The Return of The Silverin, Chapter 7-8

Tad find something he doesn’t really want. A FSA special agent is distracted.

Chapter 7.

The Sanctuary.

Between one thing and another, it had taken some time before Keerla and Tad could get back together and investigate the room that they had unlocked. When they did, Tad said, “We want to be careful.”

“What for?”

“If it happens, I will tell you what to do.”

“You are being mysterious.”

“I know, but I don’t want to say something about something that others don’t want me talking about unless we see it.”

“You’ve seen this whatever it is?”
“Yes, and if we do run into one, you can have it.”
Keerla laughed. “Why?”
“Immianthe and I made an agreement that we wouldn’t get stuck with one.”

They went down to the passage and it was filled with junk. Keerla looked at it and said, “We have to go and get some people and go through this.”
“At least it isn’t a big treasure.”

“Let me call some friends and we can go through this stuff.”

“What is this stuff.”
“These are things that people didn’t want in their places, but didn’t want to send to recycling. Then they went to recycling and it was forgotten. There is a lot of that down here.”

Keerla went and made some calls and her friends arrived, were introduced to Tad and they got started. Pulling the various things out and placing them in the self propelled carts that had been brought for the task, the pile was quickly dealt with, with some things sent to recycling, some sent to the Lower Market and some things, like the books, taken by the various helpers or to the library. Vearil and Yrathea came by and Vearil, looking at the cleared passage asked, “Why this passage, Keerla? What are you and Tad up to?”

“We’re not sure what is here, but Tad unlocked a door and we are investigating.”

“Grandmother wondered why you were all the way down here. This looks interesting though. You unlocked a door?”

“We unlocked it from the dome. Let’s see what we found.”

They walked down the passage and Tad started to touch walls. The wall at the back of the passage opened, the lights went on inside and as Tad walked in, a voice said, “Who are you, youngling?!”

“Taderl Fallingwater!”

“You are of the family. Who are your servants?”

“They are not servants. They are Keerla and Vearil Grewenys with Yrathea Brownlow.”

“Companions then. You must have unlocked the door from Control. Come ahead, then.”

“You are a seeming?”
“I am. I am Khatar Silverin and the original me built this place. Apparently I have been here a long time.”

“What is here?”

“Your legacy, youngling. Tell me of the world. Did things go well for the family?”
“They did not. Where is your crystal?”
“I think that I will stay secure for the nonce. Why don’t you and your companions see your legacy?”

“I think that we are expected for dinner. We will be back later.”

Tad led the others out and closed the door. When the door was closed, he said, “That is what is called a seeming. Let’s go to dinner and I will explain.”

Keerla grinned. “You knew that he would be there.”

“I suspected that there would be one. I have encountered others. The problem is that I am a good candidate to be his Charge and grandmother will probably like that. Also, there are other seemings and they talk to each other.”

“Where are the other seemings?”
“I am not going to say. You know most of their Charges already.”

Ettrian wasn’t sure why he had been sent to the Sanctuary. His mother had said that he should dress in a new tunic his mother had obtained and with a bottle of his best, go to dinner with his sister, her husband, along with his niece and nephew, at the Grewenys.  So, dressed and box in hand, he headed nervously to the portal, early, as his mother had insisted. At least the portal to Innshys made it easy and having a key made it possible to use the portal. He was a bit nervous that he would get lost in the market at Innshys, but there were signs pointing to the Sanctuary portals and he got in line with the rest. Passing through the portal, he wondered what to do when a lady’s voice called out, “Elf Silverin?”

He turned and said, “Yes?”

The attractive half elf said, “I am Jeharin Grewenys. My aunt sent me down here to make sure that you made it to the dinner this evening. Your sister and her husband were already here and your niece and her husband should behind you. You are right on time. You must not have stopped in Innshys.”

“I didn’t think to. This is my first time off of the estate other than things for father.”

“You have never left the estate?”
“I am just a slave. We weren’t exactly allowed to leave and then, when the Lord arrived, I have been rather busy.”

“What do you do?”
“I distil brandy and other liquors.”

“A fellow artist in liquids then. I create scents and washes for the baths.”

“Using natural sources?”
“I use flowers that were created for the purpose and create new ones. Here is the quicktube, so we can talk while the tube takes us to aunt’s apartment. So how is your still set up?”
“It is fairly simple. There was a very old book on the estate that I found when I was young and started to experiment. I used the residual from the pressing that wasn’t good enough to sell for my first experiments.”

“Why do that at all, if you could not keep the fruits of what you made?”
“Having something to sell made me valuable and I wasn’t sent away to whore myself like my sister was or made to service the Lady. I made myself dirty and wore ugly clothes starting when I was twelve to insure that the Lady was repulsed and hid as much as I could. That kept me safe. Later, I worked to make better brandy and better recipes. After the lady’s interest disappeared, I continued.”

“After dinner, you must visit my shop. I will give you something for your lady.”
“I don’t have a lady.”

“You do not? How did that happen?”

“Most of the girls were sent away, to be bedwarmers and whores. The Lady used to say that she enjoyed that kind of life, so I was frightened a bit, and then my work occupied my attention and I didn’t need the distractions.”

“Did not your master provide you with a girl?”
“The masters didn’t care about such things, other than to take the girls and some boys off to the estates and the houses.”

“Well that means that you are free to talk to me, then. I have been nervous about leaving the Sanctuary, in spite of what my niece is like. I also haven’t found somebody, so you here is a good thing. Here we are. We probably won’t get to talk shop tonight, but we must make arrangements for you to return.”

Ettrian and Jeharin exited the quicktube and walked the short distance to Keerla’s grandparent’s apartment. They had a wonderful evening, even if they did not talk shop. After Ettrian left, Jeharin said to Keerla and Filia, “He was exactly what you said he was, with a bit of a tragic story. On the other hand, he is a nice, but strong man.”

“Strong?” Filia asked. “I’ve never seen my brother as strong.”
“He resisted your “Lady.” That cannot have been easy. I imagine that she had her tricks.”
“I hadn’t thought about it that way. He was kept at the estate and not sent off like I was. I had never thought to ask why.”

“I think he feels neglected and more than a bit scared as well. Your lady didn’t help matters. I, at least, want to see how he creates the wonderful brandy that was served tonight. I am off to my bed. Good night.”

Keerla looked at Filia and said, “Was that some kind of Silverin magic? My aunt has never been like that for any man.”

“If it was, I have never seen the like. I need to go home with Tad as well. Goren and Villia can stay, but Tad needs to be in school in the morning. Now comes the tough task, separating my husband and your brother.”

Chapter 8.

Chatsrey.

Shael stood in the terminal, grinning as Nat and Rilldia prepared to board the plane to Ishendell. The trip had been wonderful and more or less untroubled by busybodies. Now, they were off to home, having enjoyed themselves immensely. The airplane heading to the runway, Shael turned to return to the car. Looking around, she spotted a car sitting near the parking entrance. She got in her car and the car left the parking area, the car that had been waiting following them. She opened the center window and said, “Vinnie, we have somebody following us.”
“I know. I saw them when I picked you all up at the train station. Do you want me to lose them?”

“Don’t bother. We are just going to the townhouse. When we get there, I can make a call. Stop by a telegraph office. I want to wire ahead.”

“Nat and his wife?”
“Yes.”

Ironton.

Deral looked at the pallet that had appeared in the morning and grinned. Aydiun had introduced him to Jorge Umevan and he had arranged a landing spot for open ports from someplace. This was the first deposit of what was going to be a great treasure when all of it arrived. When the young Umevan had told him what it was, he hadn’t believed him. But there it was, Harald’s library. He turned to Aydiun and Jorge and said, “I didn’t believe you when you told me about what was coming, Jorge. But here it is.”

“The trick will be making this accessible while being discreet about what it really is,” Aydiun said. “The good thing is that my father’s library has arrived from the House and we can do the same thing in reverse. If there are large quantities of books being transported around, more won’t make any difference. I think that we should get together with your uncle, Jorge and discuss a new library at the college. Folmon wants a library outside the family in any case.”

The Steward looked at the thing in front of him and grinned. The chop shop had been a lucrative business for some time, but that hadn’t been why he had started it. He was well aware that Beinan’s acquired every ancient and Imperial devise that they could get their hands on. Diverting some of that allowed the Steward to assemble devises like the one in front of him. The remaining Primaries had been scattered, but a spontaneous discharge from a large mana battery would have a similar effect. The question was where to use it. The steel buildings of the Beinan plant would absorb the mana flux and the devise would fizzle. Ironton University, on the other hand, was masonry buildings and a hotbed of heresy. That made it a perfect target.  

Ozzie grinned as Bill came into his office with Syllia. “I haven’t seen you for some time, Mr. Harper. What have you been up to and who is this?”
“I’ve been working for Gander Dawkins. It’s been interesting. This is my fiancé, Syllia.”

“Welcome, Syllia. I was Bill here’s old boss until he up and went to the Empire. Presumably he found you there.”

“He did, though my parents and brother are exiles and live in Desert Howl.”

“What do they do there?”

“My parents are healers and work in the new hospital there. Before that, they worked for Skychaser’s. My brother lives underwater and contracts to all the places there as a mathmatician.”

“What brings you here?”
“Gander wants to track down some of the outfits that had people killed in the Scourging of the five cities, especially Altensee.”

“He’s looking for connections. That’s not the only reason you are here, is it?”

“The Stewards. We can’t do very much officially, but there are good points and bad points to that. One thing that we are looking into is the Stewards shipping things back to certain people.”

Ozzie thought about it and cursed. “The chop shop!”
“What do you mean?”
“For a long time now, we have had a mysterious chop shop that hijacks shipments that disappear. We’ve never been able to figure out who was doing it. When Mr. Wavechaser’s thing was hijacked, with the Stewards implicated, we thought that the cases were not connected. If they were, that would explain a lot. Do you have more than Mr. Wavechaser’s thing?”

“We do, and we can exchange for it. We will want to be discreet about the exchange because the Director has Jorge in his head.”
“Young Lord Umevan has managed that, with the help of Senator Gilders and some others. How did you find out about it?”
“Some people were rather annoyed and when Gander wanted something collected, wanted us as a back-up for the FSA.”

“The Senator thinks that Lord Umevan messed up his party and is a spy.”
“If he was annoyed, he probably would and he’s done that before. As for being a spy, that is an interesting question.”

“You have stories.”

“We have stories.”

“Why don’t I take you to lunch then? I suspect that we will no problem getting in back.”

“Not at all.”

 Ishendell

Special Agent Tallings waited in the café for the arriving plane. The Director was sure that the airport was a key transfer point for spies transferring material. So far, in the two five days he and his partner had been in the city, there hadn’t been a whiff of anything resembling spy activity, though there was a lot of Republican Navy and army activity, as well as business going in and out of the airport. The portals saw a lot of use from Beinan people coming to work in the plant here in Ishendell, but that had apparently been going on for some time and was considered normal by the people here.

The Director had set up an office in Ishendell because he thought that State was dropping the ball as far as spies and leaks were concerned. So he was determined to demonstrate that the FSA could do a better job. So far, the effort hadn’t come up with anything and Tallings and his partner had been getting a lot of heat about the lack of results. The problem was that actually looking for the unusual required knowing the patterns and the Ishendell office hadn’t developed them as yet. The agents that had been in Ishendell had all gone to the fire during the siege and the office had been moribund with the rest of the things going on. Then the director had sent Tallings and his partner to the city to reestablish the office.

Tallings was here because the head office had sent a tip that a couple who were potentially spies from the Empire were arriving on the plane. Tallings was going to have their baggage searched in customs and if anything was found, the spies arrested. He finished his cafee and prepared to go to the customs inspection area when the elven lady emerged from the portal. Without trying, apparently, she attracted the eye of every man in the terminal. She walked up to the immigration booth and started to talk to the officer there. She became more annoyed and irate as the officer had problems dealing with whatever it was the problem. Finally she said, loudly, I can’t understand why you will not just let me go to Chatsrey and see a Federal Officer!”

Grinning, Tallings pulled his badge out and walked over. “What is the problem? I am a federal officer.”

“It’s my mistress. She has been in the Republic with the Lord and I’m afraid that the Lord has led her into things that are dangerous. She has been bringing those papers back and covering for the Lord. I was hoping that the Federal Service could look into it.”

“How did you know about us?”
“There was a slave on the estate from the Republic that told us all about the Federal Service.”

“Why don’t we sit over there in the café and discuss this?”

Tallings took the lady to the café and they sat down. Tallings said, “I am special agent Tallings. So what is going on?”
“My lady is Lady Biqen and she is going to be married to Lord Umevan, that is Lord Jorge Umevan. He has a reputation.”

“Does he?”

“Yes. His father didn’t live in the Cloud City and Jorge fell into all sorts of bad influences. The Lady didn’t find out about much of that until the marriage arrangements had already been made and she was stuck with it. Then they moved up to the estate and the Lord has been involved with strange people.”

Tallings smiled as the lady chattered away. He would have something to send to the Director today. The plane was announced and Tallings barely heard it as the lady smiled and talked.

Naertho emerged from the portal, with a pair of the enhanced. He had planned to use bluster and the enhanced to push Nat and Rilldia to the portal when Filia had suggested that he ask for a volunteer from the ladies that had just come from the houses. He had, and Rosepetal had been the first to step up. Looking over at the café, she was keeping the Federal Service agent enthralled as Naertho walked up to the customs area. The officer looked up and said, “Travelling, Mr.Umevan?”
“Picking somebody up. There is a case of things arriving and I want to make sure that some busybodies don’t try to mess things up.”
“The plane just arrived. There’s the cart with the luggage.”

The luggage was unpacked and in amongst the suitcases was a sealed and bonded trunk. Naertho said, “That is it.”

Nat collected his and Rilldia’s suitcases and the two trunks, one of which was the sealed trunk. He brought a cart over and loaded it, the customs officer opened the other trunk, took a look at it and waved it on. Naertho stepped up and the two enhanced took the cart and headed to the portal. Naertho smiled and said, “It looks as if you enjoyed yourselves.”
Rilldia smiled. “We did indeed.”
“Why don’t we head to the portal? I want to know why the Federal Service is so interested in Jorge.”

“Is that why Rosepetal is distracting that man?”
“Yes.”

Tallings suddenly realized that the there was more activity at the baggage check and said to Rose, “I have to go. Here is my card. You can come down and talk to us anytime.”

Rose smiled and said, “I will, if I can, special agent. I should not be away too long.”
Tallings headed to customs, only to see that they were handling an incoming flight to the Republic from the Fellowship and that the arriving passengers from the Republic had already gone. Dejected, he watched as Rose used the portal and disappeared. At least he had the interview to write up.

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