Aden of Aden

Chapter Nine

My father came to my door to escort me to breakfast.  I saw my mother, but she signaled for me to take my father’s arm.  As I took a place next to him, I spoke in a manner to hopefully include her as well.

“What about the young man you rushed off after.”

Father replied, “Aden of Aden, that is something everyone wants to know.  Thus, I would request that you wait until we are sat at the meal.”

I asked him about his health, and a few other questions that I hoped would pull some facts out.  He did speak of moving through other worlds.  Some facts of his journey the night before satisfied me until we entered the main dining room.

I heard Princess Endullae exclaim, “He evaded you?  Father, no one evades you.”

King Terish began moving toward me as he said, “Aden of Aden, I have some information for you.  Should that young man return, be gracious to him.”

He reached into his vest, then pulled out an amulet.  It was mostly a clear orange crystal lens, although it had a rim of silver etched with some writing.  As I attempted to read the strange symbols, I sought some information about the amulet.

“Is this a token of admiration?”

King Terish replied, “No, but a threat.  The young man has some powerful supporters.  I had your father turn back from the chase as to advance would force a confrontation with those it would not be wise to intrude upon.  The young man came saying he was here on a dare.  He admitted there were some things about him that could have you call off the courtship.  This amulet supports both those statements.  If he does return, his supporters will have messages for you and your parents.  We should respectfully wait and see if further contact is made.”

I turned to hand the amulet to my mother, then turned back to say, “Thank you, Your Majesty, for your trouble.”

“Your father is one of my knights, and the support between us goes both ways.  You are one of my subjects, so one of those it is my duty to protect.  I guess I am saying, ‘You’re welcome,’ but I want it understood that I would do it again.”

My mother asked, “Your Majesty, are these beings supporting the young man good?”

“They are not malicious and cruel.  I know of them as being reasoned and gracious, but only if you treat them in certain ways.  They can be hard and unmoving.  That is why I had your husband turn back, as going forward could have been a very cold dead end.”

“What should we do with the amulet?”

“Whatever you want.  I would keep it for now.  It’s not gold, so Sauton would not want it.  It was not left for your daughter, but to warn those giving chase to turn back.  However, you might find more novelty in the item than I would.”

Princess Endullae asked, “Father, would it have us change our plans?”

“No.  If anything, it should bring you relief in that I will be watching.”

“Aden of Aden, expect another riding lesson today, although I hope to speak more to you about things dealing with courtship.”

I wanted to toss in a jab at my mother, but being in the presence of the monarch I simply made a gracious statement to the princess.  Seeing everyone disperse, I signaled my father that he could escort me to my seat.  As we walked, I however was pleased to hear a statement from my mother.

“Of course I will keep the amulet.  I look forward to the day when we can speak of it.”

I probably would have made a reply, but my father said, “We do not know enough to speak about it right now.  Still, it does look like an interesting curio.  Men should start giving you things, Daughter, so we at least have something to start comparing the gifts to.”

“That is something to provide this item with a bit of immediate value.”

Hearing those words from my mother had me step to bump into the side of my father, then mouth a thanks when he looked at me.  He simply smiled in return.  He then lifted the arm I held, and I found myself spun in a dance step.  Lord Rebitten enjoyed evenings of getting everyone together for music, and had assured that all the children of his property knew how to dance.  I had learned even more steps from father’s family in Serussdal.  Finally, some formal dances had been taught to me by my mother.  I smiled as Father and I danced our way to be seated.  Settling into a chair, I heard mother say some words of feeling I should not fear attending any balls.

Princess Endullae said, “I have not chosen this time to visit Debbish because of any galas being planned.  We might arrive and hear her mention such an event, and will go if there is.”

Mekurry replied, “Not without me.”

“Now, Darling, there should be at least one nephew I can dance with.”

That statement began a discussion of the family I would be going to visit.  I actually listened, as I did not know the royal children.  It did help to hear some names with some details.  I looked to Father for any supporting comments, although I was surprised to hear a whispered statement from mother.

“As long as you are Aden of Aden, no one will forget me.”

I hissed back, “Or just remember you as the quiet one.”

“I will be quiet listening for you.  If you need me, you will find that I will hear you.”

In glancing at my mother, I saw the face of Father looking at me.  I knew the look to mean to drop it, but he should have known the relationship between Mother and me would not allow it.  She raised me by constantly talking to me.  I however listened to the chatter among the royalty and realized that to follow the path I was on I needed to move on and speak to others.  As much as it troubled me, I would need to be the one to stop talking.  I shook my head attempting to resolve the problem I did not want to admit existed.  I glanced at my mother, then whispered the only response I could think of to say.

“Don’t just be listening for trouble, but for things we can talk about when together again.”

I saw her smile.  Her proper posture in the chair had me believe that she would not say anything, but I saw a hand move to grip mine.  Mother nodded, then started eating her meal with me putting my focus on the food feeling that we had said enough for the moment.

Queen Straekin joined Princess Endullae and me for our ride.  It was a much more casual excursion than the one the day before.  She stopped on the way down from the castle to look at a drop mentioning it was where my visitor escaped the night before.  After allowing that she would trust her husband to handle the portal, Queen Straekin then proceeded to direct us through various worlds while adding instructions on a most bizarre language.

What caught me as odd were comments between the mother and daughter about a written language.  The languages I knew used a type of phonetic alphabet.  Learn the language, and reading it became simply a matter of knowing what sounds were indicated by what symbols.  What Queen Straekin spoke of had really odd rules of grammar, and some really strange sounds, so I found myself wondering if I could learn it at all.  What further amazed me was hearing her daughter speak of how those rules applied to the manner of writing the speech indicating things that were not really phonetic.

Stopping at the only place where trees grew to provide shade next to a lake mostly surrounded by flowering plants, I asked, “Princess Endullae, you grew up traveling to other worlds?”

“Oh, yes,” she answered.  “I mean, Father is not really from the world I grew up on.  His world does not really exist anymore, so he traveled from a very early age.  Uncle Ferrigote is from another world as well.  He has now returned to it, although stays there even less than Father and Mother stay in Thiminy.  I grew up traveling to Davelda, Mother’s home world; Uncle Ferrigote’s home world, and various other places usually with Father, as Mother would keep about the castle during her pregnancies.”

Queen Straekin added, “I do like Thiminy, and peaceful walks speaking to people are pleasant ways of passing the time.”

“I took her advice, and found my pregnancies to be pleasant periods as well.  You feel uncomfortable, but around people you consider to be a part of your life you don’t worry so much about the child inside you.”

The two spent time speaking of their periods of being with child.  I had heard things from Mother and Mother Mersidda as well.  While I had no experience of being with a man, I listened with the knowledge that I did expect to have my own words to say to my daughters on the subject one day.

It surprised me to have the topic turn into a lecture on how to respond to others.  Both ladies stressed how other people, men and women, would try to turn a conversation by bringing up topics one usually did not mention even in private discussions.  I did my best to stay quiet while I heard a litany of vulgar words, although they spoke of seeing my face turn red long before I mumbled a statement.  They lectured me on keeping my composure in spite of what I might hear.

I spoke to mother on the topic upon returning to the castle.  She agreed with what the royal ladies had told me, and reinforced their words with events from her own past.  I had heard the stories before, but not in an instructional manner as I now heard them.  When mother finally went quiet with what I knew was her feeling she had made the points she wanted to present, I spoke on another topic to hopefully keep her talking.

“Queen Straekin and Princess Enduallae both spoke positively of their pregnancies.”

“And why not?  It’s a child growing inside you, Aden.  A child is a wonderful thing.  You do grow up, but that can be a wonderful thing as well.”

When she went quiet, I simply said, “That is more of a topic for Mother Mersidda.”

“I asked for you, Aden.  I am sure you would have come anyway, as I have never refused your father.  Still, I asked for you, and I got you.  Yours was not one of my better pregnancies, but I got what I asked for.  I will always love you, Aden.  You’re a gift to me, and I will ever treasure you.  Even if I am not speaking to you, I am still admiring you.”

I admitted, “I want to tell you that is not good enough.  I however have accepted that I will be the one not speaking to you.  I will be going to other worlds and speaking to other people, surely including a number of young men with one becoming my husband.  Still, Mother, I will write, and I will always desire to have you where I can speak with you.”

She came to hug me before saying, “Those were good words you said the other day.  I will promise not to apologize in the letters I write to you.  The only apology I will ever make is for not writing.  Will you make the same promise to me?”

“Yes.  I will make the same promise to you.”

And Aden of Aden talks to another dragon.