The Legacies of Lyrei, Chapter 5-6

“I don’t think that they are coming back anytime soon,” Faghig said. “At the very least they will be changing their clothes.”

“Why?”

“Because they probably made a mess in their pants when they were jumped.”

Chapter 5.

RNS Diligent
The contrast between the dead Clerves and the full of life Lain Othrond was stark. Diligent was sharing the busy harbor with ships from the Blasted lands countries and Golden Hill, The construction on the water and onshore said that the port was expanding rapidly to meet the needs placed upon it and the pilot guided them to anchorage beside Skychaser and her supply ship, which was loading a fresh supply of rockets onto Skychaser. The anchor had barely dropped when a merlady leaped aboard and said, “Welcome to Lain Othrond. I am Pearl. Have you had a good voyage?”

Alb grinned and said, “Yes we have. Have the ship’s wives arrived as yet?”

“They have, as well as Admiral Tollings. We have a new place where seafolk and land folk can meet and we look forward to your stories of the Junglelands.”

“We can share them after we talk to the admiral.”

“I think that he has found a boat already.”

The admiral and another man could be seen aboard a boat being rowed out by a pair of strong oarsmen. The boat came alongside and the admiral’s voice bellowed, “Permission to come aboard!”

“Granted!”

The peg leg barely slowed the admiral down as he climbed the boarding ladder, followed by a young man who had a satchel obviously full of material the admiral wanted to discuss. Stomping forward, the admiral said, “Let’s go to your cabin, captain.”

They proceeded down the companionway to Alb’s cabin and sat down. The admiral pointed to the other man and said, “This is Derry Gilders. He’s proved useful in poking into things.”

“That is a bit of a surprise, considering what his sister was saying about him.”
Derry grinned. “I looked at myself after nearly becoming a spider’s meal. I also heard what people were saying about the friend who did become the spider’s meal. I decided that I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. So I came to the Empire looking for a change.”

“What have you been poking around in?”

“For the most part, I’ve been looking for people taken from the Republic. I’m collecting stories and the admiral has asked me to look deeper than the simple explanation that the Ravathyra were collecting slaves.”

“A lot of people back home and in the Empire think that there was more going on and I had my nose rubbed in that by Tom recently over Crowburg” Harald said. “Greldug releasing that book of his didn’t hurt. What we wanted to talk with you about is what you saw in the Junglelands.”

“That’s not an easy thing to summarize. We didn’t get close, but we did see some things. For instance, the enemy is operating Jumpers.”

“Why did you think about that?”

“Jumpers are mana use intensive. So much so that the Empire couldn’t keep them going and they disappeared. Yet we encountered one. The only reason I can think of to keep them operating is that they think that they are going to need them. Of course using them is risking assets that may be irreplaceable and causes wear and tear, yet the fae we talked to said that they maintained steady patrols. They also were using RDR stations. For someone who was trying to stay covert, that was just stupid after the events of the last few years.”

“Do you think that the people there knew about the events of the last few years?”

“Honestly, I do not. I think that they expected to live hidden and remain hidden. But they were also getting complacent and arrogant, opening fire on fae, for instance, in sight of the water even though they knew that we had been surveying the coast for the better part of a moon.”

“Was your encounter with the Jumper part of a deliberate attack?”

“No. They were shooting at Flytrap, who was leading them away from the community. They spotted the ship, turned to check us out, and then the guy at the gun took a shot at Nettle, who had attached herself to my gunnery officer. He was rather annoyed and ordered the AA guns to open fire. The Jumper disappeared before it was made to disappear.”

Harold laughed. “They were probably lucky.”

“Definitely. Only the starboard gun could bear.”

“Anything else dramatic occur?”

“We found a Harper. He didn’t come with us, but a tail is chasing my engineering officer.”

“This isn’t supposed to be a love barge, captain. This is the second voyage with that sort of thing happening.”

“Look, I can’t tell the men to ignore the ladies and the contacts have been valuable. So far, the relationship with Nettle has allowed us to function in the jungle and the seafolk in the Great Bay have been a good resource on the enemy’s capabilities.”

“I know, but Tom isn’t going to let me hear the end of this.”

“The girl is his niece. He better keep his mouth shut or his mother will be all over him.”

“I hadn’t thought about that. That will change things. Let me update you on the events that have happened while you were parading up the coast.”

“Will we be expected to go back?”

“Not right away. The general consensus right now is that things will heat up at the same time as the Conclave is ending the presentations. That way they have all the Seats together.”

“So the admiral wants us there at the same time that things kick off, covering for something else.”

“That’s about the size of things.”

“Ok, it looks like you and Derry have a lot to brief me on, so why don’t we get started.”

“I’m surprised the old dragon wasn’t here?”

“He got us at Clerves.”

“Sneaky.”

Chapter 6.

Clan Ironhead’s Domain-The Junglelands

When the crew gathered to drive out to the payload, they were met by a flight of young fae. They sat in the trees and laughing, followed along as the GPs drove up the rather rough road that had been cleared by the tractor for the crane. Derry laughed as Jreghug said, “This is strange. We have kids and no bugs.”

“The bugs have been dealt with. Here we are.”

Faghig noticed one of the girls who caught his eye. It felt like he should remember her and didn’t. She was also watching him rather intently and apparently more than a bit angrily. He wasn’t sure what it was made of, but she had a filmy dress that was guaranteed to attract attention. The payload was dragged slowly out of the ravine it had landed in and just before lunch, Derry’s crew had the payload lifted and the cart to haul it away underneath it. Lunch came, bought by smiling fae and the girls set up to serve. As Faghig passed the girl that had been staring at him all morning, he said, “There is no way that I could know you. Yet somehow I seem to have offended you. Is there a reason?”

“You never came back.”

“Looking at you now, that was a mistake. I didn’t really have a choice once I was sent to military school. I had obligations, I couldn’t come back very easily and the idea of a faery girl in the jungle faded away. I will be here for a while and perhaps I can make some sort of amends.”

“You can tell me stories about the things you did and the places you went that you didn’t take me to.”

“What is your name? I probably knew it once, but I was in a daze after we apparently met and rather sick.”

“Tigerlilly.”

“The name fits you. Why don’t I tell you about the trip that I just completed in the Republic.”

“You went where Derry lives?”

“Not exactly, but yes.”

“Why did you go?”

“My brother and I were told by the Champion to see his great aunt and help her deal with a spider. The spider had consumed a member of the family and the lady was rather upset. The Champion was also concerned with a spider in the Orcenlands. So he sent my brother and me to the Repulbic to get what we could and perhaps help his family. We acted the disreputable orcs, kicked out of the clan and got jobs with criminals and such.”

“Why did you do that?”

“We did it to establish ourselves as being able to be trusted as criminals.”

“Did you play tricks on them?”

“Yes we did. I will take you to see the Republic so that you can see and I can explain things better.”

“I am not an idiot!”

“Of course not. On the other hand, you grew up here, in the jungle and not out in the world. So there will be things that you do not understand.”

“Tell me anyway and I will understand later.”

“Ok.”

Derry turned to Jreghug and said, “Your brother handled that very well.”

“Considering that he’s never been good with girls, very well indeed. How did you find out about the girl?”

“She has been bothering your uncle about your brother for the entire time that I have been here. She is also very quick to insist that you owe her a favor. I paid off with the story about the cow poo.”

“That probably went very well. Of course that story and who we were made it easy for a lady to pick up on us.”

“Who?”

“Mrs. Steelmaker.”

“Ouch. How much trouble were you in?”

“Not much. She wanted a contact for the Jungle. I gave her my uncle. Apparently he was hiding some things.”

“Yes he was. Tigerlilly popped in when the major showed up and sort of gave the game away. As you can see, in a remarkably brief time she has gone from the wild fae hiding in the jungle to the outgoing girl who wants to see everything, especially if she can do that with your brother.”

“I have a feeling that she is going to pester me endlessly for stories that Faghig will be embarrassed by.”

“Yes. She has already nailed me, which you saw yesterday, the major, the major’s wife, exchanging stories for babysitting duty, and your father. She hasn’t tried to see your mother yet. I think that she is rather annoyed with your mother and wants your brother locked down before taking her on.”

“That’s going to be interesting.”

“Look at it this way. It will make it easier to spy on your other uncle, though he is spied on when he is here and doesn’t even realize it.”

“He is dense about some things.”

“Lunch is over and I need to get this thing out of here and on its way back for refurbishment.”

“This went well.”

“Tigerlilly’s dad has been good to work with about this. That makes thing go much easier. What’s that noise?”

“I don’t know, but I hope that it isn’t hostile.”

  Jumper 6.

Lieutenant Ravahana was annoyed. Not only had he received a blasting from the squadron leader, and then the general, he had been stuck flying patrols near the border of the Orcenlands were nothing ever happened. He was watching the endless jungle underneath when he spotted something. “Sergeant, head us right a bit. There’s something going on.”

“That’s off our patrol path, sir.”

“I know but we are here to check for unusual things going on.”

“Yes, sir.”

They flew over some things in the jungle and what appeared to be a large group of fae, all out in the open. The lieutenant grinned and said, “Sergeant, bring us around. We have some pest control.”

“Sir, we were told not to attack without orders.”

“We won’t be attacking, just doing some shooting.”

“Sir, we just got out of trouble.”

“These people won’t have any cannon this time. Turn us around. That’s an order.”

“Yes sir.”

The Junglelands

Jreghug looked toward the noise with his binoculars and bellowed, “Get everyone under cover! He looks like he’s pulling a Projector!”

The fae disappeared. Tigerlilly stayed with Faghig and he pulled her underneath the trailer. Derry joined them with some of the rest of his crew. The rest took cover under the crawler tracks of the crane and next to the tractor. Several Projector bolts struck, sucked in by the boom of the crane and dissipated. There was a thundering sound and Derry said, “They have arrived.”

“What?” Faghig asked.

“The marines were going to provide cover aircraft for the major. The first half of the squadron was due to arrive any day now. They have arrived and that jackass is about to get a nasty surprise.”

“What?”

“You’ll see.”

Flight 1, MF12, Republican Marines.

Captain Tomas “Lightning” Twistflame, RNMC was enjoying the flight, the first actual operational flight of the new turbothrust aircraft. His flight and the other six planes from his half of MF12 had arrived the previous day and setup. The rest would be arriving in a day. Twistflame and his wingman, Lieutenant Geral “Hammer” Brownlow had taken off that morning on the first familiarization patrol. As they flew along the jungle at a cruising speed of four hundred and thirty knots at ten thousand feet, Lightning spotted a flash ahead and below, coming from some sort of aircraft. Lighting tripped the radio and said, “Hammer, I don’t know who that clown is shooting at, but why don’t we wake him up and let him know that we are in the neighborhood. You pass left and above, I pass right and under.”

“Got it, Lightning.”
Jumper 6.

The sergeant jumped as the threat analyzer screamed and showed a moving plot with two aircraft closing on the Jumper. He called out to the lieutenant, “Incoming aircraft, five miles out, closing speed 500 knots.”

“What?!”

The lieutenant barely finished that when with a thundering roar, two blue painted shapes streaked past the Jumper. The sergeant said, “We’re leaving.”

The two aircraft flew past again, rattling the Jumper, causing it to turn and buck in the turbulence as they passed. Fully rattled, the Jumper entered Jump, leaving the sky to the two strange aircraft.

The Junglelands

Jreghug watched the planes blow past the Jumper and then turn and make another pass, leaving the thing rolling and twisting until it went into Jump and disappeared. Derry had stood up and said, “Somebody got a taste of Desert Howl. I guess they weren’t told about Republic Air’s toys.”

“Are they armed?” Jreghug asked.

“These were marine aircraft, so yes, they probably are. Let’s get this stuff cleared out.”

Tigerlilly turned on Faghig and said, “You are coming with me, now.”

“Why? We just met.”

“Because we need to get you tested and they might come back. It’s going to be a slog to the grove, since you can’t Jump. That’s even if we don’t have landdragons messing things up for us. Why are you here, Oleander?”

“The girls said that you had found your bonded and were under attack from a Jumper. The Jumper is gone, I see. Is this Faghig?”

“I’m Faghig. I see that you have gone Jimmy, Oleander.”

“Who is this “Jimmy” That I keep hearing about? Miriam mentions him and now you have.”

“Jimmy is a half elf who was taken by the dark and forced into a lost child. He is a landdragon who has become rather popular. Stormfire and his sister set him on Lady Amarille’s house when Lord Qinvaris was having a discreet meeting with a banker. Folmon Beinan was also there and removed the collar from Jimmy so that he could revert. That lessened the food problem somewhat as he became a regular teenage boy and not an awful hungry teenage landdragon needing cans of Beefbites to assuage his hunger.”

“What are Beefbites?”

“Canned beef with a successful advertising campaign using Jimmy in the ads. If you had a radio, you would know. There were not enough cans of Beefbites at Lady Amarille’s and that was a problem.”

“I can’t revert.”

“Being a landdragon isn’t a bad thing and if you leave the jungle you will find a lot of friends.”

Tigerlilly looked at her brother and flapped her wings with a snap. “Oleander, we need to get Faghig to the grove before those idiots come back.”

“I don’t think that they are coming back anytime soon,” Faghig said. “At the very least they will be changing their clothes.”

“Why?”

“Because they probably made a mess in their pants when they were jumped.”

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