Today has been Bondday. The others were good actors and I liked some, Pierce, Roger and even Lazenby, but Sean!! He WAS Bond. I don't care what you say, Daniel is not blond.
This is all one loooong story. I kept referring back to events and characters because it is one story. Even when this part is done...I'm not saying it is...there is always "and then what happened?" There will always be a story. I love you, Daniel.
Let’s Take A Trip
I nodded, “Yes.I understand why you chose what you did.”I smiled.“You end your life, no one else’s.”I tapped him on the chest.“But it does hurt others.”Demetrius was about to say something try to dismiss it, but I stopped him.“No,” I lowered his hand, “It would have hurt me very badly.I don’t know which is worse, physical or emotional pain.I think emotional pain is horrible!It just keeps going and going.”I hugged him again and it was tight again.“You can’t do that to me.”
“I won’t,” Demetrius swore.
I loved my mother, but I barely remember her.Mostly, I remember feelings about her.I did remember many times when she would get me up from bed.She was pretty.Beautiful.Her hair was brown, like coffee with extra cream in it.Her eyes were dark brown and usually hung loose and hung past her shoulders.She always sang to me these songs only she knew, because she made them up.I could cranky because I didn’t feel well.It happened.Her voice was so soothing.She died and I didn’t really understand what that meant.Dad didn’t believe in telling me lies or cute little stories.Mom wasn’t asleep.She was dead.She didn’t want to go, but had to leave.That part that made her who made her what she was left her body was gone.I could tell you all the things I thought and misunderstood, but I understood a little more when we lost Dad next five or six years later, but he had to leave, too.That was why I was determined when Christian got so sick and was going to die, I would do whatever I could to keep him here, or die trying!Demetrius would never do that to me.He couldn’t.Seth and I had that in common.It a crucial age in life of children, both of our Human caregivers, our mothers were our everything!We slept when they said, got up when they said to get up, ate when they said eat and what to eat.They were the closest thing to a god there ever was.They were the givers of our lives and we knew it.We had “instincts” we use moment one, like the brushing of the cheek of an infant and the infant knows to search for a meal that should be “right there!”I trusted that Demetrius would always be there.
Dad was quite a guy.A great guy!A powerful man and not ugly.Black hair was normal in A’Dore.Maybe every fifth person had brown and every tenth person had blond hair.I always wondered why.The people from the farthest North, such as Europe, Russia, but there were countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and others seemed to explode blond hair and blue eyes.Was it a coincidence that less sun meant lighter hair, skin, and eyes?Did defense from the sun cause the differences?Hair color, eyes, and many other factors spread, but when?Why?Why is it that most people from Europa had pale skin and multi-colored eyes?Yet, we came into this part of the world, they had the slanted eyes and dark hair?Isolation localized most features and spread as Humans did.
God.I was nowhere near ready to push one god or God.I would never tell anyone to believe what I say they will burn in Hell.I didn’t know it was true!No one from any other religious group could prove their versions of God were true.There was the need for cause and effect to prove everything!Otherwise, it’s just belief.I wanted to believe something, so I took what I did know and put it together on my own.I was basing my eternity or lack of an eternity on this, so it was kind of important.
It was agreed we’d come back after breakfast and give everyone a nice relaxing day in the warm weather and even the beach.It wasn’t a long walk to the shore below.I’d gotten used to the warmth and would miss it now that we were back.I looked at everybody there and had them clasp hands.It was almost like…two people carrying a full glass of…whatever.The one that just plodded along and didn’t think about it did fine.The one that concentrated too much about not spilling made themselves shaky and made a terrible mess.I was worried too much.I was going back to where we were staying, not home.Back to Gitchi, the palace there of the cold and wet northwest of the continent we lived on in the Northern Hemisphere!Nearly the exact opposite side of the world!This was no hop, skip and jump.I didn’t want appear in front of anyone in A’Dore or Royal Valley.
“You’re thinking about it too much,” Demetrius chuckled.“What do you think about there?What do you feel?”
I looked at him from the corners of my eyes.“If you want to do this, be my guest.”I gestured toward the inner circle.
Demetrius raised his hands in sign of a “just saying” gesture.
I closed my eyes to concentrate and was a little annoyed Seth was nudging for my attention right now.
“What?”I asked, looking at him annoyed, then knew why it suddenly was cooler to me.
Seth was nodding and looking around, “We’re here.”
I looked around the room we had been sparring in before we left to go to Gitchi.I was shocked!“Great!”I said with resolved resolution, “That’s just great.”Anyone who heard me knew it was not great.“There is nothing!?”
Demetrius was smiling, but he said, “You got there, lost no one…” he shook his finger at me, “not so much as a hair blown out of place.Brought them back the same way, what do you want?”
“I don’t know!”I shot back.“A pop or whine and then a pop!Something!”
A door opened and a head came in and immediately went away again, but I heard, “They’re in here!”Reese said loud behind him to unseen people and a muffled comment and Reese saying fussing, “And that was true fifteen minutes ago, they weren’t here then, but they’re here now!”Then Toby’s head came in below Reese’s and his face lit up as he hurried over to us.He hugged the both of us to him.
Both Seth and I greeted Toby with the traditional hugs and kisses.I looked up at Demetrius.“His fire stick things have a kick when they go off.I never even felt the wind change!”
“Eabha had the thunder, lightning and explosions with clouds of smoke…” Seth said grinning.
“You can do earthquakes, volcanoes.And even people burning in the lake of fire,” I agreed.“One minute there and the here a second later.No fireworks!?”
Demetrius was smiling, but shook his head in my direction, “Why are you blaming me!?I didn’t do a thing!You didn’t include any of that.You!Don’t get mad at me.”He shrugged, "maybe she can show how to do that.”
There was a theme that ran through all of us.Every single one of us were very happy men.Even the most serious of us, such as Val, were still very happy.It was a challenge for Toby to see it all to understand.He knew the truth and love how well we got along.I looked at Toby.“I transported your Daddy and me to our room the other night.So, we can be ready to go home when this is over.I needed see if I could take us to Uncle Deme’s house.”
Toby nodded, “He lives far away?”
“Far!?”Thomas blurted.“He lives so far away the seasons are the opposite than here.”I won’t bore you.You already know.Thomas left Toby know as big as the world is, we were on the almost exact opposite side and thousands and thousands of miles away.Especially when Thomas picked at weighted exercise ball to show by example where we were now, the great Pacific and pointed to where we’d been on the opposite side!
That knowledge went in and I watched his eyes grow as he understood the difference!
“Tomorrow,” I smiled.“We’ll take a little vacation, sit in the sun, play on a beach and meets some wonderful friends of Demetrius’.”
It was unbelievable!!Even to Mister “Show Me."That was me, if you hadn’t got that by now.Why would anyone lie about that?I knew Demetrius, Dara, Lukus…hell, I trusted all of them!Toby trusted Seth and me and we said, but he was having a struggle with this one.
We even sent word for Kohona and his Aunt Ayita to come and for them to plan on getting away for the day.Yes, Kohona was a tribal leader and would be treated as an adult, but he wasn’t an adult.Thomas was an adult!A fact that I had to remind myself of all the time!Toby could be a grandfather, but he was my child!The same with Dennis!
Dakotah was interested, but there could be tribe business needing his attention.
Seth chuckled, “Everything taken was brought back.”He stuck his foot out.“All toes, fingers and other things are where they’re supposed to be.”
I nodded, “We’ll be checking each other late a lot more carefully,” I assured, “We’ll let you know.”
“See!?”Thomas pointed at Seth and me.“I missed that!”
I looked at Thomas puzzled, “You missed what?”
“That!”He thrust his hand at us.“The free speech about what things is and what we do with them!”He looked at Seth, “You were just speaking about your penises.Dad could never do that.”
“I created a monster,” I said quietly to Seth.“Oh, Thomas, your Dad was raised a certain way by a parent who just lost his wife.”I shook my head and took Seth’s hand, “That’s something one of us will face one day.”Then I faced Thomas. “Leave my brother alone!He’s a brilliant leader and loved by a lot of people.”I grinned.“And more important, he is my hero.I’d kill for that man on his simple say so.I don’t have to know why.”
“Your Dad was in a precarious place,” Seth explained.“A young king and taught to give everyone a fair chance.”
“He explained to you what was happening with you, didn’t he?”I asked Thomas.
Thomas nodded and grinned sheepishly.“I know.Something you made him promise to do on the way to Blethos right before Uncle Seth.”
“He did it.”I asked to be certain.“He doesn’t lie, so…”
“I talked about!”Thomas laughed.“Every so often he’d ask me something.Just the me stuff, if I’d ever and we’d have a day or two of long very uncomfortable discussion.For him!”
“Be nice about your father!”I chastised gently.“So, he gets a little uncomfortable speaking graphically.His world was different!It always has been.Like yours, he always had his duty for his future.Mine was, too.I was the spare!” I put my hands out to demonstrate to my right, “The heir and,” I moved my hands left, “the spare?I was the spare.”I grinned at Thomas.“I was thrilled when you were born!That doomsday feeling went away.You were healthy and happy.”
“But he’s a guy!”Thomas insisted.“What’s the big deal?”
“To Christian,” I said quietly, “it just is a big deal.He’s one of the few true gentlemen left in the world.I know you had friends in the guard, training.I did.Even then, I don’t really think they were as free with me as anyone else.I know Christian did.These friends didn’t expose him to the real world.Course conversation wouldn’t have been as forthcoming.”
“Yes,” Thomas chuckled and then said together, “We need to be an example.”
“Yes!”I said happily.
I tapped Dakotah on the shoulder.“If you need to get back, I can do that.”I said simply.“If you did it on your own…I can’t tell you when you’ll get back.”I smiled.“It’s up to you.”
I didn’t want to change.Could I stop it?I could just decide to never use the magic again.I did fine up until now without it.I felt I had to use until after the confrontation with those men from the Church.These Paladins were not priests, monks, friers or even necessarily Christian.How did I know that?How did Demetrius know about Deena before the attack?He said again and again, he could not read minds.Then how did he know?Could I know like they did?
“Erik!” Seth said again louder.
“What!?” I said as loud.He was never scared of me.I would never hurt him, but I did surprise him.He was bigger than me!I realized he’d done it a few times.I just hadn’t heard him.I reached out to him and said, “I am so sorry, my mind was elsewhere.”
Seth nodded and touched the gas wall lamp.“I could see that.Are you done here?”He pointed to our evening things we did ritually every night.At my nod, he turned that lamp down and extinguished the flame.“Of course, with your mind, you could end up on the moon!Only you would know how to get back.”
He was at least joking about it.“The moon.”I repeated with a chuckle.I waved at the sky I knew it was too overcast to see any moon phase in the sky, but it was there.“It’s not even connected with Earth.It’s like this huge distant mountain in the sky.Do you think we’ll go there?”
“I’ll guarantee it. Somebody will.”Seth nodded.“We’ve been fascinated by it forever!We won’t see it, but our grandchildren will.”
“I’ve looked at the moon with those Seers.”I smiled.“The ones that project distant things closer?Nothing’s up there.”
Seth chuckled as he got in bed with me.“You state that almost as fact.You don’t know.”
“That’s right, I don’t.”I nodded.“But I will say I saw no connection from Earth to the moon.Even if we went just creatures that flew…”
Seth grinned, “I meant, you could find yourself alone.I just want you to come home.”
“Well, now that’s in my head, I might!”
“I know you were doing it again,” Seth said slightly irritated.“Is there a problem with having this kind of power?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know.I’m sorry I’m bothering you with thi-“
“No!Seth sighed and forced us both down with him above me.“I’m sorry.”He sighed, “I remember many, many times…even one recently, where you had to tell me again, I am no longer cursed or damaged.I know you get tired of telling me so often.I’ll remind you when necessary.”
“You had something very traumatic happen!”I defended.
Seth was nodding as I said that.“And what happened to you happens so often in our lives…” Seth sarcastically replied.“We’re okay, Erik.”He assured.“You and I are okay, Toby, Dennis, you and I are okay, we’re family, we have friends we think of as family and they’re okay.Those that traveled with us are okay.”He smirked, “You might want to run an inventory to be sure.”He threw his arms out.“I won’t mind a bit!”He kissed me.“Other than burning their hands a little, which they recovered from, you never hurt anyone.”He settled down beside me.“As a warrior,” he looked at me seriously, “and you are a warrior, more than I am and you know it.How long had we been married when I found out you made the Praetorian Guard?Three years after we got married when I found your red uniform in a trunk by accident!”Seth shook me in excitement.“Praetorian Guard!”
I looked away slightly.“Well…”
“No!”Seth did what I did to him.He moved so that looking away didn’t help.He was the center of what I saw.“Don’t dismiss that!Jason told me you were the best student he ever had!”He stopped in horror.“Oh, no.”He looked at me concerned.“He made me promise not to ask you about it and I wasn’t supposed to tell you that.”
“We’ll tell him the truth,” I said logically.“We tell each other everything.”I shook my head, “But really, there wasn’t a lot of skills used…”
“No!” Seth declared.“That is NOT true.”He shook his head adamantly.“That’s not true at all!He told me the skills you needed you had!You just needed to hone it in a particular direction.”He smiled.“You could fight, but you needed to put all of his teaching into one situation.Everything such as catching and preparing meals, cooking, getting fresh water, a tough one considering you’re surrounded by water, nothing you would drink.A dry shelter when it rains.Staying alive!”Seth sat up a bit.“And if it’s so easy, why are there so few of you?”
I chuckled and nodded, “I just didn’t think about how long and just didn’t quit.”
“That’s what I’m talking about!”Seth stated.“Never surrender because you never give up!”He was tapping each syllable of his point on my chest.“How many tried that year?”
“I don’t know!”
“Eleven!”He answered his own question.“The whole year! You were the only one who made it.”
“He told you that!?”
“Sure, he did.”Seth nodded.“I asked.It’s good place you earned.”He brought me closer.“You won’t hurt anyone.Why the worry?”
“We’re born,” I said simply.“We aren’t responsible for our birth.Others make decisions for us a while, but…in the end, we are responsible for ourselves.You and I were born the sons of kings.”I smiled.“We were given a life of plenty…” I caressed his face, “Well, before Arthur.I didn’t have all that.Don’t I owe it to for that life” I paused thinking.
“Because they didn’t!” I shot back.“They could be just hard-working people that can’t seem to make it.Yet Darius and Deena sure as Hell never lifted a finger, yet never missed a meal.”I shook my head.“I’ve been hungry.Especially with that two months Praetorian Training.”I was about to say something, but shook my head, “Maybe later I’ll tell you what I ate the last weeks.”I shrugged.“I’ve never gone without long.I want to improve the lives of people.”
“You can’t do that for everyone!”
“No,” I agreed.“But we have with other people, such as Toby’s and Dennis’ mother.”I was on a roll now.“And what do we know about their mother and a little about their father, but what do we really know?”
“No one would be coming for them,” Seth shrugged.“We don’t even know what part of Blethos they came from.”
“Or if it was Blethos!”I pointed out.“It could have been A’Dore originally or even Creid.”
“Yeah,” I said reluctantly, “I didn’t get a Creid feeling either.”I thought a moment, “Well, I don’t remember any stories such as hers circulating.”
“No,” Seth agreed, “No grapevine information at all.”
I stared at him, “Grapevine?Is that a vineyard saying?”
Seth grinned with a shrug, “Idunno.” He grinned.Merging “I don’t know” into one word.“Whenever a good piece of gossip or rumor surfaced.Whether they didn’t want to give or know the source, saying you heard it on the grapevine saved on confrontation.They heard it through the grapevine.”
I thought about and grudged a nod, “Sure, you stand in the vineyards for hours sometimes.You talk to other guys there.”
“And now some of those guys are women,” Seth nodded.
My eyebrows rose, “You bring that up at this point to explain the gossip.”I objected.“Men are terrible gossips!”
Seth laughed.“They are!The grapevine stuff is older than our having women in the vineyard.”He looked just annoyed enough and said, “And why bring the vineyard in at all?Most is done away from the vineyard.”He folded his arms over his chest indignantly.“He doesn’t work for the winery or the vineyard!”
Mentioning Zeke’s large, bearlike father was funny!He was Royal Valley’s Blacksmith!Then thing was almost everyone came to him eventually for shoes for the horse to the parts that made up the bridle and other horse stuff.He started at the edge of town when it was Thorn Valley.Now, “Royal Valley” town engulfed him and swallowed him up.He was a friendly guy and everyone loved him.(If you don’t remember this, read Cinderfella II: A New Life again!Zeke and Gabe were the second couple in Royal Valley to come out and live as married couple!If you forgot, shame on you.)I was guilty as anyone.I pictured women in the marketplace asking had they heard the latest?Someone always had.Men were as bad, standing with manly stance and sharing what he heard about so-and-so down the street. I had trouble seeing that being done over beating molten hot iron, but…
“How’d we get here!?”I blurted.
Seth shook his head and laughed, “I have no idea!”He snapped his fingers, “Oh, yeah, you were doing that deep thinking thing with the new talent,” He smiled.“No one will be hurt.”
“Maybe it doesn’t make sense,” I admitted. “I was given a lot, so I feel a little responsibility.The Scriptures spelled it out.”I said logically, “About its easier to send a camel through the eye of needle than for rich man to get into Heaven.”
Seth nodded.“We didn’t get that often.”
I nodded, “I guess not, it was pretty much against Arthur.”
“Explain it, please?” Seth asked.
“Sure,” I smiled.“Assuming they were talking about a real needle and not an allegory or parable.Dependence on wealth is a trap.There are important things to learn from the poor, using that wealth is important.God provided a way for the wealthy to get in…” I tapped on Seth.“Just like I said.Our view on ourselves, how we see others in this world and what we do with that wealth is so critical. I hope Toby and Dennis pass it along.”I smiled at him.“Understand?”
Okay, I’m not skipping over anything…exactly.Seth was just staring at me.He didn’t want anything, I suppose, but he was just…looking.He’d smile knowing I saw him and smiled or even blew a kiss!That man loved me!I loved him.We had long gotten over being offended at us being a couple.A’Dore was the kingdom we could access the most, so any diplomatic visitor knew that or was escorted from any royal business and any audience.Terry and Sam were only a little out of the way, but it took longer to go there than A’Dore!But not anymore!Of course, we’d have to break the staff in…carefully.In both kingdoms, we had fathers who introduced the military life to sons, who joined when it was their turn.Christian even told me about a woman that wanted to join.She wanted to be a guard! What did I say?Could she do the job?Remember Daisy in Royal Valley?We were looking for locals to stand guard. The man who initially denied her because of her gender was soon suspended in the air by just one of her arms.She wasn’t…dainty.At all.She was tough!Hell, she was bigger than Seth and probably win!Not fat, but bulky.I liked her!I did!I wonder if Daisy wanted to meet this other rule breaker in A’Dore.There were guys you knew were FSE.Friends of Seth and Erik?Remember that?I sort of objected to that.Mannerisms did not really predict what a man, or woman, was inside.I probably had some, but I couldn’t tell you what they were.Seth did not.Zeke and Gabe. (Need to review Cinderfella II?)Garth and Bent!Who could tell!?There was no FSE tattooed on either of them. Stewart, the man that started our annual Love Festival…he, sort of did.No guessing about him.The female of our species were paradoxes.Then longer I lived, the greater the puzzle.There is beauty in the Human form, female and male.I know, I’ve said it before, but what I found pretty about any female or male, you probably won’t see.Females, the one like Daisy or the one in A’Dore…might have things I thought were attractive.I can’t imagine what, but… As long as they do it with the other person in a place of reverence, who cares?Daisy kicked many asses!All successfully.I’d be glad to fight along side her.The Natives were right.There were many genders beyond the male and female.
We came to Breakfast to be greeted locals we all knew.Kohona and his Aunt Ayita was with us, but Aunt Ayita was looking with an air of caution.We told her the truth and that everyone, including Kohona were going on a trip.What the individuals considered a trip told them something, but until they did it, was an unknown.
As the pace of eating slowed down, I smiled at them.“If you’re ready?Take the person’s hand next to you.”
I saw them do it and the surrounding blurred.We stood on the grassy hilltop from the day before.I kept my eyes opened this time.Two hours ahead or several behind for the day.The sun was up and the warm and breezy.
“Uncle Deme lives here?”Tyer found his voice and asked as close as he could to reverence.
“When I let him,” Dara muttered appearing from out of nowhere, but it was visible to Toby.
I nodded and stomped my foot in the green grass, “He lives down here.”I waved them toward me as Iwalked backward.“Under here, really.”
Demetrius did have a lovely home up here.It was high enough to handle storms of wind and rain, withstand floods and a bird’s perspective of the surrounding area.The water’s edge and the land beyond it.Demetrius’ house was on the Southern of the two island masses.Little islands that broke off from when there on one and mass.On the map (yes, there was a map of the area) it showed the Northern Map over-reach for the southern land mass and almost touch each other.The Maori only inhabited the Northern Island, Aotearoa, remember?
Opposites again.North is warm, South is cold.I only say it because I did it and while standing there, I had to remind myself again and again what was happening. It wasn’t odd.I was.Flushing the toilet was interesting at first, too.Now, with the modern high pressure…clockward verses counter clockwork and it just blows your…never mind.Do I mention traveling on the other side of the road?
Aunt Ayita said softly, taking her nephew’s hand for support. Not to give support, but get support.
Toby looking for answers he didn’t have, “Where are we?”
“Aotearoa,” Seth answered.He looked up and waved way from us.“Here’s a local now!”
“Here,” Thomas began explaining and held the invisible ball or globe in his hands and began to explain.
I waved our arrival to Ahaka.
Now, I don’t normally go along with this, but…it was so obvious when Thomas got to the part the story about the Maori people as Toby’s eyes widened and he began signing to me.
I looked at Thomas and shook my head, Tell Toby the rest.I pointed at them.All of it.
Thomas me a “you’re no fun” look and told Toby about the past and the Ngapuhi tribe.Thomas and Toby were cousins.Siblings, almost.In the past decade, it was not fair, but the situations reversed.You know this.”
“Erik!!”I heard Seth call me, only, I could only tell by the tone he’d been doing it a while.
I got my fist ready before my brain as I scrambled to my feet ready for…whatever!I was breathing hard and I know my heart-rate was rapid.I was Seth looking at me so worried, as was Dara, Reese, Beau, and Toby.
“I’m sorry,” Seth confessed holding the empty drink mug.
I felt wet and sticky and knew what was on me had been in the mug.
“You wouldn’t wake up!”Seth explained.
“You were dreaming,” Toby confessed.“You kept shouting for Demetrius.”
“I didn’t understand any of it.” Reese admitted.
Beau pointed at Toby, “He doesn’t hear to understand,” he said simply.“He sees.”
“We’re in danger because of these men that are coming,”
I said, “The Children of Eve and the Children of Lilith.Mostly, Demetrius.”
“That’s impossible!” Seth declared.“He couldn’t kill himself chopping his own head off!”
I nodded, “There’s a man leading them.He has one."
“What is it?”Reese asked.
I shook my head, “I don’t know.We need to find out.”