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It Is My Right

(Alfheim, Sanctuary City, Hala)

Hatty lay deathly still, barely breathing. 3 looked at Alethea, then at Michael. Michael said, “I beg your pardon Your Majesty, but you can’t be serious. No human has tasted of the eternal tree since Eden.”

Alethea, unperturbed, replied, “What you say is true and, truthfully, I’m not sure what effect it will have on her mortal body.”

Michael, looking concerned, continued, “Not to mention that the tree of life was kept from mankind for a good reason. YHWH determined that man not eat of the tree of life lest they live forever in sin. It has been long, but has our Father given permission for this mortal to taste of it?”

I understand your concerns

Alethea, eyes flashing orange, said, “I understand your concerns, Michael, but the fruit is mine to give to whomever I deem worthy. I am the covering Seraph of Hala, it is my right.”

Michael, looking long at Alethea, then 3, simply bowed his head saying, “Yes, Your Majesty.”

Turning to 3, Alethea handed him the crystal container, saying, “My friend, I am not sure what this will do to Hatty. It may kill as well as heal her. Mortal bodies are frail compared to ours. She is also greatly weakened from her injury. Since she is your Divine Mate, I leave this choice to you.”

I have to try

For 3, there was no choice, he had to try. If Hatty passed on, she would, of course, go to heaven. Yet, even 3 didn’t have access to the heavenly realm, except by invitation for official business. To lose his love now meant that they may be separated for a very, very long time.

Kneeling by the injured Seraph Hunter’s bed, 3 dipped his finger in the honey-like substance, applying it, as Alethea instructed, to her lips. Soft skin shone moist and red under the heavenly ointment, but nothing happened. 3 waited a while longer and poured a drop between her lips. Still nothing. Looking back at Alethea, 3 saw that the Seraph made no movement, but focused her gaze on their patient. Hatty’s divine mate, feeling his heart begin to crack, leaned down, whispering, “Hatty, I love you, please come back to me.”

A few drops more

Still nothing, tears began to stream once again, 3’s head hanging down. The room grew deathly still, as everyone, including Alethea, feared the worst. Multiple female attendants began to weep openly when suddenly, the small woman gasped, sucking in one huge breath, shaking violently. 3, stunned, leaned over, holding her as she shook. Alethea said, “Quickly, pour a few drops more between her lips,” as Hatty groaned pitifully.

Holding her down, 3 let fall a few more drops of the precious nectar into his lover’s mouth as the room held it’s collective breath. The shaking quieted down, as Hatty’s eyes fluttered open. Everyone drew a bit closer, wanting to see the miracle. Trying to focus, Hatty saw 3’s concerned face, as she instinctively grabbed the crystal container with both hands, drinking deeply. The spasms returned, more violent than before, then she went totally limp in his arms. “Hatty! Hatty!” 3 panicked.

Alethea, rushing over, put her hand on Hatty’s head, then her stomach. After a moment, she reassured, “3, she’s asleep, I feel she’s going to be okay.” A look of immense relief spread over 3’s face through his tears. Stroking Hatty’s black hair, 3 felt as though he’d just passed through the valley of the shadow of death with her.

When I know, you’ll know

Alethea made her way through the corridors of the sanctuary, thinking about the day’s events. Death occurred so rarely in Hala, it always deeply disturb everyone. She felt in her spirit Hatty was out of danger and thanked God that she’d revived.

Michael, catching up with her asked to speak. “Yes, Michael, what is it?” she said patiently.

“Your highness, I meant no disrespect, I hope you know that.”

The Seraph of Hala, stopped, then turned to look at Michael intently, “I’ve known you from the day you were created, son of the morning. I saw you fight along us at the Great Battle for the mount of the congregation. I understand you are a great warrior and faithful to a fault.” Then, stepping closer, her power causing him to wince, Alethea warned, as her eyes began to glow with orange sparks, “Don’t presume to challenge my authority, my friend. Though I respect you as servant of the Most High, that does not mean I will tolerate such open insolence again.”

I’m deeply sorry, your Highness

Michael fully aware of her meaning, immediately knelt before her, bowing his head in penitent submission, replying, “Yes, Your Highness, I am deeply ashamed of my presumption. I am sorry.”

Studying him for a moment as she rubbed her left ear, Alethea smiled, saying, “Very well, then,” and turned to go.

Michael asked, still kneeling, “Please, if I may ask Your Highness one more question?” Hala’s Seraph paused. “What do you intend to do about the dragon attack?”

Looking down the corridor, eyes glowing orange again, Alethea stated coldly, “The attack is an act of war. The old truce has been deliberately broken. I will take counsel with my sisters and we will speak with the Most High.” Turning around, Hala’s Seraph finished, “As soon as I know, you will know. For now, please stay. We need all the help we can get.”

Michael replied, “Yes, of course, I will gladly do all I can, Your Majesty.”

A change of season

(Lakota Tribe, Montana Territory, 1876)

Waking late, well after the noon sun, Bren prepared herself to face what was left of the autumn day. A sinking feeling gripped her heart and stomach, as she dreaded confronting Wichapi. She knew, in her spirit, her friend would know right away something was wrong between them.

Also, Brenzel felt angry, angry for the way Traveler allowed her to get so close to her friend, when she was possibly dangerous or perhaps even murderous. It made no sense and it caused the young hunter to feel manipulated and played by forces beyond her control.

Asking around, a woman told Bren that her friend was collecting firewood in a meadow just beyond the camp. Instead of waiting for her to come home, Brenzel decided to find her and, if possible, talk some sense into her friend.

Meadow

Approaching the wide meadow as the sun sank, Bren spied Chapi gathering sticks, with two braves standing a respectful distance away. As she approached, both men looked towards her at once, staring for a moment, then walked slowly off. Chapi, setting her bundle of sticks down, greeted Brenzel with a warm hug, asking if she felt any better.

Bren, stomach in knots, got straight to the point. “Chapi, I want to ask you something.”

Chapi, looking at her friend pleasantly, said, “Ask whatever you’d like.”

“Remember when I first met you by the lake?”

“Yes,” Chapi answered.

“You lead me towards your camp and then we heard the screaming woman?”

“Yes, of course, Bren, what of it?”

“Remember the bear and that you ran to get help?”

Turning with her back to Bren, picking up the bundle again, Chapi said, “Yes.”

You didn’t need to run

“I realized, just last evening, that you didn’t need to run from the bear, you could have told it to leave.” The Indian maiden, picked up a few more sticks to add to her bundle, said nothing. Bren continued, “It was you who called the bear in the first place, wasn’t it? You wanted the old woman to die.” Chapi, dropping the bundle, stood up, back still to her friend, saying nothing. “Tell me I am wrong Chapi! For God’s sake, please tell me I am missing something! Tell me you didn’t do it!”

Considering what to do

Turning around slowly to meet Bren’s worried gaze, the young Indian princess cocked her head to one side, as if studying her. Unmoved by Bren’s distress, she played with a stand of her, considering what to do next.

Having come to a decision, a smile crept over Wichapi’s face as she began to speak. “You surprised me at the lake, Bren, and I did not know who or what you were. I needed time to find out. When you witnessed the bear attacking the old squaw, I decided it would be better to let you believe I was afraid, too, so I ran to get help.”

Bren just stood there, amazed at the change coming over her friend.

“Until that day, no animal had ever disobeyed me. Imagine my shock when the bear obeyed you, instead? I realized, for the first time in my life, there was someone who’s power was greater than my own. I had to know why.”

Anger rising, Bren said sternly, “So you don’t deny it? You sent the bear to kill that woman?!”

She annoyed me

Chapi replied, “Yes. Of course I did.”

Feeling sick to her stomach, Bren demanded, “Why Chapi? Why did you do it? What did she do to deserve to be eaten by a bear?!”

Smiling or smirking, Bren couldn’t tell which, Chapi said, “She annoyed me Bren. She told me I was not good and that I must change my ways. I warned her to leave me alone, but she didn’t.”

“Chapi! You can’t just kill people you don’t like!”

Eyes narrowing, Chapi asked with some menace, “Why not? Who can stop me? Are you going to try, my sister?” she said, cocking her head to one side again.

Just then, Bren noticed the two braves standing behind her, too close for comfort. Bren, anger rising at being threatened, said “Chapi, don’t do this.”

A thousand pieces

Heart breaking into a thousand pieces, Bren asked, “Was any of this real between us Chapi? I know it was for me.”

The Indian maiden, softening, replied, “Bren, at first I just wanted to know why you were more powerful. But as I came to know you, I began to love you from my heart in ways I still can’t explain. It was real, it IS real. I do love you, Bren.”

A different, more confident Wichapi stood before the Seraph Hunter in that wilderness meadow. Had the vulnerable and sometimes unsure maiden Bren loved all been an act, a ruse? Reeling from Chapi’s revelation, Brenzel didn’t know what to believe now as confusion cut her to the bone.

I was sent to save you

“But Chapi, you must chose God, I was sent to save you!” the young Hunter pleaded.

Eyes narrowing again, Chapi said with some venom, “No true Lakota blames the wolf when it hunts or a bear when it kills. I don’t need saving by a Wašicu (white man). I never did.”

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