The Island of Intrigue, Chapter 11-12

Rob makes a bad discovery. Py runs into Jorge.

Chapter 11.

 House Qinvaris Estate, The Radiation Lab

Rob looked at the disassembled Primary and frowned. Unlike the ancient Primaries, this was almost as if it had been designed in his own department. He could see parts from the mark 12 torpedo magnetic fuse and the thing was almost the way he would have done things if he were building something like a Primary fuse. Chompers came in and said, “That thing has been bothering you since you took it apart. Was it difficult to crack?”
“The opposite. The design from this must have come from somebody in my own shop.”
“How so?”
“Every designer has a sort of a fingerprint, a way of doing things. An ordnance shop is the same way. I can identify a Fellowship fuse immediately and a Kingdom fuse as well. The ancient Primaries all came from the same shop as well. The problem is that this looks as if somebody in my own shop was given the task of designing a Primary.”
“I doubt that your shop was making Primaries.”
“I hope not, but this was put together by somebody in my shop. Essentially it’s a mark 12 torpedo detonator with the capacitors to provide the spark to ignite the the charges.”

“How did it detect the portal?”
“A very sensitive magnet and a delay. This part here. That ring is a magnet and that trips that spring loaded timer. A few thousandths and boom.”

“You seem to know this very well.”
“As I said, this came out of my shop. I know the guys who made the parts, probably. I think that I’m going to have to drop down to Ishendell and talk to the admiral.”

“His brother too.”

“Him as well, definitely.”

Rob started to pack the various parts in a box.

The Qinvaris Port, the Qinvaris estate.

Captain Crabfisher looked down the ship as the two tugs in the port slipped the Petrie into her berth and home. He as bringing back the combines that Lord Qinvaris had sent down to the Republic, as well as some other things. The gangway went down to the pier and a waiting Keryth Harper tromped up it, followed rather less enthusiastically, but more safely by a fae girl. Marinus grinned as Keyrth came aboard and said, “So who is this, Keryth?”

“Nightshower, this is Marinus Crabfisher, our chief captain. He is also responsible for the the dings in the hull. Marinus this is Nightshower, who attached herself to me, for some strange reason.”

“How did that happen, captain?” Nightshower asked.
“It is nice to meet you, milady. As for the dings, I was pirated by the dread pirate Zylvyre and forced to take my cargo to Ishendell. My deck cargo, that is. The Great Captain didn’t want to mess with the trucks in the hold for some strange reason. In any case, sword in hand, he forced me to make a rather hard dock in Ishendell and the dings were the result. Then he unloaded his deck cargo, we snuck some evacuees aboard and were off again.”

“So what was the deck cargo?”
“Some things that the Darkmage wanted that didn’t work very well. The Great Captain was arranging delivery after things at Ishendell started.”

“I want to warn you, captain, about a special cargo and that the Inquisition may be poking around.”
“What is the cargo and why would Ayen bother you?”
“Ayen was placed on “sabbatical” suddenly and we have a new Inquisitor. The first part of the special cargo is a treasure being sent to the Republic that Alinis found. The second part, the part that the Inquisition cares about, is what they probably think is the old House library.”

“So Richard is moving the House library?”
“Actually, this is the House library that dates back to before the mage wars. Alinis found a tablet that referenced it and went looking for it. That was where the treasure came from.”

“I can see why Richard doesn’t want it burned.”
“Not at all. Alinis has been cagy and the Committee pulled a bit of a fast one on me, so you should be receiving a special cargo shortly.”
“What is it?”
“Mrs. Harper wants to give toys to the evacuees in the Republic.”

Marinus grinned. “That sounds like fun. Where is the real library?”

“I have no idea. Alinis hasn’t been told either.”

“We need to get the combines unloaded, so why don’t we get started.”

Chapter 12.


Py was taking his brother and cousins through town in the spare day before the morning train to Astaire. Py had been tempted to stop in Ishendell, but he figured that grandfather wanted answers, sooner rather than later and that Ishendell, the dam and the repair effort could wait until Py and the others could send those answers to their grandfather. So he had flown straight to Zirgoccol. Dalia and the kids were visiting the beach in Ishendell, as Py’s grandmother had wanted a family lady available if and when the family made contact. PY and the rest were entering the Fellowship Electric Light headquarters when they passed a young half elf. Tolbas turned to look at him and said, “Py, that character had the House badge on his tunic.”

“I didn’t notice. Here’s Hal. Hal, this is my brother Tolbas and my cousins, Theo and Ilitran. Brother, cousins, this is Hal Ironbender, who buys a fair amount from us.”

“We just signed a rather large contract with you, Py, so you must be here for that youngling who just left.”
“Who was he?”
“Jorge, and you can figure out his last name. He was looking for our suppliers of the things that you provide.”

“He seemed very young.”
“He is, but he had great stories. He also dropped off a bottle of your favorite wine, vintage if you can believe it.”

“Where is he staying?”
“At Dan Qinvaris’s home. He’s going to pick up his lady so we can go to lunch. You know where Wriang’s is, don’t you? You can join us.”

“We will want to meet him for family reasons, but did he say what he wants from us?”
“He said that he wants to wire up Freywick, Grimfrost, a place called the Santuary and some places along the coast. He figures that whover sets him up can tell him what he needs.”

“How is he going to pay for it?”
“He didn’t tell me, but you probably noticed more bottles of your favorite wine here the last time you were here and he hinted that Beinans wants another foundry. I got the feeling that he wasn’t worried too much about the money aspects.”

“Were you planning to get in back?”
“Jorge was going to make it easy, but we can sit out front.”
“We’ll buy. Let’s get a cab.”

When they arrived at Wriangs, they were met by the half elf they had seen before, an elf girl dressed right out of a high elf comedy, and another couple, more or less the same. The half elf looked at them and said, “Hal, who is this?”
“Jorge, these are some of the people you are looking for. They arrived at the office just after you left. This is Pywaln Umevan, his brother and cousins and we have been dealing with his outfit for certain things for a long time. Py, this is Jorge Umevan, who is, among other things, a master of using portals to make people’s live’s miserable, and I don’t know who you are, milord and ladies.”

“Hal, this is my fiancé, Shael Biqen and the others are Dan Qinvaris and his fiancé, Renestrae Glynynore. I think that they were planning to use me to get in back, since I have not been to Wriang’s before, since the last time I was here in town I was playing portal security expert in case the Great Captain decided to play with Dan’s father or the darkclown sent any booms at us. I know that Hal was planning to get in back, but I think that the crowd is too big for the kitchen at this point.”

Py looked that the crowd and said, “I think so. I will buy in any case, as I can charge it against the business.”

“Let’s go inside then. What brings you here?”
“You, or your father, probably. I discovered some rather extraordinary wine bottles the last time I was here and my grandfather wanted to know how the estate was returned to the family. Then Hal said that you were looking for electrical equipment, so here we are.”

“My father gave me management of the estate, since it is next door to Grimfrost. He has a small shop in the Lower City and when the Empress handed the estate back, didn’t want to give his business up.”

The rather stuffy goblin grinned and said, “Who have you brought today, young Daniel?”
“It wasn’t me,” Dan said. “I suspect that you know these characters already and the other couple with us is Jorge Umevan and Shael Biqen. This has turned out to be a bit of a family reunion and Py here is paying, so we will be eating out front.”

“Mr. Umevan, you have not brought your family to town before. We must have you in back when you return.”
“I will, Stalb,” Py said. “Grandfather set us on a mission and the mission, Jorge here, came to us. We haven’t got his story yet, since we just met.”

“I know of him, and I think that you will like his stories, the ones that I have heard already. Young Jorge, you are always welcome in the back.”

Stalb waved and waiters setup a large table for the group. The waiters took their orders and Py said, “Just what did you do to impress the goblins. They never invite somebody sight unseen.”

“I’m not sure. It may have been that I ported Shael’s cook, a bear named Snuggles into the Darkmage’s chambers in the Imperial Palace, or that I parachuted into Ishendell during the siege. On the other hand, as Hal knows, I have passed a few bottles of the good stuff as presents to people.”
“Who? You probably made some very good friends.”

“The Dragonmaster and his secretary, Consul Beira, Hal, Halamar Beinan, my boss at the Portal Service and some people I wanted favors from in the Lower City. Shael gave some bottles to the Empress and I think to Rene and Dan here. We lost some customers that we no longer wanted, so there are more bottles available on the market.”
“Where did the bottles that were sealed with the House ring come from?”
Jorge grinned. “It was suggested by my merchants that we put the bottles that our nasty customers could not buy up for auction. I thought that it would add something if I sealed those bottles with my ring. They did very well as five year sets.”

“Keep doing that. Those seals were worth a bundle. I paid a hundred gold for my set of the bottles.”

“Why did you buy a set?”
“The House wine is sort of a tradition for my grandfather’s birthday. For the most part, I would find bottles in ones and twos. This year there were bottles available and my favorite dealer had that set. I had to have it. Of course that set us out to look for you. We were going to look up in Astaire to see if we could visit the estate.”

“You must come,” Shael said. “I haven’t had a chance to have a thing yet and there are some engagement parties coming up next door.”
“Parties?” Tolbas asked with a huge grin.
“Yes. One of the daughters of the family that took the estate is becoming engaged to the crown prince of Astaire, I am officially announcing that Jorge and I are a thing, the Faery princess next door has found a bond and the princess of Astaire is becoming engaged to a dragon prince. We’re planning the parties during the harvest festival, so you can arrange for the whole family to come.”

“Jorge, explain to Py why you dropped Snuggles into the Darkmage’s bedroom,” Hal said.

“Ok, you probably all know that there was a take over of the palace during the coronation. I was working for the Portal Service and had come into work when this started. Aduin Beinan was in charge of operations and since the Darkmage’s son had control of the portal control board, something that we were working to correct, which is why I was late that morning. When all the portals went dead, Adiun offered a bonus for every portal we could restore and then left, taking portal operations with him. The Cloud and Lower City were restored by the end of the day and I caught the bus to Elysahone, so that I could restore portals along the way. The Darkmage murdered the director of the Portal Service, Kailu Sarceran the next morning. I arrived at Elysahone and the telegram that Kailu had been murdered was being passed around. I decided to see if I could fly up to Grimfrost and restore the portal there. I was also going to drop a bear, a mean and nasty one if I could find it, into the Darkmage’s quarters using a one way port. I went to the Qinvaris chief pilot, who was based at Elysahone and Iezzen and I flew up to the aerie to talk to the flight instructor about jump training. I did some jumps and we set up the run to Grimfrost out of Freywick. When the Blight struck Astaire, Iezzen had used the field at Freywick as his main field and was familiar with it. So we flew out of Freywick and headed to Grimfrost.

“The Darkmage’s son had an army on the Grimfrost road and they shot a mage spear and some arrows at us, so we were forced to drop our ferry tank, which landed right on the army’s kitchens and make plans to land somehow at Grimfrost. There is a nice lake there, with a dock in the wrong place and we crashed into it. I restored the portal after being accosted by Shael’s guard bear, Snowball and Shael coming to check me out. We made some arrangements with Snuggles, Snowball’s sister, to pay the Darkmage a visit and we used a one way port to arrange for Snuggles to be in the room. The Darkmage didn’t want to cuddle, so Snuggles left through a little door in the palace and the Darkmage never did convince anyone that there had been a bear in the room.”

Wriang emerged with the lunches and said, “Young Jorge, should you be telling that story here in the restaurant? I am Wriang, by the way and I want to thank you for making something more available that had been difficult to obtain.”
“The Darkmage is dead, his children are gone or prisoner, his sons already have heard the story, and the Darkmage was the only victim, that time. So that story is safe as long as I keep Dan’s brother and some other friends out of it. As for the wine, when we took over the estate again, there were some customers that had a proprietary access to the pressings who we no longer wanted as customers.”
“You mentioned them before,” Py said. “Why did you no longer want them as customers?”
“They were the holders of debts that the thieves had incurred to build some things on the estate that I can’t really talk about and took advantage, not only with the wine, but to procur young boys and girls for “stock,” as they called it. I made a lot of friends at the estate when the first clown showed up and I sent him packing. I’m sorry, but my House will not procur for child rapists under any circumstances.”

“What about the debts?”
“The family’s name wasn’t on the paper and we had never incurred them, so we didn’t owe the clowns a copper. If you want to buy a bank, there is probably one that is in real trouble right now.”

While Jorge spun his stories, Shael had managed to get the address of the family in the Republic from Py and the fact that Py’s wife was in Ishendell. When Py had told her that, Shael said, “Jorge wants to visit the dam on the Peninsula for obvious reasons and I want to see what happened there. So why don’t we arrange to go down there and then I will take you to the Imperial embassy in Ishendell, Jorge can arrange for portal keys for you and your family and we can port up to the estate.”

After a very entertaing lunch, Hal returned to work and Py and Dan took the rest around town and Rene invited Py and the rest to dinner. When Py returned to the hotel, he called Dalia and said, “There has been a change in plans. We are coming down there in a day or so.”
It turns out that the family was looking for us, or at least somebody like us. We ran into my cousin Jorge, who we will have to work hard to peel away from the Beinans. I will tell you more when we get there.”

“It sounds as if you like him already.”
“Very much so.” 

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