Chapter 15

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Like her sister before her, Arhyvhynne knelt upon the islet of the Sacred Grove, staring at the hanging figure of Uriel. She felt immeasurable sorrow at seeing him in such pain. And she knew that she could no nothing to prevent it. Or rather, she shouldn't do anything to prevent it.

As Eyrmysse was tested for her understanding of the white Path, Arhyvhynne was being tested on the black Path. She turned her gaze upon the black robes she wore, somehow feeling unclean. But she still had to try to understand their Path and she knew that this Path dictated that no matter the circumstance, her survival should be utmost in her mind. The one hanging before her had risked his life for her, had battled death and brought her back from the brink of its realm. How could she forsake him? And the question of Qhen Rhyvhelle echoed accusingly amidst her thoughts, "Even should it mean your life?" Certainly it was not this she spoke of? Was it?

The black robe with the golden dagger slit Uriel's neck causing Arhyvhynne to gasp and let out a small sound of pain. This is what the gods will, she told herself. She was unsteady as she stood up, knowing what she must do. Arhyvhynne took the dagger from the black robe without looking at her. It felt as if it weighed a hundred pounds. She looked down at her hand, ghost white against the black fabric of the robe. It was shaking violently. She could not bring her eyes to meet Uriel's, knowing the look of betrayal that would be there waiting for her, haunting her for eternity. Heat lightning flashed and reflected off the silver in the leaves of the great argentree, making Arhyvhynne flinch and drop the dagger.

Arhyvhynne could only look at the dagger lying on the ground. It was if she were completely paralyzed. The attending black robe picked up the dagger and offered it to her once more. Thunder sounded in the distance. She closed her eyes and shook her head. "Let it be me," she said softly.

Her eyes remained closed as the witches took the black robe off her. A feeling of cleanliness returned to her, allowing her to relax and be at peace with herself. It was a worthy sacrifice. She had done the right thing. As they suspended her, a vision of Uriel and her together stole into her mind and brought with it the sadness that it would now never come to be. And that bothered her. More than she wanted to believe.

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