The Princess and the Slave, Chapter 9-10

Jorge finds an old store room. Major Tollings conducts an invasion

Chapter 9.

Ishendell.

Jorge looked at the shelves and grinned. Adiun was in Chatsrey, talking with his father and sons after the big show in Desert Howl. He was going be ecstatic about the contents of these shelves. Here, were all the parts of ancient portals, along with other things that Jorge had yet to figure out. That did not include the fabrication shop next door and the assembly bay. Wyrran came in with Alinar and Ayen Nerihorn, took one look at the shelves and said, “There was a time that I would have killed for access to a room like this. To think that it was here all the time.”

“These parts may not work,” Jorge said. “On the other hand there is a fabrication shop here and we probably have all the things needed to make any part or have the part made in the Lower city or the Sanctuary.”

“Have you found the design pool yet?” Alinar asked.

“There are offices, but just what they did isn’t clear,” Jorge said. “I haven’t seen any drafting tables, but this is all ancient elvish stuff and how they did things might be completely different.”

“We will just have to go through what we find. What are those other places?”
“The boys are off on a mission with Jorge and I don’t have the keys to open doors. We’ll have to wait until the Jorge returns.”

“What about getting the portal board up and running and seeing what portals are active?” Wyrran asked.

“That’s why I called you in,” Jorge said with a grin. “I thought that you all would want in on this. This isn’t official Portal Service work, but Jorge wants to find where the enemy has their base and so far, I haven’t been able to get a trace and Tad hasn’t found it. Of course he has a distracting princess, so that has slowed things up somewhat.”

“Distracting princess?” Wyrran asked.

“I had Tad make some prints of places and was introducing him to places including the Imperial Palace. The princess spotted Tad and has tied on to him. She hasn’t asked Shael to buy him, yet.”
“They are not here, apparently.”
“After taking him through the flight instructor, she’s taken him to Vesstan’s dance lessons.”

“You obviously don’t object.”
“The boy is one of my best people and has pictures of everything in the world at his fingertips. He also has to be out and about delivering what he finds. On the estate, he’s fairly secure, but the other side will pick up that he’s looking for them and they haven’t hesitated to go after people.”

“What does the Empress think?”
“She makes hints to Shael that she wants the boy to visit, but Tad is fairly shy and the princess is remarkably adept at keeping the boy away from the palace.”

The room shook with laughter.

Denny was waiting when Richard and Rosa stepped off the plane. “Was Uncle Rom happy with his launch?”
“He put his thing in orbit and had a good show. Everything went off without a hitch.”

“Things are ok here too. Eletha talked to the estates that have been Scourged in the far past and if the threat of Scourging looks imminent, we can set up evacuation centers. The portals were already available in the right locations and the guard on the estate are ready to get our people moved.”
“What about the cities?”
“That hasn’t been my problem, but the Grand Master has been hinting that having the Beinans fabricate and install Scourge suppressors is a good idea. The Emperor has also hinted that Scourge suppressors are recommended and he’s funded the fabrication out of the privy purse. The Lower City, the Palace, Innshys, Elysahone and all our towns have them already or soon will.”

“My time wasn’t wasted completely either and you can borrow Brouzen’s airplane if you and Eletha want to make a trip to the Republic.”
“I better watch my step doing that or Eletha will want me to buy one. Mike already has one.”

“I think that Brouzen is getting a kickback from Halamar. He was hinting to Rosa that having our own plane here would make things easier if we wanted to go to the Republic and I could use it around the Empire as well.”

Denny laughed. “Let’s get you to the portal and on our way.”
“Are things pretty much ready for the reunion?”
“Eletha was happy and the house here is ready. I think that we are good to go.”
“Uncle Rom and Tom are sending Skychaser and Chald is sending some Projectors that Tarranth arranged to play with, so that is covered.”

Chatsrey.

The fae Consulate in Chatsrey was more for gathering information for the council of Kings about the goings on in the Republic than it was for dealing with the occasional fae visitors. Most of fae in the Republic for one reason or another were on business for their various kingdoms and except for some that had been told by their kingdoms to go away and never come back, did not stay very long. The only royal fae in the Republic at present were Young Fireoak and the rather mysterious Sudryal Shahana and his bonded. Since both of them had large families here in the Republic, their need for the consulate’s services was minimal at best and the consulate had only been visited by Fireoak once, when he arrived, and the Marshalls had sent him to the consulate to have the consualate find his family for the young fae prince. That had been easy, the prince’s uncle had come and collected him, provided an address in Racketgarde and that had been the end of it. The consulate was rather dismayed to find out that the prince had not sent word home and fortunately when the word did reach the boy’s parents, the king and queen had been so happy to find their son and had had such a good time at their relatives that the fact that the consulate had negligent was missed.

So it was with more than a bit of trepidation that Vanya Firemaker passed the wire that had just come in for Eagle Redflower, the consul and her boss. “Eagle, the Rosehollow kingdom just sent a message about Princess Moonshine.”
“Is she coming?”
“She may already be here.”
Eagle frowned. “Did the message say how she may have arrived? She probably doesn’t have any Jump points to the Republic.”

“She may have transformed into a wildcat and stowed away on the plane in a cage that was transporting a cat to the zoo.”

“Have you checked with the zoo? She may still be there.”
“I did and apparently there was a mixup where there may have been two cats in the cage and one escaped in the airport. The cat disappeared.”

“Have you called the Marshalls yet?”
“Yes and they received the same message that we did.”

“So they are looking for the princess already. Was there anything in the message about why the princess would suddenly decide to get on an airplane and come here.”
“There may be a boy involved.”

“Do we know who he is?”

“Not as yet. He seems to be connected to Beinan’s in some fashion.”

“Wire back that we will keep an eye out, but there is little that we can do unless the princess comes to us. Also put the word out to the usual people to look out for talking cats.”

“The zoo, Nyla and the circuses. Most of them have a talking fae cat of one kind or another already.”

Vanya went out to start getting the word out and then returned shortly afterwards to the consul’s office with a fae girl. “Consul, this is Moonshine Rosehollow.”

“Welcome princess. So, why have you come to us? You seemed to have freed yourself of your cat.”
“I have, since there was adequate mana to do that at Seagate and I ignored the begging children on the train back here. They wanted their cat back.”

“I am consul Eagle Redflower and welcome to the Republic. Why have you come, princess?”

“I think that I will be in the Republic fairly frequently, it was suggested that having my status recognized would be a good thing and that having documentation from the consulate would avoid some issues if I  should have to deal with the Inquisition types here.”
“Other than some visitors recently, there is no Inquisition and fae are treated just like anyone else, other than certain expectations like children trying to trick fae into transforming. We have a guidebook that we give visiting fae on issues like low mana and transformations. Vanya will give you a copy before you leave. We also want any contacts that you may have here in the Republic so that we can contact them if we need to. I assume that the young man that you were chasing has been tested.”

“How did you know that I was chasing somebody.”
“While a fae prince may wander and explore, fae princesses usually have other reasons to transform, stowaway on an airplane and then go as far south as Seagate.”

Moonshine blushed. “Yes I saw somebody and chased him here. I didn’t catch up to him until we met at the airport.”

“Why did he go up to the Empire?”

“He went up to get tested.”
“At the Sanctum? We haven’t had a list from the Sanctum of new tested from the Republic lately. Iris is usually good about getting the lists to us.”

“Fallingwater. They may not know to send a list to you. For the most part, the kids being tested at Fallingwater have been Umevan family members. At least the kids from the Republic are.”

“So the Umevan have recovered their estate in the Empire. Do you know how that happened?”

“That is a very long story and I have another errand after I finish here.”

“How about you and Vanya get together and get your paperwork squared away and then I take you to lunch. I imagine that you have excellent stories.”

Moonshine smiled. “I do not have a problem getting in back.”
“Then you know of the tradition.”

“Yes. That is part of another story.”

 Alinis handed in the short paper that had turned out to be professor’s Shieldslasher’s midterm exam. He wanted them to write about things that they had seen during the midyear break. Fortunately Alinis had the rocket launch to write about. She didn’t want to write about standing and talking with her mother and the first lady while her father and the President discussed crop reports. After the exam was over, Terry said, “Did you use your father and the President, Alinis?”
“Terry, all they talked about was the crop reports. I used the rocket and the satellite.”
“So did I, since I was there too. Your uncle does amazing things.”
“Most of the family says crazy, but I thought that amazing fit better. Now it’s off to the next exam.”

“Ugh. Did you do anything exciting over the break?”

“Not really. My grandmother insisted that I help with the things that I sent to Tarranth’s museum.”

“That sounds a bit boring.”
“Digging the things up was exciting and fun. Telling scholars where I found the things and so forth was more than a bit like you said. I was planning to go down early and go to the beach.”

“I had to wait for some cousins to come back from the estate in the Empire, so we were stuck at home too.”

“Were they there to get tested?”
“Yes. My uncle went up there to the Fellowship because he as looking for family still in the Empire and they found each other. My cousin Jorge has the estate up there.”
Alinis grinned. “Portal Jorge?”

“You know him?”
“Fairly well, actually. My brothers and Jorge did some things to make the Darkmage miserable and we worked on some other things together. My brother knows him better as they did some rather big jokes together.”

“I want to know everything. There will be a family party coming up and Jorge is the stranger. Also, grandfather will want to know what Jorge’s friends think of him.”

“Let’s get through today and I will tell you.”

Chapter 10.

The Refuge.

Jassin watched the sleek vessel sail up to anchor. While he knew that the ship he was not strictly an expression of the wealth of a wealthy Republican, the extras that made the vessel something else were rather hidden. If there were some sort of heavy weaponry aboard, the weapons were not visible and the panels could represent many things. Still the vessel had the faint touch of menace, something that was very hard to hide. Mórsairon joined Jassin at the parapet and said, “We better push things up. Our visitors are a bit early.”

“When do you think that they will arrive?”

“Early in the morning or mid day tomorrow. That is high tide.”

 “I think that I better get things lined up.” Jassin looked at the chaos next to the portal and said, “We are lucky that we are not being hit right now.” There was a buzzing roar overhead and Jassin and Mórsairon looked up at the crude looking flying machine flying overhead. “They are going to be here soon.”
 
RMS Ratcatcher. 

Jorge looked at Teonag and Brilbrun and said, “I’m glad to see you two again.”

“We’ve been in there before, so we can guide your people in, major. Are you shutting the portal down?”

“I’m not, actually. I don’t want them to get desperate and set off a Scourge devise that they had stashed and we didn’t pick up on. Any way, I have you here and I think that we are ready to kick things off on the next low tide.”

‘Not the high tide?”
“They will expect that, but the high tides are early in the morning and late afterten tomorrow. Also the low tide will push the sharks so far out, but won’t bother us at all.”

A plane flew low over the yacht and a parachute dropped out. Jorge looked at it and said, “There is the final piece.”

Castemeur, Kingdom of Vestia.

Princess Immianthe grinned as she pushed the laundry into the hot soapy water. She and Tad, along with the four others in their class had been given two twentieths to come to this town and disappear. At the the end of that time, Vesstan and Esgalwathanar were coming to the town to ‘kill’ them. Immianthe had ported in wearing the servant’s clothes she typically wore at the estate. A little dirt and some tearing had made them rather ragged and she had managed to insert herself into the laundry ladies by simply looking hungry and willing to turn to the work. A head scarf and losing her shoes and she had become another of the girls in the laundry yard. Even if Vesstan and Esgalwathanar found her, getting her away from the head laundress with her giant wooden paddle and formidable personality would not be easy.

Vesstan and Esgalwathanar emerged from the portal and Esgalwathanar said, “Run or hide.”
“The princess will hide. Probably very well. I’m not sure what Tad will do. The others will try some evasion to keep us from focusing on a target. I think that I see one of our students already.”

Esgalwathanar looked, “Not one of the current batch. That’s one of Jorge’s boys.”

“Indeed it is. Perhaps we should discuss more training for them.”

“They are probably doing well enough for the task at hand. I think that our friends over there on the island are about to receive their expected rebuke.”

Tim spotted Vesstan and Esgalwathanar from the roof and said to Jimmy over the communicator, “They made you.”
“They were supposed to. We aren’t in one of their sessions and if they spot me, they aren’t looking for the boys that they are supposed to be looking for. It’s almost time.”

Tim checked his watch and put his rifle to his shoulder. The church steeple was a long way from the gate towers, but he had a little devise that he had found in the ancient headquarters in Ishendell and had modified for the rifle. Both he and Jonny, the best shots of the boys, had the devises on their rifles. At the right time, he lined up his first shot.

The Refuge.

Orrian had just activated the portal when a guard called out “Boats approaching! Jassin goaded the wagons through the portal as fast as they could go as there were banging noises and the roar of something approaching. He had just seen the loom go through the portal when Mórsairon yelled, “Everybody leave everything and get through the portal now!”

He pushed his sister and then his wife and children through the portal and then started to push everybody else toward the portal. Jassin helped get the essential people through and then he, Mórsairon and Orrian ported out as an explosion blew the sally port in and another one opened the gate to approaching vehicles.

Jorge entered with the headquarters squad and there were servants and slaves, some apparent staff and a courtyard filled with wagons full of paper and devises. Jorge grinned as he started to get things into order.

Castemeur, Kingdom of Vestia.

After the twentieth had passed and only being able to find two of the boys, one of which managed to evade in the crowd, Vesstan and Esgalwathanar went to the central square and held up their hands. A girl with a basket of laundry on her head walked past and laughed. Vesstan said, “Very good, princess. We would have been in difficulty discovering where you were and even more difficulty infiltrating the laundry. I haven’t seen your friend.”
A young squire on a horse rode past and said, pompously, “Get out of my path girl!”

Vesstan and Esgalwathanar looked at the young well dressed lad on the horse and Vesstan said, “Did you steal the horse,Tad?”
“No. Actually, I’m just exercising it. The clothes may be a bit borrowed. I’m not in trouble and Monty, the mayor’s son knew who I was. We met at Jorge’s party.”

“Very good. We would not have spotted you and you could behave in the typical high bred manner and protect the princess as well as call in the guard to overwhelm or distract us. Give the horse back and return the laundry and then I think that we should see what is going on over there at the island.”

Jorge laughed as the rather well dressed Tad and the laundress princess walked across the bridge with Vesstan, Esgalwathanar and four other boys that were probably trainees. Jimmy had Jumped in and told him about Vesstan and Esgalwathanar’s appearance and he wasn’t surprised that they were curious about what he was up to. The group reached the island side of the bridge as a truck, loaded with things left beind in the rush to the portal started across the bridge on its journey to the railhead. Vesstan looked at the departing truck and said, “How did you handle that?”
“Ported them in using one way ports from the big portal in Ishendell. I ported a light TAV and two gun trucks for the assault and ten trucks to take the things we find here.”

“Did you catch any of the Dark folk?”

“One girl who was still getting ready. I suspect that she was going to still be getting ready when they left even if they had not been forced to push things up. There is a boy over there in the village, I think.”

“So, the yacht and the boats were misdirection.”
“Somewhat. The yacht was too obvious and it had been used in this area to do things that a normal yacht wouldn’t. I had been infiltrating people here in the village for the better part of a moon and Jorge has been sending his sendings frequently.  They should have guessed that there was probably still a portal in town and that I would use one way ports.”

“You don’t seem to be too concerned that they got away,” Esgalwathanar said.

“Not particularly. I expected that they might evacuate.” Jorge looked at the wagons lined up near the portal. “I was pushing, but at this point, I didn’t want them so much as to force them to drop what they are doing here. Until they get set up again, they will be operating in the dark. Frankly they should have given up their Primaries and packed it in. I need to get this cleaned up and done, so if you will excuse me. Tolbart, why are you here?”

“Jorge, this is your publisher and your editor and I wanted to introduce you to them. Your people at the house gave us the portal for the village here when grandfather told them to. This was an opportunity to see you in action and while it was a bit unexpected, it was worth the journey. This Marinus Copper and Stu Bronzeslicer.”

“Gentlemen, I had nothing to do with setting this character and his wife on you. That was my wife’s idea and she neglected to tell me that she had retained them. I was going to have my brother deal with the matter of publishing stories about me, amd more importantly my, people.”

“That’s quite all right Major,” Marinus said. “Tolbart is experienced in how business works and probably cheaper than your brother would have been. After all, your brother has to support that big fancy building filled with junior partners.”

“My brother does go for larger scale things, yes. He doesn’t have to support the firm all by himself. Tolbart, you didn’t bring the Great Captain with you too, did you?”

“No, I did not. I did notice a rather large exotic toy berthed in Ishendell. What does she do?”

“We’re working on that. Uncle Eliad is having some yard people come up and take a look at her. Right now, she is set up to do things we don’t have equipment for.”

“I will want a tour later.”

“Ok, but Collector stays out of the books until we use her for something. Gizmo may want to talk with you about throwing enhancements and things that the ship can’t actually do.”

Stu’s eyes brightened. “Gizmo?”

Jorge groaned. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“Who were those folks leaving as we came in?” Tolbart asked.

“I am not going to say anything about them and you don’t want to be poking around about them, trust me. They are not directly connected to me. That was a training session that had nothing to do with this.”

“You have intrigued me. I take it that the two elves were not what they seemed to be.”

“As I said, I’m not going to say anything about them. If you want to poke around certain places in the Empire, you can ask grandfather.”
“I just may. Hello, Stacey. Why are you here?”

“I’m here with Lissia on the yacht. We were indulging ourselves in town.”

“Where is Lissia, then and who is this lady.”
“Here,” Lissia said. “It was recommended that I revert for the rest of my pregnancy, so the cat has been put away for the time.”
“There will be some people rather disappointed that you do not want to have a cub.”
“That was considered, but I don’t want my children to have to bear the difficulties that may come from being Transformed unless they want to be Transformed.”
“Was that driven by that clown Pikepusher and Jimmy.?”
“Maybe a bit. In any case I want my children to have the choice that I did not. Why don’t Stacey and I take you three and Jerthad there around the town?”

Jerthad grinned. “You caught me, Lissia. I was a little late, apparently. I expected Jorge to hit at high tide and from the water. ”

“So did they, which is why Jorge didn’t do things that way.  You can stay with us on the yacht for the rest of the cruise and Jorge will go over what he did. He’s rather busy at the moment.”

“They did leave a lot behind, didn’t they?”

‘Yes they did.”

The Plant. (Lain Othrond)

Orrian had slowed the run through the portals by insisting that everyone and everything that went through the exit portal be run through his scanner first. When the first Microportal was discovered, Mórsairon had Jassin go through the portal, bring back wagons from the Plant and transfer everything after Orrian scanned it. He was reasonably sure after a twentieth, that everything was clean when just after Orrian activated the exit portal another scan revealed still more microportals. Orrian grimaced and said, “They programmed a time delay. Fortunately it wasn’t very long.”

“If I ever complain about you and how careful you are, remind me of this, Orrian,” Mórsairon said. “That was closer than it should have been.”
“I think that they were pushing us deliberately, milord. Let us get to the Plant before they get here.”

 Dúhael watched the refugees emerge from the portal, called for servants to help and when Mórsairon emerged from the portal, said, “That wasn’t very organized.”
“Our adversaries assaulted earlier than we expected to press us. Orrian saved us by stopping us and scanning everything.”

“What happened at The Refuge?”
“We were making preperations to evacuate when the yacht that chased down the Collector arrived. I ordered the preperations expedited and we expected the assault from the water and at high tide. Instead they somehow got an armored vehicle and trucks to Castemeur without being seen and the sentries at the bridge were probably dealt with by snipers, so we had almost no warning before the gates were destroyed.”

“After we get you squared away, let’s get together and you tell the rest of us what happened.”

When the Darkmage’s grandchildren met, Dúhael said, “Dúnathron, you had been reluctant to evacuate.What changed your mind?”
“I received a report that the yacht that had gone after Collector was being used for a honeymoon trip by MajorTollings. Then several other coincident events pointed toward the major planning one of his operations and there, at the Refuge. So I recommended evacuation.”

“Where is Anorloth?”

“In all the fuss, I didn’t notice.”
“Could she still be back at the Refuge?”
“She may be. She was sneaking out of the Refuge and seeing somebody. In any case, that was her choice. There was hardly time to get the people at the portal through, let alone look for stragglers.”

The squabbling started right after that and after things settled down and Mórsairon was able to explain the events, Blackfire said to Mórsairon and Dúhael, “I think that I want to break our people free of the Justicar’s cells.”
“Why brother?” Dúhael asked
“Because they have seen these people operate against us first hand and right now, I think that we need that experience.”

“We should also check on the Scourge devises,” Mórsairon said. “They know about the Primaries and our brother may have exposed them. My sister says that nothing shows up in her loom, but these people may guess some things about the loom.”

“I will discreetly send somebody to check on the devises.” Blackfire frowned. “We have some devises here. Brother, I would have more fabricated if we can.”

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