The Return of The Silverin, Chapter 47-48

The Astuan Consulate gets a royal visitor. Taerel Silverin is forced to take a ring.

Chapter 47.

Chatsrey

The Astuan consulate occupied the fifth floor of the consulate building that it shared with the other four kingdoms and the fae. The various countries had decided to share a building and the costs some time ago and for the most part the arrangement worked well, even when some of the kingdoms had been at war with each other. Count Horace D’nif had been the consul for Astua for twenty years and by and large, he and his small staff were left to themselves as the king and queen did not travel and the Church was more or less independent of the royal purvue. Most of consulate’s work, like the that of the other consulates, was preparing travel material, answering questions from prospective travelers and sending relevant news items to Duc D’argent. The most controversial things that the consulate had been involved with had involved two guards officers who felt it their duty to poke deeper into things that they shouldn’t and play games with Mrs. Steelmaker’s people. Haral and Varal had been rotated home with a sigh of relief for the rest of the consulate. Horace was picking up his morning paper and Caffee when Gail, his wife and secretary charged in and said, “The prince and princess are here!”
“Prince Warrel and Princess Holly?”
“Prince Vindica, Princess Holly and Lady Sarya.”

“Who is their staff? Prince Vindica has been missing since I came here, since he was taken by the Church.”
“I think you can guess.”

“Haral and Varal.”
“Yes, along with some servants from the girl’s family.”

“What do we know about the girl?”
“Not much here. Things from home have been rather sketchy lately, for obvious reasons. “

A smiling Haral came into the office and said, “I thought that I would bring you the brief from the Duc.”

“They had to send you two back.”

“The Duc wanted our flexibility and ability to fit in here while we were watching the prince and the prospective crown princess.”

“Where was the prince?”

“That is a long story. The short answer is that the Darkmage had subverted the the Brotherhood of the Failed and was using them as tools and experiments. The prince, since as a result of his fae ancestors, had high potential, was taken by Lain Othrond, Transformed and used as a soldier. He was involved in an action against the Justiciars, captured and ran into his lady, who thought he was a “cute monster.” She took him and the other Transformed and went looking for groves and families.”

“That sounds like a tale.”

“It was, especially as she rolled into Astia just as the five cities were Scourged.”

“I hope that you have material concering that.”
“We brought two trunks under diplomatic seal. That and Sayra and Holly’s luggage was most of our baggage. Vindy isn’t a big dresser and we traveled light with the boys.”

“Who are they?”
“Some Justiciar adjuncts that we are slipping in as servants.”

“Isn’t there a conflict of interest there?”

“Not really. The king and Sarya’s parents get along just fine. The Justiciar has been dealing with the five cities case with the Mage Academy and the Church as well as the Mortal Kingdoms.”

“That sounds impossible.”

“The five cities created some strange alliances and the fact that there are more Scourge devises and other strange things out there has squashed a lot of conflicts and attracted everyone’s attention.”

“The crown didn’t send anyone to report.”

“That is one reason we came.”

“Will you have any issues with your old adversaries?”
“Other than the fact that Sarya is Mrs. Steelmakers great granddaughter, probably not.”

“What is really going on?”
“You probably know about the flap over a girl that ran away from home. The chief prosecutor recruited some Justiciar Adjuncts that were already here, had served in the FSA before going to the Empire and they wanted Sarya. The king and the Justiciar sent Vindy and us to deliver the report discreetly and get a better view on things here.”

“Where is the prince staying?”
“There was some push to have them stay with relatives, but we arranged for Vindy, Holly and Sarya to stay at the Chatsrey Arms.”

“The Presidential suite, I hope?”
“Yes.”
“That’s going to blow the budget, but there really wasn’t a choice.”

As Alinis and Fire entered the house, Sarya Dawkins was waiting with a young man. Alinis grinned, ran up to Sarya and hugged her. “Sarya, what brings you here?! Who is this?”

“This is Vindy, who was my cute monster and turned into a cute prince, as you can see.”

“Yes he did. So, other than showing him off, why did you come to see me?”
“I’m looking for Vindy’s brother and want to do that discreetly. Since you know Moonshine and I don’t, at least to talk to, as I spent quite a bit of time chasing her, I thought that you could take us to the mermaid dancing.”
“I see. You want to talk to Moonshine because she knows where Vindy’s brother is. Why is he here?”
“That is a long story, but his dad sent him off with a mage that works for Beinan’s in Desert Howl. Since Bill is from there, I thought that Moonshine could take a message and some invitations.”

“Somebody told you about Desert Howl.”
“Yes and Vindy and I can’t just disappear and go down there, so we need someone who can just go there.”
“My aunt will just love to have you and Vindy. Is there anyone else you want to take?”
“Holly, Vindy’s sister, and the consulate staff. The reservations have been made already.”

“You, Vindy and Holly are with Fire and me in my aunt’s box. Grandmother is probably already calling around to see what family will show up. So tell me what you have been up to, other than finding cute princes.”

“Ok, you probably know about the five cities. Vindy and I went to Astia, where we found Vindy’s mom and reverted Vindy. As you can see, he’s still cute, so I’m keeping him. Then we were in Astia.”

“Where you took the city over,” Vindy said.

“Did she really, Vindy?” Fire asked.

“It was the most amazing thing you have ever seen. With the exception of some witch hunters that she humiliated, she managed to charm everybody into submission. Of course her dad and mine conspired to get us sent to the Empire and digging through ancient files for things. The Empire is used to Sarya, so her effect there is diminished.”

“Why is your brother here?”
“After I failed my scan, my parents had an agreement with the Church that Tolly would stay in the woods. Of course, he didn’t, which was leading to problems. About the same time that we arrived, a mage that worked for Beinan’s arrived with the Scourge suppressors that were supposed to be in the five cities.The monsters destroyed a railroad bridge so that the Scourge suppressors could not be distributed and then set the devises off. Sarya’s dad was given the case by both the Conference of Kings for the Mortal Kingdoms and the Fae Council of Kings and my dad and Sarya’s dad sent us off to the Empire to keep Sarya out of trouble.”

“The mage took your brother to Desert Howl? That could be bad.”
“Why?”

“I can’t talk about that unless you go down there.”

“As bad as being turned into a monster?”

“Not that bad, but if we do end up down there, don’t say that too loud.”

“Why not?”

“They will want to do that.” 

Beltain.

Jarfaet looked at Thothak and Sarya as they came into the office and growled, “Why are you smiling?”
“We have a royal visitor from Astua.”

“They are already here? Why wasn’t I told? Who is it?”

“Crown prince Vindica, Princess Holly and my great graddaugher, Sarya. They arrived the day before yesterday.”

“How is your great granddaughter involved?”
“Vindica was one of Lain Othrond’s Transformed, Sarya thought he was a “cute monster” and took him and the other captured Transformed to find groves and family for the Transformed. Vindica was the lost crown prince of Astua.”

“You have apparently been chatting with them. Did they give you an itinerary?”
“Here it is.”

Jarfaet looked at it and said, “They are coming to the Plateau for three days. Where are they staying?”
“At the Residence.”

“That will make some people unhappy. That could be seen as siding with the old families.”
“Sarya is perfectly entitled to use the Residence as she wishes.”

“Why not a hotel?”
“Booking on short notice can be difficult here and the Residence would allow the Prince to entertain.”

“Why is he doing that?”

“He wants to have a chat about certain recent events in the Mortal Kingdoms.”

“The five cities.”

“Yes, among other things. I will note that they have been working for Sarya’s father on the case and have been in the middle of things.”

“Did you ask Gander to send them? This doesn’t seem to be an accident.”
“No, it wasn’t me. Someone else did that.”

“Why?”            

“They haven’t told me. I think it has to do with the recent disappearance of Susan Gilders.”

“You said that she went to the Empire.”

“That is where she was seen, yes. She is being trained in certain things by some people.”

“Klara Gilders is still making a stink with Sunbeam about the girl.”

“He deserves it.”

“Do you know more?”
“My grandson is keeping me apprised. It’s pretty ugly. I’m not going to say anything more than that.”

Marian looked at the pile of cancellations and fumed. The Astuan prince’s plans had gone through the Plateau like wildfire, as had rumors of the fact that the prince was exotic and very good looking. The fact that he had caught a high elf girl from the Empire only made him more attractive. As a result, the cancellations had started to come in for Marian’s little get together. The party was Marian’s demonstration of her ability to hold power and relationships and the sudden onslaught of messages with sudden excuses of minor illness, problems that needed to be dealt with and things that had come up was discouraging with the Senator’s illness and the death of Tommy diminishing Marian’s ability act and influence, since she would not be able to hand out favors as she had.

The fact that the prince was staying at the Residence was more than a little bothersome. The Residence was a mistake from the early days of the Republic and the families were stuck with it. The Plateau space committee had not even been able to stop the old families from making repairs and improvements because the repairs and improvements could be done by family members, a loophole in the construction rules. That meant that the Residence was able to withstand the occasional “accident” and the pressures that the families had put on it in an attempt to drive the old families off the Plateau. The fact that the prince was using the Residence was bothersome.

Derry looked at the other members of the committee and said, “I guess we have to go with what we have. I haven’t been able to change the status of the other places and we have only three five days until the break. We will just have to say to the boys that we did what we could.”

“They won’t be happy,” Harald said. “But you’re right and there isn’t much more that we could do. At least we will be away from the Chatsrey and Ironton slugs. Last year was a disaster.”

“They won’t be able to afford to go to Ishendell.”

Chapter 48.

 The Umevan Estate.

Taerel looked up from his desk as his son, son in law, Lord Naertho, Lord Fylson, Lord Py, and a group of others came into his office. He looked at Naertho and said, “What can I do for you, milord?”
Naertho dropped a key and a ring on Taerel’s desk and said, “We need you to take the ring.”

“What ring, milord?”

“The Silverin.”

“I can’t do that, milord. I am just a slave.”
“No, you are not. There was an agreement between my family and yours, and because of circumstances beyond our control, that agreement was not kept. So your indenture is void, along with those of your family. In any case, the ring and the family are yours.”

“I did not ask for this?”

“I know.”

“I thought that Tad was to take the Sanctuary.”

“He is. Unfortunately your wife and Filia made things a bigger issue than a single city in drawing portions of your family into the deal.”

“I was not involved with that.”

“I know, but your wife and the Empress were keeping you in the dark as the thing grew.”

“I did notice that the lady stopped coming. When is the wedding?”

“Soon,” the man in the Justiciar’s tunic said. “I am Alen Zylsalor and my mother is Silverin. My daughter is True with the crown prince.”

“So the family will be tied to the Imperial family in more than one way. But that doesn’t mean that the matter should be rushed.”

“Bubil Kil,” Stadlee said. “There is family there that has been deceived for a long time. The problem is that the belief in the deception is deep in the community and Raibyn and I think that they will need visible evidence that the family is free of the debt. You, as the family leader will resolve that.”

Taerel looked at Naertho. “If I take the ring, you could lose what I provide.”
Naertho laughed. “I don’t think so. I think that there are others in the family that will want to learn what you do. In fact I am sure of that.”

“The family will be exposed, something that we have suffered greatly to avoid.”

“We have decided that the time has come to come out into the light, father,” Ettrian said. “Our enemies are diminished and the time to hide is over. Once the Sanctuary was rediscovered, I think that it was inevitable that our enemies would look for us and we were right under their noses.”
“That was our greatest protection. They would not look for us there.”

“They also took members of the family for their own dark purposes. I think that you must take the ring and make the family visible again so that we can find those, like Raibyn’s folk, who the enemy has taken and hidden. Even if we do not do very much, the enemy will be worried.”

“I’m just a slave. I don’t know how to handle such things.”
Naertho looked around and said, “Taerel, do you know how few places work as well as this place does? There is a reason that your wines are sought after all over the world and that is your skill. In any case, the burden should not be great.”

“If I refuse?”
“Then will I set Jorge to persuading you,” Fylson said. “Or will I let our wives do it. Taerel, I’m in the same boat you are. Neither of us really wanted to take the ring. On the other hand, I think that neither of us have a choice.”

Taerel picked up the key, started to take his collar off and put the key back down. “I will keep this on for a while. I don’t think that my wife wants someone to make off with me.”

He picked up the ring and put it on. “I can use this to mark the select bottles if nothing else.”

Goren and Ettrian laughed. Goren said, “That will teach Jorge. Shael has sent a message asking for a case of select, by the way, so that ring will be useful.”

“Who is the case for?”

“For the Gilders on the Plateau in the Republic. Jorge did his thing on them and I think that Shael is making amends. There may be more to that, but she did not say in her message.”

“There is a young girl and a dragonkin boy involved,” Naertho said. “A rather inappropriate relationship.”

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