It Only a Dream Can Be
We took off the next morning to do as the God directed. The lady in the hotel lobby was able to direct us to Yenorzy Street, although mentioned it being in one of the lesser parts of town. It did bother me to get a sense of this country also having a caste system, but I decided not to involve myself in the history of the land. We took off simply hoping to get an objective completed before heading toward Negredell.
Finding the store was not a problem once on the proper street. Even though it was not large, the chains set it apart. While a number of the businesses had closed, they had simply been locked with signs I suspected to declare they were no longer active. The other stores also looked empty, but the one chained clearly still had its contents.
It caught me by surprise when instead of breaking into the building Princess Jelnaya simply did something with the lock and removed the lengths securing the front. She did the same to the door, and opened it without doing any damage. While I was surprised at what Princess Jelnaya did, it was Master Lossurp who spoke on the matter.
“Couldn’t you have done that at the church?”
Princess Jelnaya replied, “It still would have been breaking and entering. This is a business. It might deal with holy items, but it is not a religious establishment. Get inside, Lossurp, and take what you will.”
Makinor said, “These items are to your Gods, Lossurp.”
“But I don’t know anything about them.”
Princess Jelnaya said, “There are books in there, so get some of them.”
“I don’t know this language.”
“Lossurp, get in there and see what is available. What have I been telling you? You have to commit.”
The lad just looked at her for a moment, but then he did go into the building. While we waited for him, Krachern asked her about the method of releasing the locks. It caught my interest to hear her speak of learning some magic from her grandmother. While I knew my empress had learned things from her husband, I did not expect her to need to gain the skills to do things she would have others punished for doing. Of course, considering what was occurring now I accepted that she had also felt justified to get into places others had sealed.
Master Lossurp came out holding some books and items, then said, “There was someone in there. He let me know that there were some books in my language, and directed me to take certain items. He also said that you knew I would be guided. How did you know?”
Makinor replied, “The problem is not how others knew, but that you did not know. What you need to work on is recognizing certain statements or indications, or simply gaining the status where you are one of those told.”
Princess Jelnaya shut the door and started returning the chains to their place as she said, “It was your task to do, Lossurp. You did it, so the honor is to you. Now we can start heading to Negredell.”
I directed everyone toward the mountains. When I mentioned the specific peak, Makinor told me that we needed to now sit down and discuss everything about the mission. Speaking the option that we could discuss things as we traveled to the mountains, Princess Jelnaya explained that something else had been intended.
“Makinor wants something you from Davelda tend to enjoy. He wants an old-fashioned sit down at a conference table conference.”
I found myself feeling to be the one uninformed as I admitted, “I do have a lot of information.”
Makinor said, “It would probably help us to hear it, although what we really need to do is share our attitudes about this mission. As has been pointed out, Negredell is not a lost city with hidden treasure, but a legend of a completely different type. I feel we need to discuss things of this challenge.”
Krachern admitted, “A meeting of that type would help me fill in some of the holes in my notes.”
Jelnaya started patting the neck of her horse while looking around, then said, “I’m the noble. From what I have seen traveling through various worlds, including this one, has me feeling I can accomplish something. Let me go see about our accommodations tonight. We might all need to be on our best behavior, but I suspect we can get good food and a good room to discuss things.”
After she rode off, Makinor said, “That is what I never have been able to figure out about her. She will be looking for answers to questions I never even thought of even before I would have considered the question relevant.”
I replied, “That’s her Grandfather Terish in her. He’s like that, and she did spend time learning from him.”
“I move through these other worlds mystified by everything, but she seems very much at home. She is able to pick out details and consider their importance while I am simply awed by the scenery.”
Krachern said, “I believe that is where her bold nature helps her. She sees how other people react to her, and that helps her understand what is important.”
I had to turn to look as Master Lossurp exclaimed, “Wow! She’s heading up to that estate. Why didn’t we think of that?”
“Because we were not wanting to attract attention,” I replied. “We feel that if others knew we were heading to Negredell, they would work to stop us.” Remembering the meeting with the deity, I however said, “But they won’t. Master Lossurp, wear those items you took from the store.”
“I have things representing both Yenostron and Jemaloran. Which one would you recommend, Sha Inchell?”
“You are not representing a God, Master Lossurp, but your world. Wear at least one of each.”
While he did as instructed, I saw his eyes continue to watch things at a distance. It did help that the rich tended to live on what heights were available, as the buildings and terrain around us did block our sight. He rushed putting on some pins, then went forward to where he could look down a street to get a view without anything blocking his sight.
“They’re letting her pass. We might really get some quality accommodations tonight.”
Krachern mumbled, “Without spending anything.” When I looked to him, he admitted, “I gave her some things for a good place to have a discussion.”
I replied to him, “If you are in need of the money, she will return it to you.”
“No, and I accept that I have seen enough of this society to have assumed she could do what she is doing. Also, it is not an uncommon act for other worlds. It probably all depends on what type of mission she is on.”
We spoke for a time about her visits to Davelda. Of course with no one else from my world, I had to answer some questions about things there. I then noticed it was Krachern who asked the most. Looking at him, he seemed to understand my gaze as he spoke an explanation.
“I have plans on visiting. How can I find you?”
“There is a public directory. If I am out on patrol, I will see about getting leave and making my way to you.”
Master Lossurp asked, “You are out patrolling the borders?”
“No. There are no borders. Just out keeping the peace. We are more of an emergency backup to the police. Actually had crime long, long ago. More recently we did what we could to stop suicides. Today we mostly do walks out in the wilderness checking on conditions with the wildlife.”
Krachern asked, “Looking over the Davelda wilderness sounds enchanting. What would it take to get permission to walk a patrol with you?”
I looked at him with an odd expression, which had him smile, so I wondered about him even as I supplied an answer. “Just talk to Empress Straekin. I can assure you that she will give you the necessary authentication.”
“She does not stay on Davelda.”
“Well, not in the castle. She is developing property elsewhere, but there is no promise she and Terish will be there either. Still, any military officer can get in touch with her. That does not include me, as I really do not have that high of rank.”
He then whispered something I did not expect. Allowing for differences in language, he paraphrased the poem Jelnaya had said her Grandfather Terish identified as being important. Wondering about things, Krachern whispered something letting me know that his interest was more than academic.
“Might as well go for you as well, Inchell. You’re not going to find your rut, but there are answers. I am going for more than regaining my true form. Immortality and the hand of a wonderful lady are within my grasp. I will go for both.”
I could not help but reply, “That is a dismal poem.”
“The gifts are unappreciated, thus the title of the poem. Yours is no better. It only a dream can be. I am however out here not traveling with those of dreams, but real people. I promise you that I will appreciate the gifts I gain.”
“What will those of your college say?”
“I am not going to deny that we have things to work out between us. Let me however at this time state my commitment to what you are attempting.”
More curious than actually intrigued by his statements, I asked, “What do you think you know?”
“I told you I paid Jelnaya to get us a place where we can talk. I will be more than willing to let you know what I can recall. Still, I am not one willing to allow it to stay ‘only a dream can be.’ I am one who is willing to take the chance to make things a reality, and that is what I presently want to offer to you.”
I had to admit, “That is a good place to start.”
Before he could reply, Master Lossurp announced some mounted officials coming from the estate Jelnaya had entered. I could agree with the lad that the fact they came on horseback was a good sign. If they meant us any trouble they would be coming in vehicles, although we would probably see things centered on Jelnaya as she caused her own problems.
Master Lossurp wanted to take the lead, but I told him to let me speak to the officials. When he reminded me I was not from his world, I told him that I was an adult and probably the one Jelnaya spoke as being in charge. The lad stepped back, although let me know that he would speak if he felt it necessary.
The officer did not dismount, but rode very close before asking, “Sha Inchell, I am informed that you are a librarian.”
With me being the only lady in our group, I did not bother asking how he identified me. “I served in that capacity for House Savalla in Decogrend.”
“That has checked out. There has been a request for your group to retire to the library of House Mellicher. That is actually a minor request, and with what we have been told checking out the claim it is my pleasure to inform you that you will be welcomed in the estate. The lad is Master Lossurp of House Sevalla?”
“Indeed he is. The tall –“
The officer did not allow me to introduce the others, but asked, “Young man, what are you doing with items of our Gods on your person?”
Master Lossurp replied, “Honored Duchess Jelnaya proclaims a deity named Fergush, He-Who-Fights.” He turned to point as he said, “This is Honored Makinor who worships a goddess named Onathia, She-Who-Loves. Assuring my place among them, I felt no dishonor in proclaiming the historic deities of our world.”
“So, you are not going to claim to be a priest or anything like that?”
With his body language clearly showing his confusion at the question, the lad replied, “That is not my intention at all. I simply am not going to be ashamed of our beliefs or history.”
“You do understand you are not in Decogrend, but Uvillorsh.”
“Do you worship Fergush or Ornathia here?”
The officer smiled in a manner of approving the response as he said, “I can appreciate your determination, Master Lossurp. Let me make you the offer of your own accommodations.”
“No. I am committed to this journey. There is a reason for us traveling. While I appreciate your concern for my health and comfort, and assume a report will be sent to my father, I must say that my determination goes deeper than any show of a religious nature.”
“That is as far as I can take my questioning, Master Lossurp. May you and your companions have a nice stay. Sheik Selamorn awaits you. We will follow behind, but feel free to ignore us.”
Negredell is not what Inchell thought it was.