My dear readers,

So, this is it. The end. For those of you who are unhappy with that, I am considering doing a sequel from Gilo's POV but nothing is definite yet. If I do take it on, I will post an update with the link to the sequel. At any rate, Thank you for going on this journey with me.


Epilogue

When we got back to the house, Gilo went to father to ask for permission to marry me. After that, I sat down solemnly with Olin and explained that I couldn't ever marry him because I loved his brother. Olin laughed and told me that as long as he didn't have to marry anybody else, he would be perfectly happy to have me as a sister.

Gilo and I travelled all over the country, meeting all kinds of people.

We found most of the children and made sure that their families had everything they needed. We got to know hundreds of other children and families in the process.

We got to know each other too.

I found myself thinking over and over, the same thought which had first occurred to me after that conversation with Gilo in the cave. Gilo didn't fit any idea of him that people had. He seemed quite simple at first but he wasn't. He was terribly, wonderfully complicated.

Gilo.

Bright hostage.

One day we discussed whether the meaning of his name fit him. The bit about being bright, I understood well enough, I told him.

"It fits because I always have spare candles with me," Gilo guessed, his voice playful.

"No," I said. "It fits because you always shine in the darkness."

Gilo winced. "That kind of name assumes that there will always be darkness around, so that I can shine in it. I prefer the other meaning. I prefer 'happiness.'"

I nodded. "I, too, prefer happiness."

There was a pause.

"But still," I said. "I can't help but be glad that in case of darkness, I'll have you next to me."

I said things like that all the time now. I knew they were sentimental but I couldn't seem to stop. After all, everyone should have someone they can say sentimental things to.

When we returned to the palace, we got married. The ceremony was too elaborate for Gilo's taste and too simple for the king's but they managed to find a compromise without any serious quarreling since Gilo declared he was too happy to do battle over such nonsense.

Eight years later, Olin became king.

The people of the kingdom love Olin. He is a clever and just ruler.

Gilo and Rianne and I remain close and Olin often turns to us for advice. Rianne, in particular, is an excellent advisor with an intuition for what the kingdom needs.

Rosalie grows more beautiful each day.

Gilo and I treasure and nurture our love the way we would treasure and nurture a child, and like a child, our love grows greater each day.

Although there are moments of darkness, we live in great happiness.