It seems I am lacking in my knowledge of future history. How could I not know about a major war? Well, aside from the fact that it won’t take place for 20 odd years, from my point of view? I shall have to ask Gwyn, if Blaise ever gives her some time off from this census nonsense.
There is a new man in town, Orie, his name is, and he has no idea how he got here. One minute he was in a foxhole, thinking he was about to be shelled, the next, he is here in Ashmourne. If he was about to get hit by a shell, I guess that counts as being better off.
He was in the tavern, talking to Umbra and getting acquainted with a bottle of whisky. While neither activity could be considered particularly wise, the latter is at least understandable. Perhaps it helped him deal with the former, because I am sure that his previous experience did not include dual-personality winged demons. She left us shortly after I arrived, so I did not get to learn more, other than that s he was mostly Umbra now. Orie, properly known as Horace, as I later found out, came to us from the year of 1918, from a war that they were calling the Great War. A war against the Jerries, apparently a nickname for Germans, and one that the USA had only lately entered. Since he did not appear to have been too alarmed by Umbra’s appearance; indeed, he even said that he might have ‘had a go’ at her with more whisky inside him, I tried to explain the nature of things in Ashmourne, starting with the advice that ‘having a go’ at any of the ladies he met here would be unwise until he got to know the way things worked. Many of them, I told him, were more than they would appear, and making a mistake could prove deleterious to his health. I then explained about how the nature of time here was different. I told him when I came from, but not why I did not look much older than him. That, I left to his assumption about how people don’t age here. It is close enough to the truth for now. I learned that he was born in West Virginia in 1885, so we were not too far removed in time.
He had the idea that we were in some version of purgatory, so I tried to explain how we were in the faerie realms, and what the small winged creatures he had encountered were. Sadly, I had no background to work with, as fairy stories had not been a part of his upbringing. I tried to explain that many of the beings around the island were very powerful, so he should tread warily until he got his bearings. He was somewhat scornful, reckoning his gun more than match for most things. He was rather worried about his gun, though, which seemed to be corroding quicker than one might expect. I suggested that he talk to the blacksmith about repairing his weapons, but warned him very strongly against using them. I don’t normally like to pull rank, but I told him, as steward of the village and official (and unofficial) envoy to the various courts, that I strongly recommended not trying any aggressive moves.
We were interrupted by an unexpected arrival, none other than Vedis’ bodyguard, Galyanna, accompanied by Kuro, her sabre-fanged cat-like companion. I greeted her jovially and invited her to join us for a drink. Orie made his own introductions, describing me as the archduke of somewhere. Galyanna seemed to find this amusing, congratulating me on my promotion. I laughed and explained that I held no such rank, merely that of steward to Lord Maric. This turned out to be fortuitous, since she was here on official business, since Madam Vedis had awoken and wanted to know how things were in the land, wishing to discuss the synergy, as she called it, between the lordships of the land. Approaches had already been made to the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
I was delighted to hear that Vedis had not gone from us, and asked if Galyanna would pass on my regards. I told her that I was steward to the lord of the village, and thus authorised to initiate discussions regarding the relationships between the village and the various other factions. I suggested that a preliminary meeting would be a good idea, as I would like to see Vedis again anyway. She was amenable to that, but concerned for Vedis’ safety. She was clearly aware, and cautious of Maric’s guards, who were no doubt watching carefully. I assured her that the guards would take no aggressive action unless provoked and further, I would make it known to them that she was an official envoy of the demon court, and thus assured safe passage.
Orie seemed slightly perturbed by all this talk, asking if demons were for real. Both Galyanna and I assured him that this was the case. Galyanna suggested that I might warn newcomers, so that they would not be too afraid. That was the wrong thing to say, as Orie was quite sure he was afraid of nothing, saying he had looking into the face of hell. He possibly meant it as a metaphor, but Galyanna, rather amusingly, chose to take it literally and said that she didn’t recall his face. There was a moment of tension when it looked as though Orie would try facing up to her, which would have been an incredibly unwise move. Fortunately, I was able to deflect any aggression and calm things down, suggesting that we all have a drink.
Umbra returned and seemed to have business with Galyanna. I pointed Orie in the direction of the guest cottages and suggested he take his rest there, rather than sleeping in the corner of the tavern. Since there appeared to be no further risk of a fight, I left them to it shortly thereafter. This should be interesting. Given Maric’s eyes for the ladies, I would be most intrigued to witness his meeting with Vedis, most intrigued indeed. I find myself glad that she is back. A world without Vedis would be a very dull one indeed.