The six attackers who’d come through the wards first weren’t really a challenge, Daniel decided. In fact it was all rather too easy.
He bound up one of their opponents with snakelike tendrils of darkness and noticed Karen frowning as well as she and Alban faced off against two of them, while two more of the attackers were heading towards Jason and Caolainn. One of them fired a stream of metal shards as they charged and Daniel leapt forward, intending to throw up a shield to help, but Jason gave a little smirk and casually plucked the strings of his violin. The note shimmered in the air and the shards shattered and dropped to the ground. Jason cocked his head and raised his bow to the strings as Caolainn began to sing. The music was complex and lovely to Daniel’s ears but the attackers didn’t seem to agree. Both screamed and dropped to their knees holding their ears. Daniel watched them for a second, then looked back at Karen.
You don’t like how easy this is either? he asked.
Hmmm… not exactly, she said. Something is off but I don’t think it’s the attack. This is easy mostly because they expected to surprise us. What I don’t understand is why they were desperate enough to try it. She feinted out and punched one of her opponents in the stomach with surprising effectiveness. He doubled over and she cracked him over the head even as ribbons of light lifted her other assailant off the ground. The boy who didn’t look much older than they were and struggled desperately against the glowing coils. Karen regarded him for a moment and put her hands on her hips.
“Okay, Liam, what gives,” she said. “This sort of crazy attack isn’t really your family’s style. You know how risky taking on a group of resonants is. Look what happened to the Turners and they only went up against three of us.”
Who? Daniel asked.
They were another hunting family. They found a lost line with not one but three resonant teens in the late 1990s. They attacked en masse and lost badly. Badly enough that they couldn’t survive as a family. The Lavernes absorbed the remains.
The boy whimpered and struggled even harder against his bonds. Karen’s face hardened and the ribbons tightened. He thrashed around some more before going limp and looking at her hopelessly.
“It was Aunt Marian,” he said finally. “She was planning to wait until you separated and let your guard down but something happened this afternoon and she changed her-” He broke off as Adrian’s call to retreat reached them.
Daniel looked around – five of the six attackers were out of action, but the sixth was nowhere to be seen. After a moment, he realised he couldn’t see Sarah and Birke either.
They’re chasing the last one, Jason said. She’s got some weird weapon and is trying to reach the house.
I’ll find them. Daniel reached out through the shadows and soon located where Sarah and Birke had brought the girl to bay and disarmed her. It looks like she’s o- He stopped as the presence he’d sensed earlier tapped frantically against his mind. There was a blast of mental fire and suddenly he could see three other presences heading towards Sarah – and they felt strong. Damn! He shot the information at the others, leapt onto Ebona’s back and raced towards them.
Jason and Lydia were guarding five captives when Kyle and the others reached them with theirs. He seemed a bit distracted and was staring back into the wooded area of the large garden. His expression was bland but worry was dripping off him psychically.
“What’s wrong?” Matthias dropped an unconscious Marian Laverne to the grass by the other prisoners.
“There was another group and Ella lead Sarah right into their path – probably deliberately. Fortunately Daniel sensed them. He and Karen are on their way to help.” He scowled. “But they must already have been inside the wards and I have no idea how they managed that.”
“Where are they?” Matthias asked. “Over there?” He nodded towards the trees.
“That’s right.” Jason dropped the exact location into their minds.
“Okay, Lyr, Kenna and I will go and help as well. The rest of you get the prisoners inside, secure them and do another ward scan in case there are any more.”