|Chapter 24: Descent to Earthroot|
"I'm not trying to prove that the Land isn't real anymore." In the back of his mind, he pleaded, Please don't ask me anything else. I don't want to lie to you.
She probed him with her eyes. "Do you believe, then--do you accept the Land?"
In his relief, he almost sighed aloud. He could look at her squarely to answer this. "No. But I'm willing to stop fighting about it. You've done so much for me."
"Ah, beloved!" she breathed with sudden intensity. "I have done nothing--I have only followed my heart. Within my Lord's duty, I would do anything for you."
He seemed to see her affection for him in the very hue of her skin. He wanted to lean forward, touch her, kiss her, but the presence of the Bloodguard restrained him. Instead, he handed her the knife.
He was abdicating himself to her, and she knew it. A glow of pleasure filled her face as she took the knife. "Do not fear, beloved," she whispered. "I will preserve you."