The War For The Mortal Kingdoms, Chapter 53

Cory at work.

Chapter 53.


The ship had arrived, discharged cargo and the Steward watched the crate carrying the devise as it was lifted onto the ship and dropped into the hold. The load aboard, the Steward headed to the el and his work. As he approached the el, a filthy dragonkin boy didn’t watch where he was running and bumped into him. The Steward, checking to see that his purse was intact, growled as the filthy thing ran off into the crowd. No harm done, the Steward walked up the stairs and into the station.

Out of sight of the Steward, Swifty nonchalantly walked up to Cory and said, “He’s tagged.”
“Do you think that he made you?”
“Since I didn’t lift his purse, no.”
“You didn’t lift it, but it is one coin heavier.”

“Yes it is. At least it looks like a coin.”

“Ok, I owe you lunch and then I can get back to my boss.”
“Mr,- Cory, how did you get into this racket?”
 “I got into this because of my family and paying a debt to the Lady. The House took us in when everyone else forsook my family and doing that was a risk at the time. Since then, we have been part of the House and trained to do things like this in the Empire.”

“Why come here?”

“We are here because clowns like the one today want to mess up the Lord’s business. Of course they also want to pretty much wreck the world, but we are concerned with our part of this.”

“They want to wreck the world?”

“Let me tell you about things that I have seen the last few years over lunch and you can judge for yourself.”

As they sat down over lunch, Cory told Swifty about the takeover, the Blight, the suppressors and the Scourge. As Cory finished, Swifty said, “That stuff about the Darkmage sounds rather unbelievable except for the Scourge devise that we found.”
“It didn’t go off, obviously.”
“It couldn’t, as it was just an empty can.”

As Cory and Swifty were finishing up, two men approached the table and one said, Corym Vavaris, we would like to speak with you.”
Cory looked at them and said, “Who are you and what is this about?”
“May we sit down?”
“Why not?”

 They sat down and one of the men pulled out a folder and opened it. “We are from Mrs. Steelmaker’s shop. I was hoping to chat with you and make sure that we are not stepping on each other’s toes.”
“Cooperation is a good thing when my boss doesn’t have a lot of resources here in the Republic.”

“Your boss has a lot of clout if he wants it. We just want to coordinate and share some things.”
“You want to know about the thing that was just shipped off, for instance.”

“Yes. What do you know about it?”

“I know where it came from and that having it means that the people that do have other very bad things, since one of the bad things almost went off in Ironton. My boss is very interested in the bad things.”

“That is understandable. Apparently one of the sources for the bad things is on his estate.”

“Dismantled a long time ago. He was rather annoyed that somebody else built another one.”

“We want to exchange what you know about the things for information about some citizens who are more zealous about some things than they should be.”

“Why don’t we go to my office and chat. Swifty, you split.”
They stood up and Cory went with the two men from Mrs. Steelmaker’s office while Swifty made himself scarce. One of the men laughed and said, “He’s typical.”
“I told him to go and I don’t want him and his friends too deep into this or to be spotted with you folks.”

They got into a car and the man said, “I’m Barry Wavechaser and I’m sorry if we came off a bit rough.”
‘If somebody thinks that you are arresting me, that works too. I don’t think that the lady wants it to be too obvious that she is doing things for my boss here in the Republic.”

“Your boss has enemies here.”
“We have come to understand that. Considering that he hadn’t been in contact with his family here for well over twenty years, that was a rather large surprise. We could understand the Customs Officer, but the Stewards?”
“What do you know about them?”

“The Stewards are a splinter group that split off from the Friends of the Inquisition when the Friends didn’t push hard enough to get some things passed in congress concerning Proscribed technologies. The Steward may have been at the agricultural station when Paeris raided Rivensdell and did not join the group that my boss put together to help deal with the raid.”

“The Steward has said that he, and not Lord Qinvaris was the hero of that raid,” Barry said. “That is until Mr. Harper returned to the Republic.”
“Mr. Wavechaser, we talked to everyone in Rivensdell that we could when we heard about that and the facts are clear. Our boss stood off the raid with his rifle while the others helped get the people out with the police. As for the clown, he was nowhere to be seen.”

“That is rather well known, but the Steward could spout off about what he did and steal Mr, Harper’s glory, since Mr. Harper wasn’t here to defend himself. Then he moved on to the ‘Friends’ and other things.”    

“The Stewards. The interesting thing is their connections. We had hints before the Primary showed up in Ironton and they made off with your nephew’s rather large toy, but the incident in Ironton made things rather obvious.”

“What do you know about what Bill has been up to?”
“Quite a bit about the Customs Officer, because we have been helping him and Moonshine with that since Customs Officer was such an obvious clown. We don’t know very much about what he and the princess got up to down where he lives as we don’t really have access down there.”
“I would have thought that your boss’s uncle could provide you with that.”
“He could, but Maldin and I haven’t had a chance to arrange a reason for a trip and events have intervened.”

They arrived at the office and Cory led the two men inside and into the office that he and Maldin shared. “Maldin is out right now, dealing with another client issue, so we can talk. Why don’t I start by telling you the same things I just told Swifty about.”
“The Dragonkin kid?”

“Yes. He’s bright and capable, as well as willing to learn.”

“He’s probably like a lot of his kind.”
“I know how some people feel about the Dragonkin here. So do they. That just makes it easier for some others to use that to their advantage. You here were not impacted by what happened when Pikepusher went on about the Transformed very much, but the Fellowship was. Some of the people called animals are friends of mine. Frankly, making assumptions about the dragonkin because of where they live is just stupid.”

“That is an interesting point of view for somebody from the Empire.”
“The people of the Empire might surprise you.”

“The people from the Empire that I have run into recently have.”

“Why don’t I give you the brief before we get too distracted? Then you can tell me about your nephew.”
Barry grinned. “I can do that, somewhat.”

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