The sound of a loud argument nearby drew Salia up from unconsciousness. She opened her eyes slowly to find herself lying on a bed with a goat horned goblin kneeling by her side. Beyond him she could see Lyrrekka and Gerian arguing fiercely. She shook her head a few times trying to work out where she was and then flailed around, frantically trying to get up and check on her friends asÂ she remembered what had happened.
“Coromel! Karilya!” Her ribs exploded into burning pain and she sank back down onto the pillows with a sob.
“Ssh…” The goblin said soothingly. “Ssh… You need to hold still. Itakrian-kedan broke several of your ribs. I need to heal them before you can get up.”
“But…” Salia began.
“Your friends are fine,” he reassured her. “Karilya is being tended to and Coromel just needed a little bit of energy to help her recover from that bastard’s overfeeding.” He placed one hand over Salia’s painful ribs. Warmth spread out from his fingers and began to erase the ache, but after a few moments he paused and scowled over at where Lyrrekka and Gerian were still arguing.
“Gerian-mirian, Lyrrekka-alra, please!” He sounded stressed. They paused and looked at him. Lyrrekka had a shallow cut on her forehead which was dripping yellow blood. “I’m trying to concentrate, but your shouting is making it hard.”
“How dare you interrupt!” Gerian glared at him.
“He’s just trying to do his job, my mirian,” Lyrrekka said. “I’m sorry we disturbed you.” She turned her attention back to Gerian. “And what are you going to do about this?!” she wasn’t shouting any more but even Salia could tell she was still angry.
“Itakrian will be punished for attacking Karilya and Salia,” Gerian said grudgingly. “And for questioning my authority.” he sounded much less sour about that. “Stupid little kedan getting above himself.”
“And for terrorizing Coromel and disregarding her pendant?” Lyrrekka asked tersely.
Gerian just shrugged, but the contemptuous look that flitted across his face at Coromel’s name spoke whole volumes. Lyrrekka must have seen it too because she very obviously bit back a snarl and seemed to be counting for a moment.
“Forgive me, my mirian,” she said finally. “But what use is having a rule if you don’t enforce it?” He tone was almost reasonable but the faint tremor of effort gave her true feelings away.
Gerian scowled at her. “If I didn’t need you as much as I do, Lyrrekka-alra I’d be punishing you for your insolence as well, and I can only be pushed so far even by you.” He stalked towards the door and then paused. “See that Salia’s tutor arranges combat lessons for her. Biting your opponent’s nose off is effective but it lacks a certain finesse.”
“Of course.” Lyrrekka said shortly. “And I’m taking Coromel back with me, she’s a friend of Salia’s.”
Gerian rolled his eyes at that. “Whatever,” he sighed and stalked out.
“That…” Lyrrekka stared after him for a moment, flexing her fingers and breathing deeply. Then she turned back to Salia with a smile. “How are you feeling, dear?”
“Better. Can I get up now?” She stared at the cut on the dragon woman’s forehead. “You’re bleeding.”
“I know, it’s nothing. That idiot Itakrian got in a lucky swipe before I tossed him around the room. I would have torn him to pieces but Gerian stopped me.”
“Just a moment longer,” the goblin said simultaneously. “I’m just knitting the last rib back together. Do you want me to sort out that cut when I’m done, Lyr?”
“That’s probably a good idea,” Lyrrekka said.
“Your blood is yellow.” Salia frowned at her. She was sure she’d been told that a dragon’s blood matched their scales. “I thought you were a red dragon. All the other’s here are red.”
Lyrrekka snorted and shook her head. “Not quite all, but most. And I’m not quite stubborn enough to be red. Though I do my best to pretend to be. It’s hard work making my clothes stay red, but Shalriya-miria really doesn’t like yellows outside her court and expresses her dislike rather firmly. She hunts down outwalkers like me. Especially like me.” She put a hand to the cut.
“That’s an understament,” the goblin said. “Shalriya is completely insane.” He looked down at Salia. “There you are, all healed. I’ll just fix up Lyr’s forehead and then you can go and check on your friends.”