“Lord Yamagata.” And someone must have been schooling the queen, for her bow was perfect to the hair; just a fraction shallower than his, as appropriate to her higher rank as the sternness of her face. Yet even so, blue eyes glimmered with humor as she reclaimed her chair. “I hear you’ve brought us a… small problem.”
From that slight, choked sound a seat away, Prince Daren was stifling a snicker.
Kami, where to start. “Your Majesty, gentle persons-” one of the safest terms he’d run across to speak to a Council that sometimes included gryphons, kyree, and dyheli, “-I would introduce Gensai Ayame, who has manifested the Gift we of Yamato call hanyou.”
“It’s all right, Ayame-chan,” her grandfather said soothingly, coaxing the wide-eyed girl into her own quick bow. “No one here’s going to hurt you.”
“My Heralds have brought some reports of this Gift,” Selenay said smoothly, before the council members could more than start whispering.
Kamiya, no doubt. Well, now I’m certain where her loyalty lies….
“Apparently it’s not uncommon among your people, even if we of Haven have never seen it.”
“Gods above, I should hope we’ve never seen it!” the lord from Evendim blustered. “To think that we might have had something as dangerous as Changechildren running about Haven-”
“I believe I am well able to say precisely how dangerous this little one is-” Himura’s knuckles cracked, lamplight gleaming off claws no longer hidden, “-and is not.”
Pandemonium. Yamagata closed out the shouts, the screams, the sudden, wild accusations. All that mattered was holding his place beside Himura and Funaka in the center of this U of tables, ready to strike if the gaijin lost their minds completely.
Selenay was on her feet, Queen’s Own Talia backing her. Her gaze touched each council member in term, sternly commanding reason, sanity, silence. “I take it this,” she said into the reluctant quiet, “is why you made this Gift… less than obvious.”
“It is, your Majesty,” Yamagata said clearly. “Some of your folk encountered ours the first day we Jumped here. The panic that ensued nearly killed several people on both sides.” Though rather more on yours. It’s a damn fool of a man who comes after even an usagi-hanyou with a pitchfork. Especially a ronin like Miyamoto. A ‘cute bunny’ he is not. “For all our safety, I ordered the hanyou to conceal themselves.”
“And they did?” the Seneschal asked in disbelief. “Just like that?”
“Lord Palinor, I was the leader of the Revolutionary Army, and this was a situation of military nature,” Yamagata said pointedly. “Yes. They did.” He let his face soften into a weary smile, looking over at Ayame. “But one cannot expect a child to control her Gift, at first. Especially given the circumstances.”