Andrew felt Naria turn her attention back to where she was. Just a minute more I think. He’s almost under.
Under? Andrew asked.
Yes, he’s putting himself into a trance to do this… it’ll make him slow to respond as well.
Indeed, he said.
Just waiting then, she said. She was as wired as he was he, realised.
Of course I am, she said. Repressing my energy is beginning to hurt. She gave a mental sob.
Hang in there, Nari. Only a few minutes more. He gave her a mental hug. Be brave.
I hope so, she replied. But damn this hurts.
You’ll be okay, girl, Laxmi interrupted. But the way you’re leaking it’s a good job he’s distracted enough not to notice me masking you. But I think that now would be a very good time for you to do this. Her maturity is likely to delay things once she gets back… unless. She hesitated. Oh what the hell. If I’m going to help I might as well help all out. Tell your master we’re here. She dropped an image of a map reference in Scotland into Naria and Andrew’s heads. And tell them it’s in a pocket. They’ll need to tear it open.
Thank you, he said.
Now, do this thing, she said.
Okay, he said. Let’s do this. He reached down into the throne and found the threads that lead to the dragons and speakers. He traced them back to a sphere at the centre of the hood over his head. He grabbed it with his mind, snapped the link to Jayden and concentrated as best he could. All of you, you’re mine now! The command exploded out and he felt multiple gasps. Andrew waited for the babble to die down. Naria go to your mirian now! Kitarian, attend me. The rest of you in the room with Emms, eat the energy he’s putting out and then do whatever you can to stop him.
Yes, Andrew-idan. The relief in Naria’s tone was pathetic and then he felt her jump. At the same moment a male dragon appeared before him.
“Andrew-idan?” He dropped to one knee.
“Free Kimi and then guard me and her.” Andrew ordered.
“Of course, Andrew-idan. The metal will be useful anyway.” He reached out and took hold of Kimi’s chains, they shattered at his touch. Kimi leapt forward and stood beside the dragon as they waited for the inevitable attack.
“Naria!” Ystelyan leapt to his feet and caught her as she appeared in front of him, staggered and started to fall.
“My Mirian,” she whimpered. “Get this thing off me quickly. I think I only have seconds. They’re here,” she added and dropped an image into everyone’s mind. “According to the lost one, anyway, and I think she was telling the truth. It’s in a pocket.”
“Thank you,” he said and reached out for the collar. The instant he broke it, Naria shrieked and exploded into a pillar of blue fire. Ystelyan immediately wove a web of water around it and murmured soothingly to her. The fire thrashed around, trying to escape before collapsing down into her human form and sinking into unconsciousness.
Ystelyan knelt beside her and stroked her hair gently. “I’d better feed her while she’s out or she’ll frenzy as soon as she wakes up. Which is likely to be while we’re gone.” He looked up at Alaryia. “Can you give me a hand? She’s injured herself by repressing her maturity so long.”
“Oh, poor girl,” Alaryia moved to kneel on the other side of her. “I’ll deal with that while you feed her.”
“How long will she be out for?” Matthias asked. “I’m not sure we can trust what Laxmi told them, even though it fits what we know.”
“Not as long as a human would be, but even fed and healed it’ll be at least an hour,” Ystelyan said. “I don’t think your son can hold out that long so we’ll have to risk acting on her information.”
“Yes,” Matthias sighed. “That’s true.”
“I’m done,” Alaryia said. “It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. She’s strong, I think she would have blown the collar out anyway.”
“Yes, it seems so. I’m glad she held on, though, as that would have been-” Ystelyan broke off with a shudder. “I’m done as well.” He looked over at Saeaera. “Could I impose on you for somewhere for my alra to sleep, please.”
“Of course,” she said. “Follow me.”
“Thank you.” He lifted Naria into his arms and handed her to Harindan. “Go with Councillor Saeaera and stay with Naria until she awakes. I’ve fed her plenty and I think Al did as well but she’ll still be pretty tetchy when she wakes up. If she can’t hold herself bring her straight to me.”
“Of course, my mirian,” he said. “But she’ll be able to.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “I’m sure she will. Naria’s always had a lot of self-control.” He looked over at Matthias. Shall we?”
“Yes, lets,” Matthias said.