Raider From The Sky, Chapter 39-40

“Have you ever thought that Lord Delion was an idiot?”
“I try not to think of it. We just have to do our jobs and keep our parents happy.”

Chapter 39.
The Hidden City.
Peri and Dessielle sat across the table from Danni and Kythaela in a new seaside café that had a pool for seafolk, in this case, Kailiani and Galassiel. Peri and Dessielle had had a rather confusing and interesting five day in the Republic while their mana recharged, during which, things like having papers were taken care of. Dessielle had also done quite a bit of clothes shopping with Nyla and arranged with Edwin to send the purchases home. Peri had made the preliminary arrangements and his cousins had recruited a crew for the pirate ship, something that was amazingly easy to do. They even had a camera crew along and were making something called a movie about one of Paeris Zylvyre’s raids. It was planned to have the Waestoris estate and the library stand in for a random Blasted Land town. The Library was going to be destroyed on camera.
In any case, Peri was entertaining the girls with the stories from the events of the last few moons. When he was done, Galassiel said, “Strom has gone after mother. I hope he drags her under.”
“So you think that he will?” Danni asked.
“I hope that he doesn’t go all noble like Brendan did. Mom needs somebody. I understand now why father neglected her and us, but mom got the short end of the deal and then she had to send Edwin away.”
“I don’t think that Strom will go all noble,” Peri said. “Nyla said that he was a regular customer.”
“That was a night of comfort after his wife died. I think that Strom needs somebody too. I do know that now that mom doesn’t feel that she has to be the perfect elven ornament, she can be what she wants, not that she hasn’t done her fair shair of mischief.”
“Did she go into the fae forest?”
“We all did. You weren’t around when things started, but your grandfather made sure that just about everybody was tested so that there wouldn’t be any accidents with faery food being left around. Even then, some of those peas got out because people like them, but for everybody at the estate, that was a nonissue. You have been with father. How did he turn out to be so much fun?”
“We didn’t poke him enough. Part of it was that I didn’t think that we thought we would be welcome at the townhouse and part of it was that mom and grandmother didn’t want us poking around in the capital and upsetting the factions. Of course most of the factions wouldn’t have been upset, but we had no way of knowing that.”
“So, are there going to be accomadations for mermaids at Rosaniya’s wedding? I want to meet her when mother is back.”
“You should. As far as mermaids go, I’m not sure. There was some discussion about a pool in the park, but getting it built would probably take too much time for the wedding. Dessieille, did you notice them starting a pool?”
“I’m not sure. There is a lot of work going on. Galassiel, I will look into that. Considering that it is Mrs. Harper and she goes big on things, has mentioned seafolk and is amazing about getting things done, she probably will have a pool.”
Danni looked up and said, “The airship is back. I wonder what they found.”

The Hall of Inquisition.
Junior Inquisitor Aithlin Hermaer looked at his partner, Kindroth Orina and said, “Have you ever thought that Lord Delion was an idiot?”
“I try not to think of it. We just have to do our jobs and keep our parents happy.”
Aithlin looked at the cart they were towing in disgust. Inside were three more sets of the History Of The Empire that Lord Delion had found in various bookshops and purchased. Rather than looking as if the Inquisition was making off with their children as the booksellers had in the past, the booksellers had all smiled at them. In any case, it was off to the library with the books, since Lord Waestoris frowned on burning books. They went to the little used portal, Aithlin activated it and they went through, to the city gates. Kindrith looked at Aithlin and said, “Did you do something wrong?”
“I did it the way I always do. Let’s get back to the Hall and try again. Maybe it was a glitch.”
They went to the first portal that wasn’t being used and ported back to the Hall. They marched through the Hall and this time Kindrith activated the portal. They went through and ended up, at the city gates. They stomped to the first portal that wasn’t being used and ported through. They started through the Hall again and Junior Inquisitor Malon Ianren looked at them and said, “Just how many of these things did Lord Delion buy?”
“These are the same books,” Aithlin snarled. “There is a glitch in the library portal.”
“It worked fine when I used it after the book faire. Did you check your keys?”
“We were going to do that. Kindrith, lets put this cart by the portal and see mage Sanev about our keys.”
They did that, the mage was not busy, so they walked into his office. He looked at them and said, “I hope that you are not wasting my time.”
Aithlin winced and said, “No, mage Sanev. We have a glitch with either our keys or the portal to the library.”
“A glitch?”
“Yes, we tried the portal and it twice sent us to the city gates rather than the library.”
“Let me reset your keys.”
The mage did and they went back to the portal, Aithlin activated it, they went through and ended up at the city gates. Aithlin looked at the smiling guards, turned to Kithlin and said, “Let’s take these things to the library portal room, stack them up and put the cart away. It’s time to go home anyway.”
“What about the portal?”
“Do you know who to talk to about portals? I don’t.”
“We can check with Master Dorro.”
“In the morning. He is already gone and anybody he would send us to is gone as well.”
They hauled the cart back to the hall, having a bit of a wait as people in the city center were using the portals to go home, towed the cart back through the Hall, stacked the books and put the cart away. The next morning they were sent to the Lower City looking for strange bangs and the library portal was forgotten.

Chapter 40.
House Shahana Estate, The Timberlands.
Sudyral marched southward through the woods. There was an old road, but it was obviously unused and hadn’t been used for a long time. He was taking two things that had been said to him to heart. The first was what Strom said about staying alive. That meant that he couldn’t afford to be stupid. Stupid would be walking back into the village and assuming that there wouldn’t be somebody waiting for him at the portal. That was where the things that his father had taught him came into play. His father said that when dealing with a dangerous animal or adversary, never do what they expect. The Ravathyra probably expected him to come and try to use the portal. They either had somebody here or at the farm, waiting for him to show up. Maybe they wouldn’t kill him, but they wouldn’t want him just walking around with their big secret either.
So smart meant that he had to stay free at least until Strom did whatever he was doing and made enough noise that the noise and everything else would mask anything Sudyral did. Sudyral was also sure that Strom was going to let the crew of the ship think that he was dead. At this point Sudyral was sure that Strom was seafolk and if the crew tossed him overboard, they were doing exactly what Strom wanted. Sudyral had been on the road for three days now and had discovered way houses in various stages of dilapidation at about the interval of a day’s travel. The way houses had the remains of firewood stacks and roofs that didn’t have too many holes in them, which made the camping quick and easy. After placing his pack in the shed and doing some quick work to make the shed more livable, he went to set his snares. He found some animal trails, set the snares and went to bed. The last thing he expected was a rather irate girl about his age, holding one of his snares and looking at him as if she wanted to kill him. The fact that she wasn’t wearing much more than dew didn’t help the distraction factor as she said, “Did you set this?”
“Why did you set it on my trail?”
“I was trying to catch rabbits for dinner this evening.”
“Can’t you transform?”
“Elves don’t transform.”
“You don’t look like an elf, at least not all the way.”
“My mother was a mortal. They don’t transform either.”
“Why are you here in the woods?”
“I am traveling.”
“Why are you traveling?”
“Because I need to go somewhere.”
“I’m tempted to punish you, but you weren’t trying to trap me on purpose.”
“You are fae, aren’t you?”
“That should be obvious. What is your name?”
“Sudyral Shahana. What’s yours?”
“Galaxa Wonderbelle. Are you Lord Shahana?”
“That is my father.”
“I think that I better take you to mother. She held up two rabbits. You didn’t just catch me. Here.”
She handed him the rabbits and transformed into a fox. Sudyral started to break down his camp and stow stuff in his pack. She looked at him and said, aren’t you coming?”
“I want to pack this, so that we don’t have to come back for it.”
“Ok, that makes sense.”
She watched as he finished packing and hauled the pack onto his back. Then she started to walk along the trail and he followed, away from the road. After about a twentieth there was a bit of a lean-to with a woman with wings cooking rabbits over a fire, she looked at Sudyral and said, “Galaxa, what did you catch?”
“He says that his name is Sudyral Shahana and he trapped me.”
The woman smiled and said, “Young elf, how did you manage that?”
Sudyral grinned. “I put snares out and a stupid fox ran into one.”
“I’m not stupid,” Galaxa cried. “I just wasn’t paying attention.”
“You escaped the trap and instead of being a smart fox and going away, you march right up to my camp to complain about it.”
“I wanted to see what kind of idiot would set traps in my woods.”
“They are my woods, actually. At least I think that I am still north of the boundary.”
Galaxa’s mother said, “My name is Iris and why are you here, young lord?”
“I’m traveling.”
“Why aren’t you using a portal? Being out in the woods alone could be dangerous.”
“The lord is my father, not me, and using the portal in town would have been more dangerous. My slave and I took the coaster to arrange for some timber for a new barn and we apparently saw something that we shouldn’t have.”
“The thing to the east.”
“Whatever it is, yes. They seem to make an effort to separate the people there from anybody else and there were hints that the crew of the coaster would kill us. My slave took the coaster back with the timber and I was supposed to portal back. The Ravathyra brought out some of their thugs and I decided that a nice walk south would be good for my health. I figured that the Ravathyra would never expect that.”
“I see, so you are not walking in the woods for your amusement.”
“No, I am not. I figure that the road leads more or less to the village south of here, I can portal out from there and that way the Ravathrya won’t know that I did it.”
“How long did you expect the trip to take?”
“Two five days or so.”
“That is about right, though the road is in poor condition and the waystations are not in operation.”
“So far it has been working out as I expected and the important part has been accomplished.”
“What will your father do?”
“Now that is going to be interesting. The problem is that the House is in the grip of my stepmother, who comes from the Ravathrya. So father can’t just come up here and take over unless there is evidence at home of mismanagement. But it will be interesting to see just how far my stepmother goes to keep father away from here when he has a legitmate reason to poke around up here. What my stepmother doesn’t know is that father and Richard Harper went on a hunting trip together last Bled and I was with them. They were discussing father leasing the farm to Richard, something that he wanted to keep from the Ravathyra, who we sell grain to and the issues with the timber business did come up. The dwarves want wood for their new houses and father is rather annoyed that he can’t seem to get any shipped from up here.”
“That has hurt a lot of our friends. Of course the Ravathryra struck us as well. That and the fact that Galaxa here became so attached to you means that there is something that we must attend to before you continue south.”
“What is that?”
“We must test your potential.”
“We must take you to the grove and figure out if you are worthy of being fae?”
“But what if I don’t want to be fae?”
“That will be your choice, but you should know if it is a choice that you have.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Then you will be dealing with an impatient and angry Galaxa for a very long time. We also need to see if you can reach into certain things and give you every tool we can to help you. Because I expect that our fate and yours are tied. Without you, we are cut off from the rest of your family.”
“Has my father been tested?”
“I do not know. When we sensed the catastrophe coming, I and the other children were sent to the far edge of the kingdom and our lorekeeper took our kingdom’s library to the town and gave it to the Chamberlin for safekeeping. The Chamberlin hid the library and his House library in case the Ravathrya came looking for information about us. They just smashed us instead, looking for the library and other things that they never found. So you will have to ask him.”
Eryding, Home Estate Of The Ravathyra.
Vesryn stomped into Rolin Zylvyre’s office. “Have you found my boy yet!?”
“Vesryn, I have people looking for him. He disappeared up in your town up there.”
“Then I need to take some people and go up and see.”
“Don’t do that. We can handle this. I have people there and they are looking as best they can.”
“I’ll wait for another five day, until the fifth of Yellowleaf. If my boy is not home by then, I am calling in a Justiciar, taking a bunch of people and taking the woods apart. There has been something fishy going on up there for some time and I’m going to find out why I can’t sell my timber. I’ve let Saeliihn handle things up there because she insisted, but if Sudyral is not back, that ends and I am going up and taking charge up there. Also if Sudyral is not back, anything the Ravathrya have on my properties, anything at all, will be receiving a writ of eviction. I would get your people packing and getting ready to go. I want my boy and my business the way it should be and my patience with you is at an end!”
Vesryn turned around and left. As he went through the door, Peder walked up beside him and the half elf said, “He’s going to try to kill you, you know.”
“Of course he is. He’s used to his power.”
“He could find the boy.”
“Good luck. You and I have worked hard so that he could handle the woods. He’ll know when they are coming.”
“They have mages up there.”
“And he is shielded. A gift from me that I told him to never take off. The pendant was expensive, but it was worth it. My wife, who they foisted on me and my parents to protect whatever it is, took my son and made him a more or less perfect Ravathrya. So I had to seek alternatives and Maria provided both them and the love that I didn’t have. I do hope that Rolin reads my will before he contacts the assassin’s guild. It will be interesting when he discovers that Reptar only gets the townhouse and no sources of income to support it. The rest goes to Sudyral except for Renna’s dowry, the timber town.”
“Vesryn, have I ever said that you’re a very sneaky elf.”
“Yes, but let’s keep that to ourselves.”
As the door closed, Rolin fumed. He was tempted to go to Camus and have the assassin’s guild contacted. The problem, and looking down at the document on his desk, it was a big one, was that Saeliihn’s son, Reptar, was only heir to the House itself. The farm, and most importantly, the timberlands were going to Sudyral except for the town itself, which was Renna’s dowry. There was also the problem that Maria, and not Saeliihn was named executor. The will had also been on file with the Justiciars since Renna’s birth. Maria was from the Republic. She was still legally a slave, but the last thing Rolin needed was another Richard Harper mess right now. He was going to have to call another meeting of his brothers, because if the boy did not show up very soon, the Ravathyra were probably done. He went to Camus’s office and said, “I hope that you have some clever ideas, because sending Toross up to the timberlands was a mistake.”
“Vesryn is pissed.”
“Very. He’s threatening to tear up to the timberlands with a Justiciar in tow and tear everything apart.”
“That shouldn’t be that big an issue as long as he stays away from the Sanctum.”
“If he starts looking around up there, he’s probably going to look for the faery kingdom and you can bet that he knows exactly where to look. What do you think will happen when he finds it?”
“The fae and the Justiciars will be looking for you and the rest of us with blood in their eyes. Zanis was a bit too power drunk then and way too aggressive because he wanted the faery kingdom’s library.”
“The library that we never found. You can bet that whoever has it will turn it right over to Vesryn.”
“We could have him dealt with. I could make the contact.”
“I looked at his will. Everything goes to the boy except the townhouse. The last thing the family needs is another millstone around our necks.”
“Let me guess, Saeliihn is not the executor.”
“The woman he has out at the farm, Maria is.”
“From the Republic. I bet she has family.”
“With the way things have been going for us, the family has a timber business and is looking for new stands.”
“I think that we need to find the boy before anybody else does. Did we ever find out why the boy ran in the first place?”
“It isn’t very hard. Would you trust Toross if you were a kid? Toross had his people right next to the portal and the kid was looking for trouble after coming up on Lyrei.”
“Why did Captain Aranan take the kid and the slave up in the first place?”
“The kid was the son of a family associate, was going to the timberlands with the slave on a perfectly legitmate errand that was our own fault. Maria wanted a new barn, sent an order for the timber and never got the timber. So she sent the slave to figure out why, and the kid to keep an eye on the slave and learn the business. The captain sent a message that somebody had seen something they shouldn’t at the same time that Vesryn was looking for the kid. Apparently the kid was supposed to use the portal and used the coaster instead. So I sent Toross up. I apologize.”
“Where is the slave?”
“He fell overboard on the way back.”
“Fell, or was pushed.”
“I didn’t ask. The man was a sot, so it could have been either.”
“Damn, we could have used him to find the kid.”
“We would have taken the slave to the Sanctum?”
“At this point, in a five day there won’t be a Sanctum. I need to send messages to my brothers and meet with them.Today, if I can arrange it.”
“We should have bought or traded the land outright.”
“Vesryn wouldn’t sell. His parents wouldn’t sell. That was why we arranged the marriage in the first place.”
“Saeliihn could throw him out of the house.”
“I’m going to tell her to do that, but it won’t make much difference. Actually I changed my mind. If she actually initiates a separation, he can anull the marriage and since Saeliihn didn’t bring very much in dowry, she will be left with nothing.”

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