About a year after the newcomers fix Azan he’s hands, Dama announces his death and ascends the throne.
Val looks for Azan he at the funeral.
He’s there. He’s not particularly trying to be inconspicuous but he’s not calling attention to himself either.
Meanwhile people are taking turns telling stories about Azan he's life.
Valan is one of them. "The first time I ever saw Azan he, I worried my people had broken him. Because he wasn't fighting when I went to see. He was... still, he was quiet, he was listening and waiting. When I saw him again he was king. He was... holding people together, giving everyone else the strength to keep going. Everything was so much then, you could look at it all and think it was too much and you'd done your part and couldn't keep going - but then he'd ask you to do just one thing, and it would be small enough, and then you could go one more day. He must have been in pain. He must have been tired. He must have been scared. We all were. And we all kept going. But the rest of us kept going because we all had someone to lean on. I don't have the first clue where he got the strength to give us that."
She’s not going to cry, not in public, not on her first day as king, but she is going to hug Valan and Dira both so much after this.
The ceremonies seem to take forever, but then all the public parts are done and she can retreat to the palace, in theory to finish out the funeral but in practice to relax some after publicly mourning her brother.
If Valan is around he’s getting hugs.
”I love you. You—said what I couldn’t figure out how to say. Thank you.”
"He's incredible, isn't he."
“I don’t know what I would have done without him. I don’t know what I’d do now if he was really gone.”
"Yeah. But he's here. You'll do fine."
“I’m going to do my best. How is Maki holding up?”
"You know how he gets about change but he's bounced back from worse."
“Yeah. Give him my love when you get back—for now do you want to come find Dira with me? He’s got Nadi, so they could be anywhere by now.”
They end up not being hard to find. Nadi is sitting patiently while Dira braids her hair by feel, but she waves when she sees Dama and Valan.
"Hi, Nadi! Hi, Dira! Congratulations."
“Valan! Thank you for your words today.”
He ties off Nadi’s hair and pats her on the shoulder.
”I keep thinking I should be in a meeting right now and then remembering I’m dead. What a strange thing to have to get used to.”
"You're looking pretty healthy for a dead guy."
“I haven’t had much time to decompose yet.”
"Such slow worms! Maybe they think you taste bad."
“Hah, I’m delicious and you know it.”
"Maybe I don't know. Maybe you should prove it."
“Maybe I should. My princess, will you release me from your service?”
Nadi giggles. “Okay.”
Then they can go find someplace private.