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Chapter 19: M’LADY

“Captain Jones, how is this going to work?” Asked Armad.

“We can do this anywhere, anytime but for you, I think it will work better if we sit quietly in this room. My ships Healer will begin and then he will invite you to join him. It is a bit like sleep but you will be fully in control. Remember, belief is not necessary but it can help.”

“I have done this once before, remember?”

“I understand, Armad, I am just taking care of everything. You are so like a child in your experience sometimes.”

“Gentlemen,” Interrupted the Healer, “If you will give me a minute I will join you again.”

A bit of quiet time passed while Armad waited. Presently, he felt a presence in the room. Within a few seconds, he was with both the Healer and Captain Jones. As they fell from his awareness, he also felt the slightly familiar mind that he had met before. The mind was all encompassing and felt comfortable.

“Armad, it is good to talk to you once again. You do have the ability to call to me on your own. You have only to try.”

“I have tried M’Lady. My belief in science gets in the way.”

M’Lady gave him a picture of the planet from space that was uncannily like Earth. Except for the continents, it was the same. “With the birth of a world, come many variables. On this world, the ability to use magic was born to ‘One’. We all are the result of that birth, except for you. If you can manage to shed your disbelief, you will be able to call me at any time.”

Armad gave a mental nod. He had tried, he did believe in magic and M’Lady, but he still could not make the leap of ‘faith’.

She continued. “Your problem with tobacco does not exist here.”

Armad startled. “If you know of the problem, then why does it not exist?”

“I do not wish it to exist. For any person that does develop a problem, I can and will cure it. If the person does not deserve a cure, I can also deal with that. I am aware of all living things on this world but not on other worlds. When you came to us, it was because of another person’s action. The wizard reached outside my control and exchanged your body with another. At that time, you came under my watch. Perhaps there is more to this than either of us can see. Go ahead and introduce tobacco and sugar to the world, but let us avoid gunpowder and the harsher things you call drugs for now. It will happen anyway in the future and at least you will show more control than others will. Perhaps if we are lucky, you will show a way to help people have more control when it comes time to using potential mind-altering drugs. I do have a few places where they use them for ritual. Stranger things have been known to happen.”

Armad left the discussion feeling well rested and with a different point of view of the land. He was correct in trying to protect the people of the land from the downside of addictive substances but if M’Lady did not disapprove, perhaps there was a good reason for his being here beyond being exchanged for a petty thief. He would have to think on this.

“Healer. I have been remiss. I would like to thank you for your services and ask you a few questions.”

“You have only to ask. If there is anything that I can help you with, I am only too pleased to help. M’Lady places great faith in your abilities.”

Armad composed his thoughts. He needed to find out why she put such great faith in him and possibly why the addictive traits of tobacco and alcohol would not be a problem. “First of all, where I come from, there are bad habits that many people have that make them useless to other people around them.”

“Explain please.” Insisted the Healer.

“Basically, no matter where you turn, people eat, drink or otherwise use things that they become dependent on.”

“You have to eat and drink and you are expected to depend on family, friends and your elders.”

“That is not the dependency that I am talking about. You have beer and sailors drink a lot of it, do they not?”

The healer sighed, “Sometimes they do and more often than not, it is the cause of more misunderstanding than anything else in the ports.”

“You do have people that drink too much on a constant basis, don’t you?”

“We do,” He admitted. “These individuals outgrow the problem if they don’t kill themselves first.”

“The problem they have is dependency. It is similar to the problem that people get when they over eat too much of a favorite food except that there is something that makes them need it more often. Drinking too much can cause problems.”

“From a healing point of view, these people are sick. Any healer can cure them by simply asking M’Lady for help.”

Armad shook his head in disbelief. “Some people don’t want to be cured of this type of disease. The desire to keep it this way is the real problem and in a world where many more substances that encourage this type of activity, there can be many more problems. They try to hide the problem. Tobacco has a similar problem, but its advantage is that it relaxes people and helps them deal with the pressures of life just as beer does if you don’t drink too much and lose control. The drawback is that it can cause problems over a lifetime of use. I suppose that M’Lady could cure that problem as well.”

The Healer looked at him and posed a suggestion, “If both things cause so much problems, then why even have them around?”

“Many things in life cause problems. The solution is not to eliminate them but to allow people to learn to control them. Besides, the substances exist and must be dealt with in some way. I suppose that the sugar cane will present its own problems but it could actually bring more happiness in both the short and long run than either beer or tobacco. I think that if M’Lady says that she can keep her people healthy, then we should trust her, but I think that I am going to give her a little help.”

Startled, the healer asked, “If you can’t call her, then how can you help her?”

“Information can be a powerful tool just as misinformation can be a great weapon. As we introduce these substances into the world, I am going to do something that was never done in my world. I am going to make sure that everyone knows the disadvantages as well as the advantages of each substance. Along with that information, we will credit M’Lady so that she may help the people that need help. Perhaps we can suggest that one of the benefits of beer and tobacco is a closer connection to her.”

Astonished, he asked, “Is this true?”

“Anything is possible. In fact, both of them relax the mind and the body, creating confidence. That alone may be the greatest aid in allowing a person to reach her for the first time. I have been lead to believe that once you can reach her on your own, that you can always return, at least I hope so. Armad took a few minutes of peaceful contemplation and looked inside himself for some sign of the peace that should be within. In the back of his mind he heard a rustling. Not sure what it was and afraid that it might be just what he wanted and needed, he held onto it and opened his eyes to continue on with his day.

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