To Solidify the Mist: Cp29

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Twenty-Nine

The lighthouse keeper did not mind allowing the ladies into the stone building, but he said there was no way he could provide shelter for all us men. Ochally and Minchell would however not leave their masters, and Mochsha would not go without at least one of her brothers. The lighthouse keeper relented to allowing us siblings with our servants while telling the soldiers to find what shelter they could in the small barn.

Orintious was playing a card game with me and a couple of the children in the residence while Mochsha and Nerframe took a bath. It was interesting how the two related, as the conversations were more like an elder sister with a much younger sister than a master/servant relationship. The sounds behind the curtains stayed positive however, which helped us keep a friendly attitude during the game.

Heratin came in with Ochally with him reporting, “Orintious, all your men should be able to move tomorrow. Don’t set a hard pace however.”

The older brother replied, “What if I told you that I made an agreement with the lighthouse keeper to ferry us over across the inlet? It should then be about three days to Mochsha’s estate.”

“I hope he has more than a dinghy. Even expecting your men to row themselves over, he is going to wear out his arms making the trips back.”

The lighthouse keeper gave the answer, “Thank you for your concern, Boy, but I am expecting your men to row both ways. The boat however is more than a dinghy, which means I might wear out my arms making the final trip back. Done it before though, so don’t worry about me.”

Orintious added, “He is expecting three trips with two of them packed tight. He is also expecting a calm sea after this storm passes.”

Ochally asked, “Has Minchell had her bath?”

“No, but Mochsha and Nerframe are finishing up. If you want to go ahead of Minchell, you probably passed her coming in here. Check with her.”

Minchell spoke from behind Heratin and his lady, “I have dripped most of the water from me, but I’m getting a chill, so I better go on. Ochally however can join me, assuming you are not changing into a bird.”

The lad playing cards with us asked, “She changes into a bird?”

Heratin said, “You have been in here with a glowing lady and you are thinking my lady odd?” He moved up do some slight-of-hand to produce a couple of pieces of candy, then said, “We’re an odd group, but friendly enough.”

The lighthouse keeper threw Heratin a towel while saying, “You’re wet too, Boy.”

The middle brother did start drying himself off while replying, “Thanks for the concern.” He then asked, “Any reason why we are going to Mochsha’s property? If you ask me, we can now go to Father.”

Orintious replied, “We actually have the answers we wanted, so you’re right. I however do not want me, my men, or my sister living under the threat of Decholl. I willing to give him a chance to face-off with us. Going to the property will also allow us to fix the location so we can easily come back.”

As his lady kissed him before going to the bathtub with Michell, Heratin asked, “Did that answer your question, Ochally?”

“Yes, Heratin. I do however want to meet your father.”

“It’ll happen, Ochally. I spend a good amount of time around Father during the year, so there will be plenty of opportunities. It is Orintious that seldom visits.”

The older brother said, “With the return of Mochsha, you should see me more often, or at least know that you could visit me.”

I noticed that Nerframe did not mind working with Mochsha in doing her hair. Of course, she was willing to put some curlers in her servant’s hair as well. I noticed that the ribbons were tied on her upper arms, and the hat set by a strap to hang along her back with her hair pulled over it.

Nerframe could tell that I was watching her, although I did not say anything until the children had been sent to bed. “Even with the hat off, you look like a real lady.”

She softly replied, “I look like I want to look, or I can. The hat makes me a woman, and I am finding myself wanting to look like a woman, so I am about as much of a woman as I can be.”

“Don’t you ever turn on my sister.”

“As long as she cares for her estate, I will not.”

“Hold it,” I said probably a little louder than I intended, as Orintious was suddenly at the door looking at me, which had me speak to him. “Your father was a human. He gained a special blessing that had him seek out your mother, but your father was human. Mochsha has gained a regular piece of property. Shouldn’t her father also be human?”

Nerframe replied, “Her father was human, yes, but they did claim some divine blood far in the past.”

“Decholl is her uncle, so shouldn’t he be human?”

“I do not know what happened. Those were dark times. The estate was failing, but the weather had been bad and some other tragedies occurred. I had seen it before. Sometimes bad things all happen together. Decholl and Lord DeNachillim however conspired about some method to restore their wealth, which would enable them to overcome their troubles. They left, and never returned. I heard the call of Decholl one night. There was a summons in it, as if he had authority over the estate. He grabbed me and made me serve him, but I sensed something wrong about the one I served. If I had known who your sister was, I would have freed her long ago.”

Orintious asked, “Weren’t there any heirs.”

“I said there were some tragedies. A bear killed the mother, both children, and even some other local children. They had gone out to pick berries, and I heard that the bear had gone to pick berries as well.”

Mochsha said, “Nerframe, I will be asking a number of questions like that once I return to the estate. I will probably go about looking for pictures simply to ask you about them.”

“That is not a bad way to pass the time, my lady. Right now I am sleepy however.”

Nerframe this time did not need to be instructed about her dress. She went to a corner, laid down one blanket over the floor, then curled up with the other blanket mostly covering her head. In no time we gained the impression that she was asleep.

Mochsha said, “I cannot wait to get some books from Father on her. I have never heard about her kind.”

The lady of the lighthouse admitted, “We have a house elf. It does not socialize with us the way yours does, and certainly does not travel with us. I however get the impression that yours was tortured.”

“Probably very badly and for a very long time.”

“She is healing however, and that is good. She will probably return to her quiet, watchful self after your time has passed, dear lady, but it will also help your estate to have the stories you tell of her.”

None of us mentioned that Mochsha was immortal. I felt it had been indicated a few times, but there were enough obvious oddities about us that something like eternal life could be overlooked. What we mentioned was becoming sleepy as well, and soon we were all settling for the night.

I got up the next morning as the others stirred. The lighthouse keeper asked me if I wanted to go over on the first trip. I said that I would, but that I did not want to leave my sister. Mochsha asked me why I did not trust her with my older brothers, but we both turned as Nerframe stirred speaking of agreeing that we should make the early transit.

Heratin entered the room asking, “You don’t believe Decholl will attack so early?”

I replied, “No, and he really does not want Mochsha dead anyway. What he also doesn’t want is for Mochsha to reach her house.” I really had not thought deeply into my line of thought, but I figured I would have needed to ask this question at some time. “Nerframe, was there ever a funeral for the last Lord DeNachillim?”

She replied, “No.”

“Dechapper did not read us a will.”

Mochsha said, “No, Vernallor. There was no will. Decholl entrusted the estate to the bank under the assumption they would hold things for the proper heir.”

“But this is a feudal society. The king, viscount, even the baron could have reassigned the property.”

“Taxes were paid, Vernallor, so the land stayed under the authority of the family.”

“Yes, but ...”

I went quiet as I thought along my line of thought. Mochsha helped the wife and girl to fix breakfast. I found myself surprised to be served by Nerframe. She sat the glass in front of me, then climbed on the bench to sit very close to me. Her quiet presence did not disturb me, but other things about her did.

I spoke barely loud enough for anyone to hear me. “Decholl is telling the truth. The problem is that we are not the people he suspected we would be. Mochsha did not think the way she was supposed to think. He is thus having to face a different future than the one he envisioned, and I believe does not know what to do about it.”

Nerframe checked my glass. Seeing the action had me take it and drain the milk. As I noticed Nerframe go to refill my glass, I found some other possible conclusions come to me.

“Your father, Mochsha, died unexpectedly. Decholl is not acting as if he hates you. He actually expected you to join him. He did not want us going to the ocean fairy however, because she was… she was…”

My sister finished my thought. “Because she was good. I am not talking about nice and kind and loving, but just not evil. He wants me evil. Father does not raise us as evil people. He calls those people problems that others must solve. He would rather us be problems that no one wants to solve.”

“So, he held you captive away from your property. He expected to put a plan into motion during your troubles to secure your property. Now, we are going to the property.” I suddenly felt very confident with my conclusion. “Yes, let’s get you over, because when Decholl gets around to attacking I don’t want you over the water.”

“Vernallor, I have certain gifts.”

“Decholl has the same gifts, Mochsha. He flies better than you. He has protections better than you. The rest of us don’t however, and over the water we will need to fly, protect ourselves, and other things that he does better than us. No, let’s get you across as soon as possible.”

Orintious said, “Wonderful thoughts, Vernallor. The conclusion I will support, although I have my own logic. You also have the – wait, Nerframe, you have been to the property.”

She replied, “Yes, but only the main living quarters. It is my home.”

“So, you can’t answer my questions.”

“No, but I sense that you and Vernallor are coming close to the answer. I also have the knowledge of you and Vernallor thinking properly. What you think is right. Decholl is not right. He will get angry. He will get dangerous.”

“Mochsha, Vernallor, Nerframe, get some food in you. I will be assuring certain plans with the men. I agree that we need to stay thinking properly and ahead of Decholl. Our problem will be assuring a victory, and not just another win. Vernallor, be thinking on that as you sit and enjoy your ride.”

Trouble has not left them, but our group is thinking.