"Grandmother...what if I don't like him?"

Shirah paused. It had been a normal afternoon, she was grooming River, both mentally and physically, telling her of what He was expecting and what He needed to be told.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean...what if he like peppermint?"

"Ah, well, that is where compromise comes in." Shirah continued running through brush through River's hair once again. "It is true that we make the choices, but we must also make the choice to be partners. The is one thing your parents are doing right." Shirah's brush paused. "I am sorry you did not meet your grandfather. He was my favorite consort. My companion in the hunt, my partner in the dance, and he absolutely adored pickled fish."

River giggled in her lap. Pickled fish were no laughing matter. They were disgusting and had no place in the house, much less on the dinner table. Shirah smiled with her grandchild; a child could laugh about something that had nearly ended her marriage.

"Eventually we came to an agreement. He could not keep sneaking about doing as he enjoyed while I did what I wished regardless. It wasn't fair to either of us." Shirah began to part River's hair into braids, hundreds upon hundreds would crown her as a warrior, one day in the distance. Her trophies would clink and ring next to her consort's, and everyone would know her. "We sat down one night and bared ourselves to one another. Completely. Our spirits sang together for the first time."


"Do not take your clothes off until he has delivered his final gift,"