Raiders From The Sea, Chapters 49-50

Where did Paeris go?

Chapter 49.

Beinan House, The City In The Clouds.

Richard looked at the house and turned to Folmon. “When you said that you had a house up here in the upper city, I never imagined something like this. This is impressive.”

“It is,” Folmon said. “At one time, the family had a hundred mortal artisans and more slaves that worked for us. The house was not only the family home, but the family’s place where we created wonderful things.”

“What happened?”

“We built the swans and the Inquistion was rather nervous that we were pushing the limits of the Proscriptions, which we were. We had had some slaves that we recently purchased from the Ravathyra and they had been a clockmaking family in the Republic. They became part of our family, but not legally because the whole family was concerned that the Inquisition would bring us down. Then the Turmoils started and after things were over and the emperor died, people were looking for anything, anything to blame and the Inquisition fed into that. But hunts need prey and there was my family seemingly doing things that shouldn’t be possible under the Proscriptions.”

“What happened to the slaves?”
“Those that had shared blood with family, including my sister, were discreetly sold off to people in places like Red Mountain that we knew. My uncle Evindal went with them.The others, we were forced to sell with the rest of it. We sold them into the lower city to vendors and so forth. As the inquisition closed in, my father and mother committed suicide so that where the families had gone was not revealed. I was fifteen at the time and sent to a vendor to apprentice in the lower city, where I have lived ever since.”

“Why didn’t the Inquisition destroy this place?”

“I don’t know. But they closed the doors and left it intact. The emperor may have had something to do with that before he went mad. He tried to stop the Inquistion and the others but the Inquisition said that the Blight was the consequence of our descent into heresy and that in order to prevent the Blight, the heretics must be brought down and exiled and far too many of the high believed them.”

“Blight is a fungal growth that can be controlled. At least natural blight is. Actually, delving into things that the Inquisition would rather not know about, keeps the empire fed.”

“Why don’t we go inside?”

There were guards on the house, but while they were wearing tunics of the inquisition, they did not look very much like elves and they grinned as Folmon, Richard, Dan and Teiran went inside. As they went through the doors, there was an army of maids and other people cleaning everything in sight. Dan laughed and said, “The ladies did not waste any time. The paint still looks good. The roof must have held up.”

“My grandfather, who built the house, wanted a house for the ages,” Folmon said. He put the family in debt, but that made my father and the rest work harder and produce our best work.”

A rather dusty Taranth found them and said, “Dad, grandfather, you have got to see this!”

They followed Taranth into an elegant and rather large library with a rather large golden figure in the middle. Dan had a stack of books on a table and said as they walked in, “This place is amazing. There’s a book filled with mechanics and another on anatomy. That was just first two I sort of looked at. Some of the things here date to the early empire. Dad, by the way, they had reapers and plows then. Other things too.”

Folmon said, “This room was the family’s treasure, the source for our inspiration and where we came up with the ideas that made the family what it was.”
“Did the family have an estate to support this?”

“Yes we did, but it was mostly farms and our copper mine in the mountains. The copper mine was leased to some dwarves who mined it and paid their lease in copper. They also alloyed our brass after one of the family that had been a slave showed us how to smelt zinc. The brass was the great family secret and probably what attracted the Inquisition’s attention. The dwarves were the people that the family was sold to to get them out of the empire.”

“I think that I know the place,” Richard said. “That is one of the more or less abandoned estates that I took over to farm. Since the land is still legally yours, we can set up a lease agreement. I’ve done that before for elves that had circumstances like yours. Your uncle probably handles the dwarf side of things.”

“I don’t know anything about that.”

“We can fix that. My manager will have all the details on hand and we can get this dealt with. The dwarvs probably know where your uncle is, which will make mother happy.”

“What will make me happy?”

“Finding Folmon’s uncle.”

“Teiran, didn’t you tell them? You went to your uncle, who knew where to find him. He’s on his way with his family. He wants to see you, Folmon.”

Teiran grinned. “Ma’am, I thought that I would let you tell them. It seemed that you liked springing things on your husband, just like my wife does.”

“Teiran, you have that right,” Dan said, laughing. “I should have expected that my wife was on top of things. She does that. But it’s my own fault. I exposed her to my mother, who turned around and taught her the entire family bag of tricks for getting things done.”

Lavidia came in and said, “What are you louts standing around for? There are buckets with your names on them. What do we look like, High elf wallflowers? Get to work!”

They went to work. Later, a Republican navy lieutenant found them and said to Dan, “Sir, there’s bad news. The Ravathyra rescued Paeris Zylvyre this morning.”
“Did my son send any details?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“Tell Captain Christie that I will meet with him and Admiral Shanelis in the morning if he is available. We should have a report by then.”

“Very well sir.”

The lieutenant left and Dan said, “Richard we should let everybody know about this.”

“Yes we should. Toller, tell everybody to meet us in the library.”

Toller went to collect everybody and when they had all arrived, Lythienne asked, “What happened, Dan?”

“Paeris Zylvyre was rescued this morning.”

“Wasn’t the navy trying to stop them?”
“Yes they were. Tom didn’t know what the Ravathrya’s goals were and the entire Ravathyra fleet was at sea and headed for the Republic. If the choice was the coast going up in flames and the possibility of Paeris Zylvyre being rescued, Tom had to address the danger, whether he liked it or not.”

“Rolin was probably counting on that,” Richard said. “He messed up so badly in the thing with Rosaniya that I should have realized that there was something else on his mind. In fact, the thing with Roasniya probably helped Rolin make some decisions.”
“Rolin hasn’t been doing well the last few years. Frankly I’m the cause of a big part of that and Teiran’s family another part. Teiran’s better access to the Republic and Republican goods was lowering the value of the pillage that Rolin was getting from the blasted lands. At the same time, I was reducing the value of the slaves that he was selling by making the slaves on the farms more productive, which made slaves from the Republic less in demand. Even if the raids hadn’t been squashed this year, Rolin would have been in trouble. So that massive fleet he had was becoming an expensive liability and then Rosaniya’s cutting Rolin off like that made it clear just how expensive. Rolin certainly knew where I came from, there was always the chance that he might do something that would put me at odds with him and he realized just how badly I could hurt him, if that happened. Rolin couldn’t dump his slaves and let his crews go without making it obvous that he was destroying the fleet and taking the hit for that, so he sent it out to be destroyed or captured, in which case all those mouths become the Republic’s problem.”

“The immigration people will love that,” Dan said. “Of course the marines will be ecstatic.”
“Why would the marines be ecstatic?”

“General Ironaxe was gushing about his new troops, all two hundred odd and how they were going to improve the mobility and effectiveness of his artillery, among other things. He will just love to get his hands on more of them and so will the commandant. Richard, do you have a file on Rolin and the rest of the family?”

“Yes. I sort have had to. For one thing, Rolin’s brother is the enforcer for the Inquisition and Erlan is the political side of the family. He is the power behind princess Glynnii.”

“Are there any more brothers?”
“One more, who is a mage.”

“All that is useful, Richard,” Lavidia said. “If you would, have a copyist make a copy for me as well as Lelayme and your father. I want to pass that on to my father. Dan, I will give you and Richard my information on the tests that my family has been conducting on the slaves and their children. The Ravathyra have been breaking strong families like Folmons and dumping the exiles in the blasted lands.”

“Lavidia, does your father have an expert on magic and plants. Dan and Taranth have been looking at the blight and they are certain that there is a magical component to it.”

“Richard, I will have my uncle talk to you about that. He married Teiran’s mother and deals with farm issues on the Yllanan estate.”

Lythienne said, “We can spend all day speculating about this, but we need to get Folmon and Rebecca setup so that we can get other things done, so it’s back to work.”

The room filled with laughter as the crowd went back to work.

The Sanctum.

Gwaerengwen stumbled out of the portal and turned to head right back where she came from only to see that there was no exit portal. The portal had only been in one direction. A young elf’s voice said, “You are not Uncle Paeris. I was supposed to watch for Uncle Paeris. Lady, where did you come from?”

Gwen turned around and there was a young elf in a chair. “Hello young man, I am Gwaerengwen and do you know where I am?”

“The place where we live. Where is Uncle Paeris? He was supposed to come.”

“He is where I was. Far away. What is your name?”

“Saevel Zylvyre. Are you from far away?”

“I’m not sure, since I do not know where I am. Is there a portal nearby?”

“Yes, but only certain people are keyed. The rest of us stay here. Uncle Paeris was supposed to come soon and I was supposed to take him to grandfather. But you are not Paeris.”

“Paeris decided that he wanted to stay where I was and sent me instead. Why don’t we see your grandfather?”

“Since Uncle Paeris is not coming, we should do that.”

The young elf led Gwen out of the room and outside into a hallway with what appeared to be arrow slits on the other side. Gwen looked out over pine trees and a rocky beach far below. The hallway must have been the outer wall of a castle as they went down some steps and into a hall. Saevel led Gwen to a room with a fireplace where an elf was working at a desk by a window. The elf looked up and said, “Saevel, you were supposed to wait for your Uncle Paeris until dinner.Who is this lady?”

“I am Gwaerengwen of the Yllanan. Paeris decided not to come, for some strange reason and sent me through his portal instead. If you would key the portal, I will return to the capital and be on my way.”

“I think that I must extend my hospitality for a time. I am Zanis Zylvyre. I think that I must discover what is going on. So at least we must wait until Rolin shows up.”

“You are the mage.”
“Yes. You know about us.”
“Paeris and you all have been my central task for the last three moons. As a result, I have all sorts of files on you all. The question I have to ask myself is why you wanted Paeris back in the first place?”

“Rolin wanted him. I will not say why, as it is family business.”

“The bill for Paeris is going to be expensive. He has made a lot of powerful enemies that are hunting for him and they can take apart what you have without too much trouble.”

“That is Rolin’s work. Saevel, why don’t you take the lady to meet your mother, so that they can discuss where the lady will live? Lady, if you cannot cook for yourself, we eat in the central hall. I am afraid that we don’t have the lifestyle that you would be accustomed to, but this is a place where the family cannot have servants, so we must rough it somewhat.”

Empire House, The Port of Chatsrey, Beltian Republic.

Kulgha walked up the steps to the house and thought how a stiff drink might have been good thing right about now. If he hadn’t made a solemn promise to his wife that he would not touch a bottle or a glass unless she approved it, he might have. In any case, while the drink would steady his nerves, it wouldn’tmake what was coming any easier. He knocked on the door and Tomas opened it. “Barrister Ironaxe! The lady has not returned. I thought that she was with you.”
“She was. We were at Cleadgate Fortress checking up on Paeris and the Ravathrya staged a rescue. The lady and I were separated and Paeris sent the lady through his escape portal before evacuating on the ship.”

“So the lady is in the hands of the Ravathyra. If Admiral Zylvyre is smart, he will release her. The family is very well connected in the empire and it is not as if they can hide the fact that they have her. Thank you, Barrister, for telling us.”


Chapter 50.

RFS Cutter.

Lieutenant Galan Miara looked at the monster that had taken over his ship. Where Great Captain Triandal had been moderate and restrained with his crew, Great Captain Paeris was the opposite. He seemingly did not care about the potential consequences of his actions. He had already killed two sailors for trivial offenses and the lieutenant expected that the rest of the voyage to the hidden city was going to have blood in the water.

This was the evening of the third day since they have left the Republic and the rest of squadron sinking behind them. Rather than turning directly north to the hidden city, the Great Captain had had them set an easterly course toward the islands. The lieutenant could understand that especially since the mages were exhausted and maintaining the glamor was going to be difficult if they needed it. The lieutenant looked at the islands in the distance and then at the quiet deck. He thought he saw a furtive figure moving along the deck, but when he looked again there was nothing. Shortly afterwards there was quiet splash, but the lieutenant had been called by the quarter master to check the heading. When the lieutenant’s watch was over, he went to find his bunk and he was asleep as soon as his head hit the bunk.

Suddenly he was shook awake by a rather disturbed midshipman who said, “Sir, the Great Captain is gone!”

“Gone? How?”

“Sir I don’t know, but I went to the captain’s cabin to wake him and the cabin was empty. His uniform was there and he wasn’t on deck. I sent Petty officer Thelen to look below decks and he wasn’t anywhere. The Great Captain is gone.”

“Very well I will take the watch until he shows up. Perhaps he has a stomach problem and is using the head.”

“I checked there, sir. He is gone.”

The lieutenant took the watch and by the end of the watch it was obvious that the Great Captain was no longer on board. He handed the watch to the second lieutenant and went to send a report to the admiral.

RNS Enterprise.

The gadget was working again and Enterprise had arrived in the middle sea just as the rescue had gone on. It hadn’t been hard to find the escaping Ravathyra ship but Captain McRodden was concerned about his bunkers. He had been north to the empire and back, pursuing the Ravathyra fleet and though a lot of that had been under sail, he had used his engines quite a bit. He did have one advantage. His ship had been converted to oil and there was a refueling vessel on its way to Leomaris’s island. In any case the Ravathrya ship was poking along the islands, trying to hide. The captain went back to the charthouse and said, “Any change, chief?”

“He’s not doing anything differently. Trying to be sneaky and failing. Why don’t we go after the character?”

“Orders. The Marshalls want everybody on that ship alive and any evidence that Paeris Zylvyre had, if they can get it. So they want the ship to parade right into the hidden city if they can manage it. The other ships of the squadron are on their way in any case.”

“Paeris Zylvyre at sea is a slippery character. My dad skippered a frigate squadron thirty years ago that thought they had him and his ship cold. They got the ship, but either Paeris Zylvyre was not in command or he slipped off somehow, because he wasn’t there.”

“Why didn’t you go to the academy, chief?”

“Grades weren’t good enough and I didn’t want to wear your hat, sir.”

“Plus, doing what you do, you get to play with all the latest toys.”

“There is that, sir. My wife says that I refuse to grow up. She may be right.”

“Chief, when you get a chance, write a report on that action.”

“Don’t need to, sir. My dad met an exile on that ship of Paeris’s after Paeris had used her for a bed warmer. My mom is going to be rather upset if we let him slip away again. But dad can tell the admiral the story. I’ll have sparky send him a message. There are probably more like that.”

“Do that, chief. I don’t like it the way these characters are not acting as if they had the hottest potato ever in their hands.”



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