The Legacies of Lyrei, Chapter 9-10

Some high lords plot. Faghig is tested.

Chapter 9.

The Qinvaris Market.

Richard looked at the gathered High Lords and said, “I want start by welcoming three new members to our little group, Jomney Themaer, Naertho Umevan and Taerel Silverin. Now that we have seen what my assertive employees have put together, I was hoping that we could each share the others’ plans and preparations and improvements.”

“One thing that we have been doing in the Northlands is poking into all the places that had Tad’s duplicated pictures,” Vesryn said. “If any of you have anything that the Project was trying to hide, dig it out and take a look at it. So far we have found all sorts of things. We’ve also cleared out the Citadel and moved everyone there to my estate outside Eryding. The Virstina estate was poked into as well, but it is difficult to find anything in the north this time of year. We have also found some places and interesting things.”

“I don’t have the resources to dig too much more up in the Empty Lands,” Jomney said. “We have tagged likely sites and my boys are collecting libraries. The Darkmage left them intact and the buildings were still solid, so they were in good shape. The headquarters has been cleared out so I have their stasis cases and the rest have been opened.”

“There were more?” Richard said.

“Yes there were. The people inside were spies and more servants. I’ve put the spies to writing what they looked into and the servants were handed to my wife.”

“We’ve been taking steps at the estate,” Naertho said. “All the people involved in projects have been moved to Ironton in the Republic. We have two working fusors on the estate, but they are both operating, the space they are in was set up for radiation and has interlocking doors, so, as long as the things are operating, the locks on the doors are disconnected and the doors will not open, even if you have the combination. The transmuter is operating at full power and by the time the Conclave starts, the rods currently in use will be poisoned. So, they will be radioactive and the Plutonium will be useless for making Scourge devise cores.”

“Did you hire mercenaries?” Richard asked.

“No I haven’t. First of all, I am concerned with the possibility of suppressors and any troops suddenly being compelled and second, if the Orcenlands blow up, I will need people there and so will the Champion. The same goes for the Mortal Kingdoms. I have been training the boys on the estate with rifles, so the estate is not helpless. But my efforts have been to strip the estate of the things that the Project will want and then offer them something that they have really wanted for some time. Of course that will require my people to set them up and there is significant lead time involved.”

“They won’t want to wait,” Esgalwathanar said. “They will want to take the devises from the estate.”

“Then they have two options, break into the vault and risk ruining them or negotiating with me for the control tablet. You all don’t know me, but when it comes to my people, I am perfectly willing to negotiate tough. We’re clearing the kids and as many wives as we can off the estate and sending them to the Silverin estate. If necessary we will send them on to the Republic using the old portal.”

“What if they cut the power?” Kharis asked. “We can assume that they will take the Mana Service over.”

“That won’t help them where the estate, or for that matter where most of the Empire is concerned. If the Mana Service connection cuts out, the estate will pump just about everything into the mana connection and we have a panel to deliver it to most of the cities. With the dam, the transmuter and the two fusors, we can take fifty percent of the Empire’s load and still keep Astaire running while the furnace is shut down. Then we go to seventy five percent.”

“Why not shut the furnace down now?”

“We are. But shutting down an electric arc furnace takes a moon to do properly. Otherwise things get messy as the melt solidifies. So we have to run the tap until the melt is used up and then cool things down gradually. We should almost be there by the time the Conclave starts.”

“Then we won’t be bereft.” Esgalwathanar said. “Folmon, have you set up a team to handle the suppressors when they are deployed?”

“Yes. As far as we know, they are not set up yet. We think that the plan is to drop them in with one way ports. Wyrran is looking to mess that up if he can. Adiun has put him in charge of the backup team in Ishendell with as many of the people expert in one way ports stationed there as we can. Unfortunately, a good portion are going to be at the Imperial University for classes or are in the Republic and Fellowship for the same thing. I don’t think that that is an entirely bad thing because that means that they are not here when things start, but that could slow things down.”

“Perhaps, perhaps not. Until we know where the enemy plans to strike, concentrating  resources is a bad idea and even if they win at first, being flexible means that we can regain the initiative. I will say that the recent graduates of the Program have all been remarkable. So we have some additional assistance.”

“Tathaln has put spare portals on trucks, so we can setup portals where there isn’t one at present,” Alinar said. “I have also installed some large mana batteries to power the large portal if need be.”

“The good thing is that if they kick this off during the Conclave, the Blight is not an option here in the Empire,” Richard said. “On the other hand, it is in the Republic, since they will be in the middle of harvest. I’m going to fly down and hand the Agricultural station everything we have.”

“What about the Blight resistant wheat and barley?” Lathlaeril asked.

“I’ve planted what I had, most of it in seed. There won’t be a lot of protected crop this season and no resistant seed went to the Republic as yet as we wanted to keep it close to home until we were sure that it would work. They were planting in the South Republic before we discovered the seed in any case.”

“What about looking out for the spiders and other monsters?” Tony said. “I know that we haven’t seen one here recently, at least not a spider that has exposed herself, but if there was one, we could have some issues with spies and monster strikes. I know that on the scale of things, the spiders seem like a minor problem, but if one manages to cause chaos at the Conclave by consuming a foreign diplomat at the wrong time, we could be dealing with that at the same time that their main thrust was starting.”

“Good point, Tony,” Esgalwathanar said, “Vesstan and I will meet with you and see what we come up with.”

“I’ll bring Llag as well. He was there with his family.”          
 Richard grinned as the meeting started to heat up. At least no one was panicking.

Chapter 10.

The Junglelands

Faghig, exhausted and battered with a fair share of scratches and scrapes, was struggling a bit on a path after Tigerlilly and her brother had deserted him that morning. He managed to avoid traps and attempts to confuse him until he saw a faery woman standing in a small clearing. He bowed and said, “I have arrived milady.”

“Are you prepared for the test?”

“I am, milady.”

“Then disrobe.”

Faghig took his clothes off and the test proceeded. All too soon it was over and the faery queen smiled. “You are a fit bond for my daughter indeed. I am Orchid. Of course, you know that my daughter will not let you go, now that she has you.”

“If my mother hadn’t sent me away, we would have had more time together.”

“Your mother regrets that somewhat.”

“You have been speaking with her, haven’t you?”

Orchid smiled. “If I said that we were?”

“Tigerlilly didn’t know.”

“My daughter made some mistakes and nearly lost you. I don’t think that she realized that the insects here could spread disease and you were very close to death by the time you escaped her little traps. Your mother was rather frightened and sent you away. I went and spoke with her, but by then your path was set and we both became concerned about the actions of your uncle.”

“My uncle has been allied to the Dark ones. The clan has had members that have been allied for a very long time. My father broke away and my other uncle found a faerywife, though he hid that.”

“My sister in law likes certain things just a bit much and trying to fit that into Orc society just wouldn’t work very well.” Orchid tapped Faghig’s head. “Now Jump back to your uncle’s house where the rest are waiting to start the party.”

Orchid disappeared as Faghig laughed.

Ishendell.

Hal looked at Fern and grinned. “There were four ports to the Base Portal?’ 

“There was one port from the Silverin portal, another from the Empire, the Zirgoccol and Silver Mountain.”

“That means that the gang’s all there. Did you record the portal traces and codes?”

Fern smiled. “But of course. The question I have is if we lock them up in the jungle.”

“Leave things as they are. They will probably do this again before long. I’m going to send a message.”

“To who?”

“Jorge was waiting for something like this. He was fairly sure that the people outside would be called in at some point.”

The base.

Haciathra stepped forward and said, “Welcome. You have stood by the Project and will be beside us in our triumph. We have called you here because we wanted to share your knowledge of the world and how things will go forward. We also want to show you what your efforts have accomplished. Why don’t we get started?”

Seriellia opened the oracle and Yllarissa posted, “Seriellia, I’m sending some crystals through the small portal with a map. Could you set the crystals up in those places?”

Seriellia  tapped back, “Why?”

“The place you are is going to get the treatment from Jorge. You should tell your friends to stay away from those places for a while.”

“He isn’t!”

“He sent a message to Immianthe asking if she could send the crystals. He’s been giving a class on open ports and you are the final exam.”

“I’ll set them up.”

“Here they come. Send a post to everybody when you are done.”

“Ok.”

The crystals and the map appeared. The map had circles on the main hall, the hanger, the fabrication shop and the soldiers eating hall. Seriellia had no trouble putting the crystals in corners where they could see everything in all four places. When she finished, she posted a general post, “Done.” Thinking about it, she posted another post, “Dinner 15:00.”

Chatsrey.

 Jorge grinned and said, “Welcome to my last class on open ports. I have been waiting for an appropriate time to arrange this last class and that time has come. I imagine that the other end of this class has been wondering why I have not been indulging them at my expense. Some of that has been the fabrication of the balls that you see on the guideways, and the guideways themselves, which I had fabricated at the Umevan plant in Ironton. The balls were fabricated with great care at the beef packing plant; at least the cow’s gut and offal came from there. Some other things were added and the outer balls were fabricated in Racketgarde, which also provided some of the content.”

Jorge used a pointer to point to a picture tacked to a bulletin board. “Now, there are four programming teams from the class and four target area on this map. There are also four racks of balls. Each ball has a microportal inside. Each team will be scored by how close their five balls land to their targets.” He looked at his watch. “Swifty, you have the levers. Pull number one.”
 The base.

The various Project leaders had set down to a sumptuous meal when the first ball landed ten feet from the table, and exploded, dumping the people at the table in foul stinky fluids and solids and filling the room with a terrible stench. The people in the room started to gag as four more of the balls fell. The various gagging Project leaders exited the main hall to see the same sort of thing happening from the hanger, the soldier’s dining hall and fabrication shop. Blackfire said rather sullenly, “I was hoping that he was too busy and had forgotten us.”

The balls were followed by the appearance of animals, fireworks, balloons and enhanced, orcs and landdragons that tore across the ground until they disappeared. The chaos went on for half a twentieth then the silence fell over the smoke and the stench. Haciathra bellowed, “He will pay for this! Móreliante, we will go on a hunt.”

“That is exactly what he wants,” Ornthalus said. “He’s done this before, hasn’t he, Blackfire?”

“He certainly has, at a Project meeting, at Lain Othrond and other places. This was actually fairly mild for him.”

Haciathra’s face twisted up in consternation. “Mild!”

“Yes. If he had really wanted to go all out we would have hundreds of dead and injured, including us. He just about stopped the Inanimate incursions and the assault on the queen. I would not take him lightly. This was a warning and a demonstration of how sloppy we have been, as well as intended to be as humiliating as possible. We have been warning you about things like opening the stasis boxes and using the portals and now you have an idea why.”

 “Why haven’t you dealt with him?”

“Because we haven’t had the resources to do that. You have received all the reports. Didn’t you read them?”

“Apparently not as well as I should have.”

After everything was over, Seriellia, gagging a bit from the stench, collected the crystals, put them back in the box and passed it through the portal. Yllarissa sent back, “Was it fun?”

“Yes it was, but the smell was awful.”

“That’s Jorge. Some other people sent other things when I told some people about it.”

“The fireworks and things?”

“Yes. They can make the show better if you want.”

Seriellia laughed. “Do that.”

Chatsrey.

Jorge looked at the portal scanner and said, “It looks as if everything went where it was supposed to. That ends this class. I have to have the portals boxed up and returned to the Portal Service in Ishendell. That way we are covered. Let’s get some dinner.”

Haggas turned to Swifty and said, “Thanks for telling us about this.”

“It wasn’t a problem.”

“We couldn’t watch the other end,” Sudyral said.

Jorge must have overheard the boys, as he came over and said, “A crystal is being made. We made the arrangements with a young lady stuck where she would rather not be.”

“You wanted to see the other end too.”

“Yes I did, for a variety of reasons.”
The Junglelands

Jorge looked across the dead zone at the volcano and frowned. The dead zone was filled with wandering Inanimates, Animated from fae, some tribesmen who had lived with the fae and animals. The Inanimates looked ragged and rather worn out, but they attacked anything that tried to enter the dead zone and Jorge couldn’t afford the noise that dealing with a mass of Inanimates would make. He turned to Oleander and Faghig and said, “Let’s get back to Suhghan’s. This is going to take some thought.”

“Can’t you destroy the Inanimates?”

“I have ways, and yes I could. The problem is that burning a dead zone would be noisy and then the enemy would know I’m coming. I would prefer to avoid that, if I can. I want all the noise and violence to happen on top of them, where it will have the greatest impact.”

“That makes sense.”

The three Jumped to Suhghan’s and Jerthath was waiting for them. “What did you find?”

“The dead zones are full of Inanimates and we would be either be creating a huge fire dealing with them or constantly having to destroy them and making all sorts of noise in the process. Neither one really works very well.”

“Will the volcano mask some of it?”

“Yes. They fly regular patrols to cover that. Much closer to the dead zones than they did.”

“Why?”

“Some of their Jumpers were jumped by marines. The marines were flying turbothrust aircraft and well, a Jumper can’t fly very fast. So the planes were on top of them almost before they knew that they were there.”

Jerthath laughed. “I imagine that they were rather frightened.”

“Not frightened enough. The marines haven’t shot any of the Jumpers down yet.”

“Why not?”

“We don’t know what will happen when one crashes and there are fae all over the place along the dead zones.”

“People think that there may be a big boom.”

“Yes. So the pilots have been told to spook the Jumpers and not shoot them unless they are going heavily for someone on the ground. So far, they have backed off on that.”

“The bosses are setting something up. They called in the troops for a chat. As of yesterday, they were still there in spite of Jorge dropping some things on them.”

“What did he do?”

“I don’t know yet. I’m sure that we will find out, eventually.”

Tigerlilly grabbed Faghig and said, “What did you see?”

“More Inanimates than I like in the dead trees. They are looking rather ragged and the Animators must be keeping them together, because that is the only thing that could.”

“Well, I have something to eat and we can talk about what you saw.”

“Ok.”

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