Okay, and where have you been? (I'm being what I am. An impatient writer having an artistic, writer's moment.) It's all about me. We've a good Thanksgiving. I feel this story's final moment...no not next chapter, but the Puritans and all that. I miss you, Daniel. I love you.
It was an Italian/Greek villa with the large rooms inserted in the side of the rise. Rooms broken off the whole and shoved into the side.Very little was room stacked on a room.The most lived in was the one at the very top, but it’s claim to fame was that it was all covered over.Both the Greeks and the Romans liked a sunny room.The top room was practically uncovered and covered by tree limbs and shade.Nothing about it said it’s age.A year ago, a hundred or a thousand years ago, it would look the same.
“No more of my worries about where you go,” I muttered as I shook my finger at him.
Demetrius shrugged a shake of his head, “Well, don’t take it badly.”He said in a pleasant tone.“I told you I was fine.Now, you know, I was fine, but you didn’t know that.I’ve only had a few bad nights here.”He walked around pointing at Seth and me.“All were about you two.Restricted by what I couldn’t do to help.”He shook his head.He balled his fists and placed them next to his tightly closed eyes.“I could see it!”He didn’t have an option?
Seth looked shocked.“You didn’t have to watch, Demetrius.”
“Yes, I did,” Demetrius looked at Seth, “I had to look.Deena was going to do it.We knew that.”He shook his head.“It was killing me to just let it happen!!”Now, tears that were welling on the edge of his eyes were spilling down Demetrius’ face.“You stopped being the target for him pretty damned quickly, Seth.It wasn’t just for Erik!It was for you, Seth!There was a plan that included you and your family before Erik was even born!When she hurt you, I hurt!”
“You didn’t stop her,” Seth said softly.
Demetrius was now crying harder, “I couldn’t!!”
It had been a long time, but I knew Seth still worked with issues that Demetrius and Lukus had to do with it.“I told you that, Seth,” I said quietly.“He could not help us.”
“I would have!I swear it!”Demetrius shook his head, “I couldn’t!”
Others around us were growing concerned as Demetrius didn’t even stop his tears.
“That had to be terrible,” I said hugging Demetrius.I looked at Seth, whose eyes were showing understanding now a lot clearer.“It was for me.Forced to watch someone you love be hurt, knuckles broken and her attempt to humiliate you in front of me.Injured in a very sensitive area and all I could do was use bad language!?It was killing me!”
The long sense healed knuckles of Seth’s hand moved slightly closer over his own crotch protectively.He knew more than anyone what happened.
“There was no choice!”He wailed, “The Children of Eve have choices we can’t make!” He laughed a forced laugh with no humor in it.“I thought about it!I did!I would kill myself as a form of protest!”
“Demetrius!!”Seth gaped at this admission.“You didn’t try that, did you?”
“Demetrius!” I sat us all down, with Demetrius between Seth and me.
“Tried and succeeded,” Demetrius laughed bitterly, “Twice!”He looked up, “But You, you son of a bitch wouldn’t let me die!!”
Seth backed away a little, maybe to prevent injury when God would smite Demetrius.Even as deadly serious as this was, it struck me as funny.
“Oh,” I said to Seth, “I guess you never cussed at God.”
Seth grinned, “There were a few times…” He hurried on, “Never out loud!”
I nodded, “I suppose you never prayed in your head, then.”I laughed as Seth looked away a little ashamed.“God’s a grown Deity.He can handle it.”
Even Demetrius was now bursting with laughter, “See!?Another reason I love you two!You’re fun to be around!”He hugged us both tightly.“Every trip I make to you is fun…” he thought a second, “well, not that one obviously, and the one when Toby and Dennis got sick…”
“God wouldn’t let you die?”Seth asked.
“No!”Demetrius said exasperated.“The first one was a sword through my heart.He began nodding as our eyes grew.“Yes, and I made sure it went through my heart!I simply reappeared whole and heathy a moment later.”He bit his thumb as he thought as he wagged his finger at what he was remembering, “But, I thought for sure…” He turned and threw his hands out and said quickly, “I got my head chopped off.”
That one I stood up in shock, “Are you nuts!?”
“Well, it did kill me, for maybe three seconds,” Demetrius grumbled.“Then I reappear looking at the damage of the blood stains on the blade.It was a louisette.”
Seth’s eyes widened, “A guillotine!”
Demetrius only took a second before he nodded his head, “Yeah.”
I hit Demetrius!I mean I balled up my fist and hit him hard.Fisticuffs was a sport for some guys.A tavern or bar brawl for almost everyone, but you get a nobleman involved, move out of the tavern or bar, no gloves and guys go at it as fisticuffs to be civilized.Ha!I’d seen enough fights, though only a tiny few challenged me and never without a sword.I got him good in his left jaw so hard he spun and fell against a table!That did cause the others to be concerned.They didn’t know how to act!Now I was crying.“Don’t you ever…EVER do that again!!”I then grabbed him again in a tight hug.“Promise me.”
Demetrius was wobbly from my fist’s impact but returned the hug, “Did you miss the part where I said it didn’t work?I’m still here.”He moved his jaw back and forth.“You’ve got a mean right!”
“This isn’t funny!”I said and pointed at him, “At that moment, did you think you would die!?”
“I hoped so,” Demetrius nodded.
My finger shook in his face, “You promise me you’ll never do that again!”
Demetrius smiled, “Or what?You’ll kill me?”
“Just say it, Demetrius,” Seth said quietly behind him.“Assure both of us.I don’t want to lose you either.”
“Say the words,” I growled.“Don’t just agree.”
Demetrius raised his right hand as if swearing to testify in court.“I promise not to go looking for a way of ending my own life.A lot of that has made many of the Children of Lilith think the Bible is for you.Not us.”
“Because we can kill ourselves?”I asked.
“What!?” Demetrius asked, then took what I said apart in his head.Then shook it, “No.”But he thought some more, “Well, yes, sort of.”He saw our confused looks and went on, “To make a point, the hardest thing to fight is a martyr.Ones the Church has made are going to live forever.Self-made ones like I was trying to be was to tell how strongly I felt against this test.”
“He wanted find out how strong a couple we are,” I nodded.
Demetrius nodded, “To you.Freewill and compliance…that sort of thing.”He smiled.“That took a few years for me to understand.No one knows the plans God has!”
“We were tested for what!?”Seth asked.
Demetrius grinned and pointed as Hana, Thomas, and Ahaka talking.Thomas heard a word from Ahaka, gave a sign language we used and Hana gave a word and signed in Native sign.This gave the many bouts of laughter.“Because of Toby!”
“Toby?”Seth asked, “To see if we could raise two boys?”
Demetrius shook his head, “Not to prove it to God, but to each other.You two never gave up on each other.You learned the harder it got, the better you made it when working together.”
“He wasn’t around then!”I objected.“How did testing us help?”
Seth nodded, “He’s our son!”
“Yes, he is.”Demetrius said.“It’s hard work!”
“Damned hard,” I agreed.“But I couldn’t give either of them up.”I waved at Seth, “I know he won’t.”
“The banishing of that woman and priest, the change in laws, your having children had to be proven you could handle it,” He hugged me.“Here they are!”He faltered a little, “Well, Dennis is in A’Dore.”He grinned.“But you know what I mean.”He was about to turn away, but turned back.“Can I ask you?If you want to show I’m Human and not a god…or if you really don’t like something I did…does it have to be so physical!”Holding his hand up, he showed where the laceration had been, but long enough any wound was pretty well gone.He looked at Seth.“I have a bruise here,” he pointed to a place on his jaw, “don’t I?”
Seth smiled as he looked, but honestly answered, “No.Not one.”
We had a nice visit Ahaka.He was a nice-looking man in his thirties with jet-black hair.I chastised myself again and again, but…when someone comes in with an odd thing, you notice awhile.It wasn’t just the hair!I’ll start again.He was not really Polynesian alone, that gave him a lighter complexion than a Polynesian. It was late Spring or early Summer and the weather was warm.He had on a small cover over his crotch and backside.There was a dangling strand of beads that hung from his waist that would not keep warmth in.The other major distraction were dark blue lines there were several extending from a complex design over both sides of his nose.Another extended from his lower lip to cover his chin.And another much more complicated one all across his forehead on both sides.I found out later the weren’t any two alike!It was sort of twisted, but he spoke a little of a language found on an island Koror that was farthest North and closer to Japan.Islands were dotted all over the area.The people of Koror and Japan didn’t communicate a lot.It was rough, but he was a funny guy!He had to be to be friends with Demetrius.
“There you are!”Dara said frustrated.“No one knew where you’d gone!”She looked at me and smiled.“I’m gathering you are responsible for this.”
I nodded with a sigh, “I guess.I still don’t understand a lot of it.”
“Neither do we!”Dara said simply.“That’s why we pick things up the longer we live.”She looked at Demetrius.“Didn’t you tell him that?”
Demetrius smirked, “I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice in the past decade.”
“How about we all come here for lunch tomorrow?”Dara asked.“I’ll fix some local delicacies.”
Thomas looked up and with a mischievous smile he looked at Dara.“None of those delicacies will be us, right?”
Dara turned and slapped Demetrius on the arm.
“I didn’t say anything!”Demetrius said, “And why does everybody hit me?I wasn’t even involved!”
“Leave Demetrius alone,” Thomas came and stood in front his weird uncle’s fairy godfather, “He didn’t tell me.”He held his hands out to keep anyone else from hurt Demetrius.“This Captain…” he pounded his forehead a little, “Something domestic…” he thought, snapping his fingers to speed up the search and quickly raised his hand, “Cook!”He said in triumph, “He stopped over on his way back from another trip around the world.He told us about these people.Some were said to be cannibals!”He waved at Ahaka.“He’s not a killer!”He looked cautiously at us and mostly to Ahaka.“I can’t believe he is, but I want him to know I heard about it.”
Ahaka stepped closer to Demetrius as Demetrius translated.I didn’t need to know, but the conversation clearly got to the point where they may have eaten people, Ahaka looked ashamed and shook his head.He began telling Demetrius a lot and Demetrius nodded.Even I understood when Demetrius held his hands up and said, “whakamutua te korero.”
Demetrius was about to say something when Ahaka said something else and stopped that with a finger and a quick “whakatū” sound.However Demetrius knew Ahaka, Ahaka obeyed, but I got the feeling it like Demetrius and me!Father and son?“Yes, there were some who did participate in that practice.Ahaka says he has never eaten the flesh of a man be him a friend or enemy.I don’t think his father or grandfathers have either.”
“Okay,” I smiled, “You probably knew his father and grandfathers.”
Demetrius nodded, “As a matter of fact, Ahaka’s father peed on me!”He quickly told Ahaka who laughed at that and said something back.“He told me to tell you his father was three weeks old.”He nodded and said something to Ahaka.“There are several tribes with the Maori.He’s a part of the Ngapuhi.”
I heard Seth groan again.Here we go again with the no Bill, Thomas, Mike, or John.
“Hang in there, Babe.” I whispered to Seth.
“Some of the other tribes still do,” Demetrius smiled at Ahaka.“He claims they’ve had no great campaigns and not god has asked for a sacrifice.”
“Ano,” Ahaka said to Demetrius.
“Yet,” Demetrius automatically translated, then looked at Ahaka. “Ano means yet.Tatari!Why yet?What does that mean?Ano?”
Ahaka chuckled and shrugged.This time Dara translated what Ahaka said.
“Well, I’ll tell…”
“And you’ll take too long.”Dara waved her husband off.“The Maori believe in many spirits and gods.”She waved at their home.“One hundred years before Ahaka’s Grandfather was born, we built this to get away.There was a group on the Southern Coast of Aotearoa.”She pointed to the green shoreline across the water.“They were curious.”
“No one of our people had arrived yet.”Demetrius whispered loud.
“Two things are still very important,” Dara nodded.“The Tapu and Mana…”
Demetrius frowned at his wife, “Your way isn’t shorter.”He thought of how to explain better, but as no one had explained anything, I don’t know if it helped or not.“Certain objects and people hold Mana. A holiness. That can be passed to the public!Some Maori believe if a highborn person touches a lower born…anything.He’s polluting himself.”Demetrius laughed short.“A lowborn can get killed.”
“Somethings are just true with all Humans,” My mind instantly when to some people we all knew and loathed.They were of noble births, but hardly noble.“We have problems people that are highborn.Doing things no one noble person would ever approve.”
“Yes!”Dara nodded happily.
“They can descend highborn so long, they forget how are and why.”Seth said quietly.
“That’s it exactly!”Demetrius nodded pointing at us.“A man came to see these two people that moved on the mountain by the sea.He was scared, but he needed to know.It took a few years but he eventually got the courage to approach me.He was one who wanted to know this one!”He tapped his own chest, “That was…” he turned to Ahaka and said something who nodded and said something quickly.“That was Ahaka’s great grandfather and his brother.I got to know these men.”Demetrius chuckled.“They were not highborn.”
“Finally,” Seth grunted slightly and muttered quietly to me.“We find out why we’ve been brought this way.”
“He saw me do some things no human could do,” Demetrius held his finger up.He didn’t always do that. Was he doing because Seth and I did?I’d have to watch and see.“Yet he never questioned who or what I was!His son came around and…” he grinned, “He got in trouble with one of the highborn.They were debating whether they should just kill him or chop his hands off.”He waved at Ahaka.“He had yet to get married and had Ahaka’s father!But I couldn’t know that!”
“And?”Seth was waving at Demetrius to keep going.
“While they spoke with this highborn person,” Demetrius said irritated, “Who wouldn’t know truth if it hit them.Accounting for his great grandfather’s and grandfather’s time…” Demetrius looked at Seth and me.“As many as there were in the tribe then, they were brave enough to investigate!He told them what they were doing.Well, that couldn’t be true.No spiritual or divine being be friends with one of the lowest.”
My eyes widened, “Why were they so low with Mano or whatever?”
Demetrius frowned and looked a little annoyed, “You don’t help speed things along with all these questions with answers I was giving you if you just listen.You jump to go in directions I was going but aren’t ready for!”
I held my hands up in surrender, “I am so sorry.”I smiled and yes, the whole thing was funny!“Please continue.”
“How is this mano stuff measured?”Seth asked, “And how can you tell?”
Demetrius looked Seth in the eyes with a “now you?” look.I patted Seth on the back and Seth knew what he had done.Ahaka grinned, not really needing to clearly understand words to know what was going on.
“Now,” Demetrius continued, “The problem is, Ahaka’s great grandfather and grandfather had a horrible job and have for generations going back a long time.They dealt with the dead.”
“Dealt with the dead?”I asked.“Like morticians?”
“You’re doing it again,” Demetrius said to me and kept on going.“Every manor of death from enemy attack to sickness from plagues or illness.The attack the attacker’s verses the friendlies were broken up and had to be done quickly.Their own burned and gotten rid of and friendlies to give respect to.Illness and plague were to prevent others from getting sick.”
Thomas’ mouth dropped open. “That should make them very important!Instead of being rotten to them, they should kiss their asses or take care things themselves!”
Demetrius held a hand up, “When it comes to dealing with death, people are a bit sensitive.And no other man from A’Dore interrupt me.I was almost there.”He smiled and went on.“His great grandfather told the why, but didn’t believe him.”Demetrius shrugged, “My name was called to help.”
Demetrius looked like he was finished.
Seth was now doing the “let’s go” motion a lot faster, “Well, did you?”
Demetrius frowned bigger, “What kind of storyteller would stop there?I failed, his great grandfather had his life taken, his grandfather never marries and Ahaka is just a figment someone’s imagination!”
“Demetrius!”Thomas said rolling his eyes.
“I simply appeared in their midst,” Demetrius said.“I wasn’t there, then I was.They drew weapons and used some which didn’t work.They fought me, I never attacked them.They were the aggressors.I escorted the great grandfather, the grandfather, brothers, sisters and children here.I appeared in their midst a while alone.I spoke as a good friend of his grandparents, but almost never with the highborn.And even then, not really a choice.”He folded his arms crossly and said. “No, they always started conversations on this high level, like they were above everyone or at least on my level.”Then he did chuckle.“Right.Then they tried to force me to talk with them.”
“Why?”Dara asked us.“Their minds were closed.”
“I was getting there,” Demetrius said.“I told them they were wrong.I told them in the next week they would hear from Ruaumoko.The god of all volcanos, earthquakes, and seasons.”He looked at me.“They have quite a few every year.”He raised his hand and a deep rumble sounded and the ground shook.Then he lowered his hand and it stopped.
I nodded, “Candor.”
Seth nodded, “Yep, I remember him.”
“You did that for everyone?”I asked.
“I never knew there was a limit,” Demetrius shrugged.“I did for everyone.”He raised both hands and the thunderous, rolling rumble grew as the shaking increased making things rattle until Dara brought Demetrius’ arms down making it stop.Everyone except myself, Seth, Dara, and Demetrius looked a worried.Ahaka cautious, but not frightened.Hana had grabbed Thomas’ arm and wore her worry plain to see.
“Excuse me,” Beau said quietly.He was a bit concerned, but he and Val were so quiet, I forgot they were there.“We get here and the three of you start talking.”He waved a circling hand with a finger pointing at Seth, myself, and Demetrius. "Mr. Demetrius get’s upset you bring The Blue Mustached Man over…” he stopped trying to remember, “I’m lost from there.”
Val nodded, “Me, too, Beau.”
“His people has participated in some rituals when they consume someone.”He brought Ahaka forward.“He never has.Nor his father or his grandfather…”
“Brace yourselves!”I ordered to everyone with a chuckle.“When you go back each generation…Christian and my parents four parents and then their parents and so on…that was a whole lot of people!!I can guarantee without even looking, there were a few people in each of our histories who were less than honest and even hardcore criminal!I’m not talking about just theft, murders, rapists and quite a few that were just plain mentally sick!”When everyone’s crazy but you, you really need to think about that.If everyone else sees logic in the craziness, but you, aren’t you the crazy one?I don’t know! I needed to study that.A doctor for feelings?Should I start that?Later. That will be a huge rabbit, if you wanted to know.I would have to spend time with that rabbit.I would have to show cause and effect, show observation from multiple men who arrive at the same destination having seen what each did.The new discipline will take time to grow and change as needed.It wouldn’t be in my lifetime.Who knew what discoveries we would make until then!The brain is a powerful organ.Very often, I’m surprised when we give medications, tell the patient what to expect and have it happened.The I find out, it wasn’t the medication at all, but a placebo!It worked because they were told it worked?Yep!
“Ano,” I said to Ahaka, “What did you mean?”I pointed at Ahaka.Then looked to Demetrius who nodded as Ahaka began speaking.
Demetrius let a few sentences pass as he understood, “He claims no battle champagnes needed ceremonies, or god needs appeasing to prevent an eruption…”
Ahaka nodded, “Ano.”He said again and smiled at Thomas and made a hard clomp of his teeth once in Thomas’ direction and then laughed.
It was a joke!Obviously.Right?
I made it a point to get to know this man as much as possible.Yes, I knew what it was.I was jealous!I was an only child with Demetrius!Christian and Seth, but he was included because of me.It was pointless, but I felt it, okay?Believe it or not, I fought the urge to ask him how long he knew Ahaka.This was a, no I’m the one that is crazy moment.We talked.Actually, we said something and if it still wasn’t gotten, acted it out!Adult parties with a dozen guests would play situation games.That worked if you counted on a lot of similar education.It worked and I learned a few things.Was one of the only two children of his mother’s and father’s seven.It was tough making it to birth!Then a year, to five years…being alive was a miracle!
Animals often showed they had a sense humor.There were these two dogs in A’Dore…yes, we had a lot of dogs and cats, but these were two much alike.Same color and breed.A couple of hounds.They were brothers was my guess.One was always picking on the other!I swear!One would be lazing in the sun and relaxing, his brother came by and nipped him.Not hard and never drew blood, the one nipped would look quickly in the direction his brother should be, but was in another!Don’t feel sorry for the nipped one, no, he would wait until his brother got busy with an itch and let the bone he was chewing on alone where his brother would come and take it.Not because his brother even wanted it, but to irritate him. I’ve got dozens of examples.
“I guess I owe you an explanation,” Demetrius said beside me.
“For what?”I asked.
“You two are very much a like,” Demetrius said and nodded at my “how so?” demeanor.He moved closer to me.“But really, you’re not at all related.”
I turned to him.“You do this by practice!”I pointed at him.“You try to tuck me in securely and then mess it all up by telling me things like, you’re just alike and yet so different!”
Demetrius laughed, “Well, you are!Even as a baby, you always wake up happy.”
I had been told by Dad and some others that kept me, I did that.I greeted each day with a smile.I was told by some of the ladies of the queen, who occasionally had to be queen a day or two.These ladies made that possible.“Who told you that?”
“No one,” Demetrius replied simply.“Being happy is just someone you are.”He pointed at Ahaka.“Him, too.”He chuckled.“He was born happy, but I was never his fairy godfather.”
I nodded, “Oh.”
“He didn’t need one,” Demetrius shrugged.“You asked for help from one.”He pointed at Ahaka.“I was his neighbor.”He chuckled.“I don’t have to tell you, my free speaking with them and not with the highborn changed a lot of thinking and a lot of lives.”
“People often forget who the Savior was friends with,” I chuckled.“He spent most of his times with tax collectors and lepers.They were below the acceptable line.”I sighed and looked at Demetrius."I had no problem with the Old Scriptures and when they said what happened when.It’s recorded history.However, there is a huge space of time between what you said happened and the flood!There are thousands and thousands of years between unaccounted for!Where are the dragons?”
“Yes,” I nodded, “From Revelation.Giants, the offspring of angels and humans, those cute baby angels we see are hardly cute…”
“What are you looking for?”Demetrius asked.
“There may not be any,” Demetrius pointed out.
“Maybe not,” I nodded.“I will promise this, we won’t find too many by not looking.I want to know and understand everything.That you were friends with Ahaka is fine…”
Demetrius stopped me by placing his hand over my mouth, “Stop.You’re doing it again.You miss things when you do.”He thought and nodded.“A neighbor’s child was born, he learned to walk.I think I helped him twice.”He held his hands down pretending to help a tootler learn to walk.If I hadn’t been there, he’d still be walking.”
I smiled at Demetrius.“I did and do need you more.I am a little overwhelmed by how much you love me…”
“You tried to kill yourself, Demetrius!”I said in a loud whisper.“There are many things we cannot do.Killing yourself is at the top.”I hugged Demetrius.“Don’t do it, please.”