Ara watched in abject horror as Flamara faded from view. His voice died in his throat and all he could do was whimper under his breath when, at last, she had faded away completely. It was as if someone had poured a bucket of ice over the Halfborn's head. She was gone. She was gone and now Korma was trapped in Skyrah's mind. And there was nothing he could do.

Why her? he thought. Why did this have to happen to her of all people? What sort of sick-minded gods are out there that do this? ... If my bleeding Author's one of them, I'll kill it if I ever meet it.

Surprisingly, the Author didn't answer. For once it seemed to have nothing to say about Ara plotting to kill it. Ara didn't know if he should be relieved that it was gone or feel even more alone because of it.

"Ara?" Aarn's voice from the corner, tentative, as if approaching some wild animal. Ara didn't look up. Aarn took a few tentative steps closer, squatting on his haunches a few feet away.

"You okay? Come on, say something. Come on Fuzzball." he tried again, using an old nickname that had used to get on Ara's nerves. Ara merely snorted.

With a sigh, Aarn got up and left, leaving Ara alone with only Skyrah's motionless form beside him. Ara made a low keening noise, a soft, sad sound that barely made any noise at all in the silence.

Why her? he thought again. Why her and why now?

He didn't know if he was talking about Skyrah or Flamara ... or himself, for that matter.

The End

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