Three days after their arrival in the Marches, the Ranger and Endre received word that the wise woman Desire and the Druid Gus had prepared a ritual that had a good chance of freeing Endre from the curse that bound her to her animal form. Based on the information the Ranger had provided to Desire, she and the woman Salome had gathered herbs in the mountains nearby and were prepared to reverse the spell.
The Ranger and Endre met at the appointed place on the island, and found that Desire’s husband Barnard, step-daughter, Paua and the tavern keeper Karissa from North March were attending as observers. Endre’s appearance inspired fear among the ladies present, but it was Endre, unused to so many village humans, who was most intimidated.
The ritual began. Desire drew a circle around Endre and recited mystical incantations. A whirlwind of white fire exploded outward from the spot. As the onlookers shielded their eyes, the spell took effect and Endre was transformed back into her human form. Overjoyed, she and the Ranger embraced, full of thanks and praise for the wisdom and power of Desire. Barnard suggested that they all return to the Inn for a celebratory drink.
Endre curled in the Ranger’s lap, her head on his shoulder. The discussion turned to what lay ahead for them. Endre expressed a desire to remain in the Marches with her love and not return to Rain, who had taken her as his mate against her will. The Ranger had given his word that he would return her, but she seemed so distressed at the idea of being apart from him again, he decided to wait until she was rested and calmer before broaching the subject again.
Barnard suggested that there would be a place for them in the Marches should they decide not to return north. The Ranger thanked him, but was adamant in his heart that he must fulfil his promise to take her back.
He carried his sleeping sweetheart in his arms up to his room at the top of the inn, and lay her on the bed, tucking her under the coverlet. He slept on the floor at the foot of the bed, not trusting himself to lie next to the woman who was his very soul, lest his passion for her overcome him and he forget his vow to return her untouched to her mate.