The Other Way Around -10-

(ver 0.6)

So, have patience, please.

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To Talk The Talk

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We laid by at the Harbor of Ysanta, a most enchanting little place. There was much traffic going on there and lots and lots of naval ships from the federation. Cantor seemed both well known, and to my consternation even sought after there. Not only by the ladies, as we laid to there were naval boats hailing to us from all around. He soon disappeared, weighted by tuns of invitations, ‘tuns’ being, as all civilized races knows, immensely large caskets, each one holding a volume no less than two butts or 252 gals. So you can see the weight of it all.

And for those insecure, a butt is a cask holding a volume no less than two hogsheads, or if you like, a volume of one hundred and twenty six gallons. And we all know what a gal is. Don’t we? Lovely things they are to, right. Ah well, he handled the burden well, did our Captain. We others, and with that I especially, and most specifically refer to our Ilisa had, with Puss and me in tow, gone out to make the town. Puss and I had our own ideas on what that should imply, but it seemed as if we had misunderstood the concept miserably. After shrewdly insisting on Puss wearing his harness the next day, I found my self once more pressed into our little Lady Ilisas service.

The only difference being that it wasn’t me who had to carry all her ‘steals’. Our sea voyage had done her good, she was much happier, and bargained freely with the sales people. Not a few men turned around to give her that second admiring glance as she, with us in tow, swept through the town. ‘Please Ilisa.’ I said at last. ‘Can’t we rest a little. Look there’s an tavern, Ilisa, listen, I can hear a tiny whiny brew crying for my attention in there. Please.’

At last, long time in coming, she allowed us our well deserved repose. I was sitting there with a filled tankard in front of me. Ilisa on the other side of the table, happily going trough her buys, and with Puss, peacefully snoring as usual, under the table when it happened. The Tavern suddenly faded out, as if receding at an enormous velocity. ‘Oh no, not again!’ was all I had time to say before I was back were I had left, with that young Girl, so touchingly alike to my Mouse and yet so different.

Nobody there seemed to have noticed my former disappearance. The only conclusion I am able to draw, as I now think back of it, is that time there must have flowed differently from mine own. 'So you say you are searching for your? Mouse..?' she said. I tried to remember where we had ended and what more we had been discussing that other time. 'Yes My Lady.' 'And that I and her are alike?' 'Very much so, My Lady.' 'Strange,' she mused. 'But that doesn't explain how you could materialize inside my chambers?' I nodded 'I know, My Lady. It doesn't. The only explanation I can think of is that you and my mouse might be so alike that thinking of her ..?' 'You mean that in some magic way we might be the same?' She asked, sudden curiosity filling her eyes.

'I just don't know, My lady.' I answered starting to feel miserable. 'But what I can tell you is that my Mouse has a mole shaped in the form of a heart under her left shoulder blade, also that she is extremely ticklish.' The Lady stared at me as if she had gone of her senses. 'Who told you that!' she cried sharply. 'No one my Lady, It's my Mouse I'm describing, nothing more.' She frowned. 'I might almost believe that.' She said. 'There must be some strange magic involved in this. So, tell me how you lost her?' I commenced with telling her my story, keeping it as simple as I could. As I at last came to my start of the search I suddenly paused. Could I trust her with my tale or was she a lure, a mirage sent to me by the red priests? 'She noticed my hesitation and seemed to understand that I had doubts. She turned to the guards. 'Get me the Pilot, quickly.' she said. Then she turned to me. 'Don't worry.' She said, almost kindly, 'I just want him to feel you out, and see if he can verify your story.'

I examined her again, my heart starting to thresh uncontrollably inside my chest. Why wasn't she mine Mouse. They were all the same, seeing her made my loss even more unbearable. In the end I had to look away. I had been so in control with my friends, then fate had to throw me this? Was I some kind of a puppet then? Without any volition of my own! 'I'm sorry My Lady. I'm tired. I'm afraid I need some time to collect myself.' She listened, and for the first time I could see an understanding of my plight fleetingly pass her visage. 'Yes, I can see how this must tire you.' She said 'My sympathy, Sir' 'Thank you, My Lady.' I tried to bow, and this time the guard allowed it. Then the Pilot arrived, a stern looking man of indefinite age. He listened to my story and then became indrawn. When he came out of it, he went on to study the closet and much of the room, then he asked the girl to step out with him. When she came back she was much confounded. She told me that as far as the pilot could say I was telling the truth.

She scrutinized me with something nearing to awe in her face. 'He also says that you have great mystical strength, more than any man should have, and that there are a shadow resting clawing at your heart, Sir'. She continued. 'There are strange world line emanating from my room, this room have somehow become a nexus for power. Mayhap? If we moved out of this room we would find it easier to breath?' She suggested. I found myself starting to trust her, I reached out to try to feel those world lines but my senses seemed dulled, I was willing to try her suggestion. 'Please My Lady, let's.' I said. And so we went to the door she first, then me, still shadowed by a guard intently watching me.

When I reached that door I found that I couldn't cross it? How much I tried to, there was no way for me out of here. I could see her disappearing round a bend as I adventitiously was hurled backwards again. Finding myself safely back in the tavern I started to shiver uncontrollably. I lifted my tankard and swept it down in one big draught. I now found myself badly needing to farspeak Emilia, if this was going to continue I feared for losing my mind. I asked Ilisa if she had noticed anything unusual with me just before, but she assured me that nothing untoward had been happening.

That night I had to come clean, she was growing on me and we had to make a stop, for both our sakes. 'Lady' I said 'You're lovely, half the guys in this town are already sleepless because of you, 'Me, I'm dreaming of my Mouse. You know me, a sucker for love, and you. You are waiting for your prince, I'm not him Ilisa, I may well be your brother, because the of feelings I have around you, and I do admire you, and love you too. But I'm missing my Mouse, you and me both are victims of circumstance, none of us planned this. Am I getting trough, Ilisa?'

She looked absolutely stunned, she had no idea what I'd been trough at the tavern, and for her this conversation must have seemed as plucked from hell. She listened silently, crystal clear tears in her eyes, wounded as dreams falling for the sport of fate. For her I was a guarantee of safety, a promise of a new life and kids and all those other things she had lost as the war had stolen her. And now I was backing out. When I saw her stricken face I knew that I had to tell her all. She listened in silence and as I finished she smiled sadly, filled with the foreboding of loss.

Later, when I spoke with Puss abut it, it was he that came up with that harebrained scheme to break trough that barrier that seemed to separate Ilisa from seeing those other, just waiting for a glance from her lovely eyes. 'Ilisa. Listen to me. We will announce a feast to the benefit of those driven away from their homes by the war.' Said Puss pompously the next day. 'As we are getting a little low in our funds I decided to auction out the first dance with you.' She stared. 'Have you taken leave of your mind Master Puff?' She inquired much piqued. Puff now sounded even more of a pompous ass. 'My dear girl, as you well know it's the duty of all nobility to give an example to those of lesser statue, what could be better than a feast for the benefit of all?'

Ilisa, even though she now tried to avoid me as much as she could, looked at me pleading with her eyes for support. I smiled at her, then I asked Puff 'And it has nothing to do with that lovely young maiden that you so anxiously have tried to meet?' There actually was one too, young, interested but sheltered by parents of high moral standards, who for the world couldn't allow such a 'thing' as a talking lion to court their innocent daughter, and we had agreed on her being a good smokescreen for our further schemes. Now as Ilisa thought herself understanding Puss plan, she curtseyed and graciously accommodated herself as to his wishes, 'your slave can only listen and accept, master Puss'. She used that kind of language a lot, signaling her resentment, as she had found it very effective in driving us mad. This time it didn't work though. Puss only smiled at her, thanking her most effusively for her profound understanding.

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The Auction

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Now, where i had grown up we had heard tales of slavery. But it was not to be found where we lived. My Mother, bless her soul, had taught me that every human being was of like worth and that all living things should be treated with equal respect. After seeing the way humans treated each other in Gelam and Beliam i was becoming more and more proud of my own home. We might not have been the richest or the most educated people but at least we still understood human decency. I swore to myself as I sat there, that if it ever become in my power to do so, i would try to change the ways of those strange lands. My thoughts got abruptly interrupted as Ilisa stormed in. She was in terrible distress, ‘Look at me’ she almost screamed ‘Ugly ugly rags, I refuse to wear those!’ I looked at her, she was as lovely as always, dressed in a gorgeous dark blue dress that swept around her as she nervously paced the room. ‘Oh, but you look stunning Ilisa’ was the only thing that came to mind to answer. ‘Ahh Men!!!’

Then she cannoned out of the room again as abruptly as she had appeared. It felt somewhat like a small tornado passing me leaving me all but shipwrecked upon its wake. And now Puss came in. ‘Are you ready, we are supposed to be at the feast in just ten bells’ he asked as he passed by the mirror to admire himself. He was a imposing sight with that fat gold chain majestically draped around his mighty neck and a red curtain? Now where had he found that I thought, nonchalantly draped around his back. ‘You look exactly as a royal lion Puss’ I sad to him as I desperately tried to stifle my smile. ‘Ahhm,’ he purred as he turned around to admire himself better. ‘I do, don’t I’ There was such a sound of smug satisfaction to that voice that i found it best to excuse me ‘Ah, a call of nature Puss’ just to get that relief in privacy that only natural needs and laughter can compel you too.

But soon enough we were there. Captain Crator who had helped us organize the whole thing beamed at us as he drew a mighty swallow from his tankard. ‘So there you are my young compatriots’ he said as he made a burp ‘Pardon my language Ilisa, ahh but you look enchanting this night!’ he continued gallantly as he took her apparition in. To my consternation Ilisa blushed and almost made a small courtesy as she smiled at him. And as i looked at her again I suddenly understood what Crator meant. She was absolutely stunning.

With her golden hair braided in some strange fashion and with those impish eyes dancing with merriment she looked just as lovely as one could imagine. Idiot I thought to myself, how can you let her go? She wants you and you want her. But then I could see my Mouse looking at me again in my thoughts, and I finally felt that satisfaction of a work well done. ‘Yes Ilisa’ I said ‘You look perfectly radiant tonight’ and with that we went in to start of the dancing.

As we started of the auction the Captain had arranged for a ‘bouquet’ of some of the most charming ladies of the town. As most of the folks already had gotten something under the belt before the occasion, so to speak there was already a definite boisterous atmosphere to it all. When it lastly came to Ilisas turn the prices got really high. There was a lot of serious young, and not so young, men competing over her graces. Ilisa who had seemed quite collected as the bidding started now started to blush as the competition grew harder.

‘Sixty-five florins!’ ‘Seventy’ from another. Then from a corner of the room a clear voice flatly stated, ‘two hundred Milady and your arm’. Now everything suddenly cooled down as heads turned to see whom had made that strange offer. He was a tall man dressed in bluish black with a blade worn from long use hanging at his side. He bowed at us all but if i guess right mostly at Ilisa. ‘Yes, Milady. If you will have me.’ With those words he started to walk forward. Ilisa whose color now mostly resembled a overripe tomato seemed lost for words but Crator wasn’t. ‘And soooolld’ he roared in a loud happy grumble.

Then the dancing committed, and kept on, and on, and on. We did not see any more of Ilisa until late the next day. She looked definitely happy, consternated naturally, but so very happy. And the gentleman that had been winning her hand seemed to follow her suit. When he introduced himself as Count Drach of the castle Ania I thought I saw the Captain give him a sharp eye but other than that we had a most pleasant conversation. He said he was a traveler of sorts, out to see the world before he had to take over his family land and settle down. And as he now had found his true love. And here Ilisa blushed most enchantingly.

Also he would very much appreciate if we would take him in on our journey. Here he turned to us all. ‘I would not want to take Ilisa away on a moments notice. We both need time to get aquatinted properly. So to me it seems best if you would allow me to travel with you for some time, until such notice that Ilisa feels safe about her feelings. Naturally I will pay my way’ he said as he looked at the Captain. He started to open his pouch at that but Crator waved it away. ‘No need my Count’ he said. ‘If it is as you say we will be only to happy to take you onboard for free’. He waved his arm expansively again. ‘A friend of Ilisa is a friend of ours’ and with that we all found us to have a new comrade.

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And Walk the Walk

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Our world is a random seed of points wherein your consciousness are the catalyst, explorer, and redeemer of it all. Different mindsets create different outlets of expression. It's all in your choice of interpretation that creates your reality. In much the same way as a cipher sequence of numbers may come out as music or as a text or as a picture. All depending on your choice of rendering. The difference here being that the universal rule normally only allows precisely one rendering per view. Herein lies the true power of the lore. It may also be said as we see our selves fall down the line of entropy that only our consciousness travels, all else are unmoving, allowing us the illusion of freedom and space.
I know that I most desperately searched after my Lady, in a way one might say that I was very lucky. At least I knew that she truly existed.

Most of us seek in vain after that special one, that one and only. While searching we tend to end up with broken relationships, more often than not wondering whom to blame. But there are two to a relation I say and no one is wholly blameless. Now you might joke about this and say that ‘why satisfy yourself with only one?’ It’s a possibility I will admit but I think only for those of a stronger creed than mine. For me the thought of my Mouse was fully sufficient and no more was needed. As the time now had come for us to depart our safe harbor we stood gathered at the deck watching the receding lights of the little town depart. Count Drach was with us as we slowly glided out of the harbor of Ysanta with Ilisa safely sheltered under his arm and as we slowly moved out on the gravitational tide I could hear them murmuring sweet nothings to each other. Over them a velvet-textured dark canopy of clouds slowly swallowed up what light there still was to be seen. I felt both happy and depressed at seeing them so in love.

I couldn’t help but thinking that it should have been me there with my Mouse. Puss who was standing beside me choose this moment to talk ‘ Laur ‘ he had shortened my name as he often found it difficult to get his tongue around it. ‘ Why are you sad? Look, our little sister is finally happy. ‘ I looked at them and then turned with a slow smile at Puss. ‘ You’re absolutely right Puss. I am happy for them, I was just thinking of my Mouse. ‘ Puss shook his head ‘ Humans! ‘ he said with a snort. ‘Our prey is still waiting for us. You must not let discontentment weaken you when we meet it.’ I thought about what he had said and nodded ‘ You’re right Puss. Don’t worry, I won’t’ said I. ‘Good.’ Said Puss and with that discussion done we all went down to our respective cabins to get some rest.

The next day found us at the wheelhouse laying out a course into the quadrant of Chmeer again. Crator smiled at us as he explained the need for us to as he said ‘acquire a closure of some unfinished business’. ‘But Sir!’ I said. ‘What about Count Drach?’. Even though we might be bound by our oath of secrecy he wasn’t and I wouldn’t want to be the one wreck his and Ilisas chance of happiness. ‘Don’t worry boy’ said Crator. ‘I’ve already spoken with him and Ilisa too. They are quite happy to have their honeymoon journey on this splendid ship surrounded by mates and friends. ‘Are you sur.. Honeymoon! Captain? What are you talking about? There are no priests on our ship, Sir!? And she would have talked to me first if she…’

Crator stopped my tirade with a broad sweep of his hand. He then bowed towards me in a most magniloquent manner ‘Allow your humble servant to present himself’ he said. ‘Captain Crator of the mighty brigantine Seamistress, furthermore serving at his full capacity as hand-joiner of love. Ahh, that is to say me lad, I’m as fully competent to officiate weddings as funerals.’ Here he looked at me most meaningfully, and also menacingly. ‘You do want it to be a wedding boy, don’t you?’ Feeling his eyes bore into me I had to search myself, realizing that my care for Ilisa wasn't as pure and unselfish as I once had thought, in some strange way I didn't want to lose her from my side. But thinking some more about it I decided that it all was for the best, and with that it felt as a weight fell of my shoulders. 'Right you are Captain. Shall you or I tell her, ah, them?' 'Didn't you hear me lad? I said I had talked with them, didn't I?' Seeing my confusion he smiled slightly, his stern expression loosening up. 'Of course it's you and Puss that should talk to them about, but tell them that it will be my pleasure.'

And so we did.

Entertaining Story...

Just caught up with it, now that there was a title page on top. (I was hoping that meant that your tale was completed; no such luck.)

Interesting concepts underlying the story here. Took me a while to understand that we're looking at open seagoing-type vessels traveling through a kind of space that apparently isn't airless, or at least in which something breathable can cling to the ships. (I know you said that gravity works differently there.)

Plotwise, lots of questions still to be answered, of course. If not-Mouse's room is the only one in that universe that our hero can access, that doesn't bode well for his ability to move around Mouse's world with her when he finds it.

One confusing element: if I read correctly, Mouse's return to her home was explained two different ways: first it was said that people automatically bounce back to their original universe when tension gets too high, and then that she was drawn back by the magicians hired by her parents, though it was strongly implied that they wouldn't have known precisely from where they were reclaiming her. That first version doesn't seem likely unless our hero is unique in that regard, since he doesn't even belong to Emilia's universe, let alone the ones he's been traveling through of late.

Eric

(If "Count Drach" is undead like his Earth analogue, wouldn't Puss smell it? Certainly no surprise that he welcomes a trip to the Chmeer sector, though.)

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