To Face the Ugly Deed
Priven did speak to his mother. I found out when my mother brought him and his mother to my barn. I was worried about a mother goat that I felt was carrying triplets. When I mentioned the situation to the others, Priven’s mother spoke a reply.
“You are being blessed, Nebard. However, just like your mother goat is going to have difficulties, your blessing will come with troubles as well. I am telling Priven, and now telling you, to see them through.”
Curious, I asked, “You are speaking of our own coming children?”
“No, but your wives. There are a number in town that do not like them. However, what a few of your ladies are showing us is that they are good. They are trying to do what they can for their men. However you are treating them, they can see that you are trying to love them, and they are attempting to show some love in return.”
“Eashae told me that she was a distance away.”
My mother replied, “Help is coming, Nebard. However, when it arrives there will be backlash. You stay strong and remain faithful to your wife.”
Priven asked, “Help? What type of help?”
“Quafrey is not one of our important deities. Most of us ladies do not even call on her. Still, I felt she was the one to call. With winter coming I was met by a hummingbird, and with it before me I heard the voice of one I can only assume was Quafrey telling me that help would be coming to my son. Nebard, Priven, you need to recognize it when it comes.”
We both answered that we would. We all then went quiet when the door to the barn was opened. Eashae looked at us, then shut the door before coming to me. When I asked her what she wanted to say, she whispered her answer to me.
“Husband, you do not need wolves either. Take the money.”
I looked to Priven to say, “They will be offering wolves this time. Actually, they would be more useful than horses, but in winter just as hard to feed.”
He said, “So we take the money.”
Eashae spoke softly, although loud enough that all could hear. “They will not be happy if you do.”
I replied, “Both my and Priven’s mother are telling us that help will be coming. I am hoping that they are right.”
My mother went before Eashae to say, “There is a goddess of love, Daughter. She told me that help would come. You love my son, and we all will love you.”
Priven’s mother said, “I will tell the same thing to Kairsy. I will say what I can to a few other couples. You ladies are married to our boys. That makes you members of our family and of our community. We see that you are trying to show your love to our boys, and that requires us to show you love as well.”
Eashae asked, “Goddess of Love? What is her name?”
My wife suddenly fell to her knees and called out the name in a wail I had never heard from her. The sound scared me, which had me jump when the goat began to squeal. Suddenly, I went to work with the help of the three ladies and Priven. It was indeed triplets, but seeing all three healthy we looked at each other and spoke of our commitment to continue to call out to Quafrey should the words of help indeed prove themselves true.
As warned, a signal came out from Lord Felther and Lord Avell for those in our group to prepare for another evening of assuring the security of our community through the winter. They actually spoke of us going out to confront some wolves detected in the area, and mentioned the possibility of bringing some back to domesticate. In working with animals and setting the traps, I felt that I should have been warned of any actual signs of the predators moving into the land around us. I however said nothing to our group feeling that what Lord Felther and Lord Avell said was more honest than their other stories.
Not having a pretense of attacking another community, those Privileged came upon us almost as soon as we left sight of our homes. They spoke of the wolves, then had us follow them. As before I noticed the change in the landscape, but when they rushed upon a community of what appeared and smelled like skunk people, their cries to us about attacking stopped when an arrow went through the door of the first house to stop it from opening by sinking into the frame.
I saw those of the Privileged look around as a voice yelled out, “Jelnaya, we have company!”
A door opened. It was a large section of framed wood, like that to a barn. I however could not see the structure, although remembered the buildings never being present until after we finished destroying the village. From the door I could see a lady in crystal armor with red and yellow hair.
She said, “Sorry about the wolves, but I killed them.”
Albroth asked, “And who are you?”
“Jelnaya, Champion of He-Who-Fights. Who are you?”
“Someone you really do not want to get on the wrong side of.”
She smiled, and I saw her hair begin to glow as she said, “I just told you that I was the Champion of He-Who-Fights.”
The voice that had yelled earlier begin to call to us even as arrows flew over our heads. I watched as two of the Privileged rushed in front of Albroth. A strange screaming sounded as he turned to have others advance to the lady. Remembering being told that help would come I turned to the voice calling for us.
I really could not see his face due to it and his body being covered in metal that reflected the world around him. Coming down from a rock, he unstrung his bow, set it on his back, then drew a sword whose blade also was polished to a mirror finish. Not being able to see him, I asked him who he was.
He answered, “Makinor, Champion of She-Who-Loves.”
“She-Who-Loves?” I replied. “You mean Quafrey?”
“No, but she was the one who made the plea to my goddess. Quafrey however really did not want me, but Jelnaya.”
I heard another strange screaming sound as I said, “I’m glad to see her.”
I believe he was going to make a comment. He however saw others of my group turn to him, and started directing us away from the Privileged and Jelnaya. Hearing another screaming sound, he shouted to one who I felt was too committed to combat to return a comment.
“Jelnaya, is that sound bad?”
I heard the screaming sound again, then she replied, “It means that others are being warned.”
“Is that bad?”
“For me? No.”
As Priven ran by the armored man, he stretched out an arm to stop the youth before asking, “Hey, how many of you are there?”
Lord Avell came up and asked, “Who are you?”
“Makinor. Champion of She-Who-Loves.”
I appreciated hearing the same thing, although Lord Avell was not as receptive of the answer as I had been. “She-Who-Loves? This isn’t love. You’re ruining a good thing.”
“We can talk about that later. Right now, let me get you men home.”
“Under whose authority are you doing this?”
I saw the head of Makinor turn to me, then he looked back to Lord Avell to answer, “Quafrey.”
“Quafrey? If Quafrey was a respectable goddess, we would not be in this situation.”
“Well, it is not surprising that some men are just hard to satisfy.”
More probably would have been said, but suddenly the Privileged rushed past us. I saw a strange hazy circle appear with them passing into it. Worried about how we were going to get home, I looked to Makinor. I wanted to ask him about how he got here, but stopped suddenly hearing the sound of Jelnaya.
“FERGUSH, HELP ME SEE!”
The lady stopped before the circle with her red and yellow hair glowing brightly. I watched as she moved her hands in various ways. Unlike Makinor, her head was mostly bare, and with the illumination from her locks I easily saw the concentration upon her face. Finally, she breathed out and the circle went away.
Makinor asked, “Can you follow them, Jelnaya?”
She answered, “Yes, but there are a lot of them. I guess I could top my grandfather by eradicating a whole world, but that does not sound like something Onathia would have as a mission.”
I asked, “Who?”
Makinor replied, “My love goddess. Onathia is She-Who-Loves.”
The two were then loaded down with questions. Makinor just worked to have us get quiet. He then pointed to Jelnaya whose hair lost its glow. She curtsied, which was possible as her crystal armor had a skirt, then moved to the door with an arrow sealing it. She pulled out the projectile, then knocked on the door. I guess she heard something on the other side, as she asked a question.
“Can you tell me why someone wanted to wipe you out?”
The door opened. The black furry face of what I previously felt to be a skunk person just appeared to look at Jelnaya. She introduced herself, then asked her question again. The man then acted as if he was not worried about what might pass through the door as he said something in return.
I could not make out the lengthy statement, but I had to assume Makinor did as he said, “Pay him, Jelnaya?”
She replied, “Six?”
“My goddess is in charge of this mission, Jelnaya. Nine.”
I believe it was the statement from Makinor of him being in charge that had Lord Felther and Lord Avell focus their attention upon him. This time he did what he could to answer the questions. As he handled the elders, Jelnaya moved about the rest of us looking us over. I do not believe either Lord Felther or Lord Avell were pleased with what Makinor said, although Jelnaya had our attention when she spoke a conclusion.
“We should take these men home, Makinor.”
He asked, “Any reason not to?”
“The opposite, Makinor – every reason to do so.”
He looked to the elders then said, “You heard the lady. We can continue our discussion at your place.”
And Jelnaya learns that she will be involved in a different type of battle.