The War For The Mortal Kingdoms, Chapter 9-10

“I don’t know the details yet, but apparently the Blight wasn’t launched correctly and turned out to be a much smaller issue than Richard had planned for.”

“That was foolish. Like poking a dragon.”

Chapter 9.

County Westlaas, Vestia.

Geral watched as one of his cavalrymen stuck his lance in one of the balls of burning sticky sap and then charging, slapped it at an Inanimate, knocking it down and leaving it covered in burning sap. The cavalryman wound his horse around and came back for another ball and once it was on his lance, went looking for another Inanimate. Jorge laughed and said, “There is somebody who enjoys his work.”

“Most of them seem to, once they understood that burning them was the best way to handle them. At least we have kept the things out of the refugee camp. Thank you for loaning me the flamethrowers.”

“There are more on the way. Lord Qinvaris is sending the motorcycle troops that he assembled, since the Blight has been a fizzle.”
“What happened there,” Queen Cécile asked.

“I don’t know the details yet, but apparently the Blight wasn’t launched correctly and turned out to be a much smaller issue than Richard had planned for.”

“That was foolish. Like poking a dragon.”

“Yes it was. There’s Teonag, earning his sheep.”

A mass of Inanimates had appeared and Teonag had swooped down and torched them, leaving them a burning mess. Brilbrun followed, completing the job.

Some more Inanimates appeared and Cécile cried, “Mother, father!”

With some difficulty Jorge held the landdragon back and yelled, “Tim, Jimmy look for a sniper with a heavy Projector!”

Cécile calmed down a bit and said, “You are right, major. They are dead. At least that will not work twice.”

A cavalryman charged out, ball of flame at the ready and suddenly was struck by a projector bolt and went up in flame. There was the crack of a rifle and a figure fell out of the church steeple, the Projector smashing on the ground. A sporadic firefight started with rifle and submachine gun fire on one side and Projector fire on the other, ending a short while later with the whump of a grenade. Tim appeared and said, “There were four of them. We didn’t get hit. Jimmy finished it with a grenade.”

“Transformed?” Jorge asked.
“The two in the steeple were. The two on the ground were enhanced.”

Blackfire watched the Inanimates that had been the queen and king of Vestia go up in flames. He had lost his Projector team as the queen had not been drawn out and the major’s special squad of elves had easily dealt with the Projector team after they had taken shots at the cavalry. He was going to have to tell Dúhael that it was unlikely that the queen or her bonded was going to be drawn out into the open. He could see the Queen’s bonded charge down an alley, stomping a column of Inanimates to shreds.

Tomas watched the suited Blackfire retreat into the city as the Inanimates continued to emerge and be destroyed. Blackfire and his team had apparently not even noticed him, let alone Lythie. Of course the fact that he was wearing a Yllanan cloak probably helped. Lythie had gone to the Yllanan estate and returned with all sorts of interesting things.

Chapter 10.

The Umevan Estate.

Once it had been settled that Nat would be working for Umevan Electric, Jorge, Naertho and Adiun had asked Nat a lot of questions. One of Jorge’s had been if there were any radiation suits on the estate. Nat had said that there was a building for that purpose and once he returned home, Jorge had gone looking for it, under the stern eyes of the Inquisitor determined to keep Jorge out of his Proscribed property and out of trouble. At least until Jorge had said what he was looking for and why. Once they found the building, they went inside, and there were rows of lockers filled with the suits and other protective gear. Jorge went to find a truck and some people to shift the gear to the portal so that it could be sent to Ishendell. Before he could follow, Roger and Keryth emerged from the portal and Roger said, “Before you go where ever you are going, could we chat with you?”
“What about?”
“A big robbery.”

“That’s what they are doing!”
“What do you mean?”
“Jorge has been wondering what this is all about. There hasn’t been anything about a massive Blight incursion and I’ve been talking to Nat at Lain Othrond about money issues in the shop. They are making their money issues go away by pulling the biggest robbery ever, aren’t they?”
“We think so.”

“What do you want from me?”

“We were hoping that you could port in some purses with coin and microportals inside.”

Jorge grinned. “I hadn’t thought about doing that. I actually just sent fifty radiation suits to Ishendell. Who is supplying the silver?”

“We can, if you don’t want to.” 

“I can handle it. Let’s put this together.”

The Imperial Palace

“Lords Palen and Zlymenor, what may I do for you?” Galen asked. The Emperor was still suffering from his attack the previous day and Galen was being the gatekeeper with a vengeance.

“We have an issue that has arisen that we would like the Emperor to present to the Council as soon as possible.”
“What is it?”
“We have discovered that the coin on our estates has been poisoned as a result of the Scourge. We have people that have fallen ill as a result. As a consequence we would like the exchequer and the Imperial bank to scan the coin until we are fairly sure that the poisoned coin has been returned so that we can place it in vault until it is no longer dangerous.”

“The Emperor is indisposed at present. Do you have a report?”
Lord Palen handed Galen the report and said, “We discussed this with Lord Qinvaris’s landdragon, Chompers and some other lab people and they are rather concerned that the coin be taken back out of circulation for some years until the radiation is neutralized.”

“Who has the scanners.”
“The Beinans made them as part of their work with the Scourge.”

“This is an important matter and I will tell the Emperor about this.”
“May we see him? We want to avoid some others getting sick because of our error and the sooner we can explain, the better.”

“The Emperor is indisposed.”

“Then we will try again at another time.”

The two lords left and Galen looked at the report. When he noticed how much of the report had been compiled by Richard’s people, he decided to take this to the Emperor. Going upstairs where Narbeth was relaxing and being tended to by Faylen and the Empress, he said, “While you are being pampered your majesty, the work continues.”

“What is it, Galen?”
“On the surface it is Lords Palen and Zlymenor wanting to prevent further accidents with tainted money created by the scourge. But I think that there is more to it. Apparently the Scourge creates a residual effect that dissipates over time. The Beinan’s have a detector that detects this effect and the lords would like to place detectors in the Imperial Bank and Exchequer to retrieve tainted coin that they spent by accident so that they can exchange it for untainted coin.”
“A noble thing to do.”
“Yes it is.”

“Do you think that there is more to it?”
“The body of the report seems to have been produced by Richard’s people, specifically Roger Bloodfoot and Keryth Harper.”
“They want the detectors in the Imperial Bank and the Exchequer and the rumor spread that the coins are dangerous.”

“That is my guess. The question is why.”
 “Consider how the other banks are going to react if the coin shows up, especially if the Imperial Bank and the Exchequer will not accept the coin?”

“They will almost certainly install the detectors and scan the coin they receive.”

“Hand this report to the bank and hint that they should install the scanners and notify lords Palen and Zlymenor if they receive any coin. Hint that the coin may be dangerous to carry.”
“I will your majesty. You responded very quickly.”
“Since both lord’s businesses were severely damaged by the Scourge, I doubt that they have enough coin floating around to really hurt anyone. On the other hand five cities have been Scourged and considering the time of year, they were probably all chock full of coin and somebody may have gone after it.”

“Do you wish me to talk to Roger and Keryth about this?”
“If you choose to.”

“I think that I must.”

House Trislana

Alinis turned to Fire and said, “We will have to watch ourselves with lady Trislana.”

“I still think that we should have gone to the Republic first.”

“Mother wanted us here and I didn’t want to Jump and get in trouble. This way, if we go, we can say that we checked with Lady Trislana and she didn’t have a copy of the book.”

“What do we say if she asks why we want it?”
“We want it for a history paper. If she gets really pushy, I am writing a play for the drama club.”

Fire grinned. “That may actually work. We can point out how popular her movies are.”

“Then she will write more scripts and send them down.”

“Good point. Here we are.”

Fire parked the GP and they headed to the stairs. The major Domo seemed to be grinning at them as they arrived and Alinis said, “I am Alinis Qinvaris. Is Lady Trislana available?”

“I will see. What is the reason for your call?”
“We are looking for an old book and the family was responsible for creating it.”

Eithriel  looked through the window as she heard the GP drive up, turned to Elenaril and said, “Look who is here?”

Elen looked and grinned. “I think that this is the first time that Alinis has been here. She is all dressed for battle as well.”
“Who is her young man? She has been away and I have not been keeping up with Rosa’s children.”
“That is Fireoak, of the Greenleaf Faery Kingdom. I don’t know the full story, but he was in the Republic for some time, his parents brought him back and Alinis found him. They have been an item ever since.”

Ivaran, Lady Trislana’s Major Domo came in and said, “Lady Alinis and companion are calling, Milady.”
“Did they say what they wanted?”
“An old book, apparently.”

“Send them in and let us explore the mystery, then.”

Ivaran left and returned with Alinis and Fire. Eithriel grinned and said, “Welcome, Alinis. I believe that this is the first time that you have visited my home. So what brings you here? I would have thought that you had searched for enough books already.”
“I found a lot of books, yes.”

“Bellas tells me that they caused some controversy in the Republic.”
“Yes they did. A Customs Officer was trying to get revenge on father because father shot his dad. When the library arrived, the Customs Officer seized it. Father settled things with some help from Kulgha.”

“If you are not searching for another library, you must be searching for a particular book.”
“This has to do with a history paper that I am writing for next term and a reference that I found. You probably know the Story of the Mage Queen. Since Tarranth has her library, I decided to do write a play about her for the drama club. We found some things and apparently the household used a book called Lady Trislana’s Healthy and Sound Home Guide. I was hoping to see if you had a copy so that I could see how the House was run.”

“You have intrigued me. Let me call Radelia, my secretary and see if she knows if we have a copy.”

Eithriel called for Ivaran, who went for Radelia. The elf came in and said, “You wanted something, Milady?”
“Alinis here is looking for the old House book. Is there still one around?”
“How old, Lady Alinis?”
“This would probably be difficult, but from the time of the Mage Wars.”

“That may be difficult. I will look and see while you entertain the lady.”

Radelia left and Eithriel said, “I was wondering where your fae friend came from, Alinis?”

“This is Fireoak. A strange fae lady gave me a Jump point in the Greenleaf Faery kingdom, Fire’s brother set a trap for Fire and it caught me instead. We trapped Fire’s brother and Fire helped me look for the Scourge. We battled my family Landdragon and managed to get to the radiation lab about the same time that the devise went off and Scourged the estates. We have been working on things ever since.”
“Your things or Fire’s”

“Mostly mine, but that is because it involved the Scourge and the things we discovered as a result.”

“How are your brothers and sisters?”
“They are all fine. Nimue married Sylvar and they are planning to attend the mage academy and the university here starting this moon. Dan is in the Fellowship going to college and he and Renestrae are getting married next year. Tarranth is also going to college here with Renna. Fire and I have another year at Chatsrey.”
“So you have been to the Republic. Do you go to movies?”
“With my study group. We go to different kinds of things.”
“High elf comedies?”
“Sometimes. I try to avoid them with Fire.”

“You don’t like them? I would have thought that you would find them amusing.”

“I do, but there is a bit of stress because I know the reality behind the stories and I know about some ladies all too well, since they went after mother because of father.”

“That is understandable. I will tolerate you not wanting to see my movies, this time. Fire, is it strange for a fae to live in the Republic?”
“My mother came from there, so I have family there. I sort of ran away from home and spent three years with my family. Realistically my mother’s family isn’t too much different than my father’s family except they couldn’t do certain things. I think that some of my cousins have been sneaking up so that they can do certain things, so I will have to be wary.”

“Tell me more about your search for the library.”

“That started when we discovered my great aunt’s journal in the old family headquarters,” Alinis said. “The journal mentioned the library and some tunnels. I had found an old map of the estate and the map had the tunnels marked on it. So my friends and I conducted an expedition through the tunnels and found a huge treasure. The cave guide that my aunt had brought in from the Republic knew that the treasure was a diversion and we found the door to the stairs and the library. I had made plans to get the library out the back way and we had made arrangements to divert the Inquisition. So the library was made to disappear until it reached the Republic. Then the Customs officer showed up and messed things up.”

“Where did your uncle Dennis come from with his wonderful daughters?”
“He was out on the farm. Nalaea is pretty wonderful. Jhaerithe, on the other hand, learned too much from her mother.”

After two twentieths of Fire and Alinis keeping the ladies entertained, Radelia returned with a stack of books and said, “Found them. The House must have had a book machine back in the day, as there were a lot of copies of various versions in the attic. Milady, your great grandmother and grandmother had huge egos.”

“If you would, see about setting the books aside for the book faire,” Eithriel said. “Alinis take these with my blessing. I do insist that you tell me the entire story at some point and that you will show me the play when you write it.”

“I will, milady.”

Fire took the stack of books, he and Alinis left and Radelia said, “Did you get any read on to what they were really after, milady?”
“Not very much. We can guess that it involves Richard in some way. Alinis has been delving very deep and I can understand why she wants to be discreet. Where were the books?”
“Deep in the attic. Jorald remembered them and we dusted a set off. Jorald will be glad to be rid of them.”

“We must save some. They are probably full of all sorts of tidbits that we can use.”

“I peeked and yes there are.”

“Elen what do you think of Alinis’s rather quiet young fae?”

Elen grinned. “He was very quiet, wasn’t he? I think that they have seen more of your movies than they admitted to. That study group is probably very interesting.”

“I know. If they came up here, we could have some fun with them.”
“More material, Milady?” Radelia said. “Lielatha didn’t explode like you would have expected when she discovered that the doll house had gone on tour.”

“That was interesting. Of course she was asking for Tinesi to take some sort of action by behaving that way. I think that she realizes how isolated she has made herself.”

As they got in the GP, Alinis said, “Now I am going to have to write the play.”
“It will be fun. We can get Lyrei to help and when we head back after Winterfaire, we can take it with us and the drama club can run it.”

“We could probably get Harald to help too.”

“Now you are thinking.”

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