To Solidify the Mist: Cp10

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Ten

I really had no place to go. I had taken a bath and changed clothes to make myself presentable. I had no people dependent upon me, as did Orintious. There was nothing I needed to acquire, as did Heratin. I simply stayed seated. While Mochsha did rise, she turned to take a seat next to the place I sat.

I looked to her and said, “I have none of your issues. It is true that I do not know anything of my parents, but I cannot say that I ever sought them.”

“But, Vernallor,” she replied, “what else did you argue about with Father? You cannot have me believe that you were silent around him.”

“Science, crime – I loved the books on solving things. My heroes were those who were really good at figuring out things with limited evidence. Sometimes I would speak with Father in order to solve a mystery before reading further in a book. Sometimes I would debate with Father when I felt a book was wrong about something. I then started looking through the windows on our homes, and would speak with Father about the world he selected to house a certain library.”

“Well, this is a mystery – isn’t it?”

I actually had not thought of the events in that fashion, but could not help but nod as I replied, “I am enjoying this. I believe that is why I am challenging certain things. I am interested enough to actually feel a proper resolution is important.”

Mochsha stretched out a hand to touch one of mine before saying, “It is important, Vernallor. You’re doing very well. I know that I have just been a face on the wall for you, but I hope that I am coming alive for you just as you are becoming a part of my life for me.”

“I now understand your picture. I always thought it looked a little strange. The picture appears a washed-out pink.”

"Father told me he wanted me to appear as a lovely girl. Even then I had some control over my aura, and I chose pink.”

Mochsha had me speak of those who I knew who would only be faces on the wall for her. She wanted to know about their lives. In speaking of them, I however found myself coming to a conclusion.

“None of us are like you, Orintious, or Heratin. We are not immortal.”

“Speak for them, Vernallor. You don’t know enough to speak for yourself. However, all of us are something special. All of us had something about us that interested an entity that had learned about so much. None of us are normal children. Father speaks of being surprised himself that he took the first child, but things after that could not have been unique enough for him. Admit it, Vernallor, Father has his parenting skills well developed. What interested him in you was something more than a meager curiosity in how you would develop.”

That made sense, but I felt a need to turn the conversation in a direction that I felt would be more useful. “Mochsha, say that we do face Immaderra, and that she does admit to things of your past, and Orintious’ past. What then?”

“I would hope the two of us are wise enough to do what we said we would do. The past is not there for those of us of Galabur. It is partially there for Heratin, but there are absences that keep him slightly unsure of himself. For Orintious and me there is just a vague sense of a mist. I would be wise to be satisfied that at least to have my past partially substantial. I also hope that with the mist solidified in places, I would better see the route ahead. To see mist ahead of me would be nice. To feel that there are things before me that maybe one day will solidify into things that will truly be part of my destiny I would hope would give my life enough meaning that I can face eternity with a little more confidence.”

I had to admit, “I can agree with that.”

“Well, maybe one day I help you solidify the mist behind you.”

“No.” I saw her color change to orange, and feeling the curt reply to actually not reflect my true thoughts I tried to explain my statement. “I am not afraid of my future. Maybe I will at some point, but right now there is a wide range of possibilities. If I can forge ahead with a pride in what I am doing, I will feel that my past will be proud of the path I am making.”

“Orintious feels that he will never meet those of his past, but needs to know of them all the same. He sees the devotion some immortals give to gods, and recognize the connection that it forms with them. He wants that for himself, for any family he might start.”

“Sterrig told me that it is best to let any wife set the religion.”

Her aura changed to a pale yellow as the hand on mine gripped my appendage, then she said, “I will let you determine your life, Vernallor. You are here with me and Orintious, and that is enough for the moment. Should you ever have questions of this type, I will be there for you.”

I mentioned going and looking at the horses. Mochsha agreed, and together we went outside. She still preferred to speak about our siblings. I had mentioned Sterrig, who was the second child after Heratin with me being the second child after him, and Mochsha had me speak of what I knew of him. It helped that she also spoke of herself, as I did want to know. My primary interest however was with the animals, but the conversation did not prevent me from looking around at what there was to see.

It did not surprise me to find the meal to be a grand affair. Heratin did always seek to have his wives at Father’s home provide more than what had been approved for the menu. My week in Heracropolis however had me focus on the entrees and not the drinks or sweets. I waved off my brother attempting to fill my glass with some strong alcohol assuring him that the watered-down wine was sufficient for me. I found the meal to have an abundance of tastes, so ate with pleasure only drinking to clear my throat.

As I worked to eat a type of fruit pie, the older brother clanged a knife against his wine glass, although I had to agree with Heratin who said, “If you have something to say, Orintious, go ahead. It is not like we have been rude. We will listen to what you have to say.”

The older brother replied, “Actually, I was hoping to have our sister speak. Since you have given me the floor, I will however say the point that has been troubling me. Mochsha, if our mother was a mountain fairy, why were you in the Hantarrow Forest? It really is not in mountainous terrain.”

“Well, point to Orintious, Mochsha. He does have a good question.”

She answered, “I was looking for a tree spirit, Emburrick. You do not just wander up to a fairy like you would some person in town. I sought certain facts not just on where Immaderra might be at, but manners of approaching that would have her willing to speak.”

Orintious said, “Emburrick is dead. One of the reasons we dealt with those of Prekovan was that we met them as they went through a rite attempting to calm the forest after the destruction of one of the guardians of the forest. Hoping to gain the trust of locals who we could turn to for advice and supplies, my army and I participated in the rite.”

Mochsha’s aura turned gray as I saw her wipe her eyes while Heratin commented, “Orintious continues to score. The pressure is on you, sister.”

She however only managed to ask, “Can you speak of that?”

There were members of Orintious’ army present, and Therper was called to give a report of the earlier occasion. While what was read did not have the style to make it entertaining, I felt it to be a proper reading for the time. The facts were related without promoting any of the emotions I felt some of us were feeling. While Therper did not present a manner of writing that I wanted for myself, I had to agree that there was some quality in his report that could possibly help my own journals.

At the conclusion, Mochsha asked, “Well, with that possible objective removed, do you have a suggestion?”

Heratin continued to provide commentary, “It seems we have a concession from Mochsha. The momentum at the moment is with Orintious.”

Clearly working to ignore the middle brother, Orintious replied, “In speaking with my men, the only real question is to find out about that town –“ He looked to Therper, gained a name, then repeated it, “Lertoburg. There has to be a reason the monster felt it needed to be destroyed. The only other option, wandering any surrounding mountain ranges seems as hopeless as our seeking you, Mochsha.”

Instead of commentary, Heratin actually voiced something of substance. “Uh, yeah. The monster clearly thought we were someone, or working for someone. It could help to know who that person was.”

Orintious asked, “Were there others confined down with you, Mochsha?”

She answered, “A Nerframe fed me. From what conversations I had with him the others were eaten. I went on extended fasts at times, as I suspected my food actually contained meat from the other prisoners. Why the one in charge of the lair did not eat me, I cannot say.”

“He definitely knew, or thought he knew, something about you, Mochsha.” I guess hearing everyone go silent had Orintious ask, “How are your scoring things now, Heratin?”

The middle brother replied, “Oh, you are not even into the important rounds yet, Orintious. No need to worry about the score.”

“And what would you consider important?”

“Why, the birds, of course. Why should all those people, divine and otherwise, be concerned? There was certainly no indication of it in all the years Mochsha was confined. I mean, we did attempt previous search and rescue operations. She gets rescued however, and suddenly we have all these watchers waiting for us.”

Orintious signaled for Minchell to get the bottle of stronger alcohol from near Heratin, and as she filled his glass the older brother said, “I going to see about getting an answer to that. Those birds were waiting outside the portal. That portal would only be important if we were heading back to Heracropolis. I usually enter the Hantarrow Forest from another portal that would put me on a path to my usual headquarters. That, and the fact that your mother took us away, has me believing that the interest was not in Mochsha, but you.”

“No score there, Orintious. Let me say that this was definitely not the first attempt I made, or the second, or third, but I believe the eighteenth to the Hantarrow Forest.”

“I’m not through, Heratin. This was the first time after you have been given a certain command. I am saying that you were set up. Now, I am glad to have Mochsha rescued. However, there was a reason she was to be rescued now.

Heratin had his hands go wide as he asked, “Which leads to what, exactly?”

“Which leads to you not acting as they thought you would. Someone did not expect me to show up. If I had not shown up, Heratin, what would you have done?”

“Uh, well, actually, I would probably have gone on myself.” I noticed confusion on Heratin’s face, but as he reached for his own glass I saw him come to some decision before saying, “I mean, I would have sent you a message.”

“You don’t travel alone, Heratin. The only place you might travel alone is to one of Father’s homes, and that is usually because you and whatever group you were with had a falling out.”

“Well, uh, actually, Mother said that you were coming and to wait for you. I doubt I would have felt like waiting, but would probably have just left word for you to catch up with me.”

“Heratin,” Orintious put strength in his voice as he said the name, “if you had not have gone with me, if you had no knowledge of where I was, who would you have taken with you?”

The middle brother thought for a moment, then concluded, “Probably some amazons. With Mother supporting the honor of women, the amazons have become a little more free to move about. There were some in Heracropolis seeking to get themselves pregnant. They are a little rough for me, but for an excursion through a forest they are good companions, especially since I would have a lady to handle certain desires.” Heratin then commented, “That revelation scores you no points.”

Orintious replied, “I believe it does, but I would agree that I cannot appeal to the judges at the moment to award me the points.”

I actually found myself enjoying the conversation. While Heratin’s awarding of points seemed completely subjective, it did present our situation as a mystery that needed to be solved. Enjoying the puzzles that those type of stories presented to me, I could not help but join the conversation.

“Both of you, since you have made so many previous excursions to the forest, surely you have a previous record of Lertoburg.”

Heratin had me smile as he said, “Oh, a challenge from the youngest brother.” As Therper began flipping through pages in journals, the middle brother scratched his head to come up with an answer. “That is a dirty military fort that provides protection to caravans.”

Therper interrupted to say, “The Chancellor of Lertoburg assured us that if anyone was being held prisoner, it would be them. Since they had no record of Mochsha ever being issued an arrest warrant, they apologized saying that surely the lady had been attacked by some beast and eaten.”

Orintious said, “So, the monster thought that we were a military unit from Lertoburg seeking to assert our authority over some prisoner, or prisoners. Since others were held captive, it can be assumed that a number of those were actual criminals those of Lertoburg sought to capture. We do know that the monster recognized Mochsha as being a special prisoner.” The older brother paused, then voiced a different fact. “If you had come with amazons, Heratin, then the monster probably would not have made the assumption that the rescuers were from Lertoburg.”

Heratin replied, “And would have attacked us immediately. Amazons are tough, but I cannot say that they would be particularly prepared for a threat like that.”

“So, you probably would have fled without Mochsha. Those birds were not waiting for her, or even news of her rescue, but were waiting for you, Heratin. That was why Hera had a peacock there as well. While I am grateful that she rescued all of us, the intent was to rescue you.”

“Hold it. Someone was wanting to capture me?”

“The evidence says a whole lot of someones. Since you get on my nerves, I have to accept that you had gotten on the nerves of others as well.”

Plans are made as everyone decides on what is considered important.