Kadira smiled as Naria poured the tea for the three of them before sitting down herself.
“Naria was telling me about what is happening on Taloa just before you arrived, Andrew-idan,” Kadira said. “It sounds awful.”
“You don’t have to add the honorific,” Andrew said. “Andrew or Drew is fine. And yes, it is, and it’s all my fault. If only I hadn’t been so gullible, Emms wouldn’t have captured me.”
“You must call me Kadira,” she replied. “And you shouldn’t blame yourself. Likadrian would have found a way to break the world again even without you to control the dragons he’d captured. Everything I know of our history tells me that.â€
Andrew stared into the depth of his teacup. Logically he knew that was true, but somehow he still felt responsible. He was trying to articulate how he felt when Kadira took his chin in one gentle hand and tilted his head so their eyes met.
â€œI know it’s hard to believe at the moment, but it’s really not your fault,â€ she said. â€œI think you should talk to your parents. I know things are bad on Taloa but you still need time and help to work through this.â€ She sighed and looked away. â€œHow do you feel about your Aunt’s intention to raise Likadrian again?â€
Beside him, Andrew heard Naria give a surprised squeak and realised she hadn’t told her mother that bit. Kadira chuckled softly.
â€œYstelyan-mirian told me,â€ she said. â€œNow, how do you feel about it?â€
Andrew considered the question. â€œConfused,â€ he said finally. â€œI think she’s right and I even think it will work, but it’s…â€ He hesitated, trying to find the right word. â€œUncomfortable.â€
â€œYes, I would imagine that it is,â€ Kadira said. â€œAnd I hope you’re right about it working.â€
Andrew thought about Jayden Emms weeping over realising how lonely Huldre had been without him. â€œI think it will,â€ he said again. â€œIt’s his heart friend that worr–â€ He broke off as he realised something. â€œDamn! I left Kimi on Earth when I helped bring Ken here. That’s not good for her, is it?â€
â€œIt’s only been an hour or so, Drew,â€ Naria said â€œYou’re strong enough to get away with it for that long. She’ll be sleepy but won’t have real trouble unless you leave her for longer than that. Send an imp to get one of your family to bring her.â€
â€œOh, that’s a good idea.â€ He put down his cup and concentrated on his mother and his concern for Kimi. The tiny creature of blood red ice shot off almost instantly. â€œStill, I feel terrible about forgetting her.â€
Naria reached out and squeezed his hand. â€œShe’ll understand, Drew.â€
â€œI know,â€ he said.
â€œKimi is your heart friend?â€ Kadira asked. â€œNari said she’s a snow gryphon?â€
â€œThat’s right,â€ he said. â€œShe’s wonderful. She’s really intelligent and knows lots of stuff.â€
â€œYes, gryphons tend to be scholars,â€ Kadira said. â€œFierce fighters too.â€
â€œI’ve noticed that as wel–â€ He broke off as there was a knock at the door. Naria ran and opened it to reveal Sonia, Nephele and Kimi.
â€œI’m going to have words with Sal for dragging you off without Kimi ,â€ Sonia said.
â€œWell, it was an emergency.â€ Kimi hurried over to Andrew and nuzzled him. â€œBut I’m glad I’m here.â€
â€œYou are Andrew’s mother?â€ Kadira asked.
â€œI am,â€ Sonia replied. â€œI take it you are Naria’s mother?â€
â€œI am,â€ Kadira said. â€œWon’t you and your heart friend come in and have a cup of tea, Sonia-ida?â€