Karen sat by Lydia and held her sister’s hand while Alaryia examined her. She wanted to reach out and touch the wings of silver flame that had erupted from her sister’s shoulders just before their escape but she had an inkling that even though they weren’t singeing their surroundings, they would singe her if she tried that.
“Well?” Sonia asked from here she was standing at Lydia’s head, wringing her hands.
“I don’t know,” Alaryia said. “Her eyes haven’t changed yet.” She gently peeled back one of Lydia’s eyelids to show it was indeed its normal grey. “But she’s got her wings, and that’s earlier than I thought she would. Hopefully it’s not too late. I’m going to try and purge her essence to allow the human to reassert itself, but if I can’t, we have a serious problem.”
“Problem?” Sonia asked sharply.
Alaryia didn’t reply because she had already closed her eyes and begun glowing silver as she fused her own essence with Lydia’s.
“Being stuck between human and Kithreia is even less stable than being half-made,” Indaturan said. “If we can’t purge her essence and restore her to full human, then unless we can find a way to finish her transformation she’s going to die.”
“It won’t happen on its own?” Matthias asked.
Indaturan shook his head. “It can only finish in Kithra and that’s a problem because I doubt there is anywhere safe in Kithra right now.”
Sonia turned and looked at Erisan quickly. He sighed heavily and shook his head.
“I’ve already contacted those of my court still at my citadel and Xantaria has immediately laid a siege. They don’t think they can hold out so I’ve ordered them to evacuate. If Lydia-ida goes back there she’ll be recaptured and I don’t think we could extract her a second time.”
Sonia gave a strangled sob and Alaryia opened her eyes and looked around at her.
“Don’t despair yet,” she said. “I might still be able to purge her essence and even if I can’t, we’ll have time to work something out.” She turned her attention back to Lydia as she stirred and groaned.
â€œLyd!â€ Sonia knelt beside her. â€œHow do you feel?â€
â€œI hurt,â€ Lydia said. â€œWere you in time?â€
â€œWe don’t know yet,â€ she said. â€œYou hadn’t finished transforming but we don’t know if it’s still reversible. Alaryia is trying to purge it right now.â€
â€œOh.â€ Lydia shifted slightly before frowning at her arm and pulling an odd looking wand from her sleeve. â€œAndarian gave this to me. He said Darlryan-mirian would know what to do with it.â€
â€œLet me see.â€ Darlryan hurried over and took it from her. He examined it thoughtfully, turning it over and over in his hands. â€œYes, this will work. We can tear apart that void storm with this and then the tear will start to heal. Anda always was clever.â€
â€œThat’s good at least,â€ Lydia said. â€œIf Alaryia can’t cleanse my essence, what happens to me? I don’t think I can change here.â€
No one replied but Lydia clearly read the ominous silence well enough.
â€œI see,â€ she said. â€œGoing back there isn’t an option and I can already tell living like this won’t be possible.â€ She frowned quietly. â€œWhat if you turned me into a dragon?â€