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R. Eric

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About R. Eric

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    Charleston, South Carolina
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    I write...A lot.

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  1. Thank you. I'm fine. I write what I see. I kept it straight doing three stories at a time was often confusing, I'm writing Cinderfella, but thought of Makarovia. I even posted a whole chapter to the wrong story. BUT I LOVE WRITING!!!
  2. Confession time. He's the same person. (Gasp!) I regurgitate characters and places. (Sigh) Such as the same grand house is in Blueblood, and my Lottery stories that inspired me for years since I walked it's halls for two decades or more. I looked forward to being a guest there or working to repair decades of neglect. It's a jewel now and one I helped to restore. The house is real. Olek/Christian, Daniel and all his characters are very real. So, I lapsed a little.. I create original characters, but even they are based on real people. I hope too many bubbles weren't burst.
  3. Now? I'm Not Ready! Part One Two days? I thought about that part. Did Dyami mean two days traveling or simply two days? I would have preferred waiting in a warm tee-pee than in the cold. It may register higher on a mercury scale, but the farther we went, the colder it seemed. The great mountain range was now falling behind us again. Northwest. My fingers kept getting numb. I would wrap my hands and fingers in a fold of the skin wrapped around me. I even re-thought my view of Hell. Hell didn’t have to be so hot and yet you didn’t burn. No. Another kind of Hell was right here! Where it was so cold, but you didn’t go numb. Either way, I didn’t want to end up in either. Thank you. With every tribe, they had gods that did certain jobs. They might have different names, but close enough. Distance was less of a problem, but still a dividing factor. With the tribes intermixing more now, the differences were becoming less noticeable. A little history lesson. The people that became Vikings were the first to reach a new land of promise settling people in the northern portions of the continent. Scots and Britain settled more in the southern portions and befriended people already there who helped them survive! A’Dore was settled by Britain, Scots, and Irish fifteen centuries ago in an area that was almost always warm. Blethos was first settled by those from France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Darma was from deeper in Europe called Gaul. Getting transportation was the biggest concern. Sea-worthy boats were needed, but demand drove the need to provide. Boats that could hold several people as passengers, and crew, and supplies were demanded. It was the Scots and the Norse who came up with the first boat that claimed to hold one hundred and sixty men, women, children, supplies, animals, and crew. Plagues, threats of plagues, and people trying to escape capture from authorities also drove them out. Oppressed or hunted people caused many to flee. You know how much I loved the Creid now. They were made from those that escaped Europa, came to A’Dore, Blethos, and Darma and had to escape us! Yes! They were really some bad boys from ancient history! Where was I going with this? Oh, yes! A person from Darma met someone from Blethos, or A’Dore and we began to merge. A thousand years ago a common language began to emerge as trade increased. The outer edges mingled and moved in-country. That made it so much easier for me and Seth. A couple of the biggest differences are simple words like diapers vs nappies and Holidays like the Nativity where Blethos still had Bafana from Italia. Even the laws and customs had merged. There wasn’t even a real accent difference now! There are some tragedies of course such as those trying to escape a plague, and ends up bringing it with them. Some didn’t make it from the boat. Others spread it when they got here. Many countries used new land to get rid of undesirables such as anarchists and disloyal people. A dumping ground for the unwelcome? Sure, why not? Boats improved and the routes became more streamline. Instead of going north, hugging the shore line, over to a sizable island between Norway that was settled pretty quickly. They referred to it as The Land of Ice. It lived up to that name in winter. Then directly west to a big continent that had very few trees, but plenty of grass. Skirt around the southern part and west again then go south. In our case, south, and more south and even farther south until it began to warm up! Where we finally landed was tropical, almost a jungle! It got very warm, but it had terrible sea storms at the end of the summer and beginning of autumn. I remember three really big ones that hit A’Dore where the wind almost ripped A’Dore apart! Our advantage were our wonderful friends that were here before we got here. They knew what to do and told us what to do. After this length of exposure, we knew what to do. Toby. I often felt what Seth did with him. He was ten years old! He was a collage of emotions for me. I saw him as a child! Then he does something like he did with Dyami and he didn’t act like a child much at all. But he was in my eyes. I was not familiar with things the way they were becoming. It was also scary here and now. He was experimenting and laboring in very adult matters. I prayed his childhood innocence wasn’t completely gone. We had been warned, but I wasn’t ready. That was also scary. Toby did not disobey. In the last year...even into the last few days, Toby was not what he seemed. He read those odors correctly. Toby was touching magic. Then again, according to Seto, I was doing it, too. Well, I wasn’t doing it on purpose! Toby was traveling like we all were. Quietly and withdrawn physically beneath visual scrutiny. The tribes were very caught up with magic. However, I doubt there were many tribe members that had a continuous exposure to magic like Toby and Dennis had. Not a week went by him where he and Dara failed to show themselves as what they were. The Children of Lilith. Who was on which horse would be a challenge if I didn’t know which horse carried who. Dark, thick furred creatures that were more like lumps of fur on large, dark furred animals of an unrecognizable kind. Only the head of the horse could be seen. Our heads were beneath furred hoods that didn’t look as if anyone was guiding the way. There were just indistinguishable lumps of fur. Now, get this. Chitto said it was too cold to snow? What!? I knew it rarely, if ever, got cold enough in A’Dore or Blethos and required it to be cold enough to snow. Those were rules! Too cold? Try too wet. I didn’t get that until I was there. It got colder than on the Land of Ice. But Chitto shook his head and told us, if there was moisture in the air. It would snow. The rules! Chitto told me it was too humid. I knew about hot and humid weather. Here it was freezing and humid and I wasn’t familiar with that. We knew how to dress ourselves. I did it successfully twenty-eight years! I never used a valet. However, Toby had read...of course, he had...one wrapped our foreheads just above our eyes, another wrapped our face just below our eyes. One over all of it allowing us to see. It was sort of a fur burka women wore in the middle east. I will confess; it was warm! You learned not to move too much to break the shield of warmth. A lump of fur near me and spoke in a very muffled voice. “Are you more settled with having Thomas and Toby with us?” I looked at this lump and nothing said Seth except his voice. I let a grin spread, but no one would know about it because my face was hidden. “I’ll answer that in a second or two, but now we know how to talk in private with Toby! He can’t see us!” I glanced back at the smallest lump of fur. “No,” I answered. “I won’t deny his being here has proven to be a good thing, but…” I shrugged, “He did disobey.” Seth and I made sure we followed the same rulebook of discipline. All of the women who cared for them understood, we never hit anyone for any reason. How did we convey this “no hit” rule when we do it to our children? We’re telling them “might makes right!” Do something because we said to? No. Christian said a few times that he preferred to negotiate with foreign countries than his own children. Teachers and nannies made good money! Equivalent to military officers! Often there was combat involved. Not from Christian or me. We were good children. Well, mostly we were. I had a tutor one year...I’ve had many, many tutors over the years, but this one...well, I got the feeling he rode the thin line between madness and sanity. That was my professional eight-year-old opinion. Both Christian and I had separate tutors. Christian was already my hero and it would be another two years before we had the ball and he would meet Ella. Professor Montrose was having a hard time concentrating and difficulty creating coherent sentences. I was having a hard time following his line of thought. I don’t even know what subject we were on. He had to repeat some of it. When I asked for clarification again, he seemed to fly into a rage. I remember his right arm rising, fist balled up and I knew he would hit me. I knew it. From my sitting before him, he was all I could see, but someone grabbed the fist, spun him around forcing Mr. Montrose to show surprise. “The meaning of what I see is pretty clear,” Christian said calmly and turned back to the door. “I understood what was about to happen. Did you understand it?” Two of his sparring partners were with him. He had Jason that afternoon. They both nodded and one said, “You know Jason is always telling us to anticipate the next move of an opponent. His next move wasn’t even hard to figure out.” “But, Christian…” Mr. Montrose sputtered. “No,” Christian shook his head, “That privilege was given to our instructors.” Christian gave an evil smile. “A position you left a minute ago. You refer to me and to Erik as His Royal Highness.” Christian looked around Mr. Montrose and smiled at me. “I’d say class is dismissed for the day.” He looked at his two friends. “Watch this man until I get back.” He looked at my instructor. “I can guarantee you won’t be coming back. If you did what I know you were going to, that’s a death sentence. I’m saving your life.” He waved at some things on a table, “in fact use this time to run for that life. War is sometimes inevitable, but not at home. Dad says it happens in homes after men get home, tired after working all day. If you had done what you intended to do, that’s short-tempered. He also says that’s no excuse, but an explanation. But this is your only job, you couldn’t be tired yet. Come up with a good reason or take the time to leave.” He was about to leave and stopped. “Oh, and stay away from my brother.” Once again, Christian was my hero! Where was I leading you? Oh, yeah, the “no hit” rule. Seth had a rough childhood after he was five and I was never struck to make me do something. If you are hit first, make sure they know it will never happen again. Dad told us it was a big world out there and no one could steal or force you into anything. Seth and I were on the same page in the book of discipline. We discussed many issues and the ladies hired as nannies were in the place as my instructors. Well, that wasn’t true for Doris who kept her own family, too. I never saw her raise her hand or heard her raise her voice even once. “I don’t know what to do,” I confessed my answer to Seth’s question. “Were we mistaken to tell him not to come with us?” “I don’t think so,” Seth said. “But really, when have we had to? We’ve given guidance a few times, but both Toby and Dennis are compliant.” “Dennis often pushed the limits,” I shook my head. “However, reasoning with him he usually does what we ask.” Seth chuckled, “There’s the problem. We’ve never faced this before.” “We can restrict his desert consumption for a few weeks,” I laughed. “Or his reading,” Seth laughed. “That would be excessively punitive,” I said a little seriously, “and inhumane.” “I say give it to him to decide,” Seth growled. I was surprised, but he couldn’t see that. “Give him the task of assigning suitable punishment!?” I nodded, which opened gaps briefly to let the cold in. I wouldn’t do that again. “That’s a great idea!” “Was he accessing magic?” Seth asked. “Back with Dyami, he read the smoke.” “Did he?” I asked. “I don’t know that to be true, because there are a lot of Children of Eve that have unbelievable gifts, such as for soothsaying. Sometimes a little clairvoyance happens, are they access the magic to do that?” I shrugged. “I don’t know.” “What about Thomas?” “That’s the beauty of this!” I said laughing. “We didn’t tell Thomas he couldn’t come with us, but his father, mother, king, and queen did. We just need to see he gets back.” Moving I saw Seth look back at the smallest mound of fur told us beneath the fur was Toby. “Not to make light of the situation, but…” I shook my head, “Ella will be pretty angry, but at her son. It will be an interesting combination of emotions with her...And Christian! I have no idea what he’ll do.” “I’ve seen Christian angry and downright furious, but he’s never violent.” Seth said using a voice that begged for a confirmation. “He’s never lost control.” I was still used to making gestures that were visual, but I answered him. “He is not violent, but his feelings will be hurt.” “Hurt?” Seth asked. “Christian is a sensitive man.” I said pleased with the feelings Christian brought out in me. I loved and adore Seth, in case you’re wondering. I loved my sons. Christian? He was a love I have that defies explanation. I admitted I was in love with him. Don’t throw anything at me! I even told Christian this. He was my big brother, my substitute father, my best friend, and my hero! There were a few I’d offer my life to save. Christian was one of those on the first hand. Was that wrong? The thought of doing anything physically intimate beyond a hug or even kiss on the temple...No, I didn’t desire Christian that way. But we do have a connection no one else does or ever would. We were brothers! The same father and mother made both of us using the same things. Our blood was the same and used by the Forbidden Fruit to make the Little Warriors to defeat Len Na’s attack of those little creatures she wanted to destroy all people everywhere. “I remember he had just taken the throne after our father’s sudden death. Dad had a man, a general, he trusted who blatantly disobeyed an order Christian gave him. Christian had trusted the General, too. Many people died as a result. Christian trusted the General, but the General didn’t trust Christian to be king. It hurt Christian so badly. After the truth came out, Christian had to sentence the General for disobeying the authority of his king. With Thomas, his doing wrong will bother him, but not what he did, but disobeying him hurt him more.” “Thomas is normally well-behaved,” Seth said. “He is,” I said quickly, “And what he spoke of how he has felt growing up in the palace, I can relate to those feelings. I never had many friends my age growing up. I had tutors and instructors...” “And Christian,” Seth added. “Yes,” I said, “when Ella came into the family she insisted all four children had some exposure to others in their age group growing up. She also allowed them to be children, such as letting Thomas climb trees. He felt coming with us was more important.” “If Demetrius can create a bathroom out in nowhere,” Seth began, “Can’t he create a room Thomas and Toby can be hidden away in and kept safe?” “The bathroom was Demetrius’ idea,” I said, “changing the house, they offered that. Remember, there are situations that were designed to make a point and help our thinking.” “Like Deena’s torturing us?” Seth growled. “Yes,” I said. “The whole Thorne problem has a feeling of being staged.” “I blamed Lukus for years for what he gave Arthur to use.” Seth grumbled. “I know,” I said, understanding, “but I’ve thought about it over the years and a situation where a king loses his wife and two small children? Those two sons are found alive? The reason to allow us to marry was convenient? Arthur knew his family would be chosen to replace the king on his death and Lukus had the whole thing circle around to return the Crowned Prince to the throne. He told Arthur what was going to happen. Except he didn’t use your name. Arthur assumed it was Darius.” “Why? To amuse themselves?” Seth asked, still angry. “Are you really going there again?” I missed communicating with expressions and gestures. “What I see is a foreknowledge, not a cause. Lukus knew what Arthurs was planning and like Demetrius, he offered opportunities to get there. He didn’t cause it.” “I can’t tell the difference,” Seth grumbled. “Okay,” I sighed, “But remember, I’m on your side.” I said, “What if you’re right? Let’s say a Child of Lilith did plan the whole thing?” I could tell I shocked him just looking in his eyes. That was all of him I could see. “Ella was going to marry Christian, that horrible event Thorne did was planned out, your being tortured for decades was planned, our marriage was planned.” My arms went out of habit. That was a bad move. I was cold again. “Everything up to this very moment has been staged. Why? And if that’s true, what can we do about it? We can’t kill them. They see and know a lot about us. I have not been given a reason not to trust the three we know,” I chuckled, “now four. You were there when Demetrius took care of Candor.” “That wasn’t real,” Seth defended. “And we know that why?” I said. “Because Demetrius told you. You trust he’s honest about that.” Seth had endured a lot and it would take time. Still! He’d made some momentous strides to get where he was now and I believe it will always be there, even if just a shadow. “I believe Demetrius,” I said, “I believe Dara, and yes, I believe Lukus, too. He knew, but worked for it to be corrected.” The eyes are the windows to the soul. I remember reading that in the New Scriptures. It was right when Christ told us how to pray. The Lord’s Prayer? It really said, the light of the body is in the eyes. If we were evil, it would show in the eyes. I relied on that when looking a person over. I’d say it was right with Arthur, Darius, Deena, Candor...everyone! Right now I saw conflict in Seth’s eyes. “You were treated very badly, baby,” I admitted. “By Children of Eve. I know that, but our marriage, our lives in Royal Valley, our family is because of Demetrius. He could probably create a room to stick them, but I’m beginning to think they should be here.” Even through the thick fur I heard the gasp, but saw the alarm in his eyes, so I hurried on. “No, Toby should have a consequence for certain! But he was the one to point out the gauntlet defense in the beginning. He even told both of us, if we both came on this journey, he risked losing both of us. And he has stunned many Medicine Men for the tribes and even knew how to prevent the cold, wet air from causing us to freeze. Thomas? What he did was impulsive and young. That’s no excuse, but it does explain why he did it. Who knows, he’s an educated young person with a lot of passion. I know Demetrius will protect Toby...and Thomas.” I couldn’t stop. “What we both know they can do, if they wanted to take over the world, nobody could stop them. Demetrius, Dara, and Lukus have never lied to us. I don’t think they know how. Demetrius was honest even when it came to Sam. He never said Sam was gone, but he said he didn’t know and even explained why! He’s Human, but he’s no god or even an angel. He doesn’t know everything and says that. He’s not perfect.” Again, those thick furs kept us from really understanding each other. There were a number of deer, bears, and rabbits that gave their lives to keep us warm. I thanked them silently, but I couldn’t see Seth’s expression. Two lumps of fur came closer to us. “Are you doing all right?” The voice for that lump was Chitto’s. “Fine,” I answered. “Do we need to stop?” The second lump was Max. “Are you hungry?” “How much daylight is left?” I looked at the gray sky. It was still daytime, but so overcast that no sun could be seen. Anywhere. The trees were numerous and the forest thick with vegetation. Those treetops didn’t help me see. I’d been in forests and woods in Blethos and A’Dore, but the kinds of trees weren't familiar to me. The tall mountains that were in front of us in the beginning were behind us now, but it was still mountainous. “He-lush-ka told me it does get dark earlier in these forests,” Chitto commented. “I’d say two or three hours.” “He-lus…” Seth repeated and then I didn’t need to see his face, “Oh, yeah! Henry! You meant Henry.” “What?” Chitto began confused, “His name isn’t Henry.” “Let it go, Chitto,” I chuckled. “For him, it’s Henry.” Chitto looked between us a second, “Okay, well Bob, He-lush-ka to everybody else, said we will be entering…” he said something that I couldn’t even begin to spell in any language, Muskogean or English. It was almost Asian, “That means we’ll be entering the Forest of Rain.” “What did he mean by that?” I asked. “He said because it rains there almost all of the time,” Chitto chuckled. “He said it rains for about ten months with only two months of sunny days.” “Non Stop rain!?” Seth squawked. “The Scriptures said it rained for forty days and forty nights! Why doesn’t it flood?” Chitto chuckled, “I don’t know, but He-Lush-ka...sorry, Henry said it isn’t always a downpour. It kind of drizzles nonstop.” “It’s almost doing that now!” Seth protested. “There’s more ahead?” The Chitto lump’s head nodded as he chuckled again, “Henry said a lot more.” “We need to find a clearing,” I said. “I suggest we can look as we ride.” That proved less difficult than it could be. Finding a meadow or any clearing wasn’t hard. The “road” we followed was used so pretty clear what direction to go to…? We didn’t know. There was a group of clearings near a stream. We needed the water. These were all wet. I will also have to admit we all stunk! Wrapped in those skins, yes, after a while we smelled bad. The poor horses we’d ridden gave their scent to us. No one would come near us if we didn’t bathe. The stream offered clean water, but it was water from the snowy mountains. No one was looking forward to that. Yes. I could ask Demetrius for another bathroom and hot water, but I had an odd feeling about that. He cleaned Seth, the bed, and put a clean night shirt on Seth. He’d given us a clean bathtub with hot water once, but he offered that. A man came through a grove of trees, covered with a heavy coat waving at us. It wasn’t Demetrius, but Lukus. “You’re stopping, right?” Again, some of the furry lumps were ready to take on this unknown. “Relax gentlemen,” I said to the others. “He’s like Demetrius and Ceto. We know him. If you keep this up,” I began, “we’ll come to expect it later.” “So?” Lulus said back, “all you need to do is ask. This isn’t a normal trip and we wanted to help.” “We?” I asked. “Follow that animal trail and you’ll see.” Lukus vanished. I had dreaded dismounting to set up camp. It was cold! What had we done to get this sort of special treatment? I was getting the idea that we, Seth, Sam, Christian, Ella, and I weren’t who they were protecting. It was Toby, Dennis, Micheal, Beth...all of the next generation that were being protected. Both Demetrius and Dara even told us that right after they brought them to us that was happening. I just wasn’t prepared to have it so soon. I wasn’t ready. He was only ten years old!
  4. R. Eric

    The False Prophet

    I relate to all that. I was a "nipper" then myself when it came out. Of course, I wasn't gay then. (Right. I scoff, too.) I loved that movie for more than showing just willies on screen. When I did find "gays" out there, I had trouble adjusting. A man kissing a man!? It was so alien. And me, kissing a guy where people would see!? God, no! Needless to say, I've come a long way, baby. Now I see straights as the odd ones for me. Welcome back, my second favorite Brit. Clive Owen is the first. I loved him since Privateer 2. Woof, woof and Arrooo!!!!
  5. R. Eric

    The False Prophet

    Okay, that makes you more gay than I am. I have trouble following Opera with the Cheat Sheet or brochure to keep up with the storyline. The meet, they suffer, and they love eternally. I'm caught up then. Daniel insisted I have my cultural studies. Opera. I loved Phantom of the Opera! (Yes, I've told you that and can sing all of Michael Crawford's part. Most of Sarah Brightman's parts, too!. I'm on Episode Three of A Very English Scandal. Hugh Grant? I almost did recognize him!! Actors don't age. Didn't he read the contract. I loved to hate him in Maurice and hate him again in Scandal. The 60s and 70s sucked to be gay. Our closets were full of them on this side of the pond, too.
  6. R. Eric

    The False Prophet

    Oh, yes, it most certainly is. "Everything's coming up roses and I feel lucky!" Go Ethel! Cher's fine. Bette is fine. There are gay icons everywhere! She's my first. Huge Jackman? Grrrr! Michael Weatherly! He makes me happy sitting there! Robert Urich!! "ARRROOO!" You're gay.
  7. R. Eric

    The False Prophet

    I just woke up...just to pee at this time. While I hate being male as old as I am; I might not appreciate any alternative. At least now I can contribute to my story. Part of the reason why I continued this, is what happened this time. Your reply is a shot in the arm, Kev! I love you, Mister. Oh, my God! Twilight AGAIN!!?!? I say again. What's so special about Bella Swan!? I can take it some if they show Charlie Swan. Personally, I think Charlie and Jake make a lovely couple Or Jake and Edward. Should I mention Harry Potter, X-Men, or The Hunger Games? Seen it, seen it, and seen it!!
  8. The False Prophet “Never mind about that,” I said to Demetrius and Seth. “How is Wahkoowah doing this…” I wasn’t sure what to call it, “this creating a false world for you to see?” “Good question,” Dyami nodded. “He was thorough with it. Everything was complete.” He chuckled, but held his hand up, “But he didn’t count on me. My visions don’t require vision at all. Other shamans or oracles use what they’re given to see with to see things. I don’t.” “He may not know about you,” Seth suggested. “I don’t believe he does,” Dyami admitted nodding. “He may know of a Medicine Man or Shaman with Weeminuche People, but he doesn’t know how my vision works. He went into fine detail, but it was constructed.” “How’d he do that?” I asked. Ceto came closer, “Perceptions are easy.” Demetrius nodded, “We did it with Arthur Thorne’s home, remember?” He had a look of pleading on his face. “We did it with all of Royal Valley and with Grace while she was in the house! If you ask her, she will tell you about men working hard for weeks on the new house, but would have trouble remembering who they were.” “I remember,” Seth said, “But this is a bit different.” He shook his head, “When there needed to be an explanation, you gave them one. Yes, it was a deception, but when Lukus blocked you from seeing Sam he didn’t give you a false sensation that Sam was dead. You were blocked from seeing him at all.” I nodded, “That’s right! Giving everyone an explanation to prevent concern or worry is one thing. It really was to stop questions from even starting. I don’t recall anyone asking about the house’s construction. This thing with Wahkoowah is a lie!” “That’s really different,” Seth continued. “Even Len Na,” he glanced at Max, “As nuts as she was, she didn’t lie. Her purpose just became confused.” “And in that confusion,” I went further, “Many people died.” Dyami sighed, “I felt you needed to know more about Wahkoowah. No one is perfect. There are spirits and beings we hold reverence with. As I said, they can be good and bad. You needed to know, this man is evil. Pure and simple. He presents himself as one kind of being but is another. From what I understand, I believe you call him Satan.” There were several gasps from those with us. Val strode forward then, “Okay, everyone stop for a moment.” He looked frustrated now as his “intelligence” was being challenged. “Noah, from the scriptures. You spoke of the Children of Eve and Children of Lilith. Do you mean Eve as in Adam and Eve?” “Yes.” I nodded. “The Garden of Eden...all of it.” I recognized the look on Val’s face as he struggled to accept what he trusted we’d tell the truth, but his mind was telling him “it couldn’t be.” Quickly, I explained who Demetrius and Ceto were. How Dara helped Ella win my brother Christian over and my getting Seth. I explained about Len Na. I left out the part where Len Na knew if she got rid of the Children of Eve, Children of Lilith would once again give birth. I explained the disease she started and I explained how the juice from the Forbidden Fruit saved Christian and in fact flowed through Val’s blood right now. “And there is no proof of any of it,” Seth shrugged and waved at Demetrius and Cote, “except they can do amazing things and those little warriors in your body. They can’t even prove it and they live almost a thousand years!” Val was nodding as he listened, but it was one of those “of course” nods. He still wasn’t believing it, but how could he argue? People appear out of nowhere, they traveled a thousand miles in a single minute. And don’t forget the fact he hasn’t had even a cold in years. “Fine.” He stated flatly. “I’ll work on this, but Lilith?” He pounded his own forehead lightly to get what he was told in his head, as he paced back and forth. “I read a passage about a wife before Eve, but she became a demon!” I chuckled, “I took issues with that, too.” I shook my head. “She isn’t a demon, not the woman I met.” Val’s eyes widened now. “You met!?” He balked. “You met Lilith!?” He pointed straight down for unknown reasons. “You met the real Lilith?” “We both did,” Seth confirmed. “Are Adam or Eve alive?” Val asked. “No,” I answered. “They ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Lilith did not. She wasn’t thrown out of Eden but left. She and Adam were created immortal.” Ceto bounced and clapped, “You are right, Demetrius. These two Children of Eve are very smart! Bravo! That makes a lot of sense.” “Whatever the Church started out as,” Seth began, “They gained power and began using the Church to say what we can and can’t do.” He shook his head. “My father didn’t trust priests.” I nodded in agreement, “My family didn’t either. It was more than just Seth and I can’t marry or even have a relationship. My Grandfather refused to let the members of the Church from going into the surrounding villages and force people to convert or die.” I smiled. “I can go on and on, but,” I turned to Val. “You’re life and your spiritual journey is yours. No one is saying do it this way or die.” Dyami was nodding, “And there is the problem. Wahkoowah is presenting himself as speaking for a deity. He is smiling and winning people to him by this lie.” He pointed at no one, but said, “That’s where it smells the worst.” “The smell of burnt human flesh, human feces, and rotting garbage?” Toby asked. Dyami smiled, “You could smell that?” Toby shook his head, “How can anyone miss it?” He looked at me. “Right after the attack on Royal Valley. That’s when I first smelled it coming off the battlefield.” I had gotten it, too. A little. Dyami and Toby had lost senses, Dyami lost his sight and Toby lost his hearing and they both had other senses enhanced to make up for it. Toby knew what Grace was cooking when he was still outside and a good distance away. Once, I challenged him on the way home. He knew we were having baked chicken and what it was seasoned with...and the green beans, potatoes, tomato and zucchini pie, and her special crushed apple cake! He swore he hadn’t known that before school and he was right. I didn’t doubt him. “But Satan?” Max asked. “Do you know about Satan?” Dyami chuckled, “I do! Being aware of other philosophies is important. The God you follow and Saints are a big part of you. Wasn’t he called Lucifer?” I nodded, “That’s right. He was originally an Archangel and trusted by God.” Dyami cocked his head. “This Wahkoowah is presenting himself as someone who can lead the way and to follow him.” “So,” Max said carefully, “he’s not the Satan.” He wanted to be sure. “No,” Dyami replied. “He’s Human.” “Could he fool you?” Toby asked. Dyami looked up quickly. He couldn’t see anything, but you felt he could. Toby didn’t back away. “Yesterday he did. Could he be doing it now?” Dyami wasn’t angry or annoyed. “I could be, but like the lie yesterday, I would smell it’s spoiled like I did this morning.” “Wait,” I said, getting confused and turning to Chitto. “Is it just the Muskogee? There are no priests in your population. No churches as such. You said religion is more or less a way of life. No one converts.” Chitto nodded, “That’s right.” He looked at the many curious faces of the many confused European descendants in this tee-pee. “I know with you, it matters if you believe in God or don’t. That determines where you move to after death. Our deities could care less if you believe in them or don’t. They’re still there. It doesn’t affect your afterlife. It’s who you are that matters.” “There are people such as myself that are shamans and medicine men are often consulted about spiritual needs,” Dyami said. “Shamans don’t necessarily have a connection with any religion. We direct rituals that connect with nature. I was gifted with my ability to see when I can’t physically see at all. Over the years I developed ways to read what is in this world others can not. I’m not always right. I can make mistakes.” Seth shrugged, “No one’s perfect.” He grinned. Dyami picked up the new jar of...whatever he made to pour on the coals and “saw” the world through the smell. “This is a precisely measured content of elements from The Plant Kingdom, or the three sisters; corn seed, bean seeds, and squash seeds. There is the Animal Kingdom, soil from Mother Earth and I added powdered forms of flint and amethyst to ground and calm.” He chuckled. “I even added agate to help with worry.” Chitto nodded, “Our spiritual practices are to help keep things in balance with the spirits, the Earth, and each other.” I couldn’t help it. The feelings were so nice and so comfortable, I hugged Chitto. Dyami smiled, “I think there are some here who feel that connection now.” How did he do that? He saw that? “I’ve known some Cherokee and these of the Muscogee Creek,” I said, “And one of the most beautiful things about them is this Holy reverence for the land and animals.” I waved at Chitto. “He and I hunted together once!” I emphasized. “Two years before I even met Seth! He had told me about Fayetu, the god of the hunt...after a few rabbits, I had heard him saying something each time. So, I asked. He was thanking Fayetu and the spirit of each rabbit for their sacrifice!” I threw my hands out. “I loved it!” I turned to Seth. “At the Hunt right before the Ball where I named you as my choice. The words you said to Darius about his callous disregard for the buck’s life and you said it was wrong to waste what God has given you.” I grinned, “That won me over!” Dyami nodded, “We call that god Herne.” He shrugged. “But, it’s the same god.” “There is a lot of Este Mvskokvlke in you,” Chitto nodded and turned to Seth. “You must have a tribe in you. Erik recognized something in you.” Seth’s reply was a shrug. “My point is,” I continued. “There were bands of priests and monks that roamed the countryside. They want to convert everyone. You don’t.” Dyami nodded with a shrug, “We don’t have to, but once in a while, a great Chief and warrior will come along, offering to show a way to greatness. That is what Wahkoowah is offering everyone.” “To everyone?” Seth asked. “The few men who weren’t from a tribe, but not citizens of Blethos or A’Dore have been outlaws.” “A good question for Wahkoowah!” Dyami nodded. “When we find him,” Max muttered. Dyami poured again from his jar and the sizzle came again and those ghost-like tendrils of smoke rose. “How is it smelling different?” Toby asked Dyami. Dyami smiled again, “Because the situation has changed. What are you smelling now?” “I still smell the burnt flesh,” Toby replied. He shrugged, “I even smell the fecal matter and rotten...something, but it’s not as strong. Now, I get this clean soap smell.” He looked at me, “Like those fancy soaps from the Parisian Shoppe, but I also smell sweat;” He turned to Seth. “Like you after working in the vineyard all day. It’s not bad, but just strong like you.” Dyami smiled even more and relaxed, “Okay. Is there a meaning to this? What impression are you getting?” Toby didn’t hesitate, “That part is coming to a conclusion and will get better, but will take a little work?” He answered more like a question rather than a certainty. “Is that right?” Dyami shrugged, “It wasn’t my reading.” “How do I know if I got it right?” Toby asked. “You’ll know,” Dyami said. “Just as I knew this morning I had been fooled last night.” He grinned. “There were finer points you didn’t mention, but that comes with exposure, but if I ever need someone to do this for me a while, you’d be perfect.” Ceto reached over and slapped Demetrius on the arm lightly, “You said they were hard to work with! You haven’t guided a single step yet!” Demetrius recoiled from the non-painful slap and frowned pointing at us, “It took Dara, Lukus, and I a decade of pretty intense work to get them here!” He turned and pointed at her. “And it’s not fair to compare your people with my people!” “They’re all Children of Eve!” Ceto argued. “Yes,” Demetrius nodded with a finger of exception, “but at least your people knew there was magic and aren’t as surprised as my lovely people are by it! Something miraculous happens and my people get all upset and look for demons and witches, yours just accepts it!” He waved at me. “I started off from nothing!” “Hey!” Seth objected. “Almost every one of you,” Demetrius pointed at me and Seth. He came toward me a little, “Even you to a point, after finding out I was different, you all asked if I was a demon.” He looked at me. “Not as much with you, because you asked me to come!” He started counting off others, “There was Sam, Terry,” he pointed at me again, “you’re brother Christian…” “And made you family!” I argued with a grin. “There is a new Reformation happening in Europa. Protestants. The Disciples all did these traveling conversion trips. Is Wahkoowah doing that here?” “He refuses their worship,” Dyami said, “and that just makes it worse!” “What?” Thomas asked. He hadn’t spoken to me or Seth that morning. He messed up! He was cowering away from any reprisals Seth and I would give him. He was right. Toby had at least spoken and gotten some of the reprisals already. Thomas had not. Physically he was an adult now and capable of making his own choices. Seth and I weren’t his parents, but as Dilbert wasn’t here to protect him, or his father, it fell to us. Again, I hated the adult prophecies that came true. He was an adult now, but I saw him as a baby! When he started to walk, talk...I shook my head. “You’ve met people with false modesty and humility,” I said to Thomas. “You pay them a compliment and they deny the truth, but also can’t get enough. Saying no to the compliment encourages people to continue complimenting them. Your Dad discovered that. He compliments, but stops it there when it’s denied.” “Which makes his followers worship him even more,” Dyami said. “How does that make any sense?” Thomas asked. “I know your Dad taught you to receive compliments as well as give them,” I said to Thomas. “If someone thanks you by mistake, point out the error but accept it. You know that.” He poured some of his elixir on the coals and inhaled, “These people that follow Wahkoowah like this will gladly step in the line of fire for him. Be very careful.” He smiled at what he “saw.” “Your search will end in two days.” “That’s…” Max began slowly, “is some very unusual stuff you use to smell all that.” “Yes, it is,” Dyami chuckled. We went again to the horses to resume our journey. “Uncle Erik,” Thomas came to us, but his head was lowered and appeared much younger. “What can I say?” Seth shook his head, “This is unfamiliar territory for me. Ask your Uncle Erik.” I sighed and stopped walking, “You know you were to come with us.” I stated. “You are. In A’Dore or Blethos a young man can marry at sixteen. He can work, earn wages, and pay for housing then. The general consensus between two separate countries was he needs to be eighteen to be better able to understand any contract he enters with that country.” I smiled. “That’s why it was important I married Seth after my birthday.” I took him by the shoulders. “Legally, you are an adult and can decide for yourself.” I raised the exception finger, “But, you are special. You are A’Dore’s Crowned Prince. Nothing can happen to you.” Thomas grunted but didn’t say anything. He’d done this when he was smaller and he was thinking something he shouldn’t. He also knew he’d be fussed at if he did say it. “What?” I called him on it. “Go ahead, say it.” “It’s damned unfair!” Thomas shouted. “Because I am who I am, I can’t do anything!?” “Unfair!?” Seth bellowed. “It was unfair that you had three meals a day? Unfair to have clean clothes, and for you to have parents that love you and…” “Stop,” I said softly to Seth. “He knows this,” I assured him. “But he’s right.” “He is?” Seth asked and Thomas blinked and said, “I am?” “Absolutely,” I said with a smile. “Is it fair? Hell, no! Life isn't fair!” I nodded getting nearer my nephew’s startled face. “While other children struggle with having enough to eat, a comfortable and warm bed, Thomas lives in a palace, has the best education, nutritious meals...this is something he’s heard for years growing up.” I chuckled and leaned closer to Thomas a little. “I had that when I lived in the palace.” I gave a grudging nod, “Our roles were only slightly different, Thomas. I had to be there just in case I needed to step in. The years passed and you were born, pushing me away. Your sisters would have to step in if anything happened to you and me. Edward came and I was pushed farther away again, but I was married to Seth then. When the threat Anastasia posed, if she succeeded, I would have to step in again.” I looked back at Seth. “You had it a little when your father gave the crown to you, but I knew my entire life.” I pulled Thomas closer. “You’re given so much, but allowed almost nothing.” Thomas was now nodding, “That’s right. I see something that interests me, but I can’t go do it.” He pointed at a memory he saw. “Sometimes, the palace workers would have to bring their children to work…” I nodded and looked at Seth, “Not every day, but if their caretaker was sick or injured,” I laughed, “and not all of them at once.” “Right,” Thomas nodded, “but sometimes two or more were there. They’d play in the Palace Courtyard and I could see them and it looked like fun,” he shrugged, “but I couldn’t. I either had lessons or something else to do.” “I know,” I smiled. “You made friends with the others Jason was training, didn’t you?” “Yes,” Thomas nodded, “but we never pal around after practice. I can never go to a tavern and unwind with them.” He blew a frustrated breath, “but I hear about the good time later and I never get that. My whole life is structured and the outcome is determined.” He shook his head. “I have no say about any of it! I will take Dad’s place.” I nodded again, “That’s right. I knew I would most likely be given in marriage to form an alliance. No love for my intended wife,” I chuckled at Thomas, “and it would be a wife, but the situation in Blethos…” I waved it off, “you know it. You knew it at six! Your Dad sort of broke that tradition and married your Mom. You know there is a duty you have.” Thomas looked away, nodded, and said glumly, “Yes.” Then he looked directly at me. “How can I prove myself if I can’t do anything? You did. Dad did…” I nodded, “The situations will arise, I promise.” “I don’t want you angry with me,” Thomas said. “Too bad,” I shrugged, “I am. You and your cousin followed us here!” Thomas’ eyes widened, “No.” He shook his head. “I left and he followed me! I didn’t know it for three or four days!” “You came through the mirror and what?” Seth asked. “Whose horse is that?” He pointed to the horse that was waiting patiently. He looked at the horse, “I remember him a little.” Thomas nodded, “He’s your horse. You had six in the barn.” He looked at us. “You’re my uncles, it’s not stealing.” I grudged a nod, “Well, you borrowed him without our knowledge, so...yes, you did.” “I’ll give him back!” Thomas defended, “I’m family!” “Who would know that in Royal Valley?” Seth asked with a laughing question. “Grace would,” he began to speak of the possibilities, “but you got to Royal Valley with no horse, to borrow a horse? Only Grace would know how you got there.” “You couldn’t talk to her,” I reasoned. “She would have thrown you back through the doorway! Three or four days until Toby caught up with you. You were in Creid?” “Yes,” Thomas admitted. “And you couldn’t tell anyone in authority,” I said, “they would tell King Yannick and he would have you escorted back to Royal Valley and they would throw you back in A’Dore!” “Probably personally,” Seth added. There was a two-edged sword with Toby. He learned to speak out loud, but he couldn’t really vary his tone or add emotion to his voice. You know he couldn’t whisper. The other edge was we couldn’t shout or whisper either. Or should I say, we could, he could see the anger or whatever, but he couldn’t hear it. His vision was better than anyone or thing is known about. Volume wasn’t necessary. He could see and understand conversations no human could expect to hear and understand. “The reason Tom didn’t,” Toby began as he got close enough, “is because I threatened him.” Seth looked puzzled, “You,” he pointed at Toby and then at Thomas, “threatened him?” Toby shrugged and looked guilty, “You have to know-how. Not with violence or anything like that, but…” “He threatened to tell everyone what I was doing,” Thomas growled looking at his cousin. “They would stop me and haul me back to Royal Valley! Then he’d tell Grace and she would send me home! I wasn’t ready to do that!” “Aha!” I said in a loud shout. “Now, we get to what I am angry about.” I kept my voice stern, but I hoped I didn’t sound as angry as I felt. “To keep out of trouble, you endangered your ten-year-old cousin?” Thomas threw his hands out. “It was too late! We couldn’t go back without problems.” Thomas waved at his cousin, “And I don’t think of him as ten. He’s no child! He hasn’t been in a few years!” “You’re wrong!” Seth shook his head. “He is a child. He is your uncle’s and my child! And he always will be even when he has children of his own!” I nodded, “Or even when he has grandchildren!” I added. “If we’re still here,” Seth muttered. “He threatened you?” I asked as I was kind of amused that Thomas said Toby could. I tried to keep that from my face. Thomas nodded vigorously, “Oh, yes.” What also amused me was Thomas’ bosom-buddy hug to Toby. “You see this cute little boy.” He squeezed Toby's cheeks as he looked at Toby. “I see this guy who is a sneaky, conniving, genius.” Thomas leaned toward us. “I want to keep him on my side.” Toby rolled his eyes and said, “Don’t be idiotic, Tom.” Say what you will. Hard feelings aside, they were family and comfortable with each other. They weren’t just allies. We would protect them both. We hugged them both. “As I said to Toby. This isn’t over by a longshot.” Seth nodded, “But we’d love front row seats when you tell your Mother in person, Thomas.” I laughed as Thomas’ face got a little worried. “I have to say,” Ceto said behind me, “You and Seth are amazing people, Erik.” Turning to her, I again noticed that she was exceptionally, breathtakingly beautiful. Again, just to be clear, there are paintings and sculptures I find breathtaking, but I don’t want to mate with them. Keep that in mind and don’t forget that. Her skin was dark like Chitto’s and had dark, dark brown eyes. That sort of feature was preferred by me. Her hair was thick! Hanging loosely around her shoulders was a silky, amount of hair that hung in an attractive...mess? Different groups of ethics had unique features, such as Asians and slanted eyes. Africans had coarse hair. The Aborigine tribes had hair that was always black or dark brown and it varied from curly to straight. Some were thin. Ceto’s was not. One of my fellow European descended country men commented that they should wash their hair. That really bothered me. I knew their hygiene was better than many of ours. “They use a plant they call Yarrow.” I said holding my anger back. “I’ve used it. There are other plants added to that for fragrance. Such as mint.” I looked at the man who was missing three teeth. “I’m sure they have things to say about some of our habits.” “Thank you,” I said bowing slightly. “I’ve seen other Children of Lilith. I’ve gotten to know three,” I waved at Demetrius who was still talking to Chitto. “That one extremely well.” “Most Children of Eve find him a bit odd,” Ceto said. “He is!” I agreed with a smile, “but I like his brand of oddness.” I looked at her. “Are we going to see you again?” She shrugged, “I looked in on you occasionally.” She put her hand on my arm. “Would you mind if I did?” “I’d love it,” I confessed. “Demetrius and Dara are good friends. We can always use those.” “You will in a couple of days,” she said with a gloomy tone. I frowned, “I’ve had enough Lilith-speak to ask, is there something I should know?” She sighed. “I don’t know.” She saw my face and hurried on. “The way this Child of Eve uses magic is…” she paused thinking. “Different,” I offered, “and harder to track?” Ceto nodded with a smile, “That’s right. So, the outcome is harder to foresee. Some of the blocking comes from you.” “Me!?” “Yes, you.” Ceto laughed. “All of the Sons of Adam have access to the magic. As Toby was describing what he saw when Dyami poured that elixir, you were getting it, too. I could tell.” “Maybe,” I admitted. “Those touched often by the magic sometimes pick it up,” She frowned, thinking, “This man claiming to speak for Tawa, picked it up quickly and became more powerful. I will be there. Have a safe journey.” She hugged me but disappeared during the hug. There and then not.
  9. Readers that have forgotten Cinderfella, Cinderfella 2 and Cinderfella 3 may have to review a little. Sorry. (No, I'm not.) The Lie Toby came up behind Seth and me after breakfast. We were in a circle around a nice warm fire in a tee-pee on pillows. Whatever he was thinking about was torturing him. “Dads,” he started, but his emotions were causing our deaf son more problems speaking. “Are you still angry with me?” He had cried before, but now it came fresh again. Neither Seth nor I were ready the previous night. He was our child. As parents, we were supposed to be guiding him where to go and even to show him how to get there. He was suffering and I hated that he and his cousin had chosen to do something we had thought he shouldn’t. I never lie to him. “I am still very angry that you feel you knew better than we do. So, yes, I’m still angry.” Seth sighed and moved to make room for Toby between us. “Have a seat, please.” “Your Dad and I have to trust you,” I began. “As when we were attacked in Royal Valley...we told you to go below with Grace so we knew you were safe.” “We did the same thing leaving you in A’Dore with your Uncle Christian and Aunt Ella,” Seth said. Toby missed nothing. His peripheral vision had sharpened so much he clearly saw what Seth and I both told him. “When we tell you and Thomas to do something next time,” I began, “Are you going to do it?” “Yes!” Our deaf son swore, kind of. He really can’t yell or even whisper and feeling the difference was tough and I still marveled he could talk at all. “How will we know?” Seth asked. “You said you’d listen and wait in A’Dore, but here you are.” I sighed, “I don’t want to minimalize this,” I began. “Will we get over this?” I gave a wobbling shrug, “I hope so.” I did turn to look more directly at him. “I hope we survive…” I watched Toby’s eyes widen. I nodded, “Yes, even with Demetrius’ protection we could be killed.” I waved at the world beyond the tee-pee. “This Wahkoowah is getting people killed. This is very serious!” He might not express emotions with his voice, but he showed it on his face. “When we met on the floor of that hotel when you crawled in my lap, you climbed in my heart and I vowed to God, you and your mother I would never allow you to be harmed. I love you and Dennis. I’d give my life to help you and your brother!” “Your Dad and I both do,” Seth said, “We are both mad as hornets about this, but we both love you. That won’t ever stop.” Toby was crying but tried to see what we said to him, “I swear, I will do whatever you say. I will.” I smiled a little at him. “You are a miracle, son. You are so talented and smart. You’ll do some amazing things. I know it.” “Me, too.” Seth smiled and we hugged him between us. “Enough about this.” He suddenly sat back. “You and Thomas traveled alone?” Toby nodded and Seth’s eyes grew. “What did you eat?” Toby grinned and shrugged. “I also read about setting traps. We had rabbit, fish, and wild roots.” He shook his head. “Thomas can cook!” I sat up straighter, “He can?” Toby nodded again. “He had that taught by Jason, the Head of Security training?” I laughed thinking of the man, “Oh, yes. I know Jason well. He taught me how to fence.” “I can help, Dads!” Toby declared. “I brought something I was working on.” He jumped up, but before...whatever he hugged Seth and me hard. “I love you, and I know this will help.” He ran off and came back with a large leather sack. He began digging in it and produced a strange...stick? It was the length of a crutch, but I saw it was a hollow tube of metal, maybe? “What on Earth…” Seth began as he asked taking it as Toby handed it to him. “It’s a fire lance,” Toby replied quickly as he dug for more from the sack. He paused as he thought, “Well, in China it is a fire lance.” It was a little comical as our son got charged up with excitement, he got harder to understand. He was saying something that was getting garbled as his attempts to speak caused problems even for Toby. He sighed with frustration and put the sack down and began signing again. "Sorry," he signed. "I’ll use the other way. In China about five or six hundred years ago, they developed the fire lance. They came up with this combination of elements that explode when a flame is added." He huffed as if tired from signing so fast. "They created this..." he had to think how to say it, "this fire tube can send a projectile a great distance!" “A projectile of what?” Seth asked. Toby shrugged, “The fire tubes in China were made from bamboo or other woods.” He spoke again. “They tried metal to make it possible to fire something heavier farther and cause more damage.” He was getting excited again and resumed signing. "This can be carried and do it farther!" He shrugged and handed us a small leather bag of things that made a sound almost like coins. I pulled one tiny metal balls out and rolled it in my hand. Rocks are unpredictable, but these were made to be correct. “They had a book of this at the Book Lender!?” I asked in surprise. Toby smiled again a little embarrassed. “Not exactly, I was told about the other book of Asianic Weaponry at the Book Lender when I got the one about the gauntlet. So, when we went to A’Dore in the past, I looked and found it in the military archive.” Seth held the long tube up, “Your Dad and I really need to be aware of what you read!” He tried to figure out this fire lance just by looking at it. “How do you use it?” Now Toby bounced, “I’ve tested it. It works!” He went back to signing. "I’ll show you outside!" He smiled. “I’m told it’s loud, so…” Seth looked confounded at me, “He’s ten!” I chuckled, “Yes.” I patted Seth on the back, “And you know what’s also scary? He learned to speak and about all this without our knowing about it. Imagine what he’ll be like in ten more years.” I watched as Seth’s eyes widened under the weight of what I said. We weren’t in Royal Valley, that was clear. It was cold. Not cool, it was cold. The dampness just seemed to eat through any clothing we wore. Except for the thick fur. It kept the bear, cougar, and other animals warm in the winter, it did for us now. Chitto had been invited to see this, too. As with Thomas, Max, Val, Reese, and Beau. Chitto had spoken to members of this tribe and was told of a safe area. Toby worked on the one fire tube. He got out another small sack. I had seen what was used for fireworks to send them in the air. He used a long stick to pack down the powder, after he put a fuse in a hole, dropped one of the little metal balls in and lit the fuse. It sparked and fed the flame of the fuse toward the little hole as he propped up the tube. When the flame got there, there was a loud “thunder crack” sound, making everyone jump. We saw a branch near the bottom of a tree have a sort of eruption and fall away. Beau again summed up what we all felt saying, “That was very loud.” He had covered his ears after the loud bang. Probably because his ears still rang with the sound even as it was over. It did in mine. “That’s an understatement,” I muttered. Of course, Toby didn’t hear it, but someone told Toby. “That’s impressive,” I admitted. “You aimed for the tree?” “Yes,” Toby answered. “It can be accurately aimed up to about a hundred feet or less. The numbers rise the further away you are.” “How’d you keep this secret?” I asked squinting at him, “A noise like that will bring people running, I would think.” “Not all the time,” Toby said. “I didn’t fire often.” He chuckled, “I made sure things were set up correctly and did it, but…” he began signing again. "When they did come, no one would even ask me if I heard something." He enjoyed that. We all went to the tree and saw the damage. It wasn’t an old or rotting tree, but the damage was evident. It this had been a human body...I shuddered at the thought. The splintering of young wood, I couldn’t imagine what would happen to a human body. I wasn’t sure about the new armor. Would it stop the projectile? “This should be as a last resort,” I said quietly. I had eyes look at me curiously. I looked at Toby. “How many do you have?” “Three, including this one,” Toby answered. I sighed, “Our friends in the many tribes don’t see people we consider mad as being…” I gave a frustrated shrug, “well, mad. If a man says he sees or hears something we don’t, is he mad? Or can he see and hear what we can’t? Who’s to say it’s just inside the man’s head? He’s often considered to be touched by the gods.” “But he’s nuts!” Max argued. It was the perfect word. Short, concise, and expressed surprise so well. I chuckled with a shrug. “By what authority can you say that?” I shook my head. “He has a following.” I began, “People believe him and we risk creating a martyr by killing him. Then we’ll never get rid of him.” Chitto nodded, “Erik’s right.” “About what exactly!?” Seth asked. “All of it,” Chitto said. “The many tribes don’t see human nature as one or the other. We know there are many shades to a man’s personality. We also don’t see evil as much as those from Europa.” He chuckled he threw a chummy arm around my shoulder, “Such as our excepting Erik’s marriage to Seth.” I nodded, “And they weren’t surprised when told about Demetrius. This...Wahkoowah can access some of the magic.” I saw Reese’s and Val’s face and hurried on, “You came to A’Dore by what many claims is magic, but you know it works.” I waved at Seth, “I offer him as proof. Do you see any scarring? Miracle or magic his scars are gone.” I looked at them all, “He knew about the magic and thought he could access it.” Chitto nodded, “He’s also right about the martyr thing.” He shrugged, “I don’t believe one of your disciples weren’t martyred. I’m not sure he won’t be if we do or don’t.” “He needs to be discredited and then exposed?” Max said to see if he understood. I nodded, “Preferably.” I smiled at him. “But first, though...we need to find him.” As we gathered things together to leave, I stopped Toby. “This is impressive,” I admitted. “I will also say this also scares me.” Seth walked over, “Me, too.” He waved his hand as Toby, “You’re ten!!” I nodded, “We were warned.” I said to Seth. “Yes,” Seth agreed. “We were.” He waved at Toby. “You’re ten!” “The fact we didn’t know is scary,” I said. “That you were handling something dangerous is scary!” Seth added. “You could have been badly hurt, lose fingers, or become blind and even killed!” “I was careful,” Toby defending weakly. “I’m sure you were,” I nodded. “I have no doubt you took every precaution you could think of. You’re brilliant.” I pointed to the sack of powder. “You never brought this in the house, have you?” Toby held the sack up, “Not like this. I’ve brought the charcoal and sulfur in the house and I brought the saltpeter in, but ground together? No.” "Good," I nodded, “Your brother is very smart, too. He could hurt himself. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent if I let this slide. There is no way this is isn’t over, but I’m proud of you.” “The problem is,” Seth went on, “You are too smart. You may think you understand and maybe we won’t.” “But you tell us before you do anything like this again,” Yes, I did the parental finger-shake in his face. “If we aren’t getting it,” Seth suggested, “try using smaller words.” Smirking, I elbowed Seth lightly in the gut causing Toby to laugh. “And don’t give up,” I added. “If we’re still not getting it, explain again to get us to see it as what you want us to and what you want to do, but never,” I held the finger steady, “and I mean never,” I did tap his forehead lightly, “do it alone again. Smart people can have accidents, too.” Toby nodded with a shy smile, “Yes, sir.” He moved t resume gathering his things, but I stopped him, “Not good enough.” I made him look me in the face. “You state your understanding verbally and in sign. We need to be sure.” Toby thought a moment and put the few things down and sighed as he consented. Raising his hands he signed and spoke his promise. “I will not hide my experiments from you or experiment with potentially dangerous substances without telling you again.” Seth looked at me, “Is that good enough?” I thought about what he said and replied reluctantly, “For now.” What Demetrius and Dara explained a decade before, Seth and I knew Toby would do amazing things, but just as with Seth, I was unprepared for this so soon! He was a ten-year-old boy! I hated it when grownup predictions came true. To me, it seemed to take forever to get the age of double digits! I said that at this age and told I would see it differently soon. It was different now! As we were putting the finishing touches to get ready to head out again when He-lush-ka, the Ute tribal warrior to originally greeted us in Ute territory, came jogging up. Just a little information for you, they had ways of sending messages the great distances between tribes. Quickly over some miles, they used smoke to send messages. I had learned a little as a child from my cousins to read some of that which worked well during the day. At greater distances, a message with a lot of content was sent by runners. A more detailed message needed a person to deliver the message. There were still some tribes that didn’t use a written language and...sorry, I got off-topic. The runners could run day and night without stopping. They covered hundreds of miles in a matter of days. Some were said to be faster than any deer! When those Vikings, Espanians and Brits, we came with horses, they weren’t just here, that was over a thousand years ago! Some horses broke free or got loose and bred in the wild, but until then the runners were it. Looking around the terrain, I’d guess runners were preferred with all the twists, turns, dips, and other hazards. He-lush-ka was a warrior but wasn’t a runner as he panted a little and touched Chitto and said something quickly to him. Chitto’s face became confused a moment as he asked He-lush-ka a question. “We’re asked to go back to speak with Dyami again,” Chitto reported and said something again to He-lush-ka. “Our friend here doesn’t know why.” We entered Dyami’s tee-pee again, but he was a hard man to read. The day prior he had been casual and at ease. He was...preoccupied now. His blank, white eyes turned to us as we entered. “This has never happened before.” He was upset, but not angry. Not exactly. “Sit.” He more ordered than offered. “What I saw yesterday?” He asked. “Was a lie!” “We need a little more,” I said. “All of it? Parts of it? What?” “I’m not really sure,” Dyami then seemed to look up, but he didn’t see so… “What I told you about was inaccurate. It was a world of things I was shown to tell you about. That was the lie!” He reached over and grabbed a clay jar. The same jar he used the day before. “I began my daily rituals and…” he searched for the right word, “something was off.” That’s when he became more animated, “That should be impossible!” He was again trying to find a way to describe it. “I struggle with how to explain what I see in words...it’s like when someone tried to tell me about the color red! How do you do that when I have no clue what you're talking about?” He evened his breathing. “This morning, I read the situation again. It was exactly the same!” Chitto nodded, “I take it that’s not a good thing.” “No!” Dyami stated, “It’s impossible! Two sunny days, the exact same temperature and no variation in events just don’t happen. This morning it was exactly the same and the night before.” He shook his head. “It was created for me to see and believe it is real.” He put the jar down and picked another one up. “I made this new see elixir. It’s very strong and I was shown what was really there.” He shook his head. “It gets worse each time now.” He poured some of his elixir on the coals and there was the familiar sizzle. The smoke rose waved toward Dyami’s face again only this time he pulled away from it as if it was badly soured milk or worse. He let out a grunt and didn’t hide his adverse gastric reaction and he repressed a little gag and retching. Even my untrained sense of smell got this burnt flesh smell. I had gone with Christian to a village once where they had a bad fire and the smell of burned human flesh was nauseating. Now, there was the smell of human waste and other rotting garbage and you’ll get a better understanding of this smell. “And none of this is because you mixed the elixir wrong,” Max said carefully. Dyami gave a look with a face that said he had to be joking, “I mixed it three times. If I didn’t know better, I’d think a Yendalooshi was involved.” He stopped a second and said, “That’s a witch.” “Aren’t they Navajo?” Chitto asked. “I’m sure they’re more than willing to share,” Dyami muttered. “Unlike the God you worship,” he pointed in my direction and Seth’s, “our deities and spirits are capable of good and bad. There are many tricksters. A great spirit can do something miraculous and the kill out of simple jealousy the next. Few are solely good or evil.” He waved the smoke into his face again and his reaction was pretty much as the last time. “Wahkoowah believes it is Tawa that speaks through him. It isn’t. Whoever it is can hide what he is and makes it hard to see Truth.” “But it’s a Child of Eve, not Lilith!” I stated and then closed my mouth quickly. “Sorry.” Dyami smiled, lowering his arm. “You know more than you admit to.” It wasn’t an accusation and more of a confirmation. “We know a lot,” Seth admitted. I sighed, giving Dyami a condensed version of Demetrius, Dara, Lulus, Le Nah, and what they said they were. Dyami chuckled and nodded, “The story of Prince Charming and Cinderella has traveled here, too. Truelove’s Kiss also.” “Truelove’s kiss?” Seth smiled but questioned. “The story about you two!” Dyami stated simply. “An evil wizard cast an evil curse on a young prince who was scarred and cured with truelove’s kiss given by Prince Eric.” “That beats the Hell out of Cinderfellas,” Seth muttered to me. “You know of the Children of Eve and the Children of Lilith?” I asked. Dyami chuckled, “I do! They have appeared to many of us over the many centuries.” I looked up in the air, “Demetrius! I know you’re listening.” Someone came in the tee-pee and stood up straight in the tee-pee. “Yes, I’m always listening.” “What’s going on?” Seth asked Demetrius. “Is it a Child of Eve?” “Yes!” Demetrius swore and he gave grudging shrugging nod. “My guess is he’s a prodigy. Some people are gifted at math or music. He’s a prodigy accessing the magic!” “You knew that!?” I asked. Demetrius grunted, “I didn’t know then,” he pointed to his right, “I wasn’t sure later,” he moved his hand closer. “I do now.” He pointed in front of him. “I’m getting more now.” He frowned. “The Children of Eve access magic differently than Children of Lilith. It is harder to track.” Seth threw his hands out. “We can’t access magic at all!” “That’s not true!” Demetrius shot back irritated. “We still don’t know who cured your scars! It wasn’t a Child of Lilith!” Dyami was listening and hearing this new voice, his head cocked. “Have we met?” Demetrius turned leaned in toward Dyami. “No. I’m Demetrius. I’m Erik’s and Seth’s Fairy Godfather.” I laughed, “You said you weren’t anymore!” Demetrius rolled his eyes. “Semantics!” He gave me a look. “Are we still family?” He placed his arms with Dyami’s in greeting. “What’s going on here?” A woman’s voice demanded, but in a nonhostile way. A woman I didn’t recognize suddenly appeared. Seth, Toby, and I had gotten used to the sudden appearances. Max, Chitto, and Thomas jumped startled, but not alarmed. Val, Beau, and Reese had their hands on their swords ready to fight. “Ceto!” Demetrius’ greeted as his eyes widened as he smiled. He stopped and thought. “It’s been a while!” “A hundred and twenty years.” She greeted Demetrius with a hug. “She’s a Child of Lilith!?” Seth pointed at her with his mouth open in shock. Demetrius nodded, “She is!” Here was the confusion part, for me as well! I hate to admit it, but meeting Demetrius I wasn’t surprised that he looked like us! I’ll explain it. Chitto and I are cousins, but we are of different...races? We are Humans and of the same species. That’s how Christian’s and my Great-Grandmother was Muscogee and we had several members of the Cherokee Tribe. After almost fifteen hundred years...we better! This woman was gorgeous! I’m very serious! She tugged at a part of me I thought would be unknown. No. I had no desire to have an affair with her, but…(sorry, Ella) she was in my book the prettiest woman I’d ever seen. In her middle to her late thirties and a brunette! Sam’s Queen Theresa was a brunette, but this woman… Her hair was a rich dark, dark brown, but clearly not black as with Christian, Seth, Toby...all of us. While Ella had a fair complexion because of her ancestry with Vikings, this Ceto was dark like Chitto and his father. She looked more like an Aborigine. Almost. Ceto’s hair was straight but cascaded in a long luxurious wave past her shoulders. Demetrius, Dara, and Lukus looked like they’d stepped off a boat from Europa! I knew Demetrius had a Child of Eve as a husband for three decades in Italia before Dara. Ceto was dressed in light-colored deerskin. “She looks like many women from the tribes!” Seth stated. Ceto looked down and held her arms out, “Do I?” “You had other Ethnicities as Children of Lilith?” I asked. Demetrius chuckled, “According to the Old Scrolls, you all descended from Noah and his wife. After the flood mankind came from them.” “We missed that boat,” Ceto chuckled. “What was the Ethnic Group Adam and Lilith came from?” Demetrius asked and pointed to himself and Ceto, “We don’t even know!” “From those scrolls, you find out that these people, those from Europa, Asia, and Africa came from the same people,” Ceto said, “but did they?” “The Tower of Babel maybe?” I asked weakly. Ceto grudged a nod, “That’s a good possibility, but that's just conjecture with no proof.” Max and the others relaxed a bit and he took his hand off his sword. “I heard about the Tower of Babel, but can you remind me, please?” “After the floodwaters receded,” I began, “The generations of man from the ark resulted in one people and one language. Pride and confident they could do anything, they began to build this tower to reach Heaven and God.” “That’s impossible,” Toby said simply. "Noah? You mean Noah and the ark!?" Max asked in disbelief. "Yep," I nodded and grinned at my son, “They didn’t know that and started to build the Tower.” I laughed at a thought, “I even remember it said that God laughed at our audacity.” I shrugged. “To complicate things God changed the languages of the people. My instructor even speculated he changed their Ethnic Groups. The man working next to you was now a different race and you couldn’t understand him anymore.” I looked at Seth, “It’s just a theory.” “And a very good one!” Ceto added impressed. “The Tower of Babel affected you?” Seth asked doubtfully. Demetrius shrugged, “It takes a thousand generations of men living in an area to cause changes. A lot of sun or a little sun changes things. Is it warm or cold? Your bodies were created to react and make the necessary changes.” He waved at himself. “This is what I am. It’s been like this for hundreds of years.” “You’re balding a little by choice?” I asked with a grin. Demetrius shrugged, “The image of myself in my mind looks this way.” He physically changed to look...I didn’t recall ever seeing him before. He quickly changed back. "I can hold the other form, but I have to think about it constantly. This, I don't. I just am." “Is this the real you?” I asked and he merely shrugged with a grin. “Fine,” Seth muttered, “but these names! What happened to Liz, Karen, Jane, or any other name we’re comfortable with?” Demetrius nodded and growled, “Yep, it’s all about you, isn’t it?”
  10. R. Eric


    I admit it. I have a problem. I don't due endings. At all. Are the characters in the story still alive? They are, then it will never end. After show movie credits or tv show credits, I always ask, "Then what happen?" I've had some setbacks, but still write. I always have and always will. As long as I can, I will write.
  11. R. Eric


    I know, this was a year ago, but I was getting blocked again. So, I'm doing what my husband suggested. I'm writing something else. Don't tell anyone, but I plan to go back to the chapter of each when writing. Oh, my GOD! The mistakes I made. The next chapter posted will be from this story. Was I still in shock? I don't know, but it was horrible! So, shhh! Don't tell. Eric and Seth will rise again!!
  12. R. Eric


    Look down.
  13. R. Eric


    Yep. I was checking and realized posted the wrong corrected chapter. Now, it's fixed.
  14. Traitor? He was gaping at me in shock, “You’re throwing me out of Makarovia.” “You left Makarovia!” Peter said angrily pointing at Klaus as he approached the bars. “Your father, his father, grandfather...not one was a part of Makarovia!” I could hear the heat in Peter rise in his voice. Remember that poor pen? I touched Peter’s hand gently. “You still don’t see the cause and effect of this?” No one is that thick in the head. “You said some things that caused this and this is the effect. Did you think what you were doing was constructive?” Klaus shook his head, “We always did this!” Klaus circled a little in the cell. “Dad, Granddad, and Great-grandpa said we were the King’s conscience.” “Because the one King Olek has alone isn’t enough,” I squinted my eyes at him. “You spoke of the moral corruption my brother showed the world,” Peter said. “I challenge you to find any politician or leader more honest than my brother Olek.” I shook my head, “And we weren’t the only ones to object.” I said. “Other Makarovians heard and didn’t like what you said.” “What the Hell?” Olek said behind us as he came in. Peter grabbed Olek and hugged his brother hard in relief. He was alright. No one had been in the corridor when Peter, our agents, and I got free. We didn’t even know if anyone was in their room. Peter, myself, and our agent friends were going to The Grotto. A night/dance club? It was past sundown, but not late. Yuri was behind Olek. Naturally. He smiled at me quickly, but his face returned to the scowl he had. I looked back at Klaus. He was male, obviously. He was about Olek's age, but he had a rough life. It said that on his face. I liked men. I found something attractive about almost all men regardless of their age. Was I so bothered by what Klaus had done I couldn’t see anything else? People can do ugly things, sure, but… As with most people in this part of Europe, he had dark hair and dark eyes. Was his hair black? There was gray in it, but not all over. The years had been very generous with Olek, but not to Klaus. It is possible, however unlikely, he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong. Like the person singing next to you thinks they sound great when in reality they just carry a tune in a backpack. Until they hear themselves. I couldn’t really stand to hear myself speak. Sing? Forget it. Most people can’t. Video recordings are often shocking because we don’t see or hear what others do! Suddenly, the deserts after dinner seem like a bad idea as we’re heavier, or nasal toned...all sorts of flaws we now see, and hear but had not realized were there. To be blunt, how we often see of ourselves mentally is rarely what’s there. It’s a shock to see that. “Did you hear the meeting with King Olek?” Klaus shook his head. Maybe he didn’t know. Helga even commented his manner was odd. Quiet. No anger or rage in his voice. There was emotion a few minutes ago, so he was capable. It had gone on for four or five generations! I’ve also said that Makarovians were not stupid, just a bit unsophisticated. Simple? Sure, but not malicious. They were isolated often. “My brother is a man of integrity!” Peter growled at Klaus. “Morals!? How many grandchildren has your daughter given you now? Three?” “Four,” Klaus confessed sadly and slumped. Peter nodded, “I knew of the three!” He looked at me. “All three have different fathers! She married the father of number three after their daughter was born.” I know Makarovia was a small country, but… “Wait,” I said quietly and quickly holding my hand up to stop Peter. I kept my eyes on Klaus. A person can hide many things. An actor will make you believe what you see and hear is real. “You don’t rehearse what you’re going to say in your head?” “Why?” Klaus asked. This was different than I anticipated. My credentials to do this didn’t exist. I didn’t get the feeling he realized what he’d done. I am no fool and not tricked or suffered a con job very often, but a good conman would probably make headway with me at first. If the con artist wasn’t they’d be looking for other work. Every country had smart people, not so smart people, and ignorant people. Ignorant; not stupid. We had them in the United States. Not rednecks, that’s different. People that just didn’t know because they hadn’t been exposed to something. There was the country’s size to consider. Some even smart people are ignorant until they find out. “No one told you to come,” I said to qualify. “No,” Klaus frowned. “Who would?” Peter and Olek were looking at me with curiosity. Yuri was smiling. He knew what I was doing. “No one?” I asked to be sure. “No.” I suddenly felt someone put a hand on my left shoulder, grabbling my shirt more than me. “Ooh!” I involuntarily let out. Olek looked at Klaus, “Excuse us, we’re going to talk. About you.” He pulled me out in the corridor. I had let out a little sound of surprise but I was never worried. He wasn’t angry with me. Peter and Yuri came with us. He only scared me once when he had the gun against Penelope Baldwin's forehead, “Out with it,” Olek said quietly so not to be overheard. “What are you feeling about this?” “Olek,” I began to remind him I wasn’t a psychiatrist, psychologist, or even a therapist. “I know that.” Olek assured me, “but you have a track record of being right about things like this. As my friend or my brother. I listen to your advice.” He shrugged. “So, advise me.” “I might not be right, but…” I said. “I don’t want to advise something that gets people hurt or killed.” Olek nodded, “I know that worry well.” He chuckled touching me gently on the side of my face. “I meant what I said. You’re right so often, I’d be a fool to not listen.” He thought about how to make himself clear. “You have an intuition into the hearts of people.” He chuckled. "You see and understand. You’re...like psychic or something.” I began doing the Ivanov circling pace as I thought out loud. “Forgive me, but isn’t Tysa a small town?” Olek nodded, “Just 1106 at the last counting.” “Okay,” I nodded. “But that was after the turn of the century.” It was making sense. I know, I’ll tell you what makes sense in mere seconds. “Were there more at one time?” Olek thought, “During Soviet control and when we were a part of Romania.” “Ordan is a Romanian name, isn’t it?” I really asked just to confirm what I knew. “The family moved to Tysa at those times?” Olek’s head did the backup thing Peter did as he thought about something he hadn’t before. “Sure,” Olek nodded. “It was a century ago, but Romania ran low on coal. Europe ran low. Tysa had plenty of Lignite…” he looked in my eyes. “Do you know brown coal?” Everybody knew coal was black. There are many subjects I know almost nothing about. Geology is one I have just enough, so I shook my head. Olek smiled, “It’s very soft dirt and rock under the peat.” He smirked. “It’s the last choice incombustible rock, but it will burn. You know the winters here. Brown coal produces little heat, but it’s better than nothing.” Peter frowned. “What are you saying?” I held my finger up. “What if they never wanted to be Makarovian?” “What!?” Olek blurted. “Wait,” I said patiently. “I can’t explain all at once.” I held my finger up to Olek, “And it’s all just a theory until we confirm it.” I cautioned. “Along with maps I did read up on history a little. I read about the Coal shortage at the turn of the the twentieth century. Coal was the only real heat source other than trees. I go around thinking countries are always the same,” I said, “but they’re not. When the coal shortage occurred back in nineteen...whatever, World War One was just beginning. At that time, part of Makarovia was Romanian. Did that include Tysa?” I asked them. I threw my hands up in frustration. “I’m working on that theory.” I turned to Olek. “You said the house was in their family a while. How long?” I asked. “Often when countries are moved, the borders bend and warp. Was Tysa a Romanian village before?” I looked at Peter and Yuri. “I’m considering mental illness, too. At the worst, a personality disorder.” I threw my hands up again. “It could a cluster of personality disorders.” I looked at Peter. “Dr. Phil McGraw taught me that one on the show Dr. Phil.” I explained quickly. “They can be passed down in families genetically.” I shrugged a nod, “That and the combination of thought, emotion and behavior is learned. Environment…” “They aren’t Makarovian?” Yuri stated clearly. I hissed uneasily when he said that. “I’m saying...Dad, or rather great granddad might not have approved of Tysa becoming Makarovian. That knowledge could be passed on father to son. I suggest we give them an option. Makarovian or Romanian? It’s their choice.” “They had hatred passed down?” Olek asked. “The emotion maybe,” I nodded. “Did the source get passed down? This is guess work!” I did it again and approached Olek. “I could be so off base, but something wasn’t adding up with Klaus! What grade did he graduate from? Did his father, grandfather or great grandfather even go to school during the winter?” I asked loud. “I need a history!” I thumbed back at the holding area. “I don’t really feel like I’m speaking to a member of Mensa!” Of course, I don't have to tell any of you about the International Organization of people that score over one hundred and fifty on their intelligence quotation. They occupy the top two percent of humanity. I’m not member either. Oh, well. I have a problem with spelling. (duh) Einstein had trouble with simple arithmetic. Who cares? Mental illness is now a hot topic today. How many times have you heard bipolar this or manic that today? Every has ADHD or something. We knew about salinity for a while and now there’s Alzheimer’s and dementia along with all the wonderful health issues with aging. It sucks! I’m wary taking the next breath. (Like I can stop.) I’m still plan to live forever. “Simple behaviors are taught,” I shrugged. “Such as how to eat. Chew with your mouth closed, no slurping, napkins in laps, no elbows on the table...many others! Lessons in parenting and emotions are shown.” I waved in Klaus’ direction. “I need time with him!” Olek nodded as he absorbed what I said. “You have to agree, what he did wasn’t right.” “Oh, Hell no!” I agreed. “That was so wrong, but I think he’ll see that.” Olek squinted, “I never really believed in fate before, but somehow,” he reached back and brought Peter close to himself, “Peter was motivated to go West to get that education. He was assigned a project partner who spoke enough Ukrainian to get by and became fluent in Makarovian in a matter of weeks! They fell in love.” Olek smiled. “You were destined to be here.” I began shaking a little. “I could be wrong.” I said weakly. “When I first came up with this plan, I hoped it would work as it has...” Olek nodded, “You were right again.” “I don’t want anyone hurt by my bad advise.” I explained. “Lives will depend on my decisions.” Olek smiled compassionately. “I know.” He nodded. “One of the biggest concerns I have are just that. Am I deciding what’s best for me or for Makarovia?” He hugged me. “I’m so happy that’s a worry for you, I be more worried if you weren’t.” Peter laughed, but it was softer, more understanding laugh. “He does, believe me. He always questions who he is to us to make any decision.” “You’re a Makarovian!” Olek stated firmly. “Even before the wedding! You were meant to be here. Now.” He smiled. “I am fine dealing with the powers of the West, but you...went in and made friends of those sent. General Burke and General Hammond were friendly and I say are real friends, because of you.” I was becoming embarrassed. “Stop.” It was fine to have someone to speak of faith in your abilities. I’m glad he trusted me. Too much of this, I’ll start to believe it. The sense of entitlement and that’s when mistakes happen. A king, queen or any other leader who loses the focus on people is doomed. King Louise was one and many others. Another of those tidbits of gold wisdom passed to me. It’s great to give compliments. If you mean it and it’s sincerely given, be gracious with the compliments. But! (Did you really think I created these dramatic moments on my own?) Also, learn to take and accept them just as graciously. You know when someone’s giving them to get something from you. I’m not talking about them. A compliment given after you have done something well and deserve it, take it! What Olek was telling was sincere! There was no building up that would be taken down. Anyone could see I was moved by what he said. He meant it. Olek said. “Never again question who you are. You are Prince Eric Ivanov of Makarovia. We’ll make that a new rule.” “There you go, Olek,” Peter chuckled. “He can really understand and follow that easily.” “When I ask for input,” Olek smiled, “I know who all of my advisors are. You are one! I trust you. You don’t just give your opinion, but tell me how you see it based on available data and give a probable conclusion.” He did the futility shrug. “I’ve lived here my whole life and never considered what you just said.” “You were busy,” I said with a shrug and smile. He knew he gave that as an explanation for why somethings didn’t get done. “Is it true? Let’s find out!” “He’s right,” Peter said. “Surnames come from other countries. We have plenty of Russians!” His gaze on me softened and he touched me gently. “You’ve worked on me,” Peter said. “I need to work on you to make you comfortable with who you now are.” “I do, apparently,” I nodded. “I was taught I was no better than anyone and not beneath anyone.” “And that still is true,” Olek smiled, “but no one else is here. You are. For a reason.” “I’m just not used to it.” Things needed to progress. “Up until the mid nineteen-forties there was Prussia and the Austrian-Hungarian joint power. I’m surprised their is more German spoken in East Europe.” Olek chuckled again. “We speak German a little, but Makarovia has always been on the edge. Romania had been the eastern most prominent Provincial/State. Just missing us. We were part of Ukraine then.” “No wonder you all speak so many other languages.” I sighed. “I love speaking with all of you, but we’re not getting answers here.” Olek nodded, “He stays tonight.” He said firmly using his index finger as if instructing me. “Yes!” I replied nodding. “Oh, absolutely.” “Technically,” Olek said. “I can keep him here until he dies of old age, but…” he looked at Yuri and Peter, “one day? Two?” He looked at me. “They hold for three in the United States.” I nodded. “If they are having difficulty building a case or he withholding something...” I agreed. Yuri frowned. “He stormed into the palace,” he pointed out the gravity of what Klaus’ had done, “he sought out King Olek, but we only have his word about why. He could have meant to do more. We don’t know until we learn to read minds.” We stepped in the holding area again. Klaus had gotten tired of standing and sat on a bunk in the cell. He stood when we came in. “You’re throwing me out of Makarovia?” Klaus asked again. “Isn’t that what you want?” Yuri asked. “To not be Makarovian.” “No!” Klaus said quickly. “I did what I was taught to do.” “Telling your king all he did wrong?” Peter asked. “Never once telling he did a good job?” “Taught to by who?” I asked. “By Dad,” he said simply, “Bunic, and Străbunic before him.” I smiled hearing that, “Which means?” I suspected. Klaus smiled a little, “Sorry, that’s what we call our grandfathers and great-grandfathers in Tysa.” No, he was no member of Mensa. “But the word is what language?” “Oh,” he nodded as he understood. “Romanian, I think. Străbunic and Bunic spoke more of it.” He jerked his head up. “I don’t want to be Romanian! I am Makarovian!” I nodded and went to a computer and tapped it awake. I pulled up the Makarovian Website and then the media page. Pulling up the meeting I turned on the audio and sent it into the speaker. The initial greeting was short and Klaus went quietly into what he’d done wrong. No emotion in his voice or anger, but he didn’t sound as if he was following a script. I did see Klaus’ eyes widen. We always see and hear flaws we don’t realize are there. It was short. “You had to know this would hurt King Olek,” I said to Klaus. “How can you see this as a constructive thing?” Klaus sat with a wail, “It would anyone. Străbunic told us it was our job! It was our duty to be the King’s conscience!” “Who gave your Străbunic that job?” I asked. He shrugged, “I’m not sure, but Străbunic’s father was told, I guess. We were chosen!” “From the time of the Russian Revolution until nineteen-nighty one?” I asked. “The king here wasn’t in charge that much.” “We didn’t come here much then,” Klaus answered. “I didn’t like doing it later.” “Then why do it?” Olek asked. “I was supposed to!” Klaus said. “Bunic said to keep emotions out of it.” He shook his head. “I think you’re doing a great job.” Olek’s mouth dropped open. “Not one of you has ever said that.” He didn’t exactly whine, “Even a dog occasionally is told good dog.” I looked at Olek who nodded and said me, “I know, I’m not a dog, but at least it gets an occasional positive. Am I less deserving because I’m not a dog?” “It was said,” Klaus began, “that everyone was showering you with praise, so I wasn’t supposed to.” He shook his head, “I was a fool.” Yuri nodded and said very seriously, “If it was as you say it was. You did it as a service. Our problem is there is nothing recorded about that.” I nodded, “I don’t believe you are a fool,” I assured Klaus. “Being a fool and doing something foolish aren’t necessarily the same thing.” I was almost touching the bars now. “If even part of what you say is true, I’d say you are one of the most loyal citizens in Makarovia.” I looked at Klaus closer. “I admit it. I was furious with what I heard and I wanted to bounce you out of here as soon as possible. I posted the audio-recording of your meeting with King Olek in hopes other Makarovians would get pissed off.” I shook my head, “I didn’t expect it this soon.” Klaus nodded, “Mihal is a HIUGE fan!” I recognized the Romanian version of Michael. Klaus grimaced. “He could hardly wait for the broadcasts. When he saw the date and time of the meeting, he knew it was me.” He chuckled, but at a memory. “He couldn’t wait for the computer he bought to arrive and had it hooked up in minutes. He heard it and let everyone he had as contacts know what and hear it themselves.” “He knows about your duty with this?” I asked carefully. He gave a grudging nod. “They know I have an audience with the king. I never reveal what we talk about.” “You will remain here for now,” Yuri explained. “For your own protection for now. What you said needs to be confirmed.” Klaus moaned a little. “My house will be destroyed.” Olek smiled, “If I say not to?” He looked up a little hopeful. “Would you do that?” Olek nodded, “I’ll even send it by broadcast as soon as we’re done.” He was looking at Klaus with more compassion. “You have my word on that.” “Thank you, Your Majesty.” He bowed formally. Once in the hall, Olek stopped. “Could he be lying?” Yuri looked at us and then shook his head. “I can’t tell.” All three of them looked at me, but no pressure, right? I sighed, “What am I? An Ouji Board!? I don’t know. He’s either what he claims to be or a damned fine liar!” Another thing to note was inbreeding. I’m not talking about brother to sister or even cousin to cousin. When a population is as closed off as Makarovians were. The pickings were slim. Everyone was related somehow to everyone! Royal families were the worst! Regular people weren’t good enough. You know the Romanovs. Hemophilia and Bolsheviks. Remember Prince Charles II of Spain? Poor guy! Get something to keep track, okay? His mother was her uncle’s sister. An aunt. Whose mother was an aunt? I get confused, but seven generations before, they all came from the same two parents! All of them! There is a flow chart, but Prince Charles II was the most inbred person in the monarchy! Bad planning! Very bad planning with all of those aunts and uncles, cousins, and...those recessive genes all coming to match the same in family members. Even in communities with more people, but still similar people. It was better. That worked out well for the people of Luxembourg. Heart disease and blood pressure issues were fewer there. Another thing was the skeletal structure. A Scottish man marries a woman from Greece. Through the generations, the jawline structure on both is set. The Greek jaw doesn’t fit right with the Scottish jaw, causing an overbite? It was sad, but almost a joke about the people of England who were known to have bad teeth. They did! Beautiful faces with crooked smiles. They had been bred with a few Vikings as well and Italians! Highlanders will swear they are different than Englishmen. Sure. (Sarcasm: everybody can see that.) The people of Stryia and Skoal had better access to dentistry. Tysa did not. Klaus didn’t smile much, but when he did… Women weren’t dragging their children form yards in fear, but the unevenness was seen. Peter and Olek had gone to the dentist's. I remember Dr. Finnegan. I loathed that man. He was a borderline sadist. Every “this won’t hurt a bit” did hurt. Liar. He didn’t even inspire fantasies. What good is he for me, damn it! No amount of nitrous oxide could help. Yet, at the same time, Makarovia had the best deliveries by population. Educational deficiencies were few. Mental delays? When it was improper to say mentally retarded. Birth defects? Not many. Makarovians were rolling the dice pretty well. Then again, with things cut off it a parent did a horrible thing to their child, would we know? I shudder. Everything is possible. I started to walk slowly forward. “This could be a legitimate job they do.” I was thinking, “You can ask almost every person in the United States to name a traitor.” I threw my hands out. “Practically everyone will say, Benedict Arnold.” I stopped, “Late Eighteenth Century? American Revolutionary War? George Washington…” I waved them off. “But, should you ask what he did...a good few clam-up. They might know a little, but...” I shook my head, “or was he being loyal? He did switch sides. Then again he did that leading the American Troops. He was loyal to the government, he did rebel. He joined the British. They didn’t trust him either. He was dishonest and untrustworthy.” I looked back at the shrinking cell. “I just don’t see him masterminding anything.”
  15. R. Eric


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