Lyrel was so lost in delight over the connection that created a new one from two, that she lost focus on the crystal.
It was D'quin who finally built shields between them, lessening the intensity of the connection.
Lyrel moaned softly at the loss of contact.
"Hush, my Fręšimašur." He soothed her with voice and mind. "This way. Follow me."
D'quin tried to lead her to the images of the past he saw so clearly. It was difficult. Lyrel's mind was not trained for it, was in some ways, not designed for it. The neural pathways needed did not exist. They had to be created.
A dozen times Lyrel lost her way, broke the connection; and a dozen times D'quin gently helped her re-establish it. It was slow and painstaking work. Tears of frustration rolled down cheeks already stiff from tears of pleasure, but Lyrel continued. She needed to see what D'quin had seen.
Exhaustion overtook her. She began to fall into darkness. At that moment, like some waking dream, Lyrel saw what she had been searching for.
The crystal was passing from her hand to the hand of Scholar Doran Carman, her advisor and a cadet member of the Council. She felt again her sense of accomplishment. There was also hope that this work would raise her standing and that she would be given more freedom in the scope of her studies. And there was pride that Scholar Carman would evaluate her work. He was an exceptional Scholar and had risen quickly among the crčche.
Lyrel could also feel emotions that were not her own. There was fear and jealousy. Part of her grieved that Carman had felt that way towards her.
The images and emotions that came with them were disconnected, but sharp and bright like cut glass and they had the same effect on her soul.
The crystal was tampered with. Passages were deleted and rearranged. Nonsense was made of sense. Lyrel felt Carman's self-satisfaction, insincerity, and smugness as the crystal passed into the hands of the full Council.
With a sharp cry of anger and sorrow, Lyrel pushed the crystal away. She had seen enough.
Her sudden movement sent the crystal flying from D'quin's hand. It hit the wall and fell to the floor.
Lyrel shook within the shelter of D'quin's arms. "Doran Carman betrayed the work. He is a Scholar and he betrayed the work for his own ends. It is not done!" she cried. "It is not done! Our work is who we are."
Doran Carman's act had killed Scholar Lyrel Medigren as surely as if he had shot her. In some ways shooting her would have been kinder. It would have been over quickly. Instead he had left her to die slowly of doubt and mistrust of herself and her work.
D'quin did not try to answer her and for that Lyrel was grateful.
A Scholar had betrayed his Purpose. Doran Carman had destroyed her work to retain his own position of authority over her. The work meant nothing to him. It was his own place that mattered to him.