It Only a Dream Can Be

Chapter Twenty-Seven
(Inchell)

While the library in House Sevalla had rooms meant for storing books, which had been altered to serve other purposes, I gained the impression that the library in House Mellicher was simply a storage room altered to hold books while the actual purpose of the rooms was for hosting groups needing to tackle certain issues.

Instead of an efficiency kitchen, there was a wet bar with a grill I assumed had been used for making quick meals.  Luckily, the sheik provided food for us.  He allowed that we could help ourselves to the alcohol, although seemed relieved when Princess Jelnaya noted that some of the mixing ingredients were good by themselves.

There were bathrooms, but neither of them had showers.  We all admitted that we could make do.  Hearing Master Lossurp allow that at least there was hot water in the bathrooms I believe let Sheik Selamorn know that we were committed to not complaining about our accommodations.

He however did ask, “Sha Inchell, where are you going?”

I replied, “Into the mountains.”

“Into the mountains?  What is in the mountains?”

“What?” I exclaimed, although spoke quickly to assure him I meant no disrespect.  “I am not being secretive for any clandestine reason.  I just want to be the first.  Surely you know what is there.  You live here.”

“Yes.  I live here.  If there is something up there, I should know.  The fact that I don’t should tell you that it is not there.”

“But it is there.”  I looked at Princess Jelnaya as I said, “I’ve had one of your Gods assure me it is there.  He said you were at fault for not –“  I set my focus on the granddaughter of my empress, then asked, “What are we going to find?”

She replied, “Something that needs to be found.”  Princess Jelnaya then showed her ability to actually be gracious as she said, “Sheik Selamorn, let me assure you that your graciousness will be acknowledged in our speech and in our report.  Unless things just work against it, we will gladly come back and tell you our tale personally.  As of now, we are still putting together pieces.  Thank you for what you have done.”

Once the man and what agents he had with him were gone, I turned to the other lady to say, “I know what Yenostron said, Princess Jelnaya, but I really did not expect ignorance.  I expected people to be working against me.”

It was Krachern that replied, “I suspect ignorance to be less as our distance decreases.  Still, the two of you have spoken to one of the Gods?”

Princess Jelnaya said, “I believe that is Inchell’s evidence for how easily people can be ignorant.”

Makinor commented, “Yes.  Those that don’t ask usually are not told.  Still, I expected to be told.”

“Krachern paid me money to set up this little discussion opportunity.  I assumed he wanted to be told now.”

Krachern admitted, “No.  What I wanted was to tell everyone that Negredell is not what Inchell was saying it was.”

I interjected, “The translations definitely agreed that was what was said.”

“Yes, but I believe what you and Jelnaya experienced along with her dream says that my interpretation is correct.  Repetition is not a religious tenet.  Jelnaya is not looking forward to an eternity of eating the same food and listening to the same tales over and over.  She talks of having people visit, and probably visiting others.  There is more than feasting and sharing memories.  Makinor, I do not hear you speak of endlessly making love to the same lady.”

The Champion of Onathia replied, “No.  There will be more to my eternity with She-Who-Loves.”

“Right.  The word I want to present to everyone here is Purgatory.  It is a place, a divine place, where souls can work out, purge themselves, of their evil tendencies.  It is in Purgatory that a soul repeats certain actions until they are not simply done correctly, but done until it is impossible to do them incorrectly.”

“Yuck!” Princess Jelnaya exclaimed.  “I don’t be believe even Munulva teaches about such a place.”

I had to admit, “No.  Trust me, Princess Jelnaya, we of Davelda do understand your complaints of us being in ruts.  Empress Straekin was working to pull us out of them even before Terish came.  In fact, it was due to her work that she first met Terish.  If you will remember your history, our crisis when Terish came was that the suicide rate was staying constant.”

“Well, I still do not know of any teaching of Munulva about such a place.”

Krachern said, “Which is why Inchell did not make the connection.  However, I did.  Let me explain.”

He had us gather around the table in the conference room.  It caught me by surprise that he brought out his own holy book, as he had not presented himself as having any religious beliefs.  Princess Jelnaya showed surprise as well speaking of previous discussions with him where he degraded her own beliefs.  Krachern worked hard to present his evidence to us while supporting a belief that what he said was actually true.

Princess Jelnaya finally said, “Turn the conversation, Krachern.  Instead of attempting to convince us what you are saying is true, give us a reason why we should care.”

He replied, “The Gods are providing that, Jelnaya.  They are speaking of their pleasure for the place being sought for.  Why would that be?  It surely would not be a desire to get people set in a constant loop of repeating motions.  That would surely be as boring, and pointless, for them as well as us.  It surely would not be for a desire to constantly perpetuate failure, as the stories declare.  That would be cruel.  It would also force the Gods to constantly be involved in our lives,” Krachern pointed to Inchell as he added, “and the lives of those who will end up worlds away.  No, the reason they felt people would be making pilgrimages to the place is so they could purge themselves – make themselves right before their God or Gods.  What I presently believe is that a few did originally seek the place for that purpose, but the experience had them seal the place away and tell others the horrible tales that are now in the literary record.”

It was Makinor that asked, “So, why would we want to go?”

“I want to go for two reasons.  The first is that the purging process surely could remove my own curse.  I could become human once again.  The other is that truly opening and promoting the place should bring about the gratitude of the God or Gods, and with their blessing I could gain my own immortality.”

I had to mumble, “Which is how you feel you could make a play for me.”

“Yes.  I would hope one blessing of your own involvement would be a restoration of your own body along with a retention of your immortality.”

Master Lossurp exclaimed, “You’re making a claim on Sha Inchell?”

“It is far too early in our relationship, but I am letting her know about certain intentions.  She seems to enjoy travel, as do I.  She seems to enjoy the research, as do I.  She does possess some beauty, which I hope she will also find in me.  At the worst, I believe both of us would enjoy learning about each other’s world, if not each other.”

I replied, “I am not against the idea, although I agree it is not the time for considering those thoughts.”

Princess Jelnaya interrupted to say, “Although should have expected them with a Champion of Onathia present.”

Trying to keep a calm expression, I said, “Although I am wondering how the evidence changes what we are doing.”

Krachern replied, “It changes what we feared.  You expected resistance to us achieving our objectives.  Surely the stories of Terish, and possibly those of Jelnaya, speak of horrible guardians or other obstacles.  That really should not be our problem.  It might sound boring to the rest of you, but I suspect our problem to be the weather in the mountains as we work to break through whatever barriers time and those that sealed it created.”

Princess Jelnaya said, “That will not be our problem.  Fergush does not send me on such missions.”

“I would hope that he provided you to simply get us to the place, Jelnaya.  Your presence has certainly been a help, and I will speak to your god again about my appreciation of you.”

Makinor said, “I still do not see why its rediscovery will be worth our time.  Surely the original visitors were right in their assessment.”

“Purging is usually never an enjoyable process.  You and Jelnaya are not living the best of lives.  I don’t mean in quality, but just how you live your lives.  It requires things of you that most others are not willing to accept.  Your world has six gods, and they all have their champions.  You however are very few in number with true devotees also rare.  The demands that a deity will place on a person is great, although I accept the blessings are great as well.  Still, there are demands, and most do not want to give into them.  I would say very few are actually willing to simply correct certain flaws in their behaviors that would simply improve their relationship with the divine.”

“But you are?”

“I might seem to be rather comfortable in my form, but let me say that I am not happy with it.  While I might not appreciate the process, I will be glad to be back in my own skin.  To be able to praise the local deities for what other blessings or benefits might be provided should help provide the type of advertising this place should have always had.”

Princess Jelnaya said, “I cannot say that I agree, but I have to say that there is support for what you’re saying.  The Gods here are definitely interested in us finding this place.”

Makinor admitted, “I however am wondering about my own involvement.”

“Once again, Makinor, you came to me.”

I had to admit, “I sent him to you.  Why did you show up here, Makinor?”

There was a moment of silence, then the Champion of She-Who-Loves replied, “At the moment I am unsure.”

Jelnaya said, “No goddess of love here.  I doubt you were called.”

“I assumed I was here to find a love of my own, Jelnaya.”

“No, Makinor.  I would say you are here for the same reason as Krachern.”

I looked at Makinor.  Movement in his eyes indicated that he noticed me, but wanted to keep his focus on Princess Jelnaya.  While Makinor had admitted the lady was his friend, I could tell in the way they dealt with each other that there was more to their relationship.

He finally admitted, “I serve She-Who-Loves, so I came here thinking I was to find a lady for myself.  In overhearing some talk of a strange lady being improperly enslaved, I could not help but believe that was the reason for my arrival.  In meeting her, I did feel some attraction to her.  While she sent me to you, Jelnaya, it was in my thoughts that I should make a play for Inchell.”

Princess Jelnaya quickly returned, “Go for it.”

“I’m here to promote love.  Krachern –“

“Go for it, Makinor!  Damn it, claim some happiness.”

Makinor rose from his seat as he said, “Jelnaya, I have nothing to claim with Inchell.”

“Nothing to claim?  She’s over seven hundred years old, Makinor.  I actually doubt Krachern is as old as you.  Well, maybe close.  Still, give him immortality and he will be a constant sight out here.  I doubt Inchell wants that.  She could well prefer what you offer over him.”

“I don’t know if –“

“YOU ARE GOING TO FORCE ME INTO IT!  Damn it, Makinor!  I hope Onathia gives you a lecture that will have you begging the next crippled woman on the street to marry you.”

Makinor went to bowing to each of us asking to be excused, although when he did it to me I felt led to reply, “I think I should support Princess Jelnaya, but I am uncertain about my own feelings at the moment.”

He replied, “Yes, but your princess has a reputation for calling things properly.  Let us speak on this matter later.”

He finished his actions, then left the room with Krachern saying, “Inchell, I was serious.  I hope the situation between Makinor and me stays subdued.  We are both mature gentleman.  May you enjoy the attention.”

I had to look at the other lady and ask, “How do you handle multiple suitors, Princess Jelnaya?”

She just laughed before saying, “You have been seeing me handle men this entire trip.”

Jelnaya never pauses, so one should expect things to stay busy.