The third Neselle story -
Of Men and Love in General
Chapter Sixteen – Part One
Neselle: Recognition and Response
I honestly thought that a good amount of work had been done through the day. We had arrived at the right time, then managed to set to our day without causing any trouble. Jelnaya had not presented any of the problems that Althery mentioned she might become. In fact, the strength of her personality helped in managing some situations that could have presented some difficulty to me. She had the background of a strong human family who could provide a foundation in facing the world that just was not present in my background. I watched Jelnaya wishing that I could be like her even as I heard my elders of my home world wonder if it was wise to have the presence of such a strong personality. Considering what she had managed during the day, I honestly felt good to have her with me.
People would comment to me about their perception of the female traits that were showing themselves on my form. No one however commented about the mounds on Jelnaya’s chest, her hips, or just the way she managed her appearance. They spoke of her with no doubt of her being a lady, although accepting her as complete without any need to focus on specifics. I watched her realizing that I could not do as her. I could not present myself as a whole figure, but only as combination of my history, my occupation, and those traits that made me a complete adult female.
Strangely, Kachevet also did not have her feminine appearance broken down. People talked about her being part fox, but only to note that her traits were not like those of my world. Just as I adored the physique of the centaur that carried Lord Terish, others looked to Kachevet wondering if we could improve the lives of people by having them changed into animals more in the manner of the fox lady. While they broke down how the animal traits appeared on her, they did not even mention things about the features that marked her as an adult female.
Hanell and I had planned to spend our day going through the regular exchange of information with others of our world. We felt some identification of other possible divine figures had been achieved as we compared the holy book of our Goddess with that of the myths of Davelda. Althery’s mother came from a world that also had a supreme female entity. Since I had found a tale of Dame Straekin’s husband and a figure that once dominated her government in a children’s book on my world, I learned the language of Davelda in order to read their books and look for figures that might be from my reality. I gained not only possible names, but some interesting religious philosophies that I thought to exchange with the elders of my home town.
The minstrel Reclash had sat back and listened to the discussions during the day. He had mentioned a desire to learn new tales and styles of presenting them. As a number would arrive to simply listen to the discussions between me and the others who studied the religious materials, Reclash had not been out of place.
Some had mentioned noticing that the minstrel did not have translator. While some of my human herd could understand our language, they also could speak in a manner that enabled those of my world to understand them. Reclash had not shown any ability to speak our language, although sat and listened without any question about what we said. While I had thought to offer the services of a translator, he had said that his purposes could be achieved without them.
I believe it was the fact that we understood Reclash, and not that he screamed, which caused us to turn and look for him. “JELNAYA! What are you doing?”
Something then began happening with people yelling even as Lebranaut came into corral demanding, “MY ARMOR! Where is my armor?”
Althery went to grab his sword even as he pointed and replied, “The wagon!”
I rushed to the edge of the corral to see the minstrel growing in size while becoming rather insubstantial. Even though his form appeared to lose substance, Jelnaya kept a hold of a lapel of his outer jacket and rode the enlarging figure up into the air. I heard predators call to me for instructions on what to do. I looked up to see Jelnaya set her feet against the body while freeing a hand to grab her sword in preparation of striking the grand spectral form of the minstrel, then turned my gaze back into the corral to look for Althery.
A strange shriek came from the ghostlike giant before Jelnaya exclaimed, “I killed a dragon, and I don’t even consider you that great of a threat.”
Althery passed through the gate of the corral before loudly asking, “What is this about, Jelnaya?”
I could tell she was using a dagger to help her grip into whatever essence presently composed the enlarged body of the minstrel as she replied, “Recognized one of your divine agents. Crafty, but like I said, once I get my mind in the right frame of mind I can see things others usually cannot.”
The words from Reclash sounded more in my mind than from my ears. “You are a fool, Girl.”
“I did not come on this mission to gain wisdom, but immortality. I doubt that you even rate toward that goal, but I will say that you are a start. Might cut you up and use you for bait for a real prize.”
Those words did not please me, but before I could make a statement the heavy steps of a large armored humanoid could be heard increasing in speed. I saw the metal enshrouded form of Lebranaut easily jump over the fence of the corral. He rolled on the other side, then gained his feet to advance on a leg of Reclash. The great spectral form screamed in agony as the steps of armored figure had him attack.
Jelnaya roared, “We got him, Lebranaut!”
Althery looked at me, spread his hands in a sign of being perplexed, then drew his weapon to also charge into battle. Not wanting to leave the group without guidance, I rushed to climb over the fence and join them. Hanell yelled my name, then I saw my father rush forward with my sword in his mouth. I thanked him, came back to gain my weapon, then told him to keep those of my original herd safe.
I had no idea how one battled a human of the size of Reclash, even if he had kept a substantial appearance. Being able to see things on the other side of him through him, I wondered how any weapon could have an effect upon the entity. I once saw Althery climb up on the pond beast, but it had a reputation for interacting with my world. The creatures we now sought did not have such a physical presence, and seeing the spectral figure I wondered about the wisdom of going into battle with it.
Predators did rush to join the three in combat, but I saw them pass right through the spectral form. A couple did fire their guns, but showed only pleasure in that they did not hurt anyone. Seeing the predators look to me with a couple of those with high ranks moving toward me, I knew to make a decision.
“Stay out of it. Help any people that are in need. Let those that can fight take on whatever this is.”
A tiger said, “The feet and legs are moving through the buildings without damaging them, but those inside are still scared to see things.”
“Then you have your work cut out for you. Let me get to mine.”
Those who had advanced to speak to me saluted, then they rushed back to pass orders along to their troops. It took a couple of moments to again find Reclash. While his form had enlarged, it was now barely visible against the night sky. The lights of the city also passed through it. It was by hearing the heavy steps of Lebranaut and seeing the form of Jelnaya in the air being illuminated by a spotlight that I knew in which direction to rush.
I took off glad to be in one of my less restrictive garments. While I did have some level of respect on my world, it was still a world of animals. I had thus dressed in something where I could move about horses and relax among wolves. I also had the benefit of living with a herd whose ladies also desired to be active. My skirt thus put up little resistance to my legs as they rushed me to those fighting the divine entity.
I stopped near where Lebranaut and Althery worked on a leg. Looking up to Jelnaya, I barely saw a spectral hand move to swat at her. I could determine that she held on to the cut fabric of what the minstrel had been wearing while setting her blade to meet the hand. I did see a flash upon the point where impact would occur, and as the appendage reacted to the strike I saw Jelnaya stop to consider her next attack.
The voice of Reclash again sounded more in my head than my ears. “Jelnaya! This is not your fight or your world.”
“So? Not like any of my previous fights fit those qualifications either. At least this is the world of my future aunt, so I can claim some connection.”
To assure that association, I yelled, “Jelnaya is of my herd!”
In my head the words of the minstrel screamed out, “Herds? You idiots! There are not supposed to be herds. There are not really even to be cities. You are supposed to be fighting over patches of grass while being eaten by others.”
Althery replied, “And here I thought you would be giving us a reason not to fight you. KEEP AT IT, JELNAYA!”
A psychic sound of pain registered in my mind as my ears heard Jelnaya reply, “Yes, Uncle Althery!”
I heard the heavy sounds of Lebranaut moving as he commented about not wanting to attack through a building. Althery spoke his agreement, as did some wolves working to assure no citizen came close to the battle. While the weight of the armor was very evident in the sound of its movement, Lebranaut stepped as lightly as any other person.
As I rushed to stay a witness to the battle, again my mind registered the speech of Reclash. “You cannot kill me. This battle is pointless.”
Jelnaya returned, “Yes, well, I am not exactly certain that you can hurt us either. However, I believe this battle will be our opening engagement in whatever purpose our reason for being here includes.”
Althery supported his niece by saying, “The first step has always been to first understand who our enemy is. I believe that we can claim that victory.”
Reclash again had his words sound in my mind, “You fools! You have no idea what you are fighting!”
“Yes, well, I leave that problem to Neselle. She is the brains of our group. She has been there for me, and I have been there for her. All I know is that there is a need to fight, and that is enough for me.”
Support for those words came from the predators working to assure no citizens would be harmed, and by Lebranaut who made a clear strike into something I could not actually see. My mind however hurt for a moment as a strong psychic impression of pain passed through my brain. Jelnaya screamed, but it sounded like a battle sound of victory as her body moved as if also making a major strike.
I suddenly saw the lady begin to fall as the mental words of Reclash said, “This fight has gone on for too long. I am finished with it.”
Lebranaut actually caught Jelnaya, but she squirmed to quickly gain her feet before exclaiming, “I see the portal! Let’s go!”
There seems to be no stopping Jelnaya.