The Kraken and The Dark Sea, Chapter 13-14

The Project has been forced to retreat yet again. Rob visits the Mage Academy.

Chapter 13.

The Citadel

Mórsairon, Dúhael, Cantgúl and Blackfire took stock of the loss. The amazing thing was that the grinning Herdir had yet again managed to make it through the chaos of the evacuation and to the Citadel with the others. Blackfire looked at the assembled Primary carts and said, “We lost five carts.”

“That is twenty five devises that enemy has, brother,” Dúhael said.

 Blackfire looked at Dúhael rather askance and said, “The enemy has the transmuters, the enrichment plants, the electricity and the skilled people to make cores if they so choose. Twenty more or less, doesn’t make a difference. Our greatest defenses are the fact that we do not have cities that out enemies can Scourge and that the enemy does not know where we are.”

“We can’t afford to bicker now,” Mórsairon said. “Let us get ourselves established and prepare for the next little time.”

Chatsrey.

Bill came into Sarya’s office and said, “They took out the Hideaway yesterday. Most of the enemy got away, though.”

“What about the Primaries?”
“The admiral says that they have them, but the enemy doesn’t know that.”
“Why not?”
“Lord Umevan and Rob pulled a switch. Apparently the enemy never considered what could happen if you had your fuses built in someone else’s shop and they knew about it. Rob had a hundred or so dummy Primaries made that are perfect except that they don’t have cores. Then Jorge arranged it so that instead of the portal at the Hideaway porting the evacuating devises where they were supposed to go, they were ported to the Portal Service in Ishendell where they made the switch and ported the dummies on to where they were supposed to go.”

Sarya laughed. “So the Scourge threat is gone, except for devises that we don’t know about?”
“Yes. No more dead cities, I hope.”

“I can second that.”

The various employees of Chatsrey Radio filed into the modern styled conference room. In keeping with the supposedly forward looking CRC, the room was all light hardwoods and slim furniture. That did not lighten the mood of the various people entering the room.

Calak looked around the table, put down his cigar and said, “Galor, since you had your brother look into young Mr. Wavechaser, why don’t you tell us what you discovered.”
“Ok, Mr. Leatherbeater. I asked my brother to go to the South Howl Upper School science faire as that was where the furnace for making crystals that Bill Wavechaser had made had first appeared. I really hadn’t expected him to do anything for the faire and at first glance, my brother didn’t realize what he was seeing. He was looking at the surfboards that another boy had made because he makes his living on the beach surfing and what not. In any case, he was impressed by the surfboards and didn’t really pay attention to the radio that was there as well. Bill Wavechaser was making what appeared to be signs from glass fiber boards that he made. My brother went off making surfboards with Mr. Wavechaser’s partner and didn’t send me the pictures until he had them developed for his magazine. I had him send me the negatives and had this picture of the radio enlarged.”

Galor put the enlargement on an easel. He took out a pointer and said, “Here is an enlargement of the radio. If you look closely, you can see that the radio does not have a chassis in the traditional sense and that the components are sitting on one of those fiber boards.”

Harald Stringer, CRC’s manufacturing chief looked around and said, “No wires?”
“Without closely examining the radio, apparently not.”

“Is the boy protected?” Gade Garfish of legal asked.

“He has had patents filed and approved.”

“Not pending? I was having his things tied up in knots.”
“Approved. While you were occupied with the others, these slipped right through.”

“What does this mean?” Stan Billings of sales asked.

“The estimates I have from Harald’s people is that forty to fifty percent of costs in fabricating radios goes away with the wires,” Axeforger said.

“Who are the patents assigned to?” Stringer asked. “Beinan’s?”

“They are not assigned.”
“How are negotiations with the boy’s father proceeding?” Calak asked.

“They aren’t,” Gade replied. “He hasn’t answered our mail or messages and the navy says that he is at sea.”

“Is the boy with his friend making surf boards?” Billings asked. “That would probably be the safest thing for us that he could be doing.”

“Ed says that the boy went to some sort of trip on a ship that Beinan’s arranged.”

“So Beinan’s is covering the boy?”

“The boy is part of a contractor team for the navy. That is what my brother had from the boy’s friend, Jimmy.”

“Is Jimmy a partner on the patents?” Gade asked. “We could work with that.”

“Not the patents that matter,” Galor said. “The glass fiber and glue patent yes, but not the laminated board and printing patents. Those were filed by Wavechaser alone.”

“Could you challenge the patents, Gade?” Stan asked.

“At this point, unless I had something similar that we worked on and patented, no. Do we?”

“I checked,” Galor said. “We have never done anything with those sorts of materials. The phone company has, but they don’t have any with the glass inside. “In any case, they don’t have circuits on panels.”

“Boss, have you told the other members of the consortium about this?” Axeforger asked.

“I wanted to get the big picture before taking it to the board or outside. Jon, you and Galor get together with Harald and get some numbers. I want to have an idea what the start up costs would be and what we can afford to pay Wavechaser if we have to.”

“That’s going to be a big number, one way or another boss.”

“I know, and it won’t just be us footing the bill.”

Bob looked at the six people in front of him and said, “Bill, your wedding is set for a five day. Then I guess that all of you go back to the Justiciar.”
“We pretty much did what we came for, dad,” Bill said. “So it’s time to go back.”

“Take Gander a full report of what we found.”
“I’m annoyed that we couldn’t actually bust some of those termite mound types.”

“I share that annoyance, but without Gordy testifying, that wasn’t going to happen. We did get a lot of nasty places shutdown. They also know that we are watching.”

Chapter 14.

The Sanctum

Iris emerged from the grove with a disappointed Tim and said to Rob, “The grove rejected him.”
“Do you know why?”
“In the beginning, the grove was rather desperate and accepted all that would pass the test. That was necessary to build a community. The community has become rather large and I suspect that the grove is looking to see how things go forward. On the other hand, the young man did not fail his test, as the test never started. So you can try another grove or the mages.”

“The mages are here, are they not?”
“Yes. You do not have to go to the academy.”

“I think that I will in any case. Tim is a naval officer and while the navy has had exiled mages as officers and crew, I want to make sure about the rules.”

The Mage Academy.

Edlrin Zeastearos joined the Grand Master and Captain Bronzerock, and said, “You wanted to see me, Grand Master?”
“Yes. Rob here has a young ensign that he would like to be tested.”
“If he has graduated from the Naval Academy, how would he function as a mage?”
“You are wise to the world, Master Zeastearos,” Rob said. “That is a bit of a surprise.”

“It shouldn’t be, considering who my father was. You must have some ideas already.”

“This will have to go above my pay grade, but I do. You know Cornaith Binorin?”
“Yes.”
“He is not a unique case. The services have had mages in the ranks from the beginning as officers and noncommissioned specialists. These were exiles in Service for the most part, but there were career officers as well.”

“That could be seen a violating their mage oaths.”
“The Republic did not ask them to use their abilities to harm others. If they did use them, the officers were functioning as medical staff or doing things like collecting intelligence. The Grand Master wants me to take a proposal back to the High Admiral codifying the fact that mages will not be required to violate their oaths into the military code in the Republic. Due to your father’s efforts, that is already the case in the Fellowship and the Kingdom.”

“Are you going to do so?”
“I will take the proposal to Admiral Harper. He shouldn’t have a problem with it.”

Edlrin turned to Onvyr and said, “I’m not sure how this involves me at all.”

Onvyr grinned. “First of all, there is the ensign. The captain wants him tested and I have agreed. Second, you expressed a desire to go to the Republic and the captain here wants a mage of long experience to help him with a project.”

“Tell me about it.”

“In the Republic, the navy has a reserve and on the reserve is an Ancient Imperial underground cavern we have always called the Tomb. Recently, in more than a bit of a mistake, I decided to use the Tomb to test the effects of a Primary on an underground structure.”

“Why did you do that?”
“This was just after Lain Othrond was discovered and there was some thinking that if Scourge devises were launched from there, we would have to set a Primary off inside the Downstairs to stop them. The test was a failure because there is an operating Scourge suppressor in the Tomb and I had Jorge send the Primary to the Deadlands.”

“You would have killed innocents if you had set off the devise in Lain Othrond.”

“I know. I would not have even considered it, except to avoid something like the five cities. As it turned out, using a Primary would not have changed anything and the Jorges are getting better at porting things and soldiers into the underground hideouts, so sending a Primary is unecessary. Also, the remaining Primaries in the hands of the Project will have issues.”

“What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything. Some others took advantage of an opportunity and someone forgot that they no longer had the portal control board.”

“Tell me more about your project.”
“When the devise did not go off in the Tomb, I realized that there must be more there than the space itself. As a result of events and the fact that I needed someone tested and from the old families, I haven’t had the chance to really look into what is there. I do know that there is at least one Scourge suppressor there and if I had had it, Luggergate would not have happened.”

“What happened there?”
“A lot of foolishness and stupidity.” Rob told the others the story. “The worst part is that it was one thing after another going wrong. But the key was just as we would get things back on track, the Senior Agent would do something else and there we would be, dealing with another problem that we should not have had to deal with. Right up until the end when the fool tripped the jack and set the thing off.”

Edlrin looked at the Grand Master and said, “I will test the Ensign and go with you. I have one condition. Captain, would you get tested as well.”

Onvyr looked at Eldrin and said, “Richard?”
“Yes. My father told me about Richard and the captain is leaking a bit. Captain, are there exiles in your past?”

Rob frowned. “Eldrin, you will have to ask my mother. She keeps track of those things. There probably are. It isn’t that unusual.”

“Let us get you tested and see if there is anything familiar about you.”

After Rob and the ensign were tested, Eldrin entered Onvyr’s office and said, “That’s a relief.”

“Did they pass?”
“Both of them passed. My father made a bit of a mistake by not traveling that far south and I think I will accept the offer to do so.”

“Will they take the oath?”
“I took it from both of them already. They are both very dedicated to service and saving lives. I will discuss setting up some sort of discreet testing program at the naval academy.”
“That would be testing soldiers for their contact with mana and training them to handle it.”
“We do that for the high guard and the army already here. When the soldiers stayed in the Blasted Lands, the testing was not an issue, though father was talking to people in the Fellowship about a discreet program. We should take advantage of the church moderating and insure that someone doesn’t do something spontaneously.”

“Do you have an example?”
“Young Divad, for instance. Right now, I am glad that he is so dedicated and was willing to learn to shield. What concerns me is that there could be bombs that we won’t see until they exit a portal.”

“I think that you will enjoy the trip in any case.”

“A mystery to chase and new places to see? I certainly will.”

  Bubil Kil

Naertho stood in front of Furnace number 2, the first of the new furnaces and said, “Today this furnace goes hot. I want to thank all the people here who made that happen. One of the great shames of my life was that I allowed myself to be forced from being in a position to grow this place here and allow it to reach its full potential. With this furnace going hot, we have started along the long road that I had abandoned. Thank you all for making this happen.”

Nistra saw the figure in the background, ran to him, hugged him and said, “Durlan! You have returned!”

Durlan had a sheepish grin on his face as he said. “The job was done.”

“I’m not going to take you to task for taking so long about it, though I may take your mistress to task for not allowing you to send letters.”
“That was me, more than Mrs. Steelmaker. I thought about you all the time. I went to the estate and you were here instead.”

“Yes I am. You must meet my parents. I do hope that you can stay a long time.”

“The lady wants us to take a break. The last thing did not end well.”

“I know. A city was Scourged.”
“The frustrating thing was that we all did so much to stop it and we almost did, except for a stupid idiot and his prejudices. I have done things I wish that I could forget, for money, but that last, “You idiot! You have killed the city,” coming over the speaker and then boom.”

“That sounds horrible.”

“Nistra, it was. It was worse than the five cities, and I could not stop that either. This time it was my responsibility to help stop the Scourging and it wasn’t Dúhael or somebody like him doing it, it was an idiot messing one thing after another up, until it was over. What has been happening here?”

“Well, as you can see, Lord Umevan has gotten the steel factory started at last. He’s a bit late, but the lake took longer to fill and the Ironhouse needed more protection from the water. The Conclave is going on in the Empire and I am recruiting Dancers here for the House.”
“What House?”

“House Silverin. We are sharing the park next to the palace with the Umevan and I want the Silverin here to be part of that. Also the girls here do not have a certain reputation.”

Durlan laughed. “Like my sister?”
“Yes. We need plans to find her a True.”

“You have met.”
“Oh yes, we have met.”

“What about us?”
“We have a lot to talk about. Your mother led you down a dark path, and we will have to fix that.”

“You have been talking to grandmother as well, haven’t you? How did that happen?”

“Your sister made the arrangements. Now let us take disreputable you and meet my parents. By the way, the next time you go someplace, I go as well.”

“That may be difficult.”

“At first it will be. But I have been learning from some other ladies in similar circumstances and it may not be as difficult as you think. After we meet my parents here, we can go to the Republic and speak with Mrs. Steelmaker about that.”

“You seem to know quite a bit already.”

“Another thing is that we have to have your cousins and the rest come here for a while.”

“Why?”

“Because, if they don’t bond with my sister and the other girls here, the dragons will and that will annoy my brother.”

“Your brother?”
“The dragons steal sheep to get the girls’ attention. The harder it is to steal the sheep, the more they like it.”

“What do the girls do?”
“Leave pies out and take rides in the woods alone. So far two of my cousins have ended up in caves. My brother hasn’t gotten his hands on a machine gun, but he is trying.”

“I will have to have Wyrran and the others come, then. We wouldn’t want your brother shooting down potential relatives.”

Hawk grinned as he watched the young lady cajole and push the rather embarrassed Durlan toward her parents. That, at least was one bounty that was resolved in a good way. It was unlikely that the lady was going to allow Durlan to fall into his old bad habits. Will and Lensa, looking rather overwhelmed, walked up and Will said, “We want to thank you for saving us.”

“It was part of the job.”

“No, it was not!” Lensa said. “I think that I will speak to your lady and see what we can do for you.”

“My lady might not be easy to find.”
 “She likes to transform, probably.”
“I’m not going to say what my lady does and where she is.”

“The true Hawk comes out! He is afraid that people will see his true self.” Lensa kissed Hawk on the cheek. “Don’t worry, we won’t tell.”

“What will you do about Dúhael and the others?” Will asked.

“People that are up to something don’t hide as well as people who aren’t. That crowd is definitely up to something and if I can mess things up enough for them, they will be exposed. That was how Dúhael was caught in the first place. If he had stayed at your place, he wouldn’t have been found. But he came here, and was seen. They have things they want, and they will try to get them. That is where I will look.”

“They didn’t leave much behind at the Hideaway.”
“More than you think. They left Lensa behind, for instance. The same thing happened at all the places they have abandoned. They left irate or angry family members with many of their secrets to tell them to others.”
“I don’t think that I know a great many secrets,” Lensa said. “I just worked at the small portal.”

“That could be bad all by itself. I will let others speak with you about that.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s