As for the boys, their uniform was the same but altered extensively from each other. The boy Andrel had his blazer sleeves rolled up to his elbows and his white shirt buttons undone two from the top. His posture was a little slouched, nonchalant, but there was charm in his messy blonde hair, sun freckles and green eyes, like a slowly evolving child. He wasn't as tall as Will was, but dwarfed the girl standing beside him. The final boy, who had barely spoken, had his shirt buttoned so tightly it seemed to be choking him, his cardigan was pressed tidily, and hanging out of its pocket were reading spectacles. His black hair was arranged and parted with precision, whilst his face was calculating, as if he was looking at everything like specimens in jars.
‘I’m Tayna. Tayna Ilmatar,’ said the girl, smiling kindly.
Like a spark flaring in his mind, the name seemed familiar, and he turned to Anala as if for conformation that his interest was correct. She smiled, answering demurely, ‘Ilmatar, the sacred name of the goddess of the air. She’s Princess Tayna Ilmatar.’ Will’s eyes widened – she was an Elemental. Up until then, he hadn’t known why she seemed familiar, or how he’d recognised her name. Now, everything was assembling around him like a giant puzzle.
‘You don’t have to introduce me as that right away, Anala,’ said Tayna, sounding irked. ‘I wouldn’t have, not for a while, at least,’
‘Oh, I think it best he knows right away,’ answered Anala with a knowing shine in her eyes.
‘Why?’ asked Tayna,
Anala looked towards Will, silently beckoning him. Nervously, Will reached out his hand, altogether too rigid and quick. ‘I’m Will…’ after deliberation, he added with some distaste, ‘Willow.’
‘Wait, Willow?’ asked Andrel, ‘you don’t mean -,’
‘Willow Avaric?’ continued Tayna, ‘Willow Avaric, are you telling me that’s who you are?’
Stiffly, he nodded, noting that naming children after trees wasn’t a highborn idea either.