...never give pleasure to kill an enemy, so Annsel will not tell the truth. She will never say how the scream sounded in her mouth; it was a honeyed thing, such sweetness she nearly choked from the taste.
Annsel followed Cat through the Red Pass. Then she did a terrible thing. She should have taken in her hand a censer in which incense had been placed, and having set fire in it, and made the incense to burn, she should have walked with it four times round the stone circle, and censed it, while reciting: "Gregwald advanceth with his fëa." Instead she did what mourners do: she dropped to her knees and wept.
Something was over. Maybe not Greg's life. But his presence in hers.
Cat kept the amulet: the star-shaped pendant with the ruby stone in the middle.
By the time Annsel walked back to Ost Guruth, she felt she would never cry again. That girl was gone, and another had returned in her place. Covered with blood, her throat turned black and blue with bruises from the grasp of the red-haired man, a scar down her back, still bloody, throbbing. She had killed two men. Cat two more. They were nothing.
The whisper of Annsel's return went before her. The guard brought her to the reflecting pool. She watched as Annsel took off her tunic and poured water over herself to wash the blood away. Annsel could feel the guard's eyes on her; she seemed surprised that Annsel wasn't worse for wear.
Did they hurt you? Did they do what they wanted with you?
She wanted to know if the healer should bring her a potion, the drink for those who'd been violated. Annsel shook her head.
She had fought the water and lost Greg. She said, They got nothing.
Annsel whistled to call her gelding and he came from the stables. Umbaia was nervous and danced a bit, but he was used to the scent of blood. He let her grab the bridle and take the blanket from his back to wrap around herself. Her tunic was ruined, and she should have been shivering. She should have felt shame. She felt neither of those things. Only loss.
Umbaia nuzzled her and carried her back to her tent. There was hearty onion soup waiting. Annsel fell asleep as though she had never been to Lorien before, and she did not dream.