A Matter of Who I Am: Cp 17A

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A Matter of Who I Am
Chapter Seventeen Part One

(Jelnaya)

I went out to the military court and found a number of men in the uniform of Davelda standing at attention. Marekel and Irgamy were present, but in a relaxed state. Chering stepped forward and threw an icon of Fergush into the marked off area. I could not help but recognize that these men from this world knew about my status enough to confront me in such a manner. Of course, they had enough history of my family to have gained the information, but I really did not consider those of Davelda to bother with the details.

While I had traveled with Great-uncle Ferrigote, he had not been able to give me as much of his time as he had with Uncle Althery. As soon as I learned how to pass between worlds, I sought my Grandfather Terish. As much as he knew, he was not the better teacher. Great-uncle Ferrigote had the attitude of 'I'm not doing anything right now, so come on.' Grandfather Terish however was always doing something, so to learn from him basically forced someone to keep up with him and work with him. While everyone wanted to travel with him, few actually had the attitude to keep up with him enough to learn the lessons that he could teach.

Great-aunt Dirchein was the one that would speak with Grandfather Terish about the religion of Sennapre. She found her husband really not concerned with certain details of his religion. Great-uncle Ferrigote was not a Champion of Fergush, but only a strong devotee to the god. I learned of the potential status of someone becoming a champion of a god of Sennapre from the discussions between Great-aunt Dirchein and Grandfather Terish.

It took Fergush actually teaching me certain specifics of my duties for me to learn all about my present position as his champion. One of those was the recognition of the honor in fighting me. If you took me on in battle, you were going to die. Yes, I could be defeated, but the attention and devotion to combat my standing with He-Who-Fights demanded caused me to be slightly more experienced than most who fought. Further, my eternal constitution gave me an edge over most threats. To promote the worship and honor of Fergush, as well as prove my worth as his champion, I was to allow others to take me on in honest combat.

It hurt the first time I faced an elderly man. It was a slightly similar situation as the present one. Then the soldiers were all standing back. Only the elderly man stood near the arena, and he tossed in the icon with a look on his face saying that he had not come to simply spar with me. I heard the voice of my god telling me that I was going to have to kill this man. No one else had been able to defeat him, but he had made up his mind that he would only enter the halls of Fergush having faced defeat in serious combat. It hurt understanding that this time I would have to kill someone that I would otherwise seek for my own instruction. I gave the man a good fight. In spite of his elderly body seeming to want to collapse before me, I worked to have his attacks look as good as he probably remembered them as being. In the end I kissed him when my blade pierced his body and heart. I turned from his corpse crying, but all gave me honor for facing the man as I did.

Of course, these fools from Davelda did not have any respect from me. I knew that they did not worship Fergush. While the display of his ways did demand some formality from me, I stepped into the arena to have the usual fun and not to actually promote my deity over that of the Goddess of Davelda. It did not take that long before I was tossing the icon of my god from the ring in a sign that they had not gained my respect in combat.

Irgamy actually caught it, and stepped into the ring in a manner of handing it to me while asking, "Can we simply fight now?"

I first took the icon, and threw it back out of the ring while saying, "It was made on Davelda, so it can stay here." I then looked to the man and asked, "What do you want to fight about?"

He set himself for battle while answering, "Oh, how many teeth a shark would actually need in its head to kill a man."

"That's not a fight. That's an argument."

"I have seen people go to blows over lesser topics."

"True but it is also true that those that think a fight will settle an argument are fools."

"But, but," he broke his stance to say, "I just want to fight with you."

"No, you don't. At least nothing in this situation says that you came here to fight. I would think that you simply wanted to spar."

"Well, I want a better time than what you gave those soldiers."

I laughed at those words. I then stepped up to Irgamy and gave him a kiss. Surprise showed on his face, and I saw him look to those watching with an expression of mystification. I thus let him know that I accepted his conditions with some simple words.

"I'm ready. Come on."

"Wait, Jelnaya. Those soldiers came out all serious and you kicked their butts. I am here just wanting to test my skills against you, and you say you are going to go easy on me?"

Chering said, "Yes, Princess Jelnaya. What about that?"

I replied, "I am a Champion of Fergush. You come to me in an official capacity, and you get me with all the potential Fergush has granted me along with what skills are actually mine. You simply come to me as someone seeking to better their abilities, and I can be nice. I did not become a Champion of Fergush due to being a mean, nasty warrior."

"So, we made a mistake?"

"Considering that I beat your butts, yes, you did. If you could have actually held your own, there is a lot of honor in that."

"Has anyone been able to hold their own against you?"

I felt that to be a silly question, but went ahead and answered. "Yes. The world of Sennapre does not really have the apostasy of other worlds. There is contention between the worship of the deities, but almost everyone worships at least one of the six. Thus, on Sennapre I encounter those that have spent their lives dedicated to He-Who-Fights, and learned their ways from those before them who also had a life serving Fergush. Those can be rather serious opponents. In my early days of having my status, I had some that could beat me. I learned however, and now I pretty much come out with the advantage all the time." I then had to add, "And I plan when I get seven hundred years old that I would have learned enough to give me the advantage all the time."

I guess hoping to prove he knew of my history, Chering said, "I assume that your Great-uncle Ferrigote can beat you."

"He is not a Champion of Fergush. I thus can give him a good fight. He however knows not to throw out an icon. He did once, but it was early in my place as a champion. Great-uncle Ferrigote claimed to want me to up my opposition to him, and I did beat him. I say that I got lucky, and he spoke of not really understanding the grandness of the blessing of his god. We sat and spoke for a long time about Fergush, and I feel that both us came out the better."

Chering turned to Marekel to ask, "I assume we are leaving?"

He replied, "Yes. My wife is doing some things while still in civilized surroundings, but we will be leaving not too much after breakfast."

"I'll be ready. Princess Jelnaya, I am not relinquishing my place. Let me say that I am doing things to learn about you, and in that I will claim success. Also, whatever your connection to Fergush, you better not forget that you are a child of Davelda."

I replied, "Don't you of Davelda forget that you now have children looking at you and questioning your past."

"I believe that all of you will learn that we sometimes question our past as well. Look forward to more interaction with you, Princess Jelnaya."

I believe that Irgamy felt that my attention was completely distracted as I watched those from Davelda move off. He was in the arena, so I had kept some of my attention on him. When he attacked, I was ready for him. I however did not face him directly. I kept up various movements that put me facing an unprotected side of him. As I hoped, I did not defeat him in the usual manner of combat, but found him losing energy and focus in continually having to spin or move to protect himself from me. As he collapsed in fatigue and dizziness, I however was surprised by what Irgamy said as he sought to again focus his attention upon me.

"Could I ask for you to do that again?"

I had to ask my own question, "Why couldn't you ask?"

"I don't – okay, I could ask. Would it be worthwhile for me to ask? I mean, do you choose your behavior or is there some inner source of advice directing what methods you use?"

"When I finally enter the hall of Fergush, I expect to hear the reason for my defeat, and not me placing the blame of my defeat upon my god." Hoping to actually answer the question he wanted to ask, I said, "I would hope that if you realize you have a weakness in your style of combat, that you would want to practice so as to make yourself better."

He dropped his sparring weapon, then moved outside the arena while saying, "You are something worth going after, Jelnaya. I am leaving it at that. See you later, Jelnaya."

The other men laughed at him. I felt that Irgamy was proving himself to be rather intelligent, so looked around for who might want to fight me next. Marekel also was not laughing, but the men went silent when he tossed the icon of Fergush back into the arena.

I had fought Marekel before, but this time I found him to have an additional intensity. I had speed to my advantage, but I found him to have superb reflexes and movement as well. He was stronger than me, but found that I had learned several techniques for redirecting the energy of blows sent toward me. I would not relent, and I got the impression that he would not falter from fatigue. After a time I considered allowing him the fight, as I did not want the intensity of the combat to reach a point where either of us might actually do harm to the other. I guess that he sought the same, as after I turned his blade to the ground he set his block and backed away indicating that he would concede the fight.

"I just wanted you to know that I earned the victory that day long ago at the well, Jelnaya. I am not no minor opponent. What I went up against that day was a serious threat. I am honored to have you join me, Jelnaya, but let me state that this is no normal challenge that I will be presenting to you."

I went to the icon and picked it up. I breathed the words that honor had been won upon it, and the metal gained red and yellow bands. I then threw the icon to Marekel.

"You have my respect. As for this challenge, I will best it. With you fighting with me, I feel that success is guaranteed. However, we can count the number of steins of ale we share before we feel that we have discussed all the particulars of our victory."

"I can indeed grant you that, Jelnaya. Look forward to seeing you later."

I felt it worthwhile that he had taken the icon with him. As he was not a worshipper of Fergush or even anyone that actually knew his ways, I would have understood had he left it or given it to another. When I turned asking who else wanted to go up against me, no one stepped forward. Feeling that it had been a worthwhile start to the day, I left to take a bath and see how the rest of the day would go.

There is a little bit more to do before they leave.