The Fey Bride of Elfland
Chapter Seventeen
Pleasant Conversations

The gorges in the terrain did not become shallow as we moved up the volcano. Finding fresh water thus became an issue this evening has it did the evening before. Chamorrick again suggested we call down to get the permission of a nymph. Considering that the cuts in the landscape did not go away, we had no choice but to stay next to the gorge we had stayed in the night before. I was not against having my half-brother call down, although Queanay was.

"You cannot trust them," she said.

Chamorrick replied, "She was supposed to speak in our favor. I feel that we can trust her to have done that, and after what we did for her she should be congenial enough."

I had to support him. "Nymphs do have their own minds, but they are not self-destructive. We have been kindly to her, so should be able to trust her to be kind to us."

As Queanay started to speak, the sound of another lady came from the gorge. "Indeed you can trust me to be kind. I also have information from Lasotherral, so you should definitely come on down."

Chamorrick looked to Queanay as he stated, "I'm going down." He then lifted his voice to say, "Thank you, fine nymph. If there is further work you would desire from us, we would not be against continuing your graciousness."

"No. I do not see any of you as threats to my quality or life. Your work to be sociable and benevolent forces me to be gracious without further requirements. Come and relax."

Those were enough words for me, and Chamorrick proved the same for him by working his way through the shrubs to climb on down. I looked to Queanay, and nodded as I heard her accept that the nymph should not be a threat. I then moved to assure her a relatively safe passage through the shrubs and down to the bottom of the gorge.

The nymph appeared as a very lovely young lady. She made an advance upon me supposedly as an apology for getting my bedroll wet the night before. What I however found was one of the noted differences in the elemental lady and my own wife. While I had read about the fey being insubstantial, at least partially, I had always found Rabbit very real to my touch and other inspections of her form. The nymph however did not have a body with the warmth and substance of my wife. There was a chill in her presence that might have felt nice in the heat of passion, but which caused me to lose my desire for further contact. While she showed me a bosom much more developed than Rabbit, the way they sloshed when the nymph had them bounce caused me to tell her to put her clothes back on.

Probably to assure no hard feelings, I heard Chamorrick quickly provide an explanation, "He's married, and very much still in love with his wife."

To my surprise, Queanay supported those words. "I walked next to him all day, and he never made an advance upon me."

Actually feeling a little hurt, I said, "You did not come intending to entice me."

"Still, I was right there on your arm."

"Well, you do not look like Rabbit at all." I pointed toward the nymph to say, "She does not either. You are both lovely ladies, but I do treasure the one I have."

The nymph pointed to my half-brother while asking, "How about him?"

"He is the one you were supposed to speak to Lasotherral about."

"And I have. I was however to test you once more."

Chammorick boldly stood and faced the nymph before saying, "Okay, sweet lady, go for it."

She curtsied instead of approaching. "I must honor both of you, because of the aid you supplied me. Maybe if you come to me again in the future I will feel the urge to overcome your resistance, but Lasotherral deserves a guest and a wife deserves her devotion." The nymph turned to me and said, "Those of my kind do dream of finding a lasting love, but that is a fate almost never bestowed upon us. We must thus sate our passion when we can."

I replied, "Trust me when I say that we will be more than willing to help should you have a need such as the day before. As for sating passion, you should not consider it a minor momentary topic. For those of our kind there is more than a simple fire that needs quenching."

Queanay commented, "Well said, Kevin."

The eyes of the nymph moved between me and Queanay before saying, "Okay, I will accept that I would bring dishonor upon those I must honor. I will present no problems."

What had been a very evident young lady suddenly dropped to the flowing water as a part of the current. That again had me think of all the tests I had done with Rabbit to check her substance as a real lady. Knowing that she had not given me any evidence of being of substance less physical than my own, I wondered about those that did become involved in a relationship with a nymph whose form was truly nothing more than water.

We said nothing against our hostess as we made our camp. We found times to speak thanks to the nymph, even though we never had evidence of her being present. Our conversations were kept open enough that another could join in. Nothing was seen that gave any indication of us no longer being welcome, but our hostess did not again make herself apparent.

Chamorrick again settled for sleep as it got dark. As I put another length of rotten wood on the fire, Queanay told me that she was going to bathe. I recognized the hint not to look, so simply let her know that I had other sights on my mind during the night.

"I will be over here where I can see the sky. Other than my wife, it is the only thing I really care to look at."

I had just thrown some wood on the fire, so there was a brilliance making it hard to see the stars. The light from the campfire lit up the leaves of the brush around the edge of the gorge, so the sky beyond just appeared black. I however knew the affect would not last, so just settled down while reminding myself what I had seen the previous nights in order to be aware of something different that might be important. The brilliance had just settled down enough where I could start making out the stars, when I heard a clatter near me.

Queanay said, "Once again I am getting indications of disaster. Being with you, I have to understand your wonder about this adventure you are on. I also have to admit that things have been really peaceful."

I lifted myself to a partial sitting position, but kept my eyes looking up as another voice, a voice I had heard the night before, speak. "I have to compliment you. You have references, and are not causing trouble. Tomorrow, you will find the break in the mountain to your left seal over. From there go more around the mountain than up the mountain, and you should see a cave. We will be waiting for you."

After speaking a thanks, I looked to Queanay to say, "There is disaster, then there is everything going right. Sometimes the two are very similar."

She moved to pick up a number of what I first felt to be sticks. They were straight and polished, so I assumed were special small rods. They however did not sound like sticks, and as she placed them in a sack I felt they were made of bone.

"Pure fey. They are from a time before our creation began. I guess the enchantment on my dowels cannot fathom what they mean to our fates."

I asked, "Why do they have to say disaster? I thought there were a number of ways to read the markers depending on the situation."

"That's what mother taught me. She said that I often had to look past the most common interpretation to find the one that truly applied to the situation. She also said I needed to learn the minor traits in the actions of a man that truly showed his personality. In the end she simply admitted I could learn about men and life itself by going with you."

Really wanting to know something, I sat fully up before speaking. "You do not make your mother out to be that horrible of a person. Not that the things said about the Ice Queen are all bad, but mostly that is how she is presented."

"The land is harsh, so her decisions usually lack the temperance of other lands. She spends a lot of time explaining things to me. She says that is where a man can help. He has the ability to put out a little more effort that can provide a graciousness. Speaking to the natives of my homeland, they will talk of the time of father as being good." Softer, she said, "The land usually kills the man. The people talk so well of my father, and of the past companions to the ladies that ruled the land. They always end any conversation of that type with a blessing for me that my husband would have a long life."

"Well, if I find out about a man that I think will interest you, I will send a message your way."

"He will have to be one that will that mother will allow."

That response intrigued me, and caused me to chuckle. "And Chamorrick is one she will allow?"

"You should know how close our kingdoms are. Mother actually feels that combining our land with those of Florinew could solve some problems – one of them being the death of our men."

"Strange, considering that Chamorrick is on this adventure because he wants to resolve a problem with his own kingdom."

"Too bad we cannot see solving each other's problems."

I did give the lady the benefit of actually considering her suggestion. "No, as I believe neither of you needs their problems doubled. Working out a relationship is good in keeping the lands from war. I am thus glad to have you with us. Not only do I get to know you, but hopefully develop a friendship that keeps our lands at peace with one another. If you feel able to help us, we should not belittle your graciousness. The same should apply to us."

"I believe that mother would agree with those words. She does have a familiarity with King Naderron. I believe the two, your father and my mother, do speak about us children with each other."

"Sounds like a relationship that is worth continuing between our lands. Let me again say that I am glad to have this chance to come to know you, Princess Queanay."

She curtsied to me, then asked, "How long do you stay up?"

"Sometimes the night is interesting, and sometimes it is not. Sometimes you feel like staying up with the thought that something will happen, and it doesn't, but you fear the nights when you feel nothing will happen but it does." I exchanged a smile with her, then gave an answer. "Probably a couple of hours more. Really cannot see much from here, so might go on to bed soon enough."

"Well, I shall wish you a good night, Prince Kevin."

And Lasotherral is met.