It Only a Dream Can Be
My room in my castle. Not really a place where I would rest. While I would use the bed, unless I was ready to collapse in slumber I avoided that piece of furniture. I however enjoyed having a place I could do things as I wanted. Unpacking my saddlebags, I came across one item and handed it to my handmaid.
“Here, Merilay. I need you to read this and tell me where to go.”
Merilay was a lady from Davelda who had claimed a place with me just as Vulge had. While I did treat her as an elder, she really did not appear that much older than me. Her brown hair and eyes gave her a rather plain appearance, although most noticed her due to keeping her figure in wonderful condition. Merilay was someone I knew I could trust and confide in, so expected her to deal with the problems I presented to her.
She replied, “You just came back, Princess Jelnaya. Are you sure you want to go anywhere?”
“I said ‘need,’ so the answer is, ‘yes.’ Also, I don’t consider being about my domains as being away. I assure you that I was handling business.” Hoping to inspire her to get to work, I added, “The one we are supposed to rescue is from Davelda.”
“The book is from Davelda. What am I looking for?”
Since I did not know, I could only relate what I did know. “My nieces found some enjoyment in recognizing certain poems. While they are being raised on Emigaila, being a part of my family they know about Davelda as well. Still, they knew certain poems differently. What I need is a mature perusal from someone who is a female immortal from Davelda that might recognize directions or a clue in where I need to go.”
She sat and began flipping pages, so I did not get mad when she asked, “Who gave this to you?”
“Makinor, a divine champion of Onathia. I once went on a mission with him. It gets complicated from there.”
I had spoken to Merilay about my major missions, especially the ones that might pertain to suitors coming to my duchy, so it did not surprise me to see her nod with a recognition of the name. “You interested in him?”
“No. Onathia is opposed to Fergush, so we are both certain that we won’t get along. He however is interested in the one we are to rescue.”
“Is Makinor immortal?”
Actually that was a good question, so I nodded while saying, “No, but he is hoping that problem will be resolved. It’s possible, because I suspect the one we are to rescue is looking for some divine solution to a problem as well.”
Since Merilay was from Davelda and had the same problem as the one I was seeking, I was glad she kept the conversation moving. “You keep saying, ‘the one we are to rescue.’ Do you know who from Davelda you are going to rescue?”
“Inchell Nakamachu. She’s a Marine.”
“She’s from Giluchex’s district. She served on the other side of the war.”
That revelation surprised me. While I did joke about some of the things those of Davelda could have done in the centuries before my Grandfather Terish arrived on their planet, I fully accepted that they had not. Yes, they could have gotten to meet and know each other in that time, but part of the rut anyone, not just immortals, fell into was staying within a circle of associates. It thus surprised me that Merilay actually knew the one I named.
“You know her?”
“Did some training under her to prepare myself for traveling to other worlds. Actually remember her saying she was planning her own trip into the omniverse. How long has she been missing?”
I was too tired to exchange chatter on details, so simply replied, “That isn’t important.”
“You’re right, Princess Jelnaya. I’m sorry for asking.”
Do not think those from Davelda were mentally weak or physically lacking. They actually had a strong core that clearly let it be known they had survived for hundreds of years. The stories of Grandfather Terish working on those of Davelda were entertaining, although those of us who had spent time being raised by the immortals knew the struggle of getting them to admit they still had things to learn.
I said, “Listen, I’ve read the book a few times. I already mentioned my nieces recognizing certain poems, and that was due to me reading the book to them. If you find something worth discussing, I will know what you are talking about.”
“Very good, Princess Jelnaya. What are your plans?”
“I guess going to the practice field and seeing if anyone from my military feels like challenging me. All my counselors wanted to talk about was my trip, and I can do that at supper.”
I changed into a light set of clothes with a thick leather underlayer for some protection should I get involved in some activity, then moved to exit my rooms. Coming from the door to my bedroom, I saw my young niece being allowed into my front room by the guards stationed before the entrance to my apartment. Worried about why she would come to me, I put my attention on her. She started crying, and moved toward me holding out something in her hands.
“Daddy won’t let me keep this, Aunt Jelnaya. He says its magic won’t work at home.”
I looked at the toy. It did not surprise me to see a rabbit. Seeing the finely cut crystals, I recognized the reason my brother suspected it of not surviving in the physics of Emigaila. While wondering what I could do to console the girl, I focused on the toy.
“You must have sweet talked a merchant real good to have him sell you this.”
While I was trying to remember what the girls talked about on the trip from Vytech, I listened as Sterrin said, “It was a lady, Aunt Jelnaya. She said her name was Munulva. Adria and I thought it funny that someone here would have that name. She however said that I had enough money. It’s a speckled bunny.”
The crystals did work to give a speckled pattern to the animal. What then surprised me was Sterrin having the toy perform without it needing to be wound up. She went through what I had considered to be the chorus of the song, but then I watched as the speckled rabbit did something different the second time through even as my young niece repeated the steps.
Before I could speak, Sterrin said, “It however does not do right. It does something different.”
I then thought of the actual words in the book, and called to Merilay to bring it to me. When she did, I flipped to the poem that the girls recognized as the Speckled Bunny. Not only did the book Makinor bring me have different actions in the choruses, but I noticed certain marks as not being just odd features that texts would gain as they aged.
I had Sterrin restart the toy. This time I followed along with the book. The girl sang the first chorus, but I worked to sing with her so she would accept my voice when I sang the next chorus. She looked to me understanding the rabbit did according to my words. While I knelt to have my fingers pass along with the words, hoping to help whatever lessons she had been given on reading, I also watched the toy and decided on what I needed to do.
Picking up the rabbit, I handed it to my niece while saying, “Tell your father it will work for you. I bet you didn’t tell your father the name of the merchant.”
“I did. He thought it strange as well.”
“Tell him he should know better. Tell him that our father, your Grandfather Venicht, would tell him the same.”
“Are you certain, Aunt Jelnaya?”
I assured my young niece. With her in a much better mood, I watched as she ran from my room. After stepping back into my bedroom to tell Merilay that I would be leaving, I headed out to make use of the information my young niece had brought to me.
I really did not expect to hear Vulge when I yelled for him. He would be one to collapse in his room after a journey. He also would move about checking on any visitors. I however felt things were working in favor of the coming mission when I heard Vulge reply.
I said, “I need to talk to my grandmother.”
My room was on the top floor of my castle, so I was still on the risers when he brought me a large enchanted gem. I activated the magic while telling Vulge that we would be leaving. He did not make a reply, although clearly showed an interest in what I would say.
When I heard the voice of Grandmother Straekin, I said, “I need to get in touch with Giluchex. Someone from his district is missing, and what I learned will be dependent on where she was. I suspect he would know.”
It was not my grandmother, but Grandfather Terish who asked, “What are you speaking about, Jelnaya?”
I went through a chorus of the children’s song, then said, “Those are instructions, or were used as instructions.”
“I’ve worked with less, Jelnaya. How much do you have?”
I felt a little silly singing the children’s song in front of everyone, but I did and was glad that I did so when Grandfather Terish replied, “Let me work on it. I’ll have Straek speak to Giluchex to get any additional information I need or just to let him know you are on the case. What had you think to do this, Jelnaya?”
“Munulva contacted my nieces. She gave them a toy that will hop along with the song.”
It was Grandmother Straekin that asked, “Are you sure, Jelnaya?”
“Why wouldn’t I be sure? My father would tell you the same thing.”
“Yes, Jelnaya, he probably would.”
Grandfather Terish let me know, “I’ll be looking into it, Jelnaya.”
Some more was said. The name of the book and the actual name of the poem was supplied. Grandmother Straekin did not act like she knew the reference, but I felt she would in dealing with her grandchildren. I saw Balerk, and seeing him wait until the conversation was finished I felt he gained most of the answers to his questions. I however understood his suspicion when I heard what he said.
“We don’t worship Munulva, Jelnaya.”
“Our father does, Balerk, and She contacted him when only a child. I believe Giluchex would also tell you about Her interest in children.” Hoping to settle the issue, I said, “You let me know if that toy doesn’t work when you get home.”
“All right, Jelnaya. It has been a good visit.”
Since I was out, I went ahead and checked with my people while working my way down a hall to a rear door. It did ease my mind not to hear any pressing business. Some things I noted as needing to make some decision on before I left. Going out the door, I however felt that my pressing business was not with a local matter.
Makinor stepped into the practice field, but his opening attack was with words. “Onathia says her aspect probably won’t be felt, Jelnaya.”
“Fergush is not telling me anything, Makinor. I however know that he will deal with foreign deities. I know for certain that he will speak with Munulva, the Goddess in charge of Davelda. I thus am not surprised by some of the things that are happening.”
“Jelnaya, do you get involved in missions that don’t involve fighting?”
I felt he should know, but my respect for him had me reply, “I am a not single-minded, Makinor.”
He seemed to understand my response, as he said, “If there is not fighting involved, why should you go? If there is not love involved, why should I?”
“Because you are a representative of Onathia. Your job is not to go around loving people, but letting them know that love could happen. I am a representative of Fergush, and I assure you that those around me know that a fight could happen.” Hearing Fergush tell me to press the issue, I thought for a moment then asked, “You getting wet feet, Makinor? Not wanting to meet Inchell again?”
I could tell the question bothered him, and his response supported my belief. “What good would a lady from Davelda do for me?”
“You’re talking to a lady with blood in her veins from Davelda, Makinor. I also told you that my god speaks to the Goddess of Davelda.”
“If Onathia does not want her for me…”
I waited for him to say more, but hearing silence I went ahead and spoke. “No, don’t go against Onathia. Still, if she is letting you travel to other worlds, you go out and present your goddess of love. Sometimes I just go travel.”
He nodded as if listening to another and not just thinking over my words, then said, “You’re right, Jelnaya. Okay, I’m still with you on this.”
And Jelnaya handles some more things before she leaves.