Twelve years! In the next few days...six when we celibate our anniversary. Twelve years ago, Christian and I came to Blethos and I was chosen from King Alexander’s family and make a choice. Marry them to make them Queen. What I wanted was to find a good man. We would be married legally. I heard about kingdoms in the past doing that for the alliance. Yes, yes, you know that. I’m just reminding you.
I met Seth. He was kind from the first seconds of meeting. At the time, he knew me as David. Only he saw me as me! The magic didn’t disguise me as it did with everyone else. I saw he was a beautiful soul. He kissed me! He had nothing to lose. He knew he could get killed. He was scarred on the right hand and face. Being told by Demetrius not look with my eyes, but see with my heart, I would find the loving I sought. It became as popular as the story of Cinderella and Prince Charming!
Blah, blah, blah. I know you know this, too. I’ll move on. I turned eighteen. Tomorrow would be my thirtieth birthday! I say “Yay” with little enthusiasm. A few hundred years ago...until health care improved it was considered a mid-life time. There were diseases and things to end your life. We had the little warriors that we got out of Christian’s blood in many people now. They saw the results with the attack with Len Na. They saw the ones that got the little warriors did not get sick! Now after it proved to be a good thing, NOW it was being demanded!? Typical.
As wonderful as these little warriors were. It helped with infections and helped in healing from injury. Which I was going to deal with now. Seth had been in the vineyard but was brought in with the help of three men. They helped me get him upstairs and in bed.
“Gently...” I cautioned, “I will probably need your help getting out his clothes.” I glanced back and saw Darrin who was checking to see what was wrong. “Is Ryan back from school?” I grinned at Darrin. “He is your husband.”
"I’m here!” Ryan said moving around Darrin. “What happened?”
“It was a stupid accident!” Seth growled. He waved down his leg at his foot. “I was replacing one of those heaters for the vineyard.” He sighed irritated. “I dropped the heaviest part on my right foot.” Those of us that didn’t see it happen now groaned as we understood. “So, did I break it?” Then he grinned. “Doctor Ryan?”
He was a doctor now. He had come here a man of science, but using the doorway, he had gone to the University in Adore! Ryan chuckled. ‘Well, I need to see it.” He looked at Seth. Like he did with everyone, explained what he was going to do. “I’ll very gently unlace your boot. Remove it carefully remove the boot. Whether it is broken or bruised at the ankle, it will hurt. Right now, the compression of the boot is keeping the foot from swelling. The pain as it will come after the boot is removed...” he shrugged. “I will give you something before I begin with the right foot.” He looked at Darrin. “Can you get my medical bag?”
“Sure,” Darrin said and hurried to their room.
I slid in next to Seth on his left side. “Can I start on his left foot?” I asked Ryan who nodded. “I will be kissing my husband, don’t look if you don’t want to see it.’ I grinned as the other men chuckled. They all saw us kiss before. I did! Letting our lips linger. “I don’t understand it, but you keep getting better!”
“At kissing?” Seth chuckled.
“Kissing and other things.” I nodded.
“Well, I have a younger husband...” He began to explain.
I held my finger to his lips. “Not tomorrow.”
I could see him aging very well as we spent the years, we were together. He really took after his father. King Alexander was a handsome man when I met him in his fifties. He had black hair! I know he didn’t put anything on his head to keep it black. It was only after the medication he was taking quit working and that cancer, which is what they called it now, they said this cancer in his blood ate him from the inside. I regret not having the little warriors weren't found before he got sick or even after. He'd be alive now.
Darrin came with what I thought was a suitcase. No, he came with all that Ryan might need. "Here, Babe." Darrin was putting the medical suitcase down was grabbed by Ryan who kissed Darrin just I had Seth.
"I was inspired." Ryan shrugged and winked at me. He took something and poured a little in a single glass. "Now Seth, This is powerful stuff." He was about to give it to give to Seth but held it back. "There is nothing more powerful in dealing with pain. This is Opium."
I knew there were Asian businesses in A'dore and Blethos. None in Royal Valley.
"Dad, Daddy!" I heard the call and the rapid approach of our sons. "Dads!" Dennis ran over to the bed and Toby was signing rapidly. Is daddy hurt?
“We were coming home from school...” Dennis started.
Then Toby was signing to continue. We were told you were hurt.
Dennis nodded. “ Is the pain bad?”
Ryan grinned giving Seth the glass. “Which in fifteen or thirty minutes...he'll be feeling a lot less.” He chuckled. “And a lot less lucid.”
Seth grinned. “Down the hatch.” He raised the glass to everyone. He took the first sip and almost gagged. “This awful!” Seth held the glass away. “Yuk!!”
Ryan chuckled. Touching his right foot gently. Even gently Seth winced. “I didn't want it good tasting. There are people liking the feel as taking it and want it when not in pain.” He grinned. “Are you the last to know that really good medicine has to taste bad to work?”
Seth snorted in disgust. “Another rule?” He looked at me. “We have plenty of those.” He muttered.
“Yes.” Ryan smiled as he nodded. “The other rule is...you have to drink it all.” He smiled sympathetically. “I suggest you toss it back like scotch or whiskey. Then you'll be done.”
I swear. Seth growled! He grimaced. Then a look of determination he did it as Ryan suggested. It took two swallows which he did quickly. He said presenting Ryan with the empty glass. “That is revolting.” He shuddered and tried to get rid of the taste by smacking his tongue making Dennis and Toby chuckle. “Ew, yuk!”
“It will begin working in a few minutes,” Ryan assured. “There is nothing better for pain.”
It was only a few minutes when his nasty medicine began working. Seth began blinking a lot.
“What's wrong?” Ryan asked but knew what it was.
“My vision,” Seth slurred, “is sort of blurry.”
“Because what you took.” Ryan grinned. “A few more minutes I can take the boot off.”
I realized I hadn't gotten his left boot off. I began unlacing the boot. Once done I pulled it off. I had a reaction. His stocking smelled. Our sons didn't bother hiding their reaction, Toby had a keen sense of smell as did his vision, He was fanning his nose and Dennis just said it. “Your foot stinks, Daddy!”
I chuckled but Seth heard it, “To make sure you have grape juice every day.” Seth grumbled.
I patted Seth on the shoulder and arm. “And we appreciate that.” I looked at our boys. “Don't we?”
“Oh, yes.” Dennis laughed and Toby nodded.
“Okay,” Ryan said. “Thanks for bringing him home but I need to examine Seth.”
There were grumbles but they understood. “But let us know.” One said.
“I think you should expect him for a week. Probably longer if he broke it.” Ryan said.
The man shook his head. “Yes, we work with him in the vineyard.” He shook his head. “He doubled output after he doubled the vineyard. He's not just our boss but our friend.”
Ryan nodded. “I understand. I'll come out there and tell you when I know.” Then waved at the door. “Now scoot!”
It took a more than a few seconds to get them out. Now it was just Seth, me and Ryan. I should have known and not been surprised when Demetrius came from the bathroom. In twelve years he hadn't changed a bit. Not in his age or body. He smiled at me but looked down at Seth with a lot of love and compassion. “I know you are hurting," He sighed, “You know I can't heal. I can help in other ways. Ryan knows me and what I am. There are things I can do.” He stood up. “Brace yourself.” He chuckled looking at Ryan and produced the wand from the air and ran it up and down over Seth's body. A brief shimmer Seth was in a fresh nightshirt and he was clean! Not only Seth but the bed-sheets! He even smelled as he did when he used one of those soaps from Parasia!
“Hi, Demetrius!” I greeted. However, I now saw Seth's right foot which with the boot off his foot was swelling. Even without a degree in medicine, I saw it was broken. It was badly bruised and a little misshaped foot, even I saw he'd broken it. It was below the ankle whatever bones connected to his toes.
"Well, I can tell he broke his phalanges,” Ryan stated at me. “Those are...”
“I know.” I chuckled. “The bones that connect the toes to the ankle. I know. Learning anatomy was very fascinating!” I shrugged. “I couldn't learn fast enough!”
“Well, you have,” Ryan stated. “In fact, you have enough knowledge now to go directly to medical school.”
I nodded. “I considered it a few times.” I cocked my head. “Why did you go to medicine?”
Ryan nodded. “In four or five years you could be another doctor. We can't have too many, not for illness, but like Seth who broke his phalanges, we need doctors to reset bones and ligaments.”
I nodded. “I'll think about it seriously again.”
“I need to make a suave using the opium and Aspir-willow. It will be able to adsorbed through his skin. When he recovers enough to understand you, he would not need it internally again...until tomorrow or next week. For...let's say...a birthday and anniversary?”
“Should we cancel tomorrow's party?”
“You could,” Demetrius said using voice where the tone said he it wasn't in favor of it. “I don't see that as a good idea.”
“But he might not want all the attention!” I protested.
“You have a lot of friends coming, Bent and Garth, Curt and Daryl, Zeke and Gabe, the mayor...they making came to care about you both.. We'll take him downstairs, get him comfortable and watch him.”
“We?” I grinned.
”Sure.” Demetrius nodded. “Dara and I were coming...unless you don't want us there.” He frowned.
I walked over and hugged the man. “Are you kidding!? I'd love it!!”
He chuckled. “We'll be relatives from out of town.”
"Kitty!” I heard Dennis coming chasing his little black friend. Only he wasn't a kitten now! He was a small cat only weighed about ten pounds. He jumped on the bed his purr already started. He came over Seth and to me where he showed his love by rubbing his head on me. He was always a sweet cat. Toby followed his brother
Toby grinned as he signed to me. He got away from us.
I picked Kitty up making the volume of his purr increased.
“After all those men left he wanted to know.” Dennis shrugged. “He was curious.”
“That's a cat's nature.” I chuckled “He knows this is his house and an important member our family.”
Dennis was smiling at Demetrius. “Hi, Uncle Deme!” He hurried over and hugged Uncle Deme.
“I'm asking. Why are you Uncle Deme?” I asked.
He waved at Seth. “I was named his Godfather when I was three or four!?” He shook his head. “When you turn seventy or eighty...I was appointed your godfather before I was even born??” He shook his head. “No!”
“We normally don't stay as long with a single family.” Dara's voice came and she stepped out of a wall. She went on. “We usually help the worthy individual to get their heart's desire. Once that's done, we move on. I sort broke that with Ella. She was the one soul that kind and a happy person. I really came to love her.”
“Then when Dara asked me to help you...I grew to love you, too.” He hugged Dara. “We were godparents, but we are family.”
“Absolutely.” I nodded. Is Lukus coming?” I waved at the house. “He helped us get this, the doorway between A'dore and Royal Valley.” I looked up. “You helped Seth remember his mother...how do I send an invitation?”
“You just did.” Another voice I knew came. Demetrius's entrance was subtle. Dara's a little brazen Lukus wasn't and then he was. “I heard it loud and clear.” He bounced once. “By you. What about him?” He pointed at Seth and his eyes widened. “Damn! He broke his foot.” It wasn't a question. “Poor guy!”
Ryan nodded. “Thank you for another opinion. Yours confirmed Demetrius', which Erik's which confirmed mine!”
“Don't be irritating.” I griped. “You have the treatment. They can't.” I looked at Demetrius, “Would ice work to reduce the swelling and pain?” I looked at Ryan. “Ryan?”
Ryan was nodding. “Sure but...” Then he stopped. “Never-mind. I forget some things about our friends here.” He chuckled. “Ice will be great.” He reached as he asked. “Can I use two of those pillows?” I handed him two we didn't like to sleep on. Why? Because they were goose feathered. I hated when you rolled to a side and feel a prick in your face or neck from a quill or some quills...waking me to find a comfortable position to get back to sleep!? To this day I remember my father telling me there was nothing Christian and I couldn't do if we wanted it badly enough. I wanted a pillow that didn't stick me! I liked the feather softness, no quills. I cut the feather from the quill as pot just the feathers in the cloth bag and a few little pieces of soft cloth in and I got my “no wake up” pillow. I heard from Christian, that Mom would always tell Dad, Did we need a servant to bring what we wanted something? There was nothing we couldn't get on our own. She saw nothing wrong with his legs. Maybe that was why I didn't like to use my title.
“Is it sanitary to have a cat in the room with Seth?” Lukus asked. “I can tell he doesn't have fleas...which I don't understand....but don't people believe that cats, black cats, will steal a man's breath?”
My eyes widened. I knew many omens odd and bad luck were believed by the superstitious children of Eve.
“Not Kitty!” Dennis said defensively coming to block Lukus from doing anything mean to Kitty. Don't threaten an eight-year-old's best friend. The pain you would feel will be in your shin.
“On your inquiry, I'll tell you. Bent and Garth. Garth practically speaks animal. He gave us what he uses with his cat Whiskers. Kitty gets a bath once a week using shampoo for infants and small children.” I chuckled. “Which Kitty barely tolerates,” I pulled Dennis close, “from him. Then we use a special powder Garth uses in Whiskers. It works!” I turned to Lukus. “Now, explain how a child of Lilith believes in superstition.”
Lukus grinned. “Just cautious.”
“This Kitty is a royal cat.” I pulled his collar to show him the royal emblem of Blethos on one side and on the other side the emblem of A'dore. “He's welcome in both palaces! He sleeps with Toby and Dennis every night.”
Lukus shrugged. “We all have quirks to make life interesting.” he grinned at me.
Ryan waved to get my attention. “Sorry to interrupt your interesting life. I'll show you what to do tonight and tomorrow.” He began to wrap Seth's right foot using the bandage itself to secure it in place. He also stressed not to keeps the bags of ice on for more than two hours an hour off. Demetrius handed him a sealed couple of bags of ice I'd seen him use on Seth after the torture of Deena Thorne, a real insane woman. He used it with the boys when they got the measles. Ryan knew Demetrius and Dara did magical things just took them and tossed one in his hand. “Nice.” He grinned. He placed one on both sides of his foot. 'He will get cold, try to keep him warm, just his foot needs to be cold. He'll be under the effect of the opium a few hours more.” He waved at the door. "Resume your part in your interesting life.”
“I will.” I grinned as I covered Seth with a blanket. The fact that our fireplace burst into a fire didn't surprise me. “If that was someone I suspect...thank you.”
“You're welcome,” Demetrius said smiling.
“I could use one of you on my team.” Ryan chuckled.
Demetrius smiled at Ryan and stated the obvious. “I'm on it now!”
“We'll be interesting out there letting Seth sleep.” I moved closer to Seth's left ear. “I'll be back to check on you.” I leaned in kissing him gently. I frowned. “I'll be ready with something to drink to get that taste out of your mouth. I'll give milk first to coat your stomach. Then grape juice for flavor. I love you, Seth.” I kissed him again. “A lot of juice.” Even disoriented he mumbled what was not really understandable. He smiled at me. He said I know you do. I tucked him the blanket around him.
“You really need to become a doctor,” Ryan said again.
"That would be hard.” I waved at the house. 'I have a business to run. Even if I use the doorway to go back and forth...”
“Talk to Dr. Warren. I know they'll work with you.” Ryan said as we left Seth to rest. “Who is doing fine in his late seventies or eighties.”
I saw Dennis holding Kitty. “Would those little warriors work on a beloved animal?”
Ryan's eyebrows rose. “We've been making it for people. We never have done it on animals.”
"Now, you can.” I said. “Before you go back to A'Dore. Take a blood sample from Kitty and test if the little warriors react to the blood. Then make a serum and give it to Kitty.”
Ryan chuckled. “I'll do it now. I have a lab here.” He stopped. “That means hurting Kitty. He can't transport people, I assume living matter they can't. If I get Kitty's blood, he'll hate me.”
“He'll be mad.” I nodded. “Just explain to Dennis and Toby why and have Dennis hold him as you do it, Kitty will forgive you. Eventually.”
“Guy's!” Ryan called ahead walking quickly to begin to explain.
I looked at Seth's and my sons. They were eight and ten. They were beautiful boys that I knew would be breaking hearts soon enough. I knew they were now I knew Sarah, their mother. I saw Tom their father was a big man! The size of their feet now hinted what to expect. Just I said to Christian to tell Thomas and Edward about their bodies, I did it with Toby and Dennis early to understand erections happen even with no reason. We were male. Royal Valley was becoming a village, but closer to a city. It wasn't sure how many now. Our last count put our town was ten thousand! People came and opened new businesses as one man did, buying several houses new and old to rent to others. We needed more guys in the vineyard and winery. Other businesses need employees. Downstairs people were getting ready for tomorrow's party. Grace was in her late thirties when nasty old Thorne died. Now, in her early fifties, she wasn't slowing down. She had hired more staff for the house. Two to clean and three for cooking at different times. She was the house manager! She even hired a gardener to create gardens around the house to beautify which he wonderfully. He even had a greenhouse where he raised roses and other plants to add color!
Grace saw me and asked me instantly. “I heard he broke his foot!”
I nodded. “He did.”
“That poor boy.”
“Do we have milk in the well?” I asked.
She nodded. “Should I bring some up for him?”
“Not for Seth, for me! I kissed him after he took that heavy medicine. I know we have juice in the icebox.” I held up my hands. “Don't worry about it. My legs work fine. I'll get it.”
“I know you will take care of Seth.” She hugged me. “My boys.” She kissed me on the cheek. We heard Kitty react angrily at something. “What on Earth!? He only made that sound when someone steps on his tail.”
I chuckled “Or had a needle in a vein. We are giving him the little warriors.”
“Will it work on Kitty?”
“That's why we need his blood to test it to see.” I said, “I don't believe those warriors defend the lives of men. Life is what they defend.”
Ryan came downstairs in a hurry. “Got it! Now to see if it reproduces in his blood.” He hurried to his lab. We had built a room just for that.
Things changed in the world. King Mordor had an accident and was killed. He saw his son Yannick marry Delta. He became a step-grandpa and saw then Delta gave birth to a beautiful little girl. I got word by special courier of King Mordor's death. I felt sorry for Yannick who was King Yannick and Delta was Queen Delta. One of his first law change was the law! Where same-gender marriages were not against the law. Ryan and Darrin were married in Creid. The Creid reputation was difficult to battle. I saw they were not looking very Creid-like. They still wore animal shaped helmets. Gone were the solid black armor. There was black in it, but mostly brown now. I sent Yannick a special note sealed by my ring in the wax. I sent the copper container to be given to Yannick saying “cherish the feelings you feel now. I know you two were very close. The bad feelings are proof that your father meant a lot to you. Be sad, which I know you do. There were many times I saw you having that drink with your father and laughing with whatever you or he said. I challenge you to recall those conversations. Don't worry if that bring tears. I challenge you to remember the last one you had the others. Find the one you think was your favorite one. We need to schedule a visit with you. You can't leave. You're a King! When Delta asks what's wrong, don't say it's nothing. Tell her honestly. She's your wife! I loved your father, too. I'll miss him.” I sent it by courier who could ride faster on his horse. We now had the horse delivery set up. A channel or canal was being built to allow ships could bring freight increasing our export and import. There were many rivers that went north and south. We had a really wide one that flowed north and south that was a very brown with mud, but it was rich in whatever that stuff in it made things grow better. Workers from Blethos and A'dore were helping to get that canal between A'Dore and the gulf. It was almost done. The biggest obstacle was the way was the land mass between A'Dore's capital and Blethos' capital. Some of those rivers just needed widening. Seth, Sam, and Christian studied maps and decided this was the best route. We would build a port in the capital and continued to the ocean to the east. That would help Blethos, too. That land mass added thousands of miles to the trip. South thousand miles and north again a thousand miles. With a new canal, we cut the two thousand miles! It would be great!
It wasn't always safe to leave Blethos or A'Dore. There were settlements not part of either. There were some of a people that were here two thousand years ago when we got here! There were settlements founded for religious reasons. Even the criminals had settlements but not really permanent! There were families that liked a life cut off from civilization. I was thrilled when Yannick told in a message that he, Delta and their children were coming for our anniversary. We had three other bedrooms added downstairs. Thus the need for more staff. Grace had more staff coming for the anniversary. Everybody that came tomorrow was local and would go home after the party.
“It works!” Ryan said hurrying up the stairs. He paused and grinned at me. “There is going to be a mad cat in a few minutes.”
“If he tries to attack you, hide behind Dennis!” I turned to Grace. “Now I'll get the milk and grape juice, then I'm going up to check on Seth.” I walked away as I muttered. “Nasty taste. Just awful!”
It's Earth and the South part of what we call the United States. European migration happened a lot earlier. I hope I described Florida. which isn't there isn't. No names will you recognize