The Oracle’s Dilemma, Vol.4, An Isles of Mist Short

Jan Erik Waider

I was drunk, completely and utterly drunk. I lost count how much ale I had long ago. Keyne had broken glass and empty tankards all around him. I knew he drank way more than I did but I didn’t consider how much he drank each night. Always holding myself a little above the others, I never really interacted with the rest of the pantheon. Maybe I should work on that, when I sober up, that is. I’m having a wonderful time. I haven’t laughed so much in ages. Just one more reason I am starting to feel a little bad about my task. Surprisingly enough, Keyne isn’t so bad when he tries. When he was good and drunk I climbed into his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck and leaning in “let’s go to bed Keyne”. Sober La’el would have rolled her eyes at the spectacle but drunk La’el was highly amused by the way his expression changed. He didn’t speak, he just hooked an arm around my waist and stood, scooping my legs up as he did. I have never been carried anywhere. I don’t remember having a childhood, I just was, so this is new to me. I liked it, a lot. I giggled as we headed through the great hall, hiding my head in his barrel of a chest when the cat calls started. They were all stupid drunk not two minutes ago, how did they notice this? He stumbled as he walked through the yard to his home, “put me down, I can walk better than you at this point”.

“I find I like my arms around you woman, I will not let you fall.”

I wasn’t able to do much about the situation so I decided to just enjoy the feeling of being cared for. Never mind it was just a drunken night with a man I was about to betray. As we entered his chamber he set me down so that he could remove his weapons belt and boots. He was having considerable trouble with this so I decided to help. Walking behind him, I removed Dragon-Breath and placed it on the hook beside his pallet. Wrapping my arms around him I unhooked his belt and put it away. I then gently pushed him down to his pallet and removed his boots myself. Climbing onto the pallet beside him, I snuggled into his arms and lay my head on his chest. Despite what I knew I had to do, being wrapped in his strong arms was a wonderful feeling. He was too drunk to take things further, I had no fear of that. He just held me in his arms, running his hands over my shoulder and arm as I ran my fingers through the hair peppering his chest. Soon he was snoring loud enough to wake the dead. I was nearly asleep myself before I remembered what I was supposed to be doing. When he finally shifted position, his arm loosened enough that I could get off the pallet. Placing my hand on Dragon-Breath, I closed my eyes and pictured a swamp, deep in the southernmost part of Georgia. The “land of trembling earth” I’ve heard it called. Once the image was firmly in my mind, I whispered a short incantation and with a small pop, the ax was gone.

Knowing he would be furious when he woke and more so when he finally realized I had tricked him, I decided to enjoy this one night of companionship. I didn’t realize when I hatched this plan how it would affect me. I only thought about how to fix this latest mess. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I climbed back onto the pallet and cuddled up to Keyne.

The Oracle’s Dilemma, Vol.3, An Isles of Mist Short

Jan Erik Waider

I had decided on the way into the dining hall to let him approach me. His back was to me as I walked in, he was facing the food table. He was sure to notice me as I walk by to gather my food, this would be easier than I thought. Stacking my plate with vegetables, I smiled as a tankard of ale slammed onto the table beside me, “you need meat woman, you eat like a bird”.

 

“Hello Keyne, you know I eat very little meat, why do you insist on having this conversation so often?” Sighing, I turned to face him. I was going to have to reign in my annoyance if this was going to work. Plastering a smile on my face, I decided to humor him tonight. “I will eat a bit of chicken, which do you suggest?”

 

I startled him with my change in demenor and I could see the gears turning behind his eyes. “I don’t understand your ways woman, meat is life. Well, mead is life, meat helps. Anyway, if all you will eat is chicken and not a lot of it, have the chicken and potatoes.  It has plenty of vegetables with a small amount of chicken. It should be to your liking.” He spooned some of the dish onto my plate as he talked. I was so stunned that he would think to offer me a dish so close to my liking I didn’t notice the amount until I almost dropped my plate. “Keyne!” I cried, “That’s enough, I can’t eat all that!”

“Gods woman, you eat less than a bird. This is hardly a first serving.”

“Then you can help me eat it.” I smiled sweetly as I said this and attempted a seductive look with my eyes. I doubt I pulled it off but from the look on his face, he was buying it anyway. This was going to work if I could hold my temper. Chances are he was five or six tankards of ale into the night already. That was fine for me, I’d give him much more before the night was through. I want him good and drunk before we go back to his pallet. The more he drinks, the heavier he will sleep, making my job all the easier.

 

Shocking me once again he took my plate in one hand and my arm in the other, leading me back to the main table. Instead of setting my plate at my usual seat near the head of the table he caught the eye of his friend and tilted his head a bit. I was puzzled by this until his friend got up and found a new place to sit. Keyne set my plate down and helped me to sit down before taking his seat next to me. “Thank you Keyne, although I was joking. I didn’t mean for you to make your friend move.”

“I have been trying to get you to dine with me for years. Even if it was said in jest you are stuck with me tonight woman.” Well, that was almost sweet. I rolled my eyes and took a bite of my food. At my first bite of the potatoes, I was hooked. Even the chicken was wonderful. I must have made some sort of sound. I heard a chuckle from Keyne. Cutting my eyes in his direction, I took another bite. “If you continue to eat like this I won’t be able to share with you. I’ve never seen you eat this much before.”

“Sorry” I mumbled between mouthfuls, “this is amazing. Thank you for bullying me into eating it.”

let us drink and be merry. It is a night to celebrate

“Let us not fight tonight woman, let us drink and be merry. It is a night to celebrate.” He boomed this last part and chugged his ale. Every time I thought this would be easier than I first thought he did something to make me bite my tongue again. I couldn’t even describe how annoying all this “woman” mess was. “What could we possibly be celebrating Keyne?”

“We are celebrating the new-found friendship we are forming.”

“Oh” he was so serious I almost felt bad about what I was about to do, “that’s sweet Keyne, thank you. I’m stuffed, would you like to finish this off and I’ll go get you more ale?”

The Oracle’s Dilemma Vol. 1 An Isle of Mist Short

Jan Erik Waider

 

I knew things were getting out of hand when he named Carl the God of Wet Willies. Why in the name of all things holy would you even need a God of Wet Willies? Or a God of Cheese Cake, of Biscuits, or of Chess Boards for that matter? I was going to have to have yet another talk with the Khan, Erwin. This ridiculous idea that Keyne and his companions should be able to hand out divinity like mugs of mead was insane. God of Wet Willies indeed I thought as I stomped through the woods. I had spent the morning in my clearing by the stream meditating on what to do about this mess. I had gotten nowhere. What they needed was a Goddess of sweet tea and chicken and dumplings.

Why in the name of all things holy would you even need a God of Wet Willies?

I had tried those once on a trip through the Americas and my taste buds had never been the same. Of course, no one else thought that those delicious southern staples were worth godliness. That’s only because they have never been to South Georgia. The place was a sweltering, humid, bug-infested utopia of food, scenery, and madness. A place worthy of even the most foolhardy of Gods. I can’t believe I had been unable to convince Keyne and his companions to visit the place. Sure, they would go to New England, that’s where the ships landed but going down the coast was too much to ask it seemed.

Some days I hate this job. Being the Oracle of The Isles of Mist, knowing all the things that could be and all the things that ever was is such a burden. A burden made all the heavier by that imbecile and his new-found power of godhood granting. The Khan had thrown me with that one. How had I missed the fact that he would do such a thing? Now not only did I have to fix the fact that there were, at last count, 48 thousand new gods in the pantheon. I also feared my powers were slipping. That was the far more troubling thing. Without my powers, I am no one. Keyne was always being an idiot and I was forever cleaning up his messes. Taking the powers of a few thousand new gods wasn’t the worse thing I had to do in the name of keeping order on our Hidden Isle.

Talking to Erwin about Keyne’s outlandish behavior NEVER accomplished anything. At this point, I wasn’t even sure why I bothered. Yes, I was, it was because talking to Keyne was worse. The stupid lout, you had to be willing to drink with him to get him to have the conversation and he took nothing seriously unless it was about his ax. I did not have the time or the patience to deal with him right now. I also could not find The Khan. I guess I’ll have to handle this myself.

He would go on a quest & hopefully appoint someone’s grandmother as the Goddess of soul food

I wandered around contemplating the best way to solve the problem. My thoughts keep getting jumbled with thoughts about his ax. About his ax…. there’s an idea. What if his ax ended up in some secluded area of South Georgia? He would go on a quest to find it and hopefully appoint someone’s grandmother as the Goddess of soul food in the process. This could work. I am a genius! Not only would this get Keyne out of the way while I dealt with all these new Gods and Goddesses. It would prove a point about acting in such as reckless manner. And maybe, just maybe some decent food would finally be served in the dining hall when he came back. But first, I needed a real plan.