The Princess and The Slave, Chapter 7-8

Jorge arrives in the yacht. Bill and the others tell some stories.

Chapter 7.

RMS Ratcatcher.

Eliad looked at his nephew and Lissia lithsomely lying on a lounge and said, “If you expect them to evacuate, why do this?”
Jorge grinned. “My people need to keep busy or they will get sloppy, these people deserve a visit from me and if they do evacuate, I have a better feel for just how good their information sources are. If I were really concerned about them not getting nervous, I wouldn’t be taking this “honeymoon” right after you made off with Collector. Right now, they know that this isn’t just a yacht. I knew that was a risk when you went after Collector and I could have used Funlover instead.”

“You didn’t ask father to stop me from going after Collector.”

“I didn’t want to take your fun away and being a bit unpredictable in this game is a good thing. I suspect that a certain lady hasn’t sat down and put all the pieces together. Keeping them rattled has worked well for us and I suspect that this bunch get along like the Darkmage’s kids, only worse.”

“What makes you think that?”
“The fact that the boss here didn’t make any effort to rescue the Darkmage before sending him that little vial and that they operate so separately. I’ve been involved in this for some time now and most of the mistakes have been failures to communicate, acting alone rather than from a plan and not telling each other rather critical details. That was the Darkmage’s kids and when the world didn’t look the way they thought it did, things fell apart for them, leading to the disasters and debacles. The Darkmage still got a lot of people killed and I have the feeling that this bunch wants a lot more.”

Chapter 8.

Seagate.

Millia looked at the more elvish looking Moonshine as she sat at the table next to the water in front of a beach shack and said, “I was correct, was I not?”
Moonshine grinned. “Yes you were, thank you. Do you know why things are this way?”
“There is a mana source nearby, but as you get to the desert there is a suppression effect below the surface. That was magnified after the first Scourges.”
“Why did they do that?”
“I do not know. Up until recently, the Deadlands were pretty much ignored except by the Office of Inanimates.”
“Office of Inanimates?”
“For a long time, Inanimate attacks that just appeared were a constant threat in the lands here. That is one reason why the seafolk bowers are larger and more populated here. It was very difficult to organize if you under the constant threat of being overrun and then your homes being assaulted by monsters and enhanced. But eventually people learned to deal with the threats, by using gunpowder and making guns. The various groups organized and started to work together and finally formed the Republic. There was an expedition that took over Ishendell and then the inanimates and the rest stopped. As a result of the inanimate threat, the Office of Inanimates, like the post office, was written into the constitution and since the inanimate threat was more or less gone, the office conducts studies, takes over government odd jobs and creates fake inamimates for bad movies. At least that was what they did until recently when the Darkmage did what he did in Ishendell. After that, the Office became rather important.”  

“All of this is completely new to me.”

“That isn’t a surprise. I imagine that you were focused on other things where you lived and were probably like I was as a girl.”

“Living life a bit day to day and not too concerned with others?”
“More than a bit. It didn’t help that my family was the high family at the bower here.”
“What changed?”
“I went to Chatsrey to dance like many seafolk girls, managed to get a place in the Oceania company, met Readel, was sent by Mrs. Oceania to college, where I met Terrel, and there was some conflict because his bower and mine were at odds with each other. We had to overcome that and I realized that I was sharing my life with Terrel.”

“Your families seem to get along now.”

“That was because the bower here needed what Terrel’s father provided, the contacts and other things in Chatsrey. We needed good negotiators and solicitors to keep rogue fishermen and so forth from potentially wrecking the bower.”
“That explains the family in Chatsrey.”
“Yes. They manage things for both bowers and deal with things like fishing grounds and offshore drilling as well as working with the other businesses here.”

“That was amazing.”

“It started with Skychaser needing a place to blow up their rockets and not have a huge fuss. Romarod came here, bought a more or less dead ranch and the Beinans were next. The Office of Inamimates took over an empty mining town and the rest sort of followed.”
“Bill attracted a lot of attention when he went to the Empire.”
“Other than yours?”
“Well, yes. It would have been much easier for me if he hadn’t been grabbed by the Beinans.”
“When Bill just up and went to the Empire, Terrel talked with his boss and it was realized that there are a lot of things that need to be kept discreet that the kids get involved in. You saw some of that yesterday.”
“The tours.”
“Yes. We have to do those from time to time. So the boys are encouraged to learn to drive the old trucks and then they make money driving the visitors around. Yesterday was an extreme case, but not that unusual.”

“What do the girls do?”
“The girls are typically here, the girls that are not under sea that is, doing various things in the hotels and restaurants. They also help with the little shows that the places do, but you were on the truck and didn’t see those.”

“Did Tarranth really spend a lot of money on Projectors? I wondered why the boys started to play with them.”

Millia laughed. “Yes he did. He started to think about the Mage wars and went to Admiral Harper about obtaining Projectors and to Terrel’s boss about a contract to test Mana resonance. What he didn’t do was check and see if anyone else had been concerned with getting hit by Projectors a long time ago. I think some people are looking for you.”
Moonshine turned around and there were Peri, Dessielle, Alinis and Fireoak. Peri said, “I see you managed to lose the cat, cousin.”
“Yes I did.”

“Where’s Bill?”

“Bill is stuck back at Desert Howl, helping straighten up today. Millia, this is my cousin, Periwinkle Yllanan, his bonded, Dessielle Beinan, Alinis Qinvaris and Fireoak Greenleaf. Alinis tried to get me taken by the wildlife people as the train was stopping here.”

“Wildcats are dangerous animals, Moonshine. You could have bit or scratched me. I could have been scarred or broken a nail.”
“You would have deserved it.”

“What am I missing here?” Millia said with a grin. “There seems to be more to the story.”
“When Bill and I were coming here, so were Alinis, her brother, sister, and their friends, all of whom knew me. Alinis tried to play elvish princess with the porter and failed miserably. I have the feeling that those goblins are pretty hard to shake up very much.”

“Yes they are. When I was a dancer, we used the trains frequently and there are special arrangements for seafolk, but with a dance troupe, the girls have to share the tank to get wet. Anybody who can handle a gaggle of naked mermaids without turning a hair can probably handle an elvish princess.”
“It didn’t hurt that I had been keeping the porter a bit of company after Bill fell asleep,” Moonshine said. “I thought he was a bit lonely, shining people’s shoes.”

“So by the time I put on my little show, you had already made friends,”Alinis said. ‘That explains why I failed so miserably. I don’t do the high elvish comedy very well anyway.”

“Were you all looking for me?”
“We wanted to make sure that you knew the Marshall station Jump point in Chatsrey and the Fae consulate’s Jump point as well,” Peri said. “You should go there, get registered and have a passport issued, since you came here as a cat. Ideally you should have done that at the embassy in Ishendell on your way down. Here’s the Jump points. Doing that can help you if you get in trouble.” Peri touched Moonshine and she had two Jump points to the north. “Miriam is a fae doctor at the Marshall station and they keep an eye on high level fae here in the Republic. We also want you and Bill to visit when you can to discuss things.”

“It may be some time before Bill visits Chatsrey,” Millia said. “His little trip to the Empire was a bit frightening for us and some others.”
“It also made work for me when I get back to Chatsrey,” Dessielle said. “The family is going to want a guide for the Empire and the House to hand around and guess who is going to have to write that.”

“Having a guidebook will be a good thing. Bill was the first, but his friends will probably be thinking about going up as well.”
“Can they afford the plane tickets?”
“You have to understand that they all have unusual skills that can bring in very good money. They can’t draw on the money because the families set up college funds and whatnot, but they have it if they need it. At least Bill’s group does. Also many of them are seafolk or can handle boats. So they could get jobs that allow them to travel to the Empire.”

Desielle smiled. “Perhaps I should send messages home warning them about another bunch of troublemakers that may show up.”

“Are you warning your father or the girls?”
“What would you say if I said, both.”

Millia laughed and said, “That would be honest.”

“We are leaving tonight, but I spoke with some people last night who said that you knew a lot about the islands offshore,”Alinis said.

“Yes I do. I was hoping that Bill would finally decide to get wet so that I could introduce him to my mentor, who has maintained certain things here for a very long time. She refuses to come up top except for one time a year, Bill would not go under sea and using one of those suits would not have worked for him then.”

“Then you know of the vault offshore.”
“Yes. How did you discover it?”
“We found something that you and your mentor should see, a slip made of Harald’s last moments in what is now Zirgoccol. The camera with the slip on it was discovered by a boy in Zirgoccol and the slip was sent to my father by some friends.”

“Did the slip say how the Ravathrya discovered the vault? That has been a mystery around here for centuries. You must understand that while we don’t make a big deal about it, the Ravathrya family is here for the most part. They were the survivors from the wrecks, some of which were caused by the seafolk here. Of course some ships were wrecked deliberately as the crews did not want to go home.”

“Tanyl Zylvyre found logs on the island when he was stuck there.”
“The Landdragon? He returned to the Empire?”
“His wife came down, put him on a leash and insisted after he started to make movies.”

“That sounds like a fun story. Tanyl made quite an impression in the area when he was here. He didn’t tell a lot of people his last name and he was the Landdragon, but he was very well liked. Of course the bower offshore grew closer as result of that.”
“Tanyl said that the bower seemed to be new and rather small.”
“It is, but that is a story that I cannot tell outside the family.”

“Bill will probably open the vault, now that he can. You may have a surprise family member with you. Things will be fun. I’m hoping that you keep the family member here.”

“That is mysterious.”

Alinis smiled. “You will understand and your life may become more interesting. Mine has. Moonshine, drop by on your way home and we’ll take you places. I think that we should go now.”

The group moved off and Millia asked Moonshine, “What was that all about?”
“I’m not sure. I did a favor for Peri and Desielle, but I haven’t been paying much attention to Alinis and the others very much.”
“What was the favor?”
“What do you think of EiMagic?”

“You would have to ask my husband about them. They haven’t tried anything here, yet. They did do some things and had some crooked deals in Chatsrey as well as annoying the Beinans by almost messing up a relationship. Why do you ask?”
“Do you know of the family tradition?”
“The ladies have to pull something off so that they can draw from the wedding pool. Desielle probably has to pull something, doesn’t she?”

“I’m not going to admit very much, but I danced in EiMagic’s parking lot for a while and a library collected by Elion Eiljeon may have disappeared. This was after Ayre Eiljeon had sent a dirty tricks team at the Beinan Fayspire plant and the dirty tricks team started a fire.”
“Some of that was in the newsletter. There was an evacuation and Lady Bienan arranged for the employees there to stay at the estate and the House and go to the Conclave. Other than the document loss and the building damage, everything sounded wonderful.”

“It was, unless you were forced to work your House at the Conclave. We Yllanan girls had it easier than the Ravathryra girls as we were just pushing silk and pies. The Ravathrya girls had to work the tavern. On the other hand, they did very well with that.”

“You are fae and you worked?”
“That is our family. The Fae kingdom is next door to the Yllanan estates and the bower and the borders are more than a bit fuzzy. Also, money is a useful thing to have, work creates all sorts of opportunities and you learn things. You’ve seen Peri. He’s here at college and his family sent him for a reason. Of course Desielle trapped him with a kiss, but that’s another story.”

“What are your plans?”
“I think that I better Jump up to the Marshall’s station and the consulate and make myself here legitimately and then after I recharge, go home and face the music. I didn’t exactly tell anyone where I was going either.”

“I said that Bill would go up and bring back a strange Fae girl. I think that you are a wonderful girl, Moonshine and before you go I want to give you our address for your mother. I think that we should be writing back and forth fairly frequently. Since the family is going back to Chatsrey on the train, so why don’t you save your mana and take the train.”

“That makes sense, actually.”

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