People in the Mist
I went back home and let Father know what Orintious gave me, and actually found comfort hearing, “She did give the diary to him, Vernallor. While there might be some moral issue in allowing you to read it, I trust Orintious not to abuse the trust of Ashamohn. I did place in your room one of the more entertaining texts telling the story of Neslare and Veskagren. There are other more detailed historic texts, but I will wait for you to come with your questions.”
Not being faced with what I considered something I actually enjoyed, I said, “This really does not feel like a mystery, but only a study of an event.”
“That is a statement of non-interest. I did not raise you that way, Vernallor.”
Father was correct. The lessons I was given did not focus on a particular world or country. I was given books from a variety of sources. The topic would be on whatever my father felt I needed. My reading of mystery novels was something I did for fun with me often needing to first finish whatever lessons had been set for me. Admitting that Father was correct, I had to consider my own thoughts.
“This is not what I usually consider a mystery. I don’t feel like there is actually anything to solve, but that all the answers are there to be found.”
“If that was true, Vernallor, there would be nothing to resolve. Orintious and I said that we wanted you for a head-man. Well, put that head to work.”
Accepting the task as my assignment, I went to my room to look at the book. Going inside I was surprised by Thursdeck checking things in my closet. We spoke about my preference for fashion. Allowing him to continue with that assignment, I let him know I would be in the front room reading.
I read the diary first actually being interested in this sister I never knew. There was also the fact that until recently I knew very little of Orintious. The prospect of learning of two siblings had me begin the diary with a sense of actually being interested in what I should learn.
Finding her speak of being a starfish had me get up to look at the picture of Ashamohn. She did have a rather hefty appearance in the image, but nothing of being a type of sea creature. I however noticed that it was taken on the side of what appeared to be a pool. Actually wondering about what I might learn of Ashamohn, I settled back down to read.
It was interesting finding her life with Father not much different than my own. She spoke of certain traits I knew of our parent in ways that I easily recognized. I found it strange that she spoke of the adoption of Vorinshy with no excitement. Ashamohn had her focus on certain men, and really did not want the bother of a new sister. I scanned pages as she made comments about the men she dated, then even more concerning a life she considered dull and not really worth living.
Having learned basically nothing of Vorinshy, I really was surprised when she did speak of Orintious. Ashamohn was back with father after her husband died. Her children, it seemed that she had very many, were still hanging around her, and she just left them as they were all old enough to be on their own. The diary changed tone when instead of complaining about her life Ashamohn spoke of Orintious.
‘Father said that we have to be careful with this new sibling. He said his name was Orintious and that he was immortal. Immortal? Oh, I pity him. Immortality is one thing I would never want. Father seemed to understand my thoughts, I however believe I did mumble those words, and told me that we would need to be careful in raising him. I don’t want Orintious to have my life, so will help Father raise him.’
There had been a number of items included in the diary, but I had passed over them. A few were mentioned, so gained a momentary inspection. I however stopped as I realized the section of cloth was from one of Orintious’ blankets. Having lived her life along the edge of an ocean, Ashamohn had problems adjusting to a life on land. She also had a problem seeing past her own troubles to work on helping Father guide the growing brother. I found myself believing that this sister became a mother figure to Orintious, although as I read the diary I saw her growing into a more interesting lady.
She was old when Stuppirn came into the family. While Ashamohn did help with him, she still put her focus on Orintious. At that time he was beginning his training to becoming the mercenary leader I had known. She however provided the grounding for the noble ideals I saw in him.
The writing was sloppy stating that she was giving the diary to Orintious, and afterward I saw the more careful notation of my oldest surviving brother. ‘Ashamohn told me that this diary would warn me of mistakes. She told me not to focus on family, as it had been her doom. I needed to focus on who I was. Only when I found someone actually doing all she could to stay at my side should I allow her in. I believe I am going to be lonely, Ashamohn, but I trust your guidance.’
I went to Father to let him know that I was going to Orintious, and with him not speaking against it I left. Coming before the house of my oldest surviving brother, I saw him with some men and Minchell looking at a recently done sketch of the house. It was not a picture of how the building was, but how they wanted it to appear. The air was chilly with the lady speaking of feeling the chill inside the home. I did not want to interrupt what Orintious was doing, so simply handed him the diary while letting him know something of my thoughts.
“This changes entirely my thoughts on what you believe about Neslare. I however believe Father suspected, because he gave me a historical fiction novel based on the lady and not a historical work.”
Orintious replied, “You probably are not yet old enough to understand, Vernallor, but my thoughts are always there on having a lady as a part of my life. I always have that hope. Having Minchell willing to stay so involved with me actually has me seeking a lady who can be more to me than she has been. Let me know what you think after you do some more research, Vernallor.”
I signaled for him to step away from the others, and when he did I said, “Ashamohn speaks of Father knowing you were immortal when he claimed you. Did he know about Mochsha as well?”
“Well, you should understand that I was not hanging around Father. I cannot really say, but I just found Mochsha showing an interest in me. She was annoying, but I found myself glad for the attention.” There was a pause, then he said, “It was not until the coming of Heratin that I really considered the fact that she had not been aging.”
Considering what he said, I looked to the grand edifice and asked, “Have you met your house elf?”
“No. I also am not of the family that owned the land or gaining an abandoned property. That means I don’t have the past journals to refer to about things. Don’t even have furniture, as most was sold over time for the previous owners to have some funds. I trust there is a house elf, and that it will appreciate what I am doing to restore the place and make it better. I however am certain that I will not have a personality like Nerframe.”
I told my brother goodbye, then decided to walk to my sister’s property. There were a few miles between my siblings, but after reading for a good period I felt like walking. While there was a chill in the air, it was not enough to disturb me once I had my body moving. Actually being glad to be outside, I found myself pleased to have decided to walk.
There was wildlife on this world, so I really did not notice the birds at first. It was when I passed through a meadow that I actually recognized their presence. I however had other things on my mind, and not being concerned if others saw me walking I did not concern myself with the birds.
Crossing the river on my sister’s property, I however saw her on the other bank right as she asked, “What are you doing, Vernallor?”
“Coming to visit you,” I answered.
“What about the birds?”
“They have never attacked. Never. Even though most are predatory species, they have not attacked. I’m not worried about them.”
Her gaze moved from my feet, possibly checking to see how wet my boots got in crossing, to the birds in the trees before asking, “Okay, Vernallor, so what are you worried about?”
“When did you know you were immortal?”
“I told you not to worry about whether or not you are immortal, Vernallor.”
“I’m worried about Orintious.”
Mochsha put her hands around me and started me moving to her house while saying, “You need to explain that, Vernallor.”
“Father knew. Orintious gave me the diary of Ashamohn. She wrote that Father spoke of him being immortal when Orintious first came into our family.”
“That was his gift, Vernallor. You were there when we met his mother. She said his father went to her wanting a child that would be worthy of the gift of immortality. I grew up with Father focused on my glow.”
“So, what gift did Father speak about of me?”
I realized my error even as Mochsha informed me, “I was not there, Vernallor. I was trapped by my uncle. All I can say is that Father gains us because he is interested in something about us. I can say positively that your being immortal would not have gained his interest. Honestly, I believe that is not what interested Father in Orintious either, but that was his gift.”
“It’s early, so Dechapper will be at work. Is Heratin at the house?”
“No, but we are both clients in wonderful standing with Eskrion Assimilations. Honestly, so is Dechapper, as he got a percentage of the last mission. I believe we can go visit our brother without anyone getting upset.”
Of course I needed to allow Mochsha time to improve her appearance. I did not know what she could do, as cosmetics and clothes would be washed out in her glow, but it did not surprise me when she made the statement. Having her send me to Father’s so I could also improve my appearance made a little sense, as I had been walking through the land.
Thursdeck was quick to help me into a change of garments. I spoke of no one in the company complaining about the way I was dressed before, but he mentioned that as I became more of a man they would expect more of me. Actually, I was hearing that from others, so suffered through the attention of Thursdeck.
Even with all my valet had me do, I still needed to wait a little while longer for Mochsha. While I did I began reading the book Father had brought me. I really did not enjoy historical fiction. As I read I however found myself having to come to terms with a really different culture than I had yet to encounter. I was seeking to recall details of my visit to the world when Mochsha arrived speaking of being ready.
Since Father did do business with Eskrion Assimilations, and most of us children, the portal in the front of the residence could be set to go to the main office. Walking into the front chamber, a number reacted to welcome us. As we turned down offers of something to drink, one of the managers of Eskrion Assimilations came up asking our business.
Mochsha replied, “We need to speak to Dechapper. A private room would be desired.”
I saw the manager look to me as he asked, “Is another grand mission being planned?”
“I hope not, but something perplexing is again presented to us. Hopefully you can excuse Dechapper for a time.”
“Certainly. Your family is important to us, and lately your actions have proven profitable for the company. More than glad to help.”
They escorted us to a nice office. While there was a desk with a number of padded chairs, I did not see any personal pictures or items saying that we were given someone’s private work area. After settling for a time, Mochsha and I sat up when the door opened with Dechapper entering the office.
He was a tall man with a very rectangular appearance to his body and limbs. Instead of hair he had what appeared to be moss growing on the top of his head. He came in and quickly shut the door before asking a question.
“Is there a troubling family matter?”
“In a way,” Mochsha replied. “Dechapper, what was said about Vernallor when he joined the family?”
“Well,” Dechapper stretched out that word while gaining a seat, then he said, “what I remember is Father not really wanting Vernallor. I remember Heratin being troubled by Father, as it seemed there was a desire for his wives to care for Vernallor.”
I had to say, “I don’t remember being around Heratin.”
“No. Once you came into the family Father did not seem troubled by you at all. He however did allow you to spend time with us. You know of Konclond, of Normanie, and the rest of us because Father had you stay with us. Strangely, you and Sterrig got along real well, and when I took you fishing I enjoyed having your company.”
“Nothing about my gift?”
I told him about reading Ashamohn’s diary, and what was said of Orintious. Wanting to support my words, I wanted to speak of Vorinshy, but as Ashamohn was not really concerned with the family at that time I simply had to admit that I had the one example. Dechapper had to admit that I was the only sibling he had been able to witness joining the family, so we both turned to Mochsha to hear what she might say.
“The child after me was Heratin. There were a number of devotees of Hera coming in to assure things. As far as I know, he was the only one who entered the family with some acknowledgement of his past.”
Dechapper said, “Unless we count what has been happening with Vernallor.”
“Yes, Vernallor. You came to me saying that you were not concerned with the birds. What if I said they were focused on you?”
“The birds showed up again?”
I had to admit, “They did. Don’t see what is so important about me walking from Orintious’ house to Mochsha’s.”
“Tell me about what Orintious has you doing, Vernallor. The whole story.”
And research begins in earnest.