To Face the Ugly Deed
It actually did not bother me to see the avatar return. I felt the demon was about finished. Someone else stepping up could prevent the fun from coming to a proper conclusion, but I felt the deities involved would desire a total resolution. Seeing the grand sword come up did not bother me. I was not a large girl, so usually had to redirect a powerful attack. While the great avatar probably would deliver an attack I would do better to avoid, I still would take the fight to it.
Seeing the blade go into the demon we had been fighting, and the monster disperse, let me know that the battle was over. There was no doubt the act was a decisive statement, but unsure of the god responsible for the angel had me stay cautious. While I kept the blades of my drahaberd ready, I held my position waiting for actual words of concession.
It said, “While the three of you fought, another battle raged. It seems that my god needs to make an apology. While demons have certain urges by their nature, it seems that Ascrennith went beyond what was proper. His death was indeed required. While I have been told to respect your earlier statements of distrust, it is hoped that you understand that only Heclidy could truly eliminate such as him.”
While I did feel a need to agree to what was said, I spoke knowing who truly had to be satisfied. “Nebard, does Quafrey have any problems with what was done?”
He replied, “No, Jelnaya. She claims the threat of the Privileged has indeed been brought to an end.”
“Then I would agree that our job is done. Let me state that I have no complaints against Heclidy, as he provided a wonderful challenge. Still, there were lives and souls corrupted and destroyed, so I hope those the demon depended upon to support its demented plan will also be dealt with. The horrors that were allowed to grow and fester I hope will truly not be allowed to exist again.”
The avatar acknowledged, “My god says if it does, it will not come from him.”
I actually turned to see if the grand tree would be evident. However, in looking behind us, I saw something that gave me concern as well as brought a smile to my face. I walked up to Nebard to have my fingers move through rips, tears, and missing sections of his armor. Seeing some wounds, I had to make an observation.
“It seems your armor barely performed its service. Are you hurt?”
He replied, “I am feeling the pain, but in the battle I cannot say that I noticed.”
“It was a good fight.”
“Good fight?” Makinor exclaimed. “I swear by my goddess, Jelnaya, I believe I have had enough of it. Still, if Onathia sends me, I will go willingly if I can again have your company.”
I then found myself catch Nebard as he slumped, and with Makinor coming over to help me the Champion of Quafrey admitted, “I believe I am hurt.”
“Come on,” I gave the command to both men. “We can rest on the slab we dedicated to our gods. The god here might not want it here, but I believe it will remain for the moment.”
Some basic first aid did need to be given to Nebard, as some wounds did bleed. He however seemed pleased to hear me speak of some of my battles that took more from me than I desired. While my body no longer had scars, I had memories of there indeed once being signs of old wounds on my female form.
There were baskets of fruits set by the foundation we had consecrated. Thanks were given to the local deity, then we set ourselves to refreshing ourselves from the battle. Nebard found his skin repairing itself, although in removing his armor he found it beyond any hope of wearing again. We spoke of various kinds of personal protection as we ate the fruit and prepared to get some rest.
We again saw food set out for us when we returned to the church. While we really were not ready to take a break, a snort had us remember the horses. Bringing the animals again into the building, we discussed their fate while they really had no choice but to listen. It seemed that there was a waterfall near Nebard’s home. If I had known that, I would have gone there to bathe instead of the pool. Anyway, as we again readied the animals to be ridden they knew that upon returning to Nebard’s world they would be washed under the falling liquid and come out to live, die, and produce offspring as horses. I ate some of the remaining food telling them they might as well learn to like grass and water.
We rode back into Nebard’s community with everyone rushing out to meet us. I watched as he picked up his wife and took her to their home. I then let the others speak of noticing a change in the couple of horses that remained in the community along with other subtle hints of things being different. It was as I entertained everyone in the community with the story of what we faced that Eashae approached with a basket.
She said, “The honor goes to Quafrey, but we will be ever grateful to the two of you. You proved yourselves. There is a change of clothes for both of you. Should you ever return, you may move about as one of us. There is some food for your journey home. Finally, an icon of Quafrey, because she does want to honor you.”
I did look to Makinor, although had to accept that as the one telling the story I was the one up. I pulled from a pocket an icon of Fergush, and breathed upon it the words of honor having been gained. Giving the lady the gold item showing red and yellow bands, I accepted the basket stating my thanks, although I then added something personal.
“You take care of Nebard. He proved himself. He’s worth every trial he puts you through.”
She nodded while saying, “I believe I will never regret making certain promises to him. Nebard told me to wish you the best in finding loves of your own.”
As if understand what had not been said, people began assuring Makinor and me that we could stay. We both however spoke of needing to return to our homes. People however did cheer when I assured them that I would first finish the story.
Makinor was rather quiet as we moved through the omniverse. He did acknowledge that I did not bring us back through the troublesome realities I had used previously, although our journey took an additional number of days. I accepted that as a Champion of Onathia he really did not enjoy speaking of the battles. When I killed something, he did mention that he would cook it for us. While I hoped for some conversation during the meal, Makinor was rather quiet then as well.
I did try to get him to speak of the scenery. There was nothing really special about the terrain or plants, but I wanted to get him talking about something. He finally mentioned something he saw that reminded him of a place he knew. Not wanting to have him go silent again, I spoke about the lands outside the mountains within which was Nehallum. With him also traveling about those territories, I smiled hearing him begin to make comments. He seemed to find some comfort in the topic, and soon was discussing things about the scenery relating the sights to places he had seen.
Realizing that we were again on the world of Sennapre, he spoke of something else he recognized. “You brought me home, Jelnaya?”
I replied, “I really do not know where your home is, Makinor. Still, this should be the county of your goddess.”
“It is. Still, if you remember my home is really in a nearby barony. After a mission like that, I however feel the need to gain the comfort of Onathia before going to my home. Thank you, Jelnaya.”
Before he could say more, I said, “Don’t offer to have me stay. As a single lady, I must decline.”
“The church could put you up.”
“If I truly sought a place to rest, I would not refuse the hospitality. However, I would rather be out on my own. I can follow the river upstream to its mountain source, then head on to reach Nehallum.”
“Nehallum is not truly your home though. Your great-uncle and great-aunt surely love you, but you need a place where you can show others your love.” I saw a smile fill his face before he admitted, “So, Onathia has the job of not just finding you a man, but finding you a place to call home.”
“I would not put that burden on your goddess. Finding me the right man should trouble her more than enough. Let Fergush find me a home. The place will be devoted to him, so it should be a place he approves of.”
“Of course, but, Jelnaya, should I ever visit I would expect to find love there.”
There was no way he was going to have me allow that statement to pass without me replying to it. “Of course, but should I ever visit I would expect you to spend time sparring with me.”
He smiled, then said, “I guess it would not be proper to pray for you to have an uneventful journey back to Nehallum.”
“Don’t force me to go against the actions of Onathia. Our deities might be opposed, but that should not result in antagonism. I enjoyed having you with me on this mission, Makinor. Tell Onathia that I will again act on her behalf should she ever have a need.”
Makinor bowed, then said, “However our lives change or grow, I will always claim to love you, Jelnaya. Yes, if I come into the halls of Fergush, it will be to let all know that you have earned a friendship with me.”
I dismounted Petty, then curtsied while saying, “And may Onathia hold her anger when I stride though her halls to do the same with you.”
He laughed, then wished me the best. I could not help but display a smile as I mounted my horse. We both waved to the other as I rode off.
As I determined whether I would ride back to my part of the world or move through other paths, I spoke of something I noticed. “You’re quiet, Fergush.”
My god replied, “Don’t take Makinor’s words lightly, Jelnaya. Onathia has been with me, and she was speaking of formalizing some plans for you.”
“Is that even possible?”
Now I heard Fergush laugh, and he said, “That was something I kept bringing up, but she was most serious. Only time can tell, Jelnaya.”
And next will the start of the second Children of Galabur story.