People in the Mist

Chapter Thirty

I tried to talk to the souls that evening.  If I could make out their pleas then it made sense that they could hear me.  The problem was that I could accept they were doing their best to make their sounds audible while I only mentally spoke my words.  I was wondering if I would be able to do any better the next evening at the site when someone tried to make sense of what I was doing.

Sterrig said, “Told you that you would be bothered even more tonight.”

Opening my eyes, I asked, “You don’t even hear them, do you?”

“You don’t seem scared.  I’ll give you that.”

“Orintious and his men are over there.  They have fought things like this.  I have fought something like this.  Mochsha’s uncle was a most terrible creature.  What I am not finding is how this thing ties into the evidence that started us on this mission.  There might be something to scare us, and I am attempting to puzzle where those pieces fit.”

“You haven’t read the book Queen Lonarey gave you, have you?”

Acknowledging that I had not put my thoughts on it, I asked, “Do you want me to have Crinorra give it to you?”

“I feel the need to do something.  As you said, Orintious and his men can handle the fight.  You are doing something.  Let me feel useful.”

Accepting that I had no plans to read the book, I told my slave to get the text for my middle brother.  She immediately spoke her acknowledgement of the command.  Without any doubt it would be done, I went back to my own thoughts.  I however soon found the hands of my slave around me, and heard her speak of something more than simply the girl trying to act in a mature fashion.

“Relax, my lord, and let me see if I can put you to sleep.  Lord Orintious said that you could have a rough night and coming day, so for me to do for you what I could.”

Curious, I asked, “And what can you do?”

“Have you lie down, then sing you a lullaby.”

“And how many of those do you know?”

“If you get bored from hearing the same one over and over maybe you will go to sleep.”  She giggled, then admitted, “I do know a few.  Lord Orintious said that my singing could help drown out the voices you are hearing, or at least give you something more pleasant to listen to.”

I thought over her words, then replied, “Only if you want to.  If you want to stop, go ahead.  I drifted off last night, and suspect I will do the same.”

“You did not appear to sleep the best last night, my lord.  I also want to.”  I felt that was enough, but she kept on talking.  “You have to understand that those in my profession usually do not get control over a man, but has a man control them.”

“Slavery is not a profession.  It is a status.  You obey not because it is your job to obey, but because you are in a situation where you have no other option but to obey.  In the same manner, it is my obligation to care for you.  It is not my job, but just my responsibility due to being your owner.  There are bad owners who do not care for their possessions, and there are bad slaves who do not accept or recognize the duty their status demands.  In each case the fault is not poor job performance, but a disruption of the culture of the society.  That is why the authorities treat it seriously.”  To assure she understood, I said, “I have given you a job.  That is all I can truly demand of you.  If you do what you said, it better be simply because you want to.”

Crinorra told me to finish preparing for bed.  I obeyed her simply because it was something I did need to do.  When I came back, she had prepared my blankets then told me to lie down while she did the things she wanted to do for me.

I cannot say what Crinorra did was of any value.  I could tell that she enjoyed what actions she made, and simply having a lady pleased to put her attention upon me did please me.  Her hands did not travel anyplace improper.  Her kisses were light, quick touches and nothing really romantic.  The songs were softly performed, as if she was as afraid of others hearing as I was of verbally stating the things I was trying to mentally direct at the souls whose voices I heard.  I would say I gained my enjoyment of what she did from the signs of her enjoying the activity, and I guess proved that it had some value in that I did go to sleep.

What I felt was an extremely loud scream woke me up.  Crinorra was on my chest with me holding my position while determining if things were desperate.  The voices however were the same as I heard last night.  Wondering what woke me up, I carefully slipped out from under my slave, then decided to go ahead and start the day.

As I fixed myself a cup of coffee, one of the men on watch, Turmonth, said, “That slave you bought seems to be working out for you.  I don’t think I could keep myself from a girl, so might as well purchase a woman.”

“I did not buy her for that,” I replied.

“She’s still a female, and slavery does give you certain rights, especially when the lady made it known she would be accepting.”

“And it will demand certain responsibilities.  One of them is that you treat your female slaves with the same dignity and care you would any other special lady in your life.”

He only chuckled.  I did allow that my statements showed some idealism, but I felt my words were how things should be.  Thinking on the topic, I however allowed that Crinorra seemed eager to perform certain acts even though her body was not yet matured.  Just as Turmonth would be thinking of using a lady in a certain way, I had to allow that the one he purchased would also desire him.  With both consenting, I had to accept that no wrong would be committed.  While I did not find anything humorous in the topic, I accepted his chuckling as having the experience to see more in the life with a lady than I did.

Having my thoughts drift to other concerns, I asked, “Has the men with Queen Lonarey presented any problems?”

Turmonth answered, “No, and we have been watching them.  Sterrig’s comment about her possibly having other plans in motion had already been considered by Orintious.  I mean we know nobles that get out and adventure, but those are rare, powerful individuals.  Queen Lonarey does not fit that category.  However, it does fit the mentality of someone wanting to keep a certain discovery from becoming public knowledge.  From all our observations, that does fit with her.”

“Well, have any of you heard what I am hearing?”

“None of us are special, Vernallor.”

Before he could say more about my status as being a child accepted by the grand interdimensional librarian that was my father, I said, “Well, I don’t know what is so special about hearing these voices.  They are not really bothering me, but knowing there is another is what troubles me.  I keep listening for him.”

Lexonor now stepped up to say, “And you keep doing that, Vernallor.  We are here keeping watch for trouble.  If you have the gift to listen for that entity, it is your duty to do so.”

“I’m not backing down, but I also have no one to relieve me.”

“If you need that girl you bought to do more for you –“

“No,” I quickly replied.  “We should get there today.  I will make it.”

With a puzzled expression, Lexonor said, “She is cute.”

“I did not purchase her for that purpose.  In case you are ignorant, Orintious does not have a mage in his employ.  I felt we needed someone skilled with magic.  That is why I purchased her.”

“She’s still a girl, Vernallor.”

“Orintious told me not to take the lady, so I took Thursdeck.  Honestly, I am glad I did.  While things might happen in my relationship with Crinorra, I will presently keep my demands on her limited to the reason I spent my money on her.”

I was actually grateful to hear my oldest surviving brother come to my defense.  “Leave Vernallor alone.  He is proving himself as having more morals than any of you deviants.”

There were more chuckles heard than I had wanted listening, although the voice of Queen Lonarey brought me comfort.  “I would take Crinorra to prepare with me, but I believe the girl worked hard to keep you resting.”

Not having any troubling memories during my sleep, I asked, “Did I do anything strange?”

Turmonth replied, “Not that I noticed, but your girl did stay active with you.  I would definitely give her credit for your rest.”

While curious, I moved to my brother who was still with his blankets to softly ask, “Did you and Minchell start this way?”

“She was not nearly as young as Crinorra, and her past was not as protected.  Minchell had little choice about her future when I gained her.  You are correct about Crinorra, Vernallor.  Do not let these men spoil your hope for her.”

“But Crinorra does seem rather committed to having a relationship with me.”

“Do a woman right, and they will have dreams about you.  We men will do the same with women.  The honor comes from continuing to do a person right, whether man or woman.  Never doubt that, Vernallor.”

This time it was not chuckles, but words of affirmation.  Again the number of voices were more than I intended.  I however considered the matter settled, so considered how to use my time.

I informed my slave it was time for us to be active and had us both prepare for a hard day.  She really had not been eating that much, but I let her know that once things started we needed to keep going.  She accepted my words and I saw her devour a couple of plates of food as she had the day I bought her.  I gained a weapon from Orintious, and had Crinorra place it on her person after only the most rudimentary of practice sessions with it.  She gained a lecture not just from me, but from others, about what to do if she became afraid.  Feeling that she could survive a hard day, I made certain the same would apply to me.

And they reach their destination.