Hi, everyone! This week, we have a scene with Dhiabhan and Rhubhian from Bane of Ashkarith!

~~~

How long had it been since he’d been this nervous? He couldn’t even remember. No one, not even his father, had the capacity to do this to him. Only her. He tugged at the collar of his jacket with a sigh and exited the shop with his purchase tucked safely into his pocket. Would she like what he’d bought her? Would she refuse it? Gods, he hoped not.

His finger ran over the cool wood of the box, and he smiled. Neither one of them had ever imagined there would be a day when they wouldn’t have to be slave and master, prince and subject. He certainly hadn’t thought a day would come when he was free to love her without fear of losing her because of his weakness. But that day had come.

He kicked at the cobblestones of the path, listened to the tinkle of the wind through the wind chimes, and watched the carriages hurdle past down the sewage-laden streets. What a glorious day to be alive! Hopefully Rhubhian would echo that sentiment when he showed her what he’d bought.

He turned the box over and over in his pocket, fingers playing over the polished surface and the cold silver clasp that kept it firmly locked shut. His grin broadened as the airfield came into sight between the stone and mortar houses of the tradesmen living on the edges of town. The sun spilled over amber waves of grass dotted with purple and red autumnal flowers. He stopped by the edge of the fields and picked a few with pursed lips.

She might refuse his gift, but she’d never turn down flowers. Especially not these ones. He sucked in a breath of the freedom-laden air and quickened his pace. He nearly pranced down the pathway in the field as he approached the tents, but he forced himself to stay calm and walk at a pace that matched his usual brisk walk.

His men watched him with knowing grins and winks. He scowled at them, but even their knowledge of what was meant to be a secret didn’t dampen his mood. Why should it? Things couldn’t be better in his world, and if she didn’t refuse, he might even be forced to revise that opinion.

He flung the tent flap of his home aside and ducked inside.

Rhubhian swayed gently as she worked at tidying up the tent, her soft voice lifted in some song from her homeland. He paused at the door, drinking in her movements and the cadence of her song. She’d never sung while they were in his father’s court, and since leaving, he’d determined he would never let anyone steal away something she so obviously enjoyed again. “Ru?”

She stopped humming and spun to face him, dipping her head to hide the huge smile breaking out over her face. “You’re back, Eras.”

He strode to her and lifted her by the waist to swing her around before settling her petite frame against his. “Indeed I am. And I come bearing gifts.” He produced the flowers from his pocket and handed them to her.

She smiled and stood on her toes to press her lips to his. “They’re beautiful. Thank you.”

He cleared his throat, the nerves returning. “Yes, well. I have something else to give you, actually.”

She bit her lip. “You seem uncertain. Is something wrong?”

He shook his head then paused and shrugged. “Not yet. Maybe not at all. It depends on what you say.”

She frowned. “What I say?”

Dhiabhan nodded and slowly pulled the wooden box from his pocket, drawing her in with one arm to show her. “I have a very important question to ask you.”

“And it has to do with that box?”

He smiled and pressed a kiss to her temple. “Perceptive as always. It does.”

“What’s the gift, then? The box or what’s in it?”

“What’s in it.” He flipped the latch open and lifted the lid on the sandalwood box with its gold inlay and silver filigree. “In my culture, we had a tradition a long time ago. Long before we began to disrespect our woman and treat them as lesser beings. As the tradition went, the men presented these to their lovers in the hopes that they might…” His voice choked off, and he stared down at the glinting ring with its blue face and delicate silver design work. “In the hopes that they might do their men the honor of wedding them.”

Rhubhian sucked in a breath and reached out to touch the ring with trembling fingers. “And this? This is the question you wanted to ask me?”

He placed the box in her hands and closed her fingers around it. Then he enveloped her hands in his and drew her close. “Yes. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife, Ru?”

Her smile veiled with tears, she laughed. “It is long overdue, is it not?”

“I apologize for that, my love.” Dhiabhan squeezed her hands. “Had I been free of my conniving father, I would have brought the question to you a long time ago.”

She smiled and nodded. “Well, I suppose I can accept that explanation. And yes, Eras. I will marry you.”

He stared down at her with a soft smile on his lips, cupped her face in his hands, and marveled at how such a delicate creature could place her trust and her heart in his work-worn hands. He really didn’t deserve such great love. But whether he deserved it or not, he had it, and he didn’t plan on letting it go. He pressed his forehead to hers with a wide smile. “Thank you. This day can’t get any better now, thanks to you.”

“Glad to help.”

He kissed her gently and helped her put the ring on. For a moment, he stood there, admiring the way it glimmered in the lights from the lamps. She was his. Really, truly his. For forever, until death did them part. And he couldn’t have been more ecstatic.

~~~

That’s it for this week! Have something you’d like to see in this section of the blog? Feel free to leave suggestions below or send them to my email address from the contact page.

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