It Only a Dream Can Be
Things did stay quiet until morning. The military stayed present, although did not intentionally bother us. Things about what they did and how they did it had members of my group get up from their rest, although seeing everything still calm they would return to their beds. My own discomfort with the nearby soldiers kept me up as well, and I felt them knowing there was an active watch prevented them from doing things that might have us accuse them.
While I could tell those of the military watched me, no one bothered me as I went through various katas. Usually someone would step up asking about my weapons, various moves, or some opening before going ahead and asking to spar with me. It however was not one of the soldiers, but someone I actually did not expect who walked up to me.
Makinor rose to perform some basic morning rituals, then came to me saying, “Onathia tells me that the conversation you had with Inchell and Krachern should have involved me.”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “Considering the two were with each other, I guess Krachern could be said to have been making a move on Inchell. Why haven’t you been doing that?”
“She does not worship a god of our world.”
“Always something, isn’t it?”
He was adjusting his sword belt as if preparing to spar with me, but froze to say, “Excuse me?”
“Why am I, a Champion of Fergush, looking for someone to love, and you aren’t?”
“Because you know things about your life. You have immortality. You have command of a duchy. You can go to a man with some definite expectations. If certain conditions are met, you have to accept things could work. I have none of that, Jelnaya. Any girl could work for me. I’m not immortal. I don’t have that requirement. I can live and love a woman in the same manner as almost any man. I really have no place to call home. Sure, I could do something with the place I have, but I could also go live elsewhere. I have nothing saying a particular lady could or could not be right for me.”
“And the people you are sent to do?”
His posture slumped as he said, “Then I determine the limits. I look at how the people live, what family and friends say, and other factors. None of that applies to me.”
“All those people you have helped, and you have not made any decisions about yourself? Whether you want a blond or brunette, what color eyes, size of her chest?”
“I agree with something you said, Jelnaya. I would like someone with a personality. I enjoy spending time with you, Jelnaya. I have yet to find a lady with a personality like yours.”
“Well, I would assume you have a better connection with the lady to talk to than I do.”
He drew his sword, then said, “I have dark hair, so a brunette is fine. If she can talk to me, I’ll look into her eyes whatever their color. As for her chest, I want something to be proud of. I mean, I hope I have a form that she will be proud of.” He made a couple of sweeping motions with his weapons, then asked, “Is that all right, Jelnaya? What are your thoughts of some man playing with your breasts?”
“If a man gains me, he better not ignore me or any part of me.”
The man suddenly collapsed to his knees, then as he took out a cloth to wipe his eyes, he said, “Onathia thanked me, Jelnaya. I guess I had never even made any decisions like that. What type of choices did you make?”
“I told you Makinor, I am completely focused on personality. If someone can deal with me and still have me believe he loves me, he will be accepted by me.”
“I cannot imagine that to be a problem. I enjoy my time with you.”
“All I will say in return is that we are both looking for someone special. Stay in contact Makinor.”
“Of course.” He again made a motion to wipe his eyes, then realized what he had in one hand. “I did come out to spar with you.”
“In my opinion, we were sparring, and I won.”
He rose, made a couple of sweeps with his sword, then actually attacked. I would not go easy on anyone, but Makinor had developed enough skill to give me a decent contest. As we went against each other I however saw none of the soldiers step up to challenge me. As Makinor rose from me dropping him again, I turned hearing another make sweeps with something in his hand.
Lossurp only had a stick with him saying, “Sha Inchell told me not to challenge you, Honored Duchess, but I felt the need to say that I went up against you.”
I replied, “After I drop you, Lossurp, go tell Inchell that we need to get ready and go.”
“Won’t you go easy on me, Honored Duchess?”
Makinor stepped up to the lad while saying, “No, she won’t, but I will tell you what to do. Make slow movements. As soon as you make any type of normal attack, she will put you down. If you however can keep a controlled steady type of motion, she will actually provide commentary.”
The lad worked with the Champion of Onathia to assure the right type of movement. As Makinor said, slowly working through an action did have me provide some advice and instruction. A couple of times Lossurp decided to speed up his routine only to find himself on the ground.
As he acted as if to challenge me again, Inchell came up to say, “I have something prepared for us to eat. Get something yourself, Princess Jelnaya, then we can get back to moving.”
I replied, “I will get our horses ready.”
“I believe Krachern has already done that.”
There was something in her body language that troubled me. I however understood our situation as not enabling us to be too open with certain plans. When I told Inchell that I would at least check on Rubber before eating, I could tell that something about what I said relieved her of some conceived trouble.
Krachern was still present around the animals, although waited for me to start checking straps before saying, “Let us know how we can ease your mind, Jelnaya. You need to get some sleep.”
I looked at him, then smiled. I had enough experience with the universal tongue to know when someone was not using it. In most cases it was obvious, as I would be dealing with people who did not know it. Among other travelers between worlds, it was actually expected that they would be using it. Moving between worlds affected you, and knowledge of certain universes gave you options if you were suffering in certain ways. The ability to understand all was not taught, but somehow the mind of one going from world to world just became able to make sense of things and have others understand what was said. It actually took concentrated thought to not use the universal language, but I smiled realizing that was what Krachern had done trusting in my ability to understand him.
I focused my mind and replied, “Tell Makinor that. He knows how to put me at ease so I will get some sleep.”
It did help to explain things to me, so I appreciated Krachern saying, “We are staying on a normal route, but the last couple of days will be combined in one hard day and night. We want you mentally ready for the travel and whatever else might occur.”
“It sounds like a good plan, but let’s see how things go.”
With those words we switched back to our usual manner of speaking. Inchell did have some food for us, but it was quickly devoured and we finished packing. Speaking on almost every topic except finding Negredell, we headed into the mountain range.
The military were not so quick to get started, but they had vehicles. They could move in an hour more than we would in a day while walking. What did work to our advantage was that in a couple of days we would no longer be moving where any roads had been built. At the moment however, we had to accept that their vehicles would be able to follow and stay ahead of our progress.
As we were preparing to get back to moving after stopping for a midday break, Lossurp noticed his phone. He answered it to start into what I had to assume was an interview with some media reporter. I watched as the lad became agitated, but could only wonder how to help when his voice rose as he almost shouted into the phone.
“I was there! I found myself in snow, when there is no snow! I stayed in a cricket house. It was fantastic! I did not know anyone built a house like that. I then killed that – ox?”
He looked to me when he asked that. I softly reminded him of the name, at least the name I knew it as. He nodded as he repeated it, then controlled his voice as he looked back at his phone.
“Not only that, but I have seen that gods are real. Honored Duchess Jelnaya, Honored Makinor, and even Sha Inchell worship gods. They then went to the trouble to assure that I knew about our Gods. They did not break into a church, as that would have been wrong. When they did open up a store, there was someone inside who helped me get some items and books.” It seems that the person questioned him about the person, as he said, “No, he was older than me. I guess he was the son of the owner of the store.”
I really wished I could have heard both sides of the conversation. Lossurp went for a time simply providing little more than one word answers. Finally, I saw him become slightly agitated again, but this time he handled himself more maturely.
“We are going to Negredell. Sha Inchell is sure that she knows where it is. Doctor Krachern has provided some information to support her.” The reporter must have challenged his claim, as he then said with a little more strength, “Stopping us from going will not keep the place from existing. If we fail then maybe you can claim that it does not exist. Stopping us will however not prove anything except that you are scared of the truth.”
As he ended the call, I felt like praising the lad, and heard others begin to do just that, but then his phone activated again. This time I could hear some of the other side of the conversation, as the young lady was rather loud in her speech. Lossurp did not seem overly pleased with the sweet and encouraging words he was receiving, although did not refuse some comments from Makinor. I could not help but smile hearing the conversation develop between the two youths. When he ended the call, I felt he had gained better praise than any of us with Lossurp could have provided.
As we went back to traveling, I felt Makinor expected me to say something. I however found no need to comment on another divine champion doing what he did best. The attitude of Lossurp I considered to say enough. When Makinor came close, I had to let him know that he should know better than to expect commentary from me.
“Why don’t you do something like that for yourself?”
I could tell that my statement took him by surprise, and after a moment of thought he replied, “Do you?”
“Makinor, you do know the story of me taking my duchy? I do have a more expansive border than my Grandfather Terish, but I can assure you that the surrounding kingdoms know better than to attack.”
“Well, love is not like fighting.”
“To think you can live your life without love is even sillier than thinking you can live it without fighting.”
He was silent for a period, then said, “Krachern is speaking of gaining immortality in Negredell. If I don’t gain that blessing, I guess I will think over those words.”
“No, Makinor,” I replied. “You right now speak to Onathia about her plans for you. I had that conversation with Fergush before I agreed to become his champion. Your problem is that you calmly stepped into your occupation. I have to give you credit for doing well at it, but we divine champions are not outside the normal affairs of life.”
“What greater love can a man have than the honor and appreciation of the goddess of love?”
“Not my conversation, Makinor. I told you to speak with Onathia about that.”
He did move away. I could hear him say some things, so assumed he was having a discussion with his goddess. Seeing him move back with tears in his eyes, I could only assume things had not gone well.
“Jelnaya,” Makinor said, “Onathia is trusting you with my heart.”
I looked at him for a moment, then said, “She must be really stupid, but I guess neither one of us knows what is coming.”
Things do not get less perplexing.