The Republic Torn, Chapter 75-76

“What’s wrong with this story?”

“Somebody dropped crap on a bunch of people?”

“What do all those people have in common?”

“They had crap dumped on them.” The boys laughed.

“They mattered! They were important enough for some clown to drop crap on them to stop what they were going to do. We weren’t noticed.”

“We didn’t have crap dumped on us. That’s a bad thing?”

“Yes it is. That means that we were not even noticed! We weren’t worth bothering with!”

Chapter 75.

The Divinity Devise

The bot awakened for a routine check. Performing a scan, it found no further issues. The bot made some adjustments. There was some fluctuations and there were apparently some large mana draws performing some task. Concerned, the bot sent a ping to the base in the wildlands. Perhaps it could arrange to have the disturbances shut down.

The Netherspace

The room coalesced out of the chaos and the seven took their places. Amus said to the others, “Atis, summon the souls.”

“They are already here.”

“Indeed they are,” Tosyn said. “It is as if you all were expecting the call.”

“We were, milady,” Harald said. What do you want to discuss.”

“The Republic changes its leadership through election and there were some strange things going on,” Amus said. “What do you know of this Jorge the Pirate?”

Harald and the others laughed. “So you have noticed him at last. What did he do?”

“Watch and see.”

“That is typical of the major,” Harald said.

“Why do they call him a pirate,” Rhenthos asked.

“Because he served as Paeris Zylvyre’s raidcaptain. Also his family has a reputation, well deserved.”

“The major’s lady is interesting in her own right,” Ayja said. “She has worked to bring many souls deeply in the dark into the light.”

“She was done that,” Lyrei said. “I am pleased that she named her daughter after me.”

“Tell us more about them,” Atis said.

Beltain Naval Academy

Swifty looked at Geral and said, “What do you want, Perfect?”

“To talk. I know that we haven’t been friends, but at least we can talk to each other.”

“What about?”

“First of all, why do you call me Perfect all the time. Other people do it too, and I have never understood why.”

Swifty laughed. “It wasn’t me that started that, it was Midshipman Captain Short. You annoyed him on your first day and apparently he and the Commandant were talking about you and one of them said, “He’s a real Midshipman Perfect.”

“How did you find out about it?”

“You know, I don’t remember. An upperclassman may have used it when talking to me about something you reported me about. In any case, you were stuck with it.”

Geral laughed. “I really put my foot in the crap, didn’t I?”

“So what did you want to talk about?”

“First of all, I want to know how you and Suzy Gilders got together.”

“You probably remember that she ran away from the Plateau and was supposedly kidnapped. Well, she was spotted getting on the train by either Mrs. Ironforge or somebody who passed the word to her. She sent word to one of her side businesses, a procurer named Gordy Shieldbasher. I was watching Chatsrey East for my boss at the time, Ironaxe Asset Protection, spotted Gordy and then Suzy. I grabbed her and took up to the el and away. We went one stop and collected the man I was watching out for, went to the class he was teaching and that was when Suzy probably decided to latch onto me.”

“There were a lot of strange things going on and Susan was away for a time.”

“After she was taken home by my principle’s lady, Suzy’s mother wanted her out of sight for a bit, so she arranged with my principle’s lady to take Suzy, me and some others to the Empire for some training with the Flight Instructor and his crew of sadistic dragon boys.”

“That’s how you knew how to beat the course. You had gone through it before.”

“Yes. It also helps to watch somebody who knows the trick carefully when they do it. The chief made a bit of a mistake sending me so many times, because if the rest of the class had figured it out, his boys would have had more demerits.”

Geral laughed. “They deserved it. How did you become a dragon?”

“I was tested at the Sanctum and since the lost aerie was nearby and I was a royal dragon, went dragon instead of fae. Why the change with you? You were so eager to report everything I did.”

“What the major was saying the other day. I thought about what he was saying and realized that I was doing things to please mother and not because they were what I wanted. Also you and your friends seem to have more fun with things and I messed up.”


“Do you have any idea how boring a cruise on a battleship at anchor all summer is? I should have insisted on Diligent or a cruise to the Empire on one of the old cruisers.”

Albatross wasn’t all fun and games either, even if we did get flight time. I had my share of boring watches too. Of course now that grandfather has been elected, guess who they won’t risk in airplanes anymore.”

“Your turn has come. Let’s go to lunch and see if we can get your Uncle Ardag to buy.”

“Not again. We need to pick up Tim and Jimmy.”


“I need to have a detail now. They count, so if we go to lunch, they have to come.”

Chapter 76.

The Lower City

Derry passed through the gates of the huge temple, dropped a ten silver coin into the slot and rang the small bell to receive his blessing from the gods. Then he turned and entered the temple proper. An underpriest was on duty there and with the patrician look of the High Elf that Derry had come to expect from elves that he was encountering for the first time, and the tone that High Elves used for lower beings, said “What may I do for you, Freeman.”

“I am Derriald Gilders from the Republic with a message from High Priest Brownlow of the Temple in the Republic for High Priest Yinhana here in the Empire.”

“What is the message about?”

“The message hasn’t been opened by the Residency, but apparently Priest Brownlow would like to meet with Priest Yinhana in Ishendell about some matters that he is concerned about.”

“I see. I will take the message to High Priest Yinhana.”

“I was to take the message to his office personally.”

“Very well. I will take you there.”

Derry followed the elf to an elegant and delicately carved door and the elf waved Derry into the office where another underpriest awaited. “What can I do for you, Freeman?”

Derry repeated what he had told the other underpriest and placed the envelope on the desk. The underpriest said, “Why bring this here directly?”

“The Temple’s people want to expedite the meeting and they were hoping that I would have a time available for the the high priest to meet with priest Brownlow as soon as could be arranged.”

“I see. So you would be handling the scheduling and you wanted to open communication with my office. Where can you be reached?”

“My office is at the Republican Residence in House Aravaris.”

“Do you have any idea what the meeting will concern?”

“I haven’t looked at the message, but the cover letter seemed to say that there were some concerns about the new gods cult. I sent some things about them home and that was how I became involved.”

The elf grinned. “Another put upon assistant on another one of those small tasks. I am Kindroth Dawynn, High Priest Ynihana’s assistant. Why don’t I pull his schedule and get some dates. Where would High Priest Brownlow like to hold the meeting?”

“In Ishendell.”

“An interesting place. I have not been there as yet, but there are stories going around.”

“Not about me, I hope.”

    “My brother works for the Qinvaris. Your name, along with some others may have come up. You do not seem to be the useless drone that my brother described.”

“I was nearly eaten by a spider and realized that if she had succeeded, nobody would have much more to say about me than that. So I looked for something different and took the job here.”

“Could you stay for lunch?”

“Not this time. I have to deal with someone from the fae embassy. He wants a report on how the recent election in the Republic went.”

“I think I know of whom you are speaking about.”

Niossae looked up as his aide came into the office. “You are smiling, Kindroth, so whatever it is must be very good.”

“First of all I have a letter from High Priest Brownlow in the Republic. He would like to meet you in Ishendell, preferably before Winterfaire. He would like to discuss the new gods cult with you and related matters.”

“Have you set up the meeting?”

“Young Mr. Gilders and I did so.”

“That isn’t enough to make you smile. So you must have liked Mr. Gilders.”

“I do, and he is rather more interesting than his reputation would lead you to believe. He has attracted the attention of a certain fae pest and it is likely that he will be the next Representative when the admiral goes home. He is also the son of the incoming Vice President.”

“Ishendell is an interesting choice for the meeting.”

“I believe that High Priest Brownlow chose it because the portals make it convenient for us and it is a direct flight from Chatsrey. The Imperial Embassy is there and I have made arrangements for you to stay with the ambassadress.”

“You spoil me, Kindroth.”

  “I do try.”

Derry walked into the tavern and Maethanar said, “Something must have gone well. What is going on?”

“I managed to get the temples of the Republic and the Empire talking to each other for the first time. At least I delivered a message and made the arrangements.”

“What are they talking about?”

“I imagine that the gods are nervous about the thing under the volcano and want the temples coordinating. So I helped to set that up.”

“That was a good thing to do. What did up think of the temple?”

“Too big and splashy. On the other hand, I understand that it dates back to the ancient Empire. Temples at home tend to look like forts.”


“Because during the interregnum, the temple was the one building in most towns that was solid enough to stand up against an attack and big enough to store all the supplies and protect them. So they acted as retreats when things got bad. That means that the windows were arrow slits and the doors have bars to keep them shut and courts with walls and gates. Some of that still shows up in temples built after the Republic was founded. Also no temple would be as large as the temple here.”

Richard came in and said, “Hello Mr. Gilders. Have you been apprised on all the people that received presents in their offices?”

Derry grinned and said, “I may have received something. You have obviously spoken with Gertag.”

“I have, along with a bunch of others.”

“What happened?” Maethanar asked.

“Some upstanding citizens received some rather foul things in their offices the night before the election. Their telephone systems were especially damaged. As such they were not able to coordinate protest actions during the election.”


“Actually, no. He was at a party at the Ironaxes, at his dorm or in class the entire time,” Richard said. “At least that was what was sent to me.”

Tony came in with a grin and looked at them. “You know.”

“Were your relatives dumped on too, Tony,” Maethanar asked.

“Not us. The Shieldbashers. Along with the Government Employees Association, the Stewards and some others. Strangely enough, they were all the sorts to send pickets out to picket polling places and even more strangely they never managed to do that. Even better, Bene was handed some top entertainers by Sarya.”


“Apparently they were conducting an operation for Sarya and one of the girls spilled the operation to the papers. Sarya wanted the girls out of the country and sent them to Bene. Apparently the real prize was the girl that leaked the operation, but she tied on to an orc and they split.”

Gander and Delion came in. Gnader looked at them and said, “What is so funny?”

Tony, Richard and Derry told them and they laughed. “I will have to get the details from my grandmother. Who do you think did it?”

“Gertag delivered the loads,” Richard said. “Major Tollings came up with the idea, Roger fabricated the flinger and some generals watched the thing. Apparently the election was peaceful.”


Horal looked at the others gathered for a rather discreet meeting and said, “Do we know who dumped crap on all of us?”

“The FSA thinks it was that Umevan kid, but he had an airtight alibi,” Gottrim whined.

“Your office wasn’t hit,” Big Jim said. “So you don’t have anything to worry about.”

“I don’t think that the Umevan kid did it, at least not personally,” Hardag said. “If you add up all the crap dumped on things, it adds up to several truck loads. Do you have any ideas how it was done, Boral?”

“I am going to assume that somebody used a portal, perhaps at Ishendell.”

“That goes back to the Umevan kid,” Gottrim said. “He’s the portal wiz.”

“Something that everyone knows,” Hardag said. “So he wouldn’t be so obvious.”

“Gertag came down from the Empire,” Jim said, musingly. “Gertald doesn’t like us at all and he works for the Qinvaris now. Of course that goes double for Onia.”

The others looked at him and Hardag said, “I don’t think that crap is her style. If she were hitting us, we would have all sorts of court orders and stuff, not piles of crap. On the other hand, whoever did it knew exactly where to hit us where they could do the most damage with the least amount of effort.”

Mara put all the annoyance that she currently had on her face as she said, “Mr. Bender you want a retabulation of the Northern states. What are your grounds for requesting that?”

“The votes that came in the mail from the Empire. The campaign committee believes them to be fraudulent.”

“Do you have grounds for believing that?”

“There have never been votes from the Empire before.”

“There was no way for the people that live there to vote before. Apparently whoever State has in the Empire rectified that. We checked the registrations and ballots carefully, Mr. Bender, and the registrations we checked were valid. The Residency had asked for our procedures manual and as far as my people were able to determine, followed them.”

“Fifty thousand slaves took off their chains, went to polling places that the residency set up, voted and then went back and put the chains back on? I find that unbelievable.”

“We don’t have the details as yet. I don’t have the budget to send someone, so I have to go by what I received, which appears to be correct. Miss Brownlow will probably send a piece on the election for the Press Service.”

“I will sue if you do not proceed with a retabulation.”

“Go right ahead. I imagine that the Liberty Party will countersue and haul out all sorts of dirty laundry for the jury to look at. My office is determined to remain apolitical, but the Democracy Party really pushed this election. If you can produce any actual evidence that the votes were taken in a fraudulent manner, I may reconsider, but at this point, the tabulation stands.”

“You are making a mockery of the election and the Republic.”

“I think that you better leave, Mr. Bender, before I have you thrown out. If anything from you resembling that statement appears in the Press, you will be seeing an attorney. Frankly, I am appalled that you are willing to deny so many citizens their votes simply because they do not live in the Republic.”

“They are slaves. They probably did what their masters told them to.”

“Like the machines in the North do? Mr. Bender, you are a hypocrite. Now leave and return to whatever pit you came out of.”

“You are making a big mistake.”

“At least if I am, I have my principles intact. Good day, Mr. Bender.”

  Gail put the phone down and said, “That was Mara. Jim Bender came into the office and wanted a retabulation with the votes from the Empire removed.”

Tomas rubbed his chin. “They didn’t waste any time. Did they have any evidence of fraud?”

“Mara says that Bender didn’t hand her any.”

“Then they didn’t bother to look into it. Is Mara conducting the retabulation?”

“She booted Bender out of her office, so no, she is not.”

“Let me call Frank. If Bender wants to play games with votes, we will too. George won’t care, but some others might.”

Teral D’Lang, ambassador to the Republic from Vestia looked at his daughter Rella, who was acting as his assistant and said, “You found who?”

“That girl that the queen was looking for.”

“How did you find her.”

Rella held up a magazine. “Here she is, with Tigerlilly. We were told her name was Sapphire, weren’t we?”

“We were. Let me look. There was that story in the papers recently, but we weren’t sure if the girl was the one we were looking for. At least we have a picture. I think that you should take this to Silva’s.”

“Yes father.”

Borug Shieldbasher looked at Inky and said, “Now why shouldn’t I arrange for you to get a ride someplace, Mr. Barrin.”

“Because you had crap dumped all over you.”

“That may be true, but I’m also not an idiot. First of all, there would be no way that I would annoy Naertho Umevan over a prank and two, the FSA couldn’t prove that Jorge did it.”

“He didn’t. It was Gertag Cutflame.”

“How do you know?”

“He rented some trucks just before election day and they came about a bit stinky. They had been washed out, but there were some traces.”

“It wasn’t just him. Somebody had to run the portal. You have piqued my interest in any case. So what did you want to speak with me about?”

“Harag Stonebreaker.”

“He’s been dead for over ten years.”

“He was found face down in the river. You didn’t make a fuss about that.”

“He was moonlighting and paid the price. He took a job for some friends of yours and he couldn’t handle the job.”

“Gertald Cutflame.”

“You didn’t get that from me. Are you asking me if Gertald put Harag in the river? Considering that was what Harag was supposed to do to Gertald, that wasn’t much of a surprise. I doubt that you could make a case now about it.”

“There are cases and there are cases. So tell me some details.”

“My name won’t be in anything you put out.”

“I never reveal sources.”

“You better not, or you might find yourself where Harag ended up.”

Bill Spinner looked at the pending new releases for the Winterfaire season and sighed. Chatsrey Records was the biggest record label in the Republic, but the last two years had been rough, since he didn’t have a significant new artist. It look this year wasn’t going to be any better. The door knocked and Jon Billings, his head of talent came in. “Boss, you have got to hear this.”

“What is it?”

“You remember that story earlier where somebody pranked the President in Ironton and there was somebody singing “The Price Of Liberty?”

“Yes. We haven’t heard the record.”

“The prank committee made it in the studio at Ironton and the record club made copies. My nephew sent one to me.”

“Drop it on the spinner.”

Billings did and when it was done, Spinner said, “If we don’t sign her before somebody else does, we are idiots. Do we have a name?”

“Irial Umevan.”

“A family member?”

“She comes from the Empire.”

“Get down there and at least get rights for this recording. Though I would really like to have the girl come up and make another recording in our studio with a full orchestra.”

“I’m on my way, boss.  Professor Sillings still likes me.”

The Chatsrey Times was as old as the City of Chatsrey, with the editorial and printing plant in a massive building on Center St.. When Dan Ilimaris had taken over as publisher and editior he had taken over a paper that was a city institution and more than a bit stale. The paper was owned by some family members that only cared that they received their dividend checks. Once Dan had taken over, he had taken the paper to a more activist stance and doubled the subscriptions while making the paper an anchor of the Democracy Party. Part of that was finding people that could find interesting stories that had the paper’s slant on things. So Inky Barrin had been a gift from the gods and he was glad that the dwarf had cut him loose. So he grinned as Inky came into his office. “So have you found anything?”

“I’ve found some things. Flyer was involved in the death of the son of some exiles when he was twelve. I spoke with them and got an interview. Even better, Gertald Cutflame was involved in the death of a Shieldbasher heavy. I have the particulars about that.”

“That didn’t come up at Cutflame’s trial.”

“It wasn’t going to. The heavy was freelancing for the Cinders and ended up in the river with no direct connection to the Cutflames. The Cinders didn’t care about the matter that much once they got the property. So the thing was in the papers for a day and disappeared.”

“Can you back it all up?”

  “Interviews and everything. I substantiated everything. Some names are going to be omitted, you can figure out why, but the material is solid.”

“What about the boy dragon?”

“I didn’t find anything I didn’t already have. Here is the material.”

Dan looked at it and said, “I think that this will do very well.”

Ben looked at his lieutenants, pointed at the paper and said, “What’s wrong with this story?”

“Somebody dropped crap on a bunch of people?”

“What do all those people have in common?”

“They had crap dumped on them.” The boys laughed.

“They mattered! They were important enough for some clown to drop crap on them to stop what they were going to do. We weren’t noticed.”

“We didn’t have crap dumped on us. That’s a bad thing?”

“Yes it is. That means that we were not even noticed! We weren’t worth bothering with! What did you clowns do to disrupt the election?”

“We went out and none of the other guys showed up, there were cops there, so we backed off.”

“You blew it.”

“The cops had guns and getting busted wouldn’t have helped things.”

“Yes it would. It would have put you in the papers. It would have put us in the papers. We needed that!”

“None of the other guys showed up. You sent us all over the place and the cops had beefed up, so there wasn’t any point.”

“Get out of my face!”

The lieutenants left and Tony Shieldbasher came in. Ben looked at him and said, “What do you want?”

“I have a tip.”

“What is it?”

“The Umevan are moving some guns.”

“What do you mean? So they are moving guns someplace. It should be illegal for companies to do that, or even have them in the first place, but it is legal.”

“This different. The guns are coming inbound. The rumor is that the guns and some other bangs are coming in with Fylson’s shipment.”

“With the toys?”

“Yes. My uncle was tipped off and I thought we could make a deal.”

“What’s your cut?”

“This is the Umevan shipment of Winterfaire presents. We help you lift the load, you get the bangs and we get the rest.”

Ben grinned. “I think I can work with that. It is a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Shieldbasher. When is the shipment arriving?”

“In three days. That’s why I came to you.”

“Why not your family?”

“Then we are left with the leftovers again. This time we want the whole meal.”

“Then let’s put this together.”


Bill looked at the set up plant and grinned. The people he had hired would arrive in the morning and he could finally start the process of filling the ever growing pile of orders. He had sent a mailing to all the people that had orders pending with pictures of the torched building explaining the reason for the delay. Jorge walked up and said, “You look ready to go.”

“I am. Thank you for helping with getting the building ready.”

“We were lucky that the Stewards were distracted by the election. I want to discuss ways to keep them distracted.”

Bill grinned. “We can do that. Let’s get my brother involved. He doesn’t like the Stewards any more than we do.”

“I have a feeling that won’t be a bad idea. By the way, the major owes us a favor.”

“For you being blamed for the crap all over some people.”

“Yes, that crap.”

“I think we can come up with something. There’s Irial and Shael. I wonder what they want?”

The ladies walked up and Irial said, “Jorge, do either you or Bill have a connection to Major Tollings?”

“Yes we do. Why do you want him?”

“I don’t. I want his cousin the solicitor. I have been offered a record contract and I want somebody with entertainment experience here to go over it.”

“A record contract? How did that happen?”

“It’s you and your buddies’ fault. You had the record club make that record for your prank of me singing and they made copies. A record company got a copy and wants me to do another recording.”

Bill and Jorge grinned. “I can get Jorge’s cousin’s address for you,” Jorge said.

“Have him meet me at the townhouse in Chatsrey in a fiveday.”

 The Arsenal, Cleadsgate

Drannor stood and saluted as the President came into his office. “Mr. President, this is a surprise.”

“I thought that I should come down at least once while I was still in office. I also wanted to thank you and your officers for how you dealt with the election.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. President. Would you like to meet the officers responsible and have them report on how it was done.”

“I think that I would. Major Tollings was involved, presumably.”

“He was. So were Generals Hardtest and Ironaxe. Why don’t I take you to where they have set up for contingency planning and then we can take you to the officers mess for lunch before starting your tour.”

“What are the contingencies for?”

“Various things. First of all, while the loss of Redhand and his Jumpers was expensive for the enemy, they still have Jumpers and disruption here in the Republic has always been a part of their plans. Then there are others, whom you know better than I do, that are probably rather upset that things turned out the way they did. So they may be thinking of extreme measures to stop some changes.”

“That would tear the Republic apart. On the other hand, I wish that I could say that your are wrong.”

“Mr. President, I know that you tried to get on top of the Service Debacle and were thwarted by some idiots. Those idiots are looking at indictments and prison terms and they know that. They were all set to play fun and games at the polls and your giving me the go ahead stopped that.”

“Keep that to yourselves for the time being.”

“I wasn’t going to leak. We will keep things discreet for the time being.”

The President and the admiral got in a car and drove to a warehouse where there were some navy and marine officers and men with maps and tables. The men all stood and saluted as the admiral and the President came into the cavernous space. The admiral said, “Mr. President, this is Generals Hardtest and Ironaxe with Major Tollings. Major, would you brief the President on your thing just before the election.”

“Yes, sir. Mr. President, you sent that message to the admiral and he called the generals and me in to plan to disrupt the disrupters. You had already gone a long way toward doing that by keeping the government people in their offices, but that left some others. I thought about the fact that we had never looked into the Steward’s headquarters during Luggergate, since the Steward wasn’t there and the fact that we had other concerns. On the other hand, shutting down the Stewards and some other’s phones seemed like a good idea, so I spoke with a portal expert, had a machine to fling noxious substances fabricated and secured said substances at a portal that we knew about. We used the portal to distribute the substances to the various offices and staging points and they never did get their act together in Chatsrey and other locations.”

“So they never could coordinate any disruption of the polls. What if they were able to manage to even after you dumped the crap?”

“We had contingency troops at Camp Barelycorn,” General Hardtest said. “We also had Jumpers to Jump to hot spots and men infiltrated in certain areas. The goal was to be invisible unless things heated up. The various organizations were so busy trying to dig themselves out and waiting for phone service that wasn’t going to be repaired on time that they never started anything.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not going to give any names, but the clowns should have paid attention to who their allies murdered in the Lower City,” Jorge said. “It was all too easy to use those newspaper reports and some other things to make the case that some emergency service calls could wait a few days, or even five days.”

“What murders in the Lower City? Was that in the Empire?”

“Last year, when the Project started things off, they destroyed the main telegraph station in the Lower City and killed all the staff inside, over a hundred operators and other staff, half from House Yllanan and half from RTT, since wiring the Empire was a joint project of the House and the company. Both outfits were rather upset by the deaths. As far as RTT goes, the Empire was seen as a good place for junior executives that wanted some adventure to go up, build and operate the system and manage things. That included some children of senior executives that were in the central office when it was destroyed by a compelled suicide bomber, mostly to conceal the message traffic between the Project leadership and some people on the mound. Between that and the Service debacle, getting some delays was all too easy.”

The President laughed. “So their friends hurt them and they probably never knew.”

“Probably not.”

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