When they arrived at Ystelyan’s palace, a white-robed man with a snakelike creature coiled around his body was waiting with him.
“My mirian!” Adrian dropped to one knee before the stranger, who smiled down at him and laid a hand on his head.
“It is good to see you, my alran. Please rise and introduce me.”
“Thank you.” Adrian stood and turned towards them. “My allies, this is my mirian Indaturan and his heart friend Saliret. My mirian, these are Matthias-idan whose heart friend is the Dark Guardian He who was Indarian, Sonia-ida and her heart friend Nephele, and their children Lydia-ida, Karen-ida, Andrew-idan and Daniel-idan and their heart friends: Bennu, Alban, Kimi and Ebona.” He turned to Lyrrekka. â€œAnd this is Lyrrekka-ida…”
“The lady and I have met once,” Indaturan said. “Though not under the best of circumstances. She acted with great restraint and honour and I have nothing but the greatest respect for her. Lyrrekka-ida, I hope we can get past our previous conflict.”
“It was the most minor of skirmishes,” she said. “I’m sure that we can.” She gestured Kyle, Karilya and Mia forward. “Allow me to present my son Kyle and my daughters Mia and Karilya.
He inclined his head to them and took Mia’s hand and kissed it. â€œLady Mia, you are as fair as your birth mother.â€
â€œT-thank you, Indaturan-mirian,â€ she said. â€œBut you knew her?â€
â€œI did,â€ he said. â€œShe was one of my renegades before Shalriya abducted her. Your father is one of my alriri â€“ I can arrange for you to meet if you wish.â€
Mia’s eyes widened and she looked at Lyrrekka who smiled back. â€œIt’s up to you, dear.â€
â€œI-I need to think about it, Indaturan-mirian.â€
â€œOf course, Adrian will send word once you decide,â€ he said before smiling down at Karilya. “But surely your little one should be sleeping?”
“She will, but I felt it was polite to introduce her first. I’ll take her back, put her to bed and rejoin you, if I may.”
“Certainly.” He dropped to one knee so his eyes were level with Karilya’s. “It is an honour to meet you, Karilya-keda.”
Karilya inclined her head. “The honour is mine, Indaturan-mirian.”
“Thank you.” He rose to his feet and turned to Kyle. â€œKyle-alran, it is a matter of some disappointment to me that Ystelyan got to you first. You are a credit to his court.â€
â€œThank you!â€ Kyle flushed slightly at the compliment as Ystelyan chuckled.
â€œI knew someone else tried to grab him,â€ he said. â€œThat was you?â€
â€œIt was.â€ Indaturan turned back to Matthias and Sonia. “Matthias-idan, Sonia-ida, I am pleased to finally meet you and your children; I’ve been watching you for some time. We have much to discuss.”
“We do,” Matthias agreed. “But I fear my children cannot stay for the entire meeting. I’m sure you know the situation on Earth at the moment – they have a rescue to prepare for.”
“Ah,” Indaturan said. “That is neither unexpected nor a problem. But before we start the meeting I need to talk with my alran and you about his mother.
“About Marian?” Matthias said.
“Yes, Ystelyan asked me to examine her when I arrived because the sort of psychic injuries she has are something I know how to treat.” He clenched his fists. “I would not have believed I could hate Mitakrian more than I already did. I know she is your prisoner but I want your permission to treat her, and my alran’s because she doesn’t seem competent to agree herself.”
“Of course you may treat her,” Matthias said. “If her family is agreeable.”
“Yes, of course,” Adrian said. “I hope you can help her. She’s so angry with herself. Have you spoken to Aunt Tara?”
“I’ll do my best, my alran. And yes I have spoken to your Aunt. She has given her permission as well and she’s been rather obsessive about thanking me for saving her son.” He turned back to Matthias. “We should get on with our discussions, since I know you are on a rather tight schedule.”