Aden of Aden
I felt as if I was with my mother during my time with Queen Debbish. She assigned me chores, but stayed with me as I did them and would speak with me. She told me a number of wonderful stories that I had never heard before. My time in the royal castle had allowed me time to spend time with King Terish and Queen Straekin, but listening to their middle daughter, middle child, speak of them had me think even better of them. When I spoke of some stories I heard from my mother, Queen Debbish however turned the conversation in a direction I had not expected.
“That was a tale of your father, Aden. How about a tale of your mother?”
I had to stop my work as I replied, “She doesn’t tell those. She however recently allowed me to read the letters from her father and oldest brother. They were all apologies.”
“I heard you say that.”
“Mother speaks of a happy childhood, but I have not heard any stories of it. Her promise to me was that she would not stop listening to me, as she said that was the fault in her family. The letters only support those words.”
“How about Mersidda?”
I really had not spent much time with her, but I found myself able to answer the question. “Yes, she speaks of her family. She was not much older than I am when presented to Father however.”
“So, are you planning on quickly finding a man?”
“I agree with finding the right man, which is why I would want my mother’s advice. She won’t do that however.”
Queen Debbish signaled for me to leave off the task I was doing, and assigned a servant to do it before saying, “You’re not bossy. I would stay away from someone too high on the social ladder. Either that or someone from a small land like Thiminy. Father and mother like doing things for themselves, for completely different reasons, but most large societies have a number of workers to handle all the tedious tasks. Father would not trust them however, and mother is not going to sit around and look pretty.”
I had to admit, “I don’t think I could sit around and look pretty either.”
“Yes, so rule out anyone that brags about their staff or how easy of a life you would live. You like horses?”
“Yes. Lord Rebitten raised animals, and I enjoyed being a part of his holding.”
“That’s good. Every land needs a source of income, and if you can relate to the industry then you can usually relate to the people. You dress nicely, and I do see items of jewelry on you.”
I had to admit, “Mother does stress always appearing your best.”
“And you do it well. Even doing what I had you doing, you did things to preserve your attire along with your hands and face. You thus look for a man that has some wealth. If a man speaks of his land usually engaged in some conflict, do not allow the relationship to advance until he speaks of peace.”
Considering her advice very good, I asked, “Are these things your parents taught you?”
“Not really. Okay, father did tell me to look to the industry of the land. He said if I could not speak with the man about what his people did, then I would simply be a pretty face. I found Hobrique to speak of dragons, and when he spoke of his land having the creatures I latched onto him. Most people speak of how harsh this land is, but I love it.”
“What did your mother tell you?”
“To assure that the man would allow me the authority to rule. Again the reason was to not become just a pretty presence.”
Thinking over my own life, I said, “I want a man that will talk to me.”
“Then interrupt their recitations or music with comments, jokes, or little presentations of your own. Find a man that will actually appear to enjoy hearing you, and quick to reply to anything you say. Men are actually hard to speak with, as they have their own interests. Mother however always stressed that you listen to your husband so you can put him at fault for not listening to you. I grew up watching my parents sit at court with their shoulders almost touching, and sometimes breaking out in laughter at some comment one would whisper to the other. I really do not have that in my life, as Hobrique gets a little too serious during occasions of state, but he does freely speak with me at other times.”
The thought of the type of conversation, and the instructions I was given, had me think of my mother. I had to turn my head as dark thoughts entered my mind. It hurt me to think that my mother had not even covered such basic information with me.
Hearing Queen Debbish command me to speak, I fought to keep my voice steady as I replied, “I understand, but I still wished my mother had given me advice like that.”
“Honestly, it was not her place. Since she did not know in which direction you would turn, the instructions might not have helped you. What were your other options besides Castle Thiminy?” Before I could speak, she said, “Wait, as I believe I can guess. Your father is from Serussdal, so I assume you could have gone to family there.”
I replied, “Duke Nokkamer is into politics, but mostly deals with religious issues. Still, if I wanted a reference for a gentry, he would have been a good contact. My older sister used him, and she married a gentry in the mountains of Veriddian. I wanted to try for nobility.” Before she could ask, I supplied more information. “I have no family in Fedrukin, but Baron Neshirrig would have been a good reference for the elves. I have to assume they have humans in their land just as the dwarves do.”
“Well, I can tell you that dealing with the dwarves, or the elves, takes a different set of instructions. Don’t blame your mother.”
“I don’t blame her, but I just wish she would talk to me. This is a big decision. It is a major step in my like, and I wish she was here.”
“It is a big decision, Aden. Still, it is your decision. Don’t let me, your parents, or even fate take from you the fact that it is your decision.”
Hearing a word, I felt I had an opportunity to turn the conversation onto a topic that would not trouble me. “Fate?”
“Has Lattalod tried to hit on you?”
While I did not see how the question fit with my inquiry, I still answered, “Uh, yes, but he hasn’t done anything more than try to get me to take part in his lessons.”
“Still, there was opportunity. Other lads might be a little more forward. Don’t let things like that make a decision for you.”
“Oh, yes. Queen Straekin stresses that. ‘You can disrupt the steps of the courtship, but do not disrupt the courtship.’”
“Yes. In fact I stressed to my girls the same things my mother told me, which was to disrupt things during the courtship. I told them to keep the lads on their toes.”
She then turned the discussion on what things I enjoyed. The actual lessons were on my talents. I did enjoy pottery, and found Queen Debbish to show me some rock creatures that she would chip out in her spare time. We both spoke of enjoying the art of painting, although laughed as we talked about how horrible our own pictures would come out. Princess Endullae showed up as we worked with musical instruments, and I enjoyed hearing verses I did not know of songs that I enjoyed.
That evening I was thinking about some of the tunes as I worked with a flute, only to hear a lyre being tuned. Curious, as I felt I recognized the sounds, I moved to open the shutters. I looked down to see the young man I had seen before, and he almost dropped his lyre as he looked up to me.
“What Dozzrine child are you?” he asked.
I replied, “If you would present yourself properly then introductions could surely be arranged.”
“Yes, well –“
“I assume you are going to claim to again be here on a dare.”
“Uh, no, actually – Who are you?”
I again stressed, “If you would present yourself properly, I would be glad to introduce myself.”
He started picking up things around him as he said, “I’m sorry. This is getting out of my hands. Actually, it was out of my hands to begin with, but – I’m sorry.”
He rushed away. There was no barrier in his way this time. The rocky landscape presented its own hindrance to any advancing army, and each home was already fortified against any attack. I watched as he rushed off, although quickly lost sight of him as he went around a boulder.
Unlike Thiminy, here soldiers did give chase. I watched as they raced after the man with some gaining the backs of steeds to hopefully outrun him. The soldiers however were quickly yelling out that they lost sight of the man, which had one clearly of rank ride up near my window.
“Dear lady, could you tell us who that man was?”
I answered, “I’m sorry, but we have not been introduced. All I can say is that I saw him at Castle Thiminy under similar circumstances where he also ran away.”
The door to my room opened, and I saw Queen Debbish and Princess Endullae enter with the royal lady moving up beside me to say, “General Lenod, my sister has been attempting to give me some information, but it seems to present a situation not of a criminal nature. Let me speak with Aden and my sister some more, then my husband might be in contact with you to provide some orders. Until then, just assure that your men are on full alert.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
She then turned to me to ask, “Aden, was this the young man that ran away from you earlier?”
I replied, “Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Did he tell you his name?”
“He did not this time, Your Majesty. He introduced himself as Nekulda earlier. Both times he wanted me to tell him my name, but I kept telling him to present himself so we could be formally introduced.”
Princess Endullae replied, “That was the right thing to do, Aden.”
Queen Debbish said, “Yes, but we are left with a quandary. I mean, why here and Thiminy?”
I tried to answer, “He did ask which of the Dozzrine girls I was, so he knows of your family.”
Princess Endullae replied, “Well, not enough to know about you. Considering that he can move through realities however makes that odd.”
Queen Debbish said, “Yes, as in such circles anything about our family is considered important. Still, the matter seems harmless enough. Let me however go speak with my husband, and maybe Father. Aden, I hope you can calmly return to whatever you were doing and eventually rest.”
I replied, “Well, considering I spoke to a great dragon the night before and was not troubled, I doubt this will bother me.”
No, but something else does bother her.