Of Men and Love in General: Cp15B

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The third Neselle story -
Of Men and Love in General
Chapter Fifteen – Part Two
Jelnaya: Trying to Find Directions

The interview with Kachevet continued even after the cameraman stopped his activity and left. I noticed that the mounted surveillance camera continued to operate. A number of people arrived around the end of the discussion, both human and animals, and it seemed that they had questions for the fox lady. As someone that could understand all languages and have all understand my speech, I was put into service as a translator. I believe Althery was quizzed about things concerning Neselle and her usual line of research. Kachevet was pressed to remember the name of her ancestors along with stories of her family.

Finally, a bull concluded, “Lady Kachevet, we believe that you are one of us. Somewhere in your past, a relative of yours was taken to this other world you have called home. Your grandmother was not cursing you, but doing what she felt led to do in order for you to return to your true home.”

Those words were immediately challenged, although not by Kachevet. I had to admit to someone that it was very possible for someone to be present when a normal barrier between realities became weak for some reason. However, that did not provide any support for the hypothesis that it was any real rational reason for what Kachevet’s grandmother did to her. Knowledge of other worlds and how to pierce the barriers between them took some leaps in how one perceived their surroundings and how certain things could affect more than local circumstances. People did do it, but even in the vastness of the omniverse the number that actually traveled between worlds was exceedingly small. I thus told them that their speculations about the history of Kachevet would not affect her future before telling everyone that we were hungry.

The fox lady seemed pleased that no one followed us out of the room, although she then asked me, “Where are we going?”

“To my Great-aunt Dirchein. The people here can assuredly answer certain questions, but Great-aunt Dirchein can provide a perspective.”

A lion patrolling the corridors directed us to the kitchen when I asked about the golden lady. That location for her did not surprise me at all. As suspected, there was a crowd in the kitchen and upon our arrival the voice of Great-aunt Dirchein sounded assuring Lebranaut that she would have enough food to fill him up.

All in the area spoke greetings to us, with everyone telling Kachevet and me that they saw our interview including what transpired after the regular broadcast. We were asked some questions that we had been asked before, although with some follow-up inquiries to resolve some issue they felt had not been covered. Great-aunt Dirchein brought a plate loaded with food for Lebranaut, then sat almost the same amount before me while saying more than simple words about enjoying the meal.

“I don’t want to hear it, Jelnaya. Simply say, ‘yes, ma’am.’ You are doing good, and I want you stay on your best behavior.”

I did as instructed, and set to eating the food, but while waiting for her plate Kachevet whispered a question to me. “Your aunt, she is made of gold?”

“Yes. Was not changed into gold, but actually made from gold. I am told that it was a gruesome process involving the murder of many others, but I want to be involved in stories such as what enabled her to be found. My Grandfather Terish is really, really powerful, and Great-uncle Ferrigote is just as capable. There is thus strong blood that runs in my family, but I am determined that history speaks of my blood being just as strong.”

I barely got to eat another bite, but had to swallow as Kachevet asked another question. “And these people really believe that my ancestor is from this world.”

“First, that does not work. If he was from recent history, then he either would have been a child that would not be able to reproduce, or an animal that I doubt very highly could have gotten anyone to mate with. That means it would have to be centuries in the past that your ancestor went over. That however would also mean that your grandmother would not have thought it important to change you into an animal form.”

From the kitchen, a female deer asked, “Okay, Jelnaya, and what more do you have to say?”

Without any fear, I answered, “That I am here due to gods, not just one, saying that something here is going to happen of an extreme nature. That is what I believe about Kachevet as well. Just like Desiree, the prophetess that was responsible for teaching my Grandfather Terish and sending him from his native world before being forgotten by its God, I believe Kachevet’s grandmother knew things of a divine nature. The raid was probably not unusual. Her people probably lived in fear of such things occurring. The timing however provided the grandmother with the setting that she could get her granddaughter into a moment of history her deity was saying the time was right for its occurrence.”

The doe approached, then used the counter to lift her into an erect stance before saying, “That is what I believe as well. I want to tell you more. That story of the drahabard is not just from our world, but from this part of our world. The pond beast was in this part of the world. The last major activity was somewhere else, but what is going to happen is to happen here. Stay alert, Jelnaya.”

I looked at the man to one side of me and fox lady to the other, then spoke loud so another could hear me. “Great-aunt Dirchein, I will go check on Neselle. If she is going to sleep then I will stay up.”

The golden lady moved up to me with a bowl, then put more food on my plate as she said, “Eat well, Jelnaya. Everything is indicating that when things break out, that it will be something grand. The pond beast was not so bad, but what followed it took a long time to overcome. This is supposed to be worse.”

I did not feel that I could fight my best on a full stomach, but I also would not deny the benefits of having a good supply of energy for a long engagement. I also knew my great-aunt. I thus simply said, “Yes, ma’am,” and set back to eating.

No one bothered us as we did our best to clean our plates. As was usual for my great-aunt, she tried to put stuff back on empty sections. I did exchange glares with her, but having grown up with her in my life I felt no need to make any remarks. We knew each other, and understood at the moment that it would not be best to bother others with our historic disagreements.

I did love Great-aunt Dirchein, but I did not want to become her. In fact, I set myself to be almost everything she was not. I would not live any part of my life as a servant. I would not be the one needing to be rescued, but the one rescuing others. If there was a way to win at life, and I felt it possible as certain of my elders had indeed achieved that, I would do it. The only problem with my goals was that I had to admit that Great-aunt Dirchein was also one that had gained her dream of a perfect life.

It scared me that if I did not gain eternal life that I would become like my great-aunt. Men had the blessing of still being viable family pillars even after decades of life. As a female, after a time my body would no longer consider itself able to tolerate the lengthy periods of stress required of gestation and raising a child. I had seen what happened to the bodies of my aunts and other ladies. The immortal forms of my Grandmother Straekin and Great-aunt Dirchein reset their physiques from the toils of childbirth in the same manner that other wounds were erased. They were both desiring to have more children, while every other lady spoke of the suffering of their past pregnancies and almost fearing what another such period would do them. I wanted to experience everything life had to offer, including children, and I felt it cruel that certain blessings would be considered curses and that some wonderful moments would end up never being repeated. I was told that the experiences of life were treasured more by those who only lived it once, but like gold I felt everything should be sought in abundance. I did not want my focus on life to be assuring the next generation of good food and guidance, although I felt if I failed at gaining immortality that I would be forced to duplicate the actions of my Great-aunt Dirchein.

As I lifted my plate so I could finish the food without anyone putting more on it, I saw Lebranaut also do the same. I looked the other way upon hearing Kachevet attempt to use words to keep another serving from being set on her plate. As I turned to go after thanking everyone for the meal, I found both moving to join me.

I looked at the fox lady and said, “I understand Lebranaut, but not you. Why are you going with me?”

“It is my drahabard. As you said, it is not the easiest weapon to wield. If there is something to what these people are saying, I will be involved. Maybe I can get some practice with you.”

The last sentence made sense, so I turned to leave the coliseum. I did stop to ask a lion about the location of Neselle. He spoke of agreeing that she would probably return to her family for the evening, but then used his communication device to verify that she was indeed at the corral that her family called home. The lion then mentioned that I had a room here in the coliseum and that it was getting late. I turned to leave while telling him that I had other things on my mind than sleeping.

I stepped outside the building wondering what type of threat could be so serious as to grant immortality to those that overcome it. Great-uncle Ferrigote and Grandfather Terish admitted that while their restoration of the church was a major accomplishment, the reason they were granted immortality was assuredly due to Fergush understanding the need for them to stay alive to properly challenge Terdeskollit. Of the other immortals that I knew, they all spoke of having some blessing bestowed upon them due to circumstances and not as a reward for killing a major threat. To thus gain immortality for simply tackling some great divine agent seemed very improper, and I looked for a reason such a prize had been offered in this situation.

The stories of the threats from this world did pass through my mind. I had heard the events from a number of sources. Feeling that I had made the right decision in heading toward Neselle, I considered the stories I had heard while considering what questions I might ask of the lady.

In my thoughts about what possible threat might be coming upon us, I did my best to look beyond this reality. I knew the tricks, but as I told others I often found myself unable to focus on what was truly important at the moment. Lebranaut and Kachevet asked me what I was doing as I stopped to look around a couple of times with the man catching me as I spun at one time feeling that I had seen something and lost my balance. Telling them that I was looking for trouble did not have them speak unfavorably, although they did remind me of our destination.

Using the special sight did not negate my ability to see the reality around me, so I could agree when Lebranaut spoke of seeing the corral in the distance. Wanting to assure the home of my possible aunt would be a safe refuge, I continued to focus on peering beyond the present reality. It was a flash, more of an odd spark, that had me change my perception from other worlds to this one. I then set my mind to activate another form of special sight usually taught to those that sought a career working with magic.

Why I had not noticed it before, or any in our group had not noticed it, I could not say. I felt for certain that Grandfather Terish and even Grandmother Straekin would have spotted something right away. My only conclusion was that being worlds away from his source of power, his true nature had not been strong enough to be noticed by any but the most perceptive.

I pulled my sword while saying, “Reclash, you probably should not have continued to hang around.”

Probably not the type of fight you would expect.