The second Blue Flame novel –
There is a wiki database to reference names, although you can certainly ask me questions as well.The Other Side of Life
Chapter Ten: Part One
(Vefillaya / Greg)
Vefillaya was not certain where to put the picture of Calliope. She felt that it deserved equal status with that of the emperor, although really did not want to put the lady in such a place. Determining that it should go along with images of her own family, she moved to that wall.
She saw the portrait, then became surprised to see a member of her own race holding it. She looked for other members of the cleaning crew, thinking that they got a new worker, but this lady did not wear those clothes. She was almost surrounded in a thick garment of thick feathery hairs with the filigree of fine lace showing a very delicate dress beneath. Rather confused, Vefillaya simply paused to ask a question.
“May I help you?”
The lady approached in an easy fashion, although the way she walked did not look completely correct. “Yes, Vefillaya?” The lady did not speak again until a nod was made. “My name is Anne. I work with your husband. I am the persona of History. I don’t know how much Greg has told you concerning what has been happening in Peace.”
“He is looking for the gardens and fountains that Calliope spoke about.”
“Yes, well, we have not found those – yet. However, this was found.”
The portrait was of a Dumonistat. The style of clothing was very ancient. Vefillaya actually had trouble determining if it was male or female, as the person wore rather elaborate clothing. It was the way that he held a lyre that declared his gender, as the way it set on his chest would not be proper for a female. Vefillaya looked at the image, then guessed the reason that it was brought to her.
“You want me to try and find the identity of this person?”
“At least the appropriate time period in your history. Testing the material will not work, as things do not age in Peace. You however should be able to trust that the clothes are appropriate for the period.”
“You are the representation of History, but you cannot tell?”
“I am to inspire people to look into their own past. Hopefully, giving you this painting will do that. What is being done in Peace actually supports my persona, so I do want to help. Doing the research myself however does not.”
Vefillaya put down the portrait of Calliope to pick up the one brought to her. She saw brush strokes, so knew that this was a painting. Wondering what information could be provided, she asked a question.
“Do you know what persona this person had?”
“No. He is holding a lyre, so I would assume Poetry or Music. The way that he is dressed might mean that he was Dance or Theater. We are really finding ourselves at a loss to find anything definite of our history.”
She sat down the painting to say, “I will do what I can. I assume that I can send you any information via Greg.”
“Yes, that will be fine.” Anne moved to pick up the picture of Calliope. “She does appear so lovely. Seeing her like this, it is easy to understand why everyone thinks that she is such a good Death.”
Vefillaya spoke her reason why she found those words suspicious. “I thought that you saw her as she is about Peace.”
“Yes, but when you go about taking on the visions of other cultures, you don’t take the trouble to make yourself especially attractive. Considering that we are all of different worlds, except for Calliope and Greg, it is hard to tell one’s true beauty. That is a nice picture, and shows that she truly is a lovely person.”
Vefillaya took the portrait back from the lady while asking, “You are not a Dumonistat?”
“No.” The lady’s head looked around, then turned back to say, “I would have trouble fitting in this room. Even in Peace I usually have to go around looking like something else. I am one of those hoping to find a garden, because then I could truly relax as who I am.”
“Then you might want to find Greg. He spoke of Shetaile providing him with some information that he planned to check on. I do not know what has him presently occupied, but I know that he was going to drop in on Peace and see how difficult it would be to follow Shetaile’s directions.”
“Why, thank you, Vefillaya. It seems that you and Greg do speak to each other.”
That sounded like an odd statement, but she did not mind making a reply. “He seems to be glad to be my husband, and I am glad to be his wife. Yes, we talk when we can.”
The lady chuckled before saying, “Not at all like the boy toys of Labonchy. Of course, I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, since you do get along with Calliope and Labonchy does not.”
“Labonchy did not even grace me with a vision of her. I am glad to meet you, Anne.”
The lady curtsied before saying, “Same here, Vefillaya. Anyway, yes, send me word if you find anything. Any answers would be appreciated.”
“Just, if I do find an answer, will it be written down?”
“Yes, by Jethredair, the new persona of Literature. He is like me, and supposed to only inspire others, but a number of us like the irony of making him do some writing himself.”
~^~^~ ^~^~^ ~^~^~
Greg found himself mentally drained. He had never worked with energy creatures before. After doing what was required, he found himself wondering why he never encountered such creatures. Their problem seemed rather common. Still, considering what it took to resolve the situation he was glad that it did not occur more often.
Seeing the great winged worm did bother him, although something about it told him it was not a normal beast or simply a normal beast nowhere near where it belonged. He thus looked at it. Seeing it calmly look back, Greg went down his list of known immortals until he realized who had joined him.
“Is that your true form, Anne?”
“Yes, Greg. Thanks for noticing.”
“I remembered speaking to you of the ladies I entertained in my search for a wife. One was what I considered a great maggot, but I remembered you saying that was about what you looked like, except with wings. You do look better than a maggot. I am surprised that you do not go around with wings however. Zithiny wears his just because he likes them.”
It was very hard reading the expressions of the lady. Greg usually saw her as a matronly woman. While she smiled easily, very little actual movement occurred to her face. He guessed that he saw the reason as the skin on the head appeared plated with everything fixed in place. Watching her wings he remembered that she would move her hands a lot, so assumed that she expressed her true feelings with them.
“To each his own. I met your wife, Greg. She is a very darling lady. I found a portrait of a Dumonistat, and brought it to her to try and discover his identity. She said that she would try, which I expected as being the persona of History I tend to get people to agree to stuff like that. Vefillaya however told me that Shetaile told you of possibly finding a garden.”
“Well, she did not specifically say a garden. What she said was that she saw a purple door.”
“That is different. I would like to join you.”
“Certainly. I am done here. Let us go to Peace.”
Greg found himself surprised to find Anne as a Dumonistat lady upon arriving at Peace. She explained that was how she appeared to his wife, and wanted his appraisal about whether she was lovely. He looked at, then gave an honest reply.
“No, for the very same reasons that I don’t find you that attractive as a human lady. You are a little bulkier than I desire with boobs that are too small.”
He was worried that she would take offense at his words, but she continued to walk beside him. “Oh. Well, I really don’t have too much control over how I look.”
“I am the same way. Of course, I also do not go around comparing my appearance to others. There might actually be a way to alter some details, but I just have not bothered to try.”
She only smiled in return. Anne’s hands spread out when he stopped. He assumed that it showed her puzzlement at what he was doing. He checked that the corridor was clear, then told her the plan.
“We rush off in that direction. Shetaile said that she was mad at the previous person that was Storm. You might thus be better at determining how far we need to run. Anyway, up ahead there should be a corridor to the right, and down it should be a purple door.”
She replied, “I do not know how good I am at running.”
“I cannot say that I am a runner either. Walking just seems too slow however.”
Gaining an agreement that the lady would do her best, Greg took off. He felt his body moving, but not really getting tired. He felt the physical exertion, but without the building exhaustion. Greg looked to Anne, and found her running with him. Wondering how long the two of them would last, he continued to move his legs.
He stopped and moved back to Anne. He had to run for a moment, as she was quickly moving back along the way they had come. He looked down without seeing a door. Moving to a branching corridor, he saw a white door, a couple of blue portals, and one that was purple. The white were conference rooms, and he found those uninteresting and useless even back in the section of Peace that he knew. The blue doors were parlors. While one was the usual meeting area for the immortals, he knew of another that would sometimes be used. The purple was however something different, and he moved to it with Anne.
Both gasped upon entering the room. It was enormous. Greg thought of the round room where one entered and left Peace. That room was big with a mist that prevented one from easily determining its size. The air in this room was clear, although the diameter of the room played with one’s sense of perspective. In the center was a great fountain. The water did not just shoot up to fall back down, but came out of spouts to spray in wonderful interacting arcs that seemed to create elaborate lacework patterns before finally moving back into the pool at the bottom. The fountain itself appeared of alabaster carved into a scene of fairies flying while holding the tails of birds that soared around a great figure of indeterminate race although having long hair, what Greg assumed were breasts, and other details that he assumed were feminine. He walked with Anne into the room while silently attempting to figure out what they had found.
Anne changed into her natural form, then took off. Even at her large size, she could spread her wings and navigate around the room. After making a few circuits, she landed to give a report.
“There are no other doors, Greg.”
“No. Things could not be so simple. We could not simply find one door that would take us to everything that we had been missing.”
“You sound disappointed.”
Greg found himself looking at the great creature that was Anne, and wondering how she could make that statement. He thought back to when he dated all the various races of the Suderling Union, yet found those completely non-human females able to choose certain topics, make certain suggestions, and generally get him to consider that they might actually be acceptable life partners for him. He wondered if the presence of Labonchy, a universal standard of female perfection, was partly to blame. Whatever the reason, he accepted that Anne had understood his phrasing, so tried to explain.
“Yes. I mean, I am not awed. Yeah, nice fountain. I am not saying that I won’t go looking for more, but I am not driven to look for more.”
“Maybe this fountain is not for you, Greg.”
“Well, yes, that is what I am hoping. I am hoping that somebody will become excited. Also, the fact that this was found might cause me to look more. I am interested in where the animals in my room came from.” He walked up to the fountain to move his hand in the water as he said, “I guess that is what disappoints me. There is nothing in here but the fountain.”
Anne returned to being a Dumonistat, Greg assumed in preparation to head back down the corridor. “I agree that this is not everything, but it is something to go back and tell the others about. Maybe somebody will be pleased to see this, then go off and find something that will please us.”
Greg moved to the portal as he asked, “Do you want to walk back?”
“Do you think we will get bored?”
“I am going to talk about the fountain. Will that bore you?”