The Depth of the Mists
I guess that Sterrig had his revenge. It was the daughter. Due to my seeking clues to the Misty Peaks, I misread one of the clues and concluded it was the aunt. When I mentioned my reasons for knowing it was a lady, I got an ear full from all the women in the house. Still, I had been right about the gender, so while I listened to the females speak of why it could have been a man, I sat with the confidence of having figured out correctly one thing. Sterrig sat and laughed while the ladies lectured me, but at least I had been able to enjoy the book.
Things had settled with Sterrig asking me about what clues I had found when we heard Dechapper ask through the door, “Mind if we barge in?”
Nerframe went to the door with a towel. The storm had arrived, which had forced us inside. Mochsha actually had a rather large house. Her only problem at the moment was that it was a derelict home having been abandoned for almost a century. Orintious’ men had been performing basic work in restoring the house, and Heratin had his ladies do things to make the lower rooms pleasant. As Dechapper and Lekarry dried themselves off, Mochsha advanced speaking of being pleased that the roof did not leak.
Dechapper said, “It is quite all right, Mochsha. I warned Lekarry. Mochsha, presently my only surviving sister, this is Lekarry, my intended. Lekarry, you should know most, at least my siblings, except for Mochsha. The little dark-haired lady is her house elf, Nerframe.”
Time was spent as Lekarry was welcomed. Heratin had to introduce his ladies. While they were not his wives, they had a much higher status than servants. Lekarry stayed polite as she met everyone and had the condition of the house explained.
She was surprised at how common we were in physique. None of us had the squarish shape to our structure like Dechapper or her. Hearing Sterrig mention how none of us were like Father, Lekarry momentary displayed a surprised expression, then settled as if there was nothing uncommon about us.
With everything getting quiet, Sterrig had me start with my notes. I was actually surprised that he had not taken my notepad and read them for himself. Considering that Lekarry had been to see the Misty Peaks, I felt glad that everyone could make sense of what I was attempting to reference with my notes.
I just started at the top of my excepts from the book. Some of the things I wrote had to do with what I heard from Egromus, and those needed explaining since only Mochsha and Father had been with me. Sterrig was of course only wanting to hear the final conclusion, but he was out-voted by the others who wanted to hear my reasoning. Since I was the youngest, I also wanted their wisdom. Lekarry seemed to enjoy our conversation, because she chirped up when I got to a certain comment in my notes.
“Purishorten? Did I hear you right, Vernallor?”
I looked to Mochsha as I pronounced what I had written, to get approval on my sounding of the word. I then said what Egromus had said the substance to be, and followed it with the quote from the novel. Lekarry did not interrupt. I however looked to her when I had finished going over the notes on purishorten.
Lekarry said, “I have been told that purishorten is like salt. When it gets on a person, it hurts and itches, but at the end of a painful period they have been cleansed of all unrighteousness. In our history there are stories of people being forced to work in mines who turn to preaching, and it was said that they encountered a vein of purishorten.”
Sterrig asked, “It did not purify the metal or anything like that? That is what I am thinking. I can buy impure gold cheap, then use purishorten to purify the metal enabling me to resell it at a much higher value.”
“No. They usually speak of purishorten in relation to those who come from a very worldly life to suddenly become dynamic preachers.”
Orintious asked, “Vernallor, do you have any information about why Mochsha’s relatives thought there was treasure down the peaks?”
I shook my head while saying, “If there is any rational logic, it might be in the regular journals.”
Mochsha said, “I have been reading them. From what I read, my father simply accepted that there was treasure down there. I think he was just becoming desperate for some funds, so was willing to risk anything. Considering what he did, and what Uncle Decholl did, I have to believe that.”
Sterrig asked, “Well, any information on the Cleberrot Heights?”
I answered, “None that I found. I am assuming that Father will be sending more texts as he finds them. One problem that Egromus presents to us is the reliability of some information. Not just that it will lie, but simply that Mochsha’s father and uncle were seeking advice elsewhere. Certain things we find we have no record of where they were found, so no way to determine their relevance or reliability.”
“But some things they found did work. That whata-word, it did get Egromus to start saying things. A portal did open.”
Dechapper exclaimed, “In my yard! I know Mochsha’s father and uncle weren’t using my yard. I might be the next-to-youngest here, but I have been around a while.”
Heratin said, “Sorry, Dechapper, but all this happened way before you were born.”
I guess to support her intended, Lekarry asked, “Really?”
“Really. Mochsha was trapped for almost eighty years, and the activities of her father and uncle happened before she was born. Her father died due to his condition after spending time with her mother.”
Dechapper put an arm around the shoulders of Lekarry while saying, “So that portal is a little late in showing up.”
Orintious said, “That is a good point. Where were they to reach the Misty Peaks? Father says that it is like a bubble that moves through the spaces between realities. How did they find it or expect to access it?”
Sterrig picked up on the line of thought by saying, “Yeah, and if the portal is waiting for a victim, what victim did it get to have it close?”
I had to conclude, “I guess we need to wait for Father to provide another book.”
“DAMN! There’s money calling to me.”
“What in all this evidence speaks of money?”
“They were going for the money!”
As I sat back to consider those words, I felt a strong presence. Nerframe moving to the door had me accept she sensed it as well. Orintious reacted hearing his men sound out a warning. Suddenly, everything seemed to be drained of color. Everyone froze in place as the clear air also seemed pulled of its invisible state.
In a white fog I rose to go to the door. Mochsha’s glow continued to radiate, but seemed to be a shell around her and not an illuminating presence. Heratin reacted, and I saw him lift a hand to direct his ladies. Just as I reached the side of Nerframe, I heard some words from Heratin.
“Are you sure that you are not divine, Vernallor?”
“If I am,” I replied, “I don’t have the problems with things non-divine that you do.” I then added, “This effect is due to Father, however, although I sense something else out there.”
“Maybe it also thinks Father is evil because he has tentacles.”
That was the problem I realized we faced with the rescue of Mochsha. Her father had sought a relationship with an ocean fairy because she had tentacles. He and his brother were committing themselves to a path of evil, and had a belief that those with tentacles were evil. Mochsha’s mother however was not evil, and the tentacled one the resulting child was given to was also not evil. The actual threat against us after rescuing Mochsha was not that powerful, but it wasn’t until we finally realized just how far our opponent had been misled that we really could understand how to effectively oppose him.
Heratin said, “But that is it, Vernallor. Mochsha’s father and uncle did turn to evil. They did not feel they could succeed as they were.”
I replied, “I also feel that they believed the purishorten could restore them.”
“But they had to be evil to get down.”
After a moment of thinking about what he said, I replied, “I would rather not say that around Sterrig.”
Heratin laughed while saying, “That’s rich!”
Suddenly the power draining the space around us went away. The air went back to being clear and I saw everyone react. Nerframe looked to me with a shocked expression, and I hugged her to let her know that all was well with us even as I supplied some information.
“That is Father coming to the door.”
“Yes,” she replied, “I sensed that, but there was something else.”
Heratin said, “We have questions as well, Nerframe. Please let Father in, and maybe he can give us some answers.”
She nodded, then broke from me to open the door. Father did not seem surprised to see either me or Heratin. Nerframe allowed a tentacle to caress her face. With another tentacle I found Father to place a few books in my possession. He stopped as if noticing Heratin’s ladies return from various places about the house, then broke from his place near the door to approach the gathering.
“Mochsha, it would be in your best interest to place some religious icons about your home.”
She replied, “Orintious and I have been studying the local religions, Father, but have yet to come to any decision.”
The oldest living brother said, “It is a rather odd pantheon, Father.”
Father replied, “A home should be comforting to all guests, so some icons to each of the deities should be evident somewhere in the house. See to doing it.”
Mochsha said, “Yes, Father.”
“Now, I’m sorry to say, but my advice would not apply to what I just faced. Seeing the icons however would have warned it away. Mochsha, it seems that your uncle had taken a terrible path, and committed himself to it.”
I had to ask, “Father, did it think you were a friend because you had tentacles?”
“No, but it did want to know about me in seeing the power I could wield.”
“Power?” Sterrig exclaimed. “Who cares about power?”
Orintious replied, “Demons should not have concerns as we do, so probably see no value in wealth.”
“Stupid demons. Father, are those books you handed to Vernallor about those strange peaks?” Hearing an affirmation, Sterrig commanded, “Then bring them over here, Vernallor.”
I replied, “Not before I check them. If any are mystery novels, I will read them first.”
More books, more research, although with answers come more questions.