A Matter of Who I Am: Cp 8

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A Matter of Who I Am
Chapter Eight

(Jelnaya)

Oh eyes who tears never more shall flow
With knees bent in prayer I cannot go
Though life still flows through my form
Red drops swirl in a clear maelstrom
By the edge my prize lays ashen
Still and limp by the Spring of Cormorphin

Oh monstrous thing why resist my plight
Only your hate causes other fright
Wealth and food surround your lair
You would have no lack if you would share
My wails echo to create a din
My sorrow declared by the Spring of Cormorphin

I came with hope to gain my place
Among the great in eternity’s embrace
Salvation for all I promised my mates
And my love I brought to share our fates
My pitiful life shall never end
Though I left it behind at the Spring of Cormorphin

It is strange how a change of setting and purpose can provide an almost completely new appraisal of what one would think are basic facts. I looked through my clothes in the castle of Great-uncle Ferrigote, and washed them without any concern for their condition. Looking at them while in Castle Davelda, I noticed the repaired rips, the frayed hems, the stained cloth, and decided that I needed new clothes.

Those of Davelda do not need money. When time is considered money, and everyone has unlimited time, the value of the money declines. That does not mean that there are not prices for things in the stores. Grandmother said that certain accounting systems stayed in place simply to track inventories. When strangers to Davelda thus came to do business, they found values still set for items. What eased any difficultly was that their money was not the local currency, because they did not use money at all. Since the old accounting system still existed, there was an antiquated method of translating objects into equitable sums. While those of Davelda did not need money, the foreigners found themselves able to enter the local markets with the ability to purchase.

As a granddaughter of the empress, I did not need money. I was a child of Davelda, so merchants simply chatted while assuring that I gained what I had come into their store to get. I did have wealth, but those of Davelda told me to save it for those worlds where the locals did not consider me one of their own.

I was at a window considering whether to get some items of jewelry when I heard my name being called. I turned to see a man crossing the street carrying a large package. Curious, I stepped out to meet him as he gained the sidewalk on my side of the street.

“I got a few thousand orders to send this to you,” the man said instead of a greeting. “It just came off the printer, and I was getting it ready to be sent to the castle when my wife noticed you walking down the street. Here.” The package he set in my arms was rather heavy, and he smiled seeing me have to adjust for the weight. “You might want to start reading it. It is an unabridged thesis on the Spring of Cormorphin. It was done by Professor Tiothin who stars on that ‘Warm Heart of the Glacier’ program, so it should be a rather comprehensive discussion of what you want to know. If you have questions however, call him up.”

Leaving the castle this morning, I was met by a number that mentioned a poem to me. Due to everyone’s urging, I had gone to my grandmother’s apartment to speak to her attendants. What I hoped to be just a simple gaining of information became a media production as the poem was read to me. I looked at the book and felt its weight, then said to the man what I remembered from the morning’s meeting.

“The poem is not that long.”

He laughed, then said, “Yes, but the imagery and choice of words seems to hide a lot of meaning. I cannot say to have read this. All I did was assure that the paper and ink did not run out.”

I saw a lady run across the street, then she held up a camera saying that she wanted the picture to let all know that sent the order that it had been filled. Considering that I had been shopping for clothes, all I could do was hope that a smile would help my appearance. The couple thanked me, wished me the best on my coming adventure, then ran back across the street.

Not believing that the entire book was about one three stanza poem, I went to a restaurant to remove the wrappings and check the table of contents. The owner of the establishment just signaled with his hand. One problem with being a child of Davelda was that no one asked me what I felt like eating. They served me what they felt I needed to eat. Sometimes it was the house specialty, although usually it was something to put ‘meat on my bones’ or ‘color in my cheeks.’ Since I really had not come for the food, I did not worry about what was going to be served, but put my concern on what I had been given.

Realizing that the entire tome was on the poem, I was working to set myself to begin a long period of reading when the door to the restaurant opened. It surprised me to see the visitors enter. Thesall from the ranch was with them, probably acting as an interpreter. Baron Marekel heard what the owner of the establishment said, but spoke to me I guess because he knew that I could communicate with him. Not really in the mood to begin a long period of reading a boring thesis, I smiled at the man.

“Princess Jelnaya, I saw you enter, so felt this would be a good place to eat.”

I pointed to what was on the table in front of me as I replied, “Given a large text on the Spring of Cormorphin, and this was a close place to set it down.” I looked at the menu to give the man an honest appraisal of the establishment. “They do serve a full meal with a large serving of meat.” I pointed to the items on the table as I added, “If things are not to your taste, you can do what you like with it.”

It was the baroness that asked, “Can we sit with you?”

I had sat at a large table instead of a booth, but assured the presence of an obvious fact. “Just don’t complain if my book takes up your elbow room.”

As the baron held the chair for his wife, he asked, “Davelda has all that information on the spring?”

“They only know of it due to a poem. This could well be over six hundred pages of commentary on imagery, phrasing, and comparisons with other poems – nothing of actual interest.”

“A poem?”

“Do you want me to read it to you? It does rhyme in the local language, but how things translate is usually never satisfying with poetry.” One thing my aunts and I knew well, as we have all had suitors from other worlds come to quote poetry to us. “Basically, it says that we are going to die.”

“I lived.”

I read the last stanza to the baron. He listened with his eyes staying upon me. He then asked if that had been the whole poem. I told him that it was not before reading the entire poem without him having to ask. Being only three stanzas in length, it really was not a big deal.

At the conclusion, the baron said, “I hope that you read the book, as any information it might have could prove useful.”

The owner of the restaurant came forward to take the order of the foreigners. I threw him a gold coin while saying that I would pay for it. The coin was nothing more than a token to him, but I knew to keep up appearances. While I did not have to pay, foreigners would be charged. Thesall had probably not been as nice as to treat the couple to a free meal.

After making his order, the baron turned to me to say, “I am still going.”

I replied, “I am still going as well. I really have no choice. One of the problems with going to Fergush, or any deity for that matter, is that not to do as told will bring serious repercussions.”

“My reason is not due to a holy vow, but it is compelling enough.”

Since I had a first-hand source, I felt myself to be in the wrong not to ask questions. “Baron Marekel, what did you fight?”

“Legs like a spider. Webs surrounded the spring from that vile creature, which it moved upon them with ease. They did not burn easily, but my fire did spoil the glue that surely prevented others from moving. The body as a dragon with thick scales. A most fearsome opponent.”

“And it had managed to get a baby for a lure.”

I noticed that his face brightened at those words, and almost with cheer he said, “It was placed in a large magic flower set in the pool.”

He seemed eager to speak of the setting of the Spring of Cormorphin. From his description I estimated it to be about fifteen feet in diameter surrounded by a thick growth of flowering plants. The baron did not speak of the pool as having a bottom, although with the surface bubbling the inflow from the bedrock could not be that far below the surface. He mentioned fruit trees growing on the surrounding slopes, although also noted that they were covered by the webs from the vile beast. By the end of his description, I felt that he had indeed been present at the Spring of Cormorphin.

I told the man what information I felt was important. “I need time to read this tome. Also, I ordered some new clothes, and they will take a few days to make. We can leave in four days, if that is all right with you?”

“Four days should be fine. There are things I would desire, but am having trouble purchasing.”

I looked to his translator to ask, “Thesall, would you know what they are?”

She replied, “Yes. I think that I can access our network and find people that can handle those items. Whether they can get them made and shipped here in four days will be the major problem.”

“Well, if we need a day or two more, I guess we can wait. No reason to rush to our deaths.”

And Namill has a problem with them not rushing to their deaths.