SABYN AND LOI talked the whole flight, leaning backward or forward to speak in the others ear. He told her all about his family, she learned he had two younger sisters who commandeered much of their parents time. The twins, Lenia and Franti, were just sixteen and at that boy-crazy stage.

'It made the last visit we had at my family's home embarrassing,' Sabyn shook his head at the memory.

Loi laughed at the thought of the teenagers trying out their charms on the boys. 'I'll bet that doesn't go down well with Gredel,' she spoke in Sabyn's ear.

He roared with laughter.

'WHAT? WHAT'D SHE say?' demanded Tomiar.

He relayed Laura's words to her. Tomiar chuckled and sent him an image of the last time Gredel had visited—it showed the large man pasty white while the two girls closed in on him, their eyelashes fluttering and hands clasped demurely in front. Gredel had told Sabyn afterward, in no uncertain terms, that he would never again visit without Citaan.

AUDREY SEEMED TO love the view. She'd managed to twist herself up so she could stand and stretch to see past Phroma's wings. Gredel grunted in pain.

'Audrey, you're standing on my bladder again.' He shifted her slightly. She twisted back to give him a big sloppy kiss, then shifted back to her original position.

'Ganooks.' Gredel exclaimed to Phroma. 'This dog is driving me nuts, she won't stop squirming and standing on me.'

'At least she's enjoying herself,' replied Phroma. 'Just think of how bad it'd be if she didn't and she probably needs to go for a good run.'

'True, I think I'll suggest it to Catherine.'

'Cat,' corrected Phroma.

'Eh?' Gredel thought in confusion, 'No, Catherine, the woman.'

Phroma snorted in amusement, 'No silly, Catherine's name is Cat for short, Kassandra is Kassie and Laura is Loi. It's what they call each other all the time.'

Gredel huffed, 'Well I didn't know.'

'Now you do. Yes it'd be a good idea for Audi to go for a run, the energy she's throwing off is distracting.'

'Can I do anything to help?'

'Maybe try stroking her and talking to her, it might calm her down a bit,' suggested Phroma.

Feeling a bit self-conscious, even if only Phroma could hear him, Gredel began to pet the dog and chat to her.

OVER ON TOMIAR, Sabyn showed Loi how to stand on the saddle. She felt rather pleased with herself; she'd managed to gloss over most of her home life details. Instead she'd told him all about jujitsu. It had fascinated him and he only promised to show her a saddle trick if she promised to show him a couple of throws.

Now she crouched on the saddle, clutching the front pommel tight with both hands while seriously wondering if she'd overreached herself.

'Loi,' Sabyn shouted into the wind. 'Strap this around your waist.'

He held a heavy leather circlet. She slipped back into the saddle and he reached forward to help strap her in.

'This has a length on either side which ties to the saddle. With this and me behind you, you'll be fine.'

With the circlet fastened tight, Loi pulled both legs up again and crouched low over the pommel. Two large hands gripped her hips and Sabyn leaned forward. 'Ready?' he yelled.

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