Bird barn One wasn't as crowded as it could have been. The cuddle flock and the regular flock weren't getting along well, if only for the reason that the regularly trained and hooded birds were getting attacked every time they threatened one of the zardukar riders and their 'personal' birds wouldn't tolerate that kind of disrespect to their friends.
That meant that Barn Two was full, with regular bird-stalls and cubbies that let the Lainz stall six birds on a circle.
Everyone had managed to get get back before the violent storms had rolled in, some on the very verge of enormous whirlwinds that seemed to be flinging boulders about. Kyrus had seen several trunks fly right across the top of the wadi, before whipping away in the distance. His ears had been popping and he'd helped slam the door on the wild pressure changes with only a slight nosebleed. It had trailed into his veil and hardened there, an irritant almost as bad as Archie and his fluffy who had apparently attached themselves to him like stink-tights.
There was one spot in the Barn One, the new shelter, where water was apparently pouring down the cliff face and wearing through, where the concrete had actually been washed away, threatening the interity of the whole thing, but a ring of raghnall sticks and cross-braces had been propped up all around the hole, letting the water pour through, and then into the water channels and away.
Archie sighed and leaned against him and Kyrus tensed up. “Arch. Please don't do that.”
“Do what?” The boy sat up.
“Lean against me. I'm not your parent or your lover. It's not comfortable for me.”
In the sal'ar torches, everyone's face was hard to read and the Lainz had all pulled their veils down as a courtesy to the Nadu and the Milar. “Anyway, shut up. I want to hear this.” He was tired of being polite.
Ky wanted to snap a look at Archie but was too focused on what Elemfias was saying, backed up by the Konsiliarch and, of all things, his own ma.
Dag was speaking. “We all spoke one language, when we were sent out from Xanadu. We had our special dialects but we were all workers under Prime, Emperor Gregori and Empress Petra, and a third CEO Nancia, on another continent that we don't know anything about. We spoke something called 'English' with 'Farsi' words in it, or 'Romanian'. We were the workers and technicians that they brought to Xanadu, Hinnom and Sheol, on this planet, from the Home Star, Earth.”
She turned to Elemfias. “But something went terribly wrong.”
The Milar zon picked it up. “It seems that the three main owners of the planet had a falling out. Prime tried – and believed – that he'd killed everyone else.”
The reaction was an in-drawn breath. Then the Head said. “That's why he just tried to kill us all.”
Da and Ilax and the Konsiliarch and half the zon and the zardukar were all looking at her as if to say 'well duh' but no one said anything for the longest moment. Kyrus stood up. “He thinks he has the planet to himself. We've got to stop fighting each other and see that its us against HIM.”
There was a pause. Then Da said quietly. “Rather blunt, my son. But correct.”
Then the Konsiliarch said quietly, “Who do we cry to, for help in this case? Who do we appeal to?