A ritual marriage to please the Gods – a prince and a cleaver – their passion may bring the rain back
The minstrels counted the passing time in years months days written on paper The simple soul the people of the Jewls whom he called his family measured the passage of time if ever measured on the first day of spring Anyway she was 35 The bards were usually worth 150 winters often worth 200 spring so he wasn't exactly old She was standing on the Queen's balcony wearing only a long silk robe Fire-red hair which he didn't weave hit the ground Her skin is pale as the Rose of the rising sun when she kisses the reluctant clouds Her eyes are the Violet of the twilight
The bards couldn't have lied But he lied twice in his life and he never died Old enough to know the truth of the world Good people lie sometimes Her mother was a princess who became a singer and loved a man who loved no one His father was a man who left destruction to prove where he went His master the one who raised him was a drunken gambler who was only good at one thing but he was a good parent Love healed everything
He understood why so many people hate red hair If you went north past Lake Shahaylen you would go there was war
People with red hair like his raged covered themselves with other people's blood spoke a language no one in the south and all the children they fathered had red hair If the father or mother had red hair so did the baby and no one in the South would touch anyone with red hair He didn't like the North
There were only two red cleavers One of them was the founder of the Bard Guild a demon who haunted people's darkest fantasies The other is a 35-year-old virgin who may finally grow to be a grown man
She turned when the door of her chamber opened and turned to the man who would be her husband It's just the two of them today
Queen Ionwe is your best friend She wouldn't choose a man who doesn't suit her It's your duty The drought ends today The Gods bless the country and the people Jewls ' stomach is cramping
The man who came through the door was tall and still wet from the bathroom He had short black hair staring up at the sky His chest was smooth with pink nipples but with powerful well-crafted muscles which made Jewels think of a huge strong warhorse A narrow waist still covered by a thin silk handkerchief The construction of his leg caused a sexual hunger in the Jewels and he wondered why he had waited so long
He was still standing on the balcony holding his silk robe his hand clenched at his throat - Welcome dear husband
'Hello My beauty' replied the man
Jewls had never seen him before they just stood in front of each other surveying each other He was guided by habit by tradition by his own tradition because he had forgotten everything he had read about the outcome of this marriage celebration He pulled up his sleeve revealing the cleaver mark the mark and tattoo which stretched from his wrist to the inner part of his elbow He bowed gracefully though he almost tripped because he forgot his hair was loose - I'm Jewls the Lucky One from the House of Fire The Sinner of shame
When she looked up her husband crossed the Queen's room the ceremonial room that allowed those who had to do so
to watch the marriage consummate The dark-haired man touched the mark - Looks old Did it hurt?
The touch took Jewls ' breath away 'ER' he said his golden and pale Ruby eyelashes fluttered a little - I was 13 It was a long time ago and yeah it hurt
- I've never spoken to a cleaver before - His voice was sweet melodic though untrained deepened by a slight accent that Jewls did not recognize
- I do Mostly arrogant pricks What's your name dear husband?
The man took a step back bowed politely but there was no sign of the ax movement I'm Prince Rand of Valion or was I'm Rand now and Jewls is her lucky husband
- Would you rather be a prince Rand?
"No" he replied raising the Hand of Jewls to his lips - I may have had my concerns but from the moment I walked in you were all I wanted
Jewls raised his eyebrows He touched the dark soft hair You have beautiful eyes as dark and deep as the forest Did they tell you that I spoke for the dead a hundred and ninety-three times? If you lie to me I'll know
Rand pulled Jewls ' hand to his tail which was hard and thick under the silk tie - Was I lying?
- No but I'll ask you again later - Jewls ' face was on fire almost as bright as his hair lips finely arched feminine or cleaved lips