Jonas moved closer, nodding to Audrey. “Jack, good to see you again. Sir, may I take him now?”
The Headmaster’s eyes narrowed slightly, and Jonas grinned winningly. “Yes. Make sure he knows how to get to the classrooms, the dining hall, the dormitories and the roosts. And do try not to imbue him with any of your mischief.” The man sounded long suffering but resigned.
“Aye, Sir.” Jonas tilted his head towards the building, turning his gaze back to Audrey. “Come on.” He began walking inside with a loose, easy stride of someone with the confidence of youth. He was seventeen, with dusty blonde hair that fell in lazy curls, and alert brown eyes. He was less than a foot taller than she was, but his carriage made him seem taller. His teeth were white, telling more of a poor upbringing than immaculate oral hygiene – those who could afford sugar, caffeine and tobacco indulged regularly unless taught moderation – and his nose was thinner than it suited. When he turned his head too quickly, she could see a glint of gold in his earlobe. “There’s only half a dozen students in residence at the moment,” he commented as they moved up the steps and into the hall. “The rest arrive tomorrow. Hey, Jack, look.” He pointed to a large dominant painting that hung between the twin staircases and over a set of double doors.
The painting was of a landscape, vague enough to be anywhere in Britain with a valley. The focus of the image was a pale dragon, perched on a precarious rock, facing a lad little older than Audrey was now. The boy was dressed in pauper’s clothing, and looked very closely like her. “Your great great etcetera grandfather. Imposing, isn’t it?”