The Search For Paeris, Chapter 35-36

The denizens of the Retreat have to deal with some girls. Taser does not have a good day.

Chapter 35.
The Retreat.
Paeris looked at the ships beached under nets of growth that hid them from prying eyes, turned to Rolin and said, “At least we have something that floats. What we can do with them is a bit problematical. Getting crews as well.”
“That we can deal with. Taser and Gormar have squadrons out, working up.”
“What if they are spotted?”
“They both have mages and mana batteries. They should be able to go under Glamor quickly. The mages here have Devises for that, they are testing them against the Fellowship right now.”
“Does the Fellowship have submarines?”
“Small ones that can only be used for a short time. The senate would not fund the large boats like the Republic did.”
“They probably thought that they didn’t need the deepwater boats. The Republic was certain that they did. Is there any possibility of getting submarines of our own?”
“That would be rather difficult. Some things have a legitmate channel according to Ilbryen.”
“Do you trust him?”
“To be true to the purpose of the House and the Master, yes.”
“To not be so confident of himself that he will not make mistakes.”
“Definitely not. I certainly made my share, but I have learned.”
“Do you think that he and the others really understand our enemies? He has his intelligence reports and they say things like how open all the Blasted Lands are. Yet we keep having nasty surprises show up. There are two rather large ones out there and I am the only one who has seen them. I’ve asked Ilbryen for information on the Republic’s ship building and the only item that seems unsual is that two cruisers were added to the last bill for naval construction. I’ve seen the Republican cruisers and I’ve seen those two ships and they are almost a third again as long. In fact they are the biggest things that I have ever seen float. Yet there are no pictures of them as yet. Perhaps Byddri and his sister have taken some, but they haven’t turned them over to the press.”
“We can hardly ask Admiral Harper for tours.”
‘I’m sure that he would give me a tour right before he put me back in a cell, far away from the water, this time.”

SS- 28 (Dolphin)
Lieutenant Commander Adlar Gretis was looking at the most amazing thing that he had ever seen. In the lens of his periscope was a squadron of Ravathyra raiding ships, banners and all, sailing as if they didn’t have a care in the world. He turned the chief and said, “Hook up the camera and get a picture of this.”
“What is it?”
“Look and see.”
The chief looked and said, “Is somebody shooting a movie?”
He put the camera on the lens and took the picture. He looked again and said, “I don’t know what these idiots were thinking, but they are a pretty good clue that we came here for the right reasons.”
The captain had sent the Dolphin and another boat to this coast near the Fellowship half a moon ago and the short distance meant that the boats had a lot of loiter time. Their orders had been to look into rumors of Ravathyra activity and they had found it. The chief said, “You know, we could sink these characters.”
“No real reason to. They aren’t heading to the Fellowship and I doubt that they would be stupid enough to go to the Hidden City.”
The commander unclamped a voice tube. “Sparks, send a message: Five Ravathyra raiding ships, Course South by South east with our current location. Send it using that cipher we know that the Fellowship has cracked.”
A querulous, “Sir?” came back up the voice tube.
“Yes, use that cipher and send the message twice. Do not send it using the new cipher.”
“Yes, sir.”
The chief said, “I knew that Kailiani getting you to the beach would be good for you, sir. Now you are being super sneaky.”
“Why, because I wanted our friends in the Fellowship to know that these characters are out there? Let’s back off a bit and run on the surface.”
“What if these characters see us?”
“They will either go under Glamor, change course or do nothing. If they go under Glamor that will tell us that they haven’t been in Eryding recently because I’m sure that all the great captains in Eryding are fully aware of the gadget by this point.”
“We don’t have a gadget.”
“They don’t know that.”
The captain gave the order to surface the boat when the Ravathrya were far enough away that the ships might not see the sub if they were not looking very hard.
RFS Shark.
Great Captain Taser Zylvyre was enjoying being at sea again. His inexperienced crews were another story. The mages had a new devise for activating glamor. The problem was that the mage had forgotten to keep it charged and it was useless at present. That was when bad got really bad. The lookout called down, “Whale Ho!”
Taser had shown the lookouts a picture of the submarine and they had not believed that it was a ship, no matter how hard he tried. So he had said that it was a strange whale and said to report whale sightings immediately. He called up, “What direction, damn you!”
“Four points starboard!”
The great captain looked through the big telescope and it was a sub. He turned to his lieutenant and said, “Lieutenant, does that look like a whale to you?”
The Lieutenant looked through the telescope and said, “No, it does not. So that is a submarine. Why is it running on the surface?”
“They are poking us to see what we do.”
“Why do they not attack?”
“They want to see where we are going. The subs also as act as pointers for bigger ships. If there are some cruisers around, they could be guiding them to us.”
“Or they cannot attack. We could attack them.”
“Are you willing to bet your life on that? The fact is that on the surface that boat is faster than we are, even in the best wind. They seem to be slower submerged, but how slow is hard to tell.”
“You should tell the other captains that.”
The great captain turned his head and saw the other ships turning toward the “whale.” He cursed and turned to the signals midshipman. “Tell those idiots to get back in formation.”
The midshipman grinned. “Should I put idiots in the send, sir?”
“Not the first time, if they don’t get back in formation, send it with the idiots.”
“Yes sir!”
The ships returned to formation as it was apparent that the submarine was watching them, only to hear a fast approaching roar as two silver shapes passed overhead. Taser cursed again as the things circled around for another pass. Only after the things made several passes and probably had very good pictures, did the mage manage to get the glamor up and Taser could breathe somewhat of a sigh of relief.
SS- 28 (Dolphin)
Adlar and the crew had laughed at the antics of the Ravathyra ships. Lieutenant Aqua from the Imperial navy laughed and said “Taser is not going to be happy with his people.”
“Taser?”
“That is Great Captain Taser Zylvyre, or at least his banner, which was a mistake, as he was one of the Great Captains that exited the scene with Rolin. So now we that Rolin is definitely here and active.”
“I think that four of the ships were planning to attack the sub.”
“If these were some sort of reserve or clandestine ships, the crews may not have the experience that the crews that hit the Republic did.”
“Those crews are more than likely on the other side of things and these characters should be glad that Congress decided to hold onto the old cruisers or they would be seeing them when the word gets out.”
Admiral Harper had tried, again, to get the old cruisers paid off. The effort had failed because the cruisers, old as they were, had been at the tip of the effort in defeating the Ravathrya. The ex Ravathrya had taken up a fund to buy all eight of the cruisers and request letters of marque. These ships would be exactly what they were looking for. Unfortunately the Congress had decided to keep the ancient ships operational for the time being.
The Ravathrya finally slipped into glamor after the planes that the Fellowship had sent had made several passes. Lieutenant Aqua commented, “The Fellowship doesn’t use floatplanes and these are faster than the planes I’ve seen in the Republic.”
“The fellowship has dragons and gas. Dragons like to play, like to fly, like to go fast and like airplanes. So they make better airplanes and get together with the engine people to make better engines so that they can go faster. The Kingdom and the Republic sort of struggle behind a bit. It didn’t hurt that a dragon princess managed to get her claws on Halamar Beinan when he was a POW from a dust up and drag him to a cave. They call the lady, “The Rabbit Slayer” because of that, but he’s helped to make his aerie rich, has all sorts of influence and put the dragons in airplanes.”
“Why are the three Blasted Lands countries at war all the time?”
“You know, I think that ultimately it’s because we like it more than we should. The wars are over some islands and land that has gone back and forth for a very long time. I think that one problem the Blasted Lands have is that all of us need very strong militaries to repel the Ravathrya. So it is very easy for one government or the other to pull out the sabers and artillery and if a few soldiers get hurt, that is their job.”
“What about the civilians?”
“Most of the action takes place far from any major cities and the people that live on the islands seem to take things in stride. There are post offices that send mail to all three Blasted Lands countries and change the stamps depending on what jurisdiction they are currently operating. The whole thing is rather crazy, but there it is. Consider that Admiral Harper and Prince Brouzen are brothers in law, yet they both have been on the opposite side of things and they are hardly the only family like that.”
The crew on the bridge watched as the Ravathrya ships finally disappeared under glamor. The sub followed along, using the noises that the ships made to know approximately where they were.
4 Squadron Fellowship Air Force.
Captain Dargim Flamespinner and his navigator Flight Lieutenant Kaldak Steelmender had enormous grins as their patrol plane taxied up and stopped. Dargim shut down the engines and as the crew left the plane there was a captain in army uniform with intelligence tabs. “Captain, I am Captain Khagdig Forger. Were they Ravathrya warships?”
“Captain, why don’t we let Tom and Kaldak run the film to the lab. The pictures may not come out, but we probably got good pictures of the clowns. In any case there, right where that intercepted message said they were, were five of the Ravthyra raiders. I was tempted come back and pick up some practice bombs, but we just did some passes for more pictures.”
“What about the submarine?”
“Sitting there on the surface, watching the show. I think that some of the Ravathrya started to go after it and were called back.”
‘We thought that it was unusual that they were using that cipher when we were fairly sure that they knew that we had broken it. So the sub captain wanted us to know that those characters were out there. Why don’t I take you and your crew to the pub for a drink while we wait for the pictures? Then you can tell me about these characters.”

Chapter 36.
The Retreat.
When Onvyr returned to the processing center, the girls had all managed to get out of their cells somehow and were gathered around the table working on something. Onvyr had not been able to find his father or his uncle and if he talked with anybody else, the girls would be sent to the Camp. Merethyl looked up as he walked into the room and said, “Sorry father, I didn’t recognize you at first. You should have visited from time to time.”
“How did you all get out of the cells?”
“Dad, you are the mage. Figure it out for yourself. We could have picked the locks or gotten out some other way. In any case, your friends here are in a lot of trouble. I imagine that Uncle Erlan will not want to get involved unless mother makes it clear that he has no real choice, but Nimue and Alinis’s dad will be all over this and he will not be very nice.”
Nimue said, “Not very nice, is putting it midly, Merethyl. We had some character that thought he was going to be a raider boss and thought that because daddy was not an elf and Aymon Sarfaren was a high elf from a good family that he could pick up some easy money raiding our farms and taking our people and the Justiciars would look the other way when he did. Justiciar Sarrieth picked up the pieces after dad was through with the character. House Sarfaren had a good portion of the family exiled or put to work, the House has enormous debts and it was all done in two five days.”
“House Sarafen is a Great House.”
“Not any more. They don’t even have a House in the capital anymore. The Empire knows what messing with my dad can lead to. That was before my grandfather and then my uncles and aunts showed up. Is there a portal here? If you could take us there, we can port home. That will work out better for you.”
“The portal does not work.”
“Then you are out of luck,” Dessielle said. “I imagine that our parents are setting deadlines for our return and if the deadline passes, things are going to get ugly very fast.”
“Daddy, why don’t you take us all to dinner?” Maylin said. “We missed lunch and I think that we need to catch you up on things.”
Of course, as he led the girls to the inn, Mage Orist spotted them and said, “Onvyr what are you doing with the prospects?”
“Taking them to dinner.”
“Why? Just send them on their way.”
“Daddy is probably certain that “sending us on our way” would be a bad thing, sir.” Maylin said. “You are a mage, correct? I would be looking for a horse so that you could go to the nearest portal and report to the Grand Master. He is looking for you all and you are under the hammer of being declared Anathema if he doesn’t see you all very soon.”
“What!?”
“They didn’t tell you? There was a crystal made of my grandfather’s little rampage and the Grand Master was not happy when he saw it. So he wants you all to give account of yourselves and report for reassignment. I think that his deadline has already passed, but if you hurry, you can probably make an excuse for travel time.”
“How do you know this, girl?”
“Because mother had the Grand Master for dinner after he talked to my grandfather and the Grand Master said that that was the deal that he had made with the Fae Council of Kings, the Justiciars and the Marshalls.”
The mage went away, to look for his superior and Onvyr said, ‘You shouldn’t have done that, Maylin.”
“Yes I should. I suspect that your boss hasn’t kept you apprised of events outside the same way that grandfather and our uncles didn’t tell us anything at the Sanctum so that we wouldn’t ask too many questions. That started to fall apart when Uncle Paeris sent the lady Gwen through the portal. Of course her man came and got her, but she told us what was going on outside. So I will tell you and everyone else that we run into what has been going on outside.”
They sat down at a table and his daughters and their friends told him about the events of the last six moons, the antics of his son and the fae Bellfower, the long visit by the Lady Gwen and how the Sanctum collapsed as well as what had happened to his Uncle Ehlark. As dinner ended, Onvyr had more than a little to be concerned with. Unfortunately his father was at the Camp at present and Uncle Rolin was inspecting the fleet. Master Mage Uthorim Yelmenor appeared with Orist and said “Onvyr, Orist says that you have taken the prospects for dinner and they were spouting some sort of nonsense about the Grand Master.”
“Master Uthorim, These are my daughters, Merethyl and Maylin and their friends.”
“Mage Uthorim, you can place me under truth spell if you like,” Maylin said. “I don’t know how the word did not reach you here, but the Grand Master is very displeased with you all and I heard his commitment to place you all under Anathema if a moon passed from about the time that my grandfather came here. Apparently he did not tell you as his duty required. If I were you, I would take all the mages here, go to nearest portal that you can get to and go to the Mage Academy before the Grand Master and King Aestaeros get together with Lord Shahana and make arrangements for the stakes and firewood for your stake party.”
“I doubt that the Grand Master and King Aestaeros would get together for something like that unless King Aestaeros was burning the Grand Master.”
“Actually, King Aestaeros wanted to put you all under the axe. The Grand Master said that he was the one who was all for the stake party. In any case, as far as I know, all the mages here that are not registered are or soon will be under Anathema and your names and pictures will be turned over to the Justiciars, the Fae Council of Kings and the Marshalls for disposition. I believe that Lord Shahana’s brother is putting forward a bill in the Republic that will essentially declare you fugitives that are to be turned over on sight.”
“I don’t believe you, girl!”
“You don’t believe your own truth spell? I felt you set it after I started to tell you about things. So you know that I was telling the truth.”

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