Perchance to Dream

"I was eleven when I stopped dreaming that I would marry for love," Thayet whispered, meeting Jonathan's steady gaze. "My mother told me tales of love--women falling for men from other clans, men risking the wrath of their family to marry into a feuding tribe....

"One day I asked my mother why she never told love stories about the lowlanders. 'They don't know how to love,' she'd answered. Their power struggles were too fierce. Their treatment of women was such that the notion of love was just a misguided sense of posession. Their wealth and horses meant more than love ever did.

"But I knew that I would likely marry a lowlander, as my mother had. My only chance for anything akin to life was to marry into foreign nobility, with ways stranger to my clan than any jin Wilima or zhir Anduo's house."

She stared at the king with proud, serious eyes. "My teenage dreams came true when I moved to Tortall. But then I met you."

Taking Jon's hands in hers, she pulled him to his feet. "I will marry you, Jonathan," she said, her voice thick with emotion. "You awakened dreams I had forgotten I'd ever dreamt."

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