Myra wasn't happy. She was throwing things again, and yelling she didn't want to live in the same house as a monster. VanCleef's voice came through the floor, low, soothing, his words indecipherable.
'I don't care about what it knows!' she hollered. 'Just get it out of here.'
Idira went to her bedroom door and opened it. Unambi crouched against the opposite wall. He looked at her, sad, as Myra's voice carried up the staircase, harsh and angry, calling Unambi bad names.
'I'm sorry,' Idira said. She sat down beside him. 'I'll tell her you're a boy troll and not a monster. I can colour out here if you like and keep you company. She can go on for a while when she's like this.'
Unambi smiled at her. He reached out and ruffled her hair, messing it up under his big, fleshy hand. 'Ya bring ya colours out here den.'
She went and gathered up her things, feeling sorry for the strange creature. He reminded her a little of her murloc friend. There was good in him, just like the murloc who saved her from the bad murloc. Even if they looked strange, they were the same on the inside, just like people, with feelings, able to know the difference between right and wrong. She shuffled out, clutching her books and the box of pencils and sank down in the middle of the corridor, cross-legged, facing him.
'I brought an extra book for you if you want to colour too.' She held it out to him. He grunted and took the book into his enormous hand. The book looked tiny in it. He turned the pages, careful not to tear them. His yellow eyes roamed over the pictures. He stopped and looked at one page for a long time. He turned it round.
'Who be dis?'
Idira shrugged. 'No one. It's just made up.'
'I don' tink so. I seen dis one before, a long time ago, in da Deadwind Pass.'
'Dat be far from here, on da way ta da Swamp o' Sorrows, back when Unambi be huntin' da evil Atal'ai.'
Idira had no idea what he was talking about. She excused herself and returned a minute later with her writing tablet and a fresh sheet of paper clipped to it. She held it out to him. 'Can you draw a map? I would like to know about the world.'
Unambi made a soft vibrating noise in his throat. It sounded like approval. He picked up the black colouring pencil. It was so small in his hand Idira worried he wouldn't be able to use it. He leant over the board, the pencil moving light over the sheet. With quick, deft movements a picture took shape. Idira leaned over, curious.
He pointed to the bottom of the drawing, at a long, narrow peninsula. 'Dat be where Unambi be comin' from.' Above the peninsula, a province stood surrounded on its southern and eastern boundaries by mountains. He touched the pencil to it. 'Duskwood. Full o' nasty tings. Big spida's.' His pencil moved again to a thin strip of land to the east of Duskwood surrounded entirely by mountains. 'Deadwind Pass. Where I saw da one in da picture.'
Idira examined the drawing. 'Where are we?'
His pencil moved again as he added another province to the picture to the west of Duskwood, the two separated by a wide river. He pointed to the southwestern part of it, nestled up against a low range of hills. 'We be here.'
'Oh.' She looked up at him. 'It's very far from your home.'
Unambi nodded. 'Dat it is,' he said quiet.
Idira eyed him, sensing he was feeling bad. 'Do you have a Mama and Papa?'
He nodded again, setting the writing table on the floor. 'My fatha' be da head o' da tribe an' my motha' be in da land o' spirits. I was ta be da next chieftain, but da gods chose Unambi for dis instead.'
Idira pressed her lips together, guilt filling her. He was there because VanCleef had made Papa capture Unambi. She didn't want to know, but she asked the question anyway, hesitating at first, then rushing the rest of it through. 'Are you . . . a Papa too?'
Unambi closed his eyes and shook his head. 'Don ya be worryin'. I don' be leavin' no little ones behind. One or two o' da ladies'll be missin' ol' Unambi but dat be da worst o' it. Dey'll be alright.'
He picked up the colouring book and looked at it again. 'But dis one. I neva' expected ta be seein' him again. Dis one saved Unambi's life.' He handed the book to Idira, she took it and looked at the picture. It was just a man holding a staff, dressed in a tunic and wide collar. 'Maybe ya can ask someone for Unambi sometime?' he asked, soft.
Idira nodded. 'I will. I promise.'
Myra had stopped yelling. Other sounds were coming from VanCleef's room now. Unambi touched Idira's shoulder. 'Go on inta ya room now. Dat don' be for little ears.'
He helped her collect her things. Idira went in and closed her door. She wasn't sleepy so she coloured in the picture of the man who saved Unambi's life. She took her time, colouring it in as best as she could. She sat back, deciding what colour to make his hair. Silver or black? She chose silver. Somehow it just felt right.