In which love grows:
Emmae kept her distance. When Warin served out fried salt pork and ash cakes, she wouldn't take the bowl from his hand; she made him set it on the hearthstones beside her little stool. He flushed and turned away. "Do you wish to leave now?" he said to the wall.Read more -->
"Do you wish me to leave now?" she said.
He glanced down at her from where he sat in the room's only chair, her face so downturned he could only see the tip of her nose. If only she spoke Tremontine--how could he tell her all his regret, all his real remorse, if he had to say it in a language better suited for Eddinite philosophers and Sisters than lovers? Lovers--he had been alone far too long, if he already thought of her as his lover.
He faced the fire's warmth. "No, I wish you not to leave. But I swear on whatever God you choose, or all of them, that I will touch you not again."
She raised her head, eyes cautious. "And how shall I repay you, if not in that way?"
"A whore you are not," he said, his own vehemence surprising him. "Never. Never will I let that happen! You will help me in my work. I will teach you to speak Tremontine, and to earn your keep with honor." She nodded her agreement and gave him a tentative smile, and the chill around his heart began to lift.