Only Fools Complain
Aden’s father had a rather comfortable camp established. Mersidda was driving the wagon, and I knew better than to try and direct her against the directions of the soldiers. I simply dropped from the wagon to stand and examine the placement of tents, items, and fires. Aden’s father noticed me, and rode over to ask a question while still sitting on his horse.
“You have a problem?”
“Yes. You have been here a while.”
“Would it be enough of an explanation to say that I was worried about my youngest daughter?”
Another similarity between the man and Aden was that I felt that I needed to be honest with him. With my mature wife it just came naturally. Something in the way she presented herself along with how she treated me caused me to be direct and open with her. With her father it was more of a feeling he would simply know if I lied. The words I heard Aden say earlier let me know that this man had been wrong before, but I felt a need to start this relationship in the same honest manner that I treated his youngest daughter.
“No, because you were simply watching.”
“There are armies out there. My king told me not to involve myself should it possibly lead to war.”
“You did not bring enough men to start anything anyway.”
The man finally dismounted as he asked, “What would you have me do?”
“I don’t believe you understand. I have done more than I was supposed to do. I have overcome threats in Nemurk. I have started a life with two wives. I have brought down the shell. I have killed a dragon. I can simply go home.”
“Is that last thing your plan?”
I was actually trying to decide about that, so was grateful when Aden came up to hand me a glass of wine. Instead of taking a place beside me, she however stepped back. I turned to see her standing passively behind my right shoulder. I guess Aden noticed my perplexed expression, as she whispered an explanation.
“You will find me your obedient slave, my lord.”
“Slave?” I whispered back. “No, but I am glad that I you are willing to be an obedient wife. Don’t think I won’t obey you…”
Her father proved that he heard, and his wisdom as his words spoke of suspecting something in my reply. “What Aden is doing is rubbing my nose in my instructions to her when she and Therlik visited. She was only a third daughter, so I felt she should be more than honored to have a husband like Therlik. There was a lot of potential in him that I felt she would spoil by acting on her displeasure with him.”
I put an arm around Aden and brought her to my side as I spoke to her father. “I was given Mersidda because the baron did not feel that I would consider her of enough worth alone. If he did anything, he caused me to value Aden more. I love Mersidda. She is sweet and young, but also a wonderful contrast to Aden. With your daughter I found that I possessed a wonderful blessing that had been purified by an earlier fire. With Mersidda I accept that our relationship will grow and change as she matures. With Aden, I want her to stay just as she is.”
“Are you staying, or are you leaving?”
Not the response I expected, but continuing to hold Aden I went ahead and provided an answer. “The man that erected that shell is rather powerful. The castle mage of Nemurk risked his own sanity by working the power to bring me through the barrier. I met the man who erected that shell, and came away believing that his pay was to gain Aden as his wife. My younger wife, Mersidda, is daughter of a gentry of this land. Thus, to put the mind of one wife at ease, I would like to see this situation resolved. Just to remove any threat of someone attempting to claim my other wife, possibly by removing me, I need to see this situation resolved. Thus, I am not determined to leave.”
“So, where were you going?”
“I told you that Mersidda is a daughter of a gentry. I directed her to go home.”
Aden’s father turned his head to speak to another. “Morigy, there is our contact.” I saw an officer, a major, bow as the baron then gave an order, “Break camp.” He then turned to say to me, “I assume, since I am part of your family, that your other wife’s family will accept me.”
The words found me confused on an issue, so now it was I that turned to speak to another. I believe Mersidda was working with Tamesa to make a place for us to relax. The order to break camp however had her standing wondering what to do. Seeing me turn to her, she cheerfully came to me as I asked her a question.
“Mersidda, didn’t your mother come out with us?”
“She did not rush out as you directed me, my lord. She has however probably started her journey home.”
“Will your family be bothered should we show up with this additional family?”
“My family are not rude to foreign forces, my lord, but they do charge them.”
Aden’s father said, “Yes, which is one of the reasons I am out here camping on my own.”
I saw the men moving, so just spoke loudly to hopefully get someone to provide an answer. “What are the forces upon Nemurk doing?”
The eyes of Aden’s father shot to a man, I assumed giving him permission to speak. “Nothing. With the death of the dragon, things seem to be momentarily at a stasis.”
“Baron Behammir, Father, do the forces know that you are here?”
“I did not announce myself, but was kind enough to the scouts that came through. Exactly how they rated my presence I cannot say, but I have not been threatened.”
“The man that erected the shell, that sought Aden as a wife, should be aware of the shell coming down. He thus should be wanting his payment. I thus say that we do distance ourselves for the moment.”
Aden’s father raised his voice to declare, “My order to break camp stands. Move it!” He then fixed his eyes upon me while asking, “Are you going to ride in the wagon with your wives, or would you like a horse?”
I tightened my contact with my wives as I said, “With the approval of my ladies, I would like to spend time speaking with you.”
Both ladies told me that I could. Mersidda wanted a kiss from me before returning to our wagon. I believe Aden would have demurely gone away without any sign of affection, but when I moved ot kiss her she told me some advice.
“Keep to your own plan, my lord. My father does make mistakes.”
“I need information and advice, Aden. There is every reason your father should know some things.”
“With my father it is all protocol and politics, my lord. As we both have learned, the way things should be are not how they often are.”
I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her again just to have an excuse for my mouth to get close enough to her so she could hear my words. “Then I need you to stay my obedient servant, so you are able to provide any advice you feel I might need.”
“I was going to tell you to accept my present act, my lord, just so I would be able to provide you with advice.”
“Good. Now find a way to have Mersidda fit into our plans, as we will be with her family. She might have her own act to perform.”
“I told you, my lord, that I have every desire to share my life with your other wife. Yes, I will see that us ladies do all we can to maintain a happy home.”
As she moved away from me, I saw a soldier advance with a saddled horse. He had a happy smile on his face I assumed was due to him watching Aden and me spend time so close. His words however as he handed the reins to me spoke of something else that pleased him about me.
“I was with the baron in watching you bring down that dragon. I really felt that you were being stupid, but it worked.”
“Any action around a dragon is stupid, so all you can do is put every effort into making it work. What would have been more stupid would be to allow it to stay in the air. Those of Nemurk needed it grounded, and killing it in the process was the best option all around.”
Probably just being curious, although also surely not desiring to do other chores, the soldier asked, “Have you ever killed a dragon before?”
“I’m from Thiminy. We have dragons in the mountains around us. Most we try not to bother as long as they do not bother us, but some do bother us.”
I heard the voice of my father-in-law state, “That was not an answer.”
“Yes – yes, I have. In fact, it was due to my letter of complaint after killing a dragon that had me sent here.” Before another question could be asked, I added, “I thought we would save the interrogation until later.”
“I would like to learn something about you, Son. Get on the horse, and let’s talk.”
I did climb into the saddle, then basically tried to look important as the baron went around getting his men into action. It took me by surprise to see him so busy, as I expected my brother-in-law to actually do the work. The baron however set himself as the figure of authority, which I felt was proper. I thus felt like the man might be deserving of some respect, and tried not to make a scene as I basically just sat in the saddle and watched.
Pleasant words were exchanged as my wives passed me. They were surrounded by soldiers, so I accepted that anything said would be overheard. I kept my words cheerful and loaded with innuendoes. Surprisingly, Aden cheerfully spoke words just as easy to take in other fashions.
As I moved to take a place with the movement of personnel, my father-in-law rode up beside me and asked, “What’s it like being married to two ladies?”
“They are definitely two different ladies. I did not get the same lady in two different forms. I suspect there will be times when I have two completely different set of problems, but so far my time with them has been a pleasant combination of looks, abilities, and skills.”
“Aden can be a handful all by herself.”
I paused for a moment attempting to consider how to take those words. The only conclusion that I could come up with was that the baron stated something from his history with the young Aden. I thus chose words from my time with her.
“But I find her the easiest to hold. Mersidda is the handful I am more worried about dropping.”
“Aden was my youngest, my joy. It hurt to read about her complaints, but I did not have the answers for her. Keep her smiling. It is good to see her smiling again.”
“I don’t know why she is smiling. I cannot say that I am the best of men, and having to share me with little Mersidda should be something against her training. I however treat her honestly, give her what time I can, and she acts pleased with it. All I can say is that is the way I will continue to treat her.”
“I heard the same words from her previous husband, but Aden was not happy with him. I cannot say what goes on privately between you and her, but whatever it is meets with her approval. You will always be welcomed in my house because of it.”
And now Berair has another family to meet.