Four years earlier:
“My home and family are here. Menara is so far away.” The young woman was growing more reluctant with each detail Sigit provided about the mages’ fortress—the exact opposite of his intent.
Sigit had returned to Pasuru to meet the woman his family had chosen for him. He had just been accepted into the order of the mages two years earlier and was too busy for a family, but his parents had made the decision for him. If he didn’t agree to the arranged marriage, he might never have another chance. When parents make the decision, it was his duty as a son to honor their efforts at selecting a wife for him.
Seeing that the present interview wasn’t going well, he knew he needed to turn the situation around. Leaning toward her, he spoke earnestly.
“Pasuru is close to Mount Semeru—Dahat’s headquarters. Should he ever make a move, this would be one of the first settlements he’d attack. You’d be much safer in Menara. Besides, I’m learning a lot about defense. We could build a family there without fear of danger.”
“Promise me we’d be safe there, Sigit.”
“There’s no safer place in all of Jawa,” Sigit boasted. When she folded her arms and pouted, he bowed, adding, “Okay, I promise.”