The third Neselle story -
Of Men and Love in General
Chapter Four – Complete

Denebry's Mother: Being Kind

Duchess Shanistin watched as the man easily carried the metal case that had been his armor. When he bent down to grab it, she received the impression that he wanted to pick it up with his mouth. Only after staring at a hand for a moment did he instead pick it up in what she considered the usual fashion. The elder lady had no idea how the man moved with his body in the shape that he was in, but could tell by the expression on her husband's valet that he had to be extremely strong.

She rushed from the balcony of her daughter's room to be in the front chamber when Bresnaw was brought in. As she moved through the hallways, she gave orders to certain servants that she passed to start preparing things for the guest. By the time she was moving down the great staircase to the front chamber she thus had some assurance that her welcome would be honest.

Her husband introduced the lady as she glided to his side. She noticed that Bresnaw was tall, at least a couple of inches in height above her husband. While the visitor could be naturally statuesque, she wondered how to estimate the age of someone who had existed in the divine realms. She had never seen a physical structure like his. His muscles appeared as ropes over his bones. Feeling that Bresnaw had to be famished, her first statement was to assure the man that his needs would be met.

"I have given the commands for a loaded plate of food to be sent to your room along with some wine."

"Wine? Oh, good, as I like wine."

The duchess was surprised to have gained a positive response, so asked a question that she hoped would get the man talking. "You never said what you did to earn the right to come and sing your song."

"Oh, the door, I opened the door. I didn't know it was a door, but I knew that we were close to our objective. It was a vast featureless plain with skalbits and rephitars all around." Shanistin looked to her husband, saw him shake his head to indicate that he did not know what the names referred to, but she did not stop Bresnaw from speaking. "I jumped. I didn't care if I was hurt, but I simply wanted to achieve the objective. I reached the edge of a vast depression, but went on determined to run down. I saw great chains, so altered my movements to take me to them. Five forty was beside me, and as I met a great defrillion I found fifty-six and three-oh-six fighting with me. Determined to finally obtain the goal, I passed between the legs of the defillion and released the catch holding the chains. With the release of the chains, great pins came from the door and it opened. Hafrentasha grabbed me and pulled me into the radiance released by the door. Somehow we swam to the top of the sea of light and managed to land ahead of it. I landed about a hundred feet from your gate. Hafrentasha said that I was in a city, but that I could gain my wish if I passed through the gate to leave it."

The duchess did not cause her guest any unease, but felt a need to gain some understanding of what the man was talking about. "Hafrentasha?"

"He is a huaca, an agent of order."

"My lord is a duke, Sir Bresnaw, so I know of those who exist in the divine realms. Nirvana is not an eternal home that I favor, but there is no shame to claim that realm as your place of peace when this life is over. What type of huaca?"

"A charax."

The duchess had prepared herself to smile at whatever the man said, but found her expression to come naturally along with a cheerful memory of what type of creature a charax was. "Well, then Hafrentasha is welcome as well. I once met some charaxi. They were so modest and cute. Winter is coming, Sir Bresnaw, so I hope that you do not mind that I had servants light a fire."

"You have a fireplace? I so enjoy sleeping by the fireplace."

"Well, I hope that you feel at home."

An expression of fear came to the face of Bresnaw. His form went very erect as his gaze moved to rest on every person around him. When he again looked at the duchess the countenance of fear had only been softened by confusion.

"I am not dead, am I?"

"No, Sir Bresnaw, what makes you think that?"

"I did not ask for life."

The duke spoke up, "None of us asked for life, but I believe that we all thank our parents for bestowing the blessing upon us. Whatever your story, I believe that life should not be something that you regret having."

"I am only eight-fourteen. I don't know if I am alive."

"Trust me, young man, if you were not alive then I would know about it. How about some good food? Eat, rest, and come morning we can talk more."

"Thank you, Lord..." Bresnaw turned his head in an odd direction, then looked back at the man to say, "Duke. I hope that you did not mind me singing to your daughter."

"No, my lad. Trust me, I would rather you sing to her than some of the others that have come to my mansion. Now, let my butler take you to your room."

The duchess moved to her husband as the young man was escorted away. "My lord, he is a strange one."

"Truthfully, he isn't." The duke turned to an officer in the military to ask, "Is the star still shining?"

"Yes, Your Grace."

"Well, send a messenger to the temple in Delchell. I know that there is a priest, two actually, in my home, but I want the full attention of the priesthood alert. This is no curse, but a blessing, but I don't want to be thinking wrong about this."

The duchess asked, "My lord, do you know who Bresnaw is?"

"I believe I do. He is basically the one in a thousand. When a soldier dies after disobeying his commands, he is cursed to being forced to obey in a horrid divine game of war. Those that win, even when victory was never assured, gain some compassion. He is thus unique, and deserves some honor. His problem is that he has served his use, and now is to become a face in the crowd. The man is still unique, and others that learn who he is might want to make use of him to tap those qualities that make him unique. I am thus going to be watching him to see if I could use him, or at least to prevent him from being abused."

Attempting to resolve any problems of his visit, Shanistin could not help but think about how the man arrived. "Do you want our daughter to consider him?"

"No, and that is not a command I could give her anyway. Her heart is her own. I just do not want anyone being rude to him."

She fully agreed with her husband. Worrying about further problems, Shanistin considered what obligations Bresnaw might impose. Hoping to get her husband to speak, she merely said an opening comment.

"Well, he seems like a nice man."

"Look at that body of his. He has been fighting creatures that we probably cannot comprehend. He alone could probably wipe out our army. Yes, he comes across as a nice man, but I don't want him getting mad at us."

Hoping that her husband would be taking charge of Bresnaw, the duchess asked, “Are you going to try and get him to join your private militia?”

“I wish. Our king will probably wish as well. The man however has the blessing of the gods, and I would suspect is considered to have fought his battles. You heard me send messengers to notify the priests. This man has fought for the gods in their games, and somehow came out the victor. Our deities are not cruel. They will honor him, and to get them to honor me I will want to know how to treat Bresnaw. Hopefully, he will continue to be kind until then.”

Attempting to gain a feeling of security in her home, Shanistin replied, “He said that he was attended by a charax, my lord. Surely the divine agent of law will keep him acting properly.”

“It will however also guide him toward his new fate. Be responsive to the man, and kind. He deserves our honor and support.”

“Yes, certainly.” Attempting to think along matters divine, she came up with what she hoped would be an acceptable action. “Debogda assigns, but is joined with she who loves. Bresnaw came here to sing to our daughter. Could Onathia be active in his guidance?”

The arms of her husband came around her as he replied, “I don’t know why I did not think of that. Yes, Shanistin, seek guidance from Onathia. At the worst, we will gain honor by thinking to check as many sources for wisdom as possible.”

Still attempting to assure that all sources of concern were covered, Shanistin suddenly found herself worried about another in her household. “I need to go speak to Denebry.”

“I need to speak to some in my military.”

He did not let her go until he kissed her. Shanistin appreciated the sign of affection, although had her mind worried about other things than pleasing her husband. While she did not doubt that she would again share time with Cheyash, she waited for him to let her go eager to see to resolve any problems before they disrupted the peace of their household.

Turning into the corridor that led to her daughter’s room, Denebry was right there as if coming to find her. They both paused as if waiting for the other to speak. As one of the heads of the household, Shanistin quickly asserted her place by breaking the silence.

“Bresnaw did not come here seeking a wife. You are thus under no obligation to consider him. Your father let me know however that the man will have the blessings of the gods, so we will not stand against any desire that he states.”

The muscles in the young lady relaxed as she said, “Yes; thank you, Mother. That was the reason I was going to seek you out.”

“Your father said that he is the one in a thousand spoken of in Debogda's holy book. He once made a mistake, but has now paid for it. We should thus honor him.”

“He did seem nice, but I don’t know about him.”

“It is an honor that he came to us. However, nothing says that he came to you – specifically. There was a reason that he came here, certainly, but why you were chosen to hear his song might not be because of you. I plan on praying to Onathia about that, and I would recommend that you do as well.”

As if scolding her elder, Denebry said, “Of course I pray to Onathia, Mother. I am seeking my husband. I would rather have one that loves than one that teaches, fights, serves, assigns, and especially not survives.”

Actually finding herself relieved at the words, Shanistin could not help but smile as she replied, “Then I will leave you to your heart, Daughter. Good night.”

And now there is a lady that needs to be introduced.