Aden of Aden

Chapter Four

I was not placed in the family suite.  It surprised me not to recognize the room, as it was one of the few with a balcony.  Having played in the castle courtyards, I had to spend time looking about the land below to think about why I had not considered learning of this chamber.  Princess Endullae told me things about the apartment even as she helped me settle.  The balcony was rather wide, as the curve of the black stones this close to the ground was not that obvious.  The room itself was also expansive, and I found Princess Endullae to place my various outfits about the chamber.

She concluded, “We are going to need to get you much better clothes.”

I made an appraisal of what she wore as I asked, “Are clothes that important?”

“No, but they are expected.  If you want to make your own statement, it helps if everyone accepts the setting.  You comport yourself properly.  You speak properly.  You dress properly.  You then let them know who you are, what you think, and how you expect them to behave.  Trust me, you can be a little tyrant and still have people smiling at you.”

Not wanting to find my upbringing at fault, I said, “I always felt I dressed more than elegantly.  Mother always stressed things about how I acted in order to protect my appearance.”

“These are not bad clothes, but, well, you’ll learn.  Speak to mother about it.  She does not like the fashion of nobles either.  Look at father.  Mother figured out the type of garments he wears, and she will go about in a similar manner of dress.  When functioning as a person of state, she however will dress as we are going to have you dress.”

“Oh, so you are talking about the wide skirts?”

I laughed with Princess Endullae in speaking about the fashions of nobility.  With my father being a knight, I certainly had some elaborate dresses.  Princess Endullae had married the heir to a duchy, so had direct experience in what she had worn to attract such an esteemed prince for a husband then as a part of her life as a high noble.

There was a knock on the door, then it opened with Queen Straekin entering.  Before Princess Endullae or I could respond to the royal presence, she turned to signal another that he could enter.  King Terish appeared young.  His lean body had height, although not as much as my father or oldest brother.  His light brown hair grew slightly long.  He came to the side of Queen Straekin, then entered to hug his oldest daughter before speaking to me.

“Aden, I hope you enjoy your time here.”

I curtsied before saying, “I am honored you are willing to have me.”

“Oh, Thiminy under my rule has always been gracious to visitors.  While others come in various fashions, you came by birth.  That makes me honor your presence with more than just graciousness.  I also know your history, Aden of Aden, so feel that you are more than capable of learning what my wife, my oldest daughter, or others might teach.  What you need to watch, Aden, is that Thiminy does get all sorts of visitors.  I hope you are not limited in what possibilities might be opened up for you.”

“I do not feel that I would be doing myself right by limiting my possibilities.”

“Then we will see in which direction you focus.  I am going to leave you in the hands of my wife and oldest daughter, and fate.  If you need me, if only to talk, I am usually up in the King’s Tower, although the guards can usually tell you whether to head in another direction.”

I tried to smile widely as I asked, “Like the library?”

“Well, yes, but it is a vast library, so even knowing I am in there does not mean you will find me.  Like Sauton, I however try to listen, so just yell out then listen to see if I yell back.  Now, it is time to get ready for supper.  My wife is going to have you dress your best and be on you best behavior.  Cannot promise that anyone else will, but that is just one of the lessons of nobility.”

Queen Straekin stayed while her husband left.  She then spoke with Princess Endullae about my wardrobe.  It felt good that they did not find fault with it, but only stressed that I needed to become used to better attire.  I noticed that neither lady was dressed in regal gowns, but accepting that I was the one needing the experience I was told to put on one of my better dresses.  When I left with the two ladies, I felt as if I was going to be put on display and not just forced to start practicing certain lessons.

It helped to see that Prince Lattalod also had to dress in formal attire.  He appeared older than I expected, and I learned that he was a few years older than Agrell.  The conflicts with his previous home had prevented him from following through with any courtship, but now again with his life at peace he was seeking a wife.  I did enjoy a conversation with Prince Lattalod about our training, but he had interests in hunting and politics that I did not share at all.

My days were not nearly as bad as expected.  Castle Thiminy offered a wide variety of experiences from those with whom I could talk, not all being people, to artwork presenting other legends and stories than those I knew.  The lessons were nearly constant, but the settings for showing up in elegant attire and acting in a certain manner were never redundant.  I found each day to make me glad that I decided to come to Castle Thiminy, although it was nothing like the experience I expected.

I did have time for myself, although was expected to still dress and act in a certain manner.  I did visit the library, usually speaking with some of those present.  I used whatever book I gained, either one required by my studies or a romantic comedy that I preferred for my own entertainment, as an opening topic in speaking with Sauton.  While he was a dragon, I found it interesting how much he knew on some very human topics or what associations he would form on a topic he knew nothing about.  On some days I would go riding, but on the animal I used for my equestrian training I still felt that time was a period of learning and not really a free period.

I knew it was the hour for supper, so was working to put up my hair in a proper hairstyle when I heard the knock at the door.  Calling out did not bring a response, but only another knock.  Wondering if Prince Lattalod was attempting another stunt to get me to join him on some outing, I moved to the door.

The sight of my father brought me joy.  I launched myself upon him, and was glad to feel him hold me for an extended hug and kiss.  He then set me down with his hands still on me to assure that I stayed still so he could look me over.  Feeling him then pull me close for another hug intensified my joy in seeing him.

He said, “Your mother will be arriving tomorrow, so expect to relate everything then.  Right now, just let me know that you are all right.”

I directed him to a chair, then moved to finish preparing my hair as I replied, “This was the right thing for me to do, Father.  This is a fascinating place.  Oh!”  I spun because I had to know, “Did you know about me being called Aden of Aden?”

“I was there the day your mother brought you to Sauton, Aden.  Her land had heard of King Terish.  That was part of the reason I ended up being brought there.  Your mother had plans for you from the beginning, Aden.  Why bringing you to the dragon became part of it, I cannot say.  Still, Sauton is a nice enough dragon as long as you do not attempt to take any of the gold.”

“But Aden of Aden?”

“Listen, for someone who mostly stays down in that cave, Sauton has his own influence.  I just felt that they wanted to differentiate things of you and your mother.”

“I have been to the castle before, Father, and do not remember being called that.”

I saw him shrug before he said, “Maybe you just did not register it.  When one of us speaks of you in our adult conversations, you are often identified as Aden of Aden.”

Wondering, I had to ask, “Does mother call me that?”

“You grew up speaking to her almost constantly, Aden.”

“I mean with you – in the adult conversations with you and Mother Mersidda.”

“No, Aden, she doesn’t.  Does it bother you that much?”

I had to think about that question.  Luckily, I did need to put my focus on my hair.  I however went through the motions slowly to assure I had time to consider my response to the question.

“It was just unexpected.  There were things I expected and did not expect in coming here.  Everything I imagined however was in the setting of being a young lady away from home having to be instructed.  Finding myself being called Aden of Aden was something I guess I took personal.”

“You stay yourself, Aden.”

I turned to present myself as I said, “But I am Aden of Aden, Father.  I accept that.  I am proud of my mother.  I am proud of you.  I want both of you to be proud of me.”

He stood while saying, “You cannot make us proud of you.  We are already proud of you.  What we hope is that you continue to have us proud of you.  You are very lovely, Aden.  May I escort you to supper?”

I certainly allowed my father to gain my hand.  What entertained me was having him go through certain formal motions.  I did not feel tested by him, but only given openings to show off for him.  My joy in having my father with me caused me to make a statement when Queen Straekin gave me a moment to speak.

The room went quiet, then she said, “Tur-go-oy-sin, not tur-go-oy-or.  As with most languages, the vulgar is usually a pun, or an intentional misuse, of a proper word.  To assure that you know what you said, the term ‘catvermor’ means ‘emperor,’ or ‘empress’ in the feminine, so you called me something I would prefer not to be called.  I am not just Queen of Thiminy.”

Not afraid of entertaining another lesson, I asked, “Is that my only mistake?”

“The only one of major concern.  Why have you sought to learn the language of my world?”

“I originally thought they were speaking Elvish.  Father has had us learn Dwarven, and Desatry.  There is an elf kingdom not that far away, and I know King Terish is working with them out in the desert, so I felt they were speaking Elvish.  They were however speaking of plans for the library, and I found it interesting enough to continue to learn the language.”

“Yes.  The reason for us training Lattalod to take over this kingdom is that Terish and I are planning to move to Davelda.  To truly make the move, there are two grand concerns.  There are people from my world attempting to figure out how to manage the vast library of my husband.”

While discussions at meals tended to be limited to less serious topics, I went ahead and said, “But the library is one of the things bringing notoriety to our land.”

King Terish replied, “My wealth is not.  With the death of Sauton, whenever that may be, the gold will go.  Lattalod will be given a stipend, but in most years this kingdom operates at a profit.  As for my library, there are many reasons it will remain.  Those of Davelda want something they cannot have.  They fact that they actually want the knowledge I however feel is something good, so I am encouraging them to work on ways to gain for Davelda what they can.”

I motioned that I accepted the words from the monarch, so was surprised when he continued to speak.  “Learning the language of Davelda however opens up possibilities for you, Aden of Aden.”

Princess Endullae said, “Don’t take him up on that, Aden.  Davelda is not an enjoyable place.”

“Daughter, it is a safe destination however.  Aden of Aden does know how to ride.  Why not see how she does riding one of your mother’s horses?  Maybe she could end up learning a more useful language than that of Davelda.”

Queen Straekin said, “That is a lesson that requires more than a simple addition to an already full schedule, my lord.  Still, Aden does put in some time riding every few days.  Maybe an excursion of a different sort can be done as a test.”

“I will leave it to you ladies to work out.”

“I will leave it to you, Aden, to determine if you want to develop this conversation further.  Now, Lattalod, what about your diversity in languages?”

I went back to eating allowing the conversation to move on.  My eyes did look to my father.  He saw my glance, finished what he was eating, then softly spoke to me while wiping his mouth.

“I told you Thiminy offered you a great diversity of opportunities.  Remember that Prince Venicht, Princess Debbish, and Prince Althery all went to live on other worlds.”

I replied, “That really was not my intent, Father.”

“Well, let’s see what your mother says about it.”

It is not really the conversation with Aden's mother that is important.