Salia sat on one of the bunk beds in the safe room and watched Tarian and the humans curiously. They were sitting in a circle on the carpet in the centre of the room and while they were not touching physically – except for where Tara had Martin in her lap – she could feel the way their minds were enmeshed with each other.
“What are they doing?” she asked.
Karilya, who was lying on her stomach on the same bunk reading a book of human stories, looked over at her.
“I think they’re trying to find out what happened to Tara-iatia’s parents. That’s what they were talking about over dinner.” She looked over to where Lorelei and Mela were sitting in a bath talking quietly, and Lorelei nodded.
“Oh, I was too busy eating,” Salia said.
“That and trying to–” She broke off as Tara gave a sobbing cry and leapt to her feet, still clutching her adopted son. Collette also leapt to her feet and hugged her mother. Carl Laverne also sobbed and went white, his fists clenched until the knuckles turned white.
“That’s what she saw?” Tara gasped. “No wonder she–”
“That’s what she saw,” Carl agreed. “And we only broke through because we were in a group. I have no idea how she made it through on her own.” He frowned deeply, scowling at his hands. “But the texture is off – I don’t think this is real. The implications are disturbing.” He cocked his head at his sister. “We need to dig deeper, Tara.”
Tarian was frowning. “You’re right on all counts, Carl-iatian, but I think we should wait for the others before proceeding. Because this was a clever trap for your other sister and uncovering who’s responsible will take more strength than we currently have. We should try to clarify the dreams instead.”
“I know but I’m not sure I’ll be able to concentrate.” Tara gently put her son down and wiped at her eyes. “But you’re right this is fake. I know that didn’t happen â€“ it couldn’t have and Marian would have known that if she thought about it.”
“I don’t think she could think straight,” Tarian said. “If her barrier did break â€“ and I’m inclined to think it did if she got through that barrier on her own – I’m amazed she’s even borderline rational.”
“Really? Because she’s pretty icy.” Carl raised his eyebrows.
“It must have affected her oddly,” Tarian said. “I hope the others get back soon.”
“Those are some very serious faces,” Karen said as she opened the door to the safe room. “Did you clarify the visions?”
“Not yet. We went after what happened to Tara and Carl’s parents first.” Sonia nodded to where they were sitting together. “We need more muscle to find out what really happened, but we now know what Marian thinks happened. We won, I take it?”
“Yes, it went well. We actually captured most of the attackers including Marian. She’s tied up unconscious in the cellar and Aunt Sarah has given her a massive dose of supressant. Uncle Lucas is sorting out who â€“ if anyone â€“ of the rest can be trusted.” She looked at Tarian. “Lyrrekka wants you to check her and see if Ystelyan was right about this barrier thing. She’s rather busy persuading Kyle not to kill Marian until we’ve found out why she decided to act so rashly â€“ it’s really not like her.”
“I can do that,” he said. “Though I won’t be able to fix it if it is. Alaryia-miria, Ilona or Halia-alra might, but they’re not here. If you want it fixed, that is; I can imagine that you might not, given the things she’s done. The only other option if you do is to keep her drugged long enough for it to repair itself, since I doubt she’ll cooperate.”
“I think that will depend what they decide to do with her,” Karen said. “If they decide there’s a safe way not to kill her they probably will want her fixed just to lower her powers down to a less dangerous level. Let’s see what you find first. Everyone else is meeting in the dining room, except-” She turned to the Karilya and Salia and held out her hands to them. “It’s bedtime for you two.”
“I want mummy to tuck me in,” Karilya said as she took Karen’s hand. “Mummy always tucks me in.”
“I’m sure she’ll be up to see you before you go to sleep, Kari,” Mia said. She took Karilya’s other hand. “It’s not like she’s going to forget you.” She looked at Karen. “Would you like me to take the girls to bed? I think you’re probably going to be busy.”
“Yes, please,” Karen said. “In that case, I’ll show Tarian to where Marian is.”
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