To Solidify the Mist: Cp1

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter One

We were actually a long way from the events, but the height of the building enabled my father and me to barely make out what was happening. The fact that the ceremony was intended to be viewed by as many people as possible kept the crowd at enough of a distance to give us some sight of the activities. The blessing however ended as the crowd cheered and rushed forward seeing the body rise from the stone slab.

My father said, “And so it happens every year. Your brother, Heratin, is killed at the beginning of the week, then rises at the end. It was one week of sorrow, now a week of rejoicing. You should be fine, Vernallor. If you do get into trouble, plead to speak to Heratin, or just activate your medallion and I will come.”

I had to ask, “Does it hurt him?”

“You can certainly ask him, Vernallor. He has told me that it does, but as with any other planned event he can prepare for it. As you should know, Heratin does like being the center of attention.”

Seeing the mass of people flooding the city below, I had to ask, “Are you sure that I will be all right?”

“This is a religious festival, Vernallor, with the gods active. You just saw your brother rise from the dead. Anyone that would challenge the graciousness of the gods deserve their punishment. Make certain that you are not one of those people, and you should have an amazing time. Even I have good memories of my visits.”

Those words caught me by surprise, as my father was not human. While he would wear a robe and wrap his tentacles in a manner of simulating the human form, any actual inspection of him would reveal him to be a type of floating octopus-like creature. He would not deny that others of his kind would eat those he had as children, and only spoke of me and my siblings as ‘interesting specimens.’ We who were the children of Galabur however knew the care and concerned attention we received from him, and we loved our inhuman father and found him to do things that proved he actually loved us.

I was now thirteen years old. While no one in our ‘family’ felt that I had gained any status, father felt that I needed to learn things of my developing body. I did not know if father had spoken with Heratin, but I had paid enough attention to know something of that brother and his lifestyle. I knew that my other siblings considered this city and this festival as a wonderful thing, so actually found myself glad to now learn things for myself.

Father moved through a portal to return to where he enjoyed his time. I went to a flight of stairs in order to descend to where I could start becoming part of the crowd. I found myself believing that I would indeed enjoy my time as a lady grabbed me and said something that sounded like music to my ears.

“Oh, a lad with dark skin. Let me see how his burnt body treats me.”

Pardon the scribbles, but I did try to track things over the days. It got to where what I tracked was just the passage of time. No sooner would I open this journal to relate some events than someone would set a container of alcoholic beverage before me and soon I would have a female companion. On some occasions I would be taken to a room, there were times activities started right were I was sitting, and I remember often being led to where another could enjoy my pleasures even as I took pleasure in them. The way I learned the days came to an end was that the lady I was with kissed me and told me the fun was over.

I was given numerous remedies as I found my way to the street. I ate or drank them all hoping something would work. The intent was to find my way to Heratin. I however realized that the pounding was actually a number of feet marching in unison. Moving to wonder if any military was now going to start enforcing certain laws, I had to rub my eyes seeing another brother moving with his army.

Orintious stood over six feet even when barely clothed. He would spar with me when he came home or father took me to visit him, but I had not yet developed to where I could actually give him a challenge. In his armor he was an imposing figure. He said the gold had been alloyed with iron to not make the metal appear so gaudy, although I knew some rules of magic had forced the strange alloy. Both of his colors were orange, one almost appearing as cream and the other so bold one could not mistake it. While I hoped that I would grow to match him in size, in respect all I could do was possibly match him.

His armor was his armor. He did not work for anyone. While he was a mercenary, so worked for who paid him, he kept himself and his men from doing questionable things for other people. I respected Orintious, others respected Orintious, and as bad as I felt I used a wall to assure that I stood proud before advancing to him.

He signaled his army to halt, then he walked to me while saying, “Well, well, well, if it isn’t the youngest member of my family.” I felt him hug me as he said, “Don’t think this week gives you the right to be called a man. You might think that, but the truth is that there is no fuzz on that face yet. I doubt the ladies did anything with you except assure you had pleasant dreams.”

I knew Orintious enough to say, “You shave your face, so don’t have any fuzz on your face either.”

“Oh, spunk. That’s only a sign of youth, my dear brother. Still, you’re standing. If you want to try and prove yourself a man, how about walking with me.”

He let go to look at me. Orintious had a tan body, but even with a life out in the sun his skin tone was not even close to being as dark as mine. His hair however was darker than mine, and almost as curly. None of us who claimed Galabur as a father knew who our real paternal originator was. They said that Heratin could find out, except that his divine mother had given Galabur the child with the promise that only he would be called the sire of the lad. Orintious and I did not look at each other to examine similar family traits, but just to size each other up.

In a more concerned tone of voice, he asked, “Can you walk?”

I checked my stomach, and finding it steady I answered, “They said to have given me cures. If I can’t, it’s not because I am not a man.”

“I told you spunk is a sign of youth, Vernallor. I have a horse. I hope you have nothing against going to see Heratin.”

Just because I was curious, I asked, “Why?”

“My men want to know ‘Why now?’ They would have loved to have arrived a couple of days ago when the festivities were still going on. They are actually over there envying you right now. The answer for you and them is that I don’t know, and I don’t know in a way that troubles me. Let me give you some advice, Vernallor. When you don’t know, go to Heratin. Why I waited was that Heratin is such a pain. He’s my brother, though, just like you are my brother. While I ate up two days, I can say that I know for certain that I don’t know. I thus have to go to Heratin. You are also my brother, Vernallor, so you can come with me if you want.”

I replied, “I think I have to. I think father left me in his care.”

“That is very possibly true.”

Orintious signaled his men, then began marching. Not wanting to look bad, I tried to match his pace. I felt myself wavering, so moved to a side to again regain my balance by using a building for support. Instead of having to catch up, I found Orintious to have stopped his march. When I moved back next to him he simply signaled his men to again start.

The building was large with people at work to restore its cleanliness and beauty. Orintious gave his army the command to be at ease for a while, then he signaled for me to walk with him. It did not surprise me to see a number recognize Orintious, but with this being my first visit I was shocked to see a lady speak to me.

“Oh, the dark one. Did you have fun my pleasant lad?”

I was actually surprised to have recognized her, but glad that Orintious spoke. “Vernallor said that Heratin probably was responsible for him.”

“Honestly, Orintious, he gave word for us to keep an eye out for you and him. I would have thought that I would know if you were in town.”

Orintious gave me a signal to follow him, and as he moved to a staircase he said, “Tell Minchell to attend me.”

“Of course she will.”

The second flight of stairs was rough, and seeing the long hallway I had to pause. I suddenly saw a man come up with a glass of wine. I looked at the beverage, then almost threw up.

Orintious said, “Either hair of the dog or something with soothing properties.”

I believe the lady was already running with me only noticing because she suddenly swerved to enter a room. She came out quickly carrying a carafe. She took the glass from me, gulped the wine, then poured what appeared to be a fruity concoction into it. As she handed it to me, she asked a question of my brother.

"My lord, Orintious, what will you have?”

He answered, “Whatever my brother serves me. I am not saying you are needed Minchell, but only that if someone is, I consider you that person.”

“Of course, my lord. I have heard about this younger brother. I am glad to meet him.”

“Minchell, this is Vernallor, the youngest member of my family. Vernallor, this is Minchell, my slave in the service of this land. I come here enough that I bought myself this lady. She solves problems.”

She curtsied, then said, “I am not going to say that Heratin is waiting for either of you, but I can say that he knows both of you are here.”

“Vernallor, how do you feel?”

I handed the glass back to the lady while saying, “Not the best tasting punch I ever had, but it did help. Thank you.”

Minchell replied, “As my lord said, I solve problems. If you are here, and Heratin is not, come to me. A brother of Heratin is always welcome, but sometimes one needs a local to resolve things. I am only a slave, but do not feel that your brother wasted his money. I am glad to serve.”

I heard Orintious command, “Come on,” and I followed even as Minchell rushed back to the room I believe to replace the items she took.

As I came through the door I had to stop, as Orintious was being hugged by Heratin. He did not have the height or muscles of Orintious, and the brown hair was not as curly. Heratin was also clean shaven, but he also did not appear that old. I was pulled through the door as Orintious moved so Heratin could hug me.

He broke from me to close the door, then asked, “Do we just chat, or can we move on to business?”

Orintious moved to the door, opened it to allow Minchell to pass and stand against a wall, then he shut it before asking, “Why do you have business, Heratin?”

“Mother gave me business, Orintious.”

According to what I had been told, Galabur had accepted each of his children because of an interest he had in us. That interest had nothing to do with our parents, except Heratin. The goddess Hera had enough of her husband’s fooling around, and took some action of her own. Exactly who Hera had shared some romance with was unknown with her only mentioning some of the low status of many of her husband’s rendezvous. In any event, Heratin had come to know who his mother was, although had also stayed true to considering Galabur his father.

Orintious said, “I have been troubled, Heratin. Would your business resolve my troubles?”

“No. Yes.” Acting as if he wanted to hug Orintious again, Heratin said, “I can understand why you are troubled.”

“Then say it.”

“Mother told me to go rescue Mochsha.”

“Heratin! Even father with all his accumulated knowledge does not know where she is.”

I knew of Mochsha. She was a sister. There was something special about her, and no one would speak of her as being dead. She was younger than Orintious, and the child accepted by Galabur before Heratin. It was said that she and Heratin were close, but I could tell in the voice of Orintious that he had been close to her as well.

“Where did she tell you to go?”

“She just told me to go. My mother is a goddess, Orintious, so I am going.”

“Oh, come on, Heratin. Hera loves you deeply. Surely she told you more.”

Heratin looked to Minchell, and moved a finger in a circle. Orintious told the lady to get some beer. I wanted to tell her to get me some milk, but I stayed quiet determined to be the equal of my brothers.

Orintious did not wait to be served, but glared at Heratin forcing him to say, “What mother told me was, ‘Mochsha’s mother told me that it was time for you to rescue her.’”

“Mochsha’s mother? She wasn’t going to find her mother, Heratin, she… was going...”

Heratin put an arm on my shoulder as he said, “What our dear brother is having trouble saying is that Mochsha had promised Orintious that she could find his parents. Not just his mother, but both of his parents. You see, Vernallor, Orintious is immortal, and we do not know why. Me, why my mother is a goddess. You, well, you are still young, so we know nothing about you. Mochsha however – Mochsha was different. She was interesting to anyone, and not just our father. If anyone could find something, Mochsha probably could.”

“Well,” I asked attempting to make sense of things, “where do we go?”

“Ah, well, that is Orintious’ problem. You see, he and I are different, as all us children of Galabur are different. Still, Orintious and I have been brothers for a long time.”

I saw Orintious nod, but he then looked around. Minchell came into the room with three steins. Orintious took his, then guzzled it. He handed it to his slave, then nodded before speaking.

“Okay, Heratin, I’m in. I fear no man, as long as that man is no god. Still, gods have their rules. If you take me on some wild chase, Heratin, I will come back to speak to your mother.”

Heratin took the stein back from Minchell, then gave it to Orintious simply so he could bang the steins together before saying, “For family.”

Both brothers then said, “Vernallor.”

“Oh!” I said before banging my stein against theirs. “For family!”

Heratin then gave Orintious’ stein back to his slave, drained his, then handed it to the lady while asking, “So, we leave now or in the morning?”

Orintious said, “Right now. If I give my men leave in your city, it will be a week before I can get them to regroup.”

“Not on this mission, Orintious. We speak to them first.”

And more of this adventure is presented along with the people.