A Matter of Who I Am: Cp 9

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A Matter of Who I Am
Chapter Nine

(Namill)

I was attempting to make sense of what appeared to be moving drawings on the screen. A squirrel kept going for a nut that was never shown to move, but the animal kept running into traps, then finding the nut not where it was when finally arriving at the proper place. I could not help but laugh at the situations, but I also could not figure out how the drawings managed to move.

Ulemai entering the room surprised me. I guess that I had been so engrossed in watching the screen that I lost track of time. Not only her presence, but the fact that she was not with Marekel caught me off-guard.

“This world is so amazing,” my daughter said. “We went shopping, but they sold things we really had no use for. Luckily, we met Princess Jelnaya, and she showed us how to take pictures of things and get people elsewhere to promise to duplicate them. Marekel is very interested in the type of wagon wheels that are going to be sent to us.”

I spoke my own opinion. “She seemed rather unpleasant.”

“Oh, no. Slightly distant, but once you get her attention she is nice enough. It will be a few days before we leave, but she mentioned some forms of entertainment.” In the usual tones of Ulemai speaking gossip, she added, “Princess Jelnaya found a place where a large band would be performing with a dance floor, and received a number of offers from men to be her date.”

I replied, “She is unmarried.”

“Yes, and most of the men appeared quite handsome. I could not read the text on their devices, but some actually spoke. I still could not understand them, but some had really nice voices. She went to her room in the castle to privately speak to them in return.”

“And I would assume to speak to her grandmother.”

My daughter’s face stated that she did not think that question worthy of the moment, and replied in her usual speaking voice. “Yes, although I got the impression that she does not get along with her grandmother that well. She said that she would probably speak to her grandfather. She seems to really like him. I do think Lord Terish looks nice, but not as solid as my husband.”

Marekel was larger than Terish in height and general build. Not that Marekel was fat, although he would put on some pounds during certain parts of the year. He would quickly work it back off however. Marekel could probably overcome Terish in a fight just as I had been defeated.

I asked, “So, you will be dancing and dining with Jelnaya?”

“Not tonight, no. It seems that some members of the council want to discuss my husband’s style of ruling his land and other matters of politics. Since I am his wife, I will need to look pretty during the conversation.” I guess since I had asked, Ulemai went ahead and supplied an answer. “Marekel and I will prepare for the dance tomorrow after we come back from the doctors.”

“The doctors?”

“Yes. They have exceptional science here, Namill. Marekel wants to assure that there are no problems with me having a child.”

I felt a shock. The promise. From within me I felt a flame of dread. The promise. There was something bad that caused my form to shiver. The promise. Fearing that Ulemai would sense something wrong, I contorted my features while I hissed a couple of words.

“He what?” As if she was still just a child, I added, “You stay here.”

Ulemai had taken me by surprise in the front room. I had thus put my focus upon her. There however was a memory of Marekel moving to the other bedroom. Without any fear, I moved across the apartment and entered the other chamber. Marekel looked up in surprise as he polished a boot.

Scared that I might be overheard, I kept my voice to a tense whisper. “What are you going to do with my daughter?”

“Tonight, Namill?”

“No, not tonight – tomorrow.”

His eyes focused upon me as he answered, “We would both like to have children, Namill. I would think that even you would desire such, considering our promise.”

“And what do you think these doctors are going to tell you?”

He stood. Even in his stocking feet Marekel loomed larger than me. Only by breaking my promise could I have him appear small, but even then he had proved himself superior to me. I thus lifted my eyes to look at him.

He boldly demanded, “Tell me, Namill. What will they tell me?”

I simply stared. From somewhere within me I felt it better not to answer. His brown orbs stared into my green ones as he asked a serious question.

“Will they tell me she is not human?”

It took effort for me to form an answer. “She is more human than I. There is a core of humanity with me even now, and her birth was due to my mating with a human man that she was conceived. Do not think that she cannot also provide you with a child.”

“So why hasn’t she?”

For once I was grateful for the promise, as it actually prevented me from dredging up a certain truth. “I don’t know. Maybe you should get yourself checked out as well.”

“I am, Namill. The immortals here lost the ability to reproduce. Only recently have they regained that ability, and it is not an easy process for them. I have thus wondered if my own gaining of immortality has affected my ability to sire children.”

“Oh.”

That was all I could say. It hurt having to admit that the promise made so long ago was a good one. My daughter could not be with a better man. The problem was that I could not conceive of such a person even existing. I had felt his desire to save the baby to be a weakness, and his urgency to take the child as his wife to make his soul as black as mine. I now had to admit that Marekel had an understanding of my nature that even I did not possess, and had a heart that had no dark blemish upon it. I was the one that had a weakness, and due to the passing of time I was also the one to feel an urgent desire to make a very drastic decision. I thus felt a need to say something.

“Children will come with time, Marekel. You should be enjoying the time with your wife, and not hoping it to end. The best that can happen tomorrow, is that they find nothing.”

“But, Namill, it will end, and then our pact will be finished. No, Namill, I will see this through.”

The feeling surged through me to break my promise right then. I however knew that in this castle I would not face Marekel alone. I thus worked to appear to settle my thoughts even as my mind seethed in anger. With measured words, I retained my part of the pact between us.

“You don’t know what you are taking on, Marekel.”

“After all these years, Namill? After all these years I am finding my decision to have been immensely wise. I however have come to see the limits on our agreement. For me, for my wife, and even for you, Namill, I have been given an opportunity to set things right for eternity.”

Feeling a need to fight for my place, I said, “The world went on just fine before you came along, Marekel, and I believe will continue in that fashion.”

“I do not believe that, Namill. What I however fear is creating another vacuum like that which put me into power. As much as I hate to admit it, I am fighting for you, Namill.”

Those words made no sense to me, so I had to ask, “What are you saying, Marekel?”

“What do you think, Namill? Should we open up the spring to everyone? Should we remove the threats?”

Those questions did bother me. I felt my rage subside as I actually considered what Marekel was asking. Part of my own nature found itself agreeing with the concern that he presented. I even had to consider what threats surrounded the spring right now. My own absence had probably allowed other minor beasts to settle into the open-air grotto, but nothing of the power that I truly could wield. It was as I considered my own capabilities that my inner fire erupted. Feeling bothered by this one who had locked me into a promise, I asked a question of my own.

“Is that what you want, Marekel?”

“I don’t want my struggle to be forgotten. If I could open up the spring and usher in an age like these people of this world, I would. Most just want life to go on without any major threats. They don’t need you, Namill, as they find life threatening enough. They don’t want me, as they don’t want you. I would like for them to simply know that I have made their world a little safer. When people look to the rulers of Chaliger, I would hope that they see a couple who represent a better tomorrow because of what was done in the past.”

“Nice words, Marekel, but you forget that I will be in the castle with you.”

“Namill, you have been in my castle all these past years. I have come to find you as a blessing to my life. No one better could care for my wife. No one better could be present to give me council. Even on a journey like this, I am glad for your company.” He grabbed me in a strong hug, then kissed me. “I have done Ulemai right, Namill, and I will do you right as well.”

As he broke the embrace, I asked, “What? You are going to take me as a wife as well?”

“No.” I saw his expression declare that he was confused by my question, and also disgusted by it. “You have a duty to a good, sweet lady, Namill. I feel that her soul is blessed. I hope to do the same with you, Namill. I would like to have you as a true friend, and a loving member of our household.”

“What? I am not a good creature, Marekel.”

"Why not, Namill? You have been a good presence in my castle for the last many years. You have given me a good wife. I see good in you, Namill. It is my desire to bring that nature in you to the surface.”

I could not prevent a chuckle from escaping. One thing Marekel and I did not discuss was our pasts. I knew most of his, because it was no secret. I definitely knew about the disaster that came to his family and that of the past rulers of his land. In living among the people I heard even more about Marekel’s history. Mine however was never discussed. The events of my past were not a part of the history of Chaliger. Further, Marekel did not want certain things about his wife’s guardian, or even of his wife, revealed. I thus thought it funny that he felt able to affect something he had no knowledge about.

“You cannot change what I am, Marekel.”

“I think I can, Namill. It is my belief that what you are reflects your soul. There is however good there, and I believe that if I can bring that to the surface, that you will truly change.”

Honestly, he had said words similar to that on that day we made our bargain. I thought him a fool for not killing me. What I came to learn however was that he was much more hurt than I realized. His offer of the bargain had truly been what he felt was his only survivable option. I however knew that if had refused he would have sacrificed himself to end my existence, so the bargain had been beneficial for both of us.

“That is not the promise between us, Marekel.”

“No, but I believe it is something that we can go into the future feeling was a truly wondrous day for both of us. If that would happen, I would truly have made the world a better place.” There silence for a period, but he broke it to conclude, “Not that it will solve the problem of the spring. We will still need to come up with some resolution on that.”

“The spring has always been there, even before my time. I wouldn’t worry about the spring, because I believe you already have enough problems to concern you.”

He only smiled in return. Scared of receiving another kiss, I left his room. I became worried seeing Ulemai watching with a smile on her face from the doorway to the other bedroom.

“You never argue,” she said. “I have heard the words between others, especially master and servant, but you two never argue.”

“We had our words long ago, Ulemai. Now there is just clarification as time presents new problems.”

“I like the fact that we have a happy home. It would be so wonderful to have children grow up in such a family.”

“Yes, Ulemai, that’s my problem. Now, come on, let us go finish getting you ready for the rest of the day.”

And we move to Jelnaya and her problems with men.