"Did you really think I'd relinquish the talisman to you?" Egbert laughed and stepped away from Prunella. "What right do you have to wield the talisman?"
Prunella stared at Egbert in horror. Who was this man with the hard, cold eyes? Where was the man she fell in love with over the last few months as they made their way to the Runied City of Cliche? "What right? The right of birth! The women of my family have always wielded the talisman."
"Only because your ancestress seduced my ancestor many Ages past." He grasped the knob of the door.
"Seduced?" Her breath seemed to come in harsh, ragged gasps. "They loved one another."
"And yet she so easily left him to marry into power."
"She married to end the war that ravaged our land. She poured all her power into the talisman to bring about peace."
"Perhaps peace was not what all the people wanted."
Prunella inhaled deeply. The fate of the Land was in her hands. She would not let her heart - broken, shattered - stand in the way of the greater good. She could cry another day. Here and now, she must reach past her pain, her hurt, and take the Talisman from her beloved. "So all these months," her voice was steady, calm, a reflective surface "you planned to steal the talisman, to use it to wage war upon the Land."
He laughed. "Yes. Did you really think I cared for you? You were nothing but a pawn in a greater game."
Prunella brushed back a strand of her wet hair. "Never underestimate a pawn, dear Egbert." She spoke the next word softly, a bare hint of sound. She watched as the tendrils of light arced out from the talisman and wound themselves around Egbert's suddenly prone body. His eyes widened in pain and surprise. She spoke another word. The talisman ripped free from the sock and floated through the air toward her outstretched hand. She turned, leaving Egbert bound in tendrils of light, and walked back into the driving rain.