Salia tried a mouthful of the meat from one of the dishes that the non-speakers were eating. The spiciness of it caught her by surprise and she started choking. Lyrrekka hit her on the back and passed her a drink of water.
“If you want to try the curry, you’d probably better try the korma.” She pointed to the dish at the other end which contained a creamy looking meat dish. “It’s a lot milder.”
Salia coughed a little more and gulped down the water before shaking her head. “I think I’ll stick to steak. That stuff is horrible. How can you eat it? It feels like trying to eat plants at home.”
Karilya giggled loudly. “When did you try and eat plants?”
“When I was little. Mummy says everyone does it.”
“Yeah, pretty much,” Caolainn said. She also speared a bitesize chunk of the spicy meat, sniffed it cautiously, then nibbled on it. Her eyes widened in surprise but she didn’t choke. “Wow, that’s spicy. Not quite as bad as accidentally eating a mouthful of unprocessed vegetables, but close.”
Karilya giggled again and finished eating her bowl of korma.
“Has everyone had enough?” Sarah asked. It seemed everyone had, so she nodded. “Okay, we’ll get the guests to the safe room and then get started with the plan.”
The safe room turned out to be a large windowless room in the heart of the house. Salia could feel wards curling through the already reinforced room and the doors looked like they could be securely bolted from the inside.
“I never thought I’d have reason to thank the Keefe’s paranoia.” Matthias looked around and chuckled. “Why do you keep a room that could keep out a small army of astrals? There hasn’t been a war in centuries.”
“War?” Karilya looked at them curiously. “You fight?”
“Not recently,” Lyrrekka said. “And war is overstating it. Families clash sometimes and like Matthias says, it hasn’t happened recently.” She glanced over at Sarah. “But someone was expecting a war when they built this.” A speculative look crossed her face. “Now who would your family be thinking they might have to protect against?”
“I-” Sarah began as Carl reached out and stroked the wall with his fingertips.
“Well judging by the way these wards are calibrated, I’d say it was my family,” he said, sounding amused. “Well, not just my family. They’re not the oldest but there are wards specifically against us here.”
“The oldest are against dragons,” Sarah said. “We’ve been having the feeling we’ll need them since around the time we built the house. We put in the wards against your family after you went after Sonia – after all, we knew we had two more of us to find and I didn’t think we could hide forever.”
“Probably true,” he agreed equably. “But why just here?” He paused and his eyes widened. “It’s not just this room is it? I only just noticed the others. But I only triggered the normal trap wards when I jumped in?”
“They won’t trigger for such a thing,” Sarah said. “I didn’t want to reveal my hand too soon, which means concealing them until needed. I’ll activate them once they’re inside.”
“Marian will be pissed when she realises.” He smirked at her. “I guess Tara and I will have to avoid using our powers while they’re up?”
“If the fighting gets this far, Sonia will evacuate you, anyway,” Sarah said. “Your clairvoyance should be okay if I attune you to the wards. I still need you to find out what Marian saw.” She looked around at the others. “I’m going to attune these two; the rest of you go and get ready. We’ll meet in the hall in half-an-hour.”
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