To Solidify the Mist: Cp15

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Fifteen

I noticed that Heratin did not get the man’s name. Orintious did ask, but when Heratin mentioned that he thought the man’s name was Trouble the older brother agreed. They both left the topic at that point, but organized the supplies gained and had us put in a few more miles before calling for a halt.

As the food was being prepared, Orintious told us what had been learned in town. He reminded everyone that he and Heratin had been coming to this world for a number of decades, so certain rules of behavior had been learned. Orintious thus did not expect trouble in going to town, and he spoke of his encounter with the natives to go without any disturbing innuendoes or problems.

He mentioned that no one spoke of fairies. He did clarify that no suggestion of the topic was put forth, but he had commanded those with him to listen for any such conversation. Orintious however tried to point through the rise of ground we were ascending as he told of the citizens of the town speaking as if the mountains were not far away. While he admitted that what we considered mountains probably being further, he mentioned that nothing said that mountain fairies had to be only found at the heights of rocky spires.

With everyone having some hope that things could go well, Orintious moved to Mochsha and I barely heard him ask, “What did you sense from the man?”

She softly replied as I noticed her glow becoming an intense shade of soft blue, “The same things you and Heratin did. He was trouble.”

I guess Heratin was eavesdropping as well, as he moved up to them to say, “I sensed he was a normal man, but the horse wasn’t. Since the horse wasn’t, I would be concerned about the man being something other than normal.”

“No. He was just confident.” Both of my older brothers turned to focus on Mochsha in a manner to get her to say more. “I sensed that he was not here to pick a fight, and liked the fact that he was not having to pick a fight.”

Orintious asked, “Well, what are we doing? I mean, I know what we hope to do, but how are we going to go about and do this?”

Heratin replied, “I believe our intention was to get to the mountains and hope things worked out for us. I mean, we are talking about fairies. You cannot logically go about thinking about plans for doing anything with fairies.”

I am not certain that the older brother simply noticed me eavesdropping or actually sought to include me in the conversation. “Do you have any ideas, Vernallor?”

“Fairy books are not something I read,” I replied. “Father did not require them of me either.”

“I can understand that. Still, youth is sometimes able to reason out the ways of fairies.”

“Thanks,” I replied actually not pleased with what Orintious said. “I noticed that Heratin did not ask the man’s name, but I also felt that anything he told us would be completely useless.”

“Well, yes, but I have a ploy along that line of thought.” The older brother turned to the one younger than him to say, “Heratin, should it happen again, let us drop the fact that we are looking for information on King Bugesht of the Greater Expanse of Credillomar.”

Heratin replied, “Why should he know the name? I mean, that name is well over a century in the past.”

“But it’s the truth. When dealing with fairies, it is best to stay on the moral high ground.”

Mochsha admitted, “Orintious has a point there. We also can be certain that what we are dealing with is old as well. I was confined for a long time.”

Heratin said, “Okay, but anyone willing to make a wager on whether the man will return?”

I replied, “A hundred says that the man won’t, but a woman will.”

“Oh that is too delicious to pass up. I’m taking that bet, Vernallor.”

It made me feel good to hear Mochsha say, “I believe our younger brother just became richer. My original belief was that the man wanted to ask about me, but made a statement about the ladies of our group hoping to get facts about me without being specific. Since he found out that I had some status, I agree that some plan to get someone with us will be attempted. Considering how many men are already present, another lady would be a better prospect.”

I added, “And since two of our ladies are slaves, it is known that we will accept slaves.”

“We’ll see,” Heratin said. “Oh, you do have the money?”

“I actually wanted to purchase things in Heracropolis. I did not expect to spend the week as I did. I must credit your city, as no one stole from me.”

“You were being looked after, Vernallor. Trust me, thieves would not have seen you as easy prey. They however probably did not think of you as rich either.”

“One benefit of being stuck in other-worldly estates. I actually had no method of spending what money I gained.”

Orintious said, “We have all been there, Vernallor. Okay, let’s get some rest. No telling how each day from here will go, so let’s do what we can to be at our best.”

I looked at Mochsha and asked, “All that research to find Orintious’ parents, and nothing about how they met? I mean, knowing how they met could help us figure out how we might meet the one we are looking for.”

There was a concern that she would get mad at the question, but I saw her smile with her glow changing to green as she replied, “No, Vernallor. Most of my conclusion came from inferring things I read, although in the end I felt there was substantial evidence for my belief. About how they actually met, and I assume met again resulting in Orintious, I cannot say. Not that it matters, as we are speaking of fairies. Things just don’t stay consistent with them, especially the immortal ones.”

Heratin said, “They really have a life that should not interact with ours, Vernallor. They really have the same status as the lowest servant. There are things about our properties that we just don’t want to deal with, and we assign the duties to those we don’t want to deal with. As long as the things are handled, we are glad for it. Fairies are those people, but they like their lives. They are more than willing to live their lives and let us do ours. Further, they really don’t understand us and we don’t understand them.”

I had to admit, “Yes, but that is what I am trying to do. I mean, it is a mystery, so I am trying to solve it.”

Mochsha replied, “You go right ahead, Vernallor, but I doubt you will. Those that do interact with fairies learn things, but seldom is it anything practical. Also, like their food, it can cause you to lose appreciation for the things of our lives.”

“Then what are we hoping for?”

“Just confirmation, Vernallor. However strange and peculiar Immaderra is, she should understand the love of a parent and child. While Orintious and her, or possibly me and her, might not be able to have a life together, some desire to want to gain updates on the lives of each other should be understood.”

“But, will that be enough?”

Heratin chimed in with, “Ooh, Vernallor with the tough question. Let me answer that, as I have a major goddess as my mother. It has to be. As children, we need to go off and live our own lives. Our parents need to lead theirs. Having really special parents changes nothing. Yes, Immaderra should be willing to confirm certain relationships, but we should be pleased with that. Anything more could be taken as bothersome intrusions.”

Mochsha said, “And if Orintious was honest with his words to me, confirmation should be enough for him. Honestly, it will be enough for me.”

“And with those feelings being true, we should not spoil our chance to actually meet with Immaderra.”

I had to admit that they had answered my question. “Okay. Have a good night, both of you.”

While I had spoken as if I was going to bed as well, I stayed up for a time. After washing myself in the nearby stream, I found Therper near the campfire working on his journal. After spending time trading some notes with him, I simply moved about those soldiers keeping watch asking about their time with my older brother. They all spoke of enjoying the other-worldly assignments, as they allowed their mercenary group to work on causes beside local feuds. They found themselves standing for causes they actually felt were noble, and definitely risking their lives for things they felt would stand in their favor after their days were done. I definitely found the men to have more worth than expected, certainly more than I usually assumed for mercenaries in the books I read, and went to bed glad that I spent the time with those who worked for my older brother.

It surprised me upon rising to hear everyone speaking of a storm coming. While there was talk of finding shelter, the company had the opinion that were just going to have to suffer through the downpour. Everyone set themselves to covering what distance they could in spite of the coming storm.

My assumption was that the rain would spoil everyone’s mood. When we felt the first drops there were complaints, but by the time we were suffering from the drenching descent of water there was actually a cheerfulness even from the women about the wet weather. There were some early complaints about the mud being splashed by boots or the hooves of the horses, but that changed to laughter when Minchell held out her skirt to catch the rain in order to gain some water to wash off the dirt. Soon the soldiers were rubbing their wet armor claiming to improve its appearance, and in such a manner the mood of everyone stayed positive.

Talk began of taking a break when the sun again shown around us. While everyone had tolerated the soaking, seeing the sky clear had them desiring to remove the water from themselves. Orintious brought up the facts that there could be more rain coming, and that the presence of mud continued. While he had valid points, when a pond was noticed the group made the decision to stop and change into dry garments.

I felt the water on my body was clean enough, so only sought some bushes to protect some of my modesty as I changed clothes. Returning to camp with my wet attire, I saw a number gathered in a clearing. When Minchell came to take my water-soaked clothes, she said something that troubled me.

“It’s not good, Master Vernallor.”

Concerned about what she said, I moved up to the group to hear a soldier say, “That is not another storm, Lord Orintious.”

Heratin gave his own opinion. “Oh, it’s a storm, but not rain.”

Orintious said, “I almost want to send one of my men to inform whatever that is that we are mercenaries. We are more than glad to take on any trouble, for a price.”

Laughter sounded at that. They then discussed whether to increase the rate of travel. I looked to the group as they scanned the terrain ahead of us. We had indeed climbed in elevation, and the slopes before us let us know that we were entering mountainous territory. Groans sounded when Orintious spoke his decision.

“You men knew you being paid when we started this mission. Well, it looks like you are going to earn your pay.”

The situation does not resolve itself into a simple one of antagonism.