"Don't!" Meiglin cried.
Though her protest was made in the fabric of dream, the boy started and glanced up. For a stopped second, their eyes met and held, joined in the half world of mystery. He was young: as unmarked by life as newly forged steel, but beautiful in the purity of his unwritten potential.
"Don't." Meiglin whispered. Her beating heart seemed to freeze as she sensed the boy's determined fate. "You will meet your death."
He smiled, brash youth. "I must. What hope can survive if the last of the sunlight is lost to the Mistwraith's conquest?"
Time unfroze. His impetuous fingers closed over the circlet, and the dream narrowed in, vibrant as a shout that should have held power to rock the seat of the world.
Like a stone, Meiglin plummeted. Her awareness swooped toward the stream bank, as though the trapped cry of her mind and will could sever the spun strand of tragedy.
"Don't! You must not!"
Yet the choice had been made. Though Meiglin wept, the doomed prince faded beyond reach.Fog closed, choking white. Tears of sorrow fell on a country swathed in lead. The boy would die, his brave sacrifice futile. The Mistwraith would seize its fell triumph. Meiglin cupped the drowned world between her two hands, her denial a silent shout wrenched from the dreaming core of her spirit.