To Bless Those Deserving
I gained my new slave instructing her and the one now belonging to Doris to care for the other slaves. They both showed expressions of being presently surprised by the command. I felt that we could prolong the lives of our first slaves, and gain very trustworthy servants, if we could get them back to a home where certain conditions might be established to again tie their spirits to a strong plant. I knew that Grandfather Terish had books on the topic, so suspected that I could manage to learn the steps and execute them even should he and Grandmother Straekin be traveling. While plants, even their spirits, needed more than just water to survive, air was around and ground I felt would continue to be available. The positive responses of the nymphs now enslaved helped me gain the impression that I would not be seen as somebody that just caused death.
Fergush might have been He-Who-Fights, but my Great-uncle Ferrigote had shown everyone that the deity was not such a single-minded entity. When I confronted Fergush, I made it a part of the agreement that I could also live to claim a life with all the benefits and experiences of my great-uncle. Fergush had promised that he would not just be my god, but my friend. I thus served him expecting to have access to other solutions than just battling those that confronted me.
Hearing my commands to our slaves, Doris spent time with me seeking knowledge of those she now possessed. I went over with her what I knew of elemental life. Steve told those wanting us to board a boat to wait for our time to verify our new possessions, then he also took part in the conversation. They way he spoke of our nymphs made them out to be potential traitors. I just smiled at my possessions while letting both Steve and Doris know why I felt we could trust our slaves.
"Maney and Pishau were gained in honor. We had shown their father, if not their higher authority, to be at fault. In any event their service to us was gained not in an antagonistic fashion. As long as we hold our honor, Maney and Pishau will honor us."
Steve replied, "That is true, except we have no knowledge of why they, or their father, served Ubremander. If things change in that relationship, it could change in how the nymphs see their devotion to us."
"That could be true, but our slaves should come to understand that we are not at fault. We are not here due to our own schemes. Our presence is purely a result of actions of Ubremander or his minions. Maney and Pishau should thus not see us at fault. We might lose their service, but they will face my wrath if they turn against us."
Considering the distrust in the nymphs Steve had shown and spoken about, I was surprised when he turned to my slave, Maney, and asked, "What are your thoughts, precious servant of my boss' daughter?"
"I am awed by the complexity you see in this situation. That I might serve and watch fills me with delight."
"Sounds like a creature of water." Steve then turned back to me to say, "All right, Jelnaya, I'm here as Doris' lawyer. I however also know that Venicht sent you as more than just her protector. Your father trusts you, which means that your words will carry more weight than my own. All I want to say, Jelnaya, is that I expect you to defend me should this entire situation go sour."
"Now, Steve, if this situation goes sour, my service to Fergush will flare strong. I might have to defend you before my father, but it is Ubremander and those that serve him that will have no defense against me."
"And to think that the Kallespries were worried about the changes your father brought to their company. Those in Kernovull will probably be experiencing earthquakes from the ancient Kallespries turning in their graves after Balerk and you take control."
I thought the words were funny, but only calmly replied, "Balerk has the company, and he actually agrees with what father is doing. You just better make certain he marries a good girl and she produces an heir, as otherwise you do get me in charge. Putting a champion of a warrior god in charge of a weapons company just is not wise."
"I will get Balerk multiple wives and spread their legs apart personally for him if I must."
I cackled at that. Doris grimaced as not appreciating the words. What made the statement especially funny for me was that it was something father had said to Balerk after I gained my status as a champion of Fergush. The thought of both Steve and my father spreading the legs of my oldest brother's eventual wives simply to have them begin producing the next heirs to run Kallotech had me cackling with laughter.
We broke from our discussion to inspect the craft that was to convey us to Ubremander. Steve complained about it being a raft with sides while I considered it a ferry. The craft did show a recent painting, although the green and orange I did not consider to complement each other. The pillows presented to Doris and me did not really look like those for ladies, and I felt were taken from under a couple of the men who were rowing the vessel with the original intent was for their passengers to sit on plain benches. Telling Doris that I doubted any treatment could have me start thinking good of Ubremander, I signaled for the craft to get underway.
The portal that appeared before us had an almost transparent sheen. The lack of distortion let me know the physics between the two worlds was similar. This world had pixies and dragons, and I could expect the same or similar on the world of Ubremander. Of course, being presented with dryads of hewn trees and nymphs already prepared me for certain things of the reality where I would be heading. Feeling that I would not be bothered with some really strange universal rules, I did nothing to announce my perception of the portal while setting myself to face the problem that had caused my father to seek my involvement.
While we had been traveling across a large lake set in mountains, Doris gasped realizing that we were now on a large body water, salt by the smell in the air, in which were a number of islands. A number of colorful boats were around us. Seeing simple craft in the distance holding those fishing, and the green of the distant areas of land, I accepted that nymphs and dryads were probably common in the area. Doris put her body close to me to softly speak of being concerned as she realized that we were being surrounded by those of Ubremander.
I however spoke to another. "Steve, our slaves are really valueless gifts."
He replied, "I had already concluded that. Remember, the first slaves were given to have you and Doris appear at your best, and not really as gifts. They also had their lives cut short, so were not to be treasured possessions. I hope your slaves understand that I will not speak well about them, although that should not mean that we will not care for them."
I then heard him ask, "Jelnaya, it seems we are being taken to that boat over there. Do you see anyone human on board?"
My connection to the divine enabled me to see things as they truly were, so I looked in order to give the lawyer the information he requested. "No. All water and air."
"You just cannot command that many elementals. Ubremander cannot be human."
"I would say that he is also rather new at being in charge. He is making some mistakes, but not really major ones and has not been in power long enough to have the people grow tired with him."
Steve went quiet for a short period, then softly asked, "You just said that you are going to have to kill people, didn't you?"
"They're elementals. I won't feel bad about it at all."
It must be said that I did not consider elementals evil. They had their bad and good personalities. The difference in elementals and people was that they did not have the grace of divine consideration. Elementals basically existed because the power of deities was that awesome. The blessing of life granted to plants, animals, people, and some other creatures did not fall on elementals. It just somehow activated in the primordial elemental essence, and they became thriving entities. They had no souls. They were what they were with no remorse for what they thought, did, or dreamed of doing. The only way to respond was to treat them in like fashion, so those that challenged me learned quickly that was a wrong move. I killed most not thinking they were evil, but just dumb.
We pulled up to the boat with the sound of instruments along with the movement of dancers. Servants moved out with carafes of wine and trays of delicacies. One in very elaborate and colorful clothing spoke words of greeting to Doris, although looked at me as I made myself the first one to step upon his boat.
He sternly asked, "And who are you? Her bodyguard?"
I pointed to Steve as I started to explain. "You see that man? He works for my father. He is nice to me, because he knows that I am going to become his boss. I was sent with Doris to protect her."
He stepped back and signaled another. Having recognized those on board the vessel as elementals, I had brought the drahabard with me. It was of divine origin, so had the power to disrupt elementals. With them only being of secondary divine creation, they could not tolerate something that was truly divine. It was not just one that came upon me, but two. With the drahabard actually being a weapon useful against multiple opponents, I finished them in less time than if I had used my sword. I then stepped up to the one making the greetings to let him know some facts.
"If I wipe out everyone on this vessel, it does not become the property of Doris. It becomes my property."
I saw his form wavering even as he tried to look bold while asking, "Who are you?"
I just smiled as I answered, "You can consider me Doris' bodyguard. Just spread the word not to ignore me."
He seemed frustrated for a moment. He then looked to Doris. Before again welcoming her on board his boat, he looked to me. It seemed that he was worried about making another mistake of the status of someone.
"Who is he?"
I answered, "That is Doris' lawyer. You will find her not talking that much, and him talking a lot."
Steve knew his cue, so now stepped on board the boat. "Yes. Doris is not here due to any invitation, but to being threatened by Ubremander, who I assume you work for. While the refreshments might be enjoyed, it must be said that they will not be considered as favors of Ubremander. He however does have some apologizing to do, and what gratuities you have been told to grace us will be taken as signs that he is willing to fully apologize for his wrongs."
As if very unsure of things, the one that greeted us looked to me to softly ask, "And the other ladies?"
The question had been directed at me, so I looked at Steve to let him know that I would reply. "Two are my slaves with the other two being those of Doris. You should consider them as the ones who will actually serve us. Your shipmates can only work to assure that our slaves have what we desire."
"Of course. You are both a lot more of a much higher status than expected." He then asked, "Can I greet Dame Doris now?"
Steve did reply to that question. "No. Not until we learn your name and status."
"Me? Oh, yes, sorry." He performed a rather elaborate set of movements that ended up with him kneeling prostrate to the ground before saying, "I am Captain Henularte. I have been chosen by Ubremander to be a most gracious servant unto Dame Doris and those of distinction who travel with her. Please let me know if you have any needs."
I now turned to signal Doris to come on board this vessel. From watching her eyes, I saw that she also looked to Steve. I guess he nodded, as Doris did step across the low railings to board the larger vessel.
She then asked, "Just how long is this journey to take?"
Still prostrate, the captain answered, "Ubremander expects you for supper, Dame Doris."
"Well, I am going to need to get there early enough to freshen up. This salt air is not what I consider pleasant."
I whispered to her, "He's a water elemental, Doris. He can freshen the air around you."
"Kernovull is not a coastal city or even on a lake. My parents do not own a pool. I am not one for the water. I just want to get to where we are going."
Steve said, "You heard the lady, Captain. Get our stuff transferred, then trust your crew to manage our comforts while you get this boat to shore."
Even in the city nothing moves quickly.