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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B)

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TerishD

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TerishD

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PostSubject: To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B)   To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B) Icon_minitimeJuly 14th 2019, 6:58 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Fifteen – Part Two

(Hallith)

I actually could see the whole of the door drain of color as Terish yelled, "Ayither, wind, get Dalinth away!"

It did not surprise me to see a disjoint in reality.  Terish's skills was with the way the various realities inter-related.  Whatever power our opponent was trying to wield, it suddenly found itself exposed to forces it had no foundation to manipulate.  I watched as Ayither grabbed Dalinth’s shirt, then almost flew to force him back into the room.  I had no idea what part Terish would want me to play, but readied myself to not act surprised when given my own order.

He moved up to grab one panel as he said, "Come on, Hallith, you can fight."

Terish really did not give one the impression that he was strong.  He dressed in colorful clothes that were slightly loose on his body, so most had no idea of the muscles that coated his bones.  Cannot say that I ever looked, but I had traveled enough with Terish to recognize the guy as a physical threat.  While taller and more massive than him, I had to admit that I pushed aside my panel barely any further than he did.  I however stepped forward thinking that I would probably make the better impression on our opponent.

I had to rethink my conclusion as I found myself again reminded about the difference in our fighting styles.  I moved up not afraid of who or what would be in my way.  Screams however sounded from various places to my right.  Terish had darted off using the terrain as shields to protect himself and hide his movements.  While those I confronted understood that they had not stopped me, and were not going to prevent me from acting, those that met death from Terish probably never knew what caused their demise.  I found myself having to consider at the conclusion of the battle Terish would have the higher body count.

My direct style of going into battle did gain me a number of opponents.  Feeling that I would put a large tally under my name, I performed a maneuver that I knew would heavily damage most of those around me.  I however gained the impression that the battle had turned against us when the head of a large dragon suddenly rose before me.

"For the glory of Typhorsh, I AM STORM!"

I saw Ayither fly over my head.  While I had my own fight, I did manage to see that she struck at the neck below the head.  While the position would keep her from the mouth, I knew that the great front claws could easily reach her.  The way that the head turned however had me suspect that it was not just Ayither that took the fight to the dragon.

"Wait!  TERMS!"  The head of the great reptile lifted as the hands shot up and out.  "I ask for terms!"  It seemed to notice my own situation, as it then commanded, "Children, back!"

The voice of Terish exclaimed, "Ayither, back!"

I knew the deadliness of Terish, so agreed with the lady when she asked, "What?"

"This is not our world, and honestly not our battle.  Back."

She yelled out, "DALINTH!" before asking, "and what type of terms should we consider?"

Our local divine champion answered, "Well, information.  I would really like to know the history of what we are involved in."

Those before me had stopped their attacks, although set themselves into defensive stances, but backed away as the dragon said, "Yes, some history.  That could possibly make for a profitable future for both of us."

Feeling that I could put my focus on something other than combat, I replied, "Well your problem is that three of the four of us are holy warriors.  We don't fight for profit.  You need to be convincing, and not just speaking of wealth."

The voice of Dalinth spoke from behind me, "Still, information is what brings us here.  We did not come to kill you, dragon."

"Kurisporrin.  My name is Kurisporrin Vec Durkor Uggoranggock."

Terish said, "Ah, that explains my mistranslation.  Still, what I read said ‘of black your need for white does not cover your lust for gold.’"

"I would like to know where you found that – uh, your name, please."

"Terish Dozzrine."

"It seems that I did well in asking for terms."  I saw the head of the dragon look to me and ask, "Would you happen to be none other than Ferrigote du Gaeskow?"

I answered, "No, but I know him.  I am Hallith formerly of the Quartermasters."

"Ah, so one that I should have feared as well.  And who is this lady still on my neck?"

Ayither called out the name of her god, then floated down to stand beside me.  It felt good having her come to me.  Hearing her state her name with pride I found to bring me joy.

Kurisporrin replied, "It is the fault of women that they allow us men to write the histories.  I am sure that you deserve to stand with these two men.  Now, who is this champion of black that has gained the companionship of such great persons?"

From behind me came the answer, "I am Dalinth acting on the orders from a priest of Frowick.  I was told there was an ancient threat.  I am sorry, but I believe that does put you in a bad light."

"What if I told you that you were correct, but the threat is not me?  I will admit to have been making profit from the evil, but I will deny being a patsy to that evil, and certainly not a disciple of it."

"Terish, could there be such a thing as a good dragon?"

Terish chuckled before answering, "As much as there could be a thing as a good person."  I heard the dragon chuckle as Terish said, "I would still watch him, but we have by our behavior granted him terms.  We therefore need to allow him the liberty to speak."

Kurisporrin took the advantage to offer, "May I have my staff bestow some graciousness?  These minions do have some humanity, so the furniture they use should provide some comfort.  I would also hope that you will enjoy the refreshments."

"Were the dragons we faced in the previous room important to you?"

I felt glad that Terish knew enough about dragons to try and determine any reservations about the graciousness that would be provided, and listened intently to Kurisporrin's reply.  "They were wives for lack of a better word.  If I did not have the wealth I had, they would not have stayed."

"I am not going to say that I am sorry for killing them, but I want it said that it might have helped if terms had been called back then instead of leaving them to their fates."

"If I had any resentment to their demise, I would not have called terms.  They did not know with whom they were fighting, and neither did I.  While I quickly ascertained that I was facing serious opposition, let me assure all of you that it is because no grief clouded my senses.  While I enjoyed their company, I accept the fact that the next ladies to share my lair will probably be just as arrogant."

Considering who I had been fighting, I had to ask my own question.  "About the minions, were they the mothers?"

"Ah, while Terish's question spoke of his knowledge of my kind, yours does not.  No, Hallith, these half-dragons are due to my dalliances with human women.  No female dragon would find pleasure in a human man."

"There are stories."

"Let me speak to you of evil, Hallith.  While I do fear that my words will displease you, it will not be of love from me to the women or from these half-dragons to the ladies."

Dalinth asked, "Kurisporrin, do you know of Frowick?  It is that god that had me take on this mission."

"I do not know of your gods, Dalinth.  I have had to learn of black and white, but not of the deities that created such a system of division.  I have heard some names from previous champions, but they did not have sensibility to put their trust in such divinities or even gain the company of such powerful companions."

The man advanced to stand beside me before saying, "I am sorry to hear that."

"Well, I have already admitted that I will speak to you of evil.  Let me save further words until I can set the proper context.  Please, come, and let us relax before we speak further."

"I do not trust him, Terish!"

I saw the reaction of the dragon, so was glad for Terish's strong reply.  "This is not a matter of trust, Dalinth!  This is entirely a matter of learning about why we are fighting.  You are free not to sit.  You are free not to eat or drink anything provided.  I however do suggest that you listen to what is said.  This matter is one your god set for you to resolve.  To not listen, to not seek a proper resolution, will probably not sit well for you when you finally face Frowick."

There was a moment of silence before Dalinth said, "I have to accept those words."

"Then apologize."

"I –" Dalinth hushed as he looked around, but finally performed a bow as he said, "I apologize, Kurisporrin.  The words of Terish are most correct.  I was out of line."

The dragon replied, "Under the same logic I must accept.  I am not happy with the situation either.  Still, I accept that some resolution would need to happen.  Evil is not something one can profit from for too long of a time without losing some portion of one's soul.  Please, hear me out completely.  Even should you feel the need to kill me, a worse fate could befall you."  Seeing Dalinth again bow, the voice of the dragon softened as he asked, "What is the aspect of Frowick?"

"Disease.  As an agent of black, it is my duty to challenge its presence and help those innocent who suffer.  While I cannot stand against the actions of a god, I can help those who should not be suffering from the punishment sent to others."

"Interesting.  So as a champion of black you are not an instrument of evil?"

"No.  White advances the causes of the gods.  As black, I temper their actions hoping to present some justice in the lives of the normal citizens."

"If I had only known.  Dalinth, please, come and listen.  I need you to hear what I have to say."

_________________
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.


Last edited by TerishD on August 8th 2019, 6:59 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Sixteen   To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B) Icon_minitimeJuly 19th 2019, 6:43 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Sixteen

(Straekin)

Retarund rode up to me to ask, "Straekin, you do not approve?"

Coming out of the city, a company of soldiers stood in formation with an officer announcing that they would accompany the champion of white. He graciously accepted their offer. While he did speak to the men concerning the mission of which we were active, I had to turn away hearing the soldiers encouraged in the normal words of facing opposition.

I replied, "I rule my world because I was instrumental in leading the forces that overcame the opposition in a great world war. I have sent men to their death. I still do not like that feeling."

He turned to look at the soldiers while saying, "But... but... but that is the way things should be done."

"I did not say that you were wrong, only that I did not like the feeling of sending men to their death."

"But why should they die?"

"Because this is not a normal situation! We are fighting magic that drains the white from things. We are facing opponents that are not normal monsters. Those men do not have the training or the weapons to fight these things."

I had no shame of allowing some of my emotion show in my speech. Seeing Retarund look around confused I found myself hoping that he was losing some status with the troops. Without any display of shame, he dropped to the ground then went to his knees in a sign of seeking divine guidance.

The horrors of seeing a number die before me resurfaced as Retarund looked to me with an expression of fear while asking, "What have I done?"

I suddenly looked through my options. Regular attacks I knew would not work. Even my husband's extremely enchanted blade had not hurt these creatures. Air, no, as Ayither had a knowledge of it that enabled her to use it to her advantage while the rest of us did not find the atmosphere to help us at all. Water, maybe, but I could not trust the amount or quality of what was in the canteens of every soldier. I thus yelled out the only order that I felt could be available to all under my authority.

"FIRE! Have the men light fires!"

I threw the reins of my horse to Menasha before dropping to the ground. I saw the white cloud wondering just what Retarund had done. Just the few bat-like creatures had troubled the highly experienced people I considered as part of my close circle. I however felt the need to do what I could as I advanced.

Retarund screamed at me, "What are you doing?"

I replied, "I am not my husband. This is going to take some work. Still, it should help."

It was a desire to learn magic that originally had me request an audience with this stranger to my world. My people were actually seeking arcane powers, but only finding elaborate tricks. Terish however showed us something different, something that could not be explained. It was as he taught me that I first came to respect him. I now loved him, but I also had the knowledge that what he was teaching was truly magic.

Since the creatures were flying, I decide to focus on air as the property to work. Slowing them down would have been the easier power to evoke, but I did not want the soldiers to die only later. I forced a connection with a world of extreme cold, and pulled the sharp blades of frozen air through to strike at the flying creatures.

Another lesson from my husband was that a single strike would not end a war. Every tale of his spoke of grand battles with most lasting for lengths of time. My own world of Davelda did not go to war for a day, or a week, or even a year. It was a long struggle with me needing to keep my appearance, my positive disposition, and my control of people and events to orchestrate the victory. I kept the blades of frozen air moving even as I heard screams and saw torches waving from soldiers running. Only as I felt a mass of soldiers surround me wielding items of fire did I feel the war could be won.

There were still some of the white bats attacking when I finally had to end my spell. While mentally fatigued, I was able to physically help some soldiers removed some threats. Those whose swords had the monsters wrapped around them, I showed them how to strike their weapon against the ground. Some I had to pour water over their weapons before making a strike. In the end the surviving soldiers knelt to me to show their obedience to my commands. I had been in this situation before, so knew there were some things to do before finally taking some time for myself.

I spoke loud enough for all of the men to hear as I said, "This is not a battle of black and white. This is not a battle your world is used to confronting. Still, it happened in your past. These are your battles. In the past all they could do was hope to contain it. Now it seems there is a need to finally end this danger. You need to think in a different manner to battle this threat. There is a champion of black with my husband. Retarund, a champion of white, is with me. Black and white are in this struggle, but you need to learn as well as them about other options to confront those that oppose you."

Retarund then blared out, "LISTEN TO HER! I prayed to Velliya. She is the deity with whom I feel the closest connection. I told her that I planned on making her pleased with me. She laughed while saying that I did not know what I was saying. I don't understand any of this. The gods, well, Frowick, told a champion of black that help would come. This lady and others arrived. They are our help. Listen to her!"

The soldiers had already displayed their willingness to obey my orders. I also had the confidence that all were living because they saw the effectiveness of what I told them to do. I thus felt no need to make any grand statements to get them to see me in a positive manner. I simply began providing some knowledge to let them know the reasoning behind my orders.

"Black and white are the ways of your world. This problem however comes from a world that is more elemental in nature. I am using elemental logic: earth, air, fire, and water to battle these threats. My husband has the friendship of a champion of water and a champion of strong air to help him. I have Retarund and you. If you are going to survive this, you need to think fire, think water, think air, and think earth. You also cannot expect one solution to work all the time. Whatever we are facing is something complex that your ancestors were not able to eradicate, but had to seal up. I do have knowledge in this, but was truthfully only hoping to maintain some manner of support while my husband and those with him actually fought the real fight. I did not expect to be going into battle, but only to seek out more knowledge of the situation. The battle however has shown itself as being more expansive than expected. You men now know that you could well be called to fight against things you have no training to deal with. This is your world however, and I trust that you want a good future for it. I promise to help you all I can to have you win this."

The men sounded out their approval of my words and their willingness to come under my authority. I listened having no other option but to pray my own words to my own Goddess hoping She would speak to the gods of this world gaining their approval for my presence. Having actually led military forces through some deadly conflicts, I then told the men the words that always made the burden of authority a very heavy weight.

"Take the time to care for your dead. We need to leave, so nothing more than the minimum, but it is only right that we honor those who paid the ultimate price."

Retarund took over to help with the details of finding the corpses and seeing that they would not be forgotten. I gained the impression from what others said that he almost died when a white bat was found on one corpse. He attacked it as normal only to be saved by soldiers reminding him of the instructions I had given during the battle then afterward. When Retarund returned, I heard him mention something that supported the details I had heard.

"I accept why the seal was done to keep out white. My ways are not the ones that can resolve this. The gods however support your presence, so with that understanding I can accept your guidance."

I replied, "Well, I am still hoping my husband will contact me with an update. I would like to provide some more substantial guidance."

"What you know is a lot more applicable than what I would claim as knowledge."

"Still, once this matter is resolved I will be moving on. You are the one that is going to have live with whatever results. Don't be afraid to speak to me of how you would want to have things left."

He turned to look away from me as he said, "This is the wrong world for that. If I'm not happy with it, black will be. Whatever one side proposes, there others who would be against it. The reverse is that you cannot help but make someone happy. Just do what you will, Straekin."

Without any fear of the soldiers hearing me, I had my voice go strong as I replied, "This is still your world. You are the one with me. Dalinth is with my husband, and will surely be an influence. You are with me. Don't you be scared of making your opinions known."

"BUT I'M WRONG!" He turned to me not with the look of sorrow or fear, but with an expression of being submissive. "I cannot win this. What I would do will not win this. I support the gods and the traditions of my world, but one is telling me to trust you while the other is saying that they failed. Don't you understand? I'm useless."

I spoke of definitely feeling his words were incorrect. "But the soldiers learned. Why can't you?"

"Because this is my world and my gods. There is a way things should be. I don't need to learn, but I know. I became white because I believed in that."

"Don't change, Retarund. This is your world. You work to maintain things as you think they should be. I'm not asking you to change, but just to help us get through this. I agree with you that this is not how things should be. I agree with you that your history, your gods, and your lives should go on. You need to fight for that. However, does your history actually show every battle to be won with the same tactics?"

I gave him some time to respond, and had to smile when I heard a simple, "No."

"This is a new conflict with its own problems requiring its own tactics. You fight to win, but you also fight to maintain the principles you feel are important. You can do both, Retarund."

"Really, I can't. These problems and the solutions you present are just too different. I hate to say this, but I feel those of black should be here instead of me. Still, I do support the ways of the gods, and they are speaking in your favor. That is my only foundation in this. If I lose the gods, you should consider me lost."

Thinking of my own dealings with deities and those that champion them, I asked, "Do you think your gods could fail?"

Again I found myself pleased to hear a simple answer. "No."

"So, why should I lose faith in you?"

"You're a good lady, Straekin. You said you were an empress?"

That question took me by surprise, but I did answer. "I am Empress of Davelda and Queen of Thiminy."

"Let me say that I recognize your authority, Empress Straekin. Lead on."

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Seventeen   To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B) Icon_minitimeJuly 24th 2019, 7:20 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Seventeen

(Dalinth)

What I saw around me definitely looked like the home of a dragon. The large size of the room with grand spaces around what appeared to be furniture or statuary, sometimes hard to determine, stated that huge creatures inhabited the place. What I saw however did not bring me comfort, because I had no idea how it related to the world that I knew.

As black I tried to assure that the horrors that beset those doing wrong or sent to try the souls of those in need of purifying did not affect those who could not or should not face such troubles. Frowick generally was a deity that would cause widespread destruction. He however also was one that would admit to his deeds spreading to affect those who should not face his aspect, so I had come to have respect for that god. Being sent by one of his priests I accepted that once again I would be working to help those in need.

While the sphere did seem wrong, the truth was that I accepted it as a specific action against a specific threat. It did not give me the impression of a malignancy that had spread. I thus did not see where I was needed. Seeing the snakes of black however showed me that the danger contained in the sphere had been leeching out, therefore actions needed to be taken to remove it.

The barrier however would not allow one of white to pass. I wondered if I had been sent only because the gods had no other option other than to send someone black. To think the deity trusted that I would do the right thing, even if my actions would force me to support the deeds of the gods instead of challenging them, was an honor that I doubted I truly deserved. I felt certain the truth was that only black could pass the barrier, and I just happened to the be champion of black in the right place at the right time to be chosen.

I had to give Frowick honor for supplying me with very capable companions. Not only did they have the strength to take on the challenge of dragons and their kin, but they also had the wisdom to help guide me away from basic lines of thought. I usually prided myself for being able to see possibilities and options that others, especially those white, could not. I however found myself thinking of praising Frowick for the intelligence of those he provided to supply me with aid.

The chairs were more like beds. Stopping to look at mine, I felt it to be a daybed for someone larger. Those of only partial dragon characteristics were not exactly larger than me, but I sensed in their movements that they would spread themselves out to claim more of an area for rest than I would. I however did not want to get too comfortable, so considered simply standing feeling that sitting at the edge would be a little improper. I found myself glad to hear Terish speak of his own reluctance to sit in the chairs provided for him.

"Kurisporrin, let me state that I assume payment has already been made. You have been taking from the space, and I have not spoken of requiring it back."

The great dragon asked, "Are going to be taking that gratuity from me?"

"I do believe the sphere needs to be removed. As for what is inside it, that can be negotiable, although waiting for you to remove it probably will be beyond my powers."

I saw Terish turn to me, and I felt able to assume what I needed to say. "The sphere goes. I feel there is a reason Kurisporrin has not simply removed the remains of the elemental, and that will be the reason for his loss."

Terish looked back to the dragon while saying, "My opinion as well."

The dragon replied, "I feel those are harsh words, but I also have to concede that I have been profiting for a period. Let me say that the elemental was of material much more pure than I had ever encountered. As I worked with the arcane to expand my awareness, I heard its screams. Having something extra-planar to focus upon, I found myself able to understand things that I would not have been able to perceive so easily. There was then the barrier. A most bizarre creation, especially when I found it easily passed."

I gained the impression that Terish was moving the topic along as he asked, "You killed it?"

"Yes. Not an easy fight. My natural abilities were really not that effective. I actually found magic, air, to be the better tactic. Not surprising since the creature was of earth. My joy in the death of the elemental was that of feeling my talents with magic had truly proven themselves."

Terish kept his focus on the dragon even as he said, "Hallith, don't drink it. It's drugged."

I looked to my drink, and voiced what I felt my connection with Frowick to tell me. "Mine is not."

"Ayither's not either. The intent is to not have us suspicious when one of our number decides to fully find the comfort of the hospitality."

The lady said, "And he is not storm, so could find comfort in the calm."

Hallith smiled at her even as he asked, "Do we mark that against our host?"

The dragon spoke for himself. "Just the fact that the deed was noticed lets me know not to press for any concessions. Okay, you came here for knowledge. Let me provide what information I know."

I stayed standing while the dragon spoke. It was not that I did not trust him, but that I did not consider the history of any importance. My focus was on removing the problem. While I did listen enough to the dragon to assure myself of being able to catch any reference I considered actually important, I mostly stood and watched the movement around me.
Ayither also did not sit. The way she moved about Hallith I received the impression she was entertained by his attempt to actually pay attention to the conversation. I could not catch what they whispered to each other, but whatever it was did not noticeably change the mood of either. My own impression was that Hallith would become annoyed from the lady's attempt to distract him from what was being said, although I had to completely rethink the actions when it was Ayither who challenged something.

"Water and earth are not opposed elements. Yes, I noticed the presence of water in the sphere, but it was in the surrounding terrain as well. It was just present. It came and went. If a balance was required, one should have assumed the presence of fire."

Terish spoke before the dragon could. "His point was that the water was not corrupting the earth in the room, and he found his fire, he breathes fire, was not corrupting the earth as well. That made the elemental, and the remains of its form, rather unusual."

"You're water, Hallith. What do you say to that?"

He replied, "The corpses of those we killed, Ayither. They were as paper. No sign of water. Whatever removed the white, or simply made them black, also removed the water."

She spun to me to ask, "And what do you say to that?"

Actually mystified, I could only reply, "I have nothing against water."

"How about one of your gods?"

"None of them. Glory, Disease, Sanity, Superiority, Slavery, and Pleasure are all with concerns above the physical."

Terish replied, "Except Disease, Frowick, the god that sent you on this mission. Disease does affect the physical."

"Well, no more than the others. Slavery is definitely a physical state, as the mind and spirit of a slave can stay free. All the gods speak of how their aspects is reflected in the physical, although our concern should be on how it influences our soul. As black, I deal with the physical, although stand with white in preaching of a need to set our minds on higher influences."

Hallith asked, "No more than the others. Dalinth, are you saying that there is not a disease that could kill by dehydration?"

"Well, of course there is. But –" I suddenly gained a focus to my words, and turned to point to Ayither. "That is where the balance would need to be shown. If the white and the water is being removed, there would have to be the detritus somewhere."

The dragon now exclaimed, "That was my point! Or at least the one I was working at getting to. My need to keep my activities limited in the room was due the purity of the environment. However, I could not work fast due to the methodical nature of the process and the pull of my own essence from me."

Ayither interrupted any further statements from the dragon by saying, "He is not distracting us, Terish! He is saying there is another process going on."

Terish replied, "Okay, so, Ayither, answer my next major question. Where is it? Is it near?"

The dragon said, "I would say that it was near, as I definitely sensed something."

Her form moved about, so I stepped back to keep her in view, which helped me also have the others in my field of vision, as I listened to her. "It cannot be far. Also, no one mentioned a second hole. But the others should have mentioned the presence of another in the area, someone we probably could have gone to for advice, but they did not."

Terish pointing at the lady had her stop to listen to him. "Ayither, what you are concluding is that we need to go back and look. Now, what if I suggest to Kurisporrin that he should make use of our time doing further research to claim what of the elemental earth he can?"

She became the one to point, although her finger directed itself to the dragon, as she said, "The sphere will just drop. We will warn you, or maybe simply expel you, if you are in there at the time."

The dragon replied, "Considering that you are concluding that I am not the problem, I will be grateful for your graciousness."

"Well, I will not thank you for your hospitality, but I am glad to be able to say that I spoke with a dragon. I will speak to others of this meeting, Kurisporrin. Maybe in the future we can meet again and improve our relationship with each other."

"There are times when I feel that I am cursed in being a dragon. Champion Hallith, I apologize for you being the one targeted for my subterfuge. That lady is something I could never have. My mates as dragons will never be so devoted. Should I see the two of you again, be certain that I will work to gain your friendship. As for my other two guests, let me say that I will go into the future speaking of having this conversation. I thank you for the honor of sharing time with me. Now, we all have work to be about. May we all gain success."

We left in a pleasant manner. Terish spoke some advice to the dragon concerning how to best use his time toward gaining the elemental remains and preserving their nature. Ayither seemed to also be having a conversation with someone, although there was not a pleasant expression on her face as she spoke to Hallith.

"I told Typhorsh to send word to Slidell that I was nice to a dragon."

Hallith displayed his own concern for the countenance of the lady as he asked, "And what did he say in return?"

"That she was practicing being nice as well. He said that she had messages for me, but every one of them was for me to stay as long as you were making me happy. Those however tell me that she is not happy, and makes me miss her."

"Don't make her cry, Ayither. You keep letting her know that things are going well with you. I mean, I am trying."

She patted the large man on the chest while saying, "I am glad to have your friendship, Hallith. If I do feel the need to go to Slidell, I will want you with me. Now, let us get out of here."

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Eighteen   To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B) Icon_minitimeJuly 29th 2019, 6:43 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Eighteen

(Hallith)

I had to accept that neither Ayither nor Typhorsh had a problem with me, as she took me up due to the power of her deity. Terish had his own method of flying, and he brought Dalinth with him. I saw shock in Ayither's eyes when she looked back realizing she had not let go of my hand after having us again touch down on the ground, although I could not help but smile accepting it as something good.

She did a poor job of hiding her embarrassment as she said, "Uh, well, the camp – it is gone."

I replied, "Don't you think Terish cannot find his wife. If I lose you, I am certain that Typhorsh will relay your position through Zetrullid, if not directly."

"And the reverse."

Terish declared, "Straekin is establishing a camp. Menasha is wanting me to send for her, and I am going to have her bring your mounts with her."

Hearing verification of what I had said, I bent down to whisper to Ayither, "Well, any problems with that?"

"Yes. I mean, I'm not supposed to have a man like you. At the best, I would get a man like Nemerry is promising Slidell. A fellow champion can understand some of the things said, but their own history can sometimes cause friction. Think of the man Slidell is being told about. She will have the chance to know him from a child. I don't know how that will work. She's calm, so can adapt, but I would think it is rough. You and I are active in our relationship and our gods. We cannot just understand, but actually share things. It is making me want to be your wife, Hallith, but I find it uncomfortable in that I know things are not supposed to be this way."

"Well, I'm not that way, Ayither. I have Terish and Straekin and other couples in my life. I would be glad to have you meet all of them. No, I am determined to have you meet all of them. I want to have a life comparable with theirs, and I believe you could provide that."

I was glad to hear, "Typhorsh keeps telling me to listen to you, Hallith. I am listening, but the weight of the words is still great."

Hoping to get a smile on her face, I said, "You just lifted me from down in that hole all the way up. How much of weight would it take for you to be unable to lift?"

"No, Hallith, that is not my problem. I wanted to lift you. I did not want you to stay down in that hole. I am not at the place where I want you as my husband. I know that I can lift the weight, but right now I do not want to lift it."

"Well, we're immortals, so take your time."

"BUT I'M NOT – DAMN YOU, TYPHORSH!" She then pointed at me while again declaring, "I AM STORM!" before moving off to gain her horse from Menasha.

I expected the question from Terish, but it was his centaur that asked, "Any troubles, Hallith?"

"I am wondering if I should have any," I replied.

I felt slapped on the back as Terish said, "Oh, I have been there a number of times. Just keep being yourself, Hallith."

"But – I don't have the relationship with Zetrullid like Ayither has with Typhorsh. She is in almost constant contact with her deity. I think it would help to have that with Zetrullid."

Menasha handed me the reins to my horse while saying, "I don't see Ayither having a constant flow of good emotions and information from her deity. I almost would think that you would not want to be with her seeing the way she acts toward her god."

"But it is positive. She is very devoted to Typhorsh. There is also nothing negative in how she treats me. The only difference is that she has accepted Typhorsh, and not yet me."

"Well, you cannot say that you did not know how she was going to treat you."

I paused in gaining the back of my horse, as I saw another animal spin before hearing the voice of Ayither. "What did she say?"

"She said," I returned, "that I cannot say that I did not know how you would treat me, assuming I become your husband."

"I am assuming the same will be true for me."

I looked to Menasha, and she shrugged before answering, "I don't remember any extreme displays in your behavior, Hallith. What about in your time with Kierle, especially with the children?"

After thinking for a moment, I said, "I stayed true to my calling. Yes, I guess Ayither is seeing me the way I truly am." I then felt the need to add, "AND THE WAY I WILL BE!"

Ayither declared, "You are not calm."

"Well, I'm not storm."

"No, but I am seeing that I can rage around you. I could do that with Slidell as well, but she would lecture me. You don't lecture me."

"That's good, right?"

It helped my own feelings to see her finally smile as she said, "I would not listen."

"So, I won't have to listen to you either?"

"Typhorsh is telling me to keep listening to you, Hallith, so you better keep listening to me."

Menasha said, "I would support that, Hallith."

Terish spoke his own agreement, "I definitely listen to Straekin."

I gained the back of my mount, then moved close to Ayither so I could whisper, "You are too lovely. I would have to look at you, which would mean that my ears would be facing in the direction to catch your words."

She grinned, then turned her attention to assuring herself of the directions we would need to go. I simply watched her amazed in just her presence, and not with any desire to have her for my own. I found myself accepting that I would never truly have her, but only stay fascinated in being able to watch a form like that move around me. Feeling a need to speak to Terish about those thoughts later, I accepted the directions by simply telling Ayither that I would stay with her.

While Menasha came to us through a portal opened up by Terish, we traveled from our location by taking some switchback trails. I knew that Zetrullid would provide passage to distant places or those destinations on other worlds. Once in an area, I however had to get from place to place in the usual fashion. I suspected that Terish also operated with such rules, although his agreement with Menasha had him force benefits for her.

During the travel, Terish spoke with Ayither about what she had noticed in the terrain. I listened as they spoke of the locations of flows of water. Both considered it strange that while the streams appeared quite active, no falls of rock or other movement in the substrate could be found. They both stopped when it was pointed out the camp where Straekin and Retarund could be found, and I saw the hands directed by the eyes as both Terish and Ayither sought some conclusion to their beliefs and the evidence.

It was Terish that spoke first by asking, "Ayither, just how strong is your storm?"

"All champions will brag, as proclaiming our gods is a good thing."

"Agreed. So, what if I told you that the bald spot over there is not simply due to an area of bare rock, but that it will stop your wind, however strong it is? Just as the rocks do not move, neither will your wind."

I saw Ayither simply look, then without noticeably doing anything she replied, "You are not fully correct. Still, yes, but that only answers a question. If one sphere was earth, this is a counter containing air." She then turned to ask, "Dalinth, is it black or white?"

"I'm not that good," he replied while dropping from his horse. "Let me move over there."

The area indicated was not that far away. We were however coming down a steep slope, so moving to the patch of rock was not easily accomplished. While he had not proven himself as a powerful combatant, he moved across the terrain well enough. He reached the indicated area, then we waited for him to do what was necessary to answer the question.

"It's black!" he yelled over the distance.

Ayither said, "Which is why we have not seen any white animals."

I replied, "But the animals are lacking fire and water, not earth and air."

"They are not soaking them up, Hallith, but only containing them. Still, you're right that this does not explain what we have seen."

Seeing Dalinth on his way back to us, I said, "Well, surely there is a reason Straekin is below."

Terish replied, "She believes that she is heading toward the cave where someone sought to take advantage of the magic here. I have a champion of black, water, and strong air with me, which seems to be the right combination for this mission. I thus am hoping for a better sense of what is going on when we reach that cave."

Ayither asked, "What did you do before having us?"

"Read books." He then looked to me to say, "That is one thing I will need to remember. I should now be able to call on you. Never could do that when you were with the Quartermasters."

I replied, "I would be glad to come, Terish. While I am glad to be away from that life, I will always answer when Anerth calls for me. Honestly, I believe whatever you call me for would be less stressful." I looked to Ayither as I softly added, "Calm."

She said, "I don't feel calm."

I expected more of a declaration. I listened for some explanation. Ayither simply sat on her horse however. She did not have an expression of being angry, so I felt things were still good between us. I had still expected some other reaction to my word, and sat on my horse wondering how I might learn something of her thoughts.

Finally, she looked at me and asked, "Does that not bother you?"

"Why in Hell should you feel calm?"

"I think you understand me better than Typhorsh."

"Ayither, you are in basically constant contact with him. I want you basically in constant contact with me. Now, I expect us to have good and bad times, but I also expect us to see them through. I am basing that upon your continued association with Typhorsh."

She locked her gaze upon me, and after a time she said, "Typhorsh agrees with you. I am listening, but right now I am not agreeing with either of you."

"Surely there is a reason, Ayither. When you feel like revealing it, I believe we both will accept your thoughts. Until then, I at least get to look at you."

We both turned at the call of Terish. I saw Dalinth on his horse with him near Menasha. I accepted that we were ready to descend to meet Straekin at the camp. I thus turned to Ayither and signaled for her to start moving. She glared at me, and I let her know why I wanted her to follow Terish.

"I told you that I would be looking at you, and I really would rather not have to sit backward on my horse."

She simply nodded, then directed her mount to begin moving. I felt that to be a good sign. Wondering just what Typhorsh was thinking of his champion, I accepted that Ayither was at least still with me. Pleased with the view, I directed my mount to fall in behind the others.

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Nineteen - Part One   To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B) Icon_minitimeAugust 3rd 2019, 7:06 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Nineteen – Part One

(Straekin)

When Terish sent for Menasha, I knew that he was all right. He and I had not known each other for that long when he performed the acts that brought the centaurs into his service. Just as my relationship with Terish improved over time, those of the world who had graced him with the mounts had come to know more about their savior and his activities through the omniverse. The centaurs that followed Raedell came into their service understanding that they would be more than a beast of burden, and took on their duties with a pride that at times surpassed my own love. Terish never did ignore the centaurs that served him, and I had learned to accept that if they felt things were all right then I should be content.

I did advance to meet those that had been missing, although found Terish looking at his companions with me understanding when Ayither rode forward while saying, "Hallith, I need a bath."

The former Quartermaster looked at me to ask, "You and Terish do have access to a tent?"

Getting my husband into an enclosed space, even a canvas one, could be tough, but when surrounded by men I did desire some privacy. "The colors of Thiminy are violet and a bright blue. Terish and I usually do use magic to fill our tub and keep the water warm." Since Hallith was a friend, I could not help but ask, "Any problems?"

"I don't think with me. I cannot fault Ayither, as it is a big decision. Still, if Terish tells you something different, Straekin, I would appreciate you telling me."

"I might send him, but I will advise him on what to say to you."

"Thanks."

As Hallith rode off, I turned to my husband, but it was Menasha that spoke. "Don't ask me. Ayither was already in her mood when I arrived."

Terish first embraced and kissed me before saying, "I think Ayither is realizing that she can make a certain decision, but is still uncertain for some reason. She has her own history, but still seems to be a positive personality. I expect things to stay good with her. That however does not seem to be the case with this situation here. Is Retarund still with you?"

The voice of the man sounded from a distance that was close enough to accept that he had been eavesdropping. "Yes, I am here, and as you can see there is an army here to assure that this problem is dealt with."

Dalinth rushed in that direction. I would say that the eyes of almost all the soldiers focused on him. They probably expected some type of retort from the champion of black. He however waited for Retarund to finish speaking before speaking to the mass of men.

"YES, we need this problem dealt with. You cannot comprehend where I have been, or what I have seen. However, let me again remind all, including our champion of white, that we of black are not simply antagonistic. We have our own causes. Our objectives often have us in confrontation with the gods, but we are accepted into their presence because we are seeking a better life, a better future, for all. This very mission proves that. A priest of Frowick came to me. I have learned the reason for the gods turning to one black. I could go where Retarund could not. Still, he saw the need. He saw the seriousness of this situation. He gained you, because that is something white does." Dalinth paused to allow some chuckles before continuing, "But he is wanting to help me, a champion of black. May the gods bless him. May the gods bless you – all of you." Again he paused, and I heard the men make a reply that I accepted as a common religious chorus. "This is a serious matter. It was given to me. However, Frowick told me that I would have help. I do have help, but I am not going to deny Retarund. He might be white, but he is trying to help. He wants you to help. I am grateful. I really am grateful. Pay attention, men! This matter is most strange. I thank you for your support, but I am at work attempting to do what Frowick asked me to do. Let me see this matter through. However, let me assure you that if this matter goes beyond me, I accept that I have the support of those who will not let it pass to the people."

What happened after that was not what I expected. Men began to speak to Dalinth of times black had helped members of their family or other acquaintances. They spoke of problems in the past, and how people they knew had found themselves suffering only to have one black come to ease their torment. Each finished in recognizing Dalinth as truly being someone that could help to remove the problem or at least ease the burden. After a number of those stories, I watched as the military company knelt to show their acceptance of Dalinth. I then smiled as I what I felt needed to happen, did.

Retarund stepped up to shake Dalinth's hand, then as they did he asked, "Have I ever opposed you, Dalinth?"

The champion of black replied, "On this mission, in no manner other than our usual disagreement in methods. Let me again admit that you are here because you brought me food."

The champion of white then announced, "I am here to help Dalinth! He is on a mission to help the gods! That is my purpose! As a champion of white, I work with the gods! I therefore accept that I am working with Dalinth, a champion of black! If you have any concern for your souls, you will support Dalinth as well!"

The men were kneeling. They now stood as they sounded a phrase that I accepted as the local words of agreement. They then cheered. Dalinth told the men to go back to their duties, put an arm around Retarund, and brought him to speak to my husband and his companions.

It was seldom I heard of opponents being wise enough to know when they had lost. Further, I knew enough about dragons to accept that they seldom would back down from a demonstration of their power. I thus listened to my husband and those that gone with him wishing that I had been present to speak to the opponent they had found to seek terms.

Since I was not a local celebrity, I was left alone. Further, as a lady the men tended to avoid me or act extremely polite when near. I had become used to such treatment. From the first of traveling with Terish, I recognized that the talents that had propelled me into the leadership position of my world were little good in dealing with things fantastic. I however sought out the man who was now my husband because he had wonderful things to show me, and I needed time away from the spotlight of running a grand government. While I found myself no longer the celebrity, I never found myself truly alone and always came home with wonderful stories to tell others.

Ayither took a seat near me and asked, "You like it out here surrounded by men?"

"Honestly, most of those in my government are men. When I socialize with women, it is mostly their wives."

"Yes. I did not like that. After I had achieved some really grand feats, I also was invited to spend time with other important women." She paused, then I saw her eyes focus on me as she said, "You're right, it was their wives. I guess that is why I did not like it."

I nodded, then said, "You however have to deal with it. You cannot just force this life. While the Quartermasters do go from deadly threat to deadly threat, they have deities working to plan their movements. I am not going to say that we are not also pawns of gods, especially since I am talking to someone who has committed herself to a god, but their paths for our lives are usually more mundane. Terish does stay rather active, but you have heard us speak of the down time between our travels."

"And you are happy?"

"And I am glad not to be one thing. My position in government has forced a certain style of life, but I came to find that restricting who I felt I truly was. I am myself out here, and when in Thiminy. Personally, I am not always the same type of woman. I have my moods." Worried if I was finding a nerve, I found myself saying, "Ayither, you do not give me the impression that the storm is anger."

"No. Typhorsh is not an angry god. He however is not a peaceful god, but the problems I solve lead to peace. That is where I find the problems with my relationship with him."

"Why would you not have the same problem in his halls?"

"Because I would not have the fear of losing my status with him. That is what I fight for. I fight to stay his champion."

I could not help but smile as I said, "Ayither, I know people who have found that answer. I thus can tell you that the answer is there. The only problem in finding that answer for yourself I believe is that you are going to have to face the calm."

"I have faced the calm, and only found that there were no answers for me there. I am with Hallith hoping that he can show me another place to look."

"Well, you will be in the wrong if you get angry at him for not being able to show you what you are looking for. He however can show you more places, and hopefully that will enable you to find what you are looking for."

"That is what Typhorsh tells me. He says that I have found a man who can give me what I want, but that I have not found the woman that will be happy with him."

Thinking of how I saw her act around Hallith, I said, "But you do seem happy with him." Before she could say anything else, I added, "I think that woman is there, so you will be at fault if you stop spending time with him."

She got up and rushed away I hoped to do something positive. I however knew better than to think I could help in other ways than provide advice. Terish picked on us of Davelda for having an adage for almost everything, but I felt that after centuries it would not reflect well on us if we had not solved most common problems. Still, we also knew that everyone had to face their own demons and discover the adages did truly present wisdom. I thus stayed seated and wondered if another would approach that I could direct in a positive direction for their life.

Feeling an arm of my husband come around me as he took a seat did bring me comfort. I thus leaned against his form. Hoping he would stay with me, I spoke to let him know what I felt a need to discuss.

"Hallith found a good lady. I hope things work out."

"Well, I believe both Zetrullid and Typhorsh are in support of the union. I thus believe things will work out. Just as with Pesloe and Cornispe, the two will have to prove themselves truly able to survive the centuries with each other."

I thought back to our time with the courtship between the female Quartermaster and Cornispe before saying, "I believe both Hallith and Ayither are wanting to commit to each other. That puts them in a better place than Pesloe and Cornispe."

"Rushing into a relationship is usually not a good thing however. We would not be helping either of them to push them into making the commitment. If it means having the couple travel with us for a time, I am willing."

I knew Hallith was a good friend of my husband. From what I knew of Ayither, she was someone who could end up being a wonderful friend to the both of us. Feeling that we were also involved in a situation that would have us become friends to those of this world, I settled against my husband quite pleased with my life.

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Nineteen - Part Two   To Know Black and White - Part 4 (15B - 19B) Icon_minitimeAugust 8th 2019, 7:04 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Nineteen – Part Two

(Straekin)

A massive army was not a simple thing to get into action. It took work to orchestrate all the units and motivate the individuals. While we did not have far to go, it took time for those who had faced the previous threat to assimilate what they had learned with the reason for the army to be present. They then had to consider what actions the military needed to perform and how to best direct them to gain the desired results.

I did have experience in manipulating grand military operations. I had been instrumental in assuring victory for my cause in a war that raged all over my world. Terish had those skills as well. The centaurs served him because he had directed all the non-humans in their area to work with the humans in a final confrontation with the one seeking to devastate their world. Still, this was not a circumstance where either of us had any real authority. As powerful as my husband was, he was not the champion of any god. We therefore both relaxed and allowed others to take on the task of manipulating the military.

It was late when I saw Ayither come to the campfire, and assuming the reason for her presence I pointed while saying, "Terish and Hallith are in that direction."

"Why would I be interested in them?"

"They responded to something. I assumed your god awoke you for the same thing."

"Yes, I was wondering where to fight." She looked to me, then asked, "You don't fight?"

I smiled only for the reason that I was quoting an adage of those of the world of Thiminy and not one from my own world. "It is the job of a wife to compliment her husband, and not duplicate him. I can fight, but he is the better fighter."

"I enjoy fighting."

Not hearing any cries for help, I decided to see if the lady would pause and speak to me. "So, how does the storm rage when there is no fight?"

"I keep myself in shape by practicing my fighting skills."

"Oh, I agree with practicing, but one then has to relax with the acceptance that there truly is no need to fight. I would hope that you enjoy the experience of accepting that things are at peace."

"You mean enjoying the calm?"

I had spoken with Hallith and Ayither enough to know not to accept that answer. "No, I mean enjoying that things are at peace. Especially when you caused it. I travel with Terish and take part in helping people. It brings me joy to know that everyone is celebrating, everyone is happy, because of what I did or helped to do. There is a deep sense of satisfaction when I leave with everyone quietly in their homes. To find a settlement where life is going about normally I find the pleasure in knowing that I can deal with my own problems instead of working out the problems of others. I have a husband. There are family concerns. Terish and I own properties, have interests, and there are just other things we actually enjoy having time to do." Attempting to hopefully direct the lady in the direction I felt she needed to go, I added, "I would hope that you enjoy spending quiet time with Hallith."

"He is not calm."

"Some of my most pleasant periods is when I get Terish calm. I can tell that you have never been there, but there is a calm you can find with a man that is most exceptional. They never last, but I always wish they would."

She took a seat near me, then lowered her voice as she admitted, "I fear that."

"Speaking as a woman to another woman, I would think that you would want it."

"That is when Champions of Typhorsh, and of Thor, lose their storm."

"So, the halls of those gods are empty?"

"No, but –" I saw a perplexed expression cross her features, then she said, "Typhorsh says that you are asking me good questions."

I felt honored by the words, although had to admit a truth. "Well, I am sorry not to have any answers to them."

More of grimace than a grin showed on her face as she replied, "Typhorsh is laughing while claiming he does not have any answers either."

We suddenly heard the roar of men. I took it to mean that whatever problem had erupted had been resolved. Ayither stayed seated while we heard a movement of men, although rose as a large figure suddenly rushed to her.

While hugging her, Hallith said, "There was no reason to get up, Ayither. We let the regular soldiers handle the fight."

She shared a simple kiss with him before replying, "I was ready in case things turned bad."

"Well, they didn't, so go on back to bed. The local leaders told Terish and me to go to bed as well, as they felt they could handle things."

I asked, "Any reason to think that things could get worse?"

My husband knew that I wanted an answer from him, so it was he that answered, "Yes, but I am glad that it is not happening. If it did, I would have a number of dragons to kill. I am however warning Hallith and our champions of white and black that we should expect trouble of at least as powerful of a threat."

"That means you should get some rest."

My husband really did not like enclosed spaces, but I knew that he had to allow me time as he replied, "Yes, I guess. Come on."

Hallith said, "I won't be that far from you, Ayither. Thus, if anything wakes me it should wake you as well."

She looked at him and asked, "Do you like the calm?" I saw her look to me and Terish, but her expression was as if glad that we were present as she asked, "Do you like times like this, when you can relax?"

"Well, uh, I would hope that we can have times like Terish and Straekin. We cannot expect trouble to bother us all the time. I mean, I would rather not go back to being a Quartermaster."

"Uh, no." Those words came out very fast, but as shock registered on her face her words came out rather slowly. "I don't want that life either. I... I –" she turned to me and stated, "You are right. It's in the calm." Her face had her appearing to cry as she confided, "But I cannot find it."

She took off. Hallith acted as if to follow, but Terish reached out to grab him. I felt that he did the right thing, although was grateful that he explained himself to the man.

"She's not refusing you, Hallith. I'm not saying don't go to her, but give her time to fight her own battles."

I had to add, "But I don't think you have any answers for her."

Hallith asked, "What do you know, Straekin?"

As I friend, I hoped to give him a complete answer. "Let me say that she needs to become a complete person, Hallith. She is strong in who she is, but is realizing that she needs to become more."

"I heard her mention calm. That is not a word that is a part of her nature."

"But there will be calm periods, Hallith. Further, the calm are the good times. I am getting my time with Terish because this is a calm time. You should be able to accept that with children things are best when all is at calm. She needs to find peace in the calm."

He looked off in the direction Ayither had gone, but then set his eyes back on me. "Peace. That is something Slidell said about me. She said I was at peace, but she was not. Are you saying that Ayither is not at peace either?"

"Not in the calm. Ayither is realizing that she is going to have to find peace in the middle of the calm."

"Uh, yeah, I can understand that." He paused, then asked, "Do you think she will?"

"What does Zetrullid tell you?"

"He does not usually talk to me. Does Munulva talk to you?"

That question surprised me, causing me to say, "I am not a divine champion, Hallith. She definitely has never spoken to me about things not directly concerning Her. Still, Hallith, I would say that your possible relationship with Zetrullid will have him willing to speak."

Terish said, "I doubt he will talk, Straekin."

I looked to him to ask, "And why is that?"

"Because there is nothing to tell Hallith. He is here with Ayither, and willing to deal with her. The only reason to speak to Hallith would be to tell him to leave her alone. If that was his decision concerning Ayither, he would have already told Hallith that."

The large man nodded while admitting, "Yes, that is about the way my relationship with Zetrullid goes. He has spoken in favor of Ayither, so is leaving it to me to work out."

I spoke of my own disapproval with those words. "Surely he can supply you with advice."

"Ayither is in almost constant contact with Typhorsh, and she says he is in favor of our union. I am thus trusting him to advise Ayither."

"Hallith, it is you who has to live with Ayither. You should thus be wanting her to trust in you."

"I am not going to challenge another god, Straekin."

Terish said, "Which is wise. I don't challenge Munulva. You might not be a divine champion, Straek, but you do have a positive relationship with a deity. Munulva had you marry me, so what advice do you think Typhorsh could give Ayither?"

I replied, "Munulva simply told me to marry you, Terish. All I did was obey. If Typhorsh told Ayither to marry Hallith, I believe she would obey. I can hope Ayither will be as glad for the decision as I am, but I went through my periods of discomfort with you."

"Okay, so do you think Typhorsh should just tell Ayither to marry Hallith?"

It was Hallith that answered, "No. Sorry, Straekin, but I know enough about the two of you to know the difference between you and Terish and me and Ayither. Each of you had a path, and without such a command would never have gotten together. Neither Ayither nor I have a path, but have on our own found ourselves with the option to travel together. We need to be tested. It however is my place to help people, so I do want to help Ayither – and I do love her."

I said, "I think she loves you too, Hallith."

"Well, do you think I have waited long enough? Can I go to her now?"

"Unless Zetrullid is telling you to stop."

"Huh. For once I am glad the guy is silent."

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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.
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