Thaloglas touched his chains.
For all its faults, the Neathniche was his. It was safe, familiar, controlled. There was a profound comfort in these eternal, underground wars. As long as he never stopped fighting himself, he never had to face anyone else.
But here was Brontide, his old enemy and friend, the dog who'd always been following at his heels, who had become mortal for him, who had descended into the darkness so he could hold his hand through the pain and return to him the truth of who he was. And because of him, Thaloglas too, had lost the knack of being alone.
He didn't feel the chains falling off. They never were there after all. But when he let the light flood out of him, there was peace. Not the peace of impenetrable armor or of resignation to death, but the peace of a silent thing bursting through the ground to reach for the sky.