Only Fools Complain
Chapter Twenty-Three

Meaningless Preparations

Aden turned from the door that the baron slammed shut behind him to say, “My lord, I really don’t understand.”

I moved to wrap my arms around her while saying, “I don’t understand either. Sometimes you hope for understanding after making a connection, but most of the time you simply have to be satisfied that you made the connection.”

“I was nothing but a dutiful wife. The city – the world is filled with them. Everything that I would do for you, I am certain that Mersidda will do as well.”

“All right, Aden, I will not have you denying your own worth. Every lady is special, and every man should be grateful that he has something unique for his wife. Still, there are gifts that everyone has, but for some the arrangement, the development, or other things bring out a beauty that all notice. You tend to have that. I am honored to have you for a wife.”

She did not let me say anything more, but spun in my arms to say, “But you are special as well, Berair. You are everything I could want. You are – so much more of man than Therlik. You are also kind and understanding. I enjoy just being with you, Berair, and I never could really say that about Therlik. How he was in private was not the same as he was in public.”

“Okay, Aden, but that does not counter my point. You are something that everyone wants, and I am the man that has it. You have shown people your value. Honestly, I have as well, but not around here. Well, the people of Nemurk have probably seen some of what I am made of, but I need my fame to spread further. I want your parents proud of me. I want Mersidda’s parents proud of me. I want this damn continent to know that I am deserving not only of two wives, but two special ladies. When that shell comes down, I will see to end of this whole affair.”

Aden gave me a long passionate kiss, then said, “But what about us? Thiminy does not know me or Mersidda.”

“Listen, the two of you will have plenty of time to show your worth to my part of this world. Right now, this is my time to show my worth to this part of the world.”

“Okay, Berair, but you will be with us in Thiminy, and we are with you here. How can we help?”

“How can you help?” I had an arm go around Aden to pick her up, then carried the short distance to Mersidda who I picked up in my other arm. “You ladies have been helping me since before I first woke up in this land. Since then I haven’t been ignoring you. I have not denied the companionship of either of you. Mersidda was just with me at the wall and had some participating in what I did there.”

Aden showed no discomfort with how she was being held, but asked, “Okay, so how can we help?”

I sat them down, kissed them both, then thought before answering. “Honestly, I need time to think. I had hoped for certain things to prove true, but I cannot say that what happened helps me.”

Mersidda said, “Your thinking has done well up to now.”

“Yes, and that is a reputation I hope to continue. You ladies have been doing a wonderful job of allowing me the time.”

Tamesa mentioned that it was about time for dinner, so I had my ladies take a seat and we just discussed the events of the last few days. While we had shared things about our past, this conversation was different in that we had lived them together. As one of us related certain events, another of us was jumping in with comments about their own perspective. It was interesting for me to hear about events that I knew well from a source with a completely different thought process.

With the servant having gone for our meals, I expected the knock to be her loaded with trays. I was thus surprised to see Emoya. She stepped seemingly surprised to have me as the one that opened the door while my wives were seated at the table.

“Uh, Berair, I was to help you pack.”

I motioned for her to enter while saying, “Well, there is no rush.” I helped her to take a seat next to her daughter while attempting to make my case. “I believe my stuff is all in the armoire. Mersidda should be packed, mostly. Aden, you were the only one that might not have been.”

Once again I got to sit and be entertained by the ladies. It really made no difference to me where things were placed or how much each of my wives possessed. While the ladies thus spoke with some seriousness, I simply watched and listened with the attitude of simply enjoying the passing of time.

I could not tell my ladies not to pack. If the shell did come down, whatever would happen the end result would be that we would be moving on. I thus let the ladies do what they felt necessary to leave while I sat and considered all the entanglements that might keep us in Nemurk.

There was no assurance that the shell would come down. I had some knowledge of magic. The desert beyond my kingdom was not hospitable to most life, so many that lived out in the sandy waste used magic to sustain themselves. Magic was also used to overcome threats and other desert travelers. My enchanted sword had not been the first that I encountered, but just the first where my plan to take it for myself went according to plan. What I knew of magic told me that if I could disrupt the magical energies that the whole construct would fail. As with all things, magical energies needed care and attention. Most mages kept a part of their minds active supporting certain defensive spells. Enchantments faded with time, or had some conditions that kept them powered. The oozes were definitely conjured along with the shell, and I believed provided a benefit in keeping the magic active. I felt that my plan would work, but at the worse without the threat of oozes I could try things until gaining success.

The options for what might be found once the shell came down really bothered me. Considering that the mage that created the shell was a mercenary, I had to allow that other skilled people had been hired to take part in the local situation. I however actually had no evidence for the reason the shell had been conjured. This was only a barony with no special trade or benefit to the surrounding land. The wealth was actually in the surrounding farms. The duke that had Baron Norvaum as a vassal could secure the wealth of the domain by just having a company of soldiers watch over the laborers in the fields. My imagination created a number of possible scenarios, but I really had no idea what might be found when the shell was removed.

Finally, I believe that it was just getting time for supper, Mersidda came to me. “Can I bother you, my lord?”

I grabbed my little wife, and pulled her into my lap. We spent some time trading affection. I meant just to hold her and peck her cheek, but found her body turn and fully give into the experience. Not wanting to disappoint a wife, I let her know that I loved her. When she just fell against my body, it was my other wife that spoke.

“I sent Tamesa for our supper, my lord.”

I saw Emoya also watching, but held my young wife while speaking to my mature spouse. “Tell me, Aden, what is your opinion about why the shell was put around this place?”

“It was not done to get me as a wife, my lord.”

“My intent was not to argue with you, Aden. I just wanted to hear your opinion.”

She moved closer to me while saying, “I want to say that it was something with the flayers. They were speaking to the baron. I believe that some agreement was made that went sour, as agreements with monsters usually do.” She pulled a chair to where she could sit close and face me, then said, “It was before the shell that the baron and I had our little meeting where I demanded that he marry me to an honest man. I did not think much of the time, but continued my own plans to direct my own meetings with suitors. After the shell, he stormed into the room and told me that my betrothal had been decided. I was with the baron ready to scream and yell, but you were not what I expected. I thus allowed myself to be presented to you as your wife, and I am glad that you did not refuse me.”

Aden leaned forward, and I shared a kiss with her. While holding one wife, I traded affection with the other. Mersidda did not interrupt, but stayed in her place even as Aden worked to extend the simple act.

Emoya then saw my ladies look to her, so she took a place by Aden’s chair to speak. “It took me by surprise when the baron came in paid for my daughter’s hand. I remember him saying that it was a small amount, and that he might be able to get it back out of you.”

I will admit that I was curious. “How much did he pay?”

“A hundred gold crowns.”

“That is a lot to people like us, but not so much to those in certain circles.”

“Yes. My husband did not want Mersidda married to some farmer. The payment would not only help us recoup our suffering from the years of flooding, but help assure that we did not simply push our daughter on someone of no worth. My husband would be proud of you, Berair – I am proud of you.”

I saw the door open and Tamesa direct servants to enter with plates of food. I kissed Aden, then stood while holding Mersidda. I kissed her before setting her on the floor. I then directed the ladies to the table.

While preparing our plates, I asked, “Mother, in what direction is your home?”

“I don’t know, Berair. The shell makes it hard to determine direction. We are east of the city about two days out.”

I thanked her, then asked the same question of another. “Aden, where is your home?”

“Northeast, more north, about a week from here.”

“Mother, would you mind if Aden stayed with you for a time?”

All the ladies looked to me as the elder replied, “No, Berair. Aden is part of my family as well.”

I had my gaze move between my wives as I said, “I just want you to know that you have options. I am not going to just contact King Terish and tell him to take me home. I will resolve this situation as best I can.” Before either could say anything, I added, “The same goes when we do go home. I am here because I excelled at my job. I will continue to prove my worth.”

Emoya asked, “Do you have a valet?”

“A valet? No.”

“You are a major. Surely you have some advantages to your rank.”

“I just gained my rank as major. Once I gained an officer position, I stopped sleeping in a regular bunk. The beds in the rooms for officers are not bad. Of course, when in Serussdal I sleep with my family.”

I felt that I had discussed some topics, but went into the details again. “Listen, the first month or so will probably be a lot of moving. We will probably stay in Castle Thiminy while I check on things with my king. We can stay there, as I know some other officers that have their family in the castle. Most find a house out with some gentry where they are away from the usual castle politics and out where they can be available should any problems develop. Since my family is in Serussdal, we might decided to stay in the castle with the duke, or get a house in the town. Honestly, I could be convinced to stay in Fedrukin.”

Mersidda and her mother both voiced, “Fedrukin?”

“They have a zoo. I have rescued a number of people crossing the desert simply to see our zoo.”

Emoya said, “A zoo? With animals?”

“Special animals. It does have some rather strange and lovely animals. King Terish does not bring back the dangerous ones, as they are to be bred for food. The people of Fedrukin do not eat deer or pheasant, because of something that happened between them and King Terish long ago. To make up for what he did, he began bringing them odd animals to eat instead, and slowly the compound became known as a zoo.”

“Oh.” She looked to her daughter and said, “It seems that you will be part of a much different life than we have around here. Still, there seems to be every reason for you to be happy.”

My little wife replied, “I will work to build a good life with my husband.”

Aden added, “And I will be there to help. While Berair might not have a valet, when home he will have two ladies that love him. He also will have access to Tamesa.”

I interjected, “That is more than any man should need.”

“No, Berair, Depending on the size of the house, and the number of children Mersidda and I present to you, we might need others.”

“Thiminy is a thriving kingdom. There are always options.”

Aden turned her head to speak to the elder lady across the table from her. “Honestly, I doubt that I will have that hard of a time adjusting. Wherever I go with Berair, I do believe that I will feel loved. That will be a change for the best.”

Mersidda chirped a response, “Oh, yes, we will love Berair, and he will love us.”

Emoya simply replied, “Both of you, write.”

There are more things to consider even as tensions build.