The Trials of Slaves, Chapter 81, End of The Book.

This is it for this one. The next starts next week, The Return of the Silverin

Jomney goes home and find out that is wife bought some real estate.

Chapter 81.

Neuw Athlin

Queen Cécile looked at Jomney and said, “You have outdone yourself, again, Jomney.”

“I got this finished and your present is secure. I apologize, your majesty, but my wife has already Jumped home and she is expecting me to follow.”

“You must return when you can.”

“I plan to. I need to go now and see to all the baggage that piled up. I’m not sure how it happened, but I came here with just a small bag and I’m leaving with trunks and whatnot. I know that I didn’t spend that much, but there it was.”

Jomney left and Geral said, “I’m sorry to see him go, but we had him on loan in any case.”

“Yes we did. Now we have to see to Dúhael and his trial.”

“My brother is acting as the prosecution and assembling witnesses. He has a lot of evidence already and has recalled his fellow brothers to aid him.”

“Excellent. Who is acting as defense?”
“The church has assigned someone, but they have said that they will not tell us until the trial starts to prevent tampering or interference.”

“That seems prudent. I will accept those terms. Tomas should make an excellent prosecutor.”

“He wants to finish his schooling, but with so many gone, we need him.”

“We do. The problem is that he feels an obligation to the Harpers and the Republic for freeing him from the Brotherhood. He has an oath of fealty to them and that may become an issue unless he is freed from that. I may have to go to the Empire and discuss that with Lord Qinvaris.”

“Do so. This is too important to put off.”

Veral had gone off duty and looked morosely at the dinner he had purchased in the tavern and started to dive in. Rosie had gone home with her mother and Veral didn’t even know where it was, let alone have a Jump anchor there. He took another bite that was rather tasteless when a voice said, “Why so glum?”

He looked up and there she was. “You came back.”

“Of course I did, silly. First of all, I need to give you the Jump anchors for home and then I will be back for menace watching duty as well. I don’t want you risking yourself at a fire because you were upset that I wasn’t here.”

“I wouldn’t hurt you like that.”

“I should hope not. Let me get something to eat and we can discuss things. Another thing. I have the house here, so you can visit whenever you like and I can cook things for you.”

“You can cook?”
“Of course, silly. We aren’t those wild fae that like being animals all the time. We cook and some of us like to.”

Beltain.

Derry looked at Billings and said, “What do you mean that you could not rent the villa?”

At his graduation, Derry had managed to cadge the biggest villa in Ishendell for the Swords and Shields. With his parchment coming up, he wanted to do that for the Society again and had asked Billings to start the process moons ago. He continued, “Explain.”

“After the recent events, the villa was purchased by a corporation. The corporation is not renting the villa to others at present.”

“What is the corporation?”
“It is called JTP LTD. Beyond that and the registration, I haven’t been able to find anything as yet, other than the fact that they have large holdings in Ishendell.”
“How large?”

“Other than the villa and some other properties, the corporation has title to the old city.”

“How did they get that?”
“You would have to get the details from your father’s office, but there was a bill passed recently in congress to validate the transfer. The old city has been unclaimed property in any case.”

“What about alternatives.”

“There were some smaller villas further off the central beach and I have secured one.”
“Are the other Societies having the same sorts of issues?”

“You would have to take that up in your committee, but the larger villas are either still in disrepair after the troubles or purchased recently and not available for rent.”

“Who purchased them?”
“House Qinvaris in the Empire, House Shahana and the Shahana shipping Company, the Beinan Company and the Umevan Company.”

Derry had a thought and grinned. “The Empire? I think that I will discuss this with father.”

Dan and Lythienne got out of the car and the Residence doorman said, “Welcome, Mr. Harper. We haven’t seen you for some time. How have you been?”

“We have been in and out with family in the Empire, Rolan. Other than that, we are just fine.”

“I have heard some stories. Tell Richard to visit when he can. Tell his kids to come and shake things up a bit. We’ve been enjoying the stories here.”

“They do that,” Lythienne said.

“Let me get your things settled and you on your way. Have a good day.”

Sal was in the lobby and said, “Good, you’re the last to arrive.”

“The families don’t meet that often. Isn’t meeting here, on the Plateau, obvious?”
“The termite mound types are dropping the ball, badly. Worse, they are poking in and messing things up for the people trying to keep the disasters from destroying us.”

“Not the usual business risks?”
“If it were that, I wouldn’t be complaining. Have Bob and Tom told you what is happening with young Umevan?”
“Not really,” Lythienne said. “Alinis had some Jorge stories, but you sound as if it more serious than that.”

“I wish that I had gotten the Jorge stories from you before I asked my grandson to talk to him last year. For that matter, Vinnie should have gotten the Jorge stories. A termite mound type stole Jorge’s term paper when Major Tollings testified before Congress and his dad, Senator Gilders has been trying to cover it up ever since, getting the FSA, among others, involved.”

“Tom was called to the grill,” Dan said. “He hasn’t said anything about it.”

“He probably won’t, as long as things are not resolved. But Gilders is looking to tag Jorge as a spy and has Sunbeam toadying up to him for a bigger budget. So FSA types are bending the rules more than a bit when they are looking into Jorge. Since you are here, we can start.”

Sal and Dan entered a room where the eight symbols of the Mage Queen’s children hung along the walls. They sat down and the current Chairman of the Society, Harad Claringbold said, “I know that we are all busy, but events have been rising to a boil and I think that all of us share the same concerns. Thank you all for coming. I have a brief on recent events here on the Plateau and unfortunately there are some troubling things going on.”

“What are you referring to?” Al Steelmaker asked.
“The recent flap over the two papers published recently.”

“How is that important?” Tell Brownlow asked. “It’s just a bit of a fight in academic circles at worst.”

“Senator Gilders has escalated even further than I thought, hasn’t he?” Dan said. “I know the he called Tom up on the grill, but you seem to think it went further than that.”

“It has, and the Gilders’ party being pranked has revealed some things.”
“What, for instance?”
“Using Federal resources for personal projects.”

“Pursuing Jorge you mean.”

“I haven’t met the young man. Is he really as crazy as he sounds?”
“I had an encounter with him and how crazy he is something you have to see for yourself,” Sal said.

“Do you think that he really pranked the party?”
“He almost certainly did,” Dan said. “At least he had the resources to do it and the motive. Of course, Sunbeam ran into Jorge when Jorge had taken over the Primaries in Freiberg. He didn’t like the fact that Jorge had taken over.”

“Why could the young man do that at all?”

“He could do that because there are a limited number of people that have been involved in working with Scourge devises and naval ordnance, Richard’s people and the Inquisition don’t want to expand the number of people with the knowledge surrounding the Scourge around very much. So the people with the skills are low on the ground and Jarfaet and just about everyone else has agreed that only Scourge trained people are in control at a Scourge site, for obvious reasons. Jorge is Scourge trained, so he took over.”

“That makes sense, considering the potential consequences. The bigger problem is that the people here are not paying attention to the things that we all have been. Dan, has Tom made up a classified brief on the Scourge devises?”

“There is one. I’m not sure that Richard’s people prepared the brief, or Tom’s did. I can pass it around if I hand deliver it.”

“What bothers me is that the FSA is poking the young man, but can’t seem to find the Primaries that they are supposed to be looking for,” Gerald Ironshield said, looking at the others. “I know that you don’t like Dragonkin, Sal, but some of my relatives were lost at Smoky Hill.”

“I have been forced to change my opinion about the dragonkin,” Sal said. “One of my granddaughters caught one. It was Dan’s fault.”

“My fault?” Dan said.

“Yes. You made the Empire accessible and they are up there together poking into old Ravathyra files for Greldug.”

“At least they are up there and not here.”

“Good point, and Thaciona has been taking advantage.”

“The access to the Empire concerns some people,” Harad said. “They are concerned about divided loyalties now that so many have family there and here. Gilders’ noises are designed to get those people’s attention.”

“Is that why he, and some others have been after Tom lately,” Dan asked. “The Senator has been ignoring the reality and accusing Tom of handing that material to Jorge in some sort of spy scheme. I had wondered why he didn’t just get his son to retract the paper and take his lumps, even though taking lumps isn’t something that the people here do very well.”

“I’ve got more, but Gilders and some others are trying to return the Republic to a more isolationist stance. The term paper was just an effect.”

“Sarya had Sunbeam in her office asking for Jorge’s file,” Al said. “We will probably have Gilders chasing it.”

“She didn’t give it to him?” Tell asked “The young man is a first year college student. There can’t be much there.”

“He’s also an Imperial high lord, the Portal Service’s senior troubleshooter, has a Scourge devise factory on his estate and provides information to just about everybody. That doesn’t even include the various things he’s done for the Republic. The biggest reason is that like all of us, Jorge has a right to expect that the government would stay out of his life unless there was evidence that he had committed a crime.”

“That brings me to exactly why I called this meeting,” Harad said. “We need to make it clear that certain things will not be tolerated. Al, Sarya should not have hinted that she would turn over the file even if young Umevan had been just another foreign student here for his education.”

There were nods all around the table in support.

Wongpo.

Kildia looked  at Gantar and said, “Who are these folk and why did you return, other than to bring the Beinan back, that is?”

Gantar grinned and said, “This is Elmar Qincyne, Nardual Xyrlee, Rogerd, Spitty and Gizmo.”

“They look rather like a bunch of bandits.”
“We prefer specialists, milady,” Gizmo said.

“Why are you here?”

“We have been hired to recover something that was stolen. We believe that there is a vault underneath the city and tracers showed that the things were placed here.”

“I know about the vault. No one has ever been able to crack it open.”

Elmar grinned. “Then it is just the kind of challenge I like. Especially since I won’t have people nosing around and won’t care too much about the noise.”
“I might, if you wreck the city.”
“We won’t do that. That’s part of the challenge.”

“What is in the vault?”

“You can see when we crack it.” Gantar said. “I would prefer that the word not get out about what is in there until we have things going.”

“Who put whatever this is in the vault and how?”
“The people who Scourged the city and they used portals.”

“Then you have my cooperation.”

“We thought we would.”

The Imperial Palace.

Galan grinned as Llag walked into his office. “I am so glad that you are back.”

“Apparently you missed me more than you should for a mere lowly slave.”

“Very much so. Especially when the Empress has me looking for things that I can’t find.”

“A tax matter?”
“A very old one. It involves the Sanctuary, or at least some folk said that it did. The Empress wanted me to look into it, but we can’t track anything down about it.”
“The Sanctuary was only rediscovered a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if there are any files on it at all. Did the Empress have any?”
“You would have to discuss that with Faylen, but apparently not.”
“Is it important that the matter be rediscovered?”
“Not really, but there are some people that are reluctant to emerge and the Empress want some things clarified.”

“This sounds as if this is something that I should give my kids so that they can use what they find as classwork.”
“You can speak with the Empress and see if she objects. I doubt that she will. So how did your little trip in the Orcenlands go?”

“Queen Cécile is getting a very nice Winterfaire present, slightly delayed, I handed some things to Gander and my kids have some pictures.”

Galan laughed. “Things went well, then?”
“Yes they did. The bad news is that my uncles now know what I can do, so I’m in trouble and I will have to make a trip to the Republic, with my wife and kids, all too soon. I have other stops to make, so I will talk later.”

Llag left, Narbeth came out of his office, placed some paper on Galan’s desk and said, “You are smiling.”
“Llag has returned.”
“Did they get what they were looking for?”
“Apparently. I’m just glad to have him back.”

A grinning Faylen followed Llag into The Empress’s parlor and said, “Look what I found in the hall.”
Llag bowed and said, “I have returned, you majesty.”

Itierae grinned. “Welcome back, Llag. Was your expedition a success?”
“Very much so. Kelvahn and Gander were very pleased with what I brought back.”
“I have a small task for you. I am in the process of conducting some delicate negotiations and some ladies are sure that there was a tax imposed on the Sanctuary long ago. I was hoping that you could clarify the matter.”

“Do you have any information on the Sanctuary? It hasn’t been clear what House held the city in the distant past.”
“I do. The House was a dissolved one, House Silveri. The Silverin disappeared and I am attempting to draw them out.”
“Is that who you are negotiating with?”
“Yes. They are reluctant, somewhat. As far as the Sanctuary goes, there have been some preliminary agreements, and if the tax matter doesn’t surface, the council can just declare the matter closed. On the other hand, the ladies have all expressed concern over the tax. I’m hoping that you can find out the details, or at least confirm that there are no outstanding records of the tax.”
“May I set my children to digging?”
“I don’t have an issue with that. There is probably nothing that will raise a scandal at this point. Dugal and Ilysei have proven themselves to be discreet in any case.”

Llag smiled. “I will start on this then, your majesty.”

“Do so. Faylen has the file. I am glad to see you back, safe and sound.”

“My wife would be rather upset if I messed up that badly.”

Fayspire

Jomney looked at the stack of crates, chests and baggage and sighed. Getting everything moved from the train station to the Camp was going to be an enormous pain. At least the money was banked and he didn’t have to worry about that. He was about to head for the station bulding when his sons drove up in trucks and said, “We have it dad! Mom wants you to Jump home.”

“Where did you get the trucks?”
“Headbasher’s. We bought them, because we think that we will need them.”

“Ok, you boys handle things here.”

Galaith walked up the platform and grinning, said, “Jomney, you went scaly again!”
“Some fool was tossing boar spears around and I caught one. Why are you here?”

“I am picking some things up for the lady.”

“Is she well?”

“Very well. She will want you and your lady to discuss some things.”

“Why?”
“We are neighbors now.”
“What?”
“You have everything from the border of the Zylvyre property to the Camp area now. At least that was what we were told.”

“I’m going to have to talk to Fireflower,” Jomney groused. “That was more than I expected. Ok, Fire and I will make arrangements to come up.”

“We will also want to hear all about your adventures.”

“I have a lot of stories, that’s true. I need to Jump home.”

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