Such a pity that Emperor Dorca had taken one look at seventeen year old Natalya and decided that she was not the right bride for his difficult younger son .
Not that Natalya wasn't very … charming … but an Imperial bride needed decorum , a pelvic arch worthy of an imperial aqueduct and the hide of a rhinoceros .
And after marriage settlements for four older sisters,
it was unlikely that even the famously frugal Count Vormuir would be able to come up with the sort of dowry that would sweep away cautious old Dorca's doubts.
While Emperor Dorca hesitated, the Vorkosigans had snapped Natalya up for young Lord Selig.
The news -if it was indeed news to Dorca – cheered him so much that he had shaken off the gout that had kept him in bed for weeks.
The Emperor had remained in the capitol only long enough to despatch Xav on an urgent trade mission to Komarr,
Escobar and Beta and to buy an expensive present for the young couple to show his imperial approval.
As an afterthought, he had then taken great pleasure in ignoring his doctors advice and departed on an extended “hunting trip” on his estates with both Hettie Vorvolk and Nina Vorlakial.
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