The Return of Redhand, Chapter 95-96

“You wouldn’t want the conflict to continue? Certainly there would be material for you.”

“Not as much as you would think, since the Carayarus ladies have already seen all my movies. Of course they are not above some shenanigans themselves.”

“What did they do to Lady Harper?”

“I think that I will wait to share that until this is resolved.” 

Chapter 95.

The Genzeiros Estate

Theodre looked at his sons and said, “Sending you to the Flight Instructor and the others seems to have done you some good.”

The four grinned and Ham said, “The training was rough, but we made some friends and learned some things even outside the training itself. That alone made the program valuable. Access to things like Yllanan cloaks and the Jimmy Packs as well as having some assistance in planning our patrols is going to be invaluable. They’re still out there, someplace. We could start poking around outside of the estate.”

“Do that,” Theodre said. “Treehollow won’t complain and I will cover you with any other neighbors that complain.”

Taenya saddled her horse, Dilly, and prepared to go on her ride. She was going to go off her usual path and see if she could find Virion’s old bandit village. She was curious as to where it was and by sneaking through the edge of the dead zone, she could be there and back in a day. So, early in the morning, she was off. She knew that Virion wouldn’t be there, but she wanted to see the place for herself.  

The Wildlands, the Empire

The Prophet watched the Jumpers leave and smiled. Bringing the storyteller would go far to spreading the word of the new gods. That would reverse the setbacks and humiliations that he and the Iluminates had suffered. The new days would soon come.

Redhand looked at the scene and mused that he was again tied to those who were foolish as well as ruthless. At least the storyteller should be interesting company as long as he lasted.

Redstriker watched the girl riding along and cursed. First of all, she was riding sidesaddle, wearing the kind of clothes that said, High Elf. Second, she was riding right along to where the camp and rest were, right when the Jumpers were taking off. Whistling, Redstriker called his squad in.

Versellen, Kingdom of Dolmon.

Torald mused that they made for quite a caravan as he and Waterlilly Jumped ahead to their next stop, the D’Ambray estate and Versellen. They emerged from Jump and Jimmy and Talissa were waiting with Baroness D’Ambray. She smiled and said, “You must be the Loremaster’s escorts.”

“We are, Milady. I see that a certain princess and her friend have preceded us. I wanted to make sure that you knew that we were coming.”

Astania  smiled. “There are more than the Loremaster and his wife?”

“We have a wine merchant from Fallingwater and his wife, Goren and Villia traveling with us, along with his apprentice, Rolim and his friend, Jewel, along with some of Lord Qinvaris’s people and the guards. That is our group. There have been some tagalongs, but they can stay at the inn.”

“Ok, now what about the Loremaster’s time? The children are looking forward to meeting him.”

Torald laughed and Waterlilly said, “I went over that with Tilly, so I have what Taeren is expecting. Why don’t we go over this while Torald reports back.”

“You are very organized for a fae.”

“Milady, I have to be, since, if I wasn’t, who knows what Torald would do. When it was just him, it was tolerable, but we have staff back home in Chatsrey and have to watch things here. So I have to keep things in order.”

“Good for you.”

The Jumpers emerged over the caravan’s camp and the first that the Dolmon guards knew that anything was amiss was when they received Projector fire. The guards were quickly downed and an activated sleep field put the rest of the caravan to sleep. Enhanced dropped from the Jumpers and pulled the sleeping folk from the caravans as others untied the horses and slapped them so that they ran off. Still others attached straps to the caravan, and then climbing on the caravan roofs, attached the straps to hovering Jumpers. Still others dragged the bodies of the guards off into the woods. The tasks complete, the various enhanced and Protectors mounted the waiting Jumpers, the Jumpers lifted and entered Jump.

A single apprentice guard, who had gone off into the woods to relieve himself, returned as the enhanced were performing the various tasks and remained hidden until things were over. Then he started to tend to those guards that had been wounded.

Torald emerged from Jump and looked around at the empty camp. Hearing a noise he turned and spotting the apprentice guard, said, “Doran, what happened here?”

“Things appeared in the sky and there was Projector fire. They killed the captain and most of the others and then used some sort of magic to put everyone else to sleep. Then they took everyone and everything.”

“How many are still alive?”

“Five. The rest are scattered around, dead.”

“Ok, let’s get the wounded together and then I will Jump for help.”

Jimmy appeared and, looking around said, “Either you gave me the wrong Jump point or something is very wrong.”

“Something is very wrong,” Torald said. “Redhand just took the Loremaster. Could you get a healer and some people to deal with the wounded?”

“I can do that. What are you going to do?”

“Go to the train station when you get back and send some messages.”

Jimmy disappeared and reappeared with a woman and some others from the fairy kingdom. Jimmy said, “I brought Mother ‘Mina. You go to the railroad station and send your messages.”

The Wildlands, the Empire

Taeren woke up and the cultist that was standing where he was said, “Come.”
Taeren was taken to room where another cultist was waiting. The Silverin said, “Sit. I am the Prophet of the New Gods. I wish for you, storyteller, to spread the story of the New Gods.”

“Your story, or their story?”

“What do you know of the new gods?”

“Why don’t you tell me of your story? We can get to the story of the new gods at some other time.”

Redhand looked at the prisoners and frowned. The man from the Republic and his fae wife were missing. Looking at the elf with his wife, he said, “Where is the other man that was with you?”

“Torald?” Aien said. “He went ahead to make arrangements with Baroness D’Ambray.”


“On a horse. He could hardly do something else.”

“He could not Jump?”

“He hadn’t been to Versellen before, so he didn’t have a Jump point.”

“I hope that you are telling the truth, for your sakes.”

Neuw Athlin

Roger tipped the messenger boy and opened the message. Looking at it, he cursed. Rain looked at him askance and said, “That is another silver for the jar.”

“Not this time.” He handed the message to his wife. “I wish it was some idiot nobleman again. Unfortunately, this is worse. I need to send some messages.” 


Grace looked at the message, at Frank and said, “Why is this significant?”

Frank sighed. “Elf Carran is a national treasure. I imagine that the country will be upset if he were to get murdered.”

“What do you think I should do?”

“Send this to the President’s office.”

“Travelers get in trouble all the time. I imagine that Elf Carran knew the risks. Put this in the daily brief.”

Little animals moved up and down Frank’s back as he said, “I really think that we should tell the army and navy about this and arrange a recovery.”

“We don’t even know what country Elf Carran is in. The last Administration was sending those soldiers they had all sorts of places and causing all sorts of trouble. One thing that I will not stand for is dropping soldiers into places and having them resolve things using violence. I have been too busy and did not realize what the navy was up to at Clikitat. There was no real scandal there, but the Administration has to make it clear that the Republic is no longer sending pirates to other countries to bully them.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

Frank returned to his office and picked up the phone. “Isla, send someone over to my office. I have something that the President should see.”

After he put the phone down, he started to write a telegram. A Presidential aide came into his office and Frank said, “Take this to Isla. Tell her that it went straight to the President’s office.”

The aide took the telegram and left.

Isla took one look at the telegram and looked at the aide, “Mart, did Frank say anything about this?”

“Other than it supposed to go straight to the President’s office, no.”

“I’m taking this to the President right now.”

Isla went into the President’s office and said, “Mr. President, I think you should see this.”

George looked at the message and said, “Has anything more come in?”

“Not as yet, Mr. President.”

“Have Grace, Tom and Jon come to my office as soon as possible.”

“Do you want me to send some messages alerting Army and Navy about the situation?”

George thought about it and said, “Do that, but I don’t want anything started until I give the go ahead.”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

The Secretaries of State, War and the Navy came into the President’s office and Grace said, “What is it Mr. President?”

“A matter of some import has come to my attention. Apparently Elf Carran has been kidnapped by Colonel Redhand.”

“Somebody in my office leaked, then.”

“I don’t know how the message was received. Apparently you knew about this already. So you must have had something in mind. Spit it out.”

“I think that we should avoid doing something that could be seen as invading another country. We can’t send soldiers after every traveler that gets in trouble.”

“Elf Carran isn’t just any traveler. He is regarded throughout the Republic and if we did not make an effort to get him back, it might splash back on the Administration. Has anyone sent details to your office?”

“Not as yet. At least no one has put them on my desk.”

“Send them to me when you get them, immediately. Tomas, Jon, do you have any proposals?”

“I would have to talk to General Newford,” Jon said. “I’m not sure that I like the idea of prancing around on foreign territory any more than Grace does.”


“The special section is based in Ishendell. I could have them prepare a proposal.”

“Do so.”

“Just what we need, Jorge the Pirate stomping around,” Grace said. “He’ll be grandstanding for publicity so that he can sell more of those books of his, just you watch.”

“Grace, Major Tollings hasn’t been making any noise when he was on assignments,” Tomas said. “He handled the matters with FSA with discretion and ability. I don’t think that he will make a lot of noise.”

“I still don’t like it very much.”

“Grace, if you can come up with something that could get Elf Carran released, I want to hear about it,” George said. “I think that we all have things to do.”

The Arsenal, Cleadsgate

Peble came into Drannor’s office and placed the telegram on the admiral’s desk. “Elf Carran was kidnapped in Dolmon.”

“By some churchmen again? That would be rather foolish of them.”

“By Redhand, apparently. At least whoever did it used Projectors and Jumpers, according to the survivors.”

Drannor cursed. “Have you notified Major Tollings?”

“We don’t have a go ahead from the President.”

Drannor sighed. “What did the President send?”

“Just a message telling us of the event and a note to send it on to the special section and tell them to prepare, but not to take any action pending the go ahead.”

“So, our hands are tied. Let the major know. At least he can set something up.”


Sarya looked at the message and back at Bill. “I won’t ask how you got this, but I am glad that we know about this.”

“I’m just concerned that the Administration will sit on this.”

“I doubt that Redhand wants to put Elf Carran to the stake.”

“No, he probably doesn’t. On the other hand, Taeren wasn’t the only one taken. Several House Umevan people including Rolim Umevan were taken and I doubt that Redhand or the Prophet realize that they are playing with fire when they grabbed them.”

“We will work with the Umevan on this and provide them with whatever we have.”

Bill grinned. “I thought that you would say that.”

House Qinvaris

Nightstalker looked at the message and shook a bit. Violating his usual procedure, he picked up the message and took it to the Lady. The lady looked at him and said, “What is it, Nightstalker?”

“Your brother was apparently taken, by Redhand.”

“You haven’t told Richard, yet, have you?”

“I wanted to tell you first.”

“Take this to Richard. I will join you in a bit.”

“This is just another blow.”

“It was also foolish. Redhand has been careful to keep his activities directed, at us, by and large. He’s also taken Rolim Umevan. That was extremely foolish. Go ahead and take this to Richard.”

Nightstalker turned around and took the message to Richard. “Milord, I think that you should see this.”

He handed the message to Richard, who looked at it and said, “We were luckier than we deserve. Aien and Kavrala were taken with Taeren and Tilly. They also took Rolim Umevan. Get a message off to the Umevan immediately. Also make sure that Major Tollings is kept up to date. Redhand just made a huge mistake.”

“What are you thinking, milord?”

“I doubt that Redhand knows anything about microportals and he almost certainly took a bunch of them right to his camp. Torald and Aien probably made certain of that. Go to the Carayarus and let them know that Redhand did this.”

“When do you think that Redhand will send a ransom note?”

“Nightstalker, I’m not sure that he will. I think that he, or one of the others wanted to tell Taeren their story. Another thing. Send something to Jerthath in Bighagh.”

Nightstalker grinned. “I see your point.”

“Jerthath will want to add Redhand to his collection and I think that we should give him the opportunity.” 


Naertho looked at the message and went where his wife was sitting with Irial and Shael. “Irial, Your father will probably receive word all too soon. Your brother was taken by Redhand.”

Irial gasped and said, “Is that certain?”

“Torald Ironaxe has been sending messages out. He and Waterlilly went ahead to make arrangements for Elf Carran and when he returned, Redhand had taken Elf Carran, Rolim and the others. The good news is that while Redhand does not know me, some of his associates certainly do.”

“They just made a big mistake.”


“We will be telling Jorge what Redhand just did. Redhand missed all the fun from the Community. At least he missed most of it. So he won’t understand what he just did to himself. Of course my little brother is no slouch either.” 

The Carayarus Estate

Richard pulled the car up, parked it and walked around to open the door for Rosa. He looked around and said, “Things seem to be busy here.”

“I know. I should have visited earlier, but what with all the other things I have had this year, I haven’t had the time.”

Renynn came out the door and said, “Richard! What brings you here today?”

“I wanted to borrow Dan and the others.”

“What for?”

“Taeren was taken by Redhand this morning.”

“How and where?”

“In Dolmon and using Jumpers. That’s what  I have so far.”

“Milady, my mother and Pyria will be glad to see you, so come on in.”

“Your mother is here?” Rosa asked with a grin.

“Since just after the reunion, which she missed. That was probably a good thing, as she and your mother in law would be at each other again and mother would forget that we have other targets. Pyria, why don’t you take Lady Qinvaris to where you and the other ladies are plotting your next thing while Lord Qinvaris and I find the boys and get them started.”

Renynn took Richard to where the boys were making plans with the Themaer boys for a store in Innshys as they walked down the hall, Richard asked, “Why were you concerned about my mother?”

“Not so much you mother as what she and my mother will do if they are too close together. Your mother hasn’t quite forgiven my mother for the Anvil.”

“The Anvil?”

“About fifteen years ago, we wanted to enlarge our store on the side of Market Square. At the same time your mother had a city beautification and historical preservation project in Chatsrey in the area surrounding Market Square and managed to get a act through the city council limiting the footprint that buildings could have surrounding Market Square. At mother’s urging my father hired Sihnion Themaer to design our new building so that it remained inside the act, but violated the act’s intentions.”

“Sort of like the Crystal Palace.”

“Yes. In our case, the new store is in the shape of an enormous anvil with large overhangs that have the store’s restaurant and café in them. We kept inside the restrictions, but we have a building that is taller and has those overhangs, as well the largest open space in front, which we take full advantage of. Your mother is still annoyed at my mother.”

Richard started to laugh. “I take it that your original idea would have been more appropriate.”

“My father wanted to maintain the original facades and rebuild behind them and up a few floors. That would have given us the space we wanted without changing the face of Market Square very much. The Anvil did, and it started a new trend on that side of the Square, as well as the garden competitions.”

“That explains some things at the Conclave. Mother was pleased by my daughters.”

“I imagine that she was. I am surprised that their cousins haven’t participated. Here’s Dan and the others. I don’t think that you have met Jimmy. His father has a store in the Lower City.”

“I hadn’t, but my House probably is a customer.”

Dan said, “Welcome, milord. This is a surprise.”

“I want to hire you all,” Richard said. “My brother in law, Taeren Carran was taken this morning.”

“How? For that matter who would be so stupid?”

“Redhand, using Jumpers in Dolmon.”

“Was it another attack on you, or something else?”

“We haven’t received a ransom note, so we aren’t sure what is going on.”

“Why us?”

“Because you have the most exposure to Redhand.”

“We didn’t exactly deal with him very well.”

“You all can operate in the Fellowship better than my people can and you aren’t known to be connected to me there.”

Dan grinned. “We’ll help. Uncle wouldn’t forgive us if we didn’t, since Elf Carran is one of his favorite people. Are Redhand and his friends still hiding over there near the Fellowship?”

“You have been keeping up.”

“Faghig and Jreghug keep us updated so that we will have some warning. You are in the market for mana batteries, correct?”

Richard grinned. “What are you thinking?”

“Milord, we have that factory out there making mana batteries. That was the one thing that Redhand did when he was here. He hasn’t been able to collect the batteries for moons and he knows that the factory couldn’t be shutdown very easily. So we, the poor exiled House have batteries that we need to sell and you dragged us here, so you are buying them to support us.”

“Take a proposal to Tarranth. I like how you are thinking.”

“We’ll do that. We should have been talking to him right along.”

“What have you been up to here?”

“We’ve been chasing down the family properties in the Lower City and investigating the things on the map. Unfortunately we think that the keys are in the House and the House has squatters, so we can’t look for them. That’s why the ladies are fighting the battle with the ladies Ravathyra.”

Richard laughed. “They are hardly the first ones to get involved with something like that.”

“The problem is that the squatters started a rumor going around that we are simple tradesmen, based on the business in the Republic, which they found out about, somehow. Since we have been going around and doing things like looking to buy property, as family, the Cloud City types see the rumor as substantiated. The problem is that there just aren’t enough people from the family here that we can afford to have people not directly tied to the business.”

“I have heard rumors that Dan has made a good impression on one of the Ladies Ravathyra.”

“If you mean Lady Lielatha,” Dan said, “That was just being polite to the lady and taking her a bit seriously when she had some good suggestions about the dollhouses I was commissioning for my sister and cousin.”

“You didn’t know her and weren’t aware of the danger that surrounds dealing with her. So you were polite and fair, and not particularly afraid of her. I imagine that was a surprise.”

“I was a bit circumspect about what I was doing the last time I saw her and didn’t tell her too much. I also acted as if chasing down the mess in the Lower City was an annoyance because I had to do it myself. Have the Ravathyra had money issues?”

Richard laughed. “Yes they have, mostly because Paeris was shut down and decided that being a celebrity in the Republic was more fun than being a Ravathyra pirate.”

“He caused me some trouble,” Renynn said. “It wasn’t even deliberate, but when the only stainless steel vessels imported here were used to make Clear, the issue made some problems for me. I was able to make the point that not all stainless steel pots were used for things like that and managed to get stainless steel kitchenware taken off the banned list.”

Richard laughed. “That probably didn’t help you where the rumors were concerned.”

“Maybe not, but the rest of the Seats don’t have to answer to my grandfather and I do. Since he won’t come here and plump his butt in the Seat, I have to do it and grandfather thinks that I am lazy anyway.”

“I think that we should let these gentlemen finish what they are doing and see what the ladies are up to.”

“Probably. I am glad that Rosa came to see the place.”

“She didn’t stay away deliberately, but between one thing and another, with the weddings that we participated in, or were of our children, as well as the usual things, time just went by.”

“I know and we are going to be in the same boat all too soon. Mother hasn’t managed to get to the Community yet, since Lady Silverin is up there, and not here, so getting permission isn’t easy. That will slow mother down for a bit.”

They left Dan and the others to their planning and went to the parlor where the ladies were entertaining Rosa and making plans for the assault by rumor and scandal on the Caifaren. As they walked in, Rosa was saying, “You are off to a very good start. The engagement probably went a long way to squelching the rumors. House Ralotris also gives you a presence in the Cloud City.  Have you made an offer to buy the Caifaren out?”

“We hadn’t,” Tiriana said. “I hadn’t really thought about taking that approach. Doing that may cause some issues with my father in law, but that may be a way out of the predicament.”

“It would also show that you were willing to work within the social mores and are not greedy tradesmen.”

“We’re not especially greedy. That would be just foolish. On the other hand, buying them out could cause issues if it is done with coin.”

“How so?”

“To a certain extent the return to the Empire is a vanity project. This is something that is a money sump at present and it has been spending money at a faster rate than the copper pinchers back home really like. So buying places we already legally own is right out. On the other hand, there are five estates here. I imagine that the one thing that the Caifaren really want is legitimacy, a Seat in the Conclave.”

“They are not a Great House, no. I imagine that Shaerra promised that and never could deliver it. They probably see you as taking the seat that they were owed. Of course that relied on the Dowager Empress keeping her promise, something that she was not exactly known for except when she was promising retribution, as my parents discovered.”

“I imagine that the girls appearing at the Day of Flowers were more than a bit of a shock. At least that was when the Caifaren realized that we had returned.”

 “I see that Richard and Renynn have returned. I will have Alinis and Nimue come and discuss doing something with your girls for Yellowleaf. The Sanctum is rather cramped and you have a lot of opportunity here.”

As Richard and Rosa were leaving, Rosa asked, “Did you get what you wanted?”

“The boys were eager to cooperate.”

“Why did you get them and not Jorge?”

“I talked to Harald already. The new Administration apparently doesn’t want Republican soldiers traipsing all over other people’s property even if those people want them traipsing all over their property doing some pest clean up. So no Jorge and Rob has retired. On the other hand, the Carayarus are here legitimately and Tom said that Renynn knows and likes Taeren very much, so getting his nephews wasn’t an issue. It looked as if you were entertained.”

“I was. Your mother will be annoyed when I write to her.”


“Apparently she and Tiriana are old adversaries and she is stuck in the Republic right now, so she can’t be involved in this.”

Richard laughed. “That will annoy her.” 


Jorge looked at the message and cursed under his breath, since Lyari was in the room playing with some blocks while his papa was working. He looked at Nightblade and said, “Has there been anything about moving on this?”

“Not that came into Headquarters.”

“Get the company commanders together. We can at least start to put things together. Send a message to Duke D’ Ambray telling him that we aren’t holding him responsible and telling him about the situation. Also send to the Dragonmaster. Once we have the brief, I need to discuss this with my grandfather.”

“So, are we going in?”

“That is why I need to talk to grandfather. Admiral Steelshaper would have given us the signal if we were clear to do that. I think that Administration is worried about more of what we do being all over the books and movies.”

“We haven’t sent the Clikitat stuff in yet and we have kept a lid on the FSA stuff so that the cases won’t be tainted.”

Jorge laughed. Nightblade looked at him and said, “What is so funny sir?”

“I doubt that very many people would believe that you and the rest worry about legal cases.”

“They don’t know us at all. You should have taken us when that stuff with the FSA was going on.”

“You are actually right, Nightblade. I think I need to talk to my wife and head to the portal, so dismissed.”

“Yes, sir. Lyari, I don’t think that you want to be here for that. Your mother is going to be annoyed.”

“Yah, Wolfie. Let’s see Willa about a snack.”

House Aravaris.

Harald looked at his grandson and then down to the message in his hands. “Thank you for bringing this to me. The Secretary hasn’t seen fit to notify me of things that are happening in my area of interest. Perhaps she is concerned that I might take some actions she would not approve of.”

“Requesting marines to rescue prominent citizens of the Republic, for instance?”

“That sort of thing, yes. I was told, both by Richard’s people and the palace about this, of course, but there hasn’t been anything from the Secretary as yet. Apparently somebody told the admiral, but hasn’t given you the go ahead. Have you spoken to the Carayarus as yet?”

“I haven’t. Should I?”

“They had Redhand on the estate here for a time. I think that we should pay a visit.”

“I need to stop by House Qinvaris afterwards.”

“Let’s both go and then to the Carayarus estate.”

“Not the House?”

“That is something we can discuss on our way. I think that you will be entertained.”

“Where is Derry?”

“Down in the Lower City, on some project that I am deliberately not paying much attention to.”

“That being?”

“He is reminding some people that, regardless of their status here, they are still citizens of the Republic and they can still send their votes home.”

Jorge grinned. “I have some people that need to be kept occupied in Ishendell. I think that when I get a chance, I will discuss that with Derry and provide some resources.”

“He’s done very well already, since the Lower City kids like him. On the other hand, you know the folk out on the estates better than he does and have a lot of friends after discreetly ridding them of some problems.”

“I do, at that.”

The Carayarus Estate

Pyria blinked at the pair in front of her and said, “How may I introduce you?”

“I am Harald Tollings, the Representative for the Republic and this is my grandson, Jorge. I wanted to introduce myself to Renynn Carayarus and Jorge here wants to discuss your nasty visitor.”

“Are you in the army, Mr. Tollings?”

Jorge grinned. “I am a Marine, milady. I was enhanced by the Ravathyra, spent some time with the Great Captain and then joined the marines.”

“What do you do for the marines?”

“Odd jobs where necessary. If you have mail to the Community, you can ask your father about me.”

“You have been to the Community?”

“I made a jaunt there. Some girls were taken and I was supposed to rescue them. Their boyfriends got there first, so that made things easier for me.”

“How are my parents doing?”

“Just fine when I left.”

“Do you know of a way to send mail? We have been isolated here.”

“I can discuss that,” Harald said. “Not right now, though.”

“Well, here is Lord Renynn’s office, so I will leave you to him.”

 Renynn stood to shake Harald and Jorge’s hands and said, “What brings you to the Carayarus Estate, Representative?”

“Other than the fact that my office should have been in contact with you when you arrived, you mean? Well, you had a visitor and my grandson here would like to know how you handled him.”

“Your grandson is going to retrieve Elf Carran.”

“Not yet,” Jorge growled. “I don’t have the go ahead and the Administration seems to be sitting in its hands. At least that is what I am getting from the admiralty.”

“Have you spoken with the Qinvaris about the matter?”

“Not as yet. I was hoping that I could get a feel for how Redhand operates. He wasn’t at the Community when I was, which was a good thing, for him, as Blackfire would have sent him against me and watched me squash him. Instead, he sent Redhand against Richard and Redhand went independent.”

“Do you know where he is?”

“Not at present. I suspect that there are people that have an idea and I want to see how he set up his camp here. That will give me a clue as to what to look for.”

“What will you do about the Jumpers?”

Jorge grinned. “I have some ideas. I will need to collect some things and speak with some people, but I had one advantage that the others involved in this did not. I have access to Jumper manuals and people experienced with them. So I know how to arrange things so that they are grounded if I can set up.”

“I think that you want to discuss this with my nephews, so why don’t I take you to them and then the admiral and I can chat about thing his office can do for us here.”

Renynn took Jorge to the room where the boys were working and said, “Boys, the major here would like to borrow you all. This Major Tollings of the Republican Marines.”

Jerry grinned and said, “Jorge the Pirate?”

“That is me, unfortunately. I didn’t start that, but it has been profitable.”

“What brings you to us?”


“We’re in. We’ll want some publishing rights afterwards.”

“You can discuss that with my people. Watch out for my cousin. He has that shark cane of his for a reason.”

“Why did you come to us?”

“I want to run out and take a look at where Redhand holed up with some of my people.”

“Ok, we’ll take you out, major,” Dan said. “I’m Service Lieutenant Dan Carayarus and these are Service Lieutenant Ryul Carayarus, Service Lieutenant Vince Carayarus and Service Lieutenant Ivarin Carayarus. Jerry here hasn’t Served as yet, since he returned here and Filvy hasn’t graduated as yet. We have all been through the Program.”

“Jerry, you should speak to my grandfather and apply for Service at the Representative’s Office here, since he could use people experienced with the Empire,” Jorge said. “My sergeant and a GP are waiting, so why don’t we go.”

“Jerry, you and me go. You’ve been out there more than the rest of us.”

Sergeant Nightblade was grinning as Jerry got in and said, “You must be Sergeant Nightblade.”

“That is me. Who are you?”

“Jerry Carayarus. I was going to take Service in the Marines, but I ended up here instead. Ok, you need to turn right after pulling out from the drive.”

Jerry kept the people in the GP entertained by poking the sergeant with questions while he gave directions to the estate that Redhand had occupied. After about a twentieth, the GP pulled in front of the house and stopped. The four got out and Dan said, “The camp is in the back.”

“Did they use the buildings or bivouac?”

“They used the houses for the most part. The Jumpers were under some sort of camouflage.”

“How many were here?”

“About four or five hundred, we think. It was Protectors, enhanced and some elves that seemed to be technical types. That probably included the Jumper pilots.”

“Blackfire gave him fifty Jumpers for his assault on the Qinvaris. Were they all here?”

“We think so. We saw at least thirty when they left.”

“Any of the big Jumpers?”

“Not that we saw and the skid marks were all the same size.”

Nightblade walked up with Jerry and said, “Redhand is a bit loose with his Protectors, but we knew that. I’m not which is worse, the ones that go monster or the people that encourage it. Jerry said that they chewed on five Obedient that were with the lady’s brother. The brother was able to escape, because he couldn’t shoot and the Protectors had to deal with the rifles the Obedient had. Redhand interrogated the prisoners he had and then let the Protectors have them.”

“Is there anything else we should see, lieutenant?”

“The mana battery factory. Redhand started it up and we can’t shut it down entirely.”

“What are you doing with the batteries? I can arrange to put tracers on them.”
 “We already have microportals on them and they are tagged by various fae here. So if he picks them up, we will know where they go.”

“Lieutenant, you may be in trouble.”


“You are doing just the sorts of things that some of my people like.”

The Genzeiros Estate

Theodre looked at his son and said, “You think that Taenya was taken by the Protectors?”

Ham shivered a bit and said, “We found Dilly and tracked back to the trail, where there was a scuffle. We also have a direction that they went.”

“Did you go looking?”

“Father, no, we did not. These people have been careful, so I wasn’t going to have our people walk straight into an ambush waiting on the backtrail. So, I didn’t push too hard. Taenya is either dead, in which case there isn’t anything we could do, or still alive, so making things worse won’t help.”

Theodre grinned. “Good job, son. Now let’s see what we can put together. Send a messenger to the guild with what we have. I think that they will be interested.”

“I’ll send one to Tarranth and the orcs as well.”

“The more allies we have on this the better.”

Chapter 96

House Carayarus

Aerilaya looked at her daughter and said, “How did things go at House Ravathyra last evening?”

“As usual, mother. The thing was rather scandalous. Rolin and his friends found a transformer someplace and sprung it on the young ladies as a surprise. Most of us weren’t annoyed, but the thing was highly inappropriate.”

“Did you transform?”

“Mother! I’m not going to say.”

“How is our program advancing?”

“I spread some more rumors, especially about that ratty store in the Lower City. Unfortunately, Naevys was there and squelched the rumors more than somewhat. She and one of the Carayarus have become engaged.”

“The Ralatoris are probably taking coin from the frauds. They have been in difficulties for a long time.”

“Naevys said that the family had been asked to return by the Empress herself. She has seen the elf the family sent wearing the ring.”

“Did she say how he got the ring? The Dowager Empress said that the Hunter had kept the ring as he did his other trophies.”

“Apparently the rings were found when the Hunter was discovered and Lady Keanorin was looking to return them to the families.”

There was a knock on Pelleas’ office door and Aolis, his House manager, said, Lord Valmys and Lady Trislana would like to speak to you, milord.”

“What is this about?”

“They would not say.”

“Very well, send them in.”

The Justiciars were let into the office and Pelleas stood to greet them. He bowed and said, “What may I do for you, milord and milady?”

   “We are here to discuss the matter of this House that you are occupying, Elf Caifaren.”

“What about it. We have a grant of Custodianship from the palace until the Carayarus exile has been revoked.”

“That is the issue we wish to discuss. The exile has been revoked and the Carayarus are wondering why you are refusing to discuss the matter with them.”

“I didn’t know that I was.”

“Your people turned away the young lords when they came to discuss the matter, claiming that they were frauds” Eitheriel said. “Now Lord Carayarus would like to have the House returned for various reasons and the accounts resolved, preferably with a settlement that will please everyone. Unfortunately, your wife has made that more difficult by spreading some rather salacious and borderline scandalous rumors while refusing to respond to any attempts to speak with her by the Carayarus ladies.”

“My wife believes that the Carayarus are tradespeople and not a high family.”

“That is somewhat true, the need for that sort of thing pressed upon them as a necessity in their state of exile. That approach is hardly unusual for returned exiles.”

“Are there many?”

“More than you probably know.”

“Selling things for the kitchen hardly seems like the thing that a high family would bother itself with. There has been a Carayarus shop in the Lower City that sells hardware and such. But that is a small branch of the family, not the high family.”

Folas grinned. “Actually, the shop here is run by a member of the high family, brought low by the machinations of the Dowager Empress and more or less in hiding. At least he was until the Carayarus found him.”

“What is the offer from Lord Carayarus.”

“He realizes that you have little property titled to you and that you do not currently have a relationship with a Great House or the resources currently to found one even with the revenues from the Carayarus properties you are acting as custodianship for. The Carayarus are willing to deed at least some of those properties to you and provide an estate.”

“In exchange for the House being vacated and left untouched. Why the estate?”

“The Carayarus have five estates to look after and it has been demonstrated rather brutally that they do not have the resources at present to hold all five. Since one reason that the House was returned was to occupy the estates, having you all move in is seen as a good thing.”

“My wife won’t like it very much, but the deal is better than I would have expected, considering that the Carayarus could have just driven us out.”

“Lord Carayarus has to answer to his father and grandfather in the Republic and driving you out would be seen as foolish if Lord Carayarus could come to a more beneficial arrangement.”

 “I will discuss this with my wife and speak to Lord Carayarus about this. As of now, I do not have any issues with the deal as presented.”

“You can tell your lady that she is going up against a lady that has battled with Lythienne Harper and won,” Eitherial said. “Unless she could get Lady Qinvaris on her side, she probably doesn’t stand much of a chance.”

Pelleas grinned. “You wouldn’t want the conflict to continue? Certainly there would be material for you.”

“Not as much as you would think, since the Carayarus ladies have already seen all my movies. Of course they are not above some shenanigans themselves.”

“What did they do to Lady Harper?”

“I think that I will wait to share that until this is resolved.” 

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