October 12th, 2012 | Published in Dragon Wars
For the most part, Marian’s vision was much like the others. But unlike the others it included Lydia’s family racing up the hill towards Emms. What happened next wasn’t clear but there was screaming and blood and then everything went black. Emms hadn’t turned to pay attention to them and they certainly hadn’t reached him yet.
Tara made a tutting sound and even with her eyes closed Lydia was sure the woman was frowning.
Well, that’s not good. We need to slow this down so we can see what happened. Can you do that, Marian?
The vision replayed in a sort of slow motion and they saw a storm of razor sharp rocks rise around them shredding them and tearing through their shields.
Who’s doing that? Tara said. No way he could focus enough to do that and whatever he’s doing even with his extra power.
Huldre! Lydia gasped. He must be hiding somewhere nearby.
Emms’ heart friend? Sonia said. Of course!
It makes sense, Tara said. But we need proof. Assumptions can be fatal.
Which means we need to change our orientation in the vision so we can look around. Marian sounded wry. Joy!
It’s hard? Lydia asked.
Very, Tara said. But doable.
I’ve never been able to do it, Sonia said.
Me neither, Sarah said. It’s supposed to be impossible.
It’s not impossible, Tara said. But it is an unusual gift. One our family happens to have. So let me, Marian and Collette handle it. Now where’s a troll likely to be hiding?
Rocks, Lydia said. Like those. She indicated a cairn not far from the ambush point.
Okay, let’s check them first, Tara said.
There was a swooping sensation and Lydia felt the bottom of her stomach drop out as the vision shifted abruptly to the rocks.
Bingo! Tara said. Is that your troll?
Sure enough, Huldre was crouched among the rocks. He was using some kind of camouflage but this close to him, it failed.
It is, Lydia said.
Right then, now we replay and see if he did it.
The vision replayed once more and this time it was obvious when Huldre sent the attack flying.
He’s strong to rip through your shields like that, Marian said. You need some plan to take him out. But at least you know now. There was a pause. Can I go back to my cell now?
No, Marian. You can’t just go and hide, Sonia said. If you’re really sorry you have to keep helping. We need you to stay open for any other warning visions that you might have.
“Would his heart friend benefit from his increase in power?” Matthias asked after hearing what they’d seen.
Alaryia, Takilyan and Ystelyan looked at each other.
“You know,” Alaryia said. “It’s such an unusual situation that I really have no idea. What do you think?”
“Theoretically I’d say there’s a very good chance he will,” Takilyan said. “I know who might know for sure.” He gave the brown dragon kneeling by Matthias’s feet a long look. “Ask your father, will you, Kitarian-alran?”
“Of course, Takilyan-mirian.” He inclined his head respectfully and closed his eyes. “He says that he doesn’t know for sure, but it certainly seemed that way last time and Kaylaria thought it had. He feels you would be wisest to assume it’s the case this time.”
“That’s wise advice. We’ll take it into consideration.” He laid a hand on Kitarian’s head. “Do you need to feed?”
“If you don’t object. Emms never fed us unless Lanaria reminded him. The collar suppresses my hunger but I can sense the damage in my system from not feeding.”
“I’ll see to that in a moment the-” He broke off at Takilyan’s exclaimation.
“Lanaria? That lost one is Lanaria?” He sounded horrified. “No wonder she’s got so much self-control.”
“Lanaria? She was the one who alerted Kaylaria to what was happening, wasn’t she?” Alaryia said hesitantly. “I thought she was spared from being thrown into the prison because she helped and she was in control of herself.”
“That’s what they said,” Kitarian said. “Father says they lied and that they turned on Keylaria and her allies when she tried to protect Lanaria. He’s angry about it.”
“What does mother say?” Alaryia looked over at Lydia.
“I’ll ask.” Lydia reached for her mentor but was answered only by a flash of guilt and a slamming of shields. She told them that and Alaryia sighed.
“Well that’s an admission of guilt then,” Alaryia said. “Oh, mother. What are we going to do about her then?”
“Your mother?” Matthias asked.
“No Lanaria,” she said. “She shouldn’t be in that place, but she’s still dangerous and liable to be more so if anything happens to her body.”
“Father says he’ll look after her if you’ll let him,” Kitarian said. “He knows her and thinks she’ll work with him.”
“Can we trust him though? What does he want?” Matthias asked.
“Nothing you need worry about, Dragon Lord. He has no designs on Taloa or Talonyka.”
“No,” Alaryia said dryly. “He just wants to invade Kithra and rip Xantaria-ida’s heart out while she’s still alive.”
“You forgot the bit where I want to make her eat it as well.” Kitarian’s eyes swirled brown.. “And given that Xantaria does have designs on Taloa, it’s rather in your interests to let me.”
“What?” Alaryia exclaimed. “But she’s an isolationist.” She frowned. “Unless she’s lying about that…”
“She is,” he said. “She’s a reclaimist with annihilist tendencies.”
“I really hope that second one isn’t what it sounds like,” Matthias said.
“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Alaryia said levelly. “But let’s deal with Likadrian first and worry about Xantaria later. She’s unlikely to do anything in the next few days and he is.”
“Indeed,” Kitarian said. “May I recommend you jump right in on top of Huldre? It’ll stop him attacking you and if you can incapacitate him, you’ll take out Likadrian as well.”
“That’s a good idea,” Matthias said. “As soon as we get a fix on where they are exactly. Hannah is going to help with that.” He looked over at Hannah who was sitting in the corner with her eyes closed. Tara was sitting beside her and also had her eyes closed. “Have you located him yet?”
“I think so, yes,” she said after a moment. “From the vibes I’m getting he’s not ready yet.”
“Good, then we have time to sort our exact plan out,” he said.