A/N: Whisper of Damkina is currently on an unscheduled hiatus due to lack of writing time. It will resume postig on Christmas Eve. Sorry about that.
Trent had clearly followed Alexandra’s gaze because he raised an eyebrow.
“Ah,” he said after a moment. “I see.”
Alexandra gave him a surprised look. “You do?”
“Of course,” he said. “But I’m not going to spoil the surprise.”
“What is it?” That was the young woman from the pair Alexandra had stared at when she said that some people might not be happy. Alexandra didn’t answer, but after a moment the young woman stiffened anyway. “Oh, sweet Lord! They found them, didn’t they? And they’re bringing them in?” She hugged herself and cast Adrian and Julie a reproachful look. “You could have warned us.”
Lydia nudged her mother’s mind. They’re what remains of the Taylor family? she asked.
Pretty much, Sonia said. They used to be a major family but after what happened, they’ve only scrabbled back to satellite family status this year.
“We haven’t really had chance,” Julie said. “Behave yourselves.”
The girl looked down. “We will. No one is going to fault them for defending themselves. Especially after what we’ve learned about how wrong we were. It’s just, you know, uncomfortable.”
“I do know,” Julie said sympathetically. “Though Lily has a point. We didn’t warn them and we should have â€“ and we should likely warn our guests as well. Surprises like this leads to messes. We don’t need more mess.”
“I’ll do it when I go to fetch them,” Matthias said.
“Just make sure they know we’re no threat.” Lily shuddered. “We don’t want to end up like our parents.” She closed her eyes and hugged herself again.
“Do you and Nathan want to sit this out, Lily?” Alexandra asked. “No one would fault you for it in the circumstances.”
Lily looked tempted by that but then shook her head. “I know there’s very few of us but you still can’t really spare us. Who knows what’s coming next?”
â€œWe’ll be fine,â€ said the young man who Lydia guessed must be Nathan. â€œWe’ll have to be. Unless my memory deceives me, they’re probably large enough to class as a major family and if that’s the case we aren’t going to be able to avoid them. We may as well deal with it sooner rather than the later.â€
â€œYou’re right there,â€ Matthias said.
â€œThis family is really that large?â€ Trent asked in surprise.
â€œThey are,â€ Sonia confirmed. â€œAnd they have a couple of other lost lines as satellites.â€
Trent’s eyes widened and he whistled. â€œWell that will put the cat among the pigeons.â€
â€œI’ll go and fetch them then,â€ Matthias said.
When he returned with Faith and her brothers, the woman immediately made her way over to Lily and Nathan, coming to a stop a few steps away from them and looking awkward.
â€œI don’t want another war,â€ she said softly. â€œBut you should know that if we are attacked, we will defend ourselves.â€
â€œWell of course you will,â€ Lily said. â€œWe never expected you not to.â€
â€œAnd even if we were inclined to attack you, which we aren’t, we really aren’t in a position to,â€ Nathan said.
â€œFair enough,â€ Faith said before turning back to Matthias, obviously waiting for him to introduce them.