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 Into the Land of Immortals - Chptr 5

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PostSubject: Into the Land of Immortals - Chptr 5   November 6th 2008, 8:09 am

Chapter Five
Part 1

Thaunya held her position on the horse while Kethal stood and watched vehicles move on the road. She looked to Terish as he sat on the centaur. He showed no signs of being annoyed, but ran his fingers through the mane of hair that grew from the spine of the lady as he softly spoke some words to her. Celetia held her head in a manner that indicated that she enjoyed the attention. Thaunya really did not want to disturb the couple, but spoke to Kethal to get him moving.

He began walking, although his own curiosity caused him to ask a question, "That is not magic?"

It had become unusual to hear the man speak. He found that Terish responded to queries with answers so developed that the simple mind of Kethal could barely associate the words with what he had asked. He had also come to understand just how quick and deadly Terish truly was. Thaunya had been told to perform some combat training with Kethal. She felt the movements worked against her philosophy concerning the purpose of her body, although had come to understand that there were times such maneuvers were necessary. Kethal was not even up to her level of expertise, and that did not help his already low self-esteem. To suddenly have Terish present to stop a movement that could have been harmful reinforced how quick, accurate, and combat trained he was. Kethal had thus gone quiet understanding that he truly was among superiors. Thaunya found herself embarrassed for Kethal, so felt a need to supply a simple answer to let him know that speaking would not get him into trouble.

"Your nose should tell you that it is not magic. That is the work of machines."

He had noticed certain smells on a previous world, so could make an intelligent reply, "I see but do not understand."

Terish spoke in return, "What you see is more than one answer to a number of questions. Do you really want to devote your life to understanding those machines?"

"Would it help me to learn?"

"Look at the road they drive upon. Can you build that? Think of the energy source that they use. I am not going to say that there are not good things you could learn, but just because you gain knowledge does not mean that you can apply the knowledge."

The expression on Kethal's face showed that the statement slightly passed over his head before he cautiously asked Thaunya, "How much further do we have to travel?"

"There is a path through the forest not that far away. The road goes around to a public parking facility. The path goes directly to Merkinnist, but it is still a couple of miles. It was on that path that I first met Terdeskollit."

Kethal turned to look at the trees as he walked a short distance, then he turned back to ask. "I want to help my people, but how can I help them when they are all dead?"

Terish's gaze lifted to the sky with an expression stating that he felt he was answering a rhetoric question, "You cannot, but your life goes on. You thus have opportunity to help others. One can only hope by you helping others a weight will develop forcing the gods to create a balance by providing aid to those you truly feel are in need."

"Such is the wisdom and guidance of gods."

Thaunya saw a grimace on the face of Terish as he replied, "We will need to see if Dathol can provide that as well."

Those words seemed to satisfy Kethal, and he turned to move on. Thaunya heard Terish tell Celatia not to rush the walking man. She thus held her position. Thaunya however was ready to be at her destination and signaled her mount to trot on ahead.

She paused not just to allow Kethal to catch up, but to try and refind the spot where she first encountered Terdeskollit. The tidiness of the path let Thaunya know that there would be no way to recognize the exact place. Not only had the trees grown, but they had been trimmed with the lady believing that those with recognizable burn spots having been chopped down. She finally looked back to see Terish no longer riding, but walking with Kethal and Celatia. Thaunya stayed on her mount, although calmed her thoughts deciding that it would be better to relax and present herself cordially at the coming meeting.

Thaunya again had her horse trot ahead, then she had it stop in order to admire the scene before her. The fact that the path was not natural caused her to accept that the visual revelation was intentional, but she looked admitting that it was effective. While it had been obvious that an opening was ahead, the image of the holy ground did manage to be striking.

The trees had been teased into growing in a manner that they completely blocked the view of the arch before the path. Bright sunshine could be seen illuminating a field of green, but nothing spectacular about the scene was apparent. When one approached enough, a large white ornate stone frame came into view with a revelation that something designed accompanied it. The curving piece of ancient stone quickly became a member of a great wall of arches encircling a vast area. The colorful roofs of buildings could be seen sitting among white paths of glittering stones. What really struck Thaunya as special was the sight of children playing. She had her horse start moving away from the trees while thinking that she had made the proper choice in coming here.

It took a moment for Thaunya to remember that Terish was not riding the centaur as a galloping presence passed moving towards the children. He simply smiled at Thaunya when she stopped her mount before turning back in wonder of where he was. A hand going to his head to cup an ear caused her to listen to the distant sounds of the youngsters joyfully saying the name of Celatia without any mention about her rider.

Terish joined Thaunya as he said, "I learned to deal with it when I gained Raedell. I was no longer the great adventuring hero, but only the rider of a most special creature."

"And yet she serves to honor you."

"Yeah, life just isn't fair, now is it?"

Thaunya allowed herself to smile, and kept her words positive in tone, "No, but strangely it does seem worth living. Come on, Terish, as I am sure that there are people waiting to speak to each us."

Thaunya did indeed see some adults advance over the grass as she and her two male companions moved towards the buildings. The long hair and dark skin of Dathol seemed the same as it had always been, but Thaunya found herself unable to place those with him. The youth of some that approached had her looking to the elders wondering if they had been youngsters in her previous visit to the holy grounds. While on Davelda she was a member of a race of people who moved through eternity together, riding to those of Merkinnist she found herself remembering days when life and death were constants on her world as well.

Dathol ran the final steps to be ahead of the group so as to make the initial greetings. He shook hands with Terish, hugged Thaunya, then knelt on the ground to face as an equal Kethal who was crying. Dathol listened as the man told of his recent past and how he felt very unworthy of entering the land of gods. Thaunya found it hard to focus on the inter-dimensional language as the speech of Kethal was filled with sobs and words that slightly passed beyond her ability to comprehend. A couple in the group however softly translated to others that were weak with the strange language or completely unable to understand. At the conclusion, Dathol hugged the man while saying that he was no god, but would do his best to send words to those that were.

Rising with Kethal, Dathol asked, "You don't have a problem this time, Terish, do you?"

"Terdeskollit is moving, but I agree that it is probably just leading up to my eventual doom."

"But Thaunya is present, and I have only seen her as your companion when another great chapter in your life is being written."

The lady said, "I believe my presence is still part of the earlier story, Dathol. Terish has sent his son to Davelda. I am scared that my people will look to me for children."

"But, Thaunya, the people of Davelda went to war over the subject of immortality. Surely you considered the possibility of an eternity of having certain drives?"

"We went to war, Dathol, over the subject of who was to possess immortality. We did not want to be lorded over by those who would never die."

Terish lightly said, "And yet you never removed Straekin from office or any of those that gained positions in the council."

"We consider those solvable problems should they ever present themselves as problems. While the people gripe about the council, they do actually manage to mostly perform properly."

Dathol tried to put the conversation back on the proper topic, "So, Thaunya, what caused you to come here?"

"I originally decided to go to Thiminy, but I realized that was Straekin's answer. I have my own past, and realized that I needed my own answer. At the worse, I simply felt that Merkinnist would give me a place to avoid those of my own world. My husband and I were still enjoying life together. I want to return to him."

"And what if your husband regained the ability to sire children?"

"It would happen, but I don't know."

"I don't believe that I can help you, Thaunya. I can however be a friend. If you need someone to talk to, don't be afraid to come to me."

One of the elders that walked out with Dathol now spoke, "I want to welcome all of you to Merkinnist. We will set up rooms for each of you. You are all considered friends. Relax, find peace, and come to any of us should you feel led."

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PostSubject: Reply   November 16th 2008, 8:29 am

[size=150]Into the Land of Immortals[/size]
Chapter Five
Part 2


The stadium was filled with people. While cameras delivered the image of what was transpiring on the field, a multitude had the desire to see things for themselves. Venicht had shown a longing and talent to play a certain sport, then had discovered that there were those around the castle that had spent centuries playing the game. He had delighted in showing up for practice, and now was actually participating in a professional contest. What had for centuries been a form of entertainment for those that played and watched, had today become a national event.

Venicht did display some talent at the sport. His natural speed actually gave his team some advantage, although his youth caused him to make some basic mistakes. While he did not have a firm grasp of the rules, he ran with enthusiasm and performed with tremendous delight. All that watched chuckled at some of the prince's antics, although found themselves admitting that in the future they would watch primarily for his mastery of the game.

All in the stadium stood as Venicht ran from the field. He had just helped in scoring a goal. When given the ball, he had not done the usual stunts. The lad had carried it off the field as if to give it to someone. None doubted the identity of the cloaked feminine form that stepped out to gain the object.

Empress Straekin removed the hood from her head as she spoke to her child. Her long amber hair was not braided, although gem-inlaid silk ribbons kept it in an organized style. The cameras focused their lenses to provide a view close enough to catch glimpses of her violet eyes as they moved to look over her son. None interrupted her private time with Venicht, although all waited for her to give time to them.

A microphone was brought out to the center of the field as Straekin moved to where everyone could clearly see her. The cameras had microphones that could pick up anything she said, but centuries of being a public figure had her move silently except for simple statements to her child. All understood that she had things to say, and the physical presence of the microphone allowed all to focus on where she would say them.

"My people of Davelda, I did not send you an answer. I sent you the question. You have instead answered one of my own. I have always led you with the belief that we were a good people. While you have caused me to live my life dealing with the worse our lands had to offer," she paused while a number laughed at the reference to the council, "I have always believed that I ruled over wise people who had made the right decisions at important times in our lives. I thus sent Venicht to you to learn. You have accepted him with open hearts, and worked to make him feel truly at home. I want to thank you all for proving yourselves to truly be the people I always thought you were."

The stadium roared with applause. Straekin made a few gestures to indicate that the crowd were truly praising themselves, but then simply focused her attention on her son. Not until things went quiet did she again move to the microphone to speak.

"You now have to face the question that I have posed unto you. We may be immortals, but it is not our fate to wait out the centuries as unchanging entities. Time is passing for all of you. It had been over six hundred years, and I still felt a hole in my life. Terish has filled that hole, and Venicht, and my other children and possibly more children to come, have completed my life in a manner that you never could. I left being your empress to become who I wanted to be so many centuries before. I have achieved that, but sent you the puzzle of how are you going to fill the holes in your own lives.

"I am not telling you to move to Thiminy. It is a grand land, but my life is very different than what I had here. Terish knows many things, and has been able to make me feel at home, but I have mostly come to realize that Thiminy is my home. Its ways and its people are good, and I slowly found myself pleasantly reveling in what I had there and not what I lacked. I however believe that almost none of you would come to Thiminy and feel what I feel. Many of you have come, and while I have done all I could to make you feel at home almost all have left again. That does not mean that they left feeling that Davelda was completely satisfying either.

"We went to war to solve a problem. Please, do not go to war again. I, who led you out of that war, definitely do not want to cause you to return to such a conflict. We all survived, and hopefully we all learned. The problem I present to each of you is to decide what you wish that your life could be.

"Venicht is an answer, but he is my answer. I know of another who left because of a belief that Venicht was not an answer for her. Also, do not believe that a single answer need be found. I want another boy, but then I will watch my children grow. At present I am telling myself that as my children start their own individual lives I will go with Terish to return to his life of wandering.

"I worked and worked all those years to escape my duties here to go with Terish. Even as he worked through his own problems, I saw a life with him as being something better than what I had here in Davelda. Terish has spent his life having an 'and' after his name. It was Terish and Ferrigote. It was Terish and Raedell. It is now Terish and Celatia. I may not gain the notoriety next to a figure such as my husband, or the centaurs." The tone of her voice and her expression caused the multitude to laugh, and she waited for the din to die down. "I will however go into the centuries being a constant companion to my husband, sharing his life and feeling like the woman I want to be. To answer the question that I pose to you, I do not want to be your empress. Stepping down as your empress however, I want to challenge each of you to face the question I pose and become the person that you want to be."

The crowd did not roar. They stood in silence. Straekin did not speak as well, but her lack of speaking was a response to what she expected. In returning to the microphone, she let all know that she was used to being put on the spot.

"I am going to watch as my son finishes playing the game. I am then going to go spend time with him and probably stay long enough to meet with the instructors that I choose or you have chosen. If you want to speak to me, feel free. This is my true home and you are my true people. I accept that I have led you for the last few centuries, so have a place in your hearts different from all the other people in your lives. You will however find me placing my items of office into the national archives. I am not going to stay."

The crowd continued to stay quiet as Straekin walked from the field. None sat, but eyes watched the field or the large displays showing what those operating the cameras were seeing. The crowd thus caught the exchange between their prince and his mother.

Straekin had turned to her son to say, "Venicht, you need to run back out on the field. The game is not over."

"Will they play with me now?"

The crowd roared. Those that had been on the field ran out to return to their positions. While all in the stadium knew that their empress had declared her decision, they did their best to let the world know their opinion on her words.

Straekin tried to step up into the stands to take her place as just a member of the people, but none would allow it. A special chair was brought for her. She acted displeased, but accepted the special accommodations. While the cameras often turned to her, Straekin kept her eyes focused on the events on the field and the actions of her son.

~^~^~ ^~^~^ ~^~^~

Terish stepped from the room where he left Celatia sleeping, noticed Dathol sitting in a chair, then calmly moved to the refrigerator to get himself a drink. A bottle was lifted in a gesture of asking the holy man if he wanted something, but a wave in return stated that he would do without. Terish did not say anything, but looked about for a coaster, then brought it and his drink to a coffee table before settling back on the couch. Feeling that the man was in a frame of mind to listen, the holy man went ahead and spoke.

"Just wanted you to know that the gods of Kethal's world told him to stay with you and Thaunya. They feel that there is more for him to learn from the two of you."

"I did not believe that we were traveling together."

"Sanver did not provide any guidance. He admitted that Terdeskollit was actively moving about the divine realms, but could say no more than that."

"Well, Straekin is with Venicht on Davelda. I was thus going to return to Thiminy to be there for my girls."

"Were you going to stop by the centaurs?"

"I do try and make it habit."

"It probably would help Kethal's self-esteem to spend time on Celatia's world. He might even find a home there."

Terish was not one to waste his breath arguing with people. He had spent his life searching for answers. His quest brought him to the realm of madness, but he then found a way to overcome even that barrier towards a goal of ultimate knowledge. Terish would listen to the words of others, but would never dispute them even when he knew they were wrong. Dathol thus spoke again determined to get the man to reveal his own wealth of information.

"I cannot help you, Terish. I never had children. I believe that I can, now, but I do not feel myself part of a life where my children would be as accepted as yours. Celibacy is a part of who I was, and who I am."

"But you do help, Dathol. You are as unique as I am. As different as your life and mine is, I find myself seeing you as one of my equals. You might not have the proper background, but I do believe that you have the proper perspective."

"No, I don't Terish. The problem is that Straekin does not either. You see your life as having an end. My purpose is here. Yes, I travel, but I go to gain further wisdom to help me answer the questions that are brought to me here. Straekin has found a life away from Davelda. Even if you die, Terish, she will happily continue to travel the paths you travel and live among the people you have lived among. You however see your life coming to an end when you finally face Terdeskollit over the future of his next world. That puts you back among the mortals."

"But the last time I faced Terdeskollit, and hearing Thaunya speak of her recent conversation with him, makes my God seem to be more rational. My great final battle might be won over a meal with a handshake."

"Is that what you want, Terish?"

"I don't know what I want, Dathol. Straekin is happy. Thiminy is managing well. The people I help seem to be truly relieved of their problems. This can go on for centuries and I believe that I will have no cause for complaint."

The holy man stayed quiet and waited for Terish to say more. "When I am off on my on. Celatia with her people. Straekin doing something on her own. Everyone else busy with their lives. I go out and do what I have been doing all my life. I am not looking for my own answers, Dathol. I am looking for the answers to the questions others have."

"But Terish, the tales of your life all say that it started with your own drive to find answers. You became noticed by the Dozzrines because you worked to read that book they set out in their front room. You were looking for answers way back then. Have you found them?"

"I tell myself that I have. The problem, Dathol, is that I can barely remember that life. I was so young. I don't know who my mother was. I only believe that it was Endullae. I have no memories of her ever being referred to as my mother, or her calling me her son. She did things for me that I believe only a mother would do, but she might have simply been playing family politics for the attention of my father. Even when I was in trouble with my father, I remember that all I had to do was make another delivery of bread. I brought in more money than any of my siblings. If the Dozzrines were not rich, and scared that Desiree could have been wrong, I would not have been purchased by them."

Dathol felt the contact of his God. There was a close association, but at times Dathol understood that he was considered an agent for Sanver and not just a representative of the deity. Years of having a relationship enabled him to easily recognize the message sent to him.

"Terish, get Kethal to go with you. The world that Celatia is from is more like the world of Kethal, so what he sees there should help him more than what we have here."

"I don't care. Kethal can come with me if he wants. I am worried about Thaunya."

"I don't want Thaunya traveling, Terish. Just as you are there for Straekin, somebody else should be here for Thaunya."

Terish shot upright in his seat on the couch as he asked, "Chorrik?"

"Take this no further, Terish."

"He has no experience."

"Terdeskollit is your concern, Terish. Neither Thaunya nor Chorrik have any connection to Terdeskollit. Your son was protected, Terish. Thaunya was protected. Do not worry about Chorrik. Kethal however has done a great wrong, but in Terdeskollit going to Thaunya a path for Kethal's salvation has been opened. If Terdeskollit comes to you, both you and Kethal need to face him."

"If Terdeskollit is involved, Dathol, I should be involved. Kethal is completely unprepared."

"Your time will come, Terish. Hopefully with the meal and the handshake. I believe that Kethal could handle being present at the meal and watching the handshake."

"Okay, Dathol. I will travel with Kethal. I still believe that at some point that trouble will come to me that could be the doom of him."

(This installment is the same installment being posted elsewhere, so the next installment will come in five days - my usual posting schedule.)

_________________
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.
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Into the Land of Immortals - Chptr 5
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