Navihm placed the pot of coffee he just brewed on the table between himself and Naeva. One of the cook’s kitchen hands, Amelia, was in the kitchen when they had arrived and insisted on putting together a meal for them. She was banging around the kitchen now, humming a sweet little tune and shooting Navihm a smile every once in awhile.
“I think you have an admirer,” said Naeva, noticing a coy glance aimed Navihm’s way.
“I found her cat last week,” Navihm explained. He’d come into the kitchen one morning to find her crying desperately and being consoled by the cook. Of course he set out to rectify the problem. He hated to see girls cry. “One of the benefits of my spirit magic. She was very grateful.” He enjoyed speaking his mother tongue, it had been a long time since he conversed in it.
Naeva took the pot and poured the coffee into two small cups.
“I was quite surprised to learn that a Genti was at a school for Lowland magics.”
“I have both spirit and elemental magics,” explained Navihm.
“That is quite unusual.”
“I’ve not heard of another like me. It is the reason I have started my education so late. Most other students are almost finished their schooling at my age.” Amelia chose that moment to place two plates piled high with fried meats and vegetables from the school’s gardens.
“Did you need anything else?” she asked, not looking away from Navihm.
“You have already done plenty,” he replied graciously. “Thank you, Amelia.” She blushed prettily and left, shooting one last smile over her shoulder at Navihm.
“How are things in Genticus?” Navihm asked as soon as she left.
“Everyone was preparing for war when I left,” said Naeva. “I fear the invasion is going to start at the Ninth.” It made the most sense attacking the Ninth, it being the closest tribe to Somal. “It is the least defensible place on the coast. The cliffs make it difficult to mount a full scale invasion anywhere else along the North sea.”
“The Ninth is a fishing village. They wouldn't have much in the way of soldiers,” noted Navihm.
“Even if they did, Mare Aspera Bay will be difficult to defend.” The situation was a bleak one. It would take a significant fighting force weeks to organise themselves and travel to the Ninth, even if they could be sure that was where the attack was coming from. Navihm knew that it would take the school’s small group over three weeks to travel across the desert to investigate the situation. By the time they arrive, it may be too late to send for troops, even from another tribe.
“Perhaps we can persuade the Nomads to help us,” Navihm suggested. “They are closer to the Ninth than any of the other tribes. This war will affect them too.”
“You know as well as I do that even speaking with the Sachem will be impossible. The Fifth has sent emissaries to Sachem Ahmet to warn him of the danger, most never even made it into their camp. The unrest between the Nomads and the Tribes means an alliance is impossible.”
Naeva was convinced there couldn’t be any civil interaction between the two peoples. Navihm remained hopeful.