My little game of interstellar hopskotch has ground to a halt. The good lady has decided to head for the hills, certain that her presence, forcibly revealed by a party of young bloods from the homeland, can only be a detriment to her plans. "Our plans," says she, but I was never planning, and she and I both know it.

This party came and took Mica away, it seems, took him back to the den of lions. Was he willing to go? Mirelle couldn't say; she had made it a point to not be around when they left. I bit my battered tongue, and didn't say anything accusatory about sacrificing poor little Mica for her plans.

I sacrificed my children's love for Amber. Mica's sacrifice is no greater.

See? I didn't have to ask. The air of martyrdom follows her, speaks for each of her actions without saying a word.

I overheard part of her conversation with Elaine, though. It's nice, in a not-nice sort of way, to realize that I am not the only one who gets treated like that. I'm not the only one who has been steam-rollered in an effort to pave the road to hell.

She came back, after they left, and packed up a few books and her little table. She sighed, and looked around the room, a tear in her eye, perhaps.

Yet another land I must give up, said her sighs and her tears. I stood, steadfast, in the corner of the room.

"Are you coming?" she asked aloud.

"No, I'll stay for a bit," I said. "I can step through the moment. I'll join you later. Where are you going?"

"I don't know," she said, nearly with a sob. "All the places I love are closed to me. Oh, Gillian, will you not come, and help me find a place?"

"You found all the other places on your own," I replied.

"Don't be angry with me, dearest," she said, stepping forward, putting a hand on my cheek.

I shook my head sadly. "I'm not angry. I rather liked it here, is all. I rather wish we could stay. And I do have business here."

"No," Mirelle answered, "we have no more business here."

I smiled, to let her think I agreed.

"You will come, then? You will come, and we will finish this, before it is too late."

"It's already too late."

"Don't be pettish."

"I'm not. I'm being realistic. But I will come. After I do some small investigations."

"Of what?"

"I'd like to make sure Mica is all right," I declared boldly.

"You'd go to Amber?"

"I might. Just to look around. No one need know who I am."

She looked dubious, like she wanted to order me to accompany her instead, but we have both discovered of late, together, that I have a will of iron.

"You'll do what's best," she told us both, and walked out of the room and out of the shadow.

In the center of the library, the gleaming medallion shone in the light of the setting sun. I steeled myself against the onslaught of time. Before long, dust began to fall over the room silently. Days passed rapidly.

I roll up my sleeves. The tattoo, black as a spider, perches on my forearm. Where to go? I know that my days of following Mirelle are over. Dare I go to Amber, though? Dare I look there for the help I need in avenging my sweet Sevick's death?

Uncertain, unknowing, unhappy, I step forward, onto the disc, so long ago created by my father.