Fantasy Fiction posted May 11, 2014 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 12... 


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KLASCO TAKES DOCTREX TO MEET THE COUNCIL OF TWELVE

A chapter in the book The Trining

TOWARD KABEEZ

by Jay Squires


NEW TO "THE TRINING" ADVENTURE?  There are summaries beginning with Cha. 2 and going to Cha. 9.  Each summarizes the previous chapter.  What follows is a summary of Chapter 10: 

With Klea’s words threatening disclosure of his fraudulence still ringing in his ears, Doctex goes out to join Klasco, who is having an after dinner smoke in front of the cottage.  Klasco makes a proposal for Doctrex to watch over his family while he is off to fight Glnot Rhuether in the Far Northern Province.  Doctrex refuses, but volunteers to take his place in the Army that would be leaving soon.  Klasco suggests they leave the next day for Kabeez where Doctrex, posing as his brother, would seek permission from the Council of Twelve.
 

Chapter Eleven
 
 
I woke after a fragmented and fitful sleep.  A feeling lingered with me that Axtilla had visited me, that she had come to deliver a message so vital, that not heeding it in its entirety would bring about something bad—something very bad.  My waking mind needed something specific, even for the direst of messages.  Yet, strangely it was only a feeling, however compelling.  It was not articulated.  Nor could I say with certainty that it was even she who had delivered it, for the moment I focused my attention on Axtilla I found myself looking into Klea's face.  And, every time either of their mouths was opened to deliver the urgency of the message … the language became foreign to me.

I woke sweating, and my joints ached from the tension.

At the bottom of the small ravine next to my encampment, a brook gurgled.  I made my way down the bank, removed my shirt and splashed the icy water on my chest, stomach and arms.  Scooping water into my palms, I threw it against my face.  Another scoop I poured over my hair and pushed my fingers through like a comb.

Feeling refreshed, I put my shirt back on, scaled the bank and headed toward the cottage. Klasco was already hitching up a gray and a chestnut mare to a wagon, speaking to them warmly like they were old friends and stroking their manes.  I was no expert, but I noticed immediately that these horses were different from any I'd ever seen.  Their faces were equine, with the elongated necks and flowing manes; but they seemed broader through the chest, while their backs sloped gradually to hindquarters that were decidedly smaller than any I'd seen before.

Klasco was so engrossed he didn't see me at first, but when he did, his face erupted into a grin.

"My friend, Doctrex, I trust you slept better than we.  Klea had a bad time of it.  And, the poor dear, when she is troubled we all have a bad sleep."

"I'm sorry.  Is she all right now?"  I wondered how much her parting words with me contributed to her bad time of it.  Judging from his cordial greeting, she evidently hadn't shared those words with them.

"She's sleeping now.  Everyone is sleeping, so I got us some bread, a bottle of wine and dried meat."  He climbed in and took the reins.  "They are beauties, eh?"

"Ah, yes, I was admiring them."

"They are older now, but when I got them they were of the finest crossan stock in Kabeez.

I made mental note.  That would be a word I'd likely be using again.  Making the association with croissant would help me to remember it.  "Yeah, they're definitely some beautiful crossans."

I went around the rear of the wagon, rather than take any chance of spooking them, and climbed aboard.  The seat had either been hand-sanded, polished and buffed smooth or it was worn smooth from years of riding.  Either way it should make for a more comfortable journey.  Klasco made a sound with his tongue that the crossans were familiar with and gave the reins a shake.  The chestnut snorted and they lumbered forward, tossing back those ubiquitous little pink and white flowers from under their hooves at each step.  Once they started moving, the crossans knew their route well.  They angled off to the right across the meadow until we arrived at a hard-packed dirt road.

We rode along without talking for the first few miles.  Klasco hummed a tune in a velvety baritone while I occupied my time noting how the oak tree clusters were thinning.  Before long, we came upon a field of rich black soil, whose perfectly symmetrical rows stretched away from us across who knew how many acres.  The raised mounds between the rows held small green clumps, about six inches apart.  After about a hundred yards, the distance between the clumps seemed to disappear as the rows grew closer together and all was replaced by a lush green carpet spread out over hill and valley clear to the horizon.
 
"So, this is the work you were going to have me take over?" I asked.

He interrupted his humming to grin at me. His words weren't necessary.

"No, Klasco."  I shook my head, smiling. "I’m more convinced than ever, this is where you belong."

"Perhaps, but will you tell me why you feel such a need to replace me in battle?"

"I will, my friend—at least I'll try."  I closed my eyes and struggled mightily with myself over where I should start.  Was there anyplace that would have him think I was anything but a madman?  And, yet I had to try.

"Klasco, do you ever awaken from a dream you know you had and something from it is tugging at your waking self to remember it—?"

"Of course."

"But wait.  That's not entirely what I mean.  So, you know you had this dream but you only remember, on waking, bits and disconnected pieces of it.  And, throughout the day, while you are out in your fields, or at dinner with your family, something you see or that someone says connects with a piece of the dream.  Like a little flash of light immediately swallowed by darkness."

"Yes, but we all—"

"Yes, yes, yes!" I found myself nearly shouting, and seeing the stunned expression on Klasco's face, I laid a hand on his shoulder.  "I'm sorry, but—but you know who you are:  I am Klasco Braanz.  I am 4 Ds old.  I remember my childhood, when I fell in love and married Metra.  I remember the birth of my children.  You know yourself so well that you can't imagine what it would be like not to know yourself.

"But, suppose one morning you wake up and there is no Klasco Braanz.  Moreover, you find yourself in a place you've never been before.  You do have that feeling of a dream, however, with an inner nudging that if you could just recapture it you would find your identity in it.  Now, there is a you in the sense that your eyes see you have a body, it has all the other working senses.  You have things you like and things you don't like.  You want meat to eat, for instance.  You don't want to eat roots or grass.  You feel pain, fear, and other emotions.  The only thing is … there is no Klasco Braanz.

"But, even though you have no identity you have a language and a shared history with others.  You know this because—"  I paused to take a deep breath.  "You know this because, while you have no identity, you know certain facts like how many inches there are in a foot."
He looked at me with a puzzled smile.

"Yes," I said, "and how many feet there are in a mile.  And, if you know how many miles it is from your cottage to Kabeez, you'd be able to tell me how many hours it will take to get there."

"Why are you talking like that?" he asked, still smiling, but the corners of his mouth showing a trace of irritation.  "What miles? What hours?"

"Exactly!" I said.  "You are feeling the same confusion I felt when I heard Ds, instead of years and units instead of miles and credits instead of dollars and cents."

"I still don't understand."

"Then, try this on for size, my friend."  I took in another lungful of air.  "I am a fraud.  I am an imposter.  I fooled you.  I fooled Metra.  Sarisa knows more than you can imagine.  I'll have to explain more about that later.  Only Klea saw through me.  Just before I came outside, she told me I was a fraud.  And, that when she was able to prove it she would expose me."  I watched as his expression changed.  "Oh, Klasco, don't be angry with Klea.  She was only trying to protect her family from someone she saw as vaguely threatening.  She is terribly bright and intuitive."

"I still don't understand any of this.  But, from what you are telling me about my family, I'm starting to get a little troubled—no!  Angry.  I don't like having things about my family kept from me."

"I understand why you would feel that way.  Please, try to be patient.  Soon you'll know everything.  I can't say for certain you'll believe me, but I'll have told you all I can tell you.  And, what you do after that will be up to you."

"Go on, then."

"Getting back to waking up not knowing who you are but with that feeling of having dreamed all of your actual life and having only bits and pieces coming back to you.  So, here you are.  You can understand the people around you and they can understand you.

"Not knowing what type of work you did in your other life, yet knowing you have to survive, you inquire about a sign in a bakery window about the owner needing an experienced baker.  You begin your life of fraud, keeping your eyes and ears open.  You soon discover that the methods of measurement are different from what you know.  Instead of teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups this baker is using—klibbles, klabbles and klungs."

Klasco smiled, but briefly, and it was replaced by a look of stern skepticism.

"One day, while making bread, you pick up a bag of wheat flour.  On the bag is a picture of a sheaf of wheat.  There suddenly flashes in your mind a wheat field at harvest, perhaps the sunlight glinting off the blade of a scythe.  It makes an important connection to you, but as quickly as it comes, it disappears."

Klasco sighed loudly.  "Is any of this going anywhere?"

"Not as well or as quickly as I'd hoped," I admitted.  "But, with that as background, I'll tell you as exactly as I can what happened to me.  Just know, my friend, however implausible, or impossible, it seems it is the truth as I see it.  First of all, let me start with my name:  It is not Doctrex.  At its proper moment in my story I'll tell you why that name was chosen and who gave it to me.
 
#
 
For the next hour, while the crossans plodded forward, their thick shoulders knotted and moving under their harnesses, I told of my birth about a month earlier as a baffled but fully functioning man.  I explained why I couldn't be sure how long ago it was because I was unconscious for a goodly amount of time, and almost died, owing to a birthing wound, or an injury that occurred in my previous life which I carried into my birth.  I noted by the set of his jaw and his stony stare, that his skepticism was not remedied by my tale.  I was determined, though, to tell him the truth as I knew it at the time and let the chips fall where they may. My narrative introduced him to the sea that was red, huge-eyed Axtilla who attacked me, tried to kill me, and, then brought me from the edge of death back to life in the cave by the sea.  And, in the process, her eyes took on more normal proportions, though they were still beautifully larger than most.  My throat started getting raspy and my eyes bleary as I talked about Axtilla, and I had to turn away from him for a moment to gather my emotions.
 
"There's no hiding the fact that I have feelings for this woman, Axtilla.  She's fighting a solitary battle against the ignorance of her people, and, if she has her way she's about to fight the battle of her life against Glnot Rhuether!"

"Glnot Rhuether!  You said you only heard of him from here and there."

"Yes, I did.  You have to understand I wasn't prepared to say any more than that when you dropped his name in our conversation so abruptly.  It caught me by surprise.  It was clashing with the fraudulent role I was playing.  I wasn't prepared to tell you then about Axtilla."  I paused, gathered my thoughts.  "Klasco, I promised I'd tell you the whole truth about me and leave it up to you to believe me or not.  But, I let my feelings push me ahead of myself.  Let me go back and do it in the order it happened."

He nodded and I continued with my story staying as closely as I could to the sequence of events.  I tried my best to eliminate conversations and actions that were incidental to the narrative, though they introduced subtle changes in our trust of each other, and for me, at least, my growing feelings of endearment.  At one point I explained Axtilla's early obsession with establishing me as a mythological Pondria, and Klasco stopped me.

"Say again?"

"Pondria?" I asked.

"Yes, tell me about Pondria."

"According to her people’s legend, Pondria would come to their country—their province—from the sea.  He supposedly was Glnot Rhuether's brother, and was washed up on the shore after being separated, somehow, from him.  Since Axtilla discovered me on the shore, she assumed my identity and immediately set out to kill me."

"I know of the legend.  It was part of the mythology of the Kyreans.

It was my turn to be amazed.  "Kyreans!"
 
"Yes.  All children are taught about it in school.  Sarisa could tell you more about it than I.  But, myth has it that the Kyreans were an ancient civilization, more than a thousand Ds ago."

Five thousand years ago?  "Where did the Kyreans get their name?"

He scratched his head.  "I'm no expert.  Sarisa or Klea could explain for sure what the myth says, but I believe Kyre was the original leader.  Either that or their god."

"And, do you know what finally happened to the Kyreans—that caused them to die out?

"I know what the myth tells us.  And, it's too obvious for the intelligent person not to see there is a strong parallel between the Kyreans and the people of our provinces.  In fact that was an integral part of our agenda at the Counsel of Twelve.  Our concern, as I mentioned before, was the physical, mental and spiritual weakness of our citizens.  We had been at peace for so many Ds, we'd lost the ability to flex our muscles—actually and figuratively.  Myth tells us that was precisely what happened to the Kyreans.  With no outside threat to their peace, they became weak, lazy, and then slothful.  When something from outside finally did attack them they were powerless against it."

"Does the myth tell what that outside force was?"

“It was as though the myth simply withered at that spot.  And the Dark Force descended upon them.  They were too weak to defend against it."

"Then, that's how it ended?—The myth?  That the Dark Force descended upon them?”

"Which is why the Counsel of Twelve took the final words of the Kyrean Myth to be so full of meaning for us.  The Dark Force is Glnot Rhuether and his army.  Attacking us from the North describes descending upon us."

I decided to take a chance.  "Or, it could be the Trining."  It was the first time I literally saw a person's mouth drop open.  His eyes grew large and his breathing rapid.

"Where did you hear of—that?"

"Trining?"

He thrust a warning open palm toward me.  "We do not talk about that!"

"But, why?"  I tried a smile.  It vanished when I saw his hand ball to a fist.  I held up my hands in the classic gesture of surrender.  "Okay …  Okay …"

His fist loosened, but he was back to his cold, suspicious stare.  "Who are you?  You're one of them, aren't you?  And, to think I invited you into our home."

"Klasco, you're only hurting yourself to believe that.  I don't even know who one of them is.  I can only assume you mean one of Glnot Rhuether's men, since they're who we've been talking about.  Listen, I'm telling you the truth when I say I don't know who I am.  But, I know who I'm not.  I’m asking you to take it on faith I'm not one of them.  I would pit my very life against them, or any other force, in order to get to Rhuether before Axtilla does.  Back when you trusted me enough to watch over your family while you were off to battle Glnot Rhuether, you told me you couldn't know me better than if you'd been my neighbor for a D or more."  I looked him straight in the eyes.  "I am that same person, Klasco."

He sighed.  "Of course you are, Doctrex."  He tugged the reins to the right and the crossans responded, opening their mouths against the bits.  A string of frothy slobber hung down from the Chestnut's mouth as the crossans pulled off the dirt road and into a hard patch of green, beside a brook.  The gray mare turned his great neck and head to look quizzically at his master.  "While the crossans rest, drink and eat we'll come to an understanding about … that word … and after we break bread and drink our wine, we can begin our journey again and you can finish your story."
 
*     *     *

Cast of Characters and Terms
 
  • Doctrex:  The name Axtilla gave to the man who woke up on the shore of an alien land, without memory or identity.
  • Axtilla:  The young lady who discovered the ailing man on the shore, brought him to health and then held him captive, certain he is Pondria.
  • Pondria:  According to the Tablets of Kyre, he is the one who comes from the sea, to infiltrate the people of the Encloy, deceiving them with his language, setting them up to be destroyed by the Trining.
  • Pomnots:  (Pom = Dark not = Force)  Formerly on the plane below, these ancestors of the people of the Encloy were drawn up to the Kojutake during the Bining's 30 days of darkness.  Fierce, living for their appetites, they are not above killing each other to satisfy their insatiable hunger.
  • Glnot Rhuether:  According to Axtilla, the name of the dark entity who is destined to empower the lodging [the Trining] on their plane.
  • Klasco Braanz: Husband to Metra and father to Sarisa and Klea.
  • Metra Braanz: Wife to Klasco and mother to Sarisa and Klea
  • Sarisa Braanz: Klasco's and Metra's youngest daughter.
  • Klea Braanz: Klasco's and Metra's eldest daughter
  • Kyreans:  According to Kabeezan Myth, a people who lived 5,000 years ago (1,000 D’s) who were ultimately destroyed by Glnot Rhuether and the Dark Force.


 


Recognized


NOTE: Reluctantly, but at the request of many Fanstorians, I am including a Cast of Characters and Terms. The previous chapter summary and the glossary comprise 704 words and appear to make a long chapter longer. I trust the reader who measures his/her interest by the length of the "scanning bar" will keep that in mind.
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