The next day, Warin waited at a hidden intersection in the garden among the late season flowers; Edmerka had taken to walking there alone, and when she passed, he fell in step beside her. She stiffened, but did not run. "How long do you intend to stay in mourning, sister queen?" he said.
"Until I am done, brother king," she answered. "It is tradition."
"Did you love your husband so very much?"
Her startling blue eyes pinned him through the veil. "I despised him even as I loved my father."
"Your father was a lighthearted man. I am sure he would have you put aside mourning. I myself look forward to seeing you in colors again."
"Do you," she said. She pulled a little curved knife from the tasseled belt at her hips, and began to cut the asters, white and violet, that spilled onto the graveled pathway.
Warin struggled for words. He couldn't see her face through the veil, though he recognized the way she stood, the slight tremble of frustration and temper that used to run through her at the cottage. "Emmae--"
"Don't call me that!"