Aden of Aden
A number looked up as a powerful voice that I recognized said, “I have two wives, King Lechost!. I told both of them that they should never argue or fight around me, because I was too big to have to act in such a situation. I proved myself to those ladies, and they have ever honored me. If I may, Your Majesty, I believe I can help you deal with your mother.”
My father was a large man. Due to him I was already taller than my mother, and I still had some growing to do. I actually worried about Queen Tiolotha as father came up before Lechost.
The young monarch replied, “My mother just said I could do with her as I wanted. Let me see how you handle her, Sir Berair.”
I watched wondering what my father would do. Seeing him bow to the king had me believe that something less than deadly would be enacted, but I still felt it would be harmful. I knew that neither my mother nor Mother Mersidda challenged my father. They had watched him overcome monsters and extreme situations to gain them, then he killed a dragon before them just to prove to them that he could. While I did not doubt my father had a solution, I worried about what affect it would have on me.
Women gathered around with the men to watch. I saw a number stride into the flow above to look down on what might happen. No one spoke a word of concern for the royal lady, but I saw smiles as if they would enjoy whatever my father might do.
He asked a lady for a jar containing a substance. After thanking her for it, he went to the queen-mother then poured the gel over her back. He then picked her up and forced her body down into the pond. With her screaming and squirming he used her as a scrubbing brush. After doing this for enough time that I felt certain he was feeling fatigued, he then lifted the lady to set her back on her feet before asking her about her decision.
“Just how deplorable do you want your efforts here to be?”
I saw the queen-mother look to me. Having thrown dirty water on her, then given the orders to have her bound, I accepted she would ever hate me. Viscountess Sheanoll had supported my actions, then had been the one to push the royal lady into the pond. Her son had then allowed my father to do what he did. I felt the queen-mother could only condemn herself, but I looked back at her hoping she would make a good decision.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when she said, “I guess I might as well make the best of this.”
Screams sounded as the royal lady moved to take some items from one of the ladies, as a reverberating voice could be heard to exclaim, “NO!”
The head that came up was almost larger than the pond. Body and wings came from the ground. The grand dragon rose not as a physical creature. The water, ground, and trees were not disturbed as it made itself known. We all however felt its presence once it came onto the surface of the land.
“It has been too long since I felt my power grow to its strength. I will not allow you to now condemn me back into a barely conscious existence.”
The dragon was easily as large as Belconosk. While it had breathed fire, this dragon radiated cold even without concentrating any power from its inner essence. I felt frightened that we would now be doomed, although found myself shocked by the realization of the men from my land having knowledge of dealing with dragons.
“KING TERISH,” my father exclaimed, “once again we need to prove ourselves!”
“I’m up to it, Berair!” I heard another yell in return. “Assuming King Lechost does not want the glory for himself.”
Lechost replied, “My fight is here with my people. I will give those from Thiminy the glory of proving themselves against this threat.”
I could only assume that King Terish had already concluded the local monarch would respond in such a manner. No sooner were the words stated than I saw the youthful form of my ultimate superior jump on a wing of the dragon and charge along the length of skin and bone to attack the main body. As the head of the dragon came around, my father rushed to send a weapon upon a jaw. As the great beast lifted, King Terish managed to keep a secure position on the scaly back while cutting with his dark blade. My father rushed off, and I assumed did his part to work with King Terish.
Not being able to follow the fight with the dragon, even though I could hear the movement and roars of the creature, I looked to Lechost who saw my gaze and said, “I am not dressed for dragon slaying, Aden of Aden.”
It took me a moment to understand his smile. He was dressed nicely. While the cloth was thick to keep him warm, it still had a bright color with stitched designs giving him a rather regal look. Armor sections could be seen beneath a lighter garment, but none of them being the pieces he had worn when going against Belconosk. A sturdy sword also could be seen in a gem inlaid ornate silver scabbard with me having no idea where the make-shift weapon was that he had proven able to fight the dragon that had enslaved him. I smiled even as I let him know that I did not think any less of him.
“I will ever trust your decisions, Lechost.”
He replied, “You have proven yourself to me as well, Aden of Aden. Trust that Yelnoth will get to Thiminy to court you properly.”
I turned hearing Viscountess Sheanoll say, “Even if that means having him sing the Kippayun.”
Smiling, I replied, “I am certain I will like other songs as well.”
In hindsight the work went in stages. With the queen-mother actually helping with the labor, what the women did showed results that the men could not claim for themselves. They stayed busy continuing to deal with the threats fighting with the dragon to gain complete control of the land. I will not say we ladies worked harder, as some men died, but I know it became more and more common as the day went on to see men simply standing around watching. When the pained roar sounded that proclaimed the end of the cold dragon-appearing entity, the masses of disgusting filth stopped being so hard to remove from the ground. Fairies appeared to speak of certain details needing to be performed once the rock face of the falls was scrubbed clean. By the end of the day everyone was wet, exhausted, and speaking of needing to bathe themselves. When Lechost declared an end of the work, he told everyone there would be a celebration the next day, but for this one everyone should indeed simply put their focus on regaining some warmth and fresh clothes.
That evening my father spent time with the Viscount and Viscountess of Koshix even as I was entertained by both Lechost and Yelnoth. While the king accepted that I would not seek his hand, he still wanted me to know that he desired to have me in his life. Neither one of the men sang or quoted poetry, but we just spent time talking with me feeling it to have been wonderful entertainment.
The celebration the next day was a grand affair. Warmth had returned to the land. While there were signs of a coming storm, the people actually spoke of it helping wash the filth away and not bringing any new problems. With everyone looking forward to a grand future, the celebration was wonderful occasion to get to know the people.
I listened as my father and King Terish spoke of steps in the courtship. I could not say that I was depressed, but something about having my life determined troubled me. The next evening I sat near the campfire and thought about what was said with me speaking to my father when he took a place next to me.
“I guess I will become the mother of princes and princesses.”
He calmly replied, “That was what you said you wanted.”
“Yes, but –” I looked to my father and hugged him while admitting, “You never had an extended courtship either.”
“I didn’t find all that stuff fun. Listen, if you think you would have liked all that, trust me that there will be enough flirting, innuendoes, and meaningless banter among the people. I actually watch what the regular people go through and rush back to my wives glad to have them.”
Wanting to hear his advice, I asked, “You think Yelnoth will do the same?”
“The fact that he will do things like sing that Kippayun song says that he is a guy that would enjoy a lot of the simpler things. He is not going to put you on a pedestal and admire you, but will pull you into whatever he is doing hoping that you see the enjoyment as well. You go there, Aden. That type of fun happens a lot more often than any of that fancy stuff.”
From a distance I heard the voice of King Terish say, “You listen to him, Aden. If you doubt what he is saying, have my wife talk about all the special types of entertainment that occurs on Davelda, and just how often it happens. Coming out here and meeting the people while getting involved in their struggles is almost constant, but Straek and I have yet to grow tired of it.”
Menasha had said she was going to bed, but I heard her say, “They do spend a lot of time away from Thiminy and Davelda. I enjoy being with them.”
I had to admit, “I do like Yelnoth, or at least I think I do.”
Dumourl commented from where he was preparing his blankets, “He did seem like a good young man, and his parents were good too. Definitely the better choice than Lechost, but that is just my opinion.”
My father said, “That is what the courtship is about. You are young, and his land has some adjusting to do. No need to accept him right yet. Still, I believe you will come to want him.”
Knowing that I had another source of advice, I accepted what my father said. Of course we spoke more on the topic heading back to Thiminy. King Terish told me that he would have us come back in his land near Lord Rebitten’s property, so to spend time with my family before returning to his castle. Accepting the advice, I tried to prepare myself for what the others would want to know of my time away.
I had to hug my monarch, Dumourl, and even the centaur Menasha before allowing them to advance back to Castle Thiminy. They all spoke of their pleasure in being able to support me. Dumourl even thanked me for taking him to a world with more people like him, and let me know he would be for a time down in the grand library seeing if any of the clues that were brought to him had any worth. My father let his monarch know that he would do a patrol of the land after seeing me safely home and spending time with his wives.
Coming near home, I heard a scream before seeing Mother Mersidda rushing to me. Considering her just as much a parent as my true mother, I dropped from a seat on my father's mount to allow her to embrace me. Mother Mersidda was the more normal of my parents, but I was glad to see her.
It was a voice of someone I wanted to speak to that said, “Well? Is it worth me going there?”
I broke from Mother Mersidda to say to Agrell, “I don’t know. I never visited Yelnoth’s home, but it was pleasant around Epperclen. I would be glad to tell you about it.”
“Well, I have started courting a lady outside Fedrukin.”
Thinking of my own conversation with my father, I asked, “Why would you go to Fedrukin?”
“I went and helped out the elves, and Fedrukin is on that side of the valley mouth. Anyway, when you went off I had to go to Fedrukin. It is the only place in Thiminy you might not know about, Aden. When you send me letter from wherever you go, I want to have to tell you things of where I am.”
“I will be glad to hear from you, wherever you are, Agrell. Just don’t ever apologize.”
“And there will not be any reason to cry, unless I am telling you about someone that died.”
I hugged him while saying, “I’ve learn to cry, Agrell. I did not have the best of experiences.”
“Well, if a man makes you cry, don’t marry him.”
“I’m not. He sang a song I believe you will like. It will take me a while to learn it however.”
I probably would have spent more time speaking with Agrell, but I saw my mother approach. She however stayed back as others came out to welcome me home. I saw Father go to my mother, but she stayed clearly intending to spend time with me once all the others had finished.
When I finally faced her, she embraced me in as smothering of a manner as Mother Mersidda. While she did not say anything, I could tell she was simply holding back tears and not refusing to speak. When she finally released me to wipe her eyes, I had to ask her the question that I had been wondering about.
“Mother, why did you name me Aden?”
She went back to crying even as she said, “Aden, look around you. It was the only way to claim you. I did not doubt that you would be a wonderful child, but I had a reason for you. The only way I would be able to keep you was to give you my name. If you were named anything else, someone else might have been able to claim your time. By naming you Aden, no one ever thought they could challenge me for you.”
“Well, it worked, Mother. All those years, all that training, were worth it. Thank you.”
Again I found myself smothered by the embrace of my mother, but after a time she again parted to wipe her eyes. “You must tell me about it.”
“It is a grand story, Mother.”
I heard my father admit, “Indeed it is, Aden. Everyone should hear it.”
“Aden, I will listen to every word, but we will then discuss it in private.”
I replied, “There is a lot to discuss. We will be talking for a time.”
“I believe those times will begin to be very seldom, so let us take advantage of however much time we have.”
“Oh, I am being courted by the heir to a viscounty. Mother, it seems that I will be the mother of princes and princesses.”
My father stepped up to say, “I have things to speak to you about as well, Aden. Still, first you need to hear Aden’s story.”
Lord Rebitten declared, “Then supper at my house! No reason for anyone not to hear! Aden, welcome back! We were worried about you.”
I turned from my mother to declare, “I am Aden of Aden! The name is because of my mother, but set by King Terish’s dragon, Sauton. I have learned that it was not a blessing, or would not have been except for the training provided by my mother. Yes, Lord Rebitten, I will be glad to tell my story to all. But, more than that, I am glad to be part of such a wonderful family, which includes those of your home and property. I have had a wonderful childhood, and I have the dream of giving that blessing to others – but,"I had to turn to my mother to say, "I doubt I will give one of my daughters our name.”
She replied, “I hope you have a husband who would however grant you the blessing just as Berair did for me.”
“I honestly believe he would, and I feel certain his king would force him to do so if I called to him. It’s a great story!”
Hearing everyone cheer, the crowd broke up to finish their chores before supper. I feared having to tell the story to my family, then repeating everything for the others at supper. Mother Mersidda however just focused on having me speak of the man who was interested in me. Feeling that discussing Yelnoth would help him be accepted when he finally arrived, I broke away from the others to speak to my family about him.
And next Jelnaya will return in a much lighter tale than her last one.