Ifrit held his face.

His hands holding his face, gently.

" Nova," he said, looking down. " You would rather be my favorite than Lorn's, wouldn't you?"

Nova looked up at him.

Ifrit's kind and loving smile seemed like the avatar of a god, like Cascur incarnate, a far cry from the cold glance of his uncle.

" Always," he insisted, standing on his tippytoes. " I wish Ifrit was Lorn instead!"

Ifrit smiled at him.