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