June 14th, 2013 | Published in Dragon Wars
After he finished eating, Rantalyan sat back on his heels and looked around at them again.
“How much do you know of what Xantaria is planning?” he asked.
Should we trust him? Lydia asked. It could all be an elaborate trick to find out what we know.
It could, Sonia agreed. But I don’t think so, and we do need to know what he knows. She turned to Rantalyan and spoke aloud. “Only a little. We were sent a warning that she intends to invade Earth and another prisoner we interrogated said she intends to either drag Earth to another universe or encase it in a huge bubble, but we have no idea where she intends to get the energy. Do you know?”
“Know? No, I don’t know,” he said. “My fa â€“ my former idan had some thoughts but he couldn’t prove them. I was trying to find that proof when Xanteria caught me and handed me over to Mitakrian. But yes, she intends to take over Taloa. I think he wants the same thing – or similar, anyway. I couldn’t get proof of how she’s planning to power her idea but I did overhear them agreeing that she would allow dragons access to Taloa once she had captured it and especially allow him full access to something they called the boundary–” He broke off as Alaryia hissed. “This means something to you?”
“The boundary is the… hmmm… border, for want of a better word, between Taloa and Talonyka,” she said. “Though border is the wrong word, really, because it’s not a place any more than the line between mind and body is really a line. Mitakrian has always been fascinated by the boundary and his plans – whatever they are – revolve around it – but he can’t reach it. The Heart won’t let him. It’s not the sort of thing anyone should be playing with.” She frowned thoughtfully. “I assume that was payment for something?”
“Yes.” He nodded. “She wanted some artifact he had developed â€“ an energy diverter, I suspect. But one more efficient than anything the Kithreiri have. It’s the sort of thing his reputation says that he would create and needing such a thing would fit with Erisan-idan’s suspicions.” He paused and stared up at the ceiling. “But something is bothering me… I think they want you to know because Mitakrian â€“ huh â€“ threw me at you. There was no reason to give me that command and dozens of reasons not to. So I have a horrible suspicion he wanted you to capture me. That or he was trying to get me killed â€“ but I think he would have done that himself.”
“So you’re thinking this might be a set up?” Lydia asked.
“Yes,” he said. “But I can’t imagine to what end, Lydia-ida. Xanteria is after Taloa and I’m sure they weren’t expecting you, so why…”
“Maybe to distract us from the real reason for his and Xanteria’s alliance,” Alaryia said. “Or just to confuse us.”
“Or he thought he could drive a wedge between Erisan and Alsia by using you,” Elsed said. “They are allies after all and if I’d killed you, even in self defence, your father would not have been happy. You know he won’t care that you’re a dragon like most of the Kithreiri would.”
“Lady Elsed,” Rantalyan inclined his head to her. “That is possible. I know that they were planning to draw Alsia out of hiding by attacking you. As I said, they were not expecting Lydia-ida and her kin. Still…” he trailed off meaningfully.
“Yes,” Alaryia said. “We need to be cautious and look for more evidence. Do you want to send an imp to Erisan to tell him you’re free? I’m sure he’ll be happy.”
“I will,” he said. “But first…” He turned to Sonia. “Sonia-ida, are you planning to challenge Mitakrian?”
“I am,” she said.
“Would you accept me as a member of your court?” he asked. “I wish to help.”
Sonia eyed him thoughtfully. “I will,” she said. “But not until your essence has settled. Even with me to restrain you it would not be wise to take you to Earth while it is that raw. Okay?”
“Probably wise,” he agreed. He looked over at Alaryia. “May I stay here until I am healed?”
“Thank you.” He looked like she might say more but was interrupted as an imp of wood and leaves burst through the wall and flew straight to Matthias.