It is a judgment on us!
Lady Ril came in and closed the door. She took a long look at Dela, sitting in her chair, trembling, with tears running down her cheeks, and turned on Ronan. "What have you said to her?"
Lord Ronan spun around. "She must marry Pureblood Amel! For Dee."
"Do you think he will offer marriage!" Ril mocked the plan. "Do you think he will be honorable?"
Ronan ground his teeth. "Then she must make him ask!"
"If he does it will not be a real marriage," Ril objected stridently. "He will treat her like one of his Vrellish whores! Chandad, at least, kept a single mistress, and only once he had left Dela's bed forever. The Vrellish act like stray curs."
Dela wanted to stop her ears. Her arms were wooden.
"She must marry Amel, great-aunt Ril," Ronan said, "or we are all ruined. Do you understand? Ruined!"
Ril was as hard as a drawn sword. "That is the same male logic that sent The Sacrifice to Gelion. We must do the unthinkable, or we will be ruined. Don't you see what it has earned you? A descendant of our beloved Emperor returns armed with the traditional rights of the Family of Light but possessed by a dark-souled conqueror! It is a judgment on us, Ronan!"
"It is easy for women to talk about being honorable," Ronan said, stubbornly. "It is not you who must defend Demora: in space, where the soul is risked, or by the sword on a challenge floor where you can be killed by the Vrellish, like Chandad!"
Sounds from the yard ended their quarrel.
Lord Ronan said, "That will be Pureblood Amel." He left.