The Return of The Silverin, Chapter 37-38

Raibyn visits Neuw Athlin. Shael brings Suzy back.

Chapter 37.

Neuw Athlin

 Tomas finished his presentation, resting his case. The defense started theirs, with the little they had. Without a direct declaration by Dúhael that Lain Othrond was at war with Vestia and Apua, there wasn’t anything that could mitigate the charges and between the witnesses and the discovered documents, the verdict was clear. Dúhael was guilty of mass murdering seven hundred thousand people as a way of robbing them of their coin. By any measure that made him the most murderous robber in history. Rather dejectedly, the defense rested as well. The three kings withdrew to confer. The verdict would be rendered after the break for luncheon.   

Raibyn got off the train in the rain and looked at the mostly crude city. The area around the railroad station was mix of older buildings and new construction with new streets heading off to the new city. For a place less than a year old, the city was bustling and busy. Satchel in hand, he started to head to off to find an inn when he spotted someone he had not seen in a very long time. Wondering what the Dragonmaster was doing, he followed the old dragon and his escort of two younger dragons as they joined a middle aged orc. The Dragonmaster and the orc greeted each other and headed to what was probably the courthouse. Reluctantly, Raibyn went to find an inn. It was unlikely that the Dragonmaster knew anything about his daughter in any case.

Qambois noticed the elf walking off, recognized him, turned to Kulgha and said, “There is another surprise. I was a bit surprised to see you here.”
“I’m taking a vacation. That last case turned my stomach more than a bit.”

“Ayre Eiljeon.”
“Yes. Within the law, he wasn’t guilty. Morally, he was as dirty as it gets. He returned home and waited, knowing what was going to happen and plotting to take advantage. At least there is no doubt where Dúhael is concerned.”
“This is unlike you. You were willing be Paeris Zylvyre’s counselor when it was thought that he was a ruthless mass murderer. That cannot be worse than Mr. Eiljeon.”

“Ayre was worse, because Paeris never tried to hide what he was. He reveled in his reputation and he was disappointed when we exposed the reality behind the reputation. Ayre just sat there, saying nothing, while I was forced to use the law to protect him.”

“Mr. Eiljeon did not actually Scourge the cities and the queen was already pushing for evacuation until the Scourge suppressors arrived. We should take heart in how close the light was able to stop things from being worse than they were.”

“That is certainly true. Also, for all their plotting, the various participants got very little from their actions in the Mortal Kingdoms. The coin was rendered worthless and detectable and they lost the elections in the Fellowship.”

“That was closer than it should have been and in some ways, I am disappointed in my country.”
“At least the Fellowship demonstrated that the elections mean something. With the termite mound types, I wonder sometimes.”

“What is going on with Young Lord Umevan and the Plateau?”
“I will have to find out from Bob when I return home. I suspect that somebody not just caving and capitulating is a bit of a shock to the termite mound types.”

“In any case, let us proceed to our seats and watch the end of this. Young Tomas has proven to be an able prosecutor, has he not?”

“Yes he has. I will have to send an evaluation back to the law school at Chatsrey concerning his performance.”
Dúhael stood with the rest as the three kings emerged. King Aesteros said, “We have reached a verdict. Unfortunately, as the evidence is clear, the person known as Dúhael did plan the deaths of the five cities and at the time, delivered no ultimatums, no declarations or demands on the kingdoms of Vestia and Apua. As such, this was not an act of war, as the kingdoms of Vestia and Apua were not in a state of war with the free city of Lain Othrond at the time. Furthermore, Dúhael and his associates abandoned the free city to its fate as the murder of the five cties was ongoing, presumably in the hopes that the free city would be Scourged in retaliation to prevent yet more deaths. Fortunately the fast actions by some brave people prevented still more pointless deaths from occurring.

“With that in mind, the court finds Dúhael guilty of murder with seven hundred thousand counts. The court also recommends the sentence of death by hanging. That closes this court.”

The court ended, Dúhael was taken on his last transfer to the jail. The guards alert and wary, looking for enhanced in the crowds, guns and swords drawn, the detail escorted the wagon used to transport the prisoner. Joram escorted the wagon as the escorting landdragon. The wagon reached the jail and the door opened. As Dúhael reached the portal, enhanced emerged from an open port and before more than a few shots could be fired in reaction, beat down the detail and dragging Dúhael, headed to the portal where two other figures emerged from an open port, slapped a coder on the portal, activated it and the entire group exited the portal, leaving shock and chaos behind them.

A young fae man emerged from Jump, and running, slapped his own devise on the portal. Looking at the devise, Nebula grinned and said, “Not this time.”

Raibyn heard the news as it flashed around the city. The Master had been rescued and was gone. That did not resolve Raibyn’s problems. On the other hand, the old dragon was here and he could speak with him. The old dragon would probably know who to speak with about how the Master was taken. With that in mind, he went looking for the old dragon.

Kulgha looked around and said to Qambois, “They don’t seem to be surprised or shocked by events, do they?”
“Not at all. There is Gander. Gander, were you expecting something like this, and if you were, why did you let it succeed?”
Gander grinned. “We were, and the decision was not mine. Duc Geral and the queen set things up so that if a rescue happened, things would be loose enough that it would probably succeed. On the other hand, if they did put it together, we had eyes looking at various people that have been tolerated for some time.”

“You want to know where the others are hiding.”
“As long as the Scourge devises are out there, the deaths of even the leaders are meaningless if there are others to pick up the Project. On the other hand, if the Scourge devises are found and dealt with, the war is over.”

“I see. An old friend has found me. I think that I will let you two chat and speak with him for a bit. I think that the barrister makes him nervous.”

Qambois walked over to where Raibyn had been standin on the edge of things, looking morosely at the things happening and said, “Hello, Raibyn. I would not have expected you here.”
“Something happened and I wanted to discover how Dúhael was taken. Was that brought up in the trial? I can hardly ask Dúhael now.”

“How Dúhael was taken from Bubil Kil is classified. I doubt that Dúhael would be a concern by himself.”
“Other than the fact that he was the Master at the Haven, no. My wife and I were working to free the folk there from the Master, but tradition and the compulsions were strong. That is until Dúhael came, there was some sort of incident with my daughter and both Dúhael and my daughter disappearing.”

“Your daughter being Nistra.”
“You know?”
“I know somewhat. If you want to know more, go to the Umevan Estate near Freywick in Astaire.”

“Thank you. Who are your friends?”
A distinguised Barrister from the Republic and a Justiciar.”

“The Barrister is an orc and the Justiciar does not look like an elf. The world has gotten very strange.”

“Indeed. Do you want to meet them? They are interesting people.”
“I have my task. At least I have more than I did when I arrived.”

“My nephew is looking into your folk. They attracted attention of some people who are very interested in the families in Bubil Kil.”

“They want to destroy the Dancers?”
“The opposite, but your wife has probably already discovered some things already. I would go ahead to the estate and see what you find there.”

“How are matters in the Fellowship?”
“Interesting. You know what happened here in Vestia.”
“Five cities were Scourged. I find that unbelievable.”
“You can go, look at Athlin and see for yourself.”

“The devices were supposed to have been destroyed.”
“None of them were at the time. There were even five in Bubil Kil until the Protector moved them to protect the Haven. They were dismantled later by the people that do that. If you should discover more, I can point you at the people that handle the devises.”

“I want to know more.”
“The folk on the estate can tell you more.”

“I must go, then.”

The Hideaway.

A naked Dúhael grinned as he led the happy rescuers through the portal and Mórsairon and Blackfire stood to greet him. “I am returned.”

“You are.”

“What is happening here?”
“Not very much. We had prepared an evacuation as a precaution, but there has been no activity outside and only the regular caravan. The evacuation has been proceeding in any case.”
“So our adversaries do not know of this place.”

“I think that they do,” Blackfire said. “There have been things arriving though the small portals and your satchel was sent. On the other hand, hiding preparations for an invasion of this place would be difficult in the Orcenlands without the cooperation of Clan Ironhead and we would have heard of any such overtures.”

“The Umevan have essentially taken Bubil Kil over. That was how I was trapped.”

“How did the take you, brother?”
“They arranged a call that purported to say that a Dancer had been killed while performing a task and that Xolag was sending the coach to extract me. I got in the coach and instead of the portal, there were enhance Republican Marines and a cloth that put me to sleep. I awoke with the Justiciar looking to interview me.”

“Did you say anything?”
“No, I remained silent after the beginning.”
“What did the Justiciar want?” Mórsairon asked.”

“He was digging for information about the Project. The devise from the vault was a set up and the Justiciar had a trap prepared in Bubil Kil.”

“Did he reveal how that was done?”

“He did not. On the other hand, you rescuing me was a mistake.”
“How so?”
“When you sent that vial to our brother, that said that he was not vital to the Project. You collecting me said that I was.”

“Then we had what we intended. What can you tell us about where you were held?”

“I awoke in Clearcrag at the Provisional Trooper’s station, where the Justiciar was waiting. I was transferred by the marshalls to the new capital of Vestia for trial. As you discovered, they attempted an elaborate ruse to convince people that I was transferred to the Justiciars’cell block when I was not.”

“We could Scourge the new capital,” Blackfire said.

“I am sure that the city has a Scourge suppressor. That would be pointless.”
“I agree. I just wanted to make sure that you knew that as well. Tell us more about Bubil Kil. What happened to the devise?”

“The Umevan made off with it. From the things that I heard, young Lord Umevan arranged to give it to Nat as a wedding present.”

“So the devise is at the estate.”

“I would not know. Is that where Nat ended up?”

“He had his wedding there,” Mórsairon said. “The transmuter is there and presumably the Umevan want to know more about it.”

Chapter 38.

The Chats River, Twenty Miles South Of Luggergate.

Bronzerock barge B138 was over thirty years old and like many of the other barges that plied the canal and river, it had spent those thirty years anonymously moving bulk cargoes of sand, gravel and coal up and down the river and canal without notice or incident until now, in the warm mid spring day, the tow the barge was part of swung a bit near the shore and barge B138 struck something, and with a bang, its career ended in a splash of water and mud as the barge’s bow was torn apart and the barge started to sink as  frantic deckhands worked to cut it out of the tow before things became a total mess. If the incident had happened just a bit further up the river, the incident would have gone unnoticed and been of little concern. This time, the barge had struck whatever it had struck off shore of the small city of Billingston and since the city was placing a new statue on the waterfront, the incident was seen by hundreds of people and the press had a photographer taking pictures of the explosion and the sinking barge.

A grinning Tim finished winding the wire up on the reel as the four middies watched the excitement. The wire collected, they headed to the GP and a well earned lunch.

Ironton.

Jorge looked at Suzy and at Shael and said, “Why did you bring her back. Her mother was glad to see her go? That is understandable.”
Suzie stuck out her tongue as Shael said, “We decided that a discreet trip to the Empire would be a good thing.”
“Yes it would. We’ll send Swifty and some of the other boys. They can be taken through the program by Tad and Immianthe.”

“How will we get them there?”
“The company is sending a plane with some people for Naertho at Bubil Kil in three days. We’ll do the same thing with the kids a bit later. They can fly up to Ishendell and port from there so that we don’t trip the customs people here. Then they can get Sanctuary cards and register on the way back. The company has several planes flying back and forth as the various projects heat up.”

“What is the program?” Suzie asked.

“Some training that the Imperial menaces and some other people came up with for training royal pains. It doesn’t improve them, but other people don’t like it if they mess with them.”

“Who are Tad and Immianthe?”
“I think that I will let you meet them for yourself.”

“What about the kids and school?” Shael asked. “That might cause some problems.”
“Go up and talk to Swifty’s mother. Having Swifty and the other boys disappear for a bit would be a good thing right now.”
“What happened?”
“Gordy and his gang have been rather frustrated and Swifty is feeling rather constrained. Cory put him to working for Mrs. Harper at her house after school.”

“Which Mrs.Harper?” Susan asked.

“Lythienne, not that it matters.”

Beltain

Geral arrived home and Klara was waiting. “Where is Susan?”

“Not here.”
“The Umevan were bringing her here.”
“Shael did. We were discreet about it and decided that Susan disappearing for a while would be a good idea. Who did you speak with?”
“Jhaan Umevan and then Jorge. Jorge said that there were procurers that knew that Susan was going to Chatsrey on the train and diverted her so that they could make her disappear. A boy rescued her.”
“Do you have a name?”
“Jorge wouldn’t say. The boy works for a private investigator after school and was covering Jorge as Jorge was going to a class he was giving.”

“Did he say what the class was for?”
“He didn’t and frankly, I am a bit afraid to find out. Susan probably knows. Did you find out anything about the boy?”
“Not very much. Susan did like him. I could tell.”

“Who do you think was responsible for the procurer?”
“I’m not sure, but Marian sent some invitations out.”

“The Senator is having heart problems and her son was murdered in Ironton. I wonder what Jorge knows.”

“That is an interesting thing to say.”
“Not really. There is a lot going on and Jorge seems to be at the center of a lot of it.”

“We are receiving a case of Fallingwater as a gift. Shael said that the packing materials should be interesting.”

“So we are receiving some briefs. The question I have now is if Jorge a spy, who does he spy for?”

“I think that Susan will find out.”
“She may not be the same when she comes back.”
“Of course not, dear. That is called growing up.”

Chatsrey.

Gordy drove past the Harper townhouse and frowned. He wanted the boy, for good reasons and to shut him up, but the boy had been going straight from home to school and then from school to the townhouse, this townhouse. Gordy was well aware of how the Harpers felt about the Shieldbashers and if he took the boy, the Harpers would be all over him. Gordy was sure that the boy was from the neighborhood, but suddenly he was connected with the Harpers and some other people with heavy clout, clout here in the city, not on the Plateau.

Swifty and the other boys that worked for Ironaxe and had been involved on the edges of the incident with Suzy were lined up in the back yard. Cory looked at them and said, “Boys, an opportunity has come up and you all are taking advantage of it. For the next moon, you all are going to be going to the Empire and getting some special training as well as meeting some people there.”

“Why now, Cory?” Ozzie asked.

“Some things happened involving Swifty and we felt that it would be a good thing if he disappeared. Then we thought about it and decided that you all should get tested as well as some special training. If Swifty had had the training, he might not be in the position he is now. I have already obtained permission from your parents, so that is taken care of and clothing will be available on the other end. So, other than Swifty, I am giving you a chance to bow out.”
The boys looked at each other and Ozzie said, “Will we see the Lower City and some other places?”
Cory grinned. “That is in the plan, and you will, when the training is over, be expected to do some shopping and bring something nice home for your mothers. This trip, while the training will be hard, is a good thing for you. Does anyone want to back out?”
None of them did. Cory looked at them and said, “You are going to hate me, but I think that the training will help you when you need it. Ok, there are twenty of you all and four cars, so each car will leave with five of you in quarter twentieth intervals for the airport. Have a good trip.”

When the boys arrived at the airport, they went to the Umevan private hanger where, when Swifty got out of the car, Susan was waiting with Shael. Swifty grinned and said, “You are going too?”
“Yes. Were you told what the training is?”
“No. Have you been ok?”
“Yes. Nobody has been chasing me. What about you?”

“The Shieldbashers have been playing games, but they didn’t get me. Have you been in an airplane?”
“Yes.”
“I haven’t.”
“It will be fun, so let’s go.”

After the plane was in the air with the twenty boys and Susan aboard, Shael returned to her car and as the car was driving past the terminal, she spotted Jorge’s grandmother and another lady. Opening the center window, she said, “Barry, I see Jorge’s grandmother. Why don’t we see if we can pick them up?”

“That sounds like a good thing to do, miss.”

Barry pulled the car over and Shael got out. “Hello, Mel. Could you use a lift?”
“Hello Shael. Yes we could. The boys apparently forgot that I was coming home today.”
“They have been busy with Jorge and me. I will explain in the car.”

“This is Marta Dawkins. So, what is Jorge doing?”
“Let Barry get you packed and I will tell you in the car.”

Barry put the bags in the trunk the ladie got in the car and Barry pulled out onto the road. Shael said, “The boys, and some other people are keeping an eye on a gang of procurers led by a man named Shieldbasher.”

“What did they do to annoy Jorge?”
“They didn’t annoy Jorge exactly, but a five day ago, we were going to the class that Jorge holds and Swifty, the boy that was covering us, rescued a girl from them. The girl was Susan Gilders. She was trying to work out some sort of reconciliation with Jorge so that Fylson would make her birthday present. We took the girl to the class and afterwards the FSA started to try to get their hands on Swifty and slap a kidnapping charge on him.”
“What happened to the girl? Did you turn her over to the FSA?”

“I took her home, had a discussion with her mother and we agreed that until the mess is unraveled, it would be better for Susan to disappear for a while. I just put her, Swifty and some other boys on a plane for Ishendell so they could port up to the estate. I’ve sent a message and Tad and Immianthe are taking them through the program.”

“I know who Tad and Immianthe are, but what is the program?”
“Tad, Immianthe and the other Imperial menaces went through the Flight Instructor’s class, trained with Esgalwathanar and Vesstan and learned to shoot with the Justiciars. I want Susan and Swfty to have that training.”

“Why?”
“Swifty is working with Ironaxe Asset Protection, has been playing with Jorge and Scourge devices and could get in deeper without realizing how much trouble he was in. So I want him to get the training. As for Suzy, she was almost taken because she was naïve and helpless. Even if she is a Plateau type, I don’t want her in that position again and if we have somebody on the Plateau who understands the issues, maybe we can avoid the messes. There have also been some strange things going on, including another spider lady and these procurers and a lot of things lead straight back to the termite mound.”

Durlan looked at Tom, Bill, Cory and Maldin and said, “Why was I called in for this?”

“Because like the rest of us, you aren’t known as crooked FSA types or cops.” Tom pointed to a stack of files. “It was amazing how easy it was to get interviews and affidavits concerning the Shieldbashers.”

“Are you sure that you want to introduce us to connections that do our old line of work?”
“No, but we can make this work for us. I’ve sent home for a secret weapon to take the Shieldbashers out, but I want their protection, the Plateau types that were backing the operation.”
“Do you think that the spider lady is part of it?”
“Alissa sent down some insights that the Dancer had and she brought up the fact that the spider lady may have been doing clean up. That is another reason I want you and your boys.”

“We need to keep this tight, but I think that can make this work.”

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