“If it’s too much, you shouldn’t do it. Just because your magic allows you to take on the pain of another, doesn’t mean that you should.”
“Ahhh, I just . . . Ohhh . . . Mara, I—” She gulped. “I think she’s . . . broken her back. I feel intense pain, but nothing from her waist down.”
“I can’t see to that now, I’ve got to stop the bleeding from this cut here and check for internal injuries.”
“Hurry. It’s . . . excruciating.” Velia cried out again, then gasped as she sucked another breath in through her teeth.
Shaking her head, signifying she required quiet, Mara released more magic into Lucy. She knew the woman still lived—she could feel the flicker of life within her. She followed her power, as it raced to the source of Lucy’s most serious injury.
“Gracious Ehyeh, she’s ruptured her spleen,” she whispered. “She’s bled internally so, so badly.”
“Can you heal her?” Therese asked.
“Shhh.” Mara concentrated more acutely, filling Lucy with her magic. Mere seconds later, nearly spent, she dropped her head and shuddered.
“That’s enough,” Dixon said. “You have to stop now.”
“I just need a little . . .”
He tore her hands away. “Please, stop. That’s enough. We don’t want to lose Lucy, but neither can we lose you.”
“No, that’s enough now.”
“I can’t stop. Not yet! Dixon—”
“Please, Mara, no.”
“Maybe you should try,” Velia called over her shoulder to Kayson, another of the Oathtakers.
Mara touched Lucy again. “Hold on. I think she’s passed out,” she said.
“You’re right,” Velia muttered, “I don’t feel her pain any longer—and thank goodness for that.”
At that precise moment, Lucy gurgled, then went utterly still. The earlier sporadic, yet shallow rise and fall of her chest, halted.
Mara touched her once more. “Wait.” She gasped. Her hands shook. “She’s . . .” She grabbed the woman’s wrist and felt for a pulse. There was nothing. Then she thought she saw a shimmer of light form and radiate over her before it, just as quickly, dissipated.
“I can’t feel anything!” she cried. “Please, no. No!” She turned tear-filled eyes Dixon’s way.
Basha held her hand to her mouth. “No.”
“Great Good One,” Velia said, “is she—”
“Dead?” Mara whispered. She closed her eyes and nodded.
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