â€œChaya, dear!â€ Alaryia helped the Dryad to a seat as soon as the group teleported to her palace. â€œHow are you? It looks like the venom is affecting you.â€
â€œIt is,â€ Chaya said. â€œBut not too badly yet. I actually feel better than I did so I think the antidote you’re feeding him is working.â€
â€œIt is,â€ Alaryia said. â€œAlsia-ida identified it correctly, thank goodness, but that still leaves us the question of what to do with him. Even if you were willing to die, we can’t kill him yet. Even knocking him into transition would have the same effect.â€
â€œNot necessarily,â€ Chaya said. â€œI could force the court to my will until Sonia-ida is ready if you did that. You’d be wasting a lot of resources on raising him, though.â€
â€œYou really think he’s unsalvagable?â€ Alaryia seemed taken aback.
â€œI’m afraid so,â€ Chaya said. â€œWhich leads me to my suggestion. Clip his essence in case he escapes and put him in permanent stasis. I’ll control the court until Sonia-ida is ready and then concede to her challenge.â€
â€œWouldn’t clipping his essence weaken you as well?â€ Lydia asked.
â€œUsually, yes,â€ Takilyan said from the doorway. â€œBut there are ways to do it without weakening her; the one I’d favour would even strengthen her somewhat.â€ He inclined his head to Chaya. â€œAs you may have guessed, Lady Chaya, I was going to suggest exactly what you did.â€
â€œWell it was one of the standard ways of dealing with this sort of situation, Takilyan-mirian,â€ she said. â€œDo you have a quorum to pass sentence?â€
He winced. â€œProbably not. We need ten and we only have seven for sure. Indaturan can surely get Kandarian and I can persuade Endaria but that’s still only nine.â€ He tutted to himself.
â€œYou need ten out of fourteen?â€ Matthias asked.
â€œTo take this sort of action against one of us?â€ Alaryia said. â€œYes. Not that there’s much that anyone could do to stop us but that’s the rules and I’d prefer not to break them. That’s Xantaria’s way, not ours.â€ She scowled. â€œThere is a possibility. We can’t ask Anda, and Shalriya and Analia will never help us with this but much as I hate him, Gerian might go for it. He does hate Mitakrian and would be happy to see him out of the way.â€
â€œMore than he hates you as well,â€ Takilyan said. â€œI’ll go and talk to him but we’ll need him here for the judgement if he agrees.â€
â€œFor this, I’ll grant him safe passage,â€ she said. â€œAnd for this he’ll probably even believe it’s not a trap.â€ She gave a half smile. â€œAnd it really isn’t a trap, Tak.â€
â€œI know,â€ he said. â€œYou wouldn’t do something like that unless you were in descent and you’re not. I’ll be back as soon as I’ve spoken to Enda and Gerian.â€
Alaryia watched him go then turned back to Chaya. â€œI’m going to go and speak with Indaturan and Alsia. We’ll need Ind to speak with his brother and I want to make sure Mitakrian is firmly restrained first.â€