They went down the stairs from the roof laughing together as they had done many times. Kadír though, was trapped in that fine balance between dread and excitement. Anticipation that left one wondering if they were happy about events or wishing to erase them.
All too soon the guards by his father’s doors were ushering them in. Kadír was so used to having guards around, he had barely taken notice of the four that had been trailing them, until two stayed behind with those at the door.
The tension in the room was cloying. His father sat stone faced behind his desk, body rigid as he held a silver tube like nothing Kadír had ever seen.
And the girl! At their entrance, she turned to face them and their eyes eyes clashed. She was a study in feminine beauty with delicate, refined features so perfect he held his breath. Sweet innocence was stamped on her features, while lustrous black curls framed them before raining down to her waist.
Kadir found himself fascinated by her. She was so different from anyone he had ever seen, her skin a startling monochrome lacking the natural tattoos or jewel shimmer that was common. Her almond shaped brown eyes held an amber/red corona radiating from the iris. It gave them a focused cut that told of a will of steal that belied the sweetness her features portrayed.
“What do you mean Jaiya was right?” a voice came from the condensed light jutting from the silver object. Two others stood besides it but only one other showed any picture.
Kadír wondered what sort of magic would tether moving pictures to a metal object, as that was what the silver thing his father held had to be. He had studied all manner of magics, as was his duty, and nothing he had ever come across was like this. Then again, these were the curly haired ones, prophesied to have unheard of magic.
He turned back to face the young woman before him. Her eyes were still upon him, assessing. He felt as if she could reach into the depths of his souls and see all he was. Kadír knew he had little idea of his own identity beyond the duty and expectations that ringed him. The idea that the woman before him could possibly see what his own mind hid from him was unpalatable.
“My son,” his father introduced. “Kadír Aviur Niremaan third Lord of Sabbia.” He frowned at his father’s tone, even, with just the hint of his siren power. He turned to his cousin. “And my niece, Princess Sanaa Eithne Niremaan, she is the one who found you.”
“A pleasure to meet you.” her soft voice did something to him that had him tensing against the foreign sensations. “I am Takahashi Kimihanae, please call me Kim.” she turned and smiled at his cousin,
A scowl formed across his features as his being rioted at it, he had learned control after years of being a hyperactive nuisance to his people. He could not accept whatever it was this woman did to him. Catching his father’s disapproval, Kadír smoothed his face. He would not accept her, even as he would not accept the starry eyed women who pursued him.
He was aware though, that his acceptance of her was not up to him. He was bred for duty, and his duty defined him. She, legend had decreed, was part of his duty.
“Thank you for rescuing me, you saved my life.” There was a false note in her sincerity, as if part of her resented Sanaa for saving her.
His father frowned and Sanaa returned her smile with a stiff cold one. The Sirinae were very good at picking up tonal nuances.
“It is a princess’ duty to help all unfortunates.” Sanaa replied.
The curly haired woman raised an elegant eyebrow at that but said nothing.
“Now that we’ve established that you’re all oh so impressed with each other.” a dry sarcastic voice interjected. “Can we get back to why you summoned us here, and what cow we have to kill to get back to our world?” the word was laced with enough venom to rival the gaddan snake, the most venomous of the desert snakes. These curly haired ones were turning out to be less than they should be.
This one stood besides Prince Adran of Erinth, the serenity her lovely features stamped missing in her waspish tone. Her skin was a solid, rich brown, dark shaded like nothing he had ever seen. The woman on the other screen was just as lovely, but had skin whiter than Kim’s, pearlescent even as it lacked the glow of the mageborn, like Lady Gwen.
The vizier’s eyes hardened.
“There’s no need for the bad case of disapproval you’ve all contracted. You essentially kidnapped us from our world, with little regard of what it would mean for those left behind.” the third woman, who had been quiet since Kadír’s came in said, her gaze focused away from them. She seemed to be addressing someone in the room with her.
From the decor Kadír surmised she was in Uana. The voice of the lady Gwen sifted through to them, confirming what he had suspected.
“You are Orphans.” she protested.
All three women bristled at that. “I’m guessing most women here are just pretty window dressing and the men little more,” the woman mused. “Your society seems to be like one that existed a thousand years ago on our world, knights, courtiers, lords, kings and all. I don’t know how far true your magic is but we come from a highly technological world. A world where people are expected to be productive, even as children. We’re all successful in our chosen occupations and cannot afford to be gone for more than a day or things will really be messed up.”
She indicated the dark skinned woman. “Ana is a professional trustee, she has to sign off on billions of dollars on any given day otherwise major businesses will not run. Kim has various contracts she cannot afford to miss and Jaiya needs to sign off on several deals on the various companies she owns. So don’t you dare sit there and be angry that we’re not thrilled because you’ve deigned to notice us, when all you’ve done is greatly inconvenienced us.”
Silence reigned, most of what the woman said was too foreign to understand, but her anger was evident. It was echoed in the eyes of the other two even as they stood silent.
No one had ever dared to shout at the royals, it was simply not done. Yet these women dared so. Was it the magic they held that gave them such boldness? Yet she had just claimed a disbelief in magic.
He had thought they would be thrilled at the prospect of what they would mean to Seleucia, of being instant betrotheds of the princes of the five realms.
He hadn’t counted on the fact that they would be from another world, hadn’t counted on the fact that his world would seem backward to them. Kadír didn’t know what to make of it all.