Talia straightened, taking in just how tall Lan Wangji was. And those eyes, gold as a hawk’s. She’d never seen eyes like that on another human being. “I am Herald Talia, Monarch’s Own, Chosen of Rolan. This is Herald-Captain Kerowyn, Chosen of Sayvil. Who do we have the honor of addressing?”
Huaisang stood formally with a flicker of relief, something familiar. “Nie Huaisang, heir of QingheNie.”
“Lan Zhan, courtesy name Lan Wangji, second heir of GusuLan, Hanguang-jun,” Wangji hesitated. “Chosen of Kellen.”
“Nie Zonghui. First Disciple.” Short, to the point, with only the barest shift of the shoulders bearing paired sabers.
Hanguang-jun. Light-bearing Lord, Sayvil had passed along, adding that apparently some cultivators got stuck with titles the way Vanyel Demonsbane and Lavan Firestorm had, and he’d probably be happier if they just used his name. Or names, fine Kellen, they could stand a little rudeness….
Which in Talia’s wry opinion was solid proof Sayvil was just as diplomatic as her Chosen. As in, not. “I’m told courtesy names are polite, so that would be Nie Huaisang, Lan Wangji, and Nie Zonghui?”
A set of nods. Whew.
And then Lan Wangji’s brows lifted.
Ah. Talia remembered what it’d been like, thrown into the Palace and training and taking on the Royal Brat. It’d been a foreign land, even if she did speak the language. Any guide to what was right and wrong to do had been a relief. “In Court, Monarch’s Own would be appropriate,” Talia said gravely. “Herald Talia is always correct. I’m fine with just Talia, but people in formal settings might not approve.” She nodded at Kero. “She’s Herald-Captain Kerowyn; Herald Kerowyn less formally, or Weaponsmaster.”
Huaisang stiffened at that last, almost as if he wanted to sidle behind the other two.
Kero’s grin was all teeth. “Weaponsmaster’s only if we’re in the salle, or on the training grounds. We don’t usually see foreign nobles there.” She waved toward one of the Farms’ smaller buildings; almost a small cottage, meant for the Monarch’s family and exhausted Heralds to have a place to sit and talk away from the Palace. “Let’s put up your horses and get some hot drinks.”