It Only a Dream Can Be
I gained the impression that Sheik Selamorn had people watching and listening to us. The way he spoke to us the next morning indicated that he knew things about our intentions. He however put up no resistance to giving us provisions and directions, so I could only assume that his impression of us was a good one.
Having him walk with us outside surprised me, although upon stepping out from the building he asked a question that helped me understand his reason for staying with us. “Those are rather exceptional horses you have. What breed are they?”
I replied, “Nescaleyan, actually, although they have gained the status of simply being the horses from Davelda. If you come to Davelda, you can see other breeds of horses.”
“A little heartier than our own, and highly intelligent.”
Princess Jelnaya said, “If you get to Davelda, shop for attitude. There are common steps to their training, but it helps having a horse that enjoys doing what you want it for. Rubber showed no reluctance to charging a barrier set with lances. When he looked at me strangely after realizing the tips were actually foam and not metal, then went and nuzzled them to assure himself of their softness, I felt I had the right horse. I however knew when he nodded after I told him that with me they would not be fake, but I would take care of him.”
“How much would a horse like this cost?”
Makinor replied, “Three pounds of gold at a minimum. It depends on things after that.” He looked to Princess Jelnaya and whispered, “I did not get a discount.”
She replied, “Wearing shiny armor they probably assumed you could afford it.”
Master Lossurp said, “I have seen them prance as our horses, but they tend to be used for more practical travel.”
Sheik Selamorn admitted, “They are a more practical breed, and should do well in the mountains. Take care of your own mount, Master Lossurp.”
With that said, we began packing our luggage. After a number of days of travel, we had the process pretty much established. Princess Jelnaya and Makinor loaded their belongings on their mounts with Master Lossurp’s steed used as the pack horse for the rest. The youth did not mind, as he actually seemed to prefer riding Rubber. Not only was there the attraction of having Princess Jelnaya focus on him when he did so, but he found the animal to be a lot more versatile in the commands it would respond to. I gained the impression that the intelligence of the horses of Davelda enabled them to become more of a pet, which was stressed in how Master Lossurp spoke to them while loading the luggage and not his own mount.
This day did have us moving through a market. We were in the city proper, but most served the common caste of people. The goods were not of poor quality, but sold in the manner of products being provided to those that were in need. There however was a section of town where things were advertised that one actually would not need with most packaged to attract attention. As we went through one such market area there was some discussion of acquiring some things before we again left civilization.
Jelnaya worried more about Master Lossurp and me than herself. As one that regularly traveled, it did not surprise me that she was more prepared for a life on the road. When I mentioned some things, she told me to get what I wanted. I did mention having some funds, but she reminded me that while on Davelda she did not have to pay, so she would return the favor. I found a pouch of money tossed to me. As for Master Lossurp, she accepted that the lad was not yet fully prepared for life so she would cover any purchase he desired as well.
She did disappear into one building. It did not appear to be a regular store, but the plain large stones covered in wordy signs gave the impression of being a government building. As a lady myself, I however wondered if I should follow thinking that what Princess Jelnaya would need I would as well. Hearing her call for Makinor and Master Lossurp, I however accepted the building was for something other than normal products.
Coming back out with the men, Princess Jelnaya explained, “Okay, Makinor and I have permission to hunt. There are limits, but I doubt we should need to eradicate the wildlife. However, should something be killed, we should not be in trouble with local officials. Lossurp has permission as well, but his is more of a learner’s permit. Still, no reason to prevent the lad from having some fun.”
Krachern said, “Honestly, Jelnaya, I’m surprised you bothered.”
“I usually do not travel through worlds like this, and usually have a different type of mission. As a noble, and as someone with elders who are noble or otherwise important, I understand the reason for making certain rules. Fergush told me about the building, and I accepted gaining a certain license to probably be worth the bother.”
Later in the day Krachern spoke of going to a merchant to purchase some trinkets for some nieces and nephews, and I asked Princess Jelnaya about doing the same to which she replied, “My family is too large. Besides Balerk I have two sisters, and they all have children. I have three aunts and an uncle on the Dozzrine side of the family who have children, and cousins on the Nehallum side of the family. While I do visit, I cannot say I am the best at visiting. I simply spend time and purchase some things when around.”
I had to allow, “I guess even you could go broke buying gifts for everyone.”
“Go broke? It is Rubber’s back that will break from carrying all those things.”
Giving some attention to her mount, she gathered a crowd having the animal perform a series of maneuvers with her. Princess Jelnaya had wonderful control over her form. I watched as her horse also showed an ability to perform with precision. The dance ended with a set of maneuvers that had Princess Jelnaya facing one side of the crowd with her right hand lifted having the front left hoof of Rubber settle in it to have it momentarily appear she was lifting his front section, she then flowed back while the horse turned and with a move over the back of the mount she then faced the other side of the crowd appearing to be lifting the front of Rubber with her other hand, and from there ended up on the back of the horse posing while standing on one foot.
Seeing those in the crowd actually toss coins, Princess Jelnaya dropped down then ordered, “Gather them up, Lossurp.”
I saw her move about speaking to people as the lad did as told. It amazed me to see Princess Jelnaya be kind and gracious. She did not have a mean demeanor, but her boldness made her usually appear as unpleasant. I also saw Rubber allow others to touch it, especially children, and realized it was not a vicious animal. With the socializing done, I then saw her point while giving Lossurp further orders.
“Go give half the money to that priest over there.”
The man did have icons to Jemaloran. That surprised me, as that God was considered an evil deity. I guess Master Lossurp also considered it questionable to promote the worship, as he asked Princess Jelnaya if she was certain about her order.
She replied, “Put the God at fault, Lossurp, not yourself. If you see someone promoting Yenostron, you can give him the other half.”
Also showing himself understanding something of the situation, Krachern moved over to softly say, “Jelnaya, Jemaloran is the evil deity.”
“I have faced Terdeskollit, Krachern. I know what an evil deity is. I have also heard the family stories of dealing with Terdeskollit. What I have seen does not have Jemaloran anywhere near the terrible qualities of being a truly evil entity.”
As if to support those words, Master Lossurp returned showing two vials while saying, “He said that we were heading in the right direction, but that I needed strength. He said you, Honored Duchess, would know to whom to give the other vial.”
“Krachern, it’s yours.”
He asked, “And not Inchell’s?”
“She should have the grace of Munulva. You have no one to support you.”
The horse man glared at her for a moment, then said, “I am going to have to accept that I need to rectify that when I return to my world.”
“Those gifts you bought should have you move about visiting your family. See what guidance they can provide, and act on it.”
He bowed to her, then moved to tie his parcels to the back of Master Lossurp’s horse. With that done we began walking some more. Leaving civilization behind, we discussed where we would stay. As we spoke of finding a suitable place to camp, we turned hearing the sound of horses moving toward us.
After the group stopped at a relatively close distance, a man said, “Honored Duchess Jelnaya, your performance in town was most exceptional. My place is not far ahead. I would be glad to entertain you as my guests.”
She strangely replied, “I was told that we knew the way.”
Princess Jelnaya looked to me and softly said, “This is your show.”
Trusting her, I stepped up to say, “Negredell.”
The man asked, “You are Sha Inchell, the librarian?”
“After the performance in town, I checked up on your group. That is how I know your names. They did not speak of where you were heading, but mentioned the mountains as being where you intended to go. My wife can speak of Negredell. I saw Honored Duchess Jelnaya direct a portion of her funds to a man proclaiming Jemaloran. Anyone that would do that deserves some respect, and my wife would be glad to have someone to speak to on that topic.”
Not knowing what else to say, I simply said, “Thank you. I guess we can accept the invitation.”
“Thank you. I raise horses, so have my own interest in your group. Please, follow me.”
And Lossurp meets a young lady.