To Solidify the Mist: Cp27

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Twenty-Seven

We left the next morning before sunrise. Even at the early hour the birds lifted as a single flock and kept the sky dark by their presence over us. Our destination was on the other side of the city, so while the lights from above were blocked we could determine our way from points of brilliance from others also needing to see. As we went through the community, the early hour made recognizing a certain figure rather easy.

Mochsha moved ahead to say, “You still need a lot of work to appear as a lady, Nerframe, but the dress does help. Come on.”

“Come on?”

“If you’re going to shadow us anyway, might as well gain some pointers in disguising yourself as a lady.”

Nerframe’s hands went to the hat on her head as she asked, “Do I have to be a lady?”

“I am not the one making you be a lady. I am simply saying that if you are going to be a lady, you should do so properly.”

The hands dropped with one moving to point at my sister as Nerframe declared, “You gave me the hat.”

“I did not assume it was mine to give.”

“It belongs to the estate, which is where this dress came from, so I owe you the money.” She reached into a pocket to pull out some coins. “If I have the hat, I will wear it. If I wear it, I am a lady.”

Mochsha took the coins while saying, “I guess it was mine to give. It however is not now mine to take back. I guess you can give it back to me.”

“This is confusing.”

Heratin moved up behind Mochsha to say, “Tell Nerframe that if he does not give you the hat, that you will give him the dress.”

My sister lifted the gown to show hairy legs, then added, “Along with other necessities of female apparel.”

Nerframe exclaimed, “Just how difficult are you going to make things for me?”

“If you are going to be a lady, Nerframe, I am saying that you need to be a proper lady. That is not a difficult decision, but simply a decision. If you don’t want to live your life as a woman, give back the hat.”

Heratin suggested, “We can buy him another hat.”

“Yes, Nerframe, we can buy you another hat, or simply allow you take a different hat from the estate.”

Nerframe said, “This hat is magic.”

“That hat is going to make you wear petticoats, a brassiere, shave your legs, and do something with your hair.”

“Shave my legs?”

Mochsha lifted her own skirt along with a couple of petticoats underneath, to show and not simply state, “Yes, Nerframe, and there will probably be more for you to do as well.”

Nerframe moved toward our group to point at Minchell and ask, “Do you shave your legs?”

“Oh, I shave more than just that at times. The things we will do for men. Do you have a lady, Nerframe?”

“No. With the estate failing, my status with others of my kind have failed as well.”

Mochsha came behind Nerframe to say, “But with my management, the estate should begin to revive. That will require a new group to assure the prosperity of the land.”

“As long as the house remains, I will remain. Should you tear down and build again, a new spirit will rise.”

“It is my house, Nerframe, to do with as I will. Are you going to be a lady as you move about?”

Nerframe showed displeasure as she said, “The hat is magic. There is nothing I will take in exchange. I guess I will shave my legs.”

“You can either return to the estate to get other things, or simply go with us.”

Heratin asked, “You’re hiring him back?”

“I don’t believe he had a position that could be taken from him.”

Nerframe admitted, “No.”

Heratin now said, “But you are following orders from Decholl.”

“To protect Mochsha. He is presently bound by the agreement made with your young brother. I am merely assuring that both sides honor the agreement.”

Mochsha said, “If you work for me, or simply exist to secure my estate, then you should be willing to support my deception.”

“I would rather that not be required of me.”

“And yet you wear the hat.”

“It’s a magic hat.”

Nerframe again expressed displeasure as Mochsha said, “Ah, yes, we women can be such complex individuals. Come on, Nerframe. Since we see your shadow anyway, might as well walk with us.”

While the magical lady did not appreciate being numbered with our females, she showed extreme pleasure in being with our group. Orintious buying a couple of sacks of apples and passing them around had Nerframe speak with surprise in being handed one of the fruit. She simply gobbled up the apple. I do not believe Mochsha expected to see Nerframe eat the core of her apple, but found all of it quickly consumed. When a soldier began to hand her his core, Mochsha told him to instead give Nerframe another apple. She ate it completely, then another. It was on the fourth that she stopped to admit the outside was much better than the core, but then put the core into her mouth. I believe Mochsha intended to tell the lady that she did not need to eat the cores, but stopped to ask a different question.

“You eat the cores because it is part of the apple given to you.”

Nerframe replied, “Yes. If given by you, I will honor it completely.”

“So if I give you another hat, you will treasure it, but not wear it.”

“No, but I will wear it with my magic hat.”

“I hate to tell you, Nerframe, that you are going to make a splendid lady.”

Again the lady showed discomfort in being relegated to walking with Mochsha, but then spoke of another reason for her attitude. “Aren’t you going to get on a boat?”

Orintious replied, “I believe you admitted to being the one that spread certain rumors about us.”

“Well, yes, but surely you could have convinced someone to take you on. Some only listen to the money.”

“But that would morally compromise us. We are dealing with fairies, so it is best to show honor.”

“How do you know about fairies?”

I answered that question. “Our father is a librarian. He has books on every subject from a great number of worlds. If we want to know about something, the wisdom is there for us to seek it.”

Mochsha said, “You see my glow, Nerframe? It is fairly obvious that it is a fairy trait.”

Nerframe replied, “Decholl says it is his glow.”

“You are surrounded by men, Nerframe. Which one do you see glowing?”

“Vernallor is dark in color, but not the black of Decholl.”

“Let’s go learn more about fairies, then we can go back and hopefully learn some truths of Decholl.”

As the day went on I found myself very glad that Nerframe set herself to be a lady. I listened as Mochsha and Minchell dealt with the lady, and was glad that I did not need to think at that level. It was not that Nerframe was stupid, but had a static level to her thought processes that prevented a number of conversations from getting too complex. Ochally stayed with the horses, and I found myself feeling she was glad to deal with the animals.

That evening was interesting as Mochsha dealt with improving Nerframe’s feminine appearance. Whatever she was, there was a strong masculine identity that did not want to subject itself to the feminine nature, although the solution of giving up the hat would not be accepted either. In the end, Nerframe came to the campfire looking like a rather lovely lady. I had seen the black locks fall down below her shoulders when the hat was present, but now they were clean with nice blue ribbons helping to give them some fashion. With the ribbons being given to her, she would jerk her head to have them come into view as if proud of them and not wanting them removed. Her waist was tight with a brassier loaned to her from Ochally, who still had a small frame due to her youth. Nerframe had on petticoats, although kept adjusting them as if wanting to show off her shaven legs, then not wanting to show them off. There was lipstick giving her mouth a cute red color, and other colors that did have her looking very much like a lady. I listened as Mochsha gave Nerframe some pointers about her behavior in dealing with her feminine appearance around the men.

As Minchell and Ochally began doing things for their men, Nerframe declared, “I do not do such things.”

Mochsha replied, “That is completely your affair. I hope to one day do such things however.”

Heratin said, “It is the way of women.”

“All right, Heratin! Nerframe is going through enough. I feel it is extreme for a hat, but she should be applauded for accepting the conditions of her situation.”

“I’m sorry, Nerframe. You do my sister right, and I will always be kind with you.”

Nerframe turned to my sister to ask, “He obeyed you?”

Mochsha replied, “Obeyed me? He’s my brother. He heard me, and simply admitted that he accepted what I said. It was either that or argue with me. He was wise on this occasion not to argue with me.”

Ochally said, “It usually is not wise to argue with a woman.”

Nerframe looked to her, then turned to my sister to say, “So, will you argue with me if I say that it is time for me to go to bed?”

Mochsha helped her set up a place next to a bush to sleep. I listened as Nerframe was told about trying not to get dirt on the dress or in her hair. With a blanket on the ground, and another completely covering her head, Mochsha came back speaking softly as if not to awake Nerframe.

“Don’t any of you hurt her. She’s mine. I really do not know about our relationship, but it is obvious there is one.”

Orintious replied, “We are here with you, Mochsha. If we begin to see things, you are with us and will have those things pointed out to you.”

I said, “We are dealing with a world of fairies and magic, Mochsha, so you could be bewitched.”

She asked, “Is that what you think, Vernallor?”

“No, and I was paying attention the whole day. Still, Nerframe was working with Decholl. There is some complexity in her, so I would not completely trust her. Let me however also remind you that none of our earlier dealings with Nerframe had us prepared to kill her, so she should be safe enough. We might have to restrain her, but that should be the worst of it.”

“That’s okay. If I can get us both to the house, that should put Nerframe back in her proper place. Then with some books from Father, I should be able to assure our relationship.”

Orintious replied, “Sounds like a plan we can work with. Now, get some sleep yourself, Mochsha.”

And another mother is met.