Sure enough, the one that Isabella tried to mount skittered away from her. Lucius said something to it in what Beth recognised as Tan’ganta. It calmed down enough to let Isabella get up on its back. Thorn helped Beth onto one of the Sarmiine as she was hindered by her dress. She had to sit with both of her legs to one side, sitting side-saddle.
Beth looked over at Lucius, noticing that he had wings very similar to Daniel’s – which had appeared again – except Lucius’ were black with red streaks through them, like his hair. Isabella seemed to have the ghost of a pair of wings, but when Beth looked at her to try and see them, they disappeared altogether.
Lucius led the way along the street. There weren’t many around, but those who were out looked away as Lucius passed. Some of them bowed or curtsied before hurrying along their way and women called their children back as they strayed too far away.
Beth looked around; she hated the poverty these people clearly lived in. She turned to Daniel, who was riding beside her.
“Is this really what the Dimension is like?” she asked him quietly.
“There are those who live in large houses, with servants to wait lavish dinners upon them, the Elders mainly, though it’s not as if the aristocracies are much better. There’s that world, but then there’s reality. This world, these poverty-ridden back alleys and hovels for houses... This really shows what goes on here. These streets will be ridden with brothels, slave warehouses, assassins, thieves, and gods-know what else.”
Daniel simply made a noise of agreement.
As more and more people began milling around, they all seemed to just drift out of Lucius’ path. They were all terrified of him, she realised.
After a little while, they broke away from the cramped rows of houses, seemingly leaving the city. Lucius sped up by giving the reins a quick flick. Beth did the same, surprised by how quickly the Sarmiine responded. Its flaming breaths grew deeper and faster as it ran.
Daniel caught up with Isabella easily, saying something to her. She grinned and laughed before making the Sarmiine speed up even more. It took a few moments for it to respond to her, and didn’t seem happy when it did. Daniel grinned and followed, soon overtaking her.
Beth smiled when she realised the two of them were racing.
Lucius fell back to her left side, while Thorn moved to her right.
“Sorry it took me so long to get the permit,” Lucius said. “We’ve been having... problems in Altsina.”
“What sort of problems?” Beth asked.
“We’re at war in the east, with the lycans. Tensions are high at the moment.”
“Ran’isa had two of ours assassinated. My father wasn’t going to sit by while they killed more.”