Bravais held on to Telthis, unable to let him go. Sobs wracked her as pain and anguish continued to wash over her body and race through her soul. She suddenly felt lost now; her love for Telthis had kept her going all this time, since the day they’d met. Unknown to her at the time, it had been her longing for him, and a secret hope that one day they could be together that truly been her inspiration. All that was gone now, and the regret of that thought made her question the validity and purpose of her own life, now that he was gone.
Bravais was wrapped so tight in her own grief that she nearly missed the startled cries of the women who were standing near her. Pulling herself out of the depths of sorrow, Bravais followed their collective looks to see what had alarmed them so. They were looking down at Telthis, backing slowly away. Bravais followed their gaze to his right hand, which still grasped the red crystal firmly, despite his apparent passing. Bravais gasped as well when she noticed the red glow of the crystal was becoming more intense each time it flashed. Soon it was basking the entire clearing in its crimson glimmering, the light becoming almost too intense to look directly into. The standing women backed away, but Bravais refused to budge. If the crystal was going to take her lover, it would have to take her too, to whatever fate it intended.
Soon the light filled the clearing with its glow, and Emerald’s former crew began to run back toward the ship. Bravais vaguely heard them calling after her to run, but she had no intention of leaving, now or ever. She could feel the heat of the crystal now, the glow seeming quite warm and refreshing. Suddenly she felt her grief begin to somehow melt away, replaced by a strange calm, unlike anything she’d ever felt in her life. She knew she was still in mourning over her beloved Telthis, but contentment somehow managed to break through the barriers of pain and anguish to reach her soul.
Suddenly Telthis drew a huge breath, sucking the wind into his lungs as if he’d been underwater. Bravais’ eyes grew wide, and her legs tried to instill a panic in her that forced her to flee. She resisted that effort, still refusing to leave Telthis for a second, no matter what. The young man’s eyes were wide in an expression somewhere between fear and astonishment. He looked over at Bravais as he took another deep breath, this one somewhat calmer, then another. As his breathing finally slowed, Telthis managed a small, sly grin.
“I knew it all along, captain.”
A happiness Bravais was still unsure she could accept fell over her like a heavy blanket of exhilaration. She pushed open Telthis’ shirt to study the grievous wound on his chest. Thick blood coated the young man’s chest and had already begun to clot together in a sick covering of crimson. Bravais pushed it aside where the ball had entered his chest. The wound had completely closed, and only a small point marked the place where the shot had pierced him. His smile was markedly wider when Bravais lifted her red and swollen eyes to meet his.
“You son of a bitch, Telthis. Oh, my God.” Bravais wrapped her arms around him, tighter even than she had before when she thought he was dead. In the years that followed, the two discussed the distinct possibility that he had been dead. Although Bravais would often argue that he had in fact died, Telthis clung to the belief that he had merely come close, and was brought back. In the end it mattered little to Bravais, and the argument often led to the two of them making love, as many things did in those happy days.The crystal’s red glow subsided as they embraced. Bravais continued to curse at him unceasingly, while proclaiming her love for him at the same time. He smiled at each word, promising never to scare her like that again. At last, all Bravais could do was hold him, basking in the mutual emotions she now knew they shared. Because when she eventually gave her man the chance to speak his mind, he said simply, “I love you too.”