Into the Land of Immortals
Thaunya had come to the castle to spend time with her husband. She had a performance the next night, and in planning her schedule she had included an evening with Chorrik. He had his own set of duties, and was presently out clearing his schedule so he could spend time with his wife. That meant Thaunya was presently alone, and she was bored.
She again had the television on out of habit, although found herself actually watching the cartoons. As she laughed at the ancient animation, she found herself wondering why they had stopped making them. Just because all the children had grown up did not mean that the world lost its sense of humor. Thaunya hoped that the coming of Venicht had not only caused the people of Davelda to again show the cartoons, but to actually begin work on creating new ones.
The picture changing caused the lady to look for the remote. Her first thought considered that she had made a movement that had contacted one of its controls. Seeing the device safely at a distance, Thaunya again looked at the picture. Realizing that she recognized the rider, she sat back to watch his performance.
She heard and felt movement through the castle as people ran out to meet the returning Giluchex. Having a life as a performer, Thaunya felt no desire to make her own rush. She calmly sat to watch.
Giluchex appeared healthy. He sat in the saddle proudly. The clothes were brighter in color than his usual choice of hues, and the suit showed a fashion that had been adjusted to compensate for the demands of travel. No bandages or other marks of having suffered on his journey showed.
As soon as he rode through the gates of Castle Davelda, a reporter moved up to him to ask, "Councilman Giluchex, are you alone?"
The man dismounted while saying, "Yes. I left the others this morning."
"How was your journey?"
"I believe the people of Davelda know things about my journey, and probably new things about me as well. This is my home, and I will face the future here."
"What is the first thing that you plan on doing?"
Giluchex turned to face the camera as he said, "I was on the list from the empress to teach her child. This lesson however is intended for all of our planet. I want Prince Venicht with me, but keep the cameras on me."
The reporter began to walk to the castle with Giluchex while stating, "In your absence, the policies against Terish have been rescinded."
"I will not speak against that. I am still at fault, however. Where is our prince?"
A low thud sounded as a thick wooden shaft struck a pavement stone, then the voice of Nuverd rang out, "He was playing."
Giluchex calmly turned with a slight smile coming to his face. He glanced at the camera as if checking to assure that the cameraman would continue to follow. He then moved up to meet the lad.
"Prince Venicht, I want you to know that both your father and mother are doing very well."
The young man paused to shake hands with the councilman, then asked, "When will they come?"
"Within a week or so. When I left this morning they had brought somebody home. They are now going to the center of the omniverse to speak to a figure known as Galabur. Upon their return to Thiminy, they are to contact me concerning a dinner invitation. I figure that while they are on Davelda they will stay in the castle with you."
Neither spoke for a time. Thaunya figured that the lad waited for the man to say more even as he had allowed Prince Venicht a chance to speak. Finally, Giluchex broke the silence.
"Prince Venicht, please come with me. While I don't want to speak against what my replacement has been teaching you, there is a lesson that I am certain has not been taught. It concerns your mother, so I expect to have your attention."
"Will I have to remember a lot of dates and names?"
Giluchex held out his hand, and began walking with the lad into the castle as he began to speak. "Dates are not important, Prince Venicht. There is only before the war, during the war, and after the war. This is after the war, but before this great castle was built. In fact, what I am going to show you is something that happened during our discussions about creating this edifice."
The lad displayed his recognition of a turn down a hallway by asking, "We are going to the council chamber?"
Giluchex looked to someone in the crowd beyond the image of the camera to ask if the council was in session. Whoever controlled the signal to the television switched to the images from other cameras in the castle, but found none that gave a good view of the scene. Luckily the audio stayed with the camera from the reporter, so the voice of someone stating that the ruling body was active could be heard. Giluchex did not pause his movement in hearing the information. Thaunya received the impression that it only caused him to choose which set of prepared words he said.
"I guess that I don't have to mention the names. As," Giluchex had paced his words to be opening the doors to the council chamber as he said, "most of those present are the same ones that were present at the event I want you to see." He then said loudly, "Reveal the monitor and stop your talking. I have something all of you need to witness."
A number in the council turned to welcome Giluchex, although most hushed in seeing Prince Venicht with him. The young man had been shown the council chamber, although never when they were in session. While a number showed some annoyance at being interrupted, they stayed quiet with expressions of wonder about what was to occur.
Giluchex escorted the young man to the front of the chamber. He brought Venicht up on the ornate platform at the front of the room. On an upper section of the dais was a chair of ivory and jade ornately carved with scenes of heroic figures laboring at jobs. Venicht moved ahead of Giluchex then turned to let him know the purpose of the chair.
"This is where my mother is supposed to sit."
The eyes of the man moved to check on the position of various cameras before putting his focus on the lad. "Yes, but that is not why I brought you, Prince Venicht. What I want to ask you is, do you know why it is where it is?"
The lad had the expression of being asked a stupid question as he cautiously looked at Giluchex, then at those in the chamber. He did look back at the chair, then stepped back understanding that it did not sit in the middle of the dais. It rested on the left side of the dais. Thaunya wondered herself about the placement as Venicht finally returned a statement to Giluchex.
"It is so my mother can step up to the center to make her proclamations."
Chuckles sounded through the chamber. Giluchex moved to a computer console to type in some commands. As curtains moved above the chair to reveal a very large screen, he went back to the lad.
"As I said, Prince Venicht, what I have to teach you is before this castle was built. The place where we met was an old theater that had survived the worse of the destruction. There used to be a great city here, but it was heavily destroyed. You can see the church still standing if you look through a break in one of the walls, although even it was partially damaged. It is the only building in this area that dates from before the war."
Whoever was managing the television signal switched to the image that Giluchex had selected. Thaunya thus no longer saw Venicht, although GIluchex was very evident. The scene was quite different with a dais of plain boards and metal folding chairs. Giluchex, Straekin and most other council members were very recognizable. Thaunya even recognized her husband, which made her smile, and continued the expression as the sound of Venicht's voice came over the audio.
"My mother had short hair."
The person in charge of the video froze the image. It was thus easy to tell that Straekin did indeed have hair that only fell about a third of the way down her back. Thaunya studied the image wishing that her husband had somehow been caught in the frame. As she looked at the picture, the voice of Giluchex came over the audio.
"Yes. She tried a number of hairstyles. I believe that she only truly allowed it to grow after realizing that she was immortal, so could wait for it to gain an extreme length."
"You look the same."
"Considering that it is now over six hundred years in the future, I will take that as a compliment. Now, Prince Venicht, please pay attention, as what I am showing you is the day we planned what this here dais would look like."
Some signal had to be sent, as the video began to move with Straekin saying, "I am not going to sit in the center. I might have been elected empress, but that does not mean that I am going to sit over you like some dictator."
Councilman Aven asked, "What do you have in mind, Empress Straekin?"
The lady pulled the chair to the left, then said, "I will sit here, and I want another chair over there."
"Who will that chair be for?"
"Well, we might need some icon, but I believe that Munulva should be represented on the right side."
Giluchex suddenly erupted, "WHAT? This is not to be a religious institution. I mean, there is nothing wrong with the church being nearby, but this is not a church. We are here to do the people's business, not lord it over the people."
"We are not beyond the concerns of our Goddess. We need her guidance now more than ever."
"We gained immortality on our own. I am not going to live out the centuries being dominated by people who claim to hear voices."
The scene of the video switched back to the modern council chamber. Thaunya did not hear any sound as Giluchex tried to pick up the chair. Uncomfortable squeals then sounded as he dragged the piece of furniture over to the other side of the upper dais. He then turned to the camera to speak.
"I was wrong. I heard the voice of Munulva. I should have been listening all these centuries." Giluchex turned to the young man to say, "Prince Venicht, if your mother is not going to sit in that chair, then it should be there for Munulva. She is our Goddess, she is real, and I have been a fool. I traveled with your father, Prince Venicht, and I came to realize that there is a lot that I have not been listening to. That is my history lesson to you. Listen. You have centuries of history behind you. Your mother is over six hundred years old. Your father is close to two hundred. Both are exceptional people. If you don't have the wisdom to listen to them, you are a foolish, foolish boy."
The lad said in return, "But I do want to be with my father and mother."
"And you can. Don't you ever forget that. Your father cannot return to visit his father. He cannot even check records to learn the man's name. Your mother's family is also dead. You can find pictures of them and learn other facts, but they are dead. Your father and mother are not. You speak to them, know where they are, and you will find times to be together. You have a gift that they don't have.
"You came here to learn. I went with your father and mother to learn. I have been with your mother for over six hundred years, Prince Venicht. I still learned things about her. I also learned things about myself."
Thaunya watched as Giluchex turned directly to the camera to say, "I am leaving the castle district. My colleague can continue to sit in my place. I will not return unless my district votes me back into office. In the meantime, I am going to be traveling through my district and reacquainting myself with my constituents." The man now turned back to the lad to say, "Prince Venicht, if you want me to give you further history lessons, feel free to travel out to my district and look me up."
The view shifted through a number of cameras as Giluchex left the council chamber. As he moved down a hallway of the castle, the image shifted back to Venicht. He had moved back to the place where his mother's chair had rested. After looking at something, he had turned to face the council. All stayed quiet waiting for what he would say.
"I don't want to be like this when I grow up."
All in the chamber rose. Thaunya expected one of the great debaters in the council to make a statement, but even Giluchex's replacement stayed quiet. It was Nuverd that moved up to say something.
"Just remember, Prince Venicht, that you had been given a choice. I however now have confidence that this is a place where you can get a proper education. If these people that have been following their own routines for centuries can learn, then they can truly teach. I am thus going to continue the decision of your parents to have you get a proper education here."
The lad looked at the man, then said, "I still want other children to play with."
"Annalia and I have already been discussing that. With the return of your parents, I believe something more definite can be arranged."
Councilman Aven now spoke, "Maybe not for your sisters, Prince Venicht, but for your children there hopefully will again be children here. I promise that Davelda will become a great world that you will be proud to call your own."
Venicht turned to the man to say, "I have not been shown that video. Are there more?"
"Over six hundred years with your mother as a major participant. You have a lot to learn."
The lad signaled for Nuverd to lead the way out of the council chamber. Thuanya felt that Venicht had handled himself very well. She turned off the television feeling that like his father he would bring a good future to Davelda. The thought came with a feeling of confidence in seeing the change in Giluchex. Wanting to express the joy inside her, Thaunya moved to a large bare room where she could dance.
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.