The Trails of Slaves, Chapter 31-32

Ironton sends a letter. Lensa has an encounter.

Chapter 31.

Chatsrey.

Sal looked at the letter and frowned. Ironton was sticking to its guns in the Umevan matter and academically, the letter was the strongest rebuke from the supposedly weaker side of the argument that he had ever seen. Professor Xilynore may have been a romantic, but he was backing his student and had a way with words. With the board meeting in a five day, this was going to be ugly. He folded the letter, got out of his chair and walked down to Lucian’s office. “The reply came back from Ironton.” He handed the letter to Lucian.

Lucian looked at it and said, “Ouch. They aren’t folding. “The education of the young is a high obligation and how we teach is as important as what we teach. If we were to ask Mr. Umevan to withdraw the work he did, what will that tell future remarkable students that do work at such a level.” And “Mr. Umevan handed me a receipt that said that his paper had been used in testimony before Congress and had been entered into the Congressional Record. Since the paper had been placed into the public record, I allowed an extension on the deadline for the paper. The paper has indeed, in a very rare case for the term paper of a first year student, been used as part of the testimony in a Congressional hearing.” There’s also this. “The paper published in History Studies is identical to the paper in the record recorded as being authored by Mr. Umevan. Mr. Umevan turned in the paper from Imperial Studies and the paper from the record and they were both variations from the same draft and used the same sources and references. It was clear that the work had been done by Mr. Umevan. The work was also done in response to the assignment that I had assigned to Mr. Umevan as a term paper topic. A quick search of the publications of Mr. Gilders shows no prior research into the raids of the Ravathyra or any expertise on the topic of Paeris Zylvyre.” I’ve never seen something like this.”

“I know. The problem is that the letter does not mention Mr. Umevan having the sources and notes of his work available. He probably tossed them and without them, the committee members in the Gilders camp will say that they don’t exist.”

“I was one of those and at this point, with the paper in the Congressional Record authored by Mr. Umevan, Mr. Gilders has some explaining to do.”

Chapter 32.

The Hideaway.

“Who are you! Why are you here!”

Lensa jumped and turned to face the Lord, who had a bridle in his hand. She looked past the Lord to the hidden door and shivered. Looking at the Lord she begged, “Please don’t give me away. They might kill both of us.”

“Who?”
“Inside.”

The lord got closer and said, “You don’t look like a monster. I thought that all the folk inside were monsters.”

“Not all of us, though my father and uncles have done very bad things. Some of us are stuck.”

“What’s your name?”
“Lensa. I came to see the horses.”

“I’m Will, Will Harper, the lord of this place, for what it is worth.”

“I know. I see you ride.”

“Do you ride?”
“I do, but they will not let me outside.”

“It is cool. I could get you a cloak. They wouldn’t know who you are.”

“Why?”

“So that I’m not alone. I’m alone all the time, because the folk know that I am under the thumb of the demons.”

“What will they think of me?”
“I think that you are all right.”

“You just met me.”
“That’s just fine. You aren’t ready to ride today. Shall we ride tomorrow? I will bring the cloak.”

“Yes! Let’s do that. I need to go.”

Lens slipped around Will and went to the door. “What do you know of the world?”
“Very little, since they won’t let us go very far.”

“I will bring things then. That is my task.”

Herdir watched the girl emerge from the passage he was sure led to the stables. He was sure that the girl was looking to escape the cage she was in. The fact that the young Lord was a Harper would mean that things would go in ways that Dúhael and Mórsairon had not expected. That was fine for Herdir. Neither Mórsairon nor Dúhael had understood why Herdir stayed. Arranging the end of them both would be a fitting memorial for his abandoned father.

 Dúhael and Mórsairon walked into Blackfire’s office and he said, “What is going on in the Republic?”
They looked at him and Dúhael said, “What do you mean?”
“The Stewards are wasting Primaries on things that make no sense. Look here.”

Blackfire held up a newspaper. “Was the project concerned with anything that was happening in this neighborhood? It was just a neighborhood of poor folk, not something that we would be concerned with, unless something was hidden there.”

Dúhael looked at Mórsairon and Mórsairon said, “As far as I know, there was nothing of concern there. The event is as mysterious to me as it was to you.”

“All this did was anger the Republic pointlessly.”

“Why are you concerned?”

“The Steward has only a limited number of Primaries and we have no easy method of infiltrating replacements. For that matter, we no longer have the means to replace our own devises because the enemy controls the production facilities. So, we are stuck with what we have and things like this do not change that.”
“The Steward is a tool in any case.”

“We are running out of tools. That is something that we should consider.”

“At this point, there is little we can do,” Dúhael said. “This bickering is pointless. Are there any actions planned, Blackfire.”
“Not at present. Kraken should be ready in six moons and we can use her to take the Sanctum back. That is if we can find the key.”
“That will be my concern,” Mórsairon said. “The problem isn’t so much finding the key as obtaining it. The Steward and some others can be used for that task.”

“If no actions are contemplated, I think that I will start the investigation of the devise we obtained,” Dúhael said. “It is about time we had a plan for it.”

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