Here's the first couple interview for Love and Magic Week: Rashali and Eruz from Urdaisunia:
Rashali: I was preoccupied, walking back to my village after getting water from the river, and I started across the road without seeing him, and he rode his horse right into me.
Eruz: Actually, it was you who walked into Teshkarizaz. I tried to pull around you, but couldn't.
2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
R: All I noticed was that he was a Sazar warrior and nobleman. That was all I needed to know about him, that he was the enemy.
E: Her eyes, full of fear and sorrow but also full of pride.
3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
R: The thought of an Urdai and a Sazar together was.. It was unimaginable.
4. What do you like best about the other person?
E: Rashali speaks honestly to me, and sees me as a person rather than as just a provider of wealth and prestige, as my former wives did.
R: He's a good, brave, honorable man who is committed to doing what's right no matter how hard it is or the consequences to himself.
5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
E: We like to discuss the best ways to serve our land and both the Urdai and the Sazar people.
R: We also enjoy walking together in the Jewel of Zir, the great garden behind the palace. It's a very special place to us.
6. How has the other person changed you?
R: Because of Eruz, I have learned to see the Sazars not as faceless enemies but as real people who in truth want the same things anyone else does, a place to call home, safety, a way to provide for their families.
E: Rashali gave me the courage to act on the things I believed, instead of just thinking about them.
7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?
R: He is Sazar, I am Urdai; that is the greatest difference. To an Urdai, the idea of being with a Sazar is... disgusting. And the Sazars feel the same way about the Urdai. As though the Urdai are somehow less than human. Also, he was born a prince, heir to the Sazar throne; I was born a peasant, and became a rebel against the Sazars. At first, these differences seemed insurmountable to me, but we eventually overcame them in the face of greater challenges to us and to our land.
E: The differences never mattered very much to me. For me, the barriers between us were more a matter of what was expected of me as heir to the throne. I was expected to choose my wives from a certain class of women - Sazar women, of course - and to adhere to certain ideals about the superiority of the Sazar people.
8. What do the two of you have in common?
R: I lost a young daughter to plague. Eruz has a daughter, about the same age that mine was, so he understands my love for my daughter and my grief. And I understand his love for his daughter.
E: We both also love our land, Urdaisunia. Rashali's people have lived here for thousands of years, while my people only came here seventy years ago. But it's home to both of us, and we both want it to thrive again and become the great land that it once was.
8a (new question!). What are the greatest challenges you have faced in your relationship?
E: Besides the fact that our people are mortal enemies?
R: I hated Sazars. I found it impossible to believe that a Sazar could be a good person, never mind that I could be happy falling in love with one. I'm glad that Eruz changed my mind about that.
E: I had to make choices between doing what my father the King expected of me and doing the right thing for Rashali and her people, between my role as Heir and being with Rashali. Those were difficult choices, but, regardless of how difficult it was, I know I made the right decisions in the end.
9. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner's family?
R: Although Eruz is a Sazar, my sister (the only surviving member of my family, along with her two surviving children and her new husband) is very happy for me, that I've found love again after losing my husband Tigun. As for Eruz's family, I've no use for them. They've been cruel and hateful to him. Except for his daughter, of course. She's adorable, and I love her like my own.
E: My father and brothers were horrified at the idea of me being with an Urdai woman. To them, such a thing is as bad as treason. I don't know Rashali's sister and her family very well, but they seem like good people and I'm glad they're willing to accept me.
10. What role does magic play in your relationship?
E: The first time Rashali truly softened towards me was when I did a small magic trick, making a flower bud come into full blown. Her reaction was unforgettable.
R: It was one of the most wonderful things I'd ever seen. The Sazars worship Kuz, the god of sorcerers, more than the Urdai do, and I'd never seen anything like it. I was amazed that this man who was an enemy could do something so beautiful.
11. What are your plans for the future?
R: To raise Eruz's children from his prior marriages, and have children of our own.
E: And to see Urdaisunia restored to a great land, a comfortable and prosperous home for all those who live there, Sazar and Urdai alike.
12. "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" How is this true for the two of you?
E: We overcame more than seventy years of hatred and prejudice between our people and the vast gulf between peasant and prince in order to be together. We hope that our relationship is a symbol of what the land and people of Urdaisunia can achieve.
R: If an entire land can be saved through love, then we hope that is what we are able to do.