It Only a Dream Can Be
I thought it cute seeing the focus of Master Lossurp turn to Princess Jelnaya. The fact that she would direct his active youthful energy had the lad consider her to better fit his personality. She also appeared closer to his age than I did. I was in my thirties when I went through the surgeries to become immortal. The regenerative properties did remove many of the signs of age, it was an adage of Davelda that immortality was the best beauty treatment, but my body did not regain some of the cuteness of youth that Princess Jelnaya still possessed.
Watching Master Lossurp, I found myself believing he considered the female champion to be an easier catch than me. What she would require of him he felt more than able to achieve. He was young enough to believe the energy of his form would stay with him, although he accepted a need to bring it under control. With me Master Lossurp would be forced to settle into a routine that would complement my life, and could only believe he felt it to end up being as confining as Princess Jelnaya spoke of it being.
While not all the children of Davelda spoke of us immortals as living in a rut, those that could did leave. Births were so rare that most children found themselves as isolated as Prince Venicht, Princess Jelnaya’s father and the first child of Davelda. He left to Emigaila, the world where his father had studied legal systems to make him a better ruler of his kingdom. Endullae Dozzrine was next, and she fled back to the world of her birth to gain a husband on the other side of the desert than the kingdom she considered home. Debbish Dozzrine went to another world where there were dragons. Chemiana Dozzrine returned to the world of her birth to gain a home on the other side of the mountains than Thiminy. Althery Dozzrine found his own divine champion, and settled with her on a world of animal people. With none of the first children staying on Davelda, we who watched them had to treasure those periods when a grandchild returned to visit. Now that we were having our own offspring, the truth was that we found those completely of the history of Davelda wishing they had the gifts of the Dozzrine family.
There was a debate on my world concerning whether or not to provide our children with the option to leave. The simple truth was that they could. The horse handlers were there. Certain books and movies were also available. While we could not prevent our children from gaining certain information, those on one side of the debate spoke of preaching of the dangers while doing what we could to keep the youngsters from fleeing the world of their birth.
What really hurt our psyches was the realization that many of the citizens of Davelda were leaving as well. Empress Straekin had left us for Thiminy, and many felt they could also do better on other worlds. There were reports of others gaining a spouse from elsewhere, but not coming back to raise their families on Davelda. As Princess Jelnaya would point out, natives of my world had no need for money. Our population was far less than a billion, so there was plenty of places available to settle. What everyone however saw was our comfort in our lives, which they called ruts, and left to find their enjoyment in the unpredictable nature of other worlds.
I had to laugh realizing the reason for my adventure was due to me visualizing a Davelda that would change, while everyone else saw it as a place frozen in time. My mind however quickly turned to despair realizing that what I was seeking was a manner of assuring my desire for a type of life that would continue. Realizing that I would just be propagating the image of Davelda, I sought for a reason to continue the adventure.
The voice of Krachern asking a question brought me out of my thoughts. “We didn’t bring any meat, Jelnaya?”
“Of course not,” she replied. “Part of the rules of the cricket house is that you keep the larder with supplies. The food we had was put there.”
Master Lossurp asked, “How are we going to kill one? Are you going to shoot it?”
I looked to see a herd of what I considered a type of cattle. They were large in size with thick growths of matted hair along their backs. The horns grew out from the side of the heads as if to swipe at things attempting to attack the neck. I did not believe it would be wise to attack the cattle, although I should have known Princess Jelnaya would provide a different answer.
“Not that type of animal. It would take one of father’s better weapons to drop one. If you really want one, you will need to rush up and attack the belly.”
As if the decision to make the kill had been made, Master Lossurp asked, “How do we cook it?”
I smiled seeing Princess Jelnaya point before saying, “I take the meat that way. It’s my own special cooking style, which you went with me once to do. I want to say that our buffalo is going to come out as deer, but one does not usually cook a deer in that fashion. Just have to make our kill and find out.”
Having Master Lossurp speak of making the attack, I did worry about him. It seemed that Princess Jelnaya did as well, as she had the lad simulate the necessary performance a couple of times. She also spoke to her horse while watching Master Lossurp continue to work on his routine. As if having to admit that he had earned his chance, Princess Jelnaya had the young man take his seat in the saddle before giving the signal for him to make the kill.
We all watched as Master Lossurp performed as directed. I knew what Princess Jelnaya had said, but still expected the herd to react to the rush toward them. While I saw some twitch, all held their position as Master Lossurp held Rubber to a direct course. The steed came to a smooth stop turning to allow the lad to drop, roll, then strike at the animal’s groin. Master Lossurp rose while assuring a large tear through the back lower section, then ran back to the horse.
I believe he wanted to stop and see what I witnessed, but Rubber obeyed the signal from Princess Jelnaya to come on back to her. As he crossed the distance, we however saw the necks of the cattle sway as if to attack those the one harmed sounded a warning of. It appeared to me that the decision to flee was made after a moment of indecision of not being able to identify the source of the attack. As the animals stormed off, except for one that collapsed in a pool of its internal juices, I put my focus on Princess Jelnaya who complimented Master Lossurp as he dismounted Rubber.
Krachern said, “Jelnaya, I have to assume that you have attacked creatures like that before.”
She replied, “A girl does need to eat. Now, Lossurp, you aren’t finished.”
The lad asked, “What more needs to be done?”
“Why the work. Come on. You have a carcass to clean and dress.”
She told the rest of us to go on until finding a good camp site. Both Makinor and Krachern asked her if she needed help, although Princess Jelnaya assured them that Master Lossurp would be enough. She added that she could do it alone, but the lad deserved the honor of processing his kill. Warning us that they would be coming into camp tired, but with food, she told the rest of us to move on.
After moving to another world, Krachern said, “She does have a lot more positive personality than I find in others seeking adventure through the omniverse.”
Makinor replied, “I can see why Fergush is so proud of her. Since meeting her I find myself wanting to be equal to her, but I still find myself so unprepared for this life.”
I had to say, “She has been at it since rather young. She also did not do it on her own, but actively sought the wisdom from others in her family. It is strange, but I find myself glad that we sent her away.”
Krachern asked, “You sent her away?”
“Well, not as in ordering her to go. Still, we wanted her to be something she did not want to be. She was right to go.” I then mumbled more than said, “Munulva, why should our answers be out here?”
“Children are supposed to want to leave home. I’m sure your Goddess understands that you will return. Most children do.”
Accepting that my words had been heard, I went ahead and asked, “Krachern, you believe that?”
“The omniverse has its history, well histories, as well. There are not masses emigrating between worlds. Those that learn about moving between realities do not start a mass migration of people. Even Davelda with its horse handlers is not stressed with a multitude seeking passage to other worlds. Yes, the historical evidence is that you of Davelda will settle down content with your reality.”
“Princess Jelnaya would say that we went back to our ruts.”
“And you of Davelda will simply smile as she does so. There are ruts, and then there are homes. I believe you of Davelda, just as worlds before, will find your hearts to be where you call home.”
The words sounded good to me. I however felt the final statement to just be an adage like we of Davelda were accused of making, but I found the message to gain my approval. I repeated the words a few time to assure they were set in my memory, then turned my attention toward choosing a good camping spot.
Finding Princess Jelnaya to indeed return with a banquet consisting of roast elk as the meat had us talk about being able to see through the omniverse. She promoted the belief that it took certain trains of thought to see certain portals and what was beyond them. She spoke of being able to see removed feasts due to Fergush being accepted as a type of deity that supported the acts that resulted in a kill. With her having fresh meat to exchange, a graciousness between her god and that of the world with the cooked entrée was bestowed. Finding Master Lossurp to speak of those at the banquet giving honor to a deity of the hunt had us accept the argument.
As we spoke of ending our day, Makinor said, “Go on to bed Jelnaya, Lossurp. Both of you did well. I’ll clean up.”
I rose to help him while saying, “You are definitely proving yourself as my princess, Jelnaya. I’m glad to have this time with you.”
She replied, “Well, I am slightly interested in this mission, but it is still your mission.”
I agreed with her. Helping the men clean up the camp, I however found myself seeing the problems Jelnaya was addressing. I told the men to go on to bed, as I needed time to think. If Negredell would offer what I wanted, I realized I would return speaking of the place positively. Just as Princess Jelnaya promoted Fergush, I would be advertising a place where one’s desire could be multiplied. Where she had a deity forcing a type of behavior and philosophy, I would simply be offering a dream. I realized my situation, as instead of others finding their lives bettered they might end up living a repeating nightmare as some stories warned. I agreed with her about needing to take this mission as mine, as even if I gained my desire I might do it in a way that did not set the right guideposts for those that followed.
Feeling the weight of what I was doing, I knelt and prayed to Munulva to guide me. Not only did I need to see the right path for myself, but I required a broader vision to give others all the information to prepare them. I also told Munulva that Princess Jelnaya should not be subjected to an eternity of guiding hopeful people to their own special ruts.
And the group return to speak about heading to their actual objective.