"Next time, Malla, you simple must come with me!"
The pair had hidden themselves away in an out of the way alcove where they could be sure to talk without worrying about prying ears. They were as much a contrast of each other as they were mirrors. Standing barefoot they would be of equal height, their slender builds the same, the features of their faces as if forged from the same mold. There their sameness ended. It wasn't the fact that Adriel was male and Malla female. It wasn't that he kept his hair cut to his shoulders where it fell in wild curls and she kept hers past her waist, the weight of the long locks taming them into waves. He broad shouldered with a tapered waist, she with soft feminine curves.
Adriel could hardly sit still. His energy was bright and vivacious, barely contained within his skin. The very air crackled around him. His brown eyes lit with a fire from within. There was a brashness about him, a rough edge despite his polished appearance. He paced the length of the alcove, all ten steps that ended in a smooth pivot to cross back. He gestured wildly with his hands as he spoke. Any that dared encroach on his wingspan were in danger of getting backhanded with the unrestrained motion.
Malla on the other hand was the picture of patience. She regarded her brother with a cool, half-hooded gaze with her eyes ticking up to follow his restlessness, but kept her head bowed over the work in her hands. While he told tall tales she busied herself with embroidery. Dainty golden birds soaring within the hoop. She hadn't tried to interrupt as he wove his story of stealing through the Gardens. In fact, she waited until silence had settled between them for a full two minutes before she chose to speak.
"Adriel, you should not go back yourself." Her tone held a strong note of disapproval. "You are only an Adept. It is not allowed." He replied with a blustery sigh and his face contorting into childish disgust.
"It's a stupid rule." He threw his hands up dramatically and spun around to face his sister. "I should have been elevated ages ago. It's completely unfair."
In and out went Malla's needle. The next bird in the series was slowing forming in glittering gold upon a pure white canvas. "Maybe if you spent time studying instead of snooping around where you don't belong you would finally be able to pass the test."
He winced at the reminder, then quickly recovered to puff out his chest in arrogance. "That test is ridiculous. It's designed to make you fail." He jerked his thumb towards his chest. "They are just mad I figured out how to pass."
"You're cheating." Malla's eyes narrowed and her needle paused. "Must I remind you that our fates our tied together until we reach master level? You're not the only one that would like to move on."
His sigh was as soft as the expression he adopted. "You know you couldn't live without me." A smile bloomed on his lips, crooked and endearing. She could only hold out so long before she was shaking her head with a tiny smile threatening to form.
"Come with me next time," he pleaded now that he had wormed his way in. Hands clasped and lower lip jutted into the perfect pleaded pout. It was the wrong move. Malla's eyes hardened an instant later.
"No." She stabbed the fabric she was working on with the needle, weaving it from the back without pushing it all the way through to secure it. She settled the hoop into the basket at her side which she picked up as she rose. "You better be at lessons later." Her eyes dropped to her brothers hands. "And don't forget your ring this time. You can't practice without it."
"Fine, fine..." He agreed with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I'll go find it."