The commonroom instantly reminded Will of an underground bunker, or a converted crypt by its high, cross-vaulted ceiling. The stone was much darker than the near-white of the castle above, but everything had been brightly decorated, especially the walls, papered with golden and purple stripes like a pair of elaborate gentleman’s stockings. Dark antique furniture stood around them, and mounted above a white marble fireplace that crackled with fire blazing purple, was the Draíochta crest, and around was written the words:
SREL KHALENA VOREH NY’OA.
This gift cannot be stolen, Will translated, taking in more of the room, the floorboards immaculately varnished like glass, a dining table against the wall fit for twenty, and three white velvet sofas surrounding the fireplace, adorned with fluffed cushions and woollen blankets, so welcoming on sight that he imagined curling up and falling to sleep amongst them.
‘By that reaction, I’d say you’re new,’ said the girl. Will turned to her, silently confused. He wondered how she’d been able to tell, if she could read him so well already.
‘Freshly brought in this morning,’ said Anala, falling back onto the sofa, kicking her foot up onto the coffee table to properly examine her broken heel. Will looked at the three Draíochta in the light, slowly drifting towards Anala and the sofas, the three of them standing still, watching him like he was a new breed amongst their familiar herd.
They all wore similar uniform with purples, blacks and whites mixed together. The girl wore a black skirt that brushed above her knees and a white blouse, over which there was a purple cardigan, and then a dark waistcoat skimming over her hips. White socks were pulled up over her knees, and her small feet wore equally small black shoes. In stature she was petite, with small curves and a sense of vulnerability about her. He had felt it in the thinness of her hands, and the darker shading under her eyes. A small thing like her would never survive in Vincula. But then again, there was something about her he couldn’t quite deduce, a power echoed by the confident set of her shoulders and her attentive penetrative gaze towards everything that made her seem…different.