Only Fools Complain
Chapter Twenty-One

Den of Iniquity

It did feel different leaving the castle alone. Having only been married for a few days, I expected the old feeling of going out to return. Back then I however had nothing else to do. Now I had whiskey, I had women, I had almost everything I needed. I thus felt like I was going to work in leaving to a place where I once went to forget about my days of work.

While I was not wearing my armor, or in uniform, Aden had me do things to assure that I would be able to protect and defend myself. My weapons were upon my person. Beneath my clothes I had on the thick garments actually intended to be worn over my attire to protect the regular garments from the metal covering. To keep my skin from chafing, the undergarments to keep me warm in cold weather were on my body. While I cannot say that I was comfortable, I felt that I would be reasonably safe and able to return to my wives.

The looks from everyone declared that I was not a local. Worse, I felt the stares of people who did not trust strangers. Everyone had been trapped inside the town for at least a couple of weeks, so even those that had been strangers were now regulars. Worried looks of hope and suspicion thus came from all when I stepped through the door.

“Major Berair,” a voice from near a back wall lacking a lamp said, “what brings you here?”

No reason not to go ahead and get things out in the open. “Aden, my wife. She wanted me to come and hear a certain story for myself. She said that she was only told the woman’s version.”

The man called for the bartender to get me a drink. I told the lady that looked to me to get me a dark beer, assuming there was a choice, as I began moving to the corner. By the time I made it back to the table, I had a stein in my hand.

I recognized the captain that had dealt with me as I set myself to work on the tentacle faces. He had removed his armor, but I still recognized parts of his uniform. He was also armed. I thus settled on a bench wondering if Aden was right to worry.

“Now,” the man asked, “what makes you think that what we tell you will be any different than what we said to Princess Aden?”

The man made a number of mistakes right there. He basically admitted that there was another version of the story. He also made himself into an opponent. Only the fact that I really had not come here wanting a fight had me overlook other mistakes.

“Then I guess that I don’t want to talk to you. Thank you for the drink.”

“Wait, wait, wait – okay, I’m sorry. What do you want to know?”

The man had to be stupid, as I had already told him that. My eyes darted around wondering how many other stupid people were around me. I saw a number looking in my direction, but no one moving suspiciously or with weapons drawn. The man however proved himself to be an intelligent soldier, as he recognized what I was doing.

“Why would we fight you, Major?”

“For the same idiotic reason that you are not going to answer my question.”

I did not feel the tension around me ease, but the faces of others declared that they agreed with what the captain said. “Listen, Major, it is best if some things are left in the past.”

“Yeah, like the tentacle faces? You bury things that are dead. If the matter is not dead, it tends to gain strength as it rises. I have a wife that is troubled by something in her past. I want that matter put to rest, so I want to know that it is truly dead.”

A man sitting two seats from me on the same side of the table as the captain said, “The matter is dead, Major. We really don’t know who killed Therlik. One of the girls here killed Jouder, and we killed her. Prince Therlik raised a ruckus attempting to do the deed himself, and the girl got everyone else agitated in attempting to avoid him. A fight broke out, and at the end the prince was dead.”

I drained my stein, then bought everyone at the table a round. That eased everyone’s opinion of me, and some began some to talk. I bought a few more rounds, but felt the price to be worth the grisly tale.

As I thanked everyone, the captain asked, “How about bringing down the shell?”

“The commands should have been issued, or about to be issued, that I believe will end up with the removal of the shell. That will however not be the end of your troubles. There is still the matter that brought about the shell.”

The captain once again had me think little of his intelligence as he asked, “Well, what of it?”

“Yes, that is in my thoughts. Your problem is however that I can leave you with your problems. You’re lucky, however, in that I have two wives. You keep focusing on Aden, but the one you need to honor is Mersidda. Aden is not from around here. Her home is in a nearby kingdom. With the death of Therlik and her child, there are no ties. Mersidda is however a local girl – a lot more local than Aden. If I help to actually remove your problem, it will be because of her.”

The people around me listening traded information on my little wife. They really did not know her. When I said local, I did not mean the city. While the people knew about the holdings beyond the walls, they really were not aware of who those people were. A number did travel about for various reasons, so among the crowd there were those able to provide some details informing all of who else had joined my life.

The captain waited for things to calm down, then asked, “Well, what do you think our problem is?”

“Not certain. In fact, I believe the shell was to protect you. I was told by the mage that created the shell that you had only so many days left before he acted. My problem – your problem, is that I cannot figure out why he did not act in the first place. When that shell comes down, I expect that you will wish the shell would go back up.”

“Bring the shell down, Major, and you will find us glad to fight whatever war erupts.”

Cheers sounded throughout the establishment. I had learned that a number of soldiers were present, so was not surprised when a company song sounded through the place. I thus left them pleased with what information of the past had been released, and with a hope that everyone would be ready to face the future.

Mersidda was asleep on a couch, but Aden was awake sitting in a chair. I picked her up, then sat down in the chair with her in my lap. As expected, she cried when I told her what I had learned. She however only allowed herself to sob while I related every step of that night, as best as could be recollected. Only once finished did she wail so loud that Mersidda woke up.

As Tamesa served us some tea that I could tell was tainted with some brandy, I spoke of what else had been discussed. I told them what I expected of the shell, and the orders that I had given General Shobirth. While those in the drinking establishment had not been informed of certain details, my wives gained every piece of data I knew about. They listened, then Aden set down her cup of tea while letting me know what she thought.

“You were correct in having the people look to Mersidda. I want to forget this place. There are no longer any ties holding me to Nemurk. I want you to take down the shell and take me to your home, Berair.”

“I would like that as well, but I want to leave with having handled everything within my power. What I need to figure right now is whether to speak to the baron or not. I am not certain that he feels with the barrier down that life will simply return to normal, or if he actually has a plan for when the shell disappears.”

“I cannot say either, my lord. I remember being informed of being given to a man, but I got the impression that you were to solve our problem. I believe that I told you that I expected you to be some great hero, and not just an officer in a foreign military. The baron let me know to inform of your mission as being to simply take us, your wives, home.”

Both of us looked to Mersidda. She smiled at me in a manner that I sensed she did not register the reason for the glances. Finally, Aden prodded my young wife.

“What did you hear about your coming husband?”

“Mother was just surprised that the baron had agreed to her price. She came in to my room and told me to pack. As we packed our clothes, she told me to love my husband and do everything I could for him. I did. When they brought in your sick and unconscious body, I willingly undressed and moved upon the bed to personally attend to you.”

I could not help but smile at a certain memory as I said, “Yes, it was an experience waking up to your young naked body.”

“I want to give it to you again, my lord.”

Aden said, “Your time will pass and mine will come.” She then rose from my lap to say, “Berair, spend some time with Mersidda while I prepare your bed.”

I did spend time with my youngest wife. While we did spend time sharing some simple affection, she mentioned smelling the alcohol on my breath. I found her interested in what I drank. It seemed that she had nothing stronger than wine before drinking some brandy the other day, and found the prospect of now having stronger brews to be an interesting prospect. I warned her about drinking, although she displayed little concern until I mentioned a certain fact of our relationship.

“I would rather have you awake when I take advantage of your little body, as I enjoy your smile afterwards.”

“Why would I not be awake?”

“Because alcohol numbs your body. That is mostly why people drink it. They hope to ease the pains of life or forget things. Some people try to resist its effects, so they get active and belligerent, but for most it helps settle the body. Drink too much, and your body just collapses. That is why men will serve alcohol to women. They forget things that they should, and lose the power to put up much of a fight. Of course, you are my wife, so I can do with you as I will, but that also means that I can have your body with you able to enjoy what I do with you.”

She kissed me in a warm extended display of affection before saying, “I do enjoy it.”

“So, limit the alcohol.”

I heard her agreement as I picked her up. Tamesa had the large bed in the other bedroom ready for my little wife. I helped Mersidda undress to a point, then she told me to leave saying that there were things she needed to care for. Tamesa spoke an agreement, and after kissing my young wife one more time I left to put myself to bed.

Aden was naked when I entered my bedroom. Looking at her, I could only hope that Mersidda continued to appear so lovely. After some affection with Aden, she began helping me out of my clothes while talking.

“I am very grateful for what you did, Berair. I want to do something special for you, but cannot think what.” She stood back so I could see her while saying, “You already have me completely.”

“Aden, you did not ask for a sexual favor. If there is something special that I want from you, it also will probably not be a sexual favor. What we do should be nothing more than our kisses – something enjoyable and passionate that we exchange as a display of our love for each other. I am not looking at your body, and will not take your body, because you are doing something special, but merely because we are husband and wife and it is proper for us to share such affection.” I stood to hold my mature wife while saying, “It would be wrong not to take your body. I feel special because you and Mersidda are so lovely, but not because of what I do with such wonderful forms.”

“You are quite handsome as well, Berair.”

I stepped out of my pants while asking, “Even when naked?”

“Even when naked.”

“Well, I believe that hearing that is special enough.”

And Berair begins to do what he can to end the confinement.