The Republic Torn, Chapter 77-78

The Temples from the Republic and the Empire meet. Duc Rolain is sent to the Republic

Chapter 77.


Followed by staff and underpriests, High Priest Ilrune Brownlow stepped off the plane and into the terminal, only to encounter his brother, who he had not seen for over twenty five years going in the other direction from the portals with a mob of dragons, elves and a navy type as well as obvious family. “Tobias! Why are you here!”

“Mother is insisting that I bring the family here. We are staying in the beach house and she and the rest are probably behind you.”

“Is this your family?”

“It is. At least these are my daughters, their husbands or fiancés and some other family. This is my wife, Aelrie.”

“Mother didn’t say that she had booked the beach house.”

“My sons did that. They work here in Ishendell for the airlines when they are not away, setting up new fields.”

“Are you still at the Hidden City?”

“Yes. I’m hoping to leave it there for a five day or so and take a break Why are you here?”

“I was expecting to use the beach house to meet with the Empire’s high priest and discuss some things. I should have checked, but it is usually empty this time of year. Ilrune waved to an underpriest and said, “I’ll arrange a hotel.”

Tobias grinned and said, “You should not have said that.”

“Why not?”

“My dragon snoop son in law’s ears just perked up. Ilrune, this is my daughter Kythaela and her husband Byddri.”

“We can talk later, Tobias. It looks as if High Priest Yinhana is early. He just emerged from the other portal.”

Niossae grinned as a man in High Priest’s robes stepped forward and said, “High Priest Yinhana? I am High Priest Brownlow. Welcome to Ishendell.”

“This is a surprise. Are you here to greet me?”

“No, actually. I came early and wanted to claim the beach house for our meeting. Unfortunately, that was thwarted by my mother, brother and his sons, apparently.”

“I see Byddri. Did you invite the press? I will not object.”

“I hadn’t planned to. It turns out that Byddri is my niece’s husband.”

Niossae laughed. “You did not know?”

“High Priest Yinhana, I hadn’t seen my brother for over twenty five years, since he was playing spy in the Hidden City, not that we in the family were told that. Then he ended up with the city and I wasn’t home when he did come down, so I didn’t see him. Then he and the family ported in just before you did.”

“I have arranged to stay at the Imperial Embassy and we can use the Embasssy to meet if we can’t find someplace else suitable.”

“That should work. Here is my brother and his son in law.”

“I already know Byddri rather well, actually. He assisted in getting some important children, including my nieces and nephews, out of the palace during the assault by the Darkmage.”

A grinning Byddri walked up and said, “High Priest Yinhana, this is my father in law, Tobias Brownlow. I wanted to know if you would object to press coverage for your meeting, since I think that this is the first time that the temples in the Empire and the temples in the Republic have spoken to each other.”

“You are correct, Dragon Flamefire. I would be pleased to have you and your wife attend, though I will rely on your discretion. Mr. Brownlow, how did you end up with this dragon as a son in law?”

“My daughter grabbed him in the Hidden City when Admiral Ehlark had brought him there, something that was rather foolish, as he had certain talents even then. Ilrune, I need to get my mob to the beach house, so we can catch up later. Mother should arrive on the next plane.”

Chapter 78.

Neuw Athlin

“You have returned, Milord Duc.” Cécile grinned as the landdragons entered the hall surrounded by a mob of children and young teen retainers.

Rolain grinned. “I have. Your brothers, Princess Celeste and Ald wore out your relatives in A’I Alora, so they sent some menaces to wear you out.”

“That is a good thing, as I have a task for you and we can send the menaces with you.”

“What task is that?”

“Ald’s sister is in the Republic and is possibly in jeopardy. I was hoping that you could retrieve her.”

“Do you have the particulars?”

“Veral and Matta do. Matta is joining the mob.”

“Then we will prepare.”

“My consort wants to discuss matters with you concerning the Republic, since things seem to be rather strange there at present.”

Tomas read three newspapers with his caffee in the morning. He took the Chatsrey Herald, with its more or less Liberty stance, the Chatsrey Times to know what the opposition was thinking and the Smoky Hill Post because it had a finger on the things going on in his district and its publisher’s lively approach to things. As was his habit, he picked up the Times first and his face fell. Right on the front page was something that he had hoped had been left behind since that terrible day when he and Jimmy Perrie had been playing on the wreck of the Chats Palace and Jimmy had drowned after he fell through the deck and into the water and the tide had swept him out of reach before Tomas could pull him out.

Gail came in and took one look at his face. “What’s wrong?”

Tomas handed her the paper wordlessly. She looked at it and said, “You never have said anything about this.”

“I was twelve. By the time I met you, that wreck and the things had been gone for over ten years. I was trying to forget that it had ever happened.”

“Is that one reason that you shortened your last name?”

“I was disappointed that I wasn’t a dragon, that I couldn’t transform and save Jimmy.”

“What happened?”

“You know that we had property over there on the river front. Well, beached there was this old riverboat, the Chats Palace. The thing was a rotted wreck that had been a casino and then a joy house before it was beached and left to rot. Of course the thing was a boy magnet and we went inside, looking for things. The wreck was burned a bit and between that and the rot, the decks were dangerous.

My friend Jimmy and me were exploring and Jimmy fell through. I couldn’t get to him in time and he was swept up under the deck by the tide. I heard him struggling, but we hadn’t brought any tools. so I couldn’t rip up the deck and there wasn’t time to get anyone. I kept trying things as Jimmy struggled and cried until the cries stopped. Some other boys got there just a bit too late and by the time we got to Jimmy, he was dead. We took the body off the wreck and got the cops.”

Gail was reading the paper and said, “The Perries seem to be saying that you killed Jimmy, that you led him into the wreck and let him die.”

“I’m not sure who’s idea it was to go into the wreck that day. It could have been either of us. It certainly would not have been the first time.”

“What happened to the wreck?”

“My father and some others arranged for a salvager to come and break it up. Then dad sold the property at what was just the right time as the bridge was just being completed. He offered half to the Perries, but they didn’t take the money, calling it blood money. I think that they didn’t want to lose being able to blame us for what happened. In any case, the families stopped talking to each other.”

“How old were you at the time?”

“Twelve. Just two idiot boys getting into the things that boys do.”

Gail looked at the paper. “There is a story here about Gertald as well.”

“I missed that. What is it?”

“The Times is blaming the death of a Harag Stonebreaker on Gertald.”

“Hand it over.”

Tomas looked at the article and said, “That has Shieldbasher all over it. An orc heavy ends up in the river after tangling with the son of a Committee member. The case didn’t even make the Magistrate at the time. The interesting part is that somebody traced that to Gertald.”

“Do you think he was responsible?”

“Maybe, but the timing says that it was at time that the Cinders and the Cotton Exchange were trying to make a deal with Gertald that he couldn’t refuse. So the Shieldbasher heavy got more than he bargained for.”

 “There wasn’t a war at the time.”

“No, there was not. We can ask Onia why not.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Call the press in.”

“Let’s talk to Onia first.”

“Sarya as well.”


“There’s another story accusing her of making that entertainer and her boyfriend disappear. I imagine that it is related, considering what the lady and the orc did to the Democracy Party.”

“Do you think that they are dead.”

“I doubt that Sarya was responsible and if I were them, I would leave town after doing what they did.”

“With Sarya buying the tickets, since she was probably behind the leak in the first place. I want to speak with somebody else.”


“The sergeant. If Mr. Barrin is digging for old things better forgotten, I think that the major would like to know.”

Gail went to the door and said, “Sergeant, my husband would like to speak with you.”

Nightblade frowned and said, “What about, Ma’am?”

“Come inside and speak with us.”

Nightblade followed Gail into the house and Gail said, “Do you read the papers, sergeant?”

“Not really. Reading is a bit difficult for me. I look at the Smoky Hill Post because it has a lot of pictures and good stories.”

“Why is reading difficult?”

“My eyes don’t focus very well on small print.”

“That could be corrected.”

“They don’t make glasses for wolves.”

Gail laughed. “You are probably right.”

“I would look silly in glasses anyway and if I look silly, the troops won’t take me seriously.”

They entered the kitchen and Gail said, “We wanted to let you know that the Chatsrey Times has started to dig into some very old things that happened to my husband and son in law a long time ago.”

“The same sort of thing that happened to Lord Qinvaris and a bunch of others at the Ishendell Tribunal.”

“What happened there?” Tomas asked.

“The defense started to haul out old dirt about the major and just about everybody else, including the fact that Richard Harper had shot some Shieldbashers a long time ago. From what we have learned about the Shieldbashers since, they deserved to be shot, but it threw Lord Qinvaris off a bit. What did they do to you?”

“They dragged out an incident where a boy drowned that I was involved in when I was twelve. Then they said that my son in law was responsible for the death of a Shieldbasher enforcer.”

“He probably was. It was probably self defense, but Gertald has the feeling of being the sort you don’t mess with.”

“An interesting summation, sergeant,” Gail said. “If the stories about you and your associates are true, you are rather good at detective work. Would you be willing to do some for us?”

The sergeant grinned a rather terrible grin. “Ma’am, I would have to ask the major, but his orders were to keep you all alive. So I don’t think that he will object too much and gathering intelligence is part of our job.”

“We can pay you and after the inauguration, we won’t mind if some things appear in those books.”

“Ok, I better have somebody take this to the major. The way I see it, this is the start of setting you up.”

“We think so too,” Tomas said. “Thank you, sergeant.”

Onia arrived with Batluc and came into the house. “Father, I saw the paper this morning. I should have told you about the thing with Gertald, but I had more or less forgotten about it. Inky actually did some real work for what he found. You never told us about the wreck and your friend, Jimmy.”

“Batluc, what do you know about the Shieldbasher heavy?”

“That I was glad that he was dead and Gertald was alive? I went to Borug and told him how annoyed I was, he told me that the idiot had been moonlighting, he didn’t know who for, and as far as he was concerned, the matter was over. I got some  arrangements for not pulling the rest of the Committee in and that was the end of it. Apparently Borug talked to Inky when he was asking questions.”

“What are you going to do about that?”

“Right now, not a thing. Inky apparently talked to quite a few people about things. I’m not sure why Borug would talk to Inky, but he apparently did. The last thing we need to do is start up some sort of war right now.”

Onia grinned. “Maybe the problem isn’t Inky, it’s his employer. Garad has been making overtures to some people about buying the Times for some time, hasn’t he, father?”

“He has, but they wanted too much, he didn’t have the coin and a loan wouldn’t be covered by the return if there was a significant subscriber loss.”

“That was then, this is now. Mr. Ilimaris should have known better than to mess with me. It wouldn’t be the first time and he knows how I do things. Slandering Gertald was rather stupid.”

“Gertald was probably responsible for the death,” Gail said.

“I shouldn’t say this, but he was, it was in self defense, and Gertald was injured but did not want to take a case to the Magistrate for very good reasons. Father talked to Borug and none of his people did any more moonlighting for the Cinders. That didn’t help things in the end, but we considered the matter over. We didn’t have the resources to fight the Shieldbashers and the Cinders at the same time and then the FSA took control of what we did have.”

Sarya came in and said, “You all must have seen the papers.”

“We have,” Tomas said. “You must be here about the matter of the girl.”

“Yes. Unfortunately she is out of touch, and I am not about to bring her into the light and make her a target, so I will have to ride this out. Inky apparently dug fairly deep for the rest of it. Was Gertald involved in Harag Stonebreaker’s death?”

“He was,” Onia said. “At the time, the Cinders were looking for anything that they could use to put Gertald in prison, so he just had me take him to the hospital, Miriam patched him up and we all kept quiet about it. Harag was moonlighting for the Cinders and was supposed to put Gertald in the river. They thought that I would be more reasonable.”

The others at the table laughed.

Denton “the ear” Axegrinder was one of the top sound technicians in the business, mostly because he only cared that things were operating correctly. The artist today was a new one, Irial Umevan. Chatsrey Records had pulled out a full orchestra to accompany her. They were also paying him extra for his best work and he was going to give them his first paid use of the solid state amplifier he had fabricated from the two expermenter’s kits he had been one of the first in line to buy at the radio convention. The girl started her warm-ups and Axegrinder was entranced. So much so that he hadn’t realized that, for the first time ever, he hadn’t made sure that the feed was working properly. He tripped his mike and said, “I had a glitch, could we do another run through.”

Performing a quick check to make sure that everything was ready, he sat back to listen again. He was definitely going to buy this record.

Bradal looked at Jim Bender and said, “The elections board would not pull  the fraudulent votes and retabulate the Northern states?”

“Not without us suing and taking the elections board to court. Since the board would appeal and the Electors would certify things before the case went to the court, there isn’t much of a chance there. I’ve started things anyway, but I’ve been having trouble finding a barrister.”


“The better ones all laughed at me. They know who the other side will get and they don’t want to tangle with either Harper or Ironaxe, let alone possibly both of them. Neither one will touch the case. I inquired about that. They cited conflict of interest because they were involved with the “Service for All” case.”

“That’s not good.”

“There is some good news. Inky found some interesting things and the Times has run with them. Apparently Flyer was involved in a drowning when he was twelve and there was a Shieldbasher that was chasing Gertald Cutflame and ended up in the river. There was also a piece about that girl who spilled all that stuff and then disappeared. The Times was blaming Sarya for arranging that.”

Bradal grinned. “That’s a start. Anything else.”

“We think we know who dumped the crap all over the place. It may have been Gertag Cutflame. The bad news is that he went back to the Empire after the election. So we can’t arrange to have him arrested.”

“Let me talk to Henri and see if we can get a fugitive warrant.”

“I did. There would have to be an arraignment and an arrest warrant. Henri was fairly sure that none of the Chatsrey Magistrates would sign one without some sort of evidence that Gertag had actually done something.”

“That is disappointing.”

“It doesn’t help that the Cutflames are relatives of the President Elect.”

“Do you have a list of the Electors?”

“Yes. The Democracy Party Electors are solid. The problem is that it won’t matter unless we have something to convince at least the Electors in the flipped and swing states that Tomas is unfit, which won’t be easy, because most of them have known him for years. I’ll do what I can, but I can’t make any promises.”

Vince pulled into the pier to pick up the special load from the Umevan that had just arrived on one of the Shahana’s ships. Pulling his truck up under the crane, he stopped, backed to the dock and waited as the crate was transferred. The crate secured, he checked that things were tied town and then pulled out to head to the West River Bridge and Ironton. He was crossing from Smoky Hill when there was a detour sign pointing to Downbelow. Cursing, he made the turn. He had barely gotten around the corner when a tinker’s wagon fell over in front of him, scattering pots all  over the street. He pulled over, got out and was nailed from behind.

Tony looked a his brother and said, “This was easy. Get this moving.”

“What do we do with the driver?”

“Grab his coin purse and park him on the sidewalk. Everything will be long gone by the time he wakes up.”

Vince became conscious covered in cold water.Groaning, Vince  looked around. A boy said, “Mister, it took a lot to wake you up. Are you Ok?”

“I was nailed from behind. Did you see it?”

“I don’t squeal.”

“Ok, can you point me to a phone?”

“Down the street, Gorge’s diner.”


“What did they get?”

“I don’t know. A special load for the Umevan.”

“Would they pay to get it back?”

“Let me make the call and we’ll see.”

Vince went to the oily spoon diner, staggered to the phone booth in back and dialed the number he had been given for things like being hijacked in Chatsrey. A woman’s voice said, “Silva Security. What is the reason of your call?”

“My name is Vince Harper. I was running a load for the Umevan and I was just hijacked.”

“Where are you?”

“On the edge of Downbelow on 24th street at a diner called Gorge’s.”

“Wait there. We will call the police and send some people. Did they take your truck as well as the load.”

“They did. It is a new Todas 32, Registration number TD143.”

“I have that. Wait there.”

A police car arrived and the officers got out. “You Harper?”


“What happened?”

“I picked up my load from the Shahana pier and started to head to the bridge and Ironton. There was detour sign and I turned onto 24th Street here. A tinker’s wagon fell over or was pushed over and I was hit from behind when I got out of the truck. A boy tossed water on me, I woke up and called my security agency.”

A young lady and a leopard Transformed arrived and the young lady said, “Lilly Silva and Katar Silverin from Silva Security. We are representing the Umevan.”

“Ok. We just arrived here and started to take the driver’s statement.”

“What happened, Mr. Harper?”

Vince groaned and started in again.

Tony and Bertag heaved the crate to the back of the truck and onto the truck they had ready. Ben and his people arrived and Ben said, “Open it up.”

A grinning Tony lifted a pry bar and opened one end of the crate. The small crate with the Ironaxe logo on it was right at the end with a case of ammunition and a case of grenades, along with another crate. Tony and Bertag handed them to Ben and his people and then closed the crate up again. “We’re out of here.”

The orcs gone, Ben’s people put the guns and the rest on the tinker’s wagon and a pair of Ben’s people started to roll it to the headquarters. 

Jhaan took the call and sent a messenger to find Jorge in class and bring him to the office. Half a twentieth later, Jorge walked into his uncle’s office. Jhaan said, “Can you track those microportals of yours?”

“I can, from Chatsrey, why?”       

“Your father’s Winterfaire presents were hijacked about three twentieths ago.”

“You are asking if the presents had microportals in them. If they came from the estate, they did and if they came from the shop, they should. Let me Jump to Chatsrey and check.Who is handling this?”

“Silva Security.”

“Ok, I know who they are. Let me get on top of this.”

Jorge disappeared.


Mark Silva was looking at the map when the intcom buzzed. “Jorge Umevan is here, Mr. Silva.”

“Send him in.”

A young looking half elf walked in and said, “Mr. Silva, I am Jorge Umevan.”
Mark grinned. “The one who dumped crap all over town.”

“That wasn’t me.”

“What can I do for you?”

Jorge held up a devise. “It’s what I can do for you. This shows where the wine and my dad’s things are right now. They are still together. I need somebody to get a warrant from a Magistrate and some cops.”

Mark grinned. “We can do that. Let me put a team together.”

Tony looked again at the haul he had pulled off and grinned. He and Bertag had pulled a big score and better yet, had gotten away clean. He turned to the desk and the phone. Now all he had to do was get a good fence to unload the stuff.

He was dialing the first call when a voice bellowed. “This is the police! We have a warrant for these premises to search for suspected stolen property.”

Bertag looked at Tony and said, “How did they know?”

“Let’s get to the back door!”

They had barely taken a step when the room filled with smoke and they were overcome with tear gas. Coughing and teary eyed, they heard the door crash open and running footsteps. They were thrown on the ground, cuffed and then hauled out front. A young half elf looked at them and said, “I know you two. You tried to beat up Bill Wavechaser. Now you tried to rob me and my dad.  You are idiots.”

“How did you find us so fast?”

“You are idiots. Bill planted microportals on you before during that thing where your uncle seized that shipment and you apparently never figured out that the stuff, also from my dad’s shop, was tagged. So was this shipment, specifically because we knew that clowns like you might try to lift it. What a pair of idiots.”

The orcs hauled off to the Magistrate, Jorge started to go through the shipment. He looked at the sheet and said to Mark, “Mr. Silva, we may have a problem.”


“Victor Shahana must have collected my sister’s things from the Community and sent them down. I see the clothes she bought up there in the Community, the clothes that Susan and the other girls bought in Market Square, the other girls’ things, things they bought at the Community and my sister’s small portal that I ported to her for her birthday. What I don’t see is the rest of her birthday present.”

“That is?”

“Ten new Ironaxe RS2s, a case of hand grenades, a small mortar, some shells for it, some fireworks and twenty Jimmy Packs, along with some Yllanan cloaks.”

“Were you equipping the girls for a small war?”

“I was, sort of. We were concerned that the girls might have to deal with monsters there at the Community. They did, but they didn’t use the guns and the rest of it and left the stuff there when they were rescued. I’m going to have to send a message to the estate and see if somebody left the guns and the rest there and did not put them with the rest. Otherwise that stuff is on the street and could be used to start that small war.”

“Do you think that was what somebody was after?”

“The clowns knew this stuff was coming. They didn’t just pick a random truck; they knew what was inside. So somebody told them and the guns are not here. I need to get to a telegraph office.”

 The Umevan Estate.

Nym looked at the message and went to find Py. “Milord, Jorge just sent a message.That shipment you sent was hijacked in Chatsrey. Jorge is asking of the guns he gave Irial were in the shipment.”

Py cursed. “Send a message back, “Yes.” I need to port to Ishendell and tell grandfather before he and Uncle Fylson leave for the Mainland.”

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