Indaturan returned only a couple of hours later. “One of Estara’s people who has a spatial affinity people met me halfway,” he said. “They’ll see they get to Waldhafen safely. Are we all ready for this?”
“We think so,” Karen said. “Though I still wish we had a better plan.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “I do too.” He looked over Darlryan. “Did they tell you the news?”
“About Kasi, yes,” he replied. “I’ll look for Kaylaria but as I told the others, I’m missing something and I don’t know what, but I think it’s important.”
“I think you are as well,” Ystelyan said. “Because I just got a message back from Alsia.”
“What did she say?”
“Three words. Yes, I know.”
“What?!” Darlryan froze for a moment. “She knew? Since when? She didn’t know eighteen years ago or she would have told me. I’d stake my life on that. Until Layla died we were friends, so she must have found out since.”
“Who was Layla?” Lydia asked.
“She was our adopted sister,” he said. “She was… caught in the crossfire and Alsia blamed me.” He closed his eyes, obviously blinking back tears. “I would never have hurt Layla or Cass deliberately though I’ll concede that what happened to Cass was my own stupid fault.” He must have seen Lydia open her mouth because he anticipated her question. “Cass was our adopted parents’ only natural child. She’s a grown woman with a daughter of her own now.” He shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about this. It’s like picking at a scab. We should get on with the rescue.”
â€œI think you need to talk about this,â€ Indaturan said. â€œBut you’re right; it will wait until Kayleigh-iatia is safe. Let’s go and get Dialdra and do this.â€
Dialdra glared petulantly at them when they entered her cell. For someone who had caused them so much trouble, she looked like nothing so much as a sulky brat.
â€œWe’re going to rescue Kayleigh-iatia,â€ Indaturan said. â€œAnd you are going to help. But we are going to lay a few ground rules first.â€
â€œGround rules?â€ she said.
â€œYes, Dialdra,â€ he said. â€œRules. Firstly, you will act in all ways as if you passionately believed in our cause. No hesitation, no holding back. You may not support us but you will act like you do and like you hate Xantaria and her followers. You will fight without regard to your own safety and if you are rescued and cannot escape and return to us you will suicide and take as many of Xantaria’s servants with you as possible â€“ understood?â€
Dialdra clearly fought the order because she clutched at her arm and screamed for several minutes before nodding. â€œI understand and will obey, master.â€
â€œSecondly, if any of us are lost, you will complete the mission and then suicide and if Kayleigh is already dead you will suicide as soon as we are out safely but not in a way to take anyone with you. Your life depends on all of us and Kayleigh surviving.â€
â€œYes, master,â€ she said.
â€œThirdly if you think of any way around my orders, you will not take them. You will do everything in your power to make this mission a success and do as much damage to Xantaria as possible.â€
â€œYes, master,â€ she said again. â€œWill you let me go if we succeed?â€
â€œNo,â€ he said. â€œBut I will knock you into transition. By the time you grow up again, this should all be resolved.â€
â€œI see.â€ She sighed heavily. â€œBetter than nothing, I guess.â€
â€œI think we’re ready then,â€ he said. â€œLet’s go.â€