"This is House Business." Alinora's lips were tipped back in an anticipatory smile and her eyes glittered wildly. She was like one of the great desert cats, toying with her prey. "G'aró"
Mera was struggling to keep her husband's unleashed power from sweeping over the unprotected minds in the room and so she missed the Ladye's reaction to the change in her plan. She wondered about it later. Had the Ladye been surprised? Shocked? Or had she suspected what was coming?
G'ar's Talent whipped against Mera. Trenton's now empty chair crashed to the floor. The table jumped and rocked. Decorative vases scattered about the room shattered. An oversized painting on the wall cracked in two and fell loudly to the floor.
Mera sensed rather than saw the Terrans huddling behind her T'o'lz family. She was aware that her hands were clenched into fists by her sides, that her nails were digging into her palms, but her attention was focused on the mental battle occurring on the psychic plane.
The Ladye had no psychic abilities. G'ar should have been able to easily scan her mind. But she was fighting back and G'ar's already precarious mental state was deteriorating. He lost control.
The floor shifted beneath Mera's feet. Power threatened to overwhelm her. She caught at it, trying to clutch as much as she could to herself, smothering it. At her back she felt the presence of Inik, Ixzander, and K'ihn adding their efforts to her own.
A cool thread slid by her. Another mind had joined the fray. L'ars Ca'dean.
Immediately images she had never seen before, accompanied by emotions not her own, passed before her mind's eye. The man Trenton. The pierced star of El-Zora. The Ladye's hand pressing a funds chip into a man's hand. The charred remains of a hestvagn. A sense of deep satisfaction. L'ars Ca'dean was psychically leaching off the thoughts G'ar was tearing from his mother's mind and sharing them with everyone in the room.
The images disappeared in a blinding flash of white. Mera struggled as G'ar's Psi energy expanded and contracted almost simultaneously, going suddenly quiescent.
Mera blinked and shook her head. When her vision cleared, she saw that Alinora lay on the floor and G'ar knelt beside her. She dropped to her knees and reached for the younger man, but let her hand fall to her lap when he turned to look at her. His face was ashen and though his words were spoken in a calm, low tone, his eyes were wild. "She is dead. The Ladye Alinora is dead."
A week later Mera stood at G'ar's side beside the great granite memorial stone that was carved with the names of all House El-Zora's dead. "Fe'nix Alinora" was raw and fresh beneath the last cut name, Fe'nix Yod.
G'ar had allowed her the honor of a House Ladye in death. The ceremonies had been observed and her ashes scattered across the desert as those who had gone before her had been, though it had been clear in the last moments of her life that she had betrayed her sons and the honor of El-Zora.