Paeris Triumphant, Chapters 45-46

Paeris recruits. The girls make flowers.

Chapter 45.
The Empty Lands.
Paeris turned to Nightwolf and said, “This might actually work out.”
“We’re not used to the water. I’m surprised that the lady assigned us to you.”
Paeris laughed. “She didn’t. She just hasn’t said that you couldn’t work for me. As long as you don’t tell her, I won’t. I just went to the Pen and asked Stormwolf for some of you for a task. He didn’t ask the Lady and I certainly don’t want to talk with her. I imagine that it will come out eventually, but by that time, you will have the training you so obviously needed, are doing a needed task and I can legitimately say to the Darkmage that his daughter is potentially injuring the project.”
“That’s sneaky.”
“I’ve had to be. The lady is hardly as bad as my father was. He would never give me the best crews, but always expected more results. I learned how to work around that and deliver the results. I can turn some of the worst into the best, but sometimes you need material to work from. So you have to learn to take and then, after you produce results, force the others to put themselves in the position of disparaging success.”
“What if you fail?”
“My failures, and I have had my fair share of them, are my failures. I am a monster, but I have never blamed the people under me for my failures. I also learn from my mistakes. As for the water, we won’t be working on the water at first. We have another task.”
“That is?”
“We will be paying a visit to Exchange Street. For now we need to prepare.”
House Qinvaris Offices.
Richard walked into Taenaran’s office and said, “Since everything is pretty much closing down for the Conclave, I want to start moving the active paper to the warehouse in the Lower City.”
“That could make a mess.”
“Better that than Paeris showing up and burning the paper or worse, stealing it.”
“Do you think that he would?”
“I doubt that the Darkmage or the Master would. They don’t think like that. Paeris, on the other hand, does. We also want to move the portal operation to the Portal Service.”
“We could shut that down. Jonny and Cory say that they are fairly sure that the people on the other end know that things are compromised somewhat. They slipped up a bit during the Blight.”
“Let’s not shut that down quite yet. In any case, I want that someplace harder to get to than Exchange Sreet. I’ll have people here to help move the paper. Pass the word down the Street to take certain precautions.”
“Most of them already know. The banks and the rest were hit during the Turmoils. It took ten years to get things straight again.”
“So I have been told. In any case, we move our paper to the warehouse until things are over.”
“Why not use the portal vault?”
“That is too obvious and if what Adiun and Wyrran have been concerned about, the ports could be traced and the vault discovered. If they do hit the Street, shut the portals down, but I don’t want to rely on portals until we have control of the portal board.”
“We haven’t seen any signs that it is operating.”
“I know. Still, the characters in the Empty Lands are up to something and until the Conclave is over, I can’t legally request a writ against another House.”
“The evidence is fairly clear that House Ravathrya was involved with the Blight.”
“I went over it with Kelvahn and since the Blight was launched by the Order, who seemingly had no connection to House Ravathrya I cannot take direct action, as much as I would desire to. I am almost certain that the people in the Empty Lands are going to do something and when they do, they are going to move in fast.”
“What you are doing makes sense and I will start moving the paper as discreetly as I can.”
“I’ve already talked to Vesryn and some others about this. Of course some people on the street won’t talk to either you or I.”
“I know. It’s the estates all over again. They won’t listen when you warn them and then they will blame you for the fact that they were not prepared.”
“If the other side knows that, and Erlan certainly does, they will take advantage. Glynnii will want votes to go her way in the Conclave.”
“So you expect them to hit either early in the conclave or just before the Conclave?”
“That depends. If Paeris has resources, he’ll hit something early, the palace or the Street, looking to shake things up and create chaos and a distraction. He was always the first to start the raiding season and he would choose places that were placed to pull resources out of place. Even his last raid was like that.”
“You were keeping a closer eye on him than I thought you were.”
“Not me. It was Lady Gwen and her files. Tomas made up a summary of the raids and handed me a copy. It was part of his work for Paeris’s trial.”
Taenaran grinned. “You know, I think that, since I have fae and Justiciars here, maybe a Marshall here as well would not be that bad of an idea. We are quite a way from the water and if he should show up, maybe some arrangements can be made.”

Chapter 46.
The Imperial Palace.
As Major Domo to the Imperial House, Connall Farthya had been responsible for Imperial funerals for a good part of the three centuries that he had been alive. In spite of the Emperor’s apparent madness, Connall had hoped that Blight would not take Maethanar like the Blight had taken Maethanar’s father and brother. Unfortunately, while the Blight hadn’t taken Maethanar, somebody had wanted the emperor dead and succeeded. So there was Connall with another funeral. The funeral itself was straight forward, even with the lack of a body. He already had a Lower City craftsman making a golem for the pyre. Maethanar would be given to the gods in the correct fashion. So now he had to deal with nuisances like the press, whatever that was. They had arrived, in their strange suits and strange cameras and essentially invaded. He looked out the window as Mrs. Harper was entertaining several of the characters at the swan dancers, turned to Lady Itireae and said, “Those press folk make me nervous.”
“Connall, they make me nervous as well, to tell you the truth. Which is why I delegated handling them to Lythienne.”
“How did you manage that?”
“I have my secrets and channels. I’ve known Rosaniya for a very long time and at least I have not been sniping at her over her choice of husbands.”
“Still, all these foreigners make me nervous, poking into things.”
“They were doing that already. The Ravathrya brought their relatives here and didn’t understand that once the relatives were here, the rest would want to know about them and come to find out what happened to them. The rest all followed along.”
“We should meet with Haramara and Lythienne and set a policy for handling these Press people during the Conclave.”
‘I did some of that already and you are right, I should have discussed that with you earlier.”
“You did about setting that space up for the press in the palace. I have the tables all set up and the room is well lighted. We should get together for the memorial service.”
“The service is in a five day, so I will send a message to Lelayme, Lythienne and Haramara and we can meet tomorrow.”
The Qinvaris Estate.
Dessielle turned to Nimue and said, “These silk flowers are going to be wonderful when we finish the arrangements. You found them in the Republic didn’t you?”
“Aunt Sekku’s people live in the mountains and make them. They are very popular, especially when you add a bit of glamor. The big thing was planning for the ice sculptures and the wine fountains.”
“Why didn’t you go with real flowers? You already own the hot houses.”
“Yes we do, and Renna even has the Ravathrya hot houses. The problem is that people know that we have the hot houses and the rest of it. No matter how over the top we went, there wouldn’t be any surprises.”
“We can certainly provide those.”
Renna came into the warehouse and said, “These are working out very well.”
“Aren’t they?”Nimue replied. She looked over the fae, House Qinvaris and Lower City girls working on the arrangements and said, “I think that this will work out well indeed.”
Gwynnestri came in with her mother and said, “These are impressive. I can see why your mother said to talk to you when mother asked her about flowers.”
“I’m not sure that I want to replace all the arrangements I was planning,” Mariona said, “but these give me some wonderful ideas. Where did you get some of those colors?”
“We looked at silk and other fabrics in the Republic when daddy sent us down there,” Nimue replied with a grin. “Since the cloth came from Yllanan weavers and dyers we figured that the Inquisition wouldn’t actually pay attention to the colors. My aunt clued us into the flowers, since her relatives do them, because they live in a dry climate. In any case, we wanted to do something different.”
“What are you doing about the things that are supposed to be fragile?”
Nimue held up a delicate paper flower. “There were also these wonderful fine paper sheets. We can make wonderful things from it.”
“I see that. We will still want some flowers in any case. Why don’t I show you how to put the total arrangement together? I have been through two Conclaves already and I can help you avoid doing things that will have certain ladies sniping at you.”

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