To Bless Those Deserving
I awoke to find myself in bed in my room. Seeing Jelnaya resting in a nearby large chair alarmed me. I could remember being brought back to the apartment, although my actions to prepare myself for bed were not completely clear in my head. Considering that I had a really strange dream, I felt good seeing the lady in my room.
It was weird, but I felt weak and strong at the same time as I moved from the bed. I physically felt better, although my body moved in a sluggish manner as if still desiring some rest. Hoping that I had a source of information, I moved to splash some water on my face before asking a question.
“Was I drugged?”
Jelnaya answered, “No, but you did have that seed inside you. It should be removed now. You should find yourself feeling better.”
Accepting that as an explanation of my feelings, I asked another question. “Was Ubremander worth staying awake to look at?”
“There should be another meeting with him, and you can decide then. Still, he was conjured.”
“He wasn’t summoned. He is not a pure elemental. He was manufactured. That however brings up a number of questions. That book you got the spell from was old, so who was it supposed to contact, and what happened to him?”
Trying to make sense of what she said, I had to ask another question. “He’s not real?”
“Not as in this-is-the-way-things-are-supposed-to-be. He did not appear to be manipulated, but Snerara and that old man seemed to want to state their dominance of things. Let me give you some advice I go by: reduce it to simple terms for you and let everyone else concern themselves with the details.”
“Will that be the right thing to do?”
“Really, Doris? You really want to play this out?”
I went to a chair and sat down to consider what Jelnaya was saying. She was correct that whatever the situation, it was not of our making. We could satisfy our terms, and leave. I however thought to consider just what this situation could offer me.
“Jelnaya, would you see this through with me? I performed the ritual to seek guidance as to what I wanted to do with my life. Well, this could tell me.”
“Let me clarify some things with you, Doris. I don’t mind eradicating elementals. They are a by-product of the creative force, and not a created set of beings. They really should not exist, and I am more than willing to have them not existing. If you are going to see this through, you need to accept the consequences. Just as you had to suffer this trip because of you doing that ritual, your little search for some sense of purpose could have you face some really strong nightmares.”
Her response did trouble me, although I had to ask another question. “Does it have to get that bad?”
“I’m a divine champion, Doris. If I am to see this through, I will see this through. I do not pull punches or quit.”
“Can I think about it?”
She laughed before answering the question. “Consider yourself fully informed.”
I allowed a smile come to my face upon feeling relief. Finding myself actually with a good amount of energy, I worked on my appearance while trading comments about the entertainment last night. It did not surprise me that Jelnaya did not enjoy the presentations, but I found her able to recall specific steps in the dances and actual lines in the plays. Her critiques were much more developed than simple opinions. My smile in the discussion however dropped when her reply to a simple response of mine caused me to think.
She said, “I really cannot say if they enjoyed the performances. I mean, I cannot recall them applauding. Can you?”
I tried to think, although not finding an answer really did not settle my mind. “If they did not enjoy them then why did they do them?”
“Oh, I can think of a number of reasons. What I am wondering is if I am even going to care.”
Thinking back to the earlier conversation, I said, “I have not said that I really wanted you to see this through.”
“Yes, but I’m a divine champion. Therefore, I could find my own purpose. Not at the moment, but sometimes I just get the feeling to stick with a line of thought. If you want, I can tell Steve to start taking you home. I will fill you in on the details later.”
“I think you are going to need Steve.”
“On this mission, probably. Your horse will take you home. Either that or Davelda. Just let the horse handlers know who you are, and they will either escort you home or put you up in a really nice place until someone can take you home.”
Simply to be conversational, I asked, “Not Thiminy?”
“No. They should take you back to my home, as we have had them long enough for them to feel it is their home. If there is a reason they sense not to take you back to my family’s estate, they will return to Davelda where they were raised and trained.”
We spoke some more as I finished preparing myself for the day. Jelnaya had changed clothes to a more substantial outfit partially of leather, but I actually felt it looked better on her than the basic dress. It did surprise me to find her not back in her armor. Rosemary and Pishau informed me that Jelnaya had been present all night, but had done nothing to disrupt their service or disturb my rest. They mentioned that there was a period of concern, but they agreed with Jelnaya that the presence in my womb had been removed. Nothing I heard sounded bad, so I found myself wondering about what we do during the day.
A knock came to the door, and Steve came in upon us shouting that it was all right. It surprised me to then see a number of servants come in bringing a number of trays. As Steve was letting us know what options we had for breakfast, Jelnaya went to retrieve her slaves then settled to enjoy the food.
After a few bites, Steve asked, “Any new issues I need to bring up with Ubremander?”
Jelnaya answered, “No. It was a retrieval spell, and Doris is back to being pure.”
I had to ask, “You can tell?”
“If it is important for me to know. Also, we are dealing with elementals, so there is basically no concern against anything I might desire.”
Steve piped up to ask, “Which does bring up an issue. If we get certain concessions, can we leave?”
“Doris and I have actually discussed that. At the moment, we can.”
“Okay, but I need an answer to this question, Jelnaya. Why won’t we?”
I expected Jelnaya to pause before answering, but her words came right out. “Because of that performance last night. If it was to impress us, it failed. If it was simply the type of routine the people wanted, I would say that it failed there as well. Now, they can either admit their failure, resolve our complaints, and send us on our way with plans to work on another, or they can do something else to actually pull us into whatever scheme they are trying to work. I am expecting the latter.”
“Because we are competent. We are not simple buffoons who are just seeing through their ploys, or with the proper skills to disrupt their plans. I believe that we have shown ourselves to have developed talents along with intelligence. We are the people they need to assure success.”
“And why should we care?”
“Because I am a divine champion and you are a lawyer. We both want closure. You need to satisfy my father, and I have a god who wants my actions to be something to brag about to others.”
Steve paused to chew some food, but I could tell from his focus on Jelnaya that he had another question. She simply put food in her mouth while maintaining a pleasant expression, as if not afraid of whatever tactic the man would make. I found myself stopping the chewing of food, but simply swallowing what was in my mouth, as the next statement from Steve I felt to be something I wanted to know as well.
“Give me some hope, Jelnaya. Tell me why we will be able to leave.”
She had to think for a moment before providing an answer. “They don’t want to tip their hand. While they don’t want us to go, they are not going to do anything overt that might gain our cooperation.”
“Yes, but I am expecting some grand-standing to get us to act.”
“That has me eradicate their little civilization, Steve. Bad move on their part. Still, you will be able to go back to father and let him know that you were able to see me in action.”
Steve did not smile, but only thought a moment before asking, “You think they are smart enough to realize that?”
“They acknowledged last night that I had done some killing. If they push me farther then you can definitely conclude that they were not smart.”
Maney had been given the duty of standing by the door. Being a nymph, she did not eat regular food. The two dryads did, although were picky eaters and did not eat much. Pishau was more than sufficient to see to our needs while dining. I caught a signal from Maney, so was not surprised when Jelnaya moved to the door.
She listened for a minute, then touched her slave in a manner indicating approval of the action. Jelnaya then rushed back to the chair where her drahabard rested. No sooner did she gain a relaxed position than there was a knock at the door. She signaled for a delay, then her slave gained the permission to open the door.
Snerara did enter the room, but not far before saying, “We will be in council this morning. Please enjoy our hospitality. There are a number of fine paintings and statuary about, so I would recommend walking through our home.”
Steve stood and said, “I believe the ladies would desire going into town and doing some shopping.”
“Uh, well, I don’t believe you have any of our currency.”
I guess to support the lawyer, Jelnaya said, “We have gold.”
“Yes, well, the commoners are not allowed to deal with the raw metal. Still, I guess I could send our treasurer to you to perform a transaction.”
Steve replied, “That would be appreciated.”
“I hope you have a good day. Maybe tonight will be more to your liking.”
Steve turned to me in a manner indicating that I was to say something. Not knowing what else to do, I simply spoke a thanks. That seemed to be what was required, as Snerara left. I turned with the lawyer to Jelnaya as she spoke of having her own plans.
“We have dryads and nymphs, not the best at what needs to be done. I guess I will just have to do this myself.”
Steve replied, “You mean to find out where those in charge are going.”
“Yes, as I believe that will tell us who is really in charge.”
It should not surprise you that Jelnaya goes looking for trouble.