The Landdragon Queen, Chapter 1-2

Here we go, the next book. Ayre has legal troubles. Gander looks for people who left Altensee

The Landdragon Queen.

Chapter 1.

Zirgoccol

The door to the office opened and Vafealine grinned as Spitty and Iolena came in. “You have returned.”
“Uncle owes me for that one,” Spitty said. “What a mess.”
“Was it as bad as it looked?”
“Worse. Fortunately, the downstairs people in Lain Othrond staged a revolt just as things kicked off and probably convinced some key people to stay behind. That delayed the creation and release of the Inanimates for a day and gave people a chance to set up to defend themselves. Duc Geral had his army on the border away from Semmont, so they were not caught in the Scourge.”

“Did you see the Scourging?”
“No,” Iolena said. “The devises went off just as we arrived in Astia and we were still on the train when it happened.”

“Were they taking coin from the cities?”
“Every coin that they could find,” Spitty said. “They had people in those suits in shifts working their way through the cities clearing coin and piling it in carts. They couldn’t get into the Treasury in Vesticour without King Terrence, but they cracked all the vaults in the major banks and counting houses, as well as going through the noble and merchant houses. They must have been planning this for a long time, at least as a contingency as they knew where the vaults and strongboxes were.”

“You went in and discovered that?”
“We didn’t have to because Jorge Umevan had some protective suits and sent people in to observe and secure some things. That is all in the report.”

Qambois came out of his office and said, “You have returned, Spitty. How did it go?”
“For a war, it went well. The thing was a huge mess and the Mortal Kingdoms will be years recovering fully. Queen Cécile is going to remain a landdragon until the people responsible are caught and the Mortal Kingdoms are pledging war with anyone that supports the Project as this point.”

“So we have the third Mage wars now?”
“That is what it looks like. At least the other side doesn’t seem to have an army and Nat and the others messed them up more than a bit.”

“Did you recruit any of them?”
“Jorge Umevan and Adiun Beinan got there first. Jorge has the old elf’s purse and isn’t afraid to use it. He hired Nat and all the shop people.”
 “I suspect that he has reasons.”
“I didn’t ask as things were rather busy.”

“How are they dealing with coin that has not been in the Scourge?”
“A bunch of bankers from Silver Mountain, the Empire and here showed up with Roger Bloodfoot and Keyrth Harper. Coin from the region that was not in the five cities is going to be first scanned and then receive a stamp from the Vestian or Apuan treasury.”

“They are looking to prevent the radioactive coin from being returned to circulation. That brings me to your next task.”
“That being?”

“Using your contacts in the underworld to get the word out about the coin from Vestia and Apua. I also want you to keep an eye on some Senate campaigns that are rather dirty.”
“You don’t mess with making the sausage, uncle. Why the change?”
“This became of interest to me because it is likely that the coin used to fund the dirt came from the Scourged cities.”
“Then it makes sense. Has any of the radioactive coin showed up yet?”
“Not as of yet, but some deliveries of coin seem to have arrived. Also keep an eye out for Urdisons.”
“Why?”

“Because some were stolen from the Merryhorn bank.”
“Why did the bank have coin that was essentially worthless where it could be stolen?”
“I wouldn’t know. Apparently there was a bank employee giving them away.”

Spitty laughed and Iolena said, “Pardon my ignorance, but what is an Urdison and why would the bank be giving coin away?”
“This goes back to before the first Mage Wars when Emperor Urdison’s treasurer thought that it would be a good idea to debase the coin and make more coins to circulate,” Spitty replied, “That had a lot of consequences, the largest being that a lot of coin that was supposed to be gold was now copper and things went bad. From time to time, Urdisons are discovered, people try to cash them in and rather quickly discover that they are worthless except as play money, which is what we did with them in the Aerie with a stack that went around.”

“Dragons hoarding?”
“There were some games like that, but a lot of it was treasure chests and the typical kid stuff.”

Iolena laughed. Qambois said, “Why don’t we sit down in my office and you can tell me all about your adventures. The things that were not in the report, that is.”

Ayre looked up as Juliet let his brother and a thing into his office. Elion said, “Ayre, the Republic has filed charges through the embassy and requested extradition for you. Until the extradition papers are tried, you are on bail. The family has retained Barrister Ironaxe as your counsel.”
“Why is this the first time that I am hearing about any of this?”

“Because the papers were served to father and he wanted to make the arrangements before you were brought into the picture.”
“Why did he hire an orc?”
“Barrister Ironaxe is the best defense Barrister in the Republic. We could not have done better and in this case, the charges are significant.”

“What are the charges?”
“Class 3 espionage, violation of the Classified Matters act, and being an accessory before the fact to mass murder with 700,000 counts.”
“That’s ridiculous.”

“I’ve seen the charges and the evidence and it is fairly clear that you were associating with the people responsible, met with them before the five cities were Scourged and did not report to the Consul’s office or anyone else that the events were going to happen and where. That makes you an accessory before the fact.”

“None of the cities are in the Republic.”
“Several thousand citizens and residents were in the cities for various reasons, including the consulates in Clerves, Vesticour and Altensee.” Kulgha said. “There were still more victims from the Fellowship and the Kingdom of Hammer. I don’t have any totals as yet as the various countries have not yet made up listings of the missing. In any case, I need an accounting of your actions and who your associates were.”

“I can’t talk about that with you.”
“Not even with your life at stake?”
“No.”

“Don’t be an idiot, Ayre,” Elion said. “This isn’t a game and these are serious charges. The Barrister needs to know what happened so that the prosecution can’t drop any surprises on him. This is already bad enough and I hope that you were not involved in transporting the devises or anything else that led to assistance and conspiracy charges.”
Ayre sat there like a statue. He couldn’t say anything. The barrister and Elion berated him for a while and then left. After they left, Ayre started to write a coded message. He was fairly sure that he was going to be arrested all too soon.

 Chapter 2.

Astia.

Gander looked at his people collected in the Great Hall and said, “I’m sorry that I wasn’t here to brief you when you arrived. I went down to Lain Othrond to speak with some people and open up communication, as well as obtain a writ that I have wanted for some time. Bill, that writ will be your responsibility as you and Syllia take on the Academy. Tom, you and Naexi, go to Lain Othrond and start collecting the other side’s files and talking to the townsfolk. I will go with you to start things up. Julien, you and Elen are here, talking to the kings and keeping an eye on the conference.”
“Aren’t you concerned about Elen being a mage?”

“I would be, except that I know that the kings and the rest at the conference already know her and she has been involved in the conferences for years. In any case, these assignments come after the big job. Before we break up for assignments, we will travel to Altensee and go over the city as best we can, collecting anything that might be related to the Scourging.”
“What are we looking for,” Tom asked.

“I want to know who was there in the city and died, and who wasn’t and survived. We will poke around in the other four, but they had evacuations. Altensee did not, so if people left just before things went boom, they may have had some warning.”

“The warning could have come from Queen Cécile.”
“I’m going to assume that some did. But we want to be looking for heirs that just happened to be outside the city and other similar things, especially if there were money transfers going on. Alissa, did the maps arrive from Jorge?”

“Yes they did. You must have spoken to him about them.”

“He and Tad were in Lain Othrond with young Lord Estelan the bandit. Since we have them, we can start. I also arranged protective suits from Jorge and radiation scanners. There may still be places in the city that are radioactive. In any case, we have a two day ride to get there from the railroad, so we need to begin.”

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