"Hold fast to me, my lord," she said. "I'm here."
He gripped her hand hard. The spasm passed. Everything else seemed to be fading from his sight, was drowning in darkness. Everything except her. She shone more clearly, became more real to him each passing moment.
"What did you give up to come to me, my lady?" he asked her. Their minds spoke. His voice was silenced forever.
"Nothing that matters, my lord," she answered.
Lifting his left hand with a great effort, he smoothed back the pale cloud of hair, touched her cheek, ran his fingers along the scar. He left a crimson mark, his own blood.
"Your soul. You are damned, my lady, as I am damned."
"My soul was never mine to lose, my lord. It was yours. Always yours."
He smiled, a true smile. And then he stiffened. A stifled cry of wrenching agony escaped his lips. The pain was unendurable.
"Not long now," Maigrey said softly.
The starfire light inside the crystal case shone brightly, pulsed stronger than his own torn and wounded heart.
"Don't leave me," he breathed.
"I won't," she promised.
She bent over him, put her arms around him. She lay her head on his breast.
The center cannot hold.