To Bless Those Deserving
As the evening progressed I became worried. Not for my life, as I saw nothing that had me feel that I was in danger. I actually did not like attacking people. Sennapre did have monsters, but they were not as prevalent as on other worlds. Those of the world of Fergush would often feel their armies could safely cross a distance in order to attack others. Most who professed devotion to the deity fought their battles against other people. I was blessed to have an existence where I could mostly fight monsters. I however had fought people, knew that I would again fight people, and sat worried that I would have to kill the people in this community.
The only thing that brought me comfort was a feeling that I was supposed to get angry. It was beyond my comprehension that someone enjoyed the slow process. I felt those in control of the dinner were hoping for my eruption at the banality of the evening to provide their entertainment. I thus sat and found comfort wondering if Grandmother Straekin had to survive evenings like this during her centuries of ruling Davelda, or if Great-aunt Dirchein would be able keep her usually pleasant attitude suffering through the tedious pace of this dinner.
Doris put up with the evening calmly sitting in her chair. She did provide moments of distraction by speaking her opinion about things. I did say things in response, as I had enough training in various arts to provide a substantial critique. Doris never showed any desire to develop those conversations however, but only shared her opinion with me before returning to a relaxed position in her chair.
When she went to sleep, I moved quickly to assure her head did not encounter anything on the table. Once she was safely unconscious, Steve took an item of jewelry and set it in her hair. He then produced another and handed it to me in a manner that showed the Kallotech logo on the clasp. While he had put it in her hair, I saw that the item could go directly on the head as an earring or set on the collar of a garment.
He said, “These things aren’t cheap, as the magic cannot be supported by anything of regular manufacture. Still, worth every penny to most of those in power.”
I handed it back while saying, “I have a god directing me. If someone can fool Fergush, I get to laugh at him.”
“Sometimes I feel sorry for your god.”
“Yes, and you’re not the only one.”
He did not laugh, but simply asked another question. “So, just what is Fergush telling you about this?”
“Nothing. He is possibly as bored as I am. I personally have come to the conclusion that everyone is hoping to be entertained by me getting irate and performing a slaughter.”
“That idea does have merit. Personally, I was thinking something along those lines as well. I mean, time is on the side of these people. Having us do something to stall our meeting with Ubremander will work in their favor.”
“Yes. I am waiting this out as well. Thinking to talk about it with Grandmother Straekin, as she might be able to relate.”
Now, he did laugh before saying, “She is a very entertaining person. Your father takes a lot after her.”
“I can see why Grandfather Terish likes her, but she and I have had our disputes. Still, I don’t hear the same lectures from her that I hear from Grandfather Terish, so I will go to her simply to hear what she has to say.”
“You hear the same lectures from both of your parents?”
An odd question, but I quickly made my reply, “Oh, yeah. At least I did until I started visiting father when he was doing business in other countries. He began to start sounding different at that time, but mother still sounds the same.”
“I’m hoping the same will happen with me and my kids. Once we get to know each other a little better, I hope that I can speak to them at a different level than just as a parent.”
I actually felt a tear come to my eye, and since Steve was watching I went ahead and explained. “It won’t happen. I mean, us trading advice on parenting. You won’t live that long, Steve.”
“Yes, I will. I mean, not on an actual level, but you keep visiting and you will have my words with you when it finally happens, Jelnaya.”
“I might have to kill that nurse.”
“She’s really sweet, Jelnaya. Don’t kill my nurse. She will get used to you, I promise.”
I enjoyed talking with Steve, so might have said more. However the dancers came up to the front with some stupid routine that I recognized as simply something to get everyone’s attention. I turned hearing all the others rise, but Steve put a hand on my shoulder indicating for me to stay seated even as he rose with his arms crossed.
Ubremander stepped out in a slow, casual manner that really did not present him with any importance. He was larger than a man, but only enough to state his inhumanity. He was probably eight feet tall, but my estimate would put him as a little shorter than that. He wore a soft yellow gown tied in places by devices of gold. The gilded breastplate did have some reliefs of comets, but other than the metal his appearance was rather plain. He had short blue hair on his head, and I could only assume that his eyes were blue as well. The way he walked had me consider him to be an actor, even though I could tell that he was not human.
He did not carry a pillow, and nobody rushed out to put them on the seat. Would have lost that bet. He however looked at our table as if he did not see things as expected either.
“Uh,” Ubremander did not have as deep of a voice as I felt he needed, “is that Doris who is asleep?”
I replied, “Yes, from boredom.”
“Could you wake her up?”
Steve was already standing, and he stepped forward while saying, “There is no need. We can resolve some things before waking her for any final approval. I hope that I am speaking to Ubremander.”
The elder man we had speak to us earlier strode forward while proclaiming, “You will not speak to the lord and liberator of our great land in such a manner!”
“Your lord and liberator is facing charges of invasion of privacy, indecency, and a number of other crimes. It is my intent to rectify what was done to Doris Baumgartner. Until that is done, my opinion and those with me will not change.”
Ubremander said, “She opened herself to me.”
“She did, but for a reason. I will not deny that she was inexperienced. I will not deny that she probably did things in the summoning that were improper. I however am accusing you of abusing the situation. Note that we have limited our behavior, as we accept that you might have your own side to the events.”
The elder man demanded, “You will not speak unless spoken to!”
Steve faced Ubremander as he replied, “You have now opened yourself to me. Let us settle this matter.”
The one on the throne asked, “You want me to remove the seed?”
“In a manner that will preserve the virginity of Doris Baumgartner.”
I turned with surprise hearing Snerara exclaim, “What?”
Steve continued as if nothing was said. “Our demands also include an apology. With that done, it will be allowed that a discussion concerning the original intent of both may be performed with hopefully both sides coming to an amicable agreement.”
The lady sternly asked, “And what if our lord and liberator does not agree?”
Steve kept himself facing the dais as he replied, “Will we need to consider that?”
I saw Ubremander look to me. I simply smiled at him. Instead of returning the expression, I saw his eyes jump to the drahabard. I continued to smile knowing that Ubremander was having to consider just how much of a problem we could be.
“I have to agree,” the lord and liberator of the land softly stated.
Snerara advanced to perform a full curtsey as she said, “Oh great one.”
“They have not broken any terms of hospitality. I therefore must consider them honorable. Doris should be free of the seed by morning. My apology will be performed at the start of our arranged meeting. Snerara, you know my schedule, so arrange it.”
“I feel that you are wrong, oh great one.”
“About what? Have they broken any terms of hospitality?”
“They uh, they uh –“
The elder man spoke to issue some support. “They took slaves of our people and killed others.”
Steve replied, “We are willing to concede those points, but we have our explanation just as we are allowing you to have yours.”
Ubremander asked, “Did we not grant the ladies slaves?”
I stood as I proclaimed, “Dryads whose trees had been hacked down! You gave us doomed lackeys! Further, the only reason for them was to assure Doris’ appearance for your own pleasure. That is a double insult.”
“I assumed that you would want to look your best.”
“You assumed that we would not be offended by your actions. Well, you were wrong.”
Ubremander stood, then said, “It seems that I have broken any terms of hospitality. I will need to consider my positions. The seed will be removed by morning. If I postpone the meeting, please take the liberty of enjoying my hospitality and possibly the local sites. I am sorry that the evening was not to your enjoyment.”
As he left, I returned to my seat saying, “Snerara, I assume you are going to perform your procession out of here.”
She glared at me while replying, “There will be people waiting to show you back to your rooms and assure any desired graciousness.”
As she turned to go back to her table, I said, “Sorry if I spoiled anything you still had to say, Steve.”
He replied, “No, Jelnaya, your points spoke to the issues. Like Ubremander, I now must also consider our positions. I however trust you to guard Doris. If you don’t mind, I would request that you stay in her apartment tonight.”
“Yes, I can do that.” Seeing Doris still asleep, I asked, “That Kallotech device is not responsible for her still being unconscious?”
“No. I believe it is a sign of how much she has actually been stressed. Hopefully, the removal of the seed will allow her to regain some strength.”
“Okay, Steve. I’ll do my job, and you do yours. Remember though, we don’t just go back to speak to father, but to two honorable members of our police force as well.”
“I fully understand the weight of our situation, Jelnaya. I believe that we did well tonight.” He turned, then said, “I believe the procession is about done. The show is over, so let us go and prepare for the next act.”
And now that the initial meeting has been done, each side begins to play their next move.