It Only a Dream Can Be

Chapter Twenty
(Jelnaya)

I believe Lossurp was just fascinated with me, but his youthful energy did give me something to work against.  He also truly sought to improve himself.  He did not just keep attacking, but listened to advice and worked to put the lessons into practice.  While he did things to make me feel he appreciated my female presence, I had to think about the words of Makinor when Lossurp asked me something about the other lady.

“Honored Duchess Jelnaya, what chance do you think I have with Inchell?”

While making an attack, I asked, “What chance do you think you might have with her?”

Lossurp did not have the maturity to attack and make intelligent conversation, so after the routines completed I allowed him a breather to make his reply.  “Think about it, Honored Duchess Jelnaya.  I’m still young, but Inchell won’t age.  I can safely work to prove myself with her watching me and seeing my devotion.  By the time I have matured, she should not doubt my conviction to stay true to her.”

“You’re still not immortal.”

“No, but think about it Honored Duchess Jelnaya.  This Negredell is a place of repetition.  Wouldn’t that also make one immortal?  I mean, if one is going to repeat certain things then life is going to go on.”

“Read the stories of that place.  They all end speaking of the only blessing of the poor person who gained the place to be that he died.”

He let his body go slack as his youthful mentality had him blurt out, “Well how does one gain immortality?”

“Most in my family, including me, gained the gift from gods.”

“We don’t –“  He still had a weapon in his hand as he pointed at me saying, “We will be going to other nations.  They might still worship our gods.  I’ll find one to bless me.”

“I’ll support you on that.”

“Really?”

It was slightly cute the way his body paused when his mind realized I had not reacted as he expected, so I was smiling when I said, “For me to be there, Fergush had to gain some permission.  As his representative, I should do things stating my appreciation of the local deities for their allowing me to be here.  Helping someone from their world come to some understanding of their presence would fit that.”

“Wow.”

I almost left the lad alone.  The way he spoke that word was only a small thing in relation to his expression of having his entire mind suddenly realize a whole vista of possibilities.  It was however not in my nature to leave certain things alone, but I had to tap my sword against the weapon he had in his hand.

His response did not have the actions of any focus.  The way his hand directed the mace clearly revealed that some of the practice had been done enough to make certain movements natural.  I could not help but smile when he consciously realized how he had reacted, although having him break from the actions to rush to where Inchell was going through some martial arts katas surprised me.

He boldly asked, “Sha Inchell, will you go get your material on Negredell?”

Having the maturity to stay focused on her moves, she asked, “What do you want to know, Master Lossurp?”

“EVERYTHING!  I’m going with you, Sha Inchell!”

She could not hold her focus after those words, but turned to me to ask, “Princess Jelnaya, what did you do?”

I had to admit, “He was talking about you.”

“If you would not date Chering, what makes it right for me to consider this lad?”

“The fact that he is seeking you.  At the worst, humor him, Inchell.  You will not be the first lady to inspire a man to greatness.”

Lossurp declared, “We can take Negredell together, Sha Inchell!”

She replied, “I’m not doing this for you, Master Lossurp.”  Inchell then looked to me and asked, “If he is doing it for me, and we succeed…”

I smiled while replying, “I have the advantage of my god being opposed to a certain goddess of love.”

Inchell did not challenge my words, but simply told Lossurp to follow her.  I did not know what to do, although assumed Inchell could take care of herself.  Seeing Krachern suddenly run into the area, but looking around, I waited to see what words he would say.

“Where is Makinor?”

I could not help but reply, “Probably polishing his armor, why?”

“You mentioned him being a champion of a goddess of love, Jelnaya.  I have some questions for him.”

“Does your world have one?”

“No, well not exactly.  There is one of devotion.  You go to him to be married.  Love is a command, but not exactly what the god is about.”

To let the man know where my thoughts were at, I replied, “I don’t mind the complicated missions.  They actually bring me a lot of my fame.  All the battles, conflicts, and things I do associated with Fergush just do not get honored the way the complicated missions do.  I’ll be with you through this.”

“You mean you get more honor not being the Champion of Fergush than you do when actually performing the duties of your job?  Sounds like most priests.  They get more notice when they fall from grace.”

“Fergush likes it when people see that he can be more than He-Who-Fights.  When I come back being praised for doing more than just being victorious in battle, it has people taking a second look at him.”

He studied at me for a period, then said, “You used the word ‘complicated.’  Just how many threads do you see, Jelnaya?”

“I see a web, Krachern.  What Makinor does is have me fear getting caught in it.”

“With me, Makinor, or Lossurp?”

“Each of you have problems, Krachern.”

The large hands and height of the horse person made his bow rather evident, then he said, “You are a very lovely lady, Jelnaya, but I was setting my sights on Inchell.”

“I’m not going to get mad at you for that.  I’m also not saying I was setting my sights on you.”

“Okay, but the other option is that you see this mission as dangerous.  Complicated for you is deadly for others.”

I admitted, “I was told to stay with you.  I was planning on it anyway, considering Inchell is from Davelda, but being told does support the word ‘dangerous.’  The way Inchell and I are being treated, along with the presence of Makinor, however has me seeing other threads.  There are then the threads of politics.”

“Ah, yes.  Well, working with a college I am used to certain procedural problems.  I can help you there, Jelnaya.”

“There is then the problem of the spider not necessarily being in the web.”  Before Krachern could say anything else, I said, “We’re not finding answers out here.  We leave in the morning.”

No one argued with that decision.  Inchell took it quietly.  Makinor did as well, but I saw an expression from him stating that he would be speaking to another.  Inchell however had the body language of someone being condemned.  It was Lossurp who however acted as if he wanted to argue for more time.

“Honored Duchess Jelnaya, will you being going back out?  I could use more practice sparring.”

I replied, “You will need to speak with me.  I need to learn things of your world.”

Inchell asked, “Like what?”

“Countries we will be going through.  Terrain.  Wildlife.  Whatever other details I can pull out.”

“I thought you knew I had a map.”

“Does Lossurp know the map?”

The lad blurted out, “I know most… well, I have seen it.”

While I saw the others with expressions of wanting to laugh at or ridicule the lad, I commanded him, “Come on.  Let’s go outside.”

Heading back out through the door, I heard Inchell ask, “Lossurp, how much do you think you know?”

The lad returned, “I took geography.”

I had to admit, “That would be a good start for me.”

Inchell said, “Princess Jelnaya, the reason I went where I did was because I felt it close to Negredell.”

“And how did you determine that?”

“Speaking to the horse handlers.  I worked with Chanirth to determine a route through the omniverse using certain directions I felt had some importance.  I accepted what I had really was not a sensible method of finding someplace, although there was another clue to help guide my way.”

“And what was that?”

Her expression as her eyes darted around indicated that Inchell had revealed something she had not planned to, but with a sigh of accepting a need to do something she told me to wait.  I worked with Lossurp while she was gone.  His youth gave him a body that was still developing, so he quickly adapted to certain routines.  With him the difficulty would not be rising to any challenge, but setting his focus to keep his body in condition and still advancing in establishing certain physical traits.  While my body did not age, I set an example by staying committed to routines that kept my physique ready for any challenge.  I could tell that Lossurp still lacked mental development when his eyes clearly indicated a return of Inchell.

She held something in her hands as she looked around.  I brought her to the opening of the stables where a table was present.  Lossurp and I watched as she set up some items of a shiny metal to have the parts appear to balance on each other.  As I looked it over, she pointed to a spinner on the end of long, thin curving piece.

“In the presence of repetitive forces, this is supposed to spin.”

I replied, “Law.”

“What?”

“Your Davelda ruts.  That thing should have spun for you.”

I could tell Inchell wanted to glare at me, but her eyes kept moving to the device.  “Not much.  I am told if I actually get close to Negredell this joint here will lift as this spinner rotates at a fantastic speed.”

“You got this while visiting the horse handlers.  Someone came through, heard you speaking, and sold it to you.”

“Chanirth told me that I would possibly be wasting my money.”

I had to say, “And he probably made you spend money to get it.”

“Traded a ring I had set with a ruby, and a pair of ruby earrings.  I could just go get another set if I wanted.  I cannot say that I actually was conned.”

“You weren’t conned, although possibly lied to.  It’s an asymult.  Grandfather Terish can explain it to you.  He has one both up in his King’s Tower and down in his library.  As long as things are in balance, it will wobble and do nothing more than maybe get your attention.  What you have to do is pay attention to it.  If it becomes very still, you are being influenced by chaotic forces.  If it starts acting as you stated, you are in the presence of lawful, I’m talking predictable and organized, energies.”

She showed some intelligence by saying, “I would think it would act the other way around.”

“It’s also a protective device.  Because it acts as it does, those lawful don’t like it and neither do those chaotic.  They will actually tend to stay away from places that have a device like this set up.”

“So, I probably did not get gipped.”

I thought it cute that someone from a world where the inhabitants did not need money would consider themselves able to be gipped.  “No.  They are not the easiest things to make.  Of course, that assumes it works.”

“Chanirth told me the actions it made in the presentation should indicate that it would work.  Said it could help me find Negredell.”

“If that thing goes to spinning, I’m out.  I have been saying this Negredell is offering nothing more than another type of rut.  To me, the lawful energies that an asymult detects are confining.  I am not going to speak in favor of chaos either, as I do promote and practice certain routines.  Still, one method does not work against all challenges, and usually will not repeatedly work against a single type of challenge as they will adapt.”

I watched as Inchell took the device back apart, and listened as she said, “Well, if there is something to this, I want to discover it.  If I however accept that it is not the place I want, I want the facts to warn others away.”

“How about you just pay attention to the reasons others sealed the entrance?”

The group heads back to where Lossurp lives.