The Golden Butterfly, Chapter 41, Part 4 and end.

This is the last part of Chapter 41.

Noro.
Saturday December 9, 1932.
My old friend Leo was standing next to me in the empty house. He was laughing his head off. I looked at him and said in German, a language that we both spoke, “Are you satisified with your niece?”
“Very much so. I was a bit concerned that there were some things that should never get into the hands of the Masters, but she managed to take everything.”
“So that is why you contacted me.”
“Yes and I could, since you came back up top. I am so sorry about the loss of your wonderful wife. You gave me and my wife a place when we needed it.”
“It was nothing much. A house on the Cape while you prepared to return to China.”
“It was what we needed, since the Masters were watching the obvious routes and knew what I had with me. They were prowling around looking to infiltrate and taint my brother’s children to get what they wanted and we decided that it would be best that I return to my wife’s kingdom for a time. The time turned out to be longer than we anticipated and I was not here when the disaster struck. My brother was already dead thanks to an incident with a vampire and his bonded as well. My nephew seemed to be doing well and I had family of my own. Then the disaster struck, the keystone was taken and I could do nothing. My family was scattered and I didn’t want to make it obvious that I had the things that the Masters wanted so badly.”
“Or that some of the things were still here and hidden.”
“Returning quickly might have created the very thing that I was trying to avoid. I was fairly sure that the Masters had connections in China and that those connections were watching me.”
“They did and we discovered them in course of events.”
“So what is my niece’s family like, since your granddaughter married one of them?”
“We have been getting along very well. This was a family joint project.”
“Stripping the house?”
“That was the minor part. The big part was robbing the Red Lady of all the keystones on the continent.”
“They did that!?”
“Fairly easily. I had planned to bother the Masters more than a bit and the family has gotten ahead of me again. In the last few months, they managed to destroy most of the Red Lady’s children, the Sorceress’s operations on the Cote De Azur and other things.”
“That will create dissention among the Masters. The balance will shift to the two Eastern Masters, who have societies in thrall and the Colonel is gone. You must tell me how that happened. Why don’t we return to the inn so that we can share stories and then we can see more of what is going on. If our relatives are moving too quickly, we have been out of the game for too long.”
“I think that is that I, at least was diverted a bit. But they did prepare this challenge and move faster than I expected. You’re right and why don’t we discuss this over lunch.”
We had an enjoyable lunch and a bit of a surprise afterwards as Eli and Theresa arrived at the inn. I watched them walk in and said, “So why are you here?”
“We were coming here on our way to meet with you tomorrow like we planned and we wanted a day to see the place without Herr Steiger and his friends even knowing that we were here. Who is this?”
“This is Leo Schee. Leo, this is Eli and Theresa, my son in law, Josh’s parents.”
Eli said, “Then this is Greta’s great uncle, banished in the last century. Greta wasn’t sure why.”
“Did you talk with Greta?”
“We have been avoiding contact with her and mostly going through Sal and Tony, as well as Stephie and Kitty when they were here. We didn’t want to have butterfly issues.”
“Who is the butterfly?” Leo asked in a very accented English.
“Hannah Schee, your great niece and the cause of the family’s destruction because she was tainted by the Red Lady.”
“So she was bitten?”
“Yes. They also killed her bonded before she could complete the bond. She does have a child, a daughter. We don’t know who the father is and considering that the girl is fourteen or so, you can guess where it happened. The girl is being watched by Tony’s sister, Rosa Schmidt.”
“So that is where Rosa ended up. She was a bit of a terror for my brother and I.”
“According to Sal, she seemed to be very competent and Tony was a bit afraid of his sister.”
“So what is going on now?” I asked.
“Tony and Jeanette were taken prisoner by Hannah, placed in the school where Rosa and Hannah’s daughter were and then transported to the French Witch.”
“Do you know were the Lady is?”
“No, because she left rather rapidly after Mary and Roger made a bit of a boom at her place in Normandy. Tony has been told to make a splash if he can and good boy rules are in effect.”
Leopold looked a bit mystified. “Good boy rules?”
I laughed, “That has to do with just before I was recruited to take over the Olympics last year. Eric has two grandsons who have a reputation of being agents of chaos and just before the Lake Placid Christmas parade, the king over there, Jacob Martin, say that the two are, “Such good boys,” to Eric, while the boys are in the room bussing tables because Eric was using them as a go between when he was stealing the restaurant for the inn. The two boys proceed to use the new techniques that their uncle, who had just married my granddaughter, had taught them to go all out on the parade. Everybody loved it but Jacob, who was rather humiliated. In any case, when the family says that good boy rules are in place, at least in Eric’s family, that means that whoever is involved can go all out.”
“How bad could that be?”
“Eli?”
“Madam De La Sorci probably won’t like it very much, there may be some casualties and I don’t think that an entire town will be destroyed, but some buildings may be.”
“Do you have any idea where they may be held?”
Eli took out a map. “The Lady has a chateau in Burgundy, here. We haven’t checked it out yet as it is hard to approach and there isn’t big city to hide in.”
Leo grinned, “That will work out very well. I think that I will rejoin my family and we will use this road here to Lyons from Paris for our journey with our little circus. Perhaps we may stay in this town for a bit.” He pointed at Dijon on the map.
Eli asked, “Circus?”
“Chinese acrobats and a little magic. We have been making our way across Europe on a tour. My wife is with the troupe now, as are my sons, daughters and grandchildren. Noro, take me to the train station on your way out.”
We got in the car and Leo asked, “Where did the car come from?”
“It’s a company car. Not a big Mercedes since I wanted to be a bit discreet and didn’t want to make it known that I was here. This Opel is fine for just me and doesn’t attract attention. I become yet another eccentric and not Mr. White. At least until I want to be Mr. White.”
“How does that work at home?”
“On the Cape, I’m pretty much Noro or “Grandfather” to everybody who knows me. In the city, being incognito is a bit trickier, I have discovered unless I stay out of my usual places. I certainly can’t be incognito on the Street any more and you can’t just make random trades on the street like you used to be able to. I’m having more fun being grandpa anyway.”
“That does have its compensations. Hopefully your family has been as fun as mine has been.”
“They try. Things got stuck for a while and then Josh showed up. He shook things up in a hurry. Of course other things happened and then Liltra was killed. Fortunately the Shark Change is almost extinct now thanks to Sal and his efforts here.”
“Here is the train station. I think that my troupe and I will be finishing our tour soon. Perhaps we should consider a tour in America.”
“I can connect you with my daughter, who can help with that. She is up top with a child at the moment, so she can help, so long as she can work at home.”
I dropped my old friend off at the railroad station. I was going in the same direction he was, but I was going to Lyons to meet with my two great grandsons and Bill and Hilda. They had flown up today. I had never flown in an airplane, but The rest seemed to be taking advantage of the service. I stopped near the border and Mary dropped down. “Did you enjoy yourself?”
“Yes. I also took some pictures of the house from the air and talked with Eli and Theresa after you did in a discreet spot.”
“I suspect that the house will be open for tours, but they will have to find new furniture. Greta was very aggressive.”
Mary quickly dressed so that we could pass through the border and get our passports stamped. Then we headed down the road to Lyon, arriving at the hotel that we had agreed to use as a rendezvous. The valet sniffed at the car and had it driven away, out of sight. Mary and I laughed as we went inside and checked in. My great grandsons spotted me and came over as we approached the elevator. “Hello, Grandfather.”
“So you are here. Any news?”
Michael laughed “It turns out that my brother ended up in Genoa bonded to a tail. He actually was the first shot at Tony and Jeanette.”
“So what has John been up to, other than ill advised kidnappings.”
“Clearing his father in law’s debts and helping the seafolk here. The debt was why he took the job. That was going to clear what was left. His father in law had to help a bunch of seafolk families after their bower had been trashed.”
We reached the elevator and made small talk while we were in the hearing of the elevator operator. Once we were down the hall and the bellhop had put the luggage in the room and we closed the door, David said, “Bill and Hilda are checking out the Lady’s house. Greta and Eric are taking the train with Sal and Sillia. They are hoping that they run into Hannah as they have her daughter and want Hannah to give the Construct that takes care of Gretel permission to go with Tony and the other kids to the states. Hannah is bitten.”
“I’m not surprised,” Mary said. “Vampires like that control even if the victim isn’t truly Turned yet. I suspect that Hannah has been holding off the taint as much as she can.”
“You can sort of sense it. When we were in the dining car with her, the hunger was faint, but there.”
“You two were on a train with her?”
“She was keeping an eye on us for the people that she hired. Tony and Jeanette, that is. I don’t think that she knew that the guy she hired was Mike’s brother, did she, Mike?”
“She didn’t. I don’t think that she realized that John was family and he was even using Posidenitus as his last name. It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious.”
I laughed. “Was John surprised when you showed up?”
“Yes. If he doesn’t bring Andria and the kids home soon, he’s going to get a bigger one when mom comes over looking for him after Hali gets hitched. He’s seen the tank beds, so he knows that it could happen.”
“So Paulo has come and gone. Who all is still here.”
“Steve and his people with Leo, Sal and Sillia, Bill and Hilda, Eric, Greta, Roger and Mary. Tony too, but he has a busload of kids and he is heading here and arriving tomorrow and La Havre and home next as soon as he can. The little dragons are with them with Jim and Adelle coming up in Sal’s car. ”
“What about Hannah’s daughter?”
“Eric and Greta are coming up here with her and Rosa. Rosa will not go overseas with Gretel without Hannah’s permission.”
“So Eric and Greta are looking for Hannah. It’s dinner, so why don’t we eat and you tell me about everything that happened. I visited the house this morning and Greta was remarkably thourough.”
“Did you run into Herr Stieger?”
“No we didn’t. Not a peep. Did you notice any cars with flags, Mary?”
“No, but I wasn’t looking either.”
David laughed. “We never got our chance to watch the pimple since we came on Paulo’s ship. Tony and Jeanette said that he was a lot of fun.”
We sat down to dinner and Bill and Hilda joined us. Bill said, “Mary, I’m glad that you are here. The lady’s house is way back off the road and there isn’t an overlook where I could get the scope on the place. At least not without being spotted. There are some farms and a small village not too far away, but there may be some Twisted as well. I didn’t want to trip them off and make it too obvious that I was in the neighborhood.”
“That’s unlike you.”
“I’ll hit the pesthole, but if it’s obvious that I’m here, they might clamp down and that might mess up Tony. So the pesthole can wait. I couldn’t get close enough to check if he’s there.”
“We may have some assistance available. An acrobatic troupe is on tour and passing by.”
“Somebody you know, then.”
“Yes, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for Greta. But I imagine that they have skills.”
“I’m going back tomorrow. I’ll keep an eye out.”
“What I would really like to run into is Aunt Hannah,” Hilda said. “Greta wants to talk with her about getting Gretel home and I think that there were some Twisted sniffing around the school.”
“You didn’t mention that when we were there,” Bill said.
“It hadn’t been recently, the vampires were already dead and the Sharks were hit anyway. Some of the sisters were talking about strange men and cars poking around and I imagine that Gretel, being a very high fae and close to the keystone would make an excellent meal for recruitment. The Shark lady got away and she will probably want to start recruiting again all too soon. The Shark lady may want to go after Gretel in a sort of twisted revenge for the loss of her pod.”
“That would be how the dark fae behave. When things go wrong for them, it is always the responsibility of somebody else and somebody must pay the price, typically the innocent. I agree that I want to get Gretel out of the picture if we can. We will have to see if we can draw your aunt in and talk with her, one way or another. I would also want to know if there were any of her mistress’s children that were not on the list.”
I frowned. “Do you think that there were any?”
“The Red Lady has been around for a long time, but none of the children that I destroyed went back further than the last century. Also, none of the other Masters have started to push the lady in spite of all the children that I have destroyed. I would have expected to see them pushing harder to take advantage and they haven’t. I’ll talk with Eric and Greta about it when they get here. None of the lady’s children have been especially sneaky and none were at the level of the first vampire lord that I had to deal with. He was two hundred years old and very dangerous, or my wife’s parents would not have been killed so easily and my wife would not have been Turned. None of the children we’ve encountered have been as powerful as they should be and that bothers me.”
“People have been saying that you were like the kid in the candy store, but I never thought that it was because your opposition was weak. They have been going down rather quickly.”
“Too quickly. I expected that the child nearest to the colonel’s domain would take me a week or so to find and a long hard battle with the possibility of losing some of the domain’s people to the things. I found the nest by just talking with police for a couple of days and went in and took it out in a couple of hours. Then the clown has that address book of his and that made things easy.”
“Perhaps all the older vampires were used up in the conflicts. They were going up against strong families.”
“I’ve been asking around and I suspect that many of them were. Especially in the early battles. Hilda, you were collecting histories from the people at Adelheid’s. Did you get the impression that the powerful Twisted were destroyed?”
“Some. There were some like Eric the bloody handed that had a long reputation and were finally destroyed. That got harder as the battles went on. The fae here did not band together like we have as much as they should have and much of that was toward the end. There were some fights that the Twisted suffered gravely in, but the Masters combining their forces and their talents to take the light fae communities one by one made the task easier.”
I frowned. “Eli and Theresa are going to be here in the morning. I’ll wire Helmut and see what he and Mary know before I go to bed. I think that you’ve been moving very fast.”
“We have been,” Bill said. “I wanted to pull the eyes away from Adelheid and the others and Stephie and Kitty came up with their scheme. That was all supposed to be quick strikes and in and out. Then Sal started to clean up the Cote De Azure and Hannah faked her death and Eric and Greta had their fun and games over that.
After that Hannah took Tony and Jeanette and put them where they could find Rosa and Gretel. You were supposed to be looking at things unseen while we did the easy stuff. At least if we can get Gretel out, we can pull out too.”
“What about Tony and Jeanette?”
“Tony will come up with something,” Hilda said. “We told him that we wanted him to make noise on Monday, so he’ll start some time tomorrow. We’ll go back and poke around tomorrow.”
Jean.
Saturday December 9, 1932.
Glinde and I were helping my sister and her husband make arrangements for their departure from France. The Committee was a bit concerned that my in laws wouldn’t attempt to liquidate all the businesses too quickly and my sister was being careful and setting up a management scheme. The fact was that fast ships meant that the brother in law could use messages and occasional visits to operate the businesses from the States so cutting everything off all at once wasn’t really necessary. I was discussing how things would work with Henri at the hotel when Milady Hannah came in. I turned to Henri and said, “I think that somebody is looking for me. We can discuss this later.”
I walked over to Hannah and said in English, “So what bring you here?”
“Let us go outside. I want to keep this discreet.”
We went outside and started to walk slowly down the street. “So what brings you to me today. The French lady should be pleased. The Troubleshooter has closed up and is heading home. I think that it would be politic to release my niece and her bonded before the Troubleshooter decides to stay a bit.”
“I’m not concerned about that. I want to know where my daughter went.”
“They were heading for Lyon for a day or so. Greta wants to talk with you and get your daughter and Rosa away. Rosa will not agree to leave without your permission.”
“Then I need to talk with her. I should have made it clear to Rosa when I put Tony and Jeanette with her what she was supposed to do. I figured that Tony and Jeanette would escape and I could use that as distraction so that my sister could take Rosa and my daughter discreetly away.”
“This is why you faked your death, wasn’t it? You wanted your sister, or at least some of the family here so that you could quietly pass Gretel to them and get her out.”
“I am tainted by the fact that I have been bitten. I cannot oppose my Lady and her child was sniffing around my daughter and several girls in the school were taken. The French witch’s Shark was also looking for her. That was understandable as my daughter is the last of the royal line in my family.”
“Even though you never completed the bond?”
“Yes. Her father also lost a bond. But he was taken by the Colonel and his wolves. I think that I must go to Lyon and find my sister. Preferably as discreetly as possible.”
“She is almost certainly looking for you. She wants your daughter away if she can manage it. Why didn’t you just tell her?”
“I didn’t want to risk getting the lady’s attention and be ordered to turn my daughter over for a recruitment or to the Sharks. I had never been able to get my sister to look at what was happening over here before.”
“That explains a lot of things. What you did and why you did things. You went far beyond what your mistress probably wanted in encouraging the Director and the Manager to attack the Bentons after Bradley was killed and you told your mistress about the diary and the rest of it.”
“I was watching the Colonel because of what he did to Henri. The fact that he had an American werewolf when he was dealing with pillaging my Lady’s reserves, some of whom were relatives, made things a bit dicey as I resonated with the man and he probably resonated with some of the family. He was too tied up with his bond at that point and probably didn’t notice. Of course Rosa’s brother showed up, which meant that I had to be careful not let Rosa get too close to her brother. They were following my nephew and managed to extract his bonded from the mess.”
“Greta was interested about how you found out about the diary.”
“Hans did, actually. He had been in the army, in intelligence and I took advantage of the fact that he wasn’t fae to use him to spy on Bradley. Bradley actually left the diary behind by mistake, but the diary was locked and blank seemingly and Hans didn’t take it. When the interest in the Colonel’s activities became of interest to the various spies for obvious reasons, Hans traded the information that it existed for other favors and things about the Colonel but Brad took it with him and I didn’t see any need to reveal it’s existence until the opportunity arose to set the Colonel and my sister against each other.”
“Who did you expect to win that one?”
“You know, at this point, I’m not sure anymore. I didn’t know about the Colonel’s daughter and the fact that The Colonel would have gone looking for her and her children in any case. I just wanted to push things a bit. As much as this discussion is interesting, I think that I need to find my sister in Lyon.”
She went to a car and I returned to a the hotel. Glinde caught up with me for lunch and I said, “I ran into the Unbonded earlier. She is wondering where her daughter went.”
“Did you tell her?”
“Yes. I also told her that it would be politic for the Sorceress to let my niece and her bonded go because the things she wanted stopped were ending in any case.”
“I doubt that the Witch will. They never seem to know when to let go.”
“True. This whole mess we have is because they didn’t know when to stop.”
Tony.
Sunday December 10, 1932.
Jeanette had done some poking around last evening with candles and discovered that previous guests had left things, one of which was a map that showed the surrounding area. There were some other things that might prove useful. One of the boys delivered a trade I had made yesterday, the remains of two foxes that he had shot. Jeanette looked at them and said, “Constructs?”
“Yes. I have two small jars that Uncle Tom, Doug and my brother were playing with. They are copper and you poke them in the dead thing and launch them. They were trying to make a Costruct that you can launch remotely. I don’t have any wire, so I might have to use a cartridge.”
A box of some strange old cartridges was one of the other things that somebody had left in the past, a remnant of a hunting trip a long time ago. The cartridges were black powder and I didn’t know what kind of gun they were used for. They would work for what I wanted in any case. Jeanette was looking at the set up I was doing and asked, “These are us in Change, right?”
“Yes. I thought a diversion would be useful.”
“So you weren’t marking territory last night, which I thought was strange.”
“Of course not. But Bob and I were experimenting with using scent to lay down a trail that Constructs could follow especially animal Constructs. The experiments went very well and you can use a perfume sprayer to lay the trail. We got the idea from Tim and his playing around with the Yaoguai. Tim did a lot of misleading the mangy idiots with a spray bottle and using a spray bottle means that the Construct doesn’t follow an obvious path. If the Constructs lose the path tonight, it won’t be a big deal.”
“I think that we should go for another ride.”
“Ok, I think that Fluer will like that.”
Fleur did and as we were leaving, Louis said, “The lady says to stay away for lunch today. You two completed the bond, but you might still be tempting to our guest.”
“Not the Lady’s daughter?”
“She left again this morning. This is a neighbor with certain tastes.”
“I hope that somebody tells the guest to stay home after lunch. I wouldn’t want my Uncle Bill to get a whiff and start looking. Your guest must not have been on the list.”
“I can’t say one way or another. There is an inn at the lake that is a nice place for lunch and we can eat there.”
“You’re not worried that we will take the horses and escape?”
“I can outrun a horse, Pierre and I know the territory and the people, you don’t, and the inn doesn’t have a phone yet. It would be unlikely that you would get that far with no head start. If you did, I would have really slipped up. Why don’t you take this joker for the exercise he obviously wants and we can meet up for lunch at the inn.”
As we rode out, a coach and four from the last century of all things, came in the other direction. There was a miasma from the coach and Fleur seemed to be nervous. So was I and I felt a bit naked without my pistol. Once the coach was far enough away, I said, “That felt like a very powerful vampire. It was good thing that we completed the bond or the thing would have been all over us. On the other hand, the thing is an idiot.”
We had a wonderful ride and reached the inn at lunch time, with Louis waiting out front. We tied the horses with their lunch and followed Louis inside where he introduced us to the innkeeper and his wife. The woman said, “You have come so far. So why are your travelling?”
“My grandmother had a death in the family and we had to deal with the estate. We are travelling a bit before going home.”
“That sounds wonderful. What does your family do in America?”
“We have an inn as well as a farm and other businesses. The inn is larger than here, but we have a ski resort and people come from the city to ski.”
“So you have mountains. That sounds wonderful. Loius, you must make sure that your friends take some wine home with them.”
“We can’t do that, ma’am,” Jeanette said. “They have that silly law in America.”
“I had forgotten about that. What a silly thing they did. I will get you lunch. Louis, make sure that they know about our cheeses.”
Louis was laughing as the lady went to get our lunches and I said, “She does that to all the visitors, I bet. Let me guess, they have a vineyard and cows.”
“Yes and goats, not cows, though they have some cows too.”
“I will put you in touch with my aunt when this is over. We may not get wine through open channels, but we do have it for select customers. Jeanette’s family probably buys wines from the area already.”
“We do, and I will have to ask mama if this label is on our lists.”
Of course wime was served with lunch and Jeanette said, “I will definitely have to tell mama to put this label on the list. This is excellent. Louis, Tony’s family does the same thing in America.”
I laughed. “Of course we do. We have to stay in business. Of course, the biggest bit of marketing was done by my Uncle Tom, by accident.”
“How so?” Louis asked.
“My dad went to gunsmithing school so that he could take care of the family guns and have a business in addition to the farm. My uncle learned how to run the neighbor’s lathe and make parts. The war came and my dad, who was working at Colt, bought a pile of the scrap from Colt and Winchester after the war was over and the contracts were all canceled thinking that he could hand finish guns and sell them. He quickly figured out that Uncle Tom’s lathe and some other tools that followed could do the work better and faster. My Uncle Tom has a fight with the family and gets a job as congressional staffer in the Capital. But he comes to the Farm and makes batches of gun parts so that my dad stays in business. Anyway, my uncle makes some friends in Washington and a friend’s wife asks UncleTom to make a pistol for him after the friend and Uncle Tom run into some bad characters. Uncle Tom thinks that this is a great idea and makes a batch of the pistols as presents for his friends and so that he can trade for things. Since these are presents and there were forty in the batch, he marks them x/40 and starts to give them away. One of them is given to an Indian prince who was in Washington as part of the Embassy staff and the prince takes a magazine writer on a tiger hunt and shows him Tom’s pistol. So the writer calls the pistol a ‘Royal,’comes up to the shop looking for the story, dad doesn’t have a clue, but tells the writer about the business and that the pistols were given as presents by my uncle. So anybody who likes guns is looking for the ‘Royals’ that my uncle made. But Uncle Tom hasn’t even told us who all he gave them to and we get people with big money wanting one.”
“Did the writer purchase a pistol?”
“Two so far. Along with a rifle. I think that he likes our work.”
Louis laughed and said, “There are few stories that are entertaining to me anymore. You better watch out. I will have to work extra hard to make sure that you stay.”
“Ouch. Jeanette, see what I did to myself.” I slapped myself. “Bad Tony, telling too many stories.”
Of course that started Jeanette priming me about all the stories from the last year with all of us laughing at the things that my relatives got up to all through lunch. After lunch was over, we mounted the horses and continued our ride. Loouis was out there, but he was sneaky and I couldn’t be sure where he was at any given time. When we arrived at the house, the lady was saying goodbye to her lady visitor and I put out a sense string. The lady looked out across the garden at us and said to Madam De Le Sorci, “Now, there is a wonderful couple. How did you acquire them, Gwynne?”
“They are hostages that your mistress’s aide obtained. I am keeping them here for a time.”
“I will have to discuss recruitment with the mistress. She has lost so many of the young recently. We don’t see fae of this quality often any more”
“I think that these are likely to cause more trouble than they are worth if you were allowed to attempt to recruit them. The young man is a relative of the Unbonded.”
“Now there is a recruitment that has been more than a little troublesome. She resists the joining and the hunger.”
“Apparently the Unbonded has a daughter. My daughter and one of your mistress’s younglings were looking for her, but could not manage to bring her to recruitment.”
“Oh, the energy of the young. They don’t have the patience to wait for the right time and the best food. But they do have the energy. I will come again soon.”
The lady was handed into her coach by the footman, the driver slapped the reins and the coach drove off past me, taking the miasma with it. I was a bit shook up by the effects as I handed Fleur to the groom. Jeanette came over and said, “The lady wants us, doesn’t she?”
“Yes. Very much, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Of course, she isn’t going to get us. We will be very careful to not let that happen. Let’s go back to the guesthouse.”
I made preperations until the butler came and told us to dress for dinner. The lady said, “Excuse me for not being available for lunch. I did not want to bore you with the conversation of two old ladies discussing local gossip. So what did you do.”
Jeanette smiled. “We went on a ride to the inn in the village and kept Louis entertained.”
“That must not have been easy. He has been around for a very long time and he isn’t surprised very easily.”
I grinned. “He liked stories about my Uncle Tom and his friends. We didn’t actually get to the good ones yet.”
“So tell me the good ones.”
I did. Even a mass murderess and Master was entertained. Of course she was fishing, but I hadn’t been in the middle of things like Bob had and so none if the stories had me as a participant. At least the meal was not boring. In any case, it was time to make the escape attempt tonight. So, after dinner we went out to the guest house, I pulled some things and set them up and we went to bed after a brief Run in our Change.
Greta.
Sunday December 10, 1932.
Eric and I were having breakfast with Rosa and Gretel in the hotel before touring Lyons. We were departing for Le Havre in the morning and I was hoping that my sister would catch up with us. Rosa was fairly sure that taking Gretel overseas with us was what my sister wanted, but without specific instructions which my sister had not given her, she couldn’t take Gretel or let us take her without trying to stop us. I was hoping to avoid that. We were lucky and I sensed my sister entering the hotel. She came over to the table, I stood up and hugged her. She hugged her daughter and sat down. “I can’t stay very long. Jean told me what happened and, Rosa, I should have made clear that you and my daughter were to go with my sister.”
“I was fairly sure that was what you wanted, milady, but I could not go so far without being sure.”
“I must go. I suspect that there are eyes watching for me. Sister, I apologize for the games somewhat. I have things that I can’t avoid and live in a trap that I cannot escape. I feel the hunger rising more frequently and please get my daughter away and protect her.”
“We will.”
“Gretel dear, go with my sister.”
“Will I see you again, mama?”
“I suspect not. I love you too much to risk that for too much longer and the Red Lady will find me and tell me to recruit you if you stay. Keep me in your heart and know that I will always love you.”
She kissed Gretel and left. Poor Gretel looked as if she wanted to cry. She recovered and said, “I have to be strong, for mama. This was going to happen. She has said so. Aunt, you may have to kill her. She told me that a long time ago. She was worried that the mistress would send her over to where you live so that she would take your children. But she resisted the taint because she had me and could be strong. Now I have to be strong for her. Rosa, after breakfast, let’s go find your brother and the other kids. Mama wants me to hide, I think, and we can do that with the other kids.”
I said to Gretel, “We will teach you to be strong. My family has learned how to be strong. But we will also have fun and you can meet all sorts of our strange and wonderful family and friends. In fact here is one now with Bill and Hilda.”
Bill and Hilda had just walked in with Noro and Mary. I waved and they came over. Noro said, “So who is this young lady, Greta. Young lady, I am Noro.”
Eric said, “This is Gretel. I am a bit surprised that you came out in the open, Noro.”
“I wanted to chat with you and find out what you have heard from you sister in law.”
“You just missed her,” I said. “We have the permission to take Rosa and Gretel home with us.”
“Excellent! So that leaves Tony and Jeanette. I have an old friend in the neighborhood who may help and my wayaward great grandsons went a bit ahead. Bill, Hilda and Mary are taking my car and doing some looking around at certain lady’s place and looking into some relatives. Why don’t we collect Tony, the little dragons and the rest of the kids and see the city today and be prepared to be on our way tomorrow?”
Gretel looked at me and said, “Who is this? He’s strange.”
Noro laughed. “That’s true, I am. That keeps people from being normal. Being strange is more fun anyway.”
“I think that you might be funny too.”
“Why don’t we find out. I haven’t been to Lyon in a very long time. So why don’t we explore a bit and see what we find.”
As we were walking out, Rosa asked, “Other than being a very powerful fae and having lost his bond, who is he?”
Eric laughed.“Chrissie’s grandfather. Bill has known him longer than I have and warned me a bit when Chrissie tied on to Tom. He was under sea when Chrissie started to chase Tom and more than a bit out of it because of the shock of losing what must have been a wonderful bonded to the Sharks. His family dragged hm back up top and he has been more or less entertaining us every since.”
“Eric, the entertainment hasn’t only been in one direction,” Noro quipped. “I’m fairly sure that you set me up with the Committee and dropped Jacob on me.”
“I didn’t talk to the Committee about you before they made the call you know about. As for Jacob, that was Ed’s fault.”
“I think I begin to see now. You talked to Ed to set things up. After talking to my sons at the wedding.”
“I did talk to Altris and Ilutra at the wedding. I didn’t talk to Ed. He was in hiding at the time.”
“Gretchen wasn’t.”
“I admit it. I did discuss you coming with Gretchen when she dropped in for lunch. What she did with it, I don’t know. Ed certainly didn’t know that you were going to show up at the parade and get insulted and Gretchen wasn’t talking to Helen at that point. In any case the whole thing kept you entertained.”
Rosa turned to me and said, “Are they always like that?”
“Yes. Noro has been trying to get Eric to admit that he somehow set Noro up with the Committee at the Olympics. He didn’t.”
I must have been grinning a bit as she whispered, “You did, didn’t you?”
“I’m not going to say anything other than there were some concerns at my son’s wedding, I may have been discussing things and the Committee had expressed some concerns.”
“He hasn’t figured it out?”
“He is a bit frazzled by the ladies network. I wish that I had met his wife, but she was killed before Tom bonded with Chrissie and we didn’t make a habit of visiting the Cape before she was killed.”
“The whole thing is a bit scary.”
“You will get used to it very quickly. Look at it this way, your three lout brothers all do ok. How bad could it be?”
“True. There’s Tony with the rest of the kids.”
There he was, with the kids happily trailing behind as he pointed out sights.We joined them and Rosa and Tony batted the conversation about as we traveled through the city.
Hilda.
Sunday December 10, 1932.
We left Greta, Eric and Noro with Rosa and the kids and headed to the car. Mary decided that we shouldn’t use Noro’s car today, so we stuck with the Renault that we had hired. We drove out and after couple of hours of passing vineyards we drove through Dijon and to the little town near the Chateau. We stopped at the inn that we had stopped at yesterday and the innkeeper’s wife said “You have returned. So who is this?”
“This is Mary she writes travel articles for magazines.”
“This is the wrong season to be travelling here. The grapes are not growing and everybody is staying inside.”
“That is why I am doing it. I want to see places when they are not busy and write about them.” Mary held up a camera. “I am looking for the things that you can do if you are here for business or some other reasons and want to visit. Everybody else writes about the busy time and the easy places.”
“Good for you. I think that you are right. We had some other Americans here today. They were visiting a local lady and her servant was showing them around as they were riding horses. I told Louis to make sure that they had a bottle as they have an inn in America. The young man was reluctant.”
“I’m sure that arrangements can be made,” I said. “Where is the winery. I will see about a bottle. My mother in law has family nearby and we can share if we don’t think that we can return the bottle to the States.”
She told us how to get to the local winery. Lunch was delicious and as were leaving, a coach and four of all things, passed. Bill looked at it and said, “I think that my answer about the lady’s older children was just answered. I hope that whatever’s in there didn’t notice us.”
We had all sensed the miasma. I looked at Bill and said, “We take this one slow and careful and get Tony and Jeanette out first.”
I can agree to that. Tony and Jeanette must have completed their bond or we would be dealing with a mess already. I imagine that the thing is hungry and Tony and Jeanette are about the tastiest things that the thing could want.”
“We don’t use them as bait.”
“I wasn’t planning to, but I’m glad that I know that the thing is there and I hope that Tony does too.”
“Let’s ask some questions at the winery.”
We drove over and the winemaker was glad to give us a tour when we mentioned that the family had an inn and what Mary did. In between questions from the winemaker about how likely it was that prohibition was to continue and what the prospects were, we were able to find out about the lady who owned the coach and where she lived and where she went, typically. We also left with several bottles of wine and a small crate of cheese. The cheese could go with us directly. We could hand the wine over to Noro to deal with. That is if we didn’t decide to enjoy it on the voyage home.
We dropped Mary off near the Chateau and she came back shortly after having taken some pictures that we had developed in Dijon when we reached the hotel. Eli, Theresa and Noro were there with the boys and he said, “What did you find?”
“An old vampire,” Bill said. She is a neighbor of the witch. At least some of the community near the chateau is fae. We didn’t run into Tony and Jeanette, but they had lunch at the inn just before we did.”
“How did they get to the inn?”
“On horseback. They went back to the Lady’s. There was a man from the house with them and I expect that just running wasn’t an option. The vampire lady was visiting which is how we spotted her.”
Another man came in and said, “Noro, we did some peeking. Why don’t you introduce me to who all is here?”
“Leo, this is Bill and Hilda, my two great grandsons and you have met the others already. Bill, Hilda, this is Leo, an old friend. He has a travelling circus troupe here in the city.”
“Where is my niece?”
“With some kids and the Constructs. They are staying In Lyon tonight and coming through here and making a stop in the morning. They figure that Tony and Jeanette can make it this far without too much trouble regardless.”
“There are two Constructs out there and they are very good. I expect that it will be a challenge.”
“We spotted the Constructs from a distance yesterday,” Bill said. “They don’t seem to use guns, but you are right, they are very good, know the territory and probably are looking for Tony to try something. But Tony is sneaky, more so than Bob and we can go in if things get sticky. If the old vampire lady shows up again, Hilda and I will go in. Especially with that load of fae kids that Greta is bringing. The Lady and her family might pick up on it. Of course that would mean dealing with Tony and his sister as well as Greta and Eric. If the lady plays with them, she will learn how big a mistake that was the hard way.”
The Chancellor.
Sunday December 10, 1932.
I went south a bit to talk with Jean before the meeting tomorrow. The Milady De La Sorci was hosting the meeting in Paris at her townhouse and I wanted an update on our visitors. I wasn’t sure where Hannah was, but I could still talk with Jean in Orange with his bonded. When I sat down, after I was introduced to mademoiselle Nixe, Jean said, “So what brings you here?”
“The end of the year meeting.”
“I am surprised that they are holding it.Tensions must be running high. I certainly will not be attending.”
“That is perfectly understandable. What I want to know is where our visitors are.”
“In Lyon for a bit, on their way home. They may have to deal with something.”
“I was hoping to convince Madam Del Sorci to release her guests, but she is keeping them for the time.”
“They may leave on their own and they have relatives looking for them to tell them that they must go back to America. My brother in law wants his niece and the young man’s father needs him for the business, so the grandmother needs to get him home.”
“If you should run into Milady Hannah, tell her that her some associates of hers would very much like to meet her daughter. I don’t know if her mistress has discovered her yet, but Madam De La Sorci was discussing the girl with her daughter when I was there.”
“I had a discussion about that with her already and she has made arrangements with her sister to take her for a long trip to America.”
“I am glad that that was settled. There were some concerns. So tell me the rest of what went on here.”
“Here is the report. You can read it on the way back.”
The report style did not look familiar and I looked at Jean, “This doesn’t look like your typical report.”
“It isn’t. I obtained from another source. You can figure out who when you read it. I didn’t think that I needed to write another report when I had this one at hand.”
“Very well, I will return to the north.”
I left the café and returned to the train station. As I waited for the train I started to look at the report. After a bit, it was fairly obvious that I was reading the Troubleshooter’s report to his clients and others on what he had done. Considering that he had been responsible for the actions on the Cote De Azure this was probably the best report that we could have had. On the other hand the fact Jean had actually handed it to me said that the Troubleshooter didn’t care that it was released and distribution of it meant that setting up the same kinds of operations that the Masters had used was going to be very difficult. I put the report in my bag with the book that I had found in the bookstore about the Sharks of New York. The advantage of the Shark Change had been that it was new Change, created by the Madam De La Sorci and that her two daughters had willingly accepted the Change and started the first pods. The pods and one of the daughters were gone and the other was probably being hunted by the troublshooter and was certainly a wanted woman here in France, so I doubted that she would last much longer in any case. The train arrived and I started on my melancholy journey north.
Tony.
Monday December 11, 1932.
Louis was good, but he wasn’t my brother Bob, and my other cousins. Bob wouldn’t let me get away with pulling something off because he would have the resources to cover the bases and knew how sneaky I was.
Louis and Pierre probably thought that I would take advantage of my Change, exit through the woods and head for the train station on the other side of the wood, using tight shields and my skills in the woods to try to evade the Twisted. Louis would proably cut that off while Pierre would work to corner us, creating a box with their knowledge of the territory. Pierre was also probably covering for me and Jeanette taking a horse. The key here was timing and how punctual French trains were. Since I had been using them and other trains on the continent I thought that they were very punctual indeed. At least for the time we needed. Jeanette and I had gone disctreetly over to the stables, opened all the latches on the stable doors, Jeanette had taken Fleur and the mare that she had been using, Daisy to the edge of the wood while I had set a little thing that Tom had done to Tony, without the fancy timing box, since I didn’t have one, or the phone, since the house didn’t have that either. A candle would do well enough. With everything ready, I went discreetly over to the guest house and launched the constructs. The images of Jeanette and I in change went tearing across the yard into the woods. The Constructs even had some artful attachments that might convince somebody that we had taken clothes as we ran.
I joined Jeanette and the horses and we slowly walked along the edge of the woods toward the opposite side of the house and the other gate. Suddenly firecrackers went off and the horse ran from the stable and into the yard. With that, Pierre became visible and started to chase the horses with Jacques and the other two grooms. We mounted and started across the fields in a gallop, jumping fences as we encountered them. After about ten minutes we slowed to a cantor and kept going we were crossing a road when I sensed something I shouldn’t have, this time of day and a little girl ran across the road, stopped and said, Monseiur, mademoiselle, take me on your horse. We must run!”
I pulled the girl up and in front of me and we left as I could sense the vampire starting to follow us. We went down the road and I asked, “Where do you live, girl?”
She pointed in the direction of the vampire. “Over there. But that strange man came and mama said that I should run and tell everybody that I saw to run if I saw somebody who made me feel strange.”
The vampire had just blown my plan out the window. I hauled up to Jeanette and said, “Take the girl and go across the field and circle around. I’ll see if the thing follows me for a bit. I want to be away from things when I shoot it. This thing was either very hungry or there was something the nest picked up on and they went hunting.”
Jeanette took the girl and went across the field through a gate while Fleur and I started to cantor down the road. The Vampire hesitated and then decided to come after us. I quietly drew my pistol and then pulled Fleur up and stopped. The vampire came up and said, “You have cheated me of a meal this morning, but you will do, foolish boy. Why did you stop and let me catch you?”
“Because you had it all wrong. I was hunting you.”
I fired and the thing dropped. The problem with that was that the sound of the shot was going to carry all over the place in the absence of something else. I had some water tubes that I had made, but I wasn’t seafolk and I hadn’t wanted to risk missing or wounding the thing. I scanned around for Jeanette. Fleur, surprisingly, hadn’t been bothered by the shot and once I found Jeanette, we headed in her direction. We caught up with them Jeanette said, “This is Marie. Her family lives in the village and she was running an errand when the thing showed up. we should take her home and then go.”
“It’s going to be tight, but I think that there are more of that character out there, looking for food. They were stirred up by something and probably very hungry.”
“What do you think it was?”
“One thing that attracted the attention of things like that from quite a distance until grandmother put shields on it was the school and all us fae kids. I suspect that a fair amount of the kids in the area are fae. But I think that it might be grandmother, Tony and the kids on their way to Paris that attracted their attention. If things were on schedule, they should be fairly close if they stayed in Lyon last night. That many high fae kids will attract their attention.”
We reached the girl’s home and grateful mother. We dropped Marie off and headed to the station. Unfortunately we were too late, the train had been on time and the next one would not be for two hours going in the other directon, to Paris. Louis showed up about half an hour later and said, “I thought you would be gone. What happened?”
“There was a little girl being chased by one of your neighbor’s associates. I had to shoot him and we delivered the girl back to her parents.”
“They shouldn’t be out now. I wonder why. I think that we should get these rather tired horses back. It was a good effort, a very good effort. You had things timed so that you would arrive when the train did. If you hadn’t stopped for the girl, you would have been gone and we couldn’t have stopped you. But thank you for putting the girl’s life over your freedom.”
We started back down the road to the house and Jeanette asked, “Why didn’t you shoot Louis? Why are we just going back?”
“I didn’t shoot Louis for the same reason that I wouldn’t shoot a deputy back home. The trouble would be too much even if I pulled it off. I shoot Louis and I will bet that the police would be after us. I don’t know what relationship that Louis maintains with the local police, but I expect that it is a good one, isn’t it Louis.”
Louis laughed, “It’s part of the job. How did you figure it out?”
“Because the Lady wasn’t using compulsions on anybody. Unlike the other Masters, she probably doesn’t have the downsides of most of the Twisted and doesn’t make the messes that the others do. So she can be a member of the community, a good employer and a have good relations with things like the police. Otherwise you would have been concerned about us going to the police and you weren’t.”
“Which is why you didn’t.”
“I didn’t see a good outcome from going into a police station sounding as if I was crazy. We get enough of those at home.”
Louis, Jeanette and I had a wonderful talk, surprisingly, until we saw a bus stopped on the side of the road with a bunch of kids watching a familiar man working on a tire while a rather familiar woman was watching things rather nervously. I stopped and said to Tony. “We’ll help with this. You don’t want the kids here.”
“I know. One of them blew the tire and ran. I imagine that he is bringing friends and Eric and Greta were sort of looking for you. They should be here shortly. Who is this?”
“This is Louis. He guards the house for the Lady.”
“How did you get way out here?”
“We took our shot and almost made it. But we had vampire issues, I had to shoot one and Louis figured out that we were heading to the train station. We took a little girl home and that delayed things enough that we missed the train.”
Louis was looking at Tony and Rosa and said, “I think that Tony was talking about one of you. I am Louis. Are these your Charges?”
“Some of them. We have a bunch back home. My sister here has just the girl as a Charge but we’re all going to the same place, so we are all together. You can keep Tony if you want. I’m not sure about Jeanette. Rosa likes her.”
Jim and Adelle drove up and Jim said, “You found them, Tony!”
“They found me. I got in trouble with some things that shouldn’t be out this time of day.”
Adelle “Where are my daughter and her boyfriend?”
“Over there, being discreet and ready to provide a bit of a surprise if the nasty things come back. I wanted my back covered and Rosa doesn’t know how to use a gun.”
“Jim does and Eric and Greta should be right behind us. So who is this?”
I grinned. “This is Louis, my adversary this morning. We were supposed to be escaping on the train, but we had vampire issues and I thought it politic to go back in case Louis and Pierre needed me.”
“How did your escape work?”
“It was an excellent try,” Lous said. “He took advantage of the fact that I knew what his Change was like and had Constructs that followed a path right into the nasty neighbors, had the horses and the girl waiting while setting off firecrackers in the stable so that the other horses were scattered and we couldn’t be sure which way he was going until the shot he fired to deal with a vampire and we then knew where he was. I suspected that he had a map and was heading for the train station. I found them there and we started back and encountered you.”
Pierre came running up. He looked at the bus and said, “This explains why the lady and her things are all out on the hunt. Sir, why were you bringing so many fae children here?”
Rosa said, “We were on our way to Paris for lunch and used this road so that the kinder could see the countryside. The kinder are fae that have lost their parents and we are taking them to America with us. Then that vampire blew our tire out and went to get his friends.”
Grandfather and grandmother drove up, pulled over and stopped. She smiled and said, “Tony, you escaped!”
“No, we didn’t, actually. Louis here caught us at the railroad station because I had to deal with a hungry vampire chasing a young girl.”
“Why are they out here so early?”
“I’m not sure. I suspect that they picked up on Tony and the kids.”
Grandfather discreetly pulled a rifle and said, “Then we all want to get a move on. How powerful is the vampire?”
“The queen visited the lady yesterday and very powerful and old. A couple of centuries easy. Tony, let’s get this tire fixed.”
Tony and I got to work on the tire, pulling the spare and changing it and had the flat bolted back on when a clicker tapped out “WR, WR.”
Tony reached under the driver’s seat of the bus and pulled out a shot gun. “We are about to have vistors.”
I drew my pistol as Rosa got the kids back in the bus. The rest of us took cover and waited. There were shots out in the woods and suddenly some Vampires flew out, but they seemed to more interested in getting out of the woods than trying to attack us, not that it helped them as they were shot or flamed by Bill, my Aunt Hilda, who never actually showed themselves and the two dragons, who did, but didn’t make any noise other than burning or shredding vampires. The vampires that were left, ran down the road as fast as they could. Some of them didn’t make it. The rest of us hadn’t fired a shot. Louis looked at me and said, “I think that Pierre and I will take the horses home. It would appear that you are rescued. Since you were delayed, why don’t you take your family here to the inn for lunch.” He turned to Tony and said, “The young man said that Pierre and I should talk with you aboutr certain services that are no longer available here.”
“I can set you up with some people in New York or upstate. Why don’t we talk at lunch. I need to deal with a busload of excited kids.”
With that he put the shotgun away, sat in the driver’s seat, the little dragons strode out of the woods and Jeanette and I got on the bus with them as Louis and Pierre walked away with Daisy and a rather disappointed looking Fleur. After a short drive, we arrived at the inn. We all trooped in, followed shortly afterwards by Bill, Hilda, David, Micheal and my Aunt Mary and Uncle Roger. Grandfather said, “We missed you this morning. So what happened?”
“I had an escape plan which was going to put Jeanette and I on the train to Dijon where I was going to send a message to Jean and grab the next train to Paris. That mostly worked except that we missed the train to Dijon, the next train was the train to Paris and Louis caught up with us. We were delayed because a vampire went after a little girl. We took her home and that cost us the time to catch the train.”
“You were going back to the lady’s house with Louis. Why?”
“He caught me fair and square, and more importantly if the vampires were out in force, he might need me. I said that I would help out if things got out of hand and they had, apparently. I also figured that you were in the area, looking for me and even if I had failed to escape, you would pick up that I was there.”
“We did, but had to back track, looking for Tony and the bus. It sounds as if you would have gotten clear away if the vampire had not intervened.”
Louis came in and said, “He would have. That was a thing well crafted. Your family has taught you well.”
I introduced Louis around and he said, “Tony had wonderful stories about you all. I wasn’t sure how many I believed. Your son knowing the great and powerful?”
Grandmother grinned. “We didn’t know about that and didn’t believe it either until my son pulled out his address book and started to make calls to the White House, Louis. We knew about some of it because the White House office mom sent a young grandson to spy on us and he sort joined the family. But he didn’t tell us about everything my son had gotten up to.”
Noro walked in with a man and I resonated. I looked around and Grandmother and Aunt Mary were looking curiously at the man, as was Gretel. The man said in German, “Hello, Greta. I am your Uncle Leopold. I have been away far too long.”
Grandmother was staring a bit and said, “Yes you have. So where have you been?”
“With my new family in China. The masters were poking around the house and we had some things that it was imperative that the Masters not get their hands on, especially together, so my brother and I ensured that they were separate. When I heard that things had heated up at the estate, I returned to ensure that certain things were not handed to the masters. You found everything and sent them away. Along with everthing else. Noro and I were rather amazed when we saw it, Weren’t we.”
Grandmother laughed.“It was the Hans effect. He has always been such a pimple that going overboard comes naturally. Of course my sister set everything up even though she has been tainted and bitten by the Red Lady.”
“Milady Elizabeth has many children. Many taken from the families and Twisted.”
“Not as many as she used to,” Bill said. “I did a lot of clean up of the younger children. The incident this morning says that the older ones are still there. The lady is about to lose one this afternoon.”
“The vampires that have been romping around this morning? My grandsons were entertaining themselves a bit with them. Perhaps the family can provide some assistance.”
“I can use the help. Of course, if the lady were smart, she would have left already. I’ve been in the neighborhood for the last couple of days and it isn’t a secret in certain circles what I do to vampires.”
Aunt Hilda said, “Dear, we will wait on this one until the kids are well away. We made a bit of a mistake this morning, running the bus past like that.”
“I liked it,”Louis said. “Pierre did too. We can’t directly act gainst the clown unless they are molesting people on the estate, but they have a nasty habit of not restraining themselves. Tony, you made a lot of points with me when you stopped for that girl this morning. You could have gotten away easy if you hadn’t stopped for the girl or not shot that thing. You knew what the shot would bring on you and you took it anyway to stop that thing. The families here have been part of my Charge for long time and they matter to me. Thank you all for making things a bit easier.”
Grandmother smiled. “Louis, we are glad to. I don’t know why your mistress took Tony and Jeanette in the first place, but I don’t blame that on you. Of course Tony had an obligation to escape and he stopped to do the right thing Even when other things were involved.”
Lunch came and the innkeeper lady made sure that everybody but the kids had their glass and the innkeeper himself came out to talk to Mary and Roger. I suspected that the inn was going to have some additions to the menu soon. After lunch was over we made a quick stop at the winery where my aunts seemed to have no problems walking out with a couple of cases and we headed to Paris. When our little caravan reached the main road we were joined by a not so little caravan of cars and trucks. The other caravan split off and we headed on to La Havre.

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