October 31, I was listening to Michael Aday (Meatloaf) and loving it. Today was Mozart Piano Concertos. Yesterday, Chopin and Rachmaninoff. I love all music! My new baby (computer) arrives within the week. No food or drinks in the same room!!! Hell, I was going to ask if you're reading my story, you can't eat or drink either! And I'll be moving again. It's not too far away, but more rural. Monck's Corner. They have Wi-Fi, so I'm good.
Come On By!
Could we be deceived? Anybody can be a victim of that. I tried not to watch too closely, but I watched Thomas and Hana together. And I was ashamed of myself when I thought how cute they were. Almost no one thought Seth and I were cute. I know there was a lot of revulsion. I’m thankful for the many communities that adjusted quickly. Native culture had no adjustment to make.
The dinner and conversation seemed to just flow.
“You worry too much,” Demetrius said as he chuckled and sat by me. He patted my arm as he nodded. He and I didn’t need words much anymore either. “That’s not by itself a bad thing, but is it always necessary for you to take on so much?”
I nodded, “I do that, yes.” I shrugged, “However, I feel justified. Thomas wanted to come with us.” I began explaining as Seth leaned closer to hear me. “Right now,” I touched Seth’s arm. “Seth and I are the only PARENTS Thomas has on this trip. We ARE Toby’s parents. Our job now is to protect both of them.”
Demetrius smiled and nodded, “That is true.” He said grudgingly. “Do I have to remind you that you were a year YOUNGER than Thomas is now when you married? He’s a man.”
I pushed slightly away from Demetrius as I shook my head and shook a finger in his face, “Don’t you try to use logic on me! It makes sense in my head, but not in my heart.”
Demetrius chuckled, “He’ll make mistakes.”
I narrowed an eye at him, “You know this isn’t a very encouraging conversation, don’t you?”
Demetrius laughed a little harder as he nodded, “I’m just telling you to keep you from being surprised. You don’t believe Hana is a mistake.”
“That wasn’t even a question,” I ground out. “Who am I to say it is or not?”
Demetrius pointed at Seth on my other side and then me, “Who you are, is family. Both of you. Just be there for victories or losses. If he asks, tell him the truth.” He patted my shoulder, “Just be there for him.”
“I don’t want him hurt,” I said, sounding pitiful even to myself.
“Of course, you don’t!” Demetrius sighed with a sad smile, “Unfortunately, in order to grow up, that has to happen.” He put some of the steaming, stewed chicken in a spoon and blew on it and cooled it down to eat. “He has to learn.” He took a tentative attempt as this wonderful smelling stew. His fork went down as he threw his head back a little as he chewed and let out a strongly approving and lengthy, “EmmHumHUM!!” His comment and words had three emphasized syllables. He grinned at Seth and me as he pointed at us with his spoon and swallowed. “Four hundred years.” He said in disbelief and now pointed his spoon at his stew. “I’ve been around for over four centuries!” He got some more stew in his spoon. “I think I’ve pretty much tasted everything once at least,” he lifted the bowl and asked Eabha. “It’s DAMNED good, but what…”
Eabha shook her head as he was asking, “Oh, no, I can never tell you what’s in it.” She waved at her bowl, “I will admit to chicken, cabbage, pork...two secret ingredients I will say you will have a hard time finding. One is an herb most assume now is extinct.” She shook her head, “But it’s in my garden. The other is a kind of Stout.”
“Beer?” I asked.
She gave a grudging nod of consent, “Sort of, yes.”
“Not you, too.” Seth muttered, “Yes or no.”
Eabha started to laugh, “How do I answer, it’s both?” She pointed to a stein. “This is milk stout. It’s also called a sweet or cream stout. It’s made like beer, but milk doesn’t ferment. It adds a firmness and sweet taste to the stout.”
Seth nodded, “That’s why it’s both.”
“Exactly!” Eabha said. Then she shrugged, “Oh, I’ll tell you. The herb is called Eriuthismia.” Everyone had blank faces, so no one understood what she was talking about. She smiled more, “It’s a variety of the Thismia plant that grows in many places around the world.” She shrugged a nod, “usually it has to be tropical, but I know that and one other that will grow in colder climates. You have those large lakes, like seas? A couple of thousand miles east of here. Thismia here and in Ireland grows in colder climates. The Eriuthismia adds a unique flavor.”
“Oh!” Toby said as he understood now. “The plant is Thismia and Ireland used to be called Eriu!”
Eabha clapped her hands together once, “That is absolutely right!” Then she stopped quickly. “Only the Eriuthisimia can be used as a spice. The others are poisonous.” she shrugged, “so is Eriuthismia, but the roots are not and very good!”
Toby smiled grandly with a nod. He was very satisfied he got that right.
Seth said in my ear in a whispered hiss, “I need to study before I come to eat?!”
I looked at Seth. He wasn’t even really mad or bothered. “Isn’t it against the law or something for a father to be jealous of a genius son? He knows many things we don’t know.”
Seth pointed at Toby, but looked at me, “You didn’t know that one?”
“It might have taken a while longer, but the words used for plants and animals are base words now used to identify...everything! To identify species and origins,” I was grinning at him. “All words have roots in other languages. To find a word’s meaning, you often seek the root to know the source! You know this.” I pulled him toward me and kissed him. “And you know a Hell of a lot about roots! Way more than any of us do!”
The man Seth was now was fun to be with. You know that. I’ve said it a lot. However, that horrible event and childhood he endured sometimes tried to resurface. Now, I could see and recognize that specter in his eyes quickly and I could make it retreat just as quickly.
“If it’s a vine root…” Seth’s eyes lowered.
“Bullshit!” I said in a loud whisper, but the smile on my face told him what I thought of that. “Forget those damned grapes! You know full well the winery doubled it’s output even before I ever got to Blethos! That was all you, not Arthur! Since then, you took a good vineyard of not even a couple of hundred acres and made it an excellent fifteen thousand acres! We only stopped because we need more land to grow vines! Hell, I STILL don’t know all the different grapes you use for different wines, but I know there is more than just wine for dinner! Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlots, all the Blancs...” I held my hands up in surrender, “but no, we’re taking the vines off the table. Fine. Let’s talk about your irrigation system! Using wind to pump the water uphill and then letting gravity water the vineyard…” I pointed at him loosely. “That was genius. And those heaters you now have set up throughout the vineyard. THAT was pure genius and all from YOU! When you figured out how to see those little things were killing Christian a decade ago, that was SUPERgenius!!” I shrugged. “We might not even be friendly with Creid if you hadn’t, but we’re allies and good friends with almost everyone of them now! That idea of yours introduced a whole new world to science and medicine that is being studied today…”
Seth was now turning bright red, but he was smiling at me. It wasn’t false modesty! It was ME that saw this. He was truly humbled, “Thank you.”
“There are many people that look up to you,” I said. “I do, our sons do, Edward does from day one with you, Thomas, Christian, Ella…”
“Christian!?” Seth balked.
“Yes! Christian!” I held the finger up to show I had a point, “He listens to you. I mean, he pays attention to what you say because he values what you have to say. In fact, many people could never even dream of having the ear of a king, but you have the ear of THREE kings!! Christian, Sam, and Yannick! I can guarantee you there aren’t many men who can walk into the palace of any of them, unannounced, ask to speak to ANY of them and they wouldn’t drop whatever they’re doing and listen to what you have to say!! You are very smart and they trust YOU.”
“You could do that , too.” Seth grinned.
“Yep. We both know,” I said, placing my forehead against his. “We are always in each other’s corner.”
Dinner was great! The food was excellent. The company was familiar and at ease with each other. I was protective of all of them, but Seth, Toby, Thomas, and Chitto were at the very top. There was no number scale to give you about who was higher, just know I would KILL to protect anyone of them. You don’t need to even ask me if I would sacrifice my life to save them, because you know I would. And why do we always put things together based on a ranking system? In government and militaries, you had to have it to know who to listen to. The higher rank earned the right to be listened to even if you have never heard of him before!! Yes, this would have been a rabbit If I went after him, but I’ll let it go.
I smiled seeing Hana was NOT shy. While she didn’t do any particular thing to attract attention, she didn’t retreat from it either. Confidence is not just something you can simply put on or have to learn. She seemed to be fine with who she was. I hate to keep bringing up cultures and mannerisms that were taught, but not the person. I was born as the youngest child of a king and queen. That didn’t make me confident, but I knew who I was. Hana knew who she was. A confident young lady. The Japanese portion of her upbringing was there, but strongly overshadowed by the Native upbringing which taught her the thoughts and opinions she had were just as important as anyone’s. Teresa had that and Ella had it in spite of how her step-mother and step-sisters treated her. Seth had it! Really, he did!! Yes, those scars were a HUGE problem. It only took me a few minutes with him to see his true depth and see HIM! His soul was beaten down and bruised, but no one could destroy HIM! That was real confidence and strength! That was Seth. Many people would have given in to despair or turned to a life of crime or even committed suicide. We had some things to take care of before returning to our homes or planned a wedding. I’m just saying, if she agrees, I think she will make a fine queen for A’Dore. I should not have been eager to get them married, but I could see that any child they made together would be beautiful. She needed time and the Little Warriors to ensure she’d be there. Then, I wondered about the Little Warriors we were giving people now. We, I mean everyone from Blethos, A’Dore, and Creid, were told those Little Warriors would keep us from getting sick for ten or twenty years. What had started with Christian now covered the thousands in A’Dore, the thousands in Blethos, and even the thousands in Creid. There were other kingdoms and countries that were getting the Little Warriors, but people were profiting from it. Guests that had been in A’Dore during the attack from Len Na were given the Little Warriors, too. What the Warriors were was never a secret. We even showed them how we got them and how to insert them in people. The Seers, glass containers, those great splitters to pull the solids and liquids in blood apart were now taught by many Universities in the world now. They were also being used as commodities. Rich and well connected families spent a lot of money to have that important person in their life saved first! That didn’t set well with any of the three kingdoms. Certainly, not with me. Just like they had in A’Dore and Blethos, men were selling fake cures and making a lot of money! Opportunists didn’t come from any one culture. A thief was a thief.
What Hana had would suit her well in A’Dore. One of the many words of wisdom to Christian and me was to never try to conform to anyone. Make them conform to you. I think she would do just fine.
“Demetrius,” I began, “That juice of the Forbidden Fruit didn’t make it up here, did it?”
Looking up, Demetrius looked at where I was looking and nodded with a small smile. “That would be accurate, but Hana’s only recently turned seventeen and in good health.”
I nodded, but still looked at Hana. “Almost the same age as Sarah.” I mentioned Toby’s and Dennis’s mother. I looked at Demetrius. “If she had the Little Warriors…”
“You wouldn’t have Toby or Dennis,” Demetrius sighed. “I joked about seeing things clearly when looking back. This was supposed to happen.”
I thought about what he said, “She was destined to die!?” I asked in horror.
Demetrius shook his head, “She was conceived! It’s everybody’s fate to die. Some don’t even make it to birth, but she did.” He held out his hand to stop me. “I told you from the beginning, many children are orphaned because of a tragedy. Do you have any idea how many people died that day? There are over half a billion people in the world! There were a few young mothers and many infants.”
“I’m sorry,” I nodded, realizing my error, “I’m so sorry. You didn’t kill her. I know that. You gave two orphaned little boys a chance at life. A good life.”
Demetrius smiled compassionately, “Death is always painful,” he shrugged, “Even for us.”
“But you live almost a thousand years!” I shook my head. “Do you ever catch a disease? Get killed accidentally?”
“No,” Demetrius shook his head.
Seth leaned in, “Dropped something heavy your foot and broke it? Fallen off a cliff?”
Demetrius chuckled, “No. and we’re never blinded or lose limbs or fingers.” He wiggled his fingers in the air. “We never get disease or plagues.” He gave a grudging nod. “That’s why many think we aren’t Human. Which is why the Scriptures don’t include us and not meant for us.”
I placed my hand on his chest, “Another argument for another time and I say, since I’m supposed to judge angels one day, it is for you as well. We love you!” I mentally shooed the rabbit away. “My question is about the Little Warriors. We have to put them in Hana to be assured she will survive illnesses and childbirth.” I looked at the people at the table. “Everyone here should. That brings me back to the Little Warriors. All of them came from that vial. They all were taken from Christian. Without new Little Warriors they have kept him healthy for ten years without so much as the sniffles.”
“Yes,” Demetrius was smiling at the road my thoughts had taken.
“They don’t die,” I said.
Demetrius was now chuckling, “That’s right.”
“Giving Hana the Warriors is easy,” I said, “but if we got an additional dose of the Warriors...is that an advantage?”
Demetrius smiled and nodded, “Yes.” He raised a finger, “Understand this.” He stressed seriously. “The Little Warriors Christian has,” he waved at me and Seth, “Therefore you two got it from Christian. The juice was given a drop of your blood, Erik, to know what it was working for. It gave the Warriors a pattern to follow. You! It will probably work the next decade just as hard for you.” He smiled at Seth. “You got the Little Warriors, too, but you have a different blood kind than Christian and Erik.” He looked up as he thought for a moment. “Think of it as generations.” I guess Seth and I had similar confused looks on our face. “Okay,” he touched my shoulder. “You and Christian are the first recipients of the Little Warriors so that is the first generation. Then,” he held up the finger for a point, “Ryan and the other Creid showed you how to separate the liquids from the solids. Those Little Warriors had dealt with a lifetime of illnesses from your brother and you, like measles, several pox, fevers, and even mumps. Those natural warriors you both had were reproduced and made stronger. The Little Warriors Seth got was second generation.” He paused as he grinned looking at us. “You’re still with me so far?”
Seth nodded, but answered in a slow, “Suuuure.” He frowned. “Does that make a big difference?” He held a hand up for us to listen. “The warriors I got have experience! Isn’t that better?”
Demetrius nodded with a chuckle, “No real difference. They get…” he looked for a word, “tired and lazy.” He burst out laughing at us now. “They don’t have to work as hard! You’ve had the measles and those other things, the warriors for those illnesses are right there! They work, so why make a new one? There will come a point reached where it will be many generations from the Forbidden Fruit to any Warriors added.” He waved at the world beyond the walls. “The men that took these Warriors, we told them how to make more. Depending on who they use as a source, Warriors taken will work, but not as well or as long. Warriors taken from any of you should do well.”
“Can they be frozen?” Seth asked and then he pressed on quickly. “They are living things, aren’t they?”
Demetrius nodded, smiling again. “Yes, but you want to freeze them?”
I looked back at Seth, “There’s another example of your smarts.” I looked at Demetrius and pointed at Seth, “He knows we use ice to keep meats, milk, and eggs fresh longer.” I shrugged. “Why wouldn’t it work on blood?”
Demetrius chuckled, “Try it and see.”
“In the beginning, with no immunities in the juice, the harder you make the warriors work,” I began as I worked it out in my head, “the better it works?” Saying it as a question to be sure I got it.
“You’d better get on the research about freezing the Warriors!” I muttered to Seth. My left eye narrowed at Demetrius. “And there is no more juice?”
Demetrius sat back a little and said in an indignant tone, “I KNOW you’re not asking if I was lying!”
I said in a matching tone, “And you also know I wouldn’t DO that!”
For those who may have had their attention drift off for a decade and forgot this, we weren’t upset. That was just Demetrius coming to his odd and often outrageous conclusions and my replies to those conclusions.
Seth chuckled, but shook his head, “That’s not what I was getting at. What I was asking about…” he thought for a moment, “If I came up to a vine and saw a single bundle of grapes, I don’t have to be told there is something wrong with the vine. If I walk up to a fruit tree, I usually see a tree that has more than just a single pear, apple, or orange...”
“Be fair, Seth,” I looked at Seth, “you’re talking about fruits we know. Vine fruits like grapes are full of juice, so are oranges and that’s squeezed out pretty easily. We don’t know if the forbidden fruit was like oranges or more like apples.” He and I were enjoying this. “That vial of the Forbidden Fruit Juice was about…” I guessed, “just about two liters?” I asked Demetrius to confirm and he nodded, “Okay, but we don’t know how much the Forbidden Fruit gives when it’s juiced. Did it need seeding first?”
“Seeding?” Seth asked me.
“Oh, yes,” I nodded. “I love apples. I love apple juice…” then quickly added, “just after grape juice.” Since grapes were our livelihood, I thought they just be first in the order of my preferences. Even Seth chuckled at that. Those seeds let off a smell,” I thought, “a gas, I was told, and that gas makes the juice nasty to drink.” I turned back to Demetrius who was smiling at the two of us. He enjoyed childish behaviors, too. Humor is an emotion. By using humor, we’ve raised it to an Art Form! Yes, it is! A person that can make you happy and laugh like Demetrius were artists. I was still learning, but I wanted to be more like Demetrius. I keep going back to this, but the night we met, before I’d even seen his face and gotten his agreement to help me, he had me amused for stubbing his shin on a stool in the dark. I didn’t even know his name yet!
We had a man in A’Dore that was blessed with that ability and would have you laughing so hard, tears came from your eyes. It wasn’t jokes only. It was how he said it. A walk down the street on a cloudy day took on a whole new perception with things he saw. I was a teenager when he died. He wasn’t a wealthy noble, but worked hard for his family. When he died the church was packed for his funeral! One thing he had a lot of, was friends. Rich, poor, noble, commoner, the king and queen were there (Christian and Ella), me...death is always serious, but even THEN, he demanded his humor be included! His family honored it. On his gravestone was his name, date of birth, date of death, but written in letters bigger than anything else, “I told you I was sick!”
What was that? The fruit? Oh, right, the fruit, Hana, and Little Warriors. Sorry.
“We don’t know how big or juicy the Forbidden Fruit was,” I looked at Demetrius. “How many fruits did it take to get those two liters?”
Demetrius was now laughing, “I have no idea.” He said, shaking his head as he pounded the table lightly. “I don’t even know what it looked like. Not one Child of Lilith remembers either. It was a long time ago. There were other vials, but we gave it to one person at that time. The ability to take the,” he did finger air quote marks, “Little Warriors from a person and giving it to another wasn’t here yet. I dare say, that last one has really gone a long way thanks to the Children of Eve.”
“With a lot of guidance from people like you,” I said seriously. “It was due to what you said to me I even considered going to Creid in the first place. If Dara had not helped Ella go to the ball to meet Christian…” I shuddered at the thought. “Think about it!” I motioned toward Thomas. “He wouldn’t be here.”
Demetrius nodded, “And before that, Arthur Thorne!” He grinned as Seth’s eyes grew. “Yes, you owe it all to Arthur!”
“What!?” Seth balked.
Demetrius laughed harder, “I’m positive you both would be married, if you were alive now, but not to each other.” He shook his head, “I’m sure they would both be lovely and well connected women. I’m sure the heir and a spare rule would apply, so I have no doubt you both would be surrounded by children and…”
“STOP!” I said urgently, “That is disgusting!” I hadn’t meant to, but what I said attracted the attention of the others at the table who looked at us puzzled. I smiled at the people at the table as I put an arm around Seth’s shoulder and Demetrius’s shoulder. “You know I love these two and it is a friendly discussion among friends, the subject was disgusting.”
All the way across the table Toby shrugged, “What I don’t understand is why Uncle Deme said your being here to you owed your being married and here to Arthur Thorne.”
I waved toward Toby, “I forget, too,” I muttered. “He reads lips. Volume is irrelevant.”
Demetrius chuckled, “That includes you, Toby.”
“Yep,” Seth nodded as he chuckled, “That is true.”
“I think after this much time,” I said. “Do we have to be so secretive still?”
Demetrius’s eyebrows rose, “What would you like to know?”
“Is there anything we can’t know?” Seth began. Then he shook his head and laughed, “Scratch that. If you told me, then I’d know, wouldn’t I?” He snapped when he thought of something. “You leave here and go home. You have a home somewhere.”
Demetrius nodded, “Yes. It’s not really local, so...we couldn’t transport anyone to and from home…”
Seth brightened, “But he can!”
I was not ready for that! “That was in the same building!” I said to Seth. “I still don’t know how I did it!”
“You’ll find out!” Seth said simply. “You have a house?” He said for Demetrius’s confirmation. Demetrius nodded. “With a front door, windows, rooms, kitchen, and all that.” Demetrius nodded again and smiled more. Then in a voice that marveled over when he said, “Like regular people.”
My eyes rolled when he said that, “I get this impression about you guys. You’ve all lived in places all over the world. I know you lived in Florencia, Italia for thirty years! Eabha’s father Soren lived in parts of Erui.” I grinned at Seth. “That’s Ireland. Remember?” Seth simply snorted, so I went on. “Where were those two mirrors and the vials kept? The Garden is gone, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Demetrius nodded.
“Is there an attic or basement you guys keep things of value in?” I asked. “A giant storage with room for all things given for people to use but don’t anymore?”
“Like what?” Seth asked.
I shrugged, “Lots of things,” I did a quick search in my head, “Like the cup used for the last supper, the spear they tested to see if Jesus was dead, or staff carried by Moses that parted the Red Sea, or stopped the Earth’s rotation so the sun would remain up to win a war...”
Demetrius nodded now just to stop us, “No, there is no cellar, attic, or storage room.”
“Can we come over?” Seth asked smiling.
“If you can get there,” Demetrius said. “Sure.”
“We’ll try tomorrow,” I grinned at Demetrius. “I still need to train with that new armor. Is tomorrow afternoon okay?”
“We’ll do that,” Demetrius agreed.
“You said it was far away,” Seth began. “Is it on this continent?”
Demetrius chuckled, “It’s not even in this hemisphere.”
Seth’s eyes grew as his mouth dropped open and he gaped.