Of Men and Love in General: Cp13B

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The third Neselle story -
Of Men and Love in General
Chapter Thirteen – Part Two
Neselle: And Our Journey Begins

Considering that this was not an unusual route and we had never seen the pancake snake creature before, I do not believe even Baroness Dirchein expected Jelnaya to be able to find another one to gain enough meat for all of us. She however came back with two. We thus had specimens to study even as they provided the main entrée for our supper.

Somehow Genory managed to have Jelnaya tell the story of her decision to commit to Fergush. It was a strange tale, but nothing truly unusual for those of my herd. Althery had told me his story of how he faced the god, which ended up in him and Nuchirg being sent to my world where we first met. I had recently listened as he spoke of going to confront other deities in order to possibly stand by my side through eternity. While I did not understand some of the things about these other gods or their religions, I gracefully stayed quiet as he related his experiences. Having heard the tales, I felt able to judge the mentality of Jelnaya. She definitely had the drive, but a strong personality that I felt would shine stronger than her conviction to any deity. Wondering if Fergush would truly be willing to provide his grace to the lady, I found myself further mystified by Genory who spoke as if not realizing the possible challenge that everyone had been warning him about.

“So, both of you are attempting to gain immortality, and it should be possible on this journey?”

Althery looked to his niece while saying, “That is what I was told.”

Jelnaya added, “And such was my request of Fergush that had him direct me to join my Uncle Althery.”

Genory asked, “Aren’t you scared,” to which both answered with a firm negative.

Althery looked at his niece. He seemed to understand her stare, as I saw him nod. I gained the impression that he spoke to her and not to Genory.

“Trust Neselle. She does study everything of her religion she can. Hanell does as well, and they discuss it with each other and with others when they visit their world. Once we isolate what is going on, they can direct us. Neselle is also recognized as an authority on her world, so can usually pull the strings to make things happen.”

Hanell replied, “Yes, but some of these tricks in moving through the omniverse have helped as well. Thus, while Neselle, me, and probably others will provide what we can, certain tricks about moving through realities can be an advantage.”

Althery quickly broke in to ask, “Jelnaya, how good are you at opening gates on your own? I really need Jericho.”

She replied, “I can do it. Besides just perfecting my combat skills, I really push Grandfather Terish and Great-uncle Ferrigote to teach me to see beyond realities. I am pretty good, but it takes focus. What really bothers me is watching Grandmother Straekin. She knows. You can see it in her eyes. When she thinks to look for other worlds, she can quickly notice things that it sometimes takes her pointing it out to me to see. I’m not even that good, but I want to be.”

Baroness Dirchein said, “She has had decades of experience that we have not had, Jelnaya. Ferrigote has taught me things, but even he will mention Terish’s better mentality of moving through the omniverse. With Streakin getting along so well with him, it is not surprising that she is so well at recognizing things dealing with other worlds.”

“Well, there is just a lot to learn. I am to the stage where if it gets pointed out to me, I can see it. There are so many variables that I often just cannot think of how to recognize certain factors on my own.”

Reclash asked, “Well, how do the horses do it?”

I actually saw uncertainty on the faces of Jelnaya and Baroness Dirchein, so spoke with what knowledge I had. “They are first simply checked to see if they have the personality that can handle moving between worlds. Those that have the mentality are then taught the tricks to pass between realities. Lord Terish taught the horse handlers his method of determining directions through the omniverse, and the horses are made to learn the signals. They actually cannot see between worlds, but do have a sense of direction.”

It was Althery that asked, “Did Nathan tell you that?”

There was a desire to give a short, cute reply. I had learned some things in traveling with Lord Terish and Baron Ferrigote as they finished the training of my horse. Some further information could be shared with those who truly wanted to know. It however was Althery that asked, so I replied without being concerned for others that might actually desire a complete answer.

“He whispers in my ears when you don’t.”

I smiled when he replied, “Unless you want your children to really be horses, I would make sure that all he does is whisper in your ear.”

“You do have that in your favor.”

The minstrel broke into guffaws, then continued to laugh loudly. I saw the others looking to Althery with various expressions I assumed to reflect how they expected him to react. He continued to display his respect of me by simply bowing before making a reply.

“Then I am going to check the animals and see if Nathan would honor me by whispering advice in my ear.”

It was late, but I had the watch and planned to discuss things with Hanell until I felt it time to disturb someone else. I had cared for Nathan. Althery did check out my horse. Honestly, everyone had. I thus considered him simply assuring there were no problems with the animals before heading to bed. Reclash however stayed near the campfire and asked another question.

“Your parents are horses? What’s it like being a horse?”

Hanell replied, “I would assume it is like being a wolf. You feel different. There is actually a feeling of fun to it. It gets old, but you slowly get used to your body and find that it performs very well. I have lived my life as a wolf, and I have no regrets.”

I had my own perspective. “It is no fun staying human. It is basically, ‘well, nothing is happening to you, so find yourself something to do.’” I expected the minstrel to laugh again, but he simply smiled looking at me. “Maturing has restored some belief that I am going along the path that humans should follow, but I live among others who also grow up in the normal fashion. I thus often do not feel that any of this is fun, but drudgery.”

“It is life, Neselle. It is life as it should be.”

I lifted my head, as did the others, suddenly hearing Althery call out a warning. While I looked to him, I heard Hanell growl causing me to notice armored humanoid shapes. I heard a clash of metal upon metal before Althery mentioned that the bear coming upon him being armored and not just those that had the animal on a leash.

Jelnaya stepped up to say, “We give them a warning, Lebranaut.”

A rough voice said, “Ain’t that nice. Listen, we just want the gold.”

“Warning given, Lebranaut. Go.”

I do not even believe that I had a chance to enter battle. While I did draw my blade, Hanell told me to hold my position. Reclash only appeared shocked, and I do not believe even readied his weapon. Althery, Jelnaya, and Lebranaut took the fight with Baroness Dirchein speaking a number of blessings. Althery showed some speed along with Jelnaya. Lebranaut simply moved with every strike from him being a vicious slice of his weapon. Jelnaya directed him while using her fast reflexes to set up opponents for the man’s next cut. I believe that Althery simply sparred with the armored animal until his niece and her large suitor could help him bring it down.

While attempting to peer into the surrounding darkness for more threats, Althery asked, “Does Uncle Ferrigote have to protect you often, Aunt Dirchein?”

“No, Althery. Many speak of my gold skin, but seeing me active they do not equate me with actually being made of the metal.”

“Well, I told him that you would be safe with me, and I can presently brag that you are.”

Genory said, “I must say that such is true. Uh, sorry. Next time I will know not to wait for normal parley to break down.”

Jelnaya replied, “It’s okay, as you are here sponsored by Onathia. I’m here for Fergush, so I fought.”

“Uh, yes, you did. Lebranaut, I would say that it would not be wise to get on that lady’s bad side.”

The one-in-a-thousand returned, “I have sparred with her. She is definitely not a gentle female. I like her though.”

Reclash uttered, “You just killed them.”

Jelnaya asked, “What were we supposed to do? Explain to them that Great-aunt Dirchein is not a golden ornament? They had put armor on a bear and sent it to attack our mounts. They then came upon us without announcing themselves. They thus were already committed and beyond reason.”

The golden lady said, “Your great-uncle would have said the same, Jelnaya.”

“I, uh, guess,” the minstrel seemed very unsettled by what happened, “well, we probably should bury the bodies.”

“We eat the bear.”

Hanell said, “What we do not eat can be turned in to be processed when we get to Gemord.”

Reclash replied, “It was a pet bear.”

Althery said from where I believe he was removing the armor from the animal before preparing the carcass, “It was not our pet bear.”

Turning to me, the minstrel almost demanded, “Is that the type of world you want? Even in the disruption when you were going to the pond beast, things did not get to the level of such a slaughter.” I believe that more than just Hanell and I turned to the man wondering how he knew about that, and sensing such he added, “You do not worship a deity that promotes fighting.”

I did note what Reclash had said, although as I considered what to say in return the wolf replied, “No, but the minor deities we have encountered have all forced drastic responses to their threats. Considering the deities that have promoted some to join us on this journey, fights should be expected.”

“Yes, well, it all seems a little harsh to me.”

Since I expected to spend time during the night studying my notes, I easily fell into one of my trains of thoughts. “Why? Over four hundred years with people living and breeding as animals. One would think that the Goddess had other plans for us than just be human pets.”

“Now that is interesting,” Reclash said. “What other plans could she have for you?”

“I don’t know, but our genetic material is lacking. I thus find myself wondering what She plans on filling it in with. I have to assume that the Goddess wants us complete again, but maybe she plans on filling in the material with new instructions for our bodies.”

“Huh, that would be odd. Never heard that one.” Those statements caught me by surprise, but before I could form a response the minstrel added, “I am finding myself glad that I joined up with Genory.”

Hanell replied, “Yes, you should definitely come back with a story that no one else is telling.”

“Uh, yeah. I however would like one that is easy to relate to others and get them to believe. It is no good just to say fantastic things.”

“I don’t believe our world is fantastic. It is really mundane. Yes, most humans are animals, but otherwise there is really not that much different about our world.”

“It seems to me that you are either wanting things mundane, or very different. I am interesting in seeing your decision about that.”

And our group arrives at Gemord.