The Martyrdom of The Grand Master, Chapter 51

Just two more chapters in this book left and the next one isn’t ready, so posts today and Friday.

“Jorge the pirate?”
“Jorge is a famous Pug Marine and former Pirate.” Alissa said. ‘He was rescued from Great Captain Zylvyre and does secret stuff for Mrs. Steelmaker.”

Chapter 51.

 The Island.

Paeris stared as Herdir emerged from Jump and said, “You are supposed to be dead.”

“I nearly was. A wyvern’s constitution and an old healer whose loyalty we really don’t deserve saved me. Where is my father?”

“Chasing an arming key, presumably.”

“Why did he want one?”

“He returned from his meeting rather stinky, your brother was captured and presumably lost the arming key and your father wanted to launch all the devises here at his enemies.”

“That would have been ugly.”
“Also rather difficult, as I sent the wolves to dispose of some extra people and Darkmaker to make sure that they could port back and they never came back.”

“Where are they?”
“I sent them to Oceanside. They have not returned.”

“That puts us in some difficulty.”

“I expected that they would be back by now. In any case, they are not eating here, which means that we are sustained longer. I could send Durlan and the boys to Oceanside to look for them, but the risk is high that Durlan would be taken and things would be rather lonely here then.”

“Never mind, I will wait here for father.”

 “Things will be rather rough here. I do hope that you like seafood.”

House Beinan.

Rebecca smiled as Lissia came into the rather crowded garden with Biter. All of the children started to look at Biter and were trying to figure out if he was friendly or not. Rebecca called out, “You brought him! Have you found his mother, yet?”
“Not yet. I think that she was sent out to an estate. We are trying to track her down.”

“Welcome Biter, to our House.”

A little girl came up to Biter and said, “Are you Jimmy?”
Biter growled a bit and said, “Do I look like Jimmy?”

“Well, I’m not Jimmy, so you will have to settle with a Harry Landdragon. Is that fine?”
“Can I go for a ride?”
“Aren’t you afraid that I will eat you?”
“Not really, as you don’t look hungry right now. I probably don’t taste very good. Mom says that I am a little devil.”

“Then I think that I don’t have choice. You get your ride.”

That did it and Harry was mobbed by the kids who essentially took him over. Rebecca said to Lissia, “Bringing him here was a good thing to do.”
“I wanted to make it clear that he didn’t have to hide. I knew that you had all these kids today, so I brought him over from the estate.”

“How is the old pirate doing?”
“Just fine. He’s taking his friends on a tour of the Retreat and probably driving Admiral Harper crazy again.”
“What is Jorge doing?”
“Something. He didn’t tell me, but somebody probably won’t like it.”

“I take it that the Scourge devises are gone.”
“The last one is going today.”

Folmon, Halamar, Aduin and Gracie were listening through the portal when Dessielle emerged from Jump. Halamar turned as Dessielle appeared and said, “It sounded pretty bad. How bad was it?”
“Document Control and the drafting pen were burned heavily. At least that was what Terry said they were. The library was heavily damaged by the water. Most of the rest of the building is smoke damaged, but still sound.”

“We can set up a drafting pen here,” Folmon said. “I suppose that Jandar has the final word on whether to save or rebuild. Your prediction was right on the money, Halamar. Dessielle, was Peri upset about the library?”

“Yes he was. I’m not going to say what plans we may have, but this was completely out of bounds.”

“I don’t think that you want me to spoil your caper,” Gracie said. “I will let you all know that this isn’t the first strange fire that we have had, is it father?”

“No, it is not,” Adiun said. “Of course Terry and the others may have the people that did this, this time. They took steps with microportals to trace any stolen paper. Of course, doing this at this plant was rather stupid because of the nature of the work we do there. Fortunately, we won’t lose any drawings and we can still operate from here, so we should be able to meet our commitments. I imagine that we will be receiving calls tomorrow in Zirgoccol.”

“Did Terry plant tracers, Gracie?” Halamar asked.

“I believe that both Terry and Jorge did. Apparently these clowns are not wary about tracers as they are all working just fine. The tracers show them separating north of Nytfnas.”

“They are here in the Empire?” Folmon said. “That was rather foolish. They either have to go back the way they came, or up through Selnalion and down through Dolmon without being able to refuel.”

Peri appeared and said, “The fire was set, more than likely. I want to convince some people that burning other people’s books is a bad thing. Apparently Elion has large library of of elvish books.”
“Yes he does,” Halamar said. “On the other hand, Elion tends to be the voice of reason in the family. I will send a letter suggesting that making restitution for the damage and lost drawings would be a very good thing and hinting that there are things that are heavily classified in the files that we want back. Give them a couple of five days or so before you pull whatever you are planning off for them to respond.”

“We were planning to wait a bit in any case.”

“We can also watch where the trucks go,” Folmon said. “So far they are here in the Empire. Halamar, mention in the letter the hot contract we have with House Yllanan that we need to have the drawings back for.”
Halamar smiled. “Should we be revealing certain things?”
“There is nothing confidential about the contract, but House Yllanan wants their new planer and the plant at Fayspire had the contract as we were busy at the estate.”

“Grandfather was just wondering about that planer,” Peri said, musingly. “He’s been asking me when it would be finished.”

House Qinvaris.                 

Lyrei was surprised when it was Nimue and not Alinis who activated her. She smiled and said, “This is a surprise, Nimue. So what did you want to discuss with me?”
“Becoming a mage.”
“You are a bit old to be starting an apprenticeship.”

“I know. That wasn’t my fault as the Mage Academy wouldn’t test anybody that wasn’t pure blood then. On the other hand, I think that I have the aptitude for it and I think that I could handle the advanced courses.”
“Actually, I think that you could as well. Certainly you are more methodical and mathematically bent than your sister. Your sister tends to be more artistic and intuitive.”
“That is certainly true. I know that I have not had an apprenticeship as a mage, but I have done other things and the apprenticeship is mostly to prepare for the real study later.”

“This isn’t some bit of one-upmanship with your brothers and sister, is it?”
“There may be some of that. They have had some rather large successes of late and sometimes I feel as if I am slipping into their shadow somewhat. I know that that isn’t necessarily the case, especially with my music, but that is the way it feels sometimes. There’s also the problem that the family does not have a mage as part of the family.”

“You seem to be doing fine without one.”

“Yes we do, but if we had had a mage in the family we may have been able to work out the Blight faster. Tarranth was complaining about that when he first started to look into things.”

“I would discuss this with the Grand Master. From what I have heard about the man, he is a truly good elf and mage and would at least give you a hearing.”

“That is a very good idea, Lyrei.”
“Now that you have had my advice, you must pay up. Tell me what you and Sylvar have been up to.”

“I can do that.”

Vafealine walked into the Dragonmaster’s office and dropped the morning brief on his desk. “I have put the call out for Dennis and Ambilge again.”
“What for?”

“You will find out. It’s there in the morning brief.”

Vafealine left the office. Qambois started to read and when he reached one item, he tripped the intercom and said, “You were right. Has there been anything from Beinan’s or fleet?”
“Not yet. Beinan’s is probably still assessing the damage.”

“I will want to see the fire damage report. This was almost certainly arson.”

“There is evidence of tampering with the sprinkler system and the building had been empty for six days, at least empty of the Beinan people.”

“Since the navy is involved, Dennis and Ambilge are perfect for this.”

Vestelle grinned as Jammunli followed Alissa into the garden. Jammunli had been a good souce of information about the outside world even if it worried Alissa somewhat that Jammunli was saying too much. On the other hand, Jammunli was careful not to say very much that not probably common knowledge. Yes, he gossiped about Dan and his friends, but that was probably well known about town in any case. The story about Lori Hammer getting herself dragged under by Chaldron Bloodfoot was also not that big a surprise around town either. Jammunli was careful to keep business and social separate. That didn’t mean that he didn’t have a rather sharp eye for the social scene and interesting appraisals of the various members of that scene. He was also entertaining and fun to talk to. When they sat down, Jammunli held up a newspaper and said, “There are Landdragons at the Conclave.”

He showed the picture to Vestelle and said, “Is this your boyfriend?”
Vestelle looked closely at the picture and said, “I don’t think so. He isn’t collared and he’s with Elf Carran. They are probably doing that story about the Landdragon that chased Elf Carran when he was young. This landdragon’s name is Chompers. It looks as if they are having fun. I loved Elf Carran’s books as a girl.”

“I can bring them and read to you,” Jammunli said. “Mother likes them too and Dan gave her a set for Winterfaire last year.”

“Those books are probably too good for the garden. I do appreciate the offer.”
“I wasn’t going to bring mother’s set. I was going to bring mine. They are rather ratty and not inscribed by Elf Carran.”

“Is that your brother?” Alissa said.

Vestelle looked at the picture of what appeared to be her brother being frogmarched out of a probable house of women willing to entertain and laughed. “It may be. What does the paper say happened?”

“He apparently hit a girl and was fined for it.”

“Was the girl badly hurt?”
“It doesn’t seem so. She was a slave, but apparently her collar has a button to a suppressor that puts the man out.”

The collar was another handy Beinan product, probably. Considering her brother’s bad habits, the collar was a very handy thing for a house like that to have for the girls to use. That was probably why the thing was mentioned in the article. Short of killing the girl or having a key to the collar, the collar wouldn’t come off and the suppressor button and probably some other handy little things were right there if the girl needed them. Her brother, being his usual self, had walked right into getting himself in trouble yet again. Vestelle smiled and said, “Any other good stories?”
“There is a story from that Toothgrinder character about sending Scourge devises to the Deadlands to explode.” Jammunli said.

“Where was that?”
“Near Fayspire. There was that famous Pug bomb defuser and Jorge the pirate there.”
“Jorge the pirate?”
“Jorge is a famous Pug Marine and former Pirate.” Alissa said. ‘He was rescued from Great Captain Zylvyre and does secret stuff for Mrs. Steelmaker. There aren’t a lot of books about him yet. He stopped the Blight factories and was in Ishendell with his soldiers, monsters and boys.”

“Some boys that were trapped in Ishendell and learned how to be super sneaky, so Jorge has them for sneaky stuff.”

“You sound as if you want to be Jorge’s girlfriend?”
“He has one already. A famous cat lady model who gets in all the magazines. She was stuck in Ishendell and Jorge went into rescue her. Then he and his people played games with the Darkmage and the army. Jammy, we need to go.”

The kids left and Vestelle looked at the article about the Scourge devises. Apparently the usually rather skeptical Mr. Toothgrinder thought well of Jorge as well as the article was absent of Toothgrinder’s usually biting commentary. Vestelle heard somebody approach and quickly hid the paper. It was her father, who said, “Vestelle your uncle in the Empire wants you to visit, so I am arranging a truck to Innshys. You can port from there.”
“Not trying to hide me, father?”
“Apparently landdragons are not that big a deal in the Empire and your uncle would like you there to entertain. I thought that the ability to walk freely in the streets would intrigue you and you would not be confined to the garden here. You could also be looked at by the fae healers.”

“Actually, that sounds like a wonderful idea. I promise not to be my brother and mess with the other landdragons.”

Vestelle’s father winced and said, “I doubt that you could be worse than your brother, even if you did.”

“What did he do?”

“Ask your uncle when you get there.”

“That bad, then.”


Vestelle’s maid, with her evening meal being carried behind her passed her father as he left. Rose turned to look at him, looked at Vestelle and said, “What did he want?”
“We are going to the Empire for the duration of the Conclave, courtesy of my Uncle. Apparently having a landdragon in the family is something that the houses see as a good thing.”

“Were the children here?”
“Yes they were. Before we go, see what you can find about a Pug marine captain named Jorge or Jorge the pirate. He seems to have made quite an impression.”

“Jorge the pirate? He sounds interesting already.”

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