To Solidify the Mist: Cp22

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Twenty-Two

I honestly felt it to be my fight simply because I was a member of the family. The only reason I had been allowed to come on this adventure was because Mochsha, the lost sister, was my sister as well. I however did have to admit up to now I was the minor member of the group. I found my sister not from any stress placed upon me, but due to the freedom I was given. I honestly felt that I had done enough to be considered one of the participants in this fight, but felt that up to now I had been humored simply because I was a member of the family.

The only reason I did not get angry was that I had been given respect. Orintious had never belittled me. He had treated me as the younger brother, but never in a way that was demeaning. In a way Heratin had, as the pranks he would pull on others he had not done with me. He did not treat me with disrespect, but for him that was almost an insult. Mochsha did treat me as a youth, but in a loving, motherly way that I found comforting. While those of us who were children of Galabur did have a caring father, we had no mother, and I found the reason my siblings sought a female parent in how my sister treated me.

That thought resurfaced the next day as we gained a much better view of the land ahead, including the inlet of a large body of water. The soldiers were encouraged by the signs of a large city. I had to agree that the mountain fairy had not said that we would be met by Mochsha’s mother, but only that if we sought her we would find her. The city had a sizable port, so we all thought that we would have no trouble gaining a method of performing our search.

I however found it interesting when my sister asked my older brother a question. “Orintious, did she feel like your mother?”

He answered, “I do not know what you seek, Mochsha. I sought the truth, and I believe that I heard the truth. That is what I wanted. This world is my home. The gods here should be those that will not just accept me, but feel that I am theirs to accept. The same with any wife or children. That is what I sought from you, Mochsha, and what I believe you have managed to have me find.”

“I thought there would be something deeper than what I feel for Galabur. I don’t want to ever deny the things he has done for me, but I thought there would be more of a connection to those that were my true parents. The distance the mountain fairy treated you however just felt wrong, and what I feel from that black entity feels wrong as well.”

Heratin spoke from a position not that far away, “That is just the way of fairies, Mochsha. As for Decholl, I noticed that he never actually called you his daughter.”

“You are not bringing me hope, Heratin. You just said that how the mountain fairy treated Orintious is how this ocean fairy will treat me. That will hurt me deeply.”

It was Orintious that replied, “We cannot give you that, Mochsha. If she is your mother, and that is the way with fairies, to hope for anything more is a dream beyond anyone’s reach.”

I said, “You told me, Mochsha, that you just wanted to solidify the mists. Won’t that happen?”

My sister replied, “I don’t want statues, Vernallor. There is more to a memory, a history, than a picture, a statue, some fact on a page. Am I not more than that picture on the wall? Haven’t you felt more from my presence, watching me, speaking with me, than that picture?”

“But doesn’t Orintious have that? He does not just have that mountain fairy real to him, but he has the experience of speaking with her. He knows that she did not deny him. He knows that the facts you presented to him are real. It might not be a warm, caring sensation of being wrapped in the loving arms of the person who gave you life, but it is more than a statue. Also, he was not refused. Should he feel the need to realize other mists in his past, he can go back to her. Maybe, over time, a relationship will develop.”

Orintious said, “And the one gift I do have is time. She said my father gave me that. To refuse my mother that blessing, more time with me, would be wrong. I feel that you would be wrong to deny that gift to your parents as well.”

Mochsha replied, “You are both right. Thank you, but I had hoped for more.”

“Maybe there will be more for you. Do not give up hope, but I guess I should advise you to be understanding as well.”

“Heratin?”

The middle brother replied, “What? Oh, don’t look to me for advice, Mochsha. I was born for a purpose. My mother is one of the greater gods. While I might have her blood in my veins, I am still just another one of her subjects. Worse, as I said, I was born for a purpose. It’s not so bad, but don’t think I am in a loving, wonderful relationship either. I am given a woman a year, so can get loved and mothered more than any man desires whenever I want. Getting it from my mother, well, cannot really say that happens. If I want parental advice, I go to Galabur.”

“Honestly, Heratin, what you said basically supports what my other two brothers are saying. Your words are thus more comforting than I believe you realize. Orintious, do you believe we can be in that city by tomorrow?”

Comments from the soldiers supported the older brother’s answer. “No, Mochsha. We should be somewhere on that slope tomorrow. There could be a road down in that valley, but I will wait until tomorrow to determine if we camp upon it or in another location.”

Mochsha accepted the reply, and told us to get back to moving. Again our travel was broken up by the soldiers in the lead spotting game and making a kill. I believe the desire to process the carcasses had us make camp earlier than usual, but it was a nice location. We thus accepted the extra time as a means of preparing for our arrival in the city.

I found the soldiers to call to me to spar with them. They felt that my success in taking the lead demanded that I learn more about how to face a more aggressive challenge. I could not deny the quality of those seeking to teach me, so went to the soldiers to see if they could expand on what things I had learned from previous masters of swordplay.

The practice became interesting when some soldiers could not only recognize certain movements I made, but spoke about their sessions with those that perfected the techniques. I found myself presented with counters that showed weaknesses in my attacks and defenses. I enjoyed the practice, and went to my belongings with the attitude that I would also appreciate a good bath.

Orintious came near me to ask, “Vernallor, anything you are needing? I am putting together my purchase sheet, so let me know if you are lacking anything.”

I replied, “I would like to spend time shopping. I told Heratin that I did not get to do any of that while in Heracropolis.”

“The market is always a good place to learn things about the culture and the world at large. Still, what I am asking are basics.”

“Do you think I will have time to shop?”

“Mochsha needs a lot of things, Vernallor. She gained a lot from Poseidon’s estate, but she probably has her own desires for some things. I plan on allowing you go with her while I go to assure a ship. Expect Heratin, our two ladies, and probably a few soldiers to be with you as well.”

I nodded, told Orintious that I could use some shampoo, then headed to the pond. A number of other men were bathing, but I did not let that bother me. I simply moved around to a clear position, then headed into the pond to get myself clean.

“Hey, Master Vernallor,” one of the soldiers asked, “are you going to stay with Orintious?”

“I doubt it,” I replied. “I will need to speak with Father, then see where he recommends next.”

Another soldier said, “I wished I had a father that would recommend a week in Heracropolis during the festival.”

“That really had nothing to do with Father, but with having a brother that was the focus of the festival bothering Father for at least a month before the festival.”

Heratin must have been nearby, as I heard his voice say, “Hey, it was not a – well, probably it was a month.”

That had the soldiers begin to speak of their own siblings and some of the stunts, situations, and general trouble they would get each other into. Those were some interesting stories, and I was glad that they got Heratin to speak of earlier escapades with him and Orintious. While I knew of my two brothers, they were older than me with both having their own lives before I was born. I found it good to hear of stories that spoke to the periods when they were beginning to adjust to being siblings in a common family.

As I returned from the pond, the soldiers changed their stations before telling the ladies they could now take their baths. I had to move from where I was checking my garments for the next day upon hearing Orintious make a joke with Mochsha. It was fun watching Orintious jest with the lady about being his younger sister while she in turn just passed the humor along to Heratin who was her younger brother. Realizing that the good relations between us siblings was not a new thing, but something our father had managed even with my older brothers and sisters, had me feel a part of a truly wonderful family. Mochsha finally managed to moved to the pond with soldiers stepping up to block the two brothers from harassing her more, but I felt that enough had been done to assure the lady that she had people who cared for her watching out for her.

Curious, I went to my older brother and asked him, “Anything you notice about our family now, with me, that was different back then?”

“Just that there is more history with you, Vernallor. I wasn’t the first child, but I was the first immortal. Maybe those before me had the potential, but none of them achieved it. You have the blessing of me, Mochsha, and Heratin. Maybe Sterrig or Dechapper will suddenly stop aging, but I doubt it. Still, you have more than I had, Vernallor.”

“Did you do with them like you are doing with me?”

“Those before me did try to find time for me, but they had their own lives. With me being immortal, I can waste time without feeling its loss. Of the ones you know, Sterrig was a big mistake. Heratin is a pain, but Sterrig is pure trouble.”

I personally thought Sterrig was fun when I was very young, but in the last couple of years I had come to be wary of his stories and tricks. I gained the impression that he wanted to become an immortal hero, but not the strong, powerful type of figure as was Orintious. Sterrig would do things illegal to gain his victories. People did speak well of him, but as he grew old there was a wariness in him from making a number of enemies. I agreed with Orintious about his assessment of Sterrig, and was glad to hear my older brother speak of another brother that I knew.

“Dechapper never did like my lifestyle, but the couple of times he went with me he did not shame himself. There is no wrong in Dechapper, but how we live our lives is not the same.”

As I had lost interest in Sterrig, I had gained an interest in the brother before me. I had dark skin, but Dechapper was very odd in appearance. He had a good mind for rules and figures, but also liked clever puzzles and would speak with me about the solutions to crimes. I had come to consider Dechapper a friend, and freely spent time with him while I had seldom seen Orintious or Heratin.

Orintious spoke some more. “Anyway, I guess the answer is that I did take them off Father’s hands – tentacles – like I did you, but they did not prove themselves like you are doing. Well, Sterrig did, but in the wrong way. I don’t mind being the older brother, Vernallor.”

I had to reply, “No, but – you’re right. I am seeing the history between you and Mochsha and Heratin. You’re not avoiding me, but actually showing me that you have had time with each other before me. I’m grateful, but wondering about it as well.”

“Don’t wonder about it, Vernallor. You can blame it on how Father raises us, but you can also blame it on his selection of children to adopt. You can also simply say that he has been lucky. I sometimes visit the families of those siblings before me, and they have the usual problems. There is no way to duplicate who Father is, what he does, or anything about it. Don’t wonder about it, Vernallor, but simply give Father his place as your father and allow yourself to be at peace about it.”

I had to say, “But you went searching for your parents.”

“For a reason, Vernallor. You did not see me push that mountain fairy for more knowledge. She said enough. Hopefully, Mochsha will have the same attitude.”

I thought about what he said, then concluded, “She might, but there seems to be a difference in the mists of her past and yours.”

“I won’t lose her again, Vernallor. We will see this through.”

Once I heard those words, I found myself feeling they were sufficient. “Of course, Orintious.”

And another brother shows up as the group finds their path to be more interesting than realized.