The Trials of Slaves, Chapter 73-74

” Fireflower called out, “It is lunchtime, dragons! Time to eat!””

Chapter 73.

Chatsrey.

Nyla was waiting to personally greet the couple when they arrived at the Crystal Palace. She had received a message from Bene and wanted to meet the interesting lady and the man who had apparently waited ten years to marry her. She smiled as the elegant elven lady and the rather rough man came through the entrance. “Welcome. You must be Nat and Rilldia. I am your host, Lady Orizana.”

“Thank you, milady,” Rilldia said. “We are a bit overwhelmed.”

Nyla frowned. “Where are Lord Umevan and his lady?”
“Jorge and Shael had to return to Ironton,” Nat said. “Jorge has classes in the morning and he needs to get settled.”

“So he didn’t introduce you to the city?”
“A little bit, and Rilldia has an account, so we can shop. We were pressed at the end and had to use the commercial plane as the company plane was staying in Ishendell.”

“I see. Welcome in any case. Let’s get you checked in and then I can take you to lunch. Bene says that you are both remarkable people.”

Rilldia smiled. “The Lady said that about us? We are probably rather ordinary.”

“Why don’t we discover the truth about what you are? I like you already and I just met you.”

Shael looked at Nat and Rilldia entering the Crystal Palace as the car pulled away and said, “We could have gone in with them.”
Jorge frowned and said, “I wasn’t going to tell you this, but Jhaan sent a message saying that the Senator has hired private investigators to look into me. I don’t want Nat and Rilldia to become entangled in a public scandal because they were with me and came here for their honeymoon.”

“You were thinking about that reporter in Desert Howl that chased you down there.”
“Yes, among others. That was one reason that we set things up to fly in on the normal plane rather than the company plane. This is Nat’s and Rilldia’s time to be happy and I don’t want that messed up because of some fools. So, we will show up publically at Vikz’s and then get the train to Ironton. That way, Nat and Rilldia aren’t connected with us and aren’t involved in my problem.”

“What if they want to be?”
“I want to get a picture of things anyway. These characters aren’t high elves playing on my turf and getting burned for it. The rules are different and I need to keep my real business and college pranks separate.”

“You have friends and family to help.”
“Yes I do.  This is their home territory, though, and I have those friends and family relying on me not to do something stupid. I think I got a bit carried away at the end of last year.”

“You didn’t plagiarize Gilders’ paper. He stole yours and everyone has backed you about that.”

“I know, but things have spun out of control. That challenge letter was over the top.”

Shael laughed. “Yes it was. But it got the point across. You didn’t send that until after the Senator started to threaten the admiral. We’re here at the restaurant and we have good stories to share, so we will.”

Chapter 74.

Neuw Athlin

Queen Cécile looked at Marshall Winterbreeze and said, “Dúhael is on his way?”

“Yes he is. At least the people who captured him identified him.”
“Who were they?”

“I have been asked not to say. You will know who they are, but who it was is to remain discreet for the time being.”

“That is perfectly understandable. I do hope that you send my thanks.”

“We will, but it will not be necessary. They wanted to give you a Winterfaire present and the opportunity presented itself. I imagine that the full story will come out.”

Jomney looked at the rows of rapidly built tent houses with their tin roofs and grinned. The city was well on its way. Perhaps most importantly, he had beaten the coldest weather and managed to get most of the evacuees under a roof with heat. Some folk had even managed to get real house put in, including the rather scorched house owned by the guildmaster of the slater’s guild, whose new house had been struck by magefire when the darkmages had attempted to burn the city down and been burned themselves.

In any case, it was time to go home for the winter, since there would be little he could do here until Green. As Jomney turned to return to his office, a voice said, “You did very good work here.”
Jomney jumped and there was another landdragon standing next to him. He laughed and said, “Going scaly, milord?”
Tanyl joined him and said, “It seemed like the thing to do. I think that it’s time that you came home.”
“I was just thinking about that. My father managed to get the university work and he’s going to want me to help him with dealing with Imperial types. There will not be much more happening here until Green in any case.”

“Who is that landdragon?”
“That is Joram, the queen’s bonded, who she doesn’t want going around loose without scales. It looks as if he is looking for me.”

Joram galloped up and said, “Milord, the queen wants to see you. Who is this?”
“Lord Tanyl Zylvyre, who wants me back at the Camp and other places in the Empire.”

“Welcome milord. I think that the queen would like to thank you for loaning us your very capable servant.”

“He wasn’t supposed to be here that long,” Tanyl growled. “My wife didn’t complain and I wasn’t paying attention.”

“He was needed, desperately. I think that my queen sent messages back and forth to Lady Tinesi and made arrangements.  In any case, we are glad that he is here.”

“How did Jomney get scaly?”
“Saving the queen’s life and a boar spear tossed his way.”

“What does the queen want, Joram?” Jomney asked.

“We have a special guest arriving and she wants you to make arrangements so that he stays alive and here during his trial.”

“We have a jail in the guardhouse.”
“She wants something more solid. She can tell you the details.”

Jomney looked at Tanyl and said, “I think that we better go and see her majesty.”

“That castle over there?”
“Yes. The count decided that moving to one of his other estates would be a good thing after his role in the rebellion and the queen took it over for the time being until a home could be built for her.”

“Let us go, then.”

Tanyl and Jomney followed Joram back to the castle. They tromped through the courtyard and into the great hall where the queen was talking to a fae in a Marshall’s uniform. She looked at Tanyl and said, “Jomney, who is this?”
Jomney grinned. “This Lord Tanyl Zylvyre, telling me that I should go home for the rest of the winter.”

 “Lord Zylvyre, welcome. Joram, if you would keep Lord Zylvyre entertained for a brief time, I can get this out of the way and we can have a longer chat.”

Tanyl grinned and said, “This looks important, so, I understand. Joram, have you had problems with kids yet?”
As they passed back out the door, Joram said, “What do you mean, milord?”
“If you go to the Republic or the Fellowship, you will find that being a landdragon has its downsides.”

“What are they?”
“It’s Jimmy’s fault, but kids think of landdragons as fun to be with, so if they see you, they like to be your friend.”

“Wild landdragons?”
“I think that the wild ones are wild for a reason.”

“I haven’t had that problem as yet. I was the landdragon during Winterfaire and the kids had fun, but I wasn’t the only landdragon there. Of course, until recently I hid my landdragon.”

“That wasn’t a possibility for me, since I couldn’t revert in the Republic and the embassy kids made sure that I was seen all over Chatsrey.”

Joram laughed. “I can imagine what that was like. They know me here, so that isn’t a problem as yet.

 Queen Cécile watched Joram leave, turned back to Marshall Winterbreeze and Jomney and said, “Jomney, I am sorry that I could not give Lord Zylvyre a proper welcome, but this is rather urgent. We need to provide protection for a special arrival.  Dúhael has been captured and is on his way here.”

Jomney frowned. “You want him alive, I presume and kept here. No convenient packages dropped in or random assaults to rescue him. I assume that precautions have been taken so that he will not do what our recent visitors did.”

“Yes. You see the problem.”
“I know about the rescue from the Justiciar’s cell block and how the Darkmage committed suicide. You also want things set up fairly quickly. Realistically, the only way I can think to do that is to play a bit of sleight of hand, some portals and misdirection.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Darkmage was kept very secure at the Mage Academy and they still got to him. So, we set up a portal that makes noises, but doesn’t activate and a regular cell next door that a door behind the portal goes to. We make a big splash about Dúhael going to the Justiciars or the Marshall’s headquarters through the portal, when he isn’t there at all. You can even take people through the setup, but we aren’t doing that at all.”

“I like it,” the Marshall said. “Your point about the other prisoners is well taken and using a little glamor can help with that.”
“Ok, I will set things up with Mage Wyrran and the portal people, as well as talk to the Justiciars about using their setup.”

“Since that is handled, I want to meet your landdragon lord, Jomney,” Queen Cécile said. “How did that happen?”

“I think that I will let him tell the tale. It’s a good one, especially about the kids.”

When they emerged from the hall into the courtyard, Rolain and Anais had joined Tanyl and Joram next to a large open put with roasting hogs, presided over by Fireflower, who said, “I’m getting lunch ready for us, your majesty.”

“Where are your boys?”
“Packing to go home, since the Lord here wants us back.”

“You don’t seem to be surprised.”
“I’ve been sending mail back and forth with Lady Tinesi and Lady Neuleth, and there are things that Jomney needs to do.”

“I have one more task, but your husband has a handle on it. Lord Tanyl, we owe you our thanks.”

“You do. Jomney was only supposed to manage getting the timber sent.”

“We needed him when things went from bad to very bad.

“He has outdone himself. I hope you know that my family had a bit of a panic when Tinesi announced that she was selling his key.”

“That is understandable. How did you end up scaly?”
Tanyl laughed. “I was aboard my ship, at my father’s command, it was struck by fire from a Republican battleship and I woke up scaly on a desert island, with mermaids for company. My wife objected to that somewhat, so after she sent some family to look for me, I went to Chatsrey, became a star in some movies,  my wife came down, put me on a leash and dragged me home. Some of my relatives had been involved in things that were going to wreck the House, so I was forced to take over and make things right.”

“That actually sounds like an interesting tale. How did your relatives find you?”
“My wife knew that I was still alive, through our bond, my nephew did some detective work and I had been discovered when Skychasers dropped one of their things on my island and came looking for it. When the Beinans and Skychasers came out to the island for a party, some children called out, “Jimmy!” and I was stuck. I was forced to return to civilization afterwards.”

Cécile started to laugh. “Where is your wife?”

“At home, keeping an eye on my son and his friends. We didn’t want to invade you after you had gone through so much already.”

“You and your wife are welcome, even if you bring a mob. Jomney has built up a lot of good will here.”

“Did he solve whatever the problem is?”
“I believe so. No solution is perfect. You will discover what the problem was in due time.”

Fireflower called out, “It is lunchtime, dragons! Time to eat!”

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