Ranara and her little daughter Azabel move to Urtho's Tower when the latter can say six words ("up", "mama", "milk", "no", "now", and "please") and hasn't started to walk yet. Ranara sets up to teach little children to read, ones who don't have evident Gifts yet - Ranara herself has Mindspeech, is all, with about a classroom's worth of range. Azabel sits in on classes, worn on her mother's back or later plopped in a corner with toys or, when she's only four, plopped in a corner with a book, younger than the other kids in the class. When Azabel has in fact sat through her mother's curriculum she is turned somewhat loose, to walk very carefully up and down and around the Tower, exploring.
"Congratulations, what's her name?"
"Elassi." His voice is dreamy. "Sshe fliesss sso well..."
"Aww, as well as you?"
"I think sso!" It's hard to know how a gryphon can manage a sappy smile, given their beaks, but Skan seems to be handling it.
"Awwww." Scritch scritch.
Skan bounces and vibrates some more, and spends another few minutes expounding on Elassi's virtues.
It's very cute and Aza's happy to nod along. It's still making her smile occasionally when she shows up to the weather class the next morning.
:You look happy: Ma'ar notes, glancing over at her.
:Oh, it's nothing much, Skan has a girlfriend and he's very cute about her:
:Oh wow! Good for him, awww:
:Apparently she flies as well as he does:
:That's saying something! Doesn't he win most of the flying prizes:
:It's possible he's judging her a little more generously:
:Mmm, fair enough I guess:
The teacher arrives, and Ma'ar turns to focus on the class, though he seems faintly preoccupied about something or other.
Aza concentrates REAL hard on the shields for concert work when that comes up, but fortunately Ma'ar taught her to do this awhile back.
They're not paired off for the class anyway, and when they are, nothing leaks in either direction.
Afterward Ma'ar nods to her and heads off to the sparring practice club that he's recently joined.
:Have fun hitting people!:
Ma'ar rolls his eyes slightly, but doesn't bother reiterating that this is for fighting with magic and usually he trap-spells people. :I'm sure I will!:
Over the next couple of weeks, Skan continues to be very excited and eager to tell Azabel about Elassi's many positive qualities, and impressive flying maneuvers she showed off recently, and jokes he made that he thinks/hopes she found clever. Mostly he just seems eager to find any excuse to talk about her as much as possible.
At one point Ma'ar updates her that Aala had a date she seemed very pleased with, with her boyfriend, which consisted of walking around the flower gardens together. He thinks this seems like a reasonable date activity for a girl who's not quite thirteen? Probably?
:Yeah, that's what I did with the one boy who asked me out that one time:
:I guess it's a popular date activity?:
:It's free, it lets you talk, it's not something most people do all the time such that it isn't special anymore but hardly anyone's going to be averse, it makes sense:
:Mmm, that makes sense:
And they're distracted by the teacher's arrival.
A few days later, Ma'ar is headed to meet with his sparring practice group when - something, he isn't sure what at first - yanks at his attention.
There's...some sort of odd vibration in the ground, and something like a shriek just too high-pitched to be audible...
- a shout for help, nearby -
He turns and breaks into a sprint.
And searches, instinctively, for the mind of the person he trusts most.
:Azabel where are you - emergency -:
He doesn't even know what the emergency is, yet, but he suspects he will in a couple of seconds. And that he won't like it.