War Council (episode 6)
Minuet sauntered into the parlor turned conference room. The War Council invited me to their meeting; they rarely meet one-on-one with the Commanders. Perhaps they wish to commend me for my initiative.
The center of the room held a long table, and her father sat with his hands folded in his lap. In front of him and placed around the table were steamvision machines, five in all. The device had a mirror attached to a square base that held a reservoir of water with a topexx dipped into it. She knew the topexx heated the water which in turn created a misting steam that interacted with the mirror. The machine could capture or receive images, depending on its configuration. She made a mental note to request one for disassembly and analysis. Her father’s steamvision was in capture mode, as well as the one next to him. There were no other chairs at the table. The other three devices were in transmit mode and she could see the Council members’ faces projected three-dimensionally on the mirrors.
“Ah, Commander Wyndam so good of you to join us,” said Harvey Giffard, the leader of the War Council.
She knew a little of each of the major council members and could identify the ones present today. Harvey Giffard was a short and stocky man. Some accused him of having dwarven ancestry, but he always produced lineage papers to the contrary. The rumors would die down for a while only to return a year later. He was in charge of the North Border Region and made his home in Port Dobbin – which, incidentally, was where Grimtok’s Blackthein Commandos were located. “Mr. Giffard, you honor me with an invite to this esteemed Meeting. I have news of vital importance to the Council.”
“Councilor Wyndam has informed us of your actions. We are not pleased. Your place is to do as the Council dictates, not to send your Protectors out on ill-conceived errands.”
She stood at the table, arms crossed beneath her breasts. “Sir, I disagree. Unlike the South Border Region, I took swift and decisive action to halt these attacks. These past two years have wreaked havoc in the South. I will not repeat those mistakes here.” She glanced at the projection of the Southern Border Councilor, Rowena Barclay, who did not look pleased with her at all.
Rowena said, “Commander Wyndam it is not your place to tell the Council how to manage our Borders. It is your place to do as we command. Not one of us knew of this mission and even if we had we would not have approved.”
“Mrs. Barclay speaks the truth,” said Harvey. “We seek out the true architect of these skirmishes, not just some lowly fae firing at us. You have no need to know this, but unfortunately, you have stuck your nose where it does not belong. The Council has contracted with the Blackthein Commandos to discover who the true perpetrator of these aggressions is. You are to release Mr. Walkins and Mr. Throp immediately.”
Minuet leaned forward, placing her fists on the table. With great vehemence, she said, “Sir, those men attacked my Protectors, furthermore if you think I’m just going to stand idly by while …”
The speaker produced an electronic crackle as Harvey raised his voice above hers. “Mr. Walkins and Mr. Throp are under a valid contract set forth by the War Council signed by myself. Furthermore, you will pay their completion clause then you will free them.” The steamvision may have blurred Harvey’s face, but Minuet could still discern the irritation on his face matched the displeasure in his voice. “Furthermore, you will lead the escort of the fae back to their territory and ensure their safety. Am I clear?”
“Sir, I believe … uh … if I may voice my disagreement with …”
“Am I clear!”
Bryant stood in the hallway outside the parlor waiting on Minuet’s return. The indistinct raised voices he heard assured him that it would only be scant moments before she left the room. A minute later, Minuet stormed from the room, she nearly slammed into Bryant. “Uh, ma’am.”
“Oh, Captain, I did not see you there. These fools do not know what they’re doing. We are to release the Kelrands – with no further questions. Oh, and I have to personally pay their completion clause. The nerve. On top of that, I must personally escort the Hos’lathi back to their lands. They cross my border and I’m supposed to chaperone them home and wish them a merry day. I tell you there is more to this than meets the eye. Apparently, The Destroyer is under contract with the War Council. Since when do self-respecting people work with the likes of him?”
Bryant listened to her vent for another few minutes, her scathing remarks crisscrossing a variety of topics all with little or no apparent connections between them.
“Well, Captain, do you have nothing to say?”
“Only to ask if you feel better,” Bryant smiled.
“Yes, much. Now let’s get on with this, although mark my words, something is afoot, and I will figure it out.”
Aj here with another episode of our illustrated story, Topexx Dominions. Do you think Minuet did the right thing in standing up to the Council? Should she had done more? What would you have done?
Next Episode: Released on August 10, 2016
Previous Episode: Interrogations
First Episode: Rainfall