The War For The Mortal Kingdoms, Chapter 35-36

Bill sets up Moonshine’s present. The cities can be entered again, somewhat.

Chapter 35.

Chatsrey.

Gordal was let into regional administrator Brownlow’s office and Brownlow looked at him as if he was a bug. “Gordal, what were you thinking?”
“About what, sir?”
“That shipment. Twenty thousand gold worth of Winterfaire presents and other things.”
“None of the duty had been paid.”
“The lady from Shahana told you that it had been paid. She presumably gave you the sheets. The Shahana certainly made sure that my office had them. Why didn’t you call the office and check? Then the shipment was left unguarded and stolen, apparently while you were watching. I’m sorry, Gordal. I’m going to have to put you on suspension. The good news is that somebody dropped the shipment at the post office and freight and the shipment is going to where it is supposed to. I would really prefer not to get entangled in a diplomatic incident at present as the shipment was the purchases made by the people at Beinan’s while they were making Scourge suppressors. Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to the news, but the people involved in that program have made a lot of friends, especially after the Five Jewels were Scourged. Couldn’t you sieze the property of somebody safe, like Sal Lion. In any case, you are suspended and may be facing arrest if the matter goes to the magistrate and it can be proved that you were involved. That is all.”

Seething, Gordal left the office. As he walked past the lobby a man came up and said, “Izzie Dantas, Press Service. May I ask you some questions about the shipment that arrived the day before yesterday?”
“I have nothing to say to the press.”Gordal pushed the reporter out of the way and headed to his car.

Bill looked at the rather large box and grinned. The Carnival had arrived that morning from the freight office at his grandfather’s home, just as he had planned. The other things he had purchased were presumably on their way home, but the Carnival and some other things for his cousins had arrived. Calling for Altak and Getrek, the butler, he had the Carnival loaded aboard the car and then he and Altak were off to the mermaid show. They drove up and as Moonshine came out, Bill said, “I have a surprise.”

“I think that I know what it is.”
“Yes, but I don’t think that you have seen this assembled. In any case, here it is. Let’s get somebody to help unload this.”

Moonshine went back in and returned with a pair of stage hands and a hand truck. The stagehands expertly placed the box on the truck and Bill and Moonshine followed it inside. Mrs. Oceania rolled up and said, “What is this, Bill?”
“A gift for me that we don’t have a place for as yet,” Moonshine said. “Bill thought that putting this here would be a good place for it until we have a place of our own. It is a large music box made by Fylson Umevan and Folmon Beinan.”

“Lord Umevan is here in the country,” Bill said. “I thought I would call him and have him assemble this for Moonshine. I made the arrangements earlier.”

“That sounds very expensive. Was it?”
“Not as much as it could have been as it had been commissioned by a House that could no longer afford it and I purchased it from the Fylson shop.”

“Moonshine, I hope that you invite Lord Umevan backstage. My mother spent quite a bit of money buying his things last year, among other things from the Lower City.”

“I will, Milady.” Moonshine said.

“Let me call Lord Umevan at his hotel,” Bill said. “He was going to be in the city today and returning to the Empire on the ship tomorrow.”

Bill made the call and Stadlee said, “Bill, the lord and I will come to the theatre. Our ladies would like to come as well.”
“Good. I think that Mrs. Oceania wants to give you all a backstage tour. I will take you all to lunch and then we can assemble the carnival and I can tell you what happened to it yesterday.”

“We will want the story.”

Stadlee put the phone down, turned to Fylson and smiled. “You have work, milord. The young man has the Carnival at the dance theatre.”

Fylson smiled. “Wonderful! Did he say what had happened to it?”
“Not yet. He’s invited us to lunch. We are to meet at the dance theatre.”

“Then we must collect our wives and get going.”

Fylson and Stadlee collected Lidia and Filia, Fylson told Jhaan where they were going as Stadlee called down for a cab. When they reached the downstairs, there was a cab waiting and they had a quick trip to the theatre where Bill and Moonshine were waiting in front. Moonshine said, “I thought that we could eat in the staff and performers lunch room. Mrs. Oceania wants to meet you all.”

As they went inside, a smiling Niphinae was waiting and said, “Welcome. I hope that you can stay for the show this evening. Lord Umevan, I am Niphinae Oceania and my mother has been one of your better customers, even if it wasn’t necessarily something she planned.”
Fylson laughed. “She has, and we do appreciate this. This is my wife Lidia, who I purchased off the boat, and Stadlee and Filia. Stadlee works for my son on his projects, and Filia is livestock.”
Niphinae looked at Filia and said, “You do not look like livestock and I grew up on a ranch. So you must have had a reason. Why don’t we go to lunch and you tell me your rather remarkable stories.”

Niphinae waved to the stagehand who was waiting and he pushed her as she led the group on a brief tour. Filia asked, “Is the tail an inconvenience?”
“On top it is, but I have grown used to it and I spend much of the time below in any case.”

“How many of your family are seafolk?”
“Most are not. My brothers and sisters found a rather eclectic collection of mates, with my sisters marrying a financier, a craftsman with a business and a prince. I married the seafolk man who appeared on our beach, spying on us for Bill’s grandfather.”

Bill grinned. “That is a story that I hadn’t heard.”

“It happens to be true. Of course that gave mother an excuse for another over the top wedding.”

They sat down and Fylson said, “Bill you told Stadlee here to tell me not to worry about the Carnival. What happened to it?”
“Lord Umevan, I took advantage of my winnings at the air show to buy the Carnival because Moonshine and I were hoping that a certain Customs Officer would bite. We knew that he had been diverting your toys that had been imported to some places in Industry City and claiming that they had been stolen. The Customs Officer also came after some wine from the estate that Shael had sent down and Alinis Qinvaris’s library, which he seized because Lord Qinvaris had shot the Customs Officer’s father a long time ago.”
“Gord Shieldbasher was bad news,” Niphinae said. “I think that he pretty much raped Nillie, not that Nillie was a saint.”

“He just came after me because he wanted the wine. In any case, I was rather annoyed that he set me up for a felony charge and very annoyed that he had made off with some things that I had found in the bookwarrens in the Lower City and the Sanctuary.”

“This was after you went up to get tested with Jerry,” Fylson said.

“Yes. Charlie Beinan came up and collected us to show us the good places, I had to run an errand for the company, Moonshine spotted me and chased me while I was doing some more shopping and heading home.”
“With Moonshine not catching you, transforming to stowaway on the airplane and you getting her out of a trip to the zoo,” Niphinae said, laughing.

“I did do that,” Bill said. “Of course Moonshine’s friends and relatives discovered us on the train down to Desert Howl and Mrs. Oceania’s niece tried to get the porter to lock Moonshine up. It didn’t work, but they did get pictures of Moonshine stuck as a cat.”

“Who did that?” Niphinae asked. “That doesn’t seem like Nimue’s style.”
“It was Alinis.” Moonshine said. “I didn’t say very much about it, because the cat incident was embarrassing enough as it was.”

“I imagine so, though I have seen a cat sneak out of here from time to time.”

“I have become more than a bit of a celebrity and Bill has competitors, so, Bill, you better watch your step and spoil me.”

“That may be hard, Moonshine. I’m still going to school and there won’t be very many opportunities for things like the Carnival in the future.”
“Why did you buy it, other than poking the Customs Officer,” Filia asked.

“I bought it because I had seen Moonshine in her family’s circus and the music box seemed to be perfect. I also could see the artistry in it and felt that it was a shame that it was sitting there in the shop.”
“I was surprised when you walked up and bought the thing,” Fylson said. “I thinking about giving it to Jorge as a wedding present. I may make another one for that.”
“With bears being ported places?”

Fylson laughed. “There may be bears involved.”

“I want to complement you, Bill on your stance with the congressman at the meeting,” Filia said. “You stood up for yourself under pressure very well.”
“Mrs. Fallingwater, I don’t know why the Congressman was acting that way. I wasn’t in real trouble and if the congressman needs to know who my friends are, he can ask my grandfather or uncle discreetly. I wasn’t going to put my friends on the record in any case, as I am fairly sure that what happened at the meeting will leak, even though I am not going to talk about it.”

“Considering what was attempted in Ironton, not talking about your friends is a very good idea,” Stadlee said. “What folk don’t know, they can’t reveal and my son has been taken by those folk once already.”

“I know, and I have to watch myself as well. They are probably looking for me, or will be if they get a good look at the thing they stole.”

After lunch and a tour of the show, Moonshine took Lidia and Filia off shopping as Bill, Fylson and Stadlee started in on the Carnival. Fylson looked at the parts and said, “Somebody has assembled this already. The parts are cleaned and freshly oiled. The wrapping has also been replaced. Whoever did this knew what they were doing as well.”

“It must have been that man the Customs Officer was talking to,” Bill said. “The man was rather annoyed that the Customs Officer had dumped the entire shipment at his plant.”

“What did the man want?”
“I think he just wanted a look at some of your toys. He wanted to see what you were doing.”
“Do you know if he has any sons?”
“No, why?”
“My sons are pursuing different things, at least Jorge is. My younger would like to travel and has been discussing that with our wine merchant. If that thing with Tad had not happened, I would have had him here with me, but it did and I wanted at least one family member at home while Jorge is doing what he is doing.”

“So you want somebody to take over your shop?”
“Not so much that as help me grow the business. I also want to learn how to do certain things to make things faster and less expensively. I have never thought of what I do as something that I share with the very few that can afford my things. I want to share with the children who cannot afford them right now.”
“That explains why we were going to all those places yesterday,” Stadlee said. “You were looking at the toys that were copies of yours, but made less expensively.”

“Yes. I also had a lesson in what can happen when you do not pass down what you do to others when I could not buy an elf slicer for my younger son.”

As the afternoon passed, the Carnival was placed on its box, which served as a stand, the dancer was put in place, Bill put the key in the hole and wound the spring. He depressed the gold button in the middle to start it and the dance started. Niphinae happened to be going by as the Carnival started to attract a crowd and said, “Lord Umevan, you will have a commission coming, from me. This is wonderful.”
“Milady, you can place the request and some sketches through Umevan Electric and I will make an estimate and a proposal.”
“Then the show will have to be rather special this afterten, so that you are inspired.”

Aydiun looked up and there with Adiun was Folmon. “What brings you here, Folmon?”
“Since you were getting the family together and it seemed to be more important than just calling Adiun home, I decided to come down. Also, Rebecca is here with Joanlya making arrangements for the family reunion in Ishendell at the end of the moon.”

“Ishendell?”
“We want to introduce the House to the family that isn’t familiar with it, get any in the family who hasn’t been tested as yet, tested, and Ishendell was where the family did a great thing that has some in a bit of an uproar. With all that as considerations, Ishendell made more sense than Oceanside.”

“Isn’t the city rather battered?”
“A bit, but things have been returning to normal and I thought that people should see some things first hand in any case.”

“I take it that you know about the incident in Ironton the other day.”
“Somebody planted a Primary on one of our shipments.”
“Yes. The interesting thing is that thing they wanted to make disappear wasn’t even ours, as it belonged to young Mr. Wavechaser.”
“His furnace?” Adiun asked.

“No. This was something he found out in a vault on an island off Desert Howl and put in our plant so that he and his friends could study it.”

“Why our plant?” Folmon asked.

“Because our man there, Feno Ilican, is a mage and likes to look into ancient Imperial technologies. So putting the thing there was an obvious thing for the boys. That strange ship sailed by, got a look at the thing as the boys had it on a boat and somebody took pictures, with a measuring stick.”
“How did they get into the plant in Desert Howl?”
“We have some people that do not work in the plant full time, but can get access. Generally we only tightly secure areas where we have special projects and contracts ongoing. So the thing was sitting in the storage area and easy to access. Since the boys and Feno couldn’t figure out what the thing did, Feno decided to ship it with Tarranth’s Projectors to the plant at Ironton and deep storage. The devise was hijacked in Ironton and our man there thought that the metal choppers had gotten their hands on it and were cutting it up.”

“Metal choppers?”
“A gang that no one in Ironton can catch,” Adiun said. “They go after shipments that have potentially valuable metals and cut whatever it is up. We have been struck by them before.”
“Could they be looking for secrets?”
“They may be. Father, has Bill showed you the microportals yet?”
Aydiun grinned. “He used them for his caper with the Customs Officer.”

“Who ran the scanner?”
“Selton did.”
“Where is the stolen devise now?”
“In Industry City. How did you guess that Bill had used microportals?”
“Because I have met Bill, he knows about microportals and he had some material stolen from him by Ayre Eiljeon.”

“His solid state electronics materials.”
“Yes. Fortunately for all involved, Elion Eiljeon returned the materials to Bill.”
“He has been making good use of them.”
“Why have you not retrieved the shipment?” Folmon asked.

“We haven’t done so because Mrs. Steelmaker’s office and Bill want the devise sent to the enemy.”

“Did Bill say why?” Adiun asked. “That seems strange.”
‘Bill thinks that the devise is going to where the enemy is hiding. He also wants it made clear that the devise is nonfunctional.”

“That devise was not the only devise in that vault,” Folmon said. “That’s why he wants things the way they are going. Bill is using the dead devise to protect at least one more that is intact. There’s also a caper going on, isn’t there”

Aydiun grinned, “I’m fairly sure of that. The interesting thing is the players. Paeris Zylvyre has gotten himself involved somehow.”

“So why does Bill’s caper make you so worried, father?” Adiun asked.

“It isn’t Bill’s caper so much as who’s responsible for taking the devise. What bothers me is that the Stewards have been poking around us again and I think that the Primary going off was supposed to be used to make the case that we were putting people at risk by moving ancient devises around without precautions or arranging to dig them up in the first place and storing them away.”
“A large boom would give credence to that, at least until somebody looked at the radiation.”
“There were two incursions of Inanimates as well.”

“Do you think that the Stewards are going to accuse us of creating Inanimates?”
“At this point, I’m not sure what to think. What I am concerned about is that somebody will drop a Primary in one of our facilities and use the explosion to discredit us.”

“I’m new at this,” Folmon said. “Who are the Stewards?”
“They call themselves Steward of the Planet,” Adiun replied. “They say they want us to return to the lifestyle that the elves led long ago. For the most part they are descendents of exiles who have done well and have a rather romantic view of how the elves lived in the far past.”

“Then they like the Inquisition’s goals?”

“That is the “Friends of The Inquisition,” Aydiun said. “The Stewards are more radical and splintered off from the Friends.”
“Why are they allowed to cause this kind of trouble?”
“For the most part, they are powerless and a way for college students to behave like college students,” Adiun said. “On the other hand, if they have a connection to the Darkmage’s grandchildren, that would explain some things.”

“Using a Scourge devise Primary seems to be rather extreme.”

“I think that it was supposed to be,” Aydiun said. “We know that the enemy has come after the family before and we are involved in things that the enemy wants restricted or that they have sole control of.”

“Why don’t Folmon and I give you a brief on how the Scourge suppressor project went, father,” Adiun said. “I imagine that it created a mess down here.”

“It did, and the call up coming right after hasn’t helped matters.”

“It would have been worse if we hadn’t pushed. It was bad enough as it was.”

Chapter 36.

Athlin.

Blackfire looked out across the morning mist and said, “Go.”

The horses charged out the gates, followed by Inanimates rigged to carry Blight rockets and explosives. The cavalry that had been on guard retreated and Blackfire grinned until five hulking shapes appeared in the mist and with a bang, the head of the Inanimate column exploded. The machines rolled forward, shooting more Inanimates and then as they got close, spraying them with flame. Blackfire turned to his team and said, “This is over. Let us go.”

The suited figures collected the Inanimate handlers and retreated to the portal as the roar of the machines could be heard as they entered the city.

County Westlaas, Vestia.   

Queen Cécile watched the TAVs as they entered her city through the gates, turned to Geral and Jorge and said, “Shall we follow?”
Jorge looked at the young queen and said, “No, your majesty. There may be long term effects and I will not risk you for something as trivial as a triumphal march in a dead city.”
“It will not remain dead forever.”

“It will if we don’t take steps to ensure that as many people as possible here live on. It is better to drive the enemy out, shut down the portal and set a guard. We can allow folk in to retrieve things for short periods, but it will be moons or years before the cities are truly safe.”
“That is a tragedy.”
“Ishendell did not recover and was abandoned by my family during the Mage Wars. There are other places that have been Scourged and remain dead. I think that our enemies expected us to be stupid and most of the kingdom to be sick with the poison. I don’t think that is something that you want, your majesty, is it?”

“Are you saying that I must set a good example?”
“I am saying that sometimes setting aside our desires for the sake of others is necessary.”
“All this is strange.”
“There they are.”

A parade of Landdragons and other folk were marching up the road. The leader said, “There you are, Jorge. Can we go in?”
“The gate is open and I think that the TAV’s have driven the enemy off, Mercury. So you should be fine.”
“Who is this lady?”

“This is Queen Cécile, Mercury. Your majesty, this is Mercury Leafheart, from the Radiation laboratory on the Qinvaris estate.”

“Chompers’ grandson, then.”

“Yes, your majesty,” Mercury said. “Jorge we have four more cities to set the scanners in, so we need to go.”

“What are they doing?”
“Setting devises to measure radiation levels. They will compare them to the devises setup on the dead estates and in the Deadlands in the Republic and assess the radiation levels and how safe they may be.”

“So they are checking the poison levels.”
“Yes. Landdragons are resistant and they have been doing the same thing in the dead estates.”

A truck with suited men went into the city and shortly came out again. The truck stopped and the window went down. “They took the Animator with them.”

“That isn’t a surprise,” Jorge said. “They probably have plans.”
“On to Semmont, then.”

The truck left again and Cécile asked, “Who were they?”
“The Inquisition research people hoping to grab some of the Animators before the enemy takes them home.”

“The Inquisition has trucks?”

“They may have borrowed it from the Qinvaris.”

Queen Cécile started to giggle. “Mother used to use the Inquisition to frighten me and make me behave.”

“Apparently it didn’t work. Look at you now, a not so little monster.”
“You’re right. It didn’t work very well. Neither did threatening me with the Church since our priest was kind to bugs, let alone using the scanner.”

“That explains some things.”

“I do hope that you keep that discreet.”

“As discreet as a landdragon.”

“I will have you know that landdragons can be very discreet if they want to be,” Cécile said as she disappeared.

Jorge laughed as his grandfather and the captain rolled up in a GP. Harald looked at him and said, “What is so funny?”
“A discreet landdragon.”

“Queen Cécile then.”
“Yes.”

“At least you are having fun.

“I don’t see Jorge as yet. Is he with you?”

“He’s still in Lain Othrond. He’s bringing suits and we are touring the dead zones later.”

Clerves

Lieutenant Seafisher looked at the Animator and grinned. He and his platoon had dropped into the water, waited until some careless people with protective suits had arrived on the piers and using well developed techniques pulled them into the water, ensuring that the men that had the suits would not need them anymore without damaging the suits or their ability to protect the current occupants. After that, it had been almost too easy to find the people with a cart heading somewhere, going with them, helping put the Animator on a cart and making off with it. Shut down, the devise was in bowels of a pier until somebody sent a boat for it. Seafisher’s top walked up and said, “They’re pulling out.”
“That isn’t a surprise. Anybody else coming?”
“I think marines are coming into the city. The Qinvaris militia types are handling the Inanimates outside the city.”

“Then we wait a bit. Did they clean out the banks and counting houses?”
“Just like the intel we had said that they had.”

“I hope that you told the men that the money was poisoned.”
“I did, sir. There wasn’t any in any case.”

Lain Othrond.

It had taken some asking around, and the general had been rather busy, so it was late morning by the time General Hardtest walked into the tower room where he had heard that Jorge Umevan was orchestrating the one way portal assaults. Considering what he had seen during the last moments of the siege at Ishendell, he wanted to see the young man in action. When he entered, unlike a military command center, no one paid any attention to him. A boy took something from the young man with strange devises on a table and dashed around the general and out the door as a man turned around and said, “General, we are rather busy here. Could you come back later?”
“Who are you?”

“Ben Harper, Office of Inanimates and the enemy is pulling out, apparently. We’re trying to isolate the Animators and prevent them from being pulled. So far the enemy has one and we have two, apparently. That leaves Vesticour and Altensee.”

Another man said, “They hate the ported grenades. The truck is there and we have the Animator. That’s Altensee.”

The young man said, “They have the Animator in Vesticour. They just ported out. That’s it for us.” He turned around and said, “What can we do for you, general?”
“Are you Jorge Umevan?”
“That is me.”
“I saw your work at the siege and wanted to see you work from the other side. How did you port grenades?”
“We used an air compressor, a can to hold the spoon on the grenade closed and a piece of pipe. The grenade leaves the can as it goes through the portal and the other end gets a boom. Apparently it worked. That was a good thing, as we are low on things that can burn Inanimates thanks to a donation in Ishendell yesterday. General, I need to start shutting down people or we may have some accidents.”

Jorge turned around again and started pull up what were probably portals on his panel and shut them down. When he was done with one panel, he switched to another and shut down still more portals. When he was done, he turned around and said, “That does it.”

“Where were the portals?”
“The ancient portals were at the ancient portal Service, the Beinan estate and some other locations. The modern portals were the large portal at the Portal Service and another one at the Beinan estate, as well as several small portals at the Portal Service.”

“Why coordinate from here?”
“So that I would be near the center of things. That way I could use radio and messengers to keep in touch with Jorge’s people, the local army and the Qinvaris militia. I also thought that I would get a glimpse of what we were doing, but that didn’t work out the way I expected. But once I set up, I was stuck.”

“I see. I would like to discuss things with you later, but right now, I expect that I have a large job coming up.”
“Several hundred thousand Inanimates or bodies that will need to be dealt with. I’m glad that it is not my job.”

“It will probably be mine.”

Dúnathron looked at her daughter happily working away at the portal and said, “You don’t have to do that anymore?”
“Yes I do, actually. Jorge wants me to keep things going and is paying me to do that. Also the mayor and some others want to send things and I can do that for them.”

“Where did you get all the portal codes?”
“They were in the office upstairs, with more handed to me as I need them. I write them down in my book and have a list now.”
“Should we go home?”
“You can, mother. I think that I want to stay here. Dad will be glad to see you.”

“I suppose he will. We could be married at last, now that my family has abandoned me.”

“They cut us loose and expected us to die in a Scourge explosion as somebody blew up the city to stop our family. I’m not sure why Uncle Dúhael and the others did what they did and then left us and the rest to deal with the mess.”

“They didn’t trust me with everything, but they were working to restore the Project.”

“What was so important that they had to murder several hundred thousand people?”
“I don’t know.”

“Hello Estelan. Do you have something for me?”
 “Yes I do, Symania. This needs to be ported off to father.”

“I will do that right now. You seem to have settled right in.”

“Mother is here and the major didn’t want the castle just left without somebody here, so we were forced to move. Dad is getting some things sent from the Empire today, so he will be here in a five day.”

“You will owe me. One port and a trip to the Lower City.”

“When I can, Symania.”

Dúnathron laughed as Estelan left and said, “Moving rather quickly, daughter?”
“Maybe. We will have time, but I like Estelan and if I don’t let him know that, some other girl may get there first.”

“The family seems to be taking over here rather quickly for bandits.”

“Perhaps that is because they don’t treat people like our family did.”

Athlin.

Harald and Greldug watched as the Qinvaris militia checked through the city. Another GP drove up and Jorge said, “I brought suits for all of us. Admiral, Captain, this is Nat and Ben. Admiral, you are going to have to leave your peg leg here for the tour.”

“As long as we are sitting down, that should be fine. Do we really need the suits?”

“Admiral, I was charged with making sure that your exposure was limited, since you were already in Wongpo. Frankly, a few precautions are a good thing.”

“Very well.”

They suited up and entered the city. As the afterten headed into darkness they drove down the streets filled with dead bodies everywhere, most still lying where they fell, except where they were moved by the greedy people looking for coin. After a twentieth of driving, they left the city and the sad emptiness that it contained, driving back out the gate.

The Hideaway.

An exhausted Blackfire looked at the pair of Animators and sighed. Three of the devices had not been recovered due to the swift actions of their opponents. He was sure that all three were now in the hands of either the Inquisition or the Beinan’s who would break them down for parts. Since the shop here was so limited and Nat had taken the shop people that could have fabricated new Animators, two devises were what they would have going forward. Dúhael and Mórsairon came in and Dúhael bellowed, “We lost three Animators? How did that happen?”

“The Animator in Clerves disappeared, the machines took Semmont before my people could extract it and I’m not sure what happened in Altensee, but things were very strange at the end and the city was wrapped in a glamor. Brother, things like this happen in conflict and we have to expect it.”

“We will need more devises.”

“The devises are Proscribed. I don’t think that we will be able to obtain more devises at this stage.” 

“See if you can search for more.”

“Frankly brother, considering the results, Inanimates were not viable as a means of achieving much of what we desired. Our enemies had been exposed to them before long ago and knew how to handle them. We overestimated their effectiveness and underestimated our adversaries greatly.”

“What would you suggest?”

“We have portals and there are other facilities that we have not used as yet. Since they have protected against the Scourge, we will use the means that we have not had the opportunity to use as yet.”

“The liquid poisons?”
“Yes. We can fabricate dispersal devises and use the portals.”

“I am leery of using them,” Mórsairon growled. “At some point, we will have to negotiate with the enemy and we have already made permanent enemies of the Mortal Kingdoms.”
“You are assuming that there will be somebody to negotiate with,” Dúhael snapped in reply. “Other than the people we take as our slaves, that is.”

“That is getting ahead of ourselves, brother.”

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