January 3rd, 2011 | Published in Dragon Wars
“What do you suppose she meant by that?” Sonia asked, staring after Rilletta with a frown.
“Who cares?” Sarah asked.
“Me, obviously,” Sonia said mildly. “I’m curious about her, and what she said was peculiar. I want to know what she meant.”
“She probably meant that resonants could have protected Earth, so the dragons would not have attacked,” Matthias said. “Which makes sense.”
“Possibly,” Sonia stared after Rilletta. “But I don’t think so. There’s something we’re missing.” She shook her head. “But for now there are more pressing matters to consider. I think we should adjourn to the chambers provided for our discussions and double check the wards.”
“Yes, let’s,” Matthias agreed.
“One moment. There’s something I need to do first.” Daniel walked over to where Mela was sitting with her aunt. “Songstress Lorelei, I believe I owe you an apology for spearing you in the shoulder and – um – massacring your family.”
Lorelei looked at him for a long moment then gave a wan smile. “Well, we were trying to kill you at the time, Dark Warrior. I won’t fault you for defending yourself. Thank you for caring for Mela so well. I think you’ve been good for her. She used to be far too meek.” She cocked her head at him and her smile became less strained. “Let’s blame my sister for it. She’s to blame for pretty much everything else.”
“Her, Maran and Huldre,” he agreed. “Especially Huldre, I think.”
“It was certainly his idea to torture me,” she agreed. “But while we’re dealing in apologies…” She turned her attention to Andrew. “I really owe you one, don’t I, Ice Warrior? I shouldn’t have let my sister talk me into that – I knew it was a bad idea.”
Andrew glared at her for a moment and then sighed. “Okay, I’ll accept that apology,” he said grudgingly. “You’ve been through more than enough to make up for it.”
“Thank you.” Lorelei rose to her feet. “May I join you later, my queen? I wish to speak with the River Singer about my son.”
“Yes,” Valeria said. “I would imagine that you do.” She paused and then added softly. “Be careful, Lorelei. Renegades are tricky. Be wary of anything she tells you.”
“I know, my queen,” Lorelei said. “But she’s probably in touch with her master, so she’ll know if he’s okay. I can’t help worrying.”
“After what happened, I’d rather like to know as well,” Valeria said. “The rest of us will be in the council chambers.â€
“I’ll come with you, Aunt Lori,” Mela said. When Daniel opened his mouth to protest she shook her head at him. “It’ll be okay. She can’t kidnap me because of the truce and I want to know about Darya.”
He frowned at her then nodded. “I guess they would have tried something by now if they were going to. Just be careful.”
“Andrew and I will join you later as well,” Sonia said. “It’s best if we sort these mental wards out now while I’m thinking about it.”
Mela peeked out from behind her aunt when they entered the rooms where Rilletta and her entourage were staying. She knew that they wouldn’t kidnap her but they still made her nervous. Rilletta met them by the door with a warm smile.
“Songstress Lorelei.” Rilletta dropped a respectful curtsey. “I am glad to meet you at last. My husband says Darya has been extremely concerned about you. He’ll be glad to hear that you are recovering.” She leaned around and smiled at Mela. “There’s no need to hide, Melusine. No one here is going to harm you.”
“I see my son has infected you with the habit of using my niece’s adult name,” Lorelei said.
Rilletta chuckled. “And you don’t think she’s shown enough maturity in the past few weeks to be recognised as an adult?”
Mela blinked as her aunt favoured her with a thoughtful glance.
“She has,” Lorelei said finally. “But I’ll need another two adults to back me up on that. But tell me, please. Do you know if Darya is well? The queen said that he was badly hurt during the battle for the Storm Palace.”
“He was,” Rilletta said. “He’s healed well. He’ll be glad to hear that you were concerned about him.” She gestured to the chairs. “Won’t you sit? I’m sure that you have many questions. Most Speakers who find that a relative has changed sides do. I’ll do my best to answer them.”
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