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 Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 14

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PostSubject: Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 14   February 19th 2009, 7:44 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Fourteen

Part 1

Giluchex moved through the Cricket House rather awed with the place. The rooms had arched ceilings with highly detailed artwork. The furniture appeared to be of lace carved from ivory. Everything in the building had an irreplaceable aura about it due to its ornate crafting. He found himself quite fascinated with the place, and had to voice his amazement when he saw his empress.

"If I had known of these accommodations, I would have traveled long ago. All that I heard about was you sleeping under the stars."

"That is generally where I sleep, Giluchex. The omniverse is a vast place, and Terish normally heads to places off the usual paths. Tomorrow night we will be guests of Kingsport, and from there we are back to sleeping under the stars."

Giluchex could not help but speak of a plan that had been going through his own mind. "Well, you would think that our horse trainers would have put together some tour making use of these Cricket Houses."

"There are rules to these places, Giluchex. Learning about them puts you in a rather elite group. They are hard to make and maintain, so not everyone is made aware of them. If you meet somebody else in these places, you can almost bet that the person has built one of his own."

"So, why doesn't somebody build one and live in it?"

"Because that is not the rule." Giluchex could tell that his empress was about to lecture him, but allowed her to speak while he continued to look at the artistry around him. "If you are going to build a home, build one. If we were traveling more socially, there are places we could go and stay with people. For the magic of one of these places to hold, you don't live in them."

Giluchex decided to speak simply to keep the lady talking. "But Terish breaks rules all the time."

"No, because he understands what the rules are. Your pontifications in the council don't make the type of rules that Terish abides by." Giluchex was about to say something, but Straekin kept speaking, "He also understands how important it is for him to keep living."

He was unsure about the latter statement, but went ahead and said what he was about to interrupt the lady to say. "Still, these places are quality accommodations. Are your rooms in Thiminy so lavish?"

"Yes, Giluchex, they are. I assure you that I lack no comfort in Thiminy. If I wanted so much filigree about me, I could have it."

"But their quality of medical care is not up to the standards of Davelda. We expected you to return to have your children."

"I had more care and comfort during my childbirth than I believe any woman in Davelda would receive. Just for note, Giluchex, why didn't you come?"

There was a difference in speaking with Straekin. Her presence still gave her bearing and speech a sense of importance, but the words came in a relaxed manner that Giluchex only previously felt she managed with great control. He however found himself listening to honest confident tones that he believed issued from his empress without any consideration for staging. The question thus took him by surprise, because her manner of returning statements usually led to a clearly stated conclusion and not a general question.

"What?"

"I can understand my first pregnancy. You just said that you were expecting me to show up in Davelda. The fact that I didn't should have made you wonder why not, and should have brought you to Thiminy for the second. My children are important to Davelda as well. Someone, definitely somebody with a high position in the council, should have come."

Giluchex had to look around to assure himself that he was not in the royal council chamber of Davelda. He remembered numerous times that Straekin had put him on the spot in front of public cameras. The magnificent arched ceilings had the elegance of Castle Davelda, but that was the only association. Understanding that the conversation was private had the man feel free to ask what would normally be a humiliating response.

"Would Thiminy have let me?"

"Royal births are a matter of state. The one thing that was not really provided was privacy. Terish was there. Dathol was there. Within the castle were dignitaries from a number of surrounding kingdoms and other worlds with which Terish and I have relations. The only people from Davelda, besides my own people, were a few concerned citizens."

The normally confident Giluchex dropped his gaze on the lady as he admitted, "I could have at least sent my wife."

Any further condemnation of the man ceased as Terish showed up saying, "Supper is almost finished. Found some fish in the larder, so replaced the fish with our meat. Should be a welcomed change of diet."

Giluchex would have continued speaking with his empress, but did not want to talk to Terish. While some appreciation of the man had come, there was no desire to form any friendship. Giluchex did nod to Terish in a gesture of allowing him to again dominate the time with Straekin before walking away. He returned the signal, although seemed to suspect something because Giluchex heard Terish ask his wife a question.

"Have you been mistreating him?"

"You know that he deserves it. I believe that he is actually listening, though."

"Does that mean that I can tell him that it is his turn to cook the next meal?"

"We will be in Kingsport tomorrow, so we will probably have someone else fix the meal. I will however see how much Giluchex will provide the following night."

Giluchex picked up his pace making a mental note to help his empress in preparing the next meal that needed to be fixed. He came to an intersection, and as he looked to remember the way to the kitchen he saw Celatia come towards him. Hoping to move with her to where the food could be found, he gave a greeting.

"Hello, dear lady, it seems that this place provides more space for you than even Terish's Cricket House last night."

"Oh, this place has plenty of room. Terish and Straekin said that they might retire alone in a small bedroom next to the elegant chamber where they put their stuff."

"You are not sleeping in the stables?"

"I am not a horse, Giluchex. The stables are usually better designed for my form, but I like comfort. I like being outdoors also, but, truthfully, I enjoy socializing. If all of you are inside, I want to be inside as well."

He truthfully never considered the lady as an animal, so felt no embarrassment as he said, "I can understand that. I overheard Terish say that supper was almost finished."

"Yes, it is to be fish. Come on."

Giluchex began walking besides the centaur, although had to ask, "I thought you were strictly a vegetarian."

"It is a big body, Giluchex, and carrying Terish keeps it rather active. I need some proteins. Too much upsets me, but too little causes me troubles as well. I agree with everyone else that fish is a welcomed change to the diet, so will probably do more than steal a bite or two from Terish or Straekin."

"I remember Raedell. She would sometimes be so skinny when Straekin would bring her to the castle to stay. I thus can understand the stress having Terish as a rider could be."

"Raedell did so much. She was a veteran of the war, actually there at the final battle. She carried Terish through some great adventures, then during his period of insanity. She was there when he regained his sanity, then the disruption afterwards. I don't believe the stress was carrying Terish, but the period she carried him. It took some time for me to get used to having a rider on my back, but it is not so bad."

Giluchex noticed a real feeling of sadness in the tones of the lady as she further said, "I really never knew Raedell however. She and I are from completely different tribes. I knew about her, and saw her in passing a few times, but the only time I spoke to her was as she was dying. She tried so hard to give me some clues about the life I was to lead and how to manage it. The information did help, at first, but Terish had changed just as his lifestyle had changed. I consider the earlier adventure with Terdeskollit, what has happened since, and now this adventure, and believe that my information will not help the next one to carry Terish, as they will get someone who has changed and developed even further."

"I don't know; he seems the same to me. The same cocky confidence. The one that changed is Straekin."

"Well, I believe whatever is changing is for the better."

Giluchex considered the lady to have declared her honest belief, and he gave her the honor of stating his. "I don't."

"Six hundred years, Giluchex, and you did not want a change?"

"After six hundred years, I felt that there should not be a need for the council anymore. We of Davelda could sit back and relax in peace. That is what I fight for, peace. No need to move between worlds. No bickering."

"But I hear that you are the one that bickers the most."

Giluchex mentally kicked himself for forgetting that he was not around his usual group of supporters, and worked to diplomatically exit the conversation by saying, "It's just not the Davelda that I wanted."

"If you want something, you do whatever is necessary to get it. From what I hear, you never even changed tactics."

Giluchex expected to regret asking, but his curiosity forced him to make the inquiry, "Changed tactics?"

"Straekin said that you were easy to out-maneuver, because you were so predictable."

Having spent a few years as a teacher, Giluchex easily slid into an instructional tone. "There is just one procedure for doing things in the council."

"Your present government did not come into existence until after your war, so whatever procedures there are – you implemented. There is no history, no tradition. The rules could have been easily changed or side-stepped without hurting much."

"Why establish rules if you are not going to follow them?"

"Why keep doing things the same way if they are not successful?"

Giluchex turned and headed on down the hallway to a room that he saw others enter. He did not want to debate on that topic. As far as his style and philosophies went, he knew that he was in enemy territory. His empress did have the record of succeeding in spite of his barriers. Terish had won Straekin and a place in Davelda even as the faction that Giluchex led in the council, a large percentage of delegates, tried to discredit the man. However right he felt he had been, Giluchex could not help but understand that he presently traveled with those that had proven him wrong.

He entered the dining area expecting the topic to continue, but his empress warmly received him. He wanted to speak with her, but found Celatia to gain the attention of Straekin on a discussing concerning attire. Giluchex found his interest gained by Terish and Dathol who discussed the imagery in the artwork around the Cricket House. They knew who had constructed the building, and spoke of him and that world. Giluchex found himself amazed with the information, and enjoyed the fact that the other men had no resistance to including him in the conversation. He actually left for bed pleased with the evening and his accommodations.

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PostSubject: Reply   February 24th 2009, 8:03 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Fourteen

Part 2

Travel the next day continued with enjoyable conversation and a relaxed pace. All knew from hearing Terish give directions to Celatia that their destination would be easily achieved, although those that knew the church in Kingsport felt that a later arrival would be better received than an early one. Stops were thus called for any minor reason, and none seemed bothered when somebody found a reason to stall.

The only concern with the trip was with Straekin. She called for the most stops and did not participate in the conversations. Giluchex noticed an exchange between his empress and Terish, then watched as the man allowed Celatia to rest while he practiced with his throwing stars. Feeling that something other than normal marital concerns had passed between the two, Giluchex took the initiative to approach the man and ask about his wife. Terish replied in a soft voice.

"It is just that time of the month, Giluchex. You remember those, don't you? I mean, you are married and have had kids."

Giluchex had not expected the information, and it took a few moments for his mind to connect the data to his own memories. "Oh, yeah, I mean… it would be like Terdeskollit to restore those."

"They are natural, Giluchex. It is how the body of the ladies prepare themselves for childbirth. Has nothing to do with Terdeskollit, although he is the reason Straek again has the cycles."

"I believe that there is medication for that."

"Yes, it is called your immortality process. I don't believe any lady on your world, save Thaunya, is bothered by certain cycles."

Giluchex felt that he was being baited, and responded in a manner to secure his position. "I mean that there is medication to help reduce the suffering."

"What suffering? I am not saying that they are not bothersome, but it is the way her body works. Anyway, yes, there is, and the stuff she has works no matter what world we are on. Straek is not suffering, but the change does affect her."

"Okay, Terish. Just worried about my empress."

"Giluchex, listen, stop worrying about Straekin and start worrying about Davelda."

The tone had changed in Terish's voice. The words did not have his usual cocky fast speech, but were more normally stated with a sense of importance. Giluchex did not respond, but only waited to hear what more Terish would say.

"There has to be an answer. There has to be other women that want babies. I am glad that you are on this adventure, but your problems are not my problems or Straekin's problems. If answers start coming, you had better get your own questions spoken."

"I have always believed Davelda's problems can be solved by Davelda."

"It has been over six hundred years, Giluchex. Surely you have at least come to the opinion that a little advice might help."

Giluchex's form froze as he prevented a retort, and he relaxed as he said something more diplomatic. "I have come, Terish. Let us call it a first step."

"No. I am waiting until you return to Davelda, then I plan to spend some of my money to launch a media frenzy of how you and I became great drinking buddies."

"I have seen you beaten, bloody, and angry, but I have never seen you drunk, Terish."

A grin came to Terish's face as he said, "I have found myself surprised that you drank at all. I figured you to only want to drink rice-water."

"Rice-water?"

"Full of starch."

Giluchex smiled as the words did not make him angry, although he tried to put a little stress in his voice as he said, "That is it. I am going to talk to my wife on our return, and make certain that she and I have you and Empress Straekin over one evening."

Terish loudly said, "Straek, we have a coming dinner appointment with Giluchex and his wife."

The distant voice of the lady returned, "Her name is Lafanna."

"Make certain we keep it." Terish then looked to Giluchex and said, "You have just made a mistake."

"You will have to suffer through it with me."

The man laughed, and Giluchex laughed as well. The two traded some small talk about the throwing stars until Straekin returned. A short friendly conversation then occurred between the three to assure future gatherings before everyone decided that they needed to travel again.

Giluchex did notice that the exact place of the sun did change in moving between worlds, but it was not different enough for him to consider the differences in worlds that grand. He however quickly noticed a difference in this world and the others. A smell permeated the air that disrupted the normal fragrances of the plants. The sound of distant engines could be heard. He saw brick houses through the trees with wires indicating a level of technology. He could easily tell that this world was not Davelda, but Giluchex felt that some comforts that had been neglected would tonight be provided.

The group paused as if sensing trouble as soon as they noticed the parking lot was filled with vehicles. Sounds of people moving caused them further concern. Giluchex noticed that everyone looked to Terish, and did not grow alarmed as he sat calmly in the saddle.

"If it weren't for Celatia, we could probably fake this."

Straekin replied, "They know about Celatia. You have been coming here since you had Raedell."

"Yes, but I always got the impression that news of us was kept private."

Terish went ahead and signaled his steed to move forward. The others followed, but they rode cautiously between the parked vehicles toward a group of people pointing cameras and guns. Giluchex felt that they were heading toward trouble, but noticed that all followed Terish's lead.

A man broke through the arch of people to yell out, "Terish, Straekin, Celatia, please come!"

Giluchex found it strange that he understood the person. He normally had to depend upon Straekin for translations. Realizing that he would be able to understand the natives of this world caused Giluchex to commit himself to staying with his empress.

Terish signaled his steed to gallop forward, then stop before the crowd. Giluchex noticed the stance of the man and centaur thinking it a good pose before the media. The impression was strengthened as he saw the flash of cameras and the voices of reporters.

The man that originally broke through and spoke was joined by a number of others. Terish and Celatia held their stance while those stepping forward jostled each other and made comments in various attempts to dominate. A figure in robes wearing a strange ornate hat moved through the crowd, and those trying to gain a front position deferred to the man. From watching the reaction of those with cameras and microphones, Giluchex received the impression that this man speaking was as much a news event as having an interdimensional hero and his exotic steed.

"Terish Dozzrine. I have heard of you, and have seen pictures. The leaders of this church seemed to have known of your coming, and worked to hold my leader, the pastor over all churches of our type, to wait for your coming."

"I came for rest. I am on a mission, but there are still hours in the day. I will give you what hours I can."

"My leader has his commitments as well. As soon as you feel comfortable."

Terish looked to the one that had first spoken as he asked, "Are there any problems, Gerald?"

"No, Terish. Your rooms and the conference room are set for your convenience. The food should be of better quality than usual."

Terish looked back to his companions, then told Dathol to escort the others around to the usual housing area. Giluchex noticed that no verbal statement was made to Straekin. She simply dismounted, and as she did Terish dismounted as well. The lady handed the reins of her horse to Dathol, then moved to her husband. Giluchex also dismounted, handed his reins to the holy man, then moved behind the couple while softly speaking to them.

"If this is a matter of state, then a representative of the council should be present."

Terish returned, "We are king and queen of Thiminy. We are not a recognized couple on Davelda."

Straekin turned her head to look at Giluchex as she said, "Unless you are willing to promise me a change in policy, but I still don't believe it will bring me back." She saw the man pause, then approached to direct his attention elsewhere. "Do you see what is over there, Giluchex? A playground. Look in the group before you. There are people with graying and white hair. This isn't our world, Giluchex, or the world we went to war to gain."

"It is the world you left to gain."

"No, Giluchex. I left to be with my husband. I am still immortal. I have what I wanted, both as person and as a member of a society that learned a great secret. I went to a world where they could provide a proper environment for my children, then sent one to my home to see if my people were too old to still feel certain desires."

A voice spoke from the front of the crowd, "Terish, Straekin, may I ask to whom you are speaking?"

Straekin turned to answer, "This is Giluchex of the council of Davelda."

"Oh, so he is an immortal as well?"

"Immortality is something that should apply to the whole bush. That applies to the thorns as well as the roses."

Giluchex looked at the speaker, then had his attention gained by the presence of another standing behind him. Signs of age were apparent in the white hair of the man, but he had a stance and a smile that declared health. He was dressed in a suit of layered sections of white cloth with embroidery of gold around the edges. A very tall rounded hat was on his head. Giluchex stepped forward while softly asking a question of Terish about the man.

"He is a religious person?"

"Giluchex, we told you that we would be staying at a church. From what I see, we have a large religious gathering at the moment. That person, happens to be, on my I-have-never-seen-him-before list." A little louder, "Straek, can we?"

The lady took her cue, and soon they were immersed in a number of people. Giluchex noticed that everyone seemed to be aware of Terish's history. When informed of the reason for the recent adventure, many in the group were quite able to ask relevant questions about strategies and ramifications. What really gained his attention was what benefits they imagined the liquid Terdeskollit desired could bestow. Giluchex usually did not enjoy religious situations, but paid attention with the understanding that what was said could actually prove applicable to the journey. He made himself useful by playing lawyer for Terish and Straekin. He found himself pleased to be able to understand most of what was said, so could help the couple with wording answers to some penetrating questions.

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PostSubject: Part 3A   March 1st 2009, 7:59 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Fourteen

Part 3

Venicht glared at Nuverd. The staff had come down, but the lad felt certain that he did not deserve the act. He had been achieving such high marks in his studies that the priests allowed for a closed room to be opened up. Venicht had been awed in seeing this relic, although troubled that it was only recognized as being old, and not for being useful. Knowing not to openly defy the guardian, Venicht forced his form even more erect as he focused upon the priests while stating his understanding of what they had shown him.

"But you called this 'The Font of Transmission.' The name must be because you can speak to Munulva."

A female priest calmly replied, "Those are just stories, young prince."

"No, they are not. Munulva is real. This font is real. The evidence is all around you that these stories are real."

A slight smile came to the face of the priestess as she responded, "We would all like to believe…"

"NO!" Venicht spun to his guardian to demand, "Nuverd, you know how to send a message. Do it."

The guardian's face turned red as with anger, although his words came out soft. "Prince Venicht, I was taught by your father how to contact him. Even there, I am no mage. I need a device."

"Use the font."

"Venicht, I doubt that…"

The lad remembered a phrase that his father often used upon him and turned it to his benefit. "Nuverd, you will only prove me wrong by proving me wrong."

"This is a holy item, Prince Venicht. I don't believe…"

"No belief, Nuverd. If Munulva disapproves, she can tell us. Use the font."

All the adults showed unease as they attempted to conceive of some method to restore control over the situation. Venicht moved his head to each to glare as if demanding that they act or state their defiance. While a few chanced clearing their throats, none spoke. Nuverd locked his gaze with the lad, but showed an acceptance of the young man as his superior and moved up to the font.

"I beg this company's forgiveness, and the forgiveness of the goddess. It is my job to assure the training of Prince Venicht, and demonstrations work far better than lectures."

The lad continued to move his gaze to others in the room, although he also found his interest turning to Nuverd as the man went through certain motions. Gasps sounded as the font lit up with an unusual radiance. Further exclamations filled the room when the eyes of someone definitely not female became evident over the font, although Venict looked at them stating his recognition.

"Father, I miss you."

The voice of Terish clearly returned, "Venicht, is there a problem?"

"They said the font would not work, Father, but I commanded Nuverd to use it."

The image pulled back to reveal Terish, Straekin, and a host of others as the mother of the child said, "I once also used 'The Font of Transmission,' but no one ever believed it when I said so. Well done, son. Maybe you can teach those of Davelda something even as they teach you."

The lad fought back sobs as he admitted, "I am lonely, mother. I have no one to play with."

"I saw my people playing with you, Venicht."

"Not all the time. I often have to play with myself."

"Venicht, listen to me. Those are your people as much as they are mine. You need to learn about them even as they need to learn about you."

"But there are no children here."

A stern tone entered the lady's voice as she said, "Venicht, that was known from the start. What I want to know is, do they want children? Is the Davelda they have the Davelda they want? I know that they love you, Venicht. I know that they love sport. What my world lost was children, and after over six hundred years I wanted children. I wanted you, Venicht, your sisters, and probably more. I sent you to my world not just because I think they are wonderful people and can help teach you to become a wonderful person, but to see if they wanted what I had obtained."

A priest chanced to ask, "Empress, where are you?"

Terish answered, "We are in a church as well. I believe that is why the font worked, as the sanctity of the device was able to connect to the sanctity of this place."

Nuverd said, "Your majesty, I do not recognize the style of that church."

"No, General, this is not a church of your world. Straekin and I having children have proposed questions to more than just Davelda. Ferrigote is coming, and Dathol is already with us. We might be away for a time."

The lad asked, "When will I see you again?"

"Venicht, if you have the responsibility to seeing over others, that responsibility does not include me, your mother, or those in our circle of friends. We however will be traveling through other holy places. That font might actually work better at contacting us than other devices."

Straekin said, "Your father and I love you, Venicht. Thank you for contacting us, but we all have work to do."

Venicht noticed that the light was fading as he replied, "I love you as well."

He turned from the font working to prevent any tears from showing. Some shuffling could be heard, so the lad quickly worked his hands over his eyes knowing that an elder would be taking back control. The touch of Nuverd's hand on his shoulder was not forceful however, and neither were his words.

"Come on, Prince Venicht. I believe all of us need to consider what has just happened. Considering that you have a full life ahead of you, and everyone else are immortals, I doubt that an evening of thought could be considered wasted."

The idea of spending another evening playing alone did not please the lad, and he spun with defiance to declare, "The font worked and Munulva is real!"

No retort sounded from the priests. Venicht in fact saw that most nodded towards him. He turned to his guardian as he saw the staff lift. Instead of it coming down with force, it pointed off to where a red light glowed.

"As I said, young prince, I believe that all of us need to consider what has just happened. What you are advancing is not play, but discussion. We adults often consider it play, and, in spite of what all of us desire, it seems, young prince, that you are rushing your steps to grow up. I would well advise that you take time considering what has occurred as well."

Venicht smiled as he recognized to what Nuverd was referring, and cheerfully said, "Let us return to the castle. I want to speak to Annalia. She surely was watching."

"If not, she will certainly be able to review the event to gain the knowledge to speak with you. What you need to understand is that while you might have been able to force a revelation, you cannot force an interpretation. You will need to wait and see what conclusions others form."

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

Straekin displayed her life of being in the center of attention as she calmly spoke to her husband, "I had thought my people would recognize certain questions without the help of Munulva."

The eyes of Terish continued to dart about showing his unease in being surrounded by such a large number of unknown people, but his voice had no anxiety in it. "How about your own staff? They have had years around the children. Have they found an answer to the question?"

"No, but it is their situation. The men of Thiminy grow old. The men of Davelda cannot provide children even should the ladies become blessed. While they want children, they want a life with a man as well. Some have said that they would decline their immortality."

"When we return, we need to see that Venicht gets opportunities to play with other children."

Reverend Gerald had no expression of embarrassment in admitting that he had been eavesdropping as he said, "I can make certain that you get word of events at our church. Your son would be more than welcome."

Straekin quickly, almost instinctively, responded graciously adding phrases to put the meeting back on track. While some short discussion of the interruption did follow, the group did have their own concerns and quickly returned to their previous agenda. Terish was a lot more knowledgeable of the matters that caused the gathering, and Straekin allowed her husband to maintain control while she thought about her son. Realizing that the meeting was coming to a conclusion caused her to look to Terish wondering if he noticed her lack of attention. A smile from him indicated that her wandering mind had not caused any concern. The expression gave Straekin the confidence to continue to act through another social then some private meetings, but once finally alone with her husband she spoke to assure that he shared her thoughts.

"Terish, I did not want Venicht to return to my world in order to preach about the presence of Munulva."

"Well, it seems that what he is preaching is working. You have to give Venicht credit for that."

"It is still not what I intended."

"No, but I believe it is what Munulva intended. Your silent goddess has been active since we sent Venicht to Davelda. Not just with our son either, but something is driving Giluchex. What I see declares that he is not a believer, but Munulva is working to get his recognition."

Straekin did smile with approval at her husband developing the topic as she thought about what to do and say in order to keep him on the subject. "Why? Our goddess did not go silent when we discovered the secret of eternal life. She had been silent for centuries before that, and there really are not many stories of her being active before that."

"Have you asked her?"

"No. I tell her that I am working to do the best for myself, my family, and those that I rule over." Her voice softened as she confessed, "Terish, I tell her that I still consider Davelda my world and my responsibility."

A knock sounded on the door with Terish moving to it, although he paused before opening to say to his wife, "I believe that Davelda has declared that they still consider you their empress."

A young man stood at the door that Straekin did not recognize and felt certain that her husband did not either. Considering that a number of dignitaries had convened, it was very conceivable that some agents remained to perform follow-up work. The man was dressed in good clothes, and Straekin knew that Terish actually considered this place as not one that he needed to be concerned with his safety. She was thus not surprised that he calmly waited for the man to speak.

"Sir, Mr. Dozzrine, I really am on shaky ground here, but may I ask if you know the religion of Kethal?"

"You did just ask, and you are still alive." Before the man could register shock or apologize, Terish answered the question. "His world is polytheistic with gods that placed most of their power within their creation. The gods thus are not really that powerful, although in knowing what their world is capable of they can more than accomplish what they desire."

"But, the souls of the people, Kethal's soul, is he saved?"

"You should have listened to the proceedings. We spoke on that issue."

"I am sorry, but I had duties, then I met Kethal and spent time with him."

Terish displayed that he had no doubt that such was true by again supplying information, "His soul is not saved. In fact, he committed a very serious infraction against the rules of his gods. Being on this mission is his repentance, and should all go well he should return to his world again having the blessing of his gods."

"But, what if he doesn't return to his world? What if he stays here?"

"Most gods are accepting of any that commit themselves to them, and I believe that such is true of your deity. I have certainly had the leaders of your own church try to get me to commit to their God, as have other deities in a more direct fashion. I know my mission, and what I have managed to accomplish towards that mission. I also know what my world was, and what it now is not. I thus have stayed true to my adopted family, the Dozzrines, and to the prophetess Desiree who is responsible for me not being present when my world was forgotten by the God that created it. Kethal can speak for himself about his own attachment to his world."

The young man seemed to accept that he was dealing with alternate belief structures even as he worked to present his own plans. "Ah, yes, but he wants forgiveness. My God is able to forgive all sins."

"Your God is able to accept Kethal in spite of his past, but that does not mean that the spirits of Kethal's dead family or the gods that watch over them have forgiven him. Speaking as an immortal, eternal life is not blissful if there are concerns weighing one down."

"But my God is able to give true loving peace."

"If I murdered your family, would your God be able to make you at peace with me?"

[This installment was too long, so it continues below.]

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PostSubject: Part 3B   March 1st 2009, 8:01 am

[This is the rest of the installment started above.]

"I… would," Straekin could tell from watching the man's face that he was attempting to work through the example, "my God would enable me to find it in my heart to forgive you."

"But if you did not have the help of your God? Would you forgive me then?"

"No, I guess not."

"Would it make you feel better if I went to live in a mansion where I had unlimited wealth to buy whatever I desired?"

A spark showed on the face of the young of a desire to return to an earlier statement of his beliefs, although his expression sobered as he went ahead and allowed that such a response would not answer the question. "No, I am certain that it would not."

"Well, I believe Kethal wants to be restored to his family and gods. Accepting the love and rewards of your God would not gain it."

"I see. Thank you, Mr. Dozzrine, for your time."

Terish spoke some positive words to the man before closing the door. Straekin listened very pleased with the direct way her husband handled the questions, then the graciousness of attempting to set a positive tone to the raw data. She thought upon his handling of his children, especially his training of Venicht. Straekin considered another part of her life, and felt that she was speaking of words of encouragement to her husband as she voiced those thoughts.

"Davelda needs you."

"Me? I dare say that Davelda has spoken on that."

"Terish, you are a good ruler. Thiminy is a thriving kingdom. As small as it is, it offers its people a number of benefits."

"All I do is show up to fight those that march armies against it, enact certain laws and building programs, read a while, then rush off on my next adventure. I give all credit to the success of Thiminy to the people of Thiminy."

"Listen, Terish, I have been watching you for over a century now. Watching you rather closely at times, especially over the last number of years. Your leadership is what Davelda needs."

"They get it through you, and I believe I and Davelda like it that way. You just want to push your responsibility off on somebody."

Straekin understood that he was being playful, so began removing her clothes as she asked, "What would it take to convince you?"

Straekin paused to watch the face of her husband. While he had been playful, her question returned a serious expression to his features. She understood that his mood had not soured, but only that he considered her very important. Any question she asked he took as something that needing answering. She rose and moved towards him to indicate that she did not want him to stay serious in attitude. His eyes did not jump around nervously with her approach. She felt his hands move to hold her while his mind continued to seek an answer to her question.

"I believe that I already answered that. It would take a sign of acceptance from Davelda itself."

"So, you are saying that I am going to have to work on Giluchex?"

"Giluchex? I believe that we were discussing Munulva."

Straekin had been wondering what was taking her husband so much time to consider an answer. He knew so much that responses to complicated questions usually came quickly. Terish was not good at dealing with people, although he usually second-guessed their actions. The mentality of gods was however beyond him, so considering Munulva had puzzled him. Straekin set herself to lowering the level of conversation.

"Okay, but in the meantime I am going to work on you?"

"It won't be the first time Celatia caught us working on each other."

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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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