Only Fools Complain
Chapter Seventeen
Holes in the Outline

I found Mersidda cheerfully chatting with some soldiers. She was properly seated, and they were at a respectful distance, so I actually found myself glad that she was not bored. A few soldiers turned as I came up the levee. Mersidda looked to see what had caused their reaction, then cheerfully sounded my name as she rushed upon me.

After trading some affection with my little wife, I located an officer and asked, “Any trouble with oozes?”

“No, Sir. Your attack went quick. We did see some distortions indicating the oozes, but they did not come off the shell.”

“Okay, good. I like it when I leave no problems behind.”

My young wife chirped, “You left me behind.”

I held her out just enough that I could look at her face as I asked, “Are you a problem?”

“Oh, no, my lord.”

The soldiers laughed, but I kept my features straight as I asked, “And did I not come back for you?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“So, any problems when I get you back home?”

“No, my lord.”

The officer said, “Sounds like the problems are solved.”

I grumbled, “I have others. I wish all you men well. Get to your jobs, and I will get to mine. Thank you for entertaining my wife.”

The soldiers told me that they enjoyed the time with Mersidda, and I lightened my mood to let them know that there were no hard feelings. She was young, and rather pleasant to look at, so I really could not fault them. I however kept her close to assure that they knew to whom she belonged.

As we walked back, I told her that I needed to sit and think about what happened on the other side of the shell. I really went into no more detail than I did with Aden, although since Mersidda had gone out with me I felt a need to mention some particulars. She listened to me speak of needing time to sit and think, although asked a question on another topic.

“You arrived back in the castle?” When I mentioned that I did, she then asked, “Did you go see Aden?”

“Of course.” Again feeling that there was some jealousy, I quickly added, “I will not avoid either of you. You are both my wives, and deserving of my time and attention.”

“I came out here to be the focus of your time and attention.”

My young wife needed to learn some things. “Yes, well sometimes things do not go as you planned. Mersidda, I am not angry that you want time with me. I understand that it is an honor. Still, you need to accept that you have to share me. It surely was not your plan, but you are not my only wife. Aden is a good lady however, and I will not have you competing with her. She is as precious to me as you are. Both of you are welcome in my bed.”

“No, my lord, at least not starting tomorrow. I can tell.”

That took me by surprise, so I mumbled out, “What?”

“It is just that time, my lord.”

Honestly, I really did not know what she was talking about. I knew that women had times, but that was about the extent of what I knew. Still, I tried to reason out a response.

“Well, uh, surely Aden will have those times as well.”

“Yes, I guess.”

That was not said with any enthusiasm, but I had my voice sound positive as I concluded, “Then it will all work out. I do love you, Mersidda. We have a lot to learn about each other.”

She did not mope, but I felt her other hand come up to hold my arm. While Aden almost hugged my upper arm, having my young wife secure her hold on my arm after I had lectured her was a good feeling. I thus pulled her close then had my free hand come over and brush her chin. Mersidda looked up to me, and I paused to bend over and kiss her. Her smile afterward had me feeling that the matter was presently settled, so I walked glad to feel her grip on my arm.

Coming back to my room, Aden welcomed me then joined Mersidda in helping me out of my armor. They both mentioned the quality of my clothes today as compared to yesterday. I let them know that I knew when not to fight, but just because no blood flowed did not mean that no conflict happened. I thus needed to spend time and prepare for this different type of challenge. Both of my wives escorted me out of the bedroom promising me time after having a good meal.

Mersidda set to work on the table with the cloth marking it to start work on a new garment. Aden moved a seat close to read a book. I had a pen and some sheets of paper as I settled in a chair. I actually just sat quietly for a time waiting for one of my wives to bother me. Mersidda kept her work to only the soft sounds of her movement, and Aden did nothing more than look to me as she turned pages.

I finally took the paper, set pen to ink, then began writing down my notes. Quickly, I felt annoyed to find one big hole on my paper. While I felt bad being the one to break my privacy, I could not go on with my notes until I knew a certain fact.

“Aden?” I saw her look to me immediately, so there was no need to pause in asking my question. “You were married to the baron’s second son, so who is the first son?”

“Aneron. He had business in Aperkin, so is not here with us. Some are expecting him to rescue us.”

“Okay.” Since I had already broken my silence, I went ahead and decided to fill in another hole. “Why would I want you as a wife? I’m ignoring what I have learned in the last few days, but what advantages besides your looks, personality, and – well, say that I haven’t really met you. Why would I want to meet you?”

“I had boys. The child I was carrying at the time of the other deaths was said to also have been a boy.” I believe that she noticed my confused expression, so said, “Really, Berair, the fact that I had presented my past husband with boys would have other men want me.”

I thanked her, then returned to my thoughts. I honestly found myself able to make a number of possible connections. What I actually did not find was a reason for me being summoned. I was a soldier. I had made my reputation rescuing people from dire situations. I was not a politician or someone that dealt with magic. I thus turned my thoughts to reasons for summoning me.

The idea that I had been brought to be a husband for Aden made sense. The baron had authorized our wedding immediately upon my arrival, even though I was unconscious. Mersidda was included to assure that I felt satisfied with the value of my matrimony. My original assignment was to take my wives and go. I finally had to stop that line of thought not because it did not make sense, but because it did.

Feeling confident in one conclusion, I tried to apply the logic to the others that I felt to be important. The baron gained an honorable husband for his daughter-in-law, which kept his promise to her. The problem with that was that I could not conceive of my king authorizing me for such an assignment. I know that many in my family were hinting that I needed to get married, but the comments had not yet grown to have any strength. I could not rationally work with the concept that Baron Norvaum had put out a call for an honorable man to marry his daughter-in-law and King Terish responded with the offer that he just such a man. That was one conclusion that went beyond a simple joke to a major prank.

My thoughts then went to what could have been told to my monarch that would have him assign this task to me. My wives had first told me that they were to help me acclimate. I had however gone off and rushed upon the monsters, which had Aden argue in my favor before the baron. Considering that people were being threatened, and captured would put the assignment within my usual duties, which would have gained the approval of my monarch.

I made a decision, then refilled my whiskey glass while asking Aden about her book. She mentioned actually getting involved in the story. As she told me the highlights, I rose and went to look at what my young wife was making. I really could not make sense of it, but had no reason to doubt her word that it would be a full dress and skirt combination in the colors of Thiminy. I drank my whiskey while speaking to my wives about what had occupied their time.

Setting down the empty glass, I asked, “So, what’s for supper?”

Aden asked in return, “Has that much time passed, my lord?”

“I never know, but I know that I don’t want to miss a meal.”

“Of course, my lord.”

She called Tamesa, and asked her about the time of day. It was hard to determine, as the shell prevented a good amount of knowledge of the sky. A bright glittering could usually place the sun, but if clouds were in the sky the shell became just a steady glow without any indication to the real time of day.

As Tamesa left the room to check on things, Aden turned to me to ask, “Is there something else you would desire, my lord?”

Mersidda calmly said, “Go ahead, Aden. I feel my time coming.”

“Well, good, in that we should be able to keep our husband satisfied. My time had just finished before Berair was summoned. You will thus have your days as well, Mersidda.”

As Aden moved to the door to my bedroom unbuttoning her dress, I went to kiss my little wife. She accepted the affection before asking a question.

“Did you gain any answers?”

“Yes, as much as I know what I am going to do tomorrow.”

“May I ask what that is?”

“You may ask anything you desire of me. You however have to remember that what is not a secret to you and Aden is often secrets to others. As long as a mission is active, things particular to a mission must be kept secret. Be careful about what you say about some things, Mersidda.”

It was Aden that asked, “What about your plans do you consider secret, Berair?”

“I don’t know, which I find to be a problem. I cannot really tell you to withhold any information, as what I am doing will be obvious. What I really need to know is what others are asking you about me.”

Mersidda said, “They just want to know that we are happily married.”

I let my eyes travel between both my wives as I confided, “Yes, I can accept that here. What I cannot accept is that being the reason my king sent me here. That was however not what the two of you told me when I first woke up here. You said that you were to help me acclimate. Honestly, everyone here has been friendly enough. I have had no problems here. Any problems that I have had has been getting used to being married.”

My eyes went to Aden. She continued to undo her dress, and I was finding my body speak of desiring what was to be revealed. It was however Mersidda that asked the next question.

“So, what are you going to do?”

“Go back down into the underground. The extent of the development had to precede the formation of the shell. I thus am going to go back down looking for what I might not have noticed the first time.”

And that is what he does.