“We have to go back,” Matthias said once he’d absorbed the message. “I forgot to hand the wards over to James and we have a visitor.”
“What sort of visitor?” Sonia asked sharply.
“Nothing bad,” he said. “At least I don’t think so. She says she wants to help stop the government finding out about us, but at the same time she says she’s working for them.”
“Interesting,” Sonia said. “I wonder if she’s trustworthy.”
“I guess we’ll find out,” he said. “We’ll have Ebona and Kenna listen in.”
“Is your government likely to cause you problems?” Alaryia asked. “Halia tried to explain it to me but it seemed awfully complex.”
“It has its advantages,” he said. “But, yes, at the moment it possibly would if it found out we existed. It’d be too easy for them to assume we were to blame for all the deaths. I don’t think it would even be malice, just fear.”
“Let’s hope your visitor really can help you, then.” She looked thoughtful. “But I think you should wait long enough for us to have Yedan-kedan speak to Rantalyan-alran and Lady Elsed. He is why you came here after all.”
Matthias eyed her for a long moment then nodded.
“You’re right, of course, but we need to hurry.”
“Don’t worry,” she said. “It shouldn’t take long.” She turned to Halia. “Hal, would you go and fetch Yedan, please.”
Yedan looked nervous when Halia led him into the room, but that vanished in surprise the moment he saw Rantalyan.
“I know you!” he said. “You were the one Xanteria-ida found spying on her? But that was… you were a prisoner. How did you escape and become a dragon in such a short time?”
“I didn’t escape,” Rantalyan said calmly. “Your mistress handed me over to Mitakrian because I refused to sever from my father, even though I was unbound. I gathered it was something she did quite often.”
Yedan stared at him for a long moment but when he finally spoke, he managed to keep all but a tremor of his obvious shock out of his voice.
“Xantaria-ida did that?” Yedan turned and looked at Ebona. “Is this true?”
“It is,” she said quietly.
“I see.” Yedan pursed his lips and turned to Elsed.”Please, Lady Elsed, tell me what you know?”
“Of course,” she said and repeated what she had told them earlier about the alliance between Mitakrian and Xantaria.
When she finished he frowned at the tattoo on his arm. “Damn her! Not only is she a monster to work for but she gave my parents to that monster! I’ll kill her!”
“Uh, that’s quite a leap,” Alaryia said. “Why…”
“My parents were spies as well,” he said. “Xantaria caught them but they wouldn’t sever.I was just a child and she- she told me they’d been captured in a raid.” He punched the glowing crystal wall and swore in draconic. “But there was no raid around then! Why did I never realise? It was obvious…” He trailed off sobbing.
“She probably never let you,” Alaryia said. “Now why don’t you deal with that?” She touched the tattoo briefly.
Yedan nodded and stared at his arm, after a moment he jerked back and gasped as the tattoo exploded into threads and vanished. “It’s done. It’s finally done.”
“Let me check.” Alaryia touched his temples for a moment then nodded. “Good. She hasn’t managed to hide herself like he does sometimes.”
“Thank you.” He turned to Sonia. “Sonia-ida, if you’ll have me, I’d like to oath-bind myself to you and join your court, please.”