The Fights Left Behind

Chapter Five

The lectures were more of a session of grillings than any set of presentations by Krachern.  I found myself feeling a little sorry for him.  He however proved his experience with the periods, as in the time we had given him he had committed to memory the depth of knowledge in a multitude of fields.  Every question was met with a firm response with the umpteenth time treated as confidently and fresh as the first.  While I did not believe the lectures actually changed anyone's mind, they finally had to conclude that Krachern made his case.

We had not eaten at the cafeteria, so I did not recognize the food set out.  Ideally the spread was for those who attended the lectures, but I saw a lot more present than were in the auditorium.  As Krachern had said, he was kept speaking with those in the administration of the university and his particular sponsors.  Wondering about another meeting, I watched as Master Lossurp fixed him a plate of food.

As already pointed out, the females recognized the youth of Master Lossurp.  While some did treat him politely, most just hoped they could ignore him even if they had caught his eye.  By the time I recognized one young lady that spoke to Master Lossurp, she was dashing off.

When he approached eating from his plate, his fingers managed to slide a small envelope to me while he swallowed what was in his mouth.  "Vedicran said it was not for Krachern, but for me.  I told her I could not read the local script, which is why she said his name was on it."

Just curious, I asked, "Did you ask her if she was married?"

"I asked if I had a chance at her.  She said that I would first have to gain what is asked of me, then maybe something along that line could be possible.  How bad would the life be married to a demi-goddess?"

"I would suspect you would have to commit to this world and the gods of this world."

"They told us to let them handle this world."

I thought for a moment, then decided, "Let's not call Vedicran a liar.  Maybe going after what she is setting before us will have you interested in seeing just how far you can go to claim the lady.  Maybe you can just go back to your world and let that little darling you are supposed to marry know that you turned down a demi-goddess to be with her."

Having lived in Master Lossurp's community, I did know of the girl that had been attached to him.  He actually spent time with her older sister, and had hoped his success on the mission to find Negredell would win her.  It seemed another had more credentials, so that young lady had been committed to another.  The loss of his main desire should have had Master Lossurp attending the various festivals to find another to attract his eye.  I simply believed his success had made an impression in a way he had not expected.  The elders had suspected he would be tied up in various activities, but wanted to retain some claim to the young man.  They made the attachment to the girl to let Master Lossurp feel comfortable about allowing some years to pass at securing his reputation without being concerned with any courtship.

It was Doctor Hemitha who let us know that things were coming to a close by approaching and saying, "Inchell, Krachern says that he will be leaving with you to Davelda."

I replied, "Yes.  There is some business there I need to do.  I then hope to take us somewhere that will help us in our travels."

"And where would that be?"

"The Electorium.  While there I hope to speak to the ancient librarian, Galabur."

"To the center of the omniverse to meet the grand collector of all knowledge?"

I heard the disbelief in her voice, but calmly had the fingers of my two hands intertwine as I said, "If you watch Princess Jelnaya and those of her family, you see them somehow able to comprehend where they are and where they are going.  I believe Krachern and I need to learn that, and feel that I know how to make that happen."

"Well, he has given us some stuff to digest.  I believe we have given him another hard one, but it is one he said he felt he could achieve.  His funding is secure.  Do take care of him."

A few more of the respected members of the faculty stopped to speak to us before Krachern came to kiss me before asking, "How soon do you want to leave?"

I shrugged my shoulders while replying, "I'm immortal, remember."

Master Lossurp handed him the envelope while saying, "I'm in no rush either, but I would like to see Davelda."

Without being told anything, I had no idea what Krachern thought the envelope contained, he opened it.  A puzzled expression came to his face with him then looking at us.  Instead of asking a question, his eyes went back to the card that was inside the envelope I could tell to read it again.  Finally, before he was asked, he let us know what it said.

"We are to ask Galabur for the straw he drinks tea out of?  Oh, and fear not, Master Lossurp, your finances are secure.  In what manner, the card does not say."  There was a pause, then he added, "It is signed Vedicran, so I assume the note is from her."

I intentionally twisted what the young man had told me in saying, "It seems that if Master Lossurp succeeds at the task, he might have a chance to marry a demi-goddess."

"A lot easier with a much greater potential reward than my assignment.  I am to claim the Pied Piper's pipe."

" Doctor Hemitha said she felt she had given you a tough one, but you said you could do it."

"Remember, I only need to get a substantial representative of what the objective is.  It will need to be a pipe of a Pied Piper that did certain things, but not necessarily the pipe of the Pied Piper that the story is about.  In fact, you should have seen that if I did come back with such a claim, they would not accept it."  He then asked, "When do you want to leave?  In the morning?"

Master Lossurp spoke his agreement, but I said, "You pretty much had stuff all over the apartment.  A day to clean up and store it away properly, then we can leave."

"Should not take me too long, but I do have other things to assure I leave no problems behind.  Sounds good."

"I will need to spend time assuring our path to Davelda.  I have been working on it, but the omniverse is grand with real dangers.  You clean then do what you must, and I will be the one doing research."

Master Lossurp said, "I will be available to help either of you.  How long will the journey be to Davelda?"

"Three to five days.  Considering how concerned I am when moving between worlds, it might be five days simply because I am spending time going over things in my notes."

Krachern said, "I have been lost in the omniverse before.  Not fun.  You take your time dear lady.  Master Lossurp and I will do what we can to not bother you."

Being directed back to the building we had been calling home, Master Lossurp looked at the card Krachern had handed back to him while asking, "Am I supposed to puzzle out what the card said?"

"You can work on it, if you desire.  Young ladies do have their own minds, and how they reveal things to handsome lads can be perplexing.  However, I would suspect you can simply take it at face value.  Funds should be available for you when you need them, and Galabur is a nice enough being.  Asking him for the straw he drinks tea out of should not be a problem, assuming we get a chance to speak with him at all."

I said, "I believe I can assure that.  We however need to get to Davelda."

Krachern did not allow us to simply settle back into the apartment.  He clearly showed his relief in managing the lectures in wanting to gain food and drink.  All the tension he had contained to assure proper preparations for the intense questioning was now released, and I found him acting as an undisciplined lad.  He told stories of his early days, his period as a horse person, along with others that I had and had not already heard.  Wondering if I would act in a similar manner upon returning to my home, I allowed Krachern to safely expend his energy before settling for the night.

While there were no real maps of the omniverse, there were some rules that could be used to work out possible paths.  Having access to the horse handlers and lectures from King Terish, both of whom had made their reputations moving through realities, I felt I had solid information in how to make the best decisions.  Fully accepting the warnings of what danger could be present in moving through the omniverse, I went over my notes checking the routes I felt possible until I was as certain as I could be of arriving safe at my destination.

Master Lossurp was a good lad.  He really had not been a problem on our journey to discover Negredell, and had not been a nuisance with Krachern and me.  He did help to restore the apartment to a clean state, although was left behind when Krachern took off to handle his other business.  I guess Master Lossurp's mind went to pondering things, as when I stepped out to take a break in my research he felt he had an opening for his questions.

"Sha Inchell, will I need to be immortal to marry Vedicran?"

I thought for a moment, then said, "I believe she is immortal."

"I could not become immortal on Davelda?"

"No.  The process was not a hundred percent for us, and there are differences in people from other worlds.  We do treat those who come to us wounded, although our doctors have had to confront some really odd anatomies and reactions to our drugs.  The immortality process is only available to our children, and they are not asking for it.  Many of us believe they are wise in doing so."

"Doctor Krachern believes he became immortal in passing through Negredell.  I do not."

Glad he was not pestering me about ways to convince our medical profession to go ahead and try the process on him, I sought to provide advice.  "Princess Jelnaya told you the answer to that one.  The gods will make you immortal if you need to be immortal.  It is not something you work to earn, but something you gain from the life you live and the challenges you felt led to take.  An immortal life is not easy, Master Lossurp.  Speaking as an immortal from Davelda, simply living for centuries is seen as worse than death.  I believe that if you truly work to have Vedicran consider you as a potential husband, immortality will be offered in some manner."

"How do you believe I could manage that?"

I was about to give him a simple answer, but then decided to give him the hard one.  "If you are considering making your life here then start working to learn the language.  Once you do, you can begin studying what information there is about the lady."

"And how would I learn the language?"

"You have Krachern.  He is a native, so is speaking it.  Turn you translator off, and have him start speaking to you in his language."  I thought about what I was saying, then realized he needed to be warned of something.  "Right now you can do that rather easily.  I suspect relatively soon however you will find it hard."

"And why is that?"

"One gift of traveling through the omniverse is that you learn to speak to others.  That is a really convenient blessing, although reflects the changes that your body goes through in having to adapt to the various physics of the alternate realities.  You then have to focus on not using that gift if you truly want to learn what others are saying."

I do not know what was going through his mind, but it was almost with surprise that he asked, "You're saying I will not need the translator?"

"That is right.  That is why we did not need it, so allowed you to use it."  Seeing him look at the card had me add, "But only speech.  Not the written word.  That is a different gift entirely, and one very few have.  You saw how much trouble Princess Jelnaya had in doing it, and she has access to a grandfather and uncle who have the gift and helped train her."

"Well, I guess I should be happy with any blessing I receive.  I'll be ready to travel in the morning."

And they make it to Davelda.