“How long do we have until they break through the wards?” Jason asked. “Because I should probably tune my violin if there’s time.”
“There’s time – we’ve got a couple of hours yet.” Sarah sounded as if violin tuning was a normal part of battle preparations. Then again, Jason did control sound.
“You use the violin as a sonic weapon?” Lydia hazarded.
“I do,” he agreed. “Any musical instrument would do, but the violin’s what I play.”
“Not that knowing how to play really matters,” Caolainn added. “Any sound source would do. It’s easier if you make it yourself but it doesn’t need to have artistic merit.”
“But it’s a matter of pride that it should,” Lorelei said. “That’s why my kind coach our children in singing so much.” She gave a half-smirk. “Sirin is a terrible singer when you strip the power from her song.”
“We’re getting off topic,” Sarah said. “We’re going to let them open a hole through the wards, then fix it and trap them inside once they’re through.”
“Marian will probably consider that you might be back even though she can’t sense you,” Tara said. “So they might not all pile through.”
“She’s very cautious,” Carl agreed. “I would suspect she’ll send people through to check for a trap first.”
“That’s a good point, Sal,” Matthias said. “We might need to consider the possibility of two groups. One for each side of the wards.”
“Hmm…” Sarah said nothing for a few moments, scooping up and eating a spoonful of her curry while her brows knit together in a thoughtful frown. “Yes, that’s not a bad idea. You or Daniel will have to handle the group we send outside – they’ll be to easy to sense otherwise. I’d say it should be you. Marian will almost certainly not lead from the front and I don’t think any of the kids are ready to go toe to toe with her yet.”
“Very few people are,” Lyrrekka agreed. “She completely caught me by surprise and I’d known her for years. She shouldn’t be that strong. I’ve never heard of a non-resonant stronger than iatiri.”
“Oh!” Hannah said. “Ystelyan had a theory about that, didn’t he?” She looked over at Tara and Collette, who both nodded.
“He did,” Tara said. “But I didn’t really understand it. Something about a barrier breaking-” She broke off when Lyrrekka and Tarian both swore in draconic. “I take it you know what he meant?”
“Yes,” Lyrrekka said. “And it’s not good. What did he say?”
Lyrrekka’s frown deepened as Tara described the conversation they’d had with Ystelyan about her sister’s unusual strength. When she finished, Lyrrekka looked over at Tarian with a puzzled expression.
“You’re spiking anxiety, Tar. What are you thinking?” she asked softly.
“I’m thinking that Ystelyan-mirian is right,” he said.
“And?” she prompted.
He hesitated then sighed. “It doesn’t feel like an accident,” He looked over at Tara. “I think you need to find out what she saw… and what really happened to your parents, Tara-iatia. I think it’s important.”
Tara went white and swallowed. “I-I’ve never dared to look because what if whatever it was effects me as well?”
“It’s a risk, but one that can be guarded against now we know it’s a risk,” he said. “But we need to know. I’ll help.”
“Do you know something about this?” Sarah demanded.
Tarian shook his head. “Not in the sense you mean,” he said. “I do feel something though. I’d probably need to meditate to chase it down further.”
“Tar has a decent secondary affinity in both retro and precognition,” Lyrrekka said. “It usually manifests as hunches rather than anything clearer, but it’s why he’s so good at strategy.”
“And he can clarify it if he meditates?” Sarah pursed her lips. “Would you mind sitting the fight out and seeing if you and Tara can chase this down?”
“I don’t mind if my ida doesn’t,” he said formally. “I’m only a kedan I wouldn’t add much to this fight.”
“I don’t mind. It’s a good idea,” Lyrrekka said.
“Thank you,” Sarah said. “We also need to get more clarity on the precognitive visions about the sky cracking several of us have been having. They might help us track Emms down since they seem related to him, but we’ll have to leave them until after the fight.”
Sonia was frowning and seemed to be having an internal debate with herself. “I think I’ll have to sit this one out, Sal. I’m still hurting a little bit even with the healing and the sleep.”
“Well, yes,” Sarah said. “I was assuming that. We need someone in the safe room who can gate everyone out of there if we lose.” She looked around. “Does anyone have anything to add or shall we finish eating and go prepare?”
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