Mela woke with a start in the middle of the night to find that neither Daniel nor Ebona was there. Her stomach clenched in anxiety before she noticed Nephele sitting in one of the chairs, reading. She sat up in the pool, splashing the water slightly as she did.
The sylph looked up at the sound and smiled at her. “Sonia and Matthias went to talk to the River Singer and wanted Ebona along to gauge her truthfulness, so she asked me to keep an eye on you while they were gone. Though I can’t the Red Dragons trying something when there’s so many gathered here who can fight them.”
Mela hmm’d to herself. “I don’t know. The River Singer made it sound like I was pretty important to this Gerian’s plans. He might get desperate if we stay here long enough and risk it. He doesn’t sound very stable.” She studied the scales on her tail, thinking back over what had woken her. “I had a strange dream.”
“Do you have any affinity for precognition?” Nephele asked gently.
Mela shook her head. “I don’t think so, but it felt really strange. Like it wasn’t a normal dream.”
“Hmm…” The sylph rose from the chair and came to sit on the floor by the pool. “Strange how?”
“Heavy, like a weight in my head. I knew it was dream but I couldn’t do anything. It was like I was watching it from outside my head.”
“Hmm,” Nephele repeated. “That could be a precognitive dream, but I wouldn’t expect them to show up out of the blue if you’ve never had one before. What happened in it?”
“There were red dragons everywhere, the forest was on fire and people were screaming.” She clung to the side of the pool and sobbed as talking about it made the images sharper. “It was chaos. There were bodies everywhere. Everyone was dead!”
“Hush!” Nephele reached out and stroked her hair. “Such a turn of events is highly unlikely with so many fighters here. But the way you described the feeling of it… I think we should let Sonia or Lucas have a look.”
“Er?” Mela said.
“It sounds like it wasn’t a normal dream. If it wasn’t precognitive, it might have been a projection. Someone may be trying to scare you.”
“But why?” Mela asked.
Nephele sighed. “Think about it. Why did you go with Daniel when he attacked your family?”
“Because I wanted to save them from him,” Mela replied promptly.
“Indeed and it’s possible they know about that. What would you do if you were convinced that they would kill everyone to get to you? And that there was nothing that we could do to stop them?”
“I’d…” Mela trailed off. “Oh!”
“Exactly. You have a history of trying to protect people you care about, even if it means endangering yourself. If they know about it they may be trying to use it against you.”
“It is possible,” Mela conceeded softly. “It might work as well.”
“Which is why we need to find out what caused that dream. If it was a sending masquerading as a premonition then Lucas will be able to tell. If it wasn’t, then we have to consider the fact it may be a genuine premonition and plan accordingly to avoid it.”
“Our people do have precognitive dreams occassionally,” Aunt Lori said. Mela jumped slightly; she hadn’t realised her aunt was awake. “And they usually come out of the blue when we do. No one knows why.” She smiled at Mela. “Your talking woke me up.”
“Sorry.” Mela looked down.
“Not at all,” Aunt Lori said. “One way or another, it was an important thing to mention.”
“I’ll nudge Sonia,” Nephele said. “Tell her that we need to talk to her. I’d suggest that we go and find them, but I don’t think that we should talk about this in front of the River Singer. I really don’t think she means you any harm but it might give her ideas.”
“I thought they’d given up on trying to kidnap me,” Mela said.
“They have, but mostly because they failed and they don’t want to risk trying again. I’m fairly sure they’d still rather protect you themselves.”
“It sounds like you believe they really aren’t evil,” Aunt Lori said.
Nephele shrugged. “I don’t discount the possibility that they aren’t. But in this case that’s got little to do with it. They want to stop this Gerian’s plan and preventing him using Mela is the best way to do it. It’s obvious that your son wouldn’t tolerate them killing her even if it was something they’d consider, so making sure he can’t get her is their only option. It doesn’t mean their motives are good, just that political expediency means they can’t kill her.”
“That’s a good point,” Aunt Lori said. “But do you think they’re evil?”
“I don’t know. I know every dragon I’ve ever fought has been but the Blue ones keep themselves to themselves. When you think about it, the fact they never used to raid means we can’t discount it.”
“I suppose not,” Aunt Lori said. “But it’s such an alien thought. Still, I like to think Darya had more scruples than to side with something evil.”
“Given the Core’s behaviour I’d say he definitely does,” Nephele said harshly and Lorelei made a soft of of comprehension.
“Of course, it tried to kill your heart friend as well, didn’t it? But you’re still here.”
“We didn’t know it was that,” Nephele said. “Not until Lucas and Sarah unpicked the wards in the kids minds and found out what it was hiding. I am surprised it hasn’t done more to stop the news spreading, though. I guess once the dam burst there was little it could do.” The sylph grinned. “I’m still here, as you put it, because I like the world intact. And I’ve been helping Matt. A lot of people would call that switching sides, given what he’s been doing.”
“If She who was Elaranor is right, it might be a little distracted as well,” Lorelei mused. “I wonder what could threaten it.”
“I actually dread to think.” Nephele cocked her head. “I’ve told Sonia we need to talk to her and the others. They’re on their way back.”