First, a disclaimer. My ideas are my own. I am not saying anyone is wrong and need to believe like I do. I had enough of that as I tried to fit anything religious in my life. I have no answers. I did sort of preach in this chapter. (Dad did want me to become a preacher.) I can keep going. I will say it again. No one can tell me what to believe. I want to see it!. Show me how you believe something. Daniel and I had great debates! Ain't that right, Daniel?
“We really do access the magic differently than Children of Lilith.” I looked at them both. “Why?”
“There are several theological theories,” Lukus began hesitantly.
“None of it can be given as proof,” Demetrius stressed. “But…”
“What!?” Seth and I said loud.
“Our parents never sinned,” Lukus said and was nodding at our surprised faces, “When Adam and Lilith lived in Eden. They didn’t disobey God.”
He had said it before, but now I really thought about it. “I will have to disagree with that.”
“No,” Demetrius shook his head. “God created paradise for them to live in. They could eat and drink anything they wanted, but God put one restriction on them. The Forbidden Fruit. Only one sin! That’s all!”
I was doing what they had done to me and was shaking my head even before Demetrius finished speaking and the finger I used to make an exception was raised shaking, too. “No, Adam committed the first sin against Lilith! They were created equals! He ORDERED Lilith to submit to authority he didn’t have! She had every right to refuse. It was selfish and...”
We enjoyed it! All of us. Even Seth was smiling now. “Which I’d love to hear about later,” he tried to put some space between Demetrius and me. “I’ll be glued in my seat!” He looked directly at Demetrius and then Lukus. “How does that mean he accesses magic differently than you do?”
“It could be seen as punishment or reward,” Lukus said. “You have shorter lives than we do. The time it would take to learn to use the magic just isn’t there.”
“When God sent those angels to Lilith to get her to agree, she chose to talk to God Himself.” Demetrius chuckled, “She got God to change His mind.”
“He’s God!” Seth declared in disbelief.
“And?” Lukus asked.
“He’s done it before,” I said to Seth. “Remember Jonah and the giant Goldfish?”
“It was a whale!” Seth shot back.
“You know that because you were there?” I asked as my eyebrows rose.
“Of course not!”
“There is a huge difference between a fish and a whale,” I grinned. “In the book of Jonah it simply says God prepared a great fish, but Jesus said it was a whale…” I shook my head, “...somewhere! He would know.”
“YOU don’t know!?” Seth smiled grandly.
I nodded a wobbling consent, “I don’t have it memorized by chapter and verse! No. Jonah was told to go to Nineveh, go there and tell God was going to destroy Nineveh because of wickedness. Jonah tried to avoid doing that by going in the opposite direction. The big Goldfish took him where he was supposed to go in the first place.” I smiled, “There’s a lot more to the story, but God changed his mind. The people were very sorry.”
“Or it was His plan all along,” Lukus said chuckled.
“Our maturation period is longer,” Demetrius reminded us. “No Child of Lilith is born with magic. Like steps, they need to learn to walk.”
“When Eabha told us her father was Merlin,” Seth said, “you said it makes sense. Why?”
“If he had friends,” I chuckled, “Fiacha,” I looked at Seth, “King Arthur?”
“Stick with Fiacha and Soren,” Seth muttered. “No reminders with those names.”
“He meets friends at twenty or thirty,” I said, “They get older, Soren doesn’t.” I saw Lukus was about to say something, “Yes, I know he did, but it was so slow! It probably looked like he was aging backwards.”
“Backwards!?” Seth said startled. “He got younger when he aged!?”
“Whether it was the plan all along or not,” Lukus said. “Lilith got God to change his mind.”
“That,” I said, “was my point.” I chuckled, “If I tell you the Forbidden Fruit wasn’t an apple. That is true. Christian and I grew up on apples, applesauce, apple pie…” I smiled, “He swore it didn’t taste like apples. We would know.”
Seth took both of my shoulders and jutted his head, “And how does that explain why Children of Eve and the Children of Lilith access and use magic differently?”
“I don’t know.” I answered.
“You’ll be asked to stand in judgement of angels.” Lukus said softly.
“We will?” Seth asked.
“You will,” Demetrius corrected. “The Children of Eve.”
“Why us?” Seth asked and looked at me.
“In a letter to Corinth,” I said. “Again, I don’t remember the chapter or verse, but Paul questioned the competency they struggled with in trivial matters, telling them we would stand in judgement of angels.”
“Why just us?” Seth asked.
“You know there are a few things we can’t do,” Demetrius said. “Some things we have never done. No Child of Lilith has killed anyone.”
“Len Na did!” Seth shouted.
“Weeell,” Lukus began agonizingly slow. “Technically, SHE didn’t.”
“People were getting sick and died quickly.” Seth pointed out, “She even appeared in the middle of it! Those…” he struggled for the words, “Demonic Snakes were there because of her!”
Demetrius was nodding again and gave the hand signal to calm down, “Yes, but she didn’t bring them to A’Dore. She would always entice others to do it FOR her.”
I didn’t like that, “You’re splitting hairs.” I shook my head. “If I tell someone to kill another, they have to decide to do it or not. Should I be held accountable?”
Demetrius shook his head, “Does the person you asked to kill another person HAVE that choice? If they did it, why did they feel they had to? There’s more than a simple right and wrong here.” He again was shaking his head, “Again, not what we were discussing.” He grinned. “God wanted a people that would communicate with each other on a more one on one level. Like God, you know sin from having done it. You’re the better Judge.”
I was NOT prepared for that, “How do you come up with that’s exclusive to us?”
“Because you can do things we can’t,” Lukus said. “You can heal and hurt with magic. You transported yourself AND Seth here. We couldn’t do that across the room.”
“Wait,” Seth said calmly, but his mind was working on something. “You said Erik KNEW he could because of all the magic used with him.” He pointed to his right side with his right hand and asked, “Toby and Dennis have seen it all of their lives! Can they use magic?”
Lukus gave a grudging nod and said slowly, “Yyyyeeess…”
This was important, but I saw the humor, “Is answering my questions causing a lot of pain for you?”
“No,” Lukus replied at the absurdity. “I assume you want a clear answer, so I organize what I say to do that.”
“Learning to walk,” Demetrius said. “It’s...inevitable! A child pulls up on things or holds the fingers of parents’ hands as they try those first steps.” He laughed as pointed with his thumb out of the room. “I know Toby gave you a difficult time,” he chuckled harder, “and Dennis! He went from crawl to run so quickly!”
They were good memories and I knew what he was talking about.
“No one taught me baby steps with magic,” I said.
“Maybe not,” Demetrius said, “Until a Child of Lilith infant knows…” he motioned around the room, “things. It knows it isn’t happy, but not why. When the child understands, we tempt them to reach for things and they learn to do it.”
“Toby and Dennis can do it,” Lukus stated, “but it takes time.”
“You are already seeing their unique gifts,” Demetrius said. “Toby is a sponge with anything he reads! I would even wager he would pass many University Students and Professors by!”
“Yes,” Seth nodded. “Clearly, he’s a genius,” He glanced at me and grinned, “They’re both geniuses.”
I laughed with Seth, “If they survive being a teenager.”
“Do you know why I had trouble with the sitting in the air thing?” Demetrius asked me. “I couldn’t until I BELIEVED I wasn’t falling on my ass.” He looked at Lukus. “I saw him do it, but my mind told me I would fall, so I fell.”
“Just like there are different words for love,” Lukus explained. “There are differences in the word belief. Knowledge a chair will hold you up because it has before. You believe from experience. I had to believe I wouldn’t!”
“People can’t do that!” Seth blurted. “That’s impossible!”
“And why you will always fall on your ass,” Demetrius shot back.
Then Lukus argued with Demetrius who was still talking with Seth. No one was upset or even pissed off. Normally, I loved this, but a dark thought entered my mind and I did something I haven’t done in decades! I put my middle finger and thumb of my right hand in my mouth, my index finger held just so...I hoped I remembered how, and blew! I remembered! A high, shrill whistle filled the room causing everyone to jump and cover their ears and back away.
Seth’s eyes widened, “Ten years! We’ve been together for more than ten years. I’ve never heard you do that.”
“We left our topic again,” I said in all seriousness. “I will not become another Wahkooha.”
“Oh, Babe,” Seth began as he came at me.
“No!” I said loud with determination. “He started off helpful! Then he saw himself above everyone else. I WILL NOT BECOME LIKE WAHKOOHA!!”
“Then don’t,” Lukus said simply.
Demetrius shook his head and chuckled, “You can’t become like Wahkooha. He lost two important people at key times in his life.” He did a circular motion to his temple, “He was a bit crazy. He got too much magic too quickly that his father should have helped him...or other Druids or even someone Fae. He didn’t answer to anyone.”
Lukus stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled the finger, “I still hear that.” He was acting like he could get what he still heard to stop doing that finger thing. “What WAS that?”
I grinned, “You’ve never heard of whistling?”
“That wasn’t a whistle,” Lukus muttered, “That was something you do to torture someone.”
“I was eleven when I did it last,” I used the voice of the man that taught me manners and all that, “A proper royal prince doesn’t whistle or shout.”
“Erik,” Demetrius said. “You don’t have an evil or even selfish bone in your body.” He laughed. “You can’t lie.” He nodded at Seth and then me. “You’re right. We don’t normally stay that long with one person or family, but the two of you are special. You, Erik haven’t changed a bit since the day we met. You KNOW who you are.” He then looked at Seth, “And you...would most likely be married to a powerful and noble woman in a loveless marriage. Circumstances changed so much for you. Great damage was done to you at a deep level! It made you the man you are now.”
“When I first encountered you,” Lukus said to Seth. “You were a child. A Child of Eve, but a child. I honestly didn’t believe Arthur Thorne would go through with it.” He raised his hands in frustration, “Who kills a five year old and infant!? You were in his family!!” He threw his hands up as he turned away. “I KNEW he would back out at the last minute.”
“They were in Arthur’s way,” I said. “Seth and Sam stood between Arthur’s family and the throne.”
Lukus nodded and looked back at me, “Right. That’s exactly right. Then Dara plays Fairy Godmother to Ella and brings Christian and Ella to meet and fall in love. I hear things about your family!” He took a step as he pointed. “You and your brother had the most unique childhoods.” He looked at Seth, “Does he still thank someone even if they are doing their job?”
“Everyday!” Seth nodded, “He’s got me doing it, too.”
“It motivates!” I said in defense, “It encourages people to do a good job!”
“Yes, it does,” Lukus grinned.
“We ALL work for A’Dore!” I looked at Seth, “Or Blethos and Royal Valley. We’re all employees!”
“And when we got to Royal Valley,” Seth threw his arm around me. “He had everyone there drop any titles we had. He is one of them.”
“I loath having servants,” I growled and I saw Seth about to say something, “Yes, I know. There are jobs that require skilled labor and those that work with us are not less than I am or better than I am. To work with us, they do better than anyone. It’s their job, but I can’t look down my nose at them because of their birth. Nor should I be looked up to because of all the kings. Dad, brother, father-in-law, husband...”
Lukus nodded with a grin, “We, the Children of Lilith are not gods. We aren’t angels or demons. We live a long time, but we don’t know everything or make anybody do something they won’t do.” He shook his head. “We can’t read minds. For the first year, I thought what it saw was an act.”
“You thought what was an act?” I asked, surprised.
Lukus pointed at Seth, “You I know wasn’t an act.” Lukus looked at me. “People put on acts or airs to make people think that’s who they really are. You didn’t! Ever! You and Christian ARE what you project! Genuinely nice, fair, and honest!”
“That’s not a bad thing,” Seth said.
“No,” Lukus shook his head. “It isn’t, but rare in positions of authority. You both had lives that shaped you as men.” He looked at Demetrius and shook his head. “You told me, he is as you see him.”
Demetrius nodded and nudged Lukus, “He hasn’t changed since the night I met him!”
“And then a way to get the crown back!?” Lukus said. “Giving it back to the man it was originally supposed to go to!? Forcing not one, but two kingdoms to accept a marriage not condoned by the Church!? The whole world heard about it and they paid attention. How could I NOT be a part of this?”
I nodded, “But Wahkooha…”
“As power grows, morals shrink?” Demetrius asked. “It did with Wahkooha. Sure,” Demetrius said. “Why did Christian talk things over with you and Ella?”
I shrugged, “To get our input.”
“Exactly,” Demetrius said. “Wahkooha never did that.”
“Okay,” Seth nodded and turned me so I looked at him. “I trust you with my soul! You and I have a damned good life. You aren’t, and will never be like Wahkooha. You love everyone and they love you.” He smiled, “What caught my attention when I met you was your confidence. You didn’t back down from anyone,” he shook his head, “not from Darius, Deena, or Arthur!”
I nodded, “That’s part of what Jason taught me. The Creid do it by compartmentalizing their thoughts.” I said. “I often get scared and worry.”
“You never show it,” Seth explained.
“We keep leaving the point!” I said. “I never wanted this magic. I wasn’t looking for it!”
“No,” Demetrius said. “You just wanted to use magic by someone you knew could…”
“To find him!” I pointed at Seth.
“And you did!” Demetrius said. “You have a good marriage with someone you love and who loves you.”
“A lot of that confidence was to show I wouldn’t back down,” I explained quickly. “I knew full well I could slip and make a mistake and get killed. I couldn’t let fear or any emotion affect my judgement.”
“And did something, again, we,” Lukus pointed to himself and Demetrius as he shook his head, “couldn’t do!”
“That doesn’t mean I can’t misuse the magic!” I shouted.
“Then don’t!” Lukus shouted back logically and simply. There was a big smile on his face as he shrugged. “That will solve the problem!”
“You stopped Wahkooha!” Seth pointed out, “And those raids on all three kingdoms.”
Demetrius nodded, “You needed the magic to do that.”
Seth brought me in a hug, “Not that I’m anxious for anyone to leave, but what happens to the magic…” he started carefully using words to say what he wanted to know, “...when all of you...are not...here?”
Demetrius’ eyebrows rose and quickly answered. “Lay down and die, I suppose. The magic will be gone.”
Lukus shoved Demetrius forward. Demetrius was laughing, but Lukus chastised him, “That is just complete manure!!”
I chuckled, “Shit is shit.” I shrugged.
“Magic was created to be used,” Demetrius said. “And not just by the Children of Lilith. It will change, but it will always be there.” Demetrius touched my shoulder. “You need the magic now. I told you, those we would assist start off appreciatively, but soon became expectant. Thinking they were owed something or deserved it. I often had to remind you why I was there. You handled most things yourself.”
“And those places the scriptures say we shouldn’t be together?” Seth asked them and then looked at me.
“We’re not evil,” I said. “Again, who put the testimonies together and said, this is the Bible?” I asked and then answered, “The Church. To say what they wanted to say.” I waved at Seth, “Just as Arthur had things said to control people, the Church did to control our lives. Even about what we were to eat, drink, marry and who could have a voice in the Church!” I waved my hands helplessly. “People become injured from severe head trauma or sick and…”
“And the sun will rise in the West in the morning!” Lukus pointed out.
“Tell me it won’t happen!” I pressed Lukus and Demetrius.
“We can’t,” Demetrius admitted. “Magic, a Child of Eve who can use magic is needed now. You’re it.”
What I was feeling was building now. I knew it would burst through any moment! Demetrius, Lukus, and Seth were speaking about not understanding where this was coming from, telling me my fear wasn’t necessary, but all three were speaking as dread hit my heart, causing me to turn from them, shutting my eyes tightly and pressed my fists to my temple.
“I’M SCARED!!” I screamed. “Okay?” I turned to them again and saw the puzzled faces. I pounded on my chest. “I. Am. Terrified!” I pointed at Demetrius and Lukus, “To have restrictions you KNOW you can’t do things…” I threw my hands up and out. I was helpless! “I would love that!”
“You do have restrictions,” Lukus said back.
Demetrius nodded, “I know what you’re saying, and the restrictions are even written down.”
“What!?” I balked. “Where?”
“Given by God,” Demetrius smiled. “The Ten Commandments?”
“Those are just do and don’t do...something,” I said. “Those we break all the time!”
“Yes,” Demetrius chuckled with a nod. “You make the decision to obey or not to obey.”
“He put the Tree Knowledge right in the Garden,” Lukus pointed out. “The decision to disobey was theirs.”
“Does it hurt to use the magic?” Seth asked.
“Quite the opposite,” I said with a laugh that really didn’t have much humor in it. “It felt wonderful.“ I thought a second, “There’s really no other way to describe it. It’s like sex.” I saw Seth’s eyes widen in surprise and knew what was next. “It starts with arousal, then comes the pleasure of doing it until you climax and are done.”
Demetrius and Lukus were giving shrugging nods to each other.
“And there are no ancient words I have to say,” I said. “No ancient runes to learn, understand, and say correctly to make the magic work. I just think it, I feel it start and it just happens. It’s easy!”
“It is,” Lukus nodded. “To encourage you to do it.”
“Everything you said about me…” I began. “Was nice to hear, but…”
Demetrius chuckled, “Every word was true. You are so rare!”
“A genuine, honest, and nice person,” Lukus added.
I shook my head, “How do you come up with the letter to Corinth being about us and not you?”
“Because of the things we can’t do,” Lukus shrugged.
“The Scriptures weren’t written for just us,” I pointed at Seth and myself. “There are too many things that don’t add up. I know nothing about God...a lot of it is put together for the Churches’ agenda. They added written testimonies and even books, but there are still in those vaults a lot more!”
“But there are things we can NOT do,” Lukus said.
“Have you ever tried to do it anyway?” I simply asked.
Both Demetrius and Lukus looked at me in absolute horror.
“Okay,” I waved them both down, “okay. I’m sorry I asked.”
“The Forbidden Fruit started all this?” Seth asked me.
“I don’t know!” I said back and waved at Demetrius and Lukus. “Even THEY can’t prove any of it!”
Seth frowned, “They brought that stuff you gave Christian and said it was the juice from the Forbidden Fruit! That woman appeared to take Len Ah away. That was Lilith, wasn’t it?” He looked at Demetrius and Lukus for confirmation and got two shrugs.
I shook my head, “It doesn’t matter.” I rubbed the back of my head as I paced a little. “I don’t want people to be scared of me.” I pointed at Lukus and Demetrius. “I’ll tell Christian and Ella,” I pounded my chest, “I will. Me. I’ll have to tell Dennis...he and Toby are close and asking Toby to keep a secret from Dennis would be agony.”
“You have said you didn’t know who God was,” Seth stated. “You tell Him that all the time!”
“I do!” I waved up at the roof, “I admit it all the time! Do you think He doesn’t know that!? I’m not lying to anyone and He’s God!” I spun around, “I admit I don’t even know what that means!” I looked at them. “The Natives have it right. The gods they follow could care less whether you believe in them or not. Belief doesn’t make the god real or cease to exist.” I waved at Demetrius and Lukus while I looked at Seth, “Demetrius even said a conversation with the Big Guy isn’t like the one we’re having. It’s a feeling they get to know if they can or can’t do something.” I looked at Demetrius. “The evening you appeared before Deena kidnapped Seth and me, you said we were going to be tested, shaped as a couple. That’s very specific. How did you know?”
Demetrius shrugged and smiled, “It can be more than a feeling.” He chuckled. “You know about parables. Images and scenes come and we learn to understand them. That conversation had the image of someone hammering out and holding up a white rock. Then someone started hammering away rough places until they put this beautiful, sparkling diamond down.” Demetrius shook his head. “I saw your face and Seth’s suffering and heard the hammer of the stonecutter hit and the diamond glittered.”
“Sure,” I nodded. “That is easy to understand.”
“Yeah,” Demetrius said a little indignantly and crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s always amazing how clearly a person sees looking back.”
“I’m saying,” I said, trying not to laugh at Demetrius. He wasn’t really bothered. “The Scriptures were written for everyone.”
Lukus gave a wobbly nod, “Maybe. Or maybe this was all part of the plan all along.”
“What!?” Seth said.
“Everything was created for a purpose,” Lukus said. “People, Angels and all things have a reason to be. Some of us believe we,” he wavered between Demetrius and himself, “the Children of Lilith were created to be the protective older siblings. He’s not killing us, but we can’t have children. Our time will run out.”
“Because you won’t disobey!?” Seth asked. “Then disobey!” He ordered simply.
“We can’t,” Lukus shook his head.
“Can’t? Or won’t?” Seth asked.
I looked at Seth and grinned, “Trying to be the serpent to them?” I nudged him slightly. “Stop trying to tempt them to disobey God,” I looked up, “Or whatever you are.”
“All of the Garden and Creation stuff happened way before ANY of us were born,” Demetrius said. “There is no proof we can show you except we are here.”
“Fine,” I said. “Enough coaching about the magic today.”
“You will need to be able to use it when…” Lukus said in a soft tone.
I looked up quickly, “They aren’t going to be here tomorrow, are they?”
Demetrius shook his head, “No.”
“I will prefer for it to take a little concentration to use the magic,” I sat on the side of the bed and sighed wearily. “I need time to absorb all of this.”
“Sure,” Lukus said and vanished. “Coming, Demetrius?” Lukus’ voice asked.
Demetrius touched my shoulder, “I’m just a call away.” The familiar Demetrius came to the surface. “And I mean just say my name, don’t do the shout of yours and definitely no whistling! That hurt!” He grabbed me in a hug and wasn’t there.
Seth looked at me, “Are you alright?” He sat beside me on the bed.
“No,” I shook my head, but that wasn’t true. “Yes.” I said reluctantly.
Seth grinned, “It was an either or question. You can’t use both.”
“My brain is weary,” I said in a moan. “I don’t know how I am.” I plopped down over the bed. “Why me?”
Seth stretched out beside me. “Why not you?” He grumbled and said, “I’m glad those Thornes didn’t have it.”
I smiled at Seth, “You think it would be bad if they could?”
Seth moved an inch away from me a little, “You know the answer to that question! It would be a disaster for everyone in the entire world!!” He smiled at me. “If Arthur had that ability, he would definitely be an evil sorcerer.”
I smiled at Seth. He could get me out of a bad mood.
“And Deena!” Seth said dramatically. He shook his head and threw it back. “She thought everyone owed her...everything.” He rolled over me. “She would have had the palace in Blethos torn down and one built just for her!”
Now, I was laughing, “Why stop at one?”
“Right!” Seth nodded. “She could have one anywhere she wanted. And her clothes!”
“What about Darius?” I asked.
Seth sneered, “Let’s just say, it’s good he was the eldest.” His next laugh was a little sinister, “I heard Arthur and the man who was our tutor arguing about Darius. It seems Darius wasn’t doing well in his studies. He could speak like an aristocratic snob, but struggled to add two plus two.”
I know my smile grew hearing that, “Not everyone is good at math.”
“Come on,” Seth shook his head, “When you see two apples and someone puts two more apples there, you can see there are four apples! You see it! I’m not even talking about the area of a shape based on width and length. The area of a circle would blow his mind,” He grinned at me. “How many bottles of wine did we have before we left? How many were red wines and how many white wines? How many were ready to be sent? How…”
“I get it!” I chuckled
“If Darius had the magic,” Seth nodded. “You know Arthur or Deena would be the one that ran the kingdom.” He kissed me lightly. “I agree with Lukus. You haven’t changed…” He placed a finger on my lips to stop my protest which was coming, “That was too broad a statement. I’ll clarify. When you arrived in Blethos, you were younger than Thomas is now! You were still a teenager. You were Prince Erik of A’Dore! And you still are! Marrying me, you added Blethos to the title. You are now a father of two great sons. A decade may have passed, you’ve added experience to who you are, but you’ve not really changed. You are what you project. You’re genuine, you’re kind, you’re generous…”
He meant it, but it was uncomfortable now, “Seth.”
Seth’s eyebrows came together, “What!? Where is all that training from Professor Manners and Edicate gave you now? They meant it and so do I. There isn’t a member of the Human Race I can think of better to have access to the magic. I will say, Arthur, Darius, and Deena couldn’t handle it. I doubt Wahkooha ever did the deep soul searching you’re doing.”
“I am no saint!” I said back. “I have dark thoughts occasionally. I have killed men…”
“Where?” Seth demanded.
“You saw it! In Royal Valley!”
“On the battlefield,” Seth nodded, “defending your home, family, and friends to keep them safe. Those men wouldn’t have stopped if we didn’t fight back! They wouldn’t care if we got hurt or died.”
“I can hurt people simply by thinking about it,” I pressed. “No ritual, words, or object needed.”
“I can’t really understand, because it happened to you,” Seth smiled at me. All his smiles were pleasant, but this one was filled with love. “You’re not alone. I am always on your side. I love you.”