The Conclave of Consequence, Chapter 3-4

Rosa invites some new family. Jorge visit his potential in laws.

 

Chapter 3.

House Qinvaris.

Larranth Jumped into the old familiar hallway with Springrose and Hagre jumped a bit as if he had seen a ghost. Then he smiled and said, “Welcome home, milord.”
“Not my home any longer. Is the dining room in the same place?”
“It is, milord and the Lord and Lady are breaking their fast with young lady Alinis, her prince and his parents. I understand that Alinis had some fun and games with you yesterday.”

“She did. We know the way.”

Larranth left the smiling Hagre behind and went to the dining room where Larranth’s granddaughter and the others were having their breakfast. Rosa grinned and said, “Sit down, grandmother, grandfather. This is Strongoak and Lorilie. We were sharing the wonderful Joining party that we attended.”

Larranth and Springrose joined the others and Rosa said, “Alinis said that she told you about the Joining party.”

“She did,” Springrose said. “I’m not sure how the predatory lady after my great grandson became the bride.”

“The bond had formed a long time before, but for family reasons the couple stayed away from each other. Finally, Lori was not allowed to spy on us, made a scene, her brother was rather humiliated and Lori’s father sent her home, where Chald was waiting for a fare in his cab. She insisted that they go to the beach house, that she wanted Chald, proved that and they Joined underwater. We were invited to the up top party that goes with such things and had a wonderful time.”

“Alinis said the same thing,” Larranth said. “That was after arranging to have us enter into a fae duel with some landdragons.”
Rosa looked at Alinis and said, “Alinis, I told you not to involve Jimmy and Talissa in your chase of my grandparents.”
“I didn’t mother. They were coming to my house and somebody set traps all over the place. They were caught and rather annoyed. Then great grandfather came up, looking to see what his trap had caught and was a bit insulting to Jimmy, so he took that as a challenge.”

“I apologize, grandfather,” Rosa said. “I should have warned you about Alinis’ friends.”

“That is quite all right,” Springrose said. “We did lay all those traps after all, though they were supposed to only be triggered by Alinis and Fireoak. How did you evade them?”

“We aren’t going to say,” Alinis said with a grin. “After all, if we did, you might try again.”

“They transformed to dance at the party and Jumped in transformed,” Rosa said. “I imagine that they didn’t exactly go into the house at the front door.”

Springrose laughed as Alinis cried, “Mother, you had to give it away!”
“That’s what you get for dragging the two landdragons into this. You weren’t supposed to do that.”

“Mother, Jimmy and Tallissa were working on the Scourge with us. They were coming to help with that.”
“As if you didn’t reset the traps.”
Alinis tried to look innocent as she said, “How would I know how to do that?”
“Maybe you wouldn’t, but Lorilie, is Fire good with traps?”
Lorilie grinned, “Rosa, Fire was good with traps even before he went to the Republic.”

“By the way, Lorilie, your entire family now has an open invite for fun and games.”
“Mom!” Alinis cried. “That’s not fair!”

“Alinis, if you hadn’t played games with Jimmy and Talissa, I wouldn’t have been so open about doing that this soon. In any case, they are family. I do have a qualifier, Loralie. The fun and games are not to involve the business and not to involve anybody outside the family. That is unless they are not already involved or brought in like a certain pair of landdragons. Of course you understand that may mean dealing with the said landdragons and Beinans. I will ask Lord Yllanan and his friend to stay out of things.”

“Fun and games aside, Richard, Chompers says that I need to clear certain things with you before he will talk to me,” Larranth said. “We didn’t realize how serious things were when Alinis started to look for us and there are things we need to discuss.”

“I’m not surprised that Chompers wanted me to ok talking with you, Larranth,” Richard said. “There is a lot going around and just what can and cannot be said has yet to be worked out. Chompers’ family was under Anathema for a very long time and he is still skittish about talking about certain things.”

“It wasn’t easy to get to him to talk to him in the first place, at least not without evading all sorts of guards and tripwires.”

“The best protection that the place had was the fact that everybody had forgotten about it. Unfortunately, that protection was removed necessarily by Alinis and her friends. The Darkmage or his proxies may decide to go after what is there and unfortunately, we don’t have a way of just getting rid of the key thing that you need to make the Scourge and the Darkmage may have more resources to make the rest of the devises if he can get his hands on certain things. So I had to make the place secure as I could. Apparently it wasn’t good enough.”

“I doubt that most fae would be able to get in there, Richard. We only did because we had paths set up a long time ago and we still tripped some things off.”

“Darfin will still want to go over how you got in with you. I hate to be so uptight about the place, but if I am not, the consequences could be terrible.”

“Alinis said that she wanted vaults opened in the old house, so after breakfast, we can discuss that.”
“I want to hear more about these new relatives,” Springrose said. “They seem to be almost fae.”

“They were a lot of fun, weren’t they, Richard,” Rosa said. “The old Colonel hauled us all down to the Joining party.”

“Yes he did, even if he did have some ulterior motives for doing that. By hauling us down, he pulled in Denny as well. I’ve already sent a message to Shura.”

“Shura sounds like an Orc,” Larranth said.

“Shura is the current Orcenchief, but not, unfortunately a veteran warrior, simply because he was needed at home and couldn’t be a professional soldier. There are some questions over his father’s death and Roger’s grandfather is an orc with a rather towering reputation as well as a wicked sense of humor. He had some questions about the events on the Peninsula and since Denny was there, he invited us down and had some discreet chats during the party.”

“Since Breakfast is essentially over, why don’t we all go to Alinis’s house and I show you the secrets that I know. I have feeling that this conversation will be going on for some time.”

The House Petris Estate.

Isarrel grinned as Erlan and Melaris entered her parlor. “You have been frequent visitors of late. So what news brings you here today?”
“The Conclave has been called,” Melaris said.

“Who called the Conclave?”
“Lord Palen. His House was ruined by the Scourge and I suspect that he wants some answers.”

“Now that is interesting. Has the Darkmage conducted any attacks with the Scourge?”
“Not as yet,” Erlan said. “He is probably looking for more devises. The problem is that others are as well. Once the devise went off, the interest in the devises became extreme. There may have been more devises found.”

“Has there been any news on the Inanimate attacks?”
“Very little. Certainly not enough to attract attention in the capital. Whatever happened, the Republic didn’t make any noises about it. Frankly once the Blight was dealt with, there would not be enough bodies to actually accomplish very much.”
“What has Lord Qinvaris been doing?”
“Richard went to the Fellowship to discuss things with his banks, apparently. At least that was the talk on Exchange Street. They were apparently nervous about the way he is changing his business.”

“I think that I will need to be nearer the center of things during this Conclave. Do you have room at the House or should I stay in House Petris?”
“I would stay in House Petris. The House almost certainly has eyes on it.”
“Has young Rolin been found? Delseran was looking for him.”
“I wouldn’t know. Delseran has not returned to the Empire.”

“So he either found young Rolin or has a reason to stay in the Republic.”

“It may be the need for provide security. I could ask Nueleth about it.”
“Has she been doing anything unusual of late?”
“That is hard to tell. She has been out of the House more than she used to, but most of that has been doing some much needed housecleaning that frankly, I should have been doing some time ago. We actually have some revenue streams that she discovered.”

“So she has done more than a little good for the House. Why does she stay?”
“I’m not sure and have been afraid to ask. If she were to leave, the House could fall apart as my wife was her usual self.”

“Melaris, you haven’t said anything. Has the Inquisition been restored?”
“We are still being kept out of the building,” Melaris said with a bit of a whine. “No writs have been issued, but Justiciar Dawkins hasn’t released the building to us or issued a report. I’m afraid that he probably knows just how deep we were into things outside the Inquisition’s mandate. I liked having some rather zealous Inquisitors, but I really should have kept a lid on the political exiles. Even if, and with the conclave meeting, that is a very big if, I am returned to the Inquisition, there will more than likely be rather severe restrictions as to what I may do. That is a result of the Inquisition’s being sloppy and rather obvious. Unfortunately we are stuck with it now and that very badly timed show at the Nerihorn estate and the consequences of that show did not help at all.”

“The Project has suffered reversals before. On the other hand, the Conclave represents opportunities. It must be remembered that all the votes will be up for question and even it seems as if we have had setbacks, there may still be a path forward. Our adversaries have not had a chance to establish themselves and they may seem strong now, but there are probably things we can exploit. Search for those things and we may recover the path. Let’s go over everything and see where we can sway things in our direction.”

Once Erlan and Melaris had gone over what they knew, Isarrel called lunch and the pair left. Once they were gone, Isarrel wrote down everything that had been discussed and the sent a servant for Haladavar. When he came in, she said, “The Conclave has been called.”
“That isn’t a surprise. Who called it?”

“Lord Palen did. Since it was his estated that was Scrourged, along with Lord Zlymenor’s, he had the largest need to do so. That isn’t a surprise, simply because they will want an accounting of the actions taken by various people. The good news is that the Inquisition was not actively assisting the Darkmage at that time. In any case, I think that it is time that some reserves were put to use. Make them ready.”

“I will. I assume that you want me to be discreet.”
“Be as smooth as the water on a placid pond. The last thing we need is to attract attention at this point.”

“Very well, milady.”

“Also, I will be moving to the House. Make the preparations if you would.”
“Indeed. I will start the preparations immediately. I have the newspapers for the day.”

“They do make interesting reading, don’t they?”

“That they do, milady.”

Hall Of The Justiciars.

Roger had seen too many of the movies to not be a little nervous about walking straight into the Hall of the Justiciars, even though he was aware that, by and large, the reputation was a bit exaggerated. When he walked in through doors, he probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see an all too normal desk with an all too normal looking Justiciar adjunct behind it. The Justiciar didn’t have the pool of officer’s desks behind him, but other than that, things were perfectly normal. Roger walked up to the desk and the Justiciar said, “What may I do for you, sergeant? I’m Justiciar Adjunct, Julien D’ambray.”

“You look very normal for a Justiciar.”
“I’m not sure what you mean by that. I have my real life badge and everything. So what brings a Provisional Trooper all the way here?”
“I was hoping that I could arrange to speak with Justiciar Dawkins about a discreet matter that my grandfather has been investigating. My name is Roger Bloodfoot and the Justiciar’s office handled some similar things recently.”

“Your grandfather being the Colonel, I take it?”

“How did you know?”
“I’m from Southern Dolmon and we know who our neighbors are. I thought that he was retired.”
“He is. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t be dragged out of retirement and that he won’t drag me into his schemes. If I had wanted a career in the army, especially in the cavalry, I would have signed up for one. I don’t mind begin called up for little tasks like making sure that the trucks are available for 2nd Army’s evacuation, but having sneaky aides hold my deactivation orders is a bit much.”

“Unfortunately the Justiciar is at the Inquisition at present. I work in his office, so I will leave a message on his desk. Where can you be reached?”

“At the Harper estate near Allaneas.”

“Ok, that is unless you want to tell me the problem.”

“I want to keep things discreet on my end as there are issues outside the Fellowship or the Empire.”

“Do you have a packet?”
“Yes I do.”

“Why don’t you leave that for the Justiciar. Wait, he just walked in. Justiciar! The sergeant here wants to see you.”

Gander walked over to the desk and said, “Sergeant, you are long way from the Fellowship. So why did you want to see me.”

“I’m Sergeant Roger Bloodfoot and my grandfather has a case similar to some that you have resolved.”

“Is your grandfather in the Troopers? Or is he connected to the Dragonmaster’s office?”

“He works parallel to the Dragonmaster when he is active. This matter involves something outside the Fellowship and I want to keep this discreet.”

“I have some time, so why don’t we discuss this.”

Gander led Roger through to his office and after closing the door and they sat down, said, “So, how can I help you?”
“My grandfather is Colonel Ozzleg Bloodfoot. That is when he is in retirement mode. When he isn’t, he is Five Leaf General Bloodfoot and the frequent bane of my existence.”

“So what did he inflict you with?”
“He is on the Tribunal dealing with General Headbasher’s activities. As part of preparing for the Tribunal, he collected some information that the Orcenchief’s death was encouraged, using Clear.”

“Your grandfather is an orc, isn’t he? You actually look more elf than orc, but these days it is hard to tell.”

“Grandfather married an exile after he rescued her from a Ravathrya pirate. My other grandfather did the same thing, from the same ship. There is some dwarf and other things mixed in, so I look the way I do, but grandfather is a clan chief and thus has a responsibility to follow up on the intelligence.”
“If the Orcenchief were a full blooded orc, he would not have been affected by Clear. On the other hand, he was over a century old and there was no real news of a long illness before his death. Do you have a brief?”
“I do. Here’s the packet.”

“Unless I am called in on this, I can’t really help directly. What I can do is give you pointers as to where to look and share information, especially if it involves my other pending cases.”

“We think that there was some sort of collusion between the Darkmage, General Headbasher and parties unknown. The whole thing was too coincidental and there was a lot of support for General Headbasher as the next Champion before things went bad on the Peninsula.”

“This does tie into some cases that we are working on. Why don’t you and Julien go over what you have? He worked on the Emperor’s murder that we recently discovered and is familiar with how things work and the territory over there near the Orcenlands.”

“Julien doesn’t just work the desk?”

“We rotate the desk between the adjuncts since the last adjunct that had the desk liked it just a bit much and we had to give him a real boot before he would accept being kicked up to full Justiciar. We can’t get away with using Justicial slaves on the desk, so that limits the number of adjuncts we can use there. Are you staying in the Lower City?”

“My lady and I are going up to the Sanctum as they call it and getting tested. I am staying at the Harper estate on House Qinvaris’s lands at least for the next five day. Afterwards, I need to report back to Zirgoccol.”

“Take Julien with you. I will add his lady as well. They have been working on a related case with the Dragonmaster for the Grand Master.”

“Good, I can follow that up. Grandfather is a bit skeptical about involving the Justiciars as he sees this as a clan duty and has seen too many of those movies.”

“We will have to make an effort to change his opinion of us.”
“To be frank, when it comes to being clownish, he only has to look in a mirror. My brother’s wedding was a case in point, though my brother and his lady were even bigger clowns for a very long time. You are busy, so I will let Lord Qinvaris tell you the story.”

Roger left and Gander went over the brief. Once he was done, he took it out to the desk and said, “Julien, I have a task for you and Elenaril.”

“That Trooper who just came in, I suspect.”

“Yes. I want you to work with him for a bit on this. I imagine that you and Elen have both been to the Orcenlands and won’t have too much trouble there.”

“I’ve been there with my brother and father. Elen has probably been there with her grandfather. I will check. How hot do you think this is?”

“Hot enough. Go over the brief and talk to the sergeant.”

“The Orcenlands are not in our mandate.”

“I know. But this is our kind of case and frankly, it feels as if there are connections to the rest of it. In any case, this will keep you two busy. Also, look into the sergeant’s family. I have a feeling that we will be working with them again.”

Innshys.

Jorge looked at Brian and Kadryt and said, “They spotted you.”

“I was afraid of that,” Kadryt said. “The fact is that I was just checking the old estate house so that we could use it again and there they were, clearing that road.”

“They moved off and are digging something else up.”

“So, should we hit them or wait?” Brian asked.

“That is an interesting question,” Jorge replied with a bit of a grin. “It’s going to take a couple of days to set up for a raid and we don’t have cover offshore since the cruisers are off doing something else. We can set up, but I want cover for a seaborne extraction so that we can get in and out cleanly.”

“We are breaking the law anyway.”
“You will be. But if my people go in, we have to be able to have some cover. Also, the Great Captain is probably already working on his plans for this. Let’s wait a bit and see what develops. The fact that the Darkmage is digging there is interesting. Cilly hasn’t come back with the property registrations yet.”

“I’m surprised that you don’t want to go charging in there.”

“They saw you, so if they are smart, which admittedly is something they haven’t been very good at, they will be looking for us to do exactly that and they started to dig after they saw you. So what they are digging is probably not the devises, but there are devises nearby. The problem is that we will be facing writs and Imperial guards and soldiers if we start to arbitrarily dig.”

“Won’t the Justiciars just arrest the Darkmage?”
“He won’t be there when they show up. It will be Rolin or one of the other Ravathrya clowns with writs of trespass, which is exactly what we would be doing. Getting in and out in a couple of days is one thing, and if they had dug up the devises, that would have been exactly what I would have done. Conducting a dig where they are looking at us isn’t something that we can get away with.”

“How did you get so sneaky?”

“I was the Great Captain’s raid leader for years. I didn’t want that job, fun as it mostly was, but with him, sneakiness comes naturally. The problem is that I have to be sneakier than he is.”

“That won’t be easy.”

“No kidding, especially since he knows me all too well.”

 

 

 

Chapter 4.

Alinis’s house, The Qinvaris estate.

“There you are, uncle.”

Richard jumped a bit and turned around. “I see that you and Roger went to the Sanctum, Nalaea.”

“Not yet, unfortunately. Roger is seeing Gander right now. I used the portal and a GP to get here this morning. We are supposed to be taking care of the testing this afternoon.”

“How did you manage to pry Roger loose?”
“With some difficulty and by making the point that being able to reach into certain things would be a good idea. Roger is talking to Gander about the things we discussed in Zirgoccol and we are going to the Sanctum this afternoon. We have a five day to get some things squared away and we used one of them getting to the house from Zirgoccol. We will probably not be able to Jump back either, as we don’t have an anchor in Zirgoccol that is secure.”

“The Colonel is taking things seriously.”

“Very much so.”

Larranth came in and said, “So who is this, Richard?”

“This is my rather distant niece Nalaea Harper. Nalaea, this is Rosa’s grandfather, who Alinis dragged out of the woods. Where are Denny and your mother, Nalaea?”
“Stuck in the usual things,” Nalaea replied. “They had a pile of things to take care of when they got back and we have the planting coming up.”

“Something I need to be looking after as well. I’ve been tied up with some other clowns lately.”

“That is certainly true. They have been a bit of a distraction of late. So, have you found anything yet?”

“We just arrived. Alinis has done a good job of cleaning up, but we haven’t opened any vaults yet.”

Alinis walked by, looked in and cried, “Nalaea! Is Roger here?”

“No, he isn’t coming. He’s seeing Justiciciar Dawkins while I am catching up with you all and the Scourge.”

Richard frowned. “Are you back at work at the shops, Nalaea?”

“Dad wants me with Roger and keeping on top of things with Dan and Rene in the Fellowship. He’s got Sally working with my brothers and he wants me to coordinate with the combines and harvest people arriving from the Republic. I can do that and support Roger.”

“I need to get together with Denny and Osmond, as well as getting the seeding going. We’re going to be short handed and I may want Tarranth back.”

“My brothers are well ahead of the curve already. At least we don’t have the potential for the Blight looking over our shoulders, so we can just plant without being concerned with making allowances for the Blight.”

“We will discuss this soon.”

“Right now, I want to start looking for the old House library,” Alinis said. “So grandfather, do you know where it was?”

“You are talking about my grandparent’s library, more than likely” Larranth said. Let’s go to the older part of the house. There were places that had aversions and that I was forbidden to investigate.”

Larranth led the group to a hall in the older part of the house and said, “You can see that the walls in this section are made from ancient materials. The skills to make structures this way has been lost because of the Proscriptions and the Inquisition. There should be a door along this way. Let me look for the aversion. Here it is. I will break it.”
There was suddenly a door in the apparently blank wall. Larranth touched it and nothing happened. He turned to Richard and said, “Who has the House ring?”
Richard looked at Rosa and said, “You forced me to wear it for a reason, didn’t you?”
“You carry all my burdens and you have for a long time dear. Now open the door.”

Richard touched the door and the door opened. When it did, an elf in ancient Imperial dress appeared and said, “Are you sure that you want to open that door, Larranth?”

“We need to, grandfather,” Larranth replied. “You are gone in any case.”

“Then why am I talking with you?”
“I am hardly a boy, grandfather, and you are hardly the first seeming that I have encountered.”
“I see that you are no longer a boy, though you have obviously been spending a lot of time in the woods. Now who are these other rather strange folk?”
“This is my granddaughter Rosaniya, her husband, Richard, their daughter Alinis, her bonded Fireoak and Richard’s niece, Nalaea.”

“The family must have been in real trouble since you let your granddaughter marry a mortal.”

“It was, until Rosa married Richard here. As for who she married, I had gone into the woods long before she met Richard. My son Tarranth was murdered and his son was exiled. So Rosa was left with the House and the potential for the Blight.”

“Has that not been stopped?”

 

“It has, but only through the efforts of Richard.”

“What happened?”

“I have a brief that covers all of it,” Richard said. “I will bring it the next time we come.”

“That brings me to my original question, Larranth? Why did you open the forbidden door?”

“Everyone, this is my grandfather, Tassarion, or his seeming, rather. He died in a Blight incursion three centuries ago when I was a youngling. Apparently, he had a seeming made to keep me out.”

“There are dangerous things here, Larranth.”

“Grandfather, the danger has come out into the open. The Darkmage has reemerged and there has been a Scourging.”
“The Proscriptions were to prevent the creation of new devises and the existing ones were supposed to be destroyed. The Inquisition told me that they had all been accounted for when they placed the labs under Anathema.”
“The Inqusition lied,” Ricard said. “We have found twenty of the devises and dismantled sixteen of them.”

“I hope that you did that carefully.”

“Very carefully.”

“What about the other four devises?”
“The Darkmages’ son made off with three of them.”

“The last one?”
“The arming switch was set to “Armed.” The devise went off.”

“How many?”

“Two thousand dead and two estates and two farms in the Fellowship Scourged.”

“I will unlock the aversions on the library. It seems that the dark times have indeed returned. I probably couldn’t keep you from cracking the aversions in the first place.”

“Are there more vaults in the house?” Alinis asked.

“What would you be willing to pay a seeming, youngling, for that information?” Tassarion said with a grin.

“The story of what has happened since you were put here?”

“That would be a long conversation, youngling. My time is not limitless.”

“Fire and I will make a brief for you and bring it with us when we talk again. By the way, this is my house now.”

“Your family seems to be rather remarkable. How about we start by you telling me all about yourselves.”

“I can do that.”

The Yllanan Estate.

It was time for Jorge to face somebody scarier than the Great Captain, Lissia’s mother. The guard at the gate house gave him directions after he drove up in the GP after porting to the Yllanan portal. He pulled up to the house and stopped the GP. Lissia was waiting and looked at him. “Good, you spiffed up a bit. Here’s the Jump point. My step brothers and sister will all be there, so be prepared with stories. My stepfather is in the Marshalls and will want to know all about what the Great Captain is up to.”

“I can talk about what we did on the Peninsula. I can’t talk about what I am doing now. I also may need the Great Captain’s cooperation somewhat. So talking to Marshalls about certain things is probably not in my best interest at present.”

“He understands that. Let’s Jump to mother’s cottage.”

Lissia led him into Jump to a small cottage, a fox looked at him and said to Lissia, “He’s big. You said he was smart and sneaky. How can a big thing be sneaky.”

Jorge laughed. “You must be Spearflight. As for being sneaky, I have to work harder at it.”

A fae man in Marshall’s uniform came out and said, “Welcome, Jorge. I am Stormarrow. I have been told by Lissia and her mother that I can’t ask any questions about the Great Captain, though that seems strange to me.”

“The problem is that right now, I may need his cooperation, or at least his willingness to let me get away with things. On the surface, our relationship should be clear cut, but there are things involved. Not least of which is my relationship with his bonded’s bower since my grandfather lost his ship saving them. Of course, I was taken, enhanced and the Great Captain pulled me out of the mass of enhanced and had me run his shore parties.”

“If you hadn’t been collared, that would have gotten you in trouble in the Republic.”

“I was, but to tell you the truth, I was there because the Great Captain knew that I liked keeping things as clean as possible. There were times that he couldn’t, because of his father looking over his shoulder and the slave I replaced was executed by the Great Captain’s father for not being bloody enough. That final voyage was a mistake and I told the Great Captain that at the time.”

A fae woman came out the door and said, “Storm, don’t you let our guests stand out there in the cold.” She turned to Jorge and said, “You must be Jorge. I have heard all sorts of good things about you. Welcome to my home. Come inside with my bonded and my rather pushy son here.”

Jorge and Lissia went inside and a small fae girl said, “Are you my sister’s husband?”
“I will be soon. Your mother and my mother have been making arrangements, but I am on duty.”

“What is your duty? Daddy is in the Marshalls.”
“I am in the Republican Marines. I was in Ishendell fighting the Darkmage and his monsters.”

“Why were you doing that?”

“That is my job. Why don’t you all sit down and I will tell you about me and my life.”

As Jorge spun his tales, Lilly said to Lissia, “He is as remarkable as you said he was. He is a true treasure.”

“I thought so, even before he was promoted. Then he came after me in Ishendell and rescued everybody.”

“So he is on duty. I have already been talking to Muriel and Stacey about starting the wedding arrangements. The problem is going to be arranging for Jorge to be on leave.”

“I know. He’s rather busy right now, chasing the Darkmage’s toys. Unfortunately the Darkmage managed to slither out of Ishendell and return to the Empty Lands.”

“Are you certain that the Darkmage is there?” Stormarrow asked. “The bounty on his head is rather large.”
“Jorge has seen him, but in the Empty Lands, Jorge can’t just move in without permission. He can get a raid in, but Mr. Harper doesn’t want to trip something off unless the devises are all accounted for.”
“Does the Republic know where they are?”
“Not the three that Stormfire made off with. There are some more that are probably out there, based on some documents that we found. The Darkmage may have a better knowledge of the locations. Jorge is working closely with the Beinans, the Qinvaris and some others to track the devises.”

“Jorge, considering who you have been working with, something turned up at the Imperial Exchange. Do you know anything about that?”

Jorge grinned. “Stormarrow, saying anything about that would get me in a lot of trouble with people that I do not want to be in trouble with. Since no writs were issued over the matter and the money was the money taken by my former boss, I can’t say anything other than I am happy to see the money returned.”

“Was there anything else involved.”
“That is something that I really can’t say anything about. You will have to go above my head, or your boss will. There will be a brief when things are over, but officially, my people and I were never in the Camp. Right now, I can’t say what we did and how we did it for obvious reasons.”

“You look like one of those Ravathyra pirates,” Spearflight said. “Were you a pirate?”

“I was collared, and yes I was. In fact I was Paeris Zylvyre’s raid leader. But don’t let that out or I will be in trouble.”

“People will come after you?”

“That I can deal with. No, my current job requires that I be rather discreet and if it were known just what I did for the Great Captain, the movie people would be all over me. Lissia is bad enough. I do not need my former boss’s people chasing me.”

“Pirates?”
“Worse. Bad novel writers, movie directors and the other people that make money off the Great Captain. Being a member of his crew can be big money. But I am supposed to be anomynous and I can’t do that and be a celebrity at the same time.”

Jorge spun stories through dinner and until the kids went to bed. Afterwards, Jorge and Lissia said their goodbyes, Jumped to the GP and headed to the portal. When they were gone, Stormarrow said, “He is a good partner for Lissia.”
Lilly grinned “Very much so. I noticed that he was very careful not to say very much about certain things, especially about Ishendell. Do you think that he was responsible for the money being returned to the Exchange?”

“I am certain that he was involved. Since that involved money being returned, there was no crime or likelihood of any charges being raised. On the other hand, he was careful to protect his friends and didn’t say how they pulled it off. That was a true mischief indeed.”

“Does he make a good son in law?”
“Of that there was no question.”

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