Book Six: The Ring of Five Stones

Leslie Ann Drover is not like Jeanette. She is younger, she is completely independent, and she has been supporting herself since leaving home at seventeen. She is conscientious about her job, accepts responsibilities, and is a natural leader, by example rather than by direction. She is respected by both her superiors and her subordinates. 

She has been given the black ring. Despite the terrifying experience, and her doubts about her sanity, she understands fairly well what it means, and what she has been asked to do. The woman in the snow sacrificed herself to give it to her, and she cannot let her down.

She has no companions, no guidance that she knows of. Still, she is able to deal with those Arkenomes and wannabes to whom she is sent. She learns, and grows, and becomes strong. But she is alone. She needs help, and she can go no further without it. 

Jeanette’s surviving companions, each in their own world, are aware of Leslie Ann as the new hero, and can feel her need. They come to her as they are able, bringing with them the boots, the dagger, the belt, and the sword. Now she is able to go on.

And there is the ring of five stones, which Jeanette had cut from the hand of an Ecliptor. The hero’s black ring is only a link to those higher beings who need human aid in suppressing the depredations of the enemy. The ring of five stones was created by Kada Barros to give an Ecliptor certain powers, to enable him to go to places outside reality, and to give direction and power to the Arkenomes. 

It is this ring that gives Leslie Ann the ability to get past the obstacles put in her way. Though, at the last, she must again go on alone, it is this ring which enables her to confront Kada Barros himself. He is childishly envious of the way his younger brother has made certain worlds better. It is his feeling of inferiority which made him destroy those cultures which his brother had touched. 

She cannot kill Kada Barros, or destroy him, and would not if she could. But she can help him to discover that he is able to do something that his younger brother can not. It is something of which he can be proud, and that makes him an enemy no longer. 

There is no more need for another hero. Her tokens no longer have special powers. Now she can go home. And finds that she can not progress in the way that she had hoped. 

A companion comes to her then, and offers her something far more satisfying. They can go off together, and make a new life.