November 19th, 2010 | Published in Dragon Wars
“I honestly don’t know what I’d do in your situation, Val,” Dariad said after she’d explained her theory that Ystelyan’s dragons would be attacking the Storm Palace.Â “But I think you’re right. Ystelyan seems to want to keep Darya and the water warrior happy, and they’ll want revenge for this.”
“Yes, it’s strange,” she said. “I wouldn’t even have thought a dragon could care. Why does he care?”
“He probably doesn’t,” Dariad said. “But he knows that they do and he wants to keep his servants happy to avoid trouble. That would be my guess.”
“I guess so,” she said. “But damn it, Dariad! Something is wrong with me. I’m so confused. I want to protect my people from the dragons, but I can’t activate the throne powers from here and I’m not sure releasing it to Maran and Sirin would be any better for them. It’s a bad thing when there’s little to choose between your own brother and a dragon.”
â€œYou know the blue dragons returned their prisoners at Waldhafen and Elapyron City? Itâ€™s a really bad thing, but Iâ€™m actually thinking they might be better.â€ His eyes narrowed. â€œNow that I think about it, Iâ€™m worried thatâ€™s the point.â€
â€œItâ€™s a bit late in the day for the dragons to be trying public relations,â€ Karen said from the doorway. â€œBut I almost think you’re right.â€
â€œHow long have you been there?â€ Valeria said.
â€œLong enough to hear your problem. I was coming to see how Lorelei is. Can I make a suggestion?â€
â€œCertainly,â€ Valeria said. â€œI’m really not sure what to do.”
“Well, since you’re still linked to the throne you’ll be able to sense when the dragons attack the Storm Palace right?”
“Yes,” Valeria said. “But I don’t see whatâ€“”
“When they do, everyone will be distracted,” Karen interrupted. “Say what you like about them, dragon attacks are very distracting. So once the attack is under way have Xania gate us directly to the throne room. We’ll do any fighting needed while you activate the defences. You should be able to get rid of the dragons and take down the usurpers in one fell swoop.”
“Iâ€“ Wellâ€“ That’s exactly the sort of plan your father would come up with,” she said.
“I know.” Karen smirked at her. “He is my father after all.”
“It’s completely crazy!” Valeria said.
“I know.” Her expression sobered. “But it’s the only plan that has a chance of saving your people from both the usurpers and the dragons.”
“She’s right, Val,” Dariad said thoughtfully. “And I don’t think it’s as crazy as you think. I’ll lend you some troops. They won’t be any help against the dragons but they should be some help if the throne is still guarded.”
Valeria gave him a level look. “She takes after her father and you… you take after yours.” Her shoulders slumped slightly. “But you’re both right, it probably is the only way. I’ll go and talk to Xania. I doubt we’ve got more than a couple of hours to get this together.”
Darya was staring at the pool where he had grown up while they waited for everyone to report that they were in position. He had a kind of pensive almost sad expression on his face. Kyle put a hand on his shoulder.
“Regrets?” he asked.
“No.” Darya shook his head slowly. “Well, not exactly. I was just thinking that it wasn’t really that bad here. At least mother and Mela cared, and most of the others really only joined in because they were scared of Sirin. They were never like that when she was away. I have some good memories.”
Kyle snorted. “You’re too forgiving sometimes. We’re going to be fighting them today, you know.”
“I know,” Darya sighed. “What’s left of them anyway. The Dark Warrior killed a lot of them, and I don’t think even Sirin would make the real children fight. Maran might try but I don’t think she’d agree to it.”
“Probably not, but what about this Huldre person?”
“Hmm… yes, he would support the idea and the two of them together could probably force Sirin to comply. I hope not.”
We’re in position. Etiran’s voice sounded in their heads. Just give the word.
Are you sure you won’t kill anyone accidently? Kyle asked. It was far too easy for a feeding dragon to lose control. He was rewarded by an amused snort in response.
Of course we won’t. We both ate before the mission.
And you’re sure you can knock out all of the circleted ones?
Well, controlled non-contact feeding is a rare skill. Etiran sounded thoughtful. And impossible if the target resists, which they usually do. Thatâ€™s why we rarely use it. But these poor things canâ€™t resist and no one’s had to try and take down a large number of speaker combatants in millenia. Itâ€™s sound in theory and the tactic worked well enough for the first dragon before she put the control in. It’ll work for us.
Of course. Kyle looked over at Darya. “Ready?”
Darya shook his head. “Not really, but I’m not going to get any readier for waiting. Let’s do this.” He turned resolutely towards the Storm Palace and watched their dragon allies swoop in.