To Face the Ugly Deed
I awoke to see Jelnaya working on her armor. Actually wondering how such a garment would be constructed, I moved over to look at what she was doing. I found it fascinating when she noticed my presence and spent some time speaking of the quality of its parts and how it managed to fit the curves of her body as well as allow her to move. While interested in the topic, I understood to allow Jelnaya to work while I did my own preparations.
Coming back to where I had things to do, I asked, “Jelnaya, is it a requirement that you give Makinor a hard time?”
Her dark blue eyes did lift to look at me as she asked, “You mean, because the two of us have opposed deities?” She waited for me to nod before answering, “No. It usually happens naturally because we have completely different perspectives. The problem is that I am out where I tend to operate and have a family who also travels between worlds. Makinor is speaking of Onathia getting him out here, so I do feel it necessary to give him certain lectures.”
“Quafrey is not speaking of having me travel to other worlds, but of just needing these experiences to help in dealing with the variety of deities and individuals on my world.”
“Are my lectures helping you?”
Her eyes went back to her armor after saying, “You’re welcome.” She continued to work while letting me know, “Now, we are really going to need to fight. It could get deadly, and I definitely expect it to get scary. Get something to eat. Makinor cooked it.”
I said, “I know. He was starting it when I lied down.” I then admitted, “We talked about you. We both had to admit that you were good. He told me that he understood the battles you fought, but really did not see how his aspect of love would relate out here. Your lectures were helping him see the complexities he had yet to imagine. I told him that I felt a fighting deity would probably be better for me, but seeing your level of ability and commitment has let me know that I probably would not be comfortable in such a life.”
“You’re not going to be committed?”
“To Eashae, to our family, yes. There will be enough there to feel satisfied with my life. It is enough for most men. To commit to filling my days with more than that, I don’t know if I am really going to be comfortable with that.”
The way she looked at me let me know that she respected my words, so I calmly listened as she said, “I suspect you will find the desire. I believe you will find your relationship with Quafrey to fulfill you in a different manner than Eashae. You will want to satisfy both ladies, and will find yourself gladly doing all that is required.”
Just because I had heard the other divine champion say something about it, I asked, “Do you think Makinor will ever find the right lady?”
“No, but I believe Onathia will find the right lady for him. Considering she has him out here, I would even say that she has a lady already picked. To be an immortal lady, there has to be something special about her, and I suspect Makinor will find himself being put through more trials getting him to become special as well.” She smiled at me while admitting, “That is just one divine lady speaking her opinion of another divine lady.”
I could not argue with her, so went to get me a bowl of what Makinor had fixed.
As I ate, Jelnaya went and put on her armor. I found myself fascinated as she then went through some simulated combat moves. Not only did she perform with just her body, but she went through a routine with both her sword and drahaberd. While I had been in combat with her, as well as sparred with her, I watched Jelnaya show off what she was truly capable of and realized that I was not at her level of skill.
That had me wonder what I was supposed to be good at. Having been claimed by a goddess of love, I would suspect gaining a trusted relationship with others would become my forte. Quafrey did not truly have to clarify that I needed to stay committed to Eashae, as I did not want to spoil my life with her. The conversations with Makinor let me know that I was to help others overcome problems in their relationships, although I really had no experience in doing that. That had me wonder what Quafrey actually saw in me.
Seeing Jelnaya wake up Makinor, I thought to ask him how he became a champion of a love goddess. What I had heard was him choosing her over those who wanted him to devote to another deity. Both he and Jelnaya had grown up having an understanding of what gods were and how they would interact with their creation. That had me wonder about the history of my own world, but I felt it best to save those conversations when I was alone with my love goddess.
It was slightly humorous when I realized Makinor was the only one who had not spotted the path. I felt it obvious, as a line where the sharp rocks had been removed was really apparent to me. Jelnaya also started along the route as if she had felt it to be clearly indicated, although Makinor had to point out what he felt was an important concern.
“The creatures came from over there.”
Jelnaya said, “And if this path does not turn in that direction, we are going to have to consider that. However, I have seen no evidence of there being other groups. Also, I would hope to encounter someone before we have to start fighting the demon.”
“Why would those bird creatures walk when they can fly?”
I had to answer, “Because they were not the best flyers.”
Jelnaya added, “And some of those brought here might have been bound, or not yet transformed into a bird person.”
Seeing the path up ahead indeed turn in the direction we wanted to go, Makinor stopped to look around. The land was not flat, although I had agree that I saw no practical reason for the trail to wander. The effort to go around a rise did not seem to require less effort than traipsing over it. We however saw Makinor stop, and having him draw his weapon Jelnaya and I rushed up the path to join him.
Considering the demon was previously invisible, I felt it odd to now have a dark mass where some of the features could be made out on the ground before us. It also surprised me to see Jelnaya take a position at my side. Understanding that she was going to allow Makinor to face the demon, I simply waited for the dark mass to make a move.
The words came with a deep voice that somehow were understood without them actually being heard over the distance, “Good, you brought a girl. Give her to me, and you can ask for what you will.”
Makinor replied, “Are you kidding? She’s the one that will kill you.”
“You have on that fancy armor.”
“It is to protect me from you. What I wonder is whether you have any protection from her.”
“What about the other one?”
Jelnaya looked to me, grinned, then turned to the demon to say, “Yes, you might have a chance with him. You would lose however.”
“And why is that?”
“Like the one in the shiny armor said, I will kill you whether this one beside me does or not.”
I had not seen Jelnaya use throwing stars. Did not even know she had any on her person. I did see some fingers reach under her sword belt, so was not surprised when she handed me a silver object telling me to kiss it. It was with her telling me to be careful that I noticed the sharp edges. I carefully positioned my mouth to kiss the throwing star, then told Jelnaya to be careful as I handed it back.
The small object zipped to the demon. I could not say it was enchanted, but it obviously hurt the creature. When it reacted by advancing, Makinor was ready with his weapon. Now Jelnaya rushed forward, jumped to spin over the head of the man, then sent her drahaberd through the entity. Finding her to gain a position on the opposite side of the demon, I rushed up to fight beside Makinor.
Suddenly, the monster rose before declaring, “You cannot kill me!”
Jelnaya shouted, “Go! Lick your wounds! Enjoy the taste, because it will probably be the last thing you savor!”
As it moved off in a direction other than the one we were heading, Makinor asked, “Jelnaya, how do we kill it.”
She replied, “I’m not going to answer that.”
“What? Why not?”
“Talk to Onathia about it.”
I suddenly heard the voice of Quafrey demanding, “Do not argue with her, Nebard. I went to get her. I did not claim you to be like her. You are learning, but there are paths I will not look for you to take.”
While I did put my attention on my goddess, I still managed to make out Makinor asking, “What are you saying, Jelnaya? We are going to kill it.”
“I will do what I must, Makinor. Never doubt that.”
I stepped up to put a hand on Makinor’s shoulder while saying, “Quafrey told me not to argue with Jelnaya.”
“She what? Listen, I was sent to join Jelnaya on this mission.” He stepped up to point a finger in the lady’s face while declaring, “You kept asking me how committed I was. Well, I’m going to show you!”
Jelnaya replied, “Say what you will, but we will see what you do.”
“What in the name of Onathia are you saying?”
I saw Makinor’s body freeze. Jelnaya seemed not bothered by what was happening with him, but turned back to look down the path in the direction we would be heading. I was confused, although I felt I should have understood when I saw Makinor move up to speak to the lady.
“Where is this going to go?”
She did not turn around as she replied, “I already told you that. I bragged about going there.”
The shock of understanding had me blurt out, “Hell. This is going to Hell.”
“Hell?” Makinor exclaimed turning to look at me, but then he directed words to the lady. “Explain this, Jelnaya.”
She did turn this time. “Where do demons come from, Makinor?” Seeing him not speak, she went ahead and said more. “That monster does not live on another world, but in a Hell of that other reality. If we force that demon to leave here, you can bet it will flee to its home.”
“How scary is it?”
“Don’t think about it, Makinor. You are going into a monster’s liar to exterminate it. Keep your focus. Keep your devotion to Onathia. Do the job, then leave with the feeling of having proven yourself.”
I actually felt I saw indecision on the man as he looked to me for a moment before turning his attention back on Jelnaya. “Have you been in Hell before?”
“No. I cannot say I save been in Heaven either. I was somewhere, but I would say some divine nether reality. I was going before the ultimate authority of that reality however, I would say going into Heaven, when I was stopped. I would have gone on. I will go on.”
“So, if we are not going into Hell right now, where are we going?”
I knew the answer to that question. “To the community of bird people. We need to look into some eyes.”
Jelnaya said, “Honestly, I feel where I went when I did that previously to have been a part of Hell.”
Makinor looked around while saying, “So, we chased off the demon so we could… Okay, Jelnaya, I can accept how things are going. Lead on.”
And they do get to speak to a bird person.