A grin broke through Tayna’s expression, chuckling disbelievingly. ‘I don’t believe it. He found you, he really found you like he said he would.’ She closed the space between them suddenly, as if she planned to embrace him or leap at him.
‘You don’t look anything like I imagined,’
‘Err – thanks,’
‘No, no, it’s not bad. I only mean…well, I thought you’d be -,’
‘Have a shovel, Tay’,’ smirked Andrel, holding out an empty hand.
‘Oh, shut up,’ she snapped lightly. ‘You know what I mean.’ She turned back to Will, her eyes lit with wonder. ‘I don’t know how, but I had a feeling you were something different. Your essence, maybe it’s different, like mine. Our blood, perhaps, it matched up or something,’
‘You mean…Elemental blood?’ he asked,
‘Well, of course. I suppose…I suppose you don’t know that much, do you?’ She lowered her head, looking glum, and suddenly reality dawned on him. He hadn’t realised before that everybody would know his story as if it was folklore, but he wondered to what extent. He hoped they didn’t know that he had been in Vincula, he didn’t want anybody to know, not these privileged children that he wanted to belong amongst. What would they think of an urchin from the Outlawed East, prince or not? He knew that if he ever wanted to shed his old life and fit back into the life of a magus, nobody but Anala and Paradam could ever know the truth.
‘Only what I’ve been told,’ he answered plainly,
‘Well…we’re glad you’re here,’ nodded Tayna. ‘One step closer, as Paradam says.’
Confidently, the blonde boy strode forward, ‘I’m Andrel,’ he said, gesturing to the boy beside him, ‘and this is my brother, Arlamus,’
‘Voqari vra,’ he greeted, straightening his glasses nervously.
‘Let’s sit,’ said Tayna, moving towards the sofas. ‘If you only arrived, you’re probably exhausted.’
Hesitantly, Will sat down beside Anala, who looked ready to fall asleep then and there, whilst the three children sat on the opposite sofa, Tayna and Andrel on the cushions whilst Arlamus rested on the sofa back, pulling a small book from his pocket, adjusting his spectacles again and seeming to detach completely from the room.