The Blight Returns, Chapter 39-40

The spider comes to Zirgoccol again. Laeroth Keaynore has headache.

Chapter 39.
Terry looked at the scanner and grinned. He then wrote a quick message to Starflower that said, “We have a visitor. Lunch?”
Shortly before lunch she appeared and said, “That would be wonderful, Terry? Who is our visitor?”
“Probably the spider again, but at a new portal this time. Why don’t we track it down and join Cory and Nightrose for lunch.”
“That sounds good. Let’s find my sister and Cory and go to Wriang’s. I have some new stories.”
“You have intrigued me, milady.”
“When are you coming to the Empire?”
“It looks like Green. I’ll start bouncing back and forth like Cory does. At least travel is easier, now that there is a taxi between the railroad station and the portal.”
“I know. Let’s go.”
“You were not here the last five day, Cory?”
“Mistress, I was detained at the Experimental Station for a meeting by Master Daniel. I sold the book just now to Mr. Bidove.”
“You did!”
“Yes. I was able to retrieve it. The scholars had put it back to wait until the library is finished in Sixta.”
“Is there any change at the bank?”
“Not that I know of. The takeover is ready to go, but Taenaran wants to meet with Mr. Axebrew here and they are meeting next moon. Also, that will limit the possibility of the action being discovered.”
“Excellent. I must take my leave. I think that it will be safer, now that the book has been recovered to just send reports about the bank takeover to this portal here.”
She hand Cory a portal code and disappeared.
Durlan looked at the portal and cursed. He had had everything ready to go and then the lady had returned and fed. While nobody would miss the pimp that was her victim, she had used both the portals in Zirgoccol at this point and it was obvious that the activations were tracked as a young half elf and fae lady had appeared and found the portal, followed by the constabulary. Also the portal would be unsable for long after the targets had come and gone. At least he could use the time to prepare. He was going to have to make one recovery be as large as he could make it, because he would probably not get another chance here in the city.

Chapter 40.
House Keaynore, City in The Clouds.
Laeroth Keaynore looked at his son and sighed. His wife had always spoiled her older son and now this was the result. He thanked all the gods that they had an accident, two, actually, and his other son and daughter were forced to grow up out on the estate. He looked at the report, and the letter Iolrath Shanelis had sent and said, “Emmyth have you learned nothing?”
“What do you mean, father?”
“You instituted formal proceedings against Dan Qinvaris.”
“Yes I did.”
“It is a very good thing that Justiciar Trislana squashed the case almost immediately.”
“There was evidence of the young lord committing heresy.”
“Right in front of you, according to this. He conducted a test, a test that I wish now that I had attended. Our House doesn’t rely on farming, and I was not invited. Your brother was, since he leases our land to Lord Qinvaris and acts as one of his managers. So whatever heresy Richard is involved in comes right back to us. I asked Ailas about the test and he said that it was more than a little scary.”
“Young Qinvairs was insulting the Inquisition.”
“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but the Inquisition is not held in the highest regard right now. In any case I want you to send a written apology to young Lord Qinvaris.”
“I will not! He was committing heresy.”
“If you continue to pursue this, you will put our House at odds with not only House Qinvaris, but House Glynynore as well as House Shahana, House Zylvyre, House Beinan and House Yllanan. There are almost certainly more. If you insist on pursuing a petty vendetta and abusing your power and authority, I will have no choice other than to disown you and declare you Anathema to the House.”
“You can’t do that! Mother will not let you!”
“I will not have a choice. The alternative is to have the House crushed utterly. Iolrath Shanelis says that Richard is perfectly willing to do so to make his point.”
“You like Ailas better than you like me!”
“Grow up! You are over sixty and should, at this point, understand that you have a responsibility to your House. At least not to abuse the power you have to indulge in revenge over petty slights. The House can’t afford to coddle you anymore and I have enough trouble keeping the House out of deep water without House Qinvaris messing around with my finances. So write that apology, today and send it off. This is a demand from your House. Now go!”
Emmyth left, not unfortunately, taking the headache with him. Iolrath had suggested having Emmyth checked for compulsions and Laeroth would. Even if his son were under compulsion, removing them probably would not change anything. Most of this was his son that thinking he was right, simply because he was doing it. The test was heresy simply because Emmyth believed it was. He believed it was because it was something that he would never think of doing. The Blight was not real to him in any case. It had been to Laeroth, working with his bothers on their farm to collect every shock of even moderately ripe grain before the onset reached them, working beside the slaves and everybody else in the House to save something. If Richard could prevent that, the entire Empire owed him a debt and if somebody was actually spreading the Blight for their own ends, then Laeroth was going to add his House to the list of the Houses in opposition. He started to pen his own letter to Richard, promising support.
The Lower City.
Joanlya Beinan was waiting when her husband arrived at the house to pick up some papers that he had left that morning. “This is a cozy place.”
Adiun blinked. “What are you doing here, Joanlya?”
“My husband didn’t come home when he was supposed to, my daughter has someone, our other daughter and son can handle the business, Rebecca had a project and when we talked about certain things, suggested that I come up.”
“Who are you going to rob?”
“Who said that I am going to rob anybody?”
Adiun looked sternly at his wife. She grinned and said, “You know me too well. You are too honest for your own good.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you had seen me these last few moons.”
“So, what have you been up to?”
“Corrupting the fae and the boys in the Lower City, fighting the Inquisition and driving some people crazy.”
“No portals? That is very unlikely.”
“Oh, there were portals involved all the way through this. That was how I became involved in the first place. The Portal Service was facing collapse and were overjoyed to hear that I was here in the Empire. They made a very generous contract through Folmon and here I am, in charge of operations.”
“That was why everybody was so glad to help me get here. I hope that this job is not permanent.”
“I found a mage that should be able to take over as soon as I can knock some more of his honesty off. He was working on portals for the enemy because Zanis Zylvre recruited him out of the Mage Academy after he built his own portal.”
“He built his own portal? Your dad will want to meet him.”
“Yes and yes, I want to arrange that. I figured that he might catch Kaylessa’s eye as well, if she hasn’t found somebody. He brought more fae boys from the other side for Gracie to corrupt.”
“Kaylessa chewed through another relationship while you were gone, so she’s looking again. The boys around us know her by now.”
“Why don’t I show you what I have been up to? I want your input on some things to harass the other side. We’ve done pretty much all that we can think of and we’ve been quiet through the last few moons.”
“Why are you living here and not at the House?”
“I was looking for the lost portals here in the Lower city and there were other reasons involving the kidnapping of certain children, which is probably why Rebecca wanted to have you here. Why don’t we walk over to the Portal Service while I discuss with you all the things that we have been doing?”
Adiun told his wife all the things that had happened since he had arrived in the Empire. By the time they arrived at the Portal Service compound, Joanlya was laughing her head off and when they went through the door, Gracie ran over and hugged her mother. “Mother, you came!”
“I was invited by Rebecca. She has little project.”
“Related to what we are doing?”
“Yes. I understand that you robbed some people.”
“Yes. We took all their files and their boss, who is in very deep trouble after taking Dessielle and some other girls.”
“Rebecca told me about that and some other things. Your father told me some more. Where is this character you met?”
“He’s working on something else with his cousins. They are planning to sneak telegraph and telephone service into the country.”
“How are they doing that?”
“They start off using fae as messengers. Then they wire points together and have the fae Jump to the points with the messages. After a while, the plan is that the fae are just handling telegraph messages. Then certain places will get telephone booths and we will have the Empire.”
“What if the Inquisition complains?”
“The Inquisition is already using the messengers, as is the Justiciary. They haven’t seen the wires yet as they are out in the hinterlands, being strung by crews. Most of the poles are going across Qinvaris land and Richard wants his places connected anyway.”
“Sneaky. I like it. Who’s backing it?”
“RTT is providing equipment and Richard and Vesryn Shahana are providing the pole raising crews and helping string the wires. So far, the Inquisition hasn’t noticed the poles, even when they are right in front of them. House Glynynore’s way stations are also being used as places where people can send messages.”
“Your grandmother will love this. Putting something that big, right over on the Inquisition is amazing.”
“I thought so.”

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