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R. Eric

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  1. R. Eric


    The Puritan Palatines are making their way west. That gives our people time to prepare. Martha gave them enough advanced notice. With Wahkooha dead, and the attacks on the kingdoms stopped. Our boys might have just gone home. No, they aren't finished. The battle might surprise you. I'm writing it and that plot surprised me!
  2. Purpose “We really do access the magic differently than Children of Lilith.” I looked at them both. “Why?” “There are several theological theories,” Lukus began hesitantly. “None of it can be given as proof,” Demetrius stressed. “But…” “What!?” Seth and I said loud. “Our parents never sinned,” Lukus said and was nodding at our surprised faces, “When Adam and Lilith lived in Eden. They didn’t disobey God.” He had said it before, but now I really thought about it. “I will have to disagree with that.” “No,” Demetrius shook his head. “God created paradise for them to live in. They could eat and drink anything they wanted, but God put one restriction on them. The Forbidden Fruit. Only one sin! That’s all!” I was doing what they had done to me and was shaking my head even before Demetrius finished speaking and the finger I used to make an exception was raised shaking, too. “No, Adam committed the first sin against Lilith! They were created equals! He ORDERED Lilith to submit to authority he didn’t have! She had every right to refuse. It was selfish and...” We enjoyed it! All of us. Even Seth was smiling now. “Which I’d love to hear about later,” he tried to put some space between Demetrius and me. “I’ll be glued in my seat!” He looked directly at Demetrius and then Lukus. “How does that mean he accesses magic differently than you do?” “It could be seen as punishment or reward,” Lukus said. “You have shorter lives than we do. The time it would take to learn to use the magic just isn’t there.” “When God sent those angels to Lilith to get her to agree, she chose to talk to God Himself.” Demetrius chuckled, “She got God to change His mind.” “He’s God!” Seth declared in disbelief. “And?” Lukus asked. “He’s done it before,” I said to Seth. “Remember Jonah and the giant Goldfish?” “It was a whale!” Seth shot back. “You know that because you were there?” I asked as my eyebrows rose. “Of course not!” “There is a huge difference between a fish and a whale,” I grinned. “In the book of Jonah it simply says God prepared a great fish, but Jesus said it was a whale…” I shook my head, “...somewhere! He would know.” “YOU don’t know!?” Seth smiled grandly. I nodded a wobbling consent, “I don’t have it memorized by chapter and verse! No. Jonah was told to go to Nineveh, go there and tell God was going to destroy Nineveh because of wickedness. Jonah tried to avoid doing that by going in the opposite direction. The big Goldfish took him where he was supposed to go in the first place.” I smiled, “There’s a lot more to the story, but God changed his mind. The people were very sorry.” “Or it was His plan all along,” Lukus said chuckled. “Our maturation period is longer,” Demetrius reminded us. “No Child of Lilith is born with magic. Like steps, they need to learn to walk.” “When Eabha told us her father was Merlin,” Seth said, “you said it makes sense. Why?” “If he had friends,” I chuckled, “Fiacha,” I looked at Seth, “King Arthur?” “Stick with Fiacha and Soren,” Seth muttered. “No reminders with those names.” “He meets friends at twenty or thirty,” I said, “They get older, Soren doesn’t.” I saw Lukus was about to say something, “Yes, I know he did, but it was so slow! It probably looked like he was aging backwards.” “Backwards!?” Seth said startled. “He got younger when he aged!?” “Whether it was the plan all along or not,” Lukus said. “Lilith got God to change his mind.” “That,” I said, “was my point.” I chuckled, “If I tell you the Forbidden Fruit wasn’t an apple. That is true. Christian and I grew up on apples, applesauce, apple pie…” I smiled, “He swore it didn’t taste like apples. We would know.” Seth took both of my shoulders and jutted his head, “And how does that explain why Children of Eve and the Children of Lilith access and use magic differently?” “I don’t know.” I answered. “You’ll be asked to stand in judgement of angels.” Lukus said softly. “We will?” Seth asked. “You will,” Demetrius corrected. “The Children of Eve.” “Why us?” Seth asked and looked at me. “In a letter to Corinth,” I said. “Again, I don’t remember the chapter or verse, but Paul questioned the competency they struggled with in trivial matters, telling them we would stand in judgement of angels.” “Why just us?” Seth asked. “You know there are a few things we can’t do,” Demetrius said. “Some things we have never done. No Child of Lilith has killed anyone.” “Len Na did!” Seth shouted. “Weeell,” Lukus began agonizingly slow. “Technically, SHE didn’t.” “People were getting sick and died quickly.” Seth pointed out, “She even appeared in the middle of it! Those…” he struggled for the words, “Demonic Snakes were there because of her!” Demetrius was nodding again and gave the hand signal to calm down, “Yes, but she didn’t bring them to A’Dore. She would always entice others to do it FOR her.” I didn’t like that, “You’re splitting hairs.” I shook my head. “If I tell someone to kill another, they have to decide to do it or not. Should I be held accountable?” Demetrius shook his head, “Does the person you asked to kill another person HAVE that choice? If they did it, why did they feel they had to? There’s more than a simple right and wrong here.” He again was shaking his head, “Again, not what we were discussing.” He grinned. “God wanted a people that would communicate with each other on a more one on one level. Like God, you know sin from having done it. You’re the better Judge.” I was NOT prepared for that, “How do you come up with that’s exclusive to us?” “Because you can do things we can’t,” Lukus said. “You can heal and hurt with magic. You transported yourself AND Seth here. We couldn’t do that across the room.” “Wait,” Seth said calmly, but his mind was working on something. “You said Erik KNEW he could because of all the magic used with him.” He pointed to his right side with his right hand and asked, “Toby and Dennis have seen it all of their lives! Can they use magic?” Lukus gave a grudging nod and said slowly, “Yyyyeeess…” This was important, but I saw the humor, “Is answering my questions causing a lot of pain for you?” “No,” Lukus replied at the absurdity. “I assume you want a clear answer, so I organize what I say to do that.” “Learning to walk,” Demetrius said. “It’s...inevitable! A child pulls up on things or holds the fingers of parents’ hands as they try those first steps.” He laughed as pointed with his thumb out of the room. “I know Toby gave you a difficult time,” he chuckled harder, “and Dennis! He went from crawl to run so quickly!” They were good memories and I knew what he was talking about. “No one taught me baby steps with magic,” I said. “Maybe not,” Demetrius said, “Until a Child of Lilith infant knows…” he motioned around the room, “things. It knows it isn’t happy, but not why. When the child understands, we tempt them to reach for things and they learn to do it.” “Toby and Dennis can do it,” Lukus stated, “but it takes time.” “You are already seeing their unique gifts,” Demetrius said. “Toby is a sponge with anything he reads! I would even wager he would pass many University Students and Professors by!” “Yes,” Seth nodded. “Clearly, he’s a genius,” He glanced at me and grinned, “They’re both geniuses.” I laughed with Seth, “If they survive being a teenager.” “Do you know why I had trouble with the sitting in the air thing?” Demetrius asked me. “I couldn’t until I BELIEVED I wasn’t falling on my ass.” He looked at Lukus. “I saw him do it, but my mind told me I would fall, so I fell.” “Just like there are different words for love,” Lukus explained. “There are differences in the word belief. Knowledge a chair will hold you up because it has before. You believe from experience. I had to believe I wouldn’t!” “People can’t do that!” Seth blurted. “That’s impossible!” “And why you will always fall on your ass,” Demetrius shot back. Then Lukus argued with Demetrius who was still talking with Seth. No one was upset or even pissed off. Normally, I loved this, but a dark thought entered my mind and I did something I haven’t done in decades! I put my middle finger and thumb of my right hand in my mouth, my index finger held just so...I hoped I remembered how, and blew! I remembered! A high, shrill whistle filled the room causing everyone to jump and cover their ears and back away. Seth’s eyes widened, “Ten years! We’ve been together for more than ten years. I’ve never heard you do that.” “We left our topic again,” I said in all seriousness. “I will not become another Wahkooha.” “Oh, Babe,” Seth began as he came at me. “No!” I said loud with determination. “He started off helpful! Then he saw himself above everyone else. I WILL NOT BECOME LIKE WAHKOOHA!!” “Then don’t,” Lukus said simply. Demetrius shook his head and chuckled, “You can’t become like Wahkooha. He lost two important people at key times in his life.” He did a circular motion to his temple, “He was a bit crazy. He got too much magic too quickly that his father should have helped him...or other Druids or even someone Fae. He didn’t answer to anyone.” Lukus stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled the finger, “I still hear that.” He was acting like he could get what he still heard to stop doing that finger thing. “What WAS that?” I grinned, “You’ve never heard of whistling?” “That wasn’t a whistle,” Lukus muttered, “That was something you do to torture someone.” “I was eleven when I did it last,” I used the voice of the man that taught me manners and all that, “A proper royal prince doesn’t whistle or shout.” “Erik,” Demetrius said. “You don’t have an evil or even selfish bone in your body.” He laughed. “You can’t lie.” He nodded at Seth and then me. “You’re right. We don’t normally stay that long with one person or family, but the two of you are special. You, Erik haven’t changed a bit since the day we met. You KNOW who you are.” He then looked at Seth, “And you...would most likely be married to a powerful and noble woman in a loveless marriage. Circumstances changed so much for you. Great damage was done to you at a deep level! It made you the man you are now.” “When I first encountered you,” Lukus said to Seth. “You were a child. A Child of Eve, but a child. I honestly didn’t believe Arthur Thorne would go through with it.” He raised his hands in frustration, “Who kills a five year old and infant!? You were in his family!!” He threw his hands up as he turned away. “I KNEW he would back out at the last minute.” “They were in Arthur’s way,” I said. “Seth and Sam stood between Arthur’s family and the throne.” Lukus nodded and looked back at me, “Right. That’s exactly right. Then Dara plays Fairy Godmother to Ella and brings Christian and Ella to meet and fall in love. I hear things about your family!” He took a step as he pointed. “You and your brother had the most unique childhoods.” He looked at Seth, “Does he still thank someone even if they are doing their job?” “Everyday!” Seth nodded, “He’s got me doing it, too.” “It motivates!” I said in defense, “It encourages people to do a good job!” “Yes, it does,” Lukus grinned. “We ALL work for A’Dore!” I looked at Seth, “Or Blethos and Royal Valley. We’re all employees!” “And when we got to Royal Valley,” Seth threw his arm around me. “He had everyone there drop any titles we had. He is one of them.” “I loath having servants,” I growled and I saw Seth about to say something, “Yes, I know. There are jobs that require skilled labor and those that work with us are not less than I am or better than I am. To work with us, they do better than anyone. It’s their job, but I can’t look down my nose at them because of their birth. Nor should I be looked up to because of all the kings. Dad, brother, father-in-law, husband...” Lukus nodded with a grin, “We, the Children of Lilith are not gods. We aren’t angels or demons. We live a long time, but we don’t know everything or make anybody do something they won’t do.” He shook his head. “We can’t read minds. For the first year, I thought what it saw was an act.” “You thought what was an act?” I asked, surprised. Lukus pointed at Seth, “You I know wasn’t an act.” Lukus looked at me. “People put on acts or airs to make people think that’s who they really are. You didn’t! Ever! You and Christian ARE what you project! Genuinely nice, fair, and honest!” “That’s not a bad thing,” Seth said. “No,” Lukus shook his head. “It isn’t, but rare in positions of authority. You both had lives that shaped you as men.” He looked at Demetrius and shook his head. “You told me, he is as you see him.” Demetrius nodded and nudged Lukus, “He hasn’t changed since the night I met him!” “And then a way to get the crown back!?” Lukus said. “Giving it back to the man it was originally supposed to go to!? Forcing not one, but two kingdoms to accept a marriage not condoned by the Church!? The whole world heard about it and they paid attention. How could I NOT be a part of this?” I nodded, “But Wahkooha…” “As power grows, morals shrink?” Demetrius asked. “It did with Wahkooha. Sure,” Demetrius said. “Why did Christian talk things over with you and Ella?” I shrugged, “To get our input.” “Exactly,” Demetrius said. “Wahkooha never did that.” “Okay,” Seth nodded and turned me so I looked at him. “I trust you with my soul! You and I have a damned good life. You aren’t, and will never be like Wahkooha. You love everyone and they love you.” He smiled, “What caught my attention when I met you was your confidence. You didn’t back down from anyone,” he shook his head, “not from Darius, Deena, or Arthur!” I nodded, “That’s part of what Jason taught me. The Creid do it by compartmentalizing their thoughts.” I said. “I often get scared and worry.” “You never show it,” Seth explained. “We keep leaving the point!” I said. “I never wanted this magic. I wasn’t looking for it!” “No,” Demetrius said. “You just wanted to use magic by someone you knew could…” “To find him!” I pointed at Seth. “And you did!” Demetrius said. “You have a good marriage with someone you love and who loves you.” “A lot of that confidence was to show I wouldn’t back down,” I explained quickly. “I knew full well I could slip and make a mistake and get killed. I couldn’t let fear or any emotion affect my judgement.” “And did something, again, we,” Lukus pointed to himself and Demetrius as he shook his head, “couldn’t do!” “That doesn’t mean I can’t misuse the magic!” I shouted. “Then don’t!” Lukus shouted back logically and simply. There was a big smile on his face as he shrugged. “That will solve the problem!” “You stopped Wahkooha!” Seth pointed out, “And those raids on all three kingdoms.” Demetrius nodded, “You needed the magic to do that.” Seth brought me in a hug, “Not that I’m anxious for anyone to leave, but what happens to the magic…” he started carefully using words to say what he wanted to know, “...when all of you...are not...here?” Demetrius’ eyebrows rose and quickly answered. “Lay down and die, I suppose. The magic will be gone.” Lukus shoved Demetrius forward. Demetrius was laughing, but Lukus chastised him, “That is just complete manure!!” I chuckled, “Shit is shit.” I shrugged. “Magic was created to be used,” Demetrius said. “And not just by the Children of Lilith. It will change, but it will always be there.” Demetrius touched my shoulder. “You need the magic now. I told you, those we would assist start off appreciatively, but soon became expectant. Thinking they were owed something or deserved it. I often had to remind you why I was there. You handled most things yourself.” “And those places the scriptures say we shouldn’t be together?” Seth asked them and then looked at me. “We’re not evil,” I said. “Again, who put the testimonies together and said, this is the Bible?” I asked and then answered, “The Church. To say what they wanted to say.” I waved at Seth, “Just as Arthur had things said to control people, the Church did to control our lives. Even about what we were to eat, drink, marry and who could have a voice in the Church!” I waved my hands helplessly. “People become injured from severe head trauma or sick and…” “And the sun will rise in the West in the morning!” Lukus pointed out. “Tell me it won’t happen!” I pressed Lukus and Demetrius. “We can’t,” Demetrius admitted. “Magic, a Child of Eve who can use magic is needed now. You’re it.” What I was feeling was building now. I knew it would burst through any moment! Demetrius, Lukus, and Seth were speaking about not understanding where this was coming from, telling me my fear wasn’t necessary, but all three were speaking as dread hit my heart, causing me to turn from them, shutting my eyes tightly and pressed my fists to my temple. “I’M SCARED!!” I screamed. “Okay?” I turned to them again and saw the puzzled faces. I pounded on my chest. “I. Am. Terrified!” I pointed at Demetrius and Lukus, “To have restrictions you KNOW you can’t do things…” I threw my hands up and out. I was helpless! “I would love that!” “You do have restrictions,” Lukus said back. Demetrius nodded, “I know what you’re saying, and the restrictions are even written down.” “What!?” I balked. “Where?” “Given by God,” Demetrius smiled. “The Ten Commandments?” “Those are just do and don’t do...something,” I said. “Those we break all the time!” “Yes,” Demetrius chuckled with a nod. “You make the decision to obey or not to obey.” “He put the Tree Knowledge right in the Garden,” Lukus pointed out. “The decision to disobey was theirs.” “Does it hurt to use the magic?” Seth asked. “Quite the opposite,” I said with a laugh that really didn’t have much humor in it. “It felt wonderful.“ I thought a second, “There’s really no other way to describe it. It’s like sex.” I saw Seth’s eyes widen in surprise and knew what was next. “It starts with arousal, then comes the pleasure of doing it until you climax and are done.” Demetrius and Lukus were giving shrugging nods to each other. “And there are no ancient words I have to say,” I said. “No ancient runes to learn, understand, and say correctly to make the magic work. I just think it, I feel it start and it just happens. It’s easy!” “It is,” Lukus nodded. “To encourage you to do it.” “Everything you said about me…” I began. “Was nice to hear, but…” Demetrius chuckled, “Every word was true. You are so rare!” “A genuine, honest, and nice person,” Lukus added. I shook my head, “How do you come up with the letter to Corinth being about us and not you?” “Because of the things we can’t do,” Lukus shrugged. “The Scriptures weren’t written for just us,” I pointed at Seth and myself. “There are too many things that don’t add up. I know nothing about God...a lot of it is put together for the Churches’ agenda. They added written testimonies and even books, but there are still in those vaults a lot more!” “But there are things we can NOT do,” Lukus said. “Have you ever tried to do it anyway?” I simply asked. Both Demetrius and Lukus looked at me in absolute horror. “Okay,” I waved them both down, “okay. I’m sorry I asked.” “The Forbidden Fruit started all this?” Seth asked me. “I don’t know!” I said back and waved at Demetrius and Lukus. “Even THEY can’t prove any of it!” Seth frowned, “They brought that stuff you gave Christian and said it was the juice from the Forbidden Fruit! That woman appeared to take Len Ah away. That was Lilith, wasn’t it?” He looked at Demetrius and Lukus for confirmation and got two shrugs. I shook my head, “It doesn’t matter.” I rubbed the back of my head as I paced a little. “I don’t want people to be scared of me.” I pointed at Lukus and Demetrius. “I’ll tell Christian and Ella,” I pounded my chest, “I will. Me. I’ll have to tell Dennis...he and Toby are close and asking Toby to keep a secret from Dennis would be agony.” “You have said you didn’t know who God was,” Seth stated. “You tell Him that all the time!” “I do!” I waved up at the roof, “I admit it all the time! Do you think He doesn’t know that!? I’m not lying to anyone and He’s God!” I spun around, “I admit I don’t even know what that means!” I looked at them. “The Natives have it right. The gods they follow could care less whether you believe in them or not. Belief doesn’t make the god real or cease to exist.” I waved at Demetrius and Lukus while I looked at Seth, “Demetrius even said a conversation with the Big Guy isn’t like the one we’re having. It’s a feeling they get to know if they can or can’t do something.” I looked at Demetrius. “The evening you appeared before Deena kidnapped Seth and me, you said we were going to be tested, shaped as a couple. That’s very specific. How did you know?” Demetrius shrugged and smiled, “It can be more than a feeling.” He chuckled. “You know about parables. Images and scenes come and we learn to understand them. That conversation had the image of someone hammering out and holding up a white rock. Then someone started hammering away rough places until they put this beautiful, sparkling diamond down.” Demetrius shook his head. “I saw your face and Seth’s suffering and heard the hammer of the stonecutter hit and the diamond glittered.” “Sure,” I nodded. “That is easy to understand.” “Yeah,” Demetrius said a little indignantly and crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s always amazing how clearly a person sees looking back.” “I’m saying,” I said, trying not to laugh at Demetrius. He wasn’t really bothered. “The Scriptures were written for everyone.” Lukus gave a wobbly nod, “Maybe. Or maybe this was all part of the plan all along.” “What!?” Seth said. “Everything was created for a purpose,” Lukus said. “People, Angels and all things have a reason to be. Some of us believe we,” he wavered between Demetrius and himself, “the Children of Lilith were created to be the protective older siblings. He’s not killing us, but we can’t have children. Our time will run out.” “Because you won’t disobey!?” Seth asked. “Then disobey!” He ordered simply. “We can’t,” Lukus shook his head. “Can’t? Or won’t?” Seth asked. I looked at Seth and grinned, “Trying to be the serpent to them?” I nudged him slightly. “Stop trying to tempt them to disobey God,” I looked up, “Or whatever you are.” “All of the Garden and Creation stuff happened way before ANY of us were born,” Demetrius said. “There is no proof we can show you except we are here.” “Fine,” I said. “Enough coaching about the magic today.” “You will need to be able to use it when…” Lukus said in a soft tone. I looked up quickly, “They aren’t going to be here tomorrow, are they?” Demetrius shook his head, “No.” “I will prefer for it to take a little concentration to use the magic,” I sat on the side of the bed and sighed wearily. “I need time to absorb all of this.” “Sure,” Lukus said and vanished. “Coming, Demetrius?” Lukus’ voice asked. Demetrius touched my shoulder, “I’m just a call away.” The familiar Demetrius came to the surface. “And I mean just say my name, don’t do the shout of yours and definitely no whistling! That hurt!” He grabbed me in a hug and wasn’t there. Seth looked at me, “Are you alright?” He sat beside me on the bed. “No,” I shook my head, but that wasn’t true. “Yes.” I said reluctantly. Seth grinned, “It was an either or question. You can’t use both.” “My brain is weary,” I said in a moan. “I don’t know how I am.” I plopped down over the bed. “Why me?” Seth stretched out beside me. “Why not you?” He grumbled and said, “I’m glad those Thornes didn’t have it.” I smiled at Seth, “You think it would be bad if they could?” Seth moved an inch away from me a little, “You know the answer to that question! It would be a disaster for everyone in the entire world!!” He smiled at me. “If Arthur had that ability, he would definitely be an evil sorcerer.” I smiled at Seth. He could get me out of a bad mood. “And Deena!” Seth said dramatically. He shook his head and threw it back. “She thought everyone owed her...everything.” He rolled over me. “She would have had the palace in Blethos torn down and one built just for her!” Now, I was laughing, “Why stop at one?” “Right!” Seth nodded. “She could have one anywhere she wanted. And her clothes!” “What about Darius?” I asked. Seth sneered, “Let’s just say, it’s good he was the eldest.” His next laugh was a little sinister, “I heard Arthur and the man who was our tutor arguing about Darius. It seems Darius wasn’t doing well in his studies. He could speak like an aristocratic snob, but struggled to add two plus two.” I know my smile grew hearing that, “Not everyone is good at math.” “Come on,” Seth shook his head, “When you see two apples and someone puts two more apples there, you can see there are four apples! You see it! I’m not even talking about the area of a shape based on width and length. The area of a circle would blow his mind,” He grinned at me. “How many bottles of wine did we have before we left? How many were red wines and how many white wines? How many were ready to be sent? How…” “I get it!” I chuckled “If Darius had the magic,” Seth nodded. “You know Arthur or Deena would be the one that ran the kingdom.” He kissed me lightly. “I agree with Lukus. You haven’t changed…” He placed a finger on my lips to stop my protest which was coming, “That was too broad a statement. I’ll clarify. When you arrived in Blethos, you were younger than Thomas is now! You were still a teenager. You were Prince Erik of A’Dore! And you still are! Marrying me, you added Blethos to the title. You are now a father of two great sons. A decade may have passed, you’ve added experience to who you are, but you’ve not really changed. You are what you project. You’re genuine, you’re kind, you’re generous…” He meant it, but it was uncomfortable now, “Seth.” Seth’s eyebrows came together, “What!? Where is all that training from Professor Manners and Edicate gave you now? They meant it and so do I. There isn’t a member of the Human Race I can think of better to have access to the magic. I will say, Arthur, Darius, and Deena couldn’t handle it. I doubt Wahkooha ever did the deep soul searching you’re doing.” “I am no saint!” I said back. “I have dark thoughts occasionally. I have killed men…” “Where?” Seth demanded. “You saw it! In Royal Valley!” “On the battlefield,” Seth nodded, “defending your home, family, and friends to keep them safe. Those men wouldn’t have stopped if we didn’t fight back! They wouldn’t care if we got hurt or died.” “I can hurt people simply by thinking about it,” I pressed. “No ritual, words, or object needed.” “I can’t really understand, because it happened to you,” Seth smiled at me. All his smiles were pleasant, but this one was filled with love. “You’re not alone. I am always on your side. I love you.”
  3. R. Eric


    Thank you for replying. I was feeling sorry for myself. I know it. I said it many times. I will write. Until I go and catch up with Daniel, I write. I held it secret a long time! Gay Authors gave me a chance to show others and they liked IT!!! You took the time from your day to answer? I can't thank you enough. A son in ICU a month? My thoughts and prayers are with YOU.
  4. R. Eric


    I admit it. Yesterday, I was feeling very low. Going over some older stories, there is a trend. I received more "likes' than "loves." The trend has changed, I get way more "loves" than "likes." However, the numbers have gone down. Can anyone explain why? Is it the names chosen? Tell me what's missing. Will my feelings get hurt? I can honestly say, YES, THEY WILL!!! I've got two major strikes against me. Whether I'm good at writing or not, I am an Artist! I paint and sculpt with words. Being an Artist, I have an Artist's instabilities, moody and I will pout! The other strike is, I'M GAY!! I don't consider myself a queen of anything. Drama Queen is the only one I come close to being. I THINK. I've written about Royals a lot. Who wants to read about a boring life? I got used to having a few hundred readers in a day! TALK TO ME!!! I really DO hang onto what you say!
  5. Eabha “Merlin!?” Seth asked carefully. “King Arthur’s friend and advisor? That Merlin?” She nodded with a smile, “That’s him.” I was nodding as it was making sense! “Sure! I can see that!” “He’s just a character in a story!” Seth said rising and pointed with both hands at her, but looked at me. “It could also be a lie!” “A lie?” I asked, “To do what?” Seth’s head turned a little, “Well, that would be an answer to a question I haven’t asked yet.” “Oh, I see,” I said, “Let me help you.” I looked at Eabha. “Your father was Merlin? King Arthur’s Merlin?” Eabha smiled and looked up for some guidance. “Technically, no.” Seth stood straighter in triumph, “Aha!” He pointed at Eabha. “See!?” Her near giggle caused her look even younger! “Daddy’s name was Soren.” She shook her head and said, “And there really wasn’t a King Arthur. His real name was Fiacha. The name Arthur just sounded better. So did Merlin.” She did have an accent that was sort of different than most people from Ireland had. “You speak mostly in Gaelic,” I observed. She nodded quickly, “Almost exclusively at home.” She waved at the floor, “May I?” I quickly stood, as did every man at the table. She lowered strategically to a pillow keeping her legs folded to keep the gown from sliding up or bunching...whatever. “Forgive us,” I said to her. “Your unique arrival clogged up the manners we normally follow.” I helped her settle in. “Can we get you something?” “I’ll just have some coffee,” Eabha smiled, but waved at a young woman who was going to bring some. “If you’re going to get it,” she looked smiling at her. “Don’t bother. It’s on its way.” She pointed as a tall mug hoovered below a steaming pitcher. Another one came and added cream and another came sugar. The mug came and lowered in front of her. “May I use your spoon?” Even with the nod of consent, Eabha didn’t touch the spoon, but it went in the coffee mug and began making slow circles. Using magic was such a part of her life, she didn’t think about it. “Daddy did help Fiacha get some land and protect others. They were together for forty years!” Seth sat a bit quickly, “Together?” Eabha smiled and pointed at Seth and me, “Yes, together.” She chuckled, “They didn’t say they were married, but…” “See!?” Demetrius pointed out. “I told you, you weren’t the first.: “Dad had four marriages,” Eabha shrugged, “If you count that one. The last one was to my mother. The others had no children.” Demetrius nodded, “He married three Children of Eve?” She smiled a bit slyly, “My mother is named Morganna.” “Morgan le Fae?” Toby asked in near reverence. Eabha nodded, “Yes, she was.” “The writers made her a villain!” Chitto said in a loud voice. Eabha laughed, “My mother found that very funny.” She threw her hands out helplessly. “It was not just quickly written, but it took centuries to grow into the epic it is now. Much of it is from folklore. Quite a few from Wales helped bring the story along. Nennius was a Welch monk to write about twelve battles where,” she did the air quotes, “Arthur single handedly killed 960 men.” “Certainly,” I began waving at Eabha, “you know she’s a Child of Lilith.” “So?” Seth said. “We knew one that tried to kill every Human Being!!” “And did not lie once!” I said with a smile growing. “Are you NUTS!?” Seth bellowed. I looked at the others at the table, “Am I?” I chuckled to everyone and then looked at Seth again. “Or, is that a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious?” “But…” Seth began. “She didn’t! She looked at the evidence and came up with the wrong conclusion,” I nodded. “She made an error in thinking, but she didn’t lie. In fact, she stated so everyone knew what she planned.” “After they confronted her!” Seth waved in the direction of Dara, Lukus, and others. “And they didn’t always tell the whole truth!” “And when they couldn’t talk about it,” I liked this new Seth!! He was not the least bit shy, “they explained they couldn’t and even why!” Eabha was now really enjoying this as we bantered. She looked at Toby, “Are they always like this?” “Yep,” Toby shrugged with a smile, “As long as I’ve known them. Uncle Gabe says they get dinner and a show when they come for dinner. My Dads enjoy it. It’s always funny. Sometimes they even disagree! Usually, they agree to disagree.” No one had told Eabha Toby was deaf, but she had to have figured it out as she knew to speak to Toby so he could see her face. “There are some writings that Morgan and Arthur shared a father, but had different mothers. It also said they had a child together named Mordred.” “Many taboos were used,” Eabha shook her head, “I am the only child of either my mother or father.” She chuckled, “I was born late in both of their lives.” Seth’s attention was taken from our squabble, “I was led to believe,” he pointed at her, but had trouble expressing what he wanted to say, “your...cycle stops and you get the hot flashes and sweats…” Eabha smiled bigger at Seth’s delicate approach to what normally was a subject no proper gentleman would EVER consider talking about. “You mean our periods?” It was said on purpose to get a reaction from Seth and he did react. He began turning red. She shrugged, “It’s all part of the cycle of life.” She leaned toward the others, “None were more surprised than my mother.” Her head shook, “and my father! He was surprised, too.” She looked at Seth. “You understand why that happens, right?” Seth was almost crimson now, “I paid attention during Biology.” My eyebrows rose as I looked at Seth, “I’m surprised Arthur, your stepfather slash uncle, let you be taught. I assume he had you taught the truth?” Seth chuckled, “He sort of had to. Deena had turned fourteen!” He raised a finger, “This was the only time I ever agreed with Deena. Ever.” He swore. “Arthur didn’t want to talk to any of us about sex. He did like he always did.” I nodded as I grinned, “He hired someone else to do it.” Seth was visually agreeing, “He hired someone else to do it. I heard Deena tell Arthur he was about two years too late. Arthur didn’t have a clue.” “Grace?” I asked. “Grace,” Seth nodded. “Thank GOD we just have boys,” I said, “I felt sorry for Bent and Garth. They have three and two are girls.” “Poor Garth,” I chuckled, “and poor Bent!!” I smiled at Eabha. “As open as I have been with our two sons with everything I know about puberty and Human reproduction. I’d have found a way if they were girls.” “In fact,” Thomas swore with a grin, “Uncle Erik made Dad swear he’d tell me the truth. It was agonizing!!” He saw a few confused faces. “I was fine, but Dad was in all shades of discomfort. How did I explain he simply confirmed what I suspected?” Eabha laughed heartily, “I know you would, but let’s be honest. A young woman growing up would feel better if they spoke to a woman and knows what to do from experience.” She leaned a little closer and whispered. “You could pass on information, but…” she shrugged, “Every girl is born with about five hundred eggs.” She smiled at me, “You’ve seen things through the Seers. You might look at them, too. The Daughters of Lilith has a slightly longer cycle than the Daughters of Eve. It’s not once a month.” Demetrius smiled, “And is it coincidence that you were one of those five hundred?” “There are some coincidences,” Eabha shrugged a slow nod and shrug. “You’re speaking about defying the odds.” “You were meant to be here,” Demetrius said simply. “Merlin and Morgan le Fae were married,” Val said aloud as he worked it into his mind. “Yes,” Eabha said patiently. “There is a mention that Morgan le Fae shares the same father with Arthur,” Val said carefully, “but have different mothers, and THEY had a son, she and her half-brother.” “There was a Mordred,” Eabha assured us. “But neither of my parents were anyone’s parents but mine,” She nodded at me. “He was like you. A Child of Eve who could use magic.” Seth sighed, “Are you certain there is no quota about the number of Lilith’s Children that can visit all at once?” “No,” Eabha laughed. “You don’t mind that I came, do you?” “Not at all!” I said quickly. “The more, the merrier!” “I heard my father’s character name,” she waved with her right hand, “then my mother’s name was said and you were speaking about the Fea, Camelot...I felt a kind of obligation.” “You’re more than welcome,” I looked at Dakotah. “But I shouldn’t, should I?” I looked at Seth. “This isn’t my home.” Dakotah looked distracted, but the fact I was addressing him made his attention snapback, “What? Oh, yes. This is for all of you and you’re more than welcome.” “I had heard of one as a fanciful story,” Seth pointed at Dara, “I meet him,” he pointed at Demetrius, “I meet all three,” he pointed at Lukus, “who introduces Martha. Then Ceto...who else is coming!?” I took his hand, “We won’t know until they get here!” We took a little while longer breaking our fast from the night before. Soon, however, Eabha was one of the crowd. Just a warning. I had nothing to do with what was happening, but I saw it. A young woman, about sixteen or seventeen, had become engrossed in a conversation. With Thomas! Yes, yes, I am always telling you that people were nice looking. She was a Native, but she was also Japanese! Naturally, her mother was a Native and her father was Japanese. She was beautiful! Young, but very pretty. I saw an interesting combination of behaviors. The Native part of her was confident and sure of herself. The Japanese part was demure and shy. She had been taught by her father how to behave. “She hasn’t moved at all,” Seth chuckled and shrugged, “It’s been a few minutes.” My grin grew, “She’s busy.” “Serving Thomas,” Seth smiled. “He needs to choose someone,” I said logically. “I was married at his age! Besides, I understand. Here, he’s free.” “Free?” Seth asked. “From what?” “The pressure from being A’Dore’s Crowned Prince and being there for display!” I went into an imitation of my tutor who taught me manners, where to stand to greet people. When and where to eat unseen. One didn’t turn to a guest with something caught in your teeth. All the proper eticate had to be followed, “You have to set an example.” I looked at Thomas, “Here, he’s just Tom.” I chuckled, “The family could do with another more exotic branch in the family tree. We have plenty of Natives.” “Oh,” Seth grinned as if gaining sudden insight, “that’s right! The men of A’Dore’s Royal Family don’t take long to decide. How many hours did Christian spend with Ella before he chose Ella?” “About four,” I said and wasn’t finished. Seth interrupted, “You, too!” “We had almost a week!” I said smiling at him. “Christian and Ella had six months from the ball to the wedding so it would be spring!” “Oooh,” Seth began, “That’s just cruel. Do you want to talk about foreplay!” “I had to be considered an adult to enter into a contract without a parental signature,” I shrugged, “I know A’Dore and Blethos has that age limit to prevent impulsive decisions.” I held my hand out. “Many fathers don’t approve of his daughters choice and have the marriage annulled. You were just down the hall from me! They had guards stand watch outside of Ella’s room to protect her from Christian!” “Really?” Seth shook as he laughed, “That had to be agony!” “And we’ve been happy a decade!” I shook a scolding finger at him. “I was told by a reliable source that Sam told Terry they were to marry on date one.” Seth was again nodding, “That’s right they dated a year!” “So, he could talk her into it,” I pointed out. “It took a YEAR!!” “Would you have wanted to get Arthur’s signature to get permission to do ANYTHING!?” Jason’s training was very thorough. I did things without thinking about it now. The move and countermove was automatic now. It was the week I turned eleven when I first began training. It was a few years later when Jason took me aside and put fireworks in my heart. “You’ve got a good eye, Your Highness,” Jason said seriously. “You think fast on your feet.” For a mere second, I thought he was joking. Jason did NOT joke. He taught all of A’Dore’s royalty and guards. And he never gave praise when it wasn’t earned. For three years he would prod me. What happened only happened a few times, but… “I would like you to become a Praetorian Guard.” I’m sure I looked down because my teeth fell out on the floor. One man out of a hundred guards would qualify for the Praetorian Guard. Out of those few, only one made it. (That was what they called the elite soldier defending the Emperor in Italia.) Jason let a ghost of a chuckle go and said, “You should close your mouth or you’ll attract flies. It’s eight weeks of very intense training. Just because you’re a king’s son and now his brother...I will expect top performance from you.” Because I was a king’s son and now one’s brother, that probably did affect my performance. Jason believed in teaching what works. On that point Jason was like the Creid. Whatever it took; you did it to win. One more time. The style Darius and other men born into wealth, it was pretty. Those artistic turns and steps looked “wonderful.” Not the move to make to avoid impaling yourself. I didn’t often think about any of it. It was NOT pleasant at all. Using the other hand! Yes! There were guards that preferred to use their left hand instead of their right. It was crucial you learned to be as deadly with both hands. I’m right handed, if you want to know. I think I was compartmentalizing thoughts and feelings back then. Those two months sort of blended together for me into a long nightmare. I told Christian, but not Ella who was now queen and beginning to show. Thomas was on the way! Or Thomasina. Christian swore not to tell her if she didn’t have to be. I told Christian what I thought about it. There was no one better than I was to guard Christian as king. It was NOT pleasant. We went to an area of A’Dore I had never been before. Except for a sunrise or sunset, the length of time was hard to gather. I remember being woken up at night. The sun would rise and fall giving me directions. There were four of us that began training like this. We weren’t always together and I recognized some Natives Tactics to use. Then three and finally one. Me. I wasn’t the smartest and was scared many times which at low times, I was reduced to tears because of the tension. One thing I wouldn’t be is a quitter! One side of me questioned the sanity of the other. I couldn’t quit! I was stunned when Jason stood before me on a horse and black riderless Arabian Stallion was next to him. “You passed,” Jason smiled at me. “Do you need a moment to get on the horse?” The nightmare was over? I really was surprised! I shook my head, “I need a bath, a warm meal, and bed.” I looked around us. No one else was there. “Where are the others?” Jason’s smile grew, “You are all that remained. Rex called it quits a week ago.” I wasn’t wallowing in luxury for eight weeks, but to quit with only a week left!? I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in a mirror! Anyway. There was a kind of a reception, but the only women at this ball were the dates of the other Preatorical Guards. And Ella. She was nearing the end of her pregnancy. There were mystics, doctors, and just a plethora of others who were wagering on the birth. We would know at birth, but the baby lived. Often Ella swore the baby care how things were arranged and was moving furniture! Twice, I saw what had to be an elbow over her belly. This “kid” wanted out. Now! Where was I going? Oh, yes! I’ve only worn that uniform three other times. I wasn’t ashamed of it. I earned the right to wear it, dammit!! As it WAS a uniform in A’Dore, it looked like one. I don’t know who decided what the colors would be, but this one was red. Head to toe it was all red. Helmet to boots. Red. It was made to cause people to stare. Most of the time, I wore regular clothes and could blend in a crowd and protect Christian and Ella. Ella at last gave birth. A seven pound baby boy! Thirty hours! In my head, I heard a dungeon key turn in a lock and a door squeak open. I was free!! Thomas was...a handful. He was a good baby, but there was not a damned thing wrong with his lungs! When a meal was late, according to his internal clock, he let everyone know! He needed changing, he let everyone know. When he couldn’t explain why he was upset, he let everyone know. Thomas loved his mother. Naturally. He loved his Dad, and his crazy uncle. He would tolerate some of the ladies that helped Ella, but Ella stated SHE was his mother. No one else. The trick, I learned, was not to show fear. I had just completed training to do that! Remember? A grown man afraid of an infant!? Thomas was...sturdy. I often chuckled as Christian would start with Thomas very gently, then when Thomas responded by NOT breaking. Thomas enjoyed his Daddy! I wasn’t Thomas’ parent. When I voiced that to them, they immediately responded with questions about my not liking Thomas! Almost two weeks they asked together and separately about that. Yes, he had one mother. He had one father. He also only had one Uncle. Me! (Yes, Seth, too now. You know what I am saying.) Thomas grew like a weed! He was interested in...everything! Okay, I was more excited than many men. The last baby in the palace was me! “How long did you take?” Seth asked me as he smiled. “You announced to me BEFORE you got out of the lake I was the next king.” He raised his hands helplessly, “Sam was the only one of us that ever courted anyone!” “Which he knew that first date!” I argued. “My parents’ marriage was arranged. Wasn’t your parents?” Seth nodded, “When she was six and he was eight!” He held up his finger for a point. “My father worshipped her.” I had to smile at that, “He did.” I shrugged, “I was told Dad did, but I can’t remember her.” Seth smiled with compassion, “He must have. He never remarried, right?” “No!” I said quickly. A bit too quickly even for me. I grudged a nod, “He took his vows to my mother very seriously.” I laughed lightly, “He swore before the people and God Himself to honor those marriage vows.” I pushed against the table to get another inch from Seth’s face to improve my perspective. “And why does she have to give voice to her virtue and not him?” I threw a hand up, “Hell, they grant the man permission to cheat!” I held a hand up to him. “They expect he will and these mistresses are given legal status!” I shook my head, “I knew Dad was a regular man and had normal urges as a man. He told Christian and I to avoid tempting ourselves and to keep the family line going. I can’t believe he would risk it.” I held up my object finger, “King Mordor and King Yannick…” “Which he never does with Delta!” I slapped Seth lightly on the chest, “Exactly! And the witnesses!!” “Witnesses?” Seth asked. “For the Royal Consummation!” “What!?” Seth sat back shaking his head. “There’s no way Christian would ever…” “No,” I chuckled, “He didn’t. He has trouble saying what a body part is. He wouldn’t.” Unlearning something sounds easy! It wasn’t. Things happen in conflict and a portion of my mind would take charge and I would go into a state of mind where I really didn’t need to think about what to do. It was a habit! That’s where I would detach emotionally. Children of Eve had to bring those emotions to the surface. It was midafternoon when I was stopped again. Demetrius came behind me and began kneading my shoulders to loosen up. “That was a little better.” I waved at the polished wooden stick on the ground. It was only a couple of feet long. “It barely moved!” Demetrius nodded, “But it moved.” He pointed out. Seth looked at Lukus beside him, “Does it have to be love? He wasn’t loving Wahkooha that night.” “But it was!” Lukus corrected with a smile. “A powerful love between a parent and their child. Erik would do whatever he had to do to protect both of your sons.” Seth nodded, “That’s true.” He suddenly looked up. “I’ll be right back!” He did come back, but what he did, I didn’t know. He held up a small piece of white cloth. He held it so I saw the elegant cursive letter T embroidered on it in silvery-blue. I was smiling when I saw that. “Okay,” Lukus began patiently. “It’s clear there’s a story here.” He motioned with one hand toward himself, “Let’s hear it.” He grinned. Seth chuckled and walked up closer to me, “Toby was turning six.” He grinned at me, “According to HIM. You gave things that a person wanted on their birthday or Nativity, not what’s needed.” “Certainly not clothes,” I nodded as we laughed together again, “Nothing practical.” “That happened on any…” Seth thought, “let’s say Wednesday!” “Grace would often repair Toby’s and Dennis’ clothing,” I shrugged. “She prepared six of these.” “They weren’t snot rags, either!” Seth promised, “He still does the pressing on the nose and…” Seth inhaled loudly. He grinned grandly, “I have to tell you,” Seth said to me as I was reaching for the handkerchief, but Seth raised it back and out of my reach, “He’s willing to let you BORROW this.” Seth was having a good time with this! “Say it with me, Bor…” Which I did as requested, “row.” He pulled the ends corners on the handkerchief out. He shrugged, “I thought a little reminder of why you’re doing this was needed. It might fix it in your mind.” He tied it around my wrist. “So, hating someone does nothing?” Demetrius thought a minute. “No, they are more like the opposite ends of the same emotion. To truly love or hate anyone requires familiarity. You can dislike a great deal. You, Seth, DIDN’T hate Arthur!” We almost never spoke of him! “You did!” He declared as he pointed at me. “Of course, I did!” I put my hand on Seth’s arm, “That was an evil man!” I moved my arm quickly to the side and jumped when the piece of wood shook and quivered as if a rush of wind blew through. There was no wind. “All of the Thornes were evil to their core!” Lukus waved at the handkerchief, “Yes, we know. What about the handkerchief?” “Oh,” I chuckled, “I’ll be honest. By this time we had the Little Warriors!” I shook my head, “He never got so much as the sniffles!” “We gave him the books he said he wanted to read, that hockey paddle…” Seth listed, “When I saw what she gave him. I thought she had wasted her time!” “Far from that!” I continued, “To Toby it was his first,” I did the air quotes, “BIG boy present! Ever!” “His Dad and I carry one,” Seth and I laughed together. “He’s never used them as handkerchiefs, but he carries one everywhere!” “It’s a habit!” “You can BORROW this,” Seth smiled again, “But YOU have to give it back. You. Alive and unhurt.” He held it under my nose. “Sniff.” Don’t get it twisted. We rarely carry them in our back pockets. There were no fart smells or like that. Toby had an odor. Everyone does! I’m not talking about normal body odors people have, but we have a body chemistry unique to us. There were many times we each smelled unpleasant. Combine a woman and a cat to the mix of smells. Ryan and Darren! There was a particular where we all lived. Previous meals or meals soon coming. Cleaners, oils. You are aware immediately, but soon lose it as we stay. It was because Toby always carried it. It carried an odor that said Toby. It wasn’t unpleasant at all! My smile came as Seth nodded, “Right?” He asked me. “All of us can’t just know what the other says,” Lukus chuckled. “You finish each other's thoughts. I’m gathering Toby's smell is on that.” I nodded and moved my arm under my nose, “That would be correct.” It was clean! It never absorbed any snot, but it had plenty of exposure from Toby. Demetrius smiled, “Yes, hatred works, but it’s not a pleasant feeling.” Then he looked at me closer, “Was it?” “No!!” Demetrius thrust both hands at me, “And there you go.” He smiled, “And there are many facets to love, but they’re pleasant to bring to the surface making you want to.” “Sure, I know that,” I said. “Eros, which you and I have as passion and desire; Philia, that’s a pleasant friendship people have,” I waved at him and to myself, “We have that, too. Ludus, a playful sort of love; Agape, love of all mankind; Pragma, a long standing love like ours; and Philautia, to love yourself. We’re in almost all of the categories!” “You don’t love me!?” Seth blurted. My eyes widened, “Where the Hell…” I stammered and this time I DID punch him in the arm. “What makes you say that!?” I shook my head as I advanced on him. “Do you WANT me to have erection while fighting!? YOU are not stupid, but what you just said was.” Demetrius was grinning at the both of us, “What are you feeling…” he touched my chest, “right here, right now?” I did love Seth. What I felt right then was a combination of emotions. “Verbally,” Demetrius smiled. “Give the wood a command.” “Stand up,” I said. The polished stick jumped at that command and froze in place. I reached and took Seth’s hand and was startled when I saw we were in our room! Both of us! “What did you do?” Seth shouted as he asked looking around. “I don’t know!” I shouted back. “It’s OUR room.” “Can you take us back?” “I don’t know!” I sat on the bed. “I don’t know how we got here...so…” We heard rapid footfalls and men speaking to one another as they came running. Seth opened the door as Demetrius and Lukus reached the door. “See!?” Demetrius waved at us to Lukus. He smiled at us. “I knew they’d be here!” “You HOPED they’d be here,” Lukus said, “They could have been in Tabet!” “Have either of you been to Tabet?” Demetrius asked. “No,” I grinned. “Then it couldn’t have been Tabet!” “But you said you can’t transport anyone,” Seth pointed out. Demetrius nodded, “We can’t, but you can!” He bounced, “We can’t cure.” He thrust a hand at me. “He can!”
  6. They left Dennis and Kitty in A'Dore with his uncle and aunt. There is a surprise when...well, you know they go back. Martha wouldn't tell them.
  7. More Training As with Deena, Darius, and Arthur, death did not really have a sense of closure. Loss was the only feeling I had about this. All Wahkooha had was his power? Was that all he was? He thought so. “It’s cold,” Seth said, taking my hand and walked back in. Seth and I had forbad Toby from seeing the execution. Death is a part of life and he would learn about it eventually, but not today. Val had said he would stay with Toby and keep him interested. Thomas had gone with us and he was apparently not letting it go. I nodded in Thomas’ direction and said to Seth, “I think he needs a little help.” Seth nodded and let go of my hand. I went over to Thomas who was thinking and pacing in a small circle. “I’m glad you’re having trouble dealing with this,” I said, making Thomas spin around startled. “Death should never be easy.” Thomas nodded, “How many deaths have you seen? Does it ever get easier?” “Not really,” I said. “I’ve seen quite a few deaths on the battlefield. Those sort of blend. This is the third I’ve seen up close.” I shrugged a nod. “I was there when my father died. I was there when Seth’s father died, but this was the second execution.” I touched his arm. “My hope is that all manner death be sensitive to you.” “He was evil!” Thomas attempted to get that fact into his head as he pounded on his own forehead. “The enemy.” I chuckled, pulling his arm and hand down, “And still, you’re struggling with it. He didn’t shed a tear for anybody he’s responsible for killing and wouldn’t have given another thought if we died.” I grinned at him, “And if you repeat this, I will, of course, deny it.” Thomas’ eyebrows rose in curiosity, “About what?” His voice held suspicion. “Out of all my nieces and nephews,” I grinned and whispered to him. “You’re my favorite. You were first. You always will be!” Thomas’ eyes grew and his eyebrows almost receding under his loose forehead hair. Then he suddenly burst into laughter and hugged me. “I told you,” I reminded him. “I didn’t say that.” “I heard.” Thomas assured me, “I wrote that letter to Mom and Dad,” Thomas said as he still chuckled. I nodded, “I’ll send it today.” I cocked my head as I looked at him. There was a lot of his father in his face, so therefore my own. There was still a lot of that little boy in him. “You’re a good man, Thomas. One day you’ll be a wise and very great king.” I was busy the past few days! I hadn’t finished my own letters! The fact that he was so bothered by the death I was scared this would really be the end of any childhood left in Thomas. I returned to Seth who smiled as he munched on a large bowl of this white stuff. They were small and looked fluffy. Seth was putting a few in his mouth at a time. There was a pleasant odor coming from the bowl. He, Chitto, Toby, and Val were all eating from the bowl. “What’s this?” I asked as I sat down. “Popped corn!” Chitto answered as he crunched happily. “Popcorn!!” “May I have some?” I asked, pointing at the bowl. “They could run out!” Toby managed in a garble as he was also stuffing his mouth, “It’s delicious!” Seth waved at a fireplace where a woman was pouring the white contents into a large bowl. “They’re making more.” It was crunchy, but also had a buttery and salty taste. Toby was right. It was delicious! I looked around quickly and Seth held stein for me. He smiled and got up and got another stein from a table and poured something from a pitcher. “Thank you!” I said to Seth. Seth looked at Thomas as he came back. He was sitting and asked. “Is he alright?” I shrugged a nod, “When can wrap his mind around it. It was his first execution. It takes time.” Seth frowned, “You took it well.” My eyes widened and I moved back a little, looking at him, “I did?” “You seemed fine,” Seth said. “Weren’t you?” “We were busy,” I shrugged. “Darius and Arthur killed themselves being clumsy. Deena was executed and your father collapsed and died. I didn’t have time to think. The idea of death making Thomas uncomfortable is good.” I looked as Thomas stopped pacing and appeared to calm down. “He needs to let it sink in. He will. He’s smart.” “He wanted to come,” Seth shrugged. “Have you finished a letter to Sam and Terry?” I asked. “Not yet,” Seth said. “I haven’t either,” I took his hand. “I’ll write one for Christian and Ella and we,” I motioned between us, “will write one for Yannick and Delta.” “We will?” Seth asked and then nodded, “I guess we will.” He looked at the women popping the corn. “May we have a bowl for our room?” The girl smiled at him, “Yes.” She held up a finger. “A minute, please.” She poured a yellow liquid on it and then dusted something on it. “You like cheese?” “Cheese on popcorn!?” Seth asked. “While hot,” She nodded. “You want?” “Sure!” Seth nodded, “What kind of cheese?” “You say it...cheddar?” She asked. She held up a bowl of small cuts of yellow. She sprinkled and then shook the bowl vigorously and did it again. “You came up with this?” I asked. She shook her head, “No.” She was having to think. “Iroquois east...here.” She pointed away and held the bowl up to us. “My English bad.” “Nonsense!” I shook my head, “We understand you! You’re doing very well!” She smiled, “Thank you.” I turned, but stopped putting some popcorn in my mouth. I loved the burst of cheese flavor, “This is delicious!!” The cheese was a sharp cheddar. Seth took some and nodded, “This has to be a sin. It’s too good.” He stopped and looked at her again. “Oh, is there paper, ink, and a quill in our room?” She shook her head, “I get for you.” “No!” I stopped her quickly. “Just tell us.” She looked confused, “But, I…” searching for the correct words in her head, “...and you…” Seth threw an arm over my shoulder, nodding even if she hadn’t said about her or me, “Isn’t he, though? He’s very independent.” He shrugged, “He hates it when people do for him what he can do for himself! Most of the time he makes up the bed. At home in Royal Valley or even in Blethos and A’Dore!” “Which if left for you to do would still be unmade!” I shot back poking him lightly on the chest. “Make up the bed and the rooms half clean!” I held my arms out, then each leg. “Do you see anything broken? I’ve done just fine for twenty-five years! Without any assistance.” I leaned closer to her, “I was too short to make it up until then.” I patted Seth’s arm. “Get us drinks, Seth. The Sea Salt will make us thirsty.” We made it back to our room about the same time. I held some paper, a sealed inkwell, and a couple of quills. Seth came in with the bowl of popcorn, and two of those steins. He held the bowl up with his arms on either side of the bowl and tried to not spill the steins’ contents. I relieved Seth of the two steins and he put the bowl down on the bed. “You could have made two trips,” I reminded him. “Whew!” Seth stood up straight again and arched his back behind him to relieve a kink that formed during the ordeal. “Why? Nothing spilled! Not wine or popcorn!” The wine was preferred when water was used. There was just enough alcohol to any parasite. He reached in the bowl and shoved a handful of popcorn in his mouth. “If for no other reason, we should defend these people for this alone!” The truth is, that this wonderful snack had been known by some tribes as far back as ten-thousand years! Preparing the popping corn had evolved as did everything in society. They used to just toss the corn into the fire and grabbed it, if you were lucky, when it flew out with that “pop.” I think in ten-thousand years, Humans learned how to do it better. They kept the desired effects and got rid of the older ones such as burnt kernels and the stubborn ones that just would NOT pop! Certain corn did better than others. Keeping the pot in motion helped as it was being made. We added flavors! Why I even...no, if I say more and that rabbit will grow and...nevermind. At the small table, we both wrote to let everyone know the one crisis was over. We faced another crisis and had committed to stay until these Puritans were dealt with. I had asked Thomas, Toby, or any others NOT to tell what exactly happened. How do you do that in a letter? “The weather is cold and damp. I was able to use magic on Wahkooha. How are you doing?” I did tell both Ella and Christian that Thomas was healthy and just fine. We even put in something for Dennis and told him we loved him. I got the letter from Thomas and folded it unread. It wasn’t to me or Seth. I touched one stack of letters, “A’Dore, please.” I touched another, “Blethos,” I touched the remaining letters, “And Creid.” I smiled as each stack just disappeared in the order I said loudly. “Thank you!” “You’re always shouting,” Demetrius’ voice could be heard faintly. “You don’t have to shout. I hear just fine.” I grinned and whispered, “Sorry.” “Thatsallright,” Demetrius’ voice said in a long single word that had faded even more. “You can’t help it.” The days that passed fell into a routine. We got up, ate, we would spar, and met with the Children of Lilith. Martha rolled out a very detailed map. I had never seen one with as much detail. Martha shook her head, “This group of men are determined, but not very smart.” She moved her finger across the map. “They had to go south and around the Salish Tribe here and take the natural pass through the Lolo Mountains. And below the Siksika Tribe and the Kinksu Mountians.” I had to bite my cheek as Seth just hung his head and shook it because of the name thing again. I put my hand on his back and rubbed him little. He let out a weary sigh. It was supposed to be a gesture of sympathy on my part, but his eyes darted to me and said otherwise. “They need to be careful with the Salish,” Martha smirked. “Speak to them in a condescending manner, they won’t take it too kindly to that.” “Can we hope they do?” Max muttered as he asked. Martha chuckled and shook her head, “I just don’t see that.” I had to laugh, but tried to conceal my smile. Max showed us the new armor. It was in typical Creid style which was in predatory animal shaped helmets. It lacked the effect of the black leather covered metal. The image could be seen, but… “What?” Max asked me. I sighed, “I remember my encounter with you guys that first time.” I chuckled, “I remember them all. They all lined up facing me. That shining oiled black. Bears and wolves in leather armor were scary.” Max grinned and nodded, “That’s what it was made to be.” “Nonetheless!” I almost shouted, “Causing these men a little fear should be okay.” I picked up a helmet shaped as a bear’s angry snarl. “Whoever did this is an artist. It’s so...lifelike!” Max chuckled, “You need to tell her that.” And then he grinned, “We do have two that hadn’t been redone yet.” He dug in the supplies and pulled a helmet up. It was black and shaped like a wolf’s head. He kept digging and brought another helmet out. This was a great roaring cat. That predator was pretty much everywhere. Cougars, or Mountain Lions on this continent. Fortunately, they were not as heavily populated in A’Dore or Blethos. I only heard about some around some outlying areas. “This is a black panther. Really, the only thing that’s different in the armor is the helmet.” I nodded hearing that, “The armor is exchangeable.” “For everyone but Reese,” Max grinned. “He has a much thinner waist,” the space between his hands was only a few feet, “And his shoulders are…” He tried to spread his hands as far as they could go. “With the chainmail on, the armor is fitted over it.” He picked up a piece of armor then would fit around a man and fastened into place. “Again vulnerable areas are covered with steel. The neck, head, arms, shoulders, thighs...a lot is covered. You won’t feel tied up or restricted.” Reese had to have all of his clothes made for him exclusively with the smaller waist and wide shoulders. Small wrists and large biceps. Thinner ankles and waist allowing room for tree-trunk sized thighs! The idea of these extra coverings was appealing now with the weather as cold as it was. Then again, leather was no protection from dampness. Protection from the Witch-hunting Puritans was more important. I hoped I was the only one to greet these before they cleared that final pass. One man verses a dozen against one hundred...there was no real difference. With the armor on I could avoid arrows, spears, and other projectile weapons. The thought of potentially endangering anyone made me uncomfortable. However, if I could choose, I would pick Seth, but only in the armor. Max would also insist on backing us up. We needed to be sure escape was available. I wasn’t a teenager anymore. It could have been my imagination, but I worked harder to get my fighting form BACK than I did to get in that form in the first place! No more muscle cramps, though. I made sure of that by eating correctly. Oh, and hot water soaks! That was a major important event that happened daily. Seth was coming in a minute. At the moment, I was alone in the big bathroom with the tubs. “You’re not using the correct part of your anatomy,” Demetrius said. The days I was startled by his sudden appearances were long gone. “Hello, Demetrius.” I greeted him wearily with my eyes still closed. “Right now, my muscles are sore,” I said, loving the hot water that was forcing those sore muscles to loosen. “I say it is the right part of my anatomy.” “No,” Demetrius verbally waved the idea off. “Not that.” Then he did what Lukus had done. Demetrius grinned in triumph. “Hey! I didn’t land on my ass!!” I glanced over and saw him sitting in that invisible chair, “Congratulations.” Demetrius was happy, “I should have said, not these muscles, but this muscle.” He tapped his chest over his heart. “That’s the pump for the blood in the body,” I said. “Modern medicine tells it’s in the brain.” “Oh, who am I to argue with modern medicine?” Demetrius sarcastically shot back. “So, when Seth does something romantic for you, where do you feel it?” He shrugged, “When the Egyptians mummify a body, they also preserve all the organs in jars for the Afterlife, except the brain. The center of thought is here,” he patted his chest again. “They didn’t think the brain did anything important and threw it away.” He grinned at whatever crossed his mind, “When you say, I love you with all of my…” he grinned, “brain or…” Yes, I was hurting and sore, but he did what he always does. He made me laugh, “Yes, but…” “When you get the sensation of patriotic pride,” Demetrius continued, “or when Toby and or Dennis does something that makes you proud…” I shook my head, “That’s a physical reaction to thoughts.” Demetrius nodded, “Yes.” He held a finger to drive home a point, “I have one more. When you confronted Wahkooha…” “I was angry,” I nodded. “You only got angry when the safety of Toby was threatened,” Demetrius pointed out. “Which normally would happen. Toby is your son.” The door to the bathroom where the tubs were opened. Seth didn’t react badly, but he had only seen that suspension once. It was a little unnerving. Even when seeing what seemed was what you KNEW couldn’t happen. You had to keep looking to confirm what you WERE seeing it correctly. “Hi, Demetrius,” Seth greeted quietly as he stared. “Hi, Seth!” Demetrius said back. “I asked you about your training with the sword. You were a good student. I asked you whether your teacher, Jason, taught you to control your emotions.” He pointed at me, “You did and still do.” “My pulse was elevated!” I objected loudly. “From adrenaline!” Demetrius said logically, nodding. “You need that to keep fighting!” He began to point at me again, “Maybe keeping Toby and Tom from the fight ISN’T a good idea.” That did cause me to react emotionally. Seth most certainly did! “What!?” Seth bellowed coming at Demetrius quickly. “Are you out of your MIND!?” Demetrius grinned up at Seth and pointed at him, but looked at me, “See!? That’s what I’m talking about!!” He shook his head at Seth. “I will keep Toby from any violence or fighting.” Demetrius chuckled, “I said that on purpose, knowing Erik would emotionally react to what I said.” “And giving me a heart attack!?” Seth shouted. “I swear!” He crossed his chest over his heart, “See what I just did? I didn’t cross my brain. I made an oath on...” “You’re saying it’s the heart,” I said in doubt. “I’m saying,” Demetrius said in a serious voice and waved all over his own body, “it’s all connected! It’s you!!” He smiled. “All of us,” he did the circular motion, “the Children of Lilith, control the magic by emotion.” He pointed AGAIN at me. “I’m going to help you unlearn what you’ve been trained to do.” He grinned. “Starting tomorrow.” “I am training with the armor!” I stated. “And you will again,” Demetrius nodded, “but not tomorrow.” Seth’s left eye squinted a little, “You said the Children of Eve use the magic differently. How do you know?” Demetrius’ eyes widened in shock, “Evidence!” He waved at Seth, “You were cured. Remember?” He shook his head, “We can’t do that. Even with Candor, Arthur’s thief? I scared him, but I never hurt him.” Seth nodded, “Yeah, I remember.” “But you did!” Demetrius said to me. I chuckled, “I guess after the first murder, harming someone is easy.” I saw Seth’s eyes grow. “Cain and Abel?” I hinted. “Oh, yes,” Seth nodded and grinned, ashamed. “It slipped my mind a second.” “Maybe you need some elementary Sunday School,” I suggested. “My POINT is,” Demetrius said in a loud voice, “Fighting is important, but you need to grasp that you have access to the magic all the time.” Seth did look at me, “You could do with some rest.” He then huffed a little proudly, “Even God took the day off after six days of creation.” I laughed, “THAT you remember?” “Yep,” Seth nodded. “One more thing before I go,” Demetrius held a hand over the bathwater. I felt the water heat up as I sat in it. “Maybe tomorrow, I can show you how to do that.” He looked at Seth. “It’s just out of the pipe for you, so you’re on your own.” It was in the morning when Seth and I woke up and cleaned up for breakfast. Demetrius sat with us. All of the Children of Lilith we knew were there, but we spoke quietly. “Why me again?” I asked Demetrius quietly. “You said it was because I have been exposed to a lot of magic.” I shrugged, “So was Ella. Can she do it?” Demetrius gave a slow grudging nod. “She could…” he said long and slowly. “But she doesn’t KNOW she can.” “What!?” Seth looked at me, then looked at Demetrius again, “Are you saying he knew he could?” Demetrius looked uncomfortable and slowly answered, “He was open to the possibility to ask Ella about it in the first place!” He waved at Seth, “You could, if you believed it, but you don’t! That’s why you can’t.” He raised his hands helplessly, “Even a small child playing pretend KNOWS it’s pretend. They don’t really believe it!” He pointed at me. “HE does!” “That’s why Druid Children can do it?” Seth asked. “And Native children?” “Even they are limited by what they know,” Demetrius said simply. “So are the children of the Fae!” Suddenly, a strong gust of fast moving air blew in the room. It wasn’t a cold wind, but it threatened to turn things over around the room. Even the Children of Lilith looked a little unsettled because they didn’t know what was happening. There were a few flashes of what looked like lightning and bursts of billowing...smoke? I was clued in as there wasn’t a smell. Smoke or even steam had an element of heat that would have a smell. It had as much reality as Demetrius’ performance in Seth’s and my room ten years ago with Candor. Maybe Demetrius was right. He was usually. My heart rate hardly changed. In fact, I even relaxed. All of Lilith’s Children were relaxing. The non-smoky smoke cleared and a lovely woman in her late forties stood there. She was...regal! A billowing silvery-white gown flowed to the floor. She had perfect skin, if you know what I mean. She was very fair skinned. Her hair was...blonde? Or just plain white, thick, and flowed past her shoulders and held back from her face by white flowers on either side. She bowed her head and said, “Beannachtaí.” I stood up and clapped, surprising many startled people at our table, “Bravo!” I said in a loud voice, “That was the most exciting entrance I’ve ever seen!” I looked at Demetrius, “You hitting your shin the first night, that was good, but this was so...theatric!” I waved at the new woman. “Are there any Children of Lilith that are...ugly or maybe homely?” The woman frowned and swore in a language I never heard of. She swore softly. She looked up at me. “You must be the Child of Eve that can access the magic. Prince Erik?” She came toward me and extended her hand to me. “I am,” I confirmed, “It doesn’t seem that many here know who you are.” She chuckled, “It’s Eabha.” She replied and said (ee-va). “Not many not from the area known as Great Britain know the name. You’ve mentioned my father’s name a few times, so I took a few moments to look in on you.” “You’re father?” Seth asked. “Why would we know him?” “Well,” Eabha smiled. “He died a couple of centuries ago.” She chuckled, “He used many names, Merdinus or Merlinus, but I think you’ll all remember one in particular.” She smiled. “That name was Merlin.”
  8. Tribunal Judgement I remember Seth and Toby helping me up the stairs. I remember getting my bed clothes and being laid down and covered up. The stove near us was lit and then the world just faded away. I don’t know what sort of rest Seth got when he took that horrible tasting opium. Mine was pretty good. I was about to stretch, but like Beau, I got muscle cramps in my calves, too. When I woke up, I felt I needed to stretch my leg out. A good stretch always helped, right? Not after strenuous exercising. It was as if the calf muscle snapped back, or worse lost the seal the ligaments had and snapped off. The first time that happened, I screamed from the pain so loud the guards came rushing in. The palace physician was almost called, but I told Christian and Ella who nodded, Christian nodded and smiled knowing what Jason’s training was like and that I had just started my training. He told Ella to go back to bed and told the guards what it was and they nodded and tried to hide their mirth. I liked them! Usually. Christian began rubbing and messaging my calf while he explained what happened and what I should do and what I should not do. I’d get those guards later. I didn’t get the guards. They were forgiven. I thought that was big of me at eleven years old. Short story long, I know. I never had one in my back before and I wasn’t taking any chances. I moved carefully. After moving slightly in my comfortable spot, I felt and heard a familiar movement beside me. Seth was moving easily in case I was still asleep. It was dark in our room. But that was normal. It was always dark because there were no windows. There was only the soft red light of the hot coals from the stove. Any other light came from lamps around the room. They were the typical lamps of the era. There were the shiny metal reflectors that increased the illumination really well. I had no clue of the time of day or night. “You’re awake,” Seth stated his observation. It wasn’t a question. He was little more than a dark shadowy figure against a darker background. All except his eyes, they reflected what little light was there. “How are you feeling?” I wasn’t sick, I was injured. How did I feel? I moved more because Seth was awake and wanted an answer, “I don’t know yet.” I said and then did a mental assessment. Whenever I had a Charlie Horse in the past, I always felt where the pain had been even after the pain stopped. Oh, you know what I mean if you ever had one and almost every Human has had one in their lives. I felt nothing! It had been on my left side and I had turned a lot to the right. That muscle had been used and over extended often when fighting Val and Beau. I twisted to the right lightly and felt nothing. “I don’t feel anything. I feel pretty good.” The usual me surfaced, “Where’s Beau?” I started to get up, but Seth pulled me back down and moved on top of me. “Whoa, there. Ease it down, Babe.” Seth chuckled, “Ceto’s medicine may be still making you feel better and I’m glad, but I don’t think you’re ready to take on anybody yet. Besides, Beau’s asleep in bed like everybody else,” Seth said lightly in a happy tone. “It’s the middle of the night.” “The middle of the night!?” I asked, alarmed. “I was told a few hours! How long was I out?” Seth shrugged, “Six hours maybe. It’s been an exhausted trip up here. You’re tired.” Seth chuckled lightly, “Hell,we all are. Are you hungry? You missed dinner.” He waved across the room. “Someone brought us a tray. I only ate some, there’s enough for you if you want.” “If it’s the middle of the night,” I said, “Why are YOU awake?” I challenged Seth. Even in the dim light saw Seth’s smirk, “You need to ask?” He smiled, “Part of my soul was hurt. And do I ask you how long you stayed awake when I broke my foot? Even after I took that awful tasting stuff Ryan gave me.” He was opening his mouth and smacking it and sticking his tongue at the memory of the flavor. Then he smiled at me again, “The only difference is our roles are reversed.” “Aw,” I said pleasantly, “You love me.” “You know I do,” Seth said, “And I know you love me.” I smiled, “You know I do.” We could sleep later. I kissed him intensely which he returned with equal intensity and what we both had. Passion. A decade of love and loving and it hasn’t lost a thing. We knew what we wanted and how to get it. And you know what? My back didn’t hurt at all the whole time. We were finishing dressing when our door opened and a young woman came in. She froze when she saw us. Nothing wasn’t covered, but she looked away and in accented English she said, “Forgive, please. I think you with others,” She started to leave but stopped. “Why put on skins in dark?” She asked. “There are no windows,” I said to her. She smiled, “He not...show you?” She went and picked up a long thin metal pole with a small shaped tip and a curved handle on the other end. She stuck in a hole in the ceiling at the front of the room I hadn’t noticed. Because the rooms were interior rooms of this giant ball, the room was slightly resembling a pie slice with the pointy end cut off. She began turning the handle and began turning it. The smaller back of the room’s ceiling began to rise. As she did, sunshine began shining in the room. It was reflected sunshine, but sunshine. There were shiny metal plates up there that caught the rays of the sun and reflected it down in the room. The metal plates were positioned strategically to do that from an unknown source. “A day of sun,” she said. Yes, the sun did shine on rare days in winter, I was told. This must be one of them. I know I was staring at the ceiling and the reflected sunlight in amazement. “It work day no sun,” she said and opened the door again. I was feeling...less progressive as I did before. I still remembered my manners, “Thank you!” She smiled and nodded, “You...welcome.” “Damn, I hope this wasn’t designed by Wahkooha,” Seth said. He was amazed, too. “Yeah,” I agreed, “I have GOT to know who designed and built this.” Seth chuckled and looked at me, “Feeling like a poor cousin, are we?” I waggled a nod and shake of my head, “Well, the uneducated cousin, yes.” I smirked at him, “And when have I EVER used the imperial form of the word we?” Seth grinned, “I’m hungry. I hope Ceto has those lightly sweetened fried bread things. They are good with butter and fruit perseveres,” He shrugged, “She told us to ask. If she doesn’t, I will. Let’s go.” He said and headed to the door. “Oh, no,” I said following him, “I love you to death, but you can’t avoid my question! I don’t say we like that, neither does Sam or Christian! Give me an example when I have.” We were fine. It was our usual banter. It made us happy! We walked in and saw everybody was there. And some others and gathered in circles around several low tables. What surprised me were several at one table, these men were Natives, but were paler than other Natives. One looked up at me and I saw his slanted eyes. There were several at that table that had the same complexion and eyes. I need to qualify that. These men were in their late teens to late twenties. That one that turned to me looked like he was fathered by a man from Japan. Others looked like their grandfathers were Japanese. Japanese ship captains dreaded coming here in fear of losing crewmen. They looked like they’d done it a while for several generations. They WERE members of a tribe. That is unless they changed what was done and let women serve on a ship. The sailors were men. Whether these Natives still practiced the temporary marriages. I doubt many Japanese wanted anything longer term than that. In Japan women walked behind their husbands and other gender rules. I didn’t see why. There were women that could do it, but in Japan? I saw Dakotah and before I forgot, “There’s Dakotah. He knows pretty much everything about the tribes.” I pulled Seth behind me. “Relax, Max,” Seth said as we got closer, “Someone else had to step down from his pedestal, too.” My reply was an elbow in his gut. You know I could and would not ever hurt him. “Okay, out with it. This building is amazing! Please tell me Wahkooha didn’t design and build this.” Dakotah looked at me with a crooked smile, “Well, you are mostly right.” I wasn’t ready for that answer. I was almost sitting when he said that. I froze and looked at him. “Okay, explain my being a little bit wrong.” I said and sat. Dakotah smiled at me. I clearly amused him. “This is cutting edge design,” I said, waving my hands at the room we dined in. “My jaw nearly fell off when someone made our ceiling rise for some sunshine!” “The design is by Byue,” Dakotah said. “He is of the Quinault Tribe. That’s a large tribe on our west coast.” He motioned toward the very table I saw the men that were of a mixed race were. “He, like you, is two spirited.” Seth leaned in toward Chitto who sat on his other side, “That means he’s like Erik and me, right?” He whispered a little loud. Chitto gave a slight nod, “Yes, but he is wedded to a…” he stopped, “Natives do not categorize genders, but the people from Europa gave it a name. Berdache. His spouse was born male, but dresses and acts as the female. That’s not you or Erik.” Seth nodded, “I was just making sure. We have some Berdache in Royal Valley. That’s for women, too?” Chitto nodded with a chuckle. Even Dakotah shook with a little laugh. “Byue is a gifted artist. There are those that claim his ability comes from the Spirits in the Spirit World.” He shrugged a little and waved off handedly, “After the tribes started coming together, Wahkooha saw what Byue could do and Wahkooha insisted on Byue to come up the design to have a place for people to come that was unlike anywhere on this world.” “I think it certainly is,” I said. Dakotah nodded, “I agree. Wahkooha never used a tool, but he assembled this place and some other buildings in See-ahisih...” “But it just came together,” I looked at Demetrius and Dara. I then looked at Lukus who sat by Martha. They were married! “Yes, but he had to use someone else to tell him how to put it together!” Lukus pointed out. “Could he have blended three visions into one?” Demetrius added. “Yes, but he hadn’t several centuries of experience,” Seth said casually. Ceto was passing by and Seth looked at her, “Pardon me, but did you make any of those slightly sweet fried bread things? They are delicious!” Ceto pointed at our table, “Right next to your plate.” Seth turned around and there was the steaming hot plate with the fruit preserves and butter beside it. He clapped his hands in anticipation and used tongs to put a couple on his plate. He reached for one with his hand, which he instantly dropped and shook his hand away from the fried bread, “Ow, they are still hot.” He told me. “Better let them cool.” Seth and I were used to the there and then not there thing, and the opposite. Toby who sat by Val again didn’t react either. The others at our table who weren’t used to it, did. Dakotah’s eyes widened. He knew the plate hadn’t been there before, but he recovered quickly. “So, you’ve dealt with Spirit construction before?” Dakotah asked. “Yes,” I smiled, “Our home in Royal Valley was built by those three.” Demetrius, Dara, and Lukus waved at Dakotah. “The story Cinderella and Prince Charming?” Dakotah asked. “Her Fairy Godmother?” Dara waved again. “The story of the Love Enchanted?” “Love Enchanted?” Seth asked, “What’s that about?” Dakotah looked unsure at that question, “Those two stories are connected. You haven’t heard it?” “Not the one you have,” I said. “Okay,” Dakotah shrugged. “It’s Prince Charming’s brother who goes off to find someone for himself like Prince Charming did. Prince Valere travels a long way and meets a man cursed and scarred by a wicked wizard. The wizard gave the man scars to make sure no one would want him. Prince Valere finds the man is a noble and honest man and was never affected the scars. They became friends but the Prince finds out the man is the lost son of the king and the wizard had done this so another man could become king. Prince Valere frees the man and returns him to his father, the king. The king offered the Prince anything in his kingdom as a reward. The Prince and the man with the scars fell in love. The Prince asked the king for permission to marry the man with the scars. It was within the king’s power to grant that. The two marry and love’s first kiss after it was announced, the scars vanish.” Seth put perseveres on his bread, “At least they didn’t keep that other name. What sort of name is Cinderfella for a story?” He bit into the bread. He waved the bread at Ceto, “Thank you, Ceto. These are delicious!” Seth was a happy man. He’d come so far from the first few years. “Arthur was no wizard, but he was wicked and evil. He did give the scars,” I said to Dakotah. “The lack of names, it’s pretty accurate.” “Which of us is Prince Valere?” Seth asked after he swallowed what he had in his mouth. Dakotah shrugged, “It could be either of you. No kingdom is mentioned in either story.” “Who cares,” Demetrius said, a bit anxious. “Is there a Fairy Godparent mentioned in it?” Dakotah looked at Demetrius and shook his head, “No Fairy Godmother or father.” “What!?” Demetrius balked indignantly. “There was the wicked wizard,” Dakotah said unbothered. “That wasn’t any of you, was it?” “Not wicked, at least,” Seth consented a little and grinned. “Who do you think brought these two together!?” Demetrius asked. I saw the corner of Dakotah’s mouth curl up just slightly, “Oh, there was the good sorcerer mentioned. He helped them.” “That’s you, Demetrius.” I told him. ”It was a joke.” Demetrius frowned, “Jokes are supposed to be funny.” “And it was!” Seth said to Demetrius as the others at the table laughed. “Valery?” Toby asked. “No,” I smiled and spelled it out in sign language. “V a l e r e.” Then I explained with my voice, “It’s Latin.” “Oh!” Toby nodded, “For valiant! Just like in the accounts with King Arthur.” “It might all be fiction,” I said to him carefully. He shrugged, “So? It’s exciting!” “Yes, it is,” I agreed. Dakotah leaned into me, “He went deaf recently?” “He got Scarlet Fever at five or six months,” I said. “He’s been deaf ever since.” I saw his eyes widen again, “There’s no danger if you keep doing that. I’m sorry we keep giving you the reason to.” “One of you had scars? What kind of scars?” Dakotah asked. “From a fire when he was five years old,” I whispered. I mean I really whispered to just Dakotah. Even Toby couldn’t see my lips. “It was over the right side of his head and face. Also on his back, arm, and hand. He almost died.” Dakotah schooled his eyes and eyebrows this time. “You can’t see it.” “He’s come a long way in ten years,” I said. “I don’t want to remind him.” Dakotah frowned, “I heard it said you cured him. Have you tried to cure Toby?” “Why?” I asked. “He doesn’t know anything is wrong with him because there isn’t. He’s never mentioned a word about not being able to hear. Toby is a brilliant boy. He is smarter than many adults.” “I realize that,” He nodded. “We have children who are deaf. Those that are born that way never learn to speak. Some who lose hearing later can speak a while, but lose the ability to be understood by most everyone. I’ve not known a child that young who begins to talk afterwards. Did it take long?” I smiled, “Ask Toby. His brother and he worked on it about a year to surprise us just before our anniversary this past fall.” “You didn’t know it?” Dakotah asked. “Nope,” I said. “No clue.” “You have the power of the Spirits as well,” Dakotah said. “I used it,” I shrugged. “But, I didn’t know I could. Curing Seth’s scars...I didn’t know who did it.” “I gather you are more…” Dakotah thought for a moment, “accustomed to things and people appearing and disappearing more than I am.” I grinned, “I was told Natives were more accustomed to magic or the power of the Spirits than Pale-faces like us are.” Dakotah chuckled, “Our exposure to the powers of the Spirits normally center around Vision Quests or speaking to our Animal Spirit Guides.” He cocked his head, “Have you managed to use the power again?” I hesitated and thought of how to answer him. “I’m not really sure how to do it...I know great emotions are involved.” Then I began honestly, “I did when I needed to, but I never want to become dependent on it. I almost became dependent once.” I shook my head, “We had a problem to work on. I had gotten too used to talking to Demetrius...that became my first of action. We stopped fending for ourselves. It’s a trap.” I forced a chuckle out, “If I learned anything coming up here, we need to deal with our own problems.” I looked at Dakotah, “Did Wahkooha ever do anything without his magic?” “At first,” Dakotah nodded, “Yes. He began using it more and more as the years progressed.” I pointed at Dakotah, “And THAT, I promise not to do. I am not a god, nor will I ever believe I am one.” I shook my head, “Where did he get that? His father wasn’t like that.” “You know that?” I nodded and smiled, “I know because Wahkooha knew that. Wahkooha knew his father wouldn’t approve!” Dakotah smiled, “No, he wouldn’t. He was a good man.” “There were similarities between the Druids and Native cultures,” I said. Dakotah gave a shrugging nod, “On many things, but not all.” “If you two don’t quit gabbing,” Max said casually, “Don’t blame me if you’re not finished when the others get here.” He smiled and brought a spoonful of whatever in his mouth and began chewing happily. “This is good.” I leaned in on the table and said, “I do NOT gab.” I growled. It would be a busy morning. A representative from every tribe was coming to make sure all the tribes were represented in tribal politics. The four largest tribes were the Yakama, Colville, Quintault, and the Spokane. In that order. The Quinault had a lot of their tribe members with the Japanese features. There were two other tribes that also had that, too. The Shoalwater and the Makah. Those four were on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It made sense that those Japanese ships made landfall there centuries ago and did so from that time on. I pointed at Max. “I gab as often as I use the imperial form of the word we, which is never.” Every tribe would have an equal voice on matters. Was it fair to give a tribe of twenty the same voice as one in the hundreds? I don’t know, but it was the rules. No one questioned it. The total amounts of tribes were thirty something. Also, the Tribunal was gathering to answer the question about what to do with Wahkooha. Those grandmas weren’t pushovers. At the same time, they rarely executed anyone from their own tribe. At the same time, severe crime was rare. Nothing was owned, marriages were not necessarily long term or between just two people. Theft and jealousy didn’t happen. Even someone menatally ill isn’t viewed badly. Someone with a mental illness has part of that mind in the Spirit World and was a part of that world. Wahkooha was NOT mentally ill. (I would have to argue with that.) Thinking you are a god and begin to act like it? He had too much power. There had been no guidance by an adult with the power to show him. That is no excuse, but it is an explanation. An hour or so later, people began gathering in the area we dined in. Most were male. There were three women and one young man who was about to begin adolescence. It would be next to impossible not to be able to leave him home alone. They were all introduced and their tribe was identified. “And this is Kohona of the Samish Tribe,” Dakotah touched the “boy” on the shoulder. He raised his hand to her and said, “This is his Aunt Ayita.” “In case you’re wondering,” Chitto said quietly to my ear. “Women can be in leadership roles as the two other women will be the one you hear are, but the Chief for the Samish is Kohona. Ayita is here to support Kohona. By language if nothing else, but his voice will be used.” “How old is me?” I asked. “Eleven,” Chitto answered and then added, “I think.” “A job by birth?” I asked. Chitto nodded, “He is their late chief’s son.” I held my hand up, “Say no more. I understand.” Who here could possibly understand more that Seth and I did? To be honest, who could more than I did? I knew it all of my life. I will also admit this. There has never been a quieter meeting about politics. It didn’t last but a few hours. Kohoma was very mature. I recognized the look. The grandmothers arrived. There were twelve ranging from her sixty years of age and down to one fifty years of age. What they were here for was very serious. There were other Natives that were genuinely happy. All of these grandmothers were very somber. It was part of the job, I guess. They sat in a semicircle on the pillows on the floor. We gathered behind them. Dakotah and Chitto had not arrived. It wasn’t too long before Chitto did arrive, but walked passed the Tribunal to us. He leaned forward over us and said, “This will be a little different than what you might expect.” He whispered. “There is no trial. No evidence to sift through or witness testimony to listen to.” Why would there be? Everyone in town knew who Wahkooha claimed to be. Those same people knew what he’d done. This was to pass on judgement. No arbitrator for or witnesses against Wahkooha. Judgement wasn’t being forced on him. He earned it. Chitto chuckled, “The many tribes speak many languages. The only language they all share is sign language.” That was when Wahkooha was brought in by two young men. Wahkooha was being led to the center of the semicircle. Unlike someone brought in to be sentenced, Wahkooha was clean. In Creid, Blethos, and A’Dore who weren’t allowed to wash before any preceding. Without his power, Wahkooha was a defeated man. The erect shoulders and head normally held high were gone, Wahkooha’s shoulders slumped and his head hung low. That power was such a part of him and I saw that seemed to be all he was. I almost felt sorry for him. I said ALMOST. About as much as I felt for Deena. Almost. A grandmother, the oldest of those twelve began signing. Chitto was just sitting there. I jabbed him lightly causing him to look up. “Sorry,” Chitto hissed, shrugged and grinned. “I forgot. You don’t understand this Sign Language.” He pointed at the signing grandmother, “She said, we are supposed to come up with what to do with you.” Another grandmother began signing, “We hold life as a gift and do not take life easily.” “There is a concern that we can not put an end to your life,” another grandmother said. How they divided up what was said seemed to be rehearsed. They didn’t interrupt. “Banishment from the tribes was discussed,” yet another grandmother said. “However misplaced,” a grandmother said, “someone could show you compassion and let you in.” “It was suggested we send you out,” a grandmother waved at his body, “wearing what you have on now and given no supplies.” “Minus one or perhaps both hands.” “Perhaps one hand and one foot,” a grandmother suggested. “That would be a death sentence. The sun is out today, but will not be tomorrow.” “You were given the power of the spirits,” A grandmother sighed, “And in the beginning, you helped us. Then you gave into greed. A true member of the people does not do that.” “We give you a choice,” a grandmother said. “Do we execute? Or do we banish you to the cold without a hand and foot?” Wahkooha gave a weepy shrug, “Kill me.” “So be it,” the first grandmother said. “That will happen immediately.” She waved her hand at Dakotah, “Take him outside.” I didn’t know where we were necessarily, but not on the street. And how did we end up with front row seats? Natives did not usually have swords. That was true until recently. But they didn’t behead him. A man I hadn’t seen pulled on the string of a bow as he pulled the string back, placed an arrow and took careful aim. Wahkooha didn’t look up. The archer released the arrow that flew directly into Wahkooha’s chest. Hitting his heart. Wahkooha fell lifelessly. Just to be sure, the same archer walked over and deeply cut Wahkooha from below one ear to the other on his neck. Wahkooha was now dead.
  9. Sparring With Creids “I didn’t imagine it, Seth,” I said and called into the air. “Demetrius!” “You shouted?” Demetrius said behind us. It was again the “he wasn’t there and now he was” trick again. I turned to him, “You just spoke to me, but weren’t here, didn’t you?” “I did!” Demetrius answered happily. “You are the first one of the Children of Eve I tried that with.” He said proudly. “I learned it from Martha.” He started waving his hand and said, “She does all that blocking and seeing stuff. She taught me how to speak to just one person and they are the only one that can hear!” He looked at Seth. “You didn’t hear me, did you?” Seth was smiling in spite of himself, “Not until you appeared behind us.” “Excellent!” Demetrius smiled bigger. He was a big kid with a new toy, “I think I’ve got the hang of it.” He looked at me and shook me happily, “You were my first test subject!” There were times Demetrius bordered on annoying me, but I loved his antics. They were now just part of his charm. I smiled, but said, “So, you didn’t put it in my head.” Demetrius looked puzzled, “How would I do that?” “I don’t know!” I said back to him loud, “but you knew what was on my mind.” “Please,” Demetrius said flippantly. He must have picked up some of Max’s colorful words, “It was written on your face! Like I told Seth,” he glanced at Seth and threw his arms around our shoulders. “I’ve known you for more than a decade. I could tell what you were thinking because how you looked at Toby and Tom. You ARE Toby’s parents. It was so obvious!” I nodded as I smiled, “I guess you can.” “”Where did you all go?” Seth asked. “After breakfast you vanished.” “You know us,” Demetrius said in a somewhat bored voice, “We don’t hurt or heal. We don’t really fight even among ourselves much, but don’t worry,” he looked at me, “Since we met, I’ve seen every fight from the two with Darius, the standoff with Candor when the boys were sick, your challenge with Yannick and even the sparring with Darrin.” He grinned at me, “That was some pretty fancy moves and footwork.” “Thank you,” I said, “You were right. We are Toby’s parents. I can’t even think about letting him fight.” Seth’s eyes widened, “It never occurred to me. It isn’t a possibility! Of course, he won’t fight!” I waved at Thomas who was talking with Reese and laughing about something. “You’re right about Thomas. I do still see him as a little boy. I know he’s trained, but I’ve never seen him fight.” I saw our family in him. Christian and I were brothers with the same parents. We shared a lot of features. Those features I now saw in Thomas. He was a younger version of his father. I had said before, Thomas was in great shape but still had the thinner frame of youth. He was in his last year as a teenager. I was married by then and was King Consort to King Seth. Could I restrict him from fighting? “We have a little time to prepare,” Demetrius reminded me. “Why not see what he can do? He shares your blood. Does he possess the fight skills?” I had seen Christian spar a few times as we grew up. He was very good. He was agile and moved quickly. It made me want to be just as quick and agile, too. Thomas, other than his father, mother, Seth and I were the only ones that called him Thomas without the word Prince in front of it. Your Highness, of course, but he viewed people like his father, mother and I did. People were just as important as he was. Protocols were followed, but he had friends and wanted them to use his name, not his title. He was born and raised for a job and he would do it. Friends called him Tom. “Do we start?” Max asked, coming over to us. “Your swords are right there.” He waved his hand toward two swords I knew well. My swords are what I preferred and I will remind you, I often used both when I fought. The longer broadsword I used every time. It originally was a sword used by the Vikings and was two and a half feet long. It was called a Carolinglad. The second was a shorter sword, a little bit longer than a foot in length called a Gladius. Roma’s soldiers carried them. Often, you had your opponent putting as much force against your sword as you did on his. That happened with Yannick, only I didn’t use a Gadius. That’s when I kissed him. Well, I won. Don’t forget that part. The Gladius was used during those times. We kept the short sword and made them our own. A’Dore’s had a man that forged and made many military weapons and he was also a craftsman. The family crest was on the hilt of the handles showing I was a prince of A’Dore. Yes, I was a prince of Blethos, too. But Seth and I were now business men. We had a vineyard and winery. I was seldom ruling anyone. Neither was Seth. We knew our business and no one in Royal Valley used any of the titles Seth and I had. We were in charge because of our knowledge and ownership. Before, when we had to take horses and carriage, there were people there that knew what to do. Hell, a lot of them knew as much if not more than we did. As bad as Arthur Thorne was as a pseudo king of the vineyard, winery, and the town, there were people that worked both all their lives! Arthur was a bad boss and a bad and criminal Human Being. He had people that knew what they were doing in spite of himself. Right this moment with the two of us in See-ahisih there were people that were trusted and educated running Royal Valley’s business. It belonged to nearly all of them. We had set some new policies they followed. All those who worked the vineyard or winery were working their business and shared portions of the profits. It was an incentive! They knew what worked and didn’t, so they made new policies themselves! Yes, I would watch Thomas spar. I was too close to the situation with Thomas. I would naturally worry when he did, but wouldn’t get too hurt. I hoped. Toby. I said it before, there was no way in Hell Seth or I would approve of him in the fight. He was ten years old! No rational adult would approve of him fighting. I remember what Demetrius said. He would protect both Thomas and Toby, but warfare like this was bloody. Toby still had some of that childhood innocence. Exposing him to the probable gore would take that away. No matter how smart he was we couldn’t let him. Wouldn’t! Won’t!! “Hellooo,” Max said to me. “Do you want to start?” My attention returned. “Sorry. I take it you don’t warm up?” Max gave a side shrug, “You might for a few seconds, but you can’t ask your opponent to wait for you to warm up.” I grinned, nodding, “Good point.” “I’ll be watching,” Demetrius said, “Just not from here.” Then he wasn’t here. My first opponent was Val. I saw Max was going to be with Seth. He assured Seth he would take it slower with him to see what skills he had. Thomas was going to be Reese’s opponent. Toby enjoyed watching me spar before. Now he had several to watch. The Creid did not hold back. For instance, I had just picked up my sword and without the usual invitation to start, Val was heading for me. No usual test thrust, his sword was out and heading for my midsection. The Creid sparred to be battle ready. I used my sword to deflect his sword to my right, using his momentum against him. At the same time I used my right leg in front of him causing him to stumble and did a fast spin to the right pushing him further and faster in that stumble. He hit the floor, where he did a fast roll away from me with his sword up ready for any strike I would make. Yes, this was much more realistic and said Creid tactic loudly. He was on his feet instantly. The artistic way many aristocrat sons looked good, but Creid learned to really fight. Jason, my trainer did, too. Val was lunging quickly again toward me. This time it was not a surprise for me. Jason’s lessons about using body stance and language to know what was coming really paid off. The fact that I hadn’t done it often in a while never entered my mind. I fought to keep being hurt. The Creid didn’t use shields often. Neither did I. We did when we didn’t know the enemy, but usually we knew if they used spears or arrows. The shields were good for deflecting anything used that came at you. Those paladins could deflect the throwing stars. If they knew about them. They were coming, but why? So many of them, someone had told them something. What had they been told? About the magic and Wahkooha? We’d find out. Creid were tricky. It was soon clear to Val I knew what he was doing next by reading him. He began to give false stances. He almost got me in the side by doing that. “You son of a bitch!” I said to him. Val’s reply was a toothy grin and shrug and he came at me again. The sound of metal hitting metal was echoing in this big room. It had several fireplaces, but only two of the closest to us were lit. It had been cool, but we were all sweating now. I did a little faking of my own and sent his sword flying, which I quickly got and held both his and my points to his throat. “Damn, you are GOOD!” Val smiled. “No wonder you beat Yannick. I bet you’ll beat Beau!” “So are you,” I said trying to regulate my breath. “Not good enough,” Val said. The truth? I was winded and I knew I would be sore later. These Natives had hot baths. We would need them. When I sparred with Darrin, I knew we were sparring. Val would hurt me. It was the adrenaline that made the fight more intense. When you fight for your life, you find energy. “Am I fighting Beau now?” Val looked for Beau and shook his head, “No, he’s talking with your son.” Beau processed things differently and was a little slower that normal, but what was normal? He was a good man. That opinion was confirmed by the Children of Lilith. Ceto said he had a pure soul and a good heart. Toby retained a bit more childhood and was talking with Beau like he was his best friend. I’d say he was...after Dennis. Dennis was his brother and best friend like Christian and I were. Dennis and Beau were best friends just because! If you ever hear a child use that word like this, that because it is something that could not be described in words. It just was just because. There was laughter from both and even light punches in the arm. Beau must also have been told to be careful with that kind of punch. I knew he could easily knock a man out with his punch on full force. He’d never hurt a butterfly even by accident! “Good,” I said to Val. “He looks rested. Has anyone won a fight with him?” Val nodded, “Max did.” He thought, “Twice, I think. I don’t remember anybody else.” Great, I thought. I admit it. Thomas surprised me. He used Jason’s style of fighting, but made some moves all his own such as he stopped Reese’s sword with a simple spin to the left to successively block Reese’s sword and immediately spun right to use his right elbow to knock Reese almost off his feet. Thomas could have sliced Resse well with his sword, but he was having a good time. His smile said so. Hurting Reese would end the match. That made me chuckle. Thomas had good reflexes and the stamina of youth. What he lacked in experience he made up for with those reflexes. I saw him in one motion take his shirt off due to the heat he was giving off. When I say this, I would never touch or hurt him in any way. He was a third son to me. Edward, too. The chronological order of children we had, first was Thomas, then Ada and Ana, Edward, Toby, and Dennis. Of course, Sam’s and Theresa’s Micheal and Kristine, but we didn’t see them often enough. It wasn’t fair that I saw my side of the family more, but it took two weeks just to get there and back. Sam and Seth were close, but...we needed to make more time with them. If we survived. The homing pigeons were good for messages, but we needed to change that. You know Toby and Dennis were the most important to me, and Seth! They were part of me. Thomas was in excellent shape. His pectoral muscles were honed and would in time be more protruding. His biceps were also fine turned and would also get bigger as he aged. His stomach had the ridges. He’d be breaking many hearts, I knew that when he was small and he was taking after his father and would become the new Prince Charming. I had seen him eat. Jason had told me to eat slow and only eat as much as you needed to feel full. “You may carry around heavy weights, but one of those weights shouldn’t be you. It will slow you down.” I followed that advice. On the few occasions I did eat too much, I couldn’t couldn’t fight anybody off. I watched as Max fought with Seth. Seth was doing pretty well, but it was clear Max wasn’t doing it as fast as he could. Max was holding back with Seth. I felt the need to coach Seth from the side. I had to bite my tongue. Distracting Seth could prove harmful. Max trained while sparring with Seth, he would tell Seth how to block better and fend off the assailant’s blade. Much of what I would have coached Seth, Max did. He would advise Seth to hold his sword higher or block his sword backhand to knock the advisory’s sword off target. “You did well, Dad!” Toby said happily as he hugged me. I hugged him back and then backed my head so he could see my words. “Thank you, Toby! The knowledge of what to do is there, I just got used to counting inventory and accounting. I neglected to exercise my body, too.” I looked at Seth again, “Your Daddy has the strength, but needs more skills.” Beau nodded, “That’s why we spar. He has time to learn.” I nodded, smiling at Beau, “You are so right, Beau. I couldn’t shoot an arrow as well as he can.” “You have a fighting face,” Val said out of the blue. “I do?” I asked. “I didn’t know that.” Val was nodding as I said I didn’t know, “Well,you do. It’s not scary, but…” he stopped, “then again it IS scary. It’s so serious. It’s kind of a scowl that told me I was in a world of trouble. There was this determination on your face that said I was going to lose. That was scary.” I looked at Toby and then Val, “I don’t know if I say thank you or not to that.” Val laughed, “I’m just telling you to make you aware of it. It’s very effective. You must be Creid. I don’t care where you were born.” I chuckled back, “For that, I do thank you.” “Whatever it takes,” Val shrugged. “Words every warrior needs to take to heart and onto the battlefield,” I said. “Wait, don’t you use those helmets that are masks, too? How does the mask help?” “Yes,” Val nodded, “We use those masks often, but if you are close enough, you can see the eyes.” He pointed to his own eyes, “The emotion can be seen in the eyes. There are incidents that are to control our targets, not to kill. We don’t necessarily use them.” We did spar again. I did spar against Beau. No warning. No one said to go or now, he just lunged at me. The “enemy” usually didn’t say go or now. Well, there was Darius and Yannick. Those three fights were more “civilized.” They were to make a point. The ones that weren’t civilized had a point, such as the unsuccessful one on Royal Valley. They wanted what we had and would not accept “no” as an answer. We said no! We said it in a language they understood. I was mentally ready to have to work for a victory with Beau. From the first swing I found that true. His rage face on and he was damned scary! No test thrust, but a full on attack with every fiber of his being. At first I was all about stopping his strikes. The sound of metal hitting metal rang as our swords hit each other. The swords clashed and criss crossed each other and it had become almost music to my ears. Those strikes and thrusts of Beau’s were him using all his strength and rang many times rapidly. That power hit my sword very hard. I could use his momentum against him just like I did with Val, but I had to know his pattern. My timing had to be precise. I was getting winded again. I didn’t want to hurt Beau! He was tougher than Yannick was! After three rapid swings he gave from over his head, using both of his hands gave more strength! There was hardly a second or two between blows. It was clang, clang, clang!! If I didn’t stop him, he would hurt or even kill me!!! The floor was stone and level. They had taken care to be sure there were no raised edges and smooth. You didn’t want to lose a sparring match because you tripped. Not while training. I stood in place as he was thrusting his sword straight at me. Thomas may have had his moves, well, I had mine. Beau swung his sword high while doing a horizontal swing. Falling back to make the sword miss me. I could do the backward flip in the air, but a mistake could hurt on this floor. I fell on my butt and continued going back. I rolled over on my back and head in a tight roll and rose on my feet. This happened in what I perceived as split seconds, but I was ready. With his forward momentum on full, he couldn’t stop! I felt his sword against my side. Not into my side, but the tip of the blade touched my side. As a dance partner often did, I spun into him and the direction he was going as we would be chest to chest. I quickly grabbed his wrist and pulled him even more the direction he was going and pulled his arm toward and against my body and twisted his wrist backward and farther to the right. His footing was lost as he overshot his center of gravity making him stumble and he cried out as I bent his wrist farther in a direction his bones would not allow naturally without breaking. It was a pressure point and I saw his hand let his sword go and hit the stone floor with a loud, ringing clang. I bent forward, putting my hands on my knees and rested standing to catch my breath. I bent down and pulled Beau around, “I didn’t hurt you badly, did I?” Beau’s raging face he used, which I have to say was pretty terrifying. It just got worse as he exerted himself and turned red, but I knew him. That face was gone. He looked tired but his usual happy and content face had returned it. That compartmentalizing thoughts thing worked damned well. He was caressing his right wrist, but smiled at me with his usual happy smile. “Nah, I’m fine.” As I helped Beau up I heard applause, whistles, hoots, and in men shouting “attaboy,” “way to go!,” and things in languages I didn’t know, but I assumed they were along the same line as everyone else, so I didn’t care. Max put his thumb and a finger from his left hand in his mouth and let out a shrill whistle that hurt my ears! If whistling was an art, he was a great artist. Toby and Seth were clapping. “You fought good!” Beau said smiling as I hugged him. “You did, too,” I patted his arm as Seth grabbed me and kissed me hard. “You were amazing, Dad!” Toby said hugging us both. “You were two blurs for a while,” Seth said in our hug. My time perception was always faulty when I fought. “How long was the fight?” Peter shrugged, “An hour and half, maybe two hours.” My eyes widened, “Two hours!?” I moved and my body didn’t like it, “Oh, yes, I believe it now.” I pressed on the sore place on my lats. (That’s the Latissimus Dorsi, if you must know.) I had over extended it. I think it quivered and then the intense pain of a major muscle cramp hit. “Ow, ow, ow!” It was the worst I ever had. Seth looked very alarmed. “What is it?” He grabbed my arms to look at my face. “What!? Are you injured?” I was in great pain! “Muscle cramp,” I managed to say as I was grimacing, “A really big one.” I moved Seth’s hand over the cramp. Seth’s eyes widened, “Jesus Christ! I can feel it throb through your deerskin top!” I couldn’t help it, “YOU can feel it!?” “Sorry,” Seth began kneading the muscle, “Sorry.” He began to help me to the side where there was a long seat. Toby’s face was also full of concern, “Dad?” I forced a smile to my face, “It will be fine, Toby.” “Your Dad’s always helping me with my muscle cramps,” Seth smiled at Toby. Seth lowered me down. “I think I can give as well as I receive.” “I’m sorry, Erik,” Beau said worriedly. “You didn’t do this, Beau,” I said. “It’s my fault. I didn’t exercise enough while in Royal Valley. Accounting doesn’t work the muscles.” The others were gathering closer to see what was wrong. “You lack an element in your body,” Dakotah said, “It can be found in herbs. We have something that will prevent others, but…” “No need,” I heard Ceto’s voice as she pushed through the guys. “I have what he needs right here.” She held up a green vial. “It will ease the pain and prevent them in the near future.” “The last time we were given a vial of stuff,” Seth began testily as kneaded the muscle that still throbbed, “Erik had to add his blood to the juice from the Forbidden Fruit. What else is it? Is that from the Garden of Eden, too?” Ceto smiled at Seth and me, I was in pain so I barely noticed. “It is from a garden alright. My garden. There is condensed and ground banana seeds, beans, and apricot seed. That element you are short of, you get from eating these fruits. This has more of it.” She waggled the vial. “It also has aspir-willow and mullein for pain. It might even make you sleepy.” She said to me brightly. I took the vial and drank it all. It didn’t taste bad, “How long before it works?” I asked. “Fifteen to twenty minutes,” Ceto said. “Those Little Warriors you have will have it fixed soon. You just need the muscle to relax.” “Step aside!” I heard and saw Demetrius order everyone, “It’s time for a little magic from his GodFather.” “But you can’t use the magic to heal!” Seth said helplessly. “Not that kind of magic,” Demetrius raised his hands. “This kind.” He wiggled his fingers. “Remember, I was married to a man for thirty some years,” his eyebrows waggled, “The one that looked like the Statue of David in Italia? Before I met Dara, Except for you know where…” he lowered a hand over his crotch. “He was beautiful, but he would get muscle cramps in those beautiful muscles. I learned how to relieve it. Should I use my thirty years of hands-on training, or do we wait for Ceto’s cure to work on the pain?” He wiggled his fingers again. “Ario,” he smiled at everyone and looked at me, “that was my husband’s, my living version of the Statue of David’s name, by the way,” He looked at me, “He swore I had magic in these fingers.” “Were you all talk with Ario?” I growled, “I thought you were a man of action. I’m in pain here!! No offense, Seth, but if he can help get rid of the pain...” Seth nodded, “No offense taken.” He waved both hands at me to Demetrius, “Do it, damn it!! I can feel it in my hands. He’s hurting!” Demetrius patted Seth’s on the cheek gently and lovingly, “Not for long.” His tone was it’s usual happy and jovial tone. He waved at me and my skin shirt or top or whatever vanished. The sweat on my body made the air cold. “I see the problem.” Demetrius said. He reached down and touched my back and instead of the throbbing pain, I felt like a dagger went in my back! “Ow!” His finger moved and again a new dagger of pain hit. “OW! Ow!” “You’re making him worse!” Seth shouted in panic, “Demetrius!!” “Hang on,” Demetrius said calmly and moved his hand on my lower back and pressed hard. With his other hand his finger pressed on the ligaments that attached my throbbing muscle to my spine. His fingers did as a hard walk down the ligaments. “This will help the blood flow and those Little Warriors to be there in bigger numbers. “Oh,” I said as the pain slowly eased and then stopped. “Oh, my,” I said in happy relief. The pain was replaced by a pleasant, relaxing feeling, “I can see why Ario loved you.” Seth breathed normally and touched my sweaty head. “What does Ario mean?” Toby asked. “Isn’t it Greco, not Italiano?” “It is,” Demetrius chuckled and nodded. “It means belligerent. Believe me, he was a good man, but he could live up to the name at times.” I lost track of his hands, fingers and where they were on me, “What Ceto gave you and this, you should feel pretty good.” He wasn’t kidding. He could do this nonstop the rest of my life as far as I was concerned. I even felt a little sleepy as I was told I would. “Oh, yes. Very good.” Demetrius chuckled again, “I’ll do for you what I did for Seth after his accidental injury.” I suddenly felt clean and like I’d had a hot relaxing bath. Then Seth let out a sound of surprise and looked at himself. He was clean and his clothes were clean. “Knowing you,” Demetrius grinned, “and I do. He’ll want to stay with you. You know I can’t transport you, but you will rest a few hours.” He waved at Seth, “He needed to be clean, too. Now, off to bed.” He looked at Seth, “I think you can handle that.” “I can and will!” Seth hugged Demetrius, “Thank you.” My deerskin shirt was back on and clean. “Come on,” Seth said and helped me sit up. He looked at Toby, “Can you help me with your Dad?” “Sure!” Toby said and hurried to my side. My husband to my right and our son on the left; who could ask for better? Sympathy and light pats were given and then I saw Beau. His eyes were swollen, red and his face was wet with tears. “Beau,” I said smiling, “I assure you. You didn’t do this.” He nodded, “But you were in pain!” He said, his voice still had emotion in it, “I get…” he lifted one of his legs, “Charlie Horses here.” He pointed at his calf. “I got them a lot. Val tells me you had a very bad one in your back. Mine hurt. I know yours did.” I nodded, “Yes, but you didn’t do anything to cause mine, just like you didn’t with your Charlie Horses.” “I know,” he replied, “my friend, who I love very much was hurting. I couldn’t help it.” He was upset because he loved me. He wasn’t IN love with me. He loved me as a person. A person he cared a great deal about. My smile grew, “That’s the nicest thing a person can say to another person. You are more than just a friend.” I went to Beau, bent his head down and kissed him gently on the cheek. “Thank you, Beau.” Ceto was right, he was a kind, caring, and gentle soul. He was very sensitive. “I love you, too.” I let myself be guided away. “Don’t worry. You’ll see me again.” I said to Beau, “I’ll be fine and maybe we’ll have round two!”
  10. Showing What They Can Do Then Dakotah arrived with two other Natives we had seen yesterday, with Wahkooha. All wore thick skins, much darker than ours. I knew they used goats for food and clothes. Bear skins when it was very cold. I was concerned that the connection to Wahkooha was too strong. Were they so loyal they still thought Wahkooha was a god? Dakotah smiled and waved at the man on his right. “This is Karey.” He waved at the man on his left. “And this is Tala.” Karey had hair cut short, which was odd for Native men. It wasn’t common. Chitto had short hair, but he spent more time with European and British people. Maybe? Karey was a nice looking Native with alert eyes. He looked about Seth’s height and age in his mid-thirties. Tala was shorter. About my height, so he wasn’t a dwarf. His legs reached the same floor as mine and everybody else. He was a few years younger than me. In his mid-twenties and one man who I saw was affable. Yes, I hope people saw me as approachable and friendly. This man was the embodiment of the word. At first, I thought his hair was short, but when he turned to Dakotah I saw it cut short over his ears and over his forehead, I saw the long thin braid going down his back. He was good looking, too. He said something to Dakotah who laughed, but said to Tala. “We should speak English with our honored guests. Tell them what you said.” “My English is…” he thought, “Not good like Dakotah’s. I think you need to know...I am glad you brought Wahkooha...down?” Karey laughed, “I had more action with other pale faces.” Dakotah smiled, “He means interaction.” Karey bowed his head a little, “Yes, I have...interacted with your people,” He smiled at us again. “It was not a choice to serve Wakhooha.” “No,” Dakotah said and indicted Karey, “He is of the Yakama Tribe and Tala is of the Colville Tribe. They are both the strongest and the best Braves. Karey is the best archer, Tala is deadly with a knife and tomahawk. He never misses.” Tala even looked a little embarrassed at Dakotah’s praise, “We had no choice. We served him or died.” He shrugged. “We’ve seen a few examples of his power, lightning struck you,” he pointed to Max subtly, “was second I see.” Okay, Tala previously said he didn’t speak a lot of English, both he and Karey had accents, but I understood him. I held my injured hand up. The little warriors were working and it was healing quickly. I no longer had the napkin tied around my hand. It clearly had bled. “Do I have to prove myself again? I’m just the same as you. So are they.” “Please don’t need to be shown I am again.” Demetrius said holding his healing hand. Karey chuckled, “No, we were told about you. The power is yours, but you like us.” “Yes,” Seth nodded, “we are the same as you,” he looked at me, “but some of us use the magic better than the others.” “Such as your use of the tomahawk,” I said carefully. “For some that’s magic.” Dakotah nodded, “I told them what you did and you don’t have to worry. They are glad to be free of Wahkooha.” “We pray for day,” Tala said. “We prayed for THE day,” Dakotah instructed. Tala smiled and nodded, “Yes, we prayed for the day. You don’t worry about that.” “Well,” Seth looked at Ceto, “You got sugar maple syrup. Is there coffee? I never start a day without some.” “I was told about you,” Ceto smiled. “Strong with a little sugar.” She pointed to a tall mug that hadn’t been there a few seconds ago. “You should have asked when we previously camped.” Seth gave a light chuckle, “Well, that was so nice and I didn’t want to be an imposition. Then you spoke of the syrup and butter. We’ll be moving around a lot today. I thought I’d ask.” He picked up the mug and sipped. His eyes widened, “Wow, this will get me started. Thank you.” Ceto nodded, “Good. Does anyone else like some? I’ll make more.” There were a few that would like some. Me included. Karey and Tala, too. They marveled at the mugs that were there, but knew they had not been there seconds ago. I sipped her coffee. Mine had a creamy, rich smoothness. Ceto later told us mine was brewed with milk, not water. I loved it! She would have to show me how to do it. She didn’t ask if it was strong enough or hot enough. She knew it was. As enjoyable as being together was, we needed to plan. Both Karey and Tala were from two of the largest tribes in a few hundred miles. A map was brought in and Martha only looked at it for a few seconds and pointed at a mountain area the Natives called Rainer. There was a passage they had to take. Or go way south or way north and find another. There were two tribes still there for protection. We came up on the western coast that had enormous trees and was hilly, but no mountains. Well, we did travel down a big hill to get to See-ahisih. Wahkooha feared invasion? Who would attack him and the magic he used openly? No one would dare. Karey and Tala both had about twenty-five Braves that were trained warriors. Tala’s Colville Tribe was just above the route these Witch-Hunting Puritans had to take. Karey’s was just below the route they had to take, he also said he had about twenty-five trained Braves we could use. I also found out not all of the tribes moved here to See-ahlsih. There were some tribe members still there and Wahkooha used them to see advancing armies. The Yakama was below the route and had tribe members there for the same reason. The Yakama was closer to See-ahisih. It was about seventy miles away. Colville was little over a hundred miles from See-ahlsih. I knew that name would change. Europeans and Brittans would. It took time to learn to say it. It would change. They didn’t have the time to learn to say it One at a time, maybe, but not all of them as a whole. Anyway, there were other smaller tribes like the Tacoma and Shoalwater that had a few warriors they could send. We were assured we would have a man for man. All of them were trained. Max wanted to be sure they could be united and work as one and take commands. Dakotah was pointing at the map, “They have to take this path. It's really the only one for a hundred miles for a group coming from an eastern location this size. They are coming west from a higher starting northern location.” He smiled at us, “You came two from the south.” “There was a forest of big trees on the way here,” Beau said. He stretched out his arms wide, “Really big,” he kept his arms stretched up and down, “And really tall!” I smiled at Beau and so did Ceto. Max nodded, “They sure were.” He grinned. “I’d like to have everyone here to see them fight. I’d like to see the ones that are here now.” “No problem,” Dakotah said. He looked at Karey and Tala. “Starting with you.” “As you say,” Tala smiled. “No problem.” Yeah, he was open and a happy man. I liked them both. We were escorted to another room in the palace. I saw many weapons here. The room was long with targets far away. It was a training room for warriors. It was better in here than out there. It was cold out there! Those Braves could fight out there. Those paladins had got to be crazier than we thought. They couldn’t know what the area or terrain was like? They sure as Hell didn’t know the weather. Or whoever was leading this group of Puritan Witch-Hunters was obsessed with destroying witches and magic, because it was evil. I wasn’t evil! Was I? Nah. Demetrius was a little crazy, but not evil. He enjoyed life and I meant crazy in a lovable, good way. Starting when he hurt his shin walking in the dark when he came into my room in A’Dore that first night we met. Now I couldn’t imagine life without any of them. Not Len Na, but the ones here I liked and loved. Tala went to the wall of weapons. Looking at the weapons, I saw some I didn’t even know. I turned to Dakotah, “Some of these look Asian! I recognize the Blowgun. The Throwing Stars, and those things they prickly things Japan uses to slow advancing armies with. It had four things that stuck out. No matter where or how they landed, one of those sticky things stuck up to make horses and people step on them and they were very sharp. You or your horse would be seriously hurt. Those sharp points would go in deep too. “We’ve welcomed many from other lands,” Dakota said smiling. “Japan and China have visited the tribes for many centuries.” They did! Chitto told us there were a few tribes where the Native features also had some Asian features. Toby smiled, “It’s called...I can’t say it, but…” he began signing, “Caltrops.” “It’s Japanese!” I said, loud, “Of course, you can’t say it. And the others?” “The throwing stars are,” his fingers moved, “Shuriken,” he went on, “The blowgun is,” He was signing again. “Fukiya,” “The darts are,” “Fukiban.” I put my hands on my hips, “And how do you know that? And don’t say the library in A’Dore. I never read any book like that in that library.” I fussed. Toby wasn’t bothered or upset. He knew I never really fussed at him. “And when have you read any books from there in the past ten years?” He smirked at me! He smirked!! “I’m a busy man!” I said, “I have a business to run and two hungry boys that grow out of clothes and eat a lot!” “Uncle Christian has gotten more books since you married Daddy,” Toby said. He was even learning how to sound smug. He couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he felt the vibrations in his throat. He was even changing his volume now. He wasn’t able to yell, but he varied his tone better. I grabbed him and hugged him. I held him back a little so he could see what I said, “My son, the genius.” Toby smiled, but looked away embarrassed. A thought hit me, “Wait, are you using the doorway alone?” “Sure,” Toby said, “You and Daddy do it. Sometimes just you for a few minutes. I can just reach the top crystal with a stool. You said to be careful and I am. You didn’t say I couldn’t.” “The A’Dore staff didn’t ask?” I asked. “We live a thousand miles away.” He looked at me sort of sideways, “Dad, most of the staff knows we come and go.” He shrugged, “They don’t ask anymore. All of the guards know. The route I take to the library I don’t really meet anyone. A few guards see me, but no problem. They’ve seen plenty of weird things, my being there isn’t surprising anymore. It’s like we’re one house. I walk upstairs and go down a few halls and I’m in the library! Please don’t say I can’t. They have more books than the book lender…” Seth had heard the whole thing, “You’ve missed the point. You’ve never asked me to go.” He looked at me, “I take it he never asked you.” “No,” I said. “Toby,” I began, “I love that you love knowledge. I love that you love to read,” I tapped him lightly on the forehead, “and you retain it. Of course, you can go to that library.” “But it’s a thousand miles away!” Seth said, “And we didn’t know you were there.” “A thousand miles, Toby,” I said. “If something happened…” “Like what?” Toby asked. “We’re safe in Royal Valley and so is the palace in A’Dore.” I sighed and looked up, “Royal Valley was attacked recently. Then why are there guards?” I asked. “A’Dore, too. There are secret passages in the palace..” Toby’s eyes widened. “There is? Where?” I was back to my mocking fuss mode, “You’re smart, what part of secret didn’t you comprehend?” “How many? Tell me one,” Toby begged. “That’s not what we were discussing,” I said. “If something happened to one of the mirrors, or to you. It’s a thousand miles and we don’t know, or you’re stuck there and can’t come back.” Toby nodded, “I hadn’t thought of that. Sorry.” “We don’t want you to stop,” Seth said. “Tell us when you go.” “I’d hate it if you had to get back, even on a horse.” I smiled, “Even riding fast takes almost two weeks! If the horse breaks a leg…” Toby was nodding as he said, “I understand. I’m sorry.” “We love the independence you show,” Seth smiled, “But we are your parents, we need to know.” “I’m sorry,” Toby said again. “I’ll tell you next time.” He got a mischievous look I recognized in his eyes, “You could share a couple of these passages. They are for the family. That includes me!” I heard the guys “whoa” in amazement as Tala threw two metal tomahawks at a good distance, at two separate targets of thick slices of tree trunks with the circles on it a good distance apart. He struck the bull’s eye on both. “Impressive,” Max conceded, “But now you’re out of weapons.” “No,” Tala smiled, “I’m not.” He pulled something from a small pouch on the sides of his torso and was almost too fast to see as he flung something three times. Before we saw what it was, it hadn’t gotten to a target yet, he took some things out from pouches at the sides of his hips and threw whatever from near his head. The three throwing stars he threw hit three of the targets on their bull’s eyes, two larger what looked like big throwing stars hit Bull’s Eyes. “If that was the body of man, they go deeper.” He smiled grandly and even bounced a few times. “Wow,” Toby said. Seth nodded touching Toby’s shoulder, “I agree. Wow.” I walked up to Max, “Give in, Max. Natives can fight just fine.” Max was just standing with his mouth open gaping. I went to Tala and touched him, “Can I see one of those…” I wasn’t touching the Japanese pronunciation of the throwing stars, “those throwing stars.” “Yes,” Tala agreed, “the edges are sharp.” He pulled a few out. They were flat and so smooth, many could be stacked together and not need much room. There were multiple stars. Some stars were four pointed and others were six pointed stars. You put them between your thumb and four fingers at the center of the star. You needed to be careful with those star points. They would cut the thrower’s hand if you didn’t! Seth was looking over at my shoulder. Max looked over Tala’s. “So, what were those bigger ones?” Max asked Tala. “That is Star Knife,” He pulled one from the pouch. He showed it to us. It was much bigger and round. He touched something on it and those rounded edges sprang up into three long sharp blades the size of daggers! Deadly. There was a leather handle on each blade for a hand to throw. The blades folded down to carry them easier. “Wow,” Seth said. My concern about them losing what they were was proven was going to happen. It couldn’t be helped. They were still Natives. Tala was great! Karey showed his triple stringed bow. It was the same string that went from end to end three times. “May I?” Seth asked Karey holding his hand out. “You may,” Karey handed the bow over. “You pull this string.” He pointed to the one that was separate from the other two. Seth lifted it up and pulled it and it hardly moved. He pulled harder and it did move. “It’s so tense!” Karey nodded, “Arrows go farther and hit harder.” He picked up an arrow. Taking the bow and shooting the arrow that flew faster than any arrow I had ever seen! The target was that wood and more than half of the arrow went into the wood. It was my turn to say, “Wow.” Seth looked at Max, “I don’t think you need to worry about their weapons or tactics.” Max was again staring and gaping. He looked at Seth, closed his mouth and said, “Yeah.” “How did you keep the wood bow from breaking?” Seth asked. “It’s soaked in an oil and then boiled in another,” Dakotah answered smiling. “Boiled at a temperature you normally use to metal iron. The result is a wood as strong as metal, but flexible.” “None of the ones that attacked Royal Valley had these,” I said. “We only met a few of those men,” He chuckled. “Even Wahkooha wasn’t going to give them these weapons. They are hard to make. I don’t think those men were to do anything but scare people.” He thought, “I believe the words are cannon fodder.” They were disposable. “The strings are treated, too?” Seth asked. “Yes,” Dakotah nodded, “Almost impossible to break.” “How do you string the bow?” Seth asked. “We use a tool to string it,” Dakotah replied. “A man can’t do it alone.” Max looked a little chagrin, “Okay, okay, I was wrong about them.” He looked at Dakotah, “I apologize.” Dakotah chuckled, “We knew the reputation of the Creid. We would not want to become adversaries.” I handed Max a throwing star, “Look at this metal.” Max took it and felt the weight and tried to bend it, “What kind of metal is this?” He said in amazement. He tossed it up and down. “It’s light, but strong.” “A man from Japan showed us how to mix metal ores when making them,” Dakotah pointed to the star. ‘It is lightweight to ease the carrying, but strong enough to withstand bending.” Max dropped to his knees and put his hands together and pleaded, “Teach us, oh great man of knowledge.” Dakotah laughed hard, “We teach our friends.” “We’re your friends!” Max said, “We are! I swear!” Max brought out the new armor they had. “I wish we knew how they made that metal,” Max said. “This steel feels heavier now.” “Dakotah promised to tell you how they do it,” I smiled as I reassured him. Max nodded, “Yes, he did. It would make a suit of armor light and easier to wear.” I growled, “Yes, but it would be better than the one I trained in. I hated that thing.” I looked up at Max’s surprised eyes, so I went on. “I know it protects and you’re supposed to be able to fight in them, even run and jump in those things. I wore it all the time for three months to get used to it, but I felt my skills were hindered by it!” “Three months!?” Max balked, but smiled. “You gave up too soon! We wore ours,for a year!” “Those black leather ones weren’t steel,” Seth said. “They are hot, but not heavy!” “But we trained in those suits of armor,” Max chuckled, “These have both. Your suit of armor is supposed to protect any vulnerable spots such as your arms, your hands, neck, your heart..” he held up the breast plate, “This is leather over steel and will protect all of your vital organs. It will also deflect arrows, swords, knives, and any strike to you.” He brought a chainmail something, “This protects you farther.” He showed the tightly worn circles. This will stop the same things such as arrows and swords.” He held up the chinmail and stopped as he thought, “I wonder if an arrow shot by that bow Karey showed us might go through.” “Do you want to put it on and have someone shoot you and find out,” I bounced and grinned. Max looked at me thinking and a few seconds later he shook his head, “Nah, these Puritans don’t sound very sophisticated. They won’t have advanced weaponry.” Chitto smirked, “It just goes to show that Natives just might be more superior than you.” “We’re all smart people,” Seth smiled. “We should know that.” Max’s eyebrows rose as he nodded, “Oh, I do.” Chitto chuckled, “So, you think they can fight as well as you? You were worried last night.” “I apologized!” Max said loud, he waved at Seth and me, “You heard me.” Then he held his arms out helplessly, “Our motto is “Anything It Takes,” and we worked to become a strong and often brutal fighting force, but who could have imagined ANYBODY knowing more about metal ore and forging than us? We’re Creid!” It was said in jest, but it was true. They prided themselves as being superior to everyone in fighting and metal ore. I truly thought they believed that melted metal was in their very blood. I befriended them because I defeated who the king at the time knew was the best. When I bested him, suddenly I was welcomed as a long lost Creid. I loved that king who is the father of this Creid king, Yannik. I loved many of them now. “Be careful,” Seth warned Max. “You should watch your step. I don’t want you to get hurt.” Seth’s voice was gravely serious. Max looked at Seth uneasily, “Why?” “Being forced to step down from that pedestal you are on,” Seth grinned. “I don’t want you to fall too hard.” There were laughs from everybody, including all of the Creid, except Max. Max looked at Seth, he wasn’t too annoyed, “Oh, hardy har, har, har,” he moved his head from side to side as he mockingly spoke the laugh. I didn’t know where these words and phrases came from, but they stuck with you. He pointed at us with the chainmail still in his hand, “Laugh it up, guys. Most of you will be practicing sparring today.” He clutched his chest over his heart and said not quite sarcastic, “It would be devastating for me if anyone got hurt.” He was very dramatic. Now, everyone was laughing. “I love that all of you,” Dakotah began, “and I sincerely mean this. You find humor as you prepare for conflict.” Max shrugged, “We sort of have to.” I nodded, “It feels so much better than being scared, serious or angry all the time.” “I’ve known many people that are so serious,” Val said. “You wonder why they are still alive.” “More serious than you?” Reese asked in disbelief. “I laugh!” Val shot back defensively, “those serious moments with me are because I’m always thinking!” “You think a lot,” Beau said simply and without malice. It was just an observation. That made it more funny. “Yes,” Val haughtily said. “I do!” “ANYWAY!” Max said loud to change the subject back. “What I’ve learned is that our Native friends are better at attacks at a distance. We will certainly need that.” He waved at Seth and me. “We are better fighting one on one up close.” He looked at Dakotah, “If the people here can eliminate as many of the support by killing,” he paused. It was clear he didn’t like the idea of ending a life, “or just incapacitating as many as possible...there are just too many to fight individually. We can deal with the rest.” “They will be able to,” Dakotah replied confidently. “The passage they have to take had many places to hide and still hit the target.” They would be ambushed! “Good,” Max nodded, “Today we’ll spar simply to disarm.” He looked at me. “We don’t use practise swords, but our real swords. We’ll be adding the armor in a couple of days.” That would give me a chance to renew skills I had. I knew they were there, but hardly used in a while. I looked at the Creid. I had told them not to go easy with me and they swore they would not. Then I looked at Seth. “Have you ever fought with a sword?” I was now worried. He was a great archer. I didn’t know if he could use a sword. “I have sparred with Darius as he trained growing up,” he admitted, “I can do it, just not as well as you.” Okay, now I was worrying. Seth picked up on that quickly. “I will probably be using that bow and arrows mostly, but I would like a little training with a sword. Just in case.” I could go with that. Then I looked at Thomas and Toby. They were under the care of the Children of Lilith we knew. We were promised they wouldn’t get hurt. I knew Thomas had trained with Jason with a sword in A’Dore. I never saw him fight. I was near his age when I fought Darius those two times. The Hunt and in Thorne Valley outside the home manor? Remember? Should we allow Thomas to fight? There was no way Toby could fight. He was super smart, independent, but still a child! What sort of parent would allow that? His two parents would not let him. “That’s your place as a father.” Demetrius said to me. I looked around for him, but none of the Children of Lilith was here. “You are supposed to worry about Toby. You still see Thomas as a little boy. It will be fine.” “Demetrius?” I said looking around. Seth looked at me puzzled, “We haven’t seen him since breakfast.” I frowned, “He was just speaking to me. You didn’t hear him?” Seth shook his head, “Not just now. He can’t use telepathy.” Seth pulled his head away a little as if that would help. “Can he?” “It was in my ear,” I stated. “Not in my head. I heard him.” How did he know what I was thinking about?
  11. R. Eric

    Chapter 30

    I struggled with this story and finally just started something else. I did write three stories at once in my manic attempt to keep Daniel here. He is, but I calmed down. I will work on it again. Perhaps after this. I need to also finish some others. I had Writer's Block and Daniel told me to write something else. He did again. No, he's no ghost talking, but was such a part of my life I can still hear what he'd say.
  12. R. Eric

    Chapter 30

    Damn, Charlie! I woke up to write and find all these notifications! (Which I love and need. Don't stop.) But, I needed kawfee to read them. (That's New York, Italian from Queens Yankees for coffee if you didn't know.) I have my kawfee, but it needs t0o cool. I like it cold. I live for feedback. Really, I do. When I post, I am uneasy. "Will they like what I wrote?" Until I see the response, I am uneasy. Keep reading, the next year of the story I went through a difficult time. That reflected in my writing. My muse became silent as I struggled to let go of Daniel. The situation with his sons was very stressful. I had to give the middle son a legal eviction notice. I knew he was difficult and always had been. But they were Daniel's sons! He has three. I had to move and have not heard from any, but one. Once. A year ago. Switching to Cinderfella, I was feeling better and my muse, Bubba is talking nonstop!! I try to get him to slow down, but... I'm writing on Cinderfella 3. Do NOT stop replying. It gives my head a sensation I've become addicted to. I admit it. I'm an addict!. Keep it up. Bigger Hugs (I use a lot of those in my stories. I'm addicted to them, too.) Eric
  13. R. Eric

    Chapter 7

    Thank you. My aim was to put you in the story. It pleases me more than you know, but keep reading and you'll find it isn't possible to give you Olek. A few more chapters and you'll see. I gave Tom Ellis to Kevin. You can have someone else. I could create one! Read on. Sleepy. Going to bed. Returning your big hugs. Talk tomorrow. Eric
  14. No. They have some that forage during winter. So, you don't like my rabbits? (I kept my face from breaking into a smile and laugh.) You should have seen it! I love creating rabbits. I got rid of them. To my favorite hunter who never got his rabbit. "Be verwy, verwy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits. It's Wabbit Season! huh, huh, huh." Please don't tell you don't know who that is.
  15. Prepping for Cold Battle "Puritans?” I repeated. “Those no pleasure, not even with sex, people in Europa?” “They have some settlements in the northeast,” Seth nodded. “I have seen the locations on the map, but from what I’ve been told, they are a sad group of people.” “I’ve met a few,” I nodded. “Four came before my father and there was a larger group, about seven men and six women came before Christian.” “And?” Demetrius asked with a smile. “What did you think about them?” I shrugged, “They weren’t pleased with A’Dore’s,” I did finger quotes with my fingers as I used the word they used. “Opulence for show.” I really did snort at that, “What’s wrong with enjoying things like beauty? Our rooms, especially the Throne Room, were too bright!? It was constructed to allow a lot of sunshine in. Too bright!? Of course, it is. All the Scribes and Arbitrators had to see to work! What’s wrong with a sunny room? All the artwork around, including the statues, there were some were not clothed and a few paintings were nudes. They were,” I did finger air quotes again, “indecent.” “They said that!?” Seth balked. “To your father or Christian!?” “Oh, no,” I shook my head, “to each other. We had and have a very loyal staff. We trust them. They told us what was overheard. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I even saw them frown at the flowers Ella insisted on having them arranged throughout the palace! We have a garden and greenhouse to do just that!” I looked at Demetrius and Dara. “Flowers! What’s wrong with them? Or the Human body? That’s beautiful, too! A miracle! But not them. They wore drab colors, usually black...and black can be pretty, but not on them!” “There’s nothing wrong with beauty,” Martha said. “The world is very beautiful. It’s our home.” “I remember the visit with Christian the most.” I turned to those at the table. “They stayed three days.” I glanced at Seth, “This was before there was an us,” I turned to our Creid friends, “I admit it,” I said, raising my left hand and putting it over my heart. My right hand went up as if I were being sworn and taking an oath. “My first encounter with any Creid were some that had enjoyed those hot cavern baths under the palace. Did you know it has sulphur in the water? They did stink.” The Creid chuckled. They knew. I went on, “I thought the Creid didn’t bathe, but these Puritans asked for two tubs of hot water one day. They all shared.” I turned to Seth, “The bath water, not the bath like some people do.” I winked at Seth. It was no secret that Seth and I shared a daily bath whenever we could. Seth chuckled and turned to Max, “Here he goes again.” Max smiled and said, “I know he makes a good marriage very interesting.” “I can’t recall any dull moments,” Seth smiled. I turned to my main audience, Toby. He had two zany fathers. Seth made him laugh and so could I. “That we bathed every day, sometimes twice was vanity,” I threw my hands up in helplessness. “Vanity? How about common decency? More than once a week they say, a bath is the sin of vanity!? Why would anyone want you to share their daily ick? Why would anyone want yours?” I used one of Dennis’ words and pounded one hand in the other to emphasize the next words, “You work hard all day. How can they sleep like that? The best sleep is a clean body on clean sheets! They bathed on Saturday night so they were clean for church. They sat there in church for hours!” I turned again to Demetrius and Dara, “They were as bad, if not worse, than the Church in Roma!” Demetrius was smiling as I turned, “Let it out. How do you really feel about the Puritans?” “They are poisonous!” I said, “Smelly, poisonous people that take the joy out of being alive.” “How many are coming?” Val asked. “You’re telling us, they must be a threat.” Martha nodded, “Over a hundred. They carry swords and spears.” “They know how to use them?” I asked. Lukus nodded, “Quite a few of them do.” He chuckled and pointed at me, “I don’t know if they can fight with a sword like you can...” “Like I could,” I corrected. “I’m not twenty anymore.” Demetrius laughed out loud, “I can barely remember twenty! That was…” he tried to think and then shook his head, “quite a few centuries ago. I saw you sparing with Darrin recently. You still have the ability, you have time to train and get it back.” Chitto stood up, “But there are no swords. The Natives don’t use swords.” He turned to Toby, “You don’t have that many fire-lances. Can more be made?” “That long metal rod that was so loud?” Reese asked to be sure. “If we have the metal,” Val said. “We’re Creid, we know forging and work with metals.” He said confidently. “Sure,” Toby nodded, “I can show you how. I had Zeke make the ones I have. My concern will be this dampness. The black fire powder has to be dry to work.” “Let’s get the rods first,” I said, “we’ll worry about the powder then.” “Excuse me,” Seth said, waving his hand for everyone’s attention, “Thank you. These are Natives here. You can’t tell me no one here uses a bow and arrow.” He pointed out. “If someone could tell us the path they’re using…” he looked at Demetrius and then Lukus. “We can set up places to watch them and if necessary, shoot them and remain hidden.” I did sort of cringe at that. And Seth picked up on that immediately, “Oh, come on, Babe! We’re the good guys and they are the bad guys. You can’t see that as wrong.” My eyes rolled and I frowned at Seth, “Can we use reasoning first? Try to deescalate the situation. Do we attack for no reason?” “You have reason, but have you ever tried to reason with one of them?” Lukus asked. “No,” I nodded. “It’s probably not possible. They should be given warnings. It’s a rule.” “Dad’s right,” Toby said, “It’s in the Rules of Engagement. I’ve read it.” “Of course, you have, son,” Seth muttered. “In the A’Dore’s Library?” Toby grinned, “Yes. The Book Lender is good in Royal Valley,” he shrugged, “but I’ve read all the interesting ones.” Seth nodded, still muttering, “Sure, that’s logical.” Dakotah and two other Natives came in. “How are things with you?” Dakotah asked us and saw what was on the table. His surprise only lasted a split second to realize what happened. “Would you and your warriors like some?” Ceto asked standing. “I’ll be back shortly.” She told Beau, who smiled at her and nodded. Then she addressed Dakotah and the other Natives, “There’s plenty more.” Dakotah looked around, but saw no pot or anything. Reese chuckled, “If Beau has drained Ceto’s magic filling him up.” “Do I have to remind you of the loaves and fishes that feed thousands?” Ceto wasn’t bothered. "With plenty left over!" Dakotah bowed slightly, “It would be an honor.” Ceto pointed to a low table and pillows that weren't there when they came in. The other braves jumped back a little, but Dakotah said something in a language none of us knew except Chitto maybe. It was a calm tone and I know it was to tell them to calm down. Three steaming bowls of Ceto’s stew were there. “When others come,” Ceto said, “There will be more.” She returned to her place by Beau. “If things heat up more with those two,” Seth whispered to me, “And it gets serious. He’ll catch up with her in a few years and pass her in age appearance!” “Yes,” I nodded. “She knows about him and it doesn’t bother her. She’ll have to tell him if it does, that she and Beau can’t have children.” Seth cleared his throat and pointed a thumb at Toby, “Neither could we.” My eyebrows rose, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?” “Your brain was sort of busy,” Seth said, kissing me on the temple. “I love you.” I smiled and kissed more. As much as you can with others there watching, “I know. I love you.” “I know.” I looked back at Beau, “We shouldn’t rush them down any aisle. Beau’s been hurt before. Let him enjoy this. I don’t believe Ceto will hurt him.” Dakotah had sent couriers to all the representatives of each tribe telling them what happened and asking them to come in two days and we would get things together to decide what to do. We had Dakotah sit with us and filled him in with our plan. Thomas was mentally gathering what to say in his letter and he frowned, “Excuse me,” he said to us. His hand was out a little as if he could stop us physically, “I know what part of the continent we are, but what is this city’s name?” Dakotah nodded, “We always referred to ourselves as the Tribe of Wahkooha. We should resurrect the original tribe’s name that lived here. It would be a good name for this city.” Seth did his upward nod telling Dakotah to continue. He wasn’t so Seth asked. “And what is it?” “See-ahlsih,” Dakotah replied. Seth attempted to repeat it, “See at...what?” (Come on, I practically spell it out for you. The only major American City named for a tribe!) He shook his head as he did when no Native was named Bob or Tom. I wasn’t sure why Dakotah never one time asked any question of us. That caused a question in me, and you know me. I asked. “Do you know what we are, Dakotah?” Dakotah sat back looking at us carefully before answering, “You claim to be just people, but what we saw was clearly the power of the spirits. Like Wahkooha, but you say we are the same.” I picked up the knife and ran my left hand over the sharpness of the blade and then held my hand up to show it was bleeding. “What I know of your gods and spirits, they don’t bleed. I do.” Dakotah’s eyes widened, but Seth was suddenly in motion asking, “What are you doing!?” I grabbed Demetrius’ hand and quickly did the same thing. Too fast for Demetrius to stop me. “Ow!!” He held his bleeding hand up. “Are you CRAZY!?” I smiled and hugged him quickly, “Not a bit.” I looked at his face and even though he was hundreds of years old, right now he looked like Seth’s and my boys when they were small and suffered a cut or bruise. “You know I love you.” I chuckled pulling his head toward mine and rested our foreheads together, “I did the same thing to me. I’m sorry for the pain, but I’m just proving your humanity.” I pulled the hand he was cradling closer and pulled his hand down, “Now show Dakotah your hand!” “You could have asked me!” Demetrius said loudly. “A little warning?” But opened his bleeding hand. Again Dakotah’s eyes widened. “I’m sorry, Dad, but it was necessary!” I said, trying not to laugh. “This way was quick and hurt less than taking your blood to see the difference under the seers.” I showed my bleeding hand that Seth was grabbing and wrapping with a cloth napkin. “You know I love you and I know you love me.” “Still,” Demetrius said as Dara began calmly wrapping his hand. “Ow.” He said again softer to me. You couldn’t miss the little smile on Dara’s face. “Is Dad Fae?” Toby asked about me, trying not to allow his own smile to be seen. He failed. Demetrius leaned forward toward Toby, “Strictly by the translation of the word, no.” He held his uninjured hand up, “No more so than any other Human. That includes you. The Gaelic and Celts came up with the name. We are all the Children of Adam.” “Yes,” Toby nodded, “but they called you Fairies because you could use the magic. You did something supernatural like a fairy. Dad did, too.” Demetrius gave a grudging nod, “Well, yes…” He pointed behind himself at his back, “Do you see any wings? No fairy wings here and no angel wings either” Then he jerked his hand away when Dara tied the napkin off. “Ouch!” Dara wasn’t too concerned as she looked at Toby, “We allowed that word to be used because people always assume we’re witches or demons, dear.” “Your Daddy,” Demetrius looked at Seth, “He had to be convinced we weren’t demons.” He ground out. Seth nodded, “It took a while to realize he wasn’t.” “Being a Son of Adam is supernatural enough,” Lukus said, “Who are you?” He asked Toby. “Toby,” Toby’s brow wrinkled. “You know me.” “Where are you?” Lukus asked. “I can’t say the name he said yet,” Toby pointed at Dakotah. “I’m in a Native city up north eating dinner.” “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Lukus asked. Toby shrugged, “I don’t know.” “You are aware you have choices,” Lukus smiled. “Do animals have choices? A lion is a lion; a hunter. A cat is a cat; who does cat things like chasing mice. Only people have choices. We are aware of ourselves and where we are. That’s supernatural.” He waved his hands out. “We’re all natural.” “Every Child of Adam can use the magic,” Demetrius smiled. “That’s why I insisted you were all included against Wahkooha.” “Adam could use the magic?” Seth asked. “Do you know how old he was when he died?” Demetrius smiled. Seth and Toby looked at me like I would know. I sighed because I knew what the scriptures said. “He was 930 years old, Eve’s age I never saw.” Lukus patted his own chest, “Just like us!” “And that was all adult years for Adam!” Demetrius added. “They were created immortal in the garden as young adults. The only clue is that Eve didn’t have any children while in the garden. Adam and Lilith did. They didn’t start aging until they were cast from the garden into the world after disobeying God.” “There is nothing about any children of Adam and Eve before that.” Dara said. “The magic wasn’t coming as readily when Adam was cast out.” Lukus said. Seth shook his head, “But Erik did! Can Christian use it?” “Christian is…” Dara thought how to say it, “not as open minded as Erik is.” “When a decision needed to be made,” Demetrius said nodding, “Erik heard about the story of Cinderella and asked Ella if her Godmother would help him with the decision, so Dara sent me! His mind was open to the idea of it being a possibility.” “Erik saw a lot of magic by Demetrius,” Dara said. “But he always suspected the magic was there.” “So,” Demetrius added, “It just naturally happened! His use of the magic was going to happen.” As always, I was protective of Christian, “Be fair. Christian is a very good man and is a fantastic king. He’s learned to be very pragmatic. He seeks the sensible and the logic of situations. When he met Demetrius and saw magic, he accepted it.” “Only because he saw it and couldn’t ignore the empirical evidence,” Demetrius corrected. “He had a tough time seeing me as a friend and not a demon or witch.” Seth was going to say something, but Demetrius pointed a finger at him, “Don’t say it!” He said mockingly stern. “How do you know what I was going to say?” Seth grinned, “You can’t read minds.” “No,” Demetrius nodded, “but after nearly ten years, I can read your face. I don’t know what you were going to say but it was smartass, whatever it was. You know it’s true.” Toby gave up trying to hide his immense pleasure and began laughing hard. And it wasn’t just for Toby. Demetrius was always like this. “You are all like us?” Dakotah stated finally. “Yes,” I nodded. “That was my point. We were raised in different cultures and from different parts of the world. But we are the same as you.” Dakotah nodded, thinking, “If we know the route they are using. We can set up men in some strategic places. They are coming from the northeast?” “Yes,” Martha nodded. “My wife sees things like this better than any of us,” Lukus said proudly, taking her hand and bringing it up and kissing the back of her hand. “I don’t recall her ever being wrong.” Martha smiled at her husband, “That’s what I do. I watch prodigies for art and music. I have to know who and where they are to get them where they can inspire these young ones to reach their potential.” She smiled at Seth and me. “You’ll be surprised when you get to A’Dore again.” Seth’s eyes widened, “Why? What’s happening in A’Dore?” “I won’t tell you,” Martha said, “I said it to make you anxious to get home, but you’ll see.” “Not even a hint about who or what!?” Seth asked. “No,” Martha smiled. I looked at Demetrius and then Lukus, “She’s mean.” “You can find out can’t you?” Seth whispered to Demetrius. “Can’t you see things?” Demetrius looked at Martha and then back at Seth and whispered back. “I can see nothing about that.” Lukus chuckled, “I assume you asked if he would check on the situation.” He looked at Ceto, “I’ll ask you not to. And don’t anyone try to see. Martha’s very good at seeing, but she’s also very good at keeping anyone else from seeing. She taught me!” He shook a finger at us, “Don’t spoil the surprise!” I looked at Seth who shrugged. We’d have to wait. “Back to the Puritans,” Max said. “What are Puritans?” Toby asked. I saw Max roll his eyes at another delay. I chuckled, “We’ll get to it, Max.” I looked at Toby, “Have you read about the Reformation?” “Re…” Toby tried to say the word and quit, “What you said. What is that?” I smiled, “It happened in Europa and Britannia. It’s not surprising you didn’t read about it. There were people over there that didn’t like or agree with the Church. Especially the ones in Britannia. They had a new Church set up, The Church of England. The Puritans didn’t believe the Church of England reformed enough, so they started their own group. They were persecuted, so they came to this continent. They are in the northeast from Blethos and Royal Valley.” “There are how many!?” Max asked Martha in a rushed tone. “What’s the problem, Max?” Chitto asked. “A hundred!” Max said, “I know we have a month, but if one of us heads back to Creid now, he could come back with more warriors!! They might get back in time.” Chitto looked at Max, “Have you asked if they have men that can protect See-ahlsih? It is their home.” “We have many Braves that will defend See-ahlsih.” Dakotah smiled with a nod. “Can they fight?” Max asked. “My guys and I are very good, but a hundred!? We might need backup.” I shook my head and chuckled, “You’ve never seen Natives fight, have you?” “Not really,” Max said. “All the Natives I’ve met…” he shook his head. “What about tactics? Bows and arrows will be good for a high assault, but…” “You didn’t keep up with your Native heritage,” I said. “Natives have tactics you wouldn’t believe!” I looked at Chitto, “My cousin told me about it.” “Sure did!” Chitto said, “Tell them, Dakotah.” Dakotah chuckled, “Our Braves are very skilled with the bow and arrow. They can hit a target even if they are moving on a fast horse. They’re great shots. They can hide from approaching armies until that army is on top of them. They had sneak up behind someone and not be heard even walking over dry leaves. And they know the terrain, these Puritans do not.” “How can you think otherwise?” Chitto asked. “Well,” Max was looking at Dakotah, “I thought you were these nature hugging, animal lovers.” Dakotah laughed, “We are. We live as one with Mother Earth and she gives us her bounty and we have a duty to take care of what she gives to us. But we have endured many conflicts from many cultures. Our Braves can fight.” Max heard it, but was having a difficult time believing it. Finally, he said, “I need to see it.” “And so you shall!” Dakotah assured. “We can arrange for you to see it tomorrow.” “Okay, Chief Dakotah,” I said and smiled at the man. “How is it you speak English as well as we do?” Dakotah chuckled, “I have friends from Europa and Britannia that would visit often when I lived as a Kalispel.” He gave a wink at me, “And a few weren’t just Trappers, but learned men who wanted to map this area.” Those learned men would have to be to make a legible map. We, A’dore, Blethos and Creid needed to get copies of those maps. As we ended our evening, telling Dakotah we would all discuss what we were going to do. Our Children of Lilith were offered a place to stay, but declined. When Dakotah looked puzzled, they simply vanished. Dakotah and the other warriors were startled, but the Children of Lilith had arrived by simply appearing, so simply vanishing left a “where did they go” look on their faces. They also saw the table and chairs were gone and the low table with the pillows had returned and all the used plates, bowls, goblets, and cloth napkins were also gone and the table was clean and the wood table shined. Clean up was done! Yep, Grace would be so jealous. We were escorted to some rooms on the second floor. It was much like the first floor, but if you looked closely, you noticed the corridor curved to make the circle curving sooner. Of course, it was. As much as I loathed geometry, I understood why. This “palace” was like a ball or a bubble. Even the most simple minded would know if you build up inside the ball, the distance, or area would be shorter. We were all given rooms all of which held a single man or two comfortably. In the case of our party, we were doubled up. They were all fine with it. Seth and I naturally were together. Toby and Thomas were paired in a room next to us and so on with the others. It wasn’t spacious as our bedrooms were in A’Dore, Blethos, or our room in Royal Valley. It was more like the palace in Creid. They were smaller to be easier to heat and keep the warmth in. There was a bed big enough for the two of us. Two small doors on one side behind one was a smaller version of the toilets we’d seen. The other had ropes that hung with a handle. I pulled it and rain fell in the little room. It was warm water. There were no windows. I wondered how they kept these rooms cool. I was surprised and it showed on my face. “What?” Seth asked. I gave a wobbling nod, “Nothing is wrong, but…” I waved at our room. Low ceiling and small space with the bed and small stove. Not a metal stove we normally had, but stone. It didn’t have to heat that much and the fire was going and the room was warm as heat radiated off the stones. Like an oven. Only in reverse. “It’s a nice room.” “Okay,” Seth nodded. “So?” “Natives don’t have rooms,” I sort of moaned. “We stayed with Chitto and Nila.” I held my hand up to make a point, “They did have a ROOM separate for Nila, Chitto, their infant son Mayka, and Tadi. That was just common courtesy for if the baby or Tadi woke with a problem. They have progressed to have permanent homes. Rooms are still not what Natives do.” I waved at the bed, “And that should not be here. It’s a bed. We slept on those big pillows on the floor. Remember?” I shook my head and looked at the surrounding room. “When we ate dinner here, we sat at a table. Dara made that change.” “And that’s bad?” Seth asked. “No,” I answered. “Cultures evolve with the world. We are not the first pale faces that have come to the tribes.” “Pale faces?” Seth chuckled. I grinned at Seth, “That’s the name we were given when we arrived.” I shrugged, “I mean the Cherokee, Muskogee, and almost every tribe identified us that way.” I waved over my own body, “In spite of having some Native blood, I’m still paler than Chitto or his father Harjo, but you…” I chuckled. “You work so much in the vineyard, only part of you is pale.” Seth nodded, “And only you see any pale part of me.” He said with a grin. “You’re in the sun all day!” I said, “And you won’t wear a hat...” “They fall off!” Seth said, “And they get in the way.” “My POINT is,” I continued as Seth walked over and put his arms around me. “These are Human Beings. Each tribe has a unique take on Native Culture. It shouldn’t go away. We need to be careful.” “They affected ours,” Seth said. “When we arrived all those centuries ago we learned to be tolerant and accepting. When we first got here we almost starved. If the Natives hadn’t stepped and helped us…” I was impressed, “You attended some history lessons.” I smiled. Seth laughed a little, “It was more interesting than the tutors discomfort with my scars. We learned that people could be amazing. All people.” “Were Darius and Deena sick during those lessons?” I asked sourly. “They were there,” Seth confirmed. “They must not have paid attention.” “They must have thought he meant all people in their class,” I chuckled. “Servants weren’t in their class and didn’t matter. Natives probably didn’t count as people.” “I’m sure you’re right.” Seth nodded. “Change is going to happen in a culture,” I said. “I just don’t want them to lose who they are.” “You are the most important person in my life,” Seth said. “You’re the most important person in my life,” I said. “Shall we remind each other we know that and who we are?” Seth said, pushing me back on the bed. “I love you,” I said, pulling him closer, but he and I were already pressed together. “I know,” Seth said, kissing me. “I love you.” “I know.” We slept well. The bed was very comfortable. The clothes we put on after our baths were only worn at dinner. There was a lighter weight outfit we put on...after we made love. The room was warm, but it would get cooler when the fire died out. Warm blankets, comfortable bed, and warm company we almost overslept. Dressing in the clothes from the previous night, Seth and I checked on Toby and Thomas, but their bed was empty. So was their little toilet and rain shower-room. I read that Egyptians had that hundreds of years before Christ was even born. Whatever they poured the warm water in, it let the water out in steady streams. I didn’t want anyone to stand over me and pour anything on me. Seth and I used a lot of water for our baths. Only one of us would fit the shower-room at one time. We did Beau’s game of stone, parchment, and knife. Seth was going first. The best two out of three. “Where’s the damned soap?” Seth asked from in the room. Looking around, I smiled at the little rectangle...thing and a gourd container. On the one piece of furniture other than the bed. There were other items, too almost hidden. Picking up the gourd, it took the stopper out and wiggled the liquid in it. The little ridged rectangle-shaped cake I picked up. I sniffed it and could smell it. The soap were yucca roots and bee honeycomb. I was certain there were other things, but didn’t worry about it. The gourd was yarrow-flowers and something else. After Seth used it a while, “I’m not going to be worrying about bears, am I? You know they like honey.” I chuckled, “I don’t think that’s possible. All the bears are hibernating.” “Yeah?” Seth said. “It would be my luck to stumble on a grouchy, hungry bear with insomnia.” He couldn’t see my big smile at his quip. I loved that man. Then I took mine as we did those other morning things like shaving and brushing teeth. The Natives here had what could be a very successful inn. The room held the heat well during the night. I had to know who designed and built it. I also wanted to know how they cooled it off during the short summer. They had ten months of cool and wet, with freezing and wet in the middle. The warm and sunny were the two remaining months. That was told to us by Chitto who would know. Coming into the dining area, I was pleased to be sitting on the pillows again. I saw Toby and Thomas, as Toby signed while he was eating. “No fair!” Thomas stopped Toby’s hands, “I’m not as good with signing and can’t sign that fast. I certainly can’t talk with my mouth full!” Toby shrugged, not bothered. He swallowed looking at Seth and me. “Good morning, you have got to try Miss Ceto’s…” he paused and said a word he’d just learned that morning, “sof-kee,” he looked at Thomas, “Did I say it right?” Thomas nodded and looked at us, “You did, Tobe.” A nickname for his cousin and one syllable. “Ceto said it was sofkee or sofgee. It’s very good.” He pointed at his hot bowl of porridge-like dish. “There is also hoecakes topped with butter and maple syrup!” “And beans!” Toby added holding up his bowl of beans. “They are better than Grace’s.” “Okay, son,” Seth said pointing at him with his stern finger. “Before we go home, we should talk about what we don’t talk about with Grace! That’s one thing right there.” “But they are!” Toby insisted, “Grace makes good beans, but hers are soft and kind of soupy. These are kind of crunchy, hot, and a little sweet.” “Natives find a way to serve them with almost every meal,” I explained, “but Grace might be a little hurt that you like something more than hers. She helped feed you all your life practically.” “Oh,” he said as he understood. We saw Ceto eating at the table. Again Beau was next to her. All of Lilith’s Children we knew were there. “Maple syrup?” Seth asked Ceto as we sat. “Isn’t that made from sugar maples?” Ceto nodded, “Sugar maples, red maples, and black maples.” “And this syrup?” Seth asked. “Sugar maples.” Ceto stated. “And it’s hot!” “Are there sugar maples around here?” I smiled and asked. “I wouldn’t think they would live in this environment. It’s too cold and wet.” Ceto put her fork down with a louder clank than normal. She sighed, “I got it from the northeast. I added the sugar needed and some other things. The cows I got the butter from aren’t here either. Do I need to tell where they are, too?” She wasn’t mad or angry, but a little put out. “I used the magic to make this. I don’t actually cook anything. Not over a fire anyway. What good does the magic do if I can’t do this?” I chuckled, “I wasn’t complaining!! You do this very well and know how it should come out and make sure it does.” Seth nodded, “That’s talent.” Ceto was smiling a little, “At least you know that it takes more than just a snap of your fingers. You have to know what and how to have it come out right. There is effort. Thank you.” I looked at Max, “Good morning, Max!” Max swallowed as he waved then used his napkin before saying, “Good morning! I slept like the dead! Didn’t even move.” Val leaned over and stage-whispered, “He slept alone,” he chuckled, “You know why.” “I do NOT snore!!” Max said loud. “I think a few female moose thought it was a mating call,” Chitto added. “They’re probably waiting on you.” Max growled softly. “I need someone to spar with and train more,” I said, but still smiled at the teasing they gave Max. “Jason was good, but there’s always room for improvement.” I looked at the Creid, “And give me your best, nobody is to take it easy on me!” Max nodded, “Absolutely not. Our adversary won’t take it easy on you. It would be criminal of us to do that for any reason to you. You’ll probably be able to fend off Beau.” He grinned “Maybe.” He looked at me closer, “You need to think about training with that new armor Yannick showed you and told you about. You’ll need to get used to it.” I nodded, but I didn’t like training for a regular suit of armor. Movement was too restrictive. This armor was supposed to be lighter. I’d give it a try.
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