There were good nights in their time together. Times when Alicia's ghost would drop from Larten's eyes, when it seemed that maybe everything would be all right after all. Times when he could smile and be happy, at complete ease with Arra and the rest of the world.

(It happened more often when he was drunk, as if the ale or whisky or whatever they were having would write her out of his memory, if only for a little while. He would invent ridiculous songs - as on the first night he and Arra met at the Lady Evanna's - and his crackly singing voice would stir something deep in Arra's stomach until she kissed the grin off his face.)

After, when they had gone their separate ways, Arra refused to take another mate. Men tried, but she had had her fun, at least for the time being. And none of those others had cheek scars that would crinkle with the warmth in their eyes, or hands that were quite so fast. She couldn't tease them in the same way. They wouldn't roar with anger if she pushed them too far or invent bad lyrics to sing about her hair. Larten at his worst - melancholy and thirsting for vengeance - was better than the best of her would-be suitors.

And when he returned to the Mountain, and smiled at her in that same soft way, an assistant at his side and happier than she'd seen him in decades, she couldn't help but smirk back at him.

This time, she resolved, swallowing against the lump in her throat at the crinkling of his scar, she would get him on the bars.