Only Fools Complain: Cp29

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Only Fools Complain
Chapter Twenty-Nine

The Reason for Wives

Aden turned to me and said, “My lord, you must help, or at least determine the value of what is being said.”

Her father interjected, “Now, Aden.”

“No.” She had her hands grab mine as she stated, “This is Mersidda’s home, my lord. She is your wife as well, so this is now your, our, family. If those monsters do come to plague this land, it is your responsibility to see to the security of this land.”

Mersidda’s father now spoke, “I can damn well –“

“No!” Aden turned her head, but her hands stayed holding mine. “It is not your job. It is that of the nobles. That is why you pay your fief. Yes, you are beyond the normal barriers of civilization, so need to take some responsibility for surviving threats, but your service to the land is not in its protection. It is that of the nobility, and the army. My husband is a major. Maybe in the army of another land, but it is his job all the same to protect the land and he came here with the authority to protect this one. It is his job simply as a man to secure the home, but his place due to his occupation goes beyond that.”

I suspected there was more to what Aden was saying, but I knew to deal with the immediate situation. “I don’t mind checking things out, and helping if I can. I however will not allow myself to get drug into some long engagement. Another foray into some region where monsters have made their home will not bother me, but simply to go about this land fighting conflicts is not what I want. I do want to get you and Mersidda somewhere we can call our home, and put you two to securing my future.”

Again it was Mersidda’s father that spoke. “That does sound sensible.”

Nodding, I turned back to Thorevin to ask, “What do you want me to do?”

It was Aden’s father that answered, “Let me and the mage discuss things. You take your wives on to bed. When you come out to breakfast, I will try to have something sensible where you might be of service to both Peranty and Mernill.”

Mersidda’s father said, “I might have my wife wanting me in the bed, but I will be listening in as well. Not that I don’t trust my fellow father-in-law, but I don’t trust foreigners. If my wife wants me, she can come and listen in with me.”

Emoya declared, “And I will too.” Many laughed, but she barely smiled as she looked to me. “Berair, I am glad that you came and declared yourself as a part of your wives’ families. It will take time to truly feel at ease with one wife, much less two. Thus, go on to bed. Harbest and I will make certain that you are not walking into something you shouldn’t. Good night, Son.”

I heard others tell me and my wives the same. Considering the dominating stance that Aden took, she melted next to me for the walk to our room. Mersidda cheerfully directed me, but waited until closing the door for our privacy before speaking to her fellow wife.

“Aden, I do not understand what you did.”

“I made certain that this did not unnecessarily become our fight. Father would do that. He will rally those he considers his best to help him, and I have no doubt that he thinks of Berair in that manner. Our husband has done his job here. As much as I love my father, love my native land, and I am sure the same goes for your family and land, we are now subjects of Thiminy. We need to let those of our original lands fight their battles.”

What she said basically matched what she had said, so I did not doubt that Aden spoke what she felt was the truth. I also had come to trust her, so had to spend some moments testing my own thoughts against her words. I saw my wives look to me, but they proved that they had learned something about me in that they let me stay silent. When I finally did speak, Aden stayed quiet as she listened to what I said.

“I believe that there are more layers to this, so I am going to keep myself available. Honestly, that will mean I will stay ready to help Aden’s father. I know his loyalty, so can easily read into what he is saying. Mersidda, your father might be protecting his own property, baron, or a superior noble. I really cannot read into what he might have as his ultimate motivation.”

My young wife replied, “But my family has owned this land for untold generations.”

Aden said, “I doubt our husband will do anything against your family, Mersidda. It is his family as well, and I also consider it mine. He is just saying that he cannot tell exactly how your father will make his decision about how to react to circumstances. My father is a lot more predictable, so it will be easier for our husband to read into the schemes of what my father is planning.”

I added, “I also expect Aden’s father to be a little more forthright with me about his plans. Your father, Mersidda, will confide in your brothers or those workers who also have a history with this property.”

My young wife moved next to me as she admitted, “Yes, that is true.”

I hugged her while attempting to explain. “The problem facing me is that this matter can easily rise above our situation. This is obviously a power struggle, but not one of a local nature that concerns us. Yes, this property might be forced to recognize another authority, but no change of ownership is actually being threatened. Aden’s father can have a stake, or at least a duty, in the power struggle. By staying with him, I can thus actually have some standing in the developments.” I moved to hold Aden’s shoulders while I looked into her eyes. “You said that I had the status to be a player in this situation. Not directly. I however do feel that there is something beneath the struggle that is not so easily discerned that needs to be taken into account. I might have a place there, and that is what I am staying to look for. Should things however just stay as some squabble for dominance, I will call my king and take both of my wives and the rest of our stuff back to Thiminy.”

Aden replied, “I will ever obey you, my lord. It however does help hearing you explain yourself.”

“You are my wife. You and Mersidda have every right to hear every one of my thoughts. In return, I just ask both of you to be so open with me.”

“Of course, my lord. Let me assure you that I would seek to change your mind should I feel that you were misjudging the evidence.” In a softer tone, she said, “I do not hate my father, Berair. His support for Therlik I felt to be wrong, but it did not cause me to hate my father. I am glad that he is showing support for you. The only difference in my eyes is that now he is doing the right thing, while before he was definitely in the wrong.”

My wives had me take off my outer wear. They then had me relax in a chair while they did what they needed to do. Just as they helped me, I watched as Tamesa helped my wives.

My mind sought to determine who in the present situation needed my help. Honestly, Mersidda’s father did not. No one was fighting for control of his land. Actually, as far as I could tell, Nemurk was safe as well. Honestly, though, Nemurk was never in danger. That had me wonder why Aneron and King Chellor was present. If there was a struggle for control over the land, the battle should be around the castle of the king and not some barony. That had me feel that there was something important about Nemurk that I had yet to be told. My mind thus had me wondering what about this present situation I had yet to discover.

Yes, I had put my focus on Aden, so was not surprised when she turned to me. “My lord, I was intending to give Mersidda the priority, but if you want me.”

“No, Aden, but I was perplexed why no one wanted you. There was fight to get you out of the way. Thorevin was not lusting for you. He accepted my authority over you quite graciously. Baron Norvaum did not feel that you had worth, which is why I gained Mersidda. I don’t understand. I want you, Aden. I see nothing but a very lovely lady. I also have found you to be a wonderful lady. My conversations with you have been most pleasant. While you would not have been my choice for a wife, I cannot believe that another did not desire you.”

“I cannot speak on that matter, my lord. I had been preparing to again meet suitors, but I really had not made such an announcement yet.”

“But I cannot believe that people did not know. Surely someone sought potential in you. Thorevin did, but only in a why-the-Hell-not manner. He did not speak of actually desiring you.”

Mersidda came beside me as she said, “He spoke of other ladies also choosing another.”

I replied, “That has me assume that he is seeking a wife. I wonder who he really has his heart set upon.” Just to assure my train of thought, I asked, “Aden, Thorevin did not seek your hand when you first made yourself available?”

“No, my lord. At that time he was still advancing in his power. I did meet him at some socials, but never as someone seeking my hand.” She went quiet for a moment, then said, “He did dance with me once. I was sitting alone, and he mentioned it being a dull occasion. During the dance he said that it would probably be the only time we would have such time, as his work would keep him busy. He said that once he achieved his status that he would grab some young thing and take the time to train her as he desired.”

“Well…”

I suddenly had a problem with my thoughts. Assumptions that I had made seemed to shatter. Not believing what conclusions I was forming caused me to wonder about my place in the struggle going on. Both my wives had learned enough about me to wait, and my trust in them had me speak the problem with my thoughts.

I looked at Aden and declared, “No one wanted you.”

She gasped, “My lord?”

“You would have been a second wife to Thorevin. He really did not want you, but I guess really had nothing else he really desired from Baron Norvaum.”

“I doubt that Thorevin could handle two wives in the way that you have.”

“Yes, but you would have found him pleasant enough. You knew him, had no bad thoughts of him, and definitely did not want another like Therlik. You would have gone to him.”

Her face showed displeasure, but I saw her nod before asking, “And if such is true, then what conclusion does that lead you to?”

“I don’t know. Who is the royal mage for King Chellor?”

Mersidda piped up with the answer, “Gagspeak.”

I had not heard the name, so felt that indeed I was uncovering a layer that had yet to be revealed. “Gagspeak did not create the shell, but Thorevin did. Gagspeak did not teleport me into Nemurk, but Berallid did. What in Hell has Gagspeak been doing all this time?”

Aden commented, “You would think that he would have a stake in all this.”

Not knowing, I had to ask, “Is he married?”

Mersidda provided the answer. “He is old, my lord. I think he was.”

“Or is,” I corrected. “And surely he had children. One of them might be old enough to seek a wife, and gaining the hand of a princess would help with a desire to advance socially.”

Aden voiced her conclusion, “So he could well have a stake in this. It is a good avenue of discussion, Berair, but it is late and you have two wives to satisfy. Let the matter rest, and you take to your rest. I am sorry that your days and nights must be so active, but such is your life.”

And Berair must go and confront another possible adversary.