The third Neselle story -
Of Men and Love in General
Chapter Twenty-Three – Complete
Neselle: A Direction Needs to be Set

I felt relief feeling cloth all around me. As I worked to uncover myself, I considered something wrong with my surroundings. In one respect it did not feel as a dream. While my earlier memories of such a place were clear in my memories, they still had a dreamlike sense. I however now felt the surroundings similar to the time when the robes of the Goddess were physically present for Jelnaya and me. The fabric was also not as comforting as I remembered it. I thus lifted myself from the bed of cloth worried that things were not right.

“Am I dead?”

The deep feminine voice of my Goddess replied, “No, Neselle. As you said, you are immortal, so cannot die. You can be killed, but you however are also mine. You were correct that you are not to be affected by present events. I have plans for you, but you have already made certain decisions. I acknowledge your acts to provide instruction to my people, but you are not to be a sacrifice, a martyr, to any cause. I thus brought you here.”

“Your cloth always before comforted me.”

“You needed comfort then. Right now I am just keeping you safe.”

I momentarily wondered if that would mean that I should continually put my trust in her for that. There was knowledge however that in seeking my safety others were also stating their belief in who I was and the deity I represented. I thus felt that it was all right if others sought to protect me, although I would always speak of the one in whom they were to actually put their trust.

Kneeling, I said, “Thank you, but… but what is going to happen to your people?”

“They are deciding. Your mass communication has this time done what it should have done four hundred years ago. They are now discussing what they have been told. Instead of mindlessly following the advice, they are interacting with each other and weighing the words said by all parties.”

I thought that good, although wondered about some things being said. “Do they think I am dead?”

“Most do not. They agree with what you said. There is also the presence of Althery. He has accepted me, and my people see him as evidence of your continued existence. Honestly, I feel that he complicates the situation, but the people are very accepting of him.”

Wanting to assure certain feelings with my Goddess, I confided, “I do love him.”

“It seems that your devotion in him will not be misplaced. I will approve of your union.”

Those words pleased me greatly, and with cheerful tones I said, “Jelnaya has already begun calling me Aunt Neselle.”

“Jelnaya is a most bizarre personality, but definitely has shown the assets that Fergush claimed to be within her. What would be a destructive nature in any other has a refined quality in Jelnaya that makes her quite an unknown factor, which has proven to be positive. I am glad that you have gained a relationship with her, as I would like to keep track of her development.”

Hoping to keep the conversation going, I said, “I like almost all of my herd.”

“They have indeed added a rather interesting flavor to events. I am enjoying their presence.”

Realizing that I was having a simple conversation with my Goddess, I felt myself in the wrong. Her words were however pleasant without any indication of me deserving a reprimand. To however assure that things stayed right between us, I asked a simple question.

“Is there anything that I can do?”

“You will come up with it, Neselle, but until then I want you know that I will freely converse with you. I speak as well in your regular life, but it is just harder for you to hear me then. Once in this existence, I believe you will find me as I truly am, which is a lot more sociable than your culture considers me to be.”

Still not wanting to be found at fault, I said, “That is what your holy book says.”

“One of the reasons I have allowed it to remain. The other books were not all correct, which is why Berbishet and others were continually able to deceive the people.”

“I still think those texts would help.”

“No, Neselle, and because of that is why you were allowed immortality. In the short existence of my people, they could only write what they knew from the perspectives they had. That caused them to focus on the deceiving influences, and not on me. They needed a witness against which I could hold them accountable. I hate to say it Neselle, but your future will see a number of people condemned because of your presence. Stand firm, and I will continually be with you.”

Settling back among the layers of cloth, I said, “I don’t see that as being hard.”

“No, which is another reason I chose you. Althery is proving himself just as grounded. Remember that the truth never grows old. Whatever the future of my world, my message does not need to adapt, so your advice will sound at times stale to even you. Stand firm, Neselle.”

I mumbled an agreement even as I found the cloth around me not to be as soothing as it did in times before. I then considered that the Goddess said that I would come up with an idea about what to do. I however did not know how that could happen. I had no training in seeing between worlds, or in opening a portal even if I could perceive it. I found myself removing the cloth around me thinking to get to work, even as I wondered what type of work I could conceive of as possible to do.

I looked around, then asked, “Am I free to travel? Always before, when I moved through the surrounding cloth I went back to my world. Would that happen again, so you do not want me to leave?”

“Those are not walls around you, Neselle, and you should not consider it ever possible to leave me. Moving through the cloth will take you to where you need to go.”

The words sounded like an answer to my question to me, although I had to speak before taking action. “I enjoy these periods with you, Goddess.”

“I enjoy them as well, Neselle. Considering your fate, it will be our only moments together for an extremely long time. I will treasure them as much as you do, although it also brings me joy to see you so willing to perform your job. Go in peace, Neselle.”

Only nodding in response, I began moving aside lengths of cloth while passing through shrouds. Considering the amount cloth around me, I believe that I stumbled a few time. As I moved aside another set of barriers, I spun to catch myself from falling only to find myself in a conference room.

The large table had been moved to a corner. I noticed the chairs against a wall. The lights were out, although I noticed a number of candles lit. Curious, I saw a number of humans kneeling on the floor. From a corner one rose with me recognizing Elbery.

“Lady Neselle, would you like to join us?”

Actually perplexed, I asked, “What are you doing?”

“Praying to the Goddess.”

I did not want to make them feel bad, so tried to keep my voice soft. “This is not how you do it.”

I noticed that it was Alaner that asked, “Well, can you show us how?”

A number of others asked me as well. I knew a number of the media personalities, as well as the majority of those that worked the cameras and performed other operations. Since most had interviewed me, or been in the room during those interviews, I reminded them of things that I had said previously even as I did some things. A number began helping me, and in a proper manner I had them making their desires known to the Goddess.

At the end of the prayer service, Elbery moved to me and hugged me before saying, “I never doubted that you were alive, but it is good to see you.”

Alaner said, “We need to get you for an interview.”

“No,” I replied. “I am not to lead you. Things like correcting little things in your procedures, or assuring you of other troubles I can do. My fate is sealed. It is up to you to determine your own fate.”

“We could be human?” A number of chuckles sounded to that with Alaner restating her question, “I mean, we could also mature?”

“The Goddess has not told me Her plans. I see problems with all possible results. I just… I just…” My voice trailed as I expected a reprimand from the deity, but feeling no resistance I went ahead with my words. “I just do not believe that we are to continue as animals. That was our decision, or Berbishet’s decision, but definitely not the desire of the Goddess. I would say a return to us being regular humans, except that our own teachings will work against the populace desiring such. It is true that history shows us as humans to be rather unsavory. It is thus my belief that we – you are to become half-animals in some fashion. However, it is not my place to lead you into any resulting decision.”

Elbery asked, “But can you advise us?”

“Advise you? How? No, but I can assure that you are not advised incorrectly. I can pay attention to the proceedings and warn you if you are being influenced by another who is not supposed to be speaking. That is what happened once before, and I can be here and help instruct you on how to counter those voices.”

I knew Bulorth, so accepted why everyone focused on him. He had the job of assuring a flow of material to the reporters. He dealt with the arrangements to get people to certain interviews, authorize permits for access to certain areas, and simply pay for certain things as the others were about their job. I had to agree that one never saw Bulorth, so accepted that the words from the others saying it would be best for me to stay with him were good.

The conference room was not far from the main media production facilities, so it was easy for us to move into the operations room without being caught on a camera. Once inside, Bulorth took me to his booth. It was sound proof, so he could talk on the phone without the disturbances of the other rooms. He set me up with a headset while pointing out the usual purpose of certain monitors. As I settled to learn how to do my job in this setting, I saw on the monitors the others prepare to go live after the peace of allowing a certain recorded presentation to fill air time.

Jelnaya continues to be herself, which is not completely a bad thing.