Aden of Aden
Father supported travel with Princess Endullae. He said that being able to say that you personally knew certain people was important in some social circles. Hearing others speak support of those words, I found myself encouraged by a number of voices telling me to go with the elder princess on her journey to the middle sibling. Glancing at Father, I saw him shrug, and I simply smiled considering that the matter of me traveling had been decided.
While I had been included in the evening socials with the noble family, I felt it to simply be another way of providing me with training. With my mother and father present however the conversations seemed more relevant to me. Even though the focus was on Lattalod and getting him acclimated to this land and its concerns, I found myself taking part feeling I belonged in the group of nobles.
The next morning mother spoke of checking on the wardrobe being made for me. I did not consider the outfits as anything more than garments to be used in my training. Mother mentioned allowing the quality of clothes to be nothing more than passing coverings to be a waste of time and expense. The attire however was to stress my own importance to the people, so I should concern myself with their quality, color, and style to assure that I would feel good wearing them and others would think good of me in seeing me dressed in them. Listening to her words I found myself agreeing that I needed to assure the wardrobe of being garments I would desire to put on my body and not simply store away in some trunk.
Hearing Princess Endullae tell me at breakfast to meet her at the stables after changing into an appropriate outfit, I settled to enjoy a day of riding. While my horse expected to be rode in a certain manner, I did enjoy the time on the animal. I thus left the morning meal looking forward to seeing where Princess Endullae might have us ride.
Arriving at the stables, I saw that she had two stallions. The horses were mostly a soft brown, although would have patches of a lighter or darker color. Both were supplied with a more substantial saddle than I usually rode on. While I assumed one of the horses was to be mine, I stopped in front of the stables and waited for the princess to address the issue.
She said, “Aden of Aden, this horse here is Stanley.”
“Stanley?” I replied.
“Actually Standing with Frog on Lily Pad the Third, but he is called Stanley. Mine is Andy. He is actually Song of the Forest the Sixth, but he neighs a lot. The joke started by Althery, I believe and not Neselle, that he wanted to be known for singing in the fields, and in the water, and on the road, and – and – and, so he came to be called Andy. I like Andy, so I am going to have you ride Stanley.”
I approached to take the reins for Stanley, and as I petted the horse who stood with good form I asked, “What type of horses are these?”
“That is a long story, but the simple answer is that these are from Davelda, mother’s home. They are very intelligent. You will find that they can obey in some amazing ways. It helps to speak to the horse.”
I climbed into the saddle, then asked, “Do they understand the usual signals?”
Stanley had his head go up and down even as Princess Endullae said, “They’re not really jumping horses, but talk to them if you feel a need for them to jump. The usual steering commands they will obey.”
“Can they understand us?”
Stanley again had his head go up and down with Princess Endullae laughing as she said, “Yes, most of the simple stuff. Andy and Stanley have been with me for a number of years, so they are familiar with Germahut.”
“Well, since they are from Davelda, I guess they would understand Daveldan. You mother however gave me the impression she was speaking of another language.”
“Tell you what. Let’s take a simple ride, then we might discuss this other language.”
“Thiminy is not that big. Where are we riding to?”
She mounted Andy, then said, “How about you follow me and find out?”
She had her mount take off. While I usually rode my specially trained mount, I was familiar with riding other types of horses. Assuming Stanley could rush off like Andy, I gave the signal and indeed found myself being propelled forward after Princess Endullae.
We rushed through the town then along the road that ran next to the river. When Princess Endullae shot off away from the water, I let my horse know to follow. I became alert when she shouted out the name of my horse, and I saw her slow down to assure that the animal saw her pointing. Suddenly I had my mount halt the rush as I found myself surrounded by snow.
There were no mountains around us. I began to shiver in the icy air. Princess Endullae told me not to dismount, as she was going to bring us someplace warmer. The command she spoke was to my horse, and I gave it the freedom to move. As it took off, I suddenly found myself on an arid grassland. Seeing mountains in the distance, although recognizing they were not the peaks of Veriddian, I felt a need to ask a question.
“The horses do this?”
“They can do a lot. Just how much they can see is questionable. You need to be able to direct them, although they know enough to get back home. If you tell them to take you home, they might take you back to Thiminy, to wherever they call home, but they also might take you to Davelda. If you wind up in Davelda, the people there will see about getting you back to where you call home.”
“So, my knowing Daveldan could be a help?”
“No, because Brullusk and the other horse handlers can speak ‘the’ language.”
I caught the inflection, but to get her to explain I went ahead and asked the question, “You mean there is a language that all can understand?”
“Yes, and you gain it by traveling to other worlds. If you pay attention, you can probably notice that the mouths of those down in the library do not match what you hear them saying. You cannot notice it from father or mother, or me for that matter, because we all know Germahut. We can actually talk the local language. Get us someplace strange, or simply get us around a new traveler to Thiminy, and you will notice that they converse with us without any problem even though they do not know Germahut.”
“So, how do you learn this language?”
“It’s complicated, but the easiest manner is simply to travel. It can be taught, as father’s world actually had a form of that language as its native tongue. Uncle Ferrigote speaks of being able to understand father even though he and father were from completely different worlds. The first part of the lesson, as with almost all lessons, is the desire to learn.”
More curious than truly interested, I asked, “How much traveling does one need to do?”
“It’s complicated, so just focus on the first part. Do you care to learn?”
I thought, then asked, “That is part of the reason to go to your sister?”
“No, I just want to visit my sister. Mekurry and I no longer rule a land. Our time is our own. I want to go visit Debbish, and there is nothing to stop me. You are being invited to go with me. Do you want to go or not?”
“Yes. I’ll go. Do you actually have a destination for our ride today?”
She laughed, then signaled her horse to again rush off. Dashing around was more what my brothers would do when riding a horse. I however knew that the animals occasionally did enjoy pushing their limits. I set myself on the saddle then gave Stanley the signal to follow, and smiled as I felt the power of the horse as it rushed off.
I found myself suddenly passing through a river valley filled with green leafy plants that I felt were ferns. I did not look too closely below me as there were large creatures around us. They did not seem able to react quickly, so our fast pace easily had us move among them safely. I then found myself going through a rocky landscape before coming out on a dirt road through a forest that looked familiar.
Princess Endullae slowed down, then said, “Aden of Aden, stay in the saddle. I doubt you will come to any harm, but these people can get curious. However, I promised my husband something.”
While I felt the terrain looked familiar, there was no doubt I was somewhere else in coming into the town. The architecture and people were completely non-human. They had hairy squat bodies, but faces that came out to a point where a black nose marked the peak. They did not appear as rats, but as I tried to identify what they were Princess Endullae dismounted to step up to a stall and dicker for something in a manner I considered very familiar.
It was strange being able to understand only one side of the transaction. I could understand Princess Endullae feeling she was speaking in the language I considered native to us of Thiminy. The one she bargained with however spoke in what I could only detect were squeaks and clicks of the teeth. I however could not help but look at the items set on the boards of the stall as I heard Princess Endullae say something to hopefully close the transaction.
“Don’t you want to leave this miserable place? Just for a few hours enjoy such a pleasant day?” The return seemed more accusatory than a normal reply. “Drop just a little more, and I will buy you out.”
There was more to the transaction, but I could tell that Princess Endullae had the advantage. There was one point where the being started squeaking at a loud voice, but the princess merely stressed the wonderful weather and how the surrounding buildings blocked a really nice breeze. Finally, a deal was made with Princess Endullae returning to her mount to gain a rather large purse.
Hefting the amount of coins, she said, “Well, Aden of Aden, I believe that I will return with enough that I will be willing to share.”
Suddenly, one of the beings at a stall across the road turned to clearly say, “Aden of Aden?” although I could not understand anything more. I however could understand Princess Endullae, although what I heard her say did not fully enable me to make out the reason I was identified. It was not until the entire contents of the stall were being loaded on our horses that I was told what had gained the interest of the being.
“You have an invitation to come back and speak to the people. They are a rather curious people, and it was recognized what I called you was not a usual name.”
I had to ask, “Why do you continue to call me that? My mother is not around to cause confusion with whom you are speaking.”
“You forget that Thiminy is my home. I grew up with Sauton available to speak with. To me you are Aden of Aden.”
Finding fault with those words, I replied, “I did not know you, Princess Endullae. You were already across the desert by the time I was born. Lattalod is a few years older than me and your years as a girl even further back in time than he. You cannot say that you were influenced by events of my life.”
“You have continued to speak to Sauton. There is something to that dragon. He would soar across the desert to check on me. Chemiana is on the other side of the mountains, but the Forshin Valley is too populated for him to feel safe. Where I lived was rather populated as well until all the wars broke out. Sauton would actually arrive checking on me, and the people did what they could to speak to him as well as the presence of a great dragon would provide some peace.”
I had to allow that I did find some fascination in speaking with a dragon. Considering how much he seemed to have an effect on my life, something of which I was completely unfamiliar until coming to Thiminy, I accepted that Princess Endullae had more of a relationship with Sauton. Queen Straekin did mention that she considered him a part of her family, so had to accept that Princess Endullae thought of the dragon in a way I did those of the holding in which I grew up.
Looking around, I found myself saying, “I guess I have even more to learn.”
Princess Endullae replied, "That is life. Even those who want a simple life find themselves learning. The problem with life is that no matter how much you learn, you will never know what life is. What people truly fear is destiny, as there are moments when you can find yourself on a path to greatness. Most fail, and people try to avoid the failure. My parents, and Uncle Ferrigote, teach that you might as well as have a good story to tell even it is of how things went wrong. You have been set to have a fascinating story to tell, Aden of Aden. I hope to live long enough to hear you speak of it, if not actually have moments like this where I can be a part of it.”
I let those words satisfy me for the moment. Princess Endullae did not ride fast as we left the town. She spoke of some of the worlds we had passed through along with others that she considered interesting. We had lunch on the porch of a shack near a lake fed by a fall of water. With the meal she had me taste a delicious treat she spoke of as being the actual desire in going to the merchant, although if she had approached speaking of it she would have spent more than she did for just the little cakes. I laughed hearing her mention both sides of the conversation with the merchant, as I learned the eruption after the deal had been almost closed was the revelation that the price would include the special treats. Feeling satisfied that I had been able to witness a wonderful moment, I looked at the scenery accepting that my life was definitely on a path I had not expected.
Aden spends time with her father.