March 30th, 2012 | Published in Dragon Wars
Jayden Emms was in a rage and panic knotted Andrew’s stomach as he forced himself to breathe. Could Emms possibly have sensed what he and Naria had been up to? What would he do if he had? Andrew swallowed and reinforced his shield as best he could. It was shaky, though, and he wasn’t certain that they couldn’t use this infernal device to get past it. Laxmi had been able to read him when she’d been tuning the device, after all, but his shield had been shot to pieces by the interference at that point.
He finished reinforcing it not a moment to soon. Emms stormed into the room and up the steps to loom over him.
“Where would your bloody father have taken my sister?” he demanded. “You must know his hideouts!”
Andrew managed to avoid sighing in relief. So he hadn’t sensed him and Naria – good. Even better, he had no idea what the answer to Emms question was so he couldn’t be forced to betray his family.
“You think Dad trusted me with anything about his real life?” Andrew asked, allowing a trace of his not entirely feigned bitterness to leak into his voice. “I think you’d need to talk to Karen about that. She’s the one he trusted – although if you can’t find Dad, I doubt you’ll find her.”
Emms snarled at him and raised his hand. Andrew flinched back, certain he was about to hit him, but after a moment Emms shook his head.
“No you wouldn’t know, would you?” he said. “I’ll have to think of some other way to find Cat.” His eyes narrowed. “But if he hurts her, you’ll pay for it.”
Andrew said nothing but he was suddenly very, very glad that he was certain his father wouldn’t hurt Emms’ sister.
“Watch out!” Lydia yelled as she sensed a deadly wave of energy racing towards them.
It’s okay. Alaryia said calmly as they flew in low over the mountains. It can’t hurt me â€“ or you when you’re touching me. But you’d best stay in my wake, Hal. You’re not immune to its attacks this close by.
Yes, mother. Halia dropped behind her just as the Core’s attack struck and bounced. That was close.
Indeed, let’s land quickly. Alaryia banked slightly and glided down to a flat area not far from where they could sense the dragon Halia had identified as Kifarin hiding. We’ll deal with this situation first.
“It won’t attack us on the ground?” Matthias asked as they dismounted.
“No.” Alaryia resumed her human form. “It can’t fire on the basin â€“ the ground is too unstable and it would risk blowing itself up.” She gave a wry smile. “You’d think the area around it would be the most stable, but it isn’t. You must have noticed that when you were here before.”
“I did,” he agreed. “It’s almost as bad as the reaches. Did you do that?”
“No, it’s a side-effect of the cracks in it. Its why we had to add the mountains to the design, which wasn’t easy. I had to call in a lot of favours to get together enough people with mabain weaving skills to make a mountain range,” she said then added mentally. We should act like we can’t sense them and are hiking to the centre, let them spring their trap.
I agree, Matthias said. “You know the way best, please lead on.”
They’d been walking for maybe five minutes when Lydia realised Kifarin was moving parallel to them and seemed to be doing something. She glanced over at Alaryia and saw that the dragon was frowning.
Oh, now that is a clever use of her resources. She means to have him unweave the ground under our feet and pitch us into the mabain undersea. Alaryia hesitated slightly. And the girl has scruples apparently. At least I doubt that it’s his idea to try and avoid any of the Speakers falling in. She glanced at Caoilainn and Ema. But best watch your step, girls.
Best all of us watch our step, Hannah said. I don’t want to swim in mabain. She made a thoughtful sound out loud. When I was out in the far reaches land grew around me.
Yes, it would have done, Alaryia said. You’re an alra and a strong one at that. And the fact your affinity is Earth magnifies the effect.
Would that work here? Without giving away that we know he’s there?
There was a pause. Yes, I think it would. You’re already stabilising the ground around you instinctively, just up the flow subtly so it looks natural and be ready to hold the ground we’re standing on when it finally gives around us.