Zahir stands soldier-straight, back to the wall, hands folded in front of him. He has always had his own personal formality, Kel thinks, bolstered by four years as King Jonathan's squire. There is something admirable about it, something chivalrous.

"Keladry," he says, voice deep and changed from how she remembers it to be. But, she supposes, they all had to grow up. "May I speak with you for a moment?"

Kel pauses in her paperwork and turns around, smile warm. "Of course," she says.

"What you did in Scanra..." Zahir begins, and then pauses. Kel watches the shadows play across his face as he decides what to say. "It was brave."

"It was necessary," she says simply, pushing her hair back behind her ears. "They are my people, and they were in danger."

He moves closer to her, farther into the room. Kel gestures for him to sit and he does. She can see him more clearly now that the candle isn't casting darkness over his face. His smile is crooked but true.

She's not a good Yamani anymore, but her face is still blank.

"I don't think," Zahir murmurs, "that I've yet developed that strength of character- but gods willing, I'm giving it a try."

Kel laughs. "Good," she says, and then falls quiet.

"I also wanted to take a moment to apologize," Zahir says eventually. "For what happened when we were pages, all of the things that were my fault. You deserve my apology."

"Thank you," Kel says. She's not sure of what to say next. "I appreciate that."

Zahir snorts. "You deserve more," he says. "Joren was a prize fool, and I thought myself better than I was. You have the vindication of being right, in the end."

"It would have been better if he'd lived and seen the errors of his ways," Kel says, and shrugs.

"With Joren?" Zahir shakes his head. "It was always going to end the way it did. The Chamber just got to him before a person could. It might have been merciful, somehow."

"Knowing the Chamber," Kel says lowly- and Zahir must have heard how it gave her her orders, because his face does not change- "knowing the Chamber, I'm not sure it was."

Zahir acknowledges this with a nod, then stands. "I am proud to serve beside you," he says.

Kel smiles. "You know," she says, "this can wait for later. Would you like to get dinner?"

"I would like that very much," Zahir says, and offers her his arm.