“Tell me what you understand.” Her mother’s voice. A memory she had removed. “I will not be here for long, and I need to know that you understand.” How could she have taken this away from herself?

“I understand that when I say I will do a thing, I should do it. I don’t exist in a vacuum. If people are relying on me, even for something very very small, and I don’t do it, things can go wrong.”

She was now no longer a child, but stood eye to eye with her mother, something she had never been able to do whilst her mother lived. As she recalled it again, silent tears slipped down her face.

“Good. I love you, Sioned. Never forget that.” And she embraced her. This was as far as she had yet come in unlocking her memories. Each piece she had chosen carefully, consecutive to the last; cautious not to select too much. Whatever had spurred her to do this was still waiting for her, and she had become wise enough of her own emotions not to take this too far and too fast.

They were resting. High Magic shadow, of course there’s a farm around the corner where they can sit, eat and drink, and of course they have money of the right kind to pay for it. Amberites. She and Lara sat and ate, Lara full of her own thoughts and jotting them down between bites. There was a thinness about her, tinged with pattern that Sioned knew was Greyswandir’s influence. It hadn’t been hard for her to convince Lara that she wasn’t yet up to full strength. There was still some weakness, but truth was, Sioned could probably keep going till doomsday. Lara couldn’t, not without it having serious implications for her health. Soined had only touched Greyswandir once, back when it had still been Corwin’s sword, but it left her with enough to know what it was capable of.

So they ate and they rested.

She teased out another small thread of memory.

“Good. I love you, Sioned. Never forget that.” And she embraced her.

There was a momentary feeling of solidity before it faded in to nothing. Once again Sioned’s arms were empty and she was crying.

The door to her room stood in front of her. She opened it.

On the other side, The Pattern. There was something she had promised to do.

A Pattern walk. In Tir. It was what she had gone there to do.

No.

This was not a memory she could unravel now. This would need to wait. She would need to prepare and spend time on this memory. Time she did not currently have.

Lara glanced up, Sioned’s intake of breath had caught her ear.

“You ok?”

“Peaty kleen!” she smiled, mangling the earth expression terribly, and then attempted to yawn convincingly. “I was thinking of a short nap.”

Lara smiled. “Ok, but only a short one. We have to get moving”

Fake napping. It was like weapons practice. Find the stillness, meditate. Anything to make sure Lara could stand at the end of this, and under her own steam.

 

 

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