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   Chapter 22 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 17355

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:30

Chapter 22

In the morning Elena woke after yet another rendition of her dragon dream to find Thompson still gone. She thought he would just make himself scarce during the meetings, but saw the wisdom in sleeping elsewhere when her grandfather arrived before the first pot of coffee finished brewing. Benjamin arrived with a covered dish and after setting the food out on the table joined Elena, Alexandro and Marcus at the table. He looked a little nervous at first, but as Alexandro paid him no attention, Elena felt the large man relax.

"In my quarters I found a framed photograph of Mateo and Kiera's wedding along with what looked to be several pieces of… memorabilia, " Alexandro began as he took a tentative spoonful of the hot cereal.

"We were unable to hold the wedding back, " Elena explained. "Mateo and Kiera's Houses needed to formally aligned to maintain peace."

Alexandro smiled and chuckled slightly to himself. "It was not a criticism, " he told her. "I am proud of the fact that you knew what needed to be done and then did it. If there are any complaints on that score they will no doubt come from my daughter, not me. I was more curious about the memorabilia. It seems more in keeping with a coronation of some sort."

Elena smiled. "Rene went a little over the top. After the DF was destroyed, we had a memorial service for the fallen. The wedding was the first major Guild event to follow. I think it gave people a chance to focus on something positive. In addition we had several merchants who saw an opportunity."

"Ah, " Alexandro said. "That I can well believe." He frowned into his bowl. "What exactly is this?" he asked. Elena smiled and began explaining swamp rice, as well as several of the other agricultural and trading achievements they made. Alexandro seemed impressed and gave a more thoughtful look to his bowl. They were nearly finished with breakfast when the first interruption to Elena's day occurred.

All four looked up as a runner, bearing a folded piece of paper appeared on the door step. The runner looked a little startled to find Alexandro at the table. "Councilor Calabrese, " he said bobbing his head. "I didn't mean to interrupt." Elena motioned him in. The runner looked relieved.

"Captain Calabrese, your cousin wishes to speak with you urgently. I was asked to convey this message immediately and wait for a response." Elena stood and took the paper from him. The runner tried not to look at anyone while Elena read the note.

"Apparently Denali found something, " Elena said more or less to herself as she read the note. She looked up to find her grandfather and his bodyguard looking slightly amused while Benjamin studied the group.

"Denali?" Alexandro asked.

"Captain, " Elena clarified. "He is on a scouting trip." She turned to the runner. "Tell Mateo I will join him momentarily." The runner nodded, turned and sped off. Elena smiled ruefully at her grandfather. "I'm afraid I am going to have to cut this short."

"Of course, " Alexandro said. "Business first. Deal with what needs to be done." He stood, Marcus mirroring his actions. "And this gives me time to take a bit of a tour." He and Marcus swept from the room. Elena sighed.

"Why do I have the feeling he is going to convince someone to serve as his tour guide?" she said.

Benjamin started clearing the plates. "Well, on the bright side maybe the other councilors will join him. They could tour the archaeological exhibits maybe take a harbor tour, " he told her.

"Well if we see them all wearing the same t-shirts we'll know what happened." She shook herself. "I need to go see Mateo." She began.

"I'll direct everyone to either wait or leave a message so you can get back to them when you return, " Benjamin told her. "As long as you tell me what Denali found when you return."

"Deal, " Elena told him. She gestured to the plates. "And sorry for the mess."

"No sweat, " he told her shooing her out of the door. Elena grabbed her notebook and quickly made her way down to Mateo's workshop.

"I see you managed to survive the wedding review?" she said when she found him tinkering with some sort of mechanical do-dad.

"I did, " Mateo replied. "And Mom seems to have forgiven me, as long as she can sign as one of the witnesses on the paperwork we'll need to file when we get back everything will be fine. We spent the night watching video, ohing and ahing over the dress and quite frankly I kind of never want to see anything wedding related again."

"Well grandfather was amused by the wedding memorabilia, but he seems fine with things."

"One less problem, " Mateo said. "And speaking of."

"Ah yes, Denali, " Elena replied.

Mateo shrugged. "Actually he isn't really much of a problem. I was referring to the Evening Star, the Emerald Queen, the Silver Conch and the Sea Rose all being sighted on approach to Haven." He told her.

"The other councilors, " Elena said. She nodded, unsure if dealing with all four remaining councilors at once was a blessing or a curse. While she was technically working with Siobhan Connelly to determine whether the new abilities given to pilots by the Calli

and settled people in Haven did not seem like the smartest of ideas. They finished their lunch and Peter left as Elena nipped into the kitchen to talk to Consuelo. Mission accomplished, Elena was finally able to head back to her quarters. She was unsurprised to see that she had several visitors waiting, despite the fact that she had no meetings scheduled.

She told Benjamin about the other Councilor's arrival and need for invitations and he nodded, leaving her to face whatever matter now demanded her attention while he took care of arrangements. Elena discussed trade routes and various marketing options for newly acquired goods. She settled a dispute about a fence line between two neighboring shops and discussed the need for more generators. People streamed in and out of her quarters until late afternoon. Finally she was able to usher out the last of them as Benjamin returned with news that the councilors arrived and were given invitations.

Elena was unsurprised that Alex Barton rejected the invitation completely. The other three committed to no more than a cocktail hour. She allowed herself a few moments to splash cold water on her face and change her clothes before starting to look at the day's reports. She did not want to look over eager for her guest's arrival.

The three expected guests breezed in at more or less the same time, each shadowed by a body guard. The body guards eyed each other and Benjamin warily. As Elena invited the Councilors to sit and take a drink, she wondered if the sizing up was habitual or if these three particular councilors had grievances between them.

She explained the basics of what happened during the Matrovean advance, just as she had for the others. Like the others, this group also warned her that a full accounting would be needed once the Council was called to session. Unlike the others they did not settle themselves to enjoy pleasant conversation. Their curiosity assuaged both Robert Anders and John Havers tossed their drinks back and stood to leave.

"Thank you for taking the time for an explanation, " Havers told her, his dark skin gleaming like polished wood in the lantern light. "I will however reserve judgment until I have heard the full tale." The two others seemed to be in agreement. The two men left heading to their own quarters, not doubt eager to continue settling in.

Siobhan set her barely touched glass aside and stood as well. "I likewise will reserve judgment until the full council session. I am however very interested to see a report of your findings on the effect all this has had on the pilots, young, old and in-between regarding the development of the Calling and its associated skills."

Elena inclined her head. "I have been gathering information from every pilot and I have to say the news is encouraging." Elena told her. "I will try to have the report to you as soon as possible."

Siobhan nodded. "Just have your findings ready for session with the report to follow. I believe you would find it helpful to be able to state a positive outcome for the Guild as a whole in all of this." The councilor left, shadowed by her bodyguard.

"I wonder if that was just general advice or a warning, " Elena mused.

Benjamin shrugged his shoulders. "Not sure, but they left before the hors d' oeuvres could even make their way over."

"More for us then, " Elena said, still frowning over Siobhan's comment and its possible implications.

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