After everything, Serpantha had decided to go to Ool alone to talk to Calen. Although his brother hated the idea, Serpantha was very insistent, and like almost always – got his way…

'Was it worth it?' Serpantha asked.

Calen looked confused, 'Was what worth it?'

'The fighting. The killing. Everything you've ever 'accomplished' in your life. Was being some powerful mass-murderer worth all this?'

Calen looked half confused, half agreeing, 'I… You don't understand. Why would I expect you to? Our species are so different, we share ancestry, nothing more. How could you possibly understand?'

'I do understand, Calen, I more than understand, and I think deep down you know that. I was raised to fight that's all I was ever told. Kill. Defend your species. As if killing in battles ever solved anything, and we, unlike you, would never go as far as to attempt genocide.'

'You were trained to fight a war. How is that the same?' Calen said, almost disgusted.

'If you would listen I would tell you,' Serpantha said annoyed. 'Anyway, I was raised to hate. You actually under estimate how old I am. In the time I was a child, I was raised to hate – it's all there was. But when my father walked out and my mother died I was left to raise my family, including my very young brother. It changes a person. If that didn't change me enough, I've lost my family, all are gone but my brother and I.'

'That's still not the same!' Calen said, anger increasing, 'It doesn't matter if people die it's the greater good.'

'Greater good?' Serpantha half-laughed, 'you call this the greater good? Really? You chose to delude yourself even more. Let's stop playing games. We all know how your mother dying affected you.'

Calen's defences rose, and Serpantha just said, 'See. I was raised pretty much the same way as you. Right now, you are feeling a very similar way to how I did. What happens now is up to you; I will not force you into anything and I will not set you up to be killed. However, if you don't change at all and you really want to continue with this pointless war don't expect me to be compassionate ever again – if it weren't for my brother's own wishes, I wouldn't be showing you compassion right now.'

'I understand,' Calen said. It's all she could say.

After a long pause, which, despite how it would seem, wasn't uncomfortable, she added, 'Don't expect me to change though.'

Serpantha smiled amusedly.

'What's so funny?' Calen drew back, offended.

'That even after all this time you doubt yourself. Everything depends on you Calen I won't force you either way. You decide the future of this war, your species and even mine. Perhaps it is a decision you are unwilling to make, or are not ready to make – either way, you will have to, but I do have honest hope. If Griddas can be convinced and change I can't imagine it being hard with you.' He paused, looking thoughtful, 'That is if you're willing to face the fear of change.'

Calen was more confused than anything else. She was overwhelmed. She wanted things to go back before her and Heebra went to Earth, and things to go back to the way they were – Serpantha knew this, and knew what it meant. Calen may go back to her old ways just to try to regain the past. He knew he had to let her chose though, as bringing a resentful High Witch back to Orin Fen was not a good idea by anyone's standards.

Then Calen surprised him, 'What of Earth?'

'It is to be left alone. Shielded, and untouched by magic,' Serpantha almost struggled to say it, 'we've done enough damage. People died, Calen, and I know that means nothing to you but that will not happen again. Trust me, if you ever go near Earth, or go looking for it, you will not get another chance.'

Calen just nodded. 'You best leave.'

Serpantha feared Calen would resort to her old ways, but new he could do nothing, so just nodded and left.