The third Neselle story -
Of Men and Love in General
Chapter Fourteen – Part Two
Jelnaya: Arriving at Gemord
Walking down the street, I did find a number ask about who I was. Everyone knew of Althery, so spoke with pleasure upon learning that I was his niece. A number asked about my family, and I felt if they did not need to go to work we would have stopped and chatted for a long time. They were also interested in Lebranaut, but as he did not know the language those we met focused their questions toward me.
We were at an intersection deciding on which way to go when a tiger said, “I believe that pig is trying to gain your attention.”
I looked at the predator, and found my eyes directed toward a pig outside the door to an establishment lifting his body to use a hoof to signal to us. I thanked the tiger, then moved to the pig. As he saw me going toward him, he strode out to me and softly asked a question as if not wanting to be overheard.
“You know Neselle?”
“Yes, as she is being courted by my uncle. Althery is the younger brother of my father.”
Those words had the pig ask me about my family as had others. He however spoke in a soft tone as if worried about being overheard. I did see expressions on his humanoid face indicating that he felt glad to meet me, so I chatted while waiting for him to finish the introduction and get to business.
“Lady Jelnaya, I need you to check on someone in my place. She isn’t right.”
I did not ask for more. A statement like that usually meant that whatever information I was given would not be accurate enough to use. Accepting that I would just have to learn some facts for myself, I headed to the door that I had first seen the pig near.
It was a bar. Tables were relatively close together with me wondering how the animals managed to turn and move past each other. Figuring that most of the patrons were pigs like the owners, I looked at who else was present.
The figure at a table was robed, but clearly human in shape. The fingers holding a spoon were however rather pudgy things with nails that I felt were painted to try and make them appear normal for humans. I looked at the boar that had come out to speak to me, and a sow behind a counter, then back to the one eating to assure that I had indeed been called to deal with one more like me than the animals of this world.
Seeing me advance, the form cursed before standing. I could now tell that it was female. While a little shorter than me, I felt the body carried more weight. The face that showed beneath the hood appeared odd, but I did not focus on that. I watched as the one that stood grabbed something wrapped in a long cloth strip and released the tie. I advanced as I saw a leather covered pole with two long, thin curved axe blades on each end.
I asked from the other side of the table, “How are you going to use that?”
She thrust one end of the weapon at me. I believe Lebranaut responded by pulling his large blade. I however smiled seeing that I had correctly judged the width of the table. I then shot a hand out, grabbed behind the blade, then pulled the weapon from the lady’s hand.
My companion had drawn his large sword, so I smiled at him while commanding, “Come on, Lebranaut. Let’s see what I can do with this thing.”
Real intelligent and witty attempts at conversation sounded behind us, such as, “Hey!” and “You can’t do that!” while Lebranaut and I stepped outside the establishment.
I called to the tiger asking if he minded if we sparred in the street. He approached with an attitude I interpreted as not caring, although going to watch. I however saw the eyes of the tiger focus behind me as he asked a question I had not yet bothered to answer.
“What is that?”
I turned to see a slightly canine face under the hood. Having spent a few days with Hanell, I found myself not associating the female with being wolf. I instead thought of a similar member of the canine family.
“Looks like a fox.”
The lady removed the hood to show a face that I felt was more of the cartoon likeness of a fox lady than the almost completely animal forms of this world. The top of the rather thick nose had a growth of reddish hair, although the rest of the face had the usual smoothness of we females. Her ears were fox-like and hairy, and a thick growth of reddish locks came from the head. The way the back lower part of her robe acted, I suspected she had a tail. I just saw enough to feel that my identification was correct, then spoke to the tiger.
“A fox that has a strange weapon.”
I launched an attack upon Lebranaut. He was not what I considered to be a skilled opponent, although he was comfortable with his weapon. I thus associated him with the quality of the opponents one would usually face in having to make it through certain communities. I found that the weapon did have certain complications, but I also found it to supply enough advantages that I believed the fox lady could have survived previous fights with opponents such as Lebranaut.
I signaled the man to stop, then I examined the weapon. It was not enchanted, although I could tell was of an exotic metal that could be well enhanced by certain magicks. I thus returned the weapon to the fox lady while complimenting her on her choice of weapons.
I then asked, “What brings you here?”
Again her response was well thought out and piercing in its ability to probe into my thoughts. “Who the Hell are you?”
“Jelnaya. The man there is Lebranaut. I really have not asked the name of the good tiger. As for those whose business you sought for a meal, if you haven’t gotten their names then you really aren’t interested.”
“Kachevet.” Just for note, she pronounced the T at the end of her name. “I’m from a world called Namerron.”
Being attentive to those around me, I noticed something in the tiger and Lebranaut causing me to ask the man, “Can you understand her?”
“No,” was his reply.
I thus put my focus back on the fox lady. “If you cannot speak the language, how did you get here? You cannot be an actual traveler between worlds.”
“You mean that you don’t know.”
No, I had not said that as a question. Kachevet looked disgusted with me, but I felt her decision to begin wrapping her weapon was the first smart move she made. I thus considered how to keep advancing things in a friendly manner.
“Listen, I did not mean to keep you from eating. I could use something to eat myself. As for Lebranaut, most men will eat when you set food before them.” I smiled as he admitted that he was hungry, so motioned to return inside while saying, “Let us join you for your meal.”
Kachevet said, “I don’t have much.”
I replied, “Well, I do.”
I moved to the counter, set down some gold coins, then smiled as I heard the boar assure me that we would be served as much as we could eat or drink. Even though Kachevet had returned the hood to cover her head, I saw her blue eyes grow large upon seeing the bowl of bread, a refill of her mug, and more than a simple soup set before her. Feeling that even Lebranaut would be sated, I reached for a piece of bread while waiting for the fox lady to start speaking.
Honestly, even when my grandfather and great-uncle are being the cruelest in telling of their initial meeting, they do not sound as stupid as Kachevet did. Great-uncle Ferrigote was tricked into stepping through the portal, but he was a retiring soldier with a solid background of having survived battles. The prophetess Desiree had trained my grandfather for a year before sending him through the portal. Thus, both had definite strengths that made their survival understandable. Kachevet mostly told a story of being hot-headed when some raiders assaulted her home, and I felt only winded up on Gemord due to the luck that deities often will bless the stupid.
Finally, she said the words I dreaded hearing, “I just want to go home.”
“No,” I replied, “I do not go home.”
“Listen, my uncle is dating a very important lady on this world. I thus believe that we can find you a place. When we are done here, I can have you go to a place where they might actually be able to take you home.”
I heard movement behind me, so turned just enough to make out my Uncle Althery moving with some of the youngsters that were the adult humans of this world. I saw Kachavet move a hand to her wrapped weapon, and turned my head back to glare at her. Realizing that I would probably humiliate her again, her hand went to get a piece of bread. Nodding at her while smiling, I turned back to those approaching.
One of the youths spoke with a very strong voice. “Lady Jelnaya, it is wonderful to meet you. I can assure a place of comfort for the fox lady.”
“Her name is Kachevet,” I replied before speaking what I felt was a concern. “Uncle Althery, I did not consider myself as causing a problem.”
Chuckles sounded as my uncle replied, “You forget how strange we are, Jelnaya, so this lady certainly is considered unusual. You were not being a problem at all, but others still felt a need to take action.”
The human with a wonderful voice said, “Indeed. Those I worked with were alerted due to your fighting in the street. Along with your unusual appearance, there was the problem of us being unable to understand Kachevet. We contacted Neselle’s herd, and were glad to hear that she had returned. We then contacted the wolves, and were glad that Althery agreed to translate. Since it is my occupation to inform the public of things, I felt it necessary to come and make a direct meeting.”
Sounded sensible to me, so I nodded while saying, “I at first suspected she had arrived for a reason similar to mine, but her story has me doubting it.”
The fox lady said, “I am not here to cause trouble. I just want to go home.”
“Well, I am here to cause trouble, but I gained no sense that I am to cause trouble for you. Go with these people, and all should work out for you.”
“Thank you, Jelnaya.”
“You’re welcome. Listen, you could have ended up in worse places than this. Thus, relax and all should go well.”
And more is learned of Kachevet.