The planet of sentient trees launches Rhian on a quest to save two worlds at the edge of extinction. All reasonable paths have failed, so the unreasonable must be tried. Rhian kidnaps an Earth girl, believing her to be a nexus for the patterns of chaos. Haunted by a fearsome ghost from her childhood, she is the coveted queen in a game of empires, fought over by mystics, cosmic shadows, ice dragons, genetic supermen, and her own mother who leads a team of high-powered psychic commandoes to the rescue. In the end, for the sake of love, Holly must face down the universe to awaken a terrible power that may forever destroy her humanity, and the love for which she fights.
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She rose carefully, letting razor shards of crystal slide off her dress. The chamber was darker, but her link led her straight to Rhian. He lay on the hub, radiating pain beyond anything Holly had ever sensed before.
Her link swelled into full fusion. She cradled his mind as she cradled his blackened, blistered form, taking on a universe of red misery. His splayed fingers crumbled away. His suffering sluiced through her mind like a river. As tears streaked her face, Holly throttled down her sensitivity to keep empathic shock at bay.
My love, this shatters me completely. So many emotions demanding my attention; rage, grief, pain, desolation... where do I begin? How can I make it better?
“Holly?” It was her mother’s voice. "We came as soon as we could. There was an energy barrier holding us back…”
Too late...too late...too late...too late..., Holly thought, sensing her friends gathered like crows on the battlefield, the fighting done. They were as stricken at heart as she was. She blocked it out. Her own emotions were hard enough to handle.
"He is Edothican.” Holly heard Lady Yarri murmur. "Anyone else would be dead by now, or so deep in shock as to be senseless.” There was a quaver in the matron's voice. “He will not yield to Death just because of a little...discomfort."
A cold voice intruded, parting the crowd. “There is a limit to all of life‘s struggles. I am it."
Incomprehension replaced tears as Holly lifted her head. She saw a black hooded cloak, trimmed with saffron, draped over a bony figure with white-parchment skin shadowed with blue. The stranger stood in a trembling stir of cold mist, as if the silver air dreaded to touch him.
“I am Death," he announced. "I have come for what is mine."
Holly eased Rhian’s tortured flesh to the ground. "Hold on, beloved," she whispered, “I’ll be right back.“
Frail in appearance, disheveled, her cream-colored wedding dress torn, stained with blood and ashes, Holly was anything but imposing. But there was a dangerous fire in her eyes as she locked stares with Death.
“If you want him..." her voice was low, adamant, "you’ll have to go through me.”
"There is little time. My people are dying, and you can save us if you're willing, if you're strong enough to face your buried fear. You are a nexus point anchoring the futures of many worlds--mine most of all."