Learning To Speak To The Wind Part 1

Learning To Speak To The Wind
Part 1
By
Warm Hearted

Edited By
Commentator

Even though my friends and coworkers tried to talk me out of it, I was attempting to mark off a major item on my bucket list. I was on a four-day hike of the Appalachian Mountain Trail. The weather was perfect. Being early fall in North Carolina it was a little brisk but the nights were still comfortable on the lower elevations of the hike I was taking.

I was an experienced hiker and had I all that I needed in my aluminum-framed backpack even a can of bear mace. No phone because there was little or no service where I was going. But the trail I was taking was well traveled, clearly marked, and patrolled by the Park Service. Despite my age of 60, I felt safe and I was not a Rambo so no wild boar hunting with my survival knife.

On my first day, I found a really nice campsite and quickly set up my one-man pop-up tent and had a wonderfully unhealthy meal of Beanie Weenies. Then I sat against a tree and did my normal meditation.

Some found it strange that an empirical science guy like me would believe in Meta-Physics. But I saw the logical science of it and recently Duke University completed a study on meditation and came up with empirical facts as to its benefits.

I started meditating when I was in college. I had shared my trouble sleeping at night with Professor Patel. I was an assistant to the Mathematics Professor and Hindu. He taught me how to meditate to calm my mind so I could sleep and it worked.

Prof Patel was a genius and he truly believed in the energy of the different Chakras. I never truly tried to open my "Third Eye" as Prof Patel suggested. But I did see the logic about energy points called Chakras. The human body produces all types of energy such as electrical, thermal, kinetic, and so forth.

After I meditated I would read some of my old dogged eared copy of "A Warlock In Spite of Himself" by Christopher Stasheff. I had brought only two books on my hike the new George R.R. Martin book "The Winds Of Winter" which I had not read and the well-worn Warlock.

I opened the cover and read the note from my old college friend Frank,

"To Major General Mike,

Remember this book is fiction unless you figure out how to do it for real. Be good, if you can't, be good at it!

Frank"

I always enjoyed Sci-Fi and Fantasy along with Mythology, Pre-Elizabethan Lit., and old musicals, I also loved the Empirical Sciences. This combination of likes coupled with my disinterest in any kind of sports made me "that odd guy".

Then mix in being blessed with a very high IQ and a photographic memory so I was able to skip five grades in school. When I started college I lost every chance to be normal, being a college freshman at thirteen. I excelled in college and it was easy for me to carry a double class load.

By the time Frank became my dorm roommate I was 19 and I already was a Ph.D. in Physics and completing my Masters in Mechanical Engineering. He was twenty-one and working on his MBA. By the time he got his MBA I was 21 I had an additional Master in Micro Biology with a Bachelors in Chemistry. Being very tired of school by then I left when Frank did.

But I was never in the military. The reason for Frank's nickname for me was because of my love for Gilbert and Sullivan plays. Frank and I saw one together while we were in college "The Pirates Of Penzance.” I was surprised when he wanted to go with me to see it until I found out he was trying to date the female lead in the play.

Frank seemed to enjoy the play more than I thought he would. He really perked up when the student in a fake gray beard and a pith helmet sang "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General." Frank then leaned over and said "That is you Mike, the Major General"

Evidently, Frank going to see her in the play worked because they started dating heavily.
They were soon married and happy together with their 2 kids until 9/11. Frank died in the Towers and I miss the old money-grubbing bastard.

I did well after school myself. I eventually started my own prosthetics company but had two bad childless marriages. My first wife was a surgeon and we never had time for each other so she ended up leaving me for another doctor. My second marriage was more a business arrangement than a marriage with a forty page prenuptial contract. My new wife was cultured and sexy but liked our gardeners too much.

So here I am in the woods with a book from a dead friend and most of my life behind me but really enjoying the time I have left. In the setting sunlight I saw dark clouds coming up the valley I was in. The clouds looked strange. They had a red tint, but I thought it must be the light refraction from the sunset. Then it started hailing golf ball sized hail.

I knew my pop-up tent would be ripped to shreds and offer no protection so I looked for cover when I spotted a rocky overhang and got under it. I noticed that the inner part of the overhang had a high iron content. I did not have time to look at it closer because a strange bolt of purple lightning hit the top of the overhang and everything went black.

I thought I must have been killed and I was on my way to whatever afterlife was real. I floated in the dark for a very short time then I popped into the light again. What I saw looked normal. I was in the still in the woods but I then noticed it was midday not twilight.

Looking around I didn't see my campsite or any of my things and noticed that the landscape was flat and not mountainous. I just stood there thinking in a logical format like an equation,

"OK this is strange but I am unhurt and I know it is real, not a dream. Something was different about that storm and maybe that overhang. So what made me come out of that darkness in a different location. I know from recent discoveries "Star Trek" type teleportation could be theoretically possible but turning as much mass as my body into energy would destroy the Earth so teleportation is not the likely cause.

Then what could be the cause? Space and time can be folded by massive gravity wells, like black holes. But I wouldn't have survived the experience, it would have crushed me to microscopic size. I could survive crossing to an alternative parallel universe. Little is known about alternate realities except they are mathematically possible.

So the best supposition at this point is that is what has taken place and I need to act accordingly and be cautious of any differences. The first thing I did was jump to see if there was a change in gravity. I was shocked as I jumped the three feet off the ground. I was certain I was not on my Earth anymore. Curious as always I took out my survival knife that had a ruler on the blade and measured a three-foot long piece of line. I tied the line to a branch at that height and dropped a coin and timed it. After a little figuring, I got a rough estimate that gravity here was 4/5 of Earth's.

Not enough make me Superman but it would make an old fart like me more comfortable. I knew I needed to see if this world was inhabited and if the inhabitants were dangerous. I also knew I needed to find a stream or a river both as a likely guide to civilization and for drinking purposes. As I struck out I noticed that the plant life was Earth normal as far as I could tell and the air seemed fine with plenty of oxygen.

Most times you can find animal life if you follow a stream or river and I found a stream moving fairly quickly and started following it downstream. I noticed the temperature was comfortable like the high 70's. I watched the sun and it seems to be traveling a direct East to West path or it could be North to South or the other options. Depending on the planet's rotation.

I was not overwhelmed by what had happened to me because that was one of the quirks in my personality. It was almost like reverse Autism, the unexplained made me comfortable and very curious. Like the fabled cat that curiosity killed my curiosity has always overcome my common sense. So I trudged on, very excited about what I might find, mainly if there were the sentient beings and how they might look.

The first animals I saw were birds that looked just like the various species of Earth birds but of the Sand Hill varieties. So maybe I was near an ocean. The lay of the land was very flat and there was high humidity. Then I thought, " I hope this river doesn't empty into a swamp."

When darkness fell, any doubts I wasn't still on Earth were dispelled. I saw three small moons in the sky roughly the same small size. Earth's large moon is unusual. So three small ones were more normal cosmically. Then the thought hit me to look at the compass in my knife.

I opened it and moved it and the needle continued to point in the same direction so this world had a magnetic pole like Earth. I looked up and I saw a different night sky. I saw Orion but not the Big Dipper but there seemed to be a mismatch of old and new constellations.

Then I saw something that even shocked me, there was a dim glow coming off of everything. Plants had different shades of gold, insects were greens, fish in the light blue river were shades of purple. Then I heard a rustle of branches and I saw deer drinking and glowing shades of burgundy. Outside the glow, they were normal deer.

I thought, "The bioelectric energy in life forms must be visible here. That would be very helpful to animals in spotting food sources, threats, and predators"

So I lay on the ground and went to sleep and had a strange dream of Knights and Ladies. I rose early the next morning feeling like I slept on a down bed. The lower gravity makes sleeping on the ground much better. All I had in my coat was five energy bars not having my backpack and I had one for breakfast.

I emptied my pockets and did an inventory of what I had. I had my well-made survival knife with a compartment in the handle that held a flint and steel fire starter, water purification tablets, and fishing line and hooks. I had a canteen on the same canvas belt as my knife sheath.

In my field jacket pockets I had a Mylar poncho and my four remaining energy bars. Checking my pants I had my some change, and my small "pocket size" Swiss Army Knife that I always carried. I found it useful. It was a gift and a good one, with tweezers, scissors, a sharp small blade, leather punch, file, and even a toothpick. It was very flat and small and the engineering of it made me jealous of the designer.

Then I loaded back up, continuing my trek downriver stopping long enough to fill my canteen and dropped in a purifying tablet. But then in the pre-dawn light, I saw smoke rising as if from a chimney.

" I need to check that out very stealthily because I have no idea of the types of beings that are here, they may think humans are a good snack."

So I made it close to the area where the smoke was coming from. I was thankful all that frat boy bullying encouraged me to become good at Ninjutsu to protect myself. I kept it up, mainly the Katas, just like the meditations over the years. With my knife drawn I slowly made my way to where the smoke was coming from.

Lying on the ground under a bush I saw a rough-hewn board hut with a stone chimney and a thatched roof. Just as their Sun was rising, I saw a short middle aged woman exit the hut with a bucket in her hand. She went about a 100 yards to a pen and emptied the bucket. Then I saw what looked like pigs hurrying up to eat what she dumped.

I thought, "She looks normal, the pigs looked normal but I have no idea if there are others in her house. Considering what she was wearing and the construction of her house it is very comparative to early Twelfth Century Europe.

I always loved that period even though the reality of it was violent, harsh, plague-ridden, filthy, and under the thumb of religion and nobility. The fantasy version of knights, chivalry, and questing for the good was what I loved greatly. I guess I am a "Don Quixote" wanting to tilt at windmills."

Then I saw the woman use a slit trench to pee. Then she picked up a different bucket and carried it to the river filling it with water. Standing up I sheathed my knife. I was about a hundred feet from her so I yelled,

"HELLO!"

I did not know what else to say, I was sure I did not speak the language so that was the only thing I could think off to announce my presence. I stood at that distance hoping she would not take me as a threat and run.

The woman drew back fearfully looking at me and said,

"HWA B'EON O'U STRIA EALDA MANN!"

Which to my surprise I could understand. She was speaking Middle English which I understood very well thanks to playing Dungeons and Dragons with my literary club. We only allowed Middle English to be spoken during the game. So what she asked was "Who are you old man!" and I answered back,

"MIN A'C SY MIKE IC MEANAN OU NA'HT DARU!" Which means, "I'm Mike and I mean you no harm.

**To make this story more understandable I will use my version of Modern English, as flawed as it is, but the characters will be speaking in Middle English from this point on.**

Then the woman said, "I do not know you so what is your reason for being here?"

I answered, " I have traveled a great distance exploring and I wish to talk to you about your people."

The woman hesitated and asked " What is this "exploring' that made you travel a great distance is it like a madness? I do not want a madman here so go home."

I thought about my pronunciation of exploring and it was right so I tried to explain, "Exploring is traveling to learn about new lands and people."

She huffed and then looked intently at me then her eyes went wide open and stutteringly asked. "Stranger named Mike do you have sleep sight?"

I questioned, "What do you mean sleep sight?"

She thought hard not to show her fear and frustration at the same time then asked, "When you sleep do you see not real things and people."

Then I understood what she was asking, "If you mean dream, then yes I dream."

Then very shaken she asked, " Did you travel from the Wizard world called Earth?"

I thought, "So she knows of Earth so others have come here from Earth and they may know the way back."

So I answered,

"Yes I am from Earth and I have been in this world less than a day"

She looked awestruck and said "I must take you at once to King Edmond. Please my Lord wait till I get my walking stick."

I was surprised as being addressed as "my Lord" by this woman but I waited a second and she came out with her stick. She then bowed and said,

"Please my Lord, follow me."

I followed her and I started asking her questions. She answered all my questions respectfully and without hesitation. I found out a lot in a short time as we started our trek to Kingstown the home of King Edmond.

King Edmond was from Earth too but many centuries ago and it seems he could work great magic. Kate the name of the woman taking me to the King told me some of the King's history. I listened amazed to Kate recite the history of King Edmond.

He came to The World (They have no name for the planet that they live on just "The World") after being struck by lightning during the time of King Ah Min Tet. During that time the World had no iron just brass and all the people were forced to build King Ah Min Tet's big city.

After much struggle, King Edmond learned enough magic to teach the people to make iron and other things like crossbows. King Edmond ended The evil King Ah Min Tet's rule and later killed him. The good King Edmond set up a fuedal style of government and placed his offspring over different areas to govern for him.

She told me something that caused me to have many more questions, she told me that only people related to Earth Wizards had new magic.

I asked, " Kate is there Old Magic"

She answered, "Yes but not much of it, there are the Wedding Rings, The Wall, and the Birth Stones. Old Magic is the most powerful and even the King can't break it."

Let me back up some and explained what I thought and I had deduced from what Kate told me. I figured that these Kings came from Earth as I did. I thought their magic was just Earth technology that was more advanced than that of The World.

So I figured Ah Min Tet came from around 2000BCE considering he knew how to make brass and knowledge of building. King Edmond as the language and lifestyle showed must have come from around the 12th Century. But I did not understand if he came here so long ago why there weren't more advancements in technology or any language corruption.

But learning of an "Old Magic" made me think that I may be wrong in my assumptions.
So I asked Kate,

"What kind of magic can King Edmond do?"

Kate in a much lower reverent voice said, " I have never witnessed his magic like I have a few other nobles, but it is said he is much more powerful since the nobles are only part Earthborn. But I have heard he can kill with a word at a much greater distance than any of the part Earth-borne. They all can start fires, break iron, knock down walls, and the like. But King Edmond can do it more easily and much more of it.

But only he can change people into animals or other people. Every five years he picks a new man to become. He selects a man and changes into that man then he kills the man he becomes. So no one will confuse that man with him. There is also the history that is told of Prince Horace."

I asked, "Could you tell me the history of Prince Horace?"

Then Kate recited,

"This is the history of Prince Horace, Prince Horace was the son of Ah Min Tet and very powerful in magic and too proud. His pride was so great he challenged the King and the King turned him into a servant girl only of 17 Summers so she had not bled yet.

Then the King married the former Prince to his faithful son John when she bled at her 18th Summer. Having to obey John as his wife she was no longer a danger to the King and bore her three children to Prince John with great magic since both parents were half Earth born and strong in magic."

Having heard about magic and trying to understand it I asked,

"So when the King changed this man into a maiden she retained her magic?"

Kate said, "Yes changing did not lessen the magic she had but it changed her rank from Prince to Princess."

I was confused so I asked, " I thought you said King Edmond changed him to a serving girl, so why was she a Princess?"

Kate answered, "She kept her rank and magic with the change just as King Edmond does when he becomes new men."

Then I asked, " You said when she was married she had to obey her husband, why did she and not just keep on trying to defeat the King?"

She looked puzzled and answered, "It was the Old Magic Once the man gives a wedding ring to a woman she must obey him, and will greatly desire his cock in her, she is happy when she swells and loves to care for his children. Now the man must really want the woman to give her the ring or he can't give it.

But once he does he must provide the best he can for the woman. He won't desire any other woman and want only her until he dies, and he can only be happy if the woman is happy. This is all done by the Old Magic so it never can be broken, even by death. That is why my ring is black my husband died and I still don't want any other man and no other man will want me."

I then asked, " You said the maidens don't bleed till their 18th Summer, so maidens can't have children until then?"

She laughed and said, "Sorry my Lord, I know you come from Earth so it must be very different there. But here in The World, maidens are not opened till they bleed. Until then there is just a piss hole. They have no hole for a man's cock to enter. Girl babies are born with a hole but it closes when they are placed on a Birthing Stone by their father, which like I said is the Old Magic"

Curious I asked, " Are boy babes placed on a Birthing Stone too?"

She said "Yes. When they are placed on the stone they become dutiful sons. They will reverence their fathers and care for them when their fathers grow old."

So I recapped some of what I heard,

"So girls can not have sex till they bleed and once married they are slaves of their husbands?"

She responded, " Yes, no girl can have sex till she bleeds, but wives are not slaves. They have to obey their husbands, but wives can talk to their husband about what they're asked to do. As I said the husband can not be happy unless the wife is happy. So if what he asks is grievous to the wife, the husband will not demand it, unless it is very important."

I thought, "This "Old Magic" seems to have been designed to form a very good social system. Where the family is a secure social system it ensures good child care and care for the elderly. It has some weaknesses and unfairness, but all in all it is a very stable social system."

As we walked I learned a more things about The World, I saw the woods give way to farmland. What I saw was like watching a well-made movie set in the Middle Ages. The farmers were plowing with wooden plows of the period. Iron plows would have been too costly for the poor serf farmers to have.

The animal life seemed the same as Earth. The farmers had oxen to pull their plows and I saw pigs, cows, chickens, geese, ducks, dogs, and cats. The people were dressed in homespun clothes in traditional 12th Century English style. I seemed much taller than most of the men but I saw one man my height or a little taller.

I knew poor nutrition played a large part in how tall people grow but it is not the only factor. But how I was dressed did cause some to stares at us as we traveled. The road we traveled on was dirt and very muddy in spots.

Then I saw three men mounted on horses headed toward us and I saw the serfs stopping what they were doing and bowed in their direction. So from that action, I assumed they must be of the ruling class. As they got closer I saw the were dressed much better than the serfs and they had swords on their side.

Their outer tunic had a coat of arms on it I assumed it was the Earl's so they were nobles of his house. When the reached us on the road, Kate bowed very low but I did not. I was not wanting to insult the nobles but I was not a serf. It may have been my pride but I have an aversion to debasing myself to anyone.

I knew I was probably inviting them to hurt me but I was willing to chance it to show them that I did not think they were better than me. They looked at me shocked and one of them moved his horse closer to me and I readied myself to dodge a kick or some other attack. Then the oldest of the riders said,

"Hold Gwynne! Stranger, I see by your strange clothes so you're not a serf. So where do you come from and why do you not pay homage?"

Using a tone and body language I saved for smart-ass bureaucrats I answered,

"I am Major General Mike of Earth and I do not owe homage to you."

Then he pulled his sword and I backed up and pulled my survival knife. I saw that the blade was heavy and straight and not made to strike down from horseback like a curved blade. So if his friends did not join in I could maybe catch him off balance and unhorse him. Then with him laying on the ground, I would have the advantage.

But he said, " Hold your hand I do not wish to join battle with you yet. I just wish for you to read the markings on my blade to prove you speak the truth."

I looked at his blade and read, "The Blade of Earl Longmire, Sworn to King Edmond."

Then I figured, this was the Earl and this sword was the mark of his title. Reading must be kept from the serfs and it is only allowed for the noble's. So reading it showed at least I was a noble. The Earl returned his sword to the sheath.

The Earl then said, "As you can read and no noble would lie about being born on Earth because that would lead to their certain death I know you're as you claim to be. Hail Major General Mike Full Earth Born."

Then the Earl dismounted and as did his companions and knelt on one knee, bowing their heads. I realized they were waiting for me to say something. So I said, "Rise Earl of Longmire and nobles"

They did as I said and the Earl looked at the youngest noble and said, "Hershel give Lord Mike your mount and walk to Kingstown."

Hershel handed me his reins and bowed. I enjoyed riding and have actually ridden in amateur rodeos when I was younger. So I had no trouble mounting the horse in this lesser gravity. I thanked Hershel for his mount and bid farewell to Kate and asked the Earl,

"Could I impose on you to give Kate a reward for her effort in bringing me here?"

The Earl seemed a little surprised at my request but told Hershel to give Kate a coin.

Hershel looking his in money pouch complained, " The smallest I have is a Half Crown."

The Earl gave Hershel a piercing look and said, "Well give it to her. We of Longmire are not beggar knights so what is a Half Crown."

Wide-eyed, Kate looked at the coin, looked at me and kneeling to me said,

"My Lord Mike I thank you."

I later found out that what she received was more than what a serf would make in a year and that the King had commanded if any serf happened on someone born on Earth, that they were to bring them to their Noble at once. It was not normal practice to reward serfs for doing what they were told. So Kate brought me to the Earl under penalty of death if she did not.

Leaving Hershel to walk or find another horse. We made our way to Kingstown at a fast pace. I soon found out that the Earl was 1/6 Earthborn from the line of King Edmond. The Earl then told me told me he was going to Kingstown for the Great Joust. The Great Joust only happened every five years and was a huge celebration.Finding me would make it even greater.

I said, "The Great Joust must keep up your skills for the real wars"

"I'm old but not that old Lord Major General Mike. The last war was over 200 years ago. But there are recent rumors that some of the outer provinces are unhappy with King Edmond. But the King is taking steps, which I am a part of, to bring them to heel. Unlike Longmire and most of the inner provinces, The Lords of the outer provinces do not come from the line of Edmond but from Ah Min Tet the Slaver King."

I asked, "Why did you call him the Slaver King?"

The Earl answered, "Ah Min Tet obsessed with building a great city and made most the people slaves to build it. He left a few to work the land to feed and clothe his slaves but the people were always starving and near naked.

Ah, Min Tet was crazy because the great city he was building was not for him or anyone else to live in. His obsession to build this city was for a place for his tomb. So you see how crazy he was but he did teach the people many things.

Ah Min Tet taught them how to build, farm, weave, ride horses, make carts, forge brass, and many other things. Ah Min Tet kept the people building the city for his death even after he learned how to take younger bodies as only full the Earth Born can do.

So when King Edmond came to The World riding the lightning he was captured and forced to be a slave. But in a few years, he began to see the magic and he escaped. He lived in the wilderness learning to speak to rocks, plants, animals and finally to iron.

King Edmond was The Master Journeyman Of Iron on Earth. So once he could speak to iron it gave him what he needed to defeat AH Min Tet. The people was tired of being slaves and building a city for a madman. So when King Edmond gave them iron which would cut brass they overthrew AH Min Tet.

Even a large number of his line pledged fidelity to King Edmond and after 12 years of war, King Edmond's magic was powerful enough to defeat Ah Min Tet. Then King Edmond set up the Nobility based on how much magic they will have. So the more Earth Blood the noble has the more magic they can learn and higher their rank and the more land they have.

The King freed the slaves and made them serfs. Then the King taught people more things than I can name. The ser's lives are much better than as slaves because the nobles only take one-half of what they grow or make on our land. All the craftsmen serfs are of the inner provinces because we're closer to Kingstown and King Edmond because from time to time he will teach them something new.

We of the inner provinces are wealthier because we have many more serfs than those of the outer. Serfs are the source of our wealth so they're bound to our lands under penalty of death. But they are fed and clothed well if they are not too lazy, but those usually are executed for non-payment of their tax. "

I then thought, " So Edmond came here the same way I did and he was a journeyman blacksmith. Coming from the early 12th Century he set up a Feudal system similar to what he was used to.

But is he afraid that I will try to overthrow him like he did Ah Min Tet? If so why not just place the command to kill any Earth Born new arrivals on sight. No, I think he has some other plan for me. But what? I need to be careful not to share how much Earth has advanced since the 12th Century or Edmond will know what a great threat I could be. Calling him King Edmond reminds me of the youngest brother in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, Witch, And the Wardrobe. In a way, there are a lot of similarities to that story like Earth Born were nobles called "Son of Adam or Daughters of Eve, but this isn't Narnia"

The fact it wasn't Narnia became very clear as we went on our swift journey to Kingstown. I saw the serfs all looked malnourished and everyone worked the fields. From very old men to very young children and I even saw a woman emerging from a hut carrying a baby not more than a few hours old going into the fields to help thresh wheat.

I asked the Earl, "why do the serfs look so underfed with so large a harvest?"

He just looked at me strangely and answered, "My Lord Major General, you know how much it takes for our noble feasts and how much fine linen for us to be respectable in our daily new garments. I am sure on Earth you must have had many serfs for you to gamble and hunt as the honor of your rank warrants."

Then I started understanding and thought, "the culture here isn't a duplicate of early 12th Century but a parody of it. It was created frpm the perspective of a low-born blacksmith. I guess to him the that is what the nobility did and being part of the lower class he magnified his pain and suffering over time. So he felt the serfs have it as bad as he did when he was one."

In sight of Kingstown I started smelling a very foul stench and I discovered what it was when we came to a crossroad. There were several bodies hanging at the crossroads on scaffolds. There were eighty total scaffolds with twenty going in each direction. Most were empty, but nine had corpses on them in varying stages of decomposition being fed on by buzzards and ravens. On the end of the top arm of the ones with bodies were wooden signs with a crime listed.

I saw listed crimes such as Unpaid Taxes, Poaching the King's Game, and Cutting The King's Trees, but one of the scaffolds had a cage on it with a small, long dead, nearly skeletal remains of a body. The cage's sign announced "Traitor".

I asked the Earl if he knew about that the corpse in the cage and he said, "Yes the whole kingdom knows of that one. He was a four-year-old son of a low ranking noble that struck the son of a higher born noble over a toy. The boy's father pleaded with the King because of his age, but the law is the law and being hung in a cage until you die is the punishment for treason."

It took all my willpower not to scream at the heartless acerbity of such punishment for a four-year-old, but I fought it back. There were still plenty of scaffolds empty and I had no desire to spend my last days on one in a cage. I rode on with them in silence for awhile then we made it to Kingstown.

Kingstown reminded me of descriptions I read of London of that period. The filth and smell were as bad as I imagined, being nobles we did not have to dodge chamber pots being dumped from second-floor windows. Rat terriers were everywhere darting in and out living up to their name.

We rode directly into the courtyard of the King's castle. The guards knew the Earl and saluted him as we passed. Handing his reins to a servant the Earl dismounted and commanded of a man dressed in an ornate coverlet, "tell me where the King is. I have an important guest. He will want to see him no matter what he is presciently engaged in."

The man said, " the King is in his private living quarters preparing for the tournament."

The Earl said, "Good, come Lord Major General Mike and meet the King."

The Earl almost carried me to the King's private quarters. I had no time to examine the sheer opulence of the great hall with its fine woods, hanging tapestries, and breathtaking stonework. We got to two gold-gilded doors flanked by two guards that saluted and one opened the door for us.

I saw a young handsome man dressed in gold brocade with a white Ermine trimmed purple cape wearing a small gold crown. The Earl immediately bowed low and I did the same putting aside my principles while thinking of that cage I saw. Then King Edmond said, " arise and you may speak."

We stood up and beaming The Earl of Longmire said with much pomp and pride, "your Majesty, may I present Major General Mike just arrived one day hence from Earth."

The King's mouth first dropped open but soon closed in a huge smile. Then he looked at me with a blank expression and I saw a pale white light emit from his forehead and covering me. The light stopped and the King nodded his head and looked almost giddy saying, Well met Major General Mike." Then in a questioning look, he asked the Earl, does he understand us?" The Earl nodded and said, " his speech is a little strange but he speaks The Kings English very well." The King answered, "Most outstanding that will make what is to come much easier."

The King looked at me still smiling and asked, "Major General Mike since you speak English so well what part of England do you come from?" I told him honestly but hiding as much information about me as possible," I come from a land to the west of England that was a province of England till my ancestors rebelled and became a separate country, but that was over 200 years ago. We still have English as our national tongue, although it is a little different."

The King said, "Yes I have heard of Ireland to the west it was the last land till the edge of the world. Now tell me who sits on the throne in England?" I said, "Elizabeth II of the House of Windsor." The King then said a woman rules how strange and I don't know this House of Winsor. There must have been a bloody war before she took the throne." Being a little deceptive actually referring to WWII I said, "There was a very bloody war before she took the throne. London was almost destroyed, but that was over a decade before I was born and London is bigger than ever now."

King slapped me on my back like a long lost friend and said, " The Earth never changes, there always will be wars, but here under my rule, the whole known world lives in peace."

The King with his hand still on my back said, "come Major General let us go attend the games and we will talk more. I have a question for you though, the title Major General was a military rank in my time on Earth, are you a military man?" I just lied, "No. In my time and land, it would be the equivalent to an English Duke." The King nodded, and remarked, " I thought as much your demeanor and ease in my presence speaks of someone used to being in the presence of a King. So if you are not insulted may we call you Duke Mike so others will fully understand your rank?" I agreed, being pleased with myself for pulling this off.

King Edmond and I walked surrounded by his personal guard to the Royal Platform. He said, "all my personal guard is entirely made up of my bastard sons that were borne to me by past courtesans." I asked, "I thought the old magic kept men faithful to only their wives?" He laughed and said, "Yes that is true if you marry the woman. As yet I have never married. I select my courtesans a year before the bleed and they're taught over that year by Lady Ann to be a Lady. Then I take them after they bleed, I keep them till they bore me then I set them free to marry. I keep my sons for my guard and the daughters I marry off to houses that love having 1/2 earth blood in their family."

I nodded not letting my growing disdain for this selfish, ignorant, boastful, and hard-hearted man show. He said, "this will not take long. I will call the beginning of the games, but that is all it will be. There will be no contests today because most of the nobles have just arrived and some will not be here until later because of the length of their journey. The first games will not be until midday tomorrow after the welcoming breakfast feast. The noble's will rest tonight and prepare."

King Edmond stood to a fanfare of trumpets and ordered the beginning of the festivities.
He then looked at me and asked have I heard how he became King and went over what I knew. Then he said complimented me saying, "you have learned a lot just being here for two days." Then he went on,

"What you didn't know is that I spent two years learning that pagan language and over a year building a forge in secret. Magic would have made it a lot easier but like you I had no idea about how to use it. I imagine in a year or two you will start seeing the colors of the nature of things but you are a long way off from that. It took me twenty years to raise and arm a force large enough to challenge the Slaver King. Then another five years for my Magic to increase enough to fight Him.

You will learn that you have to of know something before you can see and know its nature so I had to be taught about what things are in the world. To control something you first have to know its true nature. Although just knowing something's true nature doesn't give you control of it. Magic is like a muscle, you have to use it to make it strong and that takes much time.

So you may wonder since I came from Earth and killed the one that came before me why I don't just kill you. The reason is as an ally you are much more valuable but as my wife, you would be priceless."

I looked at him in shock as I was grabbed and carried to an empty stone room. In the room was a young, very pretty naked girl cowering in the corner. Then King Edmond said, " as luck would have it I just picked this girl to be my new courtesan yesterday. She is one of the most beautiful I have ever found. You will become her double and my future Queen once you bleed in a year."

Without another word, I saw light emit from him and I felt my body start to change inside. Then he looked at the girl and she fell over dead. He then said to the guard, When she finishes changing have her handmaids clean and dress her then take her to Lady Ann."

As the guards carried off thebody of the young girl my body started experiencing the worst pain I could ever imagine. I started sweating buckets and peeing uncontrollably with the worst case of diarrhea I ever had. After what seemed an eternity it suddenly stopped. I was covered in my own filth and stank worst than the town, but I was able to stand up and I felt my clothes were huge on me and knew what King Edmond had done to me.

To Be Continued



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