Tayna reached out for Elena’s hand to pull her up.
'Taryn, I -,' she began to say, but Tayna stopped her.
'If you've worked out that Wasily is Willow Avaric, then you might need to know that Taryn,' she pointed to herself, 'is Tayna Ilmatar.' Elena's knees shook giddily, and Tayna pointed to her friends, 'Sayara Demetra, Laguna Amadahy, Arlamus; and Andrel.' Andrel stuck his tongue out at her as she spoke his name mockingly.
'Please forgive me, I had no idea -,'
'And we didn't want you to,' said Sayara. 'If you had, I imagine you would have told everybody. And we don't want the public to know we're out and about so soon. And we wanted an evening where we left our royal titles behind. Do you understand?'
'Ab - absolutely,' Elena nodded in bobble-head style. 'You see, I heard that Paradam wanted me to look after Carmen and Karn'el Avaric, I hoped in my wildest dreams to meet their brother, but this is incredible.' Her eyes began to sparkle with ideas, and Tayna knew she had to put a stop to it.
'We have to make one thing clear,' she said. Will marvelled at how queenly she sounded. 'We preserved our identities to enjoy ourselves, but also because we know what your intentions are and how you work in the name of the royal families. However, just because Carmen and Karn'el are going with you, doesn't mean you can go to extremes preaching that you have our support.'
'But, Highness -,'
'We're not taking any sides, not for a long time. We don't want a civil war, we are working in our own ways to resolve problems. If you tell anybody of us, tell them that.'
'Yes, Highness, absolutely, I understand.'
'So...' said Andrel, breaking the formal mood, 'you're Paradam's contact?'
'Tirian is, but as I said before, in his old age he has become ill and almost blind, I am his able-bodied representative.'
'You're his granddaughter?' asked Arlamus,
'No,' Elena shook her head matter-of-factly. 'His wife.' Arlamus pulled a face that was laughable, his disdain as obvious as it would have been if his thoughts of cradle-snatcher were written on his forehead. 'As much as I wish we could stay,' she added, 'it is time to go.'