1. How did you meet?
Adan: The day she arrived at the Skola in Sucevita, she caught my eye. She was standing all alone in the courtyard and looked like she needed help finding her way around. So I helped her.
Sarya: I don’t think he was doing it just to be helpful. I think he had an ulterior motive.
Adan: *looking innocent* Ulterior motive? Me?
2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
Adan: The look on her face, completely lost and scared and completely determined. And her hair, the color of sunshine, and the music I heard when I looked at her.
Sarya: He was the most handsome boy I’d ever seen, and I could tell he was rich and popular. I couldn’t believe someone like him would take the time to help someone like me. He seemed really nice, then something happened that really wasn’t his fault but I blamed him for it anyway. Everything went wrong, then, but I’ve realized since then that was more my fault than his.
3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
Sarya: Ha! Him and me? A mining town debt orphan and a rich boy? No way.
Adan: Yes. Or, I hoped so. From the moment I first saw her, I knew there would never be anyone else for me. If I couldn’t have her, I would be happy to remain a singer in the Service, unmarried, the rest of my life.
4. What do you like best about the other person?
Adan: Her beautiful hair – like sunshine. Her beautiful voice, the songs she writes, that loveably hapless yet muleheaded personality of hers, her strength – she pulled herself up from nothing with just the force of her own will and abilities. And, well… but that’s private 😉
Sarya: His voice, before… things happened. And now, even though it’s different. That smug grin of his. The fact that he loved me for so long even though I kept pushing him away. And he really cares about other people – I never would have thought that a rich man would care so much, so genuinely, about people not of his station in life.
5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
Adan: She taught me how to sing again.
Sarya: Singing together. And he’s just fun to be with. Just talking with him makes me laugh.
6. How has the other person changed you?
Sarya: He taught me to be less prejudiced, to see people as they really are instead of by the labels I put on them. He also taught me that by guarding my feelings too tightly, by building those walls of pride around my heart, I might have been protecting myself from getting hurt but I was also preventing myself from having any happiness in life.
Adan: I learned that it’s worth making some sacrifices, reining in your appetites and giving up your indulgences, to gain the respect of someone you care about. She’s also helped me to find real ways to help people who are less fortunate than I am. Caring about them is one thing; actually doing something about it is something else.
7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?
Sarya: He’s the handsome, talented, popular heir of one of the richest families on both continents – Msaka Dolna and Msaka Ras. I’m an orphan from a mining town in the Burnt Hills. Because of those differences, we might as well have lived on completely different worlds. The difference was important to me – I knew I could never have a place in a rich man’s life, or, at least, a place that was acceptable to me. I could have settled for being a mistress, but I promised myself many years ago I would never devalue myself like that. I also didn’t want anything to do with anyone from the upper classes, the people who destroyed my family and my life when I was a child. It took me a long time to realize that Adan was different, that he was his own person and not anything like the labels I put on him and the preconceived ideas I had about him.
Adan: The differences never meant anything to me. And I was willing to wait for her to decide they didn’t matter to her, either.
8. What do the two of you have in common?
Sarya: Besides music, not very much.
Adan: We love each other. Isn’t that enough?
9. What are the greatest challenges you have faced in your relationship?
Sarya: Mainly my prejudices against him, and my unwillingness to open up my eyes and my heart and see him as he really is. I still regret the years we could have had together, that were wasted because of that.
Adan: Then, after she finally accepted me, things… happened, and I was afraid her spirit had been broken and that I’d lost her. We were both badly hurt, and had a lot of healing to do. In the end, though, we were able to use that to grow closer together instead of apart.
10. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner’s family?
Sarya: I lost my family when I was a child, but I think they’d be pleased that I did so well without having to compromise myself 🙂 Adan lost his family, too, but judging by him I think his parents must have been good people.
Adan: I never knew Sarya’s family; she lost them long before we ever met. What happened to them happens to too many people, and that’s why I’ve decided to try some different ways of managing my properties and business interests, to try to change the way things work. So no more children will lose their families the way Sarya did. As for my family, Sarya might not be what they would have expected for me, but I think they would have trusted my judgment and accepted her.
11. What role does magic play in your relationship?
Adan: “Magic” is a superstitious term. But I know what you mean. We met at the Skola, where singers and musical arrangers are trained in the art of using tropes and chants to influence the natural world and human affairs. If it weren’t for our talents in those areas, we never would have met in the first place.
Sarya: Also, it was Adan’s ability to hear my “trope,” the natural song associated with me, that bound us together and kept us from being torn apart forever.
12. What are your plans for the future?
Sarya: To raise our family. If I’m not able to have more than one or two children, or even if I am, we plan to adopt some children as well.
Adan: Like I said before, I’m also exploring new and different ways of managing my properties and interests to eliminate the kinds of unjust practices that have destroyed so many families like Sarya’s. I’ve also founded a couple of orphanages, one in the Burnt Hills to care for children like Sarya was, and one in Sucevita, to care for the orphans left after the recent disasters.
13. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” How is this true for the two of you?
Adan: Well, we did save the world, so there’s that ;D
Sarya: I’m a lot less bitter and close-minded than I used to be, and he’s found a positive outlet for all his energy and caring and passion. We’re both better people for being together, and I think that together we can make the world a better place.