Chapter no 42 – KAZI

Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #2)

A ribbon.

I concentrated on that now, trying to stop the mad fear beating in my chest.

When they dragged me into the inn today, a red ribbon flashed past my vision. I realized now it was probably only one of the many festival decorations, but in the flash of that terrifying moment as I was pulled through the inn doors like a piece of live game, I had imagined the ribbon to be something else, tied there just for me. I allowed myself to slip back into that world, a world where there were breezes, promises, tomorrows, and Jase.

Cool air streamed over my cheeks. Jase’s hair rippled in the wind.

What is this, Kazi? he asked, looking at the feastcake and ribbon in my hands.

They’re part of a Vendan ceremony. What kind of ceremony?

Wedding. A wedding ceremony, I answered. Vendan ceremonies are simple. These, a moon, and witnesses are the only requirements. I guess Synové thought she had it all figured out. My cheeks warmed and I began to rewrap the package.

Jase put his hand out to stop me. Is it such a bad idea?

We stared at each other and I saw the inevitable in his eyes. What we both already knew in our hearts. No, I answered.

Our lips met, and he whispered words between them: Show me, Kazi.

Show me what to do. I want you to be my wife.

With Mije and Tigone looking on as our witnesses, I took his hand and wrapped the ribbon around his wrist and he did the same with mine. We tied it off together. And now vows should be spoken, I told him.

What kind of vows?

Whatever is in your heart, Jase. That is all that matters. Tell me what is in your heart.

He took my free hand, held it to his lips, then nodded.

Kazi of Brightmist—

His voice caught, his emotion as near to the surface as mine. Then he began again, but he took his time, as if searching for the perfect words.

Kazi of Brightmist … you are the love I didn’t know I needed.

I could still hear the soft flapping of the ribbon in the wind as we lifted our hands to the sky. Bound by earth, bound by the heavens, I said once we finished our vows, and Jase repeated the words.

There was no moon. Our witnesses were horses. We didn’t follow the rules, but we never had. It didn’t make our vows any less true, or make us any less married.

We had stared at each other for a long while afterward, almost in disbelief. We were wife and husband. I broke off a piece of the feastcake and placed it in his mouth, and he did the same for me. It is done, I told him, then added, almost. He skimmed his thumb along my lower lip, wiping away a crumb, and then we walked together into the ruin, the ribbon fluttering behind us.

Bound by earth. Bound by the heavens. Wife and husband.

Montegue could never take that away.

His footsteps grew louder then stopped just outside the door. He was here.

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