Galen stared around him as the flower petals drifted to the ground. They smelled heavenly and shimmered in the half-light of the late evening. “Starflowers?” he murmured.

“They’re your favorites, right?” Tindara murmured, catching his hand and smiling. The smile told him that she was behind the strange welcome.

“They are,” Galen agreed. “I’m not sure how you know that. I’m not sure how you did this… or why, but… it’s very nice.”

“I’d hoped you’d like it,” she replied. “Today’s your birthday. It’s the start of your gift.”

Galen blinked and murmured, “The start?” He would soon learn what other gifts the woman had in mind for him.

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