Krie looked up at the Galran hybrid male with a beaming, happy smile. Her heart was a-flutter with delight; her application to study on Planet Arus had been accepted! And here she was, finally in the doorway of the magnificent Castle of the Lions. She was being greeted by none other than the very same Lutok that had nearly taken posession of her precious research tablet on Dura Turne. “Thank you so much for meeting me on such short notice!” Krie was exclaiming. She was wearing a deep teal shirt with the shoulders exposed and amulet around her neck. It was almost the same outfit as last time, Lutok noticed.
He had a firm, steady handshake. Not too firm, of course. Just enough to show that he was formal, but welcoming. However, the brightness of his azure eyes gave away how excited he was to see her again. “You are always welcome here. The Arusians will see to your things.” He gestured inside with a casual flick of one of his thumbs. “If you’re hungry, there’s food prepared. Otherwise, we can start your personal tour.”
“Oh, tour!” Krie replied. She was far too eager to settle and eat. She figured there would be plenty of time for that later.
Lutok strode down the wide walkway and Krie easily fell into step with him. His gold and blue tunic rippled as he walked; he gave her the faintest impression that he was a proud, young ruler. He spoke boldly and without restraint of the castle’s history and the alliance that they had struck with the local race, the Arusians. Now and then one of the small Arusians would pause in whatever task they were engrossed in to hail Lutok as he passed. Lutok was proud, but not haughty. On occasion he would pull an Arusian aside and introduce Krie to them. There was the Groundskeeper, the Head Maid, the Night Patrol Captain and several other supervisors.
“You’re rather popular, it seems.” Krie commented shyly. It dawned on her that she really didn’t know much about Lutok, other than he was to oversee her research. She made a mental note to make time to get to know her new friend once she got her belongings put away.
Lutok shot her a mischievous expression. “I aim only to please.” With that, he led the way up a set of stairs and down a long hallway. The blue lights on the walls gave Krie a sense of being underwater. She sighed happily and was distracted by the way the shadows rippled across the floor– like water. Such was her stupor that she just barely caught the last of Lutok’s words, “— and this is my bedroom. Should you need anything at all, day or night, you’ll find me here.”
“Assuming you’ll be home at night,” came a sultry voice. Krie whirled around to see a thin female Galra staring at her with a studious, serious expression. Krie adjusted her goggles as the female approached.
Krie mentally corrected herself. This was not a full Galra either. Unlike Lutok’s cheery and regal wardrobe choices, this new arrival wore dark clothes, had half her white hair shaved to the scalp and bore typical Galran facial markings beneath her eyes and on her cheeks. The skin of the woman was an even shade of purple. Where Lutok had fluffier, rounded ears, this person had ears that pointed straight back. Perhaps the most stark difference were their eyes. This stranger had yellow eyes and they made Krie feel just a little on edge. Still, at the corners were the tell-tale signs of an Altean.
Lutok’s voice was ever cheerful. “Krie, this is Kahlan, my younger sister!” He put his face close to Krie’s cheek. “She looks like she can kill you, but don’t be fooled…. she can actually kill you.”
Krie glanced at Lutok, wide-eyed. “What??”
Lutok winked in reply and grinned.
The stern expression of Kahlan melted away almost immediately. When Kahlan wasn’t smiling, she looked solemn and fierce. But her smile was incredibly relaxing. “Ah! So you’re the Undine that Lutok’s been going on and on about for the past month!”
Krie raised an eyebrow at Lutok. “Oh?”
Lutok straightened up and pretended to be offended. “How dare you insinuate that I have such frivolous free time! I am an incredibly studious young individual!”
Kahlan’s laugh came out as an undignified snort. “Save your fantasies for father and mother.” She held a hand out to Krie. “Come on, I’ll give you the real tour.”
Krie blinked at Kahlan and took her hand. “This… wasn’t the real tour?”
“Just the one-track tour to Lutok’s bedroom apparently.” Kahlan teased, guiding Krie down the way she and Lutok had come.
Lutok stamped a foot, indignant as the two women drew out of sight and earshot. “At least let me ask her what side of the bed she prefers to sleep on!!”