Haciathra wakes some people up. Tad makes more deliveries.
Haciathra gathered the slaves and said, “Prepare to wake the others.”
The slaves first went to the stasis cases that contained the others’ servants. Waking them, one by one, the servants were set to tasks. Since the others did not have Haciathra’s diet, they had needs that were required to be met. The seven quarters were prepared. A high servant was ported to obtain the required produce and other provender for the soon to be awakened masters.
In all the confusion, the oracle slave could not get the Mistress’s attention and was taken off her duties to tend to other things. The oracle sat unattended as messages flowed in from various places. By the time she was able to look for a brief moment, the traffic had returned to normal and there was nothing unusual visible. The oracle slave turned back to other duties until her meal and bed.
The Empty Lands.
Jomney was a bit surprised to see the man, looking not a day older than the last time he had seen him a decade ago approach from the road portal. Jomney was wearing his comfortable slave tunic and the man apparently still thought that things were the way they had been the last time that he had the last time he had been at the Camp that long decade ago. Jomney grinned as the man approached with a list and said, “Are you still in charge here, Jomney?”
“Excellent. Then you can fill this list.”
“Let me look at it and we can get started.”
The man handed Jomney the list, which was mostly canned vegetables, bread, hams and cheeses. Jomney had the items pulled from stores, put them in wagons and the wagons were taken to the Road portal. The wagons were unloaded and the loads sent through the portal. When it was all done, the man said his good byes and followed the food through the portal. Jomney turned to his son and said, “They woke some people up. It was good thing I wore this old tunic and he wasn’t paying attention.”
A truck passed them on its way to the Retreat. Sam watched it go down the road and said, “We were lucky. If he had seen that, it would have given everything away. I’ll set up a road block so that when they show up, nothing comes down the road. I’ll also get some guys wearing slave tunics around and put more horses in the corrals.”
“Let me write a quick report and you can take it to the major.”
“Why did they come here for that stuff?”
“Because that was what they have always done. I doubt that the boss thought to tell the servants anything about how things have changed. So he ported here and asked the head slave, me, for what he needed. He didn’t pay attention and saw what he wanted to see.”
“We could put surprises in the next shipment.”
“Let’s hold off on that. We can save that for when it really stings.”
“We also have their portal code.”
“Yes we do, and that was stupid on their part.”
Collette grinned as the young man entered the parlor. “Tad, I see that you have recovered from your adventures. You are growing so quickly.”
“I am out of some people’s clutches.”
“I see that the princess has set people to watch out for you.”
“It wasn’t the princess. The House was restored and I have people to watch me now, since I am currently the heir.”
“What brings you here?”
“Grandfather wanted to give you a gift and told me to deliver it. I’m also taking some things to the Dragomaster’s office, but he can talk to you about them later.”
“What is the gift?”
“A case of Fallingwater Red. This is grandfather’s personal selection.”
“Then we will appreciate it. Thank your grandfather for the wonderful gift. Did he have a reason?”
“The reason is the rest of the things. If they are part of a diplomatic gift, the people at the airport can’t snoop at them. I need to go back to the airport. I have more stops to make.”
Qambois looked at the stack of drawing tubes and said, “Vafealine, what is all this?”
“Nathan and Yrvien dropped this off. Tad apparently found some places in the jungle that had been Scourged.”
“Why four tubes?”
“One for us, one for Military intelligence, one for the Consul’s office and one for Halamar. Yrvien is trusting us to distribute them discreetly.”
“Where are they?”
“They went back to the airport, refueling the plane for their next stop, Hammerfall.”
“They flew a Republican navy plane here? Admiral Harper’s plane?”
“They didn’t say. Nobody has raised a fuss about it.”
“Get these things delivered. I think I will see what young Tad has sent us.”
Qambois took the tube into his office and opened it. After looking at the pictures and the report inside, he came back out and said, “Call the admiral. We are going to want Dennis and Ambilge, along with their ship.”
“To poke into the jungle. The Project Scourged ten places right next to each other and that means that they were protecting something important.”
Prince Brouzen grinned as the remarkable young man came down the airport concourse, followed by two obvious bodyguards and a porter towing what appeared to be a case of wine. The boy stopped and said, “Prince Brouzen, I am Tad Fallingwater. This is for you from my grandfather, Lord Silverin. My grandfather wishes you good health and long life. He sends a letter of introduction here.”
Tad handed Brouzen a drawing tube.
“Can you stay, young Tad?”
“I cannot stay long. Once my plane refuels, I need to be on to my next stop.”
“My brother and I thank you for this generous gift, then. May I take you to lunch, at least?”
“We can do that. If you could have somebody wrap up something for Nathan and Yrvien, that would be a big help. They asked for steak sandwiches.”
“That can be arranged.”
“That’s good, because my pilots are dragons and I don’t want them hungry while flying.
Brouzen took Tad to a restaurant across from the airport where the place had been closed by his staff. Tad sat down and after lunch was finished said, “The tube contains a report and pictures that I made for Diligent’s next survey. West of here, someone Scourged ten places surrounding a volcano.”
“In the Junglelands?”
“Yes. The places were covered by frames duplicated from the next pictures.”
“What was there before?”
“I’m not sure. I included the pictures and pictures from the ancient eyes, but I am not expert in seeing things or what ancient things looked like. I just found these yesterday. I haven’t had time to ask people about what is there and get some guesses.”
“When you do, Please send me the final report.”
“You are on the list. Thank you for the lunch.”
Tad took the boxed sandwiches and left. Brouzen looked at the material and went to his car. Tom had been right about how hot the material was.