A Wish for Hope

Chapter Twenty-Nine

The young man advanced toward the throne demanding, “What did you say?  You said you won’t assign a mayor to the community?  It’s not like I am asking to be the Count of Chetorly.”

I rose to signal a couple of my own people along with some from Davelda, then stepped up to face the youth before saying, “Don’t think I am unfamiliar with your ways.  I am as much a champion of my Goddess as Jelnaya is of Fergush.  We do discuss our religions.  Young man, if you had come with some authority from Dabogda, I would have to give your request some weight.  You are only claiming heredity to a position that is not guaranteed by lineage.”

An elder lady, one introduced as his mother, said, “Son, step back.”

The young man declared, “I don’t have to listen to her.”

“You sure as Hell don’t,” I returned.  “You also don’t have to listen to the hundreds that Jelnaya killed.  You don’t have to pay attention to the lack of people in your county, or the church there, or the absence of native people in this castle.  I am however, for a few brief seconds, going to have you listen to the fact that Jelnaya is not ruler of this land because she killed all those people.  She is here because she did as her god told her to do.  If you also do not listen to that, you could well be communing with those very people in a very short time.”

“Are you really going to kill me?”

“Are you really going to have me consider that?”

I expected the voice of the mother to grow louder, although a number had to pause as the voice of another lady rang out, “Did someone request the council of Dabogda?”

I quickly replied, “Actually no, which I mentioned as being the problem.”

The young man was also in a rush to speak.  “Keir, this – girl – does not belong here.”

The lady, clearly showing certain items on her clothes stating her position as a priestess of Dabogda, returned, “Actually, she does.  Jelnaya did not truly consider herself the duchess of this realm until a priest of Dabogda authorized it.  Also, Jelnaya did not go after this lady, she is no girl, until after that authorization.  Honestly, of all the people Jelnaya could have gained, Honored Neselle is the least threatening.  Others she associates with, especially those of her family, would not have been so nice.”

While genuflecting after thinking bowing might not be good enough, the young man asked, “Will you assign me?”

“I believe you are caught in an impasse.  I won’t, because she won’t.  She won’t, because I won’t.”  The priestess then curtsied to me while saying, “I was sent because there are important positions to be filled.  As a conduit for He-Who-Assigns, I shall be needed.”

I had to admit, “I was not given the authority to assign positions, although I am taking names.”

“And Jelnaya will listen to your recommendations.”  The priestess then turned to the young man to say, “Lithyll, make yourself useful and head to the church on the outskirts of your home.  There are more fox people coming to us, and it would do you well to escort them back here.”

The young man bowed to the priestess, then to me, before moving to his mother.  As the elder lady directed her son out of the building, I looked to the one that arrived.  Seeing signals of recognition pass between some locals, I accepted the priestess as not being a stranger to the area.  While the churches of this world tended to be spread out, the gods kept representatives active.  Just because the priestess claimed to have a duty here, did not mean she would become a permanent resident of the castle.

After welcoming her, I said, “My Goddess has not spoken to me as if Jelnaya was close to succeeding at her mission.”

“No, but she did reach a point where decisions needed to be made once success or failure was gained.  I was told to come, as things might happen here as things are done there.  I am Keir Alnerra, Honored Neselle.”

I looked to one of those of Davelda and commanded, “Make certain this priestess has a clean room.”  Seeing the man rush off, I then asked, “Keir Alnerra, should I trust Dabogda to keep you informed, or should we trade notes?”

“Actually, I believe our problem will be on what happens in our presence and not our deities telling us different things.  We will need to trade notes simply to inform the other of events particular to our service.”

It was not the sight of a fox lady that caught my attention, but how she looked at the priestess, so I interrupted our little exchange to ask, “Veransh, can I help you?”

The fox lady genuflected before saying, “Sorry, Honored Neselle, but I was wondering if this priestess would be available.”

Keir Alnerra turned to ask, “Of course, I’m available.  What do you need?”


“Oh, you are far beyond atonement.  What will be required is a complete change of attitude.  That no rite can assure, but only your life.”

I saw the strain on Veransh’s features, so waited for what the lady sought to recall.  “Priestess, could you… a simple rite could help our attitude.”

“Looking to words to solve a matter of one’s heart can only result in a neglect of the heart and a waste of words.”

Hearing statements of agreement from those of Davelda I thought was cute.  Being among the children of Davelda, I knew the complaint that the immortals put a lot of emphasis on quoting adages.  Not having actually spent time under their tutorage, I could only wonder if they had a similar statement in their book of quotes or were speaking in favor of adding what the priestess said to their database.

Veransh turned as if noticing the words, then approached Keir Alnerra to whisper, “Priestess, I believe Keleaf killed her child.  Some sort of rite will really help her.”

The priestess replied, “That indeed is a horrible thing, but do not think your situation is a singular problem.  What should concern you is what did you do?”


“What about your own children?”

Veransh fell to her knees, then wailed, “I CONVINCED THEM – NO!”

Seeing the lady run crying, I signaled for some of my own people to follow her.  I then looked to the priestess.  She was looking around with me noticing her pause to examine each of those in the room.  Wondering if the lady would confuse my animal people with those of the present situation, I asked what I felt to be a basic question.

“Keir, should I expect the arrival of those who are not foxes?”

The priestess turned back to me to say, “You would think so.  While Honored Duchess Jelnaya might not be a singular figure, she is unique enough to keep a focus on her.  Still, each god has their own personality and style of authority.  I feel that the deity responsible for these fox people is more like my god or Cloript, and not really particular to Fergush.  While Jelnaya is respected, and her methods actually needed, there is a different attitude about the resolution.”  She curtsied while saying, “Honored Duchess Jelnaya actually did her realm a service in seeking you, Honored Neselle.  Thank you for coming.”

“Jelnaya is my niece, and a friend.  She has been a wonderful addition to my life, and I would do myself a disservice by not taking advantage of situations to keep her in my life.  She should bring joy to this land, although I cannot say that you will be pleased in her style of management.”

“Dabogda is not the one to be concerned, but Samayer.  I will be about simply doing my duty.  Thank you for your graciousness, Honored Neselle.”

As the priestess left, one of those of Davelda asked, “Princess Neselle, were there things said in your exchange with the priestess that we should be aware of?”

Actually wishing that one of my own people had been astute enough to ask the question, I replied, “If you haven’t already been praying for Jelnaya then you are at fault.”

Hearing another soft chorus of agreement, I saw the one who asked seek to save face by saying, “It is just that certain matters here are different than those of Davelda.  Something might be lost in our manners of translation.”

“I do not worship a god of this world, but you see me recognized.  Trust that Jelnaya is being recognized as well.  The difference between her and me is that I am in a place where I feel the love of family and the friendship of those who are willing to accept me.  Jelnaya is in a situation where opposition to the gods has been allowed to flourish, so feels no love.  We need to pray not just to seek some support for her, but to hopefully have her continue to feel some love.”

One of the ladies of Davelda present asked, “But, Princess Neselle, are you saying the priestess was not here in a demonstration of love from her god?”

Having a life of providing divine guidance, I easily sought to answer the question.  “That priestess serves a god of the same pantheon as Jelnaya’s god.  There are historic relationships that need to be maintained for consistency.  Still, Dabogda has been responsive to the needs of this realm, and has not denied the worthiness of Jelnaya.  We, who serve Goddesses of other worlds, have no duty to this land other than our love for Jelnaya.  For us then to not pray for her is the same as not desiring to love her, and that should shame us.”

There were again words of acknowledgement with one man saying, “I don’t know if it is possible to pray harder, but I will definitely work to pray more for Princess Jelnaya.”

“Honestly, where even those of this land probably need to seek their own hearts and the counsel of their gods is in the matter of these foreigners.  They probably need our love, because I fear they may have lost their own.  Jelnaya could well end up needing our love so she has the proper attitude to help those who truly need it.”

The lady that had spoken before asked, “Princess Neselle, do you need us at the moment?”

“You can trust Jelnaya.  She sought me with the belief I could handle the duties here.”

“Then I pray you feel our love, because those of us of Davelda will be praying for our princesses.”

Jelnaya is not really looking for love, but answers.