People in the Mist
I rode back to Mochsha’s house wanting to ask a question of Orintious. What I concluded was that I had a source of information that would provide a perspective that would help me understand his answer. While I had gone on two missions with Orintious and spent some time with him, I really could not say that I knew the brother. I had not grown up fighting with him the way I had with Sterrig. I had not spent time at an activity he enjoyed the way I had with Dechapper. I actually felt I knew Heratin more than Orintious, so did not ask the question thinking I would not truly understand the answer.
After telling my sister and Nerframe that I would be spending time with Father, I went back to his residence telling Thursdeck to simply start adjusting to his new life. After assuring him of things in the house proper, I moved into the stacks easily being able to sense where my father was. While my siblings, and surely me as well, were not truly human, Father was not human at all. I still had grown up being instructed by him, speaking with him on various topics, and simply spending time with him. I felt I knew him. I thus believed myself able to make sense of what I might be told by Father.
“Orintious wants me to do research,” I said coming where a mass of scrolls snaked around due to the power of Father sifting through them for his own purpose, “but I am not certain why it is necessary.”
While I could sense where Father was, I could not see him even as I heard his voice ask, “And why is that, Vernallor?”
“Because he should know. He sent me here to ask you for one of the pieces of the Trunk of Veskagren, but I feel he could have done that himself.”
“Just the one piece, Vernallor?”
That response perplexed me, so I asked, “You have more?”
“No, but I did not find the piece I have lying around, Vernallor. I was present when the pieces were divided. I know where all seven are.”
Those words had me relate where Orintious had taken me. As I spoke, I saw the mass of scrolls begin to roll themselves back up and return to their places. Knowing that Father was giving me his attention, I did my best to relate everything of the events.
When I finished, I felt a tentacle of my father rest on my shoulders as he asked, “Why did Orintious seek you, Vernallor?”
I answered, “He said that he needed a head-man.”
“You have been providing that for him. Now, I am not saying that he did not know. Honestly, the fact that I had one piece should have told him that I knew something about the entire story. Orintious however is finally finding his path, but having not traveled it for so long he probably feels lost. You are not only grounding him in how to deal with the information he gains, but to family. For you these missions are learning situations, but for him they are revelations. It would serve you well to continue to work with him, Vernallor.”
“Well, if you were there when the pieces were divided, how much can you tell me about Neslare and Veskagren?”
“I can tell you a lot, Vernallor. Let me however send you to Orintious to ask him how much he wants to know.” Seeing me just look at him, Father explained, “I actually expected someone to come to me a lot sooner. There is a big problem that those dividing the pieces wanted to avoid, but the fact the pieces exist, the fact that everything exists, I knew would have people wanting to seek what others wanted to remain hidden.”
“Are you saying that what will be revealed is something evil?”
“Malignant, Vernallor. Most who seek power are not actually intending evil, although I fully believe that anyone dominating the lives of others is not good. What happens however is that the desire for power is often an unquenchable thirst. If Orintious is going to follow this, I want him to know that he might be starting something that will not prove profitable.”
I thought about what my father said, then concluded, “What you are saying is that the elephant can be restored to life.”
“The elephant is not the problem, Vernallor. It however is a source for others to become problems, and for the historic problem to return.”
I did have more questions, although I recognized what my father was not saying. One lesson I had learned in being taught by him was that he only avoided speaking on things he felt you already knew. Those who were paying for his services would find him more than willing to answer a direct question, although paying for it. I found my own ability to foresee answers to questions develop, which enabled me to ask the things that would further advance my research.
I said, “Why didn’t Orintious come himself?”
“He wanted a head-man, Vernallor. He really did not want an answer. Go talk to him about it.”
“They’re wanting him to go after the – wait, they are offering him a wife.”
I could tell my father was happy with my conclusion as he said, “And he is questioning whether this is a real opportunity. Orintious is immortal, and finding a lady with such a gift is something rare. Still, there is more to a relationship than similar life spans.”
“Shouldn’t you be the one to speak to him?”
“Let me use you as a head-man as well, Vernallor. He came to you, so you go to him. If you seek me afterward, I will go.”
I accepted the assignment. Of course I thanked Father for his time. While he had a parental duty to me, I still understood that he had duties to providing the life I had grown up experiencing. I left him to return to his assignment even as I set off on mine.
With Orintious living on the same world as Mochsha, I thought about going to her house first. I however did not want to just show up there before leaving. Accepting that I could spend time with my sister and her house elf at another time, I directed the portal in the front of my father’s residence to take me to Orintious.
He had not gained a property that had been abandoned for close to a century, although things about his home had it appear worse than Mochsha’s mansion. The one that had held the estate had failed to keep it productive, and a lot of his negligence revealed itself in certain repairs either being done poorly or not at all. While Mochsha’s house had an elegance from her family trying to maintain a certain status until certain accidents set them on a path that brought them to their doom, Orintious found himself needing to rebuild things to provide the quality of life he desired.
I heard a number of men call to me as I appeared in front of my brother’s house. Looking about, I sought some evidence for them preparing for something other than work needed for the property. The clues I felt would indicate Orintious putting his focus on another major adventure was not evident, so I simply made certain greetings to the men before moving to my brother.
He came from the house and asked, “What did you learn, Vernallor?”
I replied, “That Father could tell us about the location of all seven pieces.” Watching the body language of my brother, I asked before he could say anything, “Why didn’t you go to Father?”
“I wouldn’t have asked him the questions you did, Vernallor.”
“What do you know about Neslare?”
“Did he tell you she had a sister, Vernallor?”
That question surprised me. I had come to suspect that the reason Orintious was interested in this matter dealt with the lady in the story. I saw nothing important in the elephant, so the important part of the tale had to be the lady it was to carry. What I had suspected was that the characters placed over those of the spell had been the name of the young lady, but I recalled what parts of the symbols I had seen to make an attempt at answering the question.
“You know a Melartha, Vernallor?”
Wondering where he thought I might have met such a lady, I replied, “The suspicion came to me in speaking with Father. The problem I had was that you did not mention it. That had me think the people came to you with such a prospect, but Father told me that he was going to use me as a head-man. That means there is more to this than you were thinking about, Orintious.”
“Did you ask Father for any books, Vernallor?”
“I wasn’t sent to him to do that. I was told to treat it as a mystery, and I am used to talking about things like that with Father. He however was a little too free with certain facts, and that had me think there was more.”
“Let me get you a book, Vernallor. Read it, then tell me what you think.”
When he signaled for me to follow him as he turned to go back inside his house, I paused to look again at those about the property. The last mission had gained us a grand amount of wealth. A good percentage of his better men, those who I knew had been active in his service for a long time, felt they had enough to retire to a simpler life. Orintious however had a new property he needed to get back into respectable condition with a profitable industry, so those new to his service or worried that they might miss the next big mission were trying to prove themselves to him. Wondering how much change would come to this estate in comparison to Mochsha’s, I entered his residence.
On the inside the house appeared to be a collection of many separate additions. I almost felt that I could get lost in this building as I followed Orintious up a flight of stairs then proceed through one hallway only to turn down another. While the furniture in the bedroom was nice, and I pleasantly smiled at Minchell who was checking out some shoes, there was an appearance of walls having been removed to provide such a grand space. Orintious went to a small table next to the large bed, opened a drawer, then picked up a leather covered sheaf of papers filled with a collection of other scraps of materials.
Expecting a book, I looked at what he handed me and asked, “A journal?”
“A diary, Vernallor. That is the diary of Ashamohn.”
While I was the most recent acquisition of father, I grew up understanding there was a lot of history before me. Not only was Father extremely old, but there were over a dozen children who preceded me. Ashamohn was the fourth child of Galabur with Orintious being the sixth. I did not doubt he knew her, but I looked at the diary wondering how the history in it could apply to the situation.
I said, “I was given the impression that the events dealing with the elephant were very old.”
“My situation however is not. I am just now coming to the place where the advice Ashamohn gave me can be used. If you are going to work with me, and I hope you will, you will need to know things in that diary.”
“Okay. Give me some time.”
Answers, but not in the way that truly provide solutions.