Lydia’s stomach twisted in sympathy as the dragon screamed and fell back to the floor, convulsing. Much to her surprise, she found she understood most of his yelling, in draconic, at someone to let him go – presumably Mitakrian. She suspected much of the rest was swearing.
But how did she understand him? It would make sense for her mentor to have taught her some of the language but she’d never noticed it before.
Mother would have taught you her Kithreiri dialect, Alaryia said. And he’s speaking a similar one. You’d struggle more with any of our dialects – they’ve diverged.
I see. Lydia knelt down by Rantalryan and took hold of one of his hands. His skin was cold and the contact caused some of his pain to jolt across into her. She gasped and jerked back, shuddering violently at the tearing pain that had ripped through her gut. “What the hell? How can he…” She bit back a sob, steeled herself and took his hand again. This time she blocked enough of his pain from reaching her to avoid flinching. “Hang in there. You can do this.”
Rantalyan seemed to hear her encouragement because he mumbled her name before clamping down on her hand. His screaming lessened as his convulsions slowly eased. Lydia kept hold of his hand until he fell silent, slowly relaxed and curled up on his side, gasping for breath. After a few seconds he opened his eyes and looked up at Alaryia.
“It’s done, Alaryia-miria,” he said. “You’ll want to check?”
“I will,” she said. “Not that I think you’re lying, but Mitakrian is tricky and sometimes manages to hide the fact the severance isn’t clean from the escapee.”
Rantalyan shuddered at that. “I would not have thought that possible.”
“No one does until it’s too late. He caught me once with a trick like that because I didn’t check. Never again.” She reached out and laid her fingertips on his temples. After a long moment he gave a startled cry and tried to jerk away from her but she held on. He made a few pained noises then Lydia felt something like an elastic band snapping. Rantalyan gasped again, then fell silent and relaxed.
After a long moment he looked up at Alaryia. “I hadn’t severed completely?”
Alaryia sighed and shook her head. “He was trying to be clever but the threads you hadn’t cut yourself were too fine to hold out against me.”
“Thank you,” he said. “Now you’d better ask me your questions.”
“No, dear,” she said. “First Halia and I are going to feed you again, then we’ll get you some physical food as well. You need to recover from that and I’m sure a few moments to take care of you won’t be a problem.” She paused and frowned. “Will it? Whatever you know isn’t imminent is it?”
“No,” he said slowly. “It shouldn’t be. We don’t have as much time as I’d like to deal with this but it’s more than days.”
“Good,” she said. “Then we’ll see to you before you tell us what those two are planning.”