You need not see the tears on Captain Hua's face to know that she is weeping. You can feel it. And it hurts. It hurts as much as it hurts to feel what Quen is howling silent to the world.

It hurts exactly as much. And now you're sure that what you mean to do will work.

It's simple enough, really. Not complex at all. Only difficult—you are so very new to the mind-sense! But what you heard from Quen came through so strongly—and the woman is trapped there, you think; it's the same thing from her, over and over, and more despairing every time. Not a loop—a spiral, and she is tumbling down it, destroying herself in anticipation of the death she's sure will soon come—that can't come soon enough, for she sees no other way out of her suffering.

Well—it worked once before, when the deep thing came and found you, and led you out of your shame, by sharing its own with you—

—and with your lovely monster lending you strength beyond your own, its mind strong and gentle embracing your own and steadying your grasp of this strange new facility, you approach your captain's mind more closely, gentle and delicate and framing always the question, at every instant, may I? and as Hua's thoughts answer yes

—and once you're close enough, you let her see what you see—let her hear what you hear—coming off Quen as strongly as the shriek of agonized despair which is after all exactly what it is.

One time through, and one only. You would not subject her to more. And, in any case, one time through is all that's needed—she will either see by it what you hope to show her that way, or she will not, and in the latter case nothing further can be done, and one will die by the hand of the other, and both will suffer as long as they live because of it.

They need not. But it is not up to you.

You quietly withdraw, and leave your captain to whatever thoughts may be.

She doesn't take long. She doesn't need long. And that thought-thread of hers, central in the glowing tapestry woven by the minds around you—you found it brilliant before; now it is afire. It takes a moment to recall that the mind-sense is not sight—and that is why the Bitch's deck is not now brightly lit as under tropic noonday sun.

When your captain moves, she moves the way you did when you felt the deep thing's mind again. There is no thought to it, only resolve. She crosses the short distance between herself and Quen in three long strides, and heedless of Lu attending to the prisoner reaches down and around and behind and twines her fingers in the tall wolf woman's short ponytail and forces her head back hard, so that Quen has no choice but to look her captain in the eye.