The Return of the Silverin, Chapter 49-50

Rob is upset. Shael prepares for a party

Chapter 49.

Billingston

Rob looked at the rusted thing sitting on the deck and fumed. The fourth Primary had been found and dismantled, but the barge sinking had also caused a mine from some old conflict to float up and then they kept finding more of them. This was the fourth. Rob was tempted to just move ahead to Luggergate and would have, except for the fact that the whole point was to avoid alerting the Stewards that they knew about the devises until the last one was found. Rob cursed Rilvin Sunbeam yet again. “That fits.”
Rob turned around and said, “How bad is it, George?”
“I think that his cousin, the Director is rather persuasive and since I don’t want to trip things off and get the FSA actually looking for the devise, I can’t come out and tell dear mayor that there is almost certainly one there.”

“Maybe you should.”
“I would if I weren’t certain that he would call his cousin and have his cousin’s people poking around looking for the thing and playing jurisidiction games. By the way, the head of the Luggergate FSA office is the clown that you ran into during that boom in Chatsrey and he does not like the fact that he was transferred to Luggergate, or you.”

“How is the evacuation going?”
“As well as it can without creating a panic. I have talked with the police chief and the schools and if the devise shows up before you can get into town then the schools get cleared out and then we make all the roads one way, stop every train and use everything we can to get people out. I hope that we don’t need it, but I’m rather scared that we will.”

“I’m tempted to just go ahead and move right in.”
“The mayor will have a fit and the chief will be forced to close you down and have the FSA take over. So far the FSA is distracted looking for that girl, so there is that.”

“You haven’t helped that have you?”

“There may have been some rumors about procurers collecting girls named Suzy and runaways with Plateau accents. Some tips may have been called in.”

“Don’t push them too hard.”
“I haven’t. Most of the tips are not in Luggergate anyway.”

Ironton.

Jorge looked up as the committee joined him for lunch and said, “Everything ready to go?”
“We want to know what happened to Derry’s sister,” Vince said.

“Why?”
“The FSA has been looking for her and looking at you. We want to know if that will mess us up.”

“That is legit and no it should not. On the other hand, you may want to ask your grandfather to send something to your grandmother about people messing with thirteen year old girls.”

“We try to squelch that. Was that what was going on?”
“That was part of it, and I was given to understand that the people taking the girls have heavy protection from the Plateau. Then there was the operation here.”

“What happened?”
“The operation here was wrapped up by a spider. The boss was a Plateau type and the spider acted like a high level entertainer and had a dinner date in the boss’s penthouse. After she sucked the boss’s guts out, Shael called Nyla and your grandfather. You know more about the rest than I do.

 “In Chatsrey, I was being covered by a firm that was hired by my family and they had a boy covering me at Chatsrey East station. Just before my train arrived, the train from the Plateau arrived and a girl got off. The boy dragged her up to the el, went one stop and came back. He was protecting her from a procurer waiting for her.”

“Was he fishing or did he know she was coming?” Chris asked.

“The procurer knew that she was coming. More ominously, once the boy and the girl joined with Shael and me, went to the class I was giving and I was taking the boy home, there was the FSA, looking for the boy and the girl. They were determined, even to engaging Mrs. Cutflame, which was just stupid.”

“I think I know who you are talking about,” Vinnie said. “That was stupid. So she has Derry’s sister?”
“No. Shael took the girl home, talked with her mother, brought her back and we sort of put her on the plane to Ishendell so that she could port on up and see my dad, which is what she wanted anyway.”

“Then why the noise?”
“The mother hasn’t told the FSA where the girl is and isn’t going to. Some friends want to crack the procurers open and find their bosses.”
“I will send to grandfather.”
“Tell him to talk to your Uncle Chris, discreetly. His boss is the one in charge.”

Luggergate.

Mayor Rilvin Sunbeam looked at yet another message from Geoge Bronzerock, picked up the phone and dialed his cousin’s number. “Henri, it’s Rilvin. Could you send any Special Agents you can spare?”

“Why?”
“George Bronzerock has been pushing me to request a Scourge suppression devise. I have been leery of doing so, because you said that your people would find a large bomb and the devise would have to be guarded. You also said that the Stewards were not the ones using Scourge devises.”

“I still don’t think that the Stewards are.”

“What about Freiberg?”

“What about it? The navy and a foreign spy were there. What does that say about how the devises got there? Doesn’t it seem strange that the young man would be driving right past the things with that devise that my people can’t even get.”

“Why not?”
“I need a budget request and Beinan’s will not release them unless I have people trained to use them.The problem is that I would have to request training from the navy and the navy will only take five people for the training at a time.”

“Have you sent the five?”
“No, I have not.”

“Should I call the navy in to look?”
“Land ordnance and bomb disposal is the Federal Service’s responsibility. I don’t think that there will be a devise to find and the navy and old lady Steelmaker would just love to see my people running around like fools. I’ll send some more people. They can look for that girl there as easily as they can anyplace else.”

“Send what you can. The docks have lit up again and everything has stopped, so we will have the usual things in any case.”

Rilly put down the phone, picked up again and put it down. He just hoped that he hadn’t made a big mistake.

Senior Agent Geral Ironcutter looked at his people and at the pending cases. He said, “Here’s what’s on our plate. First of all, there are rumors of a Scourge devise being in the city. Keep your ears on the ground, but don’t give it any special attention. If you do get something solid let me know.”

“Do we tell the navy?” Special Agent Villings asked.

“We do not. I’ve been on the wrong side of a jurisdiction fight because a clown from the navy got there first and took charge. The navy can have their boats, but here, bombs are our problem. George, do you think that the bomb squad can handle one of these devises?”
“Senior Agent, that depends. The navy has the tools and the procedures for the big stuff, but I was in naval ordnance and I’ve seen just about everything.”

“You also have a very good record of booms not going boom. Next is the dock strike. So far, things seem to be calm for one of those things, but keep an eye out for people arming up. We don’t want a bloody mess. If things do heat up, make sure that the idiots know that we will come down heavy if necessary. Any questions?

“Ok, the last big thing is Susan Gilders. At this point, I don’t think that she is going to show up again. Certainly not here, so don’t waste any time looking unless you have something very solid. The last thing is the Stewards. Ignore the typical college kids. As far as them having Scourge devises, the Director is certain that the navy is playing games to step into our jurisdiction. I want it understood that we won’t fight a jurisdictional fight at our level, but if navy people start to throw their weight around, we aren’t afraid to bust them and if need be, kick them straight out of our crime scene. There will be no Freibergs here. If some clown shows up with an ID that says he is Scourge trained and tries to take over, bust him on an obstruction charge and get him off our crime scene if he doesn’t leave.”

“Yes, sir.”


Chapter 50.

Windegar Aerie.

Ozzie and Swifty turned on Gryseig and said, “Why didn’t you tell us what he was like?”
“Me, what about you?  You’re from the Republic and dragonkin. You must have known about him. This isn’t my Aerie. It looks as if I’m next. The princess is pointing at me.”

“Are all the princesses like this?”

“I wouldn’t know. She’s recruited Suzy.”

“Slug, I don’t see you moving!” Immianthe yelled. “Now you know what to do and the boys want lunch, so they need to earn their sheep! So get moving!”

Gryseig groaned and entered the course.

Desert Howl

“Moonshine! What brings you here?”

Millia had popped into the kitchen and Moonshine had apparently been waiting for Bill.

“Hi, Millia. Actually, I was asked by Alinis to discretely deliver a royal invitation.”

“A royal invitation? That sounds mysterious.”

“Well, yes it is. Prince Vindica from Astua is here in the country and is looking for mage Cornaith Binorin. Actually, he is looking for his brother, Tolliad.”

“The Binorins live a bit down the street. Tolly is there. Bill knows Cornaith since Cornaith took over Terrel’s department as well as his when Terrel was called up.”

“So Cornaith is Bill’s boss now at Beinan’s.”
“Yes.”

“Is Bill at work?”
“Yes. He has been working at Beinan’s after school.”
“What about his own things?”
“He’s had to put that on the back burner because of the Beinan work for the navy.”

“What does Harald think about that?”
“We haven’t activated Harald very much as Bill doesn’t want to waste his time. So Harald remains below for now. Bill is also concerned that some people will look for the real Harald.”

“They have other concerns. In any case, I have invitations for me, Bill, Cornaith and his family as well as Tolly to be at a dinner on the Plateau.”

“Why you and Bill?”

“The prince’s ladyfriend is Sarya Dawkins, who knows Alinis and me from her pursuits in the Lower City.”
“She chased you?”
“There were reasons and it was fun for both sides, though I thought of her as the strange Justiciar girl and we didn’t actually talk until last night.”

“So why Bill?”
“That was me, telling Bill stories. So Sarya wants us to meet them in Chatsrey, take them places and have Bill tell the stories he can talk about.”

“Why the party and the Plateau?”

“There are reasons, and they involve a girl that disappeared and Jorge.”
“What happened?”
“Vindy and Alinis didn’t know. Jorge and the girl were involved because Jorge has a class in Chatsrey and the girl was trying to get to Ironton. They ran into each other and the FSA started to run around looking for the girl.”

“There must be more. When you find out what happened, Jump down and we will go to the shack. I think that is Bill arriving now.”

Bill came into the house and smiled as he saw Moonshine. “What brings you here, Moonshine.”

Moonshine held up an envelope. “A royal invitation to a dinner on the Plateau. I will be the entertainment for the evening.”

Bill frowned. “Are you sure that you want to?”
“Don’t worry. The party is at the old families’ place, the Residence. I have heard too many stories about some of the other things that go on and I wouldn’t accept unless you were going and I had mana stored.”

“I’ll go, then. I’ll need to tell the school about this and get the time, but since I am graduating, that isn’t a big deal.”

“Good. You will know some of the people coming, as the Steelmakers will be there, as will Adiun Beinan and his wife. Also the prince wants to meet with you in Chatsrey and discuss some things. So we are taking a break and going up ahead.  I’m not sure if your grandfather is invited to the party, but he may be. You and I can have two guests in any case. Now I need to see the Binorins.”

“What for?”

“Tolly’s brother wants to see him and the Binorins. So, I need to deliver some invitations.”

“Ok, then. I have the car, so we can go over. Mr. Binorin should be home. Then we can go out to dinner.”

“That sounds wonderful.”

“Come back here after dinner,” Millia said. “I want to know what you have been up to, Moonshine.”
As they drove to the Binorins, Cornaith pulled into the drive in front of them, got out of the car and said, “Hi Bill, you brought Moonshine.”

“Mr. Binorin, Moonshine has some invitations for you and Tolly.”
“What for?”
“Tolly’s brother wants him to join Vindy and his sister Holly at a dinner at the Residence on the Plateau.”

“Come on in. I didn’t know that Vindy was in the country.”
“Sarya hasn’t made a large impact yet,” Moonshine said.
Cornaith laughed. “Is she some competion for you?”

“Not really. It’s not like I would chase Vindy and she isn’t chasing me.”
“Did she do that?”

“I don’t think that I will say.”
Nildi came charging out and screamed, “Moonshine! Are you dancing?”

“No. I’m here to hand something to Tolly and your parents. You can possibly go too.”

“Tolly and Livy are here. They are helping mom with dinner.”

“Why don’t you come inside, you two, and tell us what is going on,” Cornaith said.

Cornaith led them to the house and the kitchen where Neddu was making dinner with Livy with Tolly working on homework on the kitchen table. Neddu grinned and said, “Welcome Moonshine. Are you here to do a dance, or just to see Bill?”
Moonshine handed Neddu a fancy envelope. “Neither. You and your husband, with Tolly are invited to a dinner with Tolly’s brother and sister.”

“They are here? I want to meet them. Where is the dinner?”
“At the Residence on the Plateau.”

Neddu frowned. “I’m not sure that I will be welcome.”

“The Harpers will not be bothered and neither will most of the families,” Cornaith said. “Neddu, if some Plateau types get obnoxious, we can get Vindy to kick them out. Chances are you won’t be the only desert folk lady as your aunt will be there as well. Moonshine, Neddu’s aunt married Tom Harper.”

“I have to go, regardless,” Tolly said. “Livy, will you come?”

Livy smiled. “Is that a date, smooth skin?”

“Yes it is, scaly girl.”

“What about Nildy,” Neddu said. “I don’t want her on the Plateau.”
“We will work something out,” Cornaith said. “I need to talk to Feno about this in any case. Moonshine, do you have an address for the prince?”
“He is using the consulate for the mail. The address is there on the invitations. I think that Bill and I will take our leave.”

“You could stay for dinner,” Neddu said.

“I want to have a dinner with Bill and talk about things,” Moonshine said. “I want to know what he has been doing while I have been up in Chatsrey and plan a trip to the Empire when the term is over so that he can visit the faery kingdom.”
“I see. You have been separate for some time and I imagine that you have some things to talk about. You are off the hook, this time.”

Ironton.

Shael walked into the parlor and said to Ara, “I’m not sure how to handle this.”

“What is it, dear?”
“An invitation to a dinner on the Plateau for Jorge and me, along with two family members.”
“Who is hosting the dinner?”
“The crown prince of Astua.”

“Then we should go. Where is the dinner being held?”
“At a place called the Residence.”
“That is the old families’ house on the Plateau. Actually it is a bit bigger than a house, but long ago, the property came up for sale and the Brownlows purchased it and sold shares to the other seven old families. Someone in the old families must have provided accomidation for the prince. That was a shrewd thing to do. I will wire Naertho and have him return.”

Shael smiled. “Then I will wire mother and have her hand him something that I did not bring with me.”

“What was that?”
“My dress for the Empress’s conclave dinner and ball. My dress for the tea is already here.”
Ara smiled. “Yes, that would be more than suitable.”

“Now comes the hard part, getting Jorge to go.”

“We will work on that.”

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