The Rise Of The Dark, Chapter 7-8

Gwen meets a politician. The boys raid the Richflight estate. Were those slaves really compelled to do anything?

Chapter 7.
Kugrim.
Merfyr Beira looked at the fascinating woman across the table from him and said, “Ambassador Yllanan, it is wonderful to meet you at last, though you were hardly what I expected from the Ambassador from the Empire.”
Gwen grinned and said, “The tail you mean? That was forced on me a bit by my children and other relatives. My son was cast up on a beach and caught a tail and my daughter chased a young man to a beach with consequences. My daughter and her young man are getting married in Green. As for my tail, I separated from my husband and our rather loveless marriage and a man came and rescued me, mostly from myself and the tail was a small price to pay for that.”
“I would have thought that the Empire would want a True Elf as an Ambassador.”
“What the Empire wanted was to ignore the rest of the world. Suddenly I was thrust into the middle and when the Regency Council realized that the Blasted Lands were not going to just be ignored, there I was, in the middle of the storm. In most of the Blasted Lands, a tail is considered an asset and not a liability and my rather strange family has managed to replace that pure blood nonsense with better things. If you feel the need to have a discussion with a True Elf, you can speak to the Embassy secretary, who lives the True Elf life, except for a rather inappropriate husband.”
“That is not the lady Calladia?”
“She is my personal aide and while she handles my correspondence, she doesn’t act as the Embassy’s secretary. Shalendra was recommended to me by Princess Lelayme and she and her rather inappropriate husband came down with us. Shalendra wanted to get far enough from her mother that she had to send mail rather visiting once a week and driving her crazy.”
“The lady’s mother doesn’t approve of the relationship.”
“Unfortunately, that isn’t the problem. No, the problem is that Shalendra and Rolf don’t have children yet and the mother wants them. But both of them want a good start and some peace and quiet. Fortunately for them, they have the old Empire House and don’t live at the Embassy. Also, I have been sworn to not tell Shalendra’s mother, but Shalendra is expecting.”
“That sounds wonderful. Will that mean that you lose your secretary?”
“Somewhat, but there are enough moms, grandmothers and kids around that the labors can be shared somewhat. In any case, I expect that the typical high elf would have some trouble adapting to the Blasted Lands. At least at first. We may be getting a Ravathrya lady and that will be interesting.”
“While the host country shouldn’t affect your choices for your staff, I am a bit surprised that you would hire a lady from a family as hated in the Blasted Lands as the Ravathyra.”
“When it comes to hating the Ravathrya, Siraye Zylvyre has more reason than most, including the fact that Melaris killed a relationship she had with another elf by arranging for the elf to be exiled ten years ago. With mail and some discreet communication, thanks to Siraye’s mother being all tied up in the family’s troubles and her father getting run ragged at his job, she’s made some arrangements and is moving to the embassy.”
“Is Melaris her father?”
“Yes. But it’s hard to exile a daughter that has exiled herself. While we can go over my staff for a very long time, Consul, and I am glad to meet with you at last, what did you really want to talk to me about?”
“This is a rather discreet matter that involves the Empire. I would like you to have a chat with Rolin Zylvyre about airships traversing his land and asking permission to conduct patrols so that the Fellowship can intercept the airships outside our borders.”
“Earlier in the year, that would have been an easy discussion, but at present, nobody is quite sure where Rolin is.”
“You have your Embassy’s yacht.”
“I do.”
The Consul handed Gwen some photographs. “There is a small port owned by the Ravathrya called the Retreat. Rolin is there or near there. I presume that you are on your way to the Hidden City and this would make a nice stop for you.”
“Hand me your proposal.”
The Consul did and said, “This is a rather discreet matter, so don’t mention this to the Admiral.”
“That is understandable. I will see if I can talk with Rolin about this, then.”
“Well my flunkies are waving at me, so I suppose that I must go on to the dedication that is my reason for being here. Thank you for your time, Milady.”
“It was not a problem. I wanted to meet with you in any case.”
The consul and his rather large staff left and Gwen breathed a sigh of relief as Reptar started to laugh. “I thought that this job was going to be rather boring most of the time. What do you think that he really wants?”
“There will be counter airship patrols that just coincidently fly over the area where your relatives have their great secret, in the land that wasn’t used for collateral to cover the Ravathrya’s debts. I have a legitimate reason to visit and meet with Rolin about a matter that is fairly serious in regards to the misbehaving Republic.”
“I can see why people think that the Consul is all wet without a tail. He could have asked for a meeting alone with you and come out and said what he really wanted.”
“My dear captain, that would just not have worked. The president can arrange something like that at Vikz’s because we are both regular customers. So if the President is in Chastrey and stops in while I am there, that is just coincidence. But I am travelling on the yacht, can hardly just drop into Zirgoccol because of my current life status and the Consul has an army wherever he goes, so arranging a true discreet meeting is out of the question. I see Peri, so they must be here. Renna has spotted you and here she comes.”
Renna ran over and hugged her brother. “Reptar, we found a wonderful thing in Zirgoccol.”
“Hello sis, this is the Lady Gwaerengwen.”
“Hello, Milady. We met at Rosa’s wedding. Has your lady managed to drag you to a beach, brother?”
“Not as of yet. She is on the yacht with us and apparently the weather at the Hidden City is fine for Swimming this time of year. So why are you here?”
“We are all going on a tour of the Fellowship and the Blasted Lands, taking ship from here to the Republic, visiting all our relatives and then going to the Hidden City. In any case, Tarranth and I found the Woodsprite in a store in Zirgoccol.”
They were surrounded by the rest of the tour as Renna told her brother about finding the Woodsprite, Tarranth trying to cash a check and the rest of her experiences in Zirgoccol. As she breathlessly wound down, Reptar was grinning and said, “Father will love this. Make sure that you send a letter home.”
“I will, from the Republic. There is no regular mail service from the Fellowship yet. Was that the Consul you were meeting with, milady?”
Gwen grinned, “Yes, and I can’t talk about it. At least not with Byddri here.”
Byddri turned to the goblinesque man next to him and said, “Hoddy, I think that the lady has our number.”
“When the office attached me to you, I thought that it was just herding another cub through the Fellowship. Why don’t you introduce me to the lady here, so that I can explain?”
“Milady, this Hoddiag Orchaser and he has been stuck with me until we leave for the Republic. He is a correspondent that works from the Zirgoccol office of the Press Service. Hoddy, this is the Lady Gwaerengwen, who Paeris sent through a portal and caused a big mess with.”
“I see Renna, Nimue, Alinis and Dessielle in your little group, so you all must have escaped. Why come here?”
“My dad says that you should always do what your opponent least expects you to do,” Renna said. “So when we were reaching for Jump anchors to use, we chose the one that the other side wouldn’t think that we would use and the lady was there. She was planning a trip, to see you in fact, Nimue sent a message to her father and her father sent the boys, except for Ruki, who was sent by his dad because his dad thinks that Ruki will cause less trouble in the Republic.”
“Hoddy, explain to the lady why she is better off telling us what happened than letting the Consul off easy.” Byddri said.
Hoddy grinned. “Milady, the Consul is probably with a battery of reporters right now, spinning your meeting that you thought was discreet and spilling everything.”
“We just finished a rather discreet diplomatic arrangement.”
“Which will lead to a big announcement of all the details in the papers by this evening. According to the reports you are on your way to the Hidden City. That is where you will do any real deal making with the Dragonmaster and Mr. Beinan. The Consul probably wanted to you to talk with Admiral Zylvyre about over flights and intercepting airships, correct?”
“How did you know?”
“It was all over the office this morning before we left and there was a press release about talks with the Empire and dealing with Republican incursions.”
“So I shouldn’t go and see Admiral Zylvyre?”
“That you should do. What I would do is arrange for some press to go with you. I can help with that. You are new at this and come from a culture where they tend to keep things behind doors a lot. Things here still happen behind doors, but there is a circus to make noise and provide distraction. When you return to the Republic, see if you can find an exile who works in the press to handle these things for you and for a public meeting like this, bring your press people. The Consul could take advantage of that and he will. Did he ask a lot of questions about you and your staff?”
“Yes, he did. I thought that he wanted to know about the people that he may be working with.”
“He has files for most of that already. At least he will, since like the captain here, most of your staff is new. It’s also going to be harder because the Embassy is in the Republic, not here, and Admiral Harper, the Secretary of State and Dan Harper don’t play the game that way. What he was doing was looking for levers.”
“I hoped that he was surprised that I was careful enough not to give him any. I don’t think that he considered that I have been around for a fairly long time, have had those games played for a long time and a rather unorthodox family. If he was expecting me to play the “proper elf” he should have known better. Of course the princess and I expected this when we started to look for Embassy staff. That is why we asked Admiral Shanelis for recommendations, and selected competent people who may have unorthodox backgrounds. May I see the press release?”
Hoddy grinned as he handed it over. “I was hoping that you would ask for it. One thing that your press person will do for you is get these before you have any meetings.”
Gwen looked at the sheet of paper and said, “If he wanted to keep things discreet like he said that he did, then why release that he was meeting with me to discuss air patrols against airships. Since the Consul wants the events in the public eye, Mr. Orchaser, would you like to have a brief yacht voyage to the Hidden City with me. We can discuss many things along the way.”
“Why not Byddri here?”
“I assume that he is on his own assignment, will be meeting with my family and staff in the Republic as well as his bosses, who will be rather put out if he doesn’t show up even if he’s chasing another story. Why don’t I take you all to dinner before Byddri and the others board ship.”
“A reporter never turns down a free meal. I also think that my bosses will not complain if I go off with you, chasing a story.”
As the dinner wound down, Amarille managed to arrange to be in a rather discreet corner with Gwen and said, “You have apparently become the new grandmother to my great grandchildren.”
“You must be Paeris’s mother.”
“Yes. He is, unfortunately, heading to a very dark place.”
“The same place that I will be rather publically visiting all too soon. At least that is where he is physically. Where his mental state is a mystery.”
“That wasn’t an accident. Merfyr has to be out front and play the clown, but having your visit a bit public while making noises about it all being hush hush will make it harder for the people there to arrange a convenient accident. Tom and Qambois will want to have a far more discreet conversation about what you see there.”
“I imagine that Rolin and the others will want to keep things from me. Unfortunately I have a feel for how they are when they try to hide things and they are nowhere near as clever as my relatives when it comes to hiding things. At least this time, I have my own boat.”
“Please take a good look at that place and most importantly return.”
“I have to. My tiger will get upset if I don’t.”
“Strom?”
“Tigger. She was rather annoyed that I just went off and stayed away. She spends the night next to our pool and is on the yacht right now.”
Amarille laughed. “You have a tiger as a pet?”
“Tigger is a very unusual tiger. My manager’s kids adopted her and most of the time she lives as a house cat. As Robin says, no tiger ever had it so good. The kids even take Tigger to the zoo so that she can see her boyfriend. No cubs yet, but the kids are hoping. In any case the kids are off to Zirgoccol while Grandma has some boring meetings here.”
“Strom’s grandchildren?”
“Some of them. My manager’s kids and some Harper and Yllanan kids. Some of them have tails.”
“I want to see them.”
“We should still be at the Hidden City when you get there. I promised the kids this trip some time ago and we didn’t receive your message in time. So Tomas took the kids to see Zirgoccol, they are returning on the night train this evening and coming back to the yacht in the morning. I wouldn’t worry. There is still a mob waiting for you in Chatsrey.”
“Will I be welcome?”
“Strom and I discussed this and yes, you will be, for Strom’s dead wife and their surviving children. You were not responsible for what Paeris did.”
“Paeris came and discussed what he had hidden for so long. My parents and I did not realize the nature of the family when the marriage was arranged. I have managed to get my other children away from the family and had not seen Ehlark for a very long time before he met his death. I hope to thank Captain Pinch for that.”
“He should still be at the Hidden City. I think that you must go, unfortunately and board the ship. We can have a very nice chat at the Hidden City.”
“Will you tell Rolin what happened to the girls?”
“By this point, if he hasn’t figured it out, he’s not as sharp as I thought he was. The big thing is how tired Paeris, Rolin and Zanis are of this Master of theirs.”
“You know about him?”
“I know that he exists. There were hints and the ladies at the Sanctum gossiped. Also Zanis and I had long conversations as he had not been out in the world for some time. Of course I did not know of his rampage through the fae community or I would have been rather nastier to him. In any case, over the course of the three moons or so that I was at the Sanctum things leaked. Especially when things started to go wrong.”
“I think that I will take my leave and herd my cats to the ship.”
“Your cats?”
“The gaggle of girls, boyfriends, grandchildren and the rest that I have acquired for this little trip. I would borrow your yacht if you didn’t need it.”
“It’s my sister’s actually. She is commissioning a larger one for her and her friend. They have a mob too, who will be part of the mob that you will be encountering.”
The Fortress.
Nethangwa had asked her brother to attend her and the Herdir waited until her latest affair came to its conclusion before going to her pavilion. As he walked in, she lethargically looked at him and hissed, “Hello brothersss. You are perhapsss a bit later than I expectsss. I wantsss to discusssss with you, the latesss prospecsss.”
“What prospects do you wish to discuss.”
“Durlan ssssaid that he had a good prospecssss that he thought that he could deliver. Where isss the girl? Sssshe sssshould have been recoversss by nowsss.”
“There was a recovery. Unfortunately there were some issues and the girl, along with several other very promising girls escaped.”
“How did that happenss?”
“I am not sure at this point. Two of the girls were Onvyr’s daughters and they apparently vanished.”
“Have you punissshed Onvyr?”
“Onvyr disappeared as well.”
“I could hunt themsss.”
“You will not be in a position to do that for two five days. In any case, hurting the girls would be out of the question as I am acquiring grain to replace the grain that was lost.”
His sister rose up out of her coils. “Food was Lossst. How didsss that Happensss?”
“The Republic sent some warships and sank the grain barges.”
“Your greatsss Admiral didsss not Stopsss the Republic’sss shipssss? Bring himss to me.”
“Not for this. He is still new here and does not understand the proper order. He demanded that I stop punishing some guards for failing to keep the girls and prevent Onvyr from leaving. He will learn, one way or another. We can replace the grain.”
“I am very disspleasssed with your admiral and ssome of the othersss. What are the chancesss of new prospecssss?”
“Sollor says that there will be no chances in the Empire for a very long time.”
“What about the Kingdom or the Fellowssship?”
“The Kingdom would be very difficult because the Kingdom was nearer the site of the scourge and scanners and portals do not work.”
“The Fellowssship?”
“There may be potential there. We have hidden some portals there that were removed from the Lower City and other places in the Empire. They will only work infrequently, but if we space things out and stage the recoveries we may be able to make it work. One problem is that we lost some scanners when the processing building burned down.”
“Who did thatss?”
“Somebody has captured the Richflight’s portal and has been using it to harass the Retreat.”
“Harasss them. Sssend people to punisssh them.”
“If they are at the Richflights, we would be facing a shielded house with walls and enhanced soldiers available. If we use the fae, they will be facing strong fae, the mentioned enhanced soldiers and others. Using the portal has other issues.”
“Who hasss made you into a coward, brother?”
“I addressed this with Rolin and Zanis and they are the experts in these things. I have fae watching the Richflight estate and they are charged with retrieving some things and bringing them here.”
The Sanctum.
Lavidia and Iris led a doubtful Gwynn to the portal and the Sanctum. “Where is Flix?”
“The boy is busy. I was going to wait, but you would think that after the thing with the girls he would have gone out of the way to deal with this himself. He hasn’t, so Iris and I will surprise him with it and you. It’s more fun that way anyway. It’s a good thing that the grove is here. Otherwise it is a two day trip from the estate. I think that Flix wanted the trip with you and taking you to his home grove which is traditional, but you have been a target already.”
Gwynn giggled a bit. “He has been busy, between the Portal Service, harassing the Retreat and the things that you and the Princess want.”
“That’s another reason to get this done. I need somebody in the family to handle those things and with Peri and Dessielle gone for next two five days or so, and Flix doing whatever, I need you.” Here’s the grove. It will be cold at first when we take our clothes off. Once we are inside, things will warm up.”
Warm up they did as Gwynn felt wonderful and in touch with the land and the mana flow even though she knew that this was not her grove. She could sense that grove near the Yllanan estate and the area around it. She was tempted to go there, but Lavidia was waiting, so she returned to herself. She turned and Lavidia was holding a pea. “Was it wonderful?”
“Yes, even though this is not my home Grove. I was tempted to go there.”
“That would have annoyed some people.”
“Who?”
“The boy there that Iris is testing today for the Justiciars. Let’s get dressed and clear the grove for Eddie and Iris.”
They went to the small shed outside the grove where they had undressed, put their clothes back on and emerged to the other room in the shed, where Iris was waiting with a boy and an elf in a Justiciar’s tunic. As Iris and the boy went into the next room, the Justiciar bowed and said, “Hello, ladies. So you tested Gwynnestri at last.”
“Lord Bryneiros, if I had waited for my son to do it, there could have been an accident. Needless to say, she passed. I noticed you sending young Eddie this morning. Are you sure that that is a good idea?”
“His brother passed and managed already to find a very nice girl from your kingdom even before he was tested.”
“Rainlilly, yes. They met at the House when she was running an errand for my brother in law and he was running an errand for your wife. At least running errands is easier for him, now. That collar he wears will probably disappear.”
“Those are a nuisance, somewhat and a protection. They can’t just be removed and the collars are tagged. So if somebody makes off with one of my people, we know about it. What I haven’t made a big deal about, and I do hope that you keep this discreet, is that the slave collars in my family were made by the Beinans before the family was exiled and have certain special features that we don’t talk about, such as a crystal to record and a panic button that makes noise that the Hall will resonate with. The Hall will also resonate if a slave dies suddenly.”
“I see. So your slaves are eyes that will not get noticed and are part of the way you do business. At least the older slaves are. Eddie I am not so sure about.”
“He’s a scamp, isn’t he? But he is sharp, capable and essentially invisible. He even fooled Paeris, but I suspect that Paeris backtracked to see if he had been watched since he was meeting with that dark fae at the way station. I see that Eddie passed so I will take him to lunch.”
Eddie and Iris had emerged and Eddie was smiling as Iris brought him over. Iris was grinning ear to ear as she said. “Lord Bryneiros, for some strange reason, the fae community likes this mischief maker. He passed. Are you sure that you wanted to do this?”
“No, but my wife and his mother would make my life miserable if he hadn’t been tested and got in trouble that he couldn’t escape. In any case, why don’t I take you and Eddie here to lunch?”
“How many more of these scamps do you have, milord?” Lavidia asked
“That haven’t been tested yet? Four in my family and perhaps ten more in the various Justiciars’ families.”

Chapter 8.
The Empty Lands – the Camp.
Wolf Waterstream looked at the Devise in his hand and grinned. When they had discussed making the balloons with the crystals, they had originally planned to place tags on the crystal. Then Adiun had had a different idea. The crystals had micro portals attached that activated and deactivated, sending an activation signal out. Halamar had suggested radios but the microportals could be made in the Empire and the radios would have to be made in the Republic and would be bigger. So Microportals it was. Wolf had five of them on his scanner right now and with the swiftness of his namesake, started to chase them down.
Berry Foggyheart and Stargazer Driftboots looked at the thing in Berry’s claws and groaned. Berry turned to Stargazer and said, “Why do we get these jobs?”
“Because your cousin doesn’t like us and is chasing your girl.”
“We were lucky to spot the balloon attached to this one. We have flown all over the place and this one is the only one we found.”
“So we take this one back. One good thing is that I can’t sense a tag on it, can you?”
“No. Why is that important?”
“Because they can’t yell at us for not finding the tags if there weren’t any.”
Wolf watched the pair and grinned. They were still transformed as eagles and he had heard the argument from quite a distance. He grinned and charged in. ‘I’ll take that!”
He grabbed the balloon and Jumped immediately to an anchor that he had set up before setting out to look for the crystals. The two dark fae flew up, looking for him, but he had set the anchor so that he was in a pile of weather worn boulders that would have shielded him, even if he had not placed a shield. He watched the pair flounder around in the air as he did another scan and found still more balloons. That was almost all of them at this point. When the dark fae left, he went to his first target and collected it.
When they reached the Camp, Stargazer turned to Berry and said, “We didn’t find anything. There were no tagged things out there.”
Berry’s cousin, Earth, must have heard them and said, “You didn’t find anything?”
“Earth, if you have a way of finding random things in empty square miles of dirt, you can tell us how it’s done,” Stargazer said. “You are free to go out there and look for yourself. Right now, Berry and I are tired and we didn’t find a thing. Either somebody didn’t get out there fast enough or the other side, for some strange reason, didn’t bother to tag them so that every fae and his cousin could find them.”
“The other side must have a way to find them.”
“Unfortunately the characters on the other side didn’t tell us how to do that.”
“In any case, I have another job for you.”
“What?”
“I want you to infiltrate the Richflight estate and retrieve some things.”
“When?”
“Tonight.”
“We are just coming off the last little task that you gave us. We’re tired and hungry. We can do that tomorrow.”
“The Master feels that it is urgent.”
“After dinner and sleep.”
“You can eat. Go afterwards.”
“Are you coming?”
“Why?”
“Because we need somebody that isn’t tired to do the heavy lifting. You go or we don’t. Berry let’s go get dinner.”
“I will tell the Master that you refused the mission.”
“If you do, I will tell the Master that we requested that you go and you refused.”
“Very well.”
The Richflight Estate.
As Jonny and his cousin Greg passed the sleeping guards, he grinned. “Sleeping on duty, somebody is going to get in trouble.”
“Do you want the outside or the inside?”
“Outside today. You take the inside.”
Both Jonny and Greg had been tested and passed. They were House slaves tonight doing various small tasks while the Justiciar’s guard slept away. Jonny looked at the wagon set in the middle of the courtyard and said, “Do you think that is too obvious?”
“You can move it, if you like.”
“Later. Let’s get to make-work.”
Earth, Berry and Stargazer Jumped to the anchor that they had been given. Berry said, “Earth, what did the Master tell you about this place?”
“He told me where the things we have to retrieve were and that we shouldn’t have too much trouble with staff as the staff had been disbanded by the Justiciars.”
“Did he say anything about shields?”
“Why?”
“Because the place has them. Not very good ones, but there. We won’t be able to Jump out and probably not in, either.”
“We can go in though the gate. It’s open.”
“With guards, albeit, they are asleep. Did the Master give you any plans for the place?”
“No.”
“Did you talk to the people who lived here, that is, if you could?”
“I did not think it necessary.”
Stargazer wanted to beat Earth silly, but he was going to need him to take the blame for the fiasco that he was sure was coming. He turned to Berry and said, “We go in discreet and quiet. Scan for anything that might trip an alert.”
They walked invisibly past the sleeping guards and into the courtyard. Berry went to a particular stone, touched it with his finger and said, “Faesbane.”
Apparently the elf who had set that up didn’t care that fae might actually use the password as the wall glamor disappeared. Berry looked at the things that had obviously been placed in there very quickly and said, “so now what?”
Earth looked around and said, “There is a wagon and there is a slave. We compel the slave and fill the wagon.”
Stargaze frowned and said, “that seems all too easy, but it will get things done.”
He walked over to the slave and placed the compulsion. “Come with me.”
The slave followed him obediently to the wagon and towed it over to the hidden chamber. Stargazer said, “Load the wagon.”
The slave did, taking papers and various things and placing them in the wagon. Berry turned to Stargazer as they helped load the wagon and said, “This is too slow. Slave, are there any other slaves here?”
“In the house, master.”
Berry turned to his cousin and growled, “If you won’t help, go and get the other slave.”
“Very well.”
Earth went inside and returned with the slave that had been inside the House. Berry, Stargazer and the two slaves finished loading the wagon. With that done, the four, with Earth leading the way, pushed the wagon past the sleeping guards and down to the portal. Earth said, “Use your key, Berry and activate the portal.”
“Earth, I have been flying around looking for things that were not there all day. I don’t have my key with me.”
Earth turned to Stargazer, who shook his head. “Very well, I will use mine.”
Earth keyed the portal and the four pushed the wagon through. Earth followed it followed by Berry and Stargazer as they walked past the two grinning slaves.
They entered in the center of the Camp and Berry turned to Earth and said, “Why didn’t you set the key for the Retreat?”
“I didn’t see the need to.”
“What if they trace the portal?”
“It is unlikely that they will be able to. Call some slaves and get this material taken where it belongs.”
As Berry went with Stargazer to the slavemaster’s office he said, “Did that seem to go just a little too smooth to you?”
“Berry, those two slaves were grinning at us.” Stargazer held up his key. “At least it wasn’t my key that they will be tracking back on.”
“You did bring your key.” Berry lifted his key. “Strange, I had forgotten that I had mine.”
Adiun ported through with a crew from the Portal Service to a waiting Jonny and Greg with their grins. As he hooked up the trace, he asked, “Did they realize that they had been had?”
Jonny’s grin got wider as he said, “Adiun, the two fae that were doing the work had a clue at the end, but the boss didn’t. I don’t think any of them picked up on the fact that their compulsions didn’t work or that we were tagging everything that we were loading. Of course the two fae arranged it so that the boss used his key.”
Adiun looked at the trace and said, “The boss was an idiot. He ported to a location that we didn’t already know about.”
“Adiun, that boss character was about as sloppy as it gets. The three of them didn’t have a plan, didn’t check for alarms or fae traps and apparently didn’t bother talking to the Richflights.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because if they had, they would have known that we weakened the shield and that would have tipped them off that something funny was going on. Especially since the boss character had been trapped that way once already. He also didn’t spot me. I was afraid that I was going have to shoot him, but he never picked up that I had seen him before with Paeris.”
“When was the boss character trapped?”
“Byddri talked to the way station tender that he knew and set up a bit of a trap for the character. Since the character was not using the Post services, the tender dropped the shields on the character and forced him to pay for his seat. He did, because he wasn’t leaving otherwise. You would have thought that being trapped once would have made him wary of traps, but it didn’t apparently.”

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