To Face the Ugly Deed: Cp27

Submitted by TerishD on Fri, 05/10/2019 - 02:37

To Face the Ugly Deed
Chapter Twenty-Seven

(Nebard)

Even after her little scene, Jelnaya still appeared upset.  From what I had seen that was not like her.  She was a rather positive personality.  Very assertive, but I found her to quickly show herself to not be malicious.  I also could not help but accept Quafrey considered her competent for the mission.  To find her still nervously looking around, I accepted that there was a real problem before us.

Seeing her run ahead yelling, “No, no, no, no!” only caused me to worry.

While I was looking for trouble, Makinor ran ahead to say, “I told you Onathia felt you needed to see this, Jelnaya.”

“DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?” she yelled back.  “I thought we were in a world like that my Grandfather Terish and Great-aunt Dirchein were from.  Terdeskollit is malevolent.  He creates to destroy.  I felt we were dealing with a reality like that, probably with some bored minion of such a great horrendous God.  We’re not.  We’re not at all.  This is wrong!”

“Explain it to me, Jelnaya.”

I came up to see a layer of stones polished and bleached white.  Into this was carved some symbols.  I doubt I could read them, although certainly could not with the covering of bodies.  I could tell the corpses were those of the bird people we had fought, although the skin was black as if desiccated.  The feathers were the same ugly mix of light brown to black.  What I noticed however was each had an opening where the heart should be, and as I came to get a close look at everything I voiced a conclusion in the silence of Jelnaya trying to find some words.

“These were sacrificed.”

Jelnaya exclaimed, “Thank you, Nebard!  Yes, Makinor, these were sacrificed.  Now, Nebard, go ahead and say what is even worse about this place.”

I was trying hard to make sense of things, although did my best to speak for the lady.  “Who did they sacrifice these to?”

“Who do you think?  The one we need to fight.”

Feeling rather dumb, I said, “Oh, yes, that makes sense.”

“NO IT DOESN’T!”  She moved her hand that was pointing at Makinor to also point to me as she said, “Think about it.  Say I go to another world and just start slaughtering people.  Even if it is at the command of Fergush, what do you think is going to happen?”

Makinor blathered, “I doubt Fergush would have gained permission –“

“THAT IS NOT WHAT HAS HAPPENED!”

Feeling that I could at least state the obvious, I said, “The god of that world stops you.”

“Right.”  Having her come up, grab my head, then peck me on a cheek only reinforced my opinion that Jelnaya was not a cruel person.  “It could happen in a number of ways.  The first option is to have the people as a group, or a hero of the people, rise up to stop me.  The next option is to have a really great hero come to stop me.  There is then the option of divine a champion, maybe the god claiming someone to be their divine champion as happened with Nebard, coming to stop me.  Only as a last option, which might be the only option a god has, is to enact a direct divine event to stop me.”

Makinor said, “And that is what happened.  We’re here.”

“We are here due to Quafrey.  Further, honor to Quafrey, she got heroes capable of reaching here.  The problem, Makinor, is that this is not a community to Quafrey, the reality of Quafrey, or anything to do with Quafrey.  Whatever deity or deities that rule this place did not stop it.”

“But we have been dealing with communities that did not worship their gods.”

“Yes, and that philosophy worked with the Privileged.  A threat is a threat.  Animal, monster, raiders from another reality, if the threat is serious and you have no protection, you suffer, possibly get wiped out.  If I showed up to wipe out some community of do-it-ourselves heathens, no one could stop me.”

Listening to the lady and seeing what was around us, I made a connection.  “But these are the Privileged being sacrificed.  At least I assume they are.”

“I assume so as well, Nebard.  We left the Privileged behind at that temple.  We were speaking of something else at the temple.”

Makinor said, “Demons are monster too.”

“No, they’re not!”  Jelnaya moved to point a finger at Makinor’s nose as she asked, “What’s the difference?”  When he only stuttered, she asked, “What’s the difference in us and some other trio of heroes?”  He continued to just make noise, which had Jelnaya grab her drahaberd and set a blade at the throat of Makinor.  “Why do I need this weapon?”

I spoke, as I knew the answer to that one.  “Some creatures cannot be affected by normal weapons.”

“My sword can handle those.  I need the drahaberd because some realities have a divine realm for good and bad, and those creatures from the most dismal of infernal places can only be affected by something clearly holy.  The difference between us and another other trio of heroes is that we are divine.”

Makinor finally spoke to say, “But we are the best group to chase after demons.”

Feeling that I was starting to understand, I mumbled, “But why weren’t the demons stopped here?”

Jelnaya said, “I have been to realities where Fergush was not allowed.  Fergush is He-Who-Fights, and some deities seek to deny such an influence.  I would find myself limited in certain ways, although I have returned bragging to Fergush on what I did to still accomplish a victory.  Still, Fergush is a nice guy.  I like him, and I find most realities accepting him as being benevolent.  Terdeskollit, that malevolent entity that rules over the world my Grandfather Terish is from, is usually not allowed into other realities or limited in what He can do.  Tell me, Makinor, how many demons from other realities have you had to fight?”

He answered, “None, but I am not a champion of He-Who-Fights.”

“No, but the Champion of She-Who-Loves.  Demons do not love, Makinor.  Surely you have fought demons.”

“Uh, yes, Jelnaya.”

Still feeling like I was understanding, I said, “So demons are usually not allowed to pass between realities.”

She pointed to the floor around us as she said, “Yes.  They usually have to be summoned.  They come in, start their work, but being divine the gods happen to notice, quickly, and take action.”

Makinor now stated the obvious, “But that is not what has happened here.”

“Problem number one.  Further, the influence was allowed to spread from here.  The temple was allowed to become desecrated.  That makes this a big problem.”

“Okay, I accept that, so what is problem number two.”

I looked around while providing the answer, “We have to go after it.”

Jelnaya replied, “Yes.  We followed the trail to here.  I would say the demon is still here.  What is around us has been cluttered from the demon sucking souls here, not from those here having to re-perform the ritual that brought it here.  What comes here are the finished Privileged, those that have passed every challenge.  The bodies have been corrupted, the active essence is that of a demon, but there is still a remnant, a core, of the original soul.  After a time it becomes a tasty morsel to be devoured, and the demon I guess is sent out to restart the process.  When we overcome the main entity here, the one actually feeding on the souls, being divine its essence will be returned to its source.  We then need to go to where it came from, and deal with it there.”

Makinor did not sound pleased as he said, “Which means marching into Hell.”

“Definitely something to brag about.”

I heard the suit of armor rattle, then Makinor moved to grab the lady’s shoulders with him staring into her eyes while asking, “Honestly, Jelnaya, did you sign up for this?”

“I’m not the only divine champion in my family, Makinor.  Aunt Neselle was claimed by her Goddess, and I was working with her when Fergush claimed me.  That is why I needed to be given immortality.  I was helping her access the portals to follow those troubling her world, and they were divine entities.  That is why I needed the drahaberd, as I needed to fight them.  Aunt Neselle is a sweet person.  She is not a fighter.  I got the drahaberd.”

Makinor let go of her, then exclaimed, “DAMN!”  He spun to point a finger at Jelnaya, then I guess recognized how wrong he was to do that even as he said, “Onathia could have given me an easier first mission.”

“What is so hard about this?  Are you going to commit to this or not?”

He sounded like he was crying as he admitted, “I promised her!  I’m committed every step of the way.  I might be behind you, Jelnaya, but I will be behind you.  It’s just…  it’s just… DAMN!”

She almost sounded like she was laughing as Jelnaya said, “You cannot say that my attitude of wanting to brag about what I do to be the better attitude.”

I had to say, “But at least you can.  No one is going to believe this.  I am just going to go home to Eashae, and tell her and everyone else that the problem has been dealt with.”

Makinor said, “Yes, that is basically my problem as well.  Everyone I tell will think this to have been a mission from Fergush.  Jelnaya has people who will listen to her and believe her.”  There was a period of silence, then he said, “All right, Jelnaya, Onathia says that this place has served its purpose.  She tells me to support you, so what would you command for us to do now?  Head off to the place you had wanted to go to earlier?”

She replied, “No, Makinor, but we have work to do here.  Honestly, I’m interested in whether we can.”

I went ahead and spoke what I felt was the answer to the question Makinor surely was about to ask.  “We clean this place up.”

“Yes.  We consecrate it.  The problem is that none of us worships whatever is in charge of this world.  Still, whatever we do should be better than what has been done here.”

I saw Makinor turn about, and seeing us watching him he went ahead and answered our question.  “Looking for water.  I cannot tolerate attempting to sanctify a place when I am as dirty as I am.”

Jelnaya said, “Taking care of the bodies will be dirty work, so we can do that.  Oh!”  She pointed while saying, “There is a pool over there.  We bathe before doing any rites.”

“Listen, Jelnaya, really.  You signed up for this?”

“You cannot tell me that this mission has you feeling like you are in a rut.”

He went to grab a body while saying, “Worse than a rut, Jelnaya.”

“My bargain with Fergush was that I got it all.  I told my Grandmother Straekin that my grandchildren would not feel the potential for greatness because her blood flowed in their veins, but because mine did.  Yes, Makinor, I signed up for this.”

“Children, grandchildren… how could I ever explain this to them?”

Before the lady could reply, I grabbed a body while saying, “Children.  I have a child coming.  I was just hoping to become an elder of our community.  Now my children will grow up knowing their father is something more.”

Jelnaya said, “Shouldn’t that be enough, Makinor?  The children should realize that there is more to their father than most other men.  Not only do you interact with a goddess, but you do so in a fashion that proclaims just how committed you are to promoting something as great as love.  Me, it’s just fighting.”

Makinor replied, “There will be love there, Jelnaya.  I’m sure of it.”

“And you will find that Onathia will have you fighting occasionally.”

When Makinor looked to me, I said, “I was already fighting when Quafrey claimed me.  I cannot say that I am going to seek more missions like this, but if Quafrey needs me I will be there for her.”

The work is not over, but our three get a chance to at least wash up.