She had no time left for love.
Elinna fell at last into an exhausted sleep. When she awoke, she knew what she must do. With grim expertise, she steeled her heart and locked shut the doors of emotion. Then she hurried to the palace, determined to speak to Mesor before she could change her mind. Their courtship, barely begun, must end. They must become merely teacher and pupil; she must dedicate her life to the only goal that mattered’saving Atlaua.
As thunder clapped and lightening flashed, she told him.
"Nonsense!" Mesor snapped. The blood drained from his face, leaving the scar on his forehead an angry, jagged line. His eyes held shock and betrayal. Had he cared that much in so short a time?
He grabbed her hand. His strong fingers squeezed hers until she winced in pain, their pressure demanding she stay at his side. "You don?t know that stopping the comet will take all your time, or the help of every psiborn. You?re only starting to explore your Dreams of Knowledge. You could stumble onto the answer tomorrow."
Elinna pulled her hand out of his grip, and he released it, although a muscle in his jaw jumped as he let go.
"I pray I will," she said. "But I can?t count on that. If in the end we have to try to move it by brute force of the Power, it will take every psiborn we can find. In the meantime, we need many new Perceptors, trained in the Power, to protect and guard Atlaua."
"And so?what?" The rough baritone of his voice grew bitter as he mimicked her words. "You have no time for love. Perhaps the truth is that you are afraid of what sufficient time might bring."
She flinched. Was she a coward when it came to love? No. There was not enough time?that was the simple truth. Pain made her voice hard. "That is the point. Our romance?if one can even call it that?has barely begun. The dangers we shared drew us close. And my feelings for you are strong. In another time and place I could gladly grow to love you. But all told, we have known each other barely a moon."
That much was beyond dispute. The time they had shared was brief. Time to face peril together as they discovered the true nature of the S?hazons, time to look into the depths of his eyes and see the courage shining there, time to taste the sweet wine of his kiss. For a brief few days, she had dreamed of living the ten years of life remaining to her at his side. Then reality returned and with it the awful truth that their time together must run out before it could begin. By her calculations, there was indeed no time left for love.
"It is better to end it now," she added, "before it grows into something we cannot so easily control."
"Control!" He spat the word. "The famous iron discipline of the House. Why am I not surprised?"
She drew herself up in a proud stance as he glared at her in cold silence.