Read from part one or reread part eleven.

The familiar weight of guilt crept up Elysia’s back and tried to settle on her shoulders, where it was almost immediately chased away by conviction. I’ve made up my mind enough times, I’m not going to make it up again, she thought. I’m going to keep moving forward in, in this direction, until I run out of this direction and have to make a new decision. It sounded like the sort of thing she’d say to someone who needed reassurance. It half-succeeded. Her guilt fled with its tail between its legs.

Elysia entered the sanctuary and returned the fire poker to the hearth. She nodded to the fire-keeper, who smiled at her. With a quiet intonation, she held the traveling-torch to the base of the flame, and it caught quickly. She held the torch aloft and gently shushed it, putting intent behind her action, so it died down to the smallest ember. Now lit, the traveling-torch would protect the flame from being extinguished by most mundane methods until it was used to light a specially-prepared hearth.

She intoned a personal prayer to Hestia, and almost stopped short when she realized the error in retrieving the torch first — she could no longer gather things to take with her on her journey without risking discovery. And to be caught with the torch and flame in hand — there was no way she could justify going anywhere without the torch, now that it was lit. She would have to leave the temple with nothing but the torch and the clothes she was wearing. And she would have to leave now.

Like that, she left.