“After the Breaking of my world, many of the customs we had once observed were lost. Shaping slowly faded, and people of a Grove rarely came together as a group. Cycle-days–what Holder calls birthdays–were one custom that did manage to survive our people’s forgetting of themselves.
I had my nineteenth Cycle-Day–the day that marks the Age of Choosing for my people–far away from my world, my blood-family, and my mate. There was no fire in the meeting-ground of the Grove; no formal blessing of the day or recognition of my passage to what my people see as true adulthood. But there were those of my Circle–the nine who chose to come with me from Evohe, including my beloved sister-friends Chelries and Liara–all those who bound themselves to me, not knowing what the cost might be–for I do not even know, yet. There was Kale Goodman, whom, if the First Ones had woven fate differently, might have been my mate, and is still one who knows me better than most. In my Memories, there was my teacher, Serra, and in my Vision, my guardian, Lilliane, whom I left on Evohe to teach in my place until my return.
The one I hold dearest–Holder–was still lost to me then. But he was not lost to my heart. Those whose lives are intertwined with ours can never be lost to us–like paths that wind into one another in the darkened Grove, they cycle and circle back, joining and parting, again and again. We only have to choose, in the end, the path to follow, and stick to it, through light and shadow. I have chosen my road–or it has chosen me. And that nineteenth Cycle Day showed me that I live a life, not of loneliness, but of connections; a web woven of light–the bright light of love. And I choose this path–wherever its end may lead.”