Roughly, Covenant hugged her so that she could not see the savagery which white-knuckled his countenance. "Of course." He forced up the words as if they were too thick for his aching throat. "No one else is worthy."

He held her, half fearing she would collapse if he let her go, but after a long moment, she withdrew from his embrace. With a look that reminded him of her sprightly girlhood, she said, "Let us tell the Giant," as if she wished to announce something better than a betrothal.

Together, they turned and climbed arm in arm up the ravine toward Saltheart Foamfollower.

When they reached him, they found that his buttressed visage was still wet with weeping. Gray ice sheened his face, hung like beads from his stiff beard. His hands were gripped and straining across his knees. "Foamfollower," Lena said in surprise, "this is a moment of happiness. Why do you weep?"

His hands jerked up to scrub away the ice, and when it was gone, he smiled at her with wonderful fondness. "You are too beautiful, my Queen," he told her gently. "You surpass me."

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