Lydia clung to her mother’s mind as the void storm raged around them. It seemed to be trying to pull her from her mother’s grasp and hurl her into the tear. From this side it loomed in her mind like a chasm, and a very unpleasant feeling was leaking from it. The group struggled briefly against the pull of the storm before managing to reach a calmer area where they could relax. Even though they were all in the resonant form, Lydia felt like she was gasping from the effort and got the same sense from the others.
Ugh, Talira said after a moment. I don’t like the feeling I’m getting from it at all. Her energy shuddered. And I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such an intense storm.
No, Indaturan said. I haven’t either, and it’s stationary. Which means it isn’t natural.
You think someone was expecting us? Lydia asked.
There was a thoughtful pause.
No, Darlryan said finally. This isn’t for us. It’s holding the tear open, stopping it healing. It was placed for that purpose. He hesitated. And I really don’t think this storm was Likadrian’s doing. For all his ruthlessness in pursuing his cause, he did have his limits and the way the energy behind this storm tastes he would not have touched it.
I agree, Indaturan said. Would Xantaria?
I don’t know for sure, he replied. But there’s little I’d put beyond her. But whoever did this, it seems Sonia-ida’s friend is right. Someone was using him.
On the upside, if we can disrupt the storm the tear should close on its own, Kylissan said. That’s good news at least.
But can we? Sonia asked.
Not right now, Darlryan said. It will require us to make some sort of artifact to do it, but I have a fair idea what we need to do. Give me a few days to work out the specifics. He hesitated again. And we do need to fix this. I do not like the energy it is giving off.
Yeah, I think we can scrap the plan to go through it, Sonia said. But I do want to check the Earth side of it as well. I have a feeling it’s pouring the same energy on that side for some reason.
I haven’t sensed anything like this on our side, Lydia said.
It wouldn’t be as obvious because there’s too much other noise to conceal it, Darlryan said. But your mother is right, we should check now we know what to look for. And I agree we shouldn’t try going through it. We should do some more scans and then head back and tell the others what we found.
And be careful and keep holding on to each other, Kylissan said. We’ll need to get closer again to get the detail we need.
If Lydia had had teeth in this form she would have gritted them. She really didn’t want to go closer â€“ the very though gave her a cold feeling â€“ but she knew they had to.
As they moved closer to the tear, the storm picked up again and once again Lydia could feel it trying to pull them into the tear. Only their combined strength was keeping them steady.
Can we hurry, please, she asked.
Yes, that seems wise, Indaturan agreed as he and the others began psychically scanning the tear and storm for more clues. Lydia tried to help but her rising sense of dread prevented her concentration, so instead she turned her attention to chasing down the source of her dread. Unfortunately it solidified just a split second too late for her to give a warning or tighten her grip. She could only scream as an unexpected surge from the storm tore her from the others and flung her through the tear.