I couldn't decide which was more stare-worthy--my brother Lann or the jewel he'd casually placed in my hand. The jewel won. I'd seen Lann before, though this might well have been the first thing he'd ever given me.
"Father wanted you to have it," Lann said, and I realized he'd said other things, too, that I hadn't paid attention to.
The deep purple stone glowed from its depths, every facet gleaming as I turned it. I'd always thought a jewel would feel cold to the touch--if I should ever have the opportunity to touch one, which had seemed unlikely, poor as we were. But not only was it not cold, but a pure warmth emanated from it, spreading down my fingers and up towards my elbow.
"Kaesa. Are you listening to a word I've said?"
I should be, I knew. I had no memories of my father, who had died when I was but a babe. But it was difficult to tear my attention from the jewel. I leaned closer, fancying I could smell the fragrance of a heady wine.
Lann's fingers closed over mine, blocking the gem from my sight. "Kaesa."