A Matter of Who I Am: Cp 41

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A Matter of Who I Am
Chapter Forty-One


What struck me by surprise was hearing Namill sound out, “Marekel, you’re in armor as well.”

That momentary pause is often feared as providing an opening for the opponent to attack. What I had learned is however to give the interruptions some respect, as they often had importance. In this case my pause enabled Namill to break from combat, although I only stood to watch as she rushed to the Spring of Cormorphin.

I knew there were spiders that lived in the water, but I did not think of them as easily moving through the liquid. The size of the pool however I felt would not force Namill to swim. Her long legs could surely stretch out enough to enable her to climb out. Moving to the pool, as I felt the fight with Namill would possibly continue after the rescue, I wondered about the source of her spider form as the pool suddenly erupted in bubbles.

Every man, except Chering who was encased in some webs, began cutting straps and otherwise removing their protective clothing. I did not doubt any of them would have jumped in. A few probably desired to go in anyway. I let the men know that I would watch for other threats as they put their focus on going after the women.

Just as Marekel and Horseman Askerly basically stepped out of their clothes and prepared to dive through the foam, they yelled about seeing a hand lift from the water to grab on the side of the pool. Other men spoke of Ulemai being seen helping Namill out of the liquid. While the baroness could not swim in her protective garments, it seemed the lady worked her hands and feet to grab the rocky edges and use what strength she had to lift her and her mother. No longer was the elder lady in the form of a spider. As Lt. Nehelsom found himself in position with Vulge to reach down to the ladies, Ulemai lifted a free hand to point and give commands.

“Askerly, Nehelsom, Sephex, into the pool! Get Major Hobron if he still lives. I think it’s about to go!”

Lt. Nehelsom said, “Major Hobron fought when he should not, Baroness. He took another blow and fell down the rift to his death.”

Vulge asked, “Are you all right, Baroness?”

The young lady replied, “I have my mother, Vulge. I’m fine.”

“I’m a Navy man. I can swim in rough water. Dumourl is here to help you out. I’m going in. If you drop, I’ll be there for you.”

With Dumourl and others also wanting to get into the Spring of Cormorphin, I moved to work with Marekel to help the ladies once out of the water. Namill no longer had the grand body of the spider or the multiple legs. She did not look good, but I sensed she would heal without any taint from her days as a monster. At a yell from Vulge, I moved to free Chering so he could immerse himself in the special water.

Those of Davelda had their immortality from science. The process had destroyed their reproductive system, although somehow enabling the organs that created new life to regenerate their bodies. My Grandmother Straekin had her reproductive organs restored with her immortality retained due to the acts of a God. A few others had somehow gained a similar gift, but most babies on Davelda were due to another scientific process that had been developed.

All spoke of a strange burning pain while in the water. I could not say I saw any play of light or other effect giving evidence of something magic or divine happening. There was a lot of bubbling present in the liquid, so I expected to hear complaints of the water being hot. None spoke of extreme heat, and their skins did not show any indication of suffering from a high temperature. While they spoke of a burning sensation, their words had none of the tones of those truly experiencing pain.

We prepared to leave as the pool began to churn more erratically and we heard groans from the rock. None took time to determine if they had gained any blessing, but only did things to assure that nothing important would be left behind. Fearing the whole mountain would collapse around us, ending our lives whether we all could live forever or not, we gathered our things, what treasure we could find, and left the chamber containing the Spring of Cormorphin.

Considering that it took days to move through the passage to reach the final room, I did not think it wise to return the way we went. I did not have the knowledge to understand the omniverse to the point where I could go exactly where I wanted, but fleeing where I did not want to be was another matter. After checking the options with Dumourl, I opened a portal to another world and had those with me move through to a place where we did not need to fear for our lives.

After explaining things of moving through other worlds, Vulge asked, “But, Jelnaya, you can get us back?”

I used what knowledge I had to answer, “Well, Davelda is about three weeks in that direction. I cannot determine the direction to Thiminy. Home, I’m talking about Nehallum, is about two weeks in that direction. Petty, my horse, which happens to be in Chaliger, is less than two weeks in that direction. Since I have people who need to get back to Chaliger, and it is the relatively closest destination, we go in that direction.”

Chering asked, “Why relative?”

“Because this is the omniverse, and I am not good enough to say more than I did. If we had Grandfather Terish with us, he could speak with confidence and probably mention shortcuts. All I am going to claim is that I will get you back safely.”

Dumourl said, “I will work with Jelnaya to assure our path. Don’t worry, we will get to Chaliger.”

More than finding some game, then having all mention their wounds were mending, there were sounds of grateful pleasure when Ulemai mentioned feeling she was still pregnant. Namill was the only one who did not show signs of improvement, although I heard a number mention she should be happy to be alive at all. With some carrying meat and other things we found to be used as food, we did what we could to safely manage our way.

Since Dumourl and I could speak with all, and Sephex along with the men from Davelda had magic translators, we were not afraid of going into towns. Our real concern was Namill, although the locales provided other benefits that helped assure us of being able to treat any sicknesses. Of course I spread the reputation of Fergush, but I would also accompany the men to assure them a good time in foreign lands. Those of Chaliger had the experience to maintain some dignity even in alien surroundings. Sephex looked a lot different after shaving his head and face due to finding dark growth with none of the white of age, although his change had the other men speak of things they were noticing with their bodies.

Of course we speculated on what happened at the pool. Having Ulemai mention that she did not feel there was any taint of evil in her mother had us attempt to gather facts to support the claim. Hearing Namill mumble about feeling herself burning had us stop one day, although seeing the lady wake up had us quiz her about what happened at the pool.

Namill listened to what we said, then replied, “The water from the pool was from a divine source. When my monstrous form entered, it was purged. My mind is at peace, as the forces that were acting upon me are no longer there. It will still take time for my body to restore itself. Whether I will live forever or just a normal life, I cannot say.”

Those words became the focus of our belief until finally returning to Chaliger. Namill did not give us any reason to fear her, and I had to admit she had a pleasant attitude I had not noticed previously. While I had spoken a belief that the next portal I opened would have us near Chaliger, all cheered in realizing they came back near the marsh where Marekel had met Degretet. There was a group of soldiers keeping watch at the place, and they rejoiced seeing us appear. Seeing the sky dark, none argued with Marekel when he spoke words of us continuing to travel until reaching the safety of his castle.

The volcano we had seen had done more than erupt. The lands to the west suffered greatly. We all felt relief in moving to another world in hearing that the mountain we had moved through had indeed collapsed. Our conversation then shifted from whether what happened was due to Namill entering the pool or whether the volcano coincidentally erupted at the same time.

Ulemai’s mother suggested that the monsters sensed the coming eruption, and that had caused them to spread out. The volcano had also smoked in the previous decade, which had disturbed the creatures living in the dead mountain. Their expanding influence had the people take more notice of their presence with the death and destruction to some lands forcing the people to respond. Only Marekel and his men had concluded on the source being where Namill had laired. It was his experience with the place, including finding his body not to age, that had him think to return when the volcano again started acting. He, Namill, and others could only credit their gods with the coming of Degretet to have them start their journey, and as a divine champion I preferred that explanation as well.

We stayed in Chaliger for a time. My major reason was to assure that Namill was no longer a threat. She however improved in health, and I found her relationship with her daughter, son-in-law, and the people of the land to become very positive. When I mentioned a desire to move on, Dumourl and those of Davelda said they would leave as well.

The next morning I believed we all showed signs of the celebration the night before. Marekel and Ulemai wanted to express their friendship with the men from Davelda and me wanting to do the same. I turned with the belief that Vulge was just going to say something nice to as I prepared Petty for travel.

He held out an icon while saying, “Jelnaya, you promised.”

I cheerfully took it and breathed upon it while saying certain words, then handed it back saying, “You have your honor from me, Vulge. Wherever you go, feel free to call me your friend.”

“No, Jelnaya, but my princess.”

While that response bothered me, I had enough training to keep a smile on my face. “You might consider me your princess, but never allow that to deny my friendship.”

“The horse handlers, they can direct me to Nehallum?”

“They certainly can, Vulge.”

“I’m going to talk to Empress Straekin. I just don’t feel like a Navy man anymore.”

Considering this was a man who was determined to keep me as his princess, I felt he needed to learn a fact about himself. “Grandmother Straekin will let you know that you will always be one of her own, and that includes a place in her Navy. Still, she will not hold you back, Vulge. Nehallum is actually a good place to get advice on your direction in life. Fergush might be He-Who-Fights, but I hope I have shown you that his influence it is not a limitation on how you live your life.”

“No, Jelnaya. Chering was the one seeking your hand, but I believe I am the one that fell in love with you. Still, I know I am of the older generation. I however want you to know that I am glad to have spent time with you. You might have problems, as my bragging might have other men from Davelda show up to travel with you.”

“I accept that as a duty of being a princess of Davelda.”

Of course he had to hug and kiss me. That was no problem. I enjoyed it. I did the same with the other men. Of course, my god had to speak about it after I had Petty move to another world.

“One day, Jelnaya, there will be a man who truly will be deserving of your hand.”

“What about Irgamy?”

“I was actually wondering about him as well.” There was a pause, then Fergush said, “You actually get along good with people, Jelnaya. I doubt finding you a husband will be a problem. Finding a good one, I figure one that passes whatever tests you put them through, will be what takes the actual time.”

I laughed at that, then admitted, “I do give men a hard time.”

“You definitely let them know they are going to have to fight for you. Keep doing that, Jelnaya.”

At the moment I am unsure which story I will tell next. I guess we will both find out on the 14th.