Tatherine Flurilis followed the warlock through the door to his parents' home.
"Mother? Father? I've brought a guest." Abdael sounded relaxed and cheerful, but Tath was suddenly nervous: bringing word to the family herself had seemed like a proper assumption of noble responsibility when she'd suggested it, but now she wondered if it would turn out to be intrusive instead. Or, since she was a human of noble blood (albeit young and untitled), if it would be seen as arrogant.
But no, the woman who emerged from the far door was Human and roughly the same age as her own mother, and smiled even as she gave Tath a searching glance. Then she looked back to Abdael expectantly. "Is this one of your adventuring friends?"
Abdael cocked his head just slightly, still smiling. "After a fashion. She's an emissary from the Lord's Alliance."
Tath felt herself flush, but before she could answer another voice said, "That sounds very official," and an Elf stepped out of a side door, which seemed to lead to some kind of study. He stopped, studying her in that subtle way that Elves sometimes did, and said: "Welcome to our home. I am Alviros Polnes'sil..."
"...And I am Kiria Chourin," continued Abdael's mother.
Tath offered a bow. "I am Tatherine Florilis, daughter of Countess Evrinel Flurilis. I'm not properly an emissary, but my mother received word this morning and asked me to see if I could locate Abdael. The Lord's Alliance is gathering everyone who was involved in the rediscovery of the Wave Echo Cave to give formal accounts, and hosting them at the estate of Duchess Morwen while they do. Since we'll be departing in the morning to return there, I thought I should bring the news directly."
Abdael's father looked thoughtful, but his mother just turned to him and said, "Fortunately you've already done some writing on the topic."
Abdael nodded. "Yes, and after dinner I should make a copy of it; I'd like to take it with me, but Janaes had expressed some interest and I'd like to make available to more than just the library."
"I'll make the arrangements," said Kiria.
"Well," said Alviros, "it sounds as if we have time for dinner, at least. Will you join us, Lady Tatherine? I have some naithbread in the oven and a small kettle of niris that should be finished soon."
It sounded delicious, and in fact the smell was just beginning to fill the room and Tath felt her stomach growl softly at the scent. "I would be honored," she said, "but... I've intruded enough already, I suspect. You should have Abdael to yourselves for tonight, and I need to go and report back to my mother in any case."
The warlock's parents protested, but Tath was fairly certain they weren't displeased; so she gently insisted, and Abdael walked her back outside.
"You handled that well," Abdael told her as they stepped outside. "I hadn't realized this was your first time doing something like this."
"Thank you," she said, suddenly relieved. And he's right! I managed to deliver unwelcome news without insulting anybody or making it awkward. Another thought occurred to her, then. "For tomorrow, will you ride in the carriage or would you prefer to travel on horseback?" She paused. "If it's horseback, then I can ride with you instead of being stuck in the carriage with my mother and her maid. Well, some of the time, anyway."
Abdael shrugged, but his mouth quirked. "You'll have to provide me with a mount, I fear," he said gravely. "After a life of danger and exploration on the road, I wouldn't know how to make myself comfortable in a carriage."
Tath grinned, delighted. And I won't have to listen to my mother drone on in constant speculation about the current political situation! "Tomorrow, then. And Abdael? Thank you for being so... easy... about all this."
Abdael gave a small shrug, looking slightly embarrassed. "My life has never gone quite the way I expect it to," he said. "It'd be weird if it started to now."