Band of Brothers
In Pine Valley, the boys rent a car and donkey to transport their crates. Raed gets the group lost looking for The Thirsty Oar (not The Thirsty Whore!) but the boys got directions from someone on the street who discouraged them from going to such a seedy joint. At The Thirsty Oar, Xavi stays outside with the cart and crates while the others go inside to see about meeting Kasey. The bartender says to come back at dinner time. Outside, a young boy tries to convince Xavi to stay at The Livery (not Delivery!). Later, the boys learn this is a reputable place and get lodging there.
With time free until Kasey is expected at The Thirsty Oar, the boys locate the commercial district with the intention of talking to tinkers about offloading their crate of Nathan Tinker’s strange inheritance. Distracted by looking around, Xavi knocks over a street seller’s stand. While the boys help right things, Aelfric notices a familiar looking sign down the street: the Seller’s Stand.
Will and Xavi go in, since they would probably not be recognized by their Uncle Snorri, who has not seen them in years. Inside, a teenage girl named Kimberly at the counter greets them, offering to use her inventory book to help them find anything they need. The boys cause a scuffle, to try to attract the attention of the owner, but instead of Snorri coming downstairs, they raise the ire of Margaret (Maggie) the no-nonsense mistress of the shop. They beat a hasty retreat, but not before learning that the girls’ father is Snorri Sellers.
The boys have lunch at The Thirsty Oar and discuss all they’ve learned. Aelfric asks the bartender where games are to found in town, and he is told to come back at dinner time. In the afternoon, Aelfric and Raed go to the Seller’s Stand to see about selling Nathan’s inheritance and also to meet their half-sisters. Maggie is not impressed with Aelfric’s smooth moves, but Raed is impressed with how she looks after her dim younger sister. Maggie and Aelfric make a tentative agreement over the goods, which she claims she can find a buyer for if Aelfric will give her the rest of the day to make arrangements.
Meanwhile, Will and Xavi go to the Tinker Guildhouse, where the man at the counter, Samuel, reacts alarmingly to seeing one of the gears. He advises the boys to not show them to anyone and not talk to anyone about them, or risk death or disappearance. The boys insist the man tell them about the gears, but Samuel says they have already endangered everyone in the guildhouse just by showing them around. He tells them to go to The Thirsty Oar that night and play at Sven’s table. Then he shoos them away. Worried about their cousins, Will and Xavi head to the Seller’s Stand, hoping to find them. They ask after Aelfric and Raed, and Kimberly says they were there, but mainly talked to Maggie. Maggie denies knowledge of Fric and Frac until her memory is jogged further, at which point she says they asked about selling unnamed goods to her, but she immediately told them she wasn’t interested in taking in any new inventory.
The cousins eventually run into each other on the streets and head to their room at The Livery to wait until nightfall and compare notes. Raed sneaks out early and gets to The Thirsty Oar before everyone else, including Kasey. He watches the game table, but doesn’t notice one of the players leave her game and come up behind him. He is startled to be asked how he knows about Snorri Sellers. It’s Maggie. The two sit down for a chat. She confronts Raed about a note that was delivered to her in the late afternoon, advising her to check her ledgers and bank accounts. She tells Raed she already knows about Snorri’s schemes, that she owns half the business, so the bank contacted her when he tried to make a move. Raed presses her for info about the gears. She tells him she was here talking with Sven to set up the deal. Raed confesses that Snorri is his father and warns Maggie that he might try something more dangerous to get money from them. The other boys arrive, and everyone agrees to a meet at a park in the morning. Maggie agrees to a new price, much higher than the previous one, since she does indeed know the value of Nathan’s materials and the boys have much more gears than they’d led her to believe.
During the night, Raed keeps an eye on the Sellers Stand, fearing that his father might show up, or something else bad might happen. He sees a man knock at the door. The man notices Raed in the alley, so the teenager pretends to just be wandering the streets. Raed doesn’t get a good look at the man, but sees him open the door with keys and enter the building.
The next day, despite paranoia on the boys’ part, the exchange goes off without a hitch (other than the one used to attach the donkey to the cart). Sven is there on the part of a group called Engineers who need parts like those in Nathan’s inheritance to make their projects. These projects include engines, which are described as tiny mills that work without water to turn them. They can be used to move carts. Maggie says they can even move things through the air. Sven knew Nathan’s old master, Principo Tinker, and was alarmed with the boys told him Principo was dead and Nathan missing, because he thought Fallers had gotten them. Sven tells the boys that the Engineers are a secret society because a group called Fallers is dead-set against the devices that the Engineers make. Fallers are willing to kill to prevent them being made. Parts like those Nathan was inheriting are difficult to make, and the Pine Valley Engineers don’t have a constant source of them.
With enough coin and scrip in hand to buy back their house and their mother (and then some) the boys make their plans to return home. Aelfric and Xavi will catch the next ship bound for Hawthorne, Raed will hangout with his sisters for a while in case Snorri shows up, and Will will stay a couple days with Raed and then take the overland route back to Millers Crossing.