An adult speculative Christian post-armegeddon fiction
Dilemma of Dreams
Chapter Two: Complete
Beginning of a Relationship
There was nothing new in taking baths. Some days they were fun, as I did enjoy the water. On most days there was simply the need to keep myself looking as I should. Usually they were later in the day, although with so many young ladies the elders would alter the schedule to assure all were clean by evening mass.
Lady Durran did have a different attitude this afternoon. She kept telling me to smile and quizzing me on my lessons. I was not the only one bathing, but she had singled me out for some reason. Some mentioned that her focus upon me was strange. I however knew the proper responses, so easily made the replies while playing with the other girls. Gaining the awe of my peers in being able to so easily handle the pressure I found the experience entertaining.
I cheerfully obeyed upon being told to leave the water, although I looked back with puzzled disappointment when the other girls did not follow. Lady Durran however put a towel around me and directed me through a different door than the one that led back to the common bedroom for the nine-year-old girls. It was just a large closet, although I noticed some clothes set carefully upon a stool.
The garments were bulkier than those that I normally wore. I had to suck in air to get the petticoat upon me. Lady Durran pulled tight the straps on the two linen skirts. I heard it mentioned that the fine cloth against my skin would ease the flow of the dress, but I felt the tugs as the thick blue-green cloth of the garment was pulled down.
Getting my ears pierced hurt. Lady Durran actually showed me a pair of earrings. I pointed out that one pair was not a play set, and she replied that what was to happen would not be play. She then told me that piercing the ears would hurt, but for a lady the pain would be experienced sooner or later. I wanted the notoriety of being the first in my group to pierce her ears, so told Lady Durran to do so. The pain was only brief, and I felt special seeing the gold and clear crystals hanging from the sides of my head.
The necklace set around my neck was also of gold and clear crystals. Lady Durran did not tell me from where it came, and I did not ask. I somehow understood that this was a special occasion, and I felt it best to see if my instructions had prepared me for this day as it had for the questions posed to me while bathing.
Dame Nemull stepped into the room to tell Lady Durran that my time had come. I did not know of any time. Wondering about what was to come, I looked myself over. Lady Durran met my gaze as I lifted my eyes from seeing my skirt dance back and forth from the twisting of my hips, and from her countenance I accepted that I looked as good as possible. Trusting that I had been properly taught, I followed Dame Nemull.
The convent had been my home all my life. I did not consider the deity to have any worth, but the religious life provided a nice order that made each day peaceful. While I enjoyed the regular festivals and what few events had occurred to break up the daily routine, I went through most days very satisfied. I walked the halls not really worried about what was to come, but wondering if I would think of this day as fun.
Dame Nemull opened the door that I knew to be a conference room for those that lived outside the convent. I had never had a reason to enter this room, except to clean it. I realized that such work would not be mine as I saw Mother Hana at her desk with a man in a dark-blue suit holding a cane in one of the plush chairs. Using a hand to assure that I stepped forward, Dame Nemull made an introduction.
“This is the girl that wrote that report.”
I knew the man was Peralte. His slightly long hair was brown, but dark enough to appear black. He wore no facial hair. He appeared uncomfortable in the suit, using the cane to hide the nervous actions of his fingers. His dark eyes gazed at me with what I felt was him wondering if I would blurt out any recognition. Noticing that I stayed quiet, he turned his attention to the one across the desk.
“Yes, she is. I will take her off your hands.”
“You do have good intentions for her?”
“Nothing improper. She will not be mistreated. She however will be treated as a young lady, and not as a serving wench, lap dog, or beast of burden. She will also not be treated as a ward. That last statement should be treated as me being completely honest. Let me however assure you that the girl and I will discuss things before any actual relationship is formed.”
Both now turned their attention upon me. I really did not know what to do. Suddenly realizing that no introduction had been made, I decided to state what I felt was the truth.
“You are Peralte.”
The voice of Dame Nemull came from behind me, “That is Lord Peralte.”
The man smiled at me as he spoke to the lady behind me, “Now, I said that this young lady and I would discuss things before we formed a relationship. If she wants to call me just by my name, I will accept.” He set the end of the cane on the floor then moved his head to peer at me over the clawed handle. “Do you go by the name Mesapher?”
I answered, “I don’t believe that is a girl’s name.”
“No, but if it is your name then it is now a girl’s name.”
Mother Hana informed me, “He is buying you, Vetacha. If you go with him, he will have complete authority over you.”
I actually recognized the shift in the countenance of Peralte. He did not consider the words of the lady to be important. I actually found myself agreeing, so asked what I felt to be the important fact.
“This reality is not stable either, is it?”
“Honestly, it is. Tersepsus deserves some honor. You however are growing up, and that is going to cause you to face certain aspects of the greater reality. I am willing to guide you.”
I really did not remember liking this man, so asked, “No one else was willing?”
“What few knew of you being here were willing to leave you here. I considered that you needed a chance to continue staying here. I personally thought of your situation as interesting. A couple that knew of your existence here considered me perverted, and even spoke of others who had willingly or unwillingly gone through certain changes. Once we are alone together, we can discuss things without any concern for the opinions of others.”
I was about to tell Mother Hana that I would go with the man, but suddenly felt that I had another question for him. “Would you bring me back here?”
I could see in his face that he wanted to say that he would not, but he then shrugged. “If I do, maybe someone else will come for you. You could also be left here. Anyway, yes, if our relationship fails, I will return you. I however do not have a reputation for failure, if left to do things my way.”
Mother Hana was now informed by me that I would go with the man. I sensed no relief in the lady at my words. She turned her attention to Peralte, and he sat back properly in the chair to wait out listening to her.
“If you would not have presented such a princely sum, I would not have allowed this.”
He replied, “Any disagreement between me and…” he looked at me, winked, then turned back to Mother Hana, “Vetacha will not be due to a lack of finances.”
“I find disfavor with some of your intentions.”
“Yes, I tried to wait for her to grow older, but then I heard of her report. I thus realized that I needed to come now. However unfavorable you feel about handing the girl over to me, let me say that now is the time for the two of us to get acquainted.”
I could tell from the expression on Mother Hana’s face that she still disagreed with the man. I had to admit that what I claimed as memories of him did not place him in the best of lights either. Something about those distant thoughts of him however did not make him out to be a villain. I had arrested him, but not for actual crimes. Mother Hana turned to me to let me know that her evidence also pointed in favor of Peralte.
“I cast lots about this decision, Vetacha. They did not just come down in favor of Peralte, but fell in complete accordance that I had to accept this decision as best for you. Dame Nemull was present when I did this.”
The lady behind me verified the words. “Indeed, Vetacha, it took the both of us by complete surprise. While I would normally speak against giving any girl to a man to do with her as he pleased, I must accept this transaction as proper.”
There were words for this moment, and I said them as I had been trained. “If it is the will for my future, then I will live it.”
Mother Hana seemed relieved to hear the statement, and put on a smile as she looked at Peralte. “Then, it seems that all is agreed. Vetacha, I hope that you never regret my decision.”
There were words taught with which to respond, and I did. “One should not regret any decision made with proper foresight and council.”
“I wish that life were so simple.”
Peralte looked at me and said, “You are here because life is not so simple. Come, Vetacha, as I told the good ladies that I would buy whatever you needed.”
From behind me I heard the words, “I could not think of anything you treasured. You like to write, but I do not remember you becoming attached to any specific set of instruments.”
I shook my head to tell her that I did not desire anything to take with me. I then moved to kneel beside Peralte’s chair. He glanced at me, then his eyes moved to Mother Hana. She did have some final details for him to handle, Once the business was completed, Peralte rose and commanded me to rise as well. Hoping that my life with this man would be as complete as I was told a life with a man should be, I followed him with only the rich clothes upon my body.
I had only seen the street through the windows. The movement of people never interested me. I always wondered why they needed to rush about, as I considered my life in the convent as sufficient. Stepping behind Peralte, I wondered where he would take me. He however stopped to ask a question.
“Are you hungry?”
“It is not proper to eat before six.”
“That is a well chosen time to dine. So come.”
He held out a hand. That was not in my training at all. Wondering if he understood the teachings of those that had raised me, I curtsied to the man before speaking.
“I accept that you are my owner. You lead, and I will follow.”
“No, Vetacha. I will not lose you. Now that you are mine, I will care for you. That includes having you at my side with at least one of my hands contacting you. Where I put it later, we will see, but right now I feel best if we just hold hands.”
My eyes turned to look up and down the street. The movements of the people seemed chaotic to me. I thus dropped my head as I spoke my reply of accepting his ways.
“I should not cause you concern. Thus, if you feel it is best.” Some spark of a memory, although probably just that of the report I had written, came to my mind. “I however do not remember us being friends.”
“And now we might become lovers. No, Vetacha, we were never friends, and certainly never lovers. However we come to consider this time, I hope that both of us think back with pleasant memories.”
His words did not cause me to want to smile, but I fixed my gaze upon him as I asked, “Then why are you here?”
“The same reason that I was there – because I am successful. Whether you like it or not, I know what I am doing. What I want to tell you however is that your life is your own. I want to give you a life, a proper life, which means that you are going to have to make certain decisions. I will leave whenever you tell me to go, but I would prefer leaving with you speaking well of me.”
He was a man, and now the one with control over my life. I had been taught the structure of things, which included the places of men and women. Not wanting any chaos in my life, I sought to secure my new situation.
“What if I desire to make my life with you?”
“That is an option, but not one that you can make now. You will first have to learn what type of person I am, and you have the unlucky situation of coming into my concern as a woman. You might end up having a reason not to like me.”
I really found those words strange. I had been taught that a life with a man was the ideal situation for a lady. The elders did speak of troubles in their time with a man, but all mentioned being complete. I wanted to be complete, and at peace. Looking at the fine suit that Peralte wore, the glitter of a few polished stones acting as useful pieces of his attire, and the reflection off his polished cane, I concluded that he could provide for me. I felt a sense of honor in taking the man’s hand, and walked beside him down the street feeling that I was where I needed to be.
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market. "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.