With Mhaev gone, Terwaen turns to Tric and asks, “Did you say that you only just met her?”
“Earlier today.” Tric takes another long drink of wine.
“Well, it is nice to know that I have another brother,” the knight says brightly.
“Yes, it is good to reconnect with family,” he agrees. “I was raised in the forest. It was a safe place, so I don’t fault anyone for that. It was a chaotic time. But that’s in the past now.”
“I did not even know I had another uncle!” Heppa says, still getting used to the idea. “Their generation is very mysterious.”
Terwaen starts sliding around her empty plate and used silverware, looking to create some sort of representation of the family tree to work out all the relationships. When Heppa realizes what the woman is doing, she pulls out her map and flips it over. They move all the place settings aside and begin drawing out everything they know on the back of the map.
They start with Mhaev of the Manu and connect her to the mysterious elvish lord Anador, apparently Heppa’s uncle and supposedly Tric’s father. Tric draws a line down from them and writes himself in. Terwaen shares that her father’s name is Rugg. Taking the quill, she writes that on the other side of Mhaev, then draws a line down and adds her own name. It is at that point that Tric realizes with a gasp that Terwaen literally meant brother just now, or at least half-brother.
Cousin and kin seem to be used very loosely by these Manu, so Heppa asks to be absolutely sure. “So Mhaev is your mother as well?”
“Yes,” the knight confirms.
Heppa takes over from there, drawing a line from Anador up to her grandparents, Quaemilya and Cleomithir, and from them down to her father Thrandolil. Next she adds her mother, Penna, followed by herself and Lala.
Aunt Penna is still Aunt Penna to Tric, just by marriage now, as the sister-in-law of Anador, rather than by blood, as the sister of Nasir. There is no relation between Nasir and Tric, not conventionally. “You said there was some connection between you and Nasir?” Terwaen asks.
“Oh, Nasir is—I call Nasir Dad. As far as I understand, he is,” Tric says.
“Ah, this is like how I call Regina Mother because she is with my father,” Terwaen replies with understanding. Heppa quibbles with this analogy, but Terwaen says that Regina and Rugg raised her during her later childhood. Tric asks who in her family is a horse lord, and Terwaen clarifies that both her father and Regina are born of the Horse Clans. “As I am myself, being the child of Rugg.”
“But Mhaev said she barely knew Nasir,” Heppa points out, backing the conversation up a bit, “so I’m not sure how he’s involved… Except for maybe knowing Uncle Anador.”
Terwaen has less trouble with this than Heppa does. “So we’ll put a line between you and Nasir, and we’ll mark it Dad,” she suggests.
“Yeah,” Tric says happily. “I think that makes sense.”
Terwaen then adds in her other half-brother, Bayar, who is quite junior to her. His biological parents are Rugg and Regina, so he is of no relation to Tric, being neither a Manu nor an elf. He is, however, of the Horse Clans. Tric looks at the drawn out tree and comments on how it all makes sense now. Heppa continues harping on Nasir, though, wondering how he is involved.
“He was at the incursion at Hisanham,” Tric reminds her. Thrandolil and Penna were already together by that point. Heppa is about Tric’s age, and Quaemilya is around ten years their senior. “Nasir was a known family member to your dad. Uncle Thran knew they were going to make an encampment or something,” Tric begins telling the story he has made for himself. “He knows they’re going to need water, so he finds the best water dowser that he can, which he knows is his brother-in-law.”
“No, I understand how he was involved in that,” Heppa says.
“Oh!” Tric realizes there is a detail Mhaev shared with him which he has not yet passed on. “Nasir was the one who had to pick me up during the Hisanham retreat.”
“But why not just put you in our family, directly under your Uncle Thrandolil?” Heppa asks.
“I don’t know,” Tric shrugs. “Nasir did a great job. I wouldn’t ask for anyone else.”
“I’m not saying he didn’t!” Heppa hastily assures her cousin. “Perhaps he wanted a child?”
“I don’t think he stole me,” Tric tells her. “I suspect he was ordered to take care of me until Anador came back, and Anador never came back.”
“But I have a big question about this…” Heppa continues.
“One question?” Tric mutters, looking at all her scribbles alongside the family tree on the back of her map.
“I don’t mean to offend anybody, but there was already a family unit, and Nasir was unattached. How did he get roped into taking care of a child?” Privately, Heppa wonders whether this was all to avoid a scandal, like not wanting a half-human associated with her family. Perhaps Mother arranged to saddle her younger brother with Tric Manu in order to keep Thrandolil’s household unstained.
Two kids is a lot for an elvish family to deal with in Tric’s opinion, especially since Heppa was a baby barely older than he was. And twins are exceedingly uncommon in elvish families. Tric does not think Nasir has anything to answer for. Anador, on the other hand… Tric might owe him a mean right hook.
With that topic as settled as it can be until she and Tric Manu return to Estbryn Forest, Heppa moves on from their family. She throws in some unconnected saplings along the edges of the parchment for the families of Alric and Serces, unsure of how all the Manu connect to each other. Terwaen volunteers that as far as she knows, Mhaev and Serces are not related by blood. The Manu Clan, just like the Horse Clans, are groups of affiliated people with several familial lines, but they are not all related to each other. Their family tree is pretty convoluted, everyone agrees, but reasonably complete for now.