Silence followed Alison’s statement. Daniel stared at the girl; she was still hugging herself but now had a defiant look on her face as if she were daring them to argue with her. He risked a look sideways at his parents and saw they looked just as stunned as he felt.
“How?” Matthias asked eventually.
“The normal way, I imagine,” Alison said.
“That’s not what I mean,” Matthias said. “How can he be your father? He can’t come to Earth.”
“Oh, no… From what my mother told me, she was kidnapped by members of another court. I think he rescued her for some reason and they hit it off.” She blinked back tears. “She was going to tell me more when I was older but Shalriya killed her.”
“She was kidnapped by dragons twice?” Sonia said. “That’s really bad luck…”
“It wasn’t luck,” Alison said softly. “Her energy was especially attractive to dragons for some reason. When he sent her home because she was pregnant with me, he gave her some sort of concealment but it must have faded over time.”
“Was she one of us?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “Mum said the other world made her so ill she could barely move until Father gave her a pendant to stop it.”
“Melissa wasn’t a – what did you call it? She wasn’t a resonant,” Arran said. “She was strong – especially since she was the only psychic in her family – but she didn’t have an energy form.” He gave a heavy sigh. “Until Alison and Logan returned and told us what happened to them, I thought her tales of dragons were some sort of delusions. If I’d have believed her we might have been able to protect her and Alison.”
“No use crying over spilt milk,” Sonia said. “And while Alison’s parentage is interesting it’s not the most important matter at hand. Will you help us?”
Arran looked at Faith and Edward before nodding. “I don’t see we have much choice in the circumstances.”
“But what about Alison?” Edward asked. “What will this Valeria do to her?”
“I have no idea,” Sonia said. “But she won’t kill her – even if only because there’s a second person to consider who is guilty of nothing.”
“Her heart friend?” Edward asked.
“That’s right.” She turned to look at Sarah. “How do you think we should handle this?”
“That’s a good question,” she said and turned back to Faith. “How many astrals are there in your family?”
“Including all the cousins?” Faith thought for a moment. “Thirty odd and the Abneys have about a dozen but we can’t speak for them – though I don’t imagine they’ll say differently.”
Sarah gave a low whistle. “Thirty is not a minor family… The others will have to give you a seat at the table with that number of people. Most of them aren’t that big. I take it the Abneys are another family we didn’t know about.”
“Yes,” Faith said. “We intermarry a lot. There’s a couple of even smaller families we know but they only ever have a couple of active psychics in each generation.”
Sarah gave a soft laugh. “That’s actually a pretty common structure for a major family and its smaller allies. How interesting you have the same structure on your own. Would you come with us so we can introduce you tomorrow?”
Faith nodded. “I’ll send messages to the rest of the family but we’ll come with you, yes.”