A Matter of Who I Am: Cp 4

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A Matter of Who I Am
Chapter Four

(Jelnaya)

I was looking for my grandfather. Examining the scenery however had me notice something often commented on by travelers. While those of Davelda had known nothing about other worlds, they had placed their castle in a very special place. Strangely, most paths to other worlds came to this one in a manner that had the towering gem-inlaid white walls of Castle Davelda prominent. There was a large city not that far away, but it was usually not noticed. The other sight most focused upon was a large horse ranch. While I studied each landmark, I could not see my grandfather.

Accepting that I would have to spend time looking for him, I had my horse, named Petty, turn to the ranch. That had the best chance of finding him. If he was not there, it had the best chance of having someone able to speak about where he could be found. He liked those of the horse ranch. While my grandmother would usually be about the castle, that was actually the last place I would look for my grandfather.

A lady on horseback rode out to me and asked, “What brings you, Jelnaya?”

“Looking for grandfather, Thesall.”

“He is in the rodeo pen putting his centaur through some paces.”

“Thanks.” As I started my horse moving, Thesall had her mount pace beside mine, so I decided to go ahead and ask a question. “Nothing serious has come?”

“No.” She must have detected something in my phrasing, because she asked, “Are you expecting something?”

“Yes.”

“Excuse me, but I probably should warn Brullusk and Chanirth.”

Not really wanting her company, I replied, “Do what you must, but I am going to speak to my grandfather.”

Thesall had her horse rush ahead. My mount had already carried me for a few hours, and I really had no cause to have it push its limits. Honestly, I wanted the ability to have Petty run should I see my grandfather rush off.

I directed my mount through the breaks in a stone wall to reach the metal barricade establishing the perimeter of the arena. What I saw set up was not the usual rodeo obstacle course. Menasha, my grandfather’s centaur mount, was having to work her hooves through tires, jump sideways over low wooden railings, and a number of other little feats that no usual horse would ever truly have to worry about. She managed it however, and as she took a moment to catch her breath my grandfather looked to the perimeter of the arena to speak to me.

“What brings you, Fruit?”

My father was going to name me after an important lady in my grandfather’s life, but my mother would not have it. While I was the oldest child in my family, by the time of my birth two of my aunts had married and given birth to daughters as well with one already having the name my father wanted to give to me. Considering that one of those aunts also had that name, my mother felt that there were enough ladies with that name in the family. After some discussion, I was given a feminized version of the name of the fruit that the lady had grown. While everyone spoke of thinking my name to be lovely and unique, my grandfather just called me Fruit.

He appeared as a youth about the same age as me. It was an issue with me being a girl that I did not get to start my life as early as he began his, although the family association with Fergush gave me a benefit in timing that my grandfather did not have. Honestly, the boys in the family also did not start as young, although I had an uncle that had taken off with Great-uncle Ferrigote at a rather early age. I also had gained the tutorage of the elder of the other side of the family, but I calmly demanded my freedom while Uncle Althery needed a firm thumb to keep him in line. He was put to work building the castle that I had stayed at a few nights ago. Nice place, but I felt a number of my own accomplishments rated higher than construction. While I was physically the same age as my grandfather, I however knew that he had centuries of wisdom that I had yet to gain.

As he approached, I answered his question. “Fergush says that there is trouble coming, but that you did not need to take it on. He said that it would better serve me.”

“This is Davelda, Fruit. If there is trouble, I will take it on.”

Thinking back to what the deity actually said, I replied, “He said ‘problem,’ not trouble.”

“Okay, Fruit, if a problem comes, I will think to have you take it. If there is trouble, expect your grandmother to take action, which means that I will be involved.”

He actually was rather handsome. Light brown hair and eyes helped promote a boyish appearance. He dressed in light clothes of a bright color covered by ornately stitched leather accessories. When I was younger and traveling with him, some thought that I was his wife or girlfriend. When I was young, I found the association enchanting, but as I grew I still appreciated the references as my grandfather was a rather handsome figure.

That was about all that I had to say to him, so simply replied, “I guess that I will head to the castle and become a princess for a while. Might as well speak to grandmother while there.”

“You can do what you like, Fruit.”

He did not argue with or question my actions. It was a sign of respect from him. Growing up with him, there had been periods where he challenged everything I did. There then came the period where he stopped, but I sought his guidance. Now I usually did not want it, and he did not act as if I needed it, but I wanted him to know that I did still respect him.

“When I gained my immortality, I told Fergush that I wanted it all. I just killed another dragon. I am now being sent on some interdimensional mission. Fergush is keeping his part of the bargain, Grandfather. I will do this.”

There was a hope that he would pick up on the dragon killing, but he was not one to chat when busy. “Okay, Fruit, I promise to let you have your chance.”

“Thank you, Grandfather.” Not wanting the lady he rode to feel left out, I simply asked, “He’s not working you too hard, Menasha?”

The centaur replied, “No, but I learned on a recent adventure that some of the fancier steps are needed at times, so we are working on them.”

“Every challenge is different. I will tell you about my latest adventure later.” I moved my eyes to let my grandfather know that I included him in that statement, but realizing that he would talk to another I thought to ask him a question. “Will it be safe to tell Grandmother?”

My grandfather replied, “She would be concerned about Fergush sending you here to encounter a problem, so I would say that you might as well face her, Fruit. I will definitely speak to her when I see her. She however has no complaint about Fergush, so you should not worry about her.”

I left the ranch to head to the castle. The original rules of Davelda were to have the horses stay at the ranch with people using taxis, or walking if they did not want the ride, to the castle. The centaurs were however accepted as proper visitors, and many came to the castle without even bothering those at the ranch. There was thus now a stables at the castle, and by the time I had cared for my horse my grandmother had heard of my arrival and come down to meet me.

Her body was a few years older than my physical age, but that was about the only thing we had in common. I was a few inches taller. She had amber hair to beneath her butt while my red and yellow hair barely dropped below my shoulders. She had violet eyes, while mine were a dark blue. She however had centuries of wisdom to guide her, while I could only hope that I knew enough.

She said, “I am glad to see you, Jelnaya. Are you going to stay?”

“I don’t know, Grandmother. No matter what happens, I am not going to stay.” Hoping it was a safe way to mention a topic, I admitted, “Fergush told me to come here, so I am here expecting some problem. I cannot imagine it to actually deal with your world however, but no need to argue about who gets to tackle certain problems until we know what we are actually dealing with.”

“Have you spoken to your grandfather?”

“Yes, Grandmother. I really did not want to discuss this with you, but he said that you had a better perspective on the topic that he did. He also said what I should have known, which was that he would talk to you.”

“Well, Terish is my husband, so I should have his support. Anything you think I might be able to help you with?”

I definitely knew better than to lie to her. Grandmother Straekin had spent her centuries in politics. She knew how to read other people, so could easily catch us children in a lie.

“No. Whatever happens, I will probably go to Aunt Debbish. I like talking to her better.”

“Debbish Desiree Dozzrine. You were to get the name Desiree.”

That was the truth. I had heard the story from my father and mother, but the words actually gained substance in meeting my father’s middle sister. She had taken a liking to me, and always provided a friendly ear even when I was rebelling against others. While I did not end up with having her middle name, the truth was that we found something common between us.

I replied, “Her home is surrounded by dragons just like Thiminy. I just killed a dragon, and might go there to talk to other dragon hunters. Not that I won’t talk to grandfather, but it is nice to just talk to others at times.”

“Sounds like you have made some good plans, Jelnaya. Besides, maybe, Althery, none of my children have even set such goals. Note that Terish and I have bought some property in the Natorrish district, and are planning to build a house there. You thus might want to speak to your grandfather about how to locate it.”

Yes, I would, but just because I liked my grandfather. He had taught me a lot. However, I did want my grandmother to know why I did not visit that often.

“I don’t think that I will ever like Davelda, Grandmother. If we talk, it will need to be elsewhere.” I knew that she would have thought up something pleasant to say in return, but I spoke first. “I almost challenged Fergush’s directions, just because he told me to come here.”

“This place is getting better. There is a pride increasing the boldness of the people now that children completely of the history of this world are again being born. My children were first however, so do not ever think that those of this world will deny you, Jelnaya.”

“I really don’t care, Grandmother. I will find my place, but it won’t be here.”

“You can deny a lot of things, Jelnaya, but do not deny those that love you. Let me add to that the statement that your family will always love you. Davelda is my home, and you are my grandchild, so those of Davelda will never deny you.”

Like I said, this lady had centuries of wisdom behind her. Challenging her on almost any topic was foolish. I however knew that I needed to stand on my own feet if I was to gain what she had.

“This is not about love, Grandmother, but about fate. I want my own future, and will do what is necessary to obtain it.”

“Jelnaya, speak to your grandfather. He can tell you of many that claimed to be immortal, but died from their own foolishness.”

I stopped. We had been walking toward the castle, although often pausing in our conversation. She noticed the definite locking of my legs, and turned to look at me. Accepting that I was sent to speak to her, I decided to change my attitude.

“Okay, Grandmother. What advice would you have for me?”

She smiled, then hugged me before saying, “Stop going alone. Your grandfather had Ferrigote. He then began traveling with the centaurs. You can read his stories about others that joined him. You are a wonderful lady, Jelnaya, and it is time for you to start sharing yourself – whether with a husband or just with a companion. I would add that such would mean learning to talk to me as well, and not just my husband.”

Not the words I expected, but they did sound like something I should have considered. Thinking over my own plans, I found myself agreeing with what my Grandmother said. There was just one problem, and I felt that I had already set an agenda that would deal with it. I thus spoke words to let the lady know that everything was being considered.

“After I finish with this coming problem, Grandmother. Right now I am committed to gaining an objective. After I succeed, it will be time to make new decisions about my life, and I will keep your advice in mind. You can also be satisfied with the knowledge that Aunt Debbish usually says the same thing.”

“I would say that you are going to regret your decision, but I have come to trust Fergush. I love you, Jelnaya. Remember that, whatever you do, I love you.”

And those from Chaliger continue to travel.