To Bless Those Deserving
As Jelnaya again twirled the drahaberd, a gasp came from the crowd with a lady dressed in a manner stating she had importance saying, "Please, allow us a chance to reconsider our actions. I know that you said any graciousness will not count in our favor, but please allow us to be gracious as we consider the value of what we planned on offering."
Steve replied, "It must be said that the graciousness on board the vessel included drugging Lady Doris and possibly the rest of her company. I can promise you that the attempt did not improve our attitude, and knowing what you have heard I would not recommend that you attempt it again."
The elder man that had moved up said, "Ah, yes. Dear Snenara, would you direct our guests?"
Again Steve spoke before another could. "We have our servants with us. All we need is a place to retire with our servants having access to certain things for our refreshment."
Jelnaya added, "But you should be warned that it has already been quite a journey, so boredom will set in rather quickly."
The man said, "We will do our best. Snenara?"
The congregation parted to form a route for our group to pass. The lady called Snerara led us to a set of double doors. Behind the doors was a large room richly furnished and a fire going. Seeing that we entered without any complaint, Snerara walked passed us to indicate a table covered in cookies, pastries, and bottles of wine.
"This was not for you, but for us. If you find it poisoned, all I can say is that we have eaten and drunk the offensive substance so much that we are used to it. Please, rest from your journey as we try to make up for your style of arrival."
Snerara closed the door behind her as she left, at which time Steve said, "Doris, Jelnaya, both of you have slaves. Let them serve you."
Jelnaya asked, "Just for appearances?"
"Actually, yes. The hope right now should be for one of us to cause a serious offense and put our host back in charge."
"Missed that opportunity if you ask me."
"I was glad to see that they did care about their lives. Elementals can get rather stupid, as they know they will die sometime. There does not tend to be a sense of worth in a long life with them. However, what I am now seeing contradicts the rationale that has us concerned for Rosemary and Fellota. I am thus presently mystified, and when that happens it is best to act defensively. That means, we be patient and nice."
“Snerara was human, Steve. The man, well, let’s call him human as well.” I then saw Jelnaya look to me as she asked, "Well, any reason for us not to be patient and nice?"
Honestly not one to cause trouble, I replied, "Not that I can see."
Steve however had to press the issue. "How about you, Jelnaya? Any reason you would want to cause trouble?"
I felt relief as Jelnaya sat on a couch while saying, "Fergush is not a trouble causing deity, Steve. I can make trouble, but there should be a clear objective. That is how Grandfather Terish and Great-uncle Ferrigote speak of surviving. They both would focus on what they wanted to accomplish, then help each other to succeed."
Steve asked Fellota to pour him some white wine, and as she did so he replied, "I knew that, Jelnaya. I told you that I have met Ferrigote a few times. Let me however say that what I see from you does have me wondering about some actual tenets of the worship of Fergush."
"Let me remind you that I am not some servant of Fergush. I am his champion, but also his friend. I like the guy, so do try to follow the actual practices of his religion. I however will also claim some liberties. Simply laying waste to a city, even one full of elementals, would however get Fergush a little upset with me. I don't want him upset with me."
I accepted a glass of white wine from Rosemary, then asked, "Jelnaya, is there a god you would want to upset?"
"Maybe Ubremander. We still don't exactly know what the guy is. I am not getting the impression that he is a god, but it could be that everyone thinks of him that way."
We all turned as a door opened. I saw a young man dressed rather elegantly with a good amount of gold on his person. While I did smile at him, I really hoped he was not Ubremander.
"Dame Doris, we remembered that our plans were not to truly go forward at the moment. While we certainly had our own method of wanting to welcome you, it was merely a simple procession. The end of our little display was to allow you to refresh yourself in your room. We can certainly accommodate the others of your group. Will you desire the man to room with you, or – nearby?"
Steve replied, "I am merely her lawyer. While I have a duty to assure certain things, I need not crowd Doris. You may place me elsewhere."
"Uh, that would be preferred. How about the other lady?"
Steve again answered the question. "Adjacent rooms, or across the hall. Let me however warn you that you do not want Jelnaya solving Doris' problems. It is best to assure that I am present."
Jelnaya commented, "And you should treat that as your warning."
I felt it best to say, "I have found Steve's counsel to be very good. What he suggested, I would say that it is for the best. What other plans did you have for the day?"
The man said, "Well, supper is at seven. At least the opening ceremony is at seven. At that time you will be allowed to see Ubremander. How the night goes after that is up to him, and you."
Steve again spoke. "No, it is up to him. If it ever gets to a matter of Doris caring about the affairs of the evening, certain requirements will first need to be met."
"Yes – well, uh, I see. Hopefully, one of us will find the courage to let Ubremander know certain things."
Jelnaya declared, "I will tell him."
She lifted her hand, then I saw the drahaberd jump to it, which had the man say, "I will assure that one of us – one of us who is supposed to face Ubremander – will do our job. If you may follow me, I will direct you to your rooms."
I heard Jelnaya tell me that she would be near, but I stepped into the expanse of the room wondering if this is how she grew up. Honestly, the Dozzrines did live in a large house, but they made it a point to shop in our stores and attend events in town. I remember my parents coming home griping about the difficulty of their day because they had to be doubly alert as some member of the Dozzrine family was moving about their area of the city. Their presence in our community however brought out the oddity of their children being schooled separately. Not having them in our presence did have me now wondering about how the Dozzrines truly lived at home, and I could not help but think that Jelnaya would be comfortable in a room so large.
I did not turn as Rosemary asked, "Is there anything you would have us do, dear lady?"
The walk to the four-poster bed I felt would cross a distance more than the length of my bed room. The shag yellow carpet did not show any sign of people walking on it. The vanity was larger than my bath room. Those were the things I thought about even as I formed a reply to my slave.
"I would like a bath."
Pishau replied, "Of course. Would you like for us to do something with your hair?"
"Just clean it. I agree that I really do not want to appear attractive for Ubremander, but I don't want to look like some unclean serf either."
"You cannot help but look attractive, dear lady. We however can keep you from appearing too elegant."
I did not believe that I could look elegant. Definitely did not have any elegant clothes with me. I then looked to what I was wearing, and remembered that my wardrobe had all come from Jelnaya's sister. That had me wonder exactly what type of clothes I did have in my belongings. As Pishau prepared my bath, Rosemary helped me pull out the garments from my saddlebags. Seeing that I did have a couple of nice dresses along with some nice jewelry, I found myself accepting that I could look elegant.
Thinking about Ubremander, I found myself wishing that I did have a set of really ragged clothing. The guy had seen me naked. He had done things with my body he had no right to do. I found myself not wanting to face him at all.
I then thought about the things that happened in coming here. Jelnaya had made herself apparent. Steve had been quick to speak. In his case it was probably his job. Jelnaya however kept the attention of others from being on me. While I had not been stopped from doing anything, they also had not forced me to do anything. There was something that I needed to do, but lectures about how I needed to act, how I should feel about certain things, or other constraints on my appearance, attitude, or performance were not being forced upon me. Thinking about the things that brought me here, I pulled out a skirt and blouse while giving some explanation to my slaves.
"I want to appear normal."
I believe Pishau intended to tell me that my bath was ready, but she instead said, "Normal?"
"Yes, this is a job. I am doing something I have to do. Strictly business. I want to appear as I would be going before any other paying client."
"That sounds like the right attitude."
Rosemary said, "You will still have to direct us, dear lady, as we really know nothing of your life."
I replied, "Well, I really know nothing of dryads and elementals either. I don't like slavery, but I am glad for your help. I however do not want to hurt either of you either. I don't want either of you to think bad of me. I don't own either of you because I wanted you, but because the decision was forced upon me. I am not here because of either of you. I am not mad at either of you. I have no desire to lord it over either of you. My problem however does not actually involve either of you, so I might neglect you as I try to deal with things at the moment. I will resolve your situation when I can."
"If I may speak." Pishau actually paused to wait for my nod before saying more. "You are being given good advice. My nature is able to sustain Rosemary. We can wait for you to resolve the matter with Ubremander. As for serving you, I would be serving somebody. It actually gives me comfort to find myself serving someone like you."
Just because I did not know, I asked, "How about a husband?"
"I like men, and can certainly have fun with them. My nature is however not like you. We simply come into being. We do not reproduce as your kind. It is also not my nature to try and explain it. Let me however assure you that Rosemary and I will not complicate your life until we all have a chance to focus on our future beyond these immediate events."
Rosemary said, "I like men as well, and do not fear the life they can bestow within me. However, let me say that Ubremander is not a man whose time we can enjoy."
Curiosity caused me to ask, "Not a man?"
"Not a human man, dear lady. As much as he might have you think you could be his wife, your time with him would not be in a manner that would have you enjoy being with a husband."
"Well, good, as I had every intention of refusing any romantic advance he made toward me. My business here is business only. Understood?"
Now Pishau said, "Your bath is ready, dear lady."
Rosemary replied, "And I will pack away your other garments. Those you chose are more than adequate."
Feeling that I could deal with the two ladies that I presently owned, I thanked them both. They both curtsied, then got to work helping me. In speaking to the two ladies I found myself gaining a good mood about my situation, and hoping things would continue to go well I prepared for my evening.
It cannot be said that things advance in a positive manner.