August 10th, 2012 | Published in Dragon Wars
Marian was sitting up when they got down into the cellar, hugging her knees and staring into space. She didn’t even twitch, let alone look up as they entered. Tears dripped from her eyes but she made no move to wipe them.
“Marian?” Lucas said softly. There wasn’t even the slightest response, even when he repeated her name more loudly. She was still as a statue except for the gentle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed.
Hannah frowned to herself and pushed her mind towards Marian; there was a void where her mind should be. “What the hell?”
“Her mind has collapsed in on itself,” Lucas said. “This close I can get just the merest whisper of it, so she’s not completely gone. But prying her out of it is going to be a hell of a job and possibly too cruel to contemplate.”
“It will be cruel,” Carl said sadly. “But I fear we’ll need her help to stop Adrian. She’s the only one he listens to.”
“So we have to try.” Lucas gave a heavy sigh. “There’s no guarantee we’ll be able to, you know. I doubt she’ll want to come out of it.”
“I know, but we have to try.”
“Talk to Alaryia,” Nerrezza said. “She may have some thoughts on how to bring her around. This sort of collapse isn’t unknown in dragons.”
“Hmm?” Lucas gave her a puzzled look.
“Sometimes a dragon will react really badly if they do a lot of damage when they frenzy.”
“Oh!” he said. “Yes, I guess that they would.” He knelt down by Marian and laid a hand on her forehead. After a moment he scowled. “It’s really hard to touch her mind but I think she reacted this badly because part of her suspected the truth all along. That’s why she followed us through â€“ she wanted to know the truth.”
“Let me see,” Nerrezza knelt beside him and stroked Marian’s hair. “Yes, you’re right, though the doubts are new. I think it’s the fact we were helping her combined with being in less pain that made her doubt her obsession. But I’m surprised she was aware enough to consider anything. I knew she was aware of us despite being unconscious but not that much.”
“It is unusual,” Lucas agreed then looked around. “The others are back. Let’s go and tell them what we found out.”
“Well that… it sounds like the Core initially told your parents about Sonia and us,” Lyrrekka said when Tara had showed them what they’d seen. “And they decided not to kill us.”
“I think they may have done the same maths that Tara did,” Carl said. “But they never mentioned it. They did say they were calling a family conference for when they got back.”
“Hmm… Caroline called me as well,” Matthias said. “I did think something was bothering her but I had no idea they were having second thoughts. Why would they?”
“I think they knew about Sean,” Tara said softly. “And I didn’t know until after they died, but Mum always was a better precog than me.”
“Mum was better than anyone,” Carl said. “I don’t think she could possibly have missed it and the fact no one else ever tumbled it was probably her doing. But what are we going to do about Marian? We can’t leave her like that.”
“No,” Matthias agreed. He turned to Nerrezza. “Would you ask Estara if she and Alaryia are willing to help and if so, would she provide another pendant like the one she’s making for Carl?”
“Of course.” She cupped her hands and began forming an imp.
“If you do snap her out of it you might want to make absolutely sure that she can’t get at the Core,” Kyle said. “She’s got at least as much anger as I had and she might well redirect it.”
“Bloody hell, Kyle, you’re being reasonable about her!” Karen said in a teasing tone.
“I can’t say I don’t understand how she felt, now I know about her parents,” he said sadly. “And I could well have been just that irrational if I hadn’t been talked down.” He gave Lyrrekka a wry glance. “Mother has been having words with me.”
“Lyr always has been persuasive,” Matthias agreed.
“What about you? Did you find out where your son is?” Carl asked.
“Pretty much. We know within about 500 yards,” Matthias said. “But I received an imp from Ystelyan while we were out and we need to move fast.” He pushed the message at the group. “We have offers of help from the dragons, so we’re going to Waldhafen first.”