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FOLLOWING TIDES III -- Chapter 4

And the LAST Installement in this insipid little series....
Following Tides III
COMPLETE STORY in SIX PARTS:




You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it... Well, only *I* proofread it.... I'm sure I missed a TON of Mistakes


TO READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **





Series Title: Following Tides III
Chapter Number: Four
“Divine Intervention”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================

Leif’s eyes were red rimmed as he crawled out of bed, going back to sleep had been futile in effort, his mind was in chaos and his heart in agony. So he just washed his face and dressed warmly to go stare at his beloved’s ship until he awakened. He waited until the sun broke the horizon and as the light of day dawned he was free to leave his home. He walked slowly up the path and paused at the gangplank, taking in the majesty of “the Handmaiden” she was a magnificent ship indeed. A voice broke him out of his thoughts.

“S’truth. Early today lad. Come on board, Sonja’s orders.” The young night guard said from the deck and Leif stood rooted to his place, until Sonja herself came up, still dressed in her robe.

“I thought I felt you. Come up here love.” She held out her hand and Leif walked up the plank and took it. Out of sight from the village she hugged him fiercely. “You’re hurting child. I could feel you off a mile away with this sort of emotional ache.”

“Much pain yes. But good in way. Not be forgetting any of you, for whole rest of life.” Leif held her back he loved this woman dearly, she reminded him of his own grandmother.

“We’re going to find a way love, have faith in us. We won’t leave you behind.”

“Please. Make not promises. It not that I trust not. Law for Ger strict. I be not leaving, Gods will be angry and punish village if go.”

“You don’t believe that do you?”

Leif just shrugged. “After my sins? I never am being forgiven now anyway. I am weak man.”

“You are in love. No gods I look to have ever punished a man for something they gave to him in the first place.”

Leif looked stunned, he’d never looked at it like that before. “No babe from this love. Wrong.”

“Tosh! Come let me tell you about my son and his HUSBAND Ilya and their eight children.”

Leif looked stunned again as Sonja led him inside and sat him down in the galley as she made him eat while she talked.

“He turn into woman?”

“Van changed his aspect so they could have children together. Ilya is very much a man. He wore the body of a woman so they could have children. And as soon as he could, Van would change him right back into a man. Those children have two fathers and you’ve never seen a closer family. They just saw the last of their children off on their own ships. Those two are suffering an empty nest right now.”

“I never hear such things. Wizard way much different.”

“It’s not common knowledge that wizards can go mucking about with people’s bodies in that manner. They can though, and they do in cases like Van and Ilya’s when it’s needed or desired. Like in Tomas’ mother’s case.”

Sonja went on to describe Yuri and how she had been born a male but had always desired to be female. She told how Yuri and Sascha had been bound together since children and the night they changed Yuri’s male aspect into a female one and had never changed it back. Yuri was transgendered and living as a female, happy in her new aspect and life. “Tomas would walk through fire for his mother. We all would. She may have been born a he, but Tomas’ father loved Yuri enough to make the change and make it permanent. Love is blind to gender Leif. Real love. Like you feel for Tomas and he feels for you. He’ll move mountains for you if you give him the chance and believe in him.”

“You give me, much to think about. Very confusing but I believe you speak true.”

“I do love. You and Tomas belong together and I’m gonna make damn sure you two stay together. Now let me show you to him, he’s probably snoring his head off. I only just left him when you arrived.” Sonja smiled taking Leif’s hand and leading him to Tomas’ cabin. “Just go in, I daresay he won’t mind.” Sonja winked leaving Leif to quietly push open the door and step inside, shutting it with a soft click behind him.

Tomas was flat on his back, spread eagle on the bed. The covers pulled only up to his waist and his bare chest rose and fell with the breath of sleep. Leif’s heart lurched, Tomas was so very handsome and Leif remembered the feel of that soft fur on his chest beneath his fingers. He quietly took off his coat and laid it on a chair then padded softly over to pull the covers up over Tomas. Intending just to watch him sleep a while when Tomas’ eyes blinked open sleepily and he smiled. “Leif? What are you doing here?”

“Could not sleep. Go back sleep heart of mine. I sorry I wake.”

“Nonsense. Get in here.” Tomas smiled, flicking the laces on Leif’s shirt. “Lose this though would you beloved?”

Leif smiled and stood, pulling off his shirt over his head and half way off felt a hand tug his belt free. “And these too while you’re at it.” Tomas’ voice was a sleepy and husky. Leif could no more deny Tomas his wishes as he could deny breathing. So he complied and slipped nude into Tomas’ bed. Tomas wrapped around him, kissing him soundly and just held Leif against his chest.

“Sleep beloved. Sleep where I can feel you near.”

Suddenly Leif was very tired he had been running on pure misery and crying always made one weary. But feeling Tomas’ heartbeat against his cheek, feeling warm arms hold him loosely, Leif nestled close and both were soon asleep.

~*~*~*~*

Tomas awoke to the feeling of being petted. Leif’s fingers were stroking the hair on his chest. “I feel like a cat.” Tomas chuckled and turned his face to Leif’s.

“Soft like cat. Like your fur.”

“I must say I like the lack on you. No face that lovely should be hidden by whiskers.”

“Cannot grow anyway. Forbidden. But agree with Tomas. Whiskers be good only for catching crumbs. Not like. But wear for good reason here. Keep face warm.”

“True. But I can’t abide a beard. They itch. And speaking of which if I don’t shave today I’ll be scratching my chin raw.” Tomas chuckled rubbing the dark stubble on his chin.

“Aye, new whiskers itch much. Want I shave you?”

“Razor at my throat already beloved?” Tomas grinned and Leif chuckled.

“Tomas most funny. Come I make you clean shave. I also say face too nice to be being covered up with beard.” Leif smiled and stood, pulling Tomas into the bathroom across the room then finding the razor and cake of soap on the sink lathered up Tomas’ face. He had a gentle touch and soon Tomas was sporting the closest shave he’d ever had. Not a razor burn in sight. “Love, you are wonderful.”

“I shear alpaca, whisker much easier.” Leif smiled washing off the razor as he felt a smooth chin slide up his spine giving him the shivers.

“We’d better make an appearance. As much as I’d love to spend all day in here with you naked, we shouldn’t push our luck.”

“Aye.” Leif agreed as they dressed and headed out to face a very long day trying to pretend they didn’t love each other desperately.

~*~*~*~

It was positively maddening wandering around the marketplace all day not being able to make eye contact or touch. Tomas was looking through some nice bear fur pelts when Johan approached and glowered at Leif.

“What being this Ger?” Johan held up the basket Tomas had brought food to Leif in the night before.

“That would have been food I gave to him. Trade is not forbidden him is it not?” Tomas asked and Leif’s relief washed over Tomas’ senses. He was grateful for Tomas’ fast thinking, he was terrified.

“Filthy Ger. I watch you, you being once more too friendly with Trader. Taking no offense Captain Tomas, beware the Ger, he evil soul.” Johan’s voice dripped with malice.

“I’d have to disagree with you. He has been nothing but a great deal of help to us. I am a healer! I can sense duplicity! He is an honest, thoughtful and honorable lad.” Sonja shot right back and Johan’s lip curled.

“See with eyes of mother, blind to fault. Women no can see this evil.”

“Again, I disagree. I may be a woman, but I’ve lived more turnings and seen more of this world than you good sir. I have seen evil, true evil. I have seen men rape and pillage. I have seen whole fleets destroyed, I have seen children murdered and I have seen good men suffer in the name of the gods when it is man’s will and judgment that persecute him. Nay Johan, I have seen evil and it is not in this man-child!” Sonja spoke vehemently and Johan narrowed his eyes. She’d struck a nerve and the wrong one.

“Filthy Ger, Gods punish you they will for blinding good old women with your shadow. Go, now.”

Leif was trembling visibly, his head hung in shame as a crowd gathered to watch. Leif nodded and without meeting anyone’s eyes took a step forward to leave.

“What has he done? Eat food I gave him because he traded us alpaca? Treat us with respect? Do as he was TOLD to do? Why are you punishing him?” Tomas asked desperate to stop this madness.

“His black Shadow creep from evil spirit over hearts of good decent traders. He foul beast, dirty Ger.” Johan turned and hurled the basket at Leif who was now a good twenty paces away, he had not paused he was doing as he was told. The basket hit Leif on the back and he stumbled but did not turn or look up just kept walking. “Faster Ger! Foul Beast!”

“This is crazy! That boy did nothing!” Sonja was aghast, she could feel Tomas’ anger raging as he tried to contain it and she felt Leif’s utter terror.

“Good madam, forgive my harsh words. I fear he too close to you. Hear he even on your ship, will send holy man to cleanse his shadow from vessel. He know not to be going on your ship.”

“I TOLD HIM TO! HE TRIED TO TELL ME ‘NO’ SEVERAL TIMES BUT I TOOK HIM THERE, I MADE HIM GO! I NEEDED TO ASK HIM QUESTIONS! DO NOT BLAME THE CHILD FOR MY ACTIONS AND DOING AS I TOLD HIM TO!” Sonja yelled, her own anger coming through.

“See? His cursed spirit cause good people anger. He will not be troubling you again.”

“What are you going to do to him?” Tomas’ voice shook, he too was now terrified.

“Gods will decide his fate.”

“What is THAT supposed to mean?” Sonja demanded, clutching Tomas’ hand. Leif had TRIED to tell them what would happen and they still got him into serious trouble.

“Just that. He will face Gods for punishment. I will translate for you now in place of Ger.”

“I’m done for today now. You’ve ruined my mood!” Sonja growled and Johan patted her shoulder like she had no brain in her head at all and was a weak, overly emotional ninny of an old woman, needing indulgence.

“There now madam. Trouble Ger is gone, your mood lift soon from his evil.”

“Oh horse shit! Don’t you patronize me! I have GRANDSONS older than you! Tomas we’re done here!”

“Aye.” Tomas and Sonja hurried back to “the Handmaiden” and once up the plank, Tomas shifted into a cloaking spell.

“Hurry son! Stop this insanity!”

“No need to tell me Gran. Have Grandaa make a simulacrum spell, make it LOOK like I am here walking around decks!”

“Aye. Go!”

Tomas, thoroughly cloaked, raced to Leif’s home. He rushed in and found Leif sobbing with hysteria curled up in a fetal position on the bed.

“Beloved!”

“Tomas, Oh no Tomas! Leave! Please, beg you leave! If they being find you here worse! Much worse!” Leif begged not knowing where Tomas stood in the room with him still being invisible.

Tomas was going to reply when the door was kicked open and Johan strode in with four very large men. Tomas barely got out of the way before they almost trampled him. Johan grabbed Leif by the hair and pulled him to his knees and onto the floor. “Filthy Ger! Think I not see you turn eye to traders? Think we not see you have look of one that taste man flesh? You stink like woman! Second sin cannot be proven, Gods will see you punished! They see all!”

A man with a sinister smile stepped forward, he wore a necklace of bear claws around his neck, held a staff with a bear skull atop it and had a beard so matted and encrusted with food it made Tomas shiver as he stood in silent horror, ready to do whatever it took to save Leif. “I come being checking on you this morning. Fear soul temptation during your penance. Find food of lovers, two cups wine used. Proof of spilled man seed by fire. You take lover last night, which trader be bedding you?”

“My own seed you found, it forbidden not to touch one self, no other here. Find two cups because I share thank you drink with Captain Tomas who bringing me food for Trade of herd. No one blame good ship crew. No Ger outcasts be making! I Ger, no one else! I take punishment, I prove they being good peoples. They be Gods blessed people! Will give life to allow good people stay welcome in Skanda! They bring much good here. If must punish me, I take with all soul ready!” Leif lied and begged to save Tomas and his crew, his eyes desperately pleading that Tomas stay silent.

“You lie, but cannot prove. Take him up to holy height. If the gods find favor he will return in seven days, he will return as Ger to finish his penance. Be lying and death claim him!”

Four men grabbed Leif and shoved him out the door, Tomas followed. They walked for what seemed miles up a steep mountain trail to a tiny cabin that had no glass in it’s wide open windows, no hearth to build a fire in and no door to bar out the cold. Tomas watched in horror as they made Leif hand them all of his clothes, leaving him naked in the freezing temperatures. This was a death sentence and they KNEW it! This wasn’t giving Leif to the “gods” this was giving him to the cruel elements! He’d die by nightfall of hypothermia. No one could survive seven days of bitter cold with nothing to his name but his pride and pride was all Leif had as he stood there rigidly defiant. Refusing to cover his nakedness as he stood there proudly, nor even shiver willingly in front of men who sneered at him.

“If you not come down in seven days, we know truth. Bones will lay with others here, no burning rites, no honor.” The men turned and began to walk away and Leif felt invisible arms enfold him from behind and a coat wrap around him.

“Tomas, no. Cannot.” Leif whispered as the men vanished down the trail.

“Bullshit. I’m not going to let you die. This is my fault!” Tomas whispered right back holding tightly Leif’s shivering form.

A crack of a twig made them both turn and a huge golden alpaca stepped from the trees. Leif fell to his knees, pulling Tomas with him. A strong voice, not an image or an emotion but a clear voice echoed in both their heads. Leif prostrated himself in the show, flat on his belly in reverence, dragging Tomas down face first in the show beside him.

“Man child, my chosen one who hears my creatures and Man gifted of goddess sister powers listen well and believe. Leif, child of honor, never have you lost faith, never have you doubted. Tested by man in sorrow your hand and heart never turned from the light. We watch, we know, we see. Fear not, we will not forsake you. Believe.” The voice began and then lips nibbled Leif’s hair in a kiss and warmth flooded him. He felt no cold and a great peace settled in his heart.

“Man, my sister and brothers to whom you look also mark you as theirs. Share god blood, god powers. Yes, did not listen to my Leif, but not to blame. Know not all the laws man made here in my domain. You listen to god laws written upon your soul. Believe in my sister and brothers who claim you as theirs and return to your ship and wait. We will not sunder what is to be. Long parted my brother’s servants and mine. Since the time the great seas rose and the waters took the lands. My servants isolated, my brother’s servants too far from these waters. It is time to find each other again, to work as brothers. Change comes to those who wait. Did I not show you this path in your god wrought stone?” Tomas’ mouth went bone dry. This was a god talking in his head; his whole body was numb with shock, but nodded in answer to the deity’s question.

“Go and wait. Dawn of Seventh Day look to the path. See changes made, wrongs righted. Speak to my healer-daughter of the south; Tell her what I have told you. She too, always believed in me. Held my hand in her darkest days, saw my light. She will recognize our meeting in your eyes. Now go son of my sister flesh. Stay with me, son of mine. My light will shelter you.”

Tomas and Leif looked at each other and Tomas laid his hand to Leif’s warm cheek lightly before standing and bowing to the shining golden beast and obeying. The beast nodded to Tomas and then bent a long neck once more to affectionately nuzzle Leif’s hair. “Lament no more my Son. You are my chosen one. You will bring change here. Then must leave and take my light with you beside the god warrior people of my sister. Just as my daughter went with them, so will you.”

“Father, I believe in you. I always have.”

“I know my son. Your faith strong. He is your warrior protector for you my chosen one. Take the love I send to you, it is not against our Will. Man laws, man hate, man ignorance, man punishments. We do not punish for what we send. We do not punish at all. We only guide, we only teach, We gave you free will and ask you heed the Laws of ours that are but three, written on the souls of all men to know. First, Give without thought of reward. Second, to Help all in need without pause, for you one day may be the one in need. And Last and most important. Love each other without conditions or reserve.”

“Sonja told me that Father.”

“Aye. My daughter knows. Listen to her well, she will never lead you from my path. She walks it beside you. ”

“Aye.” Leif shivered with wonderment and not from cold as he sat with the golden alpaca in the snow, a patch of brilliant spring grass and white snowdrop flowers around them.

“Rest against me my son. Sleep and Dream of Knowing. Show you Truth you need know. I will wake you in seven days.”

Leif did as told, curled up against the soft golden wool against his side and slept and Dreamed.

~*~*~*~*

Sonja was pacing Tomas’ cabin, Alexandre by her side when Tomas returned. She was about to frantically burst into a million questions when she deflated and fell into a chair.

“You’ve seen a GOD!”

“Woman don’t talk crazy!”

“No Grandaa. She’s right. He said you’d know.”

“Tell me everything he said!” Sonja hurried to grab Tomas’ hand and Tomas told her, every unbelievable moment of it.

“He was warm. It’s ten degrees below zero out there and Gran I swear I touched Leif and he was WARM! If I doubted the Gods at all, even after huge golden alpaca’s start talking in great booming voices in my head, if I doubted Leif’s instant recognition of him, if I doubted anything up until that moment, that right there would have made me a believer. I smelled roses!”

“I was a girl. Probably no more than ten when a huge golden polar bear began coming to me. Telling me I was going to leave one day and sail the world and bring people together that had been torn asunder. He smelled of roses, he spoke in my head, told me I’d marry a man with the flesh of his sister and my children would spread throughout the world, bringing light to shadowed places. I doubt not Tomas nor should you. He came to me only in my dreams, but they were very, very real.”

“I need a drink!” Alexandre bellowed from his chair and Tomas smiled at his Grandfather.

“Pretty shocking to hear you’re the spawn of a goddess isn’t it? He called Leif his ‘chosen’; he called me ‘son of my sister flesh’. That can only mean one thing can’t it?”

“Aye son. Wizard gifts have to come from someone first do they not? I’m pretty sure it’s pretty diluted by now, but you cannot deny you’re different. Why do healers and wizards live so long? Why can we do things no one else can? We’re here for a reason Tomas. Only they know that reason. Moreover, when they deign to intervene personally? You’d better do as told!”

“Aye.” Tomas said falling into thought. Sonja and Alexandre excused themselves to leave him when Tomas felt a presence tug his senses. It felt exactly like he had felt in the presence of the alpaca God. He followed it up onto the deserted deck and then down the gangplank to the water’s edge. A dolphin was there and it clicked at him, swam away down the shore and then back. It wanted Tomas to follow him, so he did.

Past the edge of the village to a small inlet. There on a rock, sat a stunning woman, her gown undulating like the sea, falling into the waters at her hidden feet, her skin was scaled like a fish and her hair, long, blue-green gossamer fins. “Sit my son.” Her voice was like the waves crashing on the sand. Tomas sat on the beach, cross-legged, facing her in awe.

“My brother who called you. I who lead you. Change comes in time, change comes slowly, and no mortal may see all things as we see. Think you not simply-minded Tomas of my blood. We come not for trifles, but to guide and to teach. Teach you now what you feel but do not know. Feel the tides, they ebb and they flow; feel the air as it cools. The ice is growing thicker, the land is returning once more. All things change, in time. One day when man no longer remembers these times, they will return to the lands they lost. Wiser yes, but still man. Memories are short, times past forgotten. Mistakes will be made again and the cycle repeated.” She began and Tomas saw things in his mind he could never hope to describe.

Tall buildings made of steel and iron, huge metal ships, millions of people on vast areas of dry land. He saw those cities laying in ruins deep beneath the seas. Relics of a fallen history.

“Those were your ancestors. Great civilizations that used and wasted brought this rising of the sea. Learned too little too late. Failed to listen to our chosen ones and paid the ultimate price. My chosen ones, my most favored children, my red-sails. My sons and daughters bring peace. You are justice, you are protection, and you are charged with the duty to be my warriors. You guard the ones whom my brothers send to you. It is their voices that change times. You carry them to be heard by mankind torn asunder. You already guard the current chosen ones with you. Those whom my land brothers touch. Sonja, the mother protector. Ilya, the scale of human balance. Yuri, the healer of souls. Leif the voice of truth, the song of those with no songs.”

Tomas just sat there, imprinting her words on his psyche for all time.

“My children of my flesh are stronger because it is their duty to protect. You carry my blood, thus you carry my gifts. You pass my gifts onto your children and they theirs. I gave my children freewill and as you have learned some of my children over changing times have turned from my light. Met you them you have, those wizards who take my blood to court tempting darkness. They lay in shadow. My light lies in you, my red-sails. You must grow stronger, reach out further. You must always take those sent to you from my brothers and reach out to all who will listen. There is much of this world you have yet to reach. Remember your duty and reach, to teach, to make mankind remember, to give hope, to restore faith. Voice of Truth in peril. In seven days when my brother brings Leif down from his teachings, one of my sons will seek to betray his birth-duty as my son, he already likes in darkest shadows. He will feel the loss of his control and power over this land, it is he who made the corrupt laws of man that Leif endured, that Leif will cast ever into darkness. It is then Leif will be in greatest danger. We only guide and we only teach. It is you, our mortal chosen who must protect each other. It falls to you Tomas to protect the one my brother sent to you. You are Brothers, Comrades, Lovers. To my warriors are the chosen sent. Alexandre protects Sonja-chosen. Vangel protects Ilya-chosen. Sascha protects Yuri-chosen. You, Tomas shall protect Leif-chosen. As it was years before you current chosen, as it will be after your mortal lives fade.”

“Always my mother.” Tomas replied and the goddess smiled.

“Always for all times. The cycle will ever repeat until end times. I will send my warriors and my brothers will send to them the chosen. You teach others to: First, Give without thought of reward. Second, to Help all in need without pause, for you one day may be the one in need. And Last and most important. Love each other without conditions or reserve. THOSE are the laws of this world. Continue to Heed them well. Tomas, my warrior son.”

The goddess fell like rain back into the sea and Tomas sat there for a very long time unmoving. He had not felt the cold until she vanished; now his bones were frozen solid as he returned to his ship. Stunned with Divine Interventions and shocking revelations.

~*~*~*~*



TO READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **


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