Brigton was surprised to find Tricon speaking with Deligh in the courtyard when he returned an hour before sundown. At first he was pleased, thinking the younger male had finally been placed training a hatchling or had perhaps found a mate. Then he noticed the droop in Tricon’s carriage. Whatever business his friend had with the apartment keeper wasn’t of the pleasant sort.
“Tricon,” he said. “What news?”
“Borcon’s been found.” Tricon’s voice creaked, and his wings drooped. “I’ve just sent a request to the council for their ruling regarding his treatment.”
Brigton's neck had stiffened at the mere mention of Borcon's name, but the rest of Tricon's news only made things worse. He felt his chest constrict with concern. Borcon required treatment needing the council’s approval? Brigton felt his chest constrict. His heart ached at the thought, and he found it hard to breathe. Such action was reserved for those suspected to have broken. If that were the case, was there any hope Lanre’s mother still lived?
“Come friend,” he said to Tricon. “Let’s find somewhere quiet.”
Tricon nodded and followed Brigton in silence. They flew to the northern hills overlooking Reiont. There they settled on the soft grass, taking what comfort they could from the last warm rays of sunset.
“How was he found?” Brigton asked when it became obvious Tricon wouldn’t speak without prompting.
“A girl came to us from Tembar,” Tricon answered. “Ralic remarried in secret, and she is his daughter.” He huffed, and smoke began to trickle from his nostrils. “She discovered her father was engaged in questionable activities and came to turn him in.”
Brigton blinked in surprise, but waited for Tricon to continue.
“They will seek a warrant for Ralic on many charges, one of which is capturing and imprisoning a Yekaran.”
“How?” Brigton asked. Borcon had been his mentor and his hero as a hatchling. He was aging, true, but Borcon was still in his prime.
“We cannot be sure,” Tricon answered, “but the evidence points toward them using Kalie to force his surrender.” He stretched his neck to its full length and keened. “The girl saw him chained down. Two women, matching the descriptions of Kalie and her handmaid Brihanni were being held within his sight. The girl was pulled away, but the howling that followed and his behavior since leave little doubt what happened.”
Tricon rocked where he lay and roared his grief and outrage to the heavens, and Borcon joined the cry. He felt the sorrow like a physical pain, yet he knew the burden was worse for Tricon and Lanre who had both lost family.
Brigton grieved for Borcon’s mind and the loss his friends bore, and braced himself for the full onslaught of emotion likely to hit Tricon. From his reactions, Borcon surmised his friend had yet to speak of his loss with anyone. Negative emotions affected Yekarans more strongly than they did Terrans, and a Yekaran in the midst of the first wave of grief was dangerous for humans to be around. If he knew his friend, Tricon trampled his emotions down and held them close until he’d sent word to the council. Only far away from Terran frailty would he seek release.
“They made him watch as they killed her!” Tricon’s voice was filled with anguish, and he beat the ground with one foreleg. Tricon snarled, claws rending the earth as he swung his attention to the south, toward Tembar. “I’ll kill Ralic for this,” Tricon vowed.
Brigton had never heard the younger dragon raise his voice in anger, and hearing the hatred lacing it now, Brigton feared for the mind of his friend.
“I’ll tear Ralic to pieces for what he’s done to his own family!”
“Calm, Tricon,” Brigton admonished. “What would your brother say of your behavior?”
“My brother can no longer say anything!” Smoke huffed from Tricon with every breath now. “Ralic’s seen to that!”
“Trust the king,” Brigton said. He fought to keep his tone quiet and even. Tricon’s rage fanned the embers of his own outrage at Ralic’s actions, but giving into it would only feed Tricon’s anger in turn. “Trust Maya! Ralic will pay for what he’s done.”
The fight seemed to leave Tricon all at once, and he sagged to the ground. A whine rose deep in Tricon’s throat. He spread himself on the hilltop, panting bouts of steam in the Yekaran equivalent of Terran tears. “Why?”