Chapter Twenty One
“Welcome!” Ystelyan extended a hand to them when they entered his chambers. “I am glad you made it here safely. Kyle has been concerned for your safety, Hannah-alra. He will be relieved you escaped.”
“Thank you,” Hannah inclined her head.
“You are most welcome.” He turned to Tara, who was lurking behind Hannah and looking nervous. His smile broadened. “You have nothing to fear here, Madam. You’re Sean’s mother I believe. From what I hear you were a very brave woman to take on your family that wa-” He paused as he saw Martin in her arms. He cocked his head at her as he studied the toddler. “And very lucky, you know?”
Tara looked down at Martin. “Yes, though I don’t understand it.”
“Understand what?” Hannah looked between Ystelyan and Tara in confusion. They were clearly talking about Martin but she had no idea what they meant.
“Nothing that important,” Ystelyan said. “It’s just she was very lucky finding the child.”
Hannah knew he was omitting something important. “There’s something else, isn’t there?”
“Yes,” he admitted blandly. “But I don’t think you’re ready for that yet. It was several months before I explained it to Kyle.”
Hannah bit back an exasperated “explained what” and instead sat in the seat he ushered her to.
“Dinner is nearly ready. My cooks are used to creating meals for Kyle, so hopefully you’ll find dinner tasty rather than just edible.” He turned his attention to Collette and offered her a pair of bone knives. “These are for you. To defend yourself should you need it. And this-” he pulled a tarnished silver bracelet from his pocket “-should help with your energy problems.”
Collette accepted the bracelet with a smile and slid it onto her slender wrist. “Thank you. Does this mean I can use my powers now?”
“It should help, yes,” he said. “It won’t be as effective as a true heart bracelet, so you may feel a little light-headed when you do. Kyle did with the one that I made for him. But it will do until I can teach you how to guard your own energy from the drain.”
Hannah narrowed her eyes. “Matthias mentioned that Kyle didn’t have his bracelet. So there is a way to do without it?”
“There is indeed.” He cocked his head at her. “I can teach you as well if you wish.”
Hannah stared at him and hesitated. Could she really trust this dragon? He had helped Kyle and now them, but really…
He must have been watching the play of emotions across her face because he smiled reassuringly. “There’s no strings, Hannah-alra, and your heart friend’s binding to the Earth Guardian would take precedence over anything I could ask of you anyway.
Hannah regarded him for a moment longer, then nodded. “I would be grateful, thank you.” She chewed on her lip. “Are you in contact with Kyle?” she asked.
“I can contact him if needed,” he said. “Why?”
“He’s with the Morgans, right? Carl Laverne was going to try and rescue my dad. They or the Keefes would be the most logical place to take him to. Either way I expect Kyle’s heard. I was wondering…” she trailed off.
“If I would find out if he’s okay for you?” he asked. “Of course.” He formed a small imp in one hand and sent it flying through the interstices between the worlds. “It shouldn’t take long to get a reply.” He paused as a mixed column of speakers, goblins and dragons came in carrying a variety of dishes. “For now let’s eat.”
The next evening, Kyle found his mother in Sarah’s office talking to Carl Laverne. They were sitting at Sarah’s computer, reading through the news reports Lyrrekka and Ian had found. It seemed that yesterday’s weird events were continuing. From the way Carl was swearing, he was none to happy about them.
Lyrrekka was sitting on the corner of the desk and pointing to things on the screen. Kyle watched for a moment and then cleared his throat.
In spite of his remaining anger, Kyle managed to give Carl a strained nod before turning to Lyrrekka. “Mother, can I talk to you?” He tried not to glare at Carl. He had come to warn them, after all.
“Of course, dear,” she stood up. “Here or somewhere private?”
Kyle glanced at Carl again and sighed. “Can he be trusted?”
“Lucas and Ishleen say that he can and I’m inclined to trust their opinions on this matter. Anyway there’s little you could say that he doesn’t already know.”
That at least was true, Kyle conceded to himself. “I wanted to ask about Tarian-kedan. What exactly is your relationship – I mean he’s Karilya’s father right?”
“He is, but really we’re just very good friends. But then one day I was talking him up from descent and – er – well you know. Click. It was a one off.” She grinned at him. “You’re not going to lecture me about a kedan being beneath me are you? Because we really should do that in private.”
“Heavens no!” Kyle said. “You can be as unconventional as you like. I was just curious-” He broke off as a tiny hole opened between worlds and one of Ystelyan’s imps flew out and hovered in front of him. “Excuse me a moment.” He held out his hand to it.
“What’s that thing?” Carl asked.
“An imp,” Lyrrekka told him. “Speakers and dragons make them from their essence to send messages.”
Carl said something else then, but Kyle was too busy absorbing the imp and taking in its message to pay attention. After a moment he gave a whoop.
“Hannah’s okay!” he yelled. “She and Ema are with Ystelyan.”
Carl leapt to his feet. “What about Tara, Martin and Collette?” he asked urgently.
“They’re there as well,” he said. “It seems Collette is a warrior.” He watched Carl’s reaction to that carefully. If he’d really switched sides it wouldn’t bother him, would it?
“Really?” Carl’s eyebrows shot up but he didn’t seem upset. “Collette… has there ever been a Death Warrior before? I don’t recall ever hearing of one. And I’m sure the family records don’t show any necrokinetic resonants.”
“I-” Kyle stared at him for a moment. “No, I don’t believe there has. It’s kind of a rare affinity.”
“No, there was one that I know of,” Lyrrekka said. “It was about a century ago as I recall. I bet Sarah knows.”
“Probably,” Kyle said. “But more importantly right now Hannah wants to know if her father is okay. Ystelyan wants me to send a message back.” He paused then added softly. “And I’m sorry, but two of your cousins were killed helping them escape. I don’t know who.”
“Simon and Clara.” Carl pressed his hands to his mouth. “Damn, they were good kids!”
“Of course,” Lyrrekka said. “We should go and find out how Hannah’s father is doing.”