Eighteen minutes before the attack…
They ran across the square, headed for the control tower, Kat was at least twenty yards ahead of them, Zevo on her tail. She was yanking on the door when they caught up, screaming Draggon obscenities no one but Karal understood.
“Step aside.” Karal grabbed the handle and braced his foot against the wall—the flames in his eyes lit the surface of the door—it groaned a metal death-sigh as he ripped it from the hinges and tossed it away.
They flowed up the stairs, Garrian in the lead. The security door that blocked their access to the control tower was three feet thick and solid Duranium. Garrian turned to Karal, but the Draggon shook his head and shrugged.
“I have a man inside, step back… but be ready.” Eustas put his hand on the scan-plate.
Garrian looked at him. “Isn’t it supposed to open?”
Eustas stepped back and shook his head. “He’s probably dead already…”
Alisha leaned forward and put her hands on the door. The metal around her palms glowed white-hot; the door clicked and slid open. Three Draggons in human form were waiting on the other side, and one more across the room holding a dagger against Rance Hilliard’s throat.
She focused on the most immediate threat. She shoved the Draggon holding Rance away in her thoughts—in reality, it flew twenty feet across the room and hit the slanted-glass window of the observation tower. She held it there with her mind, imagining a giant hand driving it against the glass, unable to move. She considered shoving it through, to die on the concrete below—it would be so easy…
Karal slid Strife and Discord from their sheaths; it took the length of one heartbeat. He pushed Alisha back as the closest Draggon lunged toward her. Garrian caught her and pulled her to him.
Karal ducked under the blow of the first Draggon and shoved a dagger into his heart. He rolled to his right and came up beneath the second and stuck a blade into his right thigh, which took him off his feet. The Draggon fell, screaming in pain. The third Draggon was slow, and Discord sank into his chest from twelve feet away, propelled by the force of Karal’s throw. The beast staggered back clutching the dagger and slid down a control console to the floor, the fire in his eyes fading.
Kat clapped eagerly and slapped Karal on the shoulder. “That was good, Uncle…”
“Thank you.” He winked and yanked Discord from the dead Draggon’s chest; the formless void-wraith inside the pommel-crystal was restless, yearning for more.
“But, you left one alive…” She drew a Fang from her sheath and slit the throat of the screaming Draggon. The sound changed from a shriek, to wet gurgling death. She wiped the blood from her blade on his cape. The only noise left in the room was from the Draggon Alisha pressed against the glass.
“Are you choking him?” Dalo shook her, watching her eyes. The Draggon was struggling to breathe, his hands at his throat and legs thrashing against the glass.
“You don’t think I should?” Her eyes were cold.
He looked into the chilly depths but could find no bottom. It was unsettling. “I’m not sure how you can…”.
“What do you mean?” she asked, her face a mask.
He pointed at the choking beast. “Draggons are resistant to magic.”
“This one isn’t.” She grinned, an odd twinkle in her eyes.
“Let him go so that we can question him…” Dalo said.
She looked at Dalo, he didn’t recognize her: something significant had changed. A chill ran down his spine.
“Fine, play with your Draggon…” She walked away, heading down the stairs. The Draggon slid from the glass and took a huge breath as it hit the floor, falling on hands and knees, gasping and choking.
Dalo watched Alisha go, a faraway look on his face.
“What is it?” Eustas saw the concern.
“I’m not sure… but I’m going to find out.”