Oops, Missing Chapters in the Search For Paeris. Here are chapter 29-30

I missed up in making up the chapters for The Search for Paris and had chapter 29 and 30 twice. Here is the missing section.

Chapter 29.
The Northeastern Fellowship- La 12(Intrepid) – the Hidden City.
It was another cloudy weather day and Yrvien grinned when she took a glance as the sky and there was very brief silver gleam that disappeared shortly afterwards. She picked up the intercom and said, “Roger, prepare to not be surprised.”
“I won’t be, but the slugs will. Some drinks and embarassment got me silence from the last group of slugs. At least this time you took all the trainees through basic maneuvers and where an enemy is likely to jump you. Apparently these dragons didn’t fly enough when they were kids. Got them, here they come.”
Yrvien could almost see Roger’s grin as the two little dragons dropped straight through the formations lightly flaming the four planes. At least this time the slugs broke in formation when the dragons passed. She heard cursing in dragonspeach, but surprisingly the non dragon flight broke into a weave and circled around the dragons, passing in both directions past them before banking off. The next ten hundredths was the two pairs obviously having a good time until one of the little dragons flew over and dropped a note in her lap. Yrvien looked at it and said, “Roger, I need to drop out and chase these little flamers home.”
“Duke and Drosh aren’t going to like that. They are enjoying themselves. The other two apparently never played tag.”
“I don’t want these two making the air force look silly.”
“We can hope that the dragonguard never gets airplanes. Ready to go?”
Roger rolled the plane and Yrvien dropped out. Brilbun and Teonag flew past, Teonag touched with her flame and called out, “Tag. You’re it!”
“Grrr. You two are food!”
“Not if you can’t catch us, old lady!”
“I’ll old lady you!”
Yrvien was grinning as Brilbun and Teonag led her on a merry chase back to the airship. She managed to catch them and dragged them to the trapeze. “Danni
They are all yours!”
Danni laughed. “How much trouble are they in?”
“Two sheep.”
“That much trouble then. Boys, you are going to have to do some work when we get back.”
“Aunt Danni, we can afford two sheep.”
“Yrvien, you were going light on them. Oh, well. We’ll figure out something appropriate when we all get back to the Hidden City.”
“Why does the Dragonmaster want me?”
“I don’t know, but he seems to think that you can do what he needs. Maybe because you didn’t try to attack the airship. In any case, you can make eyes at Nathan some more.”
“Who’s Nathan?”
“The ship’s photo officer and Mokem’s partner in craziness. I could tell that you liked him.”
“He was sort of cute for a ‘Pug. How did you run into Mokem?”
“I had your job for the dragonguard without an airplane. The airship was being flown up the coast and we were told that it was dangerous.”
“They can be.”
“Well, since the Dragonguard had never seen it before, we all wanted to get a look and a cousin thought that he had seen my brother aboard. I was searching for my brother, who had dropped out of sight from the Dragonguard and wasn’t sending letters home, so I flew up with a crystal and there was my brother, taking pictures of me, and a character that I thought that I would like. So I arranged to harass my brother somewhat, get myself captured so that lord Petris couldn’t get me for desertion and got aboard the airship. I’m still training Mokem up for our wedding dance. His mother likes dragons and his brother runs an airline.”
“That sounds like a wonderful and romantic story.”
“It has its downsides, including two more little flamers. Here’s Nathan.”
There he was and the other one, who must be Mokem said, “Say hi, Nathan. Show her the pictures you took of her the last time.”
Yrvien grinned. “Did you take pictures of me, Nathan?”
Nathan grinned back. “It’s my job. Sometimes my job has benefits.”
“You’re cute for a Pug.”
“Somebody has to be. Look at what Mokem caught. A scaly dragon.”
Yrvien laughed. “You do know that I resemble that remark.”
“You are getting very close to getting scorched, Nathan.” Danni said.”
“Danni, you wouldn’t scorch me because Byddri isn’t available to take your pictures when you fly with Mokem.”
“I have two nephews who need to buy some sheep for a certain lady. You can get scorched all right.”
‘I will say that both you ladies look wonderful in scales.”
“I thought that we could get you to see reason.”
Yrvien thought that the voyage back to the Hidden City seemed very short and she was surprised when the airship slowed and started to prepare for landing.
When the crew disembarked, Mokem and Nathan rounded up a pair of GP’s and the various dragons headed to the side of the field, there standing next to the field shack was a figure that Yrvien had never seen up close before. Dragonmaster Qambois Swiftflyer had stood like giant across the recent history of the Fellowship, including two terms as Consul. The Senate used him as the Fellowship’s ombudsman and chief negotiator and he had eminence across the Blasted Lands. Yrvien felt nervous that the only thing that she was wearing was a handy necklace that allowed a light dress when a dragon was not in dragonshape that Danni had loaned her. As the GP stopped she stepped out, stood at attention and saluted. “Dragonleader Yrvien Beinan reporting, Sir!”
The dragonmaster waved the salute aside and said with a light smile, “I see that you are out of uniform, Dragon leader.”
“A dragonmaster once said that a dragon is never out of uniform, sir!”
“Yes, I did say that. Nor am I chastising you for being out of uniform. You being here discreetly is far more important than what you are wearing, or not wearing.”
“Why me, sir!”
“First of all, you have an impeccable service record, second you don’t frighten easily and third, your father.”
“My father?”
“Yes, Halamar Bienan, who your mother managed to get to an aerie thirty years ago. Your family connections may become important.”
“My family was exiled and scattered a hundred years ago, Sir!”
“Not as scattered as all that, they tell me. The House is returned and the swans dance again, whatever that means.”
Yrvien looked at the surrounding brass from the Republic and the Empire, apparently and said, “That is something I would never expect to hear, sir!”
“I think that it will take some work to get you to drop the sirs. In any case, while the airship refuels to return you, why don’t we go over what we have so far and why you are here?”
The Dragonmaster led the rather large group to a café on the water where seafolk were together. On the way, Yrvien was introduced to Admiral Harper, his staff, Admiral Shanelis and Dragonmaster Flamefire. Flamefire was grinning as he said, I hope that my grandsons didn’t cause too much trouble.”
“May I borrow them from time to time?”
“You would have to talk with their grandmother, but I think that an arrangement can be made. What for?”
“When you fly in an airplane, you can lose your sense of danger somewhat. You are not exerting yourself and thinking about the sky around you, a sky that can very quickly fill with nasties, all of whom were trained by Flight Instructor Khumkith.”
“That is a rather interesting endorsement. I actually hired the Flight Instructor for the dragonguard.”
“They will hate you for doing that. But the Dragonguard will be better for it.”
Dragonhall, Eryding.
When the squadron was called out and assembled, they weren’t sure what was going on. The apparition standing there didn’t help. Dragoncaptain Nizig called the roll and said, “This is Flight Instructer Khumkith. He has been contracted to do some evaluation and training for the dragonguard. The Dragonmaster was not happy with the guard’s performance.”
“He’s not a dragon,” a Flight leader said.
The Flight Instructor looked at the Flight leader who almost stepped back and bellowed, “And you are a maggot who opens his mouth before putting his head in gear.” The Flight Instructor turned on the rest of the squadron, “Frankly, the lot of you are pathetic. Putting people like you in the air sullies the sky. I’ve seen school boys, that is little boys, perform drills better than you do. Scratch that. School girls. Little ten year old girls would have your asses if their daddies would give them airplanes. Ok, for the next five day you all are grounded until I say that you can fly again. The next five day we may actually hit the sky again. That depends if you can make the promotion to slug. Frankly, I’m not optimistic. I know what you are thinking. You all are the elite of the Dragonguard, why do we have to listen to this character. You will listen to me, because when I’m done with you maggots, you all will be able to take what this big bad world throws at you and toss it back. If you follow me out back you will find some improvements for the training field that you apparently don’t use. I call it a teaching course and boy, do you all need it. Your formations are loose, you’re flying ragged and you are all sluggish and slow. So we are going to start on the ground. From now to through next five day, we will be going though the teaching course at least once a day. Now turn right! Double time march!”
The squadron marched out to the lightly used exercise field and the field had changed to a sort of obstacle course. The flight instructor lined them up and said, “Somebody doesn’t like you clowns because it was all too easy to find volunteers from the army who wanted to give you some bruises. They have set up on this course and get paid for every bruise that they inflict. That comes out of your pay. I’ll go first to show that it can be done. By the way, the characters get double if they land a bruise on me. I’ve done this with Fellowhip POWs that were dragons and hated my guts. So I should have it easy here. I won’t even dirty my pretty uniform. ”
The flight instructor blew a whistle and then ran through the course as various things sprang out of nowhere, each of which he avoided easily. He returned to the standing squadron. “Ok, you can see that it can be done. Since you don’t have names on your uniforms and I don’t bother to learn the names of maggots, you on the end of the row go first!”
By the time the morning was over, there were some very sore and bruised dragons The Flight Instructor lined them up again and said, “I thought that you maggots would try to prove me wrong. That was worse than pathetic. I hate paying the army. Even with your pay, I hate paying the ground pounders. I may actually have to bring airplanes here to the Empire and train those characters to do your jobs. So, all of you, run five laps around the training field and then we do it again.”
At the end of the day the flight leaders and squadron leader went into the Dragoncaptain’s office. “Why do we have to do what that ground pounder says?”
Dragoncaptain Nizig looked at them and said, “Because he works for me, the Dragonmaster sent him and it looks like the Fight Instructor was right. You all were pathetic today. You all are supposed to be the shining example of what the Dragonguard is supposed to be and what I saw today was not that. If you can’t take a couple of five days of getting back into shape, I can find another duty for you. There are some really nice places that the Dragonmaster wants squadrons based at. This is Guesting. Snowfall and Frore are coming up and you all better plan to arrange for very warm coats if you don’t plan to shape up. Dismissed.”
Zylvyre Estate.
Amarille Zylvyre looked at the pair standing before her and wanted to laugh. Her son hadn’t told her that Bob Harper was a full blooded elf with a bit of a family resemblance or described Kulgha Ironaxe’s rather dramatic appearance. She looked at the strange pair and said, “Sit down gentlemen and tell me why you are here. My son has come, and gone. Mr. Harper, you have a bit of a family resemblance.”
“My biological father was rough with my mother and left her on the beach with a bit of a surprise. So I got to be the pretty boy of the family. My wife outshines me and nobody pays attention anymore.”
“Then your wife must be remarkable woman indeed.”
“Very much so. I am a very lucky man.”
“My son is evading you, but not a young reporter, it seems. That interview was a bit of a surprise.”
“The dragon did steal a march on us. Of course it was in the territory that he grew up in and he knew that stretch of the post road very well.”
“Mr. Ironaxe, you haven’t said anything.”
“I thought that I would let Bob make his arguments, if any and then deal with them as they came up.”
“So why are you both here? Not here, at my home, but here in the Empire in the first place?”
“I am looking for my client. Normally I would conduct a series of interviews with my client, but like so much in this case, things have gone awry and Paeris did not want to talk with me in any case. Frankly the man is more than a bit of an enigma.”
“You know what my family is. They were not all that way and my other son and daughter escaped the taint of the family. I was not a member of the family when the family joined with House Ravathrya and became a part of the nightmare. When my marriage was arranged, my parents did not understand what House Zylvyre had become and Ehlark took steps to make sure that I did not tell them.”
“Why did you not ask for an annulment?” Bob asked.
“There was a social stigma back then about that, my family was small and fairly weak and I was trying to protect my House. Not that my efforts did any good. When it became expedient, my House went with so many others into exile, absorbed into the mad dream of the Ravathrya. My brother lives in the Republic and I have no idea where my sister is, that is if she is still alive.”
“I think that the mad dream is what concerns us all,” Bob said. “While we are searching for Paeris, we also have other mandates placed on us by my father and others in the Republic.”
“Your father? You just said that your mother had been left on a beach with you inside.”
“My father found and rescued her, they fell in love, shared blood and a life. My father is a remarkable man and has never even breathed a word about the fact that I am not truly his son, at least to me. As for Erlan Zylvyre, my real father, who raped and abused my mother for his entertainment and left her pregnant on a beach, we have never met and I hope that we never do, because I would have to be rather uncivil to the man and that would probably make things harder for my father. The President stuck him with a rather nasty job and I can’t, in all honesty make his job harder.”
“Your father is a remarkable man. I plan to be making a journey, to the Republic, in fact, so perhaps I should speak with him. I was planning to go through the Fellowship and go by ship from there, but if there is a direct way from the Empire, perhaps I should use that. In any case I believe that a discussion with your father would be profitable for us both. Why don’t we discuss that while we discuss my rather wayward son and I tell you about him somewhat.”
As Kulgha and Bob were riding the carriage away from the house, Kulgha said, “That was very interesting. She was open and honest with us. I also believe that she got as much from us as we did from her.”
“She’s an oracle, a very good one. The first one that I have encountered for real, doing what she does. She probably had very good reasons for House Zylvyre when she separated herself from the family. I think that we should look into her.”
“The family is not a total loss. We have seen several members that don’t exactly want to get absorbed into what ever the Ravathyra dream is. This extracurricular project has become rather interesting indeed.”
“At least this thing is big enough that Dad can keep Greenwillow from assigning us new cases. This one has turned out to be a lot of fun. We should thank Paeris for running off like that.”
Kulgha grinned. “I knew it was a mistake when we had that argument where he could hear us. He scared so easily. I had him as the noble sacrifice for the family type. Especially when he came right out with the orcish sot comments.”
“You were an orcish sot. But then I was the pretty boy trying to drink you under the table. We were in college. That is expected. I think that our professors set it up that way so that they can teach classes to a bunch of students with hangovers.”
‘Now that is a take that I hadn’t considered. Too bad that old professor Marsh is no longer with us and we can’t ask.”
“Do you think that they would give it away? I can still hear that voice of his. “We are here in a place where we are bringing the foundation of our culture, the law, to the future. My role is to take your skulls full of mush and create something worthy of what our ancestors left us. I will either succeed or you may find occupations with some goblins.”
“I wonder what the old blowhard would think if he could see us now?”
“I don’t think that he would be disappointed.”

Chapter 30.
House Qinvaris Estate.
Nimue prepared for her ride. The sergeant looked at her and said, “Going on the hunt, little lady?”
“What makes you think that, sergeant?”
“You are wearing that new cloak you made, a very pretty habit, just a hint of a probably expensive perfume and that pendant that you found on that post the other day.”
“I hope that your boys haven’t chased him away.”
‘I doubt it. He’s very good, even for a fae. We get glimpses, but he Jumps around and has set up good hides. He also knows to look out for the boys and we’re stretched a bit watching the whole family. The general would probably send more people but the airship hasn’t been available and we don’t want to make it look like an invasion. I wish that the Admiral and the Protector of the Treasury had gotten together and planned things better, but when Mr. Harper was sent, they didn’t know about you all and they thought it was going to be a short visit. We’ll make do. We always do. Enjoy your ride and I hope that you catch the fellow.”
Nimue started on her ride and could sense the eyes on her. She expected that he would make his move and stopped to water Lilly. She sensed him Jump, tied Lilly and Jumped herself. Right to his hide, which she knew about since the hide had been one of the places where she had played when she and her brothers had had the run of the farm every summer before their mother had insisted that she and Alinis learn some things that were considered something a bit more proper for an elfin girl. Their nasty daddy had backed mother up and the girls were stuck. It turned out that those things had been a lot of fun and the fact that she and her sister were far more talented than most of the high elf girls that had visited with their mothers from time to time hadn’t hurt. But those girls had arrangements and suitors and because of their background and the Blight, Nimue and her sister were going to have to look elsewhere for husbands. Nimue was waiting as the strange fae Jumped back to the hide, he saw her and cried out a bit and Jumped away again. That had been one of the strangest transformations that she had seen as of yet and the boy had felt more elven than fae. Perhaps, like Nimue, he had recently been tested and was experimenting. In any case, if he wanted to play tag, she could do that. She Jumped to the next likely place, a copse of trees, and there he was. “You don’t have to run, you know. We can talk a bit.”
He disappeared again. “Or we can play tag.”
She scanned around and found him again. She Jumped behind him and he jumped a bit startled and then Jumped again. She followed and stood hands on her hips in front of him. “I don’t know what you are afraid of. Can’t you at least tell me your name?”
He blinked. “Sylvar Aezeiros.”
He Jumped again and Nimue followed. When she emerged, there was a roar behind her and she turned to face a bear. At first she thought it was Sylvar, transformed, but he charged past her, using his changed clawed hand to claw at the bear before reaching for his knife and starting a fight that left Sylvar bloodied and the bear, dead. Sylvar looked at Nimue and Jumped. This time Nimue couldn’t find him. She looked around. Sylvar had dropped his knife. She picked it up and Jumped to Lilly. The sergeant was there and said, “What happened, other than you chasing that young whatever he is.”
“We ran into a bear. Sylvar saved my life.”
“Then we owe him one. You go back home little lady. We’ll find the bear and take care of it. I think that you will want to talk to your dressmaker about a coat for your friend.”
She showed the Sergeant the elven dagger. “That, and a sheath for this. He has earned it.”
Marshall Headquarters, Oakleaf Faery Kingdom
Miriam looked up at the injured Sylvar. “Sylvar! What happened?”
“I was running from a girl, who was chasing me, and we ran into a bear. I killed it.”
“Come with me. We are going to have to get you patched up.Who is the girl?”
‘Nimue Qinvaris. I saw her with my sister and her friends, but she is as far above me as the clouds.”
“Have you met her father yet?”
“No. What is the lord like?”
“Does Nimue know your name?”
“I told her.”
“Then you will be meeting him all too soon. I think that I will save the surprise.”
Miriam bandaged Sylvar’s wounds, started the healing and gave him a Republican sedative so that when he was put in bed, he would stay there. Then she went to find her husband. “Tomali, things are going to get fun.”
“How so?”
“Sylvar has probably bonded with Nimue Qinvaris.”
“You mean Nimue Harper, Princess Qinvaris, to be more precise.”
“Yes. I imagine that they have both been tested and he found her, doesn’t understand bonds and sees her as a high elf.”
“So he thinks that she’s untouchable. She probably thinks that he is going to be what she wants. You’re right. This is going to be fun.”
House Qinvaris.
Nimue went to the parlor looking for her mother. She found her with daddy and her grandparents. “Mother, how did you catch daddy?”
Rosaniya giggled. “I’m not sure that I should tell you in your grandparent’s presense.”
“Rosa, you might as well cough up,” Lythienne said. “It can’t be much worse than some of the games my other daughter in laws did.”
“I went to Tolith and we arranged it so that I would be given to Richard as a gift for his service. I hid my ears and dressed as a slave of low virtue. It still took a lot to get him into bed with me and I convinced him that sharing blood was some sort of slave wedding ritual. By then he was sure that he wanted me. I then exposed who I was and Tolith told him that he was in charge, which he had been more or less, already.”
“Poor little slave girl. We’ll have to save it for the next batch. Of course the boys and girls have already started to show up. So what is your new friend’s story, Nimue?”
“I’m not sure yet. At first I thought he was fae, and he has been tested. He goes around in a very strange transformation, but his name is Sylvar Aezeiros. He killed a bear and saved my life.”
“It sounds as if the boys and I are going to have to get a hunt together again and cull a bit,” Richard said. “The bears shouldn’t be coming that close to the house.”
“We were quite a bit away when we encountered it.”
“I’ll ask the sergeant where it was and send the boys out to do a sweep. That way they can use their new guns for a real hunt.”
“I don’t know Mariona Aezeiros at all,” Rosaniya said. “On the the other hand, Flix is seeing her daughter and we can use Lavidia as a connection, Lythienne. There is a bit of a mystery here as I didn’t think that the Aezeiros had more than one child, but perhaps they were hiding the other two out at the estate.”
“I think that Sylvar is very shy because of the way he looks, mother.”
“Then we should talk to Lavidia first. Is the daughter part of your little sewing circle?”
“No, mother.” Nimue grinned. “I suspect that there is room for another girl.”
“With that settled, my sons and I have to beard an old stick in his den,” Richard said. “I think that Lord Glynynore wants to take a leisurely approach to making the changes we want.”
“Is he resistant?” Lythienne asked.
“A bit, but I think that it is more about the old Empire approach to doing things than an actual resistance to what we want. In any case, I have an appointment to see him with some people this afternoon.”
House Glynynore.
Elenaril Glynynore was in the high duggeon that she was in the habit of getting into when she wasn’t sure what to do. Heretofore her husband had dealt with House Qinvaris through intermediaries and she hadn’t had to deal with the family visiting. Now Richard had married Rosaniya and she was going to have to face the music at some point soon for the years of sniping at Rosaniya somewhat, about Richard. So she confronted her husband and said, “I will not entertain that mortal in my House.”
Cohnal Glynynore looked at his wife and said, “We are just having a business meeting. I know that it is sort of sudden, but Richard said to Folwin that it was rather important that he speak to me directly. He has had some proposals that he has been sending and I think that I should take them seriously. Folwin says that they make sense from a business sense, but I think that Richard has larger concerns. The fact is that, after what happened to Rolin, I think that I must speak to the man.”
“What Rosa did to poor Lielatha was an abomination.”
“She didn’t mean to do that to Lielatha. She was just making a point to Rolin that Richard was not going to be for sale at any price and pressuring Rosa was going to have consequences. Lielatha could have had somebody repurchase the food for her thing and gone on, rather than going on in high dudgeon about it. House Qinvaris only cut Rolin off for a day or so, in any case.”
“Rolin had to go and apologize to that slave of Rosa’s.”
“I heard about that, from Rolin. It was Rosa who insisted, and Richard didn’t even know about it until he was hauled in for the thing by Rosa. Ok, you can stay in the parlor and not have to interact with Richard. I’m sure that he and I can do without any entertaining and some tea or beer. So we should be fine.”
Venali came in and said, “Lord Qinvaris is here, Milord.”
“Send them to the workroom. I imagine that he brought some people.”
“Yes he did, milord. His sons and the House Qinvaris factor and some slaves.”
Renestrae looked down from the top of the stairs and was furious with her mother. Dan Qinvaris was here! Renestrae was the second child who had lived out at the estate for the most part and had watched Dan and his brother go by for years. Tarranth was seventeen and a bit young, but Dan was Nineteen and just right, in so many ways. Well mother or not, Renestrae was not going to let this opportunity go to waste. Fortunately, Dan probably didn’t like girls who dressed in the elaborate elven lady fashion and Renestrae had discreetly contracted with her favorite dressmaker for some dresses in a Republican style. Now it was time to use her weapon on the target. She turned to go to her room and dress for engagement.
Richard watched the girl hurry away from the stairs and grinned. The mothers would probably squawk about how appropriate the whole thing was, but the girls were going to be chasing his boys. With Tarranth taken, Dan was going to be the hot catch in the Cloud City and he recognized Renestrae, since she had been coming out to help with the harvest for the last two years or so, not so coincidently when Dan was working. Richard hadn’t considered arranging something, even though the match was a good one, but it appeared that Renestrae was taking matters into her own hands. The trick now was going to be getting things moving before the drama started. When they reached the workroom in the back he said, “Lord Glynynore, we recently made a discovery and since it concerns the post roads, I wanted to make a proposal to you.”
“I doubt that something that involves the farm concerns the roads very much.”
Richard unrolled the first map. “This is the course of the Blight during the last instance before the turmoils about a century ago.” He unrolled the second map, “This is Blight about fifty years earlier than that.” He unrolled the other maps. We tracked all the instances of the Blight and the pattern is the same.”
“Interesting, but how does that concern me?”
“We are fairly certain that the blight was spread deliberately and that whoever was responsible used the Post Roads to travel.”
“They would have been free to do so, as long as they were not damaging the roads or committing crimes. That is my rule. I am not going to have my people looking for people, especially since we don’t know who they are.”
“I know. That is where my proposal comes in. I want to move the roads.”
“I would be leery of doing that.”
“That is understandable. On the other hand I have made significant improvements and can offer faster ways from your important connections and the use of canals rather than horses for some of the way. For that matter, the tow paths for the canals have improved roadways and way stations already, so adding the Post Service would not be a big deal and we can save your riders somewhat. Also, some towns have more or less moved closer to the canals in any case and I already provide some of the same services as the Post Service for my own business. I would give that up if you reroute.”
“That is very interesting. Do you have a map of your proposal?”
Richard unrolled the last map. “I will leave this with you. You can talk to your road people about this, but I need an answer in a couple of five days.”
“Because if the realignments don’t happen, the post road through the areas where the Blight has started will be isolated by high hedgerows and stone walls so that the fields are inaccessible. Nor will there be any water sources or drainage off the road at those points.”
“That would make the roads potentially unusable.”
“I can’t close the roads, which would be my preferred option, because they are the property of your House, but I can take steps so that the Blight can’t be spread onto my property again.”
“I will run this by my people.”
“Young lady! Why are you dressed like that?”
“This is the latest style, mother and we have visitors.”
“They are just here for your father’s business.”
“I want to invite them for dinner, if they will stay.”
Renestrae appeared in the door, dressed like Richard’s mother and said, “Hello, Lord Qinvaris. I would like to invite you to a quiet dinner.”
“Not this time, Renestrae,” Richard said. “Dan, you, Dillings and Aquilla stay for dinner while Tarranth and I return home to your mother. You can go over the details of the plan with Lord Glynynore better than I can, since you came up with the numbers anyway. Lord Glynynore, thank you for your time.”
“Let me walk you out,” Cohnal said.
As they walked away from the workroom, he continued quietly, “You could have stayed for dinner, you know.”
“Yes I could, but then I would have been another obstacle for your daughter and her continuation of her hunt of my son.”
“You don’t seem to be very surprised.”
“She’s been sort of chasing him for the last couple of years out on the farm. I imagine that she was a bit unhappy when your wife requested that she stay at the House. It’s a good thing that she didn’t make it to the little thing up at the Timberlands during Yellowleaf.”
“Because somebody would have arranged for her to visit the grove up there for testing, she would probably pass and be making a larger nuisance of herself.”
‘My wife is going to be annoyed at all of this.First of all, because she is still estranged with Rosaniya over you and feeling guilty about it and second,because Renestrae made a bigger catch without her help.”
“Children aside, what do you think of the plan?”
“You have a very interesting proposal. Some of my people won’t like the changes, but it stands on its own even without the Blight.”
“You will keep that part confidential. The Regency Council doesn’t want that information spread around.”
“That is perfectly understandable, as well as you taking measures. I wonder how come nobody ever spotted that before?”
“Because this was the first time that the information was available in a few places and people, my boys and their friends for the most part, could see the whole picture. When things were stored in the House Journals or buried in the Imperial archive, there was no way to see the big picture and previously the Blight had been spread over many Houses rather than being farmed by one House, mine. The thing is that between the Turmoils, the exiles and the Regency, I have had to take over the farms that had been under those other Houses and that put the need to get the information on me and the boys.”
“You are worried about the Blight.”
“The last time, it nearly destroyed Rosa’s House and did cause the destruction of several others. So yes, I am concerned about the Blight and that will not happen on my farm if I can avoid it.”
Cohnal watched the driven man who carried so much of the Empire on his back, head toward the portal. He turned to Venali and said, “Have Ilbryen and Gantar meet with me tomorrow. I think that we must take this proposal very seriously. I need to talk with milady.”
Elenaril Glynynore looked up as her husband entered the parlor. “You must talk with our daughter about appropriate dress.”
“I doubt that it would do much good. We managed to arrange a marriage for Rennyn. A respectable marriage and they get along well. With Renestrae you waited and she went for big game. She has probably caught it too.”
“One of Rosaniya’s mutts.”
“We rely on those mutts as you call them, for the fodder for the way stations and a good portion of the roads go through Richard’s property. He made it abundantly clear what would happen if he were to decide to seal the roads off. He was discussing that for other reasons, but he made a good case.”
“What did he want?”
“He wants the post service to realign our routes somewhat and use his canal towpaths and the way stations that he has already built. We take over those stations and his redundant post and messenger services and he takes the old roads and repurposes them. It looks like a good arrangement at first glance.”
“Why does he want to do that?”
“I think that he wants better post service through his towns and wants to limit access by potential robbers to his facilities.”
“About our daughter?”
“If you can arrange a better match than the one she has probably found, you’re welcome to make the arrangements. But if things are going the way the way I think, you should perhaps meet with Rosaniya and make amends. Frankly it will be better for you as well as you can resolve that guilt.”

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