. . . Avarclon's hooves clashed and rang against the frigid stone. His wings, fanning the air, swept and battered against the tower's outer wall. Irrylath strained forward, reaching his free hand for Aeriel, but he could not get close. The window was not large enough for Avarclon to pass through. Irrylath hacked at the casement relentlessly with the Blade Adamantine. Ignoring him, the White Witch turned away.
"What is it you would give me?" she said contemptuously.
Aeriel gazed back at her. The jewel glimmered in the pale girl's outstretched hand. "That with which your mother entrusted me," she whispered. "The pearl of the soul of the world."
Oriencor tilted her head, eyeing the pearl with new interest. The pale girl nodded.
"Who bears it cannot be fooled by lies."
The other's green eyes studied Aeriel intently suddenly. "Has my mother acknowledged my birthright at last?" she murmured.
"All Ravenna's sorcery is in here," Aeriel told her, "all her knowledge for the running of the world. The making of it cost her life."
Oriencor's eyes grew hungry, bright. "Give it to me, then," she answered, reaching.
"Don't let her touch you!" Irrylath cried. Great chunks of winterock broke and fell away from the Blade. The wall had a gap in it now, still not large enough. Avarclon whinnied and smote with his hooves. "Aeriel," Irrylath insisted. "Come to me. I'll take you away!"
Aeriel looked at him in surprise, at the desperation on his face, the sweat running down from his temples even as his breath burned and steamed like a dragon's in the freezing air. The pearl glowed in her hand. . . .