September 28th, 2012 | Published in Dragon Wars
Lydia didn’t wait for him to stop talking. She shot a thought to Bennu and then blasted him with a stream of fire that had all of her strength behind it. Bennu shot a stream of fireballs at him simultaneously. A moment later a shower of bone fragments joined the attack as Takilyan came to her aid. She gave him a grateful look even as she kept up the stream of flame.
“Come on, everyone!” she said.
There was no verbal response but one by one other attacks joined hers, all centred on Jayden Emms. She sighed with relief as she saw him stagger back a few steps. He was bleeding from multiple small cuts. She’d been worried that they might not even be able to hurt him through his new strength. Still, they were hitting him with all they had got and he was still on his feet. He looked furious as well.
He’s definitely broken his barrier, Takilyan said. But it’ll be a few days before his power settles. Until then he’s vulnerable and we’ve just proved that he can’t just kill us. I think- he broke off as Jayden snarled at them.
“I haven’t got time for this! It’s nearly time! I’ll deal with you later.” He vanished in a flash of reddish amber light and choking dust.
That’s what I thought he’d do, Takilyan said. Fortunately I think he made a mistake reclaiming the key. Hannah-alra will be able to track him, since it bonded to her. Let’s collect the others and go and find him. We’re going to need everyone. He offered Hannah his hand and helped her to her feet.
“Can you feel where it is, Hannah-alra?” was the first thing Alaryia asked when they finished explaining what happened. Hannah closed her eyes and felt for the key. Immediately it impinged upon her mind, and it was only a few miles away – somewhere in the mountains.
“Yes,” she said after a long moment, “I can. It’s calling for me.” She looked over at Sarah Tyler. “I know you say it doesn’t have a mind of its own but I’d swear it doesn’t want to be used anymore. It did when I first came across it.”
Sarah chuckled. “It doesn’t think but it does take on attributes of its holder’s thought. It’s been around you so long, and you didn’t want to use it, so it grew to not want to be used – for a certain value of want. Better to say you don’t want it to be used and it’s yours now.”
“Ah,” Hannah said. “Will that stop him using it?”
“Unfortunately not. It can’t do anything but what it’s set to do. The main thing is that we can follow it to him. And we should also be able to use it to scry out where he is and get a look at what we’re up against. Neither his heart friend or the lost one were here – I would suspect we’ll find they were preparing wherever he’s vanished to.”
“Yes,” Sonia said. “That is a good idea!”
“Unfortunately all of my clairsentient abilities suck,” Hannah said.
“Then it’s fortunate that mine don’t.” They all turned in shock to find Marian Laverne standing in the doorway leaning on Estara’s shoulder. Her hair was dishelvelled and her eyes were still red from weeping. “Because if you go rushing in he’ll kill you all. I know you all hate me but please let me help. It’s all I can do.” She bit her lip.
“She had a premonition,” Estara said. “Whatever it was shook her into waking up and she insisted on coming here. I didn’t have time to check with Councillor Shadavar because she was so frantic.”
“I see,” Matthias said softly. “Marian, sit down. You look awful. We didn’t expect you to come out of that on your own.”
“I probably wouldn’t have,” she said quietly. “God knows I wanted to stay in my own head but what I saw wouldn’t let me. I killed so many and I would have killed you. But now… I saw…” She trailed off with a sob and showed the precognative vision which had shocked her out of her catatonia. It was shocking and bloody but too fast and confusing to make sense of. “He has to be stopped but if you just rush in like in that vision you’ll all die. He’s expecting you now. He’s not expecting me to help you though.”
Matthias stared at her thoughtfully and then sighed. “Drop your shield, Marian. I’m not going to trust you without having Lucas check you out. Not after everything you’ve done.”
Marian didn’t even hesitate. She just nodded and dropped all her defences. Hannah swallowed and resisted the urge to attack her while she was defenceless. Like it or not they needed the woman’s help and her insanity hadn’t entirely been her fault. She didn’t realise she had thought that out loud until Lyrrekka reached out and squeezed her hand.
I’d say that none of her insanity was her fault, Hannah. The Core and Mitakrian set out to break her in very specific ways, so they could use her. It’s tragic.
You’re too soft, Hannah said. She should have fought harder.
That’s easy for us to say, Lyrrekka replied. But we don’t properly know what happened to her. And look at her, Hannah, she’s a wreck! We need to wait and see what happens but I think she really is sorry and I’m sure she wasn’t compis mentis as well. I wish I’d realised what was happening fourteen years ago. It would have changed things a great deal, I think. She looked over at where Lucas was poking around in Marian’s mind. We’ll know if she’s genuine soon enough.
A/N: The Storm Child Book is coming together. I’d be grateful if readers could take this quick survey. Especially peeps who contributed to the “Land of Myth” Campaign. Thanks.