A Wish for Hope
We did not know what to do. We had a place to sleep and food, but had simply been told to wait. Nothing more had been said by way of information. While we could interact with people, we could not understand what they said. The only one we could speak with had told us to wait, but had given us the freedom to move about his grand property. We thought to hunt or do other things to show our appreciation for the hospitality, but accepting that those in control of the land managed the wildlife as well simply had us move about accepting we were in a strange place.
The man on horseback, leading another horse, caught our attention. While most people traveled in vehicles, I believe the fact he was not dressed like the others is what had us become curious about him. Wondering about this man, we hid among some bushes. Hoping he would bring some information, I chanced following him toward the house. Being able to understand him when he dismounted while telling the horses to stay, I moved up to hear what more he might say.
When the door opened, he informed the butler, “I am here to speak with Mrs. Amelia Dozzrine. Tell her I am Petty Officer First Class Vulge Taimen wishing to speak to her about her oldest daughter, Jelnaya. Oh, when I mentioned my rank, make sure she knows I am in the Navy of Davelda.”
We had been wondering if the people who were showing us hospitality had any children. Things about the house and in the yard seemed to indicate that they had young, but we saw none. I now knew they did indeed once have children, and one of them had the name of Jelnaya. Wondering what more I might learn, I moved around the windows hoping to hear more.
I stopped upon hearing the lady of the house say, “Vulge? I heard Jelnaya speak of you. She said that you might come, but was really unsure if you would.”
The man replied, “It was scary, Mrs. Dozzrine. Everything my empress spoke of however was real. Really horribly real. Still, I survived it, and found myself really proud of Jelnaya. You should be proud of her as well. I really did not know if I wanted to chance leaving Davelda again, but something happened. Mrs. Dozzine, I need to ask you something. Jelnaya, she is a real amazing, and lovely, young lady. She goes to places I doubt any other lady, and probably most men, do not go. She however is starting to establish her reputation enough that men are seeking to gain her as a wife. I went with her because one of my superior officers in the Davelda Navy, someone I also consider a friend, sought her for a wife. Well, us going to her is one thing, but her going to a man is something else. She needs a chaperone on those occasions, and I want to ask your permission to be that chaperone.”
I then heard the distant voice of another man. “Vulge, you do understand that our eldest child does not run from trouble, but runs to trouble. She has a life of running to trouble. If you are going to travel with her, you will find yourself running to trouble.”
“Prince Venicht!” I did not know we were staying with royalty, although we were impressed with the size and quality of the grounds we moved about on. “It’s an honor.”
The lady said, “Jelnaya speaks with Venicht much more often than she speaks with me.”
Prince Venicht came into view as he came down the stairs while saying, “And neither of us are going to give Jelnaya permission to marry without hearing, and meeting, the man first. All we will give you permission to do is chaperone her.”
Vulge said, “Certainly, Prince Venicht. Of course, I really don’t believe she is head-strong in that manner.”
It seems that both of those in charge of this place laughed before Prince Venicht replied, “No, I don’t believe Jelnaya will do that either. Now, Vulge, I have something I need you to do. You see, in taking on the omniverse, especially my oldest daughter, things get very complicated. My father and mother will tell you they are not coincidences, Vulge, but complications. I have had something else come up involving my daughter, and whether you know it or not you just took on that matter as well.”
“Sure, Prince Venicht. Especially if it involves Jelnaya. I am already bringing her a horse.”
“Well, you are going to be bringing her something else, Vulge. Brocher, get Esgalia.”
Hearing my name, I ran around to the front door. The man in charge of the house seemed annoyed to see me, but instead of accusing me of eavesdropping he simply indicated for me to come into the house. Of course I wiped my feet. I thought to bow advancing to who I now knew to be a member of royalty, but unsure of the other man I simply advanced upon hearing my name spoken as an introduction.
Prince Venicht said, “Esgalia, this is Vulge from the land of my mother. He’s a military man, but more than that he is someone that has gained the honor of Jelnaya. He’s going to Jelnaya, so I would suggest that you travel with him.”
Vulge rudely asked, “What are you?”
I answered, “A man. A man done wrong with my people done wrong. Jelnaya stopped the wrong, but without any recourse we seek to go to Jelnaya.”
Prince Venicht admitted, “I asked a question like that as well. While with the father and mother that I have I have some knowledge of things, this is perplexing. From conversations with Jelnaya, I however believe I do know something of what Esgalia is speaking about. You do not need to hear my version of those stories, Vulge, as you are going to Jelnaya. Let her tell you about the situation, and hopefully you can simply watch as she deals with him and the others.”
“There are eight more.”
I said, “There were more, many more, but they have died.”
“He speaks of some being eaten.”
Vulge asked, “Are they dangerous?”
I could not prevent myself from saying, “You just heard that there were more of us, many more, but they were slaughtered with some eaten in my presence. What does that tell you about us being dangerous?”
“Listen, we are talking about moving through the omniverse. There are things out there that could possibly slaughter and eat Prince Venicht’s father, and some will come as simple, weak beggars.”
Prince Venicht said, “Which is one of the reasons my father is as paranoid as he is. Honestly, Vulge, we have had no problems with them. They can be bothersome, but any group of people can fall into that category.”
“Why did they come here? I assume they were looking for Jelnaya, but she kept telling me to go to Nehallum.”
It was Mrs. Amelia (princess?) that replied, “Yes, as she considers the home of Uncle Ferrigote and Aunt Dirchein her home since it is devoted to Fergush.”
Prince Venicht said, “I want to say it’s Munulva, Vulge. You see, Esgalia speaks of taking on this journey, even gaining the ability to make the journey, after he and his group gained their freedom seeking to restore themselves. With Munulva sending you, I would assume She had some influence in them coming here. Why? I cannot say, but I suspect something of that nature.”
Vulge replied, “But Fergush is a god as well. Why didn’t they go to him – I mean Nehallum?”
“Ah, I told you complications, Vulge, not coincidences. Esgalia did not come here, roughly at the same time you were to show up here, by coincidence. He is here due to a complication. If you are going to be traveling with Jelnaya, or just through worlds beyond Davelda, expect things to get complicated.”
“Oh, I can believe that. And dangerous, that I know.” The big man looked at me and said, “Getting slaughtered and eaten I can well understand. Oh, well, I hate to simply arrive and leave, Prince Venicht, Mrs. Dozzrine.”
The lady said, “Are you sure that you do not need to rest?”
“It was dangerous the last time, so I just want to get to Jelnaya. Also, well – Prince Venicht you should understand. I really was not acting on my desire to come here. Munulva however appears and tells me that if I am going to make the decision to be with Jelnaya that I need to make it now. Well, here I am, and with your permission I guess I need to move on. Really, if you gave me a room I doubt I would rest in it.”
I saw the elder man smile and his body shake as he asked, “It’s amazing, isn’t it? Even after all these years I remember the time of my being on Davelda. Being in the presence of a deity, especially one as grand as Munulva, is awesome.”
“I know that a lot of my indecision dissolved in that moment. She appeared no longer than to say the few words, but everything came into focus. I knew to make a decision one way or another. I packed my gear, found transportation to the imperial castle, then went to the horse handlers. When I got there, Brullusk spoke of Jelnaya’s old horse being in the pasture with a new horse ready after being trained in some things she requested. I come here, like Jelnaya told me to, and you are having me escort these others. I guess it was the time to make a decision.”
“Not coincidence at all. Perfect timing.”
The large man looked to me and asked, “How much time will you need?”
I rushed from the house yelling to the others that we were going. They really did not believe me, but I told them that the one that arrived was going to Jelnaya. I did my best to repeat the conversation. By the time I had convinced a couple to pack, the large man was coming from the house with me being told to have him wait.
Seeing him talk to the horses while adjusting some things on their backs, I moved up to ask, “Can you wait for a little bit?”
He answered, “Make sure that a little bit is a little bit. If you want my help, you better be ready to go.”
Seeing him stop, I turned to see Keleaf, my wife, come up with our belongings. While she intended to hand the luggage to me, we both watched as Vulge took it and placed the packs on his horse. When another couple came up, he asked for their satchels and loaded them on the animal. As he did the same for another, it was Motorgy that asked a basic question as his belongings were placed on a horse.
“Sir, do you know where we are going?”
“I have notes.”
We all stopped as a flash revealed a man wearing an outfit of bright yellow hardened leather who walked up to the horses saying, “No, Vulge. Nehallum is no longer your destination. Jelnaya is good. She just proved that she is good. I need to get you to her.” He then looked around at us, and added, “Ah, and she is going to be given a chance to prove that she is great.”
Vulge said, “Jelnaya is great. She’s my princess.”
Motorgy asked, “Who are you?”
The one in yellow said, “I’m a messenger with a duty to return with my answer.”
Vulge said, “He works for Fergush.”
“Actually, no, but for his wife, Samayer.”
The one in yellow laughed, then said, “I would hope that would be preferred to fighting the entire distance. I will assure you a fast and safe journey.”
Things might be coming together, but there is even more to the puzzle.