I am Sybel. For seven days I have stared into the Abyss, and drawn myself farther and farther from the corners of my own mind.

No one can bring me back; I have nothing to return to. I have ruined everything. My selfishness and pride. I was wise enough to save Coren, but so damned stupid that I wouldn't let him do the same. I have nothing. No animals. For all I know, my soulmate is dead. For all I know, my child is dead. And I didn't even care. I just kept on going and going, and when others raised objections like these, I brushed them aside. "It will happen," I said. Whether the world approved or not. Whether I hurt everyone I ever cared for or not.

But what hurts me now is not all that. No. That could be forgivable. Coren would forgive me. Tam might even forgive me. For hurting them so. But no.

No one can bring me back; I don't deserve to live. I nurtured this hateful, vicious revenge in my heart until it overrode everything. Until even my soulmate could not turn me from my self-destruction. But what stopped me? What turned the tide? What made me stop? My own demise. My own demise. I saw the white bird others treasured, broken. And that stopped me. Nothing else.

What wounds me is that the same pride and selfishness that hurt those I love...is what made me stop. I have not changed. I have not learned anything. No. I have seen what I am, but that hasn't changed it. My eyes have finally turned inward, and what I saw made me change my course. The war that will tear the country apart is a doll's house for my inner struggles and hatreds. Knowing this, I cannot go through with it. Knowing this, I cannot allow the dark to take hold. Knowing this, I cannot accept what I have become, what perhaps I have always been.

Instead, I flee from all, including myself. And now am here. In the farthest corner of my mind. Were Coren to come and shake me, I would not rouse. No one can save me. I couldn't even save myself.

And what's this? A voice? But...a voice I knew I'd never hear again. Have I died, then, truly? Will I suffer as I do now for all eternity?


No, surely not. I do not feel dead. The dead have no bodies. I can feel mine, slowly. Bit by bit, I can...feel again. Muscles and bones screaming from disuse. Awake? How?

Oh, my Tam. I struggle with my eyelids for a moment, even if it's but to see him before fading. The least I can do is bear his anger and hurt before I leave him.

He isn't angry.

And all of this, all my thoughts, more arrogance and pride. Trying desperately to cover for myself, to find excuses behind the excuses, wheels within wheels of sensibilities and denials. Love is love is love, and I am fool forever to continue to hurt those who love me...and whom I love. I consistently underestimate them...belittle them in my heart of hearts, think I know better. Condescension. Such arrogance, from me. And how is my arrogance and pride any different from Drede and Mithran's arrogance in daring to destroy a person's mind?

The lesson. Who am I to judge?