"Please have a seat, Tobin. Is there anything that I can get for you?"

"Only tea, thank you,"  he answered, setting himself as she bid in her parlor's chamber. "Thank you for the invitation, Princess, though I wonder why you called me in for a private summons so suddenly."

Elitha smiled gracefully, pouring tea in two porceilain cups in one, smooth motion.  "No reason in particular. We have never really had a conversation truly alone, and I would enjoy to learn more about a man who has so easily become my friend."

"I am flattered," grinned Tobin, though nothing of his formal statement seemed stiff. He took the cup the Princess offered him with a nod, and relaxed slightly into his chair. "What is it you wish to know, Your Majesty?"

She paused, continuing, "How is it you happened to be at your uncle's side always? Are you his apprentice?"

"I believe so," he took a sip. "That is what it seems. When I lost my Mother, his sister, I was taken in his home and almost became his student."

"I am sorry about your Mother," Elitha said softly, as if thoughtful. "Did you ever know her?" Before he opened his mouth, she interrupted, appearing alarmed, "If you do not mind telling me....I know it is a very personal question that you may not wish to share."

Tobin smiled slightly. "It is alright, Princess. I was young at her death, but not young enough to remember much of her."

A silence settled between them, Elitha staring into her tea as she thought of her own Mother, a person, a face, unknown to her. She shook herself, briefly apologizing to her guest before she continued, "Certainly you do not wish to remain Sir Hurst's student forever. What do you wish to do in your future? Are you to take over his fleet in the event of his retirement?"

"I doubt that he will retire any time soon. He delves deeper and deeper into it as the years pass, so full of ambition for better things for it as well as him." Tobin chuckled slightly. He sighed, before going on, "I have read so much about the world and her mysteries...I someday desire to go out and see them for myself, perhaps to discover a few of them." Tobin laughed slightly, "Now that I say it, it sounds like a boyish wish that so many others have."

"No, it is not," Elitha said smilingly. "I am certain you would make a great adventurer, just as your uncle was."

"Hum," nodded Tobin with a grin. "What about you? What is your ambition for the future?"

She was quiet for a moment, "As a Princess, there is not much chance for myself to see the world. My destiny lies in being one of the Royal family. As much as the world interests me, my place as a woman and a Princess is here." A wave of sadness washed over her - she hated hearing it, and admitting it as well. "Perhaps when you shall return from your missions, you can give me a first-hand account."

"For certain," he agreed with a slight smile, catching at her feeling down. "I will make you feel as if you were there."

Elitha smiled, grateful for his kindly nature, his remark reaffirming her love of his friendship.

The End

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