Avalon 6.0 Monkey Brain Fever, part 6 of 6

The horses and locals had no protection from the rain.  The travelers walked the horses, who kept their heads lowered, but did not seem to complain.  At least they seemed willing to trust their masters.  Ota said he did not mind the rain, but Mister Crow sat in Misty Gray’s saddle and appeared miserable.

By the time they reached the river, the rain had stopped, and Boston thought to add another word.  “Thank you Chac.”  Chac was Maya’s eldest son, the one Maya once described as the stormy one.  Boston had no reason to believe Kuican the wind or Chac the storm helped them; but she saw Ixchel and figured her brothers had to be around somewhere.

The river looked deep, wide and swift.  They would have to think how to cross.  A hundred yards beyond, on what looked like an island, they saw a six or seven-foot wall that suggested Shemsu work.  The big stones appeared fitted perfectly together without any need for mortar.

Decker remembered there were plenty of Shemsu in the original group that they helped escort at the end of their journey when they came into the land all those centuries ago.  “You know,” he said.  “The ones who felt obliged to carve those giant sculptures of my head.”

The others tried not to laugh as Boston and Sukki stepped down toward the water.  “Let me try something,” Boston said, with a look back at Alexis, her teacher in all things elf.  Boston tapped the surface of the water.  “Water babies,” she called, and Sukki slipped.  Her leg went into the water up to the knee.

Immediately, the water paused and separated, much like the red sea must have separated for Moses.  Lockhart did not question the sign.

“Walk the horses,” he said, and he and Katie started out front.

When they all got up the far bank, they watched the water crash back into the riverbed and resume its journey to the sea.  The travelers turned to the stone wall, covered mostly in moss or a green lichen which was no doubt the source of the green sheen that could be seen for miles.

“City of Jade?” Boston asked, and Sukki nodded.

“The green color?” Alexis suggested.

“Probably full of jade artifacts,” Lincoln imagined.  “The survivors probably brought every precious artifact they had or could get.”

“No doubt,” Elder Stow spoke up from the rear.  Decker fingered his rifle, having thoroughly checked it over after Boston used it.

Lockhart and Katie ignored the conversation as they walked everyone to an archway entrance to the city.  They saw no people, but they found several large gourds there where they stopped. Lockhart said, “ding-dong,” but Katie pulled her knife.  With the handle, she knocked on the top gourd.  The echo sounded loud, echoed in all the gourds, and reverberated into the city area. It did not take long for a gray haired old man to show up, supported by some twenty younger men with spears. They said nothing.  They just growled.

Boston butted up front.  “Maya sent us,” she said, knowing her words would be heard and understood.  The men changed their expression immediately, and the old man responded.

“Well.  That should be all right.  Come in.” All the men relaxed, and people came out from wherever they were hiding and welcomed them.

The city looked way overcrowded, and not just with humans. Gnomes came and took their horses. Several elf-like women made a special point of welcoming Boston.  And all of the travelers, including Elder Stow and Sukki, who still wore their glamours of humanity, got treated to warm baths, soft couches, and plenty of good food.  Even Mister Crow got groomed and treated with great deference, once the people found out he could talk.

They all loved it, and relaxed, but by mid-afternoon, Lockhart roused the others to look for Ozma.  The old man interrupted their quest.

“No one speaks to Ozma.  She has saved us, but she is set apart.  Sometimes the gods visit her, we have been told.  Some believe this, but in any case, she stays in her place and wishes her privacy.”

“But we’ve come such a long way already,” Katie said.  She looked up at Lockhart’s frown.  “Well, someone had to say it.”

It turned out, Ozma came out to see them.  Ixchel came with her.

“And here they are,” Ixchel smiled.  The people gathered, bowed and stepped back to give the goddess Ixchel, Ozma, and the travelers plenty of room.

Boston ran forward, but hesitated, until Ozma opened her arms for a hug.  Boston hugged her hard and loved her goddess equally hard.  She spoke when she stepped back.

“Darn. I wanted to go down a spooky hallway and see what hid behind the curtain.”

Ozma laughed.  “I am sure if the wizard were here, he would gladly take you to the next time gate in his hot air balloon.”

“Stop.”  Lockhart finally had enough.  “There is no wicked witch going to fly across the sky and sky-write surrender Dorothy.”

“Surrender Boston,” Boston said, with a grin.

“Whatever,” Katie supported her husband.

“The question is, what can we do to help in this crisis?” Lockhart finished his thought.

“Sadly, nothing,” Ozma said.

“More important,” Alexis interrupted.  “What can you do for Ota and Mister Crow?”

Before anyone could answer, a man came shooting to the ground like a meteor, leaving a contrail across the sky.  He arrived as a jaguar and let out a great roar before he transformed into an angry looking man.  He stared at the travelers who hardly shrank in the face of the angry god.  He waved his hand, and the glamours fell away from Boston, Sukki, and Elder Stow.  The people, who had already fallen to their faces in the face of the gods, shrieked on sight of the elf and the two Gott-Druk; at least those who peeked.

“Clever,” the man said.  “You should have all slept.  You should be eaten by now.”

“Sorry to disappoint,” Lockhart dared to breathe the words.

“Quetzalcoatl,” the man said.  “I am Tezcatlipoca, and you will not interfere.  The sun of the wind must be destroyed.  The sickness of the Monkey must finish the work.”

Ozma stepped up and put a hand on Lockhart’s arm.  “I thought we might invite Quetzalcoatl to be king of this city and bring magic cures from the future.”

“No.” Tezcatlipoca yelled, but paused as the inevitable bubble came softly to the earth to reveal Maya standing beside Ozma.  Ixchel stepped up to stand on Ozma’s other side.  One woman could be hard.  Two could be dangerous.  Three felt like a serious threat.  Tezcatlipoca appeared to think.

“I suppose,” he said.  “If you went quietly to your gate without disturbing things, I could be persuaded to let you go in peace.”

The goddesses nodded.  “We accept your offer,” Maya said.  “Now be gone, before somebody drops a house on you.”

Tezcatlipoca roared again, but vanished.  Everyone breathed, except Boston and Katie, who both laughed and told Maya she said that just right.

Maya smiled for them, but said, “Get your things.  No telling how long you have before he changes his simple, little mind.”

“What?  The god has a simple mind?” Lincoln asked.

“No,” Maya said.  “He is just a man.”

The women laughed, as the travelers went off to pack their things and get their horses.  Maya stepped up to Ota and hugged him.  He began to weep.

“Do not weep,” she said.  “Your family will rest in peace and be happy in the afterlife.”

Ota nodded.  He did not doubt, but he wept all the same.

Maya stepped to the crow and frowned.  “You are no end of trouble,” she said.  She touched the crow and he turned back into a man.  When the travelers returned, they found Ozma busy kissing that man.

“Her husband,” Ixchel said, and raised her arms.  The travelers found themselves in the jungle.  The time gate sat in front of them.  Ixchel spoke.

“When the fever settles into the monkey population, some people will go north to get out of the area entirely.  They will find a lake and build a city there.  Maya will bring some here, to build a city in the jungle and begin a new civilization.  Some will move back into the cities they abandoned five years ago.  They will begin again, but it will all be different. It will all be changed.”

Katie understood.  “The Toltec, the Mayan, and the remnants of the Olmec civilization.”

Ixchel nodded.  “Only, you must not stay to see it.  I know it is your habit to enter the time gate first thing in the morning, but in this case, though it is late in the afternoon, I say you must go now, while you can.”

“Thank you,” Boston said, and Sukki echoed, “Thank you.”  Boston got down to hug the goddess, but her arms went right through.

“I am not really here,” Ixchel said.  “But I appreciate the sentiment.  Go.  Be safe.”

They moved through the time gate.

************************

MONDAY

Avalon, episode 6.1 Little Things.  The travelers arrive  in the Dandaka forest in search of the Kairos Lakshme (not Sita).  They face swarms of deadly insects and grow concerned about who might be directing and guiding this pestilence, and to what end.  Until Monday, Happy Reading.

*

Avalon 6.0 Monkey Brain Fever, part 5 of 6

Lockhart spurred forward, but his horse would only get so close before it refused to go further.  Lockhart had to shout, enunciating the alien Agdaline words as well as he could.  “No fire.  Do no harm.  Friends. Friends.  No fire.”

The worm had very stubby arms and legs.  This kind looked more like a true worm, or serpent, and it still had plenty of asbestos-like feathers, like an infant dragon.  It did not look like an infant.

“No fire.  No harm. Friend.”  Lockhart kept yelling, and the dragon paused to turn its head and look at the people and horses, as it were, upside-down.  The head snapped back right-side-up, and the dragon made a very different sound.  It almost sounded like the dragon repeated the word “friend”, before it looked up and let out a stream of fire at the sky.

“That can’t possibly be Puff.”  Katie came up near to Lockhart.  Her horse, Black Beauty, seemed even more leery of the dragon than Lockhart’s horse.

“I can’t imagine.  Maybe a child or grandchild or something.”  They met puff roughly two-thousand, five hundred years ago, back when people first started moving into the area that one day would become the Olmec civilization.  That happened when they first met Maya and her children.

“Chac was the storm and Kuican, the wind,” Lockhart tried to name those children.

“And Ixchel, the rainbow after the storm,” Katie said.  “I remember.”

“Ixchel.” Lockhart nodded.  “I couldn’t remember the girl’s name.”

“And Puff poked her nose right between a Pendratti and a Gott-Druk shuttle and scared everyone half to death.”

In timing, such as the little ones had, they heard a woman’s voice. “There you are.”  They looked up and saw a beautiful woman floating up by the dragon’s head, which lifted up near the tree tops to greet her.  She appeared to scratch under the dragon’s chin. The dragon purred.  The travelers could not imagine getting that close to the dragon’s jaw, though they had seen it done before.

“Friend,” the dragon said, and looked at Lockhart, and the rest who came up to stand behind Lockhart and Katie.  The woman looked, squinted, and appeared curious, until Katie spoke

“Maya?” Katie asked, though she knew it was not.

“Quetzalcoatl,” the woman spouted through her smile, as she zoomed to the ground, to face them.  “Maya said you were here, but I didn’t believe her.  I am Ixchel.”

“You didn’t believe your own mother?” Boston sounded surprised.

“Yes, I suppose she is my mother.  After going on three thousand years, since you were in this part of the world, some things blur.  Other things don’t make sense at all.  I mean, my father is a girl.”

“That must be interesting,” Decker said.

“I love her dearly,” Ixchel said, before Lincoln interrupted.

“I don’t suppose you can take us to the city the quick way.”

Ixchel took a moment to figure out what he asked, before she shook her head.  “I am not really here.  I came to collect Kuku.  She got set out to guard the ways to the city.  She can smell the disease, but not being native to earth, she cannot get the sickness.  She wandered off.”  Ixchel smiled a lovely smile.  “But I will welcome you when you arrive…” she vanished, and reappeared straddling the dragon’s neck.  She said something in Agdaline—the world from which dragons came.  It sounded like, “Come along, baby.”  And the dragon spread its wings and took to the sky.

Lockhart turned around and saw Ota on his knees, weeping.  He breathed through his tears. “Kukulkan.  Man of the dragon.”

Mister Crow returned from whatever safe perch he visited.  “I guessed, you know.”

“You guessed?” Alexis asked.

“Well, there weren’t any dragons around before now to know for certain.” The crow settled down on Misty Gray’s back.  “So, what did Kukulkan say to the beast, anyway?”

“He said we were friends,” Katie spoke up.

Mister Crow appeared to nod.  “Good choice of words,” he said.

“Man,” Lockhart said, as he got Ota to stand.  “Man of the dragon, but the important word is man.  I am as human as you are.”

Ota looked uncertain, but Mister Crow spoke again.  “Not if you are three thousand years old. The great goddess, Ixchel herself said she knew you three thousand years ago.”

“More like twenty-five hundred years,” Lincoln responded, as he helped Ota get up on Cortez, his horse.  “I’ll have to look it up.”

“That is a long story,” Alexis said.

“We need to ride.  The way appears to be clearing,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart rode out front and avoided looking back at the local man and the crow.  He heard Alexis and Lincoln trying to explain things, but tried not to overhear the actual conversation.

The travelers came out of the forest and found themselves in a meadow, the road clearly delineated by mud between fields of grasses and flowers. They saw a river, far in the distance, and a hint of pale green beyond, which everyone guessed might be the city. They traveled for nearly an hour before Boston had a thought.

“No,” Boston shouted, but it was already too late.

Lincoln and Katie both slipped from their seats at about the same time.  Ota hung on to Cortez’s saddle, but he weaved in his seat, like one ready to fall. Boston looked back and saw Decker leaning forward, hanging on to his horse’s neck, trying not to fall, and trying to stay awake.

“Decker,” Elder Stow reached out to the man.  The Gott-Druk did not appear as affected by whatever it was.

Boston looked at Sukki.  The girl yawned, but did not appear to be in danger of falling asleep.

“No,” Boston said again, and looked to the front to see Lockhart and Alexis slip to the ground.  The crow followed Alexis, and Boston’s hair felt like it stood on end.  “Arm up,” she said.  “Elder Stow.  I think we are going to need your weapon, especially.”

“What is it?” Sukki asked.

Elder Stow checked his scanner.  He stopped focusing on it after they got out in the open where they could see around with their own eyes.  His eyes shot toward a small rise in the landscape.  People began to come over the rise.  Maybe a hundred or more, and they all looked insane with disease.

“I don’t think the dragon just wandered off,” Sukki said, as Boston handed over her Beretta.  Boston pulled Decker’s super advanced military rifle she could turn to automatic fire.  She didn’t wait.  She sprayed the oncoming horde with bullets, even as Decker became the last to slip to the ground.  Boston felt glad that the horses were magically tied to their riders and would not wander off.  She also felt glad they got sent back from the American wild west, and would not be spooked by gunfire.

Boston tried to confine herself to bursts of five to seven bullets. The rifle would never run out of ammunition, thanks to the Kairos who set that up at the beginning, but it could overheat, and she could not afford for it to jam.

Sukki fired her pistol as she had been taught.  She only paused, and dropped her jaw, when Elder Stow’s weapon let out a line of light that turned the ones in front to ash and the ones behind to charcoal.

Even with all that power, Elder Stow admitted, “Some are going to reach us.”

“I know,” Boston wanted to panic, when a wind came up that nearly pulled her off her feet.

The people on the ground remained unaffected.  The horses turned into the wind and lowered their heads to keep from being tipped over.  Elder Stow and Sukki, with their strong and squat Neanderthal bodies, appeared to hold on to the earth.  But across the way, the diseased people got lifted up and blown away, until they moved out of sight.

Boston, who eavesdropped on Katie and Lockhart when they talked about Maya’s children, thought to say something.  “Thank you Kuican.”

Lightning, coming out of a perfectly blue sky, struck in the direction of the diseased people, and the thunder clapped loud.  The cloudless sky instantly filled with deep gray clouds, and the rain came, pouring, turning the mud road into puddles and a little river, an inch or so deep.

Boston, Sukki, and Elder Stow ran to the others to get their heads above the water; but found them coming out of their sleep.  People turned their fairy weave clothing into rain slickers, hats, and rain boots, though they got rather soaked at first.  It took some time to shake off the effects of whatever got into their systems, but soon enough they got ready to move on to the city in the distance.

Avalon 6.0 Monkey Brain Fever, part 4 of 6

Everyone got some sleep, and no one bothered them in the night, which made them all feel better over breakfast.

“I don’t know why the monkey god, and whoever is with him, would want to wipe out all the humans in their jurisdiction,” Alexis began the conversation.

“Chaotic god?” Decker suggested.

“More of a trickster,” Lincoln said, pulling out the database. “Sort of like Loki, I suppose.”

“It happened elsewhere,” Katie spoke up.  “Domnu once wiped out all the earliest people in the British Isles. Sekhmet,” Katie said, paused and turned to Lockhart with a smile.  “She almost wiped out everyone in Egypt, and would have if Amun Junior had not gotten her stinking drunk.”

“She still complains about the hangover,” Lockhart nodded.

“In the middle-east, the gods once complained the humans were making too much noise.  It was Enki, or Enlil, I forget who saved the humans there,” Katie finished.

Lockhart nodded again.  “God himself once wiped out everyone except Noah and his family.”

“I know that story,” Elder Stow said, and watched Sukki nod.  “At that same time, the Gott-Druk, and other early human-like peoples were taken elsewhere.  In the case of the Gott-Druk, we went into space, with Agdaline help, to make a new home on another world.”

“But why here and now?” Alexis did not feel satisfied.  She still felt terrible about killing all those children. “What is the point?  What are they gaining?”

“No way of knowing,” Katie answered.

Boston said what she had heard many times on their journey.  “Who can fathom the way of the gods?”

Mister Crow fluttered down from the branch of the nearest tree where he spent the night.  He offered a thought.  “You people speak of the gods with such ease.  Most people placate the gods with offerings and otherwise try to keep a safe distance.  But, I figure, with your horses and guns and such, you may be closer to the gods than we are.”

No one chose to respond, so that pretty much ended the conversation. The group packed up breakfast and the camp.  They moved slowly into the trees.  They did not go very far, however, before Boston remembered.

“Don’t pick any apples unless you want to make the tree angry.” She laughed, but Lincoln said something she had not considered.

“No telling what that necromancer’s elixir of life might be capable of doing.”

“Oh yeah,” Boston squeaked.  “I hadn’t thought of that.  Thanks,” she gave it her sarcastic best.

Alexis turned to talk to Boston as she patted Lincoln on the arm. “My husband is good at thinking of things like that.  It is his special talent.”

Lincoln wisely kept his mouth closed.

The group stopped when they came to a place where a couple of huts lined the road.

“I see carbon forms there,” Elder Stow said, staring at his scanner. “I can’t tell if any are living.”

It looked like a small hamlet, not even a village, and it looked deserted.  Decker waited for them at the outskirts, and the group moved up slowly, eyes and ears looking for anything that might indicate life.  They were not disappointed.

A man, holding a large stone axe, stepped into the roadway and stopped to stare at them, like he wondered if they might be infected.  The group stopped.  Decker reached for his rifle.  The man looked covered in blood and sweat.

“Wait,” Captain Katherine Harper Lockhart yelled at her superior officer, and Major Decker kindly waited.  She got down, and carried her canteen.  Lockhart pulled his shotgun, just in case.

“Water?”  Katie held it out to the man.  The man stood like a statue for a few more seconds before he dropped to his knees and began to weep.  Katie gave him the water, and Alexis and Lincoln stepped up.  Alexis to see if the man might be injured.  Lincoln, because he would not let Alexis get into a dangerous situation without him.

They all heard a human-like cry beside one of the huts.  Alexis turned to go there, but Lincoln grabbed her as Boston yelled.

“Don’t leave the path.”

“They won’t stay dead,” The man muttered through his tears.

Decker and Lockhart opened up with the rifle and shotgun as three men, two women, and two children came staggering out from behind the house. The whole group, already missing arms and great chunks of their bodies, went down from multiple bullet wounds. Somehow, Decker and Lockhart did not doubt they would get back up again.

“Quickly.  To your horses,” Lockhart commanded.  “Katie, bring him.”

Katie already started bringing the man to her horse.  Lockhart waited, while Decker led the others down the road.  Katie practically lifted the confused man up behind Lockhart before she mounted. Lockhart barely took the time to say hang on, before he, Katie, Alexis and Lincoln started after the others.

The man only wailed once or twice, before he closed his eyes and decided not to watch.

Well down the road, they dismounted again to walk their horses. The man, still holding his axe in an iron-like grip, walked with them, his head pointed down, his eyes dragging on the dirt in front of him.  He did not open up until they stopped around eleven for an early lunch.  The forest started becoming jungle dark, and it began to close in on them.  The travelers thought they should eat quickly to spare as much daylight as possible. No telling how long they would be in the gloom.

“I am Ota,” the man said.  “I had the fever for seven days, and all of my village became infected. My fever broke three days ago, and I recovered, but some died, and some came near death when a man came into the village.  I brought out to him the ones who still lived.  He said he had a way to heal them, but he could not leave the path.  I felt so grateful.  I did not ask questions.  He placed a few drops of some water on the tongue and said they would recover.  Then he said he had to move on because others needed his help.

“I watched.  I prayed. They all died.  Then they all un-died, and they tried to kill me because I still lived.  Yesterday, and last night, I killed them again and again, but they kept getting undead.”  The man shivered, looked down, and appeared to run out of words.

Lockhart looked at Boston, and she spoke.  “We are going to the City of Jade to see the wizardess of Oz.  We have to go there to find our way home. Mister Crow wants to go to be made human again.  I am sure there are other survivors there and Ozma will find a good place for you among the people.  Go with us.” She looked at the others to evaluate her performance.  Decker laughed.  Katie and Alexis smiled.  Lincoln shook his head, and Lockhart shrugged.  Of course, Sukki and Elder Stow had no idea what she was talking about.

Ota nodded.  “Maybe the Oz can find a way to make the dead rest again, as they should.”

Ota opted to ride behind Lincoln, not that he felt more comfortable behind the smaller man, but so he could converse with Mister Crow, someone from his own time and place, even if the words came out of the mouth of a bird.

With that settled, the travelers entered the dark under the jungle canopy, and Lockhart bit his tongue, but Boston said it.

“Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!”

“Eagles, Hawks, and Falcons,” Mister Crow corrected.  “And owls,” he added.

Early in the afternoon, when the sun in the cloudless sky should have made things appear bright and cheery, the road, which had been single file, at least opened up again to where they could ride two by two.  They appeared to be in a swampy area where the sun all but disappeared.  Rays of light, like rays from one of Lockhart’s alien heat rays, only showed here and there.  It seemed enough to keep them from moving in darkness, but they moved in the shadows all the same.

They paused when something roared off to their right.  Every eye tried to pierce the shadows and look through trees.

“Keep moving,” Lockhart insisted, and the horses walked on.

Another roar came moments later, and it sounded closer than before.

“Don’t stop,” Lockhart insisted.

“I don’t see anything on the scanner,” Elder Stow admitted

“I don’t sense a spiritual creature,” Boston spoke up.

Lockhart looked at Katie.  She nodded, then shook her head, like she might be getting mixed signals.

“Keep moving,” Lockhart said.

The travelers kept moving, until they heard a third roar very close, and much louder than any animal they could think of.

One moment later, Decker came racing back from the point.  He did not have to yell, “Dragon!”  The ball of fire said it all.

Avalon 6.0 Monkey Brain Fever, part 3 of 6

The little people came out from hiding.  They had their feast, with plenty of stories, songs, and good cheer, but it did not seem like the great celebration they planned.  Lincoln explained as he read from the database. The world of the Olmec people was being all but destroyed by a disease more ruinous than the bubonic plague.

Katie and Lockhart sat beside the fire and whispered little to each other.  Lincoln and Alexis sat near them and said nothing that evening.  Decker stayed on watch, despite the promise of the little people, that they would keep their eyes and ears open for intruders.  Elder Stow kept watch with his portable scanner, and set it to put up an impenetrable particle screen as soon as his scanner picked up human life forms headed in their direction.  Only Sukki and Boston clapped and danced with the little ones in the night before everyone had to get some sleep.

In the morning, all the little ones turned out to shout good-bye and good luck.  Many reminded them to stay between the fields of corn.  Katie waved, and Lockhart confided to her, “If Lincoln or Decker start singing about follow the yellow corn road, I’m going to hit them.” Boston heard with her good elf ears, and hummed through the morning, but she did manage to keep her mouth from singing the words.

Since he could not ride out on the flank, Decker took the point. Often enough, he rode back to Lockhart and Katie at the front of the group to double-check his take on turns in the road where the corn became less evident.

Lincoln and Alexis took the center, and appeared to take up Lockhart and Katie’s idea of whispering to each other every now and then.  Boston and Sukki straggled in the rear, with Elder Stow acting as rear guard.  He only looked up every now and then, and generally only when a deer or other large animal could be seen or heard out among the corn rows.  For the most part, he kept his eyes glued to his scanner. It acted as their main version of an early warning system.  Boston, with her elf senses, could tell when humans came near.  Katie, with her elect intuition, could sense when something or someone got near that might pose a danger to the group.  Still, the scanner could plot one to several miles distance on a grid, and track whatever might be in the area.

Lunch became a somber affair.  They had plenty of food, gifts from the little people for their journey; but no one felt much like talking until Lincoln broke the ice.

“This journey seems spooky for a change.”

Decker and Lockhart laughed at the “for a change” comment, but Alexis responded kindly.  “It does feel a bit like a funeral procession.”

Elder Stow nodded.  “Good thing we have not come across any villages.”

“Especially ones full of dead bodies,” Alexis agreed, and people paused to think about it.

“That necromancer sounds creepy,” Boston said.  “Maybe, in that village, the dead bodies will be walking around.”

“I don’t like that idea,” Sukki said, and shivered.

“I prefer not to think about that possibility,” Lincoln commiserated.

“So, explain something,” Lockhart wanted to change the subject. “If this disease has been rampaging around the countryside for five years, who has been around to plant these cornfields?”

Katie spoke up.  “I assume Maya has kept the corn growing in season.  I imagine she is spread rather thin, trying to hold things together.”

“Maya said, only half of the human population will die,” Elder Stow said.

“Over half,” Lincoln corrected him.

“Still,” Elder Stow continued.  “The other half has to be around somewhere.”

Alexis shook her head.  “Probably got infected and sick, even if they did not die from the disease.  We have no way of knowing what shape they may be in. They might not be able to plant, and Maya might be keeping them alive by growing the corn for them.”

Decker offered a thought.  “Probably ran away to escape being eaten by the diseased half.”

“Stop,” Sukki raised her voice, looked down at her lap and shut her eyes.  Elder Stow took her hand.

“There, there…”  He gave it his fatherly best.  “We will be all right.”

“I know just how you feel,” Boston, the empathic elf looked at her with exceptionally big eyes.

An hour down the road, they came across a crow that hopped back and forth on the road, and apparently, had been doing so for some time, since they saw a clear, visible line indent in the road.  Decker stopped to watch, and when the others came up behind him, they all watched.

“What is it doing?” Sukki asked.

“Ask him,” Decker said with a grin.

The crow stopped and faced the travelers.  Then it spoke.  “I’m pacing, trying to decide which way to go.  I found this great path through the wilderness.  I have been turned into a crow, in case you didn’t notice.  I need help, only I can’t go both ways.”

Boston pushed up front.  “We’re going to the Emerald City to see the wizard—the wizardess of Oz.  Maybe she could help.”

“City of Jade,” Lincoln corrected her.

“Still green,” Boston said, and gave her best elf grin to Lockhart, who rolled his eyes.

“Why don’t you fly there?” Katie wondered.

“Eagles, Hawks, Falcons,” the crow responded.  “Besides, I’m new to this flying business.  I’m not sure it would be safe.”

“I guess you better come with us,” Lockhart decided, with a hard look at Boston.

The crow thought about it before Alexis interrupted with a question. “How did you get turned into a crow?”

“It was the monkey god,” the crow said.  “He said I was immune to his disease and that was not allowed.  He changed me, probably thinking I would be eaten by a predator soon enough.  I found this path first thing in the morning.”

“You survived so far,” Katie praised the bird.

“I had some immature corn last night,” the crow said.  “It was okay.  But then this morning, all my pacing dug up a couple of worms.  I found that disgusting, but they tasted pretty good…”

“Here,” Alexis said.  “You can ride in Misty’s mane.”

“Your very big animal?”

“My horse, yes.  Misty won’t mind as long as you hold his hair and not scratch him with your claws.” She started to get down to pick up the crow, but he flew up to settle on Misty Gray’s neck, so Alexis kept her seat. The horse nodded twice, to shift the bird to a more comfortable spot.  Then they rode, and the crow said his name was something like Wexalottle, or it sounded like that.  It seemed hard to pronounce with a bird beak and tongue.  They settled for calling him Mister Crow.

Another hour down the road, and Elder Stow’s scanner started making that annoying alarm sound.  “People coming,” he shouted from the rear.  Boston and Katie both looked in that direction, like they sensed the people, and sensed they were hostile.  Lockhart directed everyone to the opposite side of the road, and Mister Crow returned from overhead, once Elder Stow turned off the alarm.

“I see them,” Mister Crow said.  “They are running straight at us.”

“I have them on the grid,” Elder Stow added.  “They will arrive any minute.  No time to put up a screen to halt their progress.”

“Arm up,” Decker yelled as he arrived from the point and got down from his horse.  It was not Decker’s place to say that, but Lockhart was not going to argue with that assessment.  Seconds later, faces appeared in the corn rows.  Clearly, they were diseased faces.  Seconds after that, guns began to fire, and in only a minute, ten bodies stretched across the road.  Less than a minute later, Alexis cried out.

“They are children.”  She wept. The eldest looked maybe fifteen. Everyone but Decker and Lockhart found some tears.  Lockhart, the former policeman, remained stoic.  Major Decker remained a marine.

Mister Crow returned from overhead.  He got angry. “Why have the gods permitted this?”

“The gods have done this,” Katie said.  “I assume the monkey god is not working alone.”

“Probably why Maya couldn’t leave the city long enough to bring us there the easy way,” Boston suggested, and Sukki and Katie agreed.

“Keep moving,” Lockhart interjected.  “Walk ‘em.”  He moved them out of the area as quickly as possible.  Lincoln did what he could to comfort Alexis.  Mister Crow sat on Alexis’ saddle and cawed a couple of times. Sukki, Boston, and Elder Stow followed along behind, heads lowered like people in mourning.

As the sun began to set, the travelers came upon a forest.  The road left the corn fields and moved in among the trees.  They had not been warned about the change in their surroundings, but clearly the road went among the trees for some distance.

“I think we still need to stay to the road,” Lockhart said.  People agreed, and settled down to eat something before bed.  “Regular watch,” Lockhart insisted.  That put Alexis and Lincoln up first, from six to nine in the evening.  Katie, her elect senses stretched into the wilderness, and Lockhart with his police instincts got the nine to midnight shift. Decker, the marine, and Elder Stow with his scanner took the wee hours, which left Sukki and Boston with her elf senses in the early morning, to watch the sun come up.

************************

MONDAY

Following the yellow corn road isn’t so easy, and there are infected people in the way.

*

Avalon 6.0 Monkey Brain Fever, part 2 of 6

Katie and Lockhart walked up to the group holding hands.  Decker followed, and it appeared as if he put his rifle in the holster for once, not expecting trouble in this peaceful village of good people.  He looked naked without it, but no one said anything.  Instead, Decker found a reason to say something.  It came out in swear words, and he ran to retrieve the weapon.

Four humans, three men and one woman, came crashing through the bushes and into the village square.  They looked bruised and bloodied from a thousand cuts.  Alexis thought to help them, but the look in their eyes spoke of insanity.  The drool from their snarling mouths made them appear hungry, and not particular about what they ate.  They screamed unintelligible sounds.  The little people just screamed and scattered to hide.

Two of the mad men rushed at the group around the bonfire.  Boston, Alexis and Sukki screamed well enough. Lockhart, the former policeman, still had his police special by his side, and drew it quickly.  Katie slipped the knife from the sheath that rested on Lockhart’s other hip.  Lockhart shot one man.  Katie cut the other across the hand and face.  That man barely paused, but long enough for Elder Stow to reach up from behind, grab the man’s head and snap his neck.

The third man got distracted by Decker’s movement, and followed him. The major had enough of a head start to reach his horse, pull his handgun, spin and fire three times.  As the man fell, dead, Decker grabbed his top-of-the-line marine rifle, the one the Kairos assured him would never run out of bullets.

The insane woman rushed to the back-side of the bonfire, where a deer roasted, half-cooked.  She ripped off a chunk of the deer tartar, fell to her knees and began to chew, not unlike an animal.  The travelers watched, uncertain about what to do.  They once unwittingly helped a werewolf in the daytime.  He appeared as a broken, cut and bruised man who left sanity so far behind, he could no longer form words.  Of course, they did not know he was a werewolf, and he escaped.  He got their scent.  He then followed them through a couple of dozen time zones, often enough in wolf form, trying to kill and eat them.

“We have to help her, if we can.”  Alexis finally spoke.

“I don’t know if we can,” Lincoln said, as he ran up from the other side.

The naked, bleeding woman grunted a couple of times, but mostly she howled, not like an animal, but like a person subject to constant, terrible, stabbing pain. She hit her head several times.  She began to weep.

No one dared approach her.

She chewed until she screamed, dropped the deer meat and put both hands to her head.  Her tears turned red with blood.  Her ears began to bleed, and she fell over.  People still feared to touch her.  Decker and Alexis checked.  She definitely died.

“This man’s ears are bleeding,” Katie and Elder Stow watched the blood drip, though the man already died.

“Don’t touch him,” Alexis said, nice and loud.

“Don’t worry,” Katie responded, and pulled her hand back a little further, though she realized both she and Elder Stow touched one of them.

“Incoming,” Decker shouted, and everyone looked up as a man with a long monkey tail appeared near the horses.  The man lifted a hand toward the horses, like he tested something with his senses and needed to concentrate.  He stepped toward the wary travelers, pausing only briefly at the four dead people.  He lifted his hand toward the travelers, again, seeming to test something he had to think about.  Then he spoke.

“There is an aura of protection in this cursed place that spares you from the virus.  Do not think it will spare you from the infected ones, though I can do nothing to harm you.  Since you wear the protection of the gods, I would not dream of doing such a thing. But I take no responsibility for what the mad humans may do.”  The man grinned, his monkey tail whipped back and forth, and he vanished, and mercifully took the four dead bodies with him.

Everyone breathed.

The little people began to make sounds of relief all around, before they shouted “She is here.  She is here…”  The travelers watched a woman float through the air and come gently to the ground, only to be surrounded by happy, cheering little people.

“Ozma?” Boston ran, but stopped when she saw who it was.  “Maya.” She remembered the name of the Corn Woman, the goddess she met in Otapec’s day, and then again at Katie and Lockhart’s wedding.”

Maya pushed through the little ones to give Boston a hug.  “You have certainly changed since the last time you were in my area.”

“Katie married,” Boston said, as if the goddess needed reminding.  Like a true little one, she showed utter joy at marriage before she dropped her head, sadly, and spoke.  “But I lost Roland.  He got taken to the future.  But I know he is alive.  He has to be alive.”

Maya gave Boston a second hug and an encouraging word.  “I have every good hope that you will see him again.” She turned to Katie.  “So, now you are married, and to Quetzalcoatl.  I had little time to do this at your wedding.” She hugged Katie and looked at Lockhart. “You are a very lucky man, to marry an elect.”  She apologized to Katie.  “I really am glad I could be there for you.”

“Me too,” Katie said through her smile.  Being hugged by a goddess is a remarkably wonderful thing.

“And Lincoln,” Maya said.  “I see you found your wife.  The first time I met you, she went missing.  Dear Alexis.” Alexis lowered her eyes and curtsied, but Maya hugged her as well.  “And Elder Stow, I see you found a daughter of your own.”

“Sukki,” she gave her name, smiled, uncertain, and looked at Elder Stow for reassurance.

Maya hugged her, too, and whispered in the girl’s ear.  “I saw you at the wedding.  Now, you just take care of that old man, and all of your friends.”

Sukki looked again at Elder Stow, and the others with a genuine smile and a word out loud, because Gott-Druk were not good at whispering. “I will.”

“And finally, Major Decker, man of the eagle.  You will be pleased to know that the Olmec representations of your head have become so stylized, they hardly look like you anymore.”

Decker grunted, but seemed pleased.  He thought to speak.  “We had four visitors attack us when we arrived, and a god with a monkey tail that came to fetch them.  I don’t suppose you would care to explain what is going on.”

Maya frowned, took a couple of steps to where she could address them all, though she already had their full attention.  “The monkey god,” she said.  “When my friend, the Kairos Kartesh, in the ancient times, reworked her Shemsu people to give them their unique telekinetic abilities as well as the math and engineering skill along with the Agdaline symbols and stellar coordinates, the monkey god got the idea that life was something to play with. Among his experiments, he designed this virus.  My friend, the Kairos Ozma calls it monkey brain fever.  It is deadly in over ninety percent of the cases.”

“Have we been infected?” Alexis had to ask.

“No,” Maya insisted.  “The hedge of the gods protects you, and also I have made this place a protected area, just to be sure.  However, it cannot stop infected people from coming into this place, and though they cannot spread the disease here, it cannot cure them by coming here.  It has been five years.  The disease has spread.”  Maya stepped up to Katie and asked to touch her thoughts, which felt very odd, to hear a goddess ask anything.

“I don’t mind,” Katie said, and shut her eyes while Maya touched her head.

“I see,” Maya said.  “I see.” And the others got the idea that she somehow bypassed the hedge of the gods to retrieve some information.  Then she spoke.  “The disease has spread from what will be Mexico City to El Salvador. It is virulent, and more than half of the human population will die in agony.  But Ozma tells me the disease will eventually settle in the monkey population where it will remain dormant for many centuries.  Pray that it be soon.”

“Ozma,” Boston said, her face lit up.  “Can you take us to her?”

“I cannot,” Maya responded, with a shake of her head.  “I am not really here.  To do that, I would leave the City of Jade unprotected, even if only for a few brief moments.  But I have made a way.  There is a wide path, a protected road, between here and La Venta Island, where Ozma and her people remain trapped, but safe.  Stay on the path.  Beware those you meet along the way.  They are infected, or they are dead, and doubly wrong.  Beware the necromancer who carries the elixir of life.  Stay on the path.  It runs between the fields of maize.  Do not put one foot to the left or right, lest the monkey god find a way to infect you.”  The image of Maya began to fade.

“Wait.”  Boston reached out.

“I will see you in the city,” Maya said, and disappeared altogether.

Avalon 6.0 Monkey Brain Fever, part 1 of 6

After 939 BC, La Venta Island. Kairos lifetime 72: Ozmatlan (Ozma)

Boston and Sukki appeared in the village, having gone first through the time gate.  The little people that lived in the village called for their friends and neighbors. Some applauded for the visitors. Some cheered.

Lincoln and Alexis followed, and little children ran up with flowers for Alexis.

Katie and Lockhart came next through the time gate, and the little people began to dance in their joy.

By the time Major Decker and Elder Stow came through, the others were getting down to follow Boston and Sukki.  Boston and Sukki walked across what appeared to be a village square.  They went surrounded by cheering, happy little people, who led them to a platform where the village elders looked ready to welcome them all.

Decker cradled his rifle for the moment and Elder Stow put his things away before they followed.  Lockhart whispered a comment to Katie.

“If they start singing about lollypop kids, I’m leaving as fast as I can.”

Katie grinned.  It did sort of look that way.

Boston recognized most of the dwarfs, gnomes, and elves among the little people, though they dressed strangely and looked more tanned than she was accustomed to seeing.  She also felt unaccustomed to seeing them living together, side by side.  “This is the new world,” she mumbled, and looked at Sukki.  Poor Sukki looked distressed, not the least from having so much attention focused on her. Boston took the girl’s hand both to offer comfort and keep Sukki quiet.

“Welcome travelers from Avalon.”  One exceptionally small little person on the platform stepped in front of the others.  “Welcome friends of the Kairos.  We have waited for you through these long five years.  Welcome.”

“Five years?” Sukki softly wondered.

“How do you know we are the ones you are waiting for?” Boston asked, nice and loud.

The small one spoke.  “Well, you are the elf with the flaming red hair.  A very unusual color, you know.”

A tall man stepped up.  “And Quetzalcoatl the giant stands with his wife, the blonde elect, the one-in-a-million warrior woman.”  Katie touched Lockhart’s arm and they shared a smile.

One that looked to be all beard spoke next, sounding surprisingly like a woman.  “And the man who carries the future in a box stands with his dark haired former elf wife.” Alexis took Lincoln’s arm, but Lincoln looked surprised.  He carried the database that held all of the vital historical information they depended on, but he wondered how these people knew that.

Then the bearded one beside the bearded woman, who might have been her twin, except he sounded male, spoke.  “And you travel with two elders of the earth, one female and one male.” Sukki smiled, and Elder Stow raised his hand to identify himself, though he wore a glamour intended to make him appear human.

Finally, a brown-haired woman who might have passed for human, but for the bulbous nose, pointed at Major Decker.  “And the great warrior with skin as dark as a Shemsu watches over you all, and never lets go of his weapon.”

“Not to mention the horses were a bit of a giveaway,” the tall one added.

“Besides,” Lockhart smiled as he spoke to Katie and to all.  “How many people have come through the time gate to appear in the middle of this village, like out of nowhere.”

“Um…” the small man hedged.

“What?” Lincoln caught it, and he looked like he did not want to hear the answer.

“The witch came through…” the small man admitted, and thought.

“A real wicked witch.”

“Bad news all around.”

“And the Necromancer…” the small man continued.  He appeared to be counting on his fingers.

“He says there are plenty of dead people around, what with the fever and all.”

“But they rise-up still infected, so that is no good.”

“Then we had three men, outlaws, I believe,” the small man rubbed his chin, though he had no beard.  “They rode horses like yours and had six-shooters, but claimed to be saving their bullets, whatever bullets might be…”

“They came through about a month ago and said they are looking for a place where they can make gunpowder and take over.”

“Some place worth taking over, they said.”

The bearded lady spoke up.  “Don’t forget the wraith.”

“They said people,” the small man insisted.

“The wraith counts,” one of the elders said.

“But they didn’t ask about the creatures,” the tall man said.

“Can we eat now?” the bearded man asked, totally changing the subject.

“Yeah,” the woman with the big nose interjected.  “We are supposed to feast the travelers.”

“Yeah,” the little people liked the idea of eating, and they all cheered.

Someone started the bonfire which had already been set up in the middle of the town square.  It waited there for five years, as far as the travelers could tell.  In mere moments, corn and deer began to roast, while several little people started frying cornmeal bread.  Alexis, Sukki, and Boston got out some elf bread crackers.  They heated some water, and the crackers became hot, steaming loaves of the best fresh baked bread, which they promptly shared.

Lockhart, Decker, Katie and Elder Stow set up the tents where they were shown.  They took some time with the horses, but found some of the little people knew horses well and volunteered to watch them and care for them.

Lincoln went to ask about the creatures that came through the time gate, if he could get a straight answer.  He reminded Lockhart that the Kairos said if they could follow the travelers through the time gates, they had to treat them as a potential threat. Lockhart did not argue with that idea.

Alexis turned to acknowledge two dwarf wives as Sukki finally spoke her thoughts.  “These people all belong to the Kairos,” Sukki decided, but it came out like a question.

“Ozmatlan,” Boston nodded.  “She is their goddess as she is mine.  I can’t wait to meet her.”

“I think it is just Ozma,” Alexis said, over her shoulder.  To answer Boston’s curious look, she added, “Think Wizard of Oz.”

“But that makes us…” Boston thought for a minute.  “Hey!  We’re not munchkins.”

“What are munchkins?” Sukki asked.

Alexis shrugged, but smiled, as Elder Stow interrupted them.  He came over with his glamour removed, so he looked like the Neanderthal he was, or as they call themselves in their own language, Gott-Druk.

“You might as well remove your glamour,” he said to Sukki.  “No point in going disguised when they see right through you.”

Sukki looked at him and said, “Yes, father.  I forget that I have it on.”

Elder Stow came into the past from a distant future where the Gott-Druk had long since mastered space flight and all sorts of technological wonders. Elder Stow and the travelers were all making their way slowly back toward the future.  Sukki came from the deep past, and her thoughts and knowledge remained primitive.  She slept in suspension for more than eight-thousand-years on an Agdaline slower-than-light ship before she made it back to earth.  Elder Stow kindly adopted her as a daughter, and he started teaching her about modern Gott-Druk things.  They were all teaching her things about life in the twenty-first century.  She came across as a sweet but shy girl, especially in front of the humans, who she still thought of as stealing the Earth from her people.  But she seemed to be slowly adjusting.

Sukki removed her glamour, and Boston raised her eyebrows before she smiled.  With the glamour on, Sukki looked like a big girl.  Without it, the squat, muscular shape, brow ridges and sloped forehead of the Gott-Druk gave her quite a different appearance.

“Why do you always raise your brows?” Sukki asked Boston.  She sounded a little put off.

“It is always a surprise.  You look so different,” Boston admitted.  “Besides, you do the same thing.”

“I do not,” Sukki insisted, and Boston removed her own glamour to show her skinny elf figure, pointed ears and all.  Sukki’s eyebrows went up.  Sukki paused to touch her own forehead.  “Yes, I do,” she confessed, and they both laughed.

About Avalon

Avalon, Moving into the Future

Avalon is a television series in written story form.
I only have one general rule: that anyone who reads a story/episode, for example, from the middle of season three, they should be able to pick up on what is going on and basically how it all works.  If you want to start with the episodes that appear on my website, mgkizzia.com, and then want to go back and read the earlier adventures, that should be fine.  Of course, reading them in order will enhance the experience, but I hate accidentally picking up book two of some trilogy and being totally lost.  Especially for a TV show, a person ought to be able to come in the middle and still get a good story.

 

as1azv2as2azv2

Look for Avalon, Season One, Avalon, Season Two, and Avalon, Season Three at your favorite e-book retailers.  Thirteen Episodes from the beginning of history in each book detail the adventures of the travelers from Avalon.  Thrown back to the beginning of history, the travelers struggle to work their way through the days of myth and legend.  They face gods and demons, gothic horrors, fantastic creatures and ancient aliens in this romp through time.  They also quickly realize that they are not the only ones who have fallen through the cracks in time, and some of the others are now hunting them.

as3azv2a

Seasons 4, 5 and 6 are blogged in bite-sized pieces on my website: mgkizzia.com as of this writing.  These stories bring the travelers face to face with the worst monsters of all: the human monsters.  As they move through the days before the dissolution of the gods, they get caught up in the rise of empires, and the birth of the great civilizations.  It isn’t what they think—a grand adventure of discovery.  It is never what they think.  It is dangerous around every corner, and troubles rise directly in their path.
Seasons7, 8 and 9 will bring the travelers into the common era where the human capacity for violence and destruction increases exponentially.  The spiritual terrors and aliens fade into the background, without ever going away, as the world turns to the history of humanity, and eventually world war threatens the travelers with every step of their journey back to the twenty-first century.

imazv2

Look also for Avalon, the Prequel: Invasion of Memories, where the Kairos comes out of a time of deep memory loss and realizes he is the only one who has any hope of stopping an alien invasion.  To keep from being overwhelmed with the sudden influx of so many memories from so many lifetimes stretching from the deep past to the distant future, the Kairos tells stories from various times in his own life when he remembered who he was; the Traveler in time, the Watcher over history.
Invasion of Memories is both a collection of short stories and a novel of the men in black who struggle to prevent an invasion by the alien Vordan, a species given to shoot first, and that is pretty much it, just shoot first.
All of these books are reasonably priced at your favorite e-retailer.  You can find them under the author name, M. G. Kizzia.  And here, I am supposed to say, Pick up your copy today! or some such promotional doo-dah…
I hope you enjoy reading the Avalon stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
Happy Reading.
— MGKizzia

************************

MONDAY

The series begins at the end of the Olmec civilization with episode 6.0: Monkey Brain Fever.  Until then: Happy Reading.

*

Avalon: Season 6 Preface

The travelers came instantly to the beginning of history on a rescue mission.  Things did not go as planned.  Now, to get home, the travelers must return the slow way, following the Amulet of Avalon that points the way from one time gate to the next.  They must cross dangerous time zones that center around the many lives of the Kairos, the traveler in time, the watcher over history, a person who never lives a quiet life.
They have unlimited vitamins, elf crackers, for their health; and unlimited bullets, which are needed far too often.  They ride mustangs brought back from the old west, and wear fairy weave clothing that they can shape and change with a word in order to blend into the local culture.   By a special gift of the Kairos, they can understand and be understood no matter the local language.  It helps, because inevitably they deal with thieves, brigands, armies and empires, gods and monsters, spirits and creatures, space aliens and the great unknown.  They try hard not to disturb history along the way.
To be sure, all they want is to get home in one piece, but they are not the only ones lost in time.  Some people lost in time might want to follow them, or even go with them.  But some people are not so friendly, and not everything lost in time is a person. Some want to fight the travelers. Some want to hunt them.

apeazv2

From the Pilot Episode

It was Doctor Procter who explained.
“I spent the last three hundred years studying the lives of the Kairos.  Now that we have the opportunity to walk through those lifetimes, one by one, and in order I might add, I am not going to miss that opportunity.  Isn’t that right, Mingus?”
Mingus shook his head and sighed, and in that moment everyone got a good look at the difference between Mingus, a full blood elf and the Doctor who was half-human.  The contrast was not startling but obvious.  No plain human could have eyes as big, features as sharp or fingers as thin and long.  “If you say,” Mingus muttered as he took the amulet and shook it once himself.
“What says the Navy?”  Lockhart turned to look at the two who were armed and bringing up the rear.
“I’m to follow orders,” Captain Decker frowned.
Lieutenant Harper smiled.  “I would not mind exploring a little while we have the chance.”
“Besides,” Roland spoke up while Lockhart faced front again and encouraged everyone to resume walking.  “I have a feeling the Kairos would not mind if we rooted out some of the unsavory characters that wandered into the time zones without permission.”
“Oh, that would be very dangerous.”  Alexis said it before Lincoln could, and she grinned for her husband.
“All the same…”  Roland did not finish his sentence.  He fell back to walk beside Lockhart to underline his sentiments to the man.
“Hey.”  Boston came up.  She had been straggling near the back.
“Boston, dear.”  Lockhart backed away from the elf and slipped his arm around the young woman.  “So, what do you think?  Do we run as fast as we can or explore a bit and maybe confront some unsavories along the way?”
“Explore and help the Kairos clean out the time zones.  I thought that was obvious.”
“Well for the record,” Mingus said as he turned and walked backwards.  “Though it may kill me to say it, I agree with that Lincoln fellow.”
“I haven’t offered an opinion,” Lincoln said.
“No, but I can read the mind of a frightened rabbit well enough.”
“Father!”  Alexis jumped and there was some scolding in her voice.  “I vote we explore and help.”  She looked at Lockhart, and so did everyone else except Doctor Procter who still played with his amulet.
Lockhart nodded.  “Okay,” he said.  “But the number one priority is to get everyone home alive and in one piece, so when it is time to move on, we all move, no arguments.”
“You got that right,” Captain Decker mumbled.
Everyone seemed fine with that except Mingus who screwed up his face and asked, “And who decides when it is time to move on?”
“I do.”  Lockhart spoke without flinching.  The two stared at each other until Doctor Procter interrupted.
“Anyway,” he spoke as if in the middle of a sentence.  “I would not worry about hunting unsavories.  I don’t imagine it will take long before they start hunting us.”

 

Avalon travelers in the night

Avalon, Season Six

Avalon

Season Six

M G Kizzia

Copyright 2019

MGK Books

************************

Table of Contents

6.0:  Monkey Brain Fever

After 939 BC, La Venta Island. Kairos lifetime 72: Ozmatlan (Ozma)

6.1:  Little Things,

After 882 BC Dandaka Forest.  Kairos lifetime 73: Lakshme, not Sita.

6.2:  Sudden Encounter

After 821 BC Phoenicia. Kairos lifetime 74: Ibelam, the Sailor

6.3:  Stubborn

After 761 BC Before Rome. Kairos lifetime 75: Valencia, Mother Wolf

6.4:  Stories

After 702 BC The Levant. Kairos lifetime 76: Tobaka, Nubian Prince of Egypt

6.5:  Zombies, Murder, and Mayhem

After 643 BC Babylon. Kairos lifetime 77: Labash, the Gardener

6.6:  The Count

After 588 BC Babylon. Kairos lifetime 78: Xanthia, Sister of Cyrus the Great

6.7:  Yeti

After 529 BC, The Himalayas. Kairos lifetime 79: Rajish the Defender

6.8:  Archidamian War’s End

After 467 BC, Attica. Kairos lifetime 80: Ophelia, Spartan Princess

6.9:  Rome

After 404 BC, Latium. Kairos lifetime 81: Diana: Marcia Furi Camilla Diana

6.10:  Alexander’s Eyes

After 357 BC, Pella. Kairos lifetime 82: Diogenes: Alexander’s chief of spies.

6.11:  Shipwreck

After 323 BC, Sicily. Kairos lifetime 83: Umma of Carthage.

6.12:  The Road Ahead

After 267 BC, Qin. Kairos lifetime 84: Meng Shi and the First Emperor.

avalon travelers horse 1

CAST

Robert Lockhart, a former police officer, now assistant director of the Men in Black.  He was in charge of the rescue mission that left from 2010 in the common era and went to the beginning of history.  He is now charged with leading this expedition through time though he has no idea how he is going to get everyone home alive.
Captain Katherine Harper-Lockhart (Katie), a marine and an elect—a one-in-a-million warrior woman, whose doctorate is in ancient and medieval cultures and technologies.  She is torn between her duty to the marines and her desire to be part of this larger universe she is discovering.  She now carries the prototype amulet once used to kidnap Alexis.
Boston (Mary Riley), a Massachusetts redneck hunter, rodeo rider, and technological genius who finished her PhD in electrical engineering at age 23.  She carries the Amulet of Avalon, a sophisticated combination electronic GPS and magical device that shows the way from one time gate to the next.  She became an elf to marry Roland; but now Roland has disappeared, and may be dead, though she insists the Kairos managed to grab him at the last minute and brought him back into the future.
Benjamin Lincoln, a former C. I. A. office geek who keeps the database and a record of their journey.  He tends to worry and is not the bravest soul, but sometimes that is an asset.  His wife, Alexis, was kidnapped by her own father Mingus and dragged back to the beginning of history.  This prompted the rescue mission which got everyone stuck in the past with the time gates in the time zones as the only option to get home—the long way around, as they say.
Alexis Lincoln, an elf, Roland’s sister, who became human to marry Benjamin.  She retained her healing magic when she became human, but magic has its limits. For example, it couldn’t make her father happy with her choices.  She was the one who got kidnapped and dragged into the deep past where she needed to be rescued.
Elder Stow, a space traveling, technologically advanced Gott-Druk (Neanderthal) from the future who got thrown back into the past. He is forced, at first, to make a truce with these ‘humans’ to join them in their journey.  He has since adjusted to the idea, and believes it is his only chance to get back to the future.
Sukki, a Gott-Druk from the before time, taken off planet to a new world at the time of the flood.  She joined a small group determined to return to Earth.  She is the sole survivor after thousands of years in cryogenic sleep.  The travelers take her with them, knowing she cannot survive in the past, and she is learning that these travelers are now her new family.
Major Decker, a former navy seal, now a marine special operations officer who will do all he can to keep everyone alive, even if it means shooting his way back to the twenty-first century.  He is a skeptic who does not believe half of what they experience—even if he does not know what else to believe.
That makes 8: Two married couples, two Gott-Druk, one Marine Major, and one Elf.  And introducing:
Evan Cecil Emerson, Assistant Professor of Antiquities in Latin and Greek.  He got pulled into the past from 1905 and lived most of seven years with others in the days of Julius Caesar. He and his wife traveled back to the beginning of the Roman Republic, but he became trapped for six months as a slave to the Roman monarch.  The travelers set him free.
Millie Emerson, also from 1905.  She became separated from her husband in a time zone at war.  She got forced back to the future zone, but found friends there.  She opted not to return to the Rome of Caesar, but stayed instead in Babylon holding on to the thin hope that her husband might find her.
Plus, as always,
The Kairos.  But that is a different person in each time zone.

Holiday Journey 21

Chris had to sit down.  He sat on the front pew, then moved over to give Santa room to sit.  He looked at his hands and sat in silence for what felt like a long time, though it was actually not long at all.

“You are asking me if I want to take over being Santa?” Chris asked.  “For the next two hundred years?”

“Eleven o’clock,” Santa said, and nodded, and pointed at the stained-glass window at the front of the church.  He sat beside Chris and continued.  “I apologize. Given the modern mass media, the image and traditions of Santa have been pretty well set in stone.  You probably won’t have much ability to shift things, at least at first.  But Santa needs some new blood.  Traditions can grow stale.  The first shepherd, Joel, said he soon realized different people would develop different traditions and celebrations, but he said that was a good thing.  When the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches split, Sinterklaas made it work—even when the Romans tried to drag the celebration back to December sixth, he made it work.  As long as the Christ child remained the reason for the season, as they say.”

“That idea has struggled of late,” Chris said.

“You can read about it in the Christmas book,” Santa said, and pointed to a big, open book on a stand, up front, opposite the podium.  “My predecessors have long speculated whether at twelve o’clock there will be a twelfth Santa, or if that may be when the Christ returns.” Santa shrugged.  “I’m sorry I won’t be here to see it, but you can tell me how it turns out when you get there… So?”

“Well… I lost my job.  I lost my apartment.  I would have lost Lilly if she hadn’t been kidnapped… Times being what they are… Yes,” Chris said.  “But I hope I don’t screw it up.”

Santa patted Chris on the shoulder.  “Just do your best.  In the end, that is all that any of us can do.”  He paused, and they both looked up.

A light appeared around the altar, and grew until Chris and Santa could not keep their eyes open.  Both men trembled in the presence of what was holy.  The light soon settled into the image of a person, but that felt worse in a way.  That person was not only holy, that person was also pure and good in a way no human could be.

“It is settled.” the Christmas Angel said, but kindly made it sound like a question.

“Yes,” Santa stood.

“Good,” the Christmas Angel said, and appeared to smile.  A woman called.

“Santa. Victor.”

“Coming, dear,” Santa responded, as a ghostly image of an old woman appeared to come to the edge of the light.  Santa did not hesitate to step into the light, and as he did, both his and her images faded until they disappeared altogether.

Chris lowered his head, and the angel spoke again.  “Tell me.”

“Lord,” Chris began, and found some tears in his eyes.  They were tears for his hard life, his family that went before him, for all of the people around the world that still lived without hope.  He thought one good day per year was not too much to ask.  One day where people remembered the Lord and did good for one another would be the least the fallen human race could do.  “I don’t think I can do this alone,” Chris said.  “I need Merry, and Lilly, and all the others.”

Chris did not see the angel smile ever so slightly as the angel vanished once again in the light.  Chris just sat on the pew, and felt all the love, joy, and peace rush into his heart. Then he did cry.

 

Cue: White Christmas

A Holiday Journey, The London Symphony Orchestra

conducted by Don Jackson.  Ó℗CD Guy Music Inc., 2001

 

The front door flew open when the angel fully vanished.  Chris wiped his eyes as he heard a voice shout, “Uncle Chris!” He turned and saw Merry, who ran, but stopped a few feet away.  Plum and Roy stayed in the door, but removed their hats.  He saw a fairy land beside Merry, and change from a little, fluttering person, to a fully adult woman, more beautiful than an ordinary human woman ought to be.  And he felt something like a little bug, hugging his cheek and nose.

“Woah,” Chris said.  He had to be careful, but he grabbed the fairy around her legs and gently pulled her off his face.

“Lilly,” the fairy woman spoke.  “You need to come here and get big so your Uncle Chris can see you.”

“Yes mother,” Lilly said, and she did that very thing, and smiled briefly at Merry, who smiled right back at her.

Chris looked at Lilly, furrowed his brow and frowned a bit, but everyone could see the love in that frown.  “You ran away without telling me,” he said, gruffly.

“Uncle Chris…” Lilly did not know what to say, but Merry stepped forward and cut off her childish excuses.

“My fault,” Merry confessed.  “She is a half-fairy, a half Christmas fairy.”  Merry looked at Chris with big, sad eyes.  “Lilly was suffocating in the entirely human world, cut off from the magic that flows in her blood.  That was why she got sick, and especially bad in the Christmas season.  She is very young, and ageing more like a fairy, too. She is nearly seven, but measures small; more like a four-year-old…”  Merry let her voice trail off as she realized she was making excuses, herself.

Chris dropped to one knee and held open his arms to his little girl.  “Merry Christmas,” he said, and Lilly rushed into his hug. She returned his Merry Christmas.

Chris stood, took Lilly’s hand, and stepped up to Serissa, who did not know what to expect, but finally lowered her eyes.  Chris just smiled all the more.  He caught Serissa in a hug and repeated, “Merry Christmas,” and added, “Sister.”

Serissa found some happy tears and returned, “Merry Christmas.”

As Chris stepped back, he said, “Saying the words is right and good, but I think people should give Christmas hugs, too.”  He looked at Roy and Plum.

Roy leaned over and hugged Plum, and said, “Merry Christmas.”

“Same,” Plum said, and returned the hug, briefly, before he pulled back, brushed off his coat like restoring his dignity, and said, “We have some special deliveries tonight, it being actual Christmas Eve.  There are not many, but they are the hard and dangerous ones Santa always insisted on handling.  I don’t know what you want to do.” Plum struggled hard to hold his tongue after that.

Chris nodded, but said, “First things first.”  He turned to Merry.

“I have been made human,” Merry said, and added, “It is different.”

“You don’t mind not being an elf anymore?” Chris asked.

Merry shook her head and lowered her eyes like Serissa.  “It is what I prayed for.”

“Good,” Chris said in a voice straight and clear, without the least hint of what he might be thinking.  He came out with it.  “Will you marry me, Merry?”

“Yes,” she said, dropped one tear, and looked up at him in time to be wrapped up in his arms.  Chris kissed her, and she returned everything in her heart.  They would say Merry Christmas in a minute, or perhaps a few minutes.

 

Cue: closing credits …

Cue: Here We Come a Wassailing

A Holiday Journey, The London Symphony Orchestra

conducted by Don Jackson.  Ó℗CD Guy Music Inc., 2001

 

END

************************

MONDAY

Avalon, Season Six will post, 13 episodes over 24 weeks, or roughly a new episode every 2 weeks.

The travelers came to the beginning of history on a rescue mission.  Now, to get home, the travelers must follow the Amulet of Avalon that points the way to the next time gate.  They move through time zones that center around the many lives of the Kairos, the traveler in time, the watcher over history, a person who never lives a quiet life.

They have unlimited vitamins, elf crackers, for their health; and unlimited bullets, which are needed far too often.  They ride mustangs brought back from the old west, and wear fairy weave clothing they can shape and change with a word in order to blend into the local culture.   By a special gift of the Kairos, they can understand and be understood no matter the local language.  It helps, because inevitably they deal with thieves, brigands, armies and empires, gods and monsters, spirits and creatures, space aliens and the great unknown. They try hard not to disturb history. To be sure, all they want is to get home in one piece, but they are not the only ones lost in time.  Some of the others lost in time want to follow them or even go with them.  Some want to fight them, or hunt them, and not everything lost in time is human.

The Avalon Series is written in short story (episodic) form, but designed to be converted to visual form, either a television show, anime, or graphic novel.  As such, like any television show, it is not difficult to pick up in the middle and follow along.  One (or two) episodes is enough to grasp the concept and begin to get to know the characters.  If you are seriously worried about starting in season 6, you can find the prequel, the Free pilot episode, and the early seasons as E-books at the major retailers.  Thank you for your support.

So, as always, until Monday…

*