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Kate closed her eyes against the glimmer of starlight from the casement. It was better now, truly, wasn’t it? be here where the air was scented with the wind off the trees and there was no chance that the Weight would fall upon her, all those tons of earth no longer above her head.

And yet for all of that sometimes she wanted to be again in the womb of the world, wrapped in earth and silence. She reached instead for her husband and sought her solace there, wrapped in his arms and the steady beat of his heart.