The Return of Redhand, Chapter 93-94

Ald doesn’t fit. The gods are concerned.

Chapter 93

The Wildlands, the Empire

The Prophet turned from the plan that he had tacked to the wall of the hut that he was using as the Iluminants came in. “You had something of interest?”

“Holy one, as you know, we were attending the Conclave. We wanted to tell you about something that we thought would interest you. There was a tale teller of great renown there, telling tales.”

“What of it?”

“We believe that if we could persuade him to look favorably on the new gods, he could be an asset to forwarding our cause.”

“Tell me more.”

Redhand, looked down at the map and up at Redstriker. “Show me where they are poking in.”

Redstriker pointed at the map. “They checked the village near the old estate and then did a sweep through the dead zone. They haven’t come close to us as yet.”

“Keep an eye on them. We may need to move quickly.”  

Neuw Athlin

Ald was taking his wheelbarrow with its cargo through the city when a well dressed girl suddenly stood in his path and said in a commanding voice, “Why do you push that smelly thing through the streets?”

“It is my task, at present.”

“Are you a serf?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“A peasant?”


“Are you in a trade?”


“Then you must be a lord, and you shouldn’t be doing what you are doing.”

“It is my task. I am tending the Tree.”

“Tending the Tree?”

“Yes. I planted a seed and it has grown into a Tree.”

“What is your name?”

“Ald. What is yours?”

“Don’t you have a family name?”

“My mother was a loose woman. I don’t know who my father was.”

“My name is Celeste. Where do you live?”

 “On the hill over there, near the University.”

“With your dad?”

“I don’t know who my dad was.”

“Your mom?”

“She is dead.”

“So are my parents. They were killed in Athlin.”

“I’m sorry.”

“We were away when the city was struck, so we weren’t killed. My sister became a landdragon.”

“Your sister is the queen, then.”

“Yes. She just married Joram the landdragon.”

“I know. I was there.”

“Not pushing that thing. That would have messed things up.”

Ald wasn’t sure why the girl was bothering him, but he needed to feed the Tree, so he pushed on. The girl followed along until he reached his house and when he turned to go inside, said, “This is Duc D’Alante’s house.”

“Yes. They aren’t here right now.”

“Off rampaging someplace, since they are stuck as landdragons.”

Ald laughed. “Do you want to see what I am doing?”

“I think that I do.”

“Ok, then.”

 Ald and the girl went to where the Tree had been planted, Ald got out his shovel and started to mix the contents of the wheelbarrow together. When he finished, he loosened the earth around the Tree and mixed the contents of the wheelbarrow into the earth. When he was done, he went for his bucket and using the faucet that had been installed, filled it with water. Then he poured the water around the Tree. Celeste looked at him curiously and said, “That makes no sense. Why do you do all that?”

“I am feeding the Tree. The Tree likes it, see.”

The small Tree lit up and glowed, making the space fill with warmth. Ald put the shovel and bucket in the wheelbarrow and pushed it to the storage shed. He turned around just as one of the maids came out of the house and said, “Ald, who is this?”

“This is Celeste, Adel.”

“Well, bring her inside and cook will have something for you both. It is the midday.”

Once lunch was over, Adel said, “Celeste, where do you live?”

“With my sister, at the new palace.”

 “Who is your sister?”

“Cécile. She has to be queen, since our parents were killed.”

Adel looked at Ald and said, “Ald why don’t you take Celeste to the palace.”


As they walked out on the street, a group of guards appeared and the captain said, “There you are, princess.”

Celeste stopped and said, “Yes, here I am.”

“Who is this with you?”

“This is Ald. He lives over there.”

“Well, your sister is a bit concerned and your tutor was looking for you, so we must take you home.”

“Ald was taking me there, so come along. Ald, we must go.”

When they reached the palace, Celeste led Ald inside and said, “I have something that can help us find out who you are.”

“I know who I am.”

“Do you? You don’t have a place.”

“I have Rolain and Anais and the Tree.”

“But you don’t know what you are.”

“I am what I am. I haven’t really thought about what you call it. At one time, I was a nothing, but the Tree needs me, so I am not a nothing.”

“Come along. We will consult the oracle.”

“The oracle?”

“Yes. The oracle can find things out.”

Ald looked at Celeste more than a bit skeptically. “Ok.”

“My sister isn’t here, so Countess D’ Creli is at home. Seriellia may be here, so we can have her look for what we want. She’s just looking to get Jimmy here again.”


“Don’t say anything.”

Celeste led Ald into the still under construction palace and down a hall past the guards and the smiling servants. Turning a corner, she led Ald into a room with another girl sitting at a strange devise. The girl turned, smiled and said, “Hi princess. Who is this?”

“This Ald. We want to find out what he is.”

“What do you mean?”

“He doesn’t fit.”

“Ok, let’s see what we can find out. Ald, were you born in Athlin?”

“No. I was born on the D’Lanate estate.”

“You look about sixteen. Is that right?”

“I am seventeen.”

“What was your father’s name?”

“I don’t know.”

“Your mother’s?”

“Fellia Silva.”

Seriellia turned around and did some things at the screen. She turned around and said, “Ald, what did your mother do?”

“She was a loose woman.”

Serellia turned to the screen again and then said, “Is this your mother?”

Ald looked at the screen and said, “Yes. What does it say about her?”

“Is she still alive?”

“A man killed her about five years ago.”

“What happened to him?”

“I don’t know. He was one of the duc’s men. He was given a thousand lashes for killing a freedwoman and kicked out of the guard. I never saw him again.”

“He should have gone to the block. Your mother was a noblewoman from A’I Alora. You and Joram are cousins, albeit distant. She left about the time you were born. Did your mother leave anything in trust for you?”

“I don’t know. The bailiff took our house.”

Seriellia turned to the devise again and looked at it. “There isn’t anything here about you, but your mother had a flag. Any children she had were to get special attention and be sent to the Order, where they were to be sent when they were old enough to Lain Othrond.”


“I think that your mother was Silverin. There’s one other thing. “You have a sister, someplace. She would be nineteen now.”

“I have a sister?”

“Yes. Unfortunately the oracle doesn’t have very much. She was taken by the Order and then seems to have escaped. She doesn’t seem to have been in Lain Othrond.”

“Do you know why the Project would want me? They kidnapped me and took me to the Community.”

“They took you in a Jumper, didn’t they? That was a while ago.”

“Yes they did.”

“How were you returned?”

“I was rescued by some people that I have pledged not to reveal.”

“I think I know who you are talking about. Did they make any hints when you were a hostage?”

“No, but I think that they were afraid of Bill more than a bit.”

“Who was afraid?”

“Mórsairon and Blackfire. After Bill burned Redhand’s face off with a Projector he made, I think that they weren’t going to mess with him and since I was with Bill most of the time, they stayed away. Also, I don’t think that the Project leaders talked to each other very much. Blackfire wanted to send the hostages back after the incident with Susan and he couldn’t.”

“What incident was that?”

“Redhand wanted to use Susan and Carrie for prey to give his Protectors a hunt. Susan is a dragon and transformed. She killed a Protector.”


“She squeezed him in her hand.”

“That must have been ugly.”

“I wasn’t there, but Moonshine and Susan needed to make a point to Redhand and Blackfire that somebody needed to clamp down on Redhand. They sent him off to spread Blight on the Qinvaris.”

“What happened then?” Celeste asked rather fearfully.

“I don’t know.”

“We can find out,” Seriellia said. She keyed the devise, looked at it and said, “He’s hiding someplace. He robbed the Qinvaris and is wanted by just about everybody.”

“That is him.”

“What are the other people like in the Community?”

“Most of people are nice. Some were bad and there was the spider lady, but we just heard stories.”

The girls looked at Ald and said, “Tell us!”

The Tree was pleased. A girl had attached herself to the servant. That would be important, because as long lived as fae could be, the Tree and the grove that it would become would live far longer. The servant being complete would ensure the Tree, and the grove’s future.

The Wildlands, the Empire

Redhand looked at the Prophet and the others and said, “You want me to retrieve someone?”
“Yes,” the Prophet said. “I have decided to share the story of the new gods with the world and this story teller would be a good choice to spread the words of the new gods.”

“What do you want from me?”

“The Jumpers and some Protectors. We have secured arms and intelligence from folk in Dolmon. The Loremaster, as they call him, is traveling in a caravan with some others.”

Redhand put his hands together. “Tell me more about this Loremaster.” 


Aestaeros said, “You could stay longer here and take the train to Kugrim. Diona and I would like that very much, Loremaster.”

“Taking the train would miss the point, I’m afraid, your majesty,” Taeren said. “The reason for these travels, now that I can take them is to find the old tales and those who tell them. I can hardly do that on a train and they may not come to me. So I am doing these travels.”

“We will send a guard. We would not want a repeat of your last visit.”

“I have Torald, Waterlilly, Aien and Kavrala. We should be fine.”

“You had them the last time as well. Diona and I would prefer not to have the major get offended because he had to act on your behalf again.”

“You have made a good argument, even if the boys are in college at present.”

“I imagine that they would come for you.”

“Yes they would. I accept the offer of a guard.”

Chapter 94

The Divinity Devise

The bot was awakened on a routine check and performed the required inspections. The various shocks had had an effect on the wear on the lining of the devise, but there were no cracks in the structure and the wear was within tolerance if there were no other issues in the mana flux. The nine were returning to materiality, but the bot slowed the process by another ten percent to prevent any more issues with the devise. That done, the bot returned to standby mode.

The Netherspace

The room coalesced out of the chaos and the seven took their places. Amus said to the others, “I wanted to update you on the new gods cult.”

“They have not been as disruptive as late,” Atis said. “Perhaps they are not as fervent as they should be?”

“At least not as violent as I would have expected from their previous actions and the actions of their potential ascendants,” Rhenthos said rather sardonically. “On the other hand, now that they are actually committed to ascendance, massive violent acts that can be blamed on them do not help them.”

“Their past does not help them.” Ayja said. “Nor does their current foolishiness.”

“They felt that they needed to compel, rather than guide,” Bruhulla said. “They also don’t seem to have any fun.”

“What is the status of the new gods?” Zaxdon asked. “How close are they to recoalescing?”

“Let us discuss that with the souls.” Amus said.

Harald and the others appeared and Harald said, “You have called us again.”

“We have. Have your other selves discovered anything about the new gods?”

“My other self has been active and Bill is in contact with various people. As far as is known, the tears have more or less stopped. Other than that, things are fairly calm at present.”

“Tarranth, do you have anything to add?”

The landdragon frowned. “Both Tim and Mardi haven’t paid any attention to me of late. Mardi joined the Naval Woman’s auxiliary for her Service and Tim doesn’t trust his new boss with something like me, so I haven’t been in the office. Harald, if you could hint to Bill that Tim activating me would be good thing, I can be more active.”

“I will try. The problem is that there was a big shake up in the government and the navy and a lot of the old connections were broken.”

Amus looked at the collected souls. “All of you, do what you can. We could use more direct methods, but we would prefer to avoid them.”

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