People in the Mist
It actually helped my attitude seeing Dechapper take notes as I spoke to him of the recent events. Not only the things done on the other world, but he was interested in my gaining the valet as well. Mochsha quietly listened as I related the events to Dechapper, and I appreciated it when she spoke good words of Thursdeck.
Dechapper finally said, “I would support Orintious seeking a wife, Vernallor. The fact that he is looking to a member of the family for advice I consider a good thing as well. I would encourage you to work with him. Orintious is your brother, Vernallor, and the two of you have been working together. Considering that you do not have any commitments, I would stress that you should consider it your duty to be of service to Orintious.”
Mochsha said, “I must agree.”
I simply mumbled, “Is this to be my life? Being a head man for people?”
Dechapper said, “That is not a bad life, Vernallor.”
“Okay,” I replied not wanting him or Mochsha to feel that I was resisting my fate. “I actually liked dealing with the problems, but the traveling gets scary.”
“You have been on two very dangerous missions, Vernallor. I can understand your view. However, don’t come complaining about things being boring when you are simply figuring out the normal problems that usually come.”
Recognizing who had sponsored me, I asked, “Do you think Orintious will stop taking missions like that?”
“Orintious? Yes, but some of the men with him will continue to look for adventures like that. Considering your success, they could see you as an asset. You might need to put your foot down on occasion.”
Mochsha advised, “You have plenty of wealth, Vernallor. You don’t have to take those missions.”
“Although let me remind you that the fastest way to end up poor is to think you are rich.” Seeing me nod, he asked, “Okay, now what do you see dangerous in this puzzle?”
I replied, “It deals with an ancient feud that ended up with powerful magicks being worked on both sides resulting in things that could not be resolved. I don’t see a wife for Orintious, and I do see awakening things that should not be disturbed.”
“Father knows how to deal with that, Vernallor. What you need to do is have him see the problems. Get to work. Honestly, I believe that he is trusting you, and I would say Orintious is trusting you as well.”
Mochsha said, “I can say with certainty that Orintious is trusting you.”
Accepting that my life up to now had been mostly dealing with book work, I allowed, “Okay, I will get to the business.”
“Good,” Dechapper said, then provided the information I wanted. “What Father said about you, Vernallor, was that he had never dealt with anything so powerful before. He was really worried about having you join the family. We were all warned to be careful in dealing with you. That was part of the reason Konklond was involved with you. As a dragon, it was felt he could handle certain potential situations. Those never developed, and soon we just came to treat you as a normal brother. Still, Vernallor, I would not say that Father did not have a reason for his warnings.”
I had to say, “Which I guess is a reason for me to be watched. I mean, the birds.”
“You’ve been proving yourself to be a good person, Vernallor. Stay that way.”
“I really do not have any desire to be otherwise.”
I thanked both my brother and sister for their time. Since I came with Mochsha, I went back with her. We parted in the foyer of Father’s house with her returning to her home. I made up my mind about things, then turned to put my time to good use.
Seeing Thursdeck, I asked, “Can you, and will you, cook?”
He answered, “I will not cook anything elaborate, Master Vernallor.”
“Neither would I,” I replied. “Should be back shortly, but I am going to speak with Father.”
Moving into the stacks, I attempted to let Father know that I did not mean to disturb him by loudly saying, “Orintious did say that he would pay me?”
From a distance I heard, “That was my impression, and I believe I mentioned something of the sort as well.”
I mentioned two books that I found referenced in the text I had been given. Certain specifications of another type of work I also requested. I felt that what I said was enough to let Father know things, so it surprised me when I found him coming toward me.
He asked, “Intrigued, Vernallor?”
“Not really,” I answered. “Dechapper just told me again that the best way to end up poor is to think you are rich. I also know that Orintious pays well.”
“I had attempted to let you know that I was also generous to those that work for me.”
“I already assumed you were generous to your children.” While my father might have been some intelligent form of squid-person, I could tell that he smiled, which had me chance saying, “Dechapper said that when I arrived you warned everyone about me being possibly dangerous.”
“As you should have already learned, I do not accept regular children. Each of you have been uniquely special. My pride however is not in how special you are, but in how wonderful you are. I am finding myself very proud of you, Vernallor.”
“Well, Thursdeck is driving home the point that I have a number of people – entities – interested in me. However, you will stay my father, won’t you?”
I found myself wrapped by tentacles as he replied, “You talk with your siblings, and research those you cannot talk to. None of them ever stopped being mine.”
“Dechapper said that you really did not want me.”
“It’s a big decision taking on the responsibility for a child. I paused before taking any of you. That just increases my pride in you, because I feel you are a good decision I made.”
I pulled away while saying, “Well, I have made the decision that I will see how well I fit into the category of being a head man. We can discuss more on the topic later.”
“I will let Orintious know that your time is valuable. Whether you feel the pay from me is due to your work or simply being my child, it should still be generous.”
“Thank you, Father.”
The words of advice I actually expected. “Don’t fail yourself, Vernallor. Let me say that I did not fail you. I raised you to be the person you are. Your life is however your own.”
“Well, I’m starting out my life being a head man, Father.”
It felt strange sitting at my desk to do the work. The place seemed to be where I did my education, and not actual business. Thinking over where I had done my research for the two previous missions, I could not help but conclude the desk in my room was a much more official place for doing work.
Thursdeck did make me something to eat. He also fixed me some tea. I let him know my thanks for each. Father did drop by with texts for me, and I let him know my gratitude as I continued to work.
At some point I dropped off, and I guess Thursdeck was wondering if he should put me to bed as I heard Heratin say, “He is too big to simply pick up and move.”
I groggily said, “Just shake me awake. I will take myself to bed.”
My valet said, “Of course, Master Vernallor.”
Just being a brother, Heratin said, “That is the benefit of choosing a lady, Vernallor. She would join you in the bed.”
Trying to be annoying in return, I replied, “You appreciate those who have aged, as you had them age while with you. I doubt you would be as desiring of them if they started out past their prime.”
“I know you have money, Vernallor. If you are ever desiring a certain purchase, I know the places.”
“I don’t need a woman right now, Heratin. I need to stay focused on my work.”
Thursdeck said, “A very good observation, Master Vernallor.”
My brother made a simple wave while saying, “I guess I am not needed. Good night.”
Seeing the door close, I moved to prepare myself for bed while asking, “Heratin did not bring his ladies and have them fix something?”
My valet replied, “Some ladies did come with him, but they did not make anything for general consumption. I was shown some things kept back in the cabinets, but not offered anything being prepared.”
“Did they show you where fresh fruit could be found?”
“Yes. Do you want some?”
“No. I’m going to bed, but that and coffee will work for breakfast, and make a fresh pot if you empty what there is.”
Thursdeck apologized when he came into my room in the morning to find me already eating fruit with a coffee cup needing a refill. I let him know that my business was my own, and his duties did not include my personal affairs. He took my coffee cup assuring me that I would not be unnecessarily disturbed.
Slowly I found myself assured of certain answers. Actually, certain conclusions were easily realized, but I knew that I would need to face authorities who would quickly challenge me. One requirement of a head man was having the right answers along with whatever would be necessary to get others to accept my words.
I believe Thursdeck was checking on me about when I might go to bed as I left the room. I told him that I would contact him either to help me finish this day or to go on to bed as I would not. He looked at me as if desiring to challenge my words, so I felt the need to let him know something about me.
“I like mysteries. I read them carefully to solve them before the main character does. The truth is that I am not always correct. I will then usually read them again to learn why I made the wrong connection. Well, I have someone to check my conclusions against, and I will either come back more than ready for bed or in need of study to learn from my mistakes.”
Thursdeck replied, “I fully understand, Master Vernallor. Should I assure a fresh pot of coffee, or do you feel confident about your results?”
“Of course I feel confident about my results. If I need a fresh pot of coffee, I will accept my punishment without complaint.”
And he does get to work.