Aden of Aden
I had my hair in curlers when there was a knock on the door. Hearing Ludene mention that it was Dumourl, I gave her permission to allow the man to enter. He did not, but simply stood in the doorway as he said what he had come to say.
“Yelnoth’s parents have arrived. They claimed to have seen the death of Belconosk from a distance, so hurried to make it here. They would like to have a private dinner with you.”
I thought for a moment, then said, “If Yelnoth is not present, I would love to speak with them.”
“Any reason not to have their son?”
“The very reason I might have us leave in the morning.” I then decided, “Ludene, you go give the couple my answer. It really is not Dumourl’s place.”
As the lady made her exit, I heard the lizard man say to her, “Go ahead. It’s not like I could overcome any objections.”
Not wanting to talk on a certain topic, I mentioned something Dumourl could discuss with me. “I only used one more of your arrows.”
He moved a chair to the side of the door on the outside of my room, then replied, “I did not consider those to be so dangerous. I was only keeping them for their association with something I hoped would help me. Those points become a twisted mesh inside the body. The throat of Belconosk had metal fibers all through a section, so it was understandable that he could not breathe flames or speak. The same with the leg, so the muscles really could not work without really suffering. I now will not just be seeking their history, but how I might have more made. Will probably speak with Lord Terish about that. Oh, good shots each time.”
“I really did not want you mad at me. I really worked to assure a good shot each time.”
“Well, I’m glad you did use them. If I knew what they did, I might have taken them with me, but I would have used them all.”
I had to laugh at that. Dumourl seemed glad to hear that response, as he then went into a description of the events he and the other men had gone through. I had seen the wounded condition of Belconosk, although also heard about the problems the great dragon had set in its lair to protect his treasure from intruders. What helped the men was that Lechost had worked for the dragon, so knew the traps. With his guidance the men were able to by-pass the threats. Belconosk found itself without any manner of being able to rest and heal. While the fight was serious, I laughed at times knowing that the men did not face all the issues that would have normally troubled them against such a grand opponent.
Ludene returned to tell me that the Viscount and Viscountess of Koshix accepted my condition for the meal. She however added that Yelnoth desired time with me that afternoon, and she had agreed assuming nothing horrid would occur with his parents. I allowed that time with the man would be allowed. The problem that would have me leave would not be a reflection on him, only the conditions of things in the land. Ludene seemed pleased that I did not consider her to have overstepped her authority, and came with a pleasant attitude to help me finish working with my hair.
I actually expected someone to come to my apartment. Whether the queen said anything, activity due to the death of Belconosk kept others busy, or other reason I found the time passing without being bothered. I used the time to check on certain matters with Ludene, and finding her to have some skills I had to smile hearing a compliment to my appearance when I presented myself at the apartment for the nobles from Koshix.
Viscount Handarl said, “I really did not expect you to try and make a good impression, Aden of Aden.”
I replied, “I would do Yelnoth wrong if I did not. Should things break down, I want it to be on more substantial matters.”
“And why should things break down?”
After stepping into the apartment and seeing the door shut, I said, “Let me compliment both of you for staying with Queen Tiolotha. I am not going to belittle what she has done, but the fairies are saying they were suggesting other tactics. Would either of you know anything about that?”
The couple invited me to the table, and after a servant, I believe the viscount’s valet, served us wine I heard the viscount say, “The fairies never considered Belconosk a problem. What Queen Tiolotha felt was that the fairies were unconcerned with us humans. After the dragon reduced our communities to ash, it would leave the fairies able to tend to the land without us. Queen Tiolotha made her decisions to assure the people survived.”
“Was it you that made the decision to support her, or did your wife convince you?”
It was Viscountess Sheanoll that replied, “I did fear the dragon laying waste to the people, but I did not see why it would want to seek more destruction. Once Epperclen was laid waste, I felt we could come in and claim the land. I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.”
“The fairies told me the men had been working to resist the dragon and keep the land secure. They said the speed and willingness of the men to support Lechost was to their benefit. They also spoke as if expecting Lechost to return with a method of overcoming Belconosk. They however also said that there was a greater problem than the dragon, and that the women had ignored it. Should the land fail, it will be due to the women.”
“And that is why you would leave. You would not want to be included in what is coming for us women.”
“No. I was told not to accept a man whose land was in turmoil. I came not really knowing who Lechost was or other things about him. If his land is being threatened, he however needs to focus on restoring the quality of life of his people. The same would apply to Yelnoth.”
Viscount Handarl said, “That however makes your value even greater, Aden of Aden.”
“Please, just Aden, especially in such a private social setting.”
“Okay, Aden. My point was that if it is the women of this land who are at fault, we need a lady who is also willing to stand up to a threat like that of Belconosk. The fairies did not tell you what the other threat was?”
Viscountess Sheanoll said, “I believe she was wondering if we could tell her.”
I had to say, “I don’t care. What I was wondering was why Queen Tiolotha would not speak to the fairies. I could tell that she knew. My suggestion was for her to speak to them in a respectful manner. Lechost did bring about the death of Belconosk. The man fought through desperation to achieve the conquest we gained today. He deserves his honor, even from the fairies. Queen Tiolotha could claim that her policies kept a stability, a strength, that gave Lechost his support upon his return. I certainly saw no resistance to his return with none opposing his claim to the throne. With his restoration, and the proof of the people willing to stand behind Lechost, the fairies should be willing to concede that the other problem could be dealt with as well. What I saw in the features of Queen Tiolotha gave me a belief she however would not deal with the fairies.”
“Aden of Aden, I have the authority, I would say the actual duty, of bringing your matter to the queen. If you will promise me –“
“WHY DO I NEED TO PROMISE ANYTHING?” I had stood upon making that outburst, and recognizing the importance of the two in front of me I quickly worked to explain. “This is your land! These are your people! If you don’t care, I might as well leave right now!”
Viscount Handarl quickly rose to stand before me as he said, “You are very correct, dear lady. I believe my wife was just going to ask – please, believe me, ask – for you to spend time with Yelnoth.”
The viscountess had risen as well, and she admitted, “It was a poor choice of words. I apologize, Aden. Yes, please spend time with Yelnoth.”
I replied, “Why wouldn’t I spend time with Yelnoth? He did not oppose Lechost. He went with him to fight a most terrible dragon. I have every reason to spend time with Yelnoth. It would be an honor.” Attempting to assure them of my words, I added, “I liked the song he sung.”
“I am told he sung the Kippayun.”
“I had never heard it. He sang it well.”
Viscount Handarl knelt before me and said, “We need you, Aden of Aden. Please, stay. Let Sheanoll and I get to know you. Get to know Yelnoth better. We can talk some more later, but right now we just need to get to know each other. Please.”
Hoping things could work out between us, I replied, “I am sorry for the outburst. I am just doing my best with the training I have received, but I am also still young.”
“Don’t ever drench that fire, Aden. It is a good one. Whatever training you have received, it gives a fuel for your fire that makes your light bright. I see now why Yelnoth was so enraptured by you.” The viscount mumbled while standing, “And you liked the Kippayun. I believe you will find yourself glad to make a home in Koshix.”
As I allowed myself to again take a seat, Viscountess Sheanoll said, “Why don’t you tell us about your mother?”
“I have two.”
The couple were told a very abbreviated version of how my father gained two wives. From there I spoke about the history of Thiminy. With the background of the land I grew up in, and my family, I spoke of the events had led up to be coming to Epperclen. At the end, the couple thanked me for my time, then assured me they would seek to have me present at other occasions.
Stepping out of the room I saw Dumourl in the hallway. He had a flail in his hand that he did maneuvers with. I did not doubt that he was waiting for me, and watching Dumourl nod to those behind me I accepted him as my escort back to my room.
As we began to walk, he said, “Being able to make an outburst and have it improve your relationship with people is a Dozzrine trait. I know you are not related to Lord Terish, but I can see why Lechost thought you were a Dozzrine girl.”
I replied, “I had a reason.”
“Of course you had a reason. Conviction is a virtue, Aden, but obstinacy is a vice. As long as you are acting on conviction, stand strong.”
I thought upon what he said, then wondered about his response to something I decided to say. “I bet everyone in the castle heard what I said except the person who needed to hear it. We start home tomorrow morning.”
He stayed silent until we reached the door to our room, then he asked, “Why not now?”
“I want to have time with Prince Yelnoth. I also want to continue to present hope to the people. If the morning comes without any sign of there being a cause for them to have hope, we should leave.”
“I will accept that answer, but accept that it will have me continue to shadow you.”
“I will need a chaperone for my time with Prince Yelnoth. Thank you for volunteering.”
And the true problem is realized.