Disclaimer- I don't own the Beka Cooper series, the Song of the Lioness quartet, or anything related to Tamora Pierce's world of Tortall.
If there's one thing everyone agrees on about Alanna, it's that she's made of will and steel and fire, and few remember the true woman behind the Lioness. The truth is, Alanna was nothing but a stubborn girl too proud to give up and too scared to go back home. She was made, not born.
George is no less greater than his wife, but his legacy is quieter than Alanna's. He goes down as the youngest King of the Rogue known in history, and the second one to retire successfully. The first one is the legendary Rosto the Piper, but the Piper doesn't count, because so much of him as faded into stories. However, George's tenure as the feared Whisper Man grants him a far quieter, if far more feared legacy than his first.
Everyone in the realm as heard of the Lioness' deadly temper, and the conservative nobles eye her with both fear and disdain- Alanna had gotten nothing but better with words over the years- but they never thought to consider her common born, easy-going, and insane enough to marry the lady knight husband as someone with one. Alanna gets angry, but the maelstrom of her anger retreats soon enough. George however- the King of Thieves only allows one mistake, and then he takes his pound of flesh and blood.
It's an odd thing for a retired King of Thieves to consider, the idea of service. As Rogue, he protected his own and occasionally gave to those of the Lower City who needed it, but the idea of giving duty to another man, of owing him something, of doing things not for future favors or payment but because of code- well, it's a fair cracked noble idea, and George wonders what it says about his head that he sort of likes the idea, in a highly uncomfortable way.
Alanna's first infatuation was with the Code of Chivalry, and it's something that never fades.
Even the grandest of motivations start from simple roots. George became the Rogue because the old king was weak and not fit to lead, had become too complacent in his power. He became the Rogue because he was fast, talented, intelligent, had an edge with his Sight, and good connections. He knifes the only king he'd ever thought to bow to in the back because he knows he can do a better job than anyone else. George challenges the Rogue for all these reasons, but the real reason he does it? George grew up in the Cesspool and hated those who looked down upon and didn't even give his people a chance. Someone had to be the change, because, when it all comes down to it, George just wants his family safe from those who would hurt them.
Her weakness has, and always will be, her temper. His is his loyalty.
Alanna has had many teachers- Maude, Coram, Duke Gareth the Elder, her instructors, George, Jonathan, the Shang Dragon (even now, she cannot think of him as Liam) ,and even Roger, Alex, and Delia in their own ways. Neal is less than thrilled at his knight mistress's attempts to pass on their lessons.
One hundred years ago, a law was passed restricting marriage between commoners and nobles. George is glad it was repealed, even if it was so nobles could grab at the wealth of prominent merchant families. He and Alanna have enough problems without their marriage breaking the law.
When George goes to the desert to visit Alanna and the Bloody Hawk, he sees a flower in the desert, prickly and entwined with a cactus. In the setting sun, the red petals were turned copper, and he smiled at the nature embodiment of his wife.
It burns in Rosto like a flame. It helped him survive the harsh winters of Scanra. It helped him find food when he starved. It helped him learn to play the pipe when his fingers shook with the chill. It helped him convince Aniki he was a friend and coax Kora through a winter fever. Most of all, it's the reason he escaped from the ice-bitten land that is Scanra and meet a certain pretty puppy.
If someone had told Beka's sisters Diona that a hundred years from now she'd be a legend, she would scoff and call you cracked. After all, Beka was nothing but a dirty Provost's dog, disgracing their lady.
For those who lived with Beka and Rosto, everyone knew it wasn't the wrath of the Lady Dog or the King of the Rogue to fear- it was Pounce's. Hell hath no fury like a disgruntled cat.
Beka gave her loyalty, her life, and her faith to the Provost's Guard. They threw her away.
For Rosto, love was a weakness, a way to get yourself killed. For Beka, love was something that had to be proper, accepted, and controlled. So neither connected the pain in their hearts to the misunderstood word, because what is love?
Rosto had little tolerance for power plays in his Court, quite a contrast to Kayfer. No one liked it, but after several bloody disposals, the thieves got point. Discord made them weaker, not stronger.
Rosto could not have a weakness; the King of the Rogue could not be human. In the world in which he ruled, the better you were at it, the more people tried to dipose you. Rosto was a very, very good King. So, no, he didn't care about a ice-eyed, blond-haired Bloodhound who held his heart in her tough palms.
Rosto has some…interesting methods in teaching hand-to-hand combat, to say the least. Nine months later, gazing down at her precious baby girl, Beka couldn't regret a single moment of it.
Everything he did represented everything she hated.
Rosto likes to give Beka gillyflowers because they're pretty and bright and smell good and are all a mot likes, but he never compares her to one. She's far too tough to be so easily crushed.