An adult speculative Christian post-Armageddon fiction
Dilemma of Dreams
Chapter Twenty: Complete
A Solution Pending
The meeting had to be held outside, as their hovels were not large enough to handle the gathering that showed up. I did act as the leader of the group, something my badges helped me assure, but I easily allowed the others to have their time. Dimerkess had the most experience with collapsed realities. As he had stepped back to allow Tersepsus and a couple of others have control of the reality he had helped build, Peralte became our reference on steps concerning actively maintaining a reality. I of course had the best knowledge of knowing personally what was at stake. As we spoke of ourselves, we all stressed that what was important was life here, and many came to tell us their views.
The people saw us as gods. We stressed that there was someone greater than us, but we were the ones the people saw. They also accepted us as those who had recognized their problems, and the ones working to resolve their dilemma. Thus, while we kept mentioning God, they kept referring to us as gods.
Peralte recognized things said by the people even faster than I did. The natives of this land wanted a secure supply of good water for them and their crops, and they were pleased to see the river grow in flow and clarity. Predators were a general threat, so the tribes had sought to have them removed. With the sources of death removed, the herds had calmed, which meant that they were now easier to hunt. I recognized the same symptoms as had come to my reality, and I had to nod in return to Peralte who I had arrested for attempting to solve them.
Eventually, Assadra and my brothers fully agreed with me that we had identified the problem. The next step was to determine a solution. Something in the demeanor of the natives told us that they also did not clearly see a resolution. I however felt that they had agreed upon some plan to hopefully provide an answer.
It was Assadra who alerted me to some activity at the edge of the crowd. Jeraketh also noticed the commotion, but simply said that someone was coming. I noticed the elders around me smiling, so I sat down to allow them to now have control over the proceedings. They moved to tell the crowd to part so the new arrival could come forward and speak to us.
“Oh great ones,” the man that had spoken to me the other night said, “this is my young sister. Just as your young sister is great in your eyes, this sister of mine is great in my eyes. It is she that was chosen by Leotion to be his wife. While he will not speak to you, she will speak to him.”
The lady was definitely physically older than me, as she was definitely mature. She had given Leotion two children, both boys, and was pregnant with a third child. I could not say that she was pretty, but I did see a strength in her form that I felt I would have appreciated long ago. I had never had sex with a woman. Truthfully, I could not even say that I had ever been in a situation where I could have had sex with a woman. I had seen women come to mass and move about as I traveled through town, but then I was active with my duties to God and the church. I had spoken to women as I did my work, but then I was engaged in labor and kept my speech associated with the activities with which I was engaged. It might sound strange, but the girl that I was did not exactly match the type of women that wished I could get to know better. While the lady that came to us had aged and gone through childbirth, I still found something attractive in her.
We asked her about her husband. We spoke of what we saw in the land, and how it provided a good life not just for Leotion, but for many other people. Considering that it was a lady before us, Dimerkess and Repalte had turned back over the authority of the discussion to me. After we had thus finished speaking, I looked at the lady and asked her to say if certain facts were true of her spouse.
“Yes, great ones. He loves this land. In the privacy of his home, he speaks of his work to create this land. He tells our boys of their greatness, because they have an opportunity to grow up in a good land. All that you said, he says. He speaks of those things with pride.”
I replied, “I used to go walking through my land. I would go up into the mountains surrounding my town and take pleasure in the scenery. I would go through my town and spend time with the citizens. Why doesn’t Leotion travel through his land?”
“He used to. I met him as he walked through the grass smiling with his pleasure at what he saw. He would walk like this,” she stretched out her arms, “just to feel the stalks of grass brush against his palms. He smiled often, and it was his smile that made me love him.”
“What has happened that he stopped walking?”
“It occurred slowly. First, he stopped walking to where I lived, but would ride to my house so he could spend more time with me. We would sometimes walk together, although his thoughts turned from walking to spending time with me in other ways. I did not mind, as he would speak lovely words to me in private. When he finally took me to his home, the walks stopped as he said that nothing was lovelier than me.”
I looked to Peralte. He had some very lovely ladies. He even admitted that he could spend long periods simply enjoying their presence and their pleasures. Peralte had however admitted that people kept bothering him. With him actually supplying my example of a good man, I asked the lady how her husband managed to stay home.
“He is a great man. Of that there is no doubt. Something happened. He heard a complaint, and said that he would not consider it. I accepted his decision, as the complaint was about something he liked. Others then complained, and he stopped leaving the house. Finally, he even refused to speak to those that came to him.”
I really did not believe that I would have been that bad. I was not against Nintart having a cattle ranch, I just knew that my reality was not big enough for such. I could thus simply get away with making paternalistic remarks. As for the piano, what the saloon had was good enough for me, and I knew the business did not make enough money to afford a better one. I thus could handle my citizens without becoming rude. If I had a large reality with a larger population, I wanted to claim that I would have considered their dreams.
I said, “I believe that your husband is a good man. I also believe that he had a good dream. Yes, there are others with their dreams, but I must give my support to my brother. However, that does not give him the right to neglect those that share his reality. Your husband might be a good man, but he is showing himself not to be a wise man.”
The lady dropped her head as if expecting a reprimand. I noticed smiles in many of the men. I did not believe that either Leotion’s wife or the other elders expected what I had to say.
“Leotion is still my brother, and this is his reality. I must speak on his behalf. However, that also means that I must declare my belief that he is still, down deep in his heart, a good man. The problems here are his to resolve. If this reality fails, he is the one that must face the blame. While this meeting has successfully assured me of my thoughts concerning this reality, now I must somehow convince Leotion to speak with me.”
She replied, “He won’t speak to you. He heard you tell him that you were sorry yesterday. He said that you had nothing to be sorry for, as you are powerless.”
“Powerless to do what? I had my own reality. I am speaking because I was once like Leotion, and I know from experience the loss that is coming. Peralte has some lovely mountains. His world survives, although before we came here he spent another day worrying about his reality. Dimerkess is actually our leader. He knows the value of compromise and working with others. He allowed others to take over his dreams, and now it is one of the more successful realities. Do you see Assadra? She is not as she is due to the dream of another, but from her own desire. Jeraketh is a good man, and we all trust his aid. Do not think that any of us are powerless.”
The room went quiet as all wondered what we would do. I had indeed turned the conversation in a direction that they did not expect. They thus waited with uncertainty about where I would next direct the meeting.
The lady looked directly at me as she said, “He still will not talk to you.”
“That is fine. I have three brothers here. They are Leotion’s brothers as well. I have just finished saying that they are very capable men. What if they took off to go see your husband?”
“They might be able.”
The three men stood. Dimerkess moved to take the hand of Assadra while Peralte came to me. As I stood, he softly made a comment.
“Good move shifting the responsibility.”
“You need one of my badges?”
“I was thinking of taking the title of baron, and barons don’t wear badges. I can handle things just fine without one.”
I probably could have made a reply, but we needed to leave. I thus moved behind Peralte as we headed through the crowd. While walking, I considered it strange that now I felt able to handle myself in the midst of people, and more as an equal to Peralte, I was now walking behind him in what the convent had taught as the proper manner for females. Feeling a need to speak to Tersepsus at length about some of the tenets of his religion, I left with the others.
In moving beyond the crowd I noticed our horses safe where we had left them. Beyathrash had spoken with a positive belief that we would have lost our mounts. I wondered about his methods of inspecting a world, as we had not been threatened in any manner. Even after directly facing the locals, things were still going relatively well with our horses still in good condition.
It was not far to Leotion’s home. I remembered racing through this area on Saroniel, and being able to cross destinations extremely quickly. One reason for that was surely the quality of the mount, although the other was that the distances were rather short.
We allowed Leotion’s wife to go in first to secure the boys. We did not expect trouble and did not want trouble, but there was some concern that a scene might get made. To assure that the children would not be where they could be hurt, we allowed the lady to first enter her home.
I did not mind allowing the men to move forward without me. I trusted each of them. Peralte had been around my naked body, and had not done anything improper. I had not found Dimerkess to be the father figure I once associated with him, but he had become someone whose knowledge and experience I respected. Jeraketh had grown to be a friend with whom I could share drinks and comments. I thus felt that all would be for the best as they moved to speak to Leotion.
The words rang out through the door, “You are not welcome in my home, and I will not speak to you!”
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.