"Come, my love."

She could hear the soothing rumble before her, authority and grace ever present. He extended a hand to her, face smiling pleasantly, the long line of his body imposing nonetheless. She stared up at him with a modest interest, head lilting to the side like a flower away from its sun. Placing her hand in his, she daintily allowed herself to be guided to her feet.

"Yes, Dorian?"

Her interest was piqued as he led her through an enormously walled pathway. Mosaic tiles glittered on the arch-domed ceilings, depicting men with hallowed light surrounding them as they went about curiously violent endeavors. The Godkings. Through the gaps of the high arches, warm sunshine glowed and kissed the exotic plants of the palace's garden beautifully. They walked along in silence as she allowed him time for contemplative talk.

"I had merely wished for an audience with you, my dear. I fear I have shirked in my duties as a humble husband to you, regarding matters of politics before your own needs." He stated a moment of idle pondering later, "Would that be so much to ask?" He added a laugh to the end, lightening the mood that settled amiably about them.

She simply smiled and looked away demurely. "I enjoy your company with equal grace, my lord husband."

"Oh, the formal speak," he groaned whimsically, bowing his back jokingly as if under a great weight. "Must we keep such talk at this point, my dear?"

"When in the presence of someone so great, it is hard to forget such formalities."

Dorian sighed, a wisp of breath echoing his sadness. There was still a barrier his love for her could not breach. His flowing ivory cape trailed to a stop as he did before an alabaster bench. "Sit." His sweeping gesture commanded. She gently sat and he kneeled before her. He let out a breath, shoulders giving a slight bounce beneath the armored pads. The new Godking reached out for her folded hands and she met him halfway, an absent smile on her tender lips. "I love you, Jenine." He whispered against her fair knuckles, eyes closed as he reveled in the perfumed scent of his wife.

"I know, Dorian."

He expelled his bated breath, brow furrowing and hand clenching around hers with the force of the internal struggle he tried to keep at bay.

"Just once. Just once, I would wish to hear those words –"

"No, Dorian." She interjected calmly and reiterated. "I know."

His head jerked a fraction of an inch, concern and confusing etching his closed features.

"About Logan. I know him to be still alive."

A cold jolt shot through the Godking. Like lightning piercing his suddenly unsettled bowels. His head moved up jerkily, eyes staring at her blank and drawn hazel eyes. The jade pools reflected nothing back to him.

"Hopper told me while you were out performing your ceremonial duties."

Something sharp and deadly flashed in his narrowed eyes dangerously. A glint of an inner darkness rose to the surface of his eye, like a body on the Plith.

Though he was sure the servants hand had been forced, Dorian – no, Wanhope – was still a Godking. And if trust and affirmed peaceful ruling did not attain loyalty and sworn fealty, maybe fear and knocked sense would –

"No, Dorian." She placed two relaxed fingers on his forehead, soothing the worked brow beneath her ministrations. "I know that look, do not harm him he meant no disrespect."

The Godking shot up in a flurry of angered cloth and tense muscles, tied through with deep agitation.

"But how could he disobey me – how?" Dorian shouted, pacing in tight, furious circles. "How can I trust him?"

He heard a chocked laugh, suppressed behind a hand. He continued to keep his back to her. She quieted and he heard the rustle of cloth as she stood with an eloquence he knew could never be stripped of her.

"Don't you see, Dorian," Her voice was soft. "It's the same for me. You omitted a harsh truth and your reasons are your own. I will not question them. But you see, how can I come to trust you – how am I to?"

The Godking spun, eyes crazed with hurt realization and self-loathing. "But I love you!" he pleaded, arms extended and spread wide.

She drew her eyes closed, mouth a taut line upon her face. "No, Wanhope." She brough herself to say his infernal name, the one she despised most. The one that reminded her of the fate the gods above put her in.

He was hurt by the disgust he saw on her face but hid it behind a mask of solitude like all the other emotions he had learned to school long ago.

"If you truly loved me, you would have told me – given me the option to go to him. To Logan. But instead you wished me to stay here, like a caged bird. A pet, not a wife. Words lose their meaning and intent when stated through prison bars." She paused and huffed. "I may not know much on the matter, but I know that that isn't what love is." She bit her perfectly glossed lip but before she ran away from him, from them, through the garden gate back to the palace commons, Dorian saw a shimmer race down her face.

Was she crying because she thought he didn't love her… or because she was imprisoned to a country that destroyed her past and chained her to a marriage of forced hands and political decisions.

No matter the reason, she left him and he knew to whose arms her dreams would doubtless go to in the night.