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    R. Eric
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Cinderfella 3: Life Continues - 48. Our Best Fiends

I am late.  Sorry, but I had something to do.  Here it is.  I love all of you.  I love to write.  I love Daniel.  :wub:

Our Best Fiends

 

 

It was really too cold for it, but I had to be outside. I stood out from that round castle or what Natives normally called a Longhouse. This was the biggest Longhouse I even heard of. Often it would be the only “constructed” building in the tribe village. They followed whatever, be it Buffalo, deer, or whatever. The tribes of the Northwest had more permanent homes. Houses made of planks for the Winter, but they left those homes in the Spring to hunt that whatever. They came back in the late Fall and rebuilt those plank homes again staying five months there. My Muskogee Creek cousins had learned to build permanent structures and didn’t hunt like they did in the past. These Natives had also begun to live in permanent homes, too. That was year-round now. It made sense that we, the newcomers to this part of the world would influence them. They certainly influenced us.

Yep, that was a rabbit. No wild hares as I didn’t really like them or what we had in Royal Valley with the Jackrabbits. Long and skinny things that ate your crops, but the rabbits were good to eat. Grace made great rabbit stew, rabbit and dumplings, and fried rabbit. There were lots of rabbits. We kill chickens all the time! There’s no difference.

I know, I know, that was very cruel of me. But they ate plants. Mostly fresh leafy plants and leaves. Fortunately, Seth keeps the vines away from the ground, tying each vine securely to a rope line that connected…all of them. Long rows of vines with bunches of grapes! There were the insects Seth complained about… Oops, I was petting that rabbit too much. Sorry. That one was not related at all.

Back on track. I wondered if this should be called the Round House instead of the Longhouse. It had been Wakhooha’s home, but not anymore.

It was snowing again and I can’t imagine anything more peaceful. The noise that snow makes… (I just know someone just said, “Snow doesn’t make noise.” Oh, yes it does!) If you listen very carefully you will hear it when the flakes hit the ground. As many coin-sized snowflakes that was coming right then, it had to be louder than usual! Just listen. You hear this “shhhhh” softly and everything in nature tries to obey that request and stayed quiet. It was also a Winter’s night, so the world was hunkering down for the night. Hibernation coupled with the desire to curl up and stay warm was here. There were the night creatures that hunt and forge, but not tonight. The wind had subsided, the snow drifted down and the sense of peace was felt. However, that peaceful sound was also a lie. Not far, some dangerous men were planning an attack. Was it foolish for them to do it now, in this season? Or genius because no one would expect it. Father Markham didn’t strike me as a good tactician. Maybe that other man was. I’d know better in a few hours.

“I don’t know,” Seth’s voice came behind me. “Does it have to be hot to qualify as Hell?” I could hear him rubbing his hands over his arms to generate heat from the friction. “If you wanted someone to suffer, sending them somewhere where they can never be warm will work, too.”

I chuckled as I didn’t look back at him. The sounds Seth made told me what he thought.

“It’s freezing!” Seth stated. “I’m freezing and you have to be freezing! Unless there is some magic you’re using to stay warm.”

“No,” I smiled. “I am cold.” I confirmed, “but think about how pleasant it will be to get warm again. You have to be hungry to really appreciate a good meal. Now, you will appreciate being warm!”

“I appreciate that now!” Seth griped. “It’s just a thought about it at this second. I’ll really appreciate it when I start to warm up.” He moved next to me, pressing his body against mine. Did he do that because he loved me or because he was cold and wanted to share warmth. I say it was both. “What are you doing out here?”

“Thinking,” I said simply. The spell from the snow and hush cast a spell on me as I watched.

“I understand,” Seth said. “And you can’t think and be warm? Or do these thoughts work better when you’re cold?”

“I always liked snow,” I laughed. “Peace and tranquility falling from the sky. It would snow occasionally in A’Dore’s northern regions. It even snowed in A’Dore’s capitol once or twice.” I smiled at the memories. “I needed it.”

“Sorting through what?” Seth asked. “I can’t know was you’re feeling or thinking, but you’re not thinking what you have in mind is wrong, do you?”

“I don’t want anyone killed,” I said softly. “What I have in mind will save lives, I know,” I waved an arm toward where the paladins were, “but I don’t want any of them to die either.”

Seth nodded, “They may not give you much choice.”

“Father Markham isn’t giving them a choice,” I argued. “Not all of them are here to rid the world of evil. Some of them are young men like Thomas! They want to be someone important, they wanted to do something important and make a name for themselves…a purpose for being alive!” I shrugged, “Dreams of glory and some just wanted a job, three square meals, a warm bed, and warm clothes.” I turned and looked at Seth. The spell eased up as I really saw him. “Sorry, we should go back in and begin to appreciate being warm.”

“I appreciate that,” Seth managed as his teeth began to chatter. “Its cold, but I’m here for you.”

I chuckled, “And I appreciate that! I appreciate you.”

 

We walked back inside the Round House. (I liked that name. I will suggest it to Dakotah.) The bite of cold eased as warmer air hit my body and my blood felt like it rushed to get more of the warmth.

“Demetrius was right,” I confessed as we walked back toward our room. “I can’t take the credit. We all saw a need and we all stepped forward to deal with it.” I put my arm around Seth’s waist. “You did, too. I told others and they also stepped up to deal with it. Some, like us, left their family to do it.”

Seth nodded, “You were given a weapon to use when we do this. You are a prince who was trained to lead. That’s why we focus on you. Christian, Yannick, and Sam could…”

“But I’m not ruling a country,” I nodded.

Seth stopped, “No! They know and trust that you are the best to do it. You’re serving the world! Christian, Sam, and Yannick have confidence in you.” He smiled, “I have confidence in you. I could never do what you do.”

“I don’t want to lead!” I confessed louder than I intended. “I never did! You know that.” Running my fingers through my hair, I began to pace in that circle as words came to explain. “I hated being a prince! There were so many expectations.” I faced Seth and pointed. “The title of prince is a bullseye painted on me. My father wanted Christian and me to watch him as he held council or court. I dreaded when he would ask me about what we thought should he should do!” My hands went to my temples squeezing as if I could cause those memories to pop away. “I was a child! Sometimes he would ask me specifically. He did with Christian, too. I understand what he was doing. He was teaching us to make decisions and consider the consequences.” I used a deep voice I thought sounded like my father, “How do you come to that decision? What do you think will happen?” My arms flew up helplessly. “I was terrified that anything would happen to Christian. He could not die and leave the throne to me.” I laughed, “I was so relieved when Thomas was born.” I nodded, “I love Christian and I would be so miserable if he died and I lost my friend and brother. Taking the throne, I would just have to. I knew that.” I shook my head in misery, “All people see is clothes, parties, and palace.” I turned and pointed almost accusing at Seth, “When criminals and troublemakers come, like those raiders for Wahkooha, there is that expectation that Christian, Sam, and Yannick will do something about it. It’s not just a desire, but what is expected to happen…and if it fails, whoa! Those people are quick to place the blame.” I threw my hands out again, “Like when we were dealing with Len Na’s threat and told everyone they needed those Little Warriors to survive…many didn’t listen and waited until the attack to realize their error. They accused Christian and Sam of lying or accusing them of exaggerating for their own reasons!”

Seth nodded, “I seem to recall most of those that did that were the uneducated and didn’t know Christian. The same with Sam. The ones that were educated rallied behind Sam and Christian.”

“Yes,” I nodded. “Ignorance explains a lot, but even the uneducated don’t have be ignorant.” I looked at Seth. “But I’m being asked to do things and decide what will affect not only A’Dore and Blethos, but the future of the entire world! I feel the pressure!”

Seth frowned and shrugged, “You’re doing great! You’ve got a kind heart, but knows there are limits. You are very smart. Who better to give the magic to and make the decisions?”

“I’ll be glad when it’s over,” I said hugging Seth.

 

When the morning came, I felt fine, but wanted to speak with Demetrius. Soon, in twenty-four hours, they would be at that pass between the mountain ranges. Father Markham and the paladins would come through that pass. They had to. Men could traverse up through the mountains individually or in small loose groups. To bring that many men, horses, equipment to set up camp, food, supplies…it had to be through the pass. We had a home turf advantage along with the magic. I wasn’t sure he knew we were here. He didn’t know “I” was here. Did the other guy? Was I like him? An unknown being that he didn’t know anymore than I did about him?

Sitting at the table to eat some breakfast, I was no longer surprised at things that Demetrius did. Well, that wasn’t quite true. He would surprise me once in a while, but not like a decade ago.

“Can I ask what you’re planning?” Demetrius asked beside me. He wasn’t there and then was trick. It only caused a faint flutter.

I smiled at him, but loud enough for all of them to hear me, “I’ll tell you what might work, but first…can you or any of you get a sense about anybody in that group? Can you sense a difference with anyone?”

“There are no Children of Lilith in the group,” Martha said carefully. “Is that what you mean?”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “Angels are eternal, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” Demetrius answered.

I nodded, “What about their children with the Children of Lilith? The angels that did more than watch were the fallen angles. The Grigori, those elite angels, the Ben Elohim came from those angels. They fathered children with the Daughters of Lilith.” I looked at everyone. “Thus, the giants, but did they have children? How long did the children of those Fallen Angels and Daughters of Lilith live? Wasn’t this before Eve was even created? Weren’t they immortal, too?”

Now, everyone…Child of Lilith and Eve were looking puzzled and without answers.

“That’s what I thought,” I smiled and nodded. “And no one has seen an angel. We assume there are demons. Those snakes in A’Dore were said to be demonic.” I looked at everyone. “Where do you bury the Children of Lilith when the time comes? We’ve found Human remains buried or laid to rest in almost every culture. There are cultures that cremate or just burn bodies of their dead, but mostly they make tombs. Are there tombs or gravesites for the Children of Lilith when they die?”

“No,” Lukus answered.

“We return to the earth,” Ceto added quietly. “We came from here. We are wrapped in sheet or covering and simply buried.”

“Isn’t that a little disrespectful?” Lia asked.

“Why?” Eabha asked and raised a hand to say something else. “The Children of Lilith sometimes die among the Children of Eve and are buried by the friends they have there.” She shrugged. “My parents were. The two souls that lived in those bodies are gone. The bodies aren’t my parents.”

I raised both my hands, “Okay. That topic was a bit morose and depressing. I will be willing to talk about it later.” I paused as I thought about what I’d said about what I’d heard. “I’ll rephrase. We’ll talk about it, but I’m not willing. Okay?”

It’s normal for people to avoid that subject. Death is a part of life, but we usually don’t talk about it. I knew better, but Seth and I had not finalized and recorded what we wanted either. The will to live was just too strong. Even for those depressed. It took them a while to the desire to end it to surface.

“Father Markham knows I’m evil since I moved to Royal Valley,” I said simply.

“Because you married Seth?” Reese asked. How did Reese keep those muscles of his in shape? The big room they used would help, but what did he lift?

I shook my head, “Sorry, tell me later how you keep the muscles in shape. It’s cold out.” I took a deep breath, “Seth’s and my marriage was just a part of us he didn’t like.”

“Erik embarrassed Father Markham,” Seth added. “Erik also took Father Markham’s power away. Erik encouraged people to challenge what Father Markham said to do.” He chuckled. “He was banished when he was going to challenge my taking the throne in the first place.”

“Seth was born to be king,” I said smiling a Seth, “but Father Markham didn’t know that. When he sees I am here, he will be convinced I am evil. Anyway! They are looking for evil that is supposed to be here that will endanger the world. I was going to show them some. I will speak with Dakotah and tell him to let his people know what the Natives see is on their side.” I grinned at Max. “And all my Cried brothers, remember that. They will probably be scary…” I grinned. “It will almost be like looking in mirrors at your battle-face reflections!”

 

I needed guides for what was coming up. Natives that knew the land and where to go. Speaking with Dakotah, I told him what I was going to do, informed him to tell the villages Father Markham would pass what was coming. He had a few Braves he would send the word with immediately. In that big room we exercised in, the two guides were Karey and Tala. It wasn’t that I thought women could not fight. If they wanted to, sure. But I just asked the men for now. These two men of Wahkooha we met first and demonstrated their skills to us. Karey was the tall, stoic one and Tala was just…happy! Tala was the shorter one and I liked them both. I know, I’ve heard it before. I like everybody, with only a handful of exceptions. That’s true. Karey gave me a smile as we shook hands. Not Tala. He bypassed my hand and gave me a tight hug.

Tala looked at Karey’s expression that told Tala they didn’t do that. Tala said, “He…no stranger…now. He member tribe!” He didn’t speak English well, but he meant what he said as he smiled.

I knew I liked them both, but Tala was gaining ground on the way to being my favorite. “Thank you, Tala!” I let him go and hugged Karey and looked at the taller Native. “I hugged you to show I don’t want favorites. Right now, you two are at the very top. Okay?”

Karey’s grin now was just so very Human.

“I’ll be wanting to see these men that are arriving,” I explained. “I need you two to show us the best vantage point where we can see them, but they won’t see us.”

Karey nodded, “There are good places…” he sought a word. “…to observe?” His question was about the word used, not about what he said.

“Wonderful!” I said and saw a little confusion, so I added, “Meaning that is very, very good.” I looked at the others assembling to go. “Everyone!” I called out to them in that big room. “What I’m about to do, is to show you they will do you no harm. They are on our side. They come from me.” I held up my hand. “Be ready.”

There was a severe crack of thunder that rolled through the room as it got dark. The candles went out, the fires died in the fireplaces and lightening flashed. One flash showed we were alone in the dark room, then another flash was almost deafening thunder and two large…things…were in the room with us. The fires came back.

Before us was a huge hairy bear? It looked like a bear, but this bear stood about as high as the ceiling which was twelve feet up. The head was a bear, but the fur was a dark brown with black mixed in. This bear’s limbs were wrong. His body was covered in fur, but his forelimbs looked almost Human. If you’ve seen a bear, it usually walks on all four legs that we almost the same length. This bear had shorter hindlegs, but longer “arms.” The hands had fingers with a long claw nail at the end. They would rip flesh easily, slicing as it went. The eyes glowed red with an internal flame and he opened his huge jaws and let out a very loud roar. Saliva dripped from his mouth and sharp teeth. The whole creature probably weighed two to three tons! Everyone jumped at the roar. Everyone. But me, of course.

Beside him was another creature, but…he was hairy too. His fur was black. He had a longer face like a moose! The head was on top of a longer, thinner neck that made the head stick out forward slightly. It had long pointed ears, stooped into an almost four-legged position. His eyes didn’t glow they were flames! He had long antlers on the top of his head, but the antlers were also on fire. The flames danced, but wasn’t consuming anything. They were coming from him! Sparkes were coming from the fire, but sparks were little pieces that was being burned off like they did in a wood fire. These sparks didn’t behave like sparks did. They seemed alive! They were heading for the others here. Looking more like bright yellow fireflies, the moved around. He also stood, but his legs were more proportional, but the knee went to down to an ankle, or what know as a hock like a second knee on this rear legs. Large feet ended on the legs in thick, wide feet. The arms that almost reached the ground standing up, but longer that Human’s but looked Human in shape and hands that had long fingers with talons on each finger. On his chest were ribs, but you saw them as the protected what was under the ribs. It wasn’t an injury. That was just how he looked. He didn’t roar, but he did snarl and as he did, fire came from his mouth.

The others didn’t know how to react! Stunned. That included the Natives.

“They are on our side!” I waved at them and turned my back to them. “Here we have the Stiff Legged Bear!” He again roared and took a step forward, showing why he was called what he was. His two legs were stiff. He didn’t drop to the other limbs. His step was very man-like, not a bear. I pointed to the other one. “I started this one as a Wendigo. He kind of came from a nightmare I had and all those tales you told, Chitto.”

Chitto nodded, but was literally scared to near silence. “Yes, I did.” He managed as he stared in horror at them.

I was enjoying this too much. How many times could I scare the Creid!? Those wonderful men that made careers frightening others? Their faces told me I had done just that. They were terrified. Victory!!

Reese was the closest so I grabbed him in a hug as he looked at these creatures. “They’re not real?” He voice told me he doubted they weren’t real. Here they were, but…

“They are really here,” I smiled. “But they won’t hurt any of you.” I took his arm and was going to lead him to one of them to touch it. “You’ll see.”

Reese’s eyes grew as he pulled his arm away, “That’s okay. I believe you.” His voice shook.

I laughed, “I’m not believing you.” I turned to them. “Come on, guys! Won’t one of you trust me?”

Beau stepped forward and stopped, “I trust you, but they are really scary!” He stepped forward again and put his arm out and inched toward the Stiff Legged Bear. “I’m scared.”

“I know,” I walked to Beau. “They are supposed to be. They will scare those men away.” I took his other hand which he latched on very tight. So hard it almost hurt. “I’ll be right beside you.”

Beau touched the Stiff Legged Bear on the hip as that was how tall the bear was. His face changed to wonder. “His fur so soft.” He even smiled.

“It is,” I agreed as I smiled. “Do you want to touch the Wendigo?”

Beau’s eyes grew as he looked at the Wendigo. His head shook. “He won’t burn me?”

“I promise he won’t,” I said.

Beau took a step and then shook his head, “I believe you and trust you, but…he is ugly.” He touched the Wendigo quickly. He pointed over his shoulder at the Stiff Legged Bear. “I like him better.”

I hugged Beau tightly, “At this moment, you are my favorite man from Creid!”

Seth walked up, “Just so I don’t worry about losing my place in your heart.” He grinned and touched the Stiff Legged Bear, “Beau was right, his fur is soft.” He touched the Wendigo, too. Thomas did, too.

“When we go and scout the area,” I said, “It will be daylight. When we see how they camp, I’ll be sending them out. You’ll know these are on our side.” I turned to Demetrius who was shaking his head, but smiling. “Is anything wrong, Demetrius? Am I doing something wrong?”

“Not a thing,” he smiled. “I just never thought you would be such a ham.”

Karey and Tala looked and confused.

“Ham?” Karey asked me. “I do not understand.”

I was going to explain, but Demetrius interrupted me, “When a person puts on a show and overdoes it. That’s him.”

Karey nodded and explained it better to Tala making them both nod as they understood.

I shook my head, but grinned. “Your Lake of Fire was great! The Thornes looked real, but you know? Being jealous isn’t very pretty.” Nobody was even disappointed or mad. It was all in good fun. “Lukus, may I borrow Martha’s map of the area?” I asked as my two created demons disappeared.

“Use mine,” Lukus said. “Later I’ll teach you to make your own.” said

In my hands there was now a rolled-up scroll, “Thanks!” Unrolling it I looked at all that needed to see it. I knew it was too small and again, nothing that said something was happening. The map just grew, unrolling, stood by itself open for everyone to see. “Thanks, Lukus!”

Lukus shook his head, “All I did was give you the map. You did…” he waved at the map, “all that!”

“I did?” I asked looking at the map. “How did I…” No one could answer me, so I shook my head. “Never mind.” A nod, I looked Lukus and Demetrius. “Magic always worked like this?”

Demetrius shrugged a nod, “Pretty much.”

“And Children of Eve could do it, too?” I asked to confirm.

“Yes,” Lukus replied.

“And we gave it up?” I asked no one and everyone. “Why?”

I got two shrugs as a reply.

I looked at the map and returned to the task. “The pass is here and about ten miles long.” I looked at Karey and Tala. Chitto was helping Karey, who was helping Tala. They might struggle with English, but distance was what it was. “The paladins will pass just north of the Yakima Tribe tomorrow and enter the pass then. We should tell the Yakima Tribe when to expect strangers so they can prepare.”

“Many Yakima warriors will be ready,” Karey said bravely.

“I believe you,” I smiled at Karey. “They will be needed to protect the village, but I don’t want any of them hurt. We’ll have them stand their ground, but remove the women and children out of danger. They came too far south for the Colville Tribe, but the Yakima are on the way to the pass. We need to be there.” I pointed at the forest covered mountains. “Where can we see the pass best?”

Karey and Tala were talking a few minutes.

“How many?” Karey asked pointing at everyone here.

I looked at Chitto, Thomas and all the Creid. “Everybody.”

“Not us,” Demetrius said. “We’ll see everything but won’t be seen. We’ll be there.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “You can scare people with what you can make them see, but you can’t fight.”

“We should be there,” Demetrius stated without his humor. “You can’t stop us.”

“No,” I agreed. “I can’t, but someone is targeting you. I don’t want to risk losing you.”

“How?” Demetrius asked. “I can…” he vanished and reappeared on my other side, “Hi.”

“I don’t know how,” I admitted. “Just be careful.” I looked at our two Native friends. “Where should we be?”

Tala spoke with Karey, who spoke with Chitto and it took a minute, but Chitto pointed at the map. “There are places…” he listened to Tala who pointed at the map, but Chitto spoke, “here,” and Tala pointed to other places, “here and here.”

“You see well those places,” Karey added. He was trying improve his use of English, so he used it when he could. “There are…” he said something to Chitto who nodded and smiled at him. “ridges?” He asked about the word and Chitto nodded, “Yes, hidden ridges there. Much plants…trees.”

“We will beat these men to the area,” I said. “You can show me better when we get there.”

“Katshituashku…Wetiko,” Tala asked me. “Be there…too?”

“The two I showed you?” I grinned and nodded. “The Stiff Legged Bear and Wendigo are going to help us. They will only show up if needed.”

Chitto said something to them. Mostly for Tala. It seemed Karey understood.

“This will work, guys!” I said to them all.

Copyright © 2019 R. Eric; All Rights Reserved.
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Okay, so far so good.  Sounds like we are getting close to observation and action.  Is Toby going to be observing as well?

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9 hours ago, ReaderPaul said:

Okay, so far so good.  Sounds like we are getting close to observation and action.  Is Toby going to be observing as well?

Just turn the page and find out.  Oh, right, I need to finish it and post it.  Sorry.  :P

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