Is anyone up for a joust? Tally Ho! I Love You, Daniel!
“Me!?” I blurted in disbelief. “I have never had that…”
“Yes,” Demetrius nodded, “you’ve done it before and just didn’t know it.”
Toby ran to me and hugged me hard, so did Seth who added a “thank God.” It was a Toby sandwich between his two fathers. Then Thomas joined in.
Max walked toward us, “I know this is a family moment…”
“Which now includes all of you!” Seth stated happily. “My arms can only go around so many at a time. You’ll have to wait your turn.”
Max chuckled, “I’m patient,” he pointed at Wahkooha who hadn’t moved much. He was still mourning his loss of power, “What do we do with him now?” He pointed beyond Wahkooha at the Native warriors, “And them?”
Dakotah was now walking up. He never touched any of us, but his whole demeanor had changed. He was almost smiling! In his eyes you could see that. “You have the touch of the spirits.” He was about to give me his hand, but froze. “Is it okay to touch you now?”
“Sure,” I said and shook his hand.
The senior Native now really smiled, “I prayed to the spirits to remove this man from power. Now, we got our answer. Thank you.”
“We don’t have the authority here to really punish Wahkooha,” I said to Dakotah. “What happens to him is your decision.”
Dakotah waved his hands helplessly, “My say would be to bring him before the Tribe’s Tribunal. When I was Chief of the Kalispel, that would be my decision.”
Chitto nodded and grinned walking up a little, “That makes sense. How many tribal chiefs are here?”
“Twenty-two,” Dakotah replied.
“That’s every tribe within three or four hundred miles,” Chitto observed after a quick contemplation.
“There are about thirty tribes,” Dakotah corrected.
“What happened to the other chiefs?” I asked.
“Two died of natural causes,” Dakotah answered. “Some resisted Wahkooha and they were killed.”
Seth looked at Dakota and cautiously said, “You’re now free to go back home.”
“But we won’t,” Dakotah said and waved at Wahkooha. “He was right about the attacks. We suffered greater losses and defeat alone. That was twenty years ago.” He gave a grudging nod. “That’s when he came to the Kalispel.”
I looked at Wahkooha. In spite of what he did, he looked to be in his mid to late thirties. “He was a teenager then.”
Dakotah laughed, “So were you only about ten years ago. He had received a couple of feathers by then.”
I nodded. In all the tribes, earning the first feather meant you’d come of age. You were a man.
“He already had four tribes that joined him,” Dakotah nodded, “In the beginning he was very helpful. What power he had convinced everyone he was what he said. Over time he started doing things and…” Dakotah said sadly, “he took the virginity of many young maidens. They couldn’t say no.”
Seth’s eyes widened, “No pregnancies!?”
Dakotah nodded, “Just a couple.” He said softly.
“He’s a father?” Seth asked. Like me he was worried there were others like Wahkooha.
“No,” Dakotah answered.
I knew. I didn’t want to, but I knew he killed them. And not just the baby. My anger grew, coupled with disgust, “Yeah, Christian and I grew up on stories about kings that thought they were above the law. They always suffer at the end.” I shrugged. “They WERE the law.” I waved at Wahkooha, “He knew the law didn’t apply to a god.”
“And deteriorated as the years passed,” Dakotah admitted. “There were a few that tried to kill him, but Wahkooha would find out and kill them and their entire family.”
Chitto came over having heard what Dakotah said. “Being together is a great idea, but leadership is needed and a working government.” He did the “come here” motion subtly with his hand. “We’ll have to come up with the possibilities. There are other Chiefs here. We need to include them.”
“We’re not eating?” Beau asked in disappointment.
“Dinner!!” I slapped my own forehead, “I knew there was something else!” I smiled at Beau, “It slipped my mind. Sorry, Beau.”
“And all the Three Sisters Venison Stew you can eat,” Ceto promised, putting her hand through Beau’s arm at his elbow.
I looked at Dakotah, “Do you have a dungeon?”
After I assured the Native warriors Wahkooha couldn’t hurt anyone now. They had seen what happened, so my saying he couldn’t hurt them...they reached tentatively for Wahkooha at first, but after getting no resistance became more aggressive and hauled a sobbing Wahkooha away.
Whatever penalty they decided on was their decision. We still had the death penalty in A’Dore and Blethos. Deena Thorne was the last execution in a while. There was the prison island Galgor. Prisoners were sent to several little islands there. No guards on the main island, but watched by guards on the other islands. Seeds were given and no one was allowed to leave. There were sharks and no one survived in the water because the staff on the other islands threw bloody, raw meat and blood in the water around the island prison. The sharks didn’t leave. The islands were surrounded by a thousand miles of water from any land or country. Some escaped on boats they made, but with no tools, nails, or sealant, the boats fell apart. Some would make it to one of the other islands, where they were killed instantly when found. No trial. It had flaws, but it was a deterrent. No one ever came back.
That Native Tribunal of grandmothers was not lenient at all. I hated that anyone had to die, but following deaths the criminal caused, it was the law. Often they were killed by other prisoners. There was an insane madness in some cases, but until we learn to treat it… Yes, that was a rabbit.
We turned to the table and found bowls full of steaming stew. The wonderful aroma hit my nose; meaning it just got here. The table and chairs were still there and I will admit it, I was good with that. Sitting on those pillows on the floor was fine, but not how I was used to dine.
Of course I had a million questions for Demetrius. I sifted through them. So, I tried some simple things, like causing the fork to rise or just move. Nothing happened. “How could I cure Seth and do what I did with Wahkooha and can’t do anything now? You said I probably did in the past and didn’t know it?”
Demetrius smiled, “Extreme emotions is the trigger.” He shrugged, “It is for us. I don’t know about the Children of Eve. Both times you were experiencing intense emotions. First, your wedding and the first kiss in public to someone you love. The second was when Toby was about to be grabbed. You ARE his father.” Demetrius shrugged. “When you learned to use the sword, were you taught to control your emotions?”
“Yes,” I answered. “You’re less effective feeling fear, but there is a rise in adrenaline.”
“And when Arthur charged you both after you defeated Darius?” Demetrius asked. “You felt emotion then.”
“He could hurt Seth,” I nodded. “There were some strong emotions then.” I shook my head, “But he stumbled over his own two feet.”
“Did he?” Demetrius gave a shrug, “Maybe, but it was even ground.”
I gave a grudging nod, “Okay, but I saw Wahkooha’s parents. I could describe his father in detail.”
Demetrius lightly chuckled and nodded a shrug. “I don’t know.” He pointed across the table as Lukus and Martha spoke with Val. “Because of Lukus you saw Seth’s mother and can describe her, too.”
“You know people,” Seth said to me softly. “At times that seems like magic. And I’m not talking just Candor. A blind man could see he was evil. But Bent, Garth, Zeke, Gabe, their parents…” He smiled. “Your brother told me that from the time you were fifteen he had you sit when he promoted, demoted, or hired anyone for the palace.” Seth leaned in kissing me. “I did, too. You are never wrong about anyone.”
“That’s just intuition!” I balked.
“So?” Seth grinned. “How you read people so easily is magic to me.”
“Uncle Deme,” Toby said. “You and Aunt Dara were fairy-godparents. Right?”
Demetrius nodded, “That’s what they called us.”
“Has anybody ever referred to you as…” he frowned, “I don’t know how to say it, so I will sign it.” His fingers moved and he spelled “fae or faye?” Then he clarified that, “I don’t know which vowel is silent.”
“Fae?” Demetrius asked, surprised, “Where did you see that word?”
“In A’Dore,” Toby said. “They have an extensive library and I read this book about King Arthur. He had a half sister named Morgan le Fae.” Toby scrunched his brow, “But I read she is famous because she was capable of magic. I’ve read other books and they called Gaelic people and Celts Fae.” He nodded, “Sorcery and witchcraft was used by the Druids. Her name was the giveaway. It means Morgan the Fae. She was said to be a witch or sorceress.”
“Morgana?” Seth asked. “Camelot and Knights of the Round Table? That Morgan le Fae?”
Toby grinned as he nodded, “Yes. She is the most famous of the Fae. She went by many names, Morgan, Morgana, and Morgan Le Faye.” He said and signed so we could see the difference.
I smiled and nodded at Toby, “I do know of that book and there are others. There are stories about Sir Gawian, Sir Tristram, Sir Lancelot, but I especially loved Prince Valiant. It’s a good thing I read about Prince Valiant.” I looked closer to Toby seeming to be confidential. “Prince Valiant was a prince from Thule on the coast of Norway. He wins the favor with King Arthur and Merlin and becomes a Knight of the Round Table. He meets, falls in love with and marries Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles.” I smiled at Seth, “And you know it, too or you wouldn’t have said anything or known the names.”
“I know of the tale,” Seth qualified, “Isn’t that what it is? A tale?”
I smiled bigger, “Or could be like the one about Cinderella or about us?” I waved him off. “The tales about us, Christian, and Ella get more fantastic as it goes. Just like that little fish that got away that becomes a monster fish the story says the poor man fought hard all day, but he got away.”
“Tell me those books and I want to read them,” Toby stated, a little excited.
“I explained about all the stories we had to read as Christian and I grew up,” I said. “Tales of valiant knights with a Code of Honor and Honesty were required to give us core values.”
“Didn’t that story come about in the 12th Century?” Seth asked.
“And even then it was viewed as historical,” Toby said, “I read they don’t know the exact date, but folklore of stories used in Camelot began in the fifth or sixth century.” He looked at Demetrius, “The word Fae was already in use for the Celts and Druids. They didn’t name them Fae because of her. She was Fae. It is a name for supernatural beings. Aren’t you a supernatural being? You’ve been to many places, have you been called Fae?”
Demetrius’ smile grew, “Yes, I have.”
Lukus nodded, “We all have, but we’re not supernatural…”
“You’re nuts!” I interrupted, using the Creid word now. Max was right, it just fit.
Lukus began to laugh, “That might be true, but we are perfectly natural. We’re humans who can access an element that is natural. Magic.”
I nodded, “I read the Fae were here before we were.” I said to Seth. I waved to the other Children of Lilith. “They were here before there was even an Eve. Did they really exist?”
“Did they really exist?” Demetrius shrugged, “They could have.”
“You didn’t see them?” Toby asked.
Demetrius sat back with his eyes widening with exaggerated shock like he did when Toby was smaller, It still worked because Toby chuckled...his way, “How old do you think I am?”
Toby grinned and shrugged, “I don’t know, but I know it has been hundreds of years?”
“It was before my time,” Demetrius muttered. His tone told me he was not too offended and knew the humor of it. “Yes, there were quite a few in Britannia. In what is England now. The Romans came and drove most north. Then the Church came with their paladins of warrior priests and monks.”
“Paladins? What’s that?” Toby asked, “I read about the German Paladins. What are they from the Church?”
“They are hired muscle to enforce what they believe,” I said to Toby. “Men that force people to conform to what they say. They began an Inquisition to force all Jews or other religions to convert. If they didn’t, the muscle would round them up and torture them until they did.”
“That’s stupid!” Toby said. “How does that mean they’re converted? It’s just words.”
I nodded, “That’s right. I taught you to get things verified with truth. No one can tell you what to believe or force you to believe. The Church sent some to A’Dore,” I said. “Your great grandfather kicked them out when they began to do it here.” I looked at Seth, “Your father didn’t go to any church and he didn’t like priests and argued against them often.”
“No,” Seth chuckled, “he didn’t like them. You don’t either. Remember Father Markum who was banished? Dad was furious they wouldn’t even bless our marriage.” Seth did a very good impression of King Alexander, “Who do they think they are? They speak for the Church, but sure as Hell don’t speak for God. They’ve been given too much fucking power in Europa! Not Blethos.” Seth’s face had changed to his father’s angry scowl. He looked at Toby, “Sorry for cussing, but your Grandfather Alex did when he got upset.” Toby was hiding his chuckle and big smile with his hand. Seth had done that all of Toby’s life which always made Toby laugh. “My grandfather. threw them out, too.” He looked at me. “I mean he literally threw them out of Blethos. The ship they came on had left our harbor and was a day away leaving the Church’s Palatins in Blethos. He commissioned our fastest ship, caught up and had our military throw them overboard into the gulf and our ship sailed back.”
I was smiling at that, but I asked, “Could all of them swim?”
Seth shrugged, “My father only said, if they didn’t, they were motivated to learn that day.”
I sat back a little, “And what were we fighting about that last skirmish between Blethos and A’Dore? Our grandparents would probably get along!”
Seth nodded, “Sure, friends that were a thousand miles apart, but we were fighting for Derby, Leicester, and Coventry. A’Dore said those towns were theirs and Blethos said they belonged to us.”
I nodded as I remembered now. “Oh, yes.” Those three villages were surrounded by some rich and productive farms, most of which grew wheat and vegetables. Transporting the vegetables to A’Dore was harder as they might spoil, the grain to some millers who made flour by the ton! That flour went to both A’Dore and Blethos. “Which I really didn’t see why, transporting the wheat and flour to A’Dore was easier. Blethos took less resources and time. A’Dore spread from the eastern coastline of the Atlantic Ocean to that big muddy river local Natives call Misi-ziibi which means “Great River.” Local European and British descendants citizens simply call “The Big Muddy” because of all the silt. Yeah, not much imagination on anyone’s part with the name. The river was over two thousand miles long. Those three villages were right on the border they squabbled over. There was a little bloodshed over citizens who wanted to remain part of A’Dore and those that wanted to be part of Blethos. Everybody wants bread."
“But that wasn’t really the main problem, was it?” Seth growled a little, “When it was time to pay the taxes,” Seth used his hand pointing down, “there would be Tax Collectors from A’Dore,” he moved the hand in a large arch to the other side, “AND Blethos demanding tax payment!!” He was almost convincing, but I saw the humor in his eyes.
I nodded, “I know charges were filed and those collectors stood on trial for corruption by both kingdoms!”
“And WHAT,” Demetrius said loudly to stop Seth’s and my discussion and asked us softer, “pray tell, does that have to do with the Fae, Druids, Morgana, King Arthur, or anything we were talking about?” He pointed at Seth and me, “I’ll tell you. Not a thing!” He looked back at Toby who was laughing harder. “Morgan le Fae could have really existed and so could Arthur. This Morgan le Fae would have been a Child of Eve, but could access the magic.” He nodded as he thought, “The Druid-Fae were like the Natives here. They knew they could use magic. Some were very good at it, Wahkooha’s family were very talented with it. With the Fae scattering around the world, Druids all but vanished.”
“They are very secretive,” I said.
Demetrius nodded a shrug, “They predate Christianity and the Roman Empire.”
“Their palatins were often more than corrupt,” Lukus added. “They would burn villages, kill whole families all in the name of God.”
“But God knew,” Seth argued. “Didn’t he try to stop them?”
Martha smiled, “We offered to help some innocents. That was hard. If we just appeared they would run or cry Witch.”
I nodded, but remembered why we came here, “There’s a lot I’d love to know, but what of those attacks on Blethos, A’Dore and Creid? Creid is starving!”
Lukus nodded with his hand up and lowered telling me to calm down. “Two supply caravans have arrived in the past few days…”
“And supplemented,” Dara added, “by us.”
Demetrius chuckled, “Those poor horses.” He shook his head sadly, but he was grinning. “Those carts on the rails that Yannick had built were so heavily weighted they had to use six horses to pull the carts up!”
“They were from A’Dore AND Blethos!” Lukus added laughing, “And a third is coming today!”
Martha joined in with the laughter, “They have more food than they know how to deal with!”
Demetrius nodded, “We…” he pointed at Lukus, Martha, Dara, and Ceto, “doubled each caravan that came. King Yannick has a kingdom wide celebration for the people and told the merchants to hold on charging anyone this time. Everyone has plenty!”
Max heard our conversation and had to ask, “What about those...whatever they were, that attacked the caravans?”
Lukus was still chuckling and shook his head, “They won’t be bothering you anymore.” He looked at Toby, “Don’t be frightened, it’s just me.” With that he changed into a Creid Warrior, but grew in size even in the chair! He had to be at least seven and a half feet tall and weighed...a lot! He was bigger than Reese! Somehow his bear shaped helmet black armor made him look more like a bear than I’d seen among the Creid! When he let out a roar of a bear charging angrily, I swear his teeth made him look like a real bear! If that wasn’t enough, a real large dark brown bear rose and towered over Lukus and everyone. The largest Kodick Bear I ever read or heard about. Eight or nine feet tall on his hind legs and had to weigh more than a ton! This bear joined Lukus in a thunderous roar. Our Creid friends who were having their own conversation jumped from their chairs, reaching again for the sword that wasn’t there now.
“That’s enough, Lukie,” Martha patted Lukus’ hand and he changed back and the bear disappeared.
“Sorry,” Lukus said to the others standing slightly from his chair. “We and some others have chased all the bandits away from Creid, A’Dore, and Blethos. All told by someone like me to stay away.” He looked at Max, “I apologize, but I used the Creid Reputation against them. They told the bears were to protect all three kingdoms,” he shrugged, “and they will for a year or so.” He sat again and looked at me and Seth, “They won’t harm anyone, not in any village or town. It’s more of a show.”
“Lukie?” Max chuckled and Lukus gave a look that said to not go there.
I understood. They didn’t heal or hurt anyone. “Yes, Demetrius showed that evil man Candor who robbed many people and threatened Seth and me. It was very frightening even knowing who he was.” I smiled, “Did you do what Demetrius did? The Natives were taking care of Wahkooha, but no one rushed in here.”
Lukus looked mockingly shocked, “We were having a special moment. The Children of Lilith and Eve are dining together. There was no need for any of them to rush in to save us.”
Martha nodded, “And Ceto,” she looked at Ceto, “this stew is the best I’ve ever had!”
Ceto smiled from her chair beside Beau. Beau had a full bowl he was eating out of with gusto, but I knew he had been eating a while. Did he have a bottomless bowl? “Thank you, Martha. I’ll tell you what I use if you like,” she patted Beau’s arm making him stop and smile at her. “I have a big man to fill up who loves it.”
Beau nodded and held his bowl up. “It’s good!! This is my third bowl!” He grinned and put the bowl down and began eating again.
Ceto hugged Beau’s arm and bumped her head against his shoulder, “I did promise him all he can eat.” She patted Beau’s stomach. “I just hope he doesn’t get a bellyache.” To which Beau immediately shook his head. That wasn’t possible as far as he was concerned.
Seth laughed at that and leaned toward me and whispered, “Should we be concerned about that? She’s…” he pointed at Ceto, “and he’s…” he didn’t say Children of Lilith of Eve, “He’s younger than she is!”
I nodded, “Physically he looks like his age in his late twenties. She looks like a woman in the mid-thirties, but we know she’s over three hundred years old. Demetrius even said he married a Child of Eve in his two hundreds.” I paused as a thought came to me I didn’t like.
“Yeah,” Seth nodded. “He committed to that guy in Italia for thirty years.” He shrugged. “Of course, same gender marriage wasn’t allowed then…”
That thought I had just caused my heart to ache and I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I grabbed Seth’s hand, “Oh, God, Seth...I am so sorry.”
Seth looked startled and instantly concerned, “Sorry? For what!?” He took my hand and squeezed it.
“I supposedly cured you of the scars with your father right there performing our marriage with Christian!” I said sadly and began crying more. I looked at Seth shaking my head, “Why didn’t I cure him? He was sick then!”
“Don’t,” Demetrius said, taking my other hand. “Don’t blame yourself. It was natural.”
“His father died!!” I yelled at Demetrius. I heard the conversations at the table stop, but I couldn’t stop. “He had that horrible sickness. I could have cured him!! Hell, I could have cured my own father and mother! They’re dead!!” Now, I was sobbing. “I didn’t cure THEM!!”
Dara got up, stood me up and hugged me. Demetrius got up and hugged me, too.
Dara nodded, “You didn’t know you could.”
“In your mind,” Demetrius began, “As horrible as it is, son, you accepted the illness as natural,” Demetrius said to me. “Seth’s scars were not.”
“What were your thoughts during the wedding?” Dara asked.
“Especially before that kiss,” Demetrius asked with a grin.
“I’ll never forget it,” I said and looked at Seth, “You and I had just been announced as married. I always thought you were so handsome, so kind, and very intelligent...I knew you’d be a great king. I also knew others had trouble seeing past the scars. I wished they could and the scars would go away.”
Dara was nodding, “And emotionally?”
It was my turn to blush, “I’ve never loved anyone as I did Seth then. It wasn’t just lust,” I admitted quietly, “I loved Seth and it’s grown since then.”
Demetrius chuckled softly, “There’s nothing wrong with lust. It helps with the solidifying of a marriage.”
“And there’s your answer!” Lukus said logically and happily. “Lust is perfectly natural.”
Dara’s smile faded, “Even if you did cure King Alexander, there is no way of knowing he would still be alive.”
“If we could,” Demetrius said seriously, “We would cure everyone. People die. Even us. It’s a part of life. If we could have, we would have cured Toby’s and Dennis’ mother. And cured Toby’s deafness.”
I looked at Toby, “Why? There’s nothing wrong with Toby. He is a genius! He and Dennis taught Toby to speak!! His eyesight is phenomenal…”
Demetrius nodded squeezing me, “We agree.” He assured me. “There is not anything wrong, but IF he was raised by other parents who would think he was a simpleton.” He waved at Toby, “He has thrived and grown with you two.”
“Sickness and death is not your fault,” Dara added. “You can’t blame yourself.”
I knew what they were saying, but I still felt regret. “Perhaps not,” I admitted, “but I still don’t like it. It’ll take time to accept it.”
Seth pulled me away from Dara and Demetrius and hugged me tightly. “I will never blame you. You didn’t cause my father to die. I know you loved him.”
“And I still do,” I said. “He was a good and great man.”
Seth nodded, “Yes, he was.” He pulled back a little to look at my face. “And you saved my life. Not from the scars, but from the Thornes. You gave me a new life away from them.”
I kissed him, “I still feel I could have done something.” I held my hand up to stop him from saying anything, “Give me a chance to get it in my head.” I looked at Demetrius and Dara, “Do you feel emotions that intensively every time you use the magic?” Every Child of Lilith nodded. I gave a grudging nod of appreciation. “Wow.”
I turned to Thomas, “We need to stay here a while to help with these people setting up the government. You and Toby can’t go home on your own. Write a letter,” I said to Thomas, “to your mother and father. I’ll write one to them, too.” I looked at Demetrius, “Can I impose on you again to deliver the letters again?”
“We need one to send to Sam, too.” Seth stated. “He knows about you, but please refrain from just popping in, please.” Seth chuckled, “He will recognize you.” He waved at Demetrius grinning, “You don’t change!”
Demetrius nodded, “I will. I’ll even deliver to King Yannick.”
“This threat,” Martha said, “has been taken care of. Another will be here in a month.”
I turned quickly to Martha, “More Druids?”
Martha shook her head, “Puritans.”
Lukus nodded, “They heard of someone that had unknown powers he used. They are Witch Hunters.”