The room Naria had pulled him into was a cozy sitting room decorated in cool blues and soft greens and lit by softly glowing crystal lamps.
The only people in the room apart from him and Naria were a dragon boy about the same age as Karilya and a tall, slender woman, who were seated on one of the comfortable couches. The woman had a spindle of pure mabain in her hand and appeared to be teaching the boy how to spin threads from it. Both of them bore a strong resemblance to Naria.
Given that Naria had said that her mother wanted to meet him, she must be the woman, but he wasn’t sure who the boy was. Probably one of Naria’s siblings; he had the impression she had many.
“Mother, this is Andrew-idan,” Naria said. “Drew, this is my mother Kadira-alra and my little brother Arilian-kedan.â€
â€œI’m honoured to meet you, young idan,â€ Kadira said warmly. â€œThank you for helping my daughter when you were both Likadrian’s prisoners.â€
Andrew swallowed nervously. â€œThank you, ma’am,â€ he said. â€œBut really I think it was more Naria helping me than visa versa.â€
â€œSo polite.â€ Kadira set aside the mabain spindle and patted the couch beside her. â€œCome and sit. You have quite the bond with my daughter and if we are to become family I want to get to know you better.â€
â€œUh…â€ Andrew swallowed nervously again. Kadira must have noticed because she gave a chuckle.
â€œI’m not going to eat you, young man.â€ She turned her eyes to Naria. â€œNari, dear, make me and Andrew-idan some tea, please.â€ She turned to Arilian and patted him on the head. â€œAnd you have practiced enough for one day. Go find your cousins and play a while.â€
Arilian didn’t need a second bidding. He bobbed a bow to Andrew and ran from the room. Naria, in the meantime, grinned at Andrew one more time before slipping out of another door. Once she was gone, Kadira turned back to Andrew and smiled again.
â€œSit,â€ she repeated. â€œI’m really not going to hurt you.â€
Andrew ducked his head and shuffled nervously but did as she asked, perching nervously at one end of the couch.
Kadira frowned at him. â€œWhat is wrong with you, Andrew-idan? You look terrified.â€
â€œI-I â€“ um- I thought you might be angry because of my father,â€ he said finally.
Kadira gave him a thoughtful look. â€œAh,â€ she said. â€œI see. Well I would like to have some sharp words with him for what he did, I’ll admit, but he realised he was wrong and he did let Halindan go in the end. And he would have let Nari go as well if Likadrian hadn’t captured her.â€ She gave him a half smile. â€œAnd even if your father hadn’t learned his lesson, it’s scarcely your fault. I’m not the sort to harm an innocent to get revenge.â€
Andrew felt himself relax slightly and he returned her smile. â€œThat’s good to hear.â€
â€œGood,â€ she said as Naria returned with a tray. â€œAnd here is the tea. Hopefully that will relax you more.â€