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 Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 15

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PostSubject: Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 15   March 6th 2009, 7:53 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Fifteen

Part 1

Annalia heard the light steps, then felt the presence of Venicht come next to her. She however continued to sip her tea and watch the television screen. She felt that whatever problem the young prince had ranked less in importance to what was presently occurring elsewhere in the castle.

The scene on the screen was of a nice parlor. Annalia knew the room, and had memories of waiting on Empress Straekin as she visited with certain guests in that very chamber. Sometimes the media people would force the conversation to take place in a corner in order to keep everything in focus. Annalia knew of occasions when Empress Straekin had the seats placed in a corner to send a message to those watching that the proceedings were not relaxed or friendly. The exact opposite message was presently being delivered as the nice plush chairs were spaced apart around a small table upon which were decanters of beverages and plates of small pastries. The tones however used by those speaking clearly indicated that none present considered the interview as friendly.

"Lady Thaunya, are you telling me that you don't know where Terish went?"

The one that asked was Councilman Nerlishy. He was not attempting to act as an open-minded seeker of information, but as someone who wanted to assure that a certain philosophy stayed important in the minds of those listening. A major newscaster known for conducting interviews with important people worked to show interest in the question from the speaker and the possible answer. Councilman Chorrik sat straight in his seat near his wife. She sipped some wine while attempting to display a relaxed posture even as she spoke.

"Ferrigote and his wife were wanting to visit some city in the middle of a rather imposing desert. The scene that you showed me appeared to be the main ceremonial chamber in the church of a place called Kingsport. I visited it on my last adventure with Terish when we ended up going to his world."

The reporter spoke up to clarify the remarks to the audience. "That would be the adventure where Empress Straekin and you gained the ability to again produce children."

"Yes, and Ferrigote gained his wife."

Councilman Nerlishy interjected the statement, "You do not want children however."

"I had my children. All the return of my cycles does is causes me to remember my years before the war."

"But Empress Straekin said that she sent Prince Venicht to us in order to ask us the question if we wanted children. Your answer thus would be, 'No.'"

"I believe we lost something when we lost the ability to produce children. I had my children. This interview will possible cause me to want to go visit them." Thaunya looked at the camera and smiled, then turned back to the councilman to say, "There are many however that surely share the desire of our Empress, even those that had children previously."

"So, you support what Empress Straekin is doing?"

"What? I don't know what she is doing. I suspect that she is traveling with her husband. Yes, I support couples, whether married or not, doing things together."

The newscaster changed his position in his chair, then reached to take a pastry as he said, "We did not see Councilman Giluchex in the image. We however know that he is with our empress."

"I did not recognize anyone except Terish, Straekin, and Dathol. I believe one of those nearby is Reverend Gerald, but he has aged since I last saw him. Some of the others might have been among the children on my last visit. I once could recognize certain features, but I now find that I expect everyone to match my last image of them."

Councilman Nerlishy now said, "Councilman Chorrik, I am thinking to initiate proceedings to hold our medical establishment in contempt for not yet figuring out how to restore our reproductive capabilities."

Thaunya's husband continued to sit with proper posture as he softly responded, "Okay."

"Okay? So you agree?"

"No, but it does not matter. Nothing is going to get through the council until Giluchex returns."

The face of Councilman Nerlishy showed puzzlement as he asked, "Is that a complaint?"

"No, as I felt Davelda ran rather smoothly all those years the council stayed out of session. As my wife said, couples should spend time together. I enjoyed being home with my wife."

Councilman Nerlishy showed disfavor with the words, and the expression made his next question sound rather antagonistic. "How do you feel about the return of her cycles?"

Chorrik now moved to a more relaxed position as he took the hand of his wife while saying, "I share her word, if not the actual weight behind it. I find them annoying. They however also cause me to remember back to days before the war."

Prince Venicht now spoke, "Annalia, I hear a lot about the war. War is also mentioned by my father when he meets with foreign dignitaries."

"Yes, and on Thiminy the subject is often of the near future and not centuries in the past."

"But the people of Thiminy know that they will not have to fight the war. Only my father will fight."

"That is because of who your father is, Prince Venicht, not because of what war is. When we of Davelda speak of war, we speak of something that we all fought in some manner. When your father goes out to fight a war, he is not going to face just one opponent."

"Do you believe that my father could take on Davelda and win?"

The lady had to laugh before replying, "Celatia serves your father because he did take on a global threat and won. He had support, but Celatia and those of her world recognize that your father stood directly before the evil and channeled the power against it. However, even your father recognizes that on that day he truly faced a major threat. I believe that it helped your father understand just how committed he was to living up to the Dozzrine name. Your grandfather, the baker your middle name came from, was not a Dozzrine. Your father was adopted by the Dozzrines because they saw something in him that they did not see in themselves."

"Father says that the Dozzrines were good people, probably better people than his own family. He however has good memories of his father, and wants me to have good memories of him."

"And do you have good memories of being with your father?"

"Yes, and I want him to come back."

The voice of Nuverd came from the doorway, "He will come back, Prince Venicht, but it is you that are leaving. You are growing and in need of finding your own path. Your father has shown, and is showing, the level of commitment and the amount of dedication necessary to facing life. You should emulate that, young prince."

Annalia prevented herself from turning back to the television in order to focus on the lad as she asked, "Are you skipping your studies again?"

The lad returned, "What was on the screen was important."

Nuverd's stern voice returned, "So, you got lucky. I also will agree that you possibly learned something. If you did, you will return to your studies and finish with everything answered properly and in good penmanship."

Annalia said, "Get back to work, Venicht. I will be starting supper soon."

Attempting to stall, the lad returned, "I met Lady Thaunya. She was a nice person. If she is in the castle, could we go meet her?"

Nuverd replied, "She is scheduled to dance tomorrow evening, Young Prince. You are expected to attend. Let us see if you still want to meet her tomorrow after the performance or if you want to come back here and play."

Still attempting to stall, Venicht asked, "Annalia, do you believe that there will be children again on Davelda?"

"I don't know, Venicht. I believe others of this world will find some method of having children, but they might be like your mother. They might decide to go elsewhere to raise them."

"Then this will stay a boring world. I want to go somewhere else."

Nuverd said, "As long as you don't do your studies, I will assure that any world you travel to will be a boring and lonely place."

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PostSubject: Part 2A   March 11th 2009, 7:55 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Fifteen

Part 2

Giluchex really did not know what the partying was about. Yes, Ferrigote and Dirchein had joined the group, but the man was almost a constant in Terish's life. The renown fighter with his wife had suddenly appeared upon a wide almost featureless savanna, and easily directed their mounts to match the pace of the other travelers. The monotonous steady trot did not improve to Giluchex with the added company, but everyone else seemed cheered by Terish and Ferrigote going on about some song that was sung on some earlier march across some desert. The couples were now dancing around the campfire with Kethal working to dance with Celatia. Giluchex had been propositioned by the centaur, but he sat and looked at his surroundings completely dissatisfied with the accommodations.

Recalling stories of mages that used their power to create wonderful homes in the middle of untamed territory caused him to wonder how powerful Terish really was. The thought of asking for such a feat stayed in Giluchex's mind however, as he realized that even if the man was powerful enough, which he most certainly was, and knew the spell, which he most certainly would, he still would not cast it. The group spoke very highly of their surroundings and entertained themselves with no complaints of the lack of amenities. There however was a desire in Giluchex to have the spell cast for him.

For a world where the gods slept, a strong presence of life remained. Grand trees with extended limbs covered in leaves could be seen in all directions. A covering of tough grass grew thick in those areas where the rays of the sun could reach the ground. In looking for a place to set his bedroll, Giluchex even noticed the presence of bugs. Only in the water did a lack of life reveal itself, although he felt the pool of crystal water was at least one good thing about the location, although possibly indicated some deadly taint.

Settling down on his bedroll after refilling his mug with wine, he heard his empress ask, "Giluchex, I thought you danced."

As the lady and her husband approached, he exclaimed, "What? Of course I dance. This just isn't the proper place for it."

"Why? Because there is no one you can impress?"

"Well, yes." He understood that the lady intended to bait him into some unintended response, but he stayed calm as he explained his reasoning. "Dancing is a social activity where you show yourself to have freedom of expression along with a willingness to abide by the rhythm that everyone else is following. It puts one in a proper frame of mind for dealing with others. Without the context, it is just like telling a joke that no one else can understand."

"But that does not mean that the joke is not funny."

"What?"

"If it made you smile, or even think of smiling, then it is a good joke. There might be reasons why you don't tell it to others, but that does not mean it is not a good joke. Come on, Giluchex, dance with me." As he brought up a hand to wave away the proposition, she added, "Come on, it won't be the first time that you danced with me. In fact, there was a time when you sought my hand at social occasions."

"Those were early in your reign, Empress. I needed to learn some things about you."

"I believe that you have forgotten some of the things that you learned, Giluchex."

His eyes scanned the area as he replied, "I would really rather save the offer for a later date."

Terish said, "Come on, Giluchex, and do me a favor. I do not like to dance."

"Why not, Terish?"

"Because of the very things that you just said. I do not like revealing my inner thoughts or emotions and I do not like moving to the same rhythm as everyone else."

Really not wanting to get up, Giluchex decided to ask, "Could you at least provide some music?"

"Hell, Giluchex, you have the power to do that. Hum any song that you want. Straekin will move to it."

"What song were you humming?"

Exasperation showed on Terish's face as he replied, "The one we were talking about. The chant we used to keep our pace when Ferrigote and I led a squad across the desert to his city of gold."

Giluchex rose as he asked, "Empress, will you dance to the anthem of Davelda? That is one song that I am always proud to sing."

She curtsied as she replied, "Most certainly, especially since it was made to be danced to. I believe that I even danced to it on those early commercials when it was just a propaganda ditty. I don't believe that you remember those lyrics however, as they were used against you."

"I definitely know those lyrics that had my name in them." He moved to find a comfortable position with his empress as he said, "I wonder if you remember all those propaganda phrases that you worked into that tune."

Giluchex found himself enjoying the time spent dancing with his empress. There was a a great amount of humor in repeating certain lyrics now that centuries had past since their creation or even the reason for their creation. He fought along with his empress to remember others, then noticed how a number had his name set in the stanzas, but none had her name. That caused him to ask a question.

"Did you even want to become empress?"

"Empress of what? Giluchex, the political world we have now bears no relation to the political world back then. That is why the scientists released the process, because they knew it would be used as a political weapon and would only be offered to the elite. Why did you, Giluchex, vote to create the office of emperor, then why did you vote to put me in that office?"

He believed that he had answered that question before, so easily replied, "You had defeated me. It was only proper."

"Thank you, Giluchex. I hope that you believe that I have done a good job."

"You provided a sanity that is now gone. Your cronies do their usual stalling tactics, but before you were there to clarify their reasoning. I often saw things differently than you, but you did listen and the final edicts did speak to my concerns. Now there is no voice of unity. That is what these propaganda lyrics speak of, and what the actual anthem of our world speaks of. The actual substance behind those words left with you however."

She moved with him in silence for a time, then asked, "Why didn't you come to Thiminy? Why didn't any member of the council come to Thiminy? If you needed a voice in the council, you could have presented your case to me. I probably would have come."

"Why didn't you come back?"

"Because you wouldn't let me go. Giluchex, you ranted every time I wanted to take some time for myself. I have so much freedom in Thiminy that I don't want to leave it."

"Oh, well, it appears that I have made some mistakes, Empress."

"And it appears, Giluchex, that there may be hope for you."

He decided to let the matter drop, so attempted a question that he hoped would change the topic. "What is the anthem of Thiminy?"

The voice of Terish joined his wife in singing a proud upbeat song that spoke of a rewarding life amidst the struggle against oppression. With its conclusion, Ferrigote began a marching song with lyrics of overcoming adversity to gain a glorious future. After Giluchex identified it as the anthem of Gaeskow, Ferrigote added a detail.

"Straekin helped me write those words."

The lady said, "They still don't rhyme, but at least now they have cadence."

"Cadence, yeah, you can march to it right fine. When I was originally conquering Gaeskow, I usually just hummed something or mumbled whatever I thought of at the time. When I finally began assuring my dominance over the world, I needed a proper song, but the lyrics I decided upon just did not get the best reception. Terish was hanging out with Straekin when I went to look for him. He was busy researching something, but Straekin took the time to help me."

The lady looked to Giluchex as she said, "It is not just my influence that extends beyond Davelda, but our horses do as well. You cannot sit in the council and expect to have a vision wide enough to truly see answers to problems. We are immortals, Giluchex, but our world is dying because our people are not out looking for answers to their problems. I am queen over a land of mortals, but the population there is thriving. I say it is because the vision of the people is better."

"Do you really believe that we can find the solutions to the problems of our world out here?"

"I believe that we will find something, and if it is not an answer it is usually something making one want to look further. Right now Davelda is not looking, so finding nothing, and it is dying because of it. Will you, Giluchex, at the end of this mission at least return and tell your constituents that they need to regain their hope and begin looking?"

His eyes moved about scanning at the land around him before he said, "I don't believe that stories of places like this will bring them hope."

"You are a politician, Giluchex, surely you know how to tell people what they want to hear. However, make certain that they hear the truth."

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

Annalia sat in the kitchen watching the recording of Thaunya's performance. Now that Venicht had been sent to bed, there was a desire to watch the dance without being interrupted. She however felt disgust as the camera did not stay focused on the stage, but kept moving to the young lad.

A voice said from behind her, "He did watch the performance. He just did not stay in his seat. His father is one who watches while pacing, and reads while moving about the castle."

"I however wished that the cameraman had watched the performance. He is supposed to be a professional with an understanding of duty."

Nuverd moved to fill a glass with wine as he replied, "As much as the people of Davelda show interest in Venicht, I find it surprising that there are no children on this world."

"I spoke to Chorrik. He said that most of the council members are reviewing the medical reports on why there has been no solution to our reproduction problem."

"Over six hundred years, and they are only looking now?"

"It does not matter, as we are still talking about members of the council. Over six hundred years, and they have not changed. We are not a world of immortals, but a world of varnished pieces of wood." Annalia covered her eyes with her hands as she said, "I want children. I want children so bad. I was there with Straekin as she had each of the babies, was there when she nursed them, watched them grow, I want all of that for myself. She has put up with so much however. Terish has gone through his changes. The struggles that Straekin went through to be with Terish, to put up with Terish, she has more than earned her happiness, and I don't want to pay those costs. That is what the council wants as well. They want the blessings without any price. They won't find it, Nuverd, and Davelda is going to die."

"Or simply re-inhabited by those willing to pay the cost."

"No, Nuverd, as, like Straekin, those willing to pay will take their blessings elsewhere. Those that return, like Venicht, will just find this as a boring, and more boring, place."

He moved to pour him some more wine. Annalia turned to look at him, and while a glance of his eyes indicated that he knew he was being watched, he continued at his task without interruption. She spoke however to keep him from going out the door.

"What would you do, Nuverd?"

"Dear lady, I am a man. If you understood men, you would know that there was no need to ask that question. Now, I am going to bed."

"No, Nuverd, I am serious. What would you do?"

The man held his place at the door as if he wanted to move on to his room. Annalia however sensed that he had enough respect for her and her question that he could not leave without saying something. The man seemed to verify her thoughts as he advanced to set his glass on the table as he put his head close to her to whisper some words.

"You are going to embarrass me."

"You work for a young active boy. I thought you could handle being embarrassed."

He moved to sit as he said, "I had boys, Annalia. Two of them. My wife died in an accident when out washing clothes. I thus raised the boys myself."

"I know. That is why this job was offered to you."

"I loved my wife. I missed her, but what she provided to my life I missed even more. I really wanted to decline the offer and take another wife."

"Why didn't you?"

He drank some wine, then sat quietly for a time, and only after realizing that the lady continued to wait for him to speak did he do so. "I am a general in the army of Thiminy. I have rank. I can thus court ladies of a higher station than those about town or common servants about the castle. I earned my honor in serving my king. I found myself longing to possess one of those that served my queen."

The lady tried to control the tone of her voice so as not to embarrass the man as she asked, "You wanted me?"

"You are the prettiest. I would state my devotion to you with every fiber of my being attesting to its sincerity. I truthfully wanted Eneffia however. She works with animals and has a lovely voice."

"Considering the service that you are doing for Davelda, the process could possibly be offered to you."

"No, because then I would know that I would trade one set of problems for another. I am like you, and want blessings without the cost. My king and queen are out looking for answers. I see the world of Davelda being faced with questions that they would like to have answered. I can do my job, be in the presence of a wonderful lady, and dream of not having to deal with certain problems."

Annalia felt that she heard the man's honest answer, but decided to go ahead and test his conviction. "Do you want me to check on Eneffia for you?"

"It is unnecessary. I hear the debates and listen to you speak. If my situation changed, or yours, we both have pasts that would not send us into each other's arms. I am proud to serve. I know that you are considering many men, and you are so pretty, so I wish you the best. I am certain that the same would be with Eneffia."

"But Nuverd, you have had two boys, and raised them yourself along with securing a proud military career. That gives you honor even among a world of veterans like us of Davelda. Also, Eneffia has seen what you have done with Venicht. You might have more clout with her than you suspect."

He rose from the table as he said, "I am an old man, Annalia. I would rather face the gods with my dreams than live in misery with them. When I do face the gods however, the divine ladies might have a problem, because I believe that I have seen their equals."

"Thank you, Nuverd, but I am not so pretty without my makeup."

He had been about to move through the door, but turned to say, "Could I ask for one night to prove you wrong? I heard what you said earlier about what your immortality gave you. I suppose the same is true for Eneffia, and I hope one night with you would not spoil my reputation with her."

"It might even help you, Nuverd. Come on. I am ready for bed, and I could use the company."

_________________
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 - Chpt 15
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