People in the Mist
Orintious and I were sitting quietly at a table at Castle Davelda. He had a few men from this world working for him, and had been invited to the large social. At a time in the past someone on this world had discovered a scientific method of gaining immortality, then events happened that erupted in war over the ownership. It was a dark era in their history that they only recently were coming out of. Our father was a good friend with the man who helped the immortals of Davelda climb out of their ruts, so Orintious and I had the connections with us accepting the invitations to break out of our own dull days.
Seeing a variety of people on this world did not help me. I expected everyone to look like Orintious. He was rather tall with light skin, black curly hair, and blue eyes. I had very dark skin, hair that was not as dark as my brother although with much tighter curls, and brown eyes. Around me I could see people similar to both of us. While we had brothers who only had a few worlds of people similar to them, I found myself realizing that people like me were not uncommon making any hope of finding my true heritage to be extremely low.
Both Orintious and I had danced with the ruling monarch of Davelda. It was her husband that was a friend of our father’s, and she was very lovely. Although over seven hundred years old, she did not appear that much older than my fourteen years. Her long amber hair, violet eyes, and very athletic body I felt would gain the honor of any man. I wondered what she spoke about when she danced with Orintious, because when she danced with me we talked about him.
She said, “I am glad that you are getting Orintious away from his mercenary lifestyle.”
“I’m not doing it,” I replied. “It is more of the changes that have occurred since we found our missing sister.”
“He would not have come here on his own, Vernallor. Those men of mine who serve him might have gotten him to come, but he would not be as he is. I know, because he has been brought by them before.”
Wondering about my immortal older brother, I asked, “Empress Straekin, what do you know about us children of Galabur?”
“Not much, Vernallor. My husband however has known then all. Ask him questions on that topic.”
Wanting to stay speaking with this lovely powerful lady, I said, “Well, I ask, because we are different. I mean, Mochsha found her past along with that of Orintious. Heratin of course knew his. I am just wondering if my other siblings knew something of their pasts.”
“Orintious, Mochsha, and Heratin are all immortal. All paths lead home, Vernallor, but some paths just are too long and difficult for a normal person. You don’t see here what I see. This is a Davelda I have always wanted to see, but never did. Over seven hundred years we wanted a world like this, but only due to the annoyance of Terish, and the annoyance of my determination to go with him, have we actually gained the world we wanted. This is Davelda. This is my home, but for a long time I did not like this place.”
“Do you think I’m immortal?”
“Don’t worry about your lifespan, Vernallor, but simply worry about your life. I just told you that I was ruling this world for centuries not really happy with my life. You do not want that, Vernallor. I believe Orintious will tell you things similar to that.”
“Yes.” Assured that I needed to say more, I worked to explain. “He does say there is something special to his life now that he knows things about his history. He however also says that us children of Galabur are missing something in that we don’t know. That has me wanting to know about my own life.”
“Galabur took in each of you because he felt you were interesting. While your pasts surely worked to create children as you, your father felt it would be worthwhile to see where your life would take you. Galabur looks to your future, Vernallor, and you should as well. Remember, I told you that all paths lead back to home. Look ahead, Vernallor, because those movements in the mist ahead of you could be people wanting to welcome you back home.”
When I told those words to Orintious, he only replied that Mochsha would probably tell me the same. That statement really did not comfort me. While I did spend a lot of time with Mochsha, I was still considered of the age where I needed to continue my studies. I preferred doing chores about her property, and not the closed edifices of my father of which many existed in places where it was dangerous to go outside. The problem I was finding in my studies was the same one I was realizing in coming to these socials with Orintious, I was not unique enough to truly see things that might be specific about me.
I was glad for Orintious to slap me on a shoulder and tell me to sit up, as my thoughts were heading into darkness. What I saw him point out was an elderly couple with my black skin, wiry hair, and basically features like mine. It took me glancing around to understand their apparent age made them something special. I was surrounded by immortals. None of them showed age, even as they spoke of centuries of existence. I sat up wondering how an elderly couple could be present, and not just why they were coming to us.
The one wearing the uniform of the military of Davelda leading the two stepped back clearly indicating me. It was the elderly man who stepped up. I saw white in his dark hair, and some wrinkles to his skin. The lady, who stayed back, did not show either white stands in her dark tresses or wrinkles, although I could still see maturity had gained comfort in her form. She performed a curtsey when the man bowed, and he spoke as if not truly knowing me.
“Master Vernallor of Galabur?”
It was my brother who replied, “He is who you said. I am Orintious of Galabur, the oldest surviving child. Vernallor is here with me, but under my watchful eye as he is my youngest sibling. May I ask who you are?”
“I am Thursdeck. I have come from the one who is responsible for bringing Vernallor to Lord Galabur. It is said that the young man needs guidance, if not just aid in his coming into his own. I am to provide that service.”
“All right, Vernallor, it is time for us to leave.” It surprised me that Orintious spoke to me, much less what he said, so I was grateful he explained. “Father will not refuse this man without cause, but we need to assure that he does not have cause.”
I had to ask, “Are you certain?”
“You know that I will at times house my men at one of father’s residences. He has never spoken against it, although has warned me about some men. Heratin gets a new lady each year, and father does not refuse them. Other siblings have taken on valets, maids, etc., let me even say spouses, and they have not been refused.”
“And he has not spoken against Nerframe.”
“And she is an odd one.” Orintious then turned back to the man to ask, “Who is she?”
The elderly man did not turn back to look at the lady, but kept his gaze on me as he said, “An option.”
My brother brought his head close to mine as he softly said, “Let me provide advice, Vernallor. Take the guy. Yes, I have Minchell and Heratin has his ladies, but we have certain liberties with them. While she might be willing, you are too young. You need to be learning some control, and a man can provide guidance. There will be a time for a lady, or ladies, to come into your life, but do not just go grabbing whoever presents herself.”
Not being certain of the entire situation, I only replied, “Let’s go see what Father says.”
Having a position of leading mercenaries, Orintious just told the elderly couple to follow him as he stood. We spoke to people as we left the large room, and some more as we left the building. It was not until we stepped outside the grand edifice that my brother spoke to those that followed us.
“I hope whoever sent you told you something of our father.”
The elderly man replied, “We were certainly informed of the grand librarian. Lord Galabur has a place in our history, and having a child accepted by him we feel to have been an honor bestowed upon us. What we know of Lord Galabur however also has us concerned for Vernallor.”
“Well, we know who our father is, so are concerned for those who are meeting him for the first time. Still, it does take the meeting to learn the truth.” Orintious pulled out a device, then said, “Let’s hold hands.”
When we let go, I moved to open the front doors of the present place our father called home. He did not have a collection of books, but grand structures that housed enormous collections of texts. There were various reasons for the multitude of places father could call home, and even more reasons for why father considered one certain building to be his present residence. I, along with each of my siblings, just accepted where father was would be where we would consider our home.
Orintious groaned when a number of ladies looked to us with my other immortal brother asking, “And who are we getting to meet?”
Heratin had a build and hair that was lighter than either Orintious or me. Heratin was the child of the goddess Hera, and had the duty every year to be sacrificed only to rise again after a week. While he knew his mother, no one knew of his father save that Heratin had been taken by Galabur. While I had grown up accepting all of my siblings as being vastly different, Orintious groaned speaking of his attitude toward how Heratin behaved before speaking to him.
“We really do not need you interfering. If you do not mind, Vernallor and I need to speak to Father.”
Not really certain that either of my brothers could feel what I could, I softly said, “Father is coming.”
Heratin replied, “Oh, no. Sorry, but I need to be present for this. Ladies, you really are not needed.”
I thought about Orintious’ earlier words as a number of feminine voices spoke to Heratin. Most mentioned about going to his apartment, although a few indicated other chores that would have them nearby if needed. While I thought it would be wonderful to have so many ladies available to me, I looked to the lady that had come with the elderly man accepting the advice of Orintious simply because I did not want some old lady in my bedroom.
Father was of a race of creatures that appeared as a type of squid. From a rather fleshy head descended a number of tentacles. He moved by a manner of floating usually wearing a robe that gave him a type of humanoid appearance, although any who actually looked at him could tell that he was nothing human at all.
As Father floated into the room, Orintious said, “Father, this couple, really the man, introduced themselves as providing Vernallor with guidance. I believe that he was claiming to serve my youngest brother as a valet.”
Father replied, “Vernallor, I would advise that you take the man, but not the lady.”
I admitted, “Orintious told me the same.”
“And your thoughts?”
“I have you. Not just that, but I spend time with Orintious and Dechapper. There is also Heratin and Sterrig, not to mention the fact that I spend time with Mochsha. I have plenty of guidance and instruction. What I feel I lack is time to myself, so bringing someone even into that part of my life really does not please me.”
“Get used to it,” Orintious softly said. “Father, may I?”
The tentacled mouth replied, “If you feel you can.”
“Yes. Vernallor, you are at a special time when you have us with you. Let me speak as the oldest, as someone immortal who has seen a number of siblings come to Father, grow up, and die. You will not have us, Vernallor. I am now settling into a property looking at things with a hope of having a life and family. That is why I went to Davelda. The immortals ladies there are not of the type I desire, but they can show me things that I do want as a part of my life. That is not your path, Vernallor, although if you do find yourself immortal you may find that I can provide you with more advice. Mochsha, well she is something special, but not your path either. Heratin, may all the gods in all the existences help you, but our divine brother is not your path either. As for Sterrig, while we both love him, you know not to follow him. Dechapper is a good brother, but he has found a lady and is now starting to plan his home and future. You need to find your own path, Vernallor, and gaining your own people to help you will prove to be a benefit.”
I turned to the man who had come to me to say, “Empress Straekin told me that all paths lead to home.”
He bowed before replying, “I cannot speak to that, Master Vernallor. What I know of you is in connection to what we know of your father, and I am speaking of Lord Galabur. Something in that regard contacted me, and I assume this lady with me. I was told it was my unfamiliarity with your background that would help you. Trust that I will do all I can to help you along whatever path you travel, even if it should bring you home.”
Having heard from Orintious and Father, I turned to another voice that was present. Heratin saw me look to him. He however waited for Orintious to turn to him and shrug his shoulders before speaking.
“Take on a valet, Vernallor. Not only was what Orintious told you good, but you are quite an independent lad. You proved yourself in the rescue of Mochsha and the situation with Sterrig. You are going to have your own path, and I hate to say that you will not make it on your own. Orintious and Mochsha needed you. Sterrig needed you. Who are you going to turn to, Vernallor? At the worst, you need someone to go get us when you get yourself in trouble.”
I replied, “I cannot say that I will like having him.”
“You like my ladies. You and Minchell get along. As for you and Nerframe, I am waiting for you to try and get your own house elf to be like her. You get along better with those connected to us, your own brothers and sister, better than us. I cannot imagine you not liking someone connected to you.”
My eyes moved around to look at each of those I respected. I even set my gaze on a few of Heratin’s ladies who I had come to respect. All stayed quiet, even Father. Finally, I came to a decision on my own and set my eyes on the elder gentleman.
“Well, I know that not everyone can live this life my father provides. If you truly want to condemn yourself to living with me, I won’t refuse you, but you need to pass one more test.”
Thursdeck asked, “And what is that, Master Vernallor?”
“Nerframe has to like you.”
I heard Heratin laugh, then exclaim, “That’s rich! Good decision, Vernallor.”
It did help my attitude when my father said, “I agree. I will go with you and your potential valet to see how things work out.”
And Mochsha has her own opinions to share.