Raiders From The Sea, Chapter 22

Camus is mystified as to why some people don’t want to sell their slaves. Lavidia and Esgalwathanar visit a lady.

Chapter 22.

Eryding, Home Estate Of The Ravathyra.

Camus Petris looked at the report and frowned. Rolin expected results and frankly, so did Camus. The slaves purchased by Teiran were understandable. They were out of reach, on the Yllanan estate or gone, over the sea. Some slaves had been purchased by fae, strangely enough and were almost certainly in the faery kingdoms and gone, at least to him. Teiran could talk with them, but his wife was a faery princess, his stepfather was a faery prince and his father in law a faery king. To all intents and purposes Teiran was fae. It was the twelve in the lower city and the five in the cloud city whose owners would not sell at any price that mystified him. He looked up at his agent and said, “None of them will sell?”

“None. Not even the high elf lady. The high elf lady who has never married and yet there are a bunch of kids running around the place. You figure it out. That man also seemed to managing the farm at the lady’s estate when I looked and doing a good job, even if there were things that might make the Inquisition a bit nervous.”

“They shared blood and the man is her husband in essence. What does the lady’s family think about that?”

“They were all killed in the turmoils, except a brother who was exiled. She didn’t have anybody to arrange a husband for her, so she bought one. From the looks of things, she got a good deal.”

“I take it the rest are the same way.”

“One way or another.”

Camus rang for a servant. “Have Toross join us.”

Shortly afterwards, Toross Advyre, who handled the little things that came up, joined them. Camus turned to him and said, “Toross, we have some people that don’t want to sell us something we require. I want to see if you can persuade them.”

“The timber guys. We’ll need a lot more people to do that and the family has fae connections now. We could get burned doing that.”
“Something a bit simpler. Taredd here, attempted to repurchase some slaves and was rebuffed. Normally I would let it go, but the slaves are required to aid in Paeris’s case and I want to fulfill Rolin’s request as far as I can. Half the slaves are already on their way back and there isn’t anything we can do to change that, but some of them are owned by people who will not sell. Those are the people we need to persuade.”

“I will get right on it.”

The two left the office.

Yllanan House, The city in the clouds.

Esgalwathanar looked up from the report the princess had just sent as Teiran and Lavidia entered the office. “There are some strange bully boys hanging around our five friends’ castles here in the city. The princess says that they are the same people that Camus has used in the past for dirty work.”

Teiran grinned. “Camus is escalating. He’s going to make the slave owners’ lives miserable, or at least try to. Which one do you think is the most likely to have issues?”

“Lavidia, why don’t you and I visit Rosaniya? She is a bit exposed to scandal since she hasn’t tried to hide the fact that she has children with no husband visible. She was a pleasure to visit the last time I did in any case.”

“What are her children like and should I bring Flix.”

“Why don’t we leave the boys home this time? Things are complicated enough already without another relationship developing. Does Neldor have a girlfriend? I haven’t seen him at all.”
“Yes and he’s busy. We needed somebody in the faery kingdom with all the rest going on. Ok, we’ll leave Flix this time. Teiran, you and Robin meet with the Justiciar and take the lower city. Why don’t you take Flix with you and keep him out of trouble.”

Esgalwathanar and Lavidia took Esgalwathanar’s sedan chair to the portal and jumped to the portal near the Qinvaris castle. Lavidia looked at the short distance from the portal and said, “Wouldn’t it have just been as easy to walk?”

“In our fine clothes? That is just not done, my dear. Also a sedan chair means that you have four big husky and strong fellows that have clubs at hand when you go about and nobody can complain about bodyguards. That has saved my life on more than one occasion. The chair can quickly be discarded as necessary and recovered or replaced later, but when you have pursuers they will pursue the chair, all too frequently and lose you.”

“I see, so what seems to be an extravagance has protective aspects.”

“Yes and I think that you should get in the habit of using the chair from time to time. I know that you have other options, but those options can tire you out and more importantly, the chair has Arthur and the others and if you were to emerge into an ambush and get hurt, I would be rather upset.”

“I am a bit surprised that you would make those arguments.”

“You are not the first fae I have known and before my parents arranged my marriage, I had a dear friend who wanted me to go to a grove with her and dance. Some elves caught her alone as she emerged from a jump near my house and killed her for the pleasure of it. Of course we never could prove who they were and in those days, things like that were fairly frequent. You can ask your father about that.”

“Were the Zylvyre’s among the potential perpetrators?”

“You will have to ask your father. It was his sister, after all. I will say that there was a reason that I kept my wife, more or less at the estate and the relationship was a loveless one. I had given my heart to another even though it was inappropriate and agreed to join her in the grove just a bit late.”

“I’m so sorry. Nobody said anything.”

“There really was nothing to say. I can say that I am overjoyed to have Teiran and you at the house. You have made the place live again. Here we are. I think that you will like Rosaniya.”

The chair was put down and the door opened. Lividia and Esgalwathanar emerged from the chair and walked up the steps to a waiting man in a butler’s uniform. “Lord Yllanan!  The lady was so pleased that you sent a message and wanted to visit. Come with me!”

The butler led them to a parlor with floor to ceiling windows on one wall insuring that the room was brightly lit. An elegantly dressed young elven girl was playing on a harpsichord that it was evident that she was very skilled at playing. There was an elegant elven lady who stood up as they entered and said, Esgalwathanar, I am so glad to see you again. Who is this elegant lady with you?”

“This is my daughter in law, Lavidia.”

“You are a naughty man, admitting that in public. On the other hand, that explains why your house has been overrun with fae lately. Poor Leilatha was rather stressed by events when we talked recently. On the other hand the circus was magical and the young man and lady go so well together. Nimue, stop your wonderful music for a bit and introduce yourself.”

The young lady turned and said, “Yes mama. Hello, I am Nimue. As you see, I play harpsichord. I also play violin and flute. I also like to paint and astronomy. Father says that I should be well rounded. It isn’t polite for a high elven lady to admit that she knows what to do in the kitchen, but I have no trouble on the farm dealing with a harvest crew or roasting a pig. Mother said that you had boys, but you didn’t bring them today. That’s fine. If I want to meet them, I can find them. I think mother, that the next piece will be the Mianeiros concerto.”
She started in on the music again and Lavidia laughed. “I sense a large degree of inappropriateness there. She also seems to be very talented.”

Rosaniya grinned. “She is and if she were full elf, the young men would be surrounding the place for a chance to hear her play. I’m not sure what to do. What would happen if I were to send her to the faery kingdom?”
“That is hard to say,” Lavidia said. “The faery kingdom can be dangerous.”

Another girl came in wearing a costume in the shape of a swan. “How do you think it looks, mother.”

“Wonderful. Alinis, this is Esgalwathanar and his daughter in law, Lavidia.”

“Hello. Mother said that you had boys. You didn’t bring them? When is your next party, Lord Yllanan? You have only had one this season and we missed it. Now that you have brought the inappropriate boys from the Estate, my sister and I can see them.”

“Most of the boys were taken by my wife to exile.”

“Mother, what do we have to do to get ourselves exiled? All the fun people seem to get themselves exiled while the stupid sticks stay here. Welcome, in any case. It is so nice to get visitors that are not complaining about inappropriate relationships taking boys while sniping at mother over dad. Mom was lucky that she bought dad and she lets him know that every day. Are there any fae boys in the kingdom? It would be so wonderful to be able to transform rather than wearing these costumes. I’ve been working on glamors from the stuff in old books and I can’t get it to work. I think that I have inflicted my poorly behaved self on you long enough, so I will take my leave. It was nice to meet you at last, Lady Lavidia.”

The girl left again, chased by laughter. Lavidia turned to Rosaniya and said, “I think that I should take both your daughters to the groves and test their potential. Certainly their mindset is in the right place. What is the problem with glamors?”

“You will have to talk with Alinis, but I think it has to do with the skill required to deal with the mana. She may be underpowering or overpowering the glamor. Some of that is probably inexperience, but more of it is that things just don’t work right.”

A man came in, followed by two young men, all three dressed in peasant clothing of a sort of canvas. “Sorry dear, but the boys and I have to get a move on. We have a dry field and it can’t wait. Hello again, Lord Yllanan. Tell your relative that I appreciate the offer, but I can’t really take the number of five days that it would take to go to the Republic and then come back for harvest. I do want to see some of the new machines, but the Inquisition would squawk at them anyway. They had a hissy fit when I built a reaper, another one over my seed drills and another one over fertilizer, the idiots. Dear, the boys and I need to go and tell cook that we will be eating at the farm and probably all day tomorrow.”

The trio left, presumably heading for the portal and the Estate. Lavidia giggled and said, “Teiran is the same way when an emergency happens.”

Rosaniya said, “I had no elf that would arrange a marriage with me even with the largest farms in the empire, thousands of acres with hundreds of tenants and slaves farming a good portion of what this city eats. Things were going to pot there and I was expected by almost everybody appropriate to have parties where the eligible men spurned me, the mothers looked down their noses at me and nobody wanted to do something inappropriate. Then I bought that bunch of slaves from the Ravathyra and there he was. From almost the first day, he looked at the overseer and said, you know, if you do it the way you want, it won’t work. The overseer hauled out his whip and he said, that’s one way to do things, if you are an idiot. Ok, we’ll be good little slaves and do it the way you want and when the field blights you can explain that to the lady.”

Lavidia grinned “Did the field blight?”

“The blight was terrible until Richard showed how to control it. Of course by that point the overseer’s boss was letting Richard show people how to do various things. I was watching one day and decided that Richard was what I wanted. It took some doing, but I got him in the end and I haven’t regretted it for a second. Nor have I regretted any of my children. All of them have been exceptional in their own way and frankly any family will be ahead if they were to marry one of them.”

“Even when they are not showing off?”

“Nimue, are you showing off?”

The music didn’t even pause as the girl replied, “No mother, at least not more than a little bit. I needed to play a bit and I like playing for you and the rest of the house”

The piece ended and Nimue stopped. ‘I think that that’s enough for now. Otherwise the servants will start to slack a bit.”

There was a bit of noise outside the door as Rosaniya laughed. Nimue continued, “I think that I will go now so that you two can talk to mother about what you really want to talk about.”

“Stay Nimue,” Lavidia said. “I think that you should know this anyway. Rosaniya, Mr. Petris is going to use coercive means to attempt to force you to sell Richard to him.”

“That’s just stupid,” Nimue said. “Daddy wouldn’t like that at all and Inquisition or not, he has ways to deal with bad characters. If Mr. Petris takes me or my sister, daddy knows creative things to do with fertilizer and my brothers have a lot practice making stumps go away. So do a lot of the boys out there at the farm. Admiral Zylvyre likes his boats and daddy would start to make them go away, one by one until Admiral Zylvyre handed me or my sister back and if Admiral Zylvyre’s people were to touch either of us when we didn’t want them to, Admiral Zylvyre would not like what daddy would do. For that matter if mom gave daddy to Admiral Zylvyre, the man is sending him right to where daddy has his family and I would bet that the whole family would come right back with daddy with blood in their eye.”

“How big is Richard’s family?”

“I don’t know,” Rosaniya said. “But when Alinis was born, he said, “well we’re halfway, but I think that’s enough.””

“So seven siblings at least, minus any that Paeris murdered. At least one relative is on Paeris’s prosecution team which makes the thing entirely stupid as the minute
Richard gets to the Republic he’s going to be telling that relative how he got there and be annoyed at Camus and Admiral Zylvyre to boot. Admiral Zylvyre has already lost a bunch of ships because he made an entire country angry with him. Apparently Camus was so tied up in getting the slaves and turning them over that he forgot why he was doing that. Turning over people who are happy to go back home is one thing. Taking people from their homes and families and sending them angry and upset to people who will use that to their advantage is just stupid.”

Rosaniya said, “I think that I will make an attempt to get the point across without violence.”

She rang a bell. A servant came in and Rosaniya said, “Jorlis, have Radsin come to see me here, as soon as he is available.” She turned to the others and said, “Radsin is my produce seller here in the capital. He handles the accounts. While we are waiting, Lavidia, you must tell me how your daughter and young Aneirin Hienorin found each other.”

“Jessamine went shopping one day and Aneirin ran into her. I think that he spotted her at the house and wanted to check her out.”

“Leilatha had an entire plan of attack all mapped out, starting with her mentioning that she had a niece when she invited Sionia to tea and then inviting Sionia and Ivarin to a party with all the important people at Esgalwathanar’s where the niece would be perfectly dressed like a doll and then she expected that Sionia would invite her to visit and Aneirin would be introduced and so on. A perfect elven courtship. By the time Leilatha was settled in at Esgalwathanar’s, Jessamine had already met Aneirin and rather than being a perfect elven doll, Jessamine was dancing in the garden wearing nothing at all.”

“For that kind of dancing, clothes get in the way, especially if you are transforming, which is expected. Jessamine knew how to use dew and the light to cover and tantalize, so it was the illusion of being truly naked without actually being naked.”

“I see, somewhat. Be very careful what you tell my daughter. She will experiment. Here, unfortunately and not at the farm where there are some nice groves that she could practice in and all the boys have already seen her prance around in next to nothing anyway.”

A rather rough looking elf came in and Rosaniya said, “Radsin, Leilatha was planning to place an order for some rather exotic produce with us. Tell Leilatha’s people and any relatives of the Zylvyre’s that they will not be able to buy any produce, or for that matter, anything else from us, until Rolin Zylvyre and Camus Petris come here and apologize for threatening my family and tell me directly that any attempts to force me to turn Richard over to them will be terminated and they will never again consider such actions. That goes for all such actions against anybody else. I will want the apology in writing and submitted to the Justiciars and the Regency Council.”

Radsin grinned. “Very well, milady. Does Richard concur?”

“I haven’t told him yet and don’t you tell him either. I don’t want him going all noble over this and turning himself over. Not until after harvest. You can also tell all our friends that we will truly appreciate it if they also cut the Zylvyres off.”

Radsin left and Rosaniya turned and said, “I give them a five day if they are stubborn.”

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