This book covers part of the story that, when I originally plotted out the series, I had not intended to write. For Terrence it was both the time of his blindness and his marriage to Yuah. That being said, when I got around to writing it, I really had fun.
They walked across the grounds of the base toward the temporary City Hall, which was nothing more than a converted barracks building. Though there were a few who called out a greeting, such as “Hello Captain”, Yuah was unhappy to see that most of the people they passed just stared at the woman leading the blind man. Terrence was silent as they crossed the militia grounds and Yuah had the impression that he somehow knew that people were watching them. When they reached the door of the roughly-made twenty five by two hundred foot building with a small painted sign identifying it as their destination, he suddenly stopped and took her by the elbow.
“Do you still want to marry me?” he asked.
“I don’t recall ever saying that I wanted to marry you in the first place.”
“You said that you loved me.”
“That’s not really the same thing, now is it?”
“Don’t you want to marry someone you love?” he asked.
“I want to marry someone who loves me,” she replied.
“We could have your father do it right now. He’s the mayor.”
“Why do you suddenly want to get married?” asked Yuah. “You’ve never shown two figs of interest in marrying me, or anyone else come to that.”
“I’m a blind man. There’s not a lot I can do…”
“You are going to get your sight back. It’s just a matter of time until we have the curse lifted.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. In any case, I can still provide for a family. I’m on my way to being disgustingly rich. You could be rich with me. And if you have six or eight children, you might even plump up enough.”
“What about religion?”
“I don’t care about that.”
“How would we raise the children… I mean, if there were any?”
“However you want. I leave that entirely up to you.”
She looked at him with one eyebrow cocked.
“I can’t appreciate the look you’re giving me,” he said. “I’m blind.”
“You still haven’t said that you love me.”
“Is that a deal breaker?”
“Yes,” Yuah said, rather forcefully. “It most certainly is.”
“I love you then,” said Terrence.
“Oh, this is stupid!” she shouted, pulling her arm from his grasp. “You’re playing some game with the poor little Zaeri maid.”
“We’ll see,” she said, taking him by the arm and opening the door.
She pulled him into the small room inside and past her father’s pinch-faced secretary, despite the beginnings of protestations coming from the woman’s surprised face. She opened the door to the office beyond and found her father sitting at his desk, surveying a series of papers laid out side by side. He looked up, his face shifting from one of surprise to one of pleasure.
“Yuah, how lovely…”
“Papa, we want you to marry us,” Yuah interrupted.
“Muh, muh, muh…”
Zeah Korlann stood up from behind his desk.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
“What? Why not?” Yuah demanded.
“Um, well… I was hoping to make a better match for you.” Her father shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
“You’re not likely to find a better match, Papa. They’re practically royalty. You know that better than anyone. Our family has worked for them for generations.”
“He means that I’m not good enough for you,” said Terrence.
“That’s not what he means,” said Yuah. “That’s not what you mean, is it, Papa?”
“Well, yes it is. And of course there is the question of religion…”
“It’s been settled,” said Yuah.
“You’re too young to get married,” said Zeah.
“I’m almost twenty seven!” shouted Yuah, with a slight edge of hysteria to her voice. “I’m already an old maid! If I wait any longer, my insides will shrivel up and blow away!”
Zeah stared at his daughter for a moment, watching her flushed face as she gulped for air, her corset and her excitement combining to take her very close to a swoon. Then he looked at Terrence, searching his face for some inkling of motivation.
“I can’t appreciate his look either,” said Terrence to Yuah.
“There’s no hurry,” Zeah said at last. “Why don’t you plan a spring wedding? We can have it done right. A big wedding. Everyone will want to be there.”
“We are doing it now,” said Yuah. “There is no Zaeri Imam, so you have to do a civil ceremony. If you won’t, we’ll go and have Brother Galen marry us under Kafira’s watchful eyes.”
“We need a best man and a maid of honor.”
“You can have your secretary stand in, and get one of the soldiers outside to be the best man. We don’t care who it is. Anyone would be proud to stand up for a Dechantagne.”
Zeah took a deep breath and stepped close to Terrence. “You must take care of her.”
“She will always be provided for,” said Terrence, though it sounded to no one in the room as if they meant the same thing.
It was only a few minutes later when Zeah unhappily began the civil marriage ceremony for his daughter and Terrence Dechantagne, framed on either side by his secretary Cadence Gertz and young Saba Colbshallow. There wasn’t much to it, really. He asked Terrence if he would love and cherish, and then he asked Yuah if she would honor and obey. They both replied “I will”.