People in the Mist

Chapter Sixteen

I sat down and wrote down the points I felt were important, then the questions I considered needed to be answered.  Without opening the book, I then began to answer the questions.  By the time I had finished making use of the knowledge I already had, I found myself already coming to certain conclusions.  Wondering just how many connections were coming together to dominate my life, I decided to spend time on something I felt should be important to me.

“Thursdeck.”  I waited for him to respond, then asked, “Why was it that you showed up on Davelda?”

He replied, “My sponsor also received an invitation.  I had heard that I would be presented first unto Lord Galabur, but my sponsor found you with Lord Orintious at the gala.  My being summoned to appear before you was quite sudden.”

I almost asked a question I considered extremely important, but first had to check on a certain matter.  “Just how much can you tell me of your sponsor?”

“Chamberlain Nichigum of Benillsho.  I served his eldest until he became gored by a unicorn.  Exactly who recommended that I be transferred to you I cannot say, although I suspect the Chamberlain does know.  I do not know who the lady was that accompanied me, but suspected she was also someone in need of a change of employment.”

“Are all the people of Benillsho like me, like you?  I mean of dark skin and wiry hair.”

“Not all, but most.  Those like your brothers Orintious and Heratin are uncommon, but they are there.  There also elves –“

I interrupted him to say, “Satyrs.”

“Uh, yes, Master Vernallor.”

“Well, what do you know?  I told him he had overplayed his hand.”

“Considering the rambunctiousness of my first charge, it gives me some peace to find you of a much more sensible attitude.”

I commented, “You obviously have no idea about what I am about.”

“I also had no idea that my previous master had in his mind to challenge a herd of unicorns.  It is not my place to command your life.  I am yours to command, Master Vernallor.”

“Well, I am not of the mind to command anyone.  I also am not wanting to rush off toward my death.  My father is a librarian.  I have spent my life up to relatively recently learning from books.  As far as I am concerned, that is all I am going to be doing.  I have been warned that this will go deeper than that, but I cannot say that I am going to care.”

“I will do all I can to assure you are comfortable as you work.”

Finally opening the book, I was actually surprised not to see it written by my father.  For him to have possession and slow to provide access, I expected something personal.  There were others I suspected of being the author, but none of those were true.  The book was written by Queen Melirna of Sephran, the mother of Neslare, and I read understanding I had a true window into the events that were attempting to trouble me.

What caught me by surprise was learning that the monarch and her husband were immortal.  They had gained a passing of the mortal ties on an adventure that went beyond their expectations.  They had risen to the challenge, and settled to raise their family feeling their future would be secure.  Proud of their daughter, and the young man she had chosen to share her life, the immortal couple had done all they could to assure a good beginning to the hopeful youths.

What resulted the text claimed was an evil from their past.  In their adventuring through various worlds, some threats had not been completely removed.  Some treasures had been gained by stealth and chicanery with the owners left under the assumption they could not pass between worlds to reclaim their lost wealth.  One vile entity however discovered the means to track those that stole from him, and determined to exact a most horrid revenge.  It was from that source they blamed the evil that had overcome the bride and her intended.

I read the text wondering why everyone felt it applied to me.  There was an evil that needed to be dealt with, but that was not the life I sought.  There were people to be rescued, but I really did not have the skillset to manage that.  I had no knowledge of possibly being immortal.  The worlds affected I knew nothing about.  In the end, I closed the text wondering why I needed to read it.

Looking at the questions I had written, none of them truly seemed important.  They had all been answered, but the cause seemed even more distant to me.  Wondering if I had truly learned anything, I considered what I should do with the knowledge I had.  The only important fact to me was the source of this assignment, and I made my plans accordingly.

Sensing Father was in his own chambers, I went and knocked on the door.  Hearing him tell me to enter, I stepped inside to see him over what he considered his chair.  It was actually a large rock, but his body felt comfortable stretched over the rough surface.  I knew what my father was, and had never been troubled by his tentacled presence.

“I’m going to Orintious, then to Mochsha.  I am bringing him the book, as I believe it applies to him.  If he does take up the mission I might go with him.”  Father had only looked to me as I said that, and hearing the silence I decided to state a conclusion he probably did not expect me to have made.  “She’s dead, isn’t she?  The one that wrote that book.”

Father replied, “Yes, Vernallor.  Her and her husband’s tendency to use subterfuge put them in a bad light, and one caught them.  Their end was not pleasant.  Let me however add that it was their deaths that had this matter dropped.  Everyone felt it was not their problem to deal with, and with their deaths nobody felt the need or desire to trouble themselves with it.”

“But it is evil, and it is there.”

“And eventually somebody is going to have to do something about it.”

“Okay.  I understand.  As I said, I’m going to Orintious then Mochsha.”

I stopped hearing the question, “You really believe you understand?”

“I believe all of you are over-playing your hands.  I don’t believe any of you understand.  Let me see how Orintious and Mochsha responds.  We can talk about this after that.”

“Of course I will let you go, Vernallor.  I took you in as my child because there was something about you that interested me.  You are only making yourself as something intriguing, so I am pleased to have you in my life.”

“Well, at the moment I hope you are paying attention.  As what I am hearing from people is them not understanding who I am.”

My father sought to correct me by saying, “Who you mean to be, Vernallor.  You are still discovering yourself.  Still, I see you attempting to be a good person, so I am pleased to let you follow your path.”

“Well, let me go see what Orintious thinks about me.”

“There’s no treasure, Vernallor.”

I had already concluded that, but I did appreciate the verification.  “I know.  That is why Orintious might get mad at me and you not like me.  Still, I have to play this out.”

“Well, I’ll be here for you, Vernallor.”

I left Father’s room and headed to the front of the house.  Soon enough I was striding back on Orintious’s property.  He was relaxing on his porch with Minchell.  They both welcomed me as I approached with the lady getting up.  I told her to sit back down as I headed to my oldest surviving brother and handed him the book.

“You read it.  I’m going to Mochsha.”

He looked at me and asked, “What do I owe you, Vernallor?”

“Read the book, Orintious.”

“Well, come back in the morning and we can discuss it.”

“Sure.”  I thought for a moment, then said, “Considering the people of that world tried to kill us, I guess I don’t care if you discuss the book with your men.”

“The men will just be interested in the money.”

“That’s why I want to be out.  Only dishonest money can be made.  Actually, doing this will be good, but I doubt anyone will care.  It’s not our fight, not our fault, and not our concern.  Read the book.”

“What did Father say about it?”

I actually did not expect Orintious to ask that question.  Probably should have expected it, but I did not.  I however considered my own conclusions to apply to Orintious as well.

“He answered my questions.  I’ll answer yours, but read the book first.”

“Minchell, fix some coffee.  Vernallor gave me an assignment, and I’ll be about it.”

The lady said, “Yes, my lord.  Vernallor, I will be expecting you for breakfast.  Tell Mochsha she would be welcome as well.”

I replied, “Will do, Minchell.”

The walk to my sister occurred without any incidents.  No birds, although I had stopped being worried about them.  I guess it was good that the satyr did not show up, as I was in the mood to test my swordplay against him.  It however did take me by surprise to see Mochsha sitting on her porch just as I found my oldest surviving brother doing.

She said, “You’re always welcome, Vernallor.  How are things with Orintious?”

I replied, “I suspect things are good enough.  Mochsha, you need to take care of things with your father’s crypt.”

“You mean right now, Vernallor?”

“We have breakfast with Orintious.”

“Come on, Vernallor.  I need you to explain things to me.”

Of course I had to trade some affection with Nerframe.  I had nothing against my sister, but her house elf was active and rushed out to me.  Mochsha stayed seated and waited for me to go to her for a little affection.

Instead of explaining anything, I asked a question as I took a seat.  “Mochsha, did you find others seeking to push you toward having adventures?  I mean, were there people and situations enticing you to have adventures?”

She answered, “No, Vernallor.  I did visit people and places, but not seeking adventure.”

“Father said the same thing about Orintious.  Said he just wanted the life he has.”

“I am far after Orintious, Vernallor.  He was well established in his profession by the time I came along.”

I then confided, “I believe someone is working to have me take such a life.”

“Don’t place me in that category, Vernallor, but you do have a good head for a life like that.”

“But I am placing you in that category, Mochsha.  You are waiting for me to resolve your father’s resting place, defiled resting place.  In the meantime the potential evil that is there is corrupting the pool.  It needs to be dealt with, Mochsha.”

I heard Nerframe whisper a thanks.  The eyes of my sister shot to her house elf in a clear sign of having caught the words.  Mochsha then looked to me, and I heard what I hoped to hear.

“Okay, Vernallor.  I will hire you to deal with the matter of my father’s crypt, but let's wait until the weather again turns warm.

I smiled as I said, “That is what I wanted you to say.  Now, we need to go see Orintious in the morning.”  In case she was worried, I made certain to say, “I will hold you to that job offer, as it does need to be done, but something else is presently bothering me.  I might use your job offer to bow out, but I am hoping to gain some reasonable plan with Orintious about something he became involved with.”

“Don’t let Orintious get you involved in his life, Vernallor.  Yes, you are helping him, but what you are doing is something very different than what he does.”

“Well, it is coming to that.  However, if I thought it was being advanced by Orintious I would be mad at him.  As it is, I really do not know who to blame.”

“And you are not telling me, why?”

I was actually wondering if she would realize my subterfuge, but replied fully trusting my sister.  “Because I want you reacting and not coming in with your own thoughts.  By the morning Orintious should know, so he either over-plays his hand or has a reasonable plan.”

“And both are possible with Orintious.  Okay, Vernallor, since you are not going to talk about that, let’s talk about where my father is interred.”

Working on one mystery, another is found.