February 24th, 2012 | Published in Dragon Wars
Chapter Twenty Three
From the way Estara was pacing her audience chamber when they arrived Kyle guessed she was already aware of much of what was happening. She looked up and gave them a strained smile as they emerged from the portal. When she spotted Ian, she gave him a curious look before turning to her sister.
Alaryia introduced her and Ian before explaining what had happened to his heart friend. Estara whirled and strode to the door snapping something in draconic at the goblin guard. Her barely controlled fury showed in the tenseness of her frame and the tightness of her face, but she couldn’t control the sudden glow to her eyes nor the way the shadows in the room began twisting around them. Ian made a whimpering noise and hid behind Kyle.
“Don’t worry, she’s not going to hurt us,” Kyle whispered. “She’s just pissed off on your behalf.
“And your heart friend’s behalf,” Alaryia agreed as she walked over to Estara. “Snap out of it, Est! This won’t help.” She looked at a small brown dragon wound around one of the tree trunk pillars. “Gend, where’s Nerezza? She’ll be able to calm her down.”
The dragon slid down the pillar and took his human form in one graceful motion. “She’s liasing with the council at Waldhafen about a combined response to Plamen’s army, Aunt Al. I’ll go and fetch her, though she’s probably aready on her way. No way she missed that flare.” He bowed and teleported away.
Alaryia began rubbing Estara’s shoulders. “Focus, Est. Losing your temper won’t help young Ian or his heart friend. And you’re getting precariously close to descent. You don’t want that.”
Estara scowled at that, and for a moment Kyle thought that she was going to lash out at her sister, but then she took several shaky breaths and sank down into a chair.
“I’m not really that close, Al,” she said after a long moment. â€œFurious, yes, but I haven’t broken anything yet so I’ve a way to go before I really approach descent.” She cocked an eyebrow at her sister. “But I take it you have a plan to rescue the nymph?”
“Plamen’s crossed the line, Est. If you attack him now and he tries to use his throne, what do you think it will do?”
Estara stared at her for a moment as a slow smile spread across her face. “Then we’ll just have to make sure that he thinks he’s got no choice, won’t we? His army will disintegrate with him out of the way.” She looked over at Ian again. “And you’ve been very remiss, Al. You should have given the boy something to block energy loss. He might need to fight to get to his heart friend.”
“I haven’t exactly had time yet. We came straight here,” Alaryia said. “And I’ve no idea how much time his heart friend has got. How soon can you move?”
“As soon as Gend and Nere get back. Nere can hide you all when you go to rescue the girl and Gend can boost Ian if he falls over. I’ll see to harrying Plamen into using his throne.”
Dariad closed his eyes and reached through his throne for Plamen’s until he felt his own throne nudge him gently.
Stop. Let me explain the situation, it said. It’s very unhappy and might lash out at you before you have chance to explain if it thinks you want to talk to him.
But it will let you talk? Dariad asked.
Of course. We’re designed to share information. We have to be in order to do our job. There was a pause. Okay, it’s listening to me… Ah, it’s already got an idea what we’re planning because it can sense the nymph’s heart friend is with the dragon.
But will it help?
Possibly, the throne replied. It can’t decide if it should let him see off Estara’s troops before it fries him. It’s worried by how angry she is about Plamen. I’m pointing out that it probably shouldn’t if it wants to see the nymph escape. There was another pause. I think it’s accepted that, but I suspect it’ll keep him alive in case it needs to fire through him at her.
You can do that? Dariad asked.
Only in an emergency and only if the throne holder has crossed the line, but yes we can. Do you want me to keep you connected so you can see what happens? It’s likely to be disturbing, because it’s very angry with him.
Dariad considered that for only a moment before he nodded. Please do.