People in the Mist
Again I saw my father coming to me through the stacks. I simply sat down on the walkway. The libraries were expansive things in a multitude of directions. I heard some actually say they saw no books at all, but only a thick surrounding mist. Some spoke of seeing a mass of books in every direction while others could make out paths through the texts. I could see the organization, and how the numerous manuscripts moved depending on the study being demanded of the resource. There was definitely something multi-dimensional going on, but I did not bother with the physics of the stacks. I simply waited for my father to move to me through his work area.
I said, “Don’t tell me that you don’t know. I know you do. The only thing that troubles me are the conclusions, so I need you to listen.”
“Of course, Vernallor. I guess this will determine whether or not I consider what I am going to pay you is worth my money.”
“The elephant was prepared to take Neslare to her husband. He was enchanted to do that. Those that set the magicks on the animal knew who she was going to. Being the children of such high nobles, a lot had to be done before any betrothal. The elephant did not attack to prevent Nortelact from gaining his bride, but to protect him from something else. It was her kisses that enabled his weapon to hurt Veskagren, so I suspect the person being affected was her sister. Considering Neslare was with husband to be, I feel certain she did it more than glad to allow the noble animal to end its service to her. The name of the sister is Melarintha, not Melartha, and it was determining her part in things that gave me the most trouble. Was she the cause of the curse, an option for Nortelact to consider, or maybe a sacrifice to pay for the wrongs done? Veskagren is however not dead. The tales speak of Nortelact and Neslare going on to live a happy life, but strangely the next king claimed other parents. In fact, Nortelact and Neslare are not mentioned as rulers of the land at all. Again I barely found a mention of Melarintha, but could not help but wonder why I found her name at all.”
I then looked to my father and said, “You gave me the clues I needed. The fact that you were summoned to take a piece of the trunk was important. You further mentioned that you knew where the other pieces were, which means they are not on that world. That opened up the possibility that whatever transpired was powerful enough to gain the attention of those who normally would not have even noticed that world existing.”
My father interrupted me to say, “Vernallor, the books I provided were not enough to support a conclusion like that.”
“I don’t need to support that conclusion, Father. All I need to do is let Orintious know that the solution to this dilemma is something more than opening some crypt or putting all seven of the pieces of Veskagren’s trunk together. Me, Orintious, everyone involved in this will need to commit to a much more complex, and probably powerful, situation than they were probably desiring.” I stood to confront my father as I said, “That is all I need for you to verify at this time.”
“What you told me is all true.”
“I am going to Orintious to tell him what I learned. What he wants to do with the information is what I now consider important. He knows why those people contacted him. I suspect that I know, but I cannot determine how they will react to the knowledge. Orintious should have a better understanding of the value of this knowledge.”
“I was going to tell you some things, but I believe now is not the time. I will wait to see if it is you or Orintious that comes.”
A feeling to smile came to me, but thinking about a possible purpose to this situation had me ask, “Father, is it possible for Orintious or Mochsha to actually gain a spouse?”
“The answer for both is a definite yes. Immortals are extremely rare, but in dealing with the omniverse there are a good number in that category. Mochsha certainly can, as her gifts have her more than able to search out matters of that type. However, she has the blessing of being a lady, so while she is restoring her estate the hope can be real that men are seeking her. Orintious’ mother is a mountain fairy. She has a vast awareness, and is probably already looking for possibilities for her most special son. I would not doubt however that certain ladies are finding out about him in their own manner, and looking for the proper way to make him aware of them.” There was a moment of silence, then Father said, “Only Orintious can honestly say how deeply he truly desires to find a lady.”
“Should I ask him?”
“I believe we both know how focused Orintious can be. If he is allowing himself to be committed to this matter then the concern for a wife is not that strong. Of course, he is at the moment allowing Minchell to have her time with him. That is honorable, as the lady has been devoted to him. Once her ability to charm him diminishes, I believe she will commit to finding someone that will more than charm her master. I am entertaining the possibility that it will be she who goes to Orintious' mother to seek the bride.”
Accepting that response, I said, “It is late, Father. I will get some rest, then go to Orintious in the morning.”
“That sounds reasonable, Vernallor. Have your valet assure that things are in order in your rooms, as I will be changing houses.”
I knew the process of assuring everything in my possession would get transferred when Father took up residence in another of his houses. Seeing that Thursdeck had retired, I went through certain steps in my room as I prepared for bed. Hoping I would wake in time to inform my valet of the process, I settled into my bed.
I woke up in the morning ready to get to my brother. Looking at the clock, I realized I had time to attend to some personal things. As I went about what I felt was necessary, I noticed my door crack. I accepted it was my valet also starting his day, although turned hearing the voice of a lady speaking of helping to get my morning started.
“Is Vernallor up, Thursdeck? If he is, tell him that I will make him breakfast.”
I asked, “Is that Ochally?” Hearing an affirmative from my valet and from the lady further opening my door, I said, “I will be going to Orintious to talk business, Ochally. Something substantial would be appreciated.”
“Sure thing, Vernallor. Heratin suspected that you will be going to Orintious, and he wants to go with you. He went with you previously.”
I left my room moving past my valet and the young lady to advance to Heratin’s room. While I recognized that he had ladies with him, I still felt everyone in the room was family. Without any fear, I opened the door to Heratin’s room and advanced upon him.
“Why do you want to go?” I demanded. “These are people that Orintious has a history with. I have been the one doing the research. You have a life, people, who should command your time. Why go with us?”
It brought me some pleasure seeing that I would grow taller than Heratin, but I knew my second immortal brother would not ever fear facing me. “You’re family, Vernallor, and so is Orintious. Get used to having me around.”
Not being able to counter that statement, I turned saying, “Okay. Thank you for having Ochally make me breakfast.”
“Every lady in my possession is family as well, Vernallor. They actually care for you. Yes, Ochally actually traveled with you, so feels a special connection, but all these will do what they can for you.”
“I’m trying to establish my own life, become my own person. I want to stand alone, Heratin. Orintious is trying to make changes in his life as well. We don’t need spectators.”
“I’m not a spectator, Vernallor. I’m your brother. I care for you. I care for Orintious. If I don’t go to you to watch, I expect you to come back and tell me. Well, neither you nor Orintious are good about coming back and speaking about your activities.”
Again not having a counter for his words, I replied, “Yes. You’re right. I’ll be leaving right after I eat my breakfast. If you’re coming, be ready.”
“I’m ahead of you, Vernallor. I told Ochally to make you breakfast to assure that I ate with you.”
I looked to some of the ladies and said, “Dress him a little better. I need to make myself a little more presentable as well. The impression I gained from my last visit is that these people prefer things to be a little formal.”
Leaving the room, I let Thusdeck know that I wanted to appear a little more distinguished. Since I had been to the world previously, I tried to direct him in certain choices. He however did seem to have a little better eye for what would give me appear as I desired. Leaving my room, I found the ladies complimenting me on my appearance.
Orintious did not appear as if he expected my arrival. He was working the bellows to keep a fire hot enough that some metal stayed molten as one of his men worked on manipulating the substance into a fancy design. Not wanting to bother my oldest surviving brother during such an activity, I was glad to see Minchell come up with some glasses of tea. As I drank my serving I let the lady know the reason for my arrival, and she assured me that Orintious would want to hear what I had to say.
Finally, another man came from finishing another duty to take over the work at the bellows. Orintious drank tea while listening to my report. He then directed us to the porch of his house while letting us know something about those who initiated this project.
“I don’t know how far we will need to take this. My actual feeling is that they just got excited when the pieces joined together. Let me get in condition to go gain an audience, and we can see just how deep this mess can end up being.”
I had to ask, “Why did they contact you, Orintious?”
“Why do you think? They knew Father had one of the pieces. Their problem was an actual fear of what would happen if all the pieces did come together.”
“It’s their history, Orintious.”
“You just told me it wasn’t, Vernallor. The people are theirs, and the events happened on their world, but you just told me there was involvement with some other world or worlds. What most people fear is the unknown, Vernallor.”
I had to admit, “I did not press Father for what other worlds were involved, Orintious.”
“We charge extra for that, Vernallor. Let’s see if they are willing to pay.”
“I’m in, Orintious.” He looked at me as if he did not expect the words, so I explained, “Becoming a head man is not really what I planned for my future, but I have to say that it is not something I am against becoming. You also pay well.”
I was glad to see the smile as he replied, “My problem is getting people to pay me well. Let me wash up and get into some good clothes, and we can go see if this job is worth us.”
Things do not go as expected.