Artist: Turnabout Jazz Soul - Song: Steel Samurai
Abalia was not one to be taken off-guard by something like a hug anymore. At one time, yes, she might certainly have considered it unimaginably discomforting to have another hold her like that, but marriage, family, and friends had given her a certain degree of familiarity with that level of physical intimacy. And, of course...there was motherhood now, as well. Perhaps that had begun to change her, though she doubted that very much. She suspected instead that she had begun to change knowing fully what would be asked of her as a mother. Regardless of which it was, it did not matter to Abalia. She simply returned Liu's embrace, holding her with a warmth that was uncharacteristic of the Queen of Vastime.
“You do not need to apologize, Liu. You have lost someone most dear to you, and I would never dream to deny you your grief. I am interested in what Shadow Fall will do, yes, that much is very true. But were I simply asking you to a matter of the state, I would have held a meeting in some official capacity. This is a meeting between you and I, simply as people.”
Though she did not smile, simply due to who she was, it was obvious that the once ice-cold atmosphere which had defined Abalia was warmer than it had ever been. Not that this was, in itself, a tremendous feat. One would not use “warmer than absolute zero” as much of a comparison point, after all. But it was, nevertheless, something so profoundly different about her compared to even simply a year ago. The woman was no longer a block of ice. More...an icy mountain, with a small hotspring buried deeply within.