To Solidify the Mist: Cp17

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Seventeen

After scaling our first rocky height, Orintious had his men begin performing certain little rites. They began speaking kindly to the plants. Minchell and Ochally were already being treated well, but they were often given affection by their owners. Mochsha had status with the men, but found them to perform extra acts of graciousness toward her during the day.

That evening the camp was kept a little tighter than usual with certain necessities only done after some special preparations. I actually understood the reason for all the actions, although the soldiers would supply some explanation when I looked at them. I accepted that Orintious and his men had done some previous research into fairies, and as a child of a great librarian I could only approve. I thus did what I could to support their actions as I settled into the camp.

With us being so close together, I did notice when Ochally came near to check what clothes I needed washed, and seeing me look at her she asked, “Master Vernallor, does Heratin have any ladies in his room at your home?”

I replied, “No. Father has a number of researchers among his libraries with a number paying for their time by doing chores about the house. Heratin has brought some ladies with him when he spends time about the house, but they often complain of being bored.”

“That is what he says. I have just come into his possession, so have not been able to speak to his other slaves.”

Feeling that she wanted a compliment, I decided to say, “Well, let me say that I enjoying having you about. Most of the others were as pretty, but not as friendly.”

“I do understand that I am a part of the family. I thus want you to accept me. Hera makes it clear that if we ladies are to expect the men to be true to us, we must be true to them as well. My service to Heratin is thus for life. I do not want to complain, or have those I consider to be part of my life complaining about me.”

“I am glad to have the time to get to know you, Ochally. If there is something you would rather not do, just let me know. Trust me, about my father’s house you might find me or any of my siblings performing chores we would rather not do. We are the children to an immortal father, so always inferior in age. I have even heard Orintious grumble as he did things for Father.”

She giggled, then said, “It sounds like I have become a part of a good family. I promise, Master Vernallor, to do what I can to become a good addition to your family.”

I assured her that she was making a wonderful start to keeping that promise. As she left to perform her chores, I looked for Minchell. She was sitting with Orintious with them pleasantly speaking to each other and the soldiers that were nearby. In looking for Mochsha, I saw her approaching me glowing in a wonderful shade of pink.

Thinking of her picture, I had to ask, “Are you feeling girlish?”

She sat next to me while saying, “I don’t really understand slavery, but it does seem that Heratin and Orintious are treating their ladies well. I thought it was sweet what Ochally said to you, and what you said to her. I hear that Heratin has gained a number of slaves, one a year. Do you know how many Orintious has?”

“I know there are not any in his primary residence, but there are recruits who perform most menial tasks. He does have some females in his service, but they are treated no different than the men. He might have some slaves in some other places, but I don’t know about them.”

“But you knew about Minchell?”

That question had me pause, but I found an easy answer. “She was brought on a couple of occasions. In some of Father’s large gatherings Orintious did not want others troubled by his presence, so brought Minchell to handle his particular needs. She hung around him then just as she is now.”

“No others?”

Again I paused to think before answering, “No others.”

“So, she probably is his only one.”

Not really knowing the answer, I suggested, “Maybe his other homes are not on worlds where slavery is allowed.”

“That would still make her his only one. Still, it is good to see that I have such honorable brothers. Don’t disappoint me, Vernallor.”

Thinking back to my week in Heracropolis, I replied, “That is not my intention at all.”

She smiled, then asked, “And what is your thought about what is coming behind us?”

“My thoughts? You were the one confined all those years, and it is supposedly coming from there. What are your thoughts?”

“Honestly, Vernallor, I am uncertain. I believe that the man that came upon us twice is known to me. I thought about who had been feeding me all this time, and I have come to think that man was that person. That however should mean that he knows who I am, and that possibly my confinement was for some other reason than to hold in that other entity. I am trying to make sense of things, and am seeing if others can help.”

Just wondering what her thoughts were, I said, “Well, it’s black, but that does not make it evil.”

“It’s evil, Vernallor, but that does not make it malicious. We do not know its purpose. At present it is just an unknown.”

Thinking on how I needed to present my debates to Father, I said, “We know that it is intentionally unknown. It has had two chance to introduce itself. We know that it is following us, even though we have clearly stated our desire to do something else. Let me add to that point that we have also not displayed any fear of it or intentions to flee from it. Let me further add that we have shown to have the power to have destroyed the threats set against us. It should thus fear us.”

“Those are good points, Vernallor.” Mochsha went and got us both something to drink, then settled near me. “Let me add that it has not attempted to bribe us, or otherwise sought to give us a means of negotiating with it. Thus, it does intend to gain control over us.”

“Then we are going to have no choice but fight it.”

“Yes.”

The answer cut short the discussion, which I had been enjoying. Mochsha however did not show any sign of leaving. I thus thought quickly to renew the discussion.

“What about the birds?”

She smiled, then asked, “Do you think their absence is a good thing or a bad thing?”

“Peculiar. I mean, that thing behind us should have been confused as well.” I then had to ask, “Do you think it could really detect your glow? It’s noticeable, but I don’t believe it is that bright.”

“Do I think my presence could really be the reason that evil presence stayed confined? No. Do I think there is something about me, which is probably responsible for the reason I glow, that can be detected? Well, that is one of the reasons I would like to know about my past.”

Hoping that I would not be disrupting our conversation, I asked, “Mochsha, do you think we should take this matter to Father?”

“You tell me, Vernallor. Do you know of any of our siblings that have been told of their past? Even Heratin knows nothing of his father.” When I stayed quiet, she said, “Let me say, Vernallor, that I sense something in you. You won’t be told what about you made you interesting to Father, but there is something there in your past that intrigued a creature that has a vast amount of knowledge. Maybe you will end up like most of our siblings, and not care about your past. Maybe you will have certain things about your heritage presented to you as it was for Heratin. Maybe, just maybe, you will find something peculiar about your nature, and go on a quest for knowledge that Father’s huge resource will not provide.”

I had to turn the words around on my sister. “Do you think Father is doing us wrong by not telling us?”

“Some of us, yes. Although it does trouble me to say that, because it means that we have siblings that have died not realizing very important things about themselves. Still, I would be wrong to confront Father on this topic right now, because I really cannot support my belief. Maybe at the end of this, I will however feel able to.”

I felt that was a good place to end the conversation, so changed the topic to simple discussions of our surroundings. Mochsha laughed at me for asking if her aura changed her perception of the land around her. I felt her colored presence would alter her registering of colors. She started off stating the colors on the uniforms of the soldiers, and other things she saw. Mochsha even changed the hue of her aura to let me know that she saw things the same. The conclusion became apparent that incoming colors were not affected. My clothes were altered, as she could see her light reflecting off them, but otherwise had me accept that she saw things around us just like we did.

We both went to bed speaking of being pleased with the discussion. I had to agree that I was glad to have her as a sister. Honestly, I had never been ashamed of any member of my family. That had me accepting that I was a member of a good family, and went to bed hoping to have a nice dream.

I woke up hearing the general calls to rally from the soldiers on watch awaking those sleeping. I got up thinking that we might again be facing the prospect of rain, but rose to realize that the limited light was from a great dark mass in the sky. I turned hearing my older brother ask me a question.

“Vernallor, tell me, do you think we should wait for it?”

I replied, “No reason to waste the day.”

“HA! Hear that men? Even my young brother, not even old enough to have his face think about growing any hair, knows that sitting around is a bad thing. Get your asses moving!”

As I went to wash up, I heard Heratin say to his slave, “That thing is big. If it is trying to impress us, it is succeeding with me.”

A soldier commented, “Then, Heratin, I expect to hear your words of being impressed with us when we defeat it.”

“No, because I know that saying that will have you think you deserve more pay. That thing, well, an opening compliment is just courtesy.”

The soldier laughed, then moved off to repeat the words to others. Ochally mentioned something about Heratin’s wardrobe, and the two began discussing other things. I did what I needed to start my day. As we began our march, I however heard other soldiers speaking about the words my middle brother had said.

As the day progressed, it became evident that most of our distance was vertical while the entity darkening the sky could advance without any trouble. Orintious tried to keep the focus of his men away from the sky, as he repeatedly had them perform certain little duties I had learned was to supposedly gain favor from fairies. The amount of light decreasing had us all looking up at the sky and the approach of whatever was coming for us.

They really have not been running from it, so cannot be said to flee it.