The Search For Paeris, Chapter 39-40

Onvyr goes home. Paeris needs a drink.

Chapter 39.
The Mage Academy.
Onvyr exited the portal on the quad where he had spent some of his happiest days. He had met Elincia here and since he was a mage and she was as well, the family had acceeded to the Academy’s request that they allow the marriage and encouraged them to have more than one child, something that had needed little encourgagement in any case. Then Onvyr’s father had demanded that Onvyr go to the Retreat in his place as his father was going to the Sanctum full time rather than allowing Onvyr to live there. Onvyr had hoped that Elincia and the children would be sent to join him, but his mother had had an accident and Elincia was needed at the Sanctum.
Onvyr strode across the quad toward the Grand Master’s office and he was there in the quad looking at flowers as he often did. The Grand Master looked up and said, “You are a surprise, Mage Onvyr. Why did you return late?”
“I was not told about the call to return.”
“I told your father to tell you all that you must return. Who told you about it?”
“My daughters. How that happened requires a bit of an explanation and some time.”
“Why don’t we go to my office and take the time.”
The Grand Master led Onvyr to his office and they sat down. “Where are your daughters? There is quite a fuss over them right now.”
“I don’t know. Maylin handed me this bag of their jewelry and things, told me to take it to Elincia and they all disappeared.”
The Grand Master smiled. “I think that I will leave that for you to discover. Were the girls unharmed?”
“Yes. I handled the processing, which is the job they had me do at the Retreat, probably because they didn’t want me to know what they were doing with the kids they took and the other things they were doing.”
“Where is this Retreat?”
“It is several places near the Fellowship. From the activity that we saw from the Republic and the Fellowship, both countries know some of the locations somewhat. The places are separated to spread the mana load and keep things discreet.”
“Are the places connected by portals?”
“No. They are kept apart with quite a distance between them and journies of two days or so.”
“Who is in charge?”
“I do not know his name. My father does, but other than calling him, Master, my father and the other have never mentioned him. He may be fae, or have fae abilities somewhat.”
“Why do you say that?”
“When I was a boy, my father and the others would have meetings where I could hear another voice, yet only my father and his brothers would enter or exit the meetings.”
“Where is your father now?”
“At a place they call the Camp. I believe that the Master is there as well. That is where I would go to talk with him, when it was necessary. I was on my way there with the girls when they disappeared.”
“Would you have taken the girls to the camp?”
“That is a rather difficult thing to say. First of all, taking the girls to the Camp would be taking a rather hot potato to the Camp. Second, this bag they gave me probably contains tagged things and they would be giving the location of the Camp and other places away if they went there. I imagine that Uncle Rolin and my cousin had somebody right behind us, hoping to catch up and turn us around. Master Mage Yelmenor ordered me to take the girls up to the Camp even after my daughter had told him that she had talked with you and that you had mentioned stake parties and Anathema while he had a truth spell on my daughter who knew that he was doing it.”
“I am afraid that we have lost your daughters to the fae. The fae did have the advantage of having the grove next door. I have tried to rectify that advantage by setting up testing at the Sanctum. Of course that may mean a lot of beguiled mages dragged off to the grove, but that is a chance that we take in any case. For you, I have two tasks at present. First is to go to Justiciar Dawkins and tell him everything that you just told me and answer any questions that he may have. The second is to go to Elincia and restrain her somewhat. She is rather upset about Sollor taking your daughters and she may go on a bit of a rampage unless she knows that they are out of the clutches of the people that took them.”
“I am a bit worried about that myself, but the girls must have a plan. They certainly have a large capacity for causing chaos and confusion. They had Uthorim tied up in knots. Of course most of that is his idiocy.”
“Was he under light compulsion like you were?”
“I wouldn’t know. I expect that mine was placed by my father. You must know what our family is like. Mother managed to buffer some of it and the fact that I passed the test and came here got me away from the worst. I was also a late child to my parents and thus in the group that was younger than Paeris and the others, so there were fewer Ravathrya boys to bully me through the academy. As for the master mage, I expect that he didn’t need the compulsion because he believed that what he was doing was right, simply because he was doing it.”
“That sounds like him. I am pleased that you made the right choice.”
“I had to make a choice of probably facing the Master, after having lost the girls through no fault of my own and accepting probable torture and death to make an example of me and you, who would at least listen to what I have to say. I suspect that the Master will hire assassins to pursue me in any case, even though the location and what is going on at the Retreat are obviously known to others. After a rather spectacular sinking that is rather obvious, I would discreetly send mages experienced with monsters to that area in Snowcloth.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know what was happening at the Camp, but what ever it is ate a lot and the winter’s grain was a target for some rather large ships that came by, sank the barges and did nothing else.”
The Grand Master laughed.

Chapter 40.
The Retreat.
Daybreak finished the portal and looked around. Nobody had noticed or paid any attention to him at all. He was amazed at the sense of invisibility that a uniform and a job gave one, especially a job that most people didn’t understand. He ran the check one more time and Jumped to the Portal Service to log the two portals.
Paeris watched the young fae disappear, another portal repaired. The idiot mage had taken half the morning to send a rider to look for the cart and the girls. Rolin was probably well on his way to the Camp by now. In any case Paeris had another task as his cousin Taser had returned from his training sail. From the sounds of things, he was not happy with what he had seen. After his vigorous chewing out of the crews and dismissing them, Paeris went over and said, “I think that we both need drinks.”
“What happened here?”
“Somebody had the great idea that Renna Shahana would make a really great prospect.”
“Vesryn. That could be bad.”
“It gets better. The day that they decided to take the girl, she decided to go riding with her friends, Nimue, Alinis, Dessielle, Chrissie, and Maylin and Merethyl.”
“Not Qinvaris, Beinan and Zylvyre?”
“Yes.”
“Has uncle Zanis found out yet?”
“Not yet. I’m more worried about who has found out about it.”
“At a guess, Richard and maybe Elincia. That explains what I had cruise right by me.”
“Two of Admiral Harper’s new toys, about seven hundred feet long and loaded with very large pieces of artillery.”
“Yes. My crew didn’t soil the deck, but that was because I had finally had the mage manage to make the devise work and we were under glamor. I tried to convince them that being under glamor didn’t mean that the ships didn’t know exactly were we were.”
“It sounds like a fun little voyage. How many did you kill?”
“None yet, simply because they can sail the ships somewhat. My captains came awfully close when they started to chase after a sub, because in order to get them to look for one, I had to tell them it was some sort of strange whale.”
“How did they spot it in the first place?”
“The boat was on the surface. They weren’t trying to hide and shortly afterwards some planes from the Fellowship showed up to give us a look over.”
“You didn’t go under glamor?”
“The idiot mage hadn’t charged the Devise and didn’t want to do it the old way. So we were looking like the idiots we were while the planes were probably getting pictures. If we are unlucky, they will make the papers.”
“I could give Byddri another interview and take him on a tour of the Ravathrya secret base that our enemies all know about.”
“How would he get here? The portal doesn’t work.”
“Yes it does. A Portal Service faery came and suddenly, the portal works again. The interesting thing is that I was probably the only one noticing the fae, uniform and all and how long is it going to take before somebody else notices.”
“I won’t say anything if you won’t. This might be fun.”
Zylvyre Estate.
The girls emerged from Jump and looked around. The anchor was heavily overgrown and Nimue said, “let’s make our clothes into sort of a sack and transform until we get out of this underbrush. That way we won’t ruin the clothes.”
“It’s going to be cold,” Dessielle said.
“That’s why we wear our own fur.”
“I think that I see a clear space over there,” Maylin said.

Amarille Zylvyre turned to Galaith and said, “I think that we will have visitors soon.”
“How so, milady?”
“I thought I sensed somebody at the old anchor point the fae set up to visit mother.”
“That was long ago, well before my time. Why do you think that it is more than one?”
“It felt as if it was more than one arriving.”
“Some sort of delegation?”
“I’m not sure. Why don’t you see if you can greet our visitors?”
Galaith went to get a horse and rode across the field. There, on the edge of the field was not a fae delegation in Trueform and dressed in magical spidersilk and dew, but seven elf girls in rather elegant riding habits and cloaks. One of the girls said, “Sir, could you tell us where we are and how to get to the nearest portal?”
“Aye, I can do that. The lady would like to see you all and I think that I would like to surprise her. Why don’t you follow me to the house and get warm.”
“Thank you sir. Lead on.”
Galaith led the gaggle of girls to the house and as a smiling groom took his horse, he led the girls into the parlor. The lady’s eyebrows rose, she looked at Galaith and said, “What happened to the fae delegation? You didn’t leave them out there, did you?”
“These girls were all that was out there. They seem lost and I didn’t ask about their horses.”
The oldest girl said, “I am Nimue Qinvaris and I can explain. You must be looking for the people that just used the Jump anchor. That was us. We have all been tested and can Jump a limited distance.”
“I see,” Amarille said. “So what were you Jumping away from?”
‘I am Maylin and we were Jumping away from my father, somewhat. He was being forced to take us to what my father’s associates call “The Camp.”
“Why was your father taking you there?”
“Because the Richflights kidnapped us.”
What are all you names so that we can get aquainted?
When the girls all introduced themselves, Galaith whistled. “House Richflight is in deep trouble. At a guess, you two are Richard’s daughters.”
“Yes we are,” Nimue said.
“Then what happened is a special kind of stupid. You probably know what your father did to House Sarafen. He’s probably already started with House Richflight.”
“Daddy probably called the team in even before he talked to mother.”
“So what was your plan?” Amarille asked.
“First to get away in a way they wouldn’t think we would try and make sure that they couldn’t track us through some tagged things we had,” Maylin said. “We were a bit unsure how things would go once we reached the anchor point. We didn’t know what was going to be there.”
“Why choose this anchor point?”
“There were three that we could all reach. The first was probably to a portal, but we knew that the people who took us had fae, so if they were close behind us and the portal was broken, we were in trouble. The second was in the Fellowship and was probably a Marshall’s Station.”
“That would seem like a good choice.”
“Yes it would, except that we could be caught without the mana to Jump out again, trying to explain things to the Marshalls in a foreign country and the bad guys showing up right behind us. Dessielle’s dad always says to do the thing you opponent least expects you to do and that is what we did.”
“That is an interesting philosophy. Why don’t we continue on that vein? I am preparing for a trip to the Fellowhip to meet with my daughter, do some shopping and then go on to the Republic by ship and see if I can find some grandchildren my son neglected to tell me about.”

“That sound like wonderful idea,” Maylin said. “We will need to send a message to our parents first so that they don’t worry about us.”
“That goes without saying. Why don’t we go to lunch, compose the message and send it on its way. Then we can leave in the morning for the train station over the border.”
Amarille and the girls composed the message and after lunch and Nimue sealed it with her ring. Amarille called Galaith in, handed him the message and said, “Galaith, see that this gets delivered to House Qinvaris discreetly if you can.”
“That shouldn’t be problem. I will have somebody take it to the Qinvaris farm that isn’t too far away. They have a small portal to the House.”
He left and there was a loud roaring that sputtered out outside in the fields and When Galaith returned, there was a dragon with him. “That field has been collecting all sorts of things today. Look at what the wind blew in.”
“Girls this is Dragoncaptain Fuseshadow, who makes a pest of himself flying airplanes over and having engine failures. Kushuur, This Nimue and Alinis Qinvaris, Maylin and Merethyl Zylvyre, who I believe are my grandneices, Desielle Beinan, Renna Shahana and Christine Lion.”
“Where did you pick up this interesting group of young ladies, Amarille?”
“They popped into the same field you did. Apparently some rather unpleasant characters up the way kidnapped them the day before yesterday.”
“Those characters have been attracing a lot of attention. How did you escape?”
“We all have been tested by the fae and can Jump, so when my father was taking us out of the way station, we did,” Maylin said.
“Your father was helping to hold you?”
“He was under compulsion along with most of the other mages there. I think that the shock of seeing us show up and me telling him that he and the other mages at the Retreat were under Anathema broke the compulsions. I do hope so, for daddy’s sake.”
“What did you see at that place?”
“They call it the Retreat, Nimue said. “They are operating Ravathrya pirate ships and this “Camp” as they call it and several other places far away from the town that we were ported into. We were being transported to the camp by Maylin’s father after being “processed” which was scanning us for mage ability and taking our names. There were some fishing boats and dock facilities. When we were leaving on the cart, some large Republican warships came and sank some barges. I think that my Uncle Tom was making a point.”
“Girls, dinner is approaching, staff has laid out some dresses for you and I would like you get out of those rather dirty habits and into something clean. They have also drawn baths for you.”
“That sounds wonderful,” Renna said. “We probably stink a bit.”
The girls left and Kushuur pulled out a brief. “I thought that I would let you know what was going on, but “going on” came to you.”
“That happens. My family and some others were idiots of the first water. I am sure that Rolin and Paeris know that, but the clowns over there probably see Richard as weak because he was a slave.”
“That is Richard Harper and you just sent his daughters to get dressed, along with the others.”
“They needed it and they seem to have a good taste for fashion.”
“Where did that Lion girl come from? She doesn’t seem to be in the same eminence of the others.”
“I’m not sure. She hasn’t said very much. She may just be a tag along.”
“I would ask who her parents are. If they deal with the Harpers, she may not come from lightweights. Dan Harper has all sorts of contacts that are not exactly normal or legal. If her family is involved with the Harpers they may have another kind of clout. In any case, this looks to very interesting.”
“A lot of fun as well. It will be interesting to see who shows up after the message I just sent.”
“It might be Richard, but if he goes the same way he usually does, things will be more subtle than that. Of course Dan Harper is in the Empire and can set things up with all sorts of people very quickly and Qambois is in the Hidden City with Tom Harper.”
“Robert Harper and Kulgha Ironaxe came here to talk about Paeris. Since they know the way, they may return.”
“Tell me who shows up. I suspect that Vic has the engine fixed, made his usual stop in the kitchen and we can be on our way to the Fellowship again.”
Fuseshadow left for the field as a grinning Amarille watched. It looked as if the game was afoot and the gang was all here.
The Camp.
Thanks to a loose shoe, a lame horse and not being able to change horses at a way station, Rolin did not catch the cart until it had reached the Camp, with no girls aboard. He asked the Hostlers preparing the cart for its return journey, “Where are the girls?”
“The cart arrived empty.”
Where is my nephew?”
“Who?”
“Mage Onvyr?”
“No mage was with the cart milord.”
“Where are the guards?”
“With the Master.”
That was one piece of good luck. Rolin charged over to the Master’s office and house and ran past the guards to the Master’s office. The Master was there with Rolin’s brother and four guards, one of which on the ground writhing in pain and the other three were on their knees with terrified expressions on their faces. The Master looked up and said, “Rolin you arrived in time.I was attempting to persuade these insects that they should tell me what happened.”
“What have they told you?”
“A rather unbelievable story. The girls just disappeared and Mage Onvyr betrayed me and his father and used a broken portal to go someplace.”
“My nephew’s compulsions collapsed and he was told by his daughter that he was under Anathema.”
“The girls were my granddaughters?” Zanis asked. “How did you know?”
“Because that idiot Sollor showed up and said that my niece had come to the House and demanded that Erlan go to Sollor and tell him to get the girls back. To put it mildly, Elincia was not happy. Onvyr tried to have the girls stay at the Retreat and some clown ordered him to bring them up. By the way all the girls are not somebody that you want to mess with. In a great act of idiocy, Sollor has managed to get at least three Great Houses, including House Qinvaris looking for our hides.”
The Master looked at the hapless guards and said, “Leave us!”
The three guards picked up the unconcious guard and left rather quickly. Rolin looked at the door and said, “That was stupid.”
“How so?”
“How many of your people saw those guards come in here? How many know how they arrived? What do you think is going to happen the next time something goes wrong? First, your people are going to start lying to you and second, when something like this happens again, you won’t see the people responsible when it does, because they will run.”
“I will send pursuit.”
“Pursuit that could have been more productively doing things like checking the portal and investigating the Jump anchors close to the way station to see if the girls went there.”
“Do you think that they can Jump?”
“The girls all have been with fae for moons, they were all of high potential or the idiot wouldn’t have taken them in the first place, they had broken their compulsions and from what I heard, were not too concerned or frightened when they knew what could happen. I would say that the odds were high that they could all Jump.”
“Where would they go?”
“I have no idea. But rather than torturing guards trying to report what they saw, I would be sending people to find out what happened.”
A messenger opened the door and said, “We just got a message from the Retreat. The grain barges were destroyed.”
“What? How?”
“Several large warships showed up and blew them up.”
“Republican warships,”Rolin said. “I warned Ilbryen about the airship. He was sure that the airship was taking pictures of the Fellowship and not here.”
“How did they know?” Zanis asked.
“You were tagged. They followed you right through the double portals. They almost certainly tracked the one way portal and that told them where to look. So the airship came and did. Then there was a submarine watching the activities in the harbor and I imagine that Admiral Harper was taught by his father to do thing the same way that Richard does things.”
“How?” The Master asked.
“By doing the thing that can do the most injury with the least amount of effort. I apologized to Rosaniya because I knew what Richard would do to me once he got started. For that matter, Camus and I were idiots.”
“You have seemed frightened of the slave for some time.”
“Not frightened so much as cautious. I was careful to keep things businesslike and maintain a good relationship with the man who was keeping my people fed. I was fully aware that he didn’t like me or my family very much, but for a variety of reasons, he treated us the same way that he did everyone else he did business with, as long as I did not give him cause not to. Where did you buy the grain?”
“The Empire. They came in at a lower cost and we could use the barges for transport.”
“Then you are in real trouble right now. Because you just took the man’s daughters and he controls your food supply. Of course you could go to the Fellowship, maybe. Until Richard’s dad has a chat. The Republic and the Kingdom are out of the question already. You may get lucky and one of the mortal kingdoms can supply in time. Please tell me that you paid in cash.”
“I wouldn’t know. I typically don’t sully myself with business matters.”
“It doesn’t really matter at this point, but if you paid in terms with Richard’s bank, they may have collateral that we don’t know about. My dear sister used her husband’s lands as collateral on loans to the house and loaned the House money to let us carry on the raids for the last three very expensive years. As a result, Vesryn Shahana now owns Eryding and other Ravathrya properties, including the Hidden City. Of course he already owned the Well.”
“We will retrieve it when the need arises.”
“Are you sure? I wouldn’t be. In any case the Well is locked and we have no idea where the key is at present.”
“We will discover that.”
“Then what? Send people after the kid? In any case, I need to return to the Retreat and clean up the mess. I would send some people to check out the anchor points and the portal. I would also be battening down and preparing for a storm and making sure that you have the finances here in line and that you have rapid communcation with your bank and very good people on Exchange Street, because Richard does. So does Vesryn. Folmon doesn’t, yet, but he has family on Red Mountain with dwarven family members, so he can cover the dwarven banks.”
Rolin left, the Master turned to Zanis and said, “That was rather insubordinate.”
“He was right. I would have somebody checking Jump points and that portal. I would check the portal at the Retreat as well.”
“It has been deactivated.”
“So was the portal at the Sanctum. Yet there were my granddaughters with the others. A young fae activated it again and only my grandson noticed him doing it until he went and told my daughter in law that he had done so. I imagine the same thing could have happened here.”
“The Portal Service should not have had the tools to do that. Your brother arranged for their confiscation and to have the tools sent to us.”
“They somehow managed to acquire new ones, perhaps. I wouldn’t know the details, but Rolin, Paeris and I have all seen portals being worked on and activated.”
“I will send somebody to check the Jump points and the portals. In any case, we must find the girls as soon as possible and retrieve them. We may need them for leverage. Go and return to your work.”
Zanis hobbled out of the office and mused how different the two leaderships were. The Master did not have the exposure to the real world and had been born to power. Richard Harper had been a slave. Yet the Master was here in the Retreat, expecting things to go as he expected and frittering time away on pointless punishments while Zanis was certain that Richard was already working on his next move. Of course the Master had great power and when he brought that to bear, the game could probably change.

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