It doesn’t matter if this author writes under the name Milla Vane or Meljean Brook, I simply adore every word she pours onto the page. This is a scene toward the end when Maddek finally realizes that Yvenne has been telling him the truth all along.
He reined the horse around to see Yvenne limping toward him, her face still pale and eyes still shadowed, but not in so much pain. She carried a small velvel pouch, and was digging through it–pulling out jewels, strands of gold. As if she meant to bestow a token upon him, as young lovers did.
He would not stay to kiss her rubies, then, but wear them into battle. “What do you have for me?”
“For your vengeance. I made no mention of it before, because I feared you might think it was akin to speaking with sly tongue–or you might believe I’d stolen it, and cut off my thumb.” Her voice was wry but laced with real pain as she continued digging through the pouch. “But now that your vow is rescinded, I can give it to you, to wear next to your father’s as you cut off Zhalen’s head.”
His mother’s crest. She placed it into Maddek’s palm, and for a long moment there was nothing inside him. All this time, she’d had it. And it was his own vow that had made her fearful of showing him–not just the crest, but the seam bent to fit a smaller finger, and a symbol roughly etched beside the dragon of Ran Bantik’s tribe. A crescent moon, the signil of the House of Nyset.
The weight of that small silver sing in his palm seemed to drag Maddek from the horse, for he had no memory of dismounting before he stood before her.
“You cannot give this to me,” he rasped, his throat raw. “She has pinched it to fit your thumb.”
“You could wear it on your smallest–“
“I could not, Yvenne. Even if it did fit, I would not. This is not the crest of a warrior who has fallen, but one who lives.” One who belonged to both Syssia and Parsanthe. Not merely a crest offered to show approval, but far more. “This mark adopts you into the dragon tribe. She made you a daughter of the Burning Plains. Only you can wear this.”
He took her hand. His own fingers shook as he slid it over her thumb, and then he brought her hand to his mouth and kissed her crest so fiercely. There was a sudden silence from the riders behind him, who saw what Yvenne wore now. Who understood what it meant. She had not lied, she had never lied. Even without this proof, Maddek would have married her and had come to believe her–though almost too late. Now this crest would help combat the lie that he had spread about her.
The consequences of that, Maddek would have to face later. Most likely, it would be said that his doubt had been justified. But he cared not what was decided. He would bear anything–because the one consequence that he coulnd’t bear had already been thwarted.
So close he had come to losing her. So very close. Because of a vow made in grief and rage and haste. But a clear view he had of her now.
And a much clearer view of himself.