Conclave Of Consequence, Chapter 13-14

The airship visits the island. Tarranth, Nimue and Alinis return for the Conclave.

 

Chapter 13.

The Empty Lands.

Iefyr looked around, turned to his stepmother and said, “This will actually work very well. We can truck a sawmill in here since the road has already been put in and ship to a barge right from that quay that looks like it’s in amazing shape. Somebody has been here recently and fixed up some of the buildings. I’ll go and get the portal unlocked and arrange for the crew and the sawmill.”

“Keep your eyes open. Somebody else has been here recently.”

“I’ll do that. Do you think that the new characters are coming down here?”

“They haven’t shown up at the capital as yet. There was quite a stack of reports about them, I understand.”

“Let me Jump you back to the House and then I can get started here.”

“I have a tea tomorrow with the Empress and some other ladies about the Conclave, so I will not be able to work with you on this.”

Herdir watched them disappear and Jumped to the Fortress. This would work very well. Lady Nueleth did not know about the devises and her stepson seemed to be very diligent. The hard part now was convincing his father to stay out of things. He was getting rather impatient.

LA-12(Intrepid).

Captain Bushbury looked at the new arrivals and said, “I’m glad to see you two back. Where are your ladies?”
“Danni is helping Kythaela move,” Mokem said, “Yrvien is working with Jorge on tracking down the Scourge.”

“Did you get your orders?”

“Yes we did,” Nathan said. “At least my orders didn’t change very much and we are going on a Great Captain hunt. The interesting thing is that we are not actually trying to find him.”

“I’m a civilian now,” Mokem said. “I’m supposed to not be doing crazy stuff any more. On the other hand, this doesn’t seem to be too crazy. Boys, how did you manage to get back in the air? Danni said that you were supposed to be helping Kythaela.”
“Captain Bushbury asked for us,” Teonag said. “We’ve been playing tag with the fae neighbors anyway, so we are not out of practice.”

“Playing tag with the fae neighbors? Did they move to the aerie?”
“At Uncle Byddri’s house. We’re supposed to be helping and the boys keep making off with the GP for joy rides. That would be fine, except that they forget to put gas in it.”

“How did they learn how to drive it?”

“Brilbrun thought it would be a good idea if they knew how. That way, the GP wouldn’t get busted if they took it. As I said, it isn’t that big a deal if we didn’t have to keep checking the gas and sending them to get the tank filled. The gas station is right on the other side of the Faery kingdom, so we have to go through to get gas anyway.”

“There is a road?”

“An old one that we fixed up with the help of some of the boys from the faery kingdom.”

“The same ones that make off with the GP, probably.”
“The boys that make off with the GP are their younger cousins. The estate next door got one of their own, but the older boys won’t let the younger boys drive it. There’s Jorge.”

There he was, with a cart of strange things and tools. Bushbury had a petty officer get the gear stowed as Jorge said, “I brought a portal scanner. If they have a portal and use it, we’ll know.”

The various people boarded the airship and Bushbury pulled the photo map out. “What we are doing is covering for this. The navy launched rockets over the islands to make the photographs that made this map. We don’t think that the Great Captain knows that we did it and this island looks like the best bet for where the Great captain set up for the devises. We’re not going there, at least not obviously. We will be looking into these islands here and dropping paratroops. At least it will look as if we were dropping paratroops and a radio transmitter. We are also doing a better survey of the islands. Frankly we should have done that a long time ago.”

Zirgoccol.

Jerthath grinned as his daughter and Wolf exited from Jump. “So Umog, what have you two been up too?”

“Doing things for Wolf’s dad and the Council. Colonel Anvilblade is trying to recruit me, but I wanted to talk to you, father, before I said yes.”

Umog’s mother came out of the kitchen and said, “Good, you are both here. The Colonel is here as well.”

“The Colonel? Why is he here?”

“He wants to talk with you about some fae that showed up in the Orcenlands. He’s hoping for a discreet line to Wolf’s father and the Council of Kings about them.”

“He thinks that there is something fishy going on, doesn’t he?”
“I don’t know as he won’t tell me about it yet. Come into the parlor and say hello. By the way, Chald was married and Roger may be engaged.”

Wolf turned to Umog and asked, “Who is the Colonel?”

Umog laughed and said, “Why don’t we find out. He’s an old friend of grandfather’s and a real character. He made his name conquering a Ravathyra ship a long time ago. Come on, I will introduce you.”

Umog dragged Wolf into the parlor where a rather distinguished looking orc was keeping Umog’s nieces and nephews entertained by telling the story of the seafolk wedding the family had had in Oceanside with the rather inprobable guest list. “Lord Qinvaris was there.”

“Why would he be there?” a rather precocious young girl said. “He is a big businessman.”

“He was there because my grandson is dating his niece and he needed a break after dealing with the denizens of Bank Street. Worse than the Ravathyra, I tell you. Richard needed the break and my grandson’s wedding was the perfect excuse. Umog, I see that you have arrived. Who is this?”

“Colonel, this is Wolf Waterstream. He is a fae who works for the Council of Kings. Wolf, this is Colonel Bloodfoot, trying to convince my nieces and nephews that his grandson the cab driver had a rather remarkable wedding.”

“Umog, Chald is a rather remarkable cab driver. What is your kingdom, young fae?”

“I am from Rosehollow, but Umog and I have been invited to move to Deephollow or Treehollow here near the Fellowship.”

“Colonel, As far as I know, Lord Qinvaris has never come to the Fellowship for reasons that you well know, let alone going to Chald’s wedding.”

“The banks were more afraid of losing his business than they were that he would shoot them, so he was forced to come down. I invited them to the party and they went to make sure that Lori was locked down and would no longer be harassing young Daniel.”

Umog gasped and started to giggle. “Chald and Lori? That’s even more unlikely than Lord Qinvaris coming here. They probably did it in Chald’s cab.”

“The beach house, actually. Lori is with tail and very happy. The downside is that Chald will probably run for the senate.”

“Explain all this, Umog,” Wolf said with a grin. “I’m not sure what all is going on here.”

Umog and the Colonel did, leaving some parts out because of the children and with laughter all around. Umog’s mother came in and said, “Cook says that if I spend any more time in the kitchen, she will be rather put out with me and sent me to tell everybody that dinner will be served. Colonel, what is so funny?”

“Jorrabella, your grandchildren refuse to believe that Lord Qinvaris came to Chald’s joining party.”

“That would have been a surprise all right. That is if you and Qambois didn’t set it up.”

“Roger did, with his new lady. I just passed on the invitation from Cellica.”

“Where are Roger and his lady? I was hoping that you would bring them.”

“They are doing something most people consider crazy. They went up to go through the Flight Instructor’s little course.”

“That’s crazy, all right,” Jerthath said. “I bet that you had some others go up at the same time.”

“Not me. Commandant Heavygrog did that. Apparently Nalaea was talking to her cousin and set it up.”

“Well, come to dinner you all.” Jorrabella said.

When they all sat down, Umog said, “I want to know what happened to 2nd army in the end. Rilug said that the army was ported someplace.”

“They ported to that camp the Darkmage has in the Ravathrya Empty Lands,” the Colonel said. “Roger handled most of the evacuation and manged to get a promotion out of it. I don’t have the whole story yet.”

When dinner was over and the kids were listening to the radio, the Colonel said, “I wanted to talk to you, Wolf, since you work for the Council of Kings.”

“What about?”
“There are some strange fae showing up in the Orcenlands the last two five days. I want to arrange to share information and find out who these characters are. There has been some evidence that I received and I want to know if these characters are implicated.”

“I’m assuming that you want a back channel, since otherwise you would just talk to the embassy here.”

“Yes, I do. With Urthag Headbasher’s treason and the rest of it, strange fae showing up makes some people nervous.”

“I can talk to some people and tell them that you want a back channel.”

“Thank you. I hope that I will not need it, but I have discovered in my time that the world doesn’t care about what I need.”

 

 

Chapter 14.

House Qinvaris.

Hagre was startled when Tarranth, Renna, Nimue and Sylvar all appeared in the hall. He smiled as Nimue said, “Hagre, are mom and dad home?”

“They are indeed. What brings you here from the Republic?”
“Grandmother has sent something that was finally finished and we want to make sure that the building is ready for it. We were going to hand this over during Winterfaire and Tarranth’s little vault opening delayed things a bit. It’s on the ship now and should be arriving during the Conclave.”

“Where is your grandmother? Is she coming as well?”

“She’s flying into the Kingdom to meet with Aunt Lilly and taking the yacht to the Hidden City, meeting with Aunt Niphinae and porting in from the port after they arrive in the yacht.”

Richard came into the hall and said, “I thought that I heard familiar voices. Why are you all back?”
“The college is shut down because of the evacuation and grandmother is making a delivery.”

“It must be something rather large, if you came in advance. The library in the Lower City has been ready since before the last Conclave. The university library has just been started. Alinis has been making remarkable discoveries. Your mother will want you to go to the palace for a luncheon with the Empress today, Nimue.”

“What for?”

“To coordinate dedicating the library, among other things. I take it that Dessielle and Peri are back as well.”

“They were heading to the House talking to Dessielle’s mom before going down to see Tarron. We talked about that before we all Jumped up. Gwynestri is coming up too.”

“Nalaea has some very interesting new relatives to introduce to you.”

Rosa came into the hall and hugged her daughter. “I am glad that you are here. You need to get dressed quickly for the palace. I hope that you brought something new and nice with you.”
“Not with me, mother. We couldn’t exactly pack a lot when we were Jumping. There are some nice things coming on the ship, but they will not be here for a five day with the rest of the things.”

“Find something nice, then. Maldia will take care of you.”

“Very well, mother.”

Nimue left to dress and Rosa said, “I expect that what she was wearing would have been fine, but it is an Imperial luncheon. Tarranth, you need to go to Allaneas and talk to Alinar and Chald about Projectors.”

“Who is Chald and why does Alinar need to talk to me about Projectors?”

“Chald is Nalaea’s probable brother in law and he has quite a bit of practice with Projectors. You know how to get them from your uncle and we don’t have time to waste. So you and he need to get together and tell your Uncle Tom what you want sent up.”

“What for?”
“You’ll find out the details when you talk to Chald. Renna, you need to go to the House and dress as well, as I expect that your mother will want you at the same luncheon. Sylvar, you should go with Tarranth and speak with Chald as well. Well, what are you all waiting for?”

They all disappeared and Richard laughed. “That will teach them.”

Rosa turned on her husband. You sir, are not off the hook. If you don’t have something to do, I will find something.”

Richard disappeared again as Hagre laughed. Rosa turned to him and said, “Have a carriage prepared, Hagre. I will be going to lunch at the palace with my daughters.”

“I have already alerted the stables, milady. Where is Lady Alinis today?”

“Not here, yet. She’s taking the Flight Instructor’s course and she and Nalaea were supposed to break for lunch and port here to dress. They are probably taking advantage of certain things and going to the baths in Elysahone on their way here.”

Alinis appeared and said, “Mother, I’m home. I took a bath in Elysahone. I will get dressed now.”

“Your sister is here as well.”

“Wonderful! I was wondering if Nimue was going to come back. Let me change and then we can go.”

She charged off and Rosa smiled. “Good, I will have both of them for this.”

“What is going on, milady?”

“I think that I know, as does Richard. I will tell the Empress about some visitors to the Empire that are on their way here.”

“Should I notify Darfin.”

“Richard already has. They did something fairly stupid, or at least was a mistake.”

“What was that?”

“They didn’t use House Glynynore’s services and used the old roads and the way stations instead.”

“Folk do that.”

“Yes, but for the most part, they aren’t from outside the Empire and most Wanderers would take the bus, use trucks and use the time to perform more places. In addition, they waltzed right past a faery kingdom. In any case, just about everybody was watching these folk when they arrived. I must dress for the luncheon as well.”

The Imperial Palace.

Itireae grinned as Rosa and Eletha brought the girls over. They were all very well dressed and Rosa said, “Your majesty, this is Jhaerithe, Eletha’s other daughter.”

“May I ask why you were not at our last little thing, Jhaerithe?”

“I was on the Penisula, helping with things for my Uncle Norman while arranging dates and other plans before a ship returns to the Republic. Luckily his division is staying in Milport for the time being. Since there are portals in Ishendell, that makes things fairly easy, but between that and helping some relatives with a surprise for the Conclave, I was a bit stretched.”

“I am glad to meet you at last. I’ve heard so much about you.”

“Bad things, probably. That is if you have been hearing things from the Peninsula, where I pushed more than a bit. I was rather unladylike there.”

“I have heard some rumors, yes. Also, I have heard some things from family out on the estate during the last harvest.”

“Yes I did push there. I had to get a bunch of boys over their fear of dealing with certain things on trucks and I didn’t have time to be ladylike doing that during the harvest and my brothers had other responsibilities. The Blight didn’t help matters. Fortunately we were ready to deal with that.”

“So what are you doing now?”

“It’s a surprise and I’m not going to say.”

Rebecca and Dessielle joined them and Rebecca said, “Your majesty, I don’t think that you have been formally introduced to my daughter here.”

“I haven’t, actually. I understand that you were opening vaults in the Republic.”

Desielle grinned. “Just one, your majesty. My relatives realized that I could. That improved things for me more than a bit. Some relatives and new friends will be rather upset because I am here.”

“How so?”

“The young ladies have been watching high elf comedies and an Imperial thing is usually the high point. Even worse, Kythaela is here, so my friends will know that I was here.”

Itireae laughed. “I think that I see the difficulties.”

“It won’t help that I made a rather big deal about how bad the Dowager Empress was and that I was glad that I was kept out of the center of things. Yet, here I am.”

“You could bribe Kythaela.”

“That is going to be difficult because I can’t babysit from college in the Republic. At least when Kythaela isn’t in the Republic.”

“I think I see the problem. You will learn to live with it. I did. You have told them that this life has its dangers and issues.”

“Yes I have. I suspect that mother didn’t push for daddy and the House because she did not want us exposed to those dangers more than we were already. There was a value in being seen as a slave and not worth the attention of some folk.”

“That was something that I never had as an option. You at least can escape somewhat. I think that cook is waving at me to get everybody seated.”

The ladies were all seated at the table and Itireae said, “Ladies, before we eat, Faylen is going to pass around a brief on some potential arrivals and some other potential nuisances. We shouldn’t see the Great Captain raiding the piggy bank again, but my sister in law and her friends are not very happy with us and there is somebody pulling the strings that has returned from seclusion and may try certain things. I don’t think that the guild will accept any contracts from her, but be wary. I hope that this Conclave goes smoothly outside the Hall, and that is why I called you here. I see that some of you brought your daughters and I see some new faces here. Welcome to you all.”

House Ravathyra.

While Nueleth had been invited to the Empress’s luncheon, she was compelled to forgo it to deal with this rather conspiratorial luncheon for Thalia. So she was here while Kharzug attended the Empress’s luncheon for her. Thalia came by and said, “I haven’t seen Kharzug and your stepson this time? Where are they?”
“I sent Kharzug to the Empress’s luncheon to represent me and Iefyr is cutting trees on the old estate in the Empty Lands.”

“Why Kharzug?”
“The list of people that I could legitimately send to the Empress’s thing without insulting her was rather short and I needed somebody who knew what our plans were to go and coordinate.”

“Spy, you mean.”
“Somewhat. There are going to be some interesting new people and I want to see what they come up with.”

“Who?”

“The young lady from the Sanctuary and a princess from Elysahone, for instance. The Nerihorns and the Trahorns have new relatives and the big thing will be what the Qinvaris are doing.”

“Rosa’s typical things. We’ve all seen them by now.”

“I imagine that we will see some of them, her brother, the elven poet, for instance. On the other hand, I have heard that Richard’s cousin Dennis’s wife is taking a greater hand this time with her daughters.”

“Richard has a cousin?”
“I suspect many, but one that is here. Rosa’s slavemaster apparently purchased him, he shared blood with a lady on an estate and they manage things on the farm. He was responsible for the success that Richard had with his new machinery.”

“That is very interesting.”

Thalia drifted off again as Nueleth contemplated what Thalia would try to do with that little tidbit. She probably wouldn’t have the wisdom to keep a hands off on somebody that would seem to be vulnerable to the tactics that the family had typically employed. It wouldn’t take much to discover Eletha and her brother here in the city. Thalia would point Melaris at the brother and look to arrange an exile, not realizing that Dennis had far more clout outside the Empire than inside it and could happily build a new house in Fayspire. There were advantages to reading the paper every day.

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