Aden of Aden

Chapter Thirty

I did not know there was a special word for the sewer of a brothel.  A place for waste material I felt had a generic term.  While I accepted that the people of this world had a different language, I did not understand why they needed such a designation.  All I could do was listen as King Terish and Viscount Handarl had a vocabulary and grammar lesson before either admitted that I had truly found something of actual value.

Viscountess Sheanoll asked, “What does all that have to with the falls?”

Her husband replied, “I believe it has something to do with why they need to be cleaned.”

King Terish said, “In the short term, it does not matter why.  However, some understanding of your land is necessary if you want to avoid certain reoccurring problems.”

“Still, it is something I have not heard about.  Is there any way of determining the amount of time between the two references?”

I replied, “I believe they mark the new year.”

King Terish simply looked at me as the viscount began flipping pages.  He mentioned that that there was a designation at the start of a new year.  I pointed out to King Terish certain symbols in the journal I had recognized as numbers, especially a couple of ones, and he asked a question.

“Does the occurrence of the word seem to fit the same time period, including the time we are in now?”

Viscount Handarl began flipping pages in the journal he had, then gave an answer, “No, but about three months back.  I mean in the summer.”

I said, “But Lechost has been gone years.”

“This does not occur every year, Aden.  Still, you are right that we might be years late.”

King Terish asked, “Could it be that Belconosk, or the one that brought him into play, knew about this?”

“I believe that thought is what started this research.”

“You’re right.  Forgive me.”

I asked, “Why wouldn’t Queen Tiolotha know?”

“I could give answers to that question, but that does not mean I would supply the answer.”

Viscount Handarl replied, “If I was home, I could look through my own journals from that time period.  I remember politics being rather complicated at the time.”

I had to ask, “Could we ask Queen Tiolotha?”

King Terish replied, “No.  I wouldn’t advise it.  The viscount could, because as her vassal he would have some shared loyalty.  I however would advise that you have Lechost do it, although I suspect he already will.”

Viscount Handarl said, “You mean when he returns defeated.”

“And as the recognized king, your shared loyalty is actually with him.  That will give you a degree of independence in hearing what the queen-mother says.”

“I hope it won’t come to that.”

I had to mumble, “King Terish is not known to be wrong.”

My monarch said, “Sometimes, Aden, even I hope I am wrong.”

As if to support my statement, suddenly distant horns sounded.  More then sounded from the walls with the people acting concerned.  I suspected that my features displayed fright recognizing the sounds of the city gates being shut.  As if to support her words, Viscountess Sheanoll came to check our glasses as she spoke some commands.

“We hold our place.  The people still need hope.”

Viscount Handarl however stood as he let his wife know his own duties.  “I am a military leader of the land.  With the king absent, I need to assure the orders to the soldiers reflect a unified policy and strategy.  Excuse me.  Sheanoll, if anything substantial is revealed, please send word, personally if you must.”

She replied, “I probably will.  Still, I have two men, if not nearby soldiers, to run a message if I feel a need to stay with Aden.”

After he left, I asked the viscountess, “Do your brothels really have special sewers?”

She replied, “I cannot say our land has been prosperous enough to –“

Seeing King Terish point, my father stood while saying, “I’ll go.”

Seeing my father move down the street to speak to a lady, Viscountess Sheanoll asked, “King Terish, does your land have brothels?”

He answered, “My land is prosperous, and certain people just find paying for something they want to be the simpler solution.”

“If only they understood what they were paying for.”

“My wife says that the ladies really don’t understand what they are selling.”

“I can agree with that.”

It bothered me to see my father have a cheerful exchange with the lady.  I considered everything about the topic to be disgusting.  Brothels, sewers, and definitely both together was not something I would pleasantly talk about.  Father and the lady however smiled as they spoke about things with her even giving him a peck on a cheek before he left.

He returned to take a seat before softly saying, “Aborted pregnancies.  They were considered wrong by the gods and people, so those that practiced it had worked out their own method of disposing of the wastes, even though I hate to call it that.  The word found,” my father pronounced it I assume in the way the lady had, “is not considered a socially acceptable term, but she knew of it.”

I had to say, “She seemed happy to talk about it with you.”

“It is her job to entertain men and have them feel time with her is something worth spending their money upon.  Considering what she will do to earn the money, speaking on a certain topic was not a problem.  I did slip her a couple of coins for her time, although she also recognized that I had the status of some nobility.”  As if to drive the point home, he then said, “Aden, I spend most of my time working dealing with soldiers, men.  What men like to do in their time off is spend money on women.  A good woman demands time and attention, and for many men they have little of both.”

Viscountess Sheanoll commented, “Even though they will have time and attention for other things.”

“I am not saying they are right.  In fact, with two wives who both demand my time and attention, I will even say that a good woman does not have her man feeling either is wasted on her.”

“Something many men have to learn.”

King Terish got us back on the topic at hand by asking, “Viscountess, does what my knight came back with help?”

“I am trying to remember something, but it was just a story.  It was however something told to me when I came to live with Handarl.  It was something that applied to me, as the lady of the realm.”

I had to say, “Queen Tiolotha surely knows.”

“She probably heard stories just like I did.  Maybe she also did not take them too seriously.”

My father said, “That would put the fault on these events on Lechost’s father, but that should have also had the fey seek him out.”

King Terish commented, “Or completely lose their honor.  Neither has happened, so I believe Aden is correct.  The queen-mother knows.  Luckily, Turponia is trying to do something.  While not gaining the recognition of the fey, she is working to prove herself.  Aden, I believe you are the one needed.  The fey did speak to you, and you are working with Turponia.  You need to face her.”

I asked, “Can’t I just go tell her what we found?”

Viscountess Sheanoll said, “That is your reason for going to her, Aden.  Something however tells me that things will not go so well when you make your report.”

My father let me know, “We can’t go with you, Aden, but there are soldiers in the castle.”

“And they do respect you, Aden.  Hopefully, it won’t come to that.  The princess has shown herself to have some honor.”

I had to admit, “I have not found a reason to think bad about her.”

“Things are happening, Aden, and you will see people respond in ways that show their true personality and not the way you usually see them.  Still, let me say that Princess Turponia has not been a rebellious child.  She however has been devoted to her mother, and that could be what dooms her.  We can hope however.  You should hope as well, Aden, and go to her hoping to see the person who has been treating you well up to now.”

My father said, “Trust that we will figure out our own excuse to go back into the castle, so will be there.”

Actually having good memories of my times with Princess Turponia, including her having me come outside and work with the journals from which we gained the information, I gathered my things.  As I checked the saddle on Later, Viscountess Sheanoll tore pieces from one of her scarves so she could put strips of cloth in the journals marking where we had found things.  She spent time with me assuring me of the importance of the passages, which I appreciated actually not being able to read the text for myself.  With me feeling able to face Princess Turponia with the information, I climbed into the saddle and directed Later to the castle.

The military had the gate to the royal estate open enough to allow me to pass when I arrived.  I felt that to be a good sign.  I however noticed something I considered to be a problem as a soldier came up to take Later from me.  The men were actively engaged in preparations for combat.  I turned hearing the sound of a catapult launching a flaming mass understanding that some peril was presently threatening the local citizens.  Hoping that I could get Princess Turponia to accept the points I felt needed to be made, I rushed to the castle glad to see a soldier open one of the large doors so I could pass with my bundle of journals.

A servant gave me instructions on where to head, but as I moved to the stairs I heard the voice of Queen Tiolotha ask, “What brings you, Aden of Aden?”

Feeling the stress from the problems I felt the queen-mother was partially the cause, I answered, “The hope that your daughter will see what you have blinded yourself to.”

“Strong words from such a young lady.”

“Strong, desperate words from someone who sees the horrors coming upon this land.  Strong, desperate words from someone who is not from this land.  Why am I here however, but because I had a dragon worried about me.  ME!  A young lady barely passed her days as a girl.  Why?  Because I gave those of this land hope.  Why?  Because the one who was supposed to guide, direct, inspire those of this land was cowering in fear.  Why?  Because you, Queen Tiolotha, were unwilling to do what was necessary to keep this land at peace.”

“Keep talking, Aden of Aden, and I will have to lock you away.”

I turned to look at those who were watching.  I saw not just soldiers and servants, but others who lived and worked at the castle.  Feeling that the land would not die from a single hand, I did what I could to speak to all.

“Yes.  Lock me away and protect me from the doom you have allowed to happen.  Yes.  Keep me safe from the horrors I was actually brought here to encourage you to stop.  I don’t fear you, Queen Tiolotha.  You can lock me away, but I will be freed by the very calamity that you don’t want to prevent.”  Hoping to get people to react, I added, “It’s out there.  It’s already making its move.  I won’t be locked up for long.”

I however lost all hope for what I was attempting when she replied, “Yes, well you and my daughter can discuss that.  You see, I have already had her locked up.”

And Aden of Aden has to rise to the challenge.