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 Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 12

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PostSubject: Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 12   January 25th 2009, 8:32 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Twelve

Part 1

Giluchex listened as a number of things were explained to Kethal during the travel. As the day progressed, the speech of the man became slightly understandable if he was responding to a question. It was not that Giluchex learned the language, just the limited options for most replies enabled him to guess the return statement correctly by watching the face and body movements. After a few correct guesses, he then discerned that the basic responses sounded similar so could simply rely on his hearing to know whether Kethal agreed or disagreed. He knew that parts of Davelda still practiced an old local language, so came to accept the man as just a recluse of his world that had committed himself to living in the past.

The exotic surroundings also became familiar as Giluchex paid attention to the scenery. He often could not recognize the type of tree, but he learned that trees were common. Clouds tended to be in the sky. The color of the sun or other really odd part of the landscape sometimes did remind him that he was somewhere other than Davelda, although he did try to imagine reasons that those phenomena could be duplicated on his home world. For most of the travel Giluchex played a private game of attempting to place exactly where on his home world he might be.

What helped his daydreaming was having Straekin with him. It really did not matter that he and she were not trading barbed comments about some legal issue. The lady had been a part of his existence for centuries. Giluchex's whole life since the war had been committed to gaining consolations from her, but he sought a future when the two of them would politely chatter on friendly subjects. It did not matter that she cheerfully spoke to others, as that tended to be the case on Davelda when they both attended the same socials.

He had to turn upon hearing Straekin whisper to Terish about a creature in the distance being edible. Giluchex did not consider the group being stealthy, so considered her soft speech rather improper. He also wondered about the need for food since all carried a supply of things to eat. Hearing the lady mention something about the coming Cricket House to be theirs, so a need to assure food in the larder, did gain a nod of acceptance from her husband even as it explained things to Giluchex. He also found satisfaction in seeing Terish dismount then check his weapons in response to the statements from Straekin.

Having the man move slowly appeared stranger to Giluchex than the surrounding foliage. He could see a group of small monkey-like creatures moving about the trees, but those were not what Terish focused upon. They made sounds and darted about the foliage, although did not appear overly alarmed by the casual steps of the man that slipped from standing near one trunk to gain a position near another. Giluchex looked to Straekin to determine where she was looking when her head shifted to gaze at something other than Terish, but found himself unable to discern the distant form of what she considered to be worth eating.

Moving his eyes from his empress, Giluchex found himself unable to find Terish. In looking back to the lady, Giluchex saw her smile. Wondering what happened, the voice of Terish suddenly rang out to prepare a fire unless the group desired to eat raw meat.

Giluchex dismounted holding back a comment towards his empress. He instead decided to try on his own and make use of his journey. He searched through his saddlebags to gain a dagger, then moved through the strange trees that had leaves growing up their trunks to join Terish. The smaller creatures continued to dart about, and he could tell that they were looking under the living and fallen leaves for insects. He did not believe that he had been distracted for more than a second, but his head jerked up hearing the voice of Terish asking if he had rope. He replied that he did not, but would get it. He jumped hearing a sound louder than that made by the monkey-like creatures. Whether he expected some large predator or some native, he relaxed only seeing Straekin bringing a coil to him. He thanked her, then turned back toward Terish.

The carcass appeared to be a type of cat, although tusks jutting upwards came from the mouth. Giluchex had his eyes pass between Terish and the dead body, and finally allowed that it probably weighed almost as much as both of them combined. Giluchex was not a vegetarian, and having meat processing plants in his district he knew the steps of converting a carcass into sections to be eaten. He moved forward to hand Terish the rope while making a comment.

"I never said that you could not provide for Straekin."

Terish took the coil and threw a length of it over a limb as a start of preparing the kill as he said, "I don't remember you saying I could."

"Okay, Terish, I have said some pretty rotten things about you."

"Problem is, Giluchex, you weren't saying them to me. You were trying to keep Straekin from running off with me. It obviously was not working, but none of you of the council noticed, much less traveled to discover why not."

Giluchex wanted to make a statement that he had not seen anything convincing him of why his empress felt led to marry the man. He however choked back the words not wanting to get into an argument with Terish. There were forums to challenge him, and Giluchex knew that presently he did not have support. Further, Terish was correct that even the entire council did not prevent his success in courting Straekin. Giluchex definitely hoped to get some evidence to renew the argument when once again around supporters, although at present he diplomatically made a non-threatening statement.

"It was a matter of national pride, Terish. Having our empress going with a foreigner made us look bad."

"And being made to look like fools when nobody obeyed you did not hurt your national pride? I was insane, but I got better. You of the council continued to act as idiots."

Giluchex stifled a retort, then diplomatically said, "Okay, Terish, I apologize. Have you ever met my wife?"

"Was that an invitation?"

Giluchex did not intend to offer a visit to his home, and feeling that the meaning of his words had been twisted caused him to explode, "Will you stop it, Terish? Okay, I am out here. The evidence should be enough."

"Sorry, Giluchex, but I don't believe it will change you. You cannot fight. You cannot work with the animals. You made a good butler last night, but that was the extent of your usefulness. I don't know whether to be glad you are here in spite of your deficiencies, or get mad at you for being stupid enough to be here at all."

"Listen, I am out here with you. Consider me your companion, Terish." Feeling a need to put the man on the spot, Giluchex added, "It will give us something to talk about when you come over to my house."

"I guess that we need to start somewhere."

The work preparing the carcass went well. Terish did have fast reflexes, but he did not simply rush through the activity. He stopped to allow Giluchex the ability to try his hand at certain steps. Terish did continue to make snide remarks, but Giluchex did not respond to them actually accepting that he probably deserved most statements. By the time the meat was brought to the fire to be cooked or prepared for travel, the two were actually speaking to each other cordially.

Moving after the break, the pace was picked up in order to make it to the Cricket House before dark. No requirement of the habitation forced such, but with animals needing care all wanted time to actually relax in the pleasant accommodations. Some discussion occurred as they neared a portal, as none were sure exactly where it was located or how to activate it, but Terish quickly found it and did what was necessary to bring forth a shimmering haze that all rushed through to pass unto the next world.

Giluchex looked as his companions noticed that a nearby group of buildings appeared deserted. He however could see another building that appeared to be a strange house set beneath and between two expansive hardwood trees. While the structure appeared abandoned and in a condition normal people would consider haunted, Giluchex suspected that it was the Cricket House. He however saw that his companions were focused on a great gathering of some type near what appeared to be a massive levee of dirt.

Dathol said, "Terish, it really is not our affair."

"No, but I need to get the attitude of our situation. The last time we visited Kingsport on a mission we had massive cloud formations caused by Terdeskollit preparing a fight. If we are bringing trouble with us, I will recommend a change of plans."

Straekin asked, "Terish, what are you going to do?"

"Just letting them know that I am here. I promise. If you watch a massacre, it won't be me that instigated it."

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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PostSubject: Reply   January 30th 2009, 7:59 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Twelve

Part 2

Giluchex noticed that Straekin commanded her mount to move forward to keep Terish in sight as Celatia raced ahead. Giluchex had learned enough about controlling his horse to have it ride with his empress. He noticed that the others followed at a distance, and wondered who among the group was the wisest.

Those standing on and behind the lengthy circular earthen mound appeared human. They were dressed in various styles of armor using a variety of weapons. Those before the levee in front of a wood framed entrance to the interior of the barrier were roughly bovine in appearance. Giluchex thought of minotaurs with thick extended necks and very powerful hands and feet. The armor was of bronze plates over thick leather, not as solid of protection as the iron covering the humans, although the uniform style of dress gave the minotaurs more of an organized appearance. They also tended to carry heavy masses of sharpened metal put on thick wooden shafts as spears or axes that appeared more destructive than the assorted weapons of the humans.

A definite attitude of confrontation showed in the stance of both set of beings. Riding with his empress, Giluchex did not hear any threatening words or basic declaration of terms. He however clearly could tell that each group had their focus on the one riding the centaur and how he might change the odds.

Terish had Celatia stop in the open space between the two adversaries before he said, "I don't want to interrupt your little squabble. Just letting you know that my companions and I will be resting in that abode out under those large trees out past the pasture over there. If you leave us alone, we will return the kindness."

One man whose full beard did not fully hide his youth stood in armor of crafted plates of iron behind two massive men dressed in metal pieces sewn onto garments of thick cloth said something, and Giluchex heard his empress translate, "We don't care."

Terish replied, "Good. Just for note, I knew King Athesh."

"He died; his son died. I am Conuel."

"Glad to meet you. Are you going to defeat the Hurtual?"

Giluchex almost fell from his saddle as a number of sights opened his eyes to enable fear to enter his being. The humanoid form of horrid skin and fire appeared to stand on the earthen barrier near the human that had spoken. Floating over the odd minotaurs was a tentacled creature of a radiating dark purple. The only sight of comfort enabling Giluchex to hold onto any of sanity was his empress seeming to glow as a separate image of her radiated from her presence. Hearing her voice translate the speech of the others also brought him comfort.

The apparent leader of the humans declared, "Kill that one and his mount."

As Terish dropped from the saddle, a hand moved beneath his belt to remove a couple of metal stars. The small objects flew with accuracy toward the archers that lifted their bows as they turned the points of their arrows upon him. The bodyguards for Conuel tried to advance upon Terish, but he strode up the mound of earth to come upon them before they could barely lumber forward even one step. A sword appeared in his hand as he avoided both weapons that were powerfully sent in arcs, although wielded slowly as the muscles that worked to move heavy swords also had to fight the metal bulk that surrounded them as armor. Terish stuck his body directly between the two bodyguards, made a mortal thrust with his sword upon Conuel, then dropped to roll under the second swings of the bodyguards. As he came from rolling down the hill to a kneeling position in front of Celatia, two more metal stars flew at archers who had yet to realize the foolishness of attempting to direct an arrow toward him or his mount.

The humans gasped as their leader fell, but Terish momentarily ignored them as he moved around Celatia to consider those before the barrier. The one in front of the army lifted his hand in a signal not to attack. Seeing them hold, Terish moved back to look to the humans.

One of the bodyguards said, "He was not much of a leader. We can still defeat the Hurtual."

"I have let you know that I am in the area. If I were you, I would keep my fight only against the Hurtual."


Terish moved to regain his place in Celatia's saddle while keeping his eyes watching the human forces. His head made a motion indicating that he saw the leader of the Hurtual stride forward, but continued to keep his focus on the humans. The one that approached however knew that he could speak.

"This morning a woman that we recognize as having special sight came and cried at my feet telling me not to fight the one that rides a special steed. She said that I would die and that the justice that was promised would be compromised. You said that you knew King Athesh. You however did not say who you were."

Eyes continued to watch the humans as the answer was given. "Terish Dozzrine."

"Ah, I have heard of you. I thought the stories of you were only tales that humans told to make them feel better."

"I don't believe that they are feeling better today."

"No, but they don't deserve your support. After King Athesh died, my people have suffered. It took a lot of politics to gain this army that stands with me, but the continued raiding of my people have turned enemies into friends. I will make a sacrifice to my god in your honor, Terish Dozzrine."

"I will withhold any sign of friendship, as I don't want to be seen as taking sides. If I come back this way however, I will try to look you up."

"Then we can speak as friends at that time."

Terish signaled Celatia, and she galloped from the middle of the opposing forces. A wave was made to Straekin and she commanded her steed to start galloping to the Cricket House. She however pulled on the reins to have her horse stop as Giluchex continued to sit transfixed. She returned to the man as Terish rode up to him.

"Are you okay, Giluchex?"

The man's features twitched as he found himself disturbed from what had gained his focus. He nodded his head to tell the couple that he was all right. Before Terish could again tell his centaur to start moving, a question to him was voiced.

"Why is Terdeskollit standing with the humans?"

The eyes of Terish darted to Straekin then off to Dathol and Kethal before focusing on Giluchex as the question was answered, "Besides Dathol, you are probably the only other one that saw that. Terdeskollit likes seeing me fight. That is why I went up there, as if I had not there was a real fear the armies would have attacked the Cricket House. What you should have also seen is that the Hurtual had their god with them. Whatever the humans had done, it had cost them any concern from their god or gods. Terdeskollit thus could influence the humans, but not the Hurtual."

Giluchex heard what was said. He still doubted that what he had been told was the complete truth, but he accepted the facts as Terish's interpretation. Just to see how deep the man believed his own words, Giluchex tried to sound slightly accepting of the explanation.

"I never thought gods were real."

"Something has to create. Things don't make themselves. Each force is different for each universe, but most of those that bother to make something substantial take time to interact with that creation."

Giluchex considered it a better response than he expected, so allowed himself to ask a question, "Not all gods create worlds?"

"You are being shown things, Giluchex, but I doubt that you can see what I see. If you peer beyond this reality, where we are right now, you would not see anything but blackness with maybe the light of far distant stars. The portals that we open do not take us to worlds that we prefer to travel upon, but to worlds that happen to be available to be traveled upon. There are a lot of universes in the omniverse, but the proof is always evident that the omniverse is not made of infinite universes and not all universes that are available are filled with life."

Giluchex had his mount turn to the Cricket House as he said, "Thanks, Terish."

"Listen, I am not a bad guy. I did not start our little squabble. I came to Davelda and worked to help. I came to Straek and worked to teach. In spite of what I was doing for Davelda, the council spoke against me. I believe that it was you that first brought up my name."

Giluchex turned his mount around to face Terish as he said, "That was in response to you spending the night in her apartment."

"I had spent the day working with the horse trainers, then the evening instructing Straek. I became tired. Strangely, I felt safe in her apartment."

The lady said, "I have a guest bedroom in my apartment. He didn't sleep with me."

Giluchex quickly returned, "There was no way to prove he didn't."

Terish replied, "And you wonder why Straek went with me. I don't consider her as a liar."

Those words actually hurt Giluchex. He looked to his empress while attempting to formulate some type of defense. He however held his tongue as he remembered centuries of the lady returning jabs to his evasive responses. Instead of speaking his words to her, he said them to Terish.

"If you don't mind, I would rather talk about something else."

"Choose your time, Giluchex, but we will be at a church in two days, then heading to a holy lake. Don't blame me if the topic of gods and revelations continues to come up."

Giluchex turned to ride off with Terish and Straekin. He however noticed neither beside him after just a short distance. He considered it unusual, especially since Terish tended to do things faster than what Giluchex considered normal. As he was about to turn to look, he however overheard his empress speak privately to her husband.

"Terish, what is Giluchex doing saying that he is seeing gods?"

"Well, he might be obnoxious, Straek, but I don't consider Giluchex a liar."

"No, but he is not one to take the subject of gods seriously."

"Ask Munulva."

Giluchex felt good to hear some tone of defiance in the lady's response, "Come on, Terish."

"Listen, Straek, this is not a normal adventure. Terdeskollit is forcing us to deal with the divine. If any of us have quandaries about higher realms, that is an issue that will need to be dealt with. I believe Giluchex is being allowed to see certain things to force him to make some decisions."

"But, Terish, I don't believe Giluchex believes in Munulva."

"He is from her universe, Straek. What other deity do you think will care what he believes?"

Giluchex did not understand his empress's problem, as he had never attended a church for another deity besides Munulva. The rites were millennia old. While stories told of why things were done a certain way, Giluchex accepted that one did them simply because they had been done a certain way for a multitude of years. He knew the procedures for the various ceremonies, so did not understand Straekin's tone of concern.

"Okay, but is there some way I can help him? I know from previous journeys that this can get dangerous."

"Straek, ask Munulva."

"She is not a goddess that usually reveals herself."

"Well, if anyone is going to be at fault for not speaking, don't make it 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.
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PostSubject: Into the Land of Immortals - 3A   February 4th 2009, 8:03 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Twelve

Part 3

Giluchex moved on to the Cricket House in an attempt to prevent his empress from moving up and attempting a conversation with him. He and she had a reputation of challenging each other with neither ever showing any reluctance to take the other on in a debate. Giluchex however did not want to talk with Straekin on what he considered a religious topic, so rushed ahead hoping to retire to a private room without any conversation.

He dismounted then moved to the box near the side of the door. He remembered Straekin showing him to lift the front part of the box. While Giluchex did not remember exactly what to do, he figured that opening the box would have him recall. Something in the design however brought back memories. He turned to wait for his empress to ask his question concerning what he saw.

"Didn't you say Terish built this place? I don't know why, but something in these symbols reminds me of him."

She ran her fingers along some etchings as she said, "This is the filigree in the hilt for Terish's sword, Deathguard. This here is the jelna fruit that the prophetess Desiree, the lady that trained Terish before sending him from his world, grew. I actually was able to taste jelna fruit on the journey where Terdeskollit restored my body."

"They are not symbols that one presently associates with Terish."

"No, today it would be centaurs and the black conical towers of Thiminy. We have known Terish a long time, Giluchex."

The man looked to see Terish leading Celatia and the horses around the side of the house, then asked, "What did you originally see in Terish?"

"You have asked that numerous times before, Giluchex."

"I know, but you latched onto him almost from the first. You then held onto him even through some dumb times and his insanity."

"Those dumb times were successes! He and Ferrigote showing up barely standing and alive pulling a cart filled with treasure was NOT a dumb time. Terish bringing the head of a dragon into the council chamber was NOT a dumb time. You and the council simply did not want me sticking with Terish."

Giluchex had often heard the lady use her voice to stress what she considered important. It actually calmed him to hear her speak in such a fashion. Desiring to have her continue to speak to him, he considered an honest reply.

"I will admit that we never saw much future from him. I personally just never thought of magic as being an answer."

"Technology cannot survive the omniverse, Giluchex. The rules change for magic as well, but it is adjustable because those that use magic can adjust it. You cannot rebuild sophisticated technology on the fly."

He often wondered how she could follow a moment of intense emotion with logic. Giluchex never found that trait in his wife or private secretary. If either became angry, he suddenly found himself unable to understand them. Straekin however could clearly state her reasonings that enabled others to relate to her cause. Giluchex found himself only able to respond with a question that furthered the topic.

"Okay, so how many of these Cricket Houses has Terish built?"

"They are not easy to make, but I believe he is responsible for fifteen or sixteen."

Straekin had Giluchex go through the little formality to open up the house, although he had to ask before moving to the door, "Is this one up to the quality of the one we slept in last night?"

"Better. This one is not a home he converted, but he completely built this one. Remember that Terish is slightly paranoid. He thus puts in a level of quality and detail into his Cricket Houses, but it might not have you feeling comfortable. If you paid attention to my stories of Terish's world, you might understand the architecture."

He entered the house to indeed see an interior that was unusual. The walls were curved and covered with a stone tile very uneven in placement although with a structure that could be recognized. Long wide ledges were set in places from waist high to near the ceiling. No set pattern to the corridors could be determined with some going down and a couple going up. No rooms could be made out, except for wide bulges in corridors set apart by ornate tapestries. The kitchen, main assembly room, and even the stables appeared to be spacious areas where a few corridors came together and not separate rooms unto themselves. Giluchex noted an abundance of gold bearing quartz rock, along with actual gilded artwork in the structure. The padding, carpet, pillows, and mattresses were of leather with colored artwork done in needlework. What appeared to be linen had an odd texture that Giluchex found out to be made from feathers and not plant fibers. He found himself eventually finding his empress in order to ask her a question about the place.

"You like this design?"

"It is fabulous for a party, Giluchex. It allows for people to move, get away privately, rejoin other groups, and such very easily. I am glad that Thiminy has not been redesigned in this style, but something about this architecture just does not have Terish's people seem as horrid as Terish or Terdeskollit make them sound."

He had to ask, "You first slept with Terish in a place like this?"

"I think so. I believe it was in one of these places that I first climbed up on one of those ledges." She pointed to one near the ceiling. "Terish does not sleep in a bed, and seldom sleeps anywhere anyone can reach him. Of all the places that I caught him napping, ledges like that I felt could support me as well. You cannot imagine how scared he was. He still is extremely cautious. Can you imagine growing up in a world where a boy had to learn to fight and kill just to deliver bread? That is why there are no rooms, Giluchex. Terish's people would kill whatever they could hole up. They thus learned to always have an avenue of escape. Even in their own homes, they were always ready to flee if they could not fight. I am sure that you have heard the story of Terish and Ferrigote's first adventure together. If you hear it from them it is not a story of defeating an ancient vampire, but of the two learning enough respect for each to trust the other. One conversation you always hear around suppertime is who is going to stay up during the night. Terish does not sleep if he feels that he could be caught defenseless."

"And you like that?"

"Oh, yes, Giluchex. Terish is one man that I know will not go to sleep after a little activity." He returned her smile, then tried to turn away and close the conversation, but she did not make it easy. "Why are you asking these questions now, Giluchex? Why didn't you ask them decades ago?"

He did not turn to again face her as he said, "I thought them rude and meaningless."

"They are still rude, but they always had meaning. You are of the council, Giluchex. You should have had more concern than just the politics."

Giluchex did not have to turn to face the lady, because she had come around to face him. "The politics were easy, Empress. It is hard for a man to discuss romance and relationships with women other than his own without getting into trouble with his own ladies. There were many men from Davelda that had no lady troubles, who wanted to speak with you of romance and relationships, and who should have pleased you more than Terish."

"No, Giluchex, there were not. I am, was, an empress. I ruled over a world. I could not relate to those who spoke only of one place as home. Terish has saved worlds. No man on Davelda could claim that. Terish took over a country. His friend, Ferrigote, took over a world. Ferrigote is more of an emperor than I am an empress. He has no council that can challenge his orders. When I met Terish, I realized that he represented something beyond Davelda that could possibly be greater than what we had. As I came to know Terish, I realized that he was something greater than any man of Davelda."

"He is still a man."

Giluchex saw the lady glare at him, but he easily locked eyes with her. He thought that he had her. Any attempt to deny the claim or say that the males of her home world were unworthy he could easily challenge. Straekin however again showed her ability to bypass his attempts to trap her.

"He is giving me answers, Giluchex, not policies. Davelda has problems, and the council tries to resolve with laws what should be easily eliminated with good application of knowledge."

[Received "The posted message is too big" warning, so the rest of the installment is below.]

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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PostSubject: Part 3B   February 4th 2009, 8:05 am

[This is the finish of the installment above, and this chapter for that matter.]

He again tried what he thought was a line of attack. "What about Thiminy?"

"What about it? It manages wonderfully. I remember being reprimanded when I left Davelda for a day, a week, and especially a month. Thiminy goes about its life generally unconcerned with those of us in the castle. I travel about with everyone very glad to see me and cheerfully willing to take time to talk. If I don't show up for a while, they simply consider that we had said all that we had to say so needed a break before saying everything all over again. I love Thiminy, Giluchex."

"Are you saying that we need to set Terish up as our emperor?"

"No, Giluchex. I am saying that a change of management style is needed. I am saying that whatever logic the council has been using needs to change."

The features of the man brightened as he saw Celatia trot up the corridor. The flowing manner of the hallway and its size presented no obstacle to the centaur. Giluchex had been wondering if Straekin was going to sleep with her husband in the stables, but suddenly realized in this home Celatia could move about as an equal member of the group. He was used to her being treated as an equal, as the centaur was a normal visitor to Castle Davelda. He looked to her expectantly as a means of ending a conversation, and the fact that she spoke helped him feel that she would definitely accomplish the task.

"Hello, Straekin, Giluchex. Kethal says that he wants to cook, and Terish is making sure that he can find his way about the kitchen. I am going down to the underground pool to bathe. Dathol has found some books that Terish stashed here, and is in the common room reading. You two thus are free to find something for you to do as well."

Straekin replied, I will get some clothes then join you in the pool."

Giluchex left the ladies. He intended to find a room that he would claim as his own, but instead walked the corridors looking at the design and decorating. It suddenly struck him that he was seeing into Terish's mind and past. Giluchex thus walked attempting to imagine the type of people that would actually prefer the architecture.

He stopped upon entering a large chamber with a roaring fireplace. He had already seen the room, but with his changed perspective and with a blazing fire Giluchex found himself studying the place one more time. As he looked around, he saw Dathol sitting on a couch reading a book. Feeling a need to relax, Giluchex moved to a large padded chair while asking a question.

"What did you find worth reading?"

Dathol looked up to answer, "It is strange what books one will find Terish reading. My problem is that I never see in them what he does. I often enjoy his selections, but seldom for the same reasons that caused him to be interested in the selection."

"Okay, but what book is it?"

"Oh, it is 'The Skull of Lagroose Island.' It is mostly a history, but an attempt is being made to set the focus on the head bone of an ancient ancestor. I believe the focus is towards a major war, but I haven't read enough to be certain."

"A history?" Giluchex made an association due to who built the house. "Of Terish's world?"

"No, but there are always lessons to learn from the lives of anyone."

"I thought Cricket Houses were open to travelers, so this book could have been left by someone other than Terish."

"Well, yes, but that is an easy question to answer, because Terish writes translations in the margins." Dathol turned the book around to show a strange section of what could be mistaken for a smudge as the writing was so tiny. "Terish says that he does it because he is seldom in a place where he can take notes, so has to memorize and writing increases mental retention."

"What makes you believe is the reason Terish read it?"

"I don't know. Might have been the rationale for the war, assuming that there is a war, or it might be the love story that is developing."

Giluchex went quiet with the feeling that it sounded like a book he would enjoy. He however knew that when Dathol mentioned a translation he did not mean that it would have the language of Davelda in it. Straekin had a number of books with Terish's small scribbles in the margins, and had heard it mentioned that they were in the language of Terish's world. Giluchex suddenly found himself needing to ask another question.

"Terish knows the language of his people?"

"Well." Dathol had gone back to reading, but a smile was on his face as he answered the question. "Yes, as it was his efforts to read a text in the Dozzrine home that had the Dozzrines take an interest in him. He will admit not having figured much out, but the fact that he took the effort and managed what he did set things in motion."

"What things in motion?"

Dathol closed the book and stared at Giluchex as if waiting for the man to explain his question. Giluchex however felt that the flow of the conversation was enough to give context. He did think back over recent events for some specific action that could help focus the question. Before he could recall anything to reframe the inquiry, Dathol provided an answer.

"Why, this trip we are taking. There is another complete omniverse, Giluchex. There are these worlds that we travel through, but each has at least one other reality. While most think of Heaven as a limited space of divine sanctuary, it is really a grand reality in itself. There are portals between worlds in that reality just as there are in this one. While Terish and Ferrigote traveled on their adventures, they did things that caused the deities of those worlds to take notice. I cannot say exactly what occurred, but word spread of Terish through the divine realms.

"I cannot believe that the prophetess Desiree foresaw these events, but there is now little doubt that she saw enough, or understood enough, to have acted properly. Terish clearly states that she somehow understood that Terdeskollit was about to remove his world from existence. Desiree also knew that no one would be spared, even to the point of no soul being brought to live in the divine realm. How she convinced the Dozzrines to work with her none can say, but the matron of the Dozzrine family did take the words seriously. Terish will talk about his year with Desiree, and it is to the lady's credit that she managed to have the boy understand his purpose."

Giluchex spoke to assure the holy man that he was being understood. "Considering where she sent Terish and the situations that occurred, it is amazing that Terish survived."

"Yes, but it is not the survival of Terish that has us on this adventure. It is the fact that her instructions to Terish were correct. The whole year that Desiree had Terish, she instilled in him the need to learn. She told Terish that there was an answer that could have him provide salvation to the next world Terdeskollit would create. Terish did not simply travel with Ferrigote and kill monsters, he learned. He solved puzzles to learn their answers. He figured out strategies to learn how other people thought. Ferrigote helped a lot in the early days, but you will hear him speak of times when a puzzle or tactic was unnecessary, but Terish took the time to reason it out anyway. When the two finally faced Ferrigote's god, there was an understanding in the divine realms that Terish was on the proper path for accomplishing something grand. This adventure we are on is another step to that success."

Giluchex had grown bored with the conversation, and spoke what he thought would be a closing remark. "Still, Terish should not have survived."

"No, he should not have survived. He would not have survived without the help of gods, however. Ferrigote's god made Terish immortal. Sanver has allowed me to instruct Terish. We are heading to a church where another deity has provided Terish with guidance. I went with Terish when the sleeping gods were awakened, and they were kind to Terish. Terdeskollit is no monster, Giluchex. The answer to Terish's problem has never been to slay Terdeskollit, take the treasure, and move on with another tale of victory. This is a different battle entirely than you will read in any story. If we are to survive, something new will need to be learned. Gods have been working with Terish to figure out what is necessary, and I travel with Terish to assess the success of what is thought to be known and maybe conceive of what is yet to be discovered. Desiree was correct, only through learning can success be gained."

That was definitely a longer lecture than Giluchex wanted to listen to. He looked at Dathol with a blank expression wondering if the man was going to say more. Dathol tried to return to his reading, but glanced at Giluchex as if sensing the man continuing to stare at him. A smile crossed Dathol's face as he made a statement indicating that he was finished.

"I am wondering what Kethal is cooking."

Giluchex accepted the change of topic, as he did not want to speak further about Terish. He found himself also having to admit that he was hungry. His eyes thus turned from Dathol towards the corridors exiting the room wondering from what direction and in how long the call to supper would come.

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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