Mela woke to find Ishleen and Ebona just finishing a large plate of meat. The nightmare looked up at her and flapped her leathery wings slightly.
“Good afternoon, sleepyhead,” she said. “You must really have tired yourself out taking that shield down. Even Matt and Daniel woke up before you and I’m sure you know how late they tend to sleep.” She nuzzled Mela kindly. “How are you feeling now?”
“I’m still a bit woozy,” Mela admitted. “But at least I didn’t have any more dreams…” she trailed off and frowned as the vague memory of standing in a vaguely familiar cave and hearing someone calling for her surfaced. “At least I don’t think I did, but…”
“Oh, you had dreams, but nothing like that first one,” Ishleen said.Â “Everyone dreams.”
“I don’t,” Ebona said mildly.
Ishleen gave a neighing chuckle. “Very well, everyone who sleeps dreams.” She looked back at Mela. “But that thing in your mind is more interesting than any mundane dream.”
Mela hmm’d to her self. She could barely remember the dream she was chasing after in her head but she was certain it wasn’t a mundane dream. “It felt like a sending,” she muttered. “What thing in my head?”
“The one Lucas found last night,” Isleen replied. “I have no idea what it is or where it comes from. It’s doing a very good job of looking natural – but if it is then I’ve never seen anything like it, which seems unlikely.” She clacked her hooves against the floor in a slightly agitated fashion. “It’s certainly been there for a very long time, possibly since you were an infant. And given where it was, I just don’t see how anyone would have got it in there. It’s not usually an accessible place.”
“But you got in there to look at it,” Mela pointed out.
More hoof clattering greeted that statement. “Yes, yes, but only because the first dragon ripped out the controls stopping you fighting dragons. It’s in the area they usually wrap around. I thought possibly it was just hidden by them normally, but I’ve never seen it in a heart friend’s mind either.”
Mela considered this. “Maybe it’s connected to having a heartstone?” she asked thoughtfully. “Elaranor told you about that?”
“I would have known even if she hadn’t once I looked in you head. I’ve seen them often enough to recognise their absence.Â And that’s possible I suppose, but unless I can find someone else in your situation to have a look I can’t know for sure. Until then it’s a mystery and I don’t like mental mysteries. I’m just glad it seems harmless.”
“The chances of finding anyone else with no control is pretty slim,” Ebona added, then looked at Mela sternly. “Did you really think we’d think you were renegade because of this thing with the first dragon?”
“Not you,” Mela said. “Other people…” She made a vague gesture to indicate Speakers in general. “Dragons make Speakers paranoid.”
“That’s true,” Ebona conceded. “And I suppose many would assume you’d done something for the first dragon to earn such a favour. But we know you didn’t, and most places would let you prove your innocence.” She paused and winced. “I really wish I could say all, but since learning about what happened at Elapyron City…”
“I wish she hadn’t done it. I’m not sure how much use it’ll be.”
“More than you think, I suspect,” Ishleen said. “At least I assume you know how to fight? Merfolk don’t usually neglect self-defence.”
“I do, but I don’t have my spear or knife,” Mela said.
“Oh, well, that at least is easily dealt with,” Ishleen said. “We’ll get you some from the armory here. But first you need breakfast, I think.”
“Hmm, yes please, I am hungry,” Mela admitted. “Where is everyone?”
“In the meeting chamber,” Ebona said. “They wanted to continue their discussions. Ishleen and I were left to watch you because you were taking so long to wake up. You were really out of it.”
“I remember.” Mela shifted her tail to legs and climbed to her feet. The room spun and she had to grab on to Ishleen as her knees buckled. “I think I still am.”
“Open the door for us and then climb on my back,” Ebona said. “We’ll head to the great hall and find you some food. I’m sure that will help. Then we’ll join the others.”