|Chapter 20: The Sun Sage|
Linden grasped Covenant's wedding band with the thin remains of her health-sense, drew fire spouting like an affirmation out of the metal. It was her ring now, granted to her in love and necessity; and the first touch of its flame restored her with a shock at once exquisitely painful and glad, ferocious and blessed. Suddenly, she was as real as the stone and the light, as substantial as Findail's frenzy, Vain's intransigence, the Giants' courage. The pressure thrusting her out of existence did not subside; but now she was a match for it. Her lungs took and released the sulfur-tinged air as if she had a right to it.
With white fire, she repelled the Elohim. Then, as kindly as if he were alive, she slid her legs from under Covenant's head.
Leaving him alone there, she went to take the ring.
For an instant, she feared to touch it, thinking its flame might burn her. But she knew better. Her senses were explicit: this blaze was hers and would not harm her. Deliberately, she closed her right fist around the fiery band.
At once, argent flame ran up her forearm as if her flesh were afire. It danced and spewed to the beat of her pulse. But price of power would be paid later, when the wild magic was gone. Instead, it seemed to flow into her veins, infusing vitality. The fire was silver and lovely, and it filled her with stability and strength and the capacity for choice as if it were a feast.
She wanted to shout aloud for simple joy. This was power, and it was not evil if she were not. The hunger which had dogged her days was only dark because she had feared it, denied it. It had two names, and one of them was life.