The Conclave of Consequence, Chapter 5-6

Iefyr prepares to cut some timber Isarrel returns to the capital.

 

Chapter 5.

The Empty Lands.

The Darkmage Jumped to the Fortress and said, “The house has not been raided. We should retrieve the devises.”

Herdir looked at him and frowned. “You are being watched. They have noticed that you were not digging up more devises. They are probably looking for you to do exactly that.”

“If we can’t dig up the devises, the Project will fail.”

“We will extract the devises, father. There is no point in extracting them if our enemies take them and us. We need to be careful.”

“Very well. What do you advise?”
“I have already sent a message to Erlan. I also set as many slaves as I could to starting to prepare some more fields for planting. We will need them in any case and Erlan has said that the Imperial Council is looking to revoke the Ravathrya ownership of the Empty Lands if Erlan does not initiate improvements and encourage development. I have the House Manager meeting with me at the Retreat to discuss a budget and the improvements.”

“That will make it harder to keep this area discreet.”

“It can’t be helped, father.”

“We have always made an effort to hide certain things.”

“Father, when we launched the Blight, with Lord Qinvaris looking at us, being able to remain hidden became far more difficult. Since you didn’t tell us certain things, we could not prepare and conceal. We can hide things from our enemies and keep them guessing as to what we are doing. Keep digging up the things that the other side is not looking for. We can also take advantage of the need to develop. If improvements are being made, then we can hide things in the improvements. Our enemies certainly do such things. Look at how the devises were removed from the vault in the Camp.”

“That was your failure.”

“Father, I could hardly do anything with some 35,000 soldiers and even more mages, healers and medical staff present, many of whom knew who I was. Return to your digging, father and start again. That is what we need right now.”

Iefyr looked around at the heavily forested land, turned to his stepmother and said, “This is a big job. Why did the House let things get this way?”

Neuleth frowned and said, “I’m going to need estimates.”
“The problem is that I’m going to have to have surveys done.” Iefyr replied, looking at the rather crude map on the table. “The only good maps I could get are from the time of the mage wars. This whole area was different then.”

“Can you get some rough numbers?”

“Keep the House’s patrols off my back and I can get you the numbers in a five day or so. That should get us started.”

“I will go to Erlan with those. I have a meeting with the Master tomorrow.”
“He has his own agenda.”
“So do we.”

Bighagh, The Orcenlands.

Shura looked at the correspondence and then at his son. “Mahk, do you know why Richard would send something like this?”

“It wasn’t clear why he sent this. Certainly it is outside the usual Qinvaris business. Do you want me to follow up?”

“Yes. I’m not sure how Richard discovered that we may need a discreet investigation, but his recommendation is rather interesting.”

“The Justiciars? Aren’t they a bunch of incompetent clowns?”
“Sometimes the jester’s facepaint can conceal the sharp mind behind the mask. Perhaps there were reasons for the clowns. Certainly, the Dowager Empress’s downfall was not due to a mere accident and there is something strange in my father’s death.”

“Father, he was over a hundred.”

“He was also healthy and could still give his trainers a workout. In any case, having some visible clowns may confuse the ones we seek.”
“Should I go and talk to Richard directly?”
“Yes. I also want you to see if you can have a discreet chat with the Justiciars. If nothing else, they may have a fresh perspective.”
“Or provide a distraction.”

“They will be that in any case. Start to look into this Justiciar Dawkins, that is if we don’t have a file on him already.”

“I will, father. Now what do we do about the Champion, now that General Headbasher as been taken off the table, that is if he has.”
“I doubt that we could extract the general from the consequences of his actions even if we wanted to, and frankly, I can’t see that a general of his caliber would be anything but a liability. We will have to go outside the clans. Jerthath had some suggestions and as long as we are talking to Richard in any case, ask him about his militia general.”

“Is the general an orc?”

“I think not, but Jerthath praised the man highly and as Richard probably sees the general role as a part time job, we may be able to make an offer.”

“I will look into the man. Did Jerthath give you a report?”

“Yes he did. Here’s the packet.”

Shura handed the packet to his son. Mahk looked at the summary and said, “Rifles and machine guns against pike squares hardly seems like a fair fight, especially against a commander that only played games.”

“Look closely. Jerthath is aware of the circumstances that surrounded the battle. Take the report and go over it in detail. Keep it to yourself, if you would.”
“Very well, father. I will put things together and talk with Richard.”

 

 

Chapter 6.

The Sanctum.

Roger entered the grove with Iris, suddenly felt more in touch with things and turned as Iris handed him his pea. “You and Nalaea are going to have to be careful when you go into a grove to not go in together.”
“Why?”
“The groves will want you joined and I imagine that your parents would be a bit disappointed. You passed, obviously. Why don’t we join Nalaea for dinner?”

They returned to the shed and a waiting Nalaea who had a huge grin as they emerged. “You passed, obviously. I think that you are stuck with me.”

“At least we won’t be getting wet.”

“Was that a problem?” Iris asked with a grin.

“Very much so, in my family. As the youngest, I had to make sure that I was careful or I would have ended up in the drink, like it or not. That was one reason that I chose the army for my Service, though that caused some other problems.”

“It sounds as if you have stories to tell.”

Roger did and kept the ladies and the rest of the denizens at the Sanctum entertained all through dinner. As he was telling the story of his motorcycle racing, Elincia asked, “Where in the Lower City do you get those helmets from?”
“I’m not sure,” Roger replied with a frown. “Now that I’m here, I should find out. Why do you want to know?”
“Because my son has started to ride a motorbike around and I am a bit concerned.”

“Is your son Saevel?”
“You know about him?”

“I was assigned to the Fayspire troop and helped in the evacuation of 2nd Army. So I know Saevel. I can arrange a helmet for him. He is quite the scamp and he does like that bike of his.”

“Yes he is. He also has a habit of poking into dangerous things. On the other hand, he is diligent and able. Have you talked to the Beinans, as yet?”

“Not as yet, at least not at length. I’ve been dragooned into another of my grandfather’s things that I can’t talk about and haven’t had the time to look into some things that I would like to. The helmets are a good thing to look into, now that I am here.”

 

House Petris

House Petris Major Domo Haldir Enqen watched as the parade exited the portal, came down the street and entered the House. House Petris was not as well situated as some and the portal was quite some distance away. Lady Sana quietly said to Haldir, “I see that she hasn’t learned to travel light.”

“That is a bit rude, milady.”

“I’m not sure why she had to come at all. We will have enough to attend to with the Conclave coming so quickly. At least we will not be expected to have the kind of circus that we had earlier, after the Emperor’s death.”

“Fortunately your granddaughter is looking forward to certain things and we can use what we learned the last time.”

“Lenna learned a lot from the Qinvaris girls and their friends. The problem will be getting certain things past some ladies.”

“Lady Nueleth can work with you on that. I think that the lady has arrived.”

Isarrel turned quietly to Haladavar as he handed her out of the sedan chair and said, “She doesn’t look happy to see us, does she?”

“Not at all. Here she comes.”

Sana stepped up and said, “Welcome to the house, mother. What brings you here in the cold weather?”

“I had business to conduct and wanted to get caught up in the latest trends and events going on here in the capital. Things had become rather dreary out on the estate.”

“Welcome, then. My daughter is out at the estate and my granddaughter is preparing for the Conclave, so it just me for tea today, I am afraid. I have invited some other ladies for dinner this evening, if you wish to attend.”

“From our House?”

“I have invited the ladies from House Ravathyra, some related Houses and Princess Glynnii. Thalia wanted to have the various families meet before the Conclave and make arrangements.”

“That will be excellent. I look forward to the discussions.”

The Radiation Labratory, The Qinvaris Estate.

Jorge looked at the various pieces and the cases, turned to Rob and said, “I’m glad that I have you here to deal with these.”

“I’ll take you and your people through the process of removing the Primaries. I would want the devises safed, even if the arming keys were set to disarmed. There is a fair amount of corrosion and weak parts in the fuses and the potential for something setting one off is higher than I like.”

“I just wanted to get a good look at the things, now that I have a chance to. We took a bit of a chance porting the devises from the vault in the Camp, but I didn’t know beforehand that they would be there for certain, the target was one of opportunity and we needed to get in and out before we were noticed.”

“That was a clean operation. You didn’t tell Jhaerithe about it.”

“I wasn’t going to tell her and potentially incriminate some not so innocent people. For that operation, need to know is defininately in effect for the time being. As for clean operations, I’ve had practice. Now I need to collect Lissia and make another stop.”

“Where is she?”

“At the Zinfiels’ talking to the ladies. One of Chompers’ grandsons made a purchase of a lady from the Lower City and Lissia is enabling a reunion.”

“One of the girls from the Pen?”

“One of my people, in this case. Also from the Pen, as far as that goes. Fortunately, we have tracked down most of the lost parents from the Pen at this point. Having family makes some people feel a lot less like monsters.”

“You mean your people aren’t all hard bitten enhanced marines, transformed monsters and not so former pirates.”

Jorge laughed. “That is a bit of an exaggeration. After all, we are supposed to be clandestine. I’m in enough trouble with some people about that already. In any case, I need to make another stop today. You can have my miscreants for the training and I will return later.”

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