Hang on, Daniel. We'll be together again. I love you, Baby
“Well, it's always good to see you.” I said to Demetrius. “Somehow you always manage to come when needed. How do you do that?”
Demetrius almost blushed. “Well, I'm very attached to all of you. I love you, so I'm always listening in.”
Seth grinned. “So the whole thing about not coming here anymore is no longer valid?”
Demetrius bowed his head and shook his head. “That's complicated.” He shrugged again looking at with his head still lowered, but his eyes raised looking at us. The smile on his face was mischievous. “I am sort of skirting past the rules.” He chuckled. “You didn't ask me to come, I chose to come. If you need something, tell me, but I choose to do it or not.” He looked up brightly. “See the difference?”
Seth chuckled shaking his head. “Not really, but if it works...” he shrugged.
Demetrius suddenly sat up again. “Ooh, I'm being called. Gotta run.” He hugged me again. “We'll talk later.” Then he just wasn't there anymore.
“I really don't understand why he can't just tell us things.” Seth muttered.
I nodded and leaned back against Seth. “Well, there's a big difference between giving someone something to eat rather than teaching them to get something to eat on their own.”
Seth began kissing me again. “Give a fish or teach to fish. I get it.”
“That's right.” I chuckled back deepening the kiss. “Enough talking mister.” I smiled pulling him even closer.
We got up the next morning and did our morning rituals. Once dressed we again went downstairs. Now, however, we were at the dining table. Seth went to get his coffee with me following. The table in the kitchen could seat ten or twelve, but already crowded with the troops from Blethos and Creid we had to guard us. They were even in the dining room, but that could seat twenty.
I looked at Grace, “They're having meals here?” Not that I minded, but that was more than usual for Grace.
Grace nodded. “Of course. I made sure we had plenty in stock. When I was doing it alone, I couldn't keep up.” She waved at the few workers in the kitchen. “Now, we have help. These men do a great job. I'm just telling them thank you.”
Getting his coffee, Seth and I were waved to sit in the dining room. I saw Ryan, who looked tired. It didn't look like he'd slept at all.
“Did you work the night through?” I asked him. “You don't look like you've slept.”
Ryan was going to wave that off, but Darrin said, “He hasn't.” He said it with minor irritation and a lot of concern.
I nodded. “Well, you go to bed when we finish here.”
“I'll be fine,” Ryan protested weakly. “The Little Warriors will get me through.”
Seth frowned at Ryan. “I know they're good. My foot healed in just a few weeks instead of months. We don't need to test their resilience.”
“No doubt they deal with injuries, but we don't want them to have to deal with exhaustion.” I said. “You need rest!”
Seth grinned. “I'm no longer king, but Erik and I are still princes and we're both ordering you to finish your meal and go to bed.”
He didn't want to fight us about it. It didn't take anymore for him to nod. “Okay.” He smiled at Darrin. “I'll go. Thanks for worrying.” He looked at the rest of us. “The ones that can go will be taken to be taken to Blethos' Capitol by wagons tomorrow.” He shook his head. “There will be more deaths from those more seriously injured and won't recover.”
“We don't have enough wagons.” Seth argued.
“Quaid said more were coming from the Capitol.” Max stated. “We also have the reinforced one they brought to take the gold away in.”
I looked at Ryan. “How did they act? Are they cooperative or resistant?”
Ryan shrugged with a grudging nod and snickered. “They were hurt, so I say they are cooperative to someone helping with that.”
“And they're grateful he wasn't finishing the task.” Darrin ran his finger over his own throat to show killing them.
Ryan nodded. “I took an oath to do no harm and I won't.”
I smiled at Ryan. “That's very admirable, Ryan. They took no such oath.”
Ryan muttered. “I'm not responsible for what they do, but what I do.” He sighed looking more directly at me. “You will find there are only a few Natives in this group. Most are men like us but don't have the Little Warriors. They must be from those other groups outside our borders.”
I nodded. “Well, we can talk to them?”
Ryan nodded. “You can. Whether they talk back is under their control.”
Val nodded. “And they won't necessarily tell the truth.”
“Of course not,” Seth said sourly.
I shrugged. “We need to start somewhere sometime.”
Going to the barn where these men were held. It was a big barn giving many horses and other animals shelter. The men were being guarded by our troops. The men from Cried were in their armor complete with helmets. Once in the barn I got the unpleasant smells. Not animal smells, but human. They were a mixture of fecal matter, urine, sweaty bodies and blood. I did my best to keep my reaction from my face. Even with ventilation it was nauseating. There were a few hundred men here in various stages of recovery laying on blankets with wounds that were treated and bandaged. There were many moans as men suffered from various pains. Others were asleep or unconscious. Not one was what I would call attractive, but then my knowledge of what they did and tried to do could be the reason for my opinion. Their lives hadn't been that civilized and it showed. Not many had seen a barber and having not spoken them yet, I would notice something else. When I did I would find they didn't care for their dental needs either...those that still had teeth that is.
I knelt by one in his mid-thirties that was more lucid. He reminded me of that one man I'd had the displeasure of meeting. Ronald Wilkins. Otherwise known as The Slasher used by Deena Thorne when she had Seth and me kidnapped. This man was similar with stringy hair. His body was clean now, but that was probably Ryan who did that in order to treat him. For all I knew these men and Wilkins were from the same settlement. This man's hair was dark. Just like Wilkins, was the darkness in his hair the natural color or dirt? “First, what's your name?” I asked him.
“Why?” The man growled.
“Well, so I don't have to refer to you as the fool.” I said in an equal growl. “But you are a fool, so...?”
“Nat.” The man grumbled.
“Second, who sent you, Nathaniel?” I asked him. His eyebrows rose in surprise. I assumed no one but his mother had referred to him by his proper name.
The man looked at me angrily. “Why should I tell you?”
I shrugged. “Why shouldn't you tell us?”
“You just want to strike back.” The man said bitterly.
Max laughed sarcastically at the absurd notion. “Gee, you think so?”
“That doesn't surprise you. It's expected.” I said. “Didn't you expect us to fight back? You hit us. We hit you back.”
He growled. “No one else has.”
I frowned. “And that's your reasoning?” I asked in disbelief. “We prepared! The other towns and villages will be, too.” I said loud. “We will fight back.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “I want to know why you thought this would be easy and would get away with it. Who sent you?”
He looked away. “I'm in pain.”
“Which you wouldn't be if you hadn't done this.” Seth said angrily as he knelt by me. “Do you know who we are?”
“No.” Nat said.
“Then allow us to introduce ourselves,” Seth said in mocking politeness. “I am Seth, I am also Prince Phillip. I was king of Blethos. My brother is now king.” He put his hand on my back. “This is Prince Erik, my husband and brother to the king of A'Dore.” He looked back at Max. “And this is Captain Maxwell, the man in charge of these men from Creid.”
The man's expression changed to one a little more terrified. The new reputation for the Creid was still alive and well in the outer settlements.
“Needless to say, we have influence with King Samuel who you will be tried and convicted by.” I said calmly. “If you make it to trial.” I moved closer. “No one here would be bothered if you were killed by any of us. If you want to stay alive to go to trial, I'd start talking. Or I could allow Captain Maxwell loose on you.” I grinned at that last statement.
“So, your the ones that like it up the ass.” Nat sneered. “They like getting fucked.” He said to Max as if that information would help bring Max to his side of the issue.
I could tell Nat had several arrow wounds, in the arm, side and leg. His left side was near his rib cage just near his lung.
Max's face turned into the one of hate. The Creid had the faces they used for battle, but this was just for intimidation. “Pardon me, Erik.” He put his index finger knuckle on Nat's wound and pressed causing Nat to grit his teeth from the pain. “Comments like that won't win you any points with any of us.” He was bordering on rage. I didn't like the idea of torture, but we needed to know things quickly and I wasn't to ask Max to let up. “Not a bright thing here to try and insult them or us.”
“We know of the other group in A'Dore,” Seth stated. “How many total are there?”
“You're hurting me!” Nat said in agony.
“And I'll keep hurting you until you answer the question.” Max growled. “How many groups are there?” He asked quietly in rage, which was scarier than yelling.
“I don't know,” Nat said struggling for breath.
Of course, I didn't believe him and neither did Max. He pressed harder and sharper. “How many?” He asked again.
“Three!” Nat said and Max eased up a little. “The one here, one in A'Dore and the one near Creid.”
“Sent and organized by who?” Seth pressed forcefully.
Nat wasn't answering, so Max did a more pointed pressing of his finger and knuckle. “I could be causing further damage doing this, but we want an answer! Who is behind this?”
The man was sweating as he had trouble breathing from the injury near his lung. “He calls himself The Charging Bear. Wahkoowah!”
Max stopped pressing into Nat's side. “What tribe?”
“Sioux.” Nat said panting and catching his breath. “I've never seen him. I heard the name from The Listener. Adistan is his name. He's Navajo.”
“Have you seen Adistan since the attack?” I asked him.
“No.” Nat answered.
“There aren't many natives with you.” Seth began. “What does he look like?”
The man shrugged. “He looks like a native. They all look alike.”
Max grimaced. “Wrong answer.” He jabbed his finger into Nat's side again and pushed up toward the lung hard making Nat scream. “You have to know him to know it's him. How?”
“He's about six foot tall, bald and wears an arrowhead earring in his left ear.” Nat said through his scream.
Max stood up with a sigh. “That's better.” He turned to me. “We'll have to look for this Adistan.” His face was again normal.
I shook my head at Max. “You,” I pointed to him, “are a scary man.”
Max grinned and shrugged. “I'm sure you've heard this before,” he leaned in closer to me, “whatever it takes.” He smiled brightly and walked to begin looking through the other survivors.
Looking through those that survived and speaking with a few still lucid and we got the same story. Then Seth motioned to a prone figure lying in a darker, more isolated area. Again, there were arrow wounds and other cuts from a more one on one fight. The arrowhead earring was there in the ear of his clean shaven head. His Native coloring could be seen. However, he was dressed like we do, not a Navajo.
“ Adistan,” I said to him. “We need to talk.”
The man rolled over and looked at me. “This world will be cleansed.”
I raised my eyebrows at that. “Cleansed.” I repeated. “By attacking innocent people, that is going to cleanse the world.” I nodded. “How is that going to happen?”
“Tawa, will cleanse everyone.” Adistan stated.
“Tawa?” Seth asked. “Who's that?”
“God.” Adistan replied. “He's doing this. He needed reinforcements so he used these men's greed to help fight to make it easier. Purging you and those from Europa must be cleansed from the continent and then the world.” He smiled. “He came from Shipolo, the Realm of Mists and Clouds, to this world to begin the cleansing process.”
“I haven't heard of him,” I said.
Adistan nodded. “He goes by several names; Sarakuru for the Pawnee, Angpetu for the Dakota, Menahka for the Mandan...”
“We get it,” I interrupted. “All the tribes have their names for him. All are Tawa?”
Adistan nodded. “He is.” Then he looked almost like he was choking as he gagged, lifting his head and looked directly at me. His voice changed. It was deeper and had more resonance. Not the voice he had used before. I remembered when Demetrius took me to King Mordor that first night and I had a similar but disembodied voice. “You will bow to me or be purged from this world. The world will submit or be purged!”