The Five Doomed Cities, Chapter 13-14

A banker is kicked out of Lain Othrond. Bill and his friends head to the air show.

Chapter 13.

Lain Othrond

Betrek wasn’t really surprised when the guards showed up. He was fairly sure that Ayre had indeed spotted him. Of course he was prepared for that and he had sent everything but the day’s paper out of the city. So he wasn’t shocked when the sergeant said, “The Lord wishes to speak with you.”

“If I do not wish to speak to the Lord?”
“Then we drag you.”
“I wouldn’t want you to strain yourself so, shall we go?”
Escorted by the sergeant and two guards, Betrek mused that people were so predictable and that he was in for a rough time. If they were smart, they wouldn’t rough him up too much. He was pushed through a door and as Betrek expected, there was Ayre. Ayre said, “I’m surprised to see you playing for coppers, Betrek. This the lord here, Lord Dúhael.”

“So you tattled on me, Ayre? Would you believe that I was on a vacation? This is a nice little town in some ways.”

“I doubt that you would come to a place like this for a vacation. I also wouldn’t believe that this place would attract your attention.”

“You might be surprised. Where some people see a lost cause, I see opportunities.”

“What do you mean?” Dúhael asked. “I am sure that you are aware of the circumstances here.”

“You must be in worse trouble than I had expected.”

“Why are you here?”

 “Hasn’t Ayre told you very much? The bank lost a rather large client and our relationship with another client has become rather shaky. You took some property from said client with the aid of my cousin and even though the client has retrieved the property, the client wants to know all about you.”

“So you are a spy as well.”

“Not at all. While some of what I do brings in information, my interests are different than say, the Duc. The Duc probably wants you to behave better. I want to conduct business.”

“We could remove you from the game.”

“Are you really that stupid, milord? You were badly hurt by a small operation using mercenaries. My family knows where I am, and if I were to disappear, the Duc might suddenly get access to a real army and modern weapons. Ayre here has probably already told you that I could buy the town for play money. The fact is that I haven’t pressed very hard.”

“I think that your business here in town is over. I will take what paper you hold in lieu of tax you owe and evict you.”

“Go right ahead. I sent most of the charges I had away recently and the bank will assess those charges against your bank, which means that they will be added to the debt that you already owe. Of course, if it appears that you are in real trouble, the holders of your paper will get nervous.”

“Do what you will. You will not be doing it here.”

“I suppose not.”

“Sergeant! Come and take this thing to his quarters. Take any paper he may have, have him pack and show him the gate. I don’t want him in this town anymore.”

The sergeant returned and took Betrek away. Dúhael turned to Ayre and said, “He was exactly as you said he was.”

“He likes taking risks and isn’t afraid to play rough.”

“Who do think his client is?”
“That is easy. Who did the slave boy belong to?”

“The boy came from the estate where the transmuter was constructed, the estate that had the dam. We arranged for the Lord to be killed with his family, the brother to be exiled with most of the family. They were the Umevan.”

“Umevan Electric. Taking the boy was a mistake of the highest order. Umevan Electric wired the world, or is trying to. The old elf has a policy of dealing with people that play games with Umevan Electric’s people and the people on the estate probably count.”

“Will you being here in my office cause you any trouble?”

“Probably, but since Betrek spotted me when I spotted him, it doesn’t matter at this point. I was probably tracked here in one fashion or another in any case.”

“What about my proposal now?”

“On the one hand, the disruption will hurt my family greatly. On the other hand, there are opportunities in chaos.”
Dúhael grinned. “Indeed there are. Let us be off to the meeting.”

“Where are we meeting?”

“There is a table in the courtyard and it is a wonderful day weather wise, so that will make the table a good place to meet.”

Chapter 14.

Fayspire.

Bill waved as Fire, Alinis and the others exited the portal, passed through the scanner and came out to where the busses were waiting. The group joined Bill and his father and Bill said, “The company arranged these. They will take us to the train station.”

“How come there are so many?”
“Halamar Beinan wants as many of the company as he can arrange to come for public day at the air show so Adiun and dad set it up with the portals in Ishendell to send everybody here. Let’s get on.”

“Wait a bit, mother’s coming.”

“Your mother’s coming?”
“She wants a day in Zirgoccol with us and my brother. So she is coming.”

Rosa emerged from the crowd, looked at the bus and said, “I knew that things would be arranged. Hello Terrel. Where is Adiun?”

“He and his family have been at the air show for the five business days. I can arrange a cab, if you want.”
“The bus will be fine. By the time the cab could get here, the bus will be at the train station.”

A compartment had been reserved for Rosa, but since the train was rather full, she insisted that Terrel, Bill, Moonshine, Alinis and Fire sit with her. As the train pulled away, she looked at Bill and Fire and said, “What are you two up to.”
“What do you mean, milady?” Fire asked.

“Richard’s mother sent a wire that said that she didn’t see you two get off the train with the others, but when you all got in the car, there you were. Then you both went on an errand before your flight yesterday.”

“That sounds suspicious, Rosa,” Terrel said. “They were up to something fishy.”

Bill grinned and said, “Dad, you know those pictures that were with the rest of the stuff that was stolen? I was concerned that the people that were handling the stuff saw the pictures and realized that I had opened a certain vault. So I wanted it to make it look like the pictures were from another place. I took some more pictures, then Fire and I went to his uncles’ place where his cousins had opened up another place, took some more pictures and Fire’s cousin gave us still more. Then we sold them to Strange Science.”

Terrel started to laugh. “I would be careful about telling my brother about that. He’ll try to recruit you.”

“What is Strange Science?” Rosa asked.

“Strange Science is a magazine that publishes things that are a bit outside the norms in the Blasted Lands. The publisher operates on a shoestring and looks for sensational or strange stories. He also does things like visit science fairs, because he doesn’t have to pay for stories. That was what started Ayre Eiljeon looking into what Bill was doing in the first place. Ayre broke into my home, or more likely, had somebody from out of town do that, and took Bill’s notes on something he was working on, as well as some pictures that Bill had just had developed. Apparently the pictures were from the inside of a vault that he had opened and was exploring.”

“The vault you were looking for, Alinis?”
“Yes,” Alinis said. “I was supposed to cover for Bill and Fire with Moonshine, but grandmother must have been watching us get off the train from the car.”

“So you went and took some pictures of this other vault and sold them to this magazine. Why?”

“Because I think that the people that want the vault get the magazine,” Bill said. “So I wanted to take advantage of that to make them think that I hadn’t opened the vault on the island.”

“I like that idea and Richard will too. You know Jorge Umevan, do you not?”
“I know Shael better. Lord Umevan was busy when I was at the estate.”

“Shael will do. You will want to talk to a young man named Tad at the estate if you want to know about certain people. He was kidnapped by them and held in their city for some time.”

“I want to speak with the young man as well,” Terrel said. “So will Adiun. There have been other mysterious things related to those people and having some insight into what is going on would be a big help.”

Peri and Dessielle came in and Dessielle said, “Uncle Adiun says that you said that Republic Air has a surprise, Mr. Wavechaser. Bill do you know what it is?”
“Yes I do, Dessielle and it will be a big one. I’m not going to tell you because your cousins have been sneering at us for a very long time.”
“Ok, so I should take bets on Republic for the time trials?”
Terrel grinned. “Dessielle, I would bet big. Unless there is an accident, Republic has the trials in the bag.”

“Ooh, this is going to be interesting. Let’s talk to the others. ”

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