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Subject: Cinderfella 2: Chapter 32 Eabha Story: Cinderfella 2: A New Life Chapter: 32 Eabha Author: Eric McQueen ail) Mature Readers only due to sexual situations and graphic sexual content Freedom of expression is precious. To do that Nifty needs help. Your donation is greatly desired. Give to fty/ or this story ends and all the others! That would be a crime! Merlin’s daughter!? Erik gets some magic training and more explanation. Eabha “Merlin!?” Seth asked carefully. “King Arthur’s friend and advisor? That Merlin?” She gave a shrugging nod with a smile, “That’s him.” I was nodding as it was making sense! “Sure! I can see that!” “He’s just a character in a story!” Seth said rising and pointed with both hands at her, but looked at me. “It could also be a lie!” “A lie?” I asked, “To do what?” Seth’s head turned a little, “Well, that would be an answer to a question I haven’t asked yet.” “Oh, I see,” I said, “Let me help you.” I looked at Eabha. “Your father was Merlin? King Arthur’s Merlin?” Eabha smiled and looked up for some guidance. “Technically, no.” Seth stood straighter in triumph, “Aha!” He pointed at Eabha. “See!?” Her near giggle caused her look even younger! “Daddy’s name was Soren.” She shook her head and said, “There was no real Merlin and there really wasn’t a real King Arthur. His real name was Fiacha. The name Arthur just sounded better. So did Merlin.” She did have an accent that was sort of different than most people from Ireland had. “You speak mostly in Gaelic,” I observed. She nodded quickly, “Almost exclusively at home.” She waved at the floor, “May I?” I quickly stood, as did every man at the table. She lowered strategically to a pillow keeping her legs folded to keep the gown from sliding up or bunching…whatever. “Forgive us,” I said to her. “Your unique arrival clogged up the manners we normally follow.” I helped her settle in. “Can we get you something?” “I’ll just have some coffee,” Eabha smiled, but waved at a young woman who was going to bring some. “If you’re going to get it,” she looked smiling at her. “Don’t bother. It’s on its way.” She pointed as a tall mug hoovered below a steaming pitcher. Another one came and added cream and another came sugar. The mug came and lowered in front of her. “May I use your spoon?” Even with the nod of consent, Eabha didn’t touch the spoon, but it went in the coffee mug and began making slow circles. Using magic was such a part of her life, she didn’t think about it. “Daddy did help Fiacha get some land and protect others. They were together for forty years!” Seth sat a bit quickly, “Together?” Eabha smiled and pointed at Seth and me, “Yes, together.” She chuckled, “They didn’t say they were married, but…” “See!?” Demetrius pointed out. “I told you, you weren’t the first.” “Dad had four marriages,” Eabha shrugged, “If you count that one. The last one was to my mother. The others had no children.” Demetrius nodded, “He married three Children of Eve?” She smiled a bit slyly, “My mother is named Morganna.” “Morgan le Fae?” Toby asked in near reverence. Eabha nodded, “Yes, she was.” “The writers made her a villain!” Chitto said in a loud voice. Eabha laughed, “My mother found that very funny.” She threw her hands out helplessly. “It was not just quickly written, but it took centuries to grow into the epic it is now. Much of it is from folklore. Quite a few from Wales helped bring the story along. Nennius was a Welch monk to write about twelve battles where,” she did the air quotes, “Arthur single handedly killed 960 men.” “Certainly,” I began waving at Eabha, “you know she’s a Child of Lilith.” “So?” Seth said. “We knew one that tried to kill every Human Being!!” “And she did not lie once!” I said with a smile growing. “Are you NUTS!?” Seth bellowed. I looked at the others at the table, “Am I?” I chuckled to everyone and then looked at Seth again. “Or is that a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious?” “But…” Seth began. “She didn’t! She looked at the evidence and came up with the wrong conclusion,” I nodded. “She made an error in thinking, but she didn’t lie. In fact, she stated so everyone knew what she planned.” “After they confronted her!” Seth waved in the direction of Dara, Lukus, and others. “And they didn’t always tell the whole truth!” “And when they couldn’t talk about it,” I liked this new Seth!! He was not the least bit shy, “they explained they couldn’t and even why!” Eabha was now really enjoying this as we bantered. She looked at Toby, “Are they always like this?” “Yep,” Toby shrugged with a smile, “As long as I’ve known them. Uncle Gabe says they get dinner and a show when they come for dinner. My Dads enjoy it. It’s always funny. Sometimes they even disagree! Usually, they agree to disagree.” No one had told Eabha Toby was deaf, but she had to have figured it out as she knew to speak to Toby so he could see her face. “There are some writings that Morgan and Arthur shared a father, but had different mothers. It also said they had a child together named Mordred.” “Many taboos were used,” Eabha shook her head, “I am the only child of either my mother or father.” She chuckled, “I was born late in both of their lives.” Seth’s attention was taken from our squabble, “I was led to believe,” he pointed at her, but had trouble expressing what he wanted to say, “your…cycle stops and you get the hot flashes and sweats…” Eabha smiled bigger at Seth’s delicate approach to what normally was a subject no proper gentleman would EVER consider talking about. “You mean our periods?” It was said on purpose to get a reaction from Seth and he did react. He began turning red. She shrugged, “It’s all part of the cycle of life.” She leaned toward the others, “None were more surprised than my mother.” Her head shook, “and my father! He was surprised, too.” She looked at Seth. “You understand why that happens, right?” Seth was almost crimson now, “I paid attention during Biology.” My eyebrows rose as I looked at Seth, “I’m surprised Arthur, your stepfather slash uncle, let you be taught about it at all. I assume he had you taught the truth?” Seth chuckled, “He sort of had to. Deena had turned fourteen!” He raised a finger, “This was the only time I ever agreed with Deena. Ever.” He swore. “Arthur didn’t want to talk to any of us about sex. He did like he always did.” I nodded as I grinned, “He hired someone else to do it.” Seth was visually agreeing, “He hired someone else to do it. I heard Deena tell Arthur he was about two years too late. Arthur didn’t have a clue.” “Grace?” I asked. “Grace,” Seth nodded. “Thank GOD we just have boys,” I said, “I felt sorry for Bent and Garth. They have three and two are girls. Poor Garth,” I chuckled, “and poor Bent!!” I smiled at Eabha. “As open as I have been with our two sons with everything I know about puberty and Human reproduction. I’d have found a way if they were girls.” “In fact,” Thomas swore with a grin, “Uncle Erik made Dad swear he’d tell me the truth. It was agonizing!!” He saw a few confused faces. “I was fine, but Dad was in all shades of discomfort. How did I explain he simply confirmed what I suspected?” Eabha laughed heartily, “I know you would, but let’s be honest. A young woman growing up would feel better if they spoke to a woman and knows what to do from experience.” She leaned a little closer and whispered. “You could pass on information, but…” she shrugged, “Every girl is born with about five hundred eggs.” She smiled at me, “You’ve seen things through the Seers. You might look at them, too. The Daughters of Lilith has a slightly longer cycle than the Daughters of Eve. It’s not once a month.” Demetrius smiled, “And is it coincidence that you were one of those five hundred?” “There are some coincidences,” Eabha shrugged a slow nod and shrug. “You’re speaking about defying the odds.” “You were meant to be here,” Demetrius said simply. “Merlin and Morgan le Fae were married,” Val said aloud as he worked it into his mind. “Yes,” Eabha said patiently. “There is a mention that Morgan le Fae shares the same father with Arthur,” Val said carefully, “but have different mothers, and THEY had a son, she and her half-brother.” “There was a Mordred,” Eabha assured us. “But neither of my parents were anyone’s parents but mine,” She nodded at me. “He was like you. A Child of Eve who could use magic.” Seth sighed, “Are you certain there is no quota about the number of Lilith’s Children that can visit all at once?” “No,” Eabha laughed. “You don’t mind that I came, do you?” “Not at all!” I said quickly. “The more, the merrier!” “I heard my father’s character name,” she waved with her right hand, “then my mother’s name was said and you were speaking about the Fae, Camelot…I felt a kind of obligation.” “You’re more than welcome,” I looked at Dakotah. “But I shouldn’t, should I?” I looked at Seth. “This isn’t my home.” Dakotah looked distracted, but the fact I was addressing him made his attention snapback, “What? Oh, yes. This is for all of you and you’re more than welcome.” “I had heard of one as a fanciful story,” Seth pointed at Dara, “I meet him,” he pointed at Demetrius, “I meet all three,” he pointed at Lukus, “who introduces Martha. Then Ceto…who else is coming!?” I took his hand, “We won’t know until they get here!” We took a little while longer breaking our fast from the night before. Soon, however, Eabha was one of the crowd. Just a warning. I had nothing to do with what was happening, but I saw it. A young woman, about sixteen or seventeen, had become engrossed in a conversation. With Thomas! Yes, yes, I am always telling you that people were nice looking. She was a Native, but she was also Japanese! Naturally, her mother was a Native and her father was Japanese. She was beautiful! Young. I saw an interesting combination of behaviors. The Native part of her was confident and sure of herself. Her mother taught her that. The Japanese part was demure and shy. She had been taught by her father how to behave. “She hasn’t moved at all,” Seth chuckled and shrugged, “It’s been a few minutes.” My grin grew, “She’s busy.” “Serving Thomas,” Seth smiled. “He needs to choose someone,” I said logically. “I was married at his age! To you! Besides, I understand. Here, he’s free.” “Free?” Seth asked. “From what?” “The pressure from being A’Dore’s Crowned Prince and being there for display!” I went into an imitation of my tutor who taught me manners, where to stand to greet people. When and where to eat unseen. One didn’t turn to a guest with something caught in your teeth. All the proper etiquette had to be followed, “You have to set an example.” I looked at Thomas, “Here, he’s just Tom.” I chuckled, “The family could do with another more exotic branch in the family tree. We have plenty of Natives. Add a little Japanese.” I shrugged. “Oh,” Seth grinned as if gaining sudden insight, “that’s right! The men of A’Dore’s Royal Family don’t take long to decide. How many hours did Christian spend with Ella before he chose Ella?” “About four,” I said and wasn’t finished. Seth interrupted, “You, too!” “We had almost a week!” I said smiling at him. “Christian and Ella had six months from the ball to the wedding so it would be spring!” “Oooh,” Seth began in sympathy for Christian, “That’s just cruel. Do you want to talk about foreplay!” “I had to be considered an adult to enter into a contract without a parental signature,” I shrugged, “I know A’Dore and Blethos has that age limit to prevent impulsive decisions.” I held my hand out. “Many fathers don’t approve of his daughters choice and have the marriage annulled. You were just down the hall from me! They had guards stand watch outside of Ella’s room to protect her from Christian!” I held a finger up, “A room without any secret passages!” “Really?” Seth shook as he laughed, “That had to be agony!” “And we’ve been happy a decade!” I shook a scolding finger at him. “I was told by a reliable source that Sam told Terry they were to marry on date one.” Seth was again nodding, “That’s right they dated a year!” “So, he could talk her into it,” I pointed out. “It took a YEAR!!” “Would you have wanted to get Arthur’s signature to get permission to do ANYTHING!?” Jason’s training was very thorough. I did things without thinking about it now. The move and countermove was automatic now. It was the week I turned eleven when I first began training. It was a few years later when Jason took me aside and put fireworks in my heart. “You’ve got a good eye, Your Highness,” Jason said seriously. “You think fast on your feet.” For a mere second, I thought he was joking. Jason did NOT joke. He taught all of A’Dore’s royalty and guards. And he never gave praise when it wasn’t earned. For three years he would prod me. What happened only happened a few times, but… “I would like you to become a Praetorian Guard.” I’m sure I looked down because my teeth fell out on the floor. One man out of a hundred guards would qualify for the Praetorian Guard. Out of those few, only one made it. (That was what they called the elite soldier defending the Emperor in Italia.) Jason let a ghost of a chuckle go and said, “You should close your mouth or you’ll attract flies. It’s eight weeks of very intense training. In combat and survival. Just because you’re a king’s son and now his brother…I will expect top performance from you. Nothing less.” Because I was a king’s son and now one’s brother, that probably did affect my performance. Jason believed in teaching what works. On that point bursa escort Jason was like the Creid. Whatever it took; you did it to win. One more time. The style Darius and other men who were born into wealth, the training style they were taught was pretty. Those artistic turns and steps looked “wonderful.” Almost a ballet. Not the move to make to avoid impaling yourself. I didn’t often think about any of it. It was NOT pleasant at all. Using the other hand! Yes! There were guards that preferred to use their left hand instead of their right. It was crucial you learned to be as deadly with both arms and hands. I’m right-handed, if you want to know. I think I was compartmentalizing thoughts and feelings back then. Those two months sort of blended together for me into a long nightmare. I told Christian, but not Ella who was now queen and beginning to show. Thomas was on the way! Or Thomasina. Christian swore not to tell her if she didn’t have to be. I told Christian what I thought about it. There was no one better than I was to guard Christian as king. It was NOT pleasant. We were taken to a swampy, nasty area of A’Dore I had never been before. We were given no supplies. Nothing but the clothes on our backs and a single knife. Water all around, but no fresh water. Brackish, mixed river and water from the salty gulf. There was life in the form of poisonous snakes, insects, and huge alligators. Death was everywhere. Except for a sunrise or sunset, the length of time was hard to gather. I remember being woken up many times at night as something was coming and that unknown was frightening. The sun would rise and fall giving me directions. There were four of us that began training like this. I was the youngest. We weren’t always together and I recognized some Natives Tactics to use. Then three and finally one. Me. I wasn’t the smartest and was scared many times which at low times, I was reduced to tears because of the tension. A survivor is simply a person that doesn’t die. Jason taught us to suppress fear and THINK! That’s what I did. One thing I would NOT be is a quitter! One side of me questioned the sanity of the others. I couldn’t quit! I was stunned when Jason stood before me one day on a horse and one black horse riderless, an Arabian Stallion was next to him. A breathtakingly beautiful, and spirited horse whose stance was one of pride and confidence. “You passed,” Jason smiled at me. “Do you need a moment to get on the horse?” The nightmare was over? I really was surprised! I shook my head, “I need a bath, a warm meal, and bed.” I looked around us. No one else was there. “Where are the others?” Jason’s smile grew, “You are all that remained. Rex, the last one called it quits a week ago.” I wasn’t wallowing in luxury for eight weeks, but to quit with only a week left!? I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in a mirror if I did that! Anyway. There was a kind of a reception, but the only women at this ball were the dates of the other Praetorian Guards. And Ella. She was nearing the end of her pregnancy. There were mystics, doctors, and just a plethora of others who were wagering on the gender of this birth. We would know after birth, but the baby lived. Often Ella swore the baby cared how things were arranged and was moving the furniture inside her! Twice, I saw what had to be an elbow over her belly. This “kid” wanted out. Now! Why did I tell you that? Where was I going? Oh, yes! New blood in the family! It was no problem for me. I knew the restrictions Thomas felt. About that new position I earned, I’ve only worn that uniform three other times. I wasn’t ashamed of it. I earned the right to wear it, dammit!! As it WAS a uniform in A’Dore, it looked like one. I don’t know who decided what the colors would be, but this one was red. Head to toe it was all red. Helmet to boots. Red. It was made to cause people to stare. Most of the time, I wore regular clothes and could blend in a crowd and protect Christian and Ella. Ella at last gave birth. A seven-pound baby boy! Thirty hours! In my head, I heard a dungeon key turn in a lock and a door squeak open for the prison I was in. I was free!! Thomas was…a handful. He was a good baby, but there was not a damned thing wrong with his lungs! When a meal was late, according to his internal clock, he let everyone know! He needed changing, he let everyone know. When he couldn’t explain why he was upset, he let everyone know. Thomas loved his mother. Naturally. He loved his Dad, and even his crazy uncle. He would tolerate some of the ladies that helped Ella, but Ella stated SHE was his mother. No one else. The trick, I learned, was not to show Thomas any fear. I had just completed training to do that! Remember? A grown man afraid of an infant!? Thomas was…sturdy. I often chuckled as Christian would start with Thomas very gently, then when Thomas responded by NOT breaking. Thomas enjoyed his Daddy! I wasn’t Thomas’ parent. When I voiced that to them, they immediately responded with questions about my not liking Thomas! Almost two weeks they asked together and separately about that. Yes, he had one mother. He had one father. He also only had one Uncle. Me! (Yes, Seth, too now. You know what I am saying.) Thomas grew like a weed! He was interested in…everything! Okay, I was more excited than many men would be maybe. The last baby in the palace was me! “How long did you take?” Seth asked me as he smiled. “You announced to me BEFORE you got out of the lake I was the next king.” He raised his hands helplessly, “Sam was the only one of us that ever courted anyone!” “Which he knew that first date!” I argued. “My parents’ marriage was arranged. Wasn’t your parents?” Seth nodded, “When she was six and he was eight!” He held up his finger for a point. “My father worshipped her.” I had to smile at that, “He did.” I shrugged, “I was told Dad did, but I can’t remember her.” Seth smiled with compassion, “He must have. He never remarried, right?” “No!” I said quickly. A bit too quickly even for me. I grudged a nod, “He took his vows to my mother very seriously.” I laughed lightly, “He swore before the people and God Himself to honor those marriage vows.” I pushed against the table to get another inch from Seth’s face to improve my perspective. “And why does she have to give voice to her virtue and not him?” I threw a hand up, “Hell, they grant the man permission to cheat!” I held a hand up to him. “They expect he will and these mistresses are given legal status!” I shook my head, “I knew Dad was a regular man and had normal urges as a man. He told Christian and I to avoid tempting ourselves and to keep the family line going. I can’t believe he would risk it.” I held up my object finger, “King Mordor and King Yannick…” “Which he never does with Delta!” I slapped Seth lightly on the chest, “Exactly! And the witnesses!!” “Witnesses?” Seth asked. “What witnesses?” “For the Royal Consummation!” “What!?” Seth sat back shaking his head. “There’s no way Christian would ever…” “No,” I chuckled, “He didn’t. He has trouble saying what a body part is. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t!” Unlearning something sounds easy! It wasn’t. Things happen in conflict and a portion of my mind would take charge and I would go into a state of mind where I really didn’t need to think about what to do. It was a habit! That’s where I would detach emotionally. Children of Eve had to bring those emotions to the surface. Training with Demetrius. It was midafternoon when I was stopped again. Demetrius came behind me and began kneading my shoulders to loosen up. “That was a little better.” I waved at the polished wooden stick on the ground. It was only a couple of feet long. “It barely moved!” Demetrius nodded, “But it moved.” He pointed out. Seth looked at Lukus beside him, “Does it have to be love? He wasn’t loving Wahkooha that night.” “But it was!” Lukus corrected with a smile. “A powerful love between a parent and their child. Erik would do whatever he had to do to protect both of your sons.” Seth nodded, “That’s true.” He suddenly looked up. “I’ll be right back!” He did come back, but what he did, I didn’t know. He held up a small piece of white cloth. He held it so I saw the elegant cursive letter T embroidered on it in silvery-blue. I was smiling when I saw that. “Okay,” Lukus began patiently. “It’s clear there’s a story here.” He motioned with one hand toward himself, “Let’s hear it.” He grinned. Seth chuckled and walked up closer to me, “Toby was turning six.” He grinned at me, “According to HIM. You gave things that a person wanted on their birthday or Nativity, not what’s needed.” “Certainly not clothes,” I nodded as we laughed together again, “Nothing practical.” “That happened on any…” Seth thought, “let’s say Wednesday!” “Grace would often repair Toby’s and Dennis’ clothing,” I shrugged. “She prepared six of these.” “They weren’t snot rags, either!” Seth promised, “He still does the pressing on the nose and…” Seth inhaled loudly. He grinned grandly, “I have to tell you,” Seth said to me as I was reaching for the handkerchief, but Seth raised it back and out of my reach, “He’s willing to let you BORROW this.” Seth was having a good time with this! “Say it with me, Bor…” Which I did as requested, “row.” He pulled the ends corners on the handkerchief out. He shrugged, “I thought a little reminder of why you’re doing this was needed. It might fix it in your mind.” He tied it around my wrist. “So, hating someone does nothing?” Demetrius thought a minute. “No, they are more like the opposite ends of the same emotion. To truly love or hate anyone requires familiarity. You can dislike a great deal. You, Seth, DIDN’T hate Arthur!” We almost never spoke of him! “You did!” Demetrius declared as he pointed at me. “Of course, I did!” I put my hand on Seth’s arm, “That was an evil man!” I moved my arm quickly to the side and jumped when the piece of wood shook and quivered as if a rush of wind blew through. There was no wind. “All of the Thornes were evil to their core!” Lukus waved at the handkerchief, “Yes, we know. What about the handkerchief?” “Oh,” I chuckled, “I’ll be honest. By this time, we had the Little Warriors!” I shook my head, “He never got so much as the sniffles!” “We gave him the books he said he wanted to read, that hockey paddle…” Seth listed, “When I saw what she gave the handkerchiefs to him. I thought she had wasted her time!” “Far from that!” I continued, “To Toby it was his first,” I did the air quotes, “BIG boy present! Ever!” “His Dad and I carry one,” Seth and I laughed together. “He’s never used them as handkerchiefs, but he carries one everywhere!” “It’s a habit!” I defended. “You can BORROW this,” Seth smiled again, “But YOU have to give it back. You. Alive and unhurt.” He held it under my nose. “Sniff.” Don’t get it twisted. We rarely carry them in our back pockets. There were no fart smells or like that. Toby had an odor. Everyone does! I’m not talking about normal body odors people have, but we have a body chemistry unique to us. There were many times we each smelled unpleasant. Combine a woman and a cat to the mix of smells. Ryan and Darren! There was a particular where we all lived. Previous meals or meals soon coming. Cleaners, oils. You are aware immediately, but soon lose it as we stay. It was because Toby always carried it. It carried an odor that said Toby. It wasn’t unpleasant at all! My smile came as Seth nodded, “Right?” He asked me. “All of us can’t just know what the other says,” Lukus chuckled. “You finish each other’s thoughts. I’m gathering Toby’s smell is on that.” I nodded and moved my arm under my nose, “That would be correct.” It was clean! It never absorbed any snot, but it had plenty of exposure from Toby. Demetrius smiled, “Yes, hatred works, but it’s not a pleasant feeling.” Then he looked at me closer, “Was it?” “No!!” Demetrius thrust both hands at me, “And there you go.” He smiled, “And there are many facets to love, but they’re pleasant to bring to the surface making you want to.” “Sure, I know that” I said. “Eros, which you and I have as passion and desire; Philia, that’s a pleasant friendship people have,” I waved at him and to myself, “We have that, too. Ludus, a playful sort of love; Agape, love of all mankind; Pragma, a long-standing love like ours; and Philautia, to love yourself. We’re in almost all of the categories!” “You don’t love me!?” Seth blurted. My eyes widened, “Where the Hell…” I stammered and this time I DID punch him in the arm. “What makes you say that!?” I shook my head as I advanced on him. “Do you WANT me to have erection while fighting!? YOU are not stupid, but what you just said was stupid.” Demetrius was grinning at the both of us, “What are you feeling…” he touched my chest, “right here, right now?” I did love Seth. What I felt right then was a combination of emotions. “Verbally,” Demetrius smiled. “Give the wood a command.” “Stand up,” I said. The polished stick jumped at that command and froze in place. I reached and took Seth’s hand and was startled when I saw we were in our room! Both of us! “What did you do?” Seth shouted as he asked looking around. “I don’t know!” I shouted back. “It’s OUR room.” “Can you take us back?” “I don’t know!” I sat on the bed. “I don’t know how we got here…so…” We heard rapid footfalls and men speaking to one another as they came running. Seth opened the door as Demetrius and Lukus reached the door. “See!?” Demetrius waved at us to Lukus. He smiled at us. “I knew they’d be here!” escort bayan “You HOPED they’d be here,” Lukus said, “They could have been in Tibet!” “Have either of you been to Tibet?” Demetrius asked. “No,” I grinned. “Then it couldn’t have been Tibet!” “But you said you can’t transport anyone,” Seth pointed out. Demetrius nodded, “We can’t, but Erik can!” He bounced, “We can’t cure.” He thrust a hand at me. “He can!” “We really do access the magic differently than Children of Lilith.” I looked at them both. “Why?” “There are several theological theories,” Lukus began hesitantly. “None of it can be given as proof,” Demetrius stressed. “But…” “What!?” Seth and I said loud. “Our parents never sinned,” Lukus said and was nodding at our surprised faces, “When Adam and Lilith lived in Eden. They didn’t disobey God.” He had said it before, but now I really thought about it. “I will have to disagree with that.” “No,” Demetrius shook his head. “God created paradise for them to live in. They could eat and drink anything they wanted, but God put one restriction on them. The Forbidden Fruit. Only one sin! That’s all!” I was doing what they had done to me and was shaking my head even before Demetrius finished speaking and the finger I used to make an exception was raised shaking, too. “No, Adam committed the first sin against Lilith! They were created equals! He ORDERED Lilith to submit to authority he didn’t have! She had every right to refuse. It was selfish and…” We enjoyed it! All of us. Even Seth was smiling now. “Which I’d love to hear about later,” he tried to put some space between Demetrius and me. “I’ll be glued in my seat!” He looked directly at Demetrius and then Lukus. “How does that mean he accesses magic differently than you do?” “It could be seen as punishment or reward,” Lukus said. “You have shorter lives than we do. The time it would take to learn to use the magic just isn’t there.” “When God sent those angels to Lilith to get her to agree, she chose to talk to God Himself.” Demetrius chuckled, “She got God to change His mind.” “He’s God!” Seth declared in disbelief. “And?” Lukus asked. “He doesn’t change His mind!” Seth stated. “He’s done it before,” I said to Seth. “Remember Jonah and the giant Goldfish?” “It was a whale!” Seth shot back. “You know that because you were there?” I asked as my eyebrows rose. “Of course not!” “There is a huge difference between a fish and a whale,” I grinned. “In the book of Jonah, it simply says God prepared a great fish, but Jesus said it was a whale…” I shook my head, “…somewhere! He would know.” “YOU don’t know!?” Seth smiled grandly. I nodded a wobbling consent, “I don’t have it memorized by chapter and verse! No. Jonah was told to go to Nineveh, go there and tell God was going to destroy Nineveh because of wickedness. Jonah tried to avoid doing that by going in the opposite direction. The big Goldfish took him where he was supposed to go in the first place.” I smiled, “There’s a lot more to the story, but God changed his mind. The people were very sorry.” “Or it was His plan all along,” Lukus said chuckled. “Our maturation period is longer,” Demetrius reminded us. “No Child of Lilith is born with magic. Like steps, they need to learn to walk.” “When Eabha told us her father was Merlin,” Seth said, “you said it makes sense. Why?” “If he had friends,” I chuckled, “Fiacha,” I looked at Seth, “King Arthur?” “Stick with Fiacha and Soren,” Seth muttered. “No reminders with those names.” “He meets friends at twenty or thirty,” I said, “They get older, Soren doesn’t.” I saw Lukus was about to say something, “Yes, I know he did, but it was so slow! It probably looked like he was aging backwards.” “Backwards!?” Seth said startled. “He got younger when he aged!?” “Whether it was the plan all along or not,” Lukus said. “Lilith got God to change his mind.” “That,” I said, “was my point.” I chuckled, “If I tell you the Forbidden Fruit wasn’t an apple. That is true. Christian and I grew up on apples, applesauce, apple pie…” I smiled, “He swore it didn’t taste like apples. We would know.” Seth took both of my shoulders and jutted his head, “And how does that explain why Children of Eve and the Children of Lilith access and use magic differently?” “I don’t know.” I answered. “You’ll be asked to stand in judgement of angels.” Lukus said softly. “We will?” Seth asked. “You will,” Demetrius corrected. “The Children of Eve.” “Why us?” Seth asked and looked at me. “In a letter to Corinth,” I said. “Again, I don’t remember the chapter or verse, but Paul questioned the competency they struggled with in trivial matters, telling them we would stand in judgement of angels.” “Why just us?” Seth asked. “You know there are a few things we can’t do,” Demetrius said. “Some things we have never done. No Child of Lilith has killed anyone.” “Len Na did!” Seth shouted. “Weeell,” Lukus began agonizingly slow. “Technically, SHE didn’t.” “People were getting sick and died quickly.” Seth pointed out, “She even appeared in the middle of it! Those…” he struggled for the words, “Demonic Snakes were there because of her!” Demetrius was nodding again and gave the hand signal to calm down, “Yes, but she didn’t bring them to A’Dore. She would always entice others to do it FOR her.” I didn’t like that, “You’re splitting hairs.” I shook my head. “If I tell someone to kill another, they have to decide to do it or not. Should I be held accountable?” Demetrius shook his head, “Does the person you asked to kill another person HAVE that choice? If they did it, why did they feel they had to? There’s more than a simple right and wrong here.” He again was shaking his head, “Again, not what we were discussing.” He grinned. “God wanted a people that would communicate with each other on a more one on one level. Like God, you know sin from having done it. You’re the better Judge.” I was NOT prepared for that, “How do you come up with that’s exclusive to us?” “Because you can do things we can’t,” Lukus said. “You can heal and hurt with magic. You transported yourself AND Seth here. We couldn’t do that across the room.” “Wait,” Seth said calmly, but his mind was working on something. “You said Erik KNEW he could because of all the magic used with him.” He pointed to his right side with his right hand and asked, “Toby and Dennis have seen it all of their lives! Can they use magic?” Lukus gave a grudging nod and said slowly, “Yyyyeeess…” This was important, but I saw the humor, “Is answering my questions causing a lot of pain for you?” “No,” Lukus replied at the absurdity. “I assume you want a clear answer, so I organize what I say to do that.” “Learning to walk,” Demetrius said. “It’s…inevitable! A child pulls up on things or holds the fingers of parents’ hands as they try those first steps.” He laughed as pointed with his thumb out of the room. “I know Toby gave you a difficult time,” he chuckled harder, “and Dennis! He went from crawl to run so quickly!” They were good memories and I knew what he was talking about. “No one taught me baby steps with magic,” I said. “Maybe not,” Demetrius said, “Until a Child of Lilith infant knows…” he motioned around the room, “things. It knows it isn’t happy, but not why. When the child understands, we tempt them to reach for things and they learn to do it.” “Toby and Dennis can do it,” Lukus stated, “but it takes time.” “You are already seeing their unique gifts,” Demetrius said. “Toby is a sponge with anything he reads! I would even wager he would pass many University Students and Professors by!” “Yes,” Seth nodded. “Clearly, he’s a genius,” He glanced at me and grinned, “They’re both geniuses.” I laughed with Seth, “If they survive being a teenager.” “Do you know why I had trouble with the sitting in the air thing?” Demetrius asked me. “I couldn’t until I BELIEVED I wasn’t falling on my ass.” He looked at Lukus. “I saw him do it, but my mind told me I would fall, so I fell.” “Just like there are different words for love,” Lukus explained. “There are differences in the word belief. Knowledge a chair will hold you up because it has before. You believe from experience. I had to believe I wouldn’t!” “People can’t do that!” Seth blurted. “That’s impossible!” “And why you will always fall on your ass,” Demetrius shot back. Then Lukus argued with Demetrius who was still talking with Seth. No one was upset or even pissed off. Normally, I loved this, but a dark thought entered my mind and I did something I haven’t done in decades! I put my middle finger and thumb of my right hand in my mouth, my index finger held just so…I hoped I remembered how, and blew! I remembered! A high, shrill whistle filled the room causing everyone to jump and cover their ears and back away. Seth’s eyes widened, “Ten years! We’ve been together for more than ten years. I’ve never heard you do that.” “We left our topic again,” I said in all seriousness. “I will not become another Wahkooha.” “Oh, Babe,” Seth began as he came at me. “No!” I said loud with determination. “He started off helpful! Then he saw himself above everyone else. I WILL NOT BECOME LIKE WAHKOOHA!!” “Then don’t,” Lukus said simply. Demetrius shook his head and chuckled, “You can’t become like Wahkooha. He lost two important people at key times in his life.” He did a circular motion to his temple, “He was a bit crazy. He got too much magic too quickly that his father should have helped him…or other Druids or even someone Fae. He didn’t answer to anyone.” Lukus stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled the finger, “I still hear that.” He was acting like he could get what he still heard to stop doing that finger thing. “What WAS that?” I grinned, “You’ve never heard of whistling?” “That wasn’t a whistle,” Lukus muttered, “That was something you do to torture someone.” “I was eleven when I did it last,” I used the voice of the man that taught me manners and all that, “A proper royal prince doesn’t whistle or shout.” “Erik,” Demetrius said. “You don’t have an evil or even selfish bone in your body.” He laughed. “You can’t lie.” He nodded at Seth and then me. “You’re right. We don’t normally stay that long with one person or family, but the two of you are special. You, Erik haven’t changed a bit since the day we met. You KNOW who you are.” He then looked at Seth, “And you…would most likely be married to a powerful and noble woman in a loveless marriage. Circumstances changed so much for you. Great damage was done to you at a deep level! It made you the man you are now.” “When I first encountered you,” Lukus said to Seth. “You were a child. A Child of Eve, but a child. I honestly didn’t believe Arthur Thorne would go through with it.” He raised his hands in frustration, “Who kills a five-year-old and infant!? You were in his family!!” He threw his hands up as he turned away. “I KNEW he would back out at the last minute.” “They were in Arthur’s way,” I said. “Seth and Sam stood between Arthur’s family and the throne.” Lukus nodded and looked back at me, “Right. That’s exactly right. Then Dara plays Fairy Godmother to Ella and brings Christian and Ella to meet and fall in love. I hear things about your family!” He took a step as he pointed. “You and your brother had the most unique childhoods.” He looked at Seth, “Does he still thank someone even if they are doing their job?” “Everyday!” Seth nodded, “He’s got me doing it, too.” “It motivates!” I said in defense, “It encourages people to do a good job!” “Yes, it does,” Lukus grinned. “We ALL work for A’Dore!” I looked at Seth, “Or Blethos and Royal Valley. We’re all employees!” “And when we got to Royal Valley,” Seth threw his arm around me. “He had everyone there drop any titles we had. He is one of them.” “I loathe having servants,” I growled and I saw Seth about to say something, “Yes, I know. There are jobs that require skilled labor and those that work with us are not less than I am or better than I am. To work with us, they do better than anyone. It’s their job, but I can’t look down my nose at them because of their birth. Nor should I be looked up to because of all the kings. Dad, brother, father-in-law, husband…” Lukus nodded with a grin, “We, the Children of Lilith are not gods. We aren’t angels or demons. We live a long time, but we don’t know everything or make anybody do something they won’t do.” He shook his head. “We can’t read minds. For the first year, I thought what it saw was an act.” “You thought what was an act?” I asked, surprised. Lukus pointed at Seth, “I know wasn’t an act.” Lukus looked at me. “People put on acts or airs to make people think that’s who they really are. You didn’t! Ever! You and Christian ARE what you project! Genuinely nice, fair, and honest!” “That’s not a bad thing,” Seth said. “No,” Lukus shook his head. “It isn’t, but rare in positions of authority. You both had lives that shaped you as men.” He looked at Demetrius and shook his head. “You told me; he is as you see him.” Demetrius nodded and nudged Lukus, “He hasn’t changed since the night I met him!” “And then a way to get the crown back!?” Lukus said. “Giving it back to the man it was originally supposed to go to!? Forcing not one, but two kingdoms to accept a marriage not condoned by the Church!? The whole world heard about it and they paid attention. How could I NOT be a part of this?” I nodded, “But Wahkooha…” “As power grows, morals shrink?” Demetrius asked. “It did with Wahkooha. Sure,” Demetrius said. “Why did Christian talk things over with you and bursa escort Ella?” I shrugged, “To get our input.” “Exactly,” Demetrius said. “Wahkooha never did that.” “Okay,” Seth nodded and turned me so I looked at him. “I trust you with my soul! You and I have a damned good life. You aren’t, and will never be like Wahkooha. You love everyone and they love you.” He smiled, “What caught my attention when I met you was your confidence. You didn’t back down from anyone,” he shook his head, “not from Darius, Deena, or Arthur!” I nodded, “That’s part of what Jason taught me. The Creid do it by compartmentalizing their thoughts.” I said. “I often get scared and worry.” “You never show it,” Seth explained. “We keep leaving the point!” I said. “I never wanted this magic. I wasn’t looking for it!” “No,” Demetrius said. “You just wanted to use magic by someone you knew could…” “To find him!” I pointed at Seth. “And you did!” Demetrius said. “You have a good marriage with someone you love and who loves you.” “A lot of that confidence was to show I wouldn’t back down,” I explained quickly. “I knew full well I could slip and make a mistake and get killed. I couldn’t let fear or any emotion affect my judgement.” “And did something, again, we,” Lukus pointed to himself and Demetrius as he shook his head, “couldn’t do!” “That doesn’t mean I can’t misuse the magic!” I shouted. “Then don’t!” Lukus shouted back logically and simply. There was a big smile on his face as he shrugged. “That will solve the problem!” “You stopped Wahkooha!” Seth pointed out, “And those raids on all three kingdoms.” Demetrius nodded, “You needed the magic to do that.” Seth brought me in a hug, “Not that I’m anxious for anyone to leave, but what happens to the magic…” he started carefully using words to say what he wanted to know, “…when all of you…are not…here?” Demetrius’ eyebrows rose and quickly answered. “Lay down and die, I suppose. The magic will be gone.” Lukus shoved Demetrius forward. Demetrius was laughing, but Lukus chastised him, “That is just complete manure!!” I chuckled, “Bullshit is shit.” I shrugged. “Magic was created to be used,” Demetrius said. “And not just by the Children of Lilith. It will change, but it will always be there.” Demetrius touched my shoulder. “You need the magic now. I told you, those we would assist start off appreciatively, but soon became expectant. Thinking they were owed something or deserved it. I often had to remind you why I was there. You handled most things yourself.” “And those places the scriptures say we shouldn’t be together?” Seth asked them and then looked at me. “We’re not evil,” I said. “Again, who put the testimonies together and said, this is the Bible?” I asked and then answered, “The Church. To say what they wanted to say.” I waved at Seth, “Just as Arthur had things said to control people, the Church did to control our lives. Even about what we were to eat, drink, marry and who could have a voice in the Church!” I waved my hands helplessly. “People become injured from severe head trauma or sick and…” “And the sun will rise in the West in the morning!” Lukus pointed out. “Tell me it won’t happen!” I pressed Lukus and Demetrius. “We can’t,” Demetrius admitted. “Magic, a Child of Eve who can use magic is needed now. You’re it.” What I was feeling was building now. I knew it would burst through any moment! Demetrius, Lukus, and Seth were speaking about not understanding where this was coming from, telling me my fear wasn’t necessary, but all three were speaking as dread hit my heart, causing me to turn from them, shutting my eyes tightly and pressed my fists to my temple. “I’M SCARED!!” I screamed. “Okay?” I turned to them again and saw the puzzled faces. I pounded on my chest. “I. Am. Terrified!” I pointed at Demetrius and Lukus, “To have restrictions you KNOW you can’t do things…” I threw my hands up and out. I was helpless! “I would love that!” “You do have restrictions,” Lukus said back. Demetrius nodded, “I know what you’re saying, and the restrictions are even written down.” “What!?” I balked. “Where?” “Given by God,” Demetrius smiled. “The Ten Commandments?” “Those are just do and don’t do…something,” I said. “Those we break all the time!” “Yes,” Demetrius chuckled with a nod. “You make the decision to obey or not to obey.” “He put the Tree Knowledge right in the Garden,” Lukus pointed out. “The decision to disobey was theirs.” “Does it hurt to use the magic?” Seth asked. “Quite the opposite,” I said with a laugh that really didn’t have much humor in it. “It felt wonderful.” I thought a second, “There’s really no other way to describe it. It’s like sex.” I saw Seth’s eyes widen in surprise and knew what was next. “It starts with arousal, then comes the pleasure of doing it until you climax and are done.” Demetrius and Lukus were giving shrugging nods to each other. “And there are no ancient words I have to say,” I said. “No ancient runes to learn, understand, and say correctly to make the magic work. I just think it, I feel it start and it just happens. It’s easy!” “It is,” Lukus nodded. “To encourage you to do it.” “Everything you said about me…” I began. “Was nice to hear, but…” Demetrius chuckled, “Every word was true. You are so rare!” “A genuine, honest, and nice person,” Lukus added. I shook my head, “How do you come up with the letter to Corinth and we are to judge angels is being about us and not you?” “Because of the things we can’t do,” Lukus shrugged. “The Scriptures weren’t written for just us,” I pointed at Seth and myself. “There are too many things that don’t add up. I know nothing about God…a lot of it is put together for the Churches’ agenda. They added written testimonies and even books, but there are still in those vaults a lot more they won’t let us read!” “But there are things we can NOT do,” Lukus said. “Have you ever tried to do it anyway?” I simply asked. Both Demetrius and Lukus looked at me in absolute horror. “Okay,” I waved them both down, “okay. I’m sorry I asked.” “The Forbidden Fruit started all this?” Seth asked me. “I don’t know!” I said back and waved at Demetrius and Lukus. “Even THEY can’t prove any of it!” Seth frowned, “They brought that stuff you gave Christian and said it was the juice from the Forbidden Fruit! That woman appeared to take Len Ah away. That was Lilith, wasn’t it?” He looked at Demetrius and Lukus for confirmation and got two shrugs. I shook my head, “It doesn’t matter.” I rubbed the back of my head as I paced a little. “I don’t want people to be scared of me.” I pointed at Lukus and Demetrius. “I’ll tell Christian and Ella,” I pounded my chest, “I will. Me. I’ll have to tell Dennis…he and Toby are close and asking Toby to keep a secret from Dennis would be agony.” “You have said you didn’t know who God was,” Seth stated. “You tell Him that all the time!” “I do!” I waved up at the roof, “I admit it all the time! Do you think He doesn’t know that!? I’m not lying to anyone and He’s God!” I spun around, “I admit I don’t even know what that means!” I looked at them. “The Natives have it right. The gods they follow could care less whether you believe in them or not. Belief doesn’t make the god real or cease to exist.” I waved at Demetrius and Lukus while I looked at Seth, “Demetrius even said a conversation with the Big Guy isn’t like the one we’re having. It’s a feeling they get to know if they can or can’t do something.” I looked at Demetrius. “The evening you appeared before Deena kidnapped Seth and me, you said we were going to be tested, shaped as a couple. That’s very specific. How did you know?” Demetrius shrugged and smiled, “It can be more than a feeling.” He chuckled. “You know about parables. Images and scenes come and we learn to understand them. That conversation had the image of someone hammering out and holding up a white rock. Then someone started hammering away rough places until they put this beautiful, sparkling diamond down.” Demetrius shook his head. “I saw your face and Seth’s suffering and heard the hammer of the stonecutter hit and the diamond glittered.” “Sure,” I nodded. “That is easy to understand.” “Yeah,” Demetrius said a little indignantly and crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s always amazing how clearly a person sees looking back.” “I’m saying,” I said, trying not to laugh at Demetrius. He wasn’t really bothered. “The Scriptures were written for everyone.” Lukus gave a wobbly nod, “Maybe. Or maybe this was all part of the plan all along.” “What!?” Seth said. “Everything was created for a purpose,” Lukus said. “People, Angels and all things have a reason to be. Some of us believe we,” he wavered between Demetrius and himself, “the Children of Lilith were created to be the protective older siblings. He’s not killing us quickly, but we can’t have children. Our time will run out.” “Because you won’t disobey!?” Seth asked. “Then disobey!” He ordered simply. “We can’t,” Lukus shook his head. “Can’t? Or won’t?” Seth asked. I looked at Seth and grinned, “Trying to be the serpent to them?” I nudged him slightly. “Stop trying to tempt them to disobey God,” I looked up, “Or whatever you are.” “All of the Garden and Creation stuff happened way before ANY of us were born,” Demetrius said. “There is no proof we can show you except we are here.” “Fine,” I said. “Enough coaching about the magic today.” “You will need to be able to use it when…” Lukus said in a soft tone. I looked up quickly, “The Paladins aren’t going to be here tomorrow, are they?” Demetrius shook his head, “No.” “I will prefer for it to take a little concentration to use the magic,” I sat on the side of the bed and sighed wearily. “I need time to absorb all of this.” “Sure,” Lukus said and vanished. “Coming, Demetrius?” Lukus’ voice asked. Demetrius touched my shoulder, “I’m just a call away.” The familiar Demetrius came to the surface. “And I mean just say my name, don’t do the shout of yours and definitely no whistling! That hurt!” He grabbed me in a hug and wasn’t there. Seth looked at me, “Are you alright?” He sat beside me on the bed. “No,” I shook my head, but that wasn’t true. “Yes.” I said reluctantly. Seth grinned, “It was an either-or question. You can’t use both.” “My brain is weary,” I said in a moan. “I don’t know how I am.” I plopped down over the bed. “Why me?” Seth stretched out beside me. “Why not you?” He grumbled and said, “I’m glad those Thornes didn’t have it.” I smiled at Seth, “You think it would be bad if they could?” Seth moved an inch away from me a little, “You know the answer to that question! It would be a disaster for everyone in the entire world!!” He smiled at me. “If Arthur had that ability, he would definitely be an evil sorcerer.” I smiled at Seth. He could get me out of a bad mood. “And Deena!” Seth said dramatically. He shook his head and threw it back. “She thought everyone owed her…everything.” He rolled over me. “She would have had the palace in Blethos torn down and one built just for her!” Now, I was laughing, “Why stop at one?” “Right!” Seth nodded. “She could have one anywhere she wanted. And her clothes!” “What about Darius?” I asked. Seth sneered, “Let’s just say, it’s good he was the eldest.” His next laugh was a little sinister, “I heard Arthur and the man who was our tutor arguing about Darius. It seems Darius wasn’t doing well in his studies. He could speak like an aristocratic snob, but struggled to add two plus two.” I know my smile grew hearing that, “Not everyone is good at math.” “Come on,” Seth shook his head, “When you see two apples and someone puts two more apples there, you can see there are four apples! You see it! I’m not even talking about the area of a shape based on width and length. The area of a circle would blow his mind,” He grinned at me. “How many bottles of wine did we have before we left? How many were red wines and how many white wines? How many were ready to be sent? How…” “I get it!” I chuckled “If Darius had the magic,” Seth nodded. “You know Arthur or Deena would be the one that ran the kingdom Arthur’s scheme had worked. Heaven forbid they could use magic!!” He kissed me lightly. “I agree with Lukus. You haven’t changed…” He placed a finger on my lips to stop my protest which was coming, “That was too broad a statement. I’ll clarify. When you arrived in Blethos, you were younger than Thomas is now! You were still a teenager. You were Prince Erik of A’Dore! And you still are! Marrying me, you added Blethos to the title. You are now a father of two great sons. A decade may have passed, you’ve added experience to who you are, but you’ve not really changed. You are what you project. You’re genuine, you’re kind, you’re generous…” He meant it, but it was uncomfortable for me now, “Seth.” Seth’s eyebrows came together, “What!? Where is all that training from Professor Manners and Etiquette gave you now? They meant it and so do I. There isn’t a member of the Human Race I can think of better to have access to the magic. I will say, Arthur, Darius, and Deena couldn’t handle it. I doubt Wahkooha ever did the deep soul searching you’re doing.” “I am no saint!” I said back. “I have dark thoughts occasionally. I have killed men…” “Where?” Seth demanded. “You saw it! In Royal Valley!” “On the battlefield,” Seth nodded, “defending your home, family, and friends to keep them safe. Those men wouldn’t have stopped if we didn’t fight back! They wouldn’t care if we got hurt or died.” “I can hurt people simply by thinking about it,” I pressed. “No ritual, words, or object needed.” “I can’t really understand, because it happened to you,” Seth smiled at me. All his smiles were pleasant, but this one was filled with love. “You’re not alone. I am always on your side. I love you.” Next: Destiny

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