Phelice and Jariss had never met one another before they married.
Phelice is disappointed when her new husband doesn't bother to meet her on her arrival at his sky castle and Jariss continues to be preoccupied. He has other things on his mind than his new wife. The Eos have withdrawn from the dukedom of Noor and without their interaction all the land is dying.
Phelice has always had a good relationship with the Eos of her home dukedom, but will she put her annoyance to one side and help Jariss, or will she let him solve his own problems.
Over the next few days Phelice mulled over Aunt Dieta's words of caution. Maybe she'd like the Duke of Noor when they met. Phelice shook her head. Kazak had to be the best match for her. She might not love him, but found him kind and gentle.
The three suitors were to attend her birthday ball and Duchess Kara threw herself into the preparations but to Phelice's relief her father didn't mention the offers of betrothal until the day before the guests were due to arrive.
"Phelice, don't hurry over making your choice. I would like you to be happy, but this means I will do what I think is best for you and you may not agree with my decision."
Her heart sank. Could her father be gently telling her she had no chance of marrying Kazak? Her mother also talked about the Dukes arrival, and never mentioned Kazak of Rak.
"Don't go by appearances, Phelice. You know the Duke of Sofine likes to dress flamboyantly, but he could be a nice man beneath all the frippery. I don't know much about the Duke of Noor. He lives so far away so if you choose him we'll seldom see you. Maybe the Duke of Sofine would be the best choice."
"What about Kazak of Rak?" Phelice dared to ask.
"A younger son? I don't think so. No, you must decide between the two dukes." Her mother swept from the room leaving an angry Phelice in her wake.
Her parents had discounted Kazak without any thought for her feelings. Phelice walked in the gardens, her route taking her toward the edge of the grounds where they butted up against the force field. The blue sky surrounded the castle and the fluffy white clouds danced in the distance. Below sat the town of Ardville, but she could not make out any individual features from this distance. Sitting on a bench, she went over her choices and spoke them out loud, hoping this would help her decision.
"Kazak is my first choice, but I doubt Father will allow me to marry him. This leaves the two dukes. There is no way I'm going to marry Lukane of Sofine. Rumor says he's got worse as he's grown up. This leaves me with Duke Jariss of Noor, a widower. I wonder how old he is and what happened to his first wife. Perhaps I should find out a bit more about him."