Here we go again. This is book 24, in case anyone is interested. There are over 3 million words written in the series. I do hope that people have been enjoying it as much as I have been writing this. Legacies of Lyrei ended up being two books, since I felt that 2 hundred and fifty thousand words was too long for one book. This is planned to be the second from the last book, but the last book is already 120,000 words.
In these chapters, Naertho makes plans and the general wants to know about airplanes.
The Legacies Of Lyrei
Almost as if the land had been cut with a knife, the jungle ended and the coast was replaced by the fishing villages and farms of southern Apua. All too soon, that was replaced by dead places, the strangely unspoiled bodies seen everywhere as the walls behind the port at Clerves appeared. The entrance to the harbor had the wreck of the Vikie Shahana blocking it, the bow stuck on the breakwater. Diligent dropped anchor and sent a boat ashore. As Vince and the others got off the boat, Roger and Ben were waiting. “Was it productive?”
“It was, in fact. One of the Scourged areas was close to the bay and we were able to get local assistance to the border for our equipment. So we were able to get good readings and both us and the weather people launched balloons.”
“Any sign of the people that launched the Scourge?”
“Yes. They used Jumpers from the Mage Wars and they have a lot to learn about aerial patrols. I don’t think that they have heard of camouflage nets or similar things. The patrols were also regular and consistent. One of the Jumpers did fire on the ship later, but the guns drove it off. The gunnery officer was rather annoyed that his reading session with his fae lady was interrupted.”
“The fae lady is from the Jungle?”
“Yes. She is one reason that we had local cooperation. Her friend, Ixora, was another. She’s sort of determined to change Bill’s bachelor status.”
“Is it working?”
“Yes. Unfortunately neither Bill nor the ensign have been dragged to a grove as yet. They were both tested.”
“Let’s get you set up here and limit your exposure.”
After the contractors were put ashore, Greldug boarded the boat and was taken to the ship. On the way out, he said, “Looking forward to the end of your Service, chief?”
“Yes I am, captain, if this doesn’t blow up.”
“Do you think it will?”
“I think that they are nervous and are going to rush things. Without their stasis cases, they can’t sleep their way out of time anymore and they will want to complete what they started.”
“They have Jumpers. Up to now, I had only read about them in ancient history books. The problem they have is that I doubt that they can support that many and most airplanes are probably faster than a Jumper in the air.”
“How good a look at them did you get?”
“Closer than we wanted when they opened fire. Of course the AA gun was manned and when the idiot opened fire with a Projector, so did we. They left with some holes and rather quickly. They were idiots and opened fire on the gunnery officer’s new girlfriend. He was rather annoyed and told the AA gun to knock them out of the sky.”
Greldug started to laugh his head off.
The Umevan Estate.
Nat looked at the screen in front of him, turned to Stadlee and said, “I think that we pulled off a miracle.”
“Getting two fusors operating, considering what we started with. That is sort of a miracle. Now that we have them, what should we do with them?”
“They’re fairly safe, here in this bunker. The safety interlocks won’t let anyone open any doors as long as the devises are operating. If we put the tablet someplace else, these won’t be easy to shut down and this will operate like the Sanctuary does.”
“I think that whoever set this up knew about the Sanctuary. In any case, it has been a profitable winter.”
Naertho came into the control room and said, “You are running these. Let them run. We need to be ready for something.”
“What are you expecting?”
“Some people are going to be making their big move and they will want the estate. I want to make that as painful as possible.”
“You are bringing mercenaries?”
“Under normal circumstances, I would, but the House also has our investments in Bubil Kil and other locations in the Mortal Kingdoms that are much closer to the enemy’s base than the estate is to consider. I’m also concerned with how suppressors will work in the Orcenlands, or for that matter, here. Stadlee, you and the operating staff, along with Nym will remain here. Your families will be moved to the Silverin estate and if necessary, through the portal to the Republic. Nat, you and the rest of the technical staff are going to join my family in Ironton.”
“What about Taerel’s people,” Stadlee asked. “There are the village folk as well.”
“We have twenty thousand people on the estate overall. Many of them need to be here for the plowing and planting right about the time that the thing is going to go off, if they do. What we will do is get most of the folk to the Silverin Estate that can go. That is especially true of the children and mothers. The farm families will probably not want to leave. I think that the Project people will not want to take the time to murder random farmers with all the other things pressing on them. What they do want is operating fusors, and you, Nat.”
“They already had me. They threw me away.”
“That was stupid. Once they see the operating fusors, they will want you back. I don’t want them to be in a position to have hostages, so you and your wife, along with your wife’s family are moving to Ironton for a while. We are also shipping everything and everyone involved in the fusor project to Ironton. We will try to make that discreet, but main thing is to get it done.”
“But not me and not the fusors themselves.” Stadlee said.
“The fusors are going to be a bargaining chip. They have wanted them ever since they heard about them. That may be one reason that they took the Sanctuary, but they couldn’t shut the one there down and if they couldn’t, the doors will not open and short of destroying the city, they can’t get to the fusor and if they did, the fusor would probably be useless to them. Then they needed the Sanctuary for other things. In any case, the things here will need to keep operating. With that in mind, I want to setup an auxiliary mana control board that can switch the mana we send to the Mana service to end points that we control. That way we can support things that the enemy expects to be shut down.”
“That means that they will come here, regardless.”
“Yes, they will. Since Jorge is not here, we will have to substitute. Let’s get started. By the way, I am a lot older and much, much sneakier than Jorge is. I may not have his touch with portals, but there are other ways and I will not give this place up again without a fight.”
Stadlee and Nat grinned. “Milord we will give them a fight that they will remember.”
“I expect nothing less.”
Ornthalus and Blackfire came into the oracle room, Seriellia turned and smiled. “You are coming to speak with me this time.”
“Haciathra is a trial, isn’t she?” Ornthalus said.
“I’m not going to say. I have been asking Biwynn for tips about handling her and she liked that I hit her.”
“What can you tell us about the defenses at the Umevan estate?”
“Very little. First of all, the estate was overrun by the major and the Qinvaris, but it is hard to tell how they did it and they had the advantage of surprise and the fact that Varitan and the others holed up in the bunker and were sending Scourge devises out, or trying to and being thwarted by Jorge. That made the defense confused and leaderless. Then there is the fact that Jorge is in the Republic going to college and may or may not have any portals available. For the most part, Immianthe doesn’t put stuff about the estate on the oracle. I can make a report about what I have.”
“Is it easy to visit?”
“I wouldn’t know, but there are busses and a portal, so they are not keeping people out very hard.”
“Thank you, Seriellia,” Ornthalus said with a bit of a glimmer in his eye. “I hope that we are easier to deal with than Haciathra.”
“Yes you were. Let me get that report for you.”
The general came in and said, “Milady what is your name?”
“Seriellia, general. I am not a lady.”
“All women are ladies unless they decide not to be.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I would like to know what the various countries use for aircraft. Is there any chance that you could produce a report of the various types and what their performance is?”
“That should not be difficult. I need to do uncle and Lord Ornthalus’ report first and then I will do yours.”
“What made you think of that, General?” Ornthalus asked with a frown.
“I looked at the slip of the engagement against the ship and realized that the weapon being fired at the Jumper must have been designed as an antiaircraft weapon and was well developed. That said that there was a need for such weapons, even on ships not intended for intense combat. Also, the ship was equipped with sophisticated RDR. That says that the ship expected to encounter aircraft and that they would be fairly advanced. So, I wondered just what we could be facing.”
“Those are good questions,” Blackfire said. “We have seen some aircraft and they have hardly been sophisticated, but there may have been reasons for that and they were operating from a floating airfield, so they may have been limited by that.”
“Are your anti air defenses operational, general?” Ornthalus asked.
“Milord, up until that ship arrived, we had not had an engagement of any kind other than the occasional shooting at young fae to worry about. Suddenly we are facing threats that we knew nothing about. The Republic has a floating airfield? Up until now that was something that we never thought about.”
“You may have actually seen it, far offshore,” Blackfire said. “It has been in the area before. You probably didn’t know what it was.”
“As for the antiaircraft defenses being operational, I have just started to look into defenses and I have had other priorities. The RDR should be operational, but the rest of it is problematic, because the need to be covert and the lack of replenishment capability made it impossible to test things.”
Ornthalus sighed. “Do the best you can, general.”
He and Blackfire left the room. The general looked at Seriellia and said, “I look forward to your report, miss.”
“I will do what I can.”