LAEMUL: It’s actually from the Southern Desert. Much rarer, but I can understand how you might think it Sandak. Similar qualities. But hold it up to the light – see the pinkish cast? YANORA: (does so) Ahhh – yes, how pretty. LAEMUL: As is the hand that holds it. YANORA: (laughs lightly) Ha-ha! So charming. Your reputation for flattery is as well-deserved as your reputation for magick. LAEMUL: Highness, you can hardly blame me. And I swear my flattery is nothing here but telling pleasant truth. YANORA: So you say. LAEMUL: You seem singularly well-informed in matters of magick, Highness. I might say I am surprised, but truly? Not especially. YANORA: Oh, that disappoints me. I always aim to surprise. LAEMUL: Well – impressed, certainly. But surprised? Your father has indulged you since childhood with the finest tutors and an education far beyond what is ordinarily afforded even a royal daughter. I am delighted to find that what some have said was a waste of resource seems to have resulted in a fine intellect and a wit well worthy of the exquisite form that houses it. YANORA: Oh do flatter me some more, Master. LAEMUL: No, that was no flattery. Do you think I could not have found a plausible – or even magickal – way to stay you from coming in here? Your mere presence in my rooms could create a scandal that could lose me my position or even throw me in a dungeon. But you’re worth the risk. You’re fascinating to me, your Highness. Beautiful and willful. Devastatingly intelligent. Exactly the sort that most men find irresistible and, at the same time hate and resent. YANORA: “Hate and resent?” That isn’t flattering at all. LAEMUL: No. An unpleasant truth, alas. But I do not feel threatened as most men do.