Aden of Aden

Chapter Thirteen

King Hobrique did come to my room the next morning to ask me about the young man.  I gained the impression that he had heard things from both of the sisters, but wanted to hear the facts from me.  After telling him what I could, he presented his arm saying that he would escort me to supper.  When I accepted, King Hobrique then let me know some other things the sisters had mentioned.

“My wife and Endullae spoke of taking you out riding.  I hope the situation has not spoiled any desire to move about my land.”

“No, Your Majesty.  In fact, it is something I really would like to do.”

“Well, those two can get each other in trouble.  Actually, it was with Chemiana that Debbish hurt her leg, although they both claim it was the dragon that did it and not whatever stunt they were attempting.  Still, Debbish and Endullae promised me that they would only be showing you around, so things should be safe enough.”

I had to ask, “You had no religious person to heal her?”

“Don’t let that cane fool you.  Debbish locked onto me when she heard about my land, and when I brought her here she set herself to proving herself its queen.  She is not just a lovely lady, but she is someone that can rule when I am absent.  I am not worried about what she might do, or really what Endullae might do, but what the two of them might get you into.”

“I really never knew them.  They were married and gone before I was born.”

“Well, let me say that Castle Thiminy is a dreary, scary place to go to.  Its black cones are oppressing, and I almost turned around.  I however saw dragons flying in the mountains, and felt that it would have people that could relate to some of the things I would speak about.  I met Debbish in the courtyard arguing with Althery.  She however turned from him to walk up to me.  When she heard me speak of dragons, I never found myself scared by Castle Thiminy again.  It has ever since been a wonderful, magical place.”

I felt compelled to say, “My father speaks of bragging about his success at dragon slaying so much that he felt the need to kill a dragon just to prove to his wives and the others of their land that he was not exaggerating.”

“I heard about your father.”  Actually acting as if he was embarrassed, King Hobrique admitted, “I knew about you, so I guess you assumed I would know of your father.”

“What I have been saying was that I did not know of you, so it surprises me to learn of people knowing of me.”

He stopped me before the doors to the dining room to say, “You come from a strong land with strong rulers, and strong people.  King Terish does not take credit for his land, but only speaks of giving those he rules a chance to prove themselves.  Stand proud of who you are, Aden of Aden.  Once the men know that you are available, they will be rushing to stand before you.”

“Well, I was told not to make a decision too quickly.”

“Probably from the very person who latched onto me no sooner than did I step into the courtyard of her home.  You’re looking for something, Aden of Aden.  I guess that you do not know what, but you are looking.  When you find it, why look further?”

I felt the answer to that was obvious, “Because I will not recognize it.”

“Because you will doubt that you do recognize it.  That is what I want my wife and Endullae to help you with.  I want them to teach you to be confident about yourself.  That cane of my wife does not show any weakness, but it pulls out the ignorant by having them think she is weak.  If there is one thing even the dragons of this land know, it is that she is able to rule this land.”

“I have enjoyed being with her.”

“And I have enjoyed having you about my home.  Now, let’s get something to eat.”

I found myself wishing that I had the relationship with my sisters that Queen Debbish and Princess Endullae showed with each other.  They spoke of going places about the land, but only after listing a number of businesses, people, and points of interests only to turn them down.  It was a very humorous exchange that I could never duplicate with my siblings, as I really did not associate with them enough to know how to read things about them.  While I felt close enough to my mother to manage such a routine, with her it would need to be practiced as her idea of witty remarks did not fall into the complete misdirection of Queen Debbish and Princess Endullae.

Mentioning it to them as we began riding, the ladies spoke of their knowledge of each other’s lands.  Both also spoke of going out and spending time with their people to assure that no hard feelings would occur due to any jests made.  While worlds apart, they had grown up learning about other worlds and had the contacts to manage getting letters to each other.  Not only did I lack the relationships with my siblings, but I really had little knowledge of where they would be or how to assure any message to them would arrive.

I saw things that supported what King Hobrique had said about his wife.  Queen Debbish moved about at times without her cane.  I found myself wondering if it was just a prop, a magical device carried in case of trouble, or just something that was only needed due to some condition of age and not a real necessity to her physical form.  She also spoke to fairies and races other than human with all acknowledging her status as their ruler just as King Hobrique had said.

When we moved to another world I was not surprised.  The sisters had not told me, but I had learned to recognize certain movements from my mount.  I fully recognized that opening portals was not easy.  While the horses managed the transition, I did not doubt that they were special animals trained in a really unique way.  I however noticed a change in the gait of my mount along with some movement of its neck and head that alerted me to an action that would put us on another world.

I had to agree that the gigantic flowers were something special.  There was not just a beauty in the world, but the aroma was really amazing as well.  I had to agree that it was a very nice place to visit, and when it was mentioned that we would eat our midday meal there I felt the time would be wonderful.

The sisters used the flowers as a method of teaching me on various topics.  With my parents being nobility, I had learned things about heraldry.  Mother had also instructed me on a number of finer arts.  I knew the various manners of working with thread or string.  The sisters pulled at the petals to provide various strands of colored material for various crafts, and sought to advance some of my techniques by teaching me things about the textures of various fibers.

I did not consider it wrong to have other interests.  The great flowers gained my interest as more than special sources of certain colored materials.  I went to study them from various angles thinking to sketch them later from memory, or asking to return another day with some chalks and paper.  The sisters did speak to me of drawing and painting, so I did not think they found my interests to be wrong.

Concerns for my safety were voiced.  I even have to admit that I considered them well spoken.  The possibility of gigantic bees or other creatures enlarged as part of the same ecology that produced the great flowers definitely presented itself as a believable.  I did think to keep in range of the sisters’ voices, so felt I was being concerned for my safety when I felt the ground shake before the sky turned black.

Having grown up in Thiminy, I had a familiarity with dragons.  While Sauton had been the first one I had actually spoken with, I had seen many others in my few years.  Father and those of Lord Rebitten’s land had taught us certain things to do in the case of a dragon attack, and I quickly responded hearing what I felt was the sound of great wings.

I saw the flash of lightning, then moved as a fire from plants with thick leaves gave me enough sight to tell I was not well protected from being seen.  The dragon was easily as a massive as Sauton or the dragon I had spoken to at Queen Debbish’s castle.  Luckily, it had not landed, so its sight had been more focused on where to put its feet than seeking me.  Hiding behind a boulder, I heard a voice that let me know I was not dealing with either dragon I had seen before.

“GIRL!  You might as well give up!  Come with me!”

I turned hearing a voice I did recognize saying, “No.  Do not go to him.”

Before I could say or do anything, I felt the impact of someone sending their body against me.  His arms came around me.  How he managed a world transfer with such an action I do not know, but as he stood I looked around to see a more arid environment.  Before I could say anything, and barely begun to pick myself off the ground, the young man that had twice come to my window pointed while giving a command.

“There is a city in that direction.  RUN!”

I saw the illumination from some distant lights in the direction he pointed.  I however looked to him.  He had been dressed in nice clothes when I saw him previously.  This outfit however seemed crude and poorly made.  A combination of cut bone sections, rock shards, and clay pieces covered his body with only poorly shaven hides to protect his skin.  His weapon clanked and I realized that it was pieces of beaten metal tied together.  From what I saw, I had to ask a question.

“You expect to kill a great wyrm with that?”

“Will I gain your honor using this, or must I do it with my bare hands?”

I picked myself up while saying, “An honorable relationship must start honorably.  We must be introduced.”  I took a few steps, then had to look back and say, “But should you live, I believe this is something to talk about.”

“No, sweet lady.  If I live, this will be something to brag about.  Now, GO!”

The sky was already dark, but I saw stars as if a normal period of being without the sun.  I however saw the celestial lights begin to disappear, and took off running to the illumination ahead.  I really knew nothing about how to move between realities, but saw a strange shimmer before seeing the form of a great dragon rush past.  I darted beneath one of the small, gnarled thorny trees and kept moving toward the lights in the sky from the distant city as I heard the dragon scream.

“BOY!  That girl is MINE!”

“NO!  We haven’t been introduced!”

I did not really listen to anything more, but only trusted that the dragon would focus on the young man.  Since he had caused me to change worlds again, I felt he could make his own escape.  Wondering how I would manage my own, I rushed ahead trusting that those in the city would have some manner of protecting themselves.

It did not surprise me to see men on the outskirts of the town looking toward the dragon.  They let me pass with simple phrases concerning me finding safety.  The buildings were made of wood, which surprised me as I had really seen no trees that could provide lengths of timber.  I did not really recognize the weapons the men were holding, but trusting they could possibly work to stop the threat I looked around for something to help me determine where I should go.

There were horses, but they stood around with their heads low as if not wanting to be noticed.  One however had its head high.  I had been in Thiminy enough to recognize a certain breed of horse.  Now that I had ridden one for a number of days I felt very familiar with the type of animal.  Hoping that my theft would be understood, I ran to the steed.

I heard sounds of surprise when I released the reins of the mount, then climbed into the saddle while commanding, “HOME!  Take me HOME!  Please, I need to go HOME!”

As I had noticed in previous situations with this breed of horse, its head went up and down in an indication of it understanding.  I then noticed it move and it did not surprise me to no longer see the town around me.  I let it know to run, and the horse took off with me continuing to tell it to take me home.

Of course the person who could go to Davelda to get that horse knows how to move through realities.