The Kraken and Dark Sea, Chapter 84.

Another victim of the spider is found.

Chapter 84.

Chatsrey.

“Special Agent Stonecracker, the body is over here, in this abandoned car.”

Tod followed the sergeant, glad that he had brought rubber boots. There was little he could do about the stench. A Chatsrey police photographer was taking pictures of the body when they arrived. The empty lot had collected the typical pile of trash and car hulks. The body had been dropped through the car roof, and was tangled in the rotten seats, dripping goo. Tod looked at the bound up body and said, “Any clue as to who he was?”

“Gerad Handers, otherwise known as the Ironfist. He was an adjuster for the Lions.”

“Another member of the Horse Pistol Club as well, probably.”

“Probably. The lady likes to play rough.”

“According to what we have, playing rough helps the transformation trip the first few times. So the lady gets a rush and the transformation, followed by dinner. How was the body found?”

“Some kids were playing in the lot, smelled something really bad, and spotted dried goo. They opened the trunk and called a cop.”

Izzie Dantas showed up and said, “You found him.”

“Did you know about this?” Stonecracker asked.

“There were rumors going around that Ironfist was missing, but you know how that goes. I was tipped that a lady was in town early and met with another lady, so I was expecting a body.”

“Do you have any pictures?”

“No. we spotted them in a café and cameras would have given us away, so we didn’t bring one.”

“Was there anything special about the ladies?”

“They were at a café during lunch and didn’t order anything other than tea.”

“Both of them?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know who the second lady is?”

“A well known lady philanthropist, Mora Chambers. Seemingly above reproach at all levels. She was also in Ironton on a project when certain men were meals. I’ve been going through the Press Service morgue and it was rather interesting. The lady doesn’t have a family or a lot of friends, most of her entertaining is to aid her projects and seemingly the incidents that happen where she is are just coincidences. I will have the entire thing sent to your office.”

“Unless she is caught in the act, getting her is going to be tricky, especially now. This is going to have to be kept quiet or it could blow up in our faces.”

“Vinnie and I were aware of that. We were rather nervous with the ladies there in that café, because if they made us, we could be dinner at some point. Vinnie says that it has happened before.”

Vivia was watching Wyrran do some repair work when she heard a car drive up. Tiny opened the door, and Mel Allred, a younger version of Mel and another lady go out. Vivia yelled and Mel waved and walked over. The two ladies were dressed in a simple Imperial style and one had collar of all things. Mel smiled as they walked up and said, Vivia, this is my daughter Lidia and Fillia Fallingwater, who insists on remaining a slave.”

Vivia looked at Fillia and said, “Why do you do that Fillia?”

Fillia smiled and said, “Because it drives Immigration crazy and since they made trouble for me son and Lidia’s, I am forcing the case. It is working its way through the courts. So far I have been winning. I hope that it get resolved before my son’s wedding to the Imperial princess happens and makes the thing rather ridiculous.”

“That sounds rather lunatic. So what brings you ladies to me today?”

“We wanted to talk to you about your family and how they arrived here. I am representing the high family and the Silverin would like to know your history and how many are here in the Republic in addition to the exiles and their descendants.”

“I think you can guess how we arrived.”

“Through the portal here. It probably connected to the old estate, something we have not found as yet.”

“Why not?”

“The lands in the north on the Silverin estate were struck by the Blight repeatedly. I will have my father come down and I think that Lord Umevan has ensured that the portal works, so we can possibly arrange for some scamps to come down and do some digging around here for vaults and such.”

“Vaults like the ones on Castle Hill. Why would they be here?”
“Because the Folly would be obvious and this would be a bolthole to protect the family. Unfortunately Ishendell was scourged and the dark was able to get their hands on the alternate portal control panel, so the family was trapped, some retreated to the Folly and the rest indentured ourselves to the Umevan, a relationship that worked well for both families until the dark brought them down as well.”

“The Umevan are very wealthy here, because they make the things that are needed for electricity.”

“Yes. The family here are friends as well.”

“I have some wonderful tea brewed and in the icebox. I see that Tiny has distracted Wyrran, so why don’t we pretend as if we don’t see them chatting while Wyrran is supposed to be doing what he is doing.”

Wyrran looked at the ladies as they went inside, turned to Tiny and said, “Good, she took them inside.”

“Is she a slavedriver type?”

“Not at all, but if they are inside, we don’t have to worry about somebody else seeing us talking while they are outside and she’s supposedly watching me.”

“Do you think that you are being watched?”

Wyrran pointed at the row of rather large office buildings that overlooked the house. “There are a lot of windows up there, somebody could rent an office and keep an eye on the lady, and the portal.”

“Good point. How is it going with the lady?”

“I haven’t moved in, though she wants me to. I also haven’t told her about my past.”

“You don’t really have to.”

“No, but the time may come soon that I have to be someplace doing something and I don’t want her involved.”

“If they pick up on you, she may be involved any way.”

“That frightens me more than a bit. In any case, they haven’t tried to look into the portal, which is stupid, because Jorge has already had his hands on it and didn’t even try to hide that it was him. They should know better than to trust a portal that he has even been close to, let alone touched.”

Tiny laughed. “I think that I will go and get gas and caffee and let you get back to your work.”

“The thing is that I’m starting to like this.”

“It’s not a bad place to be.”

Bill’s grandfather was waiting with a grinning Altak as Bill and Moonshine emerged from the airport terminal. “I understand that you were horsing around.”

“Wait a hundredth and I will explain.”

 Another half elf and fae girl emerged, towing luggage and Bill said, “This is my fellow prisoner and troublemaker, Sudyral Shahana, along with Galaxa.”

“I’m surprised they came back.”

My father says to do the unexpected,” Sudyral said. “They probably expect us to to stay in the Timberlands, well guarded by my father. Since they want me up there so that they can do certain things, I’m better off here.”

“Well, you all get in the car and you can tell me about your horsing around.”

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