(Whoops! I initially posted this installment instead of the correct one on Friday. This is the correct one. So if you’re looking at this and feeling deja vu hit the previous link and see what you missed due to my mishap. Sorry about that).
Karen stared at the mess the rendezvous point was in. Shattered rock was everywhere and the packs had been scattered over the whole clearing. Even though she was expecting it, her stomach still lurched when she saw no sign of Andrew.
Caoilainn was on her knees by Jason while Salia and Coromel were sobbing and clinging to Mia. The goblin was sitting on the remains of a shattered rock, feeding one of her meat rolls to Ebona. Kenna trotted over and the two unicorns exchanged formal greetings while Salia flung herself at Alban with a wail.
Karen hurried over to Caoilainn and knelt beside her. The banshee looked up at her with a worried expression.
“I think Jason’s okay, just unconscious,” she said. “But Emms took Andrew and Kimi. I think he would have killed the two of us if Ebona and the goblin girl hadn’t intervened.” She shuddered . “We tried to stop him, but he was too strong for us. What are we going to tell Sonia and Matthias?”
“Just that. It’s not your fault.” Karen swallowed her sick worry for her brother as Jason stirred. She needed to concentrate on the person she could help here and now. Glancing behind her, she saw Daniel pacing up and down while Lydia chewed on her nails fretfully. Karen racked her brain for distracting tasks to give them but was distracted when a groan from Jason drew her attention back to him.
“Hnn.” He tried to sit up before they could stop him and promptly threw up in Karen’s lap. She cringed internally but forced herself to murmur soothingly and stroke his hair. When he’d finished, he lay back down with a groan and a murmured apology.
“Not your fault,” she said again, then looked over at the unicorns. “I think he’s concussed.”
“It certainly looks like it.” Ebona walked over and placed the tip of her horn against the cut on the side of his head. It closed and faded, but the bruise forming around it remained unaffected. After a moment, Ebona raised her head. “There’s a deeper injury here than I can fix fully. What about you, sister?” She looked over at Kenna.
“Let me see.” Kenna trotted over followed by Lyrrekka and also touched the tip of her horn to the injury, then sighed. “No, it’s beyond my skill. He needs true healer, and soon. The best we can do is keep the swelling down and stop the bleeding until we get him to one.”
“Hey, that’s important. It’ll keep him alive and not brain damaged, at least,” Lyrrekka said.
“Brain damage doesn’t sound good,” Jason mumbled, his eyes fluttering shut. Karen sent her own moderate healing ability into the wound, then sighed in relief. There was a crack but the two unicorns had treated the injury in time to prevent the swelling from making it worse.
“They’re right, there’s no damage yet. Which is good for you because it means we can let you sleep.” She hesitated. “Except how are we going to move him if he’s sleeping?”
“That’s easy,” Lyrrekka said. “We’ll tie him on to Kenna and have someone ride with him to keep him upright. The girls can ride Ebona.” She looked at the small pile of packs. “I think we can manage those between us.”
Jason’s eyes flickered open. “Kenna? I’ve heard that name before.” He frowned for a moment. “I don’t remember where.”
“Worry about it later,” Caoilainn said. “Let’s get to safety first.”
“Yes, let’s.” Ilona released an imp. “I’ve sent a message to Ala asking her to have a healer meet us at the border.”
“Hmm, yes,” Lyrrekka said. “One of you should send a message to Matthias as well. Tell him what happened.”
“What?” Karen stared at her.
“Well, surely your father knows that something is wrong. He must be worried sick.”
“How… how did you know who our father was? No one is supposed to know that!” Karen exclaimed.
“But you’re the Morgan qua-” Lyrrekka broke off. “Something happened after-” She broke off and shook her head. “Nevermind. He hid you? Only he would try that. My point stands, though; one of you needs to send him a message while the rest of us get everything ready to move out.”
“After what?” Karen glared at Lyrrekka, but the dragon woman seemed in no hurry to elaborate. After a moment, she sighed in defeat. “I’ll do it.”
“You’d better change those trousers, as well.” Lydia tossed a clean pair of khaki trousers at her from one of the packs, followed by an empty bag. “Wrap the dirty ones in that so the sick doesn’t get all over everything.”
“Good idea.” Karen picked them up and ducked behind a rock to change. Then she wrapped up everything which had happened – including Lyrrekka’s inexplicable knowledge – into an imp and sent it flying to her father.