Raider From The Sky, Chapter 25-26

A coaster has attracted attention. House Qinvaris makes plans for visitors.

La-12 (Intrepid)
The weather was bad as the airship headed north and Byddri was glad that he had managed to arrange to have Danni left behind. Byddri was in leathers in the control car with Nathan as Nathan had the watch and the airship was cruising higher than usual in an attempt to get around the storm. So far they had managed it, but the crew had been relying on Byrddri’s innate dragon senses to make sure that the airship did not get lost and find a rock in the clouds. Nathan turned to Byddri. “This was dicier than we figured. I think that we should have listened to your sister and brought her like she wanted. You need to sleep sometimes.”
“We had no way of knowing. We’re still on course. It’s almost morning. We can rest at the Qinvaris if we have to.”
The watch ended with the dawn coming over the horizon on the ocean. The weather calmed with the dawn and Captain Bushbury came into the control car. “We seemed to have survived the night.”
“Thanks to Byddri, we didn’t encounter any rocks, sir,” Nathan said.
“Where are we?”
“About forty miles from the coast, one hundred miles south of Eryding,” Byddri said.
“A bit closer to the coast than we want to be right now,” the captain said. “Chief, point us two points east for about four twentieths. Bydrri, would the Dragonguard be up in this?”
“If the storm hits the shore, they might be, looking for wrecks or ships in distress. We used to work with seafolk for rescue work.”
“Then get some rest. There aren’t any rocks out here and I want you rested this evening. I think that when your sister says that we should take her, we will listen the next time.”
“She does have that habit of being right. But she was in more jeopardy until dad gets here. I, at least, have a documented relationship with you folks and the Ravathrya did abandon us. For that matter, Camus Petris himself will have to admit that I gave warning and did my best to do my job. He left us out to dry in the Hidden City. We did not desert. With Danni, that is a bit different and my uncle may be forced to deal strongly with her if it comes to that.”
RNS Victory
Captain Christie looked at the crystal plot that divided the chart room from the room where the gadget and its operators worked. The crystal was something that Admiral Shanelis had on his wall that showed when he had ships out and when Captain Christie had seen it, he has ask the Admiral who made it and Representative Harper had purchased one for both Victory and Enterprise. Right now the plot had a coaster that had emerged from Eryding and the airship. Victory was far off the coast and probably below the coaster’s horizon. In any case, Dolphin was watching the ship as well. When Mr. Harper had explained why this particular coaster was worth the attention it was getting, Captain Christie had wanted the job of tailing it. After all, he had missed all the fun with the Ravathrya because the four pirate ships hadn’t been able to take any trading vessels. This time, the Shanelis had a watcher in Eryding with a radio that Admiral Zylvyre didn’t know about. So finding the coaster had been a matter of waiting for it to show up. For that matter, the captain had a list of the stops that the coaster made. He didn’t know how the Representative had obtained the list, but it was going to be useful when tracking the coaster.
Lieutenant Fuvan Broadaxe, his first Lieutenant, came into the chartroom and said, “I doubt that any coaster has ever attracted this much attention.”
“It isn’t the coaster we want, it’s where the coaster is going. If Admiral Zylvyre is going to the lengths he has to hide whatever is, we want to know about it.”
“I know, sir. It still seems strange.”
“There is a lot going with this that I don’t think that anybody in the Republic understands. The only thing we can do is attempt to figure out what is really going on so that the Republic can act, rather than just react.”
“Don’t you think that the raids are over, now that the Ravathyra no longer have a fleet?”
“The guy on the other side threw that fleet away. He was willing to throw all his people in the water so that he could recover that bastard, Paeris. Unfortunately, or fortunately, for him, Paeris didn’t go with the plan. That portal was going to send Paeris someplace. That coaster is probably going to that place or someplace near. We want to find that place and see what is there.”
“What could be there?”
“I have no idea. Whatever it is could be some new kind of ship, another fleet or some kind of monster from the Old Empire. In any case, we want to know what is going on before it shows up on the coast of the Republic.”
“I can’t argue with that. By the way, I relieve you, sir. Get some rest.”
The lieutenant saluted and the captain returned it. “I stand relieved. Call me if something changes.”

Chapter 26.
House Qinvaris – Princess Lelayme’s Castle.
Lavidia popped into the front hall. “Hello Hubys, is milady Harper here?”
“Yes she is, milady. So what brings you here today?”
“A rather interesting letter came through the portal from Empire House and I thought that I would deliver it and catch up.”
“Milady is in the parlor. Milady Rosaniya is at the farm with Richard and her daughters preparing for the end of harvest dinner.”
“Now that sounds like a party.”
“It is. They hold it at the shed in the market and the lady has all sorts of entertainment, drink and things to eat. Of course the great houses ignore it, but perhaps you can go, if you like.”
“I will ask Rosa. I imagine that all sorts of rather inappropriate things go on there. I will see you before I leave for the details.”
Lavidia went into the parlor, Lythienne looked up and said, “Lavidia, so what brings you here today?”
“A rather unusual message. I was a bit nervous to unseal it. I don’t think that it is locked, but this looks like a royal seal. The other was addressed to you, so I thought that I would hand the whole thing over to you.”
Lavidia handed the two letters over to Lythienne, who opened the one addressed to her and said, “Lilly is bringing everybody to the wedding on the Royal yacht. The seal looks like Dan’s. Why don’t we go and see Lelayme and warn her that she has an impending state visit on her hands.”
“Who is Dan?”
“My grandson. If I had to guess, he was stationed at the embassy in the Republic again, dropped by Empire House, looking for poor Calladia, more than likely and Tomas wouldn’t use the portal for a personal message, but would for a diplomatic correspondence, so Dan wrote one up. That is a good thing as my daughter is perfectly willing to just show up with kids, yacht, bodyguards and all the rest of it.”
“I take it that she has done that before.”
“Yes, which caused Tom some anxiety. Dan has probably already talked with Tom, so the yacht will have an escort. We can have it anchor at the Qinvaris port.”
“The yacht is that big?”
“Yes. After all, it has to handle the entire royal family and all that goes with that. The kingdom will also be sending an escort. So we should make sure to invite Aerendyl.”
“Speaking about invitations, I understand that Rosaniya is giving a rather larger party.”
“Yes. The end of harvest dinner. You and Teiran can come with your kids as my guests.”
“Thank you. I was going to ask Rosa if she wants the Fae circus again.”
“That has been handled. Rosa has had a lot of practice with these.”
“Do we tell her about your family arriving for the wedding?”
Lythienne grinned. “You are the fae, what do you think?”
“We can probably handle the family when they come. You can check with the staff here and you know what they are like better than I do. I will let you decide. We should tell Lelayme.”
“Yes, and Justiciar Zylmyar.”
“She handles the palace security. She was rather concerned that Dan and I had not provided for security and went to talk to Captain McRodden about it and afterwards, she started to send letters back and forth to Tom, who sent some people including some rather large marines that Rolin would not like very much if he spotted them.”
“Why not?”
“The marines are former enhanced slave soldiers. Rolin hasn’t seen what General Ironaxe gets from Rolin’s slaves. In any case, I hired Tony to provide such services when I arrived and told the Justiciar that when I talked with her.”
“I haven’t noticed any extra people.”
“Tony doesn’t work that way. He likes to have unobtrusive people unless he is making it known that security is present, as he does at the casino. You see Tony and his cousin, looking like they do, out front, and don’t see the people ready to handle things. I think he picked that up from Dan, when he was a kid and being a messenger between Sal and Dan.”
“Is that what he has Midnight doing?”
“Probably, somewhat. On the other hand, Tony is good at using distractions. Why don’t we go take this important message to Lelayme and discuss it with her.”
Lythienne arranged for a carriage and the ladies went through the portal to Lelayme’s castle. When they were escorted into her parlor, Lelayme asked, “So what have you two brought me today?”
“An interesting note from my grandson,” Lythienne replied with a grin. “I think that my daughter is setting up to surprise Rosa.”
“How so?”
“Have I mentioned what happens when my youngest visits?”
“Something about state visits, as I recall.”
“Yes. Well, Lilly is coming in the Kingdom’s royal yacht and bringing as many of the family as she can. I imagine that Tom and Sekku will make their own arrangements, but the rest will probably accept Lilly’s offer. Here’s the letter that my grandson sent.”
Lelayme broke the seal and looked at it. “This is a request for a state visit by Prince Brouzen and his wife to attend Richard’s wedding. I take it that the Prince’s wife is one of your daughters.”
“Yes, she is. Lilly tends to be a bit spontaneous, especially when she travels.”
“That explains why her son Daniel sent this, though it mostly says to ask you for the details.”
“Dan wanted to use Calladia to let me know that Lilly had put this together and Tomas probably balked at using the portal for a personal message, so he sent that to you, with my letter attached.”
“I’m going to assume that this isn’t the first time that you have handled something like this.”
“This circus? Not hardly. For a time, Lilly would visit at least once a year. I’m not surprised that she put this together at all. I just wanted to give you and Justiciar Zylmyar a heads up.”
“Thank you for that. Richard’s family has been a bit of a surprise. Have you told Rosa yet?”
“Not yet. Between the quarters on the yacht, the inn and the houses, I think that we can accommodate everyone. Lavidia, I will probably want to borrow those extra carriages that you bought. I will discourage the prince from unloading that barge that he gets driven around in. I don’t think that it will fit through the portals. I also don’t want to stress Merialeth too much. She makes a far better friend than an enemy. So, no cars other than on the estate. Knowing my son in law, there will be guns for Rosa’s boys, but I can live with that.”
Lelayme laughed. “So your family continues its habit of being inappropriate.”
“I will deal with the circus.”

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