Even with the pedant Darlryan had given her, Karen nearly vomited when they jumped into Kithra. Everything seemed to be moving – even the ground under her feet – and the sky was a swirling mass of colour with no visible sun or other celestial objects.
She gasped in a breath and grabbed the pendant. As she did, it started to hum and the ground stabilized around her. Unfortunately the sky retained its lurid colours. At least she could see the citadel now.
“Shit!” Sonia was still climbing slowly from her knees. “Damn, I knew you said this world was inhospitable but how did anyone live here long enough to figure out how to accommodate to it?”
“You can survive here longer than you think,” Darlryan said. “And it’s the only world I know where accommodation isn’t a conscious choice. Stay here long enough and you will change. Another function of the pedants is to slow that down. That’s why Lydia is in such danger.”
“I thought you said Xantaria was forcing that…”
“She probably is,” Alaryia said. “But if she is, she’s just speeding the process, not initiating it. Which is why we need to get Lydia back fast.” She turned to look to the citadel. “Everyone is in position. Let’s do this.”
Karen looked around and gasped. Now that the world was stable she could see just how many troops they’d brought with them. A small army surrounded the citadel, waiting for the order to attack.
“So we target the weak spot in the wards?” Matthias asked.
“That’s right,” Darlryan said. “We’re going to combine efforts and throw everything we’ve got at the weak spot, then the troops rush in once we open a breach and engage the guards while we sneak past and search for Lydia. I know from my studies where Xantaria keeps her cells. So we’ll check there first.”
“The weak spot is there.” Alaryia dropped the image into their minds. “On my mark.” She paused. â€œNow!â€
They all blasted at the weak spot in the wards and even with so much power being focused on it the ward held, though Karen did feel it give slightly. No wonder they had needed to look for a weak spot; there was no way they’d have got through a full strength one.
â€œHit again before it heals itself,â€ Takilyan said and they all struck at it again.
The shaking woke Lydia from her fitful doze. It felt like someone was blasting the building she was in. She was about to open her eyes when someone spoke.
â€œDon’t, you’ll make yourself sick.â€ The speaker was female which made Lydia wonder if this was Xantaria. Whoever it was must have been listening to her thoughts because they laughed.
â€œNo, I’m not Xantaria,â€ she said. â€œShe wouldn’t even tolerate me being here but she’s in the ward chamber, trying to hold the wards against them and she’s a red, so no way will she give up until it shatters so I snuck in with some of her troops. I’m a friend of Anda’s and he intimated to me that he’d like you to escape. He can’t do it so I’m going to try. But I don’t have a ward key so we’re going to have to wait until your family and their allies break through.â€ A hand stroked her hair. â€œI just hope they’re in time. Even with her having jump-started your transformation, you’re changing faster than normal.â€