Disclaimers:  These characters are mine.  Please don't take them or borrow them without permission.

Notes:  Cahir takes Nacisse home.



Homecomings



Cahir smiled down at Nacisse.  They had left the palace mere hours ago and Cahir was most happy to be heading home again.  
This campaign had been a long one and he dearly missed his beautiful daughters, and of course the members of his harem.  
Even traveling by carriage - which he loathed - did not sway his happy demeanor.

However, his happy expression was quick to fall when he saw that the child was watching the passing scenery with anxiety
written all over his young features.  A thought occurred to Cahir, one he chastised himself for not considering before.  

"Is there something you wish to retrieve from your old dwelling, little one?"

Nacisse turned to look up at him, his coiled tail mingling among Cahir's.  He bit his lip lightly, ducking his head in apparent guilt
before he hesitantly nodded.  "But ... But you've already done so much for me, sir."

Cahir waved that statement away.  Smiling, he shifted a portion of his tail, bringing it around Nacisse in a way to pull and lift
the child closer to him.  He ran his fingers along one delicate cheek, brushing aside a curtain of hair as fine as golden silk so
that he could see those innocent eyes.  He tapped the child's nose with a finger, smiling at the giggle the action pulled forth.

"Nonsense.  Anything to put you at ease will bring me joy.  Are we near?"

Nacisse moved, wriggling himself against Cahir's form until he was comfortable in the wrap of his tail.  He looked out the
window, his brow furrowing as he considered the scenery outside.  "The village ... it used to be here, I think.  Papa, Mama and
me lived over the hill."

Cahir winced as he looked out at the still smoldering rubble.  Most of the buildings had been completely burned to the ground.  
Those that remained were barely standing.  The village was in ruin.

His people had not done this, Cahir knew that.  Innocent farmers and merchants were not their intended targets.  Their quarry
had been the soldiers of the dead king, and the people who fought alongside them.  This, this had been done by the king
himself, in his selfish greed to get the little golden naga in his possession.  All of this had been done to capture Nacisse.  Such a
waste.  Cahir shook his head.  He was glad that the tyrannical king was deceased.  If he could, he would have killed that
monster again, for all the injustices he had committed against his own people.

He stuck his hand out of the window and waved his hand in gesture to one of the guard who followed alongside the slow-
moving conveyance.  The young male came forward and nodded to Cahir's orders, moving ahead to inform the driver that they
would be going into the hills.

A few of the survivors paused in their tasks and looked up at the carriage.  Their expressions darkened when they caught sight
of Nacisse.  "Better come away from the window, little one." Cahir urged, shifting the child's weight to one side so that Cahir's
own body blocked him from being viewed by those outside.

Nacisse nodded, his tiny fingers wrapping around one of Cahir's arms.  Tiny droplets formed in his eyes and fell to his tail to
sparkle as they slowly dried.  "It's my fault.  If I was never born..."

"Hush," Cahir snapped, only to regret it instantly as the child flinched and recoiled away from him.  He let out a soft breath,
easing his hand along one delicate shoulder and down along the child's back, easing away the tension in his little body.  "It is
not your fault, but they want to blame someone."  He raised his hand up to stroke Nacisse's hair.  "You are the easiest target
for them, but it is in no way your fault that this happened.  The fault lies with the one who chose his path, the one who
ravaged this place and took the lives of their loved ones and destroyed their homes."

The Naga child smiled, wiping the back of his hand across his tear-reddened eyes.  He wriggled a little, moving until he could
see out the window again.

"There is my house!" he announced suddenly, bouncing lightly within the embrace of Cahir's coils.  "There!  By the lake!  You
can just see the chimney!"

Cahir looked.  Indeed, he could just make out the top of a chimney in the distance.  The hill between them obscured it, but as
their carriage climbed higher into the hills they could make out more details.  In only a matter of minutes, Cahir could see the
vast majority of the valley where his little treasure had resided.

It was a quaint farm, bordered by a sturdy-looking fence.  The gate had been broken down, but that was the only sign that a
tragedy had taken place here.  The crops were still growing in abundance, a forgotten basket of aging fruits and vegetables
lying beside a row of tomato plants.  The house was modest, a single story dwelling between the crops and the lakeside.  All in
all, it looked as if the inhabitants were simply not at home.

Once the carriage came to a stop, Nacisse was quick to exit and hurry toward the house.  Cahir was about to call out and stop
him when Nacisse suddenly froze about twenty feet from the front door.  Cahir followed the boy at a more stately pace and
stopped beside him.

"You know what's inside?" he asked the child, concerned that he was just standing there, staring at the house.

Nacisse nodded, his wide eyes bright with unshed tears.  “I knew from the night I was taken.  I need to get something, but ...
I know Mama wouldn't want me to see her like THAT.”

Cahir placed a hand on the child's shoulder and squeezed gently in a way that he hoped was comforting.  “I'll go inside.  You
stay out here and I'll call you when I think it's all right for you to go inside.”  He smiled kindly and sympathetically when the
child nodded.

Once inside, he scowled when the stench of rotted food and corpses that were starting to decay hit his nose.  Nacisse had
been right to stop when he had.  There were signs of a struggle in this room.  The table had been knocked over in the kitchen,
pots and pans were strewn about.  Dishes were laying in scattered pieces and decorations had been torn from the walls and
smashed upon the floor.

This needless loss of life saddened and angered Cahir, but it warmed his heart to see that the child had been loved here.  That
was evident when he spied a small room that was well-outfitted with handmade furniture and toys.  Drawings were pinned to
the walls, obviously done by a child's hand.  Gently, he plucked a quilt up off the foot of the bed and was surprised as a small
furry form darted from its hiding spot and out into the main house.  Cahir didn't have time to wonder about it.  An animal
taking nest in a house was nothing out of the ordinary.

He directed his men to prepare the bodies for a proper burial with full honors. These poor people had done nothing to deserve
their fate.  Once the pair were cleaned up enough for the rites to start, Cahir had Nacisse brought in.

The child looked so small and solemn as he gazed at the pair lying on the floor. He remained silent as Cahir wrapped the quilt
around him.

“Your mother had beautiful coloring, Nacisse and a delicate structure.  I see you favored her in appearance.”  Nacisse's
mother, being a seafaring Nagi, had a tail that was a beautiful aquamarine shade.  His father had a more mundane green color,
being local.  Nacisse being such a stunning shade of gold, was an oddity among these common colors.  He should be a mix of
his parentage.  Instead, he was wholly unique, a rare gem among the masses.

“May I get some things from my room, sir?”

Cahir nodded.  “Of course, child.”

The little one slithered away, the handmade quilt still draped around his tiny body and held there by delicate fingers.  Cahir
watched him go with a sad smile.  He turned toward his soldiers, allowing the frail smile to fade away from his features.

“See to it that they are buried with honor.  And let it be known that if their graves are desecrated in any way, I will rain down
my vengeance upon the village.”

“Yes, my lord,” his captain replied, bowing respectfully.

Cahir watched over his soldiers as they started the rites with all the respect due to any naga that had fallen in battle.  He was
distracted when Nacisse appeared at his side, looking heartbroken.

“Whatever is the matter, Nacisse?”

Nacisse bent down and let out a sniffle as he looked underneath the furniture in the room.  “I can't find Mr. Jingles.  He should
have been in my room, but I didn't see him anywhere.  Maybe he's out in the barn?”  He pouted a little.  “If he's not there, then
I don't know where he could be.”

Cahir settled a hand against the boy's back.  Mr. Jingles must have been the child's favorite toy.  The least Cahir could do was
help the boy find it.  “Well, then let's go look for him.”

Nacisse brighted a little.  “Okay!”  He tugged Cahir's hand and moved outside, all the while calling out the name of his
plaything.  “Mr. Jingles!!  Mr. Jingles, where are you?”

The King chuckled as the child entered the barn and let go of his hand to explore. The little Naga was simply too adorable with
the way he called for his toy.  His amusement died though when Nacisse let out a delighted sound and emerged.

“There you are, Mr. Jingles!”  The little Naga was hugging what looked like a ball of grey fur.  “Why were you hiding?  These
are good men!  Not like the nasty ones who hurt Mommy and Daddy.”

Cahir blinked as Nacisse approached and he could see that the ball of fur was actually a small cat, little more than a kitten.  
“Mr. Jingles is a cat?”

Nacisse nodded, a bright smile on his face.  “Yup!  What did you think he was?”  He hugged the cat close and Cahir could hear
it purring.  “Daddy got him for me.  He was going to be my first solid meal, but I couldn't eat him!  He's too cute and he was
so tiny and he liked me too much!  Mommy understood, so she let me keep him as a friend.  She made him his collar, see?”

Cahir chuckled and looked at the small creature, who had a pale blue collar with a tiny bell on it.  “Well, I am glad to see you
found him.”  And he was.  The delighted smile on Nacisse's face seemed to light up everything.

He reached forward, hesitating once before stroking the cat's soft fur.  It was interesting, to say the least, to pet a cat rather
than eat one.  He would have to post a proclamation banning the consumption of cats now.  The little one's pet would have to
be protected.

He found it easy to smile as he watched Nacisse pet his kitten.  The tiny feline was curled up happily in the child's arms,
completely at ease with a creature that under normal circumstances would be swallowing it whole.  But then, Nacisse was no
ordinary Naga.  He was an empathic being, unable to harm any other creature without suffering the pain alongside it.  Cahir
doubted the child even had a single cruel bone in his body.  Nacisse was pure innocence through and through, a shining light of
kindness and generosity.  His everyy breath and move exuded the gentleness of his soul and Cahir had no doubt that this kitten
could sense Nacisse would never do him harm.

Lowering on his coils, Cahir made himself more level with Nacisse.  “Is there anything else you wish to take from here?” he
asked, running his hand back along the child's hair.

Nacisse blinked at him innocently.  “Umm ... my Mama's necklace.  She always said she'd give it to me one day.  I guess ... I
guess she can't give it to me anymore, but she'd still want me to have it, wouldn't she?”

“I'm sure she would.”  He nodded solemnly.  “Come along.”  He fought a smile as the kitten looked up at him warily before
relaxing in Nacisse's arms again.

They both entered Nacisse's house where the burial rituals were well underway.  The child moved toward his parents to get
what would be his last look at them.  Nacisse leaned down to caress first his father's cheek, then his mother's.  He whispered
something that Cahir couldn't hear, but he guessed it was a farewell of some sort. Then the child took a breath and moved
away from them and toward the fireplace.  He bent down, keeping one arm around his kitten, and pulled up a loose floorboard.
With some effort, he pulled out a box from the hiding place.

“Mama never let anyone else see this, so no one but me and daddy knew she had it.”  He handed the box to Cahir.  “It's a very
pretty necklace, but Mama told me that it wasn't valuable just because it was pretty.  She said it was special and that I'd need it
someday.”

Cahir lifted the latch and flipped open the lid.  Inside, he found a rather unique necklace.  He didn't remember the last time he
had seen such a thing.  It was a simple obsidian stone that barely fit in his palm, hanging from a length of silver chain.  By all
appearances it was nothing more than that.  But Cahir knew better.  He had seen a Seer's Stone before.  They were rare and
highly valuable.  He had a couple in his own treasury.  One alone could feed an entire village for several generations.  Beyond
value and rarity though, they were known for one particular trait.  They were said to be able to block visions, enabling a Seer
or a Mystic to live a normal life free of visions or dreams or any other sort of Second Sight.  For Nacisse to be in possession
of one meant that he was such an individual.  Cahir hadn't doubted that though.  He had seen enough proof of Nacisse's gifts.  
The stone must have been passed down through the generations of his family, much as his Seeing abilities had been.

Cahir marveled at his little treasure again.  Nacisse's family – or at the very least his mother – must have held considerable
powers.  Only the best had Seer's Stones.  Nacisse's own talents were already remarkable.  He had seen Cahir's arrival.  His
mother must have foreseen something as well, to have made preparations such as this.  'To foresee one's own death – and the
death of loved ones – I would not wish that on anyone.'

He glanced at the child and swallowed.  “Did your mother know?”

Nacisse pursed his lip.  “No.  She felt something might happen, but she didn't know for certain.”  He tilted his head in thought.  
“She once told me that seeing what we see is ... not always what's really going to happen.  Sometimes we see what's going to
happen for real.  Sometimes we see what might happen if things go a certain way.  And then there are times when we see
things that will never happen no matter what.”

Cahir nodded.  “How do you know the difference?”

Nacisse cradled Mr. Jingles and pouted cutely in thought.  “It's hard to say.  I guess it's like if you look into a lake.  The clearer
the water, the better you can see the bottom.  The clearer the visions, the more likely they are to come true. And there's always
feelings that go along with visions, guiding us, telling us things.  That's what Mama said once, anyway.  She wrote it in a book
somewhere.” He looked around and frowned.  “But I don't see it.”

Cahir looked around as well, then pondered over what little he knew of Nacisse's mother.  The female had been clever, hiding
the Seer's Stone in a place where her child would be able to find it.  She would most likely have done the same with such an
important book.

He looked down at the box that he still held and lifted it a bit experimentally. It felt heavy.  Judging by the thickness of the
sides, it didn't seem as if it should weigh so much.  He turned it in his hands, narrowing his eye as he contemplated the
dimensions.  The inside should have been deeper.

The Naga king lifted the Seer's Stone out of the ornate wooden box.  Looping the chain around his wrist, he pressed his fingers
against the soft fabric lining the bottom and felt around the edges of the container.  It was easy to slip his claws under the edge
and pry up the bottom panel.  There it was, concealed there beneath the false bottom.  Nacisse's book.

It was a simple thing, and quite old if Cahir were to judge by the cover. He pulled it out, running his hands over the old leather
in a loving fashion. This had been crafted generations ago, the pages of it worn and yellowed with age. Opening it, he flipped
through the pages, finding it to be a journal of some sort.

“My Mama said it was hers. And it belonged to her Mama ... and her Mama ... and I don't remember who else. I'm supposed
to write in it too, when I get old enough.”

Cahir nodded, humming lightly to acknowledge the boy. The bindings were handmade, the book crafted with love. Each owner
probably added their own pages when it came their turn to record their knowledge. He stopped his casual flipping as he found
the last words recorded within the ancient tome. It must be Nacisse's mother who had written them, for his name was
recorded at the top of the brief note.

“It seems your mother left a message for you.”

Nacisse perked up, shifting forward slightly. “Oh? What's it say?”

Cahir cleared his throat, shifting lower on his coils. “It reads, 'Nacisse, my dearest son, may the words of our ancestors guide
your way with their teachings.' She loved you a great deal. Be content in the knowledge that she is at peace now.”

Nacisse smiled a little as he regarded Cahir and then turned to watch the final motions of the ritual that would be performed
before his parents were laid to rest.

“The townspeople gave them a lot of trouble because I was so different. But they didn't care about that. Papa always told me
that I was his son and he loved me and was proud of me.” He sniffled. “Mama once told me I'd be pretty when I got older.
She got really sad after telling me that. Do you think ... do you think she knew?”

Cahir shrugged. “It's possible, but I doubt we'll ever know for certain.” he motioned to one of his men. “Go into that room and
pack up this child's things.” he could have new things bought for Nacisse, but he figured that the child would want familiar
items around him. “Is there anything else you would like, Nacisse?”

Nacisse looked around and then down. “The only other thing I'd like ... you can't grant me.”

Cahir was not a stupid Naga. He leaned down and pulled both child and kitten into a comforting embrace. “I understand. I can
hardly imagine what you must be feeling right now.”

Nacisse sighed. “Relief, mostly. I don't think they were in pain for too long, and you're very good. You'll look after me.” The
boy smiled a little and turned to watch as his parents were reverently lifted and brought outside. He sniffled then and buried his
face against Cahir's shoulder. “Can we go now?”

Cahir released the boy and nodded as he returned the book and necklace to their box. “Of course. Unless you'd like to see your
parents be laid to rest.”

The child shook his head. “Mama wouldn't want that. She wouldn't want me to watch as dirt was thrown on her.”

The king nodded and lifted the child and kitten into his arms easily. “Of course she wouldn't. No parent would want their child
to see them buried at such a delicate age.” He turned to his men and nodded to them. “Remember, full honors and tell the
townspeople that this land is not to be desecrated in any way.” At the chorus of affirmatives, Cahir carried Nacisse to the
carriage just as the small chest of Nacisse's things were loaded on.

“Will you miss it?”

Nacisse smiled sadly as he settled against Cahir's frame. “I'll miss my parents, but not much else. The people don't like me
here. They say I'm too strange, that I bring bad luck.”

Cahir snorted at the simple-mindedness of the people. “They just can't understand anyone who is different from them.” He
patted the child on the head. “You aren't strange, Nacisse. You are unique and gifted, and I am honored to even have met you.”

That seemed to cheer the boy, and he contented himself with playing with his kitten for the first half hour of their journey. He
didn't even notice when the villagers glared at the passing carriage. Cahir would have gotten out to speak to them, but he knew
that his men would see to it so he didn't see the sense in disturbing the child who chatted happily with his kitten. He didn't
know if it was a genuine sense of joy in the child, or if Nacisse was just trying to forget what had transpired at his home.

“You might want to rest, child. It's a long journey and we have a great deal of distance to cover before we get to an inn.” He
wanted to get as far away from that backwards thinking village as he could before stopping to rest and change the horses.


*****


It was over a week before Cahir saw the borders of his homeland. Once again Nacisse was peering curiously out of the
carriage window, his kitten perched on one shoulder and staring out with equal intent. Cahir didn't draw the boy back this time.
There was no harm in him looking out at his new home. The foolish villagers of his former home were not here to look down
on him with disdain. Here he wouldn't be despised for his unique coloring and abilities. He would be seen as a rare gem. He
would be loved.

An awed gasp erupted from Nacisse's throat and he turned a wondrous smile Cahir's way. "Is that your home?" he asked,
pointing out of the window and nearly smacking a soldier in the face with his tiny hand. He apologized with a blush, to which
the guard smiled and bowed his head.

Cahir leaned closer to get a better view, reminding himself later to commend the young officer that had nearly been struck. He
saw now that they had just passed through the mountains which surrounded his ancient homeland and protected it from attack.
"Yes, little one. And now your home as well."

A hint of a blush dusted pale cheeks before the child turned away again. He rested his tiny fingers on the window's edge. "It's
so much bigger than in my dreams."

Cahir merely smiled and patted the young one's head. "I'm not surprised. It always seems bigger to me in reality than in my
memories. Is there anything you'd like to see?"

Nacisse looked around. "Where do the Kola berries grow?"

That made Cahir laugh. "They grow on a hearty bush in those mountains there." He pointed to a mountain range not too far
away. "See? It's an evergreen bush that grows in the snowy parts. I think one of my many concubines has them growing in
the harem garden. The berries grow on it, but not as fragrant and flavorful as the ones you can find in the wild."

Nacisse pouted a little. "Oh, so you can't grow them in a garden?"

Cahir shrugged. "It's been done, but it takes a lot of work. Why? Did you want one?"

Nacisse nodded. "I like Kola berries!" He bounced happily. "How soon until we get there?"

Cahir judged their rate of movement and nodded. "About another hour to an hour and a half. Do you have any other questions,
or is there anything else you want to see?"

Nacisse seemed to think about it. "No. I'm just really tired of traveling. My tail is kinking up." He pouted adorably.

Cahir shifted his tail. He understood the child's discomfort, feeling the same himself. As a royal, he was expected to be carted
around by servants or animals while traveling. But a carriage - though lushly filled with the softest pillows and cushions - was
still a cramped enclosed space. Cahir was forced to coil himself up rather tightly and even then he covered almost all of the
cushioned floor. Nacisse was settled on top of him.

"You should be happy you are so slight, precious one, or you would feel even more uncomfortable in this enclosure."

Nacisse turned to him, worry evident in his expressive blue eyes. He dropped himself down, setting his hands on Cahir's tail.
"Oh! Can I help you feel better?" He moved his small hands in a motion Cahir was sure was meant to soothe, but did practically
nothing except amuse Cahir a little. He was touched by the child's kind-hearted gesture, and he wanted to make Nacisse smile,
so he playfully nudged the boy with the end of his tail.

Nacisse squealed a little and turned to face his attacker. With a tiny growl that sounded like it should come from the kitten
more than it would come from a young Naga, Nacisse pounced on the end of Cahir's tail while Mr. Jingles sought sanctuary on
a lone unoccupied cushion in the corner of the carriage. Nacisse giggled happily as he wrestled with Cahir's tail. Cahir chuckled
as well as he played with the child. The boy was so endearing that he was drawn into the game quickly. Cahir took great care
to keep the child from exhausting himself, so when the boy seemed to be getting tired, Cahir gently began tickling the boy.

The child squirmed and laughed helplessly, delighting Cahir with the sound. It brought him great joy to hear the laughter from
what had at first been a frightened and spiritually beaten child. He ran his fingers along the boy's torso, prying squeals of near-
hysterical laughter from him. The joyous sound was contagious and Cahir easily found himself laughing along with the child.

"Wait! Stop!" he breathlessly begged between giggles.

Cahir stilled his digits. He didn't want to unintentionally cause Nacisse harm. "Are you well?"

A smile blossomed across Nacisse's flushed face. "Yeah. That was fun." He giggled again, then rubbed his eye. "But all that
laughing made my tummy hurt."

Cahir allowed a small smile of his own. He settled his hand over the child's middle and rubbed gently. The little naga smiled up
at him beautifully, his chest heaving as he tried to regain his breath. Cahir watched the boy calm himself. Nacisse yawned
widely, raising his arms up over his head and stretching out his golden tail.

"Tired, little one?"

Nacisse hummed as he closed his mouth and rubbed at his eyes again. He wriggled his way closer to the king, shifting his tail
to lie over a portion of Cahir's.

"Why don't you get some rest? We still have a little way to go."

"Okay," the child replied.

Cahir gathered him into his arms and reclined against the cushions at his back. He looked down at the petite treasure and was
amused to find that Nacisse was already asleep. He felt honored that the child trusted him so implicitly already.

Tenderly, he brushed back the boy's shimmering blonde hair, leaving his porcelain features uncovered. He continued to watch
the boy as he rested, content in the knowledge that this beauty would be raised surrounded by love, as if he were one of
Cahir's own children. He knew that those of his harem would dote on the child, as he himself would.

Cahir's only worry was how his children would react. Oh, he knew that most would welcome him. But Cahira, his eldest, was
headstrong and stubborn. She acted as a leader to the other girls. She would have made a fine ruler, if only she had been male.
There was no telling how she would react to Nacisse. At least when Cahir's concubines carried she had been given time to
adjust to the news of another sibling. To have one thrust at her with no warning was another matter altogether.

Before he knew it, the carriage was slowing to a halt. He blinked, having not realized that he had been staring for so long at the
delicate youth. He shook the child gently, smiling kindly when the boy blinked. "We have arrived at your new home, Nacisse."

The boy was awake almost immediately and perked up to peek out the window. Cahir watched as he hid a few times as they
passed workers, and was pleased as the boy slowly became more bold. This was what he had hoped for. He wanted Nacisse
to know that no one would hate him because of his differences.

"Soon, I shall introduce you to my daughters. Though not of my blood, you shall become as a brother to them and as a son to
me."

Nacisse turned to Cahir and smiled. "Okay. There's gonna be hard times, but I'm going to be happy here." Then he turned to
watch when the carriage finally came to a stop and a Naga glided forward to open the door.

"You most Royal Majesty. On behalf of your people, I welcome you home, my king." The Naga opened the carriage and
bowed.

Cahir watched as the small kitten jumped out first and dashed into the castle as if eager to explore his new home.

Nacisse gasped in alarm. "Mr. Jingles!!!"

Cahir chuckled and patted Nacisse's shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll make sure that my guards send word throughout the palace
that he is not to be harmed." He motioned to one of the guards that had traveled with them, the one Nacisse had nearly
smacked.

The guard was chuckling. "Not to worry, my King, I shall spread the word myself." He smiled at Nacisse, who had
unknowingly become dear to everyone in Cahir's entourage. The boy was so sweet, innocent, and without guile that it was
hard not to like him. "I shall also start the search for him. It shouldn't be hard to find him. No other cat in the palace wears a
collar with a bell." With that, he started for the palace himself.

Cahir was relieved that the guard didn't see the need to bring up the fact that most cats were kept in cages until ready to be
eaten. He didn't want Nacisse to become upset. "Come along, now. I want to introduce you to my daughters."

Cahir led Nacisse into the palace, pointing out various items that he thought the boy would be interested in. All the while, he
kept an eye out for Nacisse's kitten any any of his daughters. He felt boy joy and a slight trepidation when he spotted Cahira.
He smiled and approached his oldest child.

“Cahira!”

Cahira looked up. Even though she was very young, it was obvious that she would be a beautiful Nagi one day. At six she was
already a beauty. Her hair was black as night, her eyes the same amber shade as Cahir's. Her scales, too, were the same as his
own a deep shade of blue with a silver underbelly. That was where their resemblances stopped though. Her face, her features
and beauty could have come only from the female that had borne her. She was delicate and slight in bone structure. When she
grew, she would catch the eyes of many males. Her horns were still budding, so there was no way to tell just what they would
be like. But already, Cahir had a doubt that they would be like his own. The placement of them was off. His grew from the
sides of his head, then folded back to shoot straight back. Hers were closer to her forehead, settled at her temples. Perhaps
they would grow in a more upward manner, as her bearer's had.

"Father! Welcome home! Just wait until I've told you some of the things I've learned." With that, she started talking happily and
at such a rapid pace that Cahir found he couldn't get a word in at all. He wanted to tell his daughter about the boy he had taken
under his care, but didn't get the chance.

Suddenly, with a tinkle of bells, Mr. Jingles appeared and ran straight towards where Nacisse was, hidden by Cahir's form.
Before he could stop her, Cahira had scooped up the kitten and looked at it curiously. "Father! You got me a present!!" She
casually took the collar off the kitten and lifted it up, preparing to eat it.

Before Cahir could say anything, Nacisse let out an alarmed squeal. "Mr. Jingles! Noooo!!!!" Nacisse then darted forward and
snatched the kitten, and the collar, away from Cahira before dashing back behind Cahir as if to protect the small animal.

Cahira blinked in confusion for a few seconds and then pouted. "Father ... someone took your present to me away!" She
sniffled sadly and whimpered. Tears were already collecting in her amber eyes.

Cahir hated seeing both children so upset, so he guided Nacisse out from behind him. "Cahira, this is Nacisse."

The two children glared at one another before Cahira shook her head. "I can't eat HIM!" she announced, pointing at Nacisse.
“He's too big!”

Nacisse sniffled and held his kitten close. "You can't eat Mr. Jingles, either."

Cahira tilted her head at Nacisse. "The cat has a name?"

"He's my friend!"

"You have a cat and you don't wanna eat him? Why not?"

Cahir smiled as the two children talked. It was looking hopeful. They slowly warmed up to each other and he felt better about
clearing his throat. "Cahira, I brought Nacisse home with me so that I could raise him as his parents have gone on to the next
world. Is that all right?"

Cahira tilted her head and seemed to think about it for a moment. "So he's going to be my brother?"

"More or less. He's going to be raised as if he were."

"But why? Can't someone else adopt him? He's weird!"

Nacisse sniffled and ducked back to hide behind Cahir. He could feel the little one trembling behind his back. Sighing, he faced
his daughter. "Cahira, Nacisse will be living with us. You will just have to grow accustomed to that."

She pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. "I don't want to! You can't make me like him!" She turned and swiftly
slithered down the hall.

Cahir let out another deep sigh and turned to Nacisse. The boy was despondently petting his kitten and looking down at the
floor. He looked up when Cahir stroked his hand across his head. "It will be alright, Nacisse. She just needs time."

"I know," the little one shrugged, lightly gnawing on his lower lip briefly. "Still hurts though."

The King bent and placed a kiss atop the child's head. "At any rate, welcome home, my child."

The smile that Nacisse offered up was enough to cast Cahir's worries aside, if only for the time being. Things would work out
with Cahira. She just needed time to adjust to the new situation. He had every hope for the future.



The End