To Bless Those Deserving
Doris was not proving to be a problem. I actually could not say whether she would end up liking magic or not. She however had the personality that I heard my siblings complain about. In griping about the deadly weapons made by Kallotech, those that used regular arms were raising children who did not use weapons at all. Luckily, it was not a prevalent problem, but at times I heard my family speak of a future where they would be using their terrible weapons to enforce the common laws.
Steve and I did share comments of appreciating that Doris was not a bitch. She endured the travel. Both of us appreciated that, as it let us focus on what could be our real problem.
I had not told Steve of the fight at the hunters' camp. If he was holding back information that would make a connection then it was his fault. As it was, I wanted him focusing on the matter with Doris. While I did feel that the opponent at the hunters' camp had something to do with the situation, I found myself concluding that he had only been another nuisance.
The one topic I did discuss with Steve was where we had been expected to go. He and I considered our path obvious, but that was because of knowledge of our family. My father had wanted a place where he could get away from his work with his family. The Kallespries had a number of estates, but each was seen by certain groups as a special place to make certain business deals. My father found himself never able to disassociate himself from work. While each handshake furthered the family business and wealth, even mother started complaining about never truly having a vacation. She did not really like visiting Castle Thiminy, Castle Davelda, or even Castle Nehallum, as everyone there knew my father with people there also wanting to speak to him concerning weapons Kallotech would produce. Finally, Grandfather Terish mentioned a place where my father could claim as a truly private resort. People had fled the location due to the rivalry between some pixies and a dragon. Grandfather Terish had resolved the feud in the past, but then found himself hearing complaints of both wishing that the land would again return to the rich varied civilization that it had been. Mother did not like the isolation, but accepted the resort father built on Logramming Isle as a place where the family could spend quality time together. It was around the resort that Balerk and I proved how different we were. We would speak during the day about what we had been doing, and while intrigued by the activities of the other we found ourselves staying with those tasks that better fit our personalities. My own family's history on Logramming Isle thus had me considering it to be the destination Ubremander should have expected us to use, although not finding another challenge along our route had Steve and me discuss other possible conclusions from our investigation of Doris's condition.
Reaching the shore of Lake Hirenchy, I smiled hearing Doris say, "That is an odd building. That is one of your family's resorts?"
I replied, "Well, you have pixies and a dragon about. The pixies are much more bothersome than the dragon, but neither are truly dangerous. I actually climbed the mountain," I pointed, "to speak to the dragon. I found him to be a lot like Sauton, my Grandfather's Terish's dragon. As long as you did not take any of the treasure, he would appreciate your company. The pixies are basically the same, as long as you do not bother what they consider important they are friendly enough, but I really did not enjoy speaking with them."
"How big is the island?"
"The question is often how big is the lake. If you took out the island, the lake would be huge. As it is, I heard it said that what is around the island are just two routes of a rather large river. Anyway, you heard it said that it would take a couple more days to reach the place where we are headed."
Since my family was rather large, and usually traveling with plenty of luggage and servants, the boat I had Steve help me uncover was more than sizeable to handle us and our mounts. While there were poles to get the craft away from shore, Steve and Doris watched as I worked a spell to get a propeller to spin.
The lawyer looked over the side, then asked, "Just how deep is the water?"
"It varies, but can be well over a hundred feet in places. Balerk enjoyed fishing, and will brag of some really large catches. The fish over his desk in his office was from here."
"Seen it. Might try and get permission to come back here. I enjoy fishing as well."
"If no one else gives you permission, I will. Everyone is telling me to claim this place. They tend to ignore that I should settle on the world of Sennapre, since that is the world of Fergush, but they are correct that I tend to travel through the omniverse. Anyway, with us children grown up this place is mostly abandoned. Whether Balerk brings his family here remains to be seen, but I suspect he will end up having the same problems as our father."
Steve asked some things about the surroundings. I considered that he should have known the facts, but he asked a number of questions I guess just to verify what he had heard or seen in reports. I accepted the inquiries as just being his mentality as a lawyer. Actually having nothing else to do while crossing over the water, I calmly answered whatever question he asked.
As I walked Petty off the boat, I saw a group of one of the reasons the surrounding land was uninhabited. Realizing that Doris knew nothing of pixies, and Steve was a lawyer, I felt it best if I dealt with the small magical humanoids. My family would tell of previous encounters between me and pixies, and I would laugh at hearing them as well. I however approached by leading Petty on toward the estate reminding myself of what mistakes not to make.
Most would not recognize the various creatures as being of the same race. About the only thing they had in common was being shorter than two feet. Some were fat while others were thin. Some had thick tresses coming from their head while others only had hair growing from their ears. There was no way to recognize who their leader was, but I simply spoke looking to the one who was in my way.
"Whatever trouble you have cannot be with me."
"Is that the dirty one that speaks? You know to curtsey, dear lady."
It was a female fat pixie to my left that spoke. The fact that she said something did not mark her as the leader. The fact that I did not curtsey simply stated that I would act as I felt proper and not mark myself as a potential victim to their inconsistent rules. I did however stop my advance before walking over the one in my way before turning to speak to the female.
"Ubremander, know of him? I and my companions will be moving on to hopefully meet with him."
Another female, this one appearing like a frog with antlers replied, "Rude, rude, rude. Why should we care?"
"You called me 'dirty one.' If you cannot see that I have grown up, I will not consider that you are of age either."
The one that had been blocking my way now got up while saying, "The house is safe, Jelnaya. As for any reason you should not be safe, you can see that Gehedorn is not flying."
I now curtsied before saying, "Thank you. You are correct. I should have looked. Your presence to scold me I must appreciate."
The pixies moved off with me silently going up to the gates of the property, although as I swung the heavy wooden elaborately carved panels Steve chanced whispering a question. "That did go well, didn't it?"
"They know me, Steve. I am not some stranger passing through their territory. They were not out to give us trouble, but actually just saying, 'Hi.'"
Doris said, "My parents would not bring their children anywhere they had pixies."
"They are not bad. I actually felt they helped my growing up. I honestly have the impression that pixies are like people – there are some bad ones, but the truth is that there are a lot more good ones."
Steve said, "Her family are cops, Jelnaya. They probably see more of the bad ones."
I held back making my usual comment to that. Many groups would however laugh after I mentioned that any bad things I met: people, pixies, or monsters would not live long. I thus usually only saw the good. I however did not want to get into a discussion, much less an argument, about certain methods of dealing with criminals. I simply withheld any comments as I moved up to the house.
Magic was a wonderful thing when handled properly. The house looked as if a staff had come through earlier to freshen the place up. I showed each of my companions to a bedroom, went down to start a pot of water boiling, then left to go back outside. The house might have been in good shape, but I knew that the enchantments about the property would not take care of the animals properly.
I recognized the deep voice, so calmly looked up over the walls to see the dark blue color of the dragon's head. "Gehedorn, the pixies said that the fact you were not flying to mean that there was no trouble."
"None but you, Jelnaya. I see that hair. I accept that you are now trouble, but also that you are Jelnaya. I left my lair because I detected you."
I accepted that I had not been here since gaining my divine status, so spoke to assure the dragon that things had not changed in our own relationship. "Yes, I'm trouble, Gehedorn, but not for you or the pixies. You were never trouble to me, Gehedorn, and I would like for things to stay that way between us."
"Are you staying, Jelnaya?"
"Not at this time, Gehedorn, but my father and Balerk tell me to call this place one of my homes. If I decide to stay, Gehedorn, I will climb up to your lair to speak to you."
"Are you married, Jelnaya?"
I thought that an odd question. Had to turn and see if I could determine something by the way the dragon held his head. I then noticed one of the horses I was tending to, and made an assumption as to the reason for the question.
"No, Gehedorn. Father has a lawyer traveling with me. The lady with me is important. If I cannot solve her problem, then it is assumed that the lawyer can."
"And how can a lawyer help you, Jelnaya?"
I was not expecting that question, but tried to come up with an understandable answer. "They are usually pretty good at seeing through deceptions, Gehedorn. You have to watch them, because they can also create deceptions of their own. They are like dragons and pixies, Gehedorn. You really do not want them around, unless they have gotten used to being around you. However, like you and the pixies around here, Steve is used to being around me. I thus trust him to help me, or at least not be my enemy."
"And you are used to being around me."
I turned to fully look at the dragon as I strongly replied, "I like you, Gehedorn. I climbed that mountain just to see you, and you made me glad that I did. I understood that I was entering someplace others would not. I understood that you would have your ways. Still, I enjoyed my time with you. Don't make me your enemy, Gehedorn. I would rather continue to like you."
"I see the hair, Jelnaya, and I know that you can climb up to my lair. I do not want you as my enemy. I am glad that we are used to being around each other."
I actually felt the dragon had been scared, so tried to assure him that all was well between us. "I am leaving in the morning, Gehedorn. Traveling across the island, then I am not sure to where. If my presence is disturbing you, go on and hunt knowing that you can come back to sleep peacefully."
"Those were the words of a friend, Jelnaya, so I will return to my lair. Yes, if you return to stay, come up and speak with me. Friends should spend time with each other."
The head dropped down behind the wall, but I continued to look in order to watch as the dragon flew off. The horses had proven their training by not running. They had been taught that we knew what was best for them, so would only run if given that command. After the dragon could no longer be seen, I went back to work caring for the animals.
Doris approached to say, "Oh gods. Pixies and now a dragon. My parents would really not like this place."
I tried to sound conversational as I replied, "Then they should not have let you come. You do understand that we are going somewhere that even I might not like."
"I don't see you traveling with any Kallotech weapons."
"No. I have with me the type of weapons that my father was using before he met the Kallespries. You saw the security of Kallotech look scared when I was around. Your parents really do not understand what are terrible weapons and what are not."
"I really hope that I don't have to go back and tell them about things like that."
I thought up a number of replies to that, but spoke the one I hoped would make the best impression. "Would it make them feel any better if you have to go back telling them about the things Steve might need to handle?"
I could not help but smile as she admitted, "No, as they don't like lawyers either."
And they begin to encounter things concerning their destination.