Cat woke hours later. He was back in the guest-lodge, and someone had laid his weapons out beside him. Mara asked if he was ready to continue on, and he said he was. He didn't ask about the children; he didn't need to.
He'd known they wouldn't recover completely. At least, he would have known if he'd had time to think about it. The children had been connected, their thoughts spilling into each other while energy poured through them and into a ghost. They'd parted ways, gone back to their families, called their parents by name, but... Some remnant of the connection remained. Cat could feel it, a pull at the edge of his thoughts. In devouring the ghost, he'd taken the link with the children into himself. It might fade with time and distance, but then again it might not.
Even if his connection to them dissolved, those children would always have a bond with each other. Cat didn't know if it would be a strength or weakness for them. He suspected it might be both; he suspected that it would be shaped by how they dealt with it, and with each other.
He couldn't stay to find out. The children would likely be better off with him far away. There was still a war-beast loose near the town of Brightness, in the hills a few miles off; there was still a job to do.
But someday, perhaps in a year or two, he would have to come and check on them.
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