Lucan winced at the sound of Rei’s high pitched squeal, and before he had any time to protest she had pulled her hand from his to hug the man standing before them. The man was quite tall, with dark hair and spirited eyes. He caught Rei in his arms with a chuckle, and began to stroke her hair as they embraced.
“Little girl no longer, I see” the man said coolly.
Despite Lucan’s previous efforts to comfort her, Rei’s tears returned with a fiery blow. She began to sob into the man’s chest, and he sighed heavily before pushing her away. Lucan stepped in to take Rei by the arm, who was now wiping at her cheeks in embarrassment.
“I’m so sorry,” she mumbled.
“There’s no need to be sorry, we are all in mourning.”
“Oh Raiden!” Rei squeaked, “I’m so sorry.”
Lucan couldn’t help but feel he was an intruder there, as he had never spent much time at court. And Rei had been running around wildly since their arrival greeting long lost friends. He had no experience in the loss of a family member – well, not a revered family member. The man’s gaze switched to Lucan, and smiled.
“You must be the handsome husband my sister wrote to me about,” he said. “I am Raiden Mieko, my domain is on the border of Kyland – too far a journey to make often but I’m afraid.”
Lucan nodded his head, he had heard of the Mieko family, who were old and noble like the Drakis. There were of course no vicious rumours about their family though, they were somewhat cut off from the happenings inside the kingdom.
Rei was wiping away the most recent explosion of tears, “Thank you for coming uncle.”
“How could I not? Although I made the journey alone so you won’t be able to meet your cousins this time I’m afraid.”
Raiden spoke with a kind of formal delicacy, which Lucan imagined was a defence against the pain of losing his sister. The queen had passed peacefully, they had been told, and that in her last hours the physicians had eased her passing with a sleep drought. It was a quiet ending for a woman so acquainted with the opposite.
“Oh well we will have to come visit some time,” Rei replied.
Raiden was nodding his head, and looking around the room as if searching for someone. “I hate to ask you my dear,” he said hesitantly. “But you wouldn’t happen to know who will be organising her belongings?”
Finally, Lucan felt of use. “You can see Sir Ancel for that, he’s in charge of those decisions.”
The man looked at him once more, this time with a twinkle in his eye. “Thank you, Lucan.”
He excused himself abruptly, and left the two of them. Lucan couldn’t help but wonder why Queen Reina’s brother would be interested in her belongings after her death, but his wife’s renewed tears demanded his attentions.