The Return of Redhand, Chapter 21-22

Nat shuts down more fusors. Richard sets Tarranth on Redhand.

Chapter 21.

Jorge looked at Nat at the door to his office and said, “Why are you here, Nat?”

“I need to shut down the fusor, milord.”


“We need to get the mana under control before starting to bring them up again.”

“What happened?”

“Two constructors emerged in the Lower City. There were some others that started up, fortunately outside existing cities and we need to find out how to shut things down and how many large devises may be waiting before starting all the fusors up again.”

“I thought that the idea was to destabilize the Divinity Devise. Did that change?”

“No, but we shouldn’t have the fusors down that long.”

“Who is this with you?”

 “This is Iolas Sylris from the Mana Service. He has been traveling with me and helping with the issues.”

“Have you spoken to grandfather?”

“He said to speak to you about what you have hooked up to the fusor. The unit here hasn’t been hooked up to electricity as yet, since Republic Power didn’t see the need. Your grandfather is looking for a large customer and hasn’t found one yet.”

 “Other than some portals, I don’t have anything hooked up to the fusors. We are finished with the portals, so we can shut the unit down.”

“I’m glad that you are not fighting me, milord.”

“You have been the one starting them all up in the first place.”

Nat grinned. “I got more than a bit carried away. Then the things started to show up and I realized that there were other problems. After I shut the fusor down, I want to go through Harald’s library and see what he had about mana and large mana consumers. I imagine that with some exceptions, he thought of them as potential customers.”

“Let’s go and shut down the fusor.”

“What did you do to your old professor?”

“I evicted him. There wasn’t much else I could do. He didn’t have the seeming with him when he was leaving Desert Howl and we didn’t have any evidence that he had been involved in the raid, so the magistrate had to let him go. But, I could evict him. Bekka Qin is taking his space.”

“She is?”

“She wanted a workshop for her flowers and since she lost some orders to the Stewards, she had to repair the arrangements. She made some contacts with people for material in the Empire and she will start college next session. So she rented a space from me.”

“Did Irial have anything to do with that?”

“More than a bit. They are plotting a display for the day of flowers next year at the Conclave.”

Alre popped out of his space and spotted Nat with Jorge. “Nat! What brings you here?”

“I’m shutting down the fusor and doing some research.”

“What about?”

“I need to find out what the big mana users were in the Empire before the mage wars and where they may be.”


“Let’s go to the fusor, get it shut down, and then go to lunch so that Iolis and I can tell you and Jorge what happened in the Lower City.”

The Divinity Devise

Arafiel looked at the message and frowned. The fusors had apparently been shutdown or were not generating mana. The mana flow was still unstable, but Arafiel doubted that that would change. In any case, the message contained good news. Holding the message up he went to where Aramis was talking to Tannator and Ornthalus. “I just received good news. Most of the fusors were shut down or are not creating mana.”

“Why?” Tannator asked.

“The message did not say, just that the sources were shut down.”

“What about the natural sources?”

“The message doesn’t mention them. In any case, we have an opportunity. I do not think that there will be another.”

“Let us discuss this with the ladies.”

Haciathra looked at the message and grinned. The Prophet and Redhand had joined with some of her other tools and were working together. Her long and tedious efforts would soon be bearing fruit. There had been some losses and her adversaries had done significant damage to her efforts, but now her tools were in place for the end game. The rush at the end hadn’t helped matters, but it looked as if things were going to go well going forward.

Picking the messages up, she went looking for the others. Arafiel had gathered them and was saying, “The fusors outside our control have been shut down. We will probably not get another chance to attempt ascendance.”

“Do you know why they were shut down?” Ilyana asked.

“I do not.”

“Then the fusors could be started up again at any time. Won’t that disrupt the process?”

“We should be better able to control the process once the ascendance has started. In any case, the window of opportunity is likely to be short.”

“What say you, Haciathra?”

“While I could use more time, the tools are in place.”

“What about the Community and the Western cities? You were driven out of Bompei.”

“That was a minor setback. The prophet has joined with Redhand and some of my other tools and will be proceeding forward. I say that we go forward.”

The other six all nodded and Arafiel said, “We go forward.”

“What should we tell Blackfire and the general?” Ornthalus asked. “They have returned and are guarding the devise.”

“Tell them to stay,” Haciathra said.

“I think that it would be expedient to send all the slaves outside once preparations are complete and collapse the tunnel,” Arafiel said. “That way they can use the portal and leave.”

“What if we need them?”

“I don’t think that submitting the ones who have served us for so long and loyally to a slow death from radiation sickness is an appropriate reward for their service, do you?”

“What do they matter? They are just slaves.”

“They matter, because they have served loyally. We owe it to them.”

“Very well.”

Mixed with the slaves, Herdir worked with them to make what were obviously the final preparations for starting the devise. The ancient sleepers were rushed and Herdir was able to slip some problems into things that would create issues later. He also arranged for the legacy files, the cabinet of maps and other files that had come in with the Fusor to be carried out of the devise complex.  When the slaves were lined up to depart, he handed the head slave a satchel and said, “Hand this to whoever is in charge out there.”

“Yes, master!”

Herdir hid as the other slaves left the complex and Arafiel and Aramis activated the disasocciator, collapsing the tunnel. Arafiel placed the Usanaar Seeming in the open chamber and then he and the others went to the other eight open chambers and tied themselves inside. As the hatches were closing, Herdir ran to the chamber with Usanaar inside, pulled the crystal out of the chamber and tossed it away, taking its place. The hatches sealed and the nine were rendered unconscious as the Divinity Devise started to draw mana.

Blackfire looked at the slaves exiting the volcano and wondered what was going on. Then the entrance tunnel collapsed. Turning from the dust filled tunnel, he started to bellow orders. The slaves were sent through the still open breach toward the road and railroad in the jungle. Once that was done, Blackfire sent the Jumpers off and then used the portal to exit. There was no point in keeping guard and Blackfire had better things to do than get overrun by the orc army that he was sure was being prepared for an assault.

Ratug watched the slaves exiting the breach and coming down the road. He wasn’t prepared for an assault and the regiment from the Orcenlands regular army that was supposed to back the Clan Ironhead regiment he had gathered had just arrived at the railhead in Bibul Kil. He sent a platoon to gather the slaves and two more to probe the breach. When there was no return fire, he sent his first battalion to assault a base that turned out to be empty. The scout platoon’s lieutenant walked up with a slave and said, “Sir, this slave has something for you.”

“For me?”

“A master said to give this to whoever was in charge, master.”

“Why didn’t you give whatever it was to Blackfire?”

The slave grinned. “I had thought that the master didn’t think that Lord Blackfire was what he meant. In any case Lord Blackfire didn’t exactly give me a chance to talk with him.”

“What is this?”

“I don’t know, master. The Master was collecting things and this is what he handed me.”

“Then it must be important. Someone will want to talk to you all about what you were doing.”

“The lords did not say that we could not speak about that.”

“Then we will want to discuss things in detail.”   

Chapter 22

The Carayarus Estate

Richard watched the boxes that contained the bodies of the various Obedient that had been killed in the encounter with Redhand’s Protectors and enhanced and sighed. More of his and the Empire’s people fed to the monster that was the Project. He turned to Tarranth and said, “I want you to make Redhand your personal project. Get together with Dan on this. I can’t give this the attention it deserves, but you and Dan can. The harvest is about over, so you should be able to get people.”

“I’ll do that, dad. I’ll talk to Dan and we’ll look for traces in the Fellowship and Istrosia.

“Why there?”

“Because the Project has been active there since the mage wars. That was where the fifty estates are, the Darkmage had all sorts of things stashed, the Empty lands are next door and that was where Stormfire and Redhand launched the campaign that ended with Harald’s death.”

Richard smiled. “Somebody has been studying.”

“Yes, for a classwork. While the paper was for classes here, I wanted something that I could publish in the Republic.”

“You were jealous of your sister.”

“A bit. Of course the history professor at the Imperial University is an old orc from the Fellowship and he has been watching the finds at Harald’s park rather closely. I did some digging in the Ravahana archives and was able to find some things about that campaign. So I know that Redhand knows that area of the Empire.”

“A lot has changed since the Mage Wars.”

“On our farms, things have. Other places, not so much. The Fellowship is a different story.”

The Wildlands, the Empire

Redhand looked at the camp that the various groups had created and said, “This was a good move for us. The trucks and the back road to the Fellowship will be useful.”

“The harvest is over,” Raguk said. “That is going to close off opportunities. The cold weather in the north will constrain things as well.”

“Our enemies will be even more constrained and we have the Jumpers while they do not. I made the Qinvaris of my time miserable and I can do that again.”

House Qinvaris.

Tarranth activated Tassarian and Tamnaeth and said, “I have been given a project by my father and I think that you both can help.”

“What is the project?” Tamnaeth asked


“Be very careful on how you deal with him. He gave me more than a bit of trouble and was very good at making messes.”

“I sort of figured that. Otherwise the clowns wouldn’t have boxed him up. I’ve started to do some digging and the House library and journals did not go down with the big library, so they are still here. I’m putting together a log of his attacks on the House and how he did them.”

“There should be one already. The oracle should have that already as well. On the other hand, Redhand is capable of changing how he does things.”

“He also isn’t big on following orders. Blackfire ordered him to hit us with the Blight bombs and return to the Community. He didn’t go back and ignored the Blight for the most part.”

“He’s developing resources outside the Project.”

“I haven’t gone through the legacy yet, but do you think that he has vaults stashed with things inside.”

“Probably. Tassarion, did you look for things like that?”

“We didn’t. We were just trying to keep the House together as best we could and poking around in other Houses was out of the question. All of the Scourge devises are accounted for, aren’t they, Tarranth?”

“Yes they are. There are other ways to make large booms and Redhand likes fires. That came from the House Journal and some other things we found back when we were looking into the Blight.”

“That must have been before you found us. Have you spoken to Larranth about this?”

“Not yet. I still have a bottle of that brandy, so that should not be that difficult. Thank you both.”

“Come back and chat when you have more. Watch yourself as well.”

“I will.”

Tarranth deactivated the seemings and went to his father’s office. “That was a good idea you had. There is a log of Redhand’s actions against the House in the old days.”

“I thought that there would be. Did they have any ideas?”

“Not very much yet. I think they want me to come up with my own ideas first.”

“I think that you will have a better sense of what we can do than the seemings will.”

“I’m not a soldier.”

“You have Horatio and the rest. But they are not the House. You are.”

“That’s strange, coming from you.”

“That comes from my dad and the ranch. He sort of made me and my brothers know where the coin stopped.” 

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