A Goddess Among Us: The End is Just the Beginning.

I

George looked at his best who was no less a goddess and held her hand as they walked on a river bank of Gihon in Eden, where they made their home for centuries, “You know, Thomasina, though I have known you for centuries, I never thought to ask You about the life You had before my brothers and I came barging in madness and without clothes on as we escaped our father’s tortuous dungeon.”

Thomasina blushed as She gave him a kiss on the cheek, “It still breaks My heart whenever I think of the hell you had been though.”

“It is over and done now. As far as we are concerned, our lives began the moment You ushered us inside into the warmth of Your castle, but You had a life before that.”

“Oh, I had a life before I was a wife of an English lord. I was a knight.”

“I know You were a knight, though I never would have imagined it. But how did that come about?”

“Well, it wasn’t My intention. I was very good at art, math, science, and languages, so I thought I would be a governess. Teach children and nurture their hearts as much as their minds, but then there was violence and invasions all around Me. I thought I could just sit around and wait until some madmen slaughter Me, or I could learn a new skill, be effective in defending Me and those around Me and do something about it.”

“And You did.”
“I disguised Myself as a young man and worked My way up.”

“Let me guess: Thomas Darlington?”

“Darlington was My married name. My maiden name is Cholmondeley.”

“An unusual surname for an unusual knight.”

Tommie smiled mischievously. “It worked like a charm, although they all laughed at Me until I proved My worth in battle time and again.”

“Didn’t they suspect that You were a woman, given Your, well, very womanly physique?”

“Who was asking questions when the castle is under siege? You take what you can get. Besides, I was the best of them all, and had a mind for combat and strategy, and even I never would have guessed that an artist and writer had the soul of a warrior all along.”

“And You fought off hostile forces to guard the castle the you eventually called home.”

“It was how I met My husband.”

“And he realized You were a woman.”

“It was a vicious battle, but I won it, and he wished to thank Me in person, and walked in on me while I was tending My wounds.”

“He took the surprise well.”

“We fell in love and we married. I didn’t retire from that life right away, but then he got rather sulky. Men were not as enlightened back in those days. I was pregnant with Clementine when he passed away, and for the life of me, I cannot remember who he was…”

“Because you fell out of love with him.”

“Nothing takes the shine out of romance faster than a nag with a penchant for martial engineering. He didn’t mind Me singing and painting, but he thought those adventurous days ought to be behind Me because I was married and with child.”

“Fat lot he knew.”

“It cost him his life as I knew combat better than he did, but insisted he would take care of things.”

“And he took care of them straight into a grave.”

Tommie sighed. “Shortly after that, you are your brothers came wondering in the middle of the night without a stitch of clothing, shivering and weeping. What else could I do? You all were so traumatized and gentle; that it broke my heart.”

“You took us in, Tommie.”

“And I never regretted it for one second, George. I am happy you have decided not to stand on the edge of Eden to guard it, and have finally come here to see everything you have guarded for centuries.”

“I failed You once when we had to rescue Clementine from those brutes…”

“You didn’t fail me. There were fifty of them and eight of Us, not including Clementine who was just a baby. We were outnumbered. That I was the only casualty that night is a miracle.”

George began to cry as Tommie consoled him by holding his face in Her hands. “Don’t cry, George. We reunited and I am so very happy you are here with Me.”

“But You are thinking of going away from here, and it break my heart.”

“How will I know if I don’t walk among people first? It has been a long while since I lived in the waking world, and that was centuries ago. Many things have changed. For example, when I was alive, human rights were not a topic of the common man, and today they enjoy far more freedoms than I ever did. I fought battles back then that are obsolete now.”

“But, You will be alone in that horrible world that took Your good deeds and turned it into a religion with killers…”

“I am not going alone.”

“Who are You taking?”

“You, of course. I wouldn’t dream of doing this without you.”

George suddenly beamed as he looked giddy. “It would be the greatest of honours, Tommie! I have never been so happy in my entire existence!”

He held Her tightly as She silently chuckled. George was the kindest soul She had ever known, and She never would have walked away from Her closest and dearest friend. They walked back to their home to tell the others of the news.

II

Clementine was a raven-haired beauty who looked much like her flame-haired Mother. She also had an exciting life in the waking world and was overjoyed to finally meet the Mother she never knew as Tommie was murdered protecting Her family when Clementine was an infant. The idea of her Mother going back to the waking world to right a wrong upset her as she never wanted to be separated from Her ever again.

“Gracious, mother, do You really have to go to the waking world?”

“Yes, Clementine. That religion is out of hand and they’ve no right to do all these unspeakable things in My name…”

“But You have powers to stop it here…”

“I have tried and it is not working because I need to understand those people before I can know how to end these games…”

“It’s too dangerous…”

“Clementine, please…”

“Don’t ‘Clementine, please’ me!”

Tommie turned to a smirking George. “See? I am not only her Mother, but a Goddess, and that is the cheeky and impudent way she talks to Me.”

“We did our best raising her, Tommie, but we had no previous experience in raising willful and headstrong girls…”

“Come on!” shouted Clementine as she rolled her eyes, “I am serious! There are dangers there! Who is to say that other gods and demons aren’t walking there, ready to strike at you?”

“I am not a weakling, Clementine. The worst that can happen is that they kill Me, and I return Eden.”

“That’s not the point…”

“What would you have Me do? Sit on my backside and allowed people to desecrate My good name manipulating and controlling desperate people?”

“They don’t even know who You are – don’t they all call You Una et Dilectos, anyway…”

“See? I don’t approve of that,” interjected George, “That is what I called your Mommy when I first saw Her. Not Una et Dilectos – but our one and beloved because nothing else mattered to us after that night. Just the most beautiful, brave, and kind woman the world ever knew came to love us and care for us despite our madness and disfigurements.”

Tommie rubbed George’s arm. “We shouldn’t be there too long, and We’ll keep in touch with you and your uncles.”

“Who are all weeping in despair that You are leaving Eden…”

“To make those misusing My image and name be held accountable for their horrid ways. You will be in charge of this parcel of Eden until We get back.”

“Bah! There are nothing but foul-mouthed ruffians there, and I am certain many of the male variety will be throwing themselves at Your feet…”

“And what? I will be so blindsided by their mortal charms that I will fall madly in love with them and never come home to My only child and My closest friends whom I see as My family?”

George looked defensive, “Tommie doesn’t need those shallow mortals, Clementine. She has worthier options…”

“All right! You two go to that sewer hole and set those people straight. What are You planning to do when You get into a world that is vastly different than the one You knew in the 1400s.”

“I will walk among them, getting to know them all, and then formulate a plan. I will see how they behave and think. I will interact with the ones who are not part of this religion first, before I then meet the ones who are, and compare and contrast them. There is a method to My research, Clementine. When I see what needs to be done, I will do it, and then come home.”

She went to Clementine, and gave her a hug and kiss. “You have your own research to do here in Eden, and with My dispatches, you will have more to ponder about the ways of people.”

“Fair enough, but be careful – the both of You. I love You both, and I dread not seeing either of You.”

“Don’t worry,” said a proud George, “We love you, too.”

“You know I love you, Clementine,” said Tommie, “I do not want these misguided people to do something that will bring harm to Us. We’ll have a small feast tonight, and then George and I will be off in the morning.”

III

“So, Tommie, how do We get to Earth from here? Aren’t We ghosts to the waking world?”

“No, George. I am a goddess, and I do have deific powers galore, such as making up two regular people in that realm, well, with some modifications.”

“Such as?”

“We do not require the same bodily functions. We can retain our strength, knowledge of the past and this realm, not require sleep, and not get injured.”

“I just hope I do not revert to my disfigured form or have madness.”

“Of course not. Our old bodies have long turned to dust.”

“How will We fit in?”

“The way We would in the Otherworldly. Our essence prevents those in the waking world from asking Us questions about Our past. I will still be a Goddess with all of My powers.”

“So no haunting anyone.”

“George! Why would I want Us to haunt mortals?”

“Because mortals killed You.”

“I am not vindictive; besides, why would We waste time haunting people when the point is to see how they act and behave before trying to figure why there is a religion that proclaims to worship Me, but then does everything I fought against in My life, like killing people.”

“But You were a knight…”

“I did not kill anyone. I incapacitated them, and made them know they weren’t going to get the best of Me. Besides, none of them wanted to die. Some despot paid them to do the dirty work, and they did it.”

“I am surprised You didn’t give them a good talking to…”

“And they hear My voice? They’d know I was a woman, just as I cannot divulge that I am Goddess among them.”

“It is a pity. I bet You could frighten people into behaving.”

“I do not want to frighten people. I want them to be sensible and not resort to impossible measures.”

“Will You bring Your crumhorn, rebec, psaltery, or Your hurdy-gurdy?”

“I am not certain those would be a common instrument in the present.”

“Drat, I love when you play the hurdy-gurdy.”

“I can always learn a new instrument to play, George. Even a Goddess can benefit from never-ending education. That is why We are going to the waking world.”

“How does that happen?”

“Like this,” Tommie said as She clapped Her hands twice, sending Them both to a small city-state sandwiched between the United States and Canada.

IV

When the two arrived, George whistled. “What a different world this is.”

“Don’t worry, We will be able to immediately understand the ways of this time and place.”

George furrowed his brow as he nodded. “Yes, those moving metal boxes are called cars. It is how one transports yourself from one place to another. Far better than riding on a flatulent horse that leaves a trail of dung behind it.”

“I agree. It is quite clever and liberating.”

“Look at the clothes people are wearing. Much smarter than what We had to wear.”

“Agreed.”

“So why did We come here?”

“I’ve no idea. I just clapped My hands, and We ended up here.”

“I wonder why.”

Tommie considered. “Because this place is at the centre of that religion. They do not own this area and do not have a foothold here, but they want this place more than any other on Earth. It all ends here. That’s the prize and their final battle, but We must start at the beginning.”

“But why would a religion that began in England in the 1400s covet a tiny region so far away? We never knew of this place, and Clementine didn’t, either.”

“That is a mystery I…I…” Tommie stared intensely at two women walking down the street laughing and chatting. George immediately saw them and gasped.

“Tommie, they…they…”

“Yes, I know, George. They both look very much like Me in different ways.”

“Descendants?”

“What else? We will have to find out precisely when this religion started to have an unnatural interest in this place.”

“You don’t have to keep calling it this religion. It is called the Mutus.”

“I am not giving it a name, George. For a religion that was inspired by Me, it has no resemblance to My heart or soul. I do not recognize their ways at all. It would never recognize Me, either, and would most likely shun Me or try to do Me harm.”

“Do We stay here?”

“No, We have merely come to see what the endgame of this group is, and now We know that they absolutely have kept a track of my bloodline for centuries, and yet, they have no presence here.”

“Meaning, these two women have no idea.”

“One of them does have an idea.”
“You can tell?”

“I am a Goddess, and I have a connection to them both, though a weak one. One of them is the guardian who knows the threat and has made a series of strategic moves to get herself here in order to protect this castle. The other one has no idea.”

“But why is one keeping the other in the dark when they look as if they are close friends?”

“She is protecting her as I once protected you and your brothers, George. If they are close and one is not warning the other…”

“Then this religion is far more dangerous than even We surmised.”

“That means they have ways of keeping tabs on people.”

“Now what?”

“We start at the beginning. We travel and meet people who are not affiliated with that group and understand them before we begin to study this Mutus.”

“Will You be infiltrating?”

“Not in an overt way. I don’t have to show myself directly, and if this group knows of these women are related to Me, then they have my portraits, and why unsettle them at the risk of bringing harm to those women. I can inspire them both in different ways because at the end of it, it will be the two of them united against the threat that began when their long-forgotten ancestor was killed trying to protect Her love ones from certain death. Let’s go; I do not want either of them to know of our presence.”

As they left the town by foot, they noticed a small farmhouse with a wooden sign that read The Path to Paradise.

“It is a beautiful place, Tommie. What an ironic name of a farmhouse named after Our own home.”

“There are those who want to take that paradise away from them, and I won’t let that happen, just as I won’t let anyone use My name for wickedness.”

George held Tommie’s hand as She smiled and leaned on him, and as They walked, they vanished from the future battleground to begin Their most unusual adventure together as one.