When the Keelish returned to Meridian, she was to have a debriefing in the magisterium. Qeerel’s eyes staring in to her very soul as she alone stood to answer for what happened in Kaveh, with all the magisters present.
‘‘What did you learn?’’ he asked.
’‘Kaveh was indeed abandoned. The entire city stripped bare of anything not nailed to the ground, but there is knowledge to be found there. The Kavehans were an advanced society, technologically and culturally beyond what we have seen in other human societies. There is potential there we could make use of.’’ she explained.
’‘Such as?’’ asked Qeerel with interest.
’‘They wenth through a brief and very quick period of industrialisation, remnants of which can be traced and studied, maybe even found, to further our own knowledge. They also used a, to us, yet unknown magical element that launched them in to this new era of advances.’’
’‘Have you found any?’’, he asked, expecting a sample, but to his disappointment, the answer was ‘‘No…’’
Qeerel thought on that for a moment.
‘‘There were Valkorans there…’’ added Rhoa.
Qeerel raised eyebrows, '‘There were? … What of them?’
’‘They have secured a foothold in the capital city. A fort was erected at the riverbank, and… we ran in to some trouble.’’ she explained, finding it ever more difficult to breathe.
Qeerel leaned forward, ‘‘What happened down there?..’’ he asked, calmly.
After Rhoa had given the magisterium her full report, they intensely debated amongst themselves for a good half hour while Rhoa just stood there awkwardly. Eventually, they came to a conclusion.
‘‘The Valkorans have managed to salvage some of Kavehan knowledge, you said? Fully automatic rapid fire… this weapon, this is an advantage we cannot let them keep. A second expedition will set off as soon as possible.’’ plotted Qeerel.
’‘You aim to attack the Valkorans!?’’ gasped Rhoa.
’‘Not directly, do not worry.’’ he reassured her, ‘‘We will bring hired help, mercenaries. Those who fight under no banner.’’
’‘If we send Ronin to attack after what had just happened, they would know it was us, without a doubt. They aren’t that dumb.’’ explained Rhoa.
’‘If we sent Keelish ronin, yes. But if we send a Danheim raiding party? If they haven’t attacked Roklavia for harbouring independent pirates who plagued their seas, they wont trouble Danheim with much else that an angry letter either.’’
Rhoa stood there silently.
‘‘Dismissed, Rhoa. Get some rest. I will send Kesh to Danheim to get us the manpower we need. The money we offer and the chance to keep any loot they find will be more than enough to convince them, im sure.’’
The session concluded, and Kesh set out on an airship the next morning.