The Kraken and The Dark Sea, Chapter 11-12

Robe gives a presentation at the Conclave. Dilligent leaves port.

Chapter 11.

The Imperial Palace.

Rob stood at the podium and said, “Milords, I wanted to give an updated presentation of my last year’s brief on Scourge devises. Since my presentation last year, all of the ancient Scourge devises have been found and either dismantled or sent to the Deadlands in the Southern Republic to detonate safely. That was confirmed using a list from House Qinvaris. Both the House and the Inquisition had the list, they were the same and all devises on the list were accounted for.

“Unfortunately, a group usurped the Umevan estate, used the power dam there to create Scrouge devise cores, suborned a man in my own shop to design and produce Primary fuses and using the components and material manufactured in the Sanctuary, created one hundred and twenty five known Primaries and cans to match. They tested their devise on the City of Wongpo ten years ago and subsequently used devises in five cities in the Mortal Kingdoms. Later, the city of Luggergate in the Republic was destroyed by a Scourge devise. In this presentation I will go over the efforts that my department, the special section, the Inquisition, The Office of Innamates in the Republic, House Beinan, House Umevan, House Qinvaris, the Justiciars and the Mage Academy have been conducting to mitigate the threat.”

Rob went over the events, starting from the Grand Master’s funeral, the discovery of the Scourge devise factory on the Umevan estate, the discovery of Wongpo, the pursuit of the devises and the Scourging of the five cities. He finished with, “There is some very good news. The Darkmage’s relatives were driven out of another hiding place and more Primaries were recovered. Even better, the Empress’s Scourge suppressor project has insured that the threat of further Scourging is almost nothing. That is my presentation today. Copies of this brief are available at the door.”

Narbeth joined Rob and Tim as they prepared to leave and said, “Captain, thank you for this presentation. I’m sure that this was a relief to us all. How bad was Luggergate?”

“Your majesty, it was one thing, right after another, most of it caused by an idiot who was more concerned with who had what jurisdiction than the what was needed to remove the threat. Right up to the end, when he set the thing off, the threat wasn’t real to him and I had to listen through the phone helplessly as he did it.”

“At least you survived. We need you. Ensign, take good care of your boss. You are new to the Captain’s team, aren’t you?”

“I was assigned a moon ago, your majesty,” Tim said. “I just graduated from the Academy this year.”

“I welcome you to the Empire and the Conclave. I hope that you have some time to enjoy yourself here.”
“That is up to the captain.”
“That should keep you out of trouble.”  

Chapter 12.

RNS Diligent  

The gangway was brought aboard and stowed, a last load of precious fresh fruits and vegetables were swung aboard and taken to the galley, the lines were cast off and a tug pulled Diligent away from pier 25. Once clear of the pier, the tug cast off and Diligent proceeded under her own power out of the harbor, the oil engines rumbling away.

Alb grinned as his wife, along with some of other wives of the crew gave the ship a dance as the ship passed the harbor entrance. Raela, his wife and bond for twenty five years spotted him, and with a tremendous leap, left the water and landed on the deck beside the bridge. “You come back, sailor. You come back to me, understand.”

Alb kissed her and said, “I will, dear.”

“I will see you in Ishendell when you arrive.”

“Cheater. You are taking the liner.”

“They won’t let wives on board your ship, so I have to do something. Adreala and I will join you in Ishendell.”

“You can visit the Embassy and see if you could go to the Empire as well.”

“A mermaid in every port? I like that idea. I will see you in Ishendell, then.”

 She leapt back into the water and she and the other mermaids waved and danced as the ship left the harbor. The captain turned to Roger who had the con and said, do you have a lady, Mr. Seachaser?”
“Not as yet, sir?”
“I hope that you find one as precious as mine.”
“Why do you leave, sir?”

“So that she and ours are safe. Doesn’t your family have tales of the bloody admiral and what he did to the bowers?”

“Yes sir. The bloody admiral is dead.”

“He is, but the folk who unleashed him are not. Have you ever conned a ship under sail, ensign?”
“No sir?”

“You won’t be able say that any more. Prepare to take the helm aft.”

“Yes sir! You have the conn, sir!”

“I have the conn.”

Roger headed aft to the quarter deck, on top of the superstructure below the mizzenmast. The bosun was already there and a grinning Rod Wavechaser had the wheel. When Roger arrived, the bosun pulled out his pipe and blew. Like fast moving blue monkeys the crew assaulted the shrouds and climbed up the masts, releasing the sails. That done, the crew descended and one by one the sails were set. The ship heeled over as the captain arrived aft and called out, “Finished with Engines!”

The rumble stopped, the captain turned to Roger and said, “The ship is yours, Ensign.”

“I have the ship, sir!” 

Leaping out of the water, mixed with dolphins, the mermaids rode the bow wave as the ship cut through the water until, as it headed toward dusk, they dropped off and disappeared. Roger’s watch ended and he switched with Lieutenant Commander Brownlow. As he was heading below, Ironforge and Cutter came up the companionway headed to the rail and put their faces over the side. The bosun bellowed, “The lee rail, you bloody fools! The lee rail!” He yanked them off the rail, across the deck and over to the rail downwind. The retching pair spewed over the side. They were joined by their assistants, Swifty, Alre and surprisingly, Bill Wavechaser. Roger looked at him and said “Was that a surprise.”

Bill looked at him and said, “This is the first time. I’ve been on boats all my life and now it hits.”

“I have the feeling that it isn’t just the ship.”
“You saw that at the lunch. I’ve got a lot going on right now and then my dad sent me on this.”

“Look at it this way, you are here for three moons. I messed up with your cousin and I’m here for the entire commission.”
Bill laughed. “Since it wasn’t Jimmy, what did you do to Tim.”
“I made an ass out of myself over the tin he earned at Ishendell.”
“Did he go to the Beinan reunion?”
“What?”
“If you don’t know, you are better off not knowing. I know that both Tim and Jimmy didn’t quite come out of the siege the same. Then there are the other things they’ve seen.”
“What about you?”
“I was being bullied by my Senator over some things I made while I saw Luggergate die through the window. I live in Desert Howl and up until the Stewards tried to use a Primary to kill my friends and family at the Beinan plant, the Primaries were a show and a bit of a joke, something to scare people with. I lost three classmates and it could have been much worse. Even worse is that the Stewards did that to get at something I had.”
“What was it?”
“I can’t say.”
“It was worth using a Scourge devise to get at it?”
 “That was the second time the Stewards tried that for something I found. They got what they wanted both times. At least they think that they did.”

“This is part of what Captain Bronzerock and the major are fighting, isn’t it?”

“Yes it is. I’m going to turn in now.”

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