Disclaimer – And for the last time (at least this fanfic)…I don't own the world of Valdemar :) That all belongs to Mercedes Lackey. However! All those oh-so-interesting characters that have never made an appearance in any of her novels from my chapters (Lyrissa, Mikel, Jesin, Piel you know who)… they belong to me ^_^ Of course, you're welcome to use my characters… provided you tell me ;) Since this is my first fanfic, any questions/comments can be sent to dazz1eu@yahoo.com and would be greatly appreciated ^_^ Just don't be too harsh, neh? ;)

~ Epilogue ~

            The sound of hooves landing upon the dirt path alerted the squirrel perched on the trunk of a nearby tree, causing it to jerk its head up.  Chittering, it scampered up to its hole, watching as a human, decked in gray, rode into sight.

            Lyrissa smiled at the chittering animal, but did not have time to stop; she had a purpose for riding out so far away from Haven.  She had requested the small time of leave before beginning classes.  Figuring she would be starting late, a little bit later wouldn't hurt anyone.

            "It won't be much longer," Lyrissa spoke aloud, taking in the familiar landmarks.

            ::It's a nice day, I won't mind even if it does take a while:: Jayce replied, flickering an ear back.

            Giggling, Lyrissa settled back, thinking about the past weeks.  Her life had certainly taken a change, and even while she still wasn't comfortable about MindSpeech, Mikel had assured her that it was something that was acquired over time.

            In many ways, it seemed so much like a dream.  Things were too pleasant, too perfect now, especially with how things had been originally.  Not that there was no longer any pain from the memory, but it was dulled, as if put under a careful block that should not be tampered with.  It seemed hard to believe that her world had fallen apart and then forcefully been put back together in such a short span of time.

            A small part of her knew, too, that if it she had been on her own, her world would have continued to be shattered, like so many shards of a broken mirror. 

            Spotting a tree with a knotted limb broke Lyrissa's musings and she tapped Jayce's neck lightly.

            "Over there."

~~ ^ ~~

            A large shaggy sheepdog had yet again wandered off from its given task, sniffing around, when it encountered somebody that it recognized.  Wagging its tail happily, it started barking quite loudly, excited to see the return of a favored human that had been absent for so long.

            "Shhh!!" exclaimed the figure, frantically trying to silence the enthusiastic creature.

            "Carver!" shouted a voice faintly from some distance away.  "What are you barking at?  Come back here!"

            Recognizing the voice, alarm crept into the figure's eyes and it tried to shoo the dog out of the small grove that could easily be overlooked to the casual eye.  Instead, the dog only dodged the waving hand and returned, barking happily.

            "Carver?"  The voice was drawing closer.  "Where have you gone to, you stupid mutt?"

            By the time the large lad named Roeh found the dog, it was barking at a small bouquet of wildflowers, the grove otherwise empty.  Curiously picking up the wildflowers, he noticed the small mound on which it had rested on, though there were no other signs that anyone had been there besides a small section of pressed grass.

            Shrugging, he turned and nudged the now whining dog with its foot.  "Come on Carver, let's go.  Nobody's here."

            Blue eyes, hidden in the branches above, watched as Roeh left, filled with wariness and little love.

~~ ^ ~~

            The gates of Haven were fast approaching.  Lyrissa watched them with a whimsical turn of mind, feeling rested after her visit to her sister's grave.

            She had been hesitant at first when she had first set out, but now it certainly seemed like the right thing to have done.  Laying the flowers down upon the small grave had added a sense of finality to this chapter in her life, as if she was closing a door and now free to explore an entire new world.

            The arrival of Roeh had been slightly dampening, but in the end it had made little difference.  She had simply picked a new bouquet and spent the silent time she had desired before the intrusion.

            ::I refuse to spend time thinking about the past:: Lyrissa mused.  ::Some things really are better left as old memories::

            ::And many new memories will come:: Jayce inserted, fondly.  ::I would not give you up for anything in the world::

            "And I you," Lyrissa murmured aloud, watching the gates loom taller and taller.  Right before passing though, she paused, spending a moment to watch the bustle of the traffic and the life that was the capital city of Valdemar.

            "Pardon, miss, but please move along," the Guard said from his post, a kind twinkle in his eye.  "I reckon that you may like thinking, but this place ain't the best place to sit around, ya know."  He nodded towards the huge flow of people, each person just as determined to get in front of another.

            A little abashed, Lyrissa blushed.  "I'm sorry about that…" she began.

            "'Tis alright, miss," replied the Guard, still kind.  "Ye meant no harm."

            Nodding, Lyrissa straightened and looked up at the sky.  With a final deep breath, she nudged Jayce with her knees to move forward.  As the arch that marked the beginning of a new chapter for her life passed overhead, Lyrissa smiled, confident that somewhere, Jinny was up there, dancing in the fields of green.

~ And that's it!  I know you think I rushed it, but well… I have my reasons ^_^  But as you can tell, there's a couple things that I didn't quite explain… and that's on purpose!  This is just the first story arc that I've finished =)  What exactly happened when Need tried to help and why did it work so well?  Who is Roeh and what exactly was Lyrissa's history before she got sent off to the Healers?  And of course, I know you want to find out about Lyrissa's training and how she makes a difference =)  I promise, she's no Vanyel, but she certainly is different ^_^  If I get enough positive feedback on this fanfic, I'll start working on my sequel.  I also have a one-shot planned, so stay tuned!  I'll try to update as much as possible but well…college keeps me busy ;P  Please leave a review or send an e-mail to dazz1eu@yahoo.com and I'll see you next time!  ~