And, the shadows of her fate still echoing through her mind, Her Highness Sesnaiilaisa Adaitan, Princess of Villarosa, Cadet-To-Be of Their Highnesses' White Rose Fleet, wakes in her soft bed on her personal cabin on her personal cutter and screams.
She saw only shadows, the web of thralldom cast (but not the hand that cast it), her love staring down on her from above, saddened; his hand (he is hers!) entwined with that woman's, that mortal woman who bears a face that she has never seen before (though in the vision it was familiar, old and hated, and now she will hate it forever) that did this to her - broke her, beat her, turned her into nothing more than a tool - she will not yield to fate, she is Adaitan, and her people crossed the stars before mankind first herded sheep, theirs is the crown of the Thousand Stars bounded in the twisting passages of hyperspace, and that crown will be hers forevermore - and she stares into the vision, to pierce that horror for the secret of how she can destroy it -
It would be nice to believe that, for a single moment, she saw her future laid out before her; how she would struggle against her destiny and fail, how no path she could take (by her own knowledge) would lead her to a better future, how she would be powerless, hopeless, destroyed by any action she could take, a pawn moved by fate and a puppet dangling on inhuman strings - that she saw this, and cried out for any help, any aid, anything that would help her shatter the bonds of fate and save herself from the chains of slavery. It would be nice to believe.
But call or no, that is the moment when her memories return, and Sandor - Sesnai - Tyrant - princess - he - she - screams in agony as two lives meet, two years a monarch for every one a child and three a man for every one an elf, hands gripping - the guide hadn't promised (hadn't known?) it would feel like this, when anguish and grief and an old man's deep and bitter love met iron determination and petty hate and a child-grown-a-woman's tight-gripped desire to live.
And Sesnaiilaisa Adaitan, who is (who was always, though she did not know it) Sandor Balog, the Titanium Tyrant, wipes the pain from her eyes.
Though all we knew depart,
The old Commandments stand: --
"In courage keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand."
Nairia will be here very soon, and she doesn't want to look weak in front of her maid.