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 Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 16

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PostSubject: Into the Land of Immortals - Chpt 16   March 16th 2009, 7:49 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Sixteen

Part 1

Straekin knew why her husband and Ferrigote had dismounted and moved ahead cautiously. She had been with them on the earlier journey along the path, so recognized the location. They were closing in on the place where a short journey away from the trail would take them to a spot where one world touched another. While this world suffered from its gods sleeping, the other had the misery of often being wiped clean by the destructive nature of its all-powerful deity. More than extermination, the God completely forgot the existence of his creation and only remembered by examining the evidence once the thrill of the annihilation had passed. Since Terdeskollit learned of the existence of Terish however, he had not allowed his interest in the man to wane. Ferrigote and Terish thus moved afraid that an encounter with a non-sleeping deity was assured.

The sunlight filtering through the trees had all worried that the usually fire-covered form of the God whose world lied through a partition between realities would be hidden in the forest. Ferrigote and Terish moved apart to keep a complete scan on the entire area. Dathol did not speak, but would shake his head when either of the men looked to him. Straekin knew that as a holy man he could sense the presence of deities, and while both Ferrigote and Terish had heightened senses, they appreciated the confirmation of Dathol concerning what they did not detect. All were relieved, if surprised, to approach the location without being challenged.

The object was a translucent orange goblet with a lid. Straekin found the chalice handed to her when she moved up to her husband. It felt like crystal. As one who had a position of high importance on two worlds, she had a lot of experience with valuable gems. Examining the drinking container she felt that it was indeed formed from some natural precious substance. The lid could be screwed on, but even when just set over the opening for the liquid a force like magnetism worked to hold it in place. She handed it back stating her approval of what was gained.

"I believe it fits the requirements."

Terish replied, "Yes, once again we have to give Terdeskollit credit for keeping his promise."

"Why does that surprise you?"

"Because it makes the dinner and handshake a possible future. You have to understand, Straek, that I have spent my whole life seeking to challenge Terdeskollit. He eradicated my world not just physically, but from his memory. There is thus no hope of resurrecting anything from my past. Anyone who can be that uncaring, I just cannot trust."

Ferrigote said, "But things did survive."

"Yes. I remember us commenting on our journey on the world that Terdeskollit actually did a horrible job of total destruction. I suppose that is how Desiree knew that our world would be destroyed. In tilling the land for the fruit, she must have found evidence of the earlier civilizations. How she recognized that it was from a completely earlier construction of Terdeskollit, and not simply relics from some battles I cannot say."

Straekin asked, "Terish, did she tell you how she knew."

"Not directly. Desiree never did well with logic. She was so old. She tried to incorporate things from one lesson into whatever we would be doing, but would start lecturing on the topic or only mumbling as she worked styles of speaking my young mind did not register very well. I actually learned a lot on my own by reading her books. I enjoyed reading and practicing magic, and Desiree wanted me to learn such things, so we mostly got along."

Dathol asked, "Terish, were any of them religious books?"

"No. Well, one. It was actually written by Desiree herself. It was basically her ramblings from when she was younger. I really did not like the text. It stated things better than how she said them, but was not on magic. She forced me to read it several times however."

"What I want to know, Terish, was how did she know the name of her God?"

Straekin saw the eyes of her husband focus on Dathol, then Terish spoke in a tone clearly indicating that he was quoting ancient words. "Through the dark sky I saw the fire shrouded form of evil. I knew him, and he saw that I knew him. I called to him and told him that I would tell others. I called to him and told him that I would seek his honor. I called to him and told him that I would seek his admiration. He then looked to me and said that he would notice my death. He spoke and said that he would make me again, then again notice my death. He told me the entire world would be destroyed, and remade, and such was how he wanted to be honored. I then screamed to him that he was wrong. That he needed to reward those that sought him. That he needed to gather worshippers to constantly appease him. That is when he told me that his name was Terdeskollit, and he would only be pleased with the death of all that he created."

Straekin had to ask, "How do you get pleased when you forget?"

Ferrigote answered the question, "The destruction would not be complete without the forgetting. Terdeskollit does not so much remember the destruction, but just the residual energy of having performed a major act. There is euphoria there."

Terish commented, "I never tried to make sense of it."

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

Annalia watched as the crowd at the zoo mostly watched Venicht instead of the animals. Certain glances from the lad had informed her that he knew he was being watched, but he otherwise kept his focus on the animals. His attitude helped his instructor, a lady that truthfully was one of the best biologists on the planet, as her attention often became distracted by the surrounding people. Nuverd found himself not needing to scold the prince, but occasionally signaling to the biologist that she needed to move or say something. Annalia truthfully had no reason to be present except that she wanted to visit the zoo as well, although her association with Venicht kept her close to him.

The lad pointed to a building and asked his instructor, "That is where you work, isn't it?"

"No, Prince Venicht, although I do come to check on the animals inside a few times each year. I was going to take you inside."

"My mother took me to the zoo in Fedrukin, and told me of that building. She said that they had to kill the monkeys, but that the other animals were still living."

The face of the instructor showed disfavor with a subject, but with the lad mentioning the topic she understood the need to say something. "Some want us to kill all the animals. One monkey died due to an accident, and the other hurt itself very badly soon after. We lost a pig, but the other pig goes on like normal. There are a number of papers about why the animals have not shown problems with their immortality. The fate of the monkeys did not speak to any theories, as theirs were truly accidents. Same with the pig."

"Mother said that it was not the process, but the monkeys. She told me that one could not determine the thoughts of others from their actions or the actions of others. She told me that I would have to live my own life, and allow others to live their lives as well. She commented that was why she and my father worked to keep the laws simple. When laws were complicated, mistakes could be made."

"I am not here to teach you law, Prince Venicht, although I agree with what your mother said. Being immortal however has not made my life simpler, so I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake."

"Father told me that if I became bored by those things life had me do, that I would not help myself by becoming immortal."

The lady smiled, then directed the lad towards the building under discussion before saying, "You are extremely blessed to have such parents. I never had children. I let my work get in the way. I am thus bringing you to what many consider my children."

Annalia had been in the building before. She had even visited the sections behind the cages. The rats, rabbits, and other animals showed no difference between them and other animals, although they were treated special being the surviving subjects of the experiments to induce immortality. Their existence and their normalness had been a central theme in many propaganda campaigns. After over six hundred years Annalia still thought that Straekin had come up with best slogan. She however found herself surprised to hear the biologist quote that line when she showed Venicht the rats.

"They are normal because they don't know they are special. We know, so need to treat others as special."

Venicht asked, "Can I hold one?"

"No, because I don't allow myself to hold them. I have, because I have cleaned their cages, but I don't want to be cause of harming something that has lived so long."

"What if they get out?"

The lady smiled as she said, "Well, they have had well over six hundred years to figure out how to escape, and haven't. Truthfully, if they escape they would probably die. Not immediately, but the usual life of most of these animals is not safe, and something would eventually get them."

"And the other animals?"

"And us. People die each year, because life is complicated and mistakes happen."

"That is why people say that Davelda is dying."

The lips of the biologist stayed together, although moved along with other features of her face while thinking about how to respond. "Considering the world we had before we gained immortality, it is quite possible that we would have already killed ourselves, Prince Venicht. Immortality has made us a better people. It helped that your mother was there giving us good guidance. You listen to your mother and father, Prince Venicht, as they have accomplished things far more amazing than my work to grant immortality."

The lad looked at the cages as he said, "I also do not have anyone to play with."

Nuverd said, "But you are not locked up, Prince Venicht. Trust us that we all would like to do so, but accept that it is not in your best interest. You are however expected to learn to not make mistakes, so you can continue to live."

The eyes of the young man scanned the room again before making an observation, "There are no babies in here."

The biologist answered, "And there will never be. I am not going to run test on these animals, and others would complain should I put other animals through the process just to perform further tests. Not that it matters, because the reproductive organs are completely reworked in the process. I would like to study what happened to your mother, but I know that whatever was done was not something that I could duplicate."

"Mother says that whatever happened to her, it was something real, because I am real."

"I hear others say the same thing. I am scared of the cost of looking. I am also scared of the voices that will accuse me should I look."

"Mother was altered by a god."

The eyes of the biologists moved to look at the other adults in the room before she again spoke to the lad, "I am not qualified to look there."

"Then you are not the one that will supply the solution. I am ready to go back to looking at the normal animals."

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PostSubject: Part 2   March 21st 2009, 7:59 am

Into the Land of Immortals
Chapter Sixteen

Part 2

Giluchex plodded along rather bored, so perked up when Ferrigote broke the monotony by speaking. "Okay, Terish, we have long passed the point where we turned to go spend our time with Terdeskollit. How much further do we have to go?"

Dathol returned, "We camped near the top of a rise that should be visible at the top of this rise."

"Camped?"

Terish replied, "The sleeping gods was a tale that had mystified those of Merkinnist, so there were a number of pilgrims on the journey with us. They slowed us down. I thus cannot say how far it is to our destination. We probably should however go ahead and camp when we reach the site."

Dathol clarified, "He means the camping site. Although what really slowed us down was all the group being barefoot."

The quick mind and voice of Terish stated an agreement, "Even Raedell. Of course, we did not know what we were going to see, and she was like Celatia being determined to do her duty."

The centaur said, "You told me that I did not need to remove my shoes, Terish."

"They are nailed on, and I also told you that you could not go down."

"Raedell's weren't nailed on?"

Exasperation showed in the man's voice as he declared, "Please decide which part of what I am saying you won't listen to, and be consistent about it."

"Remove my shoes, Terish."

The man dismounted, then moved to a saddlebag as he said, "Raedell did not go with me. She would have if she could have, but she recognized that she could not."

"You can do so much, Terish. Why couldn't she go down?"

"Because these are gods, Celatia. The point of going barefoot is to show respect. If I start using my powers, I could be seen as showing off in front of those that are vastly superior. Kind of like some young punk coming into my throne room and giving my people orders."

"But you do that."

Ferrigote interjected the comment, "Yeah, he does."

Terish began working on the centaur's feet as he said, "But I can do that. If those in power don't like it, even Gote, I can challenge them as an equal. I cannot go setting myself equal to a god. However much others might think that I am qualified, I fully understand that I am not."

"Then I also don't serve a god, and I won't be your demonstration of arrogance. I will carry you, Terish, as it is my place, but I also will be unshod."

Dathol said, "Then you also did not listen to some other words that were said, Celatia. Even Terish walked that final day."

"Well, Terish might not be a god, but those sleeping should still recognize that he is a great person."

Straekin said, "Celatia, some understanding."

"I am not immortal. I was chosen to carry Terish, but I cannot say that my God did that. I do have to give him credit for my continued youth and health, although I also have to carry the message of my God allowing a most terrible person to rise to power and almost conquer my world. While I know that I will be given a grand burial and my memory will continue, I want to go into the afterlife assured that I can face my God with more than having served honorably in an honorable position."

Terish replied, "Celatia, I am certain that putting up with me is recognition enough."

Straekin replied, "You aren't that bad, Terish. I am sure that I make life hard for you as well. Still, I have heard Giluchex mention a few times that you treat the centaurs better than you treat me."

Giluchex blurted out, "That was not meant as a compliment. I saw Raedell very malnourished, and tried to use those images to speak against my empress associating with Terish."

Straekin could tell that her husband was about to say something as he brought four horseshoes to show the centaur, but his constantly darting eyes caught the gaze of his wife and nodded with understanding to allow her to speak. "Giluchex, you never understood the relationship between me and Terish. I did not want to be treated as the centaurs, but wanted to be seen as someone the centaurs would defer to when they did have problems. You never understood the dedication of the centaurs to Terish, and to have Raedell agree to stay with me was a great honor."

"But why would the people of Davelda know that?"

"Because they spoke to Raedell, Giluchex. Raedell did not stay secluded in my apartment, but moved about the castle and the grounds around the castle. My people heard the story of why Terish gained a centaur as a mount. They also knew Terish's story, so understood why he sought the knowledge of the Deadre that caused him to fall into insanity. My people came to know those I gave devotion to, and came to understand that I was making myself a part of a greater story. You just wanted me to stay a part of your story, Giluchex, and I never wanted that life for myself."

The man could not stay in the saddle, but his own agitation had him dismount as he strongly said, "But you were bringing death back to Davelda, Empress. We had fought and gained immortality, but in opening up the omniverse you were allowing death back. I saw as Terish returned from some of his adventures with his body barely able to still living."

Straekin dismounted to step up and face the man as she replied, "But he was successful! I fully remember the day that he and Ferrigote came in pulling that wagon of gold and treasures. You ranted and raved that day as I worked to return those men to health, but I saw our media declaring the worth that they brought with them. I then watched the reports once Terish and Ferrigote could tell the tale of how they gained it."

"The words, 'I am going back to get the treasure,' have not gone down into history as the wisest words that Terish ever said."

"But he came back with the treasure! Come on, Giluchex, tell me, after over six hundred years, what have you gained? Where is your cavern filled with so much gold and treasure that even dragons cannot conceive of taking it?"

Giluchex spun to Terish to ask, "Is that real?"

"Uh, yes, it is. After Straekin and I spend an evening with you and your wife, the two of you really need to come to Thiminy so I can show you around."

"What are you going to do with all that money?"

Terish appeared annoyed as he replied, "Well, I never fought for the money. I thus have never considered what I was going to do with it. If I need some, I have it, but my life has never been about the money."

"But you went back into that place for the money."

"If Gote and I hadn't taken the treasure, the monsters, or other monsters, would have returned. I was proclaimed a hero by the local people because I took the treasure, Giluchex. If I hadn't gone back in for the treasure, I would have just been another famous fighter who did enough to give the people a respite."

Straekin took back control of the conversation by saying, "And if I never stayed with Terish and gave him the support that I did, I would not be before you as a wife and mother. That is what I wanted, Giluchex. My fiance died as the war was declared. I was in the diplomatic core, so I could move with Venicht and share his life, but we never had a life together. When I started my campaign to stop the war, I wanted to simply mourn the life of a good man before seeking the companionship of another. I never wanted to become empress of our world. I don't want it now. I might be Queen of Thiminy, but those people let me spend time with my husband and family. I am happy there, Giluchex. In Thiminy, I can be who I always wanted to be."

The man felt that he finally had a point in his favor as he declared, "But your children can die, Empress."

Straekin shot the words right back at him, "But I can live, Giluchex. My children can live as well. They will not live on Davelda."

"Davelda is a good world. I like Davelda."

"Davelda is dying, Giluchex. My people, some of which are your constituents, are killing themselves. Each year we lose a few. Davelda needs to live again. I agree that returning to how things were is not an answer, but keeping things as they are is not an answer either. I have found a future where I am happy. I am glad that you like your life, Giluchex. However, do your job, and seek to help those you represent to gain a life of their own. Don't lock them into a dead future like you tried to keep me."

The man's jaw dropped as if he was going to say something, then it closed. He moved his gaze to look at Celatia, then began taking the shoes and socks off his feet. Giluchex lifted them to show the centaur, then he spoke to her.

"I met Raedell. A fabulous lady, as are you. She was just as devoted to Terish. I am not committed to this journey, but I will support my empress. If you, in your support of Terish, are willing to remove your shoes to be worthy of supporting him, then I, in support of Straekin, am willing to go barefoot to be worthy of supporting her."

Before Celatia could reply, Ferrigote asked Dathol, "Do we need to take off our shoes now?"

The holy man replied, "Terish and few mercenaries did not take off their shoes until the final day, and we heard no reprimand."

Celatia now spoke, "I did not have Terish remove my shoes to show my respect to the gods, but to make my statement to Terish about how committed I was to doing my duty."

Giluchex spoke just as boldly, "I don't care what these gods here think of me, but Straekin is my empress."

Terish now took off his boots and stockings, then said as he moved to the saddlebags on Celatia, "Well, then, for the sake of my mount and the citizen of my wife's world, I am taking off my shoes in respect to the gods of this world. Too much is at stake at present to chance an unfavorable greeting."

Giluchex saw Kethal dismount, then listened as Ferrigote asked the man, "I am not surprised to see Straekin taking off her shoes. Her logic would be the same as Terish. Why are you doing it however?"

Giluchex found himself still unable understand Kethal. The body language however showed very low self-esteem, especially when the man dropped to the ground to pick up dirt from the path and pour it on his head. Giluchex felt the act to be a little extreme, but looked to the centaur to see if she would mimic it. He felt relieved that she did not, although watched Ferrigote as he turned in his saddle towards Terish to gain some interpretation of what Kethal had said.

"Kid, just how powerful are the gods here?"

"They are gods, Gote. I wouldn't plan on fighting them."

"We fought Terdeskollit."

Terish slowed down his speech as he clarified, "We fought a limited presence of Terdeskollit. We fought him on Dathol's world, and Sanver would not allow a major intrusion of Terdeskollit. If you remember, Gote, we really did not win that battle. I did not even think of challenging Terdeskollit on his world."

"And this is the world of these sleeping gods. Okay, so, do you want Dirchein and me to take off our shoes now, or can we wait until later?"

The lady of gold said, "We are here in our support of Terish, Ferrigote. We take off our shoes now."

"We are not really supporting Terish, but Celatia. She is the one that started this removal of the shoes stuff."

The centaur turned her head to glare at the fighter as she demanded, "Take off the boots now, Ferrigote."

The man dismounted, then moved to Celatia to say, "Then we walk. You walk, I walk, Terish walks. I know that is not what you intended, but we are all equals to gods. Once we get the proper permissions, then we can return to our duties to each other, but right now we are all pilgrims seeking favor with the local gods."

The centaur turned to Terish as if to ask his advice, but Ferrigote kept talking, "I am the one with the relationship with his deity, Celatia. Terish is immortal because I introduced him to my god. Terish's God might be cruel and evil, yours might be willing to become cruel and evil, and Straekin's might be quiet and uncaring, but mine does speak, does care, and has generally been worth my devotion. As far as knowing what to do around gods, I do know something."

"I am sorry, Ferrigote."

"Listen, if you want another opinion, there is Dathol."

"No, Ferrigote, I am sorry. It is just my duty to carry Terish."

"Yes, well, I had the same discussion with Raedell a few times. I thus know your reasoning, but that is the trouble in moving out into other worlds other rules apply. We are guests in the reality of others, and must act as guests. We are going before gods that have no loyalty to us, so we act with respect. I would have preferred not removing my shoes and walking until later, but you made your little scene now, so we start now."

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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 16
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