Syrina pulled a chunk of sandstone from the small pile of rocks beneath her cot and set it in the brazier, then pressed her left hand against the stone wall and spread her fingers wide. Her right hand she clenched into a fist over her heart. After a last anxious look at him, she closed her eyes.
Nothing happened. Pyrius began to wonder if Dumak had been right in doubting her, if her self-imposed exile within exile had chipped away at her sanity. Perhaps her bloodkin had, in truth, cast her out to avoid the shame of her nighttime hallucinations, illogical suspicions, and—
She took a sudden deep breath and held it. Slowly, she drew her fist from her chest and held it over the cold stone in the brazier. Her fingers opened above the stone as breath trickled from her lips. Then, from within the stone, a pinpoint of light flared and died. Then another, and another. The pinpoints began to pulse and swell, joining to create ribbons of light that slithered over and into the stone, widening and snapping and linking and hissing. With a final hushed puff, the flickering settled into a steady and silent glow that encompassed the stone and pushed warm air against Pyrius’s face.
He fell back on his hip, swearing under his breath at the impossibility before him, then stared at the fragile-seeming woman who had created it.
“Lo, he made the sands to burn,” she recited from the old tales, “and his enemies could not escape but were turned to ash.”