This ranks up as Chapter Sixteen and illustrates various parties using their own ‘technologies’, which are not reliable much less all seeing, and the consequential tension for those not being ‘on the ground’. This chapter also introduces as group of mercenaries who suffer the traditional dislocation of plans for those ‘on the ground’
Dekyria knew there could be dislocations and interludes of silence, the light oculatorettes were not precise and reliable devices. Though this juncture was not one he could be sanguine about. Bleymore’s opinions had given weight to his own feelings on the recent events and he was in something of a struggle to keep his anxiety supressed. And his efforts probably weren’t working, not since he’d deployed every one of his men to either try to make contact with or observe as best they could Erzns’ progress.
“What are the current assessments Captain?” Major Gellgrachen put Dekyria at some ease; he was far better at this waiting interlude, calm, seemingly patient and seated, no pacing and above all no demanding.
“There is too much activity to reach their oculatorette Major. We think we have a signature which maybe this elidian girl travelling with the custodian, but can’t make a judgement on its nature, not very stable either, flares, then dies and flares again,”
“With Erzns and a custodian in combination, I think we can afford ourselves a small measure calm in this matter Captain. Keep your men alert, but do not drive them. We need to remember our primary missions involve stealth and observation. I daresay the appearance of these creatures is alarming, but we best serve the situation by being alert and keeping Drygnest appraised,”
Dekyria was in no doubt; a very firm order to hold steady.
Jerreli Silc did not like skulking about shores at night time. He always reckoned there were better things to do with the night, sleeping being the one for starters. Night time always seemed to bring an urge in his older and more experienced crew to tell lurid tales about mistakes in night time navigation and subsequent wrecks, always ‘around these parts’, which was wherever they went. “Skiff on its way Capn’” a said lean fellow who despite missing half of one arm and an eye moved about the craft with enviable ease.
The approaching craft moved through the dark waters with a predator’s speed, its oarsmen obviously well versed in their craft and at home in the waters. In short time they had drawn alongside and a rope ladder dropped down.
Five figures made quick and silent progress onto his deck, once the fifth was on board, the skiff was on its way. Jerreli resented the fact that no one on the craft acknowledged him; he had expected his uncle to have told them to give him some respect.
The first man who had boarded first was no taller than Jerreli but nonetheless gave the impression of a handspan’s advantage in height. His light olive skin highlighting the steady calculating gaze from hooded bright eyes. Although his gaunt features suggested politeness Jerreli did not feel at all comfortable.
“Captain Silc. My name in Sinola Mietitore,” he said with only faintest hint of the rich southern accent of Tuscatalia “Thank you for being so prompt. Your uncle was quite insistent about this commission being carried out,”
“Yes,” Jerreli said straightening his back and hoping to look every inch of a reaver “We sail to Prendaelyn, set you ashore before dawn, raid the town and undercover of the confusion you’ll bring back whatever you have to bring back,” he said the last bit hopeful of some information on the matter.
“That’s the same information I was given,” the man said affably “It’s good when everyone knows what’s to be done,” he smothered a slight yawn “If you don’t mind my men and I would like to be shown somewhere where we can catch up on our sleep. We’ve had quite a busy time getting to this western coast on time,”
Jerreli peered over the man’s shoulder at the four other arrivals, each one busy familiarising themselves with their surroundings, appraising the small gathering of the crew, while in turn giving nothing away in their faces, letting the knives, swords and crossbows they carried doing all the talking. Most folk grew nervous at being the object of attention from a pirate crew, this gathering stood calmly, waiting on their leader.
Jerreli had them taken to one of the dry and healthier parts of his ship. This pirate captain legend building was hard work, and short on encouragement.
Migran chewed at his lip. The screen was giving rise to all manner of shapes and colours he had not encountered. At some stage a few days back, not so very far away there had been some rather pointedly violent event. The mystery being such readings should have indicated a very large explosion, but no news of any detonations had arrived, natural or otherwise. Without any mentor he felt very alone and worse considering Trelli’s circumstance, responsible. There was no doubt the situation called for a calm and reasoned evaluation followed by a carefully constructed response. His current state of agitation was not conducive to this. Indications even suggested matters were moving out of his influence and he was being swept along. Being a lone explorer was no longer exciting; it was downright wretched.
‘Oily’ Tymus sucked in breath between his teeth and shook his head, which as far as Silc was concerned was the usual thing these good mechanicals did every time you asked them to do something.
In this case the mechanical was regarding the set of six hand-sized metallic-black oblong boxes connected by a wires; three each attached to an end of a thumb-thick foot length dusty grey bar, through dull red crystals.
“Y’see Mister Silc, these haven’t been connected in two parallel rows of three, and thus led into a pacifier. You connect these straight into a Corresponder of this size and you’re bound to get a reflexive overload; that’s why two of them aren’t working now. Where did you get this from anyway?”
Silc had initially called in Oily Tymus just to check the thing was working, tonight. Of course asking one of the old type of mechanical meant they would give the thing a good going over.
“Rhoney ‘ere,” Silc announced with a tone suggesting retribution for the very worried looking young man “Bought it from a highly rated supplier over in Swhizer,”
“Well, they’re alright I suppose for the short-range stuff. Y’see they’re all about smuggling information through and on the Jordisk network over short distances. Sends a swift pulse which is difficult to catch but not good for long range. Just as well I ran a test, if you’d tried this full power, it would have gone through four instead of six! The whole thing would have gone up like a firework display,” he shook his head and sucked in more air “Very messy for the operator,” he looked at Silc meaningfully “And anyone who happened to be close by,”.
“I got to have it working tonight,”
“I suppose I can patch it up. Won’t be very secure though. Don’t know why you didn’t come to me in the first place,”
“No disrespect Oily, but the last time I gave you a secret project, the news went twice ‘round the city in a decan!”
“Yeh, but that was only to do with hand-held torches. You should have thanked me, you turned it into a nice little earner,”
“I blimping well had to, on account of the secret getting out! Had to cover the losses. Now get this sorted out for me,” he glared at Rhoney “Otherwise someone’s old mum is going to be visiting a funeral-master!!”