miscellany of an outpost under construction. After banging his shins into several wheelbarrows and apologizing to a tent pole, Rafe found a metal rod which he poked ahead of him for obstacles. A helpful sentry guided him to the gate by voice. Rafe was grateful no one took him by the hand to lead him about. His booted feet thudded on the short span of bridge—he tried not to think of the barbed wire or the depth of the trench below.
Once clear of the camp, he creep-crawled up the last of the slope, rock crumbling underfoot. He felt Isabella’s regard, but she didn’t rush to help him, and he was grateful for that.
Besides, he felt her slight tension when he veered off course and was able to use the subtle emotions she radiated to get up to the top where she crouched.
She was also displeased that he could read her that easily.
“I want you,” said Rafe, as he dropped to his heels beside her and stared sightlessly out into the distance, “to teach me how to use kyra.”
“You said everyone has it. That it helps enhance senses, keeps balance, be aware of where your body is in relation to every thing else.” Rafe gripped his metal rod tightly. “I need that, Isabella, or else I’m just useless.”
“Teaching you,” said Isabella, slowly, “will be hard. On both of us.”
“Then you need to master this as well as I do, don’t you?” he countered.
“Yes. This transfer of kyra has opened a—leak. A conduit that wasn’t there before.” He caught a hint of turmoil in her, a glimpse of storm-tossed worry, before she blocked it. “The krin can exploit that.” He heard the whisper of her hair as she shook her head, the slight displacement of air as she breathed. Compared to everyone else, she was so quiet and still, so restful. Her presence was as soothing as it was suffocating. Their affinity was caused by no real feelings, but by a manipulation of energies. It was all contrived.
“First lesson,” said Isabella. “Get your thoughts out of the surface. Think them deeper down in your mind.”
“You don’t like this bonding anymore than I do.”
“No, but we both have to deal with it. If you can learn to use your kyra, then perhaps I won’t have this strain on mine.”
“And perhaps, I can push yours out and back to you.”
“I’m not sure it works that way.” He couldn’t see it, but he knew the quizzical arch of her brows. “It could be worth a try, though.”
“Does this mean I won’t have to go to the Point and beg the Sisters to take me on as a novice?”
A laugh escaped Isabella. “Sel above, no! I don’t think anyone would survive the encounter. Besides, the Sisters have never taken on any men.”
“Not even other slayers?”
“No. My father thought that I would benefit from the additional training in kyra. The thinking goes”—said provokingly—“is that men do not have the flexibility of mind to use kyra.”
“Oh yes? I look forward to proving them wrong.”
“I don’t doubt it.” She was more relaxed now, warm and laughing. He had a hundred more questions, but they could wait. Now was not the time. For the first time in days, Rafe felt like almost his old self. The events from the past weeks slid from him like a coat, to be donned again later.
But for now… “Why are we up here again?”
“I’m here to watch the moon rise.”
Something he could not see. “Of course.”
They sat there, shoulder to shoulder, in companionable silence. And when the moon did come up, Isabella unbent enough to let him see it through her eyes. They watched it rise up like a full-bellied galleon, lighting up the sky, heralding a new day, bringing a new beginning.
And this concludes the Quartz serialization! I hope you enjoyed the story, and many thanks to those who supported this project. There is a sequel in the works!