Chapter 1

It was funny how love could be born out of so much hate. Though, as Soraya realized, she didn't hate the peddler anymore. The knowledge that Garren, that bastard, had killed her father, not Kavi, burned away it all. He might have betrayed Farsala, but he more than made up for it. Those torture scars would never go away.

She knew he didn't do it for her though.

She didn't even know if he loved her back. Deghass-bitch, she remembered him snarling.

But… that was so long ago. She had changed, and so had she. There were no more nobles, no more deghans and deghasses. He was the important one in Farsala now. The Wheel had turned, and Soraya wasn't sure if she liked it.

Though, remembering the confining orders of her mother, she changed her mind. It was much better to be with the Suud, free to hunt, free to be one with her shilshadu.

She stole a glance at Kavi, who sat across the campfire, staring off into the distance. A blush stained her pale cheeks as he came out of his trance and met her eyes. Unable to break the gaze, Soraya knew she did love him completely… loved him as much as she trusted him. There was a time when that was not at all, but, like she said, times had changed.

He smirked to find her staring at him, and looked away. Soraya wondered what was wrong with him- so many other men had been unable to tear their eyes from her, gaping open-mouthed. She'd scorned them. But he was apparently not taken with her so-called beauty. If he was anyone else, she would be glad, but… Kavi was Kavi.

Soraya broke the silence, though she was unsure of what to say. She had to say something though. "So… how's the Councilherd?"

He saw right through her ploy, but evidently decided to ignore it. "They're still like a bunch goats, and can't do anything without me…" Kavi trailed off, looking at her once more. "You an All-Speaker yet?"

He was pleased to see her look embarrassed.

"Maok's been teaching me about the shilshadu of stone… but I just can't reach it! I should be calm enough, now that the war's over… and…" She'd been about to say her family was home, but stopped abruptly. Merdas, poor Merdas, hadn't come back home. He'd died- not killed by the Hrum, but by illness. Sudaba had come back, aged ten years. She'd wanted nothing to do with her former life, and surprisingly, took up a job in the country. Soraya felt tears well up in her eyes, and dashed them away angrily. Even though she was a deghass no more, she still had her pride!

With two long strides, Kavi crossed the campfire-barrier that separated them, and put his arms around her, not as awkwardly as the last time. Poor girl, he thought. She has no family now… except Jiaan and the Suud… and maybe me?

Soraya relaxed, but her sobs didn't cease as tears stained Kavi's shirt, blooming from his shoulder like a wet rose.