Reality Skimming
1Feb/13Off

Meet The Relatives – Post 1

Part 1 Meet the Relatives - Dela's Dillemma

Meet The Relatives by Lynda Williams, is the touching story of very Demish Dela's adventures in Red Reach. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.

Dela's Dilemma

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The Princess Dela sat crying at the base of a richly draped divan, crushing a tear-stained letter in one strong hand. Her skirts heaped about her in billows.

"The Vrellish are not monsters," her glorious Demish liege advised her. "But the Vrellish do not marry, Dela."

"It's a hard choice," said the man on the divan, clad in robes nearly as beautiful as he was. He set cool fingers on her bright curls to give comfort and she seized upon his warm hand like a drowning woman, feeling like a great red-eyed lump. She had been eating pastries in a flurry since Vras Vrel left court. Now she had this simple, cheerful letter asking her to join him, and she wasn't sure if that was any better.

"The Vrellish are not monsters," her glorious Demish liege advised her. "But the Vrellish do not marry, Dela."

"W-what's the closest they come?" she asked, swallowing around a hot lump in her throat that sunk into her heart and lodged there.

His Immortality Prince Amel settled back in his reception robes, rustling. "I suppose," he said, a concerned expression troubling his cream-white brow, "when each calls the other one mekan'st."

Dela blinked round blue eyes at him. "That's all?"

"It's not as casual as it sounds," he assured her. "And although it isn't mutually exclusive it is serious and permanent — at least by Vrellish standards." He hesitated before prying. "Has Vras ever called you his mekan'st?"

"No," she squeaked, then rallied. "But he's sent for me to join him in Red Reach. That's not something a Vrellish man asks any Demish woman, is it?" A happy idea occurred to her. "He wants me to come meet his relatives!"

"It's more likely a matter of sword law," Amel warned.

Dela was acquainted with Sword Law. It was how Sevolites, settled their differences — both the Demish sort like Amel and the Vrellish sort like Vras Vrel — without resorting to space wars so destructive there'd be nothing left to quarrel over. Cases were always in process on her home world of Demora, some eventually ending in real duels. The prospect of long days of claims and counter claims wasn't enough to distract Dela from hopes of her lover's quick laugh and hard body.

"Dela?" Amel interrupted. 

"Yes, Divine Soul?" she said, freshly ambushed — as she turned her eyes up — by his long, jeweled eye lashes.

"You are not a Vrellish woman," he reminded her. "And Vras Vrel is a Vrellish man. You do understand that?"

Dela nodded vigorously.

Attendants came in to claim Amel and take him to grand reception he had been prepared for, pausing to bow before him before giving orders.

"We'll talk later," he told Dela. "Promise?"

She nodded, and immediately felt guilty as she watched her dear liege being led off.  She had every intention of talking about it, of course! When she got back.

It proved hard squeezing into the flight leathers one of Vras' vassals brought for her. He'd ordered it based on her size before he abandoned her to the comfort of rich Demish pastries. Dela was relieved the person helping was a woman, even if she was only certain of because Rilt of Spiral Hall striped down to put on her own flight suit, first, before taking charge of Dela.

"Don't you know anything?" the Vrellish woman complained, as they wrestled to get Dela's waste bags fitted. No one had told Dela, growing up, that dashing Demish princes leaping out of freshly landed flyers might be sloshing inside their suits. Dela might have muttered, in her defense, that she'd only flown a couple of times herself and never suited up like a rel-fighter, but she was much too flustered standing there with her breasts swelling out of her naked chest and golden curls hopelessly messed up by efforts to stuff them into a flight helmet intended to protect her brain from streaking grains of matter.

The Vrellish woman's choice of 'you' also befuddled her. Rilt up-spoke her as she should, but added no differencing suffix to quantify by how much. By Demish standards that would be an insult not to mention purposeful withholding of information. And if another Demish woman used a common-gender pronoun to address her, Dela would have slapped her. She was rescued from complete social confusion by remembering that the Vrellish had different grammar manners than her own people. All she knew for sure was that Vras, himself, conversed with her in gendered pronouns using peerage. Beyond that, it all felt quit daunting.

Afraid to risk replying, Dela was all but weeping with frustration by the time Rilt had her suited up and tucked into the passengers seat of her envoy class rel-skimmer.

They rocketed out of the nobleborn docks and shot skyward with Dela's arms braced and her eyes wide with horror. She was barely past all danger of throwing up, when Rilt boosted to rel-skimming.

Part 1 Meet the Relatives - Dela's Dillemma
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