Only Fools Complain
Evidence and Danger
One ooze had been dangerous, so I really feared having to battle a number of them. Unlike the tentacle faces, oozes could flow around and over each other, so a multitude could actually work to contact their victim. I had a duty however, and set myself to facing those monsters I had summoned. Not wanting to leave the soldiers with more problems that they had originally, I faced my fear and prepared for battle.
Only two arrived. They were a serious threat, so I was grateful not to have more. As I fought I however considered why I faced only two. The mental image was of a whole mass of the oozes, but I also had to recall that the vision presented the shell as having a great population of the monsters. My memories of the view through the water did not support there being such a large number. I thus faced the two thinking the challenge not overwhelming, but within the limits of my ability to overcome.
When the door did not immediately open at my knock, I worked to open it enough to step out. Aden seemed very concerned with my appearance, but I was pleased just to see her. I however knew to put my focus on the sergeant as I stepped out.
“Thank you, Sergeant. Did what I came to do.”
“Anything that I can report to my superiors, Major Berair?”
I really wanted to state a negative, but knew to give the sergeant something to prevent any trouble from staying with him. “The hole was too small for anything substantial, but it did let me test some theories. The oozes are a definite problem, but not an overwhelming problem. I am going back to my room to consider what I learned, and what I try next will probably be outside where I have more room.”
He reached out to shake my hand, which let me know that I had said enough. I told him that I left no oozes in the passage, but there was nothing preventing any more from entering. Sergeant Hissauld assured me that the door would stay shut.
As I indicated for Aden to walk with me, she said, “I can tell that you are hurt, my lord.”
“Did they give you the salve?”
She glared at me, but then her expression softened as she turned to another. “Sergeant Hissauld, I assume that I can get more if necessary.”
“Certainly, Princess Aden, but I can attest that it works rather well.”
“I will trust your assessment. Thank you.”
I felt that she was trying to provide support when she grabbed my upper arm. It however was her usual style of moving with me, so I said nothing about it. I did attempt to describe the oozes to her, and what type of wounds I felt that they had done to my body. She let me speak for a time, but then said something to change the topic entirely.
“My lord, why did you not you berate Captain Decallor?”
It took some thinking, but then I remembered the name of the officer that we spoke to in gaining the help of Sergeant Hissauld. I then had to recall the circumstances of that meeting. Aden stayed quiet while I searched my memories, and her patience was rewarded.
“He was being open and honest with us, Aden. Why would I berate him?”
“He was rude.”
While I wanted to accept my wife’s opinion, I spoke to hopefully have her realize why I thought differently. “We were there for a reason. He did not prevent us from speaking with Sergeant Hissauld. Yes, he said some things, but I am actually grateful that he did. Knowing some of the politics involved can be helpful. I thus was pleased with his words, so felt no need to put him in any place.”
“Oh.” I saw her eyes and face move, then descend as she mumbled, “I knew I was right, and now I know why.” She lifted her gaze to see me watching her, and accepting that I heard she spoke a clarification. “My previous husband would have berated the man just for his tone of voice. He could be quite cruel, and I suffered his wrath for speaking on behalf of the soldiers.”
I looked to assure that the corridor was mostly clear, then whispered, “I have seen your body, Aden. There are no scars.”
“No, Berair, as he did not want any outward signs of his true personality. There are wounds however that are rather deep.”
I took Aden in my arms while saying, “I do not see a tortured and wounded lady. All I see is great beauty that has somehow survived to come to me.”
“You are making me not want to show you the scars, Berair.”
“I am trying to provide a place where you can fully heal. I am not going to say that I won’t see the scars, but I do believe that your situation is like mine in that my scars are not as bad as my memories of the wounds would have me think.”
A hand came up beside my face, then her head fell to my chest as she sobbed. I just held the lady for a time. She lifted her head, accepted the handkerchief from me, then wiped her eyes as she spoke.
“The baron made a mistake. He thought to get rid of me. Yes, I will go with you, Berair. I am your wife. However, the baron will know that I am strong and still out there.”
I thought the words were good. I thus had a hand move over to pat those of my wife that held an upper arm. Not just wanting to walk with her, but speak with her as well, I sought some words.
“If I may say something, you are also helping. I have not met the man, but I am getting the impression that the baron really did not expect this problem to be solved.”
“No, Berair, I don’t believe that is it. He expected you to be some adventuring rascal. I actually felt that he did not expect you to have any real value. You running off after the flayers he expected. I believe that he expected the experience to kill you however, or to prove to me that I am worse off than before. That is not what happened however. You did not die, and I now know that I have a much better spouse now than I did.”
Those words satisfied me, so I actually thought about something else to talk about, but Aden said some more. “I fought for you, Berair. While you were fighting the flayers, I went to the baron to argue for him to aid you. He laughed at me for going to the trouble for such a ‘hot-headed fool.’ I had not known you for long, but I felt certain the baron was wrong. I now know that he was wrong.”
Wanting to put her mind at ease, I replied, “I heard it said that you went before the baron. I also heard that others listened to you and not the baron. Don’t think that I did not understand the weight of those words. You are a very lovely lady, Aden. As my wife, there are things that I want from you. Still, however much I enjoy your presence, trust that I do understand your value.”
“I am you wife, Berair, and I want you for certain things as well. However, accept that every time I find support for my love of you, I am determined that I will do all I can to support you.”
“Sounds like we are committed to each other. I guess that does make us married.”
“I am glad to know that, Berair.”
I chuckled. Aden smiled, although continued to grip my upper arm. I thought to ask her about that, but figured that we had shared enough. I thus just enjoyed my time with the lady.
My pleasant expression was tested when I entered my apartment, because I heard my young wife chirp out my name before jumping upon me to plant a kiss on my lips. My free arm went under her rump to support her as she presented the affection. Luckily, Aden let go her hold on my other arm, so I could better support Mersidda. After kissing her, she wrapped her arms about my neck in a hug. Through all of this I maintained a pleasant expression, as I certainly enjoyed it, but Aden said the thing that also played on my mentality.
“Mersidda, please, our husband is hurt.”
I continued to have my arms under her rump, so her head stayed at my level allowing me to see her face as she asked, “Is that true, my lord?”
“Yes, Mersidda. I fought some oozes, and their wounds burn.”
She moved to have me set her down as she said, “I’m sorry, my lord.”
“No, Mersidda. Your pleasure in my return is healing in its own way.”
I saw my little wife spin as she spoke to another. “See, Mother, he is most kind to me.”
Emoya stood and said, “I apologize if those words sound unpleasant to you, Major Berair.”
“No, Mother, as you are worried about your daughter and still unsure about me. How did the visit with Berallid’s staff go.”
“We spoke to his wife and daughter, Major Berair. It…”
I interrupted to say, “Mother, our relationship should go both ways. You can at least drop the title, if not just call me ‘son.’”
“Yes, Berair. The wizard is recovering. It seems that a trap was placed specifically for him. If you need something minor, he will try. Anything dealing with the shell however he needs to decline, as he expects the trap to still be present.”
“Okay. I might just need advice, as I know nothing really of magic. Any evidence that he would be available?”
She moved to the door while saying, “I believe that he would try, Berair. He did suffer some serious mental damage however, so don’t tax him.” She curtsied to me, then said, “I am going to leave you in the care of your wives. Could I come back again for supper?”
“Certainly. As I have said, I have a large family. Either I would be at a large table with my family, or in the mess with my fellow soldiers. Thus, I would not be one to deny anyone, although I am not the one cooking either.”
“Oh,” Aden exclaimed, then she spoke softly to my little wife. “Mersidda, do you know how to cook?”
“Yes, Aden. My father is a farmer, remember?”
“I will help, but I will need instruction.”
Emoya said, “I will leave you two ladies to care for your husband now and discuss how to care for him later. I will return late this afternoon to see what you figured out. Berair, I doubt that I need to be concerned for you, but I am interested in keeping up with your adventures. Glad to have you in the family.”
Aden saw the lady to the door while Mersidda led me into the bedroom and told me to undress. I think she enjoyed giving me the command. It pleased me just seeing the smile on her face, and since she was my wife I let her see everything she desired.
More evidence, but all that has been learned is that there are more facts that need to be learned.