Storms on Trajaras

Chapter Two

Truth and Lies

That evening, Aurora summons Leander. It is still the Hour of Assassins, but he goes to her. She wants to know why we came to Trajaras. When he tells her what he knows, she says that if the Emperor found out what had happened here so far, House Atreides would be forfeit. She invites him to the governor’s council tomorrow.

Warren, standing outside, receives a note: “meet me at midnight at The Sign of the One-Eyed Sailor”, signed: the white-haired woman (Turina Principio). They all return to their quarters; except Nicholas, who goes to visit the accountants. He wants to know more about Mazaranus. Jasmine says that if he wants to know more, he should consult the fire priests (only those who worship and believe in him can control him).

Mavern prepares reports: the full version for Aurora, a concise one to send to Duke Leto and a false one for the spies. Warren goes to meet Turina. She claims that the accountants are not what they seem. She suggests that they might be Moritani-trained assassins! Warren returns, and tells Mavern of this.

The next day, all attend the council. Aurora and Thordis are there, plus two other men: one large and middle aged, one small and over ninety. Saskia scans them. The old guy is completely unreadable! Aurora formally claims governorship, then calls for privacy. She has started to research events at the family retreat. Over their last weekend there, they were visited by a number of vital people, although there appear to be no records of what was discussed. Also House Manndrach are down many intelligence officers. She then introduces Barallas, retired Chief Spymaster (old man) and Brigade Commander Hakkir, now senior Manndrach military officer.

Barallas tells that the former governor, and his father, were aware of a lot of illegal immigrants professionally smuggled here by House Wayku – because they were House Wayku (even though they’re not allowed off planet). But why? The Emperor never said why they were banished, and there is no record of where they came from originally. Aurora had cabled Duke Leto to ask for reinforcements. She has a reply: Sisyphus Bond is to be her new Spymaster! She then orders Hakkir to mobilise all troops to stop pirate activity. Within a few days, House O’Garee representatives arrive with new mining machines, and proof that they are not responsible for the sabotage of the Dragonflies, including Reverend Mother Constantina, imperial Truthsayer.

After reading Mavern’s report she has arrested Callisius, and asks Leander to lead operations against The Dawn Rose. Meanwhile Sisyphus will be her new Spymaster, since he can’t refuse the role.

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