Raider From The Sky, Chapter 13-14

Esgalwathanar horses around. Danni sees something “Dreamy.”

Chapter 13.
Anyme Edhil, The Yllanan Home Estate And The Border With The Rosehollow Faery kingdom.
Esgalwathanar looked at the pile of camp gear and saddles, turned to Lazuli and said, “I think that we have a problem. I sent the horses home and I don’t want to just leave this all here.”
“That is not insoluble. We can be the horses.”
“We still need hands to saddle us up. I could be the pack horse but that would leave the saddle. On the other hand, we haven’t seen my granddaughter these last three days, have we?”
“Should we have?”
“Yes, actually. Her mother wanted her to keep an eye on me.” He sniffed around. “There are advantages to being a lion at the moment and there is a fox poking at our leftovers.”
He pounced and there was a squeal. “Grandfather, you scared me.”
“So there you are, being a sneaky little fox.”
“Well, yes. Mother wanted me to remind you that you and Aunt Lazuli need to get back to the house for my birthday next five day.”
“Will the young man have wings by that point?” Lazuli asked with a bit of a grin.
“There may be a bit of a reveal, yes. At least for my elfin family. We already had a party and an announcement at the faery kingdom. My birthday seemed to be a perfect time for the announcement, the automata is repaired and the house ready, so we pushed things up on the trials and Aneirin found me in a grove last evening. You missed the party.”
“Was it wonderful? The first time almost always is.”
“Yes it was, except that I had to come here.”
“Where is the scamp,” Esgalwathanar said. “Close by, I expect.” Esgalwathanar transformed himself into a horse and called out, “Aneirin, transform to a horse and the ladies can pack us up and we can get this pile back to the Estate.”
“Yes grandfather.” A horse appeared in the clearing and Jessamine and Lazuli assumed their faery forms, saddled the two horses and Jessamine returned to being a fox as Lazuli mounted Esgalwathanar and they set off down the trail. They emerged at the house and grooms came out to deal with the horses. Eroan Petrona came out and said, Lady, who are you, and where is Esgalwathanar?”
Esgalwathanar nickered and said, “This is Lazuli and I am waiting for you to get this tack off.”
“Ah, this lady managed to get you to a grove at last. That other stallion is Aneirin then. The party last night was wonderful.”
“You were invited?”
“Of course, by the young lady’s grandmother. We also brought the food for the guests who were not fae. It is hardly the first time that we have done that for our neighbors.”
“Bring me some clothes so that Jessamine can drag me to her party this next five day.”
Eroan grinned and went inside as the grooms peeled the tack off Esgalwathanar and Aneirin. Jessamine transformed and grabbed Aneirin. “We will meet you at the house shortly, grandfather.” The pair disappeared.
Lazuli laughed and said, “You don’t have to get dressed, you know, Esgalwathanar.”
Esgalwathanar snickered and said, “I don’t want my sister to know quite yet. There is a lot of opportunity for fun and I don’t want to waste it.”
Qinvaris Estate.
Richard stood on his horse and watched the activity going on around him. From his vantage point, he could see a row of reapers in a field followed by wagons and crews taking the sheaves and loading them, with the wagon pulling away and being replaced by another. Looking over to a cluster of barn and other buildings the wagons could be seen unloading into the thresher, with still more wagons taking the straw to the barns. The grain was augered up to bins next to a canal so that it could be transferred to canal boats like the one that was moored in the canal that also served as the spillway for the waterwheels that powered the thresher and hammers for working the straw. So far there hadn’t been a trace of the Blight and the fungicides and other measures had worked. Osmond Stokton rode up and said, “Every year I think that we won’t get this done and every year we do. Lierin says that if I don’t have you and the boys to lunch with the family, I am going to be in trouble.”
“She grabbed you and I think that she wants her girls looking into my boys.”
“That’s about it. Of course, after Rosa’s taking over the park, she’s getting ideas about us having a wedding too.”
“At least she made you sign a wedding agreement.”
“Right when Zestari was born. There had been some questions about who Lierin’s father was and she was kept out here as a result. She came right out and said, inappropriate or not, she wasn’t going to let our kids be without a father. She had never played the status games in the capital anyway. I’ve got something to show you and then we can go to lunch.”
Osmond led Richard to rather large machine that was tied to a capstan driven by eight horses. The machine was obviously a thresher as a crew was forking sheaves in the top and grain was pouring into a wagon beside the thing. “We’ve been working on this for a couple of years. I’ve needed more threshing capability and I didn’t want to build another mill. So I looked at the thresher and thought that if I attached horses, I could put a thresher on wheels. You can borrow it, when I won’t need it.”
“I want to talk with your boys. I didn’t think that I could build a portable thresher. But this looks like it works.”
“It’s worked this year. I have another one waiting for parts from the dwarves. My sons and their friends did most of the work.”
“Tell them that they did a very good job. This is something that the House needs.”
“I expect so. Actually this is something the Empire needs or the Turmoils will come again. ”
Yllanan House, The City In The Clouds.
Lavidia looked up as Esgalwathanar came in. “You look much better. My aunt must have been good for you.”
“We enjoyed ourselves and she unlocked some things at last.”
“Where is she?”
“She went home to check on some things and make some arrangements. By the way, I gave her a formal invitation, not that she will need it.”
“Where do think that your relationship is going to go?”
“I don’t know yet. It’s not what I had with Begonia, but we seem to enjoy each other and she doesn’t seem to be a lightweight. I also don’t feel the need be something I am not with her. It is early days and it is not as if we don’t share some rather bad habits. I hope that we can make each other happy, somewhat.”
“I think that you will. At least you have some new things that you can do.”
“I will have to be careful about certain things, like showing my true self or transforming where my sister can see it. Where is she, by the way?”
“She is conferring with her husband at their home. She should be back tomorrow.”
“I wish that there were a way that we could close the gates without causing a scandal. This is the family home and she is family. On the other hand, Lazuli will be returning and I don’t think that she will want to be restrained that much.”
“By the way, Calladia came to visit. She and Robin have bonded, but she doesn’t have wings yet. She did jump from the Republic and made stops at the island and the Hidden City where Galassiel has taken up residence. Actually she has taken up residence off the Hidden City.”
“That was not unanticipated. I must resubmit a will making Teiran and you my official heirs, which will cause some scandal since Galassiel is no longer an elf. Where are the boys?”
“Peri is doing some errands for the princess and Flix is keeping an eye on Sollor Richflight somewhat.”
“Why, other than the fact that he hired the assassin’s guild to kill me?”
“The guildmaster’s file was rather interesting and there may be more to it than that. Flix decided to look into things. The Richflights may be hiding something out at their estate and he’s out there. It doesn’t hurt that house Qinvaris is harvesting more or less next door.”
“I imagine that Richard is harvesting, or will be harvesting next door to just about everybody.”
“There is that.”
“Any news about Gwaerengwen?”
“There was an order for Mauve dyed silk from the Ravathrya.”
Esgalwathanar grinned. “I thought that the color was lilac.”
“Yes it is, to most of the trade. Even the House dressmakers like Balladrial use lilac when they refer to that color. Only somebody in the House would know to use it.”
“Is Calladia still in the house?”
“She’s either here, the estate or with Robin. They are coming to Jessamine’s birthday and then going to Robin’s parents for a grove dance.”
“They shouldn’t put it off. That was a mistake on my part. Putting my dance off let my sister take action against me.”
“So is Lazuli your lady or my aunt when she comes?”
“Your aunt, who is going to be seducing me as my sister gasps. We can’t send her home, but we can make her miserable.”
“The guest list for Jessamine’s birthday will do that.”
The Lower City.
Balladrial was sketching up some ideas for new gowns for the end of season balls when there was a pop and when he looked up. Calladia was standing in front of him with a package. “Here, I thought that you would like these.”
“What are they?”
“Fashion pictures from what they call magazines in the Republic. I didn’t want to bring the whole magazines, so I clipped some pictures.”
“These will be very useful. Mrs. Harper is making quite the impression. I thought that you were not coming back.”
“I discovered some things about myself that made certain things a bit easier.”
“Robin caught you at last.”
“Yes. We will be going to a grove in his parent’s kingdom right after Jessamine’s birthday.”
“How is everybody?”
“Well. Tomas has had to be the ambassador in the lady’s absence and we are kept busy. Paeris Zylvyre caused a big mess when he pushed the lady through that portal.”
“Do you think that she is dead?”
“I’m guessing that Rolin won’t go that far unless things get drastic.”
Balladrial opened the packet. “These will be very useful indeed. Steel needles? Were they expensive?”
“Very cheap and I thought that they would be useful. I would give you a sewing machine, but the Inquisition might notice.”
“A machine for sewing? I certainly could use that if we could get it past the Inquisition. It might be better to have Folmon make one using pictures from the Republic.”
“I can get those and bring up more pictures like these. Even better, I can talk to the lady’s sister and have her hand me sketches from her designers. I must go, I will see you later.”
“You are welcome this evening for dinner.”
“Mother and aunt have already nailed me this evening. They and some other family want to know all about the Republic.”
“Robin as well, I suspect.”
“What I did with Robin in the Republic will be a topic for conversation.”
She disappeared and Balladrial laughed. He started to look over the pictures, which gave him some ideas already. On the back of the pictures were more pictures that were apparently showing various things for sale, including a sewing machine. He looked at the picture and decided to pay a visit to Deiran. Perhaps Milidia would like something nice for her birthday.

Chapter 14.
Windergar Aerie, Dragonlands.
Ghedrun Flamefire swooped down and landed on the pad that he shared with his two sons and the daughter and son in law that shared the family home. His other son and daughter were in the Empire. At least the daughter was. His son had stopped sending letters and her daughter had allowed herself to be exchanged for a slave so that she could look for him as the head of House Ravathyra would not tell Ghedrun where his son was until his term of service was over. That was another five years. Ghedron’s mate Rirlon was concerned and Danni, their younger daughter had volunteered for service to look for him. Ghedron suspected that Danni was looking for something else as young dragon ladies frequently did.
Rirlon was looking at a letter and pictures that Danni had apparently sent and said, “Ghedron, Danni sent pictures of the most amazing thing. A ship in the air. Here, look.”
Ghedron did and said, “Is that Byddri up on top of the thing?”
“Danni thought so.”
“Why so many pictures of the men below?”
“I think that Danni saw something that she liked. Here read the letter.”
Ghedron did and the airship had apparently come from someplace called the Republic and was doing weather surveys. At least that was what the dragon patrols had been told. There were also some rumors that the airship was dangerous, but Danni hadn’t seen anything particularly dangerous. She did think that the young man in leather that she had taken several pictures of, was “dreamy.” When the airship showed up again, she was going to see if she could draw Byddri out and talk with him. Ghedron sighed and said, “She wants to talk with the young man, more than likely. At least as a volunteer, she doesn’t have a collar. I wonder how Byddri ended up with these folk.”
“If Danni does talk with him, I want to find out why he hasn’t sent any mail and if he has a girlfriend yet.”
“Keeping your eye on the important things, dear?”
“Somebody has to. Byddri has a new life and he should tell us about it. I want to know who these people are and what they are doing with my son.”
“You can’t go charging into the Empire and find out.”
“You could, dear. Your brother is king and the Admiral would have to listen to you or risk all his dragons being recalled. I think that we let the Ravathyra get away with too much over an old agreement that is probably rather tattered. I’m going to ask Danni and some others to give us some answers about what has been going on. Byddri disappears and Rolin tells us nothing other than he would tell us at the end of his service and no explanation of why he couldn’t send letters. Then Byddri turns up with people that we never heard of in strange things like that ship in the air.”
“I expect that Danni will make sure that we know all about them all too soon.”

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