The Depth of the Mists
Dechapper said, “Vernallor, I believe this is why Nerframe gave you the glove.”
I looked to him in disbelief as I asked, “And how would she know?”
“She’s a house elf. We have them on this world as well. When it comes to matters of family, especially those they consider to be close family, and that goes double for those they like, they can surprise you.”
We had not been brought up to argue. We would definitely challenge statements, but once shown support we would move on. In this case, other than arguing my only option was to act on what Dechapper said.
I opened my satchel and took out the glove. The baron had taken it to protect his arm while working with falcons, but it appeared thick enough to also handle a larger predator. Dechapper helped me secure the garment, then directed me to step out in the yard. I asked him about neighbors seeing me, and he showed me that he had a large enough yard with enough trees to protect any sight of me from most who did not drive up close. Without any other way of stalling, I stepped out into the yard with my arm covered by the glove held out.
An owl came and landed on my arm. I did not have anything to feed it, so looked to Dechapper for another idea. As I did, I felt the owl take off, then watched as it flew into a portal.
I commanded, “Get Orintious!”
“Oh, no way!” Dechapper replied. “If Father finds out I let you run off alone, I will be in tremendous trouble.”
He turned to his intended, instructed her on how to open the portal to our home, then kissed her before telling her to not be afraid of the one who arrived when she yelled out, ‘Father.’ Dechapper then came out to me and told me to follow the bird. I had kept my focus on where the owl had left this world, and trusting my brother to be able to follow I moved through the portal.
I know that I made an exclamation, although found some enjoyment hearing Dechapper also yell out a statement of surprise. We were on a peak of rock. Instead of being on a firm surface, I found it hard to place my feet due to the ground being an expanse of vertically layered shale. It was scary taking steps as the tips of rock would break, and I worried about the entire spire collapsing. I made an exclamation again when I moved enough to see over an edge, and only saw other distant peaks coming up from a surrounding mist.
Dechapper asked, “Do you have any clue of where we are, Vernallor?”
“None,” I answered. “I also do not see the owl.”
“I don’t want you going anywhere, Vernallor.”
I felt a strange movement. It caused me to step back from the edge, although I knew the sensation did not come from the spire of rock. I secured my feet knowing what was coming was my father.
The one that arrived with us traveled by floating. Even if he lifted his head over that of my taller brother, a tentacle would trail on the ground stating that the being could be taller still. My father was not human, was not like Dechapper, but was some sort of nonhuman creature more like an octopus. He floated around obviously not worried about the type of surface we were on, then voiced his conclusion.
“Let’s go back home. I will need to research this.”
I explained, “Nerframe gave me this glove, Father. An owl landed on it, but when I followed I could not see where it went.”
“I said that I would research it, Vernallor. You may certainly help. Dechapper, the lady you sent called me ‘Father.’ Do you have intentions for her?”
My brother replied, “I do indeed, Father, especially if she handled meeting you.”
“She was shocked. It was her mother that fainted. Come. You need to make a proper introduction.”
Father opened a portal that took us to his house. He could do that. He claimed to be far from the most powerful being in the omniverse, although worked with them. For him to be recognized by such beings, he had to have awesome capabilities himself. Without any overt motion of his tentacles, he opened a portal that had us step through to his house.
Dechapper did go through the steps to make a proper introduction of those who were new to my family. His intended was named Lekarry, and she actually seemed pleased to meet Father. The parents, especially her mother, seemed rather disturbed with things around them. After the introduction, Lekarry asked a question that actually made Father pause.
“Sir, please, where are we?”
Father answered, “This is just a place. I call it House One. The original building was erected by a group of creatures known as the Deadre. They thought this place was at the center of all things. It was not, but from here one can get there. This place however holds a vast library of the knowledge of the Deadre. I spend a lot of time here, because this library gains me the greatest amount of wealth. It also has a very convenient means of reaching the Electorium, which is a place, a point really, where all universes touch. I spend a lot of time here.”
“All universes? Aren’t there an infinite number?”
“Of course not. If there were an infinite number of universes then there would be an infinite number of possibilities. Since I can think of possibilities that do not exist, and I am certain you can as well, the number is not infinite. I have been told how many different realities there are. The number is huge, but definitely finite.”
I had heard that lecture before. It was actually part of our training to learn things about different realities. While my siblings and I recognized that moving between worlds was something special, it was still a part of our lives due to growing up with Father. Lekarry took the information of the lecture in a good manner, which helped me accept that she would become a member of the family.
She politely stated her belief that she had bothered us long enough. “Thank you for letting me come.”
My father replied, “Thank you for trusting Dechapper enough to do what you did. Now, trust me, when you and Dechapper plan your future, I will expect to be a part of it.”
As Father excused himself to move back to where he had been busy, Dechapper said, “Darling, let me take you and your parents back. The portal here can be tricky, as it links to a number of places. Vernallor, you should be safe here.”
I told the people good-bye. They were kind in saying they were glad to meet me. Dechapper left assuring them that he had a photo album of his family, so would sit and prepare them for others that they might meet or simply hear about. As the people left, I turned to move my stuff back to my room.
As I was looking over the texts set for me to study, Father came into my room to say, “Vernallor, make certain your items are in their place. We shall be moving to Krakengoff. The information I need for you is there.”
I had to ask, “Is what happened troubling?”
“Yes, because I am uncertain what happened. All of you, including you, I adopted because there was something about you I found interesting. Most of you never realize it. You grow up proving yourselves to be wonderful people, but never living up your potential. A good life is not to be denied, so I never act on it. I cannot say that Orintious found his potential, but he started with a gift and has done more with it than I believe his parents suspected. Mochsha still has potential, and is finding a path that might fully impress me. You – you have potential as well, but not this. This is not along any path I suspected for you. I am thus wary, and believe this is not your path at all. It still must be studied, and Krakengoff I believe is the best place to study it.”
I nodded with appreciation with what he told me, then replied, “We have moved before. I know what to do.”
“Of course, Vernallor, but if you are curious you may work with me.”
I looked at the texts set out, then said, “I was about to do something with my studies, might as well study with the best.”
Those words were not me attempting to get on the good side of Father. With him there was no speculation. Any supposition was quickly met with a detail of what type of texts we could seek to actually gain us an answer. Study with Father was an intense period of seeking information, but for me it made the search of knowledge fun.
I had actually thought that the activity would reveal things about my history. Mochsha had said that Orintious and she were solidifying the mists of the past. I could make out nothing, not even the slightest vapor, but joined Father with the idea that I would find something. The glove had been given to me, and the owl had come to me, so I assumed what was occurring had something to do with me. The search however ended with us coming to the conclusion I felt would have been gained had we simply sat and held a discussion.
Father voiced what I had also come to believe, “We need to speak to Nerframe.”
I replied, “Be nice to her. She’s really sweet.”
In spite of his leathery face and the tentacles about his mouth, the eyes of father clearly indicated annoyance as he said, “I mean her no harm, Vernallor.”
“Well, I know, but I don’t want you to make her think you mean her harm either.”
“I see no reason why I should not be nice, Vernallor. Plus, I really would like to spend time with Mochsha. Still, I will allow you to lead the way.”
We appeared at the place where I remembered Mochsha, Orintious, and me setting the location for the arrival of family. That was good. I looked around for signs of birds. There were soldiers wearing the light orange and bright orange of my older brother, but no overt signs of winged creatures watching. I went to the door again expecting to see Nerframe, although felt good also seeing my sister waiting for our arrival.
Mochsha rushed out to hug our Father. As they shared a greeting, I looked to Nerframe. She smiled and hugged me, although I sensed she knew why Father and I had come.
I said, “We want to know why you gave me the glove.”
She looked to me for a moment, then asked, “Will you go with me?”
I saw her eyes move to the others, so I said, “I have been spending time with Father. We can let him visit with the others.”
She nodded, then turned to the stairs while beginning to explain. “I accept Mochsha as the owner of the property, but it is very unusual. One of the reasons I accepted the authority of Decholl was that he was the one who would take over the property. Even if Lady Namallie, Mochsha’s father’s wife, had not died, Decholl would have gained the property until Croshin was of age. The men held the authority over the land, and I have to admit did the work to the house and land.”
Thinking to put Nerframe at ease, I said, “Male dominance is not unusual, but it is wrong when it denies the ladies any freedom or respect in making decisions.”
“It helps me be who I am in seeing the way you treat Mochsha, and all the ladies in your family. Anyway, Vernallor, you remember the book I gave you?”
“You have another by the same author? It was a good book.”
“I don’t believe by the same author. Anyway, Vernallor, it came from a room set aside by the men.”
She had taken me into Mochsha’s bedroom. Nerframe now had me move aside an end table. It surprised me to see a trap door in the floor. It was hard to open, but Nerframe assured me that a man could lift it, and with a good tug the panel did come up revealing a ladder down.
I went to below ground level into a rather spacious room. Over the floor and a number of objects of furniture I saw a layer of dust. I looked to Nerframe when I saw where a book had been taken off the shelf, but no signs of the one who had removed it. She just smiled at me, and I noticed that she did not disturb the dust in moving to a table with weaponry. She did not pick up or indicate a weapon however, but a journal. She then turned to indicate another ladder that would give access from another room in the house.
“The heir to the property would be given the room that also had access to here with it being a challenge to them to lift the door, as it would signify that they were truly becoming a man. Decholl searched that room for access to here, but did not find it probably because he could no longer be considered a man. Anyway, due to his damage that room is presently not open.”
Just to verify things, I asked, “This journal will explain the glove?”
“I think so. The hat forces me to be a lady, so I have become a lady. I think I think like a lady. I however cannot say that previously I was a man or thought like a man, at least a man like you. I was just the house elf. I had access to this room, as it is a part of the house, but the significance of the room did not register on me other than it was a room for the men. Anyway, since the glove actually belongs in this room, I could not give the glove to Mochsha, or even return it to Mochsha. I could have returned it here, but it would have caused questions from Mochsha, and being a lady she should not trouble herself with this room. I thus gave it to you trusting that you would either find a use for the glove, or I could find an opportunity to have you return it here without troubling Mochsha.” There was a pause, then she said, “The glove is not magic, Vernallor.”
I replied, “No, Nerframe, as that would have made things easier on Father. If it was magic, there would be a number of things about it that could be sought for explanation. In only being an item, we have to look to other more localized sources of information. Father wanted to visit Mochsha anyway, so this gave him that extra push to do so.”
Going over my time with Father and his steps to doing research, I found myself thinking of another question. “Nerframe, if the glove belongs to this room, how did Baron Amonter get it? I mean, as a man he probably could come down here, but I see no sign of him having been here.”
“It was in the master bedroom, Vernallor. I believe Lord Vorsinct had his own plans for reviving this land before his brother came. I cannot say, but I do say that he had taken it from this room expecting to do something with it. Maybe the journal will help you there.”
“Ah, more research.”
It is frustrating when answers are not found.