â€œHow are you doing?â€ Sonia smiled at Rantalryan. â€œIs your essence healing from your transformation?â€
â€œIt is,â€ he said. â€œI’m probably well enough to swear allegiance and join you soon.â€ He cast an enquiring look at Alaryia, who nodded.
â€œAnother few days, I think,â€ Alaryia said. â€œYour essence seems settled now but Mitakrian did such a number on you by making you fight so soon that I want to be sure.â€
â€œIt’s fine,â€ he said. â€œMy father said much the same thing when he visited. He wants to meet Sonia as well. I think he wants to check he approves of the court I’m joining.â€
â€œI would be honoured,â€ Sonia said.
Rantalryan turned to Lydia. â€œAnd how are you, Lydia-ida? Becoming a dragon is harsh.â€
â€œI’m okay,â€ she said. â€œA bit irritated about not being able to fight tomorrow.â€
â€œTrust me, they are wise to stop you,â€ he said.
â€œBut I don’t even know where I’m going to be hiding,â€ she said.
â€œOh, we’re going there next,â€ Matthias said. â€œThere’s someone I should have introduced you all to a while back.â€
â€œAnd the answer to where he was that he couldn’t sense Dan was in danger when Emms tortured him,â€ Andrew said.
â€œNone of us sensed it,â€ Lydia said. â€œAnd we usually do sense when each other on in danger.â€
â€œI did,â€ Sonia said. â€œBut I couldn’t do anything. Sibling bonds are less intense so I suspect he occluded them.â€
â€œAnd dad couldn’t sense it because of where he was,â€ Dan said. â€œI don’t understand.â€
â€œSensory overload, I suspect,â€ Alaryia said. â€œWhich means I know where he was. Well he’s definitely leaving Lydia in one of the safest places in the Heartlands.â€
â€œYou’re quite correct,â€ Matthias said.
â€œWill someone please tell me where we are going?â€ Daniel asked.
â€œThe Dark Sanctuary,â€ Alaryia said. â€œIt’s the only place he could have been that might have had that effect.â€
â€œOh!â€ Daniel said. â€œYes, I see. That does make sense. So this someone you’re going to introduce us to is He who was Indarien.â€
â€œMeh.â€ Karen said. â€œNo offence, Dad, but can I sit this out, please?â€
Matthias chuckled and shook his head. â€œYou’ll be fine, Kaz. He can light the interior.â€
â€œHe can light the inside of the Dark Sanctuary?â€ Karen sounded sceptical. â€œThat just seems wrong somehow.â€
â€œOf course he can,â€ Matthias said. â€œJust in case he has visitors who can’t see in the dark. I promise it won’t be too unpleasant and you should meet him at least once.â€
â€œI’d like to meet him,â€ Alban said. â€œMother always talks about him. She’s fond of him.â€ He took Karen’s hand. â€œIt’ll be fine.â€
â€œAnd we need you to get the coordinates in your head so you can jump in an emergency to back up Lyd and Drew,â€ Sonia said.
Karen threw her hands in the air. â€œFine! I’ll go to the scary dark place.â€
â€œKaren has a particularly strong dislike for areas of the opposite affinity,â€ Sonia said.
â€œYes, Ilona mentioned that,â€ Alaryia said. â€œI was the same at her age… and yes, I do remember that far back.â€ She smiled at Karen. â€œIt does get better but only if you face up to it.â€
Karen didn’t reply. Instead, she put her hands in her pockets and scowled. â€œLet’s get this over with then.â€