The Return of Redhand, Chapter 89-90

Geral is bored. The Carayarus ladies conduct social warfare.

Chapter 89

RNS Fearless.

Geral watched the crewmembers swabbing down the deck and sighed. The posting on Fearless was supposed to be a prestige posting. If the ship had actually spent any time at sea, as it had during Geral’s Adjunct cruise, the posting would have been worthwhile, but other than the coming fleet maneuvers and some short trips to the gunnery range, the entire first battle squadron spent its time at anchor, in Cleadsgate. While that had been good for passes and short leaves, as far as advancing the midshipmen’s experience at sea, the tour was rather pointless. The advantage of catching the admiral’s eye, or even a staff officer’s was nonexistent since there was no admiral commanding First Battle Squadron at present and even the commodore kept to his office ashore. The other middies didn’t see the problem, but they didn’t know Cutflame. Geral did. Cutflame was at sea, aboard Albatross, probably doing something more significant than cleaning a deck.

RNS Diligent.

Steve grinned as the ship slowed as it entered the Leomaris trading post and came to anchor. Happy seafolk leapt out of the water in welcome and splashed back into the water.  A boat left the pier and headed to Diligent, passing the small freighter unloading cargo. Washout had the accommodation ladder down before Steve could order it. The boat came alongside, an elvish looking figure got out and came up the accommodation ladder. Steve grinned as Washout escorted the man aft to the quarter deck. The man put his hand out and said, “Marius Leomaris.”
Steve shook the man’s hand and said, “Commander Steve Fishchaser, Captain of Diligent.

“She looks a bit different from the last time we saw a survey ship. Of course that was a long time ago.”

“About twenty years. We were supposed to do an updated survey of the islands as a shakedown after we finished refit, but the admiralty wanted us to do a survey of the coast of the Empire and then we did a survey of the Junglelands and the coast from there last year and part of this year. We finally were able to get to the survey of the islands on this voyage.”

We are glad to have you. I see that your seafolk ladies have already headed to the bower.”

“Will we be welcome on land?”

“Certainly. I expect that you have tales to tell.”

“We do.”

“Will the updated charts for the Empire and your last voyage be available soon?”

“The charts for the Empire have been released and the charts for the Junglelands, the Mortal Kingdoms and the rest are at the naval and oceanographic printers, so they should be available soon.”

“My sons will welcome them.”

“Not you?”

“I have retired. The fun went out of it when trading with the Empire opened up. So, I sit here, read stories to the grandchildren and drink fruit flavored rum.”

“Were you affected by the recent storm?”

“It passed south of the island, so it wasn’t a problem.”

“Why don’t I give you a tour and introduce you to my officers and crew. As you saw, the ladies have already gone below.”

“With the exception of the fae girl sitting in the mast tree.”

“With the exception of Nettle who is watching her bonded, enjoying some quiet and a book.”

“Where are you going from here?”

“That depends. We are to proceed up the islands to the Hidden City, surveying as we go. Progress should be meeting us there to pick up our adjuncts and midshipmen, since she is going home. As much as they won’t like it, they need to return to shore. Then we proceed at a more leisurely pace back along the islands.”

Lennie waited for his turn on the boat ashore. He was going to have to be careful not to attract attention to what he was looking into. Fortunately the Leomaris hadn’t moved too far off the beach and the trading post had closed down. So he shouldn’t have any problems with the ancient vault. 

Chapter 90.

The Carayarus Estate

 Fayeth turned to Tiriana and said, “You have done amazing things with the wildflowers from here.”

Tiriana laughed. “I wasn’t here in the spring and I had to work with what I had. I think that we have this ready to go.”

“Yes we do.”

“You haven’t said anything about my daughter being on the hunt.”

 “She didn’t throw herself at Jerry, so much as want to be together. Yes, she introduced herself, something that would be inappropriate in the Empire of the Dowager Empress, but those times are gone and she and Jerry seem to be pleased with each other. In any case, we have an engagement to prepare and some teas and garden parties to plan. The war has been declared and we must meet our adversaries.”

Fayeth laughed. “I have the feeling that you have done this before.”

“I have, with Lythienne Harper as an opponent.”

“You do know what she and Rosa have done, do you not?”

“Repaired the gardens and statue at the Imperial Park. Lythienne made sure to tell us about that and some other things she has done. So repairing the park is out.  I do imagine that there is another sad and neglected place where we can undertake a project.”

“Indeed there are. Far too many things were neglected after the turmoils and during the Regency.”

House Carayarus

Aerilaya looked at her daughter and said, “You are friends with Castein Ralotris, are you not?”

“I haven’t really seen him in years, mother. Not since he was sent off to the Republic. Why is that important?”

“House Ralotris is having a party to announce Naevys’ engagement, to one of the fake House Carayarus. I want you to attend.”

Alea grinned. “I Imagine I can attend yet another dreary thing.”

House Ralotris

Fayeth turned to Tiriana and said, “I think that we have a triumph. Funding the construction of the building in the park was an interesting approach.”
“We wanted to improve the park, and the thing was sitting there. You owned the building that had never been started and we were responsible for the constructor. The trick will be altering the design to get what we want, but I have able sons and nephews as well as professionals to work on that.”

“Was getting Lord Themaer involved a good thing?”

“Yes. For one thing, he has done work for us before, so he won’t ruffle any feathers at home and two, his work makes a statement and that is what we want here.”

“Naevys told me about the Anvil.”

 “Yes. A terribly inappropriate thing right next to Market Square. As I said, I was doing battle with Lythienne Harper and she had plans for Market Square. That was going to limit what we wanted for space, at least on the ground. So we hired Sihnion and the Anvil has a footprint within the limits dictated, but both ends stick out more than a bit. The café is very popular. Who is that?”

Fayeth looked to where the more or less ornamental Jerry and Naevys were chatting with a girl and laughed. “That is your adversary’s daughter, Alea. Aerilaya Caifaren must have sent her to poke in. Alea had been looking to see if she could arrange something with Castien until he went to the Republic and found Mari Ironaxe in a house of joy.”

“On the surface, that would be a scandal. After all the girl came from a house of joy. On the other hand, the Ironaxes are Silverin and girls do that.”

“Surprisingly, even after allowing family to do some inappropriate things, the Ironaxes have a good reputation.”

“That is certainly the case. I take it that the Caifaren are looking for the legitimacy that they currently do not have.”

“Indeed.”

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