It Only a Dream Can Be
Master Lossurp actually had a phone with him. As everyone waited, he retrieved it from his pack. He then had it make the call. He did not act surprised when someone else answered, but after identifying himself we could tell that the contact would be made in the manner he held the phone.
After some basic statements, he said, “Father, I am still with Sha Inchell, Honored Duchess Jelnaya, Doctor Krachern, and Honored Makinor. There however is also an officer of the Uvillorsh Army and there are soldiers around us. We are getting close to Negredell, at least where Sha Inchell says Negredell is at, but there seems to be problems.”
The sheik must have asked some basic questions of everyone’s health, because Master Lossurp spoke on that topic. He then spoke about the situation. When he mentioned the problem of us not trusting the military, I felt a need to help direct him. The sheik however must have asked the right questions, because then the lad mentioned being directed to make the call.
He then said, “Honored Duchess Jelnaya, my father says to survive until morning. If the fear continues after that, at least know that he tried.”
Princess Jelnaya replied, “Thank him, Lossurp.”
After the lad did so, the officer said, “I will pull my men back.”
“We do have a lot of meat.”
“That is generous of you.”
“Or stupid of you.”
The officer smiled, then told the sergeant to have the men make camp preparing a salad, some beans, and other things for a proper meal before saying, “Honored Duchess Jelnaya, I will take advantage of any opportunity to learn more about you. Will you accept the fact that I can make a truce with you for me and my men for a full day?”
“You have heard me say that my god, Fergush, is He-Who-Fights. He is not He-Who-Gets-Ambushed. Trust that I will know when you get orders working against that truce.”
It was an interesting evening listening to Princess Jelnaya speak to Major Barigom. Instead of the usual topics I heard discussed, the two almost completely spoke of military theory. While I accepted Princess Jelnaya now had authority over armies, I really did not think of her as someone using troops. She however was correct that her father sold weapons almost primarily to militaries, and had relatives that also were in positions of power. Not only had she learned from direct experience, but I could tell she had opportunities to put some of the wisdom she had learned from others to the test. Being in the Marines for centuries, I found it interesting hearing the discussion of various tactics, strategies, and other topics of past conflicts.
As they spoke, I looked over my research along with the maps I had gained on this world. Krachern did set himself to preparing the meat, so it did not surprise me when he offered a piece to taste. I guess I felt he was allowing others to sample his cooking as well. Having him provide something to drink, then a plate of food, gained my thanks, but again I considered it nothing special. Realizing that he was sitting next to me and looking at my research as I worked bothered me.
He saw me glance to him, and said, “Your penmanship is very clear, although tiny. I am surprised you don’t need glasses.”
“One benefit to immortality is that we can train people how to work their eyes, and the muscles never lose their strength.”
“Ah, yes, and it is the latter that is bothering me. Out here I don’t need glasses. Staying active I can use those tricks to keep my eyes in good condition. When back around the college, I however find myself needing glasses.”
Assuming something from things Krachern had said and his presence around me, I stated, “I will not leave Davelda.”
“At all? I would say that your very presence here says that you will leave Davelda. If I can restore myself, and gain immortality, I would not mind settling on Davelda with you. Munulva, well, actually She does not bother me either.”
I did think about what he said, then replied, “I can get bored, so I guess I could be persuaded to take trips.”
“Well planned trips, I assure you. I do not go out on adventures of discovery. If I did, my sponsors would not pay me for them. I have to justify my expeditions.”
“I really do not know how things will change should I be successful. Still, I really do not have any men on Davelda who were seeking time with me.”
“I don’t see why not. You are very lovely.”
While I did appreciate the words, I had to let Krachern know something about me. “I enjoy my privacy. My work has me serving for long periods around people, and not having any rank I am usually the one bossed around. I come home to get away from that.”
“Do you ever call anyone?” Seeing him just look at me during a pause, I was glad he gained the courage to say, “I am willing to start there. I am willing to settle on Davelda where I can be just a call away.”
I admitted, “I haven’t called anyone for over a century. Everyone got into a panic when Terish came, I mean when we realized that Terish was a real traveler between worlds. The council began really showing how stupid they were. The military began getting all sorts of conflicting orders. It was just crazy. I cannot say that I actually got angry at the men, but I felt I understood what Empress Straekin was trying to do. She had already started certain policies, but people humored her thinking them normal silliness. Terish made it serious, and that got everyone else to start acting silly. I just watched fascinated at what Terish was willing to do. I remember when our monitors switched to Terish and Ferrigote barely managing to have their beaten and cut bodies pull that wagon of wealth to the imperial castle. It just hit me that this guy was real. That had me consider what I would want, which eventually led me to start my research that has led me here.”
“And no man ever became interested?”
“No, not really. To them any topic of conversation that would get them in bed with me was all right. I was serious however.”
“That is what I will offer you, Inchell. I will be that man interested. Yes, I will want you in my bed, but I mean as my wife. I want you to accept that I enjoy you, am interested in what you are interested in, and want my life, my eternal life, to have you with me.”
I thought over his words, but only replied, “Well, we’ll see.”
“I believe I was rather handsome. I’m a little taller in this horse form, but I had height. The hair color is true. I was in shape, and this life I believe has kept me with a good physique. Hard to tell in this body, but if I return to not looking my best I will work to get my body back into shape.”
“Why don’t you have a lady in mind?”
Instead of being troubled by that question, he almost smiled with glee as he replied, “Lady? I work with a college. There are young women about that I could seduce. Could probably convince one to stay with me. They would not be immortal however. Instead of worrying about how to gain that blessing for her, I feel it would be best to go ahead and make a play for someone who already has that grace, and I have seen has a mentality that could truly match my own.”
“Okay, I guess I can leave it there. However, since we are talking on the topic of staying together, just how truthful are Jelnaya’s words about not needing money on Davelda?”
“Actually truthful. There are some issues that do bring up matters of payment, but there are so many loopholes to those issues that it gets to be a non-problem. Like my getting the asymult. I had to pay for it, but I paid with something I got for free and could replace by simply going and getting another.” I then thought to add, “That only applies to a citizen of Davelda.”
“Ah, but I could gain an apartment, then have you pay for it.”
“True, but that would present me with certain requirements.”
“No,” he said while moving his face close to mine. “It would force a requirement on me to keep you happy with me. Honestly, however, depending on things, I could probably afford to pay.”
I smiled while saying again, “We’ll see.”
He pulled a folded set of papers from his vest and set them down on top of my notes. I could not read his writing, but some sketches did gain my interest. What really gained my attention was a drawing of a rock face with arrows I assumed used to indicate things of note. Seeing me actually looking over his papers, I was glad to hear him explain.
“I do not have access to any resources out here. What I have is purely from memory. Trips through the omniverse however are not done easily, so I can say that I have looked over a multitude of potential alternate leads in my time.”
“But this,” I said while pointing out things in the sketches.
“Ah, well, I have found the best way to plan journeys through the omniverse is to assure that one does not go in the wrong direction. I follow clues to assure that they are not what I am searching for, then slowly find my possible path by simply having it as the one left over. That is what I sought to do with your own research. Instead, dear lady, I believe I found myself believing you are going in the right direction.”
Feeling that he had provided some good information, I replied, “I wish I knew these mountains better.”
“That I believe is our problem. I believe those in the military, those sponsoring the military, do know these mountains. If we reveal our notes, they could rush to our objective ahead of us.”
She was definitely making it known that she was not going to bed, and I felt glad to be called as it gave her something to do. She had noticed that I was looking over my notes, but continued to keep the military occupied. I believe she recognized the additional pages, as she positioned herself in front of them as if to keep whatever I said private.
“Krachern says that those of the military, or those sponsoring them, could be seeking to gain Negredell ahead of us.”
Princess Jelnaya asked, “Is that a bad thing?”
I really had not thought to ask that question, so as I pondered it I was glad to hear Krachern state a response. “Jelnaya, there is the honor of being able to say that one was the first.”
“Are you willing to kill for it?”
“That is a little extreme, don’t you think?” I replied.
“We are talking military. We are talking some group, possibly another military, out there already firing missiles. We are talking about those of Lossurp’s country playing politics and maybe making threats. It could go there. Make the decision now, as once things start I believe we will need to see them through.”
Krachern asked, “Do you believe it will go there?”
“Again, we are dealing with military. If it was some local police force or simply some local people, maybe I would not be so cautious. Militaries, no. If they take action, deadly force should be assumed.”
“Inchell called you, Jelnaya. Make it happen.”
Before I could come up with some words, I heard the lady say, “It really is not Inchell that bothers me. This is Lossurp’s world. He is the one that is going to have to live with what happens.”
I had to say to that, “The Gods have spoken for him. You have been keeping him with you. Listen to him.”
“Well, I have been keeping him with me because he is the native. He’s a good kid, so is really no trouble.”
“You helped him gain those icons, Princess Jelnaya. Surely you are suspecting him of providing some benefit.”
“If you are wanting someone that knows things, you get my Grandfather Terish. A lot of what you do with gods is taking things on faith. Fergush is He-Who-Fights, so my mind does go in that direction. I will keep you safe and prepare for what challenges I can determine are coming. Yes, I suspect things with Lossurp, but I suspect things of you as well, Inchell. Grandmother Straekin and my father are both strong advocates of Munulva.”
While I actually appreciated her words, I had to say, “I really do not consider myself under the directions of Munulva, Princess Jelnaya.”
“Would you complain if you were, or if you found Her giving you guidance.”
“Same with Lossurp, I would hope.”
I did not want to challenge those words, but I did feel led to say, “I would hope the same with Fergush.”
“I have eradicated armies in his name. It will not bother me to do it again.”
“If he directs you, Princess Jelnaya, I will accept it. Honestly, I would rather not go there, but as a member of the military of Davelda I have to agree with what you said. If the military is called upon to act, they will use deadly force. Do what you must.”
There are others than military interested in what is happening.