It Only a Dream Can Be
We had seen Inchell’s evidence. What Krachern added did help provide more substance to the mission, but really did not change my objectives. I however sat realizing that I was here for Inchell, so felt I needed to determine things between her and the men.
Rising from the table, Lossurp asked, “Where are you going, Honored Duchess Jelnaya?”
“I’m going to have a religious conversation. Let me recommend that you go hit the books so you can have one of those with me and the others.”
I believe he was going to call me a liar, but Krachern told the lad that what I said was a good thing. I looked at the man only to see him nod. It did not bother me whether he knew what I was going to do or not, but I left assuming things would be worked out between us later.
There were a number of people who saw soldiers or police and thought of trouble. While they did have the duty of dealing with serious situations, they truly preferred to have easy work periods just like most people. A majority of those protecting the people would not complain when no trouble presented itself. Understanding how dangerous their work could become, they did stay alert. When I looked to those on duty to provide security in the building I thought of those who could provide information.
Makinor was on the roof. He turned simply to determine who had opened the door. I felt good seeing no indication of Makinor considering me a threat, so walked across the roof to stand beside him.
“For your information,” he said, “Onathia has not fussed at me yet.”
I replied, “I really do not know her intentions for you. When I took on my status with Fergush I however demanded it all, which did include gaining a husband and providing a family. I already have a home.”
“I have a home – Jelnaya, I can’t bring a wife there, especially one like Inchell. It’s a simple place.”
“Okay. Do you fuss at Onathia for that, or does she fuss at you?”
A very displeased expression crossed his features, then he admitted, “Onathia just asked me the same question.”
“I don’t believe you ever considered the problem you kept involving people in. Relationships are complicated things. Putting a man and woman together does not simplify things. That is what you are expecting. You are expecting something simple.”
“Well, how about you?”
“Oh, come on, Makinor. You are personally experiencing the Hell I put men through. I can assure you that Onathia is having trouble finding someone who can just put up with me, much less have the depth to have me fall in love with them.”
Strength returned to his voice as Makinor said, “But that is what I want, Jelnaya. I want that feeling of falling.”
“You’re the man, Makinor. You are the one who has to jump or start digging.”
He hugged me, then said, “But that is what I don’t understand about you, Jelnaya. You make me feel like I am lacking because I don’t jump or start digging.”
“Thank you, Makinor, but you still aren’t understanding. You feel that way because we have to relate to each other. Our gods might be opposed, but we still have to promote the unity of our pantheon. For you the jumping or digging is a part of your job. That lady you are looking for will not be a job. It will be a pleasure. You are not going to be forced to jump or dig for her, but you will all the same.”
“Do I go for beauty, or… what?”
I still thought it cute that I was giving advice on love to a Champion of Onathia, but the evidence was that the goddess really had not taught the man how to relate to women. “I am looking for someone who will talk to me. The horrible times that I can put him through, I want someone who will stay and talk to me. Why they do it, I am going to have to accept that to be just a part of who they are.”
“Well, give me your opinion of my chances with Inchell.”
“I honestly feel that the two of you would get along wonderfully. I also see you as not providing the lady with a rut. Krachern possibly would.”
A rather curious smile came to his face, then he asked, “Just for my own information, are you related to her?”
“Inchell?” Seeing him nod had me think. “I doubt it. Grandmother Straekin does have an older brother. You don’t hear about him, but I have met him a couple of times. I believe there are a couple of cousins, but that is all I can say. I have not ever seen a family tree.”
“Okay, Jelnaya. Onathia tells me to thank you for your time, and I have to say that I completely agree with her on that. I really hope I gain immortality. I want to share your life with you. Not as a husband, but your friendship does mean a lot to me.”
I blew him a kiss, then left the roof to return to the library. Ordinarily I would have stayed and done some katas, but I felt Makinor needed some private time with his goddess. No one bothered me returning to the library, although once I closed the door Krachern had to ask a question about where I had gone.
“Did you talk Makinor into going for Inchell or out of it?”
Not appreciating the question, or the implication I would relate things of a private conversation, I replied, “My god is He-Who-Fights, so of course I talked him into it.”
“Do you think he is the better man?”
“I’m not going to make Inchell’s decision for her, or your decision for you. If you and Makinor are butting heads over each other, you won’t be bothering Inchell as she goes for Negredell. It is her mission after all.”
From a distance I heard, “Thank you, Princess Jelnaya.”
Krachern then asked, “What if I decide to make a play on you, Jelnaya?”
I replied, “My god is He-Who-Fights. I thought you knew that, Krachern.”
“You’re worth it.”
“I’ll remind you of those words when you decide against playing for me.” I heard my god tell me something, and considering it relevant I related the information to Krachern. “Still, you were once married.”
“Does that matter?”
“I’m holy. This lady is claimed by a god. There are standards I must live by.”
“Makinor is as well. Are you saying Inchell is acceptable?”
Krachern did have a point, so I said, “I guess so. No reason for Makinor to go off brooding otherwise.”
“Well, get some sleep, Jelnaya. For the record, I agree with what Inchell has determined. About four days for us to hit the mountains proper. I am hoping a week from there.”
I thought for a moment, then said, “You’re not thinking this through. I won’t deny getting some sleep, but I’ll be looking through the books.”
Inchell actually moved to me as she asked, “What are you thinking, Princess Jelnaya?”
“My god is He-Who-Fights, and he is not complaining about me being here. What do you think I am thinking?”
“You’re my princess, Jelnaya. You have every right to be here. I am grateful, and will let Fergush know that.”
“Let me check on things, Inchell. At the worst I will be able to give Lossurp a test on what he is reading.”
She went ahead of me directing me to a section of books while saying, “My problem here is the same one Master Lossurp spoke of. I learned the language of his land, but really had not gotten far along in my study of this language. I did however study the library systems, so I can say the books you want should be here.”
“Well, if you think about what I am looking for, feel free to provide advice.”
“Why should I know what you are looking for?”
“Because I am a princess of Davelda. Those of your world do seek to know about me. There are books and movies about me.”
I began looking over the section of texts Inchell indicated. Reading a title was actually beyond my skill. Before I began pulling books to look over the words and see if I could recognize their meanings, I simply did what estimating I could of which texts might be the better ones to spend time with. What bothered me as I examined the texts was Inchell continuing to speak.
“I really do not see what there is to fight. You do have a better grasp of the culture. While it is not feudal, the caste system does come closer in some ways than our developed civilization on Davelda. What you did to gain this library I assumed was you just understanding the politics and not actually anything Fergush is known for.”
I heard my god say, “I wonder how much she actually knows of me.”
Without any hesitation I very softly replied, “She knows enough. What I wonder is how much she knows of my family.”
Inchell acted as if she did not consider I had spoken to another. “I know a lot of your family, Princess Jelnaya. My unit was alerted a couple of times in the early days of Terish. I watched with fascination when your father came to Davelda. Your aunts brought their own charm. You were part of the mission that returned our lost citizens with their knowledge of how we could have our own children. There was then the matter with Neselle.”
I smiled when she spun. The presence of the entity had already been detected by me with the statement by my god actually being in reference to whether Inchell would notice the threat. I actually wondered if she would fight, and continued to smile wondering how she would do so.
The words sounded hollow from what I considered to be a demon. “There is a consideration that you should be allowed to simply proceed to Negredell.”
I replied, “I however doubt you want the reputation of being a boring world.”
Inchell seemed worried that I was not looking at it when she said, “Princess Jelnaya, it’s big.”
“It’s trying to scare you.”
Turning I could see through a dark haze a creature with long, spindly arms and legs. The talons seemed to be too long and thick to be supported by the upper appendages while the bulky torso appeared much too heavy to be lifted by the thin lower sections. The head had a longer snout than any canine, although I saw a wolfish grin when I turned to face it.
“There is something to be scared of,” it said.
I replied, “I’m not the one who cares. I however know that I will be involved, so am trying to think ahead. Honestly, I don’t believe you are a problem.”
Inchell asked, “Can you kill it, Princess Jelnaya?”
“You don’t kill something like that. No glory in it. The glory is in just staring it down.” Changing the tone of my voice to indicate I was talking to the demon, I said, “You are appearing before the wrong people. I don’t care, and with her it probably won’t matter.”
“You’re not going to stop me.”
When it disappeared, Inchell rushed off speaking Lossurp’s name in a tone of concern. I actually felt that he should have been the one troubled, but also could understand why he had not been. The one I really considered the weak link was Krachern. He was not someone with divine connections or with a real mission to gain Negredell. I felt he could be influenced, and was one who might have a chance of affecting us. Seeing him rush into the room as if concerned for me, I found myself wondering if the forces against us were working multiple schemes.
“What happened?” he asked.
I replied, “Not a fight.”
“Is that really all you care about, Jelnaya?”
“If it was then there was no need for something to worry about me. That is my problem, why did it come to me?”
“It might have come to Inchell.”
That thought had come to my mind as well, so I replied, “Both times the manifestation came when Inchell and I were together. That might be important. I don’t know. Let me get back to work seeing if I learn anything.”
“Don’t know how I might help, but I will do what I can.”
“You can look at pictures. We are being supplied with information, but just do not have the background to make sense of it. Whether a fight is coming or not, I would rather face my god with the claim I was trying to plan ahead.”
“I can agree with that. Yes, Jelnaya, I have the training to look for details in pictures. Let me see about working with you.”
And the group finds themselves spending time around more people.