Raider From The Sky, Chapter 31-32

Peri goes to a book sale. Strom and Sudyral visit Eryding

Chapter 31.
The Hall of Inquisition- the Lower City.
Peri grinned as he looked at the portal in front of him. Finding the library portal had not been easy as it was in a rather unused room in the back of the Inquisitor’s Hall. Apparently, the Inquisitors didn’t use their library very much. It had taken Peri a five day of snooping around the Hall to find it after he had talked with Aduin Beinan about it. Cracking portals was easy if you had the son of the elf who had created the system to talk to and all the portal codes. Peri could use the portal anytime he wanted and anybody who checked the usage would never see that he had. The problem was that the portal led to a locked door on the other side and he didn’t want to risk making noise by trying to pick the old fashioned lock and in the two five days that he had been watching the portal, he had been the only one to use it. In fact, the portal hadn’t been used in moons. Peri Jumped to the library in the Lower City in frustration. Dessielle looked up and said, “Good, you are here.”
“Why?”
“Once a year there is a rather discreet book faire in the community hall and Tarron, his sons, my brothers, and now you are going. We can load up the cart.”
The cart was heavy by the time they were ready and Peri said, I am surprised that you are giving so many books up, Tarron?”
“Most of these are elvish poetry and I have copies already. All of these are extra copies. I sell them so that the copyist’s efforts are not wasted. Of course I buy and trade as well. This is a good opportunity to meet some of the people that maintain libraries.”
“Who comes to the faire?”
“Servants from the great houses, some elves that like reading and the archivists at the palace and other institutions. Most of the people there are from the Lower City and are just sharing books around. Still, the most amazing things show up and it’s a lot of fun.”
Dessielle must have spread the word as Midnight and Chrissie Lion joined them as well as several of Dessielle’s friends, who brought their own cart, rather empty. Peri wasn’t surprised when Dan and Taranth joined them. Dan and Taranth didn’t bring a cart and when they arrived at the hall that was explained by a wagon staffed by Qinvaris people loaded with books that must have come from the Republic as they were all rather uniform. Peri said to Dan, “What is this about?”
“Grandmother. She had a stack of books sent over and wants to use them as trades for the things that she liked from when she was a girl.”
“So your grandmother is trading books that the Inquisition may not like for books of Evlish poetry.”
“That is about the size of it.”
As the rather large mob started to unload and set up the tables they brought, Traelion showed up with his son in law, daughter, some rather tough looking guard types and his grandkids. Peri’s dad showed up and said, “Good, you are here. I’m glad your mother told me about this.”
“Why?”
“We need to rebuild the library at the estate. My stepbrother sort of made off with it and your grandmother was a bit annoyed that Gwen couldn’t arrange to get some things sent back before she was taken.”
“Why not?”
“Because Radhron has a deal with his engineer, Strom Ironshield that Strom gets all the libraries that they found on their raids, including ours. Gwen was working on arrangements when she was taken. According to Calladia, Gwen was also chasing Strom.”
“So Strom is like Edwin was.”
“Yes. Apparently he’s just the Lady’s type. He did the thing that attracted her attention.”
“The same way Uncle Edwin did, by turning her down? That story was all over the estate.”
“Yes, that is exactly what happened. Of course Mr. Ironshield is seafolk, which makes things interesting.”
Peri grinned. “Very interesting, considering Galassiel. So you are here buying books for grandmother. Why is the Justiciar here?”
“Other than to buy or trade books? Look over there.”
Walking into the hall was an Inquisitor with several junior Inquistors. Traelion walked over and said, “Milord Delion, I trust that you will abide by the rules here.”
The Inquisitor looked like he was about to explode and said, “I will abide by the rules, Justiciar. I may buy any books that I choose. I cannot arrest anybody for having a book with suspected heretical content and I cannot confiscate any books without a writ. Any disputes and I must go to a Justiciar.”
Teiran turned to his son and said, “Why don’t we talk to Traelion. You haven’t met him yet, have you?”
“No I haven’t, actually. I know his daughter and Gander, because Dessielle knows the kids, but not the Justiciar.”
Peri followed his father over to the Justiciar and Teiran said, “Justiciar, you haven’t met my other son, so I thought that I would introduce you.”
“I haven’t, surprisingly. This is Periwinkle, that I have heard so much about from my grandchildren.”
“Yes. Peri, this is Justiciar Traelion.”
“I know. I’ve seen him at the Qinvaris party in the park, my sister’s birthday party and around the lower city, but I never had the chance to talk with him. Did the Inquisitor cause some problems?”
“A while ago. About twenty years ago he had a bunch of booksellers hauled out because the books had heretical content. That caused rather a fiasco and Justiciar Zylsalor was not pleased, especially when he discovered that Delion had not bothered to obtain any writs of any kind. He was rather nasty, banned Delion from the Lower City for five years unless he had an escort from the guard, released all the booksellers and forced Delion to compensate them for their lost time and sales. Ever since, Alen and I make sure that at least one of us comes and keeps an eye on the clown. I see that Mrs. Harper has hired Tony for her setup.”
Peri looked and Tony was there, discreetly standing in the shadows. “Midnight brought Chrissie too.”
“That isn’t a surprise.What does the family think about the relationship?”
“We fae tend to be fairly loose about such things,” Teiran said. “Once a bond forms, trying to mess with it end up with too much misery. That being said, my brother in law and his wife like Chrissie and get along with Tony and Eirina just fine.”
“There’s Mrs. Harper.”
There she was, with Rosaniya and the girls, along with some rather large types that were handling the load and making it look easy. They made the Junior Inquisitors rather nervous as Delion was frowning at the stack of books that Mrs. Harper was pushing. Delion paid for a set of the books and Peri had a thought. He turned to his father and said, “I think that I will help Mrs. Harper out for a bit.”
He went over to where the Junior Inquisitors were trying to handle the books and said, “Did you bring a cart?”
The young elf looked at him and said, “No, we didn’t. Lord Delion doesn’t usually buy like this. Do you have one?”
“I do, and let me give you a hand with these.”
Peri helped the Junior Inquisitors load the books into the library’s cart and they said, “We’ll bring this right back,” as they headed to the portal.
Peri went back inside and his father was talking to Mrs. Harper. They looked at him and Terian said, “What was that about?”
“Other than doing a favor for some guys who needed it? Let’s just say that I was interested in where the Inquisition sends the books they find and I imagine that these books are just full of heresy.”
Mrs. Harper grinned. “You can say that. Mostly that is a rather long history of the Empire, but there are other books that the Inquisitor bought. What did you do to them, Peri?”
“I tagged them, so that I can see where they end up. It’s a project for Lelayme. When the Inquisitor showed up, he made things easy.”
“Why don’t I have Midnight help you with that?”
The rest of the sale, the Inquisitors had help as Delion’s haul got larger. Of course he was a bit frustrated as every time he bought a set of books from Mrs. Harper’s table, there would be another one set up. At the end of the day, some rather exhausted Junior Inquisitors left with an unhappy Delion and Mrs. Harper discreetly handed over copies of everything to a smiling Tarron. As the rather large types were filling the cart she said, “If you run out of room, let me know. Your library would hardly be the first one that I arranged expansion for.”
Peri helped his father load yet another set of books in the cart that his brother had brought as well as some things that Peri had found and some random books that Jessamine and Flix had bought. Poor Wyn was a bit upset at the load on the cart by the time they were done and headed back to the castle. When they arrived, Peri’s mother looked at the load and said, “You did better than I expected.”
“Somebody in the Republic has a way of making books easily and Lythienne was trading or giving away books like you wouldn’t believe” Taeran said. “I think that I and Inquisitor Delion were the only people that actually paid for theirs, weren’t we, Peri?”
“Yes, I think that was true. Of course the Inquisitor was a bit of an idiot.”
“How so?” Peri’s mother asked.
“I don’t think he realized that Mrs. Harper could just haul out more books until he bought the fourth set trying to squelch the heresy.”
“What project are you working on for the princess and why did you tag the books that the inquisition bought?” Teiran asked.
“The princess wanted me to chase down the history of the Empire and see if I could make some connections for her. This is part of the project that you and she are working on, mother. I talked with Great aunt Hyacinth, since she was there during the Turmoils. She mentioned the Inquisition’s library.”
“Being who you are, you were trying to sneak inside. That could be dangerous, young man.”
“I’ve been careful and I talked to Adiun Beinan about the portal. I had all the codes and cracking the portal was easy. The problem was that nobody really uses the library, the portal leads to an empty room with a locked door and the windows are high up and don’t open. I don’t know what’s on the other side of the door and I didn’t want to leave something with a tracer on it in the room. But I figured that at least some of the books that Delion was buying will end up there and I put trackers on all of them.”
Peri’s parents shared grins. Teiran said, “You have done well. You haven’t been impatient and you took advantage of the opportunity when it arose.”
The Imperial Palace, City In The Clouds.
Lelayme went to her father’s room and he wasn’t there. He had apparently gone out and when he arrived it was with her mother and a stack of books. “Mother! This is a surprise!”
“Not really, I suspect.”
“Well, I did talk with father here, who was sneaking out again today. Where did you go?”
“The discreet book market in the lower city,” Lelayme’s father said. “Don’t worry. Peri, Dessielle and Tony were all there, doing other things and I’ve been going there for years. I think that people would be more surprised if I didn’t show up than if I did. It was fun this year.”
“What happened?”
“I think I will let Glynnii tell you when she calls the meeting. Poor Delion was rather overcome when dealing with Mrs. Harper.”
“Rosaniya or Lythienne?”
“Lythienne, primarily. She brought a cartload of book sets from the Republic and was trading them for books of poetry and things. Apparently she misses the original books she had as a girl.”
“Also spreading heresy, I expect.”
“There is that, which got Delion involved. The problem is that Delion can’t just confiscate books, arrest the sellers or do anything other than buy books. So he bought the books that Mrs. Harper had, trying to squelch the heresy. I think it took him four times before he realized that Mrs. Harper would just haul out another set of the things. Peri helped the Junior Inquisitors haul the whole thing away.”
“Why did he do that?”
“Because I hinted that the Inquisitors had a library,” Hyacinth said. “I figured that he might be able to crack it. If what he was doing today was part of it, he’s working on it.”
“What was he doing?”
“Helping the junior Inquisitors with the books that Delion was buying and tagging them as he did.”
Lelayme laughed. “That was sneaky. Of course he has probably already cracked the portal. Being in the Beinan family has its advantages.”
“Peri hadn’t mentioned who he bonded with when he talked with me. I was a bit surprised that he knew to look for me, but once he knew that Maethanar was not mad, the fact that I was missing was fairly obvious and once he started to look there weren’t very many candidates for him to look into and Lazuli has apparently found somebody.”
“Yes she has, surprisingly.”
“I think that that I will talk with her and see if she will introduce me to Peri’s parents, at least his father. Lavidia apparently hasn’t changed very much, though her being here in the city is a surprise. I want to meet with them.”
“They have made the Empire fun this year, haven’t they, father.”
“Yes they have. The Ravathyra are rather upset, though.”
Lelayme’s mother was looking out over the park and said, “The swans dance again. How did that happen?”
“Rosaniya wanted something special for her wedding, Lythienne noticed the broken swans and Lavidia knew the Beinans. So Rosa spent some of Richard’s money. She has to or the Empire could have issues. So the swans are a good thing. Lythienne apparently does that.”
“She is an exile, isn’t she?”
“Yes,” Maethanar said. “Of course, when she found out about Rosa and Richard, she managed to get herself back fairly quickly. She’s also hasn’t let any opportunities to poke either the Ravathyra or the Inquisition in the eye go to waste. Today was a perfect example.”
Hyacinth looked at her daughter with a bit of a serious expression. “By the way, Lelayme, how did Maethanar get to that party that you went to in the first place?”
“It was right outside and father was getting a bit melancholy. The party was looking to be part of the ongoing battle between Leilatha and Lavidia and I thought that father should have a chance to enjoy himself. It worked for the most part, but Peri is rather astute, as you have discovered, Dessielle is no slouch either and Tony was watching for trouble from Lielatha’s party and looking after me. So they picked up on father and figured out who he was. They didn’t exactly blurt that out and this way they can cover for father and do things for us.”
“Look for me, for instance.”
“Peri did that on his own. Were you bothered?”
“Surprised. On the other hand, you are right about those little and not so little tasks.”
“Peri talks about his family as if they used the faery kingdom as a playground.”
“They did, somewhat.”
“Even the non fae?”
“That line is a bit blurred with that bunch. They were all tested and passed, so food was never an issue. As to how fae they wanted to be, it depended. Some of them have some unhappy girl and boyfriends looking for them to return, some are under sea and some just left without having anybody yet. In any case the border was ignored pretty much by everybody.”
“Including Galassiel?”
“Galassiel, definitely, until she bonded with that young man from the Republic. So when will we see you in a grove?”
“Mother, you keep bringing this up. We have to wait or we could lose the Empire.”
“You’ve said that and I’m beginning to see that you are right, at least partially. Also, I hope you realize that if the right character shows up, none of that will matter. You will end up in a grove whether you like it or not.”
“What if he is an elf?”
“You know Esgalwathanar. He ended up miserable because he waited and Begonia was killed by the monsters. As for the right character being an elf, you are too fae, even if you deny it to not end up in a grove. If it happens, don’t wait and risk what happened to Esgalwathanar. We can deal with keeping the Empire together. In any case, Ralnor can still appear as an elf for as long as need be.”
“Edraele is an elf.”
“Seriously, do you believe that? I admit that she hides it very well, but we knew what she was hiding when your father and I opened negotiations. The elves here in the city are all caught up in their pure blood, or at least they would like you to believe that. But Esgalwathanar is hardly the only one keeping secrets out on his estate and some of the secrets have come back.Of course the truly courageous are the ones like Lavidia and your friend Rosaniya, who don’t try to hide anything.”
“They have been remarkable.”
“Tell me all about them.”

Chapter 32.
Eribelle
Dolphin had diverted to Eribelle to drop off the pictures of the strange dock and Adlar Gretis had dinner with Admiral Shanelis and his wife, along with their in- laws. Adlar asked, “Did you have trouble with Illianaro and Aegaea?”
“At first there was some strain, as I was disappointed that Illianaro was not going to marry an elf,” Aerendyl said. “That was coupled with relief that he hadn’t died in the wreck.”
“How did you get along with the seafolk?”
“Before they were family? We had warred with them in the past as they raided the coast and then the bower was established and they were neighbors, something we all have benefited from.”
“If Aegaea was from here, how did she end up on the beach with Illianaro?”
Nautia said, “My daughter wanted Illianaro when she saw him leave one day and chased him for five years, including stowing away on his ship. She had stowed away, but not been caught yet when Illianaro ran aground to the north of here and the ship sank in the storm. Illianaro lost everybody, but Aegaea managed to rescue him. She had him on the beach and took advantage. They make a wonderful couple, like you and Kailiani will.”
“My mother is a bit annoyed about that. On the other hand, she came out to the island to talk to Illianaro and Aegaea all too quickly, likes Kailiani and the idea that I can’t drown. Admiral, where was Illianaro’s ship sunk?”
Aerendyl frowned. “Why do you ask?”
“Because I had the feeling that the Ravathyra don’t want people poking into that place we found and with enough mages, you can bring a storm up. Did Illianaro recover his logs and charts?”
“Actually Aegaea brought them back when they Swam to the nearest port. We have them. Why do you ask?”
“I’m asking because that place didn’t appear on the Ravathrya’s charts or yours. Nor did it appear on the coaster’s itinerary. Also, there were no navigational aids. No lighthouse, no channel bouys, nothing. The other ports all had a lighthouse. If there was somebody watching and they spotted the frigate, a random storm and no survivors would cover them fairly well. Even if there were survivors, they would head for the ports they know and not find whatever that place is.”
“You make some very good points. I don’t think that we have time for this before you leave, but stop back on your return patrol.”
“Illianaro and Aegaea are at the Hidden City. I will take everything there and talk with them.”
Nautia grinned, “Kailiani as well, I suspect.”
“Kailiani was there before her parents. Republican steamships make provisions for mermaids and the ship stops at the island and the Hidden City. The captain had to move his headquarters with him. Of course, as soon as I get leave, I’m in trouble. Now that she knows that mother approves, she probably has a beach trip all lined up.”
The table leapt into uproarious laughter.

Eryding.
Strom was amazed how well things had worked. Sudyral had suggested that rather than being a slave smith, Strom should be a slave scribe and clerk. Slaves that could perform as smiths were rare and valued for the reasons that Strom had told Sudyral when they met. A slave scribe was as scarce as hen’s teeth because very few Houses bothered with literate slaves. So literate slaves either came from the Republic, with the slave being rather rebellious and unhappy with his lot unless coddled or House Qinvaris, who almost never sold the slave without guarantees of things like paying the slave what he was worth. So slaves that could handle business details were highly sought after and it wasn’t ususual for a house to assign a junior member like Sudyral to watch the slave, learn the business and make sure that slave thieves didn’t mess with the slave’s collar. In the two five days that Strom had been in Eryding, ostensibly to track down a minor shipping issue for his House, thieves had tried to steal Strom twice and Sudyral had made a fairly good chunk of money hiring Strom out to clerk and conduct business while Sudyral watched him. The coaster that handled the north was not going to return for two five days and Sudyral had already booked the passage north where they were ostensibly meeting with the factor on the family property to clear up some issues involving a barn and planks and beams not shipped.
Strom was at work when Sudyral walked in. Sudyral was grinning as he said, “We have to run an errand.”
“Where, young master?”
“A clerk near the shore has some items related to the property and I must deal with it for mother.”
“I am amost done here, master, so we can go.”
Sudyral was meeting with the Shanelis spy here in Eryding. The young half elf blended into the mass of similar boys that were all too common in the city. Apparently the Zylvyres were not much different than the rest of the great families about certain things. The boys ran in gangs or did various jobs, never quite being members of the family. Strom contrasted that with House Yllanan where Esgalwathanar’s various by blows and their families had essentially been the House for some time. In any case, Sudyral had become virtually invisible in the crowd. Strom followed Sudyral down to the harbor and a small counting and ware house. There was a half elf who said, ‘Young man, you brought your clerk. Perhaps we can clear this up for your mother.”
“Fredparin, this is Strom.”
“Come in and let us get started.”
Strom and Sudyral followed the man in and Sudyral said, Strom, this is Fredparin Reyjeon. He has something for you from some friends.”
Fredparin grinned as he handed a packet over to Strom. “Some friends off shore were following the Lyrei and they found this interesting place.”
Strom was looking at the pictures and said, “I presume you have seen these.”
“Yes I have. The people on the other end didn’t say that I shouldn’t and if I had needed to destroy them because Camus’s people were sniffing around, I needed to be able to describe what is in the pictures.”
“The wall between the dock and the shore is interesting. It probably makes things inconvenient. The castle above and the rest of it is rather substantial and they don’t seem to be cutting timber or any of the other things that they should be doing.”
“The towns above and below that place do not have any structures that substantial and they cut the timber and load it on ship in Bled and Green. The place in the pictures does not appear on any charts nor on any maps.”
“It appears that there are some fishing and farming villages, but the boats are not on the water. When does the Lyrei return?”
“Usually in another five day, where is unloads and loads before leaving a five day later.”

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