“Your language is weird,” Andrew said. “I can’t even begin to get my head around it.” They were sitting together in a quiet alcove in the house’s surprisingly large library as she tried to teach him the basics of the draconic language.
Naria chuckled quietly. “That’s what Kyle-alran said when he was learning it. But really it’s just like any other language and you do need to know this, Drew. Enough to bluff your way through the formalities at least.” She gave a wry smile. “And your language is worse. It’s so irregular. I speak water haltia and dwarfish as well and neither is like English.”
“I’ve never been much good at languages,” he admitted. “I don’t know why.”
“Hmm, maybe we’ll do it the other way if this doesn’t work,” she said. “But it’s better to learn languages naturally if you can. It’s hard to pass the subtleties of a language via psychic teaching for some reason.”
“Really? You’d think it would be the opposite way around wouldn’t you?” he said.
“You would,” she agreed. “But for some reason it just isn’t. One of life’s little mysteries, like why Speakers don’t understand us when we speak draconic. It can’t be the Heart doesn’t understand us â€“ because we know it does.”
“It’s not the Core that makes Speakers understand us and each other?” Andrew asked.
She shook her head. “No, it helped but it’s one of the functions of the Heart that couldn’t be duplicated. Even before that Speakers couldn’t understand our language. The Heart said our language was different, apparently.”
“How odd,” he said. “But it proves I’m right – your language is weird.”
Naria chuckled again. “I suppose it does, but I don’t see why. It works just like the other languages I know.”
“No it doesn’t.”
They both leaned out of the alcove to see Kadoran standing there.
“What do you mean?” Andrew said.
“The basic titles and greetings are simple enough. But for the rest, the word order is very free and we inflect it with mental notes. That makes simply translating it hard even for something like the Heart – it can’t pass on the inflections properly. Our language is unique in that it’s a spoken language that can only be understood by psychics.”
“I have no idea what you just said but I have a feeling it’s what is bothering me,” Andrew said.
“Probably,” Kadoran said. “I’m going to be teaching Sonia-alra our language as well, so why don’t the four of us work together on it? In fact we should probably see about roping in your siblings as well. Though I suspect Lydia already knows our language if she thinks about it.”
“What?” Andrew said but Naria nodded.
“I don’t imagine Fellaria-ida would have failed to teach her that, though the kithreia pronounce some things very oddly. Tal still talks wrong.”
Kadoran tutted at her. “It’s not wrong, it’s different, and it’s amazing it’s not more different than it is. Look how Lova no longer resembles any Talori language.”
“Lova?” Andrew asked.
“Lova is one of the languages our ancestors spoke when they wanted to talk to nulls and embers,” Naria said. “It’s simple and easy for us to pronounce so dragons who don’t know a speaker language still use it when they want to be understood.”
“Which isn’t many, and humans don’t use it any more so it has been falling out of use,” Kadoran said.
Andrew thought about what Naria had told him about draconic history and winced. “So it’s a really old human languages? Some linguists would go crazy to learn that.”
“I’d imagine,” Kadoran said.
“Can we carry on with the lesson later?” Andrew asked. “I want to check the news.”
“Of course we can,” Naria said. “But are you sure? It’ll probably upset you again.”
“I know that,” he snapped. “But I have to know what’s going on.” He took a breath. “Sorry, it’s not your fault.”
Naria smiled and wound her fingers into his. “That’s okay. Everyone is upset.”
“And frustrated,” Kadoran said. “I know I could help that girl upstairs but I can’t because her father won’t let me. Not that I blame him – I know what that bastard did to him.”
“Once he’s calmed down you should talk to him, Drew,” Naria said. “He’s your predecessor and will be able to teach you how to use your powers properly.” She smiled. “Let’s go and check the news then.”
Andrew let her pull him to her feet and they headed towards one of the sitting rooms hand in hand. They were half way across the hallway when they heard someone coming down the stairs. The sudden flare of panic from whoever it was made him turn to look and he saw Lucas and another man who had to be Anthony Williamson coming down the stairs. The sheer terror in the man’s eyes was enough to warn him but he didn’t have time to react before an uncontrolled blast of ice threw Naria across the room.
“Nari!” Andrew turned in time to see her rise to her feet, bleeding from several wounds. Her glowing eyes fixed on Anthony and she sprouted claws and launched herself at him with an animalistic scream.