Do not let it distract you. We must focus.
Brenda closed her eyes, though she could still see the light through her eyelids, and concentrated. On the Stjarna earlier, there had been no thought involved. She had sensed Muraski was in danger and reached for him. But now, she could feel herself tensing, losing the connection. The confidence of a moment before was dissipating. So much depended on this and there was so much she didn't understand about their bond.
Muraski's plan was a simple one, based on the theory that the monolith was actually two pieces – an outer shell that focused and amplified energy and an inner core. Based on the fact that the heat seemed to originate on the outer shell, he felt that the inner core would probably be susceptible to disruption. He intended to burn through the outer shell with his Talent and cause an implosion in the monolith. The theory seemed sound enough, but she knew without his saying or sending that it was dangerous. They had no idea if it would work, but it was their only chance.
She forced herself to relax her stiff muscles. Muraski needed her as an anchor, an amplifier, but most of all he needed her faith.
She felt the air beside her grow hotter. Without opening her eyes, she could see Muraski glowing with power. The heat was unbearable, but beneath it she could still feel his hand desperately clinging to her own. She felt his divided thoughts, his worry for her and she knew he wasn't drawing on his full power.
The throbbing of the monolith increased and Brenda knew it was going to fire. It would burn everything in its path. Muraski would die.
No! She didn't know if she screamed aloud or if it was only in her mind. She threw herself in front of Muraski both mentally and physically.
It was a movement born of desperate emotion, not thought. And it was the answer.
She felt it then. Their bond. There were two of them and then only one.
BrendaMuraski felt the power within, drew on the burning fires and sent it into the yawning emptiness of the monolith. She/he could feel the alien artifact burning within. She/he heard it cry out in pain and anger and surprise.
They had hurt it, but it wasn't enough. They drew on the fire again.
It hurt. It was beyond pain. There was no more to give.
The monolith was burning. Somewhere on the periphery of their senses they were aware the throbbing that surrounded them was decreasing. The monolith was hurting, but it was still alive.
They knew now that it was alive, some strange mix of living and non-living matter with a hunger for destruction. It had to be destroyed.
The phoenix that was BrendaMuraski was beginning to die. They were burning and would become ash. And the monolith was still standing, still destroying this poor world and those who were still on it.
BrendaMuraski refused to accept that. They reached through the pain, reached for the strongest flame within them – their Elska bond.
The flames rose pure and bright with a heat that could not be felt.
The monolith screamed and fell in on itself; its light and heat no more.