“Well, he doesn’t seem to be in any danger,” Sonia was saying when Lydia led Valeria onto the balcony. “We’d sense that. But it’s worrying that he hadn’t come back yet and the council can’t locate him.”
“Andrew?” Valeria asked.
“Yes,” Sonia said. “We can’t locate him either.”
“Neither can mother,” Valeria said.
“It’s very strange,” Matthias said. “Yesterday Jayden didn’t seem to want to alert us, so why does he seem to have changed his mind?”
“We’ll find out soon, I think. Lucus is out looking for them after all.” Sonia said. “I don’t think Drew’s in any danger but I have a bad feeling about it nonetheless.” She looked at Valeria. “How’s the fusion going?”
“Er… well I think. Hard to say. I had another imp from Salia.”
“Ah! What did she say?” Matthias asked.
“Well…” Valeria closed her eyes and showed them.
“Yellow?” Matthias gave a low whistle. “I would never have suspected that that dragon woman was yellow of all colours.”
“No,” Sonia agreed. “I suspect that’s why she left them.” She stopped and frowned thoughtfully. “She seems likable – not words I ever expected to say about a dragon – but there’s something about her. Something familiar.”
“Do you think she was involved in the siege of Caerdu?” Valeria asked and was startled when her mother interrupted.
No, she said confidently. From the way Matthias and the other jumped they had heard her as well.
“Are you sure, El?” Sarah asked.
Yes. At least not the way you mean, she said. I don’t think she was a dragon back then. The yellow one sent a lot of raids to Kithra after the backlash from the defense system wiped out most of her followers.
“Where?” Sarah asked.
“It’s where Draylian claims he comes from,” Matthias said thoughtfully. “From what he’s said, the people there are relatives of the dragons but not dragons unless someone converts them.”
“This is your not exactly dragon kid?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah.” Matthias gave a fond smile. “He says he escaped before his transformation was finalised, and everything points to him telling the truth. But apparently his own people won’t take him back because he’s too close to being a dragon for their tastes.”
“Not all of them,” Lydia said suddenly. “There’s some Kithreiri courts would take a…” she hesitated. “A half-made? If he asked.” She sounded a bit confused.
There was a long pause before Matthias spoke.
“Lyd? How would you know?”
“I… erm…” The girl looked down and played with the strange silvery bracelet sitting next to her heart bracelet on her wrist. “Someone just told me.”
“The same person who gave you that bracelet?” he asked.
“Yes. Though I have no idea what it is. It seems to suprise and intrigue goblins and dragons though. She said that it would help protect me from the dragons – she calls them Kinstrari.”
“Draylian calls them that as well,” Matthias said. “Perhaps he’ll know what it is. I’ll check with the council that it’s okay and then summon him I think.”
“Please do,” Sarah said. “I’m curious to meet him.”
Lydia watched Draylian as he examined her bracelet. The boy seemed happy enough but he was faking.Â She could feel his hunger and the forlorn despair that accompanied it. It made her eyes prickle suspiciously and at the back of her mind, she could feel her mentor cringing in sympathy. Eventually the boy straightened up and turned to Matthias.
“It’s protective, my idan,” he said. “I’ve never seen one before but I’ve heard of them. Some Idri give them to their friends of lesser power to help protect them from attack.”
“From the dragons?” Matthias asked.
“Among other things. Mostly from other Kithreiri. Mother always said that political infighting killed more of us than the Kinstrari do.” Draylian gave a deep sigh. “I never saw much of it.” He gave Lydia a long look. “But I’m very surprised that Feliaria-ida views a Talori as a friend, she’s a notorious Defensive and the Ida who proposed the Idri council’s ban on contact with Taloa. She and her eldest daughter fell out over it and haven’t spoken since – though that could be because Feliaria-ida really doesn’t like the Kinstrari.”
No, it’s because she challenged me for the Silver Miriate and won, Feliaria said in Lydia’s head. But I’d at least hear her out if she spoke to me. I talk to her twin after all, not that anyone knows that.
“Her daughter is a dragon?” Valeria asked.
Drayian gave a snort. “You could say that, your majesty. Her eldest is the first dragon.”