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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 5 (20-25)

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TerishD

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PostSubject: To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25)   To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25) Icon_minitimeAugust 13th 2019, 6:46 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Twenty

(Hallith)

I had tracked the direction Ayither rushed off.  Nothing about her however had me feel that she had moved in a straight line.  Coming out into a large field however had me feel that I had gone in the right direction, so I stopped simply to try and find her small form.

In the dark I did manage to see the movement before I heard her voice say, "I'm here, Hallith."

I stayed where I was while saying, "I don't feel that much wind."

"No, but I know now why I needed to leave my world.  If this was my world, I would be worried about Myriah.  She is not here however.  I can stand here and feel Typhorsh without worrying about another god."

"This world has its own gods."

I did not mean to disagreeable, but only intended to state a fact.  A problem could not be considered solved if all aspects of the situation had not been taken into account.  That was a lesson I learned as a Quartermaster.  We would be waiting for the next portal to open, but then would somehow realize we had more to do.  I found myself pleased when Ayither spoke with no tones of being disagreeable with what I said.

"But not any to worry about, at least as far as my relationship with the storm."

"And that is good, right?  I mean, I came out to help, but I did not know how to help, but if you don't need help then that is good?"

There was a pause, then Ayither said, "I don't like it out here, Hallith.  I don't want the calm.  I have served Typhorsh for over twenty years.  It was my displeasure in the calm that kept me seeking ways of retaining my storm.  If this is to be my life, I won't be happy."

Another voice broke into the conversation.  "But if you can feel your god, that should be enough."

We both turned to see Retarund.  While it was night, the whiteness of his form could still be made out.  He approached while giving support for his words.

"It is my cause to support the gods.  Whatever they decide, I must work to have the people accept the things that come.  Disease, insanity, a loss of status, a loss of respect, having sorrow, or even a loss of freedom I have to stand strong for the will of the gods.  Sometimes it is very rough, but knowing that I am doing the will of the gods is enough for me."

Ayither replied, "My god is storm, strong wind, so I am storm.  In the storm I know that I in the god's spirit.  While I might sense him, hear him, in the calm, it is in the storm that I feel his presence all through me."

"Oh, I know the joy, but I did not choose my life for the joy.  I became white simply for the acknowledgement that I had a place in the service of the deities.  I take pride in others knowing that I am a champion for the actions of the gods, whether I am actually acting on their behalf or not."

I said, "Ayither, I served Zetrullid for over four hundred years without hearing his voice.  I did gain a deep satisfaction when I finally met him, but I am back out here in the omniverse without the need to stay listening to his voice."

Ayither replied, "But I like hearing the voice of Typhorsh."

"Even out here?  I have heard enough from you that I know you hear his voice even here, so why aren't you happy?"

Retarund said, "I would ask the same question."

She did not really answer the question, but started moving to me while letting me know she was all right.  "You know what I like about you, Hallith?  You are not trying to convince me that the calm is good.  You are only trying to convince me that there is good in the calm."

I replied, "And that is what you truly fight for:  good.  You did not fight with Slidell.  I don't want you fighting with me, because I fight for good as well.  That is also why I want you with me.  I would like to share my life with someone who is fighting with me."  Just because I felt a need to say it, I added, "And I am not really calm."

"Was it calm when you met Zetrullid?"

Sounded to me like a good thing to talk about.  I thus told Ayither about my arrival at Morthin.  With Retarund and possibly soldiers also listening, I did my best to make the story as entertaining as possible.  I spoke of how Pesloe held up the ring to the monks guarding the path, and had them realize that we had divine license to pass.  I then spoke of those who directly served Zetrullid and how they greeted us and directed us through the maze of passages that would confuse those unwelcomed.  Finally, I mentioned the flows of water around the island where Zetrullid had his throne.  Ayither let me talk, as did the others that listened, and since I considered it a good event in my past I did not shorten my words by even one detail.

She said when I had finished, "Did not really sound calm at all."

"No, but I have always been happy going there."

"How about Aslerrida?  The one that gave you Kierle.  Were you happy going there?"

I considered that a strange question, which I tried to imply in my answer.  "No, but there was no reason to be.  Kierle had just died.  While there was a joy in knowing she had passed into the divine realms, it still hurt to know that she was no longer among the living.  Aslerrida was also an opposed goddess.  She was nice enough, and lovely enough, but not someone who brought me joy."

"Lovely enough?"

"Oh, yes."  I held my hand up over my head while saying, "She was taller than you, and I would say had more on her chest than you."

"HALLITH!"

I tried not to smile as I continued to speak.  "And her appearance was brilliantly colored.  I mean, she was fire, so I guess you could expect that.  Still, I don't see you dressed so colorfully."

"I'm wind, Hallith, not fire."

I just kept talking with my hands going around my head as I said, "I think you have longer hair than she had, but hers was more fuller as the flames moved about her head."

"I'm not changing my hairstyle, Hallith."

"If you accept me, Ayither, I will not ever think of changing you."

She glared at me, then said, "I have already admitted that you were not calm.  Also, I have admitted that I like you, Hallith.  I am glad that you came out here.  You made it better out here.  Let me get some sleep."

As she moved off, Retarund said, "I believe that went well."

I asked, "Sorry that you cannot marry?"

"No, but it does bring me joy when I see others marry.  It is the way of the gods, so something I support.  Sometimes the reasoning or the timing I feel is wrong, but I leave such matters to the gods."

"If you work in support of marriage, does black work against it?"

"No, but they will speak out if they feel the reasoning or timing is wrong.  Those that feel a couple are getting together for the wrong reasons, or just not right for each other, will turn to one black."

I found myself looking to camp, but then spoke as I considered why I had done that.  "So, the fact that Dalinth is not complaining is a good thing?"

There were distant chuckles as Retarund answered, "Actually, yes.  In fact, I am impressed to find him taking action on behalf of the gods with so much zeal."

"Why?  To hear him talk, he has seen the benefits of his actions.  Also, it seems that the gods recognize his devotion.  I fought for over four hundred years solely on the witness that great evils had been vanquished.  I will always speak of my joy in finally hearing my god praise what I did, but I continue to fight more for the benefits I personally witness."

"I just feel that to go against the dictates of the gods to be wrong.  Tell me, Hallith, is it not true that you and Ayither worship different gods?"

The question did trouble me.  Considering the difficulty Ayither was having in making a decision, I felt that there had to be an underlying problem.  I liked her however, and was willing to love her.  It thus troubled me that Retarund might see the problem between us, and consider it insurmountable.

"Yes.  She worships Typhorsh and I worship Zetrullid."

"If there is a conflict between your two deities, who will dominate?"

That question did not settle well on me, because I felt Retarund had no right to ask.  "How about you?  You worship no one specific god.  If there is conflict between deities, how do you reconcile the matter?"

"I don't.  I operate as if the conflict does not exist.  In fact, I preach that it does not truly, but only in our limited sight.  I however know that in those times the people will turn to black.  That however does not mean that I am wrong."

Since he showed no reluctance to answer my question, I felt required to give a complete response to his.  "Considering that I come from a world of elemental deities with gods who have aspects that oppose, I can appreciate what you said.  I had a slave that was a gift from the goddess of fire, and never had a conflict with her.  In that relationship I was the superior, but still our conflicts were of home and children – something that all couples will find themselves discussing.  It did not cause us strife to have those discussions, but actually made me feel that I was truly joined with my slave.  Considering that Ayither's god is one of wind, which is not opposed to mine of water, I feel that no conflict save those of home and children will ever come to try and divide us."

"How about Terish and Straekin?  What conflicts have they had?"

"Many.  That is all I can say on the topic.  I was out battling as a Quartermaster though their developing relationship.  For the last few decades I have spent my time learning about things with Kierle.  Still, every time Terish and Straekin came to spend time with us Quartermasters there was a strength in the relationship between them.  I always got the sense that whatever troubles were between them, they already saw the resolution.  After being married for a time, I hope to speak to them on those feelings either to share my own observations or gain the advice I believe they could provide."

"I spent time with Straekin and Menasha.  Neither spoke against Terish.  Does Terish speak against Straekin when he is alone with you?"

My opinion was that this question was the same as the previous one, although I felt the rewording did enable me to give a more confident answer.  "No.  He will talk about her world, Davelda, but I find Straekin to gripe about them as well.  As for Straekin, he just accepts her as a part of his life.  As I said, whatever matter might be between them I sense that he knows it will be resolved.  He speaks of her as just a fact of his life.  I cannot say that I will feel the same about Ayither, but I hope that I feel she completes me as well."

"Hallith, will you mind if I ask concerning your relationship with Ayither?  Persala is Superiority.  She can tell me if there will be true equality between you.  Taburl is Slavery, and can basically give his impression of the same.  Bamander is Glory, and will let me know if your marriage will be a wonderful thing.  Velliya is Pleasure, and her approval is something that should give you confidence."

I chuckled before answering, because I felt most of the soldiers listening could have told Retarund my answer.  "In dealing with women, I believe a man cannot get enough advice, but will find all advice to somehow not apply to his woman."  I finished chuckling, then assured the champion of white of my answer.  "If anyone however could provide good advice, it certainly would be a god, and most especially a goddess."

"Go to bed, Hallith.  I will try to have an answer for you in the morning."

_________________
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 September 7th 2019, 6:42 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-One   To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25) Icon_minitimeAugust 18th 2019, 7:08 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Twenty-One

(Dalinth)

I found the soldiers doing things to let me know their appreciation for my presence. I heard some repeat things about my actions in the other hole. They asked me about the dragons. I did all I could to speak to the men, but being the center of attention was not a comfortable feeling, so I might not have responded as well as they desired. Still, the soldiers continued to do things to let me know they would fully support me.

Seeing Retarund approach actually improved my mood, as I was used to his manners. "Dalinth, where did you find those people who are with you?"

"Ask Frowick that question. All I was told was that I would get help. I really did not think it was you, but I have not refused your presence."

"No, but you were pretty hungry when I arrived with food."

It was strange for someone white to jest. In my work with Retarund, he gave me the impression of someone who was a really nice guy before he became white. Most who commit to being a champion for the dominating influences of the gods actually had their passion subdued. I knew a number of really oppressive agents of authority who took on the cause of white only to realize that most of the rules they were enforcing really were not enacted by those divine. Retarund however gave me the impression that he became white actually with the desire to make the world a better place. Of all the champions of white, he was strangely one that I felt would have made a better choice in becoming black.

I replied, "I was also really perplexed by what I was finding. Give Frowick the credit for actually sending capable help."

"Yes, but he did not send people that were black or white. They are rather complex."

"Only white would consider that a bad thing."

"You don't understand, Dalinth. This is our world. What is happening here will be part of our history. I cannot say that our historic record will be helped by speaking of a centaur, much less divine champions of other gods."

There were problems with being black, but I felt the problems with being white were more apparent and appalling. Having to go around acting as an asshole I felt was one of them. Hoping to get Retarund to see his own faults, I mentioned the obvious problem with what I heard him say.

"Did I just hear a champion of white speak of supporting a lie?"

"This is something that will go down in our history, and our history must support the history of things before us."

I let strength come to my voice as I said, "This is before us. If a good history had been provided, we might know what this is and how to deal with it. Instead, we are here forced to accept the help of heroes from other worlds and centaurs. Deal with it, Retarund, as I can almost assure you it was some other champion of white that did something to complicate the things resulting in our situation." I then calmed my speech while smiling as I added, "And I don't see why you care, as you will write down whatever the gods tell you to write down."

He only nodded while I saw his eyes look away. I had noticed the disturbance, although laughs and cheers from the soldiers let me know that it was not anything to bother me. I however had to turn my eyes upon hearing a couple of voices I felt to be important.

Ayither said, "My sword might not be enchanted, but Typhorsh can have it provide what I need."

Hallith replied, "Sometimes you can get in realities where your god will not be welcomed. An enchanted weapon helps you in those battles, as well as has your god feel some ease in allowing you to manage those battles."

"Typhorsh agrees with you, but I cannot imagine not having his support."

"I doubt you will ever lack his support, Ayither, but only the feeling of his active presence."

As the two approached the table, Retarund said, "I am ashamed of what I have to tell you, Hallith, as I should have expected the response. Both of you are champions of gods, so any approval by them will be sufficient sanction for your union."

The young lady looked to the large man, and he said, "Retarund offered to check with his gods about us becoming a couple, and I saw no reason to deny the offer."

She asked, "Did not even question whether or not what he said would matter?"

“We are divine champions, Ayither. I felt opinions from other gods might matter. It is like us as heroes speaking to Terish and Straekin, other heroes. There is advice we can give each other, and I allowed the same might be true for the gods.”

“This is a new step for me, Hallith. I saw Slidell desire to leave her life and take a husband, but I felt that I would let my storm rage for as long as it would. You are offering a life and the storm, and that is not as things are.” She paused, then said, “Yes, I see white as better than calm, and we are divine champions, so I liked that he sought to hold us to a divine standard.”

Retarund asked, “Ayither, why doesn’t that voice from Typhorsh soothe you?”

“Because of the importance of the decision. I do not doubt his approval, but I doubt the life. Hallith better not question the importance of taking me as a wife.” She turned to the large man to say, “I am glad that you asked.”

Hallith took the lady in his arms while saying, "Thank you, but you need to realize, Ayither, that I have had positive couples in my life. I don’t question the importance, but feel the desire. That puts you in a different light for me. You are right. I should not feel the need to take advantage of any access to other deities to gain some reference for the decision I could make. However, I feel it is not right to simply claim someone like you when I get the opportunity, as someone like you is a very rare thing that I should not ever want to corrupt. If anyone might have some wisdom or advice to get me to understand to wait, I agree that what is heard from gods might have some clout. I also have to say that what you are doing is not unusual. I saw you work with other gods and even apologize to Thor. However, a marriage does go beyond that in a different direction, and we should both consider the decision to become a couple as something very serious."

She pecked the man on the cheek, then broke from him to take a seat while asking, "Okay, Retarund, so are you a champion of white for eternity?"

He answered, "No. I am not immortal. Once in the divine realms, there is no need for white or black. The acts of the gods will only have a positive nature, and none can suffer to petition to black."

"I am facing an eternity of being married to Hallith. I have been to the divine realms, and had other gods admit they would not stop me from visiting, but my life will be here on the physical. It is a hard decision."

"I don't think it would be a decision for me."

"But they could not help me. In the mission where Hallith and I met, we were joined by previous Champions of Typhorsh, but they could not see the task through. They had passed, so had blessings and knowledge that would not be allowed to be released in the physical realm. I would rather stay where I can help. As wonderful as the divine realm might be, I would rather be someone who can be relied upon to fight at her best and see the battle through to its completion. Still, it was good to be with them again, and I felt they had not been wasting their time in Typhorsh's presence. At times I do feel the pain of denying myself that life."

Retarund excused himself. I saw a puzzled expression on Ayither's face, which was only broken by a smile to show some appreciation for Hallith telling a soldier to get them some breakfast. To help the lady, I felt a need to explain Retarund's action.

"Those white expect things to be white. You troubled him when you spoke of the matter of gods with indecision."

She replied, "Then he would not like my world. We question the gods all the time. I however like the conversations that result. It is nice that you can talk to them."

"That is part of my joy in being black. I also get to converse with the gods, and I also enjoy the conversations. Further, I look forward to my life coming to an end, as I feel that then many of the things I had to do will be fully explained." I then thought to add, "However, if you want my opinion, you marry Hallith. This life, this reality, can come to an end. That life cannot. One day you can gain the things that you feel you are missing, but never can you gain the things Hallith will bring into your life."

"Do you not feel that I will finally enter the divine realms with the loss of my time in that realm?"

"Oh, and what part of eternity will you miss? There is no fraction of eternity. You will still have eternity in that realm."

Hallith said, "Typhorsh agreed with that, didn't he?"

She looked to him calmly replying, "No, but simply commented that I was being given good advice. Black and white however do not speak of the storm and calm, so I am truthfully not having my questions answered."

My own attitude of black had me rise to the challenge she presented. "Okay, let me speak of storm and calm, water and air, or whatever you feel your problem is. If you are truly a champion of your god, it does not matter what you are going through, what you are feeling, or what opponents are causing you stress. You have committed yourself to your god, and nothing will stop that. You might have taken on the cause of presenting your god, so seek to ever promoting his ways, but within you should ever be a part of your god. If you are telling me that you fear losing the storm inside you then I would say that your connection to your god is not truly present within you."

Her head turned to Hallith, who threw up his hands while saying, "Don't look to me. Either Typhorsh agreed or not."

"You will not argue with Typhorsh?"

"I'm not stupid, Ayither. Let me however say that I expect the same concerning Zetrullid."

There was a pause, then she turned to those bringing the food as she said, "We have a battle coming. This matter is closed until that matter is settled."

"For now." Hallith put a hand on her shoulder to assure that she listened as he said, "Should you decide to join with me, everything stays open between us. I have no idea why I would want to discuss certain things in the middle of combat, but I will claim that right."

"You will want to do it because you are not calm. It is those calm who do not talk in the middle of battle."

"And there you were, Storm, telling me not to talk during our coming battle."

"Say what you will, Hallith. Who knows, it might help me make my decision."

I felt it wise of Hallith that he dropped the subject. Ayither was a very lovely young lady, and I felt he would ever regret losing her presence in his life. I felt some joy when she also spoke of things concerning what we might face today, as I did enjoy her company. Whatever Hallith might face in dealing with the lady, I found her to be a positive spirited personality that I enjoyed spending time with.

Terish and Straekin now showed up with their plates, although as they sat at the table Terish asked, "Dalinth, what is the chance we could ride ahead and get to our work while the army marches behind?"

Ayither voiced her approval, and I had nothing against it, but I thought to ask the person who would be a stick-in-the-mud. "Retarund?"

The champion of white had possibly seen the arrival of the couple, but might have approached for another reason, and looked to me with a surprised expression as he asked, "You want my permission?"

"It is conceivable that you might have a good reason why not."

"Well, uh, you going on ahead is actually a good idea. Cannot direct the army if we do not know what we are facing. Go ahead."

Ayither jumped up and said, "Come on, Hallith!"

He calmly looked to Terish and asked, "How soon can you be ready?"

It was Straekin that answered, "Give us a few minutes to eat, Ayither. Terish has been speculating a lot on what we might find, so I can assure you that we are eager to find out the truth."

Hallith now asked, "Are the two of you packed?"

Terish answered this time, "After decades of traveling, we handle those details rather quickly. We did leave Menasha eating, so I am not going to rush my breakfast. Still, we should be heading out soon enough."

The large man finished his plate, then said, "I know Ayither has not handled all the details, so you have time to eat."

I went to finish my meal, but did look to Retarund to say, "I promise to leave word for you about what we have found and plan on doing about it."

He replied, "I am here to help. Keep making me proud of you, Dalinth."

"I'm not doing this for you, but for Frowick."

"And that makes me proud of you."

_________________
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 Twenty-Two   To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25) Icon_minitimeAugust 23rd 2019, 6:45 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Twenty-Two

(Hallith)

A strange set of emotions passed through me as I traveled to the next location. I watched Ayither move around in her usual fashion thinking the joy she expressed was fake. I then had to consider that she was in constant contact with her deity, so surely was facing a reprimand if she was not acting true to her heart. That then led me to conclude that the feeling of fake emotions was from myself. I had no idea how to test or negate that decision. As far as I could tell, I was doing what I should do whatever our relationship. That hurt me, as I wondered what type of emotions I would feel should things advance with Ayither.

I could not help but smile as she exclaimed with joy in feeling a strong breeze. Considering that we were riding along at a fast rate, I felt the wind proper. I however could not help but look around with worry as I heard a man's voice.

"So, you do love her."

I had heard the voice of Typhorsh before, and accepting that if I married Ayither he would be a presence in my life I answered, "It would look bad upon me if I did not. She is a fantastic person."

"Yes, but she does not have your centuries. She has decades of enjoying my blessings, but not the hard years of having to face your fears and prove your own virtues. Still, if you love her, she will prove herself to you and me."

"I don't think I could not love her."

"She has her own heart. Still, if she comes speaking of loving you, you had better set yourself to always loving her."

I looked to the youthful energetic form of Ayither and found it easy to say, "I will not just love her, but be ever glad to have her in my life."

"Give her time, Hallith."

Should have expected the heightened senses of Terish, but hearing his voice next did shock me. "Is everything all right Hallith?"

I replied, "Yes. Being a divine champion does have its perks."

"That was not Zetrullid."

There was really no way to know just how aware Terish was of things, but I replied trusting in the friendship between us. "No, it was Typhorsh. Honestly, he was someone I needed to speak with."

"I'll tell Straekin."

"No, Terish. Let's keep it between us at the moment. Just not comfortable enough around women, and I feel Ayither is still needing time to accept becoming comfortable with me."

"It's your call, Hallith." I saw him reach around the torso of Menasha to point as he said, "There's our destination. Focus on the mission, and learn to be comfortable around Ayither. That is an important step. For the record, I however agree that she is a good choice."

The centaur worked to control her breathing as she said, "I agree with that. As active as Ayither is, it might be tough, but that is your problem to deal with."

I could not help but say, "I'm looking forward to that."

Terish said, "Well, keep your focus, Hallith. Menasha, tallyho."

Thinking that I would rather annoy Ayither than Terish, I signaled my horse to increase its speed while turning in her direction. When she noticed me, I stood in the saddle. Ayither yelled out my name, then tried to step upon her saddle only to have her horse react.

I brought my horse to a halt close to her while saying, "I told you that it took training the horse."

She floated down, then spoke while regaining the reins of her mount, "It takes the turns really well. You would think it would trust me."

"Something different is something different, Ayither. You need to get the horse to understand how to act."

"Let me ride your horse."

I dismounted. She leaped on the back of my mount, they yelped with joy when it took off at her command. I simply walked with her horse while watching Ayither have my steed do some quick turns. After a number of maneuvers, she went through the motions of stepping up on the back of the animal. I heard her shout with joy while standing in the saddle, then shouting that she was storm she dismounted by launching herself into the air.

Ayither floated back down as I regained my mount. She rushed to us, then I watched as she hugged and kissed the horse. I expected Ayither to climb back into its saddle, but she instead looked to me.

"How do you have it turn?"

"If you watch, I don't have it turn. I am usually using its height to help me make an attack. If I want it to turn, I drop back down."

"I might need to have you train a horse for me."

Those words hurt, but I let her know my thoughts. "I trained this one while with my children."

"I heard that. Let's talk about something else."

I pointed while saying, "The something else is right there."

She rushed to gain the back of her mount while saying, "Yes, good." She then paused while saying, "I just think it is best if we talk about certain things after we finish this mission."

"Yes, but if my choice is between talking about certain things and not talking about them, I am going to talk about them."

"Those are the right words, Hallith. Might not get the best response from me, but those are the right words."

I watched as she took off for the cave. It took my horse snorting to have me mount and follow. Wondering how things would develop between me and Ayither, I looked forward to seeing what troubles the cave would present to us.

It did not trouble me to be the last of our group to enter the cave. This was not some isolated hole in the ground, but I saw laboratory equipment upon wooden tables and ramps. Terish, Straekin, and Dalinth were looking over the things. Ayither shouted a greeting from some high level where I hoped she was giving everything a cursory examination to spot possible trouble. After waving to her, I turned to smile to Menasha before taking a stance to guard the entrance from anyone that might disturb the research of my group.

As usual, Terish was observant, and I did appreciate his statement of understanding my action. "Hallith, you can let Retarund pass, but I don't see any reason to let anyone else in here."

Straekin added, "At least until lunch time."

I replied, "I will let you know when I am getting hungry." I then shouted to one higher up and possibly not paying attention, "Ayither, you might just have to deal with calm for a time."

The lady of storm replied, "Oh, no, Hallith! This place will not stay calm for long."

It was Terish that replied, "What? Why do you say that?"

"I can feel the shift in the wind. Something is moving."

"Oh!"

Terish was naturally paranoid. He was also quick. I knew from experience that no sooner did one alert him to danger than he was acting to protect himself while setting up for the attack. When an explosion sounded, I thus did not worry about him. Seeing the spew of energy and stone from up in the cave I worried about one who was not paranoid.

Through the midst of debris, dust, and flashes of arcane power, I saw what appeared to be a bubble of air from which came the announcement, "I AM STORM!"

While rocks and dust were still in the air, I took off for a ramp to go join Ayither. Being someone that spent centuries going from one dire situation to another, the danger did not bother me. I had companions through that time, and treasured having them survive. It thus troubled me that I might lose Ayither.

It did not surprise me that Terish was ahead of me. He was faster than me and had been in the room. I however did appreciate that he supplied some information to keep me from further surprises.

"Ayither is facing an elemental of rock. Being air, she is opposed to earth, so not really hurting it, although it is not doing anything to her either. The problem is that this thing was created as an alarm, and soon will be guided by the one that created the spell."

I replied, "So, what you're saying is that once we stop this thing the fight is not over."

"No. I'm saying that once we stop this thing, the fight might just be starting."

"We have both been there, Terish, and were stupid enough not to quit when it was over."

"We can say that about ourselves, but let's not ever allow our enemy to say it."

Sounded like a plan to me. Terish did not wait for my agreement, but I saw an arcane beam of power shoot forward turning a section of the rock creature, appearing like a great lizard, into magma. That got the creature's attention. As it turned from Ayither to rush upon Terish, it found me rushing upon it. I drove my blade through the monster's head and down its neck. That strike would end most threats, but this monster truly had no vital areas. Understanding that the plan was simply to keep hurting it, I heard Ayither behind me.

"Hallith, I am getting your other sword."

"No need, Ayither. Terish and I have been fighting things like this for a long time. We have it."

As if to verify my statement, I heard Terish say, "Left!"

I stepped left, then forward as I struck into the front appendage. The creature was not yet dead, but what remained of its front section dropped to the ground. I spun my great blade as I stepped up to send it into the main body even as I saw the dark length of Deathguard do the same on the other side.

As rock collapsed to the wooden floor, I heard Terish say, "Stop by Thiminy or Nehallum and get that girl a weapon she will be comfortable keeping with her."

I had to ask, "What is Nehallum?"

"It is where Ferrigote now has his home."

I turned to Ayither to say, "Someone else we need to visit."

She replied, "You know I have to ask, Hallith: storm or calm?"

"Ferrigote is who traveled with Terish in their early days. You decide."

"I think I will like him too."

Terish said, "Yes, you should. Now get that sword from Hallith, as this storm is not over."

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-Three   To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25) Icon_minitimeAugust 28th 2019, 6:34 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Twenty-Three

(Hallith)

No sooner did Ayither pull the blade I kept on my right thigh than she pointed with it while saying, "There is a hole over there."

Terish replied, "And it connects to a sphere of air. I believe he was seeking Celestial Air. He was just going on speculation, as from what I read he had no idea what he was doing."

I had to ask, "Is Celestial Air like Philosopher's Stone?"

"Not at all. Celestial Air is, well, air from the celestial realm. You go there and you feel very clear headed and complete." Having been to such realms, I could understand what he said. "There is an air equivalent to Philosopher's Stone, Transether, but he was not yet to the point of seeking that. He was seeking Celestial Air simply because he felt it was possible to be found. Honestly, outside the celestial realms Transether is more potentially possible."

Just to show that I was not ignorant, I said, "I guess it will not change lead into gold, but it surely has its own tricks."

"Floating castles, armor as light as a feather, give yourself wings, stuff like that."

"Give yourself wings?"

"It's not magic, but physical. Your reality, Ayither's reality, and even the reality I live on is made up of the four elements. Life forms attuned to that type of reality will reflect things about their composition. Magic will give you the property of flight, enabling you to fly. Do the right things with Transether and you will become a flying creature, so you will sprout wings."

Ayither said, "It's not that simple."

"Your lady of air just told it was possible."

She looked at me while softly saying, "Just not so simple."

I replied, "It's never that simple."

"No – oh!"

I saw Ayither kneel and begin a prayer to Typhorsh. I considered it strange, because she stayed in contact with the guy. Terish moved up beside me while giving an explanation to the prayer.

"Your lady of air is telling you this is going to be tough."

I replied, "I have never faced an opponent that had me thinking to stop and pray. I might have prayed, but I stayed moving. I would think that would be double for a champion of storm."

"Well, you talk about this with her later. Right now, GO!"

I spent centuries going from one grand challenge to another. My body had learned to react quickly to presentations of danger. I had been told that trouble was coming, so I was already tense. The command from Terish had me move. Encountering a strong force of air did not surprise me, as we had been talking on that topic. The eruption might had been considered a great challenge by whoever was our opponent, but I met it with my appraisal being that I had fought worse.

The grand wind split from my sword. I sensed it come back together on the other side of me, but could tell that it was weaker. Seeing that Terish also went for a splitting stroke with Deathguard, I felt that what I had done was proper. I however gained the impression of another great wind appearing in the room as Ayither made her regular boast.

"I AM STORM!"

While she used a blade without much length, with it held before her it struck with more might than I probably could put behind it. Ayither shot through the rush of air, and I saw a puff behind her. I did not see any visible disturbance in the wind from my attack or the one from Terish. She set her blade in different manner, yelled the name of her god, then struck in a manner that I knew I would be unable to duplicate.

This was Ayither's fight. While I attacked when I could, the movement of the battle usually occurred at heights away from the levels of construction. I found myself realizing the reason for the sturdy wood planks that made up the ramps and floors. The fierce wind shook the structure, at times with enough force to have me pause and assure my footing. While whatever Ayither fought might have been able to destroy the construction, it had to put its power into protecting itself from her and not on acts of violence toward the others of us.

I was pulled out of my focus of watching the champion of storm and attempting to help her by Dalinth yelling, "Ayither, we need terms!"

Hoping she understood to keep fighting, I yelled back, "What?"

"It's connected. We got terms from the dragon. To truthfully understand, we need terms on this side as well."

The argument became moot with another shout from Ayither proclaiming the name of her god. She shot through the movement of wind with me seeing her slicing with my blade as she went with a trail of smoke behind her. As the noise from the rush of wind no longer sounded in the room, I felt Dalinth would get mad. He however just looked at Ayither as she floated down beside me.

She said, "This one would not settle for terms."

Dalinth actually smiled as he asked, "Is it safe to go on?"

"There will be no earth to stand on."

"Well, I –"

"WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE?"

We all turned at that shouted question. It was spoken with a strength that did command some attention. I felt that we all expected it to simply be Retarund, but the one in religious garb I could not recognize. He had gray in his hair and beard, but moved his body in a manner that stated it was still strong. We all held our positions, I assume just to appraise the worth of the person, as he advanced still strongly speaking.

"It did not surprise me at all to learn that an agent of black was responsible. To have a champion of white assisting I feel is damning. Whatever is being done here needs to stop!"

Dalinth declared, "Frowick has told me different."

"Who cares? You're black. Whatever you are doing is wrong."

"I would say that you are speaking to the wrong person. You might need to speak to Frowick."

"The usual arrogance of black –"

Retarund strode into the cavern to announce, "Dalinth, none in the army recognize this priest."

"What do you mean that you do not recognize me? I am not one to be recognized. I represent the gods!"

Dalinth said, "I see icons of only one god, Taburl."

Retarund moved around the priest looking at him, then saying, "Yes, only Taburl."

The priest asked, "What's it to you, white? You support them all. Okay, I represent Taburl. Since when are you partially white? You cannot be white to the others and black to Taburl."

"By your own words, I am all white. Frowick has set this mission upon Dalinth. I am as white to Frowick as I am to any of the gods. Let Taburl reveal himself and clarify where the lines of black and white are set."

"The god can do as he like."

Since it was all men that were talking, it did surprise me that the room became silent when Ayither moved. She did not step slowly, but seemed pleased to see the men watching her. As if knowing she was the center of attention, she calmly moved next to Dalinth.

"You saw me pray before the battle?" He just nodded. "I could not have acted as I did without the blessing of my god, and he could not work such power without the permission of your gods."

Retarund asked, "Even Taburl?"

"I am storm, and my god is storm. Can your god be white?"

"No. My being white reflects my own devotion to my relationship with the gods."

We men reacted by turning as another woman, Straekin, asked, "Can priests be black?"

Dalinth supplied the answer. "They are before the people, so hear the petitions both in favor and against the actions of the gods. Some do turn more toward the black, and support particular individuals. Those actions however only reflect their personality and history, and not their true devotion to a style of responding to the deities."

Retarund said, "Yes, but being a conduit for the gods has them walking a line in most times. Their status with the gods is determined by how well they manage."

I had say, "But I hear both of us saying that they support the gods, not a particular god."

"Oh, there is a focus, but there is no denying the others."

The priest said, "Oh, I do not deny the other gods. Taburl is however driving my actions." He pointed at Retarund while saying, "And as white, you should abide by his decision."

Retarund glared at him while saying, "I will not put one deity in dominance over another. Frowick has sponsored this mission. With that knowledge, I have been supporting Dalinth. Should Taburl have a disagreement, then I see the wisdom in Frowick giving the mission to black instead of white. As white, I must simply step back and allow the gods to settle this matter between them."

"Ah, but Taburl is slavery. He supports a system of clear understanding of where one person has dominance over another. The same goes with the gods. He wants to declare his own dominance over the other gods. White, you will serve me."

"Not in defiance to the other gods. Dalinth, I wish you the best!"

The priest commented, "Well, white will learn his place, as will you, black."

Dalinth said, "It is in the teachings of Frowick that evil is a corrupting influence, but one disease he will not tolerate. You claim Taburl, but I doubt you could speak for Frowick. That makes you unqualified to be a priest."

Terish said, "What I read did not sound like the writings of a priest."

Ayither supported those words by saying, "That is because he is not one. He isn't even of this world."

She had moved to stand next to Dalinth. I saw his head look to the lady, and saw her smile in glancing at him. Instead of him saying anything, it was she that spoke.

"I like the storm, and right next to you I feel myself in the middle of it."

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-Four   To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25) Icon_minitimeSeptember 2nd 2019, 6:26 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Twenty-Four

(Dalinth)


The one who had strode in wearing the garments of a priest said, "Well, white will defer to black. Did not expect that. They are the haughty ones."

I let the man know, "I consider them haughty as well, but they are good people. Retarund is not the only one I consider a friend."

"Well, be glad you have not gone much further. The one I conjured to protect this place is quite powerful."

Ayither boasted, "Killed it. If you have another, it will be killed as well."

The priest chuckled as if he did not believe her, and his condescending voice made that impression as well. "And just who are you, sweet lady, to feel able to make such a claim?"

"Ayither, Champion of Typhorsh, the god of strong air."

"That's not a god of this world."

I replied, "Only fair, since the threats we are facing are not of this world."

"You sound as if I am doing something wrong. I have not disobeyed any of your laws. I have not killed anyone."

"I doubt that latter. That monster was not a peaceful little pet."

The one dressed as a priest adjusted his stance as I saw an expression of fear cross his face. "A centaur?"

Terish commanded, "Menasha, leave. You are going to have to wait this out."

I saw a portal open up, and as the centaur fled to another world the one dressed as a priest said, "Ah, the great Terish Dozzrine. I believe that your reputation says that you will hear me out."

"Or kill you where you stand. Deep down inside, I'm not a nice person."

"Listen, I say again that I cannot be accused of any crimes. Definitely not any with any proof. Thus, what terms can I consider?"

I replied, "Leave. Your research is against the natural order of our world. We will shut this down, including the spheres."

"You're not that powerful."

"Ignoring however powerful Terish might be, there is another foreign divine champion present. When gods take action, there is no power able to stand against them."

"But you are black. You defy the gods."

I always took pride in correcting people who thought that way. "No, I face them to make them see the injustice of their grand actions. I have seen the mighty power of the divine, and stood in the face of it in order to save people who were not deserving of suffering. Sorry, but I do see you as deserving. I will not defy the gods for you."

He made an action that I did not recognize, but it seemed that Ayither did. "I told you, I killed it."

"It was a grand creature of air, and you said that you were air."

"The first one was earth. I had to allow others to take on that challenge. I am a Champion of Typhorsh. If it is air, I will prove him dominant."

"Ah, yes, the usual arrogance of divine champions. At least that is encouraging. Expect to meet your doom."

I suddenly felt air come from one direction while the ground around the one we had been speaking with rose with creatures of earth. I saw Ayither lift while telling the others not to fear the wind. Hallith called out her name, and with her reply I heard a grunt from above before seeing the form of the great fighter drop safely to the ground.

In place of the priest, I now saw a large snake slither around the monsters of stone. They were four legged, I gained the impression of them being cat-like as they attacked Hallith in a manner similar to those animals. Without speaking to each other, those with me seemed to understand what they were to do. I could understand Ayither handling the matter of air, and trusting in Hallith to take on the challenge of monsters of earth. The snake made a move toward Straekin, so it did not surprise me to find Terish act in that direction. I however had no experience with situations of this type, and felt no natural tendency toward any threat. While our opponent had appeared as a priest, I fell into the role of a true agent for the divine and prayed.

My view of the room did not go away when I closed my eyes. I suddenly found myself able to see the entire scope of events. I found myself fascinated in how Ayither took control of the air that would have forced an invisible barrier to descend that would have disturbed the actions of those fighting. As she had said, if it was a matter of air, her god would prove dominant. At the same time I could watch in detail as Hallith made his moves on the monsters while Terish and Straekin exchanged magical tactics intending to get the upper hand on the one that was now a great snake. With the understanding of all that was happening, I found myself feeling able to answer a question a voice posed to me.

"Do you support these heroes from other worlds?"

"Yes, as they are doing things that I wished I could do. The spheres were built to trap intruders from other worlds, and they should have been sent back and not contained. Because their corruption remained, this evil has been able to arise."

"But it was done by black."

That statement disturbed me. While I had the knowledge of what was occurring in the room, what I did not feel presented before me was the information concerning the reasons for the history of this place. I thus felt inadequate to reply, but did my best with my own convictions of my existence.

"So there was a reason. I do not act without reason. I am not simply defiant. Do not tell me this was done by black, but tell the reason it was done."

When I did not hear a response, I worked to shift my gaze to the one speaking as I lashed out with my words. "I AM NOT EVIL! I do stand against the gods to state their error. I stand against the gods to assure that what they do is good. It would be evil to cause all to suffer. There are those who should not be afflicted, and I assure that divine justice is not unjust. I assure that those who should be blessed are not cursed. I help to assure that the actions of the gods stay good and do not end up causing wrong. If this was done by black, then the intent was to perform good. I say that as black."

It was now the voice of a lady that spoke. "Not all would agree with what you said."

"I care not for the words of others. I stand before the gods. If I am in the wrong, those divine can speak against me. If those who are gods do not find fault with me, those who are not gods should accept their personal beliefs as being wrong."

The male voice again made itself heard. "Dalinth, you have stood strong against us gods. Those with you speak to other gods. I am trusting that you will stand in defiance of them should you feel they are acting wrong."

"I have come to believe that they will listen to my counsel. I have also found them willing to explain themselves. Should either of those facts no longer be felt to be true, I will let you know. Of course, I will then expect you to defy them."

"That is what I wanted to hear."

Suddenly I felt back in my body. The room was quiet. In watching Ayither descend and Hallith put up his great blade, I gained the sense that things had just been resolved. I felt that assumption verified by the words of Terish.

"All right, Dalinth, what happened?"

Having the question directed at me caused me to feel that Terish knew what I had experienced, so my answer did not go into any details. "Terms. The gods of this world wanted to assure that certain terms were agreed upon."

"So why did they allow our opponent to get away?"

That question surprised me, and in trying to find the answer I spoke some facts to try and reason out things for myself. "I was told these spheres were built by black. That can be accepted, as I could pass while white could not. I defended whoever that person, or persons, was by arguing that I do not act to support evil. In fact, I act to assure that evil does not happen. I thus demanded the reason for the spheres to have been made. If they were made by black, there had to be a good reason. I was not told the reason. I would thus assume he was allowed to escape in order that we can learn more from him."

Hallith asked, "Okay, so what were the terms?"

"That I would defy you. If you who worship gods not of my world start doing things with which I do not agree, or simply stop supplying me with your reasoning for your actions, that I would defy you."

"I would think your gods to assume you would do that."

"You do not understand. Usually I am defying them. In this case I would have to come before them seeking their support."

Terish said, "But you just said that you defy them to assure that they do no evil. I would assume that you will defy us for the same reason. You do that, Dalinth. We will be better people for it."

"Well, I am a man. When I face the gods, I stand before them accepting that my understanding is limited. It is an honor that they usually listen to me. Still, I could be wrong. I am saying that to tell you to keep talking to me. I am enjoying your company, and do not want to spoil what I feel is a friendship."

It was Straekin that replied, "We would agree with that, Dalinth. That however demands that you speak with us as well. How about coming over here and looking over these notes? Maybe you can see in them something my husband is unable to piece together."

I realized that while I had no problems speaking with these people, they were not of my world. I should thus be the one looking over the written records. Feeling good that I did have a value in the group, I moved over to spend time reading the notes. I however soon told the people they were going to have to wait, as I realized that there was a big problem with what I found.

They did give me some time, then Terish came over to ask, "Anything I might be able to help with?"

I began closing the notes as I replied, "Exactly what you are planning on doing. Sorry for holding you up, but some things do need to be taken into account."

After gathering the things, I strode to the front of the cave calling for Retarund. Soldiers told me to wait as I came out into the sunlight. I was however glad to see that I did not need to wait long as Retarund quickly moved to me.

I handed him the notes while saying, "Read over this. I am sorry, but I will fix this, Retarund. Just, if you find some details that might need to be considered before all of this is removed, let me know. I swear I will see this fixed, Retarund, but if there is something you want done a certain way to satisfy certain rules, let me know."

He took the documents while asking, "What will I find?"

"That this man was evil. What he did was greedy, selfish, and manipulating things for his own advancement. He was also black. It hurt me reading this, Retarund, because I swear to you that I am not evil. This man was however, and as I read I could not imagine anyone white ever doing anything like this."

"Dalinth, the gods are trusting in you. I was told that if you brought some documents to me, that you were to be supported in any manner conceivable."

"I'm not evil, Retarund. I always did what I did to assure that good prevailed. This man however was evil. What he wrote was wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't want to be associated with this man, but he was black and I am black. I want this put behind me, behind the history of black. We mean well – I mean well and everyone black that I have dealt with. I am sorry that I have this past, Retarund. If there is something that needs to be done to have you assured of this being truly removed from us, let me know. Read it Retarund, and let me know."

He looked at the amount of documents, then asked, "Can I burn them?"

"I would think they need to be preserved to remind us, but I honestly would like them burned. Retarund, if the gods tell you to burn them, I swear that I will not speak against you."

"Well, there is word of priests coming to represent all the gods. I wish it was white in charge of this, as I feel we are the ones charged with advancing the cause of the gods. I however accept that it would look poorly on black if white did need to clean up this mess. You restore full honor to black, Dalinth. If there is anyone who could, it is you. The gods had me bring you food. Now I am under orders to support you fully. Don't you feel inferior to those others, Dalinth. It is your honor on the line, so you stand proud as you see this cause through."

I began to turn, but looked back to Retarund to say, "I have already seen some fantastic things. From what I have learned, I am surely about to see more. I know you and me usually disagree on how we see certain situations, but I will tell you everything you will want to know."

"I just want the will of the gods to be followed. Whatever you do, it does seem that you have honor from the deities. Let's stay friends, Dalinth."

"Sounds like a good thing, Retarund. Now, let me get back. We need to stop this."


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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-Five   To Know Black and White - Part 5 (20-25) Icon_minitimeSeptember 7th 2019, 6:47 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Twenty-Five

(Straekin)

I hung around Dalinth as he read over the texts left by whoever had excavated this place. While he seemed very disturbed by what he was reading, I found myself interested in what was happening between Hallith and Ayither. They sat next to each other and talked. While I had only known Ayither for a short time, her personality had clearly been an active one. She did show some comfort in being with Hallith, but still played with him as a young girl and not as a serious lover. I stayed with Dalinth to assure that he could stay focused on his reading, but kept hoping for some sign that the relationship between Hallith and Ayither was growing deeper.

The two continued to talk while Dalinth went outside to turn over the documents to those waiting. Terish came over to me to comment on what we heard of the conversation between Dalinth and Retarund. While I was glad to know that we would be doing something necessary for this world, I still had to whisper to my husband about the conversation between our divine champions.

"Terish, what do you think Hallith and Ayither are talking about?"

"Their gods. Both not only need to assure the other is compatible with them, but that their relationship with their deities stays strong."

I should have known the extended senses of my husband would do more than speculate on a certain conversation, but I really did not want to pry. "I just found it strange to see Ayither quietly sitting next to Hallith."

"She is talking about her god after having done some grand things. I would suspect she feels his presence very intensely. Her body might be calmly sitting, but her soul is probably soaring. She has a much different relationship with Typhorsh than Hallith has with Zetrullid. Still, they both have a past that enables them to easily relate with each other. I think they will do what they must to work things out."

"I hope they continue to visit. They seem to be a good –"

I really did not want my husband to pry into their affairs. He however was the man I had devoted my life to. Terish had become a wonderful partner in life, so someone I sought to keep with me. That meant sharing my thoughts. I thus did not stop myself from asking a rather nosy question from my husband.

"Why is Hallith having such a problem? The other Quartermasters adjusted to things rather easily."

"It is my belief that Zetrullid likes Hallith. Anerth needed his authoritative status challenged along with his beliefs. Chertish was running out of steam, so needed a chance to be given another option. The same probably with Pesloe. I know she rushed to spend time with me when I would show up." I had to agree with that. "Hallith however had the right frame of mind. Zetrullid did not have him challenged, but only sought to expand his mentality. He is a more diverse individual now than when he was a Quartermaster, but still the same Hallith. I believe very highly that Ayither is in the same type of relationship with her god. Typhorsh does not want anything to happen to her. He wants her to stay as she is. I believe the hope is that the two work to preserve the souls of each other, so it will end up being a positive, supportive, but static type of marriage."

While I found myself again agreeing with my husband, I still had to ask, "Do you think they can do it? I mean, we know how stressful things can get, especially when there are also children to consider."

"That is where we can help, Straek. Listen, if we find ourselves going for a time without them bothering us, we should make it a point to bother them."

I rushed out the words, "Certainly, Terish," as I saw Dalinth come back in from his meeting with Retarund.

The champion of black asked in a loud voice, "What needs to be done before we advance? I am assuming that the seal is the same, so easily opened by you."

Ayither replied, "You have seen the seal opened a couple of times already. Unlike the previous one, the elementals inside are still alive."

"Wait. If they are still alive, how is this guy working to purify his substance, this Transether?"

Terish said, "Celestial air, and I thought you had read the text."

"Well, yes, but it was his writing style, his motivation, that really bothered me. The process was all, well, pretty elaborate."

"I'll agree with you on that point. The reason it was elaborate was that he was trying to duplicate the conditions that the creature of earth already provided in the other sphere. While he figured out how to conjure powerful elementals of air, they did not come with the purity of the one of earth. He thus needed to purify the air. There was then just the problematic steps of manufacturing the Transether. With earth and air being opposed, there was the hope that the process would be similar in function, so what the dragon was doing he could do as well. His problem is that Philosopher's Stone and Transether have different properties, just as earth and air have different effects on nature. The process is thus not that similar. Let me say again that he put his efforts into gaining Celestial air, as being a divine champion he felt that the easiest to conjure."

It always surprised me how many people really did not listen to my husband. He was recognized as having tremendous knowledge. Most however tuned him out when he was providing information that could not be gained from any other source. The very reason most came to him would be ignored. Dalinth however showed himself to be above most people by replying in a manner that showed he did listen to Terish.

"Well, Ayither killed a couple of the elementals that had been sealed inside the sphere. Do we need her to kill the rest?"

Terish replied, "That is a good question. Ayither, do you think we could talk to the elementals?"

She answered, "I could ask."

In her usual active manner, she rushed up the ramps to the level where there was a horizontal shaft worked into the rock. I found it strange that while she had moved in the normal fashion up to the opening, once near the seal she had her form lifted. I saw Hallith move up the ramps to be present near Ayither, but he did nothing to prevent her from working as she felt was necessary.

"I AM STORM! I however am not here to quiet your own movement. Elementals, you can talk to me and discuss your fate."

I found it strange to be able to hear the reply. "And who is this breeze that comes speaking of establishing terms?"

"I am Ayither, a Champion of Typhorsh, a storm god of air of another world. You however are from another world as well. I have found no friendship with the one who claimed your presence, so I have come to see if I might gain a friendship with you."

"Why do you not just release us?"

"To where? This world? That would not be beneficial to you or those I do call friends."

It amazed me that Ayither had the knowledge to answer the way she did. She really did not present herself as someone who considered matters too deeply. Finding myself feeling that she would present to Hallith a more developed personality than the lady he once had, I listened with the hope things would resolve themselves positively.

The strong, but oddly discernable for a creature of air, voice of the one speaking replied, "Ah, so I am being given true options to consider. Champion Ayither, could you truly send me home?"

Terish shouted out a response. "Tell him, 'Yes!'"

Ayither said, "I am told that we can."

The voice of the elemental asked, "And what would you have me do?"

Again Terish supplied an answer for Ayither. "Ask him what he believes we would not notice when we enter the sphere to study its substance."

The Champion of Typhorsh said, "I told you that we were not friends with the one that built the place that holds you. We seek his weaknesses. What I would ask is what have you learned about your entrapment that you feel we would not notice when we study it."

The voice of the elemental replied, "Ah, that is a good question. I now trust you, Ayither. I however feel that you will not like my answer. What this sphere shows is that it was built for earth. The one that built this sphere did not truly know what he was doing. This sphere however has worked, and while I do not feel that the one that controls us is that smart, he has managed to dominate. I have found no weakness in him."

"I know that answer!" Dalinth yelled. "He was evil! He had no thoughts but of subjugating others and causing harm. He was not without weakness, but very, very committed to his task. No, he showed no weakness, because he stayed focused on not being weak. Tell that to the elementals. Tell them that however is not their concern. They are the victims, and we will not hold any price in return for their freedom."

"I heard that."

Ayither said, "He did speak rather loudly."

"Yes, so I ask for our return."

Terish began moving up the ramps while saying, "Tell them to prepare themselves. When I open the portal, I ask that they quickly move through it."

"We are air. We do not move slowly."

Ayither replied, "Tell that to those that worship Myriah. She is the goddess of calm wind, even no wind at all."

"Well, I am glad to be speaking to you, Ayither, as it seems you are one that could truly understand. To speak of something you said earlier, should you ever come to our realm I would be honored to have you as a friend."

Nothing was done to spoil those words. My husband proved his ability to manipulate connections between worlds. I felt that it helped him to have read the notes of the one that created the sphere, as it gave him the information to properly locate which realm of air had been breached to gain the ones trapped. Nothing in the actions of Terish indicated that he had any trouble, and soon enough Ayither mentioned success.

"That was fun. Usually, conversations with elementals do not go so well."

Terish replied, "Usually they have some power in the negotiations. Still, it did go well. The working of magic would have had me believe that the evil Dalinth speaks of would have caused the contact to have been with evil elementals."

The champion of black replied, "No. It was apparent in the words he wrote that he enjoyed the troubles he presented to others. Being evil to evil could be seen as good, and he did not want that confusion. He wanted no doubt of his motivation. He sought glory in his depravity. He found pleasure in the sounds of others suffering. He sought the superiority of dominating others in manners they would not appreciate. The enslaving of others was not to have them gain the blessings of a better life. He wanted his victims to retain their sanity in order for them to truly understand their hopelessness. The disease he sought to spread is one I know the gods, in all their acts of displaying their power over us, would never seek to plague us." By the end of his words, he had positioned himself with Ayither and Terish, so the question did not surprise me. "Are we ready?"

Terish first shouted to me. "Straek, stay out here!" I accepted that I was not a major fighter, so did not complain as my husband gave other orders. "Ayither, if you will take Hallith or Dalinth, I will take the other."

She replied, "Hallith is who I seek to have with me."

"Then Dalinth, you are with me. Come 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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http://www.terishd.com
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