Raider From The Sky, Chapters 19-20

The faery dances. Rolin goes to Gwen about a desertion.

Chapter 19.
Beinan House, Yllanan House, The City In The Clouds.
Rebecca mused how her life had changed in the last few five days. Where, in the not so recent past, she had been concerned about the problems of cooking for her family when she had agreed to take the job with Mrs. Harper, now her problem was keeping a large household running. Somehow and she wasn’t sure how it had happened, she was the senior woman of the house and thus expected to maintain the residence. Fortunately money was not an issue as there had been accounts that had been collecting interest since the Turmoils that she could draw on. The problem now was convincing her ten year old son that an elven tunic and hose were suitable clothes for a young man. It didn’t help that Folmon had laughed through the whole thing. Still, she had managed to get the family, elf, dwarven, half elven, and whatever they were, all dressed up and the entire mob to House Yllanan for Jessamine’s birthday. Both Lavidia and Rosaniya had insisted that she bring everybody, including the mass of kids. Evindal said, “We have quite a mob.”
“I’m not sure how I managed to end up in charge of it.”
“You and Folmon live here in the city. The rest of us have no desire to. The house needs somebody to be in charge and tradition says that a lady manages the household. That is you. Don’t worry. We won’t be leaving for some time. The house is a resource and now that the family has it back, we are going to use it.”
The mob was joined by another smaller one from the Estate and Rosaniya and her family joined them as the whole crowd waited behind Prince Ralnor’s family dismounting from sedan chairs with Princess Lelayme. Lavidia found Evindal and said, “Good, you came for this.”
“How could I not. After all, this repair put the house in jeopardy.”
“Well it did require some cutbacks. We handled it. This was a good thing.”
“Yes it is.”
The crowd had gathered and Evindal came over to the covered automata and said, “Jessamine, since it is your birthday and joining that we are celebrating today, you should uncover this.”
Jessamine did and the faery dancer that had looked so forlorn in the hall started to dance. The wings fluttered and there was a glamor that seemed to be a grove that the automata danced in. When the dance finished, Esgalwathanar came out of the crowd and said, “Thank you both for repairing this. I had forgotten just how magical it was.”
The rest of the party was a success with fae acrobats, excellent food and everybody enjoying themselves.

Chapter 20.
The Sanctum.
Gwen was watching the ship leave again. By the time she joined the rest of the people that lived in what Zanis called “The Sanctum” the ship was far offshore. Gwen wished that she could Swim away, to Strom, with Strom, but there was no way to do that. She had used Mauve to send a message, but there was no way to know if the message had been received. As the loading was finished and everybody climbed up the hill to the castle, Rolin showed up. “Are there dragons in the Republic?”
“Not that I know of. Why?”
“Because a dragon was launched from a Republican airship and is poaching from the dragonguard.”
“The dragon assaulted a member of the dragonguard, forced her to transform and carried her off to the ship.”
“As far as I know, dragonkin cannot transform in the Republic. Where the dragon from the airship came from is a bit of a mystery. There are dragons in the Fellowship, and it may be that they have a cooperative arrangement with the navy. I can hardly look into that for you here. If you send me home so that I could return to the Republic I could probably find out what is going on.”
“It was just one rather insubordinate dragon at this point. I may have to have more collars deployed. The dragon on the airship may be one that was left behind from the patrol in the hidden city. He did look a lot like Byddri. I should have thought of that as the rather insubordinate dragon was his sister.”
“Pelron had a collar, but he never said why and Radhron removed it after the raid. As far as the dragons and other prisoners from the hidden city, again, I can’t help you there.”
Rolin stomped off as Gwen started to laugh to herself about the situation. Rolin was coming to the right person to resolve issues like a desertion, but she was hardly in a position to deal with it and it was Rolin’s own fault.
Zanis commented about that over dinner. “Rolin has made more work for my mages and we’re shorthanded as it is.”
“He wants collars for the dragons. Of course, when the dragons back home hear about it, he may have recruiting issues. He probably already does, since the slave supply is low on the ground since Rolin can’t raid the Republic anymore.”
“We have a surplus of mouths to feed in any case, so sending slaves to the Aerie is not that big an issue. The real problem will be when the word gets out that the Republic and the other Blasted Lands are recruiting dragons at the Hidden City. But that is not my problem.”
The Regency Council.
Princess Glynnii had called yet another crisis meeting and Aerendyl, Princess Lelayme, Prince Ralnor, Vullas Kellan and Almon Orihice were having their usual pre meeting session while chuckling over some pictures that come in from the Victory after a recent round trip to the Hidden City. Ralnor laughed and said, “I think that the girl got what she wanted.”
The picture was of a recently deserted or taken prisoner, depending on who was telling the story, young dragonlady and a young Republican navy officer. It was obvious that the dragonlady had latched on to the naval officer. Ralnor said, “Dragon girls will do that.”
Aerendyl grinned. “Rolin is in charge of the dragonguard. So he’s the one losing his people. At least one dragon.”
They heard the rest approaching down the hall and the pictures disappeared. Glynnii opened the meeting and said, “We have a security issue.”
“We do?” Ralnor asked.
“Yes, members of the dragonguard are being assaulted by a dragon from that airship and hauled aboard. We must tell the Republic to stop taking the dragons and hand the one they have taken back as well as the traitor.”
“We have a lot of witnesses that said that our dragon was assaulting the dragon from the airship,” Aerendyl said. “The assault occurred while the airship was taking pictures of the harvest and the dragon was assisting.”
“That’s another thing. The airship should not be allowed over Imperial territory.”
“The Imperial Throne has always allowed the Houses wide leeway into who they allow and do not allow in their lands. If Richard’s father wanted the airship there and Richard said yes, that is their concern. It was Richard’s estate after all. From what I understand, Mr. Harper has commissioned a painting of the farm as a wedding present and wanted pictures for the artist.”
“We allow intrusions for something that trivial? The Empire should tell the Republic that we will not tolerate such intrusions. We also want the dragon back.”
“Has Rolin forgotten that he is at war with those people?” Ralnor said. “For that matter, one dragon, more or less is hardly going to make much of a difference in how many of Rolin’s people that are currently in the Republic. If Rolin wants to make a formal agreement for returning prisoners of war, we should invite Mr. Harper to talk with us about such things. He has asked to resolve some of these issues.”
Glynnii got red. “We should be telling the Republic what we want them to do, not negotiating with them!”
“The Republic knows what the Ravathyra and Rolin want,” Ralnor said. “The thing the rest of us are trying to avoid is all out war. If you don’t want to talk with them officially, then you must put up with those of us who do not want such a war and what goes with that. In any case, unless Rolin wants to turn the Dragonguard to the Admiralty his deserters are not this council’s problem.”
Glynnii looked around the table and ended the meeting.
House Qinvaris, The City In The Clouds.
Princess Lelayme came into the parlor where Rosaniya and Lythienne were working on correspondence with Rebecca. They couldn’t get the slaves from the Republic emancipated, but they could provide a means to open communication for those who had their loved ones taken. Deiran’s ships were now carrying mail and Rebecca and Benedicta had hired mail carriers in the Lower City. The mail service had proved to be popular and even half elves and non slaves had started to use it. Rosaniya looked at the princess. “Lelayme, what brings you here today?”
“I wanted to find out what was really going on with that dragon lady.”
“That’s easy,” Lythienne said. “She saw her brother aboard the airship and then she saw somebody that she wanted to meet, so she arranged to have herself taken prisoner. She sent mail to her parents.”
“We don’t want to encourage desertion in the dragonguard.”
“That’s Rolin’s fault. He treats the guard like he does every other slave and I imagine that doing things that way grates on the dragons. In any case the dragon lady assaulted the dragon that was taking pictures and the dragon defended himself and took the lady prisoner, so she wasn’t deserting.”
Lelayme grinned. “I am given to understand that the dragon who the lady assaulted was her brother, that he had never won a fight with her in the air before and she gave up rather quickly. Did somebody on the airship get pictures?”
“Funny that you should mention them,” Rebecca said. Here they are.”
Rebecca handed the pictures to Lelayme, she looked at them and grinned. “Yes a hard combat indeed. Aparently the men taking the pictures were not bothered and the dragon was hardly stressed.”
Lythienne said, “Rolin is lucky that the airlines haven’t started to poach yet.”
“How so?”
“Being an airline pilot is good money and the airlines hire attractive young ladies for recruitment. You should tell Rolin to keep the dragonguard out of House Yllanan for the time being or he will discover what real poaching is. I will add that the young man who Danni attached herself to, has a sister whose husband is a dragon and runs an airline. The young man is nagged by his mother because he’s staying in the navy rather than flying for his brother in law. Tom considers himself lucky that he was able to convince Byddri to work with the navy. The other three dragons that were in the Hidden City all fly mail now.”
Lelayme laughed. “Poor Rolin. He has had such a difficult season this year. How are the girls doing? I notice that Nimue is not here practicing today.”
“She’s out at the estate,” Rosaniya said . “Richard wants the girls helping this time of year and they do. You would be surprised at the change from elegant elf girls to hard working farm girls.”
“Which one is the real girl?”
“Either or both. As Nimue said, Richard wants the girls well rounded, able to handle a farm or business as well as being an ornament.”
“He got that from his father,” Lythienne said, “who was the same way with my girls. Of course they showed how well that worked by making first class catches. In any case, I expect that your girls will be just fine, Rosa.”
“I’m afraid some fae boys will drag both of them off to the faery kingdom.”
“That isn’t that far and I doubt that your girls would want to stay away all the time. Mine don’t. If nothing else, they will want to dump the kids on grandma all too frequently.”
Windergar Aerie, Dragonlands.
Ghedrun sighed as he stood outside his brother Indrut’s aerie. Indrut had been rather nasty to him over the fact that Danni had apparently deserted the Dragonguard and that had led to a rather bitter argument when Indrut was sure that Ghedrun was responsible. He looked at the rather large packet that Danni and Byddri had sent. It was apparent that Danni had found everything that she was looking for and a lot more as well. Ghedrun thought about the rather disturbing contents of the packet as he walked into his brother’s aerie. His brother looked up from the desk where he was working and said, “Now what do you want, brother? I’m not very pleased with you, right now.”
“Indrut, The Admiral has not been fully honest with us, at least not to me.”
“How so?”
“Did you know that dragons taken to the Hidden City were considered slaves?”
“Who told you that?”
“Byddri, who was sent there three years ago and wasn’t allowed to send letters.”
“So you take the word of a traitor over the Admiral’s?”
“Danni and Byrddri sent proof as well. The Admiral left a lot of documents behind and apparently the dragons sent to the Hidden City were disposed of in the Republic when their tour was about to end or they were killed. That explains the missing dragons that never returned. As for Byddri, he was abandoned by the Admiral, along with everybody else when he was attempting to recover his nephew. ”
“What do you mean everyone else?”
“All the members of his fleet and everyone in the Hidden City. The only reason that my son and thousands of others survived is that the Republic wanted them alive, if possible. The Admiral did not tell us of the reverses earlier in the year nor did he tell us about some important things like the death of his brother and the fact that the raiding fleet was taken, along with Paeris, alive. I suspect that the Dragonguard is lucky that we never encountered the Republican ships. In any case I will leave this with you. I think that we must talk with the Admiral and get some answers. If the Admiral will not give them, then I can’t see that the agreement can be maintained.”
“That is not for you to decide. I will look at the material and consider this.”
“Very well. I will be discussing this with our brother and the rest of the council. I have been reluctant to look into why Byddri never sent any letters. I will send a reply and see if there is more.”
Ghedrun left his brother’s Aerie.

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