Anna stamped her foot. “I was being a good Frau. Now do you see why I won’t marry you? I will not go through years of no love, no conversation, except suddenly the thought occurs and then there is another baby, and silence grows in the house because you are certain that the baby can’t be yours. Then when you realize that the baby is yours, you will view it as a monster; something to be destroyed. You fear that if people know you have two hearts they will not understand and try to kill you.”
“My darling heart, if the Justines are wrong about the abilities of a mutant being able to fither a child and there tis a baby, I twill be the happiest man in Texas. Yere reasoning that I twould stay away from the marriage bed tis wrong. Thalians are known for their, uh, frequency in pursuit of happiness.” He was almost stuttering. How to put the Thalians’ enjoyment of sex into words that would not offend Anna eluded him.
“I twill seek ye in the bed every evening if that tis yere desire.” He blurted the words in his own manner.
“What?” Anna’s eyes widened. “Mr. MacDonald, how can I believe you?”
“Anna, Mrs. Lawrence, I have nay lied to ye. Ye twill be part of my House and all that I have tis yeres. If ye dinna marry me, I twill sign over my land and home to ye and ye twill live in my heart forever. All that I ask is that I be allowed passageway to the foothills.”
“I do not want your land or your money…” Her voice stopped. “Why the foothills?”
“That tis where I have hidden the vessel that brought me here.”
“There ye have the tale of how she discovered my two hearts. Ye see how fearless she was even though I stood eleven inches taller than her. She feared nay man, nay even her own laddie.”
“Laddie, do you mean son? Why would she fear her son? Was he mad?”
“Nay, he was just angry with the world and was sure I had hurt his mither. He was fifteen and I had just brought him to home. He had been picked up by the Comancheros, a degenerate band of men from different races, when the Comanche had raided their cabin. That tis another tale.
“His name tis Lorenz and he had grabbed his mither’s shotgun from over the front doorway. In his mind, men hurt women when bedding them. He kenned nay different. Anna ran in front of him and grabbed the weapon, shouting ‘Nein, nein, such things du cannot do. Tis a wonder the gun did nay go off.”
“What did you do then.”
“I did nay need to do anything. My Anna made him apologize. He hated every word of it. If ye like we can add him to our conversation.”
“This tis my laddie, Lorenz, Laird of Don. Of course, on Earth he was Lorenz Adolf MacDonald when I adopted him.”
“Welcome, Lorenz. Would you like some coffee? If so, cream or sugar. I’ve discovered your father doesn’t care for our coffee or tea.”
“Thank y’all, ma’am. Black is fine. I’ve never made a pudding out of it.”
“I seem to detect a Southern accent. You were born in the South?”
“You mean Papa didn’t explain we’re Texan? Texan cattlemen.” A wide smile spread across his face, then vanished. “That’s gone now.” The voice was as flat as the gray eyes.
“Perhaps one of you could explain. If you are adopted, how is it that you have lived well over one hundred years?”
“That tis easy to explain. This tis my Anna’s second son with Toma, a Justine. He too has their two hearts and mind abilities.”
“That must have startled the Thalians when you returned to your planet.”
“Aye, but they relented and let me Claim him when he helped destroy the Sisterhood. They were the last remnants of the Justine rule.”
“Claim? Is that like an adoption?”
“Oh, hell, ah, excuse me,” answered Lorenz. “They are Thalians. We wore nothing but a cape in front of the Council of the Realm, their ruling body. If he’d been something other than royalty we would have been before that continent’s Maca or Guardian.”
“Aye, it symbolizes the birth process. The mither wears nay when giving birth and the wee one wears nay. Tis a most moving ceremony.”
“Papa, y’all better stop there. Ms. Morgan looks like a lady to me.”
“Mayhap ye are right. Our customs are much different, but we are nay royalty. I am Maca, nay King.”
“He always says that, but if he decrees something it is law. He’s the one who decides who lives where or does what work. He can take over the trial of any wrong doer and condemn them to being an Ab or to prison as long as it is on his continent. A different Maca rules each continent and their word is law.”
“That tis nay quite true. As Macas, we must follow the governance of Thalia. I could nay tell them to march off a cliff. I dinna tell them where they can work or at what employment.”
“Uh, but since Thalia raises kine, cattle that is, many work at the stations, butchering plants, dairies, and distribution, plus the leather works. The manufacture of space vehicles is also located on Don which means you control a huge enterprise, plus the Warrior Academies are located there. You get to control who the instructors are. If that isn’t king like powers, just what is?
“Mayhap, but it tis nay like your land where the child of the king or queen becomes the next ruler.”
“Thalians live too long for that to happen, but you make sure that someone from that dynasty will rule by saying it is a descendant from your first born son or daughter. They just have to birth the new Maca after the old one is dead.”
“The good Gar kens how to control that. The one born will have the Maca hands.”
“Could one of you explain what the term Maca hands mean? Your hands are large, Maca of Don. Is that what you mean?”
“Oh, nay, the Maca’s hands will convey the message of authority when they touch a member of that House. Sometimes the Maca is so powerful that his hands will convey the message to all Thalians that this tis a Maca.”
“Would an Earth person recognize that?”
“No way,” Lorenz replied.
Llewellyn sighed. “Lorenz tis right. I fear that they do nay. They think that my hands convey a certain amount of heat, but nay would acknowledge me as Maca. That tis, as long as they are nay from my House on Earth. Some of them do recognize me. Those in my House of Don on Thalia do recognize that I am still Maca.”
“Exactly, Papa, but we need to move on. I have left there and you must do so too.”
“Don and Thalia still need me.”
“They do not, and Thalia needs a new Maca. You have already outlived a normal Thalian. Y’all are Justine too. The other members of House want their chance. They have begun to resent you.”
“Bah, they will nay challenge me.”
“What if one does, then what? It will be a challenge to the death, Papa. If someone like Lewis challenges you, do you use your mind to stop him if he physically overpowers you? Y’all know damn well, excuse me, ma’am, I would.”
The huge form sat and looked towards the window. “If I did that I would have to leave. I have promised nay to use the Justine mind. It would negate my being Maca.”
“Then you are dead.” The voice was as flat as his cold, gray eyes. “Lewis is bigger and stronger than you are now and he is growing impatient.”
“There tis nay rule of law that says I can abdicate.”
“We just leave, Papa. The Council will appoint a new Maca or Guardian. Then Lewis will challenge that one. They’ll let him have the honor rather than fight. Lewis is Don. He is a descendant of Lavina.”
“Aye, the rumor was that the eld Maca had fathered her. She looked just like my Mither and Elder Lamar.” He sighed and rose. “How can I leave my beloved Thalia?”
“We just leave. Like now, Papa.”
The dark head nodded and the two men walked out the door. The room, even with all the heavy furniture, felt empty.
Contact Mari Collier her website and see all of the Chronicles of the Maca, plus her three anthologies: http://www.maricollier.com
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