A/N: I’ve made some tweaks to my Patreon – check it out.Â You can also check out a sample chapter of my Traditional Fantasy WIP “Shattered”. If pledges reach $50/month I’ll start posting on this site fortnightly. We currently have $33/month pledged so that’s just $17/month to go.
It was a couple of hours later that Sarah knocked on Kadira’s door. She looked exhausted but Andrew was glad to see her. Even though they’d only discussed Mantilian and the situation on Earth, he couldn’t shake the feeling that if their mothers were in the same room much longer, they would start planning a wedding for him and Naria.
I know what you mean, Naria said to him privately as she brought more tea for Sarah. They do have that vibe, don’t they? I’ve told mother that we’ll decide what we do about the bond we have. She was quiet for a moment. I would like to make it permanent, but it’s our decision not theirs.
I would as well, Andrew said. But not yet. We’re both too young to get married.
â€œWhat are you two talking about behind everyone’s back?â€ Kadira asked.
â€œHuh?â€ Andrew stared at her.
â€œYou still tend to look at someone when you’re talking to them, Drew,â€ Sonia said. â€œIt’s a huge tell and you’ll want to work on that if you intend to talk privately without people knowing. Now what were you two talking about?â€
Andrew felt himself flushing. â€œIt’s private,â€ he muttered.
â€œWe don’t want you planning our lives when we’re still deciding what we’re going to do.â€ Naria’s bluntness made Andrew flush even more.
Kadira and Sonia gave each other a surprised look before they burst out laughing,
â€œOh dear,â€ Sonia said. â€œI suppose we were both giving off that sort of feeling. Don’t worry, no one is going to make you get married if you don’t want to.â€
â€œOr before you’re ready,â€ Kadira said. â€œThough it’s fairly obvious your bond is rapidly heading towards permanent. So if you do want to break it, you should do it soon or you’ll be stuck with it.â€
â€œIt is?â€ Naria asked. A moment later Andrew felt a tug in his mind and Naria’s eyes widened. â€œIt is!â€ She took a breath. â€œI want to keep the bond but we need to see about getting it untangled. A permanent bond that’s this close would be uncomfortable, as I understand it.â€
â€œLucas can deal with that for you,â€ Sarah said calmly as she sipped her tea. â€œIt does look uncomfortably close. You don’t want to be constantly stuck in each others company. That gets wearing.â€
â€œI’d imagine,â€ Andrew said. â€œGuess we’ll be busy when we get back.â€
â€œBetween getting you therapy and this?â€ Sonia said. â€œYes, I suppose you will. We’ll worry about that then. For now, I need to introduce Sal to Mantilian.â€ She took a breath and did just that. When she finished Sarah stared at the dragon in surprise.
â€œJoseph Forrester,â€ she said in a soft, awed tone. â€œI own your diaries; you were a pioneer in life weaving techniques.â€
Mantilian flushed and looked down. â€œYou compliment me, Sarah-alra, but I’m not that good.â€
â€œNonsense!â€ Kadira said. â€œI’ve seen the things you make. Your skill is remarkable.â€
â€œBut I still couldn’t weave together a vaccine for that damned plague that killed most of the Speakers in our territory,â€ he said.
Sarah tutted. â€œI know about that. It took the whole of Waldhafen over a year to find a cure for it so it’s hardly your fault.â€
â€œIt did?â€ He looked surprised. â€œI guess it really wasn’t just me not being good enough, then. Still, I wish I knew who’d created it â€“ I’d kill them.â€ He clenched his fists. â€œIt killed Saliko’s mate and daughters before it burned out. She’s still a wreck.â€
â€œOf course she is,â€ Kadira said sympathetically. â€œBut at least she’s still got you.â€
â€œYeah,â€ he said. â€œShe’s getting there slowly.â€
â€œShe’s still got family in Waldhafen,â€ Sarah said. â€œPerhaps reconnecting with them would help.â€
â€œIt probably would,â€ he said. â€œIf they’d accept her.â€
â€œThey will,â€ Sarah said. â€œBirke and I will go and speak with them once we hear that Ken will be okay. I need to check on Alison’s progress, anyway.â€