To Solidify the Mist: Cp32

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Thirty-Two

The next day we came to a stop seeing a block of military before us. Ochally was instructed to get down from the horse, and a soldier gained the saddle to ride ahead. We held our position until the soldier could speak with the leader of the military and return with a message.

“Sir, it’s the baron. He says that he wants to speak to you.”

Orintious replied, “He probably wants to speak to Mochsha.”

“Uh, he knows you lead us soldiers, Sir.”

The older brother had his men line up in formation. Ochally was told to climb back on the horse. With the regular rhythm of the soldiers, we all went with our older brother to those waiting for us.

A powerful man in what appeared to be old stately clothes walked up as we closed, then waited for Orintious to call everyone to a halt before saying, “I am Baron Amonter, lord of this domain. I have been getting a lot of reports about you, both good and bad. It is to your credit that the good reports have substantiation while the bad reports are joined with reports stating that they are false. Now that I have you in my presence, I would like to speak to you.”

Mochsha moved up, then did a full curtsey to the man before saying, “I am Mochsha, the new owner of the DeNachillin estate. I would like to get to know you, and for you to get to know me.”

Orintious moved behind his sister to bow before saying, “I have also learned of my past, but I have nothing calling me to another land. I would thus like to gain an estate near my sister.”

The baron said, “Well, like I said, I would like to speak to you. I hope you have time.”

“We do and do not. There is a matter of my sister’s estate that is still troubling us. My advice would be to allow us to finish our business before troubling yourself with our presence.”

“I see you have soldiers. I would prefer my own.”

“This being is magical in nature. My wealth has been gained battling creatures of this nature. Victory has not been the problem, but ending the threat has. We have hope to gain the necessary clues to finish the foul entity so that our future, and hopefully that of your entire land, might have peace.”

The baron gave a command, and his military came to attention. “We will go with you and speak as we can. Do you know where the property is?”

Orintious actually looked puzzled as he said, “We have gained some directions. We assumed we were traveling in the right direction and would be there possibly tomorrow.”

“No, you won’t make it by tomorrow. You could be on the property the next day, but not at the house. I’ll try not to have my men slow you down.”

“Apologies, Baron, but it is not your men that I fear slowing us down.”

“Let’s get you back to marching, then we can talk.”

The noble listened as Orintious and Mochsha spoke of their situation. It was not an overly detailed report, but they did honestly state the points that would have a connection to the baron. Usually such conversations broke down by people not believing parts. Other worlds, magic, fairies, and even the reality of the strange creature that was our father would have listeners stop us. The noble however listened to everything my older brother and sister related without speaking any word of doubt.

When the call sounded for us to make camp, the baron had the rest of us introduced. He made a comment about my skin color, but then looked to Mochsha and just shrugged his shoulders. He then moved on to learn the identities of the ladies. Upon hearing Nerframe introduced, he however finally sounded words of disbelief.

“You are the house elf for the DeNachillin estate?”

Nerframe did not just state an affirmation, but spoke of visits the baron made. Hearing mention of items taken from the estate caused his face to register shock. He did not deny the thefts, but still looked to Nerframe in disbelief.

“I do not know of a house elf with an appearance like yours.”

“All of the rest of the facts are true. Why would you doubt me?”

“Because I know something of house elves. I have possession of this land. I not only know my own home, but that of my citizens in my city and my gentry, which includes the DeNachillin estate. I am quite familiar with house elves.”

Nerframe lifted her hands to adjust the item on her head as she said, “The probably do not have a hat like mine.”

The eyes of the baron moved to look at us as he admitted, “No, I cannot say that they have a hat like yours. Listen, I want you to return to the house and bring something back.”

“No.” She saw Mochsha look to her, but then Nerframe turned to me. “Vernallor said that he did not have a book. I will go and get a book for Vernallor. Will that be all right?”

The baron answered, “Yes, that will be fine.”

Nerframe curtsied to me, then disappeared, after which Mochsha said, “Nerframe and Vernallor have become friends. She likes him, and he is my young brother, so I cannot speak against it.”

Baron Amonter said, “Well, she certainly acted like a house elf. They can be rather odd, even though they are completely devoted. No telling how long she will be, as some of the most minor things will bother them.”

We had eaten when Nerframe returned. The baron had instructed us to simply leave a plate out, saying that she would recognize it as being for her. We were being told about the surrounding properties when Nerframe appeared.

She brought me a very dusty book, then said, “Decholl is there. The windows are broken and there are bats everywhere.”

I flipped some pages, then said, “It does appear to be a mystery, and it is definitely not a book I have read. Thank you, Nerframe.”

“There is something about a dagger being in the stomach of a horse, but that is all I know. I however know that boys in the family tend to like it.”

Mochsha moved to touch Nerframe before saying, “We heard the part of Decholl and the bats. Thank you, Nerframe. We left you some food.”

“Rebuild the house. Do not destroy it.”

“Now that I have gotten to know you, Nerframe, there is no way I am going to destroy the house. You are safe with me Nerframe. Relax and eat.”

She took the food, although I noticed for the first time her make darting movements with eyes as if not trusting those around her. Once with the plate and glass, she disappeared only to show up behind Mochsha. As Nerframe sat down to eat the food, the baron spoke.

“Okay, I completely believe your story. Orintious, I would love to speak to you later about assuming property.”

Orintious replied, “Are you certain that you want your men to march further? You heard about the danger we have been facing.”

“This is my land, and I will not fear doing my duty to protect it. Still, it’s your sister’s property. If she does not want the protection her payments are to assure, that is her call. I will however have my men close by in case you are not able to handle it.”

Mochsha replied, “Baron, that is a wise decision. Let me however request from you the one thing you can possibly give that we could certainly need. History.”

While he had been speaking of those who would be Mochsha’s neighbors, the baron began discussing the history of the DeNachillin estate. We mostly quietly listened, although at times some detail was requested for the baron to repeat. Nerframe did speak from her place behind Mochsha to correct the baron at times, and he always spoke an apology.

Orintious did ask the noble some questions about our specific situations. He could speak about Mochsha’s parents. The tale of the bear was verified. Mochsha’s father did have a brother named Decholl, and he had left the estate to take up residence in Nakallog as a stone carver mostly working on sarcophagi for the wealthy. It was thought he had returned to provide comfort for Mochsha’s father, but then both went missing and the estate was left vacant. I listened to the answers to each question with no intention of causing trouble, so was surprised when Orintious spoke to me.

“Vernallor, do you have any questions for the baron?”

“No. I mean, I don’t see why he could answer my questions.”

The baron said, “Go ahead and try me, young man.”

“Sorry, Sir, but there is no reason for you to know. Still, out of respect, I will state my primary question. Why go to an ocean fairy? This troubled me when I thought we had only three days to march, and that estimation came with the understanding of some wounded slowing us down. We have not slowed down, and there are still two days more to go, so the ocean definitely is not close to the estate. Is your land just completely void of fairies?”

“I would hope not. Not that fairies are known to reveal themselves. Still, that is a very good question, although you are correct about it being one I cannot answer.”

I then thought, and said, “Uh, please, baron, there is one you might be able to answer. I believe the secret is in some water. Is there an aqueduct, well, or other deep water source on the property?”

The baron put out a call to one of his soldiers that grew up on the property. The man was able to speak of a river, a lake, and a number of ponds. He admitted to some wells on the estate. When asked about any being especially deep, he quickly had a reply.

“Bectim’s Pond is known to have a rift to a deep source of very warm water. It was once a good place to swim in even in winter.”

I looked to Orintious and said, “I’m going to use my sword and go down in Bectim’s Pond.”

Heratin replied, “Breathing foul water is as bad as breathing foul air, Vernallor. Let me go with you and advise you on things.”

The baron said, “Sounds like the lad has a plan.”

Orintious replied, “He has had some good ones on this journey. Heratin should be a good source of advice, Vernallor. I’ll trust you both while I check the buildings.”

And our group goes in search of real answers to their questions.