When Slyr was gone, AnnaГЇg’s tears came.For a long time after being trapped on Umbriel, she hadn’t cried.She watched the city she grew up in destroyed, and although she hadn’t seen it, in her heart she knew her father was dead, and Hecua, and every other soul she had ever known before coming to this place, to Umbriel — which was responsible for all of that murder.She had kept it all in, bound up with hope and purpose, freighted by the need to survive to get from one day to the next — and yes, at times by wonder, by the sheer alien assault on the senses that was Umbriel.But after Slyr poisoned her, those bands began to fray, and when at last she was ready to escape, to leave Umbriel, they had broken, because she wouldn’t have to live each day in fear any longer, because she didn’t need such unnatural control.And then she and Mere-Glim had flown out across the night to where Prince Attrebus was waiting, with his strength, his courage to sustain her.But Umbriel hadn’t let them go, and now вЂ¦ «You cry far too much,» a soft voice said behind her.She closed her eyes, but he knew, so she didn’t bother to wipe them.It would only show further weakness.She turned with her cheeks still glistening and stood up from her stool.
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When she first met Toel, she’d thought him darkly, devilishly handsome, and his unbelievably blue eyes had absorbed her.Now he only seemed dangerous, like a viper.
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He looked meaningfully at the purplish substance in the crystal cone.His eyes widened dreamily and he hissed before taking several shuddering breaths.Little sparks danced on his skin, and she felt the tiny hairs on her face pull toward him.Then he looked down at her, his gaze still a little strange.If only you had — well, a little drive.