The Fey Bride of Elfland
Another Interesting Lady
Chamorrick became all excited when we told him the next day of receiving the directions to visit the pure elves. I believe that Queanay would have spent time walking with him, but she never gained a chance. Chamorrick became all agitated and rushing around, so the lady stayed with me simply because I gave her a consistent presence.
The breaks in the terrain both faded about the same time. The ancient flows of lava did not provide a smooth surface. The magma was however probably thick enough closer to the cauldron to prevent any channels for water to flow. What told us the gorges no longer existed was the end of the growth of plants, as the rough terrain still made it difficult to travel. To our left however was a wandering smooth line, which we began to follow across the terrain believing it to be a trail.
I considered it strange, in a pleasant way, to have the change in scenery start Queanay talking. The bleak landscape somehow caused her to think of her home, and she spoke about how certain things reminded her about the way the ice and snow would form in her land. I mentioned her castle not being that far from that of Florinew, so wondered about the frozen nature of her land. She told me how her castle was on the western edge of her kingdom. While basically pleasant land extended to the west, south, and truly to the north of her castle, to the east a vast ice shrouded wilderness existed. I actually enjoyed the conversation about the contrasting sceneries, so walked with Queanay pleasantly allowing time to pass.
A major discussion erupted between us when we saw the opening into the rise of stone. The path we were following did not advance to the cave, so we felt it was the wrong place. A glittering sparkle of radiance from what appeared to be crystals around the mouth of the entrance however stated that the hole should be investigated whether actually the correct cave or not. We then had to discuss if we were following a real path or not. Looking back over our route of travel we had to admit that we had been going more around the volcano than moving up to the cauldron. After a lengthy debate, we all came to the conclusion that we should advance to the opening to check it out.
I knew about lava tubes. We had spent the last two nights at the bottom of gorges cut by water through rock from the volcano. I personally had visited and studied the passages left after the liquid magma finished flowing. What I saw advancing upon this entrance into the volcano appeared more like a limestone cave. Instead of the lighter colors of that rock, the flowing stone appeared more of the black of volcanic glass. I however paused thinking the formations coming into sight only formed in caves found in other kinds of substrate. Lines of color did break up the mostly dark surroundings, although a vapor subdued the strength of any reflected light. While a lantern did help us see barriers, it was hard to view things at a distance due to odd reflections of our source of illumination somehow merging with complete darkness. None of us knew our way, but advanced not really seeing a multitude of directions in which to travel.
The man that stepped out before us moved properly, but he did not appear to have a normal body. Something in the light had his form waver as if an illusion formed by a light source creating an image in smoke. While none of us suspected this creature of being the lady we were looking for, we showed respect expecting it to identify itself as the source of one of the voices that had been heard.
Indeed, I did recognize the tones as it said, "Welcome, guests to our abode. As was said last night, others have spoken in your favor, and we have indeed seen nothing improper in your behavior. We thus welcome you."
Chamorrick stuttered a few things, then reached out to tap me on the chest while whispering, "This is your job."
I did not argue, but just excused myself from Queanay before advancing. "Thank you for the welcome. Our reason for coming is that my half-brother, Chamorrick, heir to the throne of Florinew, seeks an audience with the lady history says is named Lasotherral. The objective is matrimony, but we and you surely have a lot of considerations before things advance. If no more than a proper introduction is managed at this time, we will consider our journey here to be a success. Just to inform those of whom we seek some graciousness, my name is Kevin. I am married, so considered a proper chaperone and advisor to Chamorrick. With us is Princess Queanay of another kingdom, one that neighbors Florinew, and as a potential neighbor she also desires to meet what might, with much hope, become a friend."
I felt my body straighten, and saw Chamorrick and Queanay brush off their clothes as a strange, but noticeably feminine, voice said, "Matrimony? I have a suitor seeking to marry me?"
Wondering how I could spur my half-brother to speak, I turned to him. The astounded expression on his face stated that he would probably allow this moment to pass. Seeing me stare at him, he lifted a fist as if to declare he was ready to tackle the situation. I returned the action, then shared a nod before happily seeing Chamorrick step up to speak.
"Yes, oh wonderful Lasotherral. My home is a secured holding with a most distinguished history and reputation. Over a multitude of generations my family has managed to guide my land. At times however my noble lineage has been more of a weight upon the common citizens than others. I recognized that I was at such a point in our history. Depending on who I chose as a wife, I would return Florinew to a rugged path they had traveled before. Hoping to end the trials of repeating certain cycles of history, I sought for a wife that would help bring my land into a new age. In my search, I learned of you. I believe that you offer me things that can provide solace for me and Florinew. To that end I have come. We have not met, and my knowledge of you is quite limited, but I have come to at least have a meeting. I ask, plead, beg for you to allow me an interview. While I hope for more, we must start somewhere, or at least bring some satisfaction to those that will speak of my memory in that I did try to avert a future that had played out before."
"Matrimony? Do you think I am some sweet thing for you to woo?"
I felt Chamorrick should have prepared for certain questions to come, and felt relieved when he boldly made a reply. "Are you not? I heard that once you were betrothed to another, but my research says that your intended husband never survived to claim you. Is that not true?"
"Can you even imagine the number of years since I lost my intended?"
"What I cannot imagine is that you have lost your desire. What I feel is true is that you have not lost your grace, your poise, your value as a lady. Surely, grand Lasotherral, you have not lived all these years only to lose your thirst for life."
"You know not –"
Chamorrick lifted his voice to assure that his words carried. "I am completely ignorant, amazing Lasotherral. Still, I come asking to seek this opportunity. Not just for me, but surely for yourself as well. Surely there is a reason for you to have survived all this time. Saying that you have waited for me might be a bit much, but let us learn. Let this first step be taken to learn of each other."
"Kevin, the chaperone, surely you cannot approve of this."
I knew better than to stay silent, so said, "Why not? I am not entirely ignorant of the history Chamorrick seeks to prevent. I might be completely ignorant of you, but there is no loss in gaining an understanding of another. I have not heard Chamorrick state unimagined claims. There might be a degree of audacity in thinking he and one such as you might gain a relationship deep enough to be compatible, but I had to allow this journey as I could not with wisdom speak against the meeting."
The one before us replied, "There is foolishness, and there is stubbornness. The plea being made does not sound like the latter, and the logic does not speak of the former."
"Then they may approach?"
"Or you can come out to them. It really will be the same, Lasotherral, as we cannot say to know how to properly bestow any graciousness other than a direct meeting."
What suddenly appeared beside the one was a lady of what I could only say was of amazing beauty. Seeing the wavering form of the one that had appeared to us, Lasotherral had a much more substantive presence. She was thin, but in a healthy exercised manner and not in any way appearing frail. I noticed a slight lift to her chest that had me wondering if she had more than my wife. Her hair was a blue-green; I would say cyan, except that the color seemed to shift between shades of green and soft blue and did not settle into a perfect blend. The eyes were sky-blue with their clarity causing me to think that they radiated their color. The appearance was definitely that of a lady, and with relief that at least one thing had gone right for my half-brother I bowed with him.
While we had heard her speak, the words had drifted from a distance. She was silent, although I detected a smile. Chamorrick did his best to appear dignified, although in not having her speak he proved himself not to have a lack of words.
"At this point in a relationship, sweet Lasotherral, I am supposed to start enticing you to want to spend time with me. Usually I am however with more information concerning a lady's life. With you I have nothing but joy in you simply existing. I however accept that you are probably as ignorant of me. With your permission, I will start."
I gained the impression that Lasotherral copied the actions of Queanay as her curtsey was not in a flowing manner, although was pleased with the ease of her statement. "Yes, Prince Chamorrick, you may start. Before I speak, it would be nice to know what you feel I should speak about."
The words did come from her throat. That might sound strange, but the wispy nature of the one who had met us had me wondering about what we heard. I now detected a tinkling, an almost musical faint sound of very delicate chimes, behind her words. While it had me curious about her true essence, it did give me a confirmation of her being real with the sounds actually being produced by her throat and not possibly only registering in our minds.
Chamorrick said, "I am not one to play an instrument. I have learned the piano, but my fingers will not move with confidence. I do work at poetry, but more as a manner of practicing with my voice. If someone catches me speaking in an empty room, they are less likely to think I am strange if I am quoting poetry than if I am simply speaking to the air. I enjoy jokes and riddles, and will often consider words improperly spoken to have been attempts at jest than displays of foibles in a person's character. I will not refuse to fight – a man, although will not force a fight should the other desire terms. I come from a strong family with a long lineage, and have every intent of continuing that honor with my wife, children, and those of our land speaking well of me."
She curtsied in return to his bow as a sign that he was finished speaking. There was silence for a period. Finally, she looked to the other, and after a nod began to speak.
"You have not left me much room to be evasive. It is to your credit that you have done that. Thus, let me give you what you desire."
"I have learned to play flutes, recorders, and similar wind instruments. They fit my nature, and I do enjoy their sounds. Languages are almost a passing thing, so poetry, riddles, and orations often are wasted on me. However, let me warn you, dear Chamorrick, that my nature has me reading into your words and actions things of your own nature. In this I however must admit that your motives are pure. I thus have to consider my own thoughts of your purpose. While you are true that my virginity still remains, after such a grand passing of time I cannot say that it is of any worth... except – my own. This is most perplexing." She turned to the wispy figure and asked, "No advice or instruction, Ussiquik?"
I noticed that his form had not congealed into a more physical form. That caused me to wonder about the true substance of Lasotherral. I however stayed quiet as I watched these creatures interact with each other.
"I have heard your words of frustration, Lasotherral. At this moment, all I can do is warn you to go slowly."
"We have no real hospitality to offer, Ussiquik."
I believe all three of us breathed in to speak of still having plenty of supplies, but before we could say anything Ussiquik replied, "They survived the journey here, Lasotherral. How long do you feel they might need to continue to survive?"
"There are questions that I must consider, Ussiquik, and I fear that my sense of time has been lost over the ages."
Another voice drifted from somewhere else that I also felt I had heard during a night. "No, Lasotherral. If such is your belief then why not go with this man? Surely you will never notice the passing of his years."
Lasotherral did not turn toward this other voice, although her eyes no longer focused on the one before her. "No, that is cruel, Chulorgan. Of course I will notice, especially should I grace Prince Charmorrick with the family he desires."
The one I heard referred to as Ussiquick said, "I can track the passing of time, Lasotherral. Should you take too long, I will suggest other options for our guests."
"Yes, Ussiquik, thank you." Lasotherral turned back us, curtsied, then spoke her desire. "I need time, Prince Chamorrick."
He replied, "I fully understand, dearest Lasotherral. Let me say simply to have your consideration is honor that has me feel joy. At this point I will admit that I probably need as much counseling as you. I wish that those that advise you and me have wisdom that can properly guide us."
"Yes, I agree Prince Chamorrick. Please, make yourselves as comfortable as possible. I do thank you."
Each side now has to make decisions.