The Return of Redhand, Chapter 5-6

Blackfire decided to abandon the Community. Something starts up in the Lower City

Chapter 5.

The Community

Blackfire looked at the message and handed it to Mórsairon. “They want us to recover the Base.”

“Do you think that is possible?”

“If we abandon here, yes. That leaves the Community uncovered, but I am coming to the conclusion that leaving the Community uncovered as it stands isn’t a bad thing. The enemy already holds a sword over the Community.”

“Where do we retreat to?”

“We retreat to one of the double portals that the enemy hasn’t visited. We can draw supply and unbox soldiers from the vault there and other similar places. We can do things away from the Community that we will not be able to with Major Tollings interfering and a larger force on the way.”

“I see your point, brother. Shall we begin?”

Sharian looked at Bill across the lunch table and said, “What do you know of this Major Tollings that some folk are so afraid of.”

Bill laughed. “They have reason and they know that he is nearby, someplace. Major Tollings was a marine Service lieutenant taken in one of the Ravathyra’s raids. There is some speculation that the lieutenant was a present from High Admiral Harper to Paeris since The Great Captain recruited him right off the bat and when Admiral Ehlark had Paeris’s raidcaptain executed, put the lieutenant in the spot, which he occupied for five years until Paeris’s ship was captured by some angry traders. The former raidcaptain reenlisted in the marines and was raised to sergeant and then, when he managed to conduct a suicide mission against the Darkmage’s Blight culturing facilities and come out with more people than he went in with, he had his reserve rank of captain made a full captain. Later he was promoted to major. He infiltrated the Ishendell siege and chased the Scourge devises with his remarkable unit of ex pirates, ex enemy Protectors and other disreputables. He is very good at his job and the boys who got the girls out were formerly part of his unit.”

“So that was part of his unit that did that?”

“Yes. Of course they are all going to the Naval Academy and aren’t supposed to be conducting night time rescues.”

“That was well crafted.”

“The boys were probably showing off for the major, more than somewhat. The major likes operations that are nice and tight.”

“Why hasn’t he struck here?”

“I don’t know. For one thing, a pitched battle with troops that outnumber him isn’t his style and second, doing that in amongst a bunch of civilians definitely isn’t. Since the girls are out, he can slow down and prepare. Of course if the last door is cracked, he won’t have to do anything as there won’t be any new gods.”

“There will be in our hearts.”

“I can’t change that. On the other hand, I have been caught up in the middle of this and the people who would be the new gods have no sense of responsibility to the people that they are supposed to be beholden to. I’ve seen them leave people behind at the mercy of their enemies, including your own son, time and again. I have seen them Scourge a city simply to hopefully cause some chaos that their allies could take advantage of. I’ve said too much and I need to get back to work.”

Chapter 6.

The Lower City

The bot woke up. Looking at its internal clock it had been sleeping for four hundred and ninety five years, three moons, fifteen days, eight twentieths, ten hundredths and 4.21 thousandths. A check of the constructor’s systems showed that the mana that had not been available to operate the constructor was now available. So the construction of the new House Ralotris Tower could commence. The bot noted that the constructor was buried and that materials had not been placed for construction. The underground part could be resolved easily enough. The materials issue would be solved in due time. The bot was nothing if not patient.

The Breadbakers and the Crafters squared off for their second game in the Lower city bladder ball tournament in the park. The teams were squaring off for the first toss when the ground started to rumble and a huge thing emerged from the ground. The crowd ran from the park as the thing sat there, parts moving back and forth.

After about ten Hundredths, the guard arrived and cordoned off the park. Alinar Nerihorn arrived with his son, followed by Folmon Beinan. Folmon looked at the thing, turned to Alinar and said, “That is a constructor. I wonder how it got here?”

“Somebody started something and never finished. Probably because mana wasn’t available for the thing to operate. The problem now is that the control tablet is probably long gone and we don’t know how to shut it down otherwise.”

Erendriel Romenor and Iolas Sylris arrived in a sedan chair and looked at the thing. Iolas turned to Folmon and Alinar and said, “Do you know what that is, milord’s?”

“A constructor,” Folmon said. “Enough sand and other things and the thing will build a new building, a large one. Somebody must have started one here centuries ago and then the constructor stopped because there was no mana. The machine has been waiting until there was enough mana to operate and was buried, probably because people couldn’t take the thing apart and couldn’t move it.”

“Why are there no towers in the Lower City now?”

“They were demolished using disassociators or cut down to eight floors or so,” Alinar said. “Without mana, the big towers were impractical and they were mined for their materials until they were gone.” Alinar pointed at some buildings that loomed around the park. “There are some stubs in the city, but the big towers are gone.”

“Why not leave them?”

“Real estate in the city is too valuable to waste. So the towers were removed and replaced. Then there were the various turmoils and population declines and the city became what you see.”

“Do you think that there are more things like this?” Erendriel asked.

“Lord Romenor, your guess is as good as mine. If we see giant machines emerge and start to do things, we’ll know.”

“What do we do with this?”

“Find a way to shut it down, leave it alone or start feeding it material and let it go. That last option might be fun, but then somebody would be responsible for a large building that they hadn’t planned for.”

Grafarin walked up and said, “We have another one starting up. We were lucky and got the people out of the tenements it was under. The buildings were trashed and the thing ate the buildings.”

“Looking for materials,” Alinar said. “The ancient Empire is springing up from the grave now that mana is available.”

“Nat of the Umevan has been starting up fusors,” Erendriel said. “I think that we will have to ask him to shut some of them down and close the mana sources until we get this settled. We can’t have random things starting up and potentially hurting people.”

“True,” Alinar said. “Ayen, take Tiriana, Charlie and his girl and see what you can find on constructors at the Sanctuary. Then we need to make up something to shut them down, at least until we can figure out what we want to do with them.”

“Yes, father.”

A grinning Ayen disappeared as Prince Airdan and Ilythe arrived in a GP. He looked at the thing and said, “What does it do?”

“This is a constructor, your highness,” Folmon said. “Somebody was planning a new building here and the mana ran out, forcing it to shut down. The thing has been waiting for a mana supply and it now has one, so it started construction. The good thing is that there is nothing here to feed it and it can’t start things until it has materials.”

“Are you suggesting that we feed it?”

“While it would be an interesting experiment, not really, unless we knew who the building belonged to and if they could afford it.”

“Do you expect other things to start up?”

“Your highness, I have no idea. That all depends on how carefully the things were left and if the things could get mana. We have two constructors here in the city that started up. We haven’t had any news of other constructors starting up or other things.”

“I think that I will get together with Ilythe and recruit some people to do some digging and see if we can find out just how many of the things are shut down due to lack of mana. This could get very serious if folk are caught by surprise.”

Erendriel turned to the others and said, “Iolas and I need to talk to Py Umevan and Nat about shutting some of the fusors down until we can get a handle on this. On the other hand, bringing the ancient Empire back would be fun.”
 The Umevan Estate.

Nat emerged from the portal and started to head to his house. He had barely gotten out of the portal shed when Py Umevan, Stadlee and two elves were waiting for him. “Nat, this is Lord Romenor from the mana service. He needs to talk to you.”

“Lord Romenor, you should not have any mana issues.”

“That’s the problem,” Erendriel said. “We had two constructors start up this morning in the Lower City that had shut down due to lack of mana and had never properly been shut down. They started in on construction projects started five hundred years ago. We need you to shut down at least some of the fusors until we can come up with a way to resolve things.”

“You’re concerned with more than a couple of constructors.”

“There are a lot of things that may be out there and start to work, possibly in places that have long been forgotten. Some of those things will be unsafe and could injure people. Without the mana board operating, we won’t know about them until people get hurt. Lord Umevan has agreed to the shutdown.”

“The mana wells are open as well.”

“That is another problem. I am off to the Mage Academy to start on that. Iolas here is going to be working with you on shutting down the fusors and then preparing to tie them in properly.”

“I made a mistake. I should have thought about that. Milord, I hope that you like to travel.”

Iolas grinned. “I take it that travel will be involved?”

“Yes. Stadlee, I assume that you put the dam and transmuter back to powering Freywick, the furnace and the Timberlands?”

 “I did that even before you started the two fusors at Red Mountain.”

“Ok, I will shut those two down and the Qinvaris fusor as well. Fayspire can be part of the Fellowship electricity network and light Insshys and Fayspire as well as Nytfnas and Allaneas, so that shouldn’t cause any mana issues and we can use the fusor to allow the Zylvyre source to be closed as well. Then we go traveling as we need to shut down Ishendell and then Ironton, or at least make sure that the units aren’t producing mana.”

“You are being rather agreeable about this.”

“Milord, I should have been more wary about things like this. I still think that the Divinity Devise will be unstable, though I need to discuss that with some people in Ironton, but if what we were doing causes some chaos and potentially hurts the Empire, then the risk of the Project having a greater hold over people increases. We can bring the devises back up when we have a better handle on how to control the mana flow.”

“I have been speaking to Lord Umevan about that. In any case what you have done so far is a remarkable achievement.”

“I know. I rushed things, and I should have realized that there could be issues.”

“It wasn’t your fault. I think that time has dimmed our memories. Unfortunately many of the records that could have been used to forestall the problems were lost in the explosion that destroyed the mana service.”

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