Avalon 9.0 Pestilence, part 4 of 6

The travelers bought the young nobleman wine, explained about being pilgrims headed toward Rome, and said they would be leaving in the morning.  They basically lied their way out of being arrested.  They said the man must have mistaken them for someone else.

“Are you English?” the young man asked.  “Are you Celtic, from Bretagne? Your French is very good.”

“German,” Lockhart said quickly.  “From around Basel.”  It was the only thing he could think to say.

“And Scandinavian,” Katie said, and clarified.  “Mostly Swedish.”

“I have some French in me,” Lincoln said.  “On my mother’s side.”

“Italian,” Tony raised his hand.  “From south of Rome.”

“Africa,” Decker said.  “Not Muslim.”  He gave Nanette a small kiss.  “We find Europe fascinating and different than expected.”

Everyone looked at Elder Stow, but he was prepared.  “My daughter and I are from far in the east.  It is a good land with plenty of snow.”

“Slavic?” the man asked, and Elder Stow nodded.  Slavic was close enough, though he really wanted to say he lived thousands of light years not miles away.

“We found Elder Stow in Jericho,” Lincoln remembered.  “He and his daughter were separated, but we found her all the way over on the coast, in Gaza.  We rescued her.  She might have been killed.”

“So, you have been to the holy land.”  The young man nodded and spoke in English.  “The man said you were English.”

Elder Stow, Sukki, Nanette, and Tony all recognized the change in the language, but Nanette and Tony in particular, were not as practiced in switching their tongues when confronted with two languages, so they kept silent.  Lincoln looked at Lockhart and said nothing for a change.  Decker kept silent and nibbled on the remains of his supper.  Lockhart looked at Katie and dredged up a few words in German from all the way back in Genevive’s day.  “What words are these?”  He did not do the best acting job.

“English,” Katie told Lockhart in English like she was explaining.  She turned back to the man and answered him in French, the local tongue, which in that time zone came most naturally to the travelers.  “Our understanding of English is limited since we have had no reason to learn it.”

“I see,” the young noble said and finally sipped his wine.  He made a face, like it was not the best wine he tasted.  “The man must have been mistaken.”  He stood.  “All the same, if you are leaving first thing in the morning, that would be best.”  He gave a slight bow, turned, and marched out, his soldiers following.  The travelers all breathed and sat quietly for a time.

Four days later, having made good progress in the French countryside, the travelers began to climb into the foothills of the alps.  The road stayed good, and they found villages all along the way where they could stop for the night.  No one bothered them, though Katie swore they were being followed.  Nanette closed her eyes, held out her hand, and tried to focus back on the trail.  She did that several times over those days but could not bring anything into her mind for sure.  She could only confirm Katie’s feeling that they were being followed, and shrug.

When they moved up into the foothills, they came across their first way station.  All along the main ways through the alps there were stations roughly every fifteen to twenty miles.  Many were built by the Romans as places where travelers could stop and get a meal and a bed for the night.  They were Hauses, Hostels, or Hospitals, as in hospitality places.  Some were Toll Hauses, though the taking of tolls from the merchants who mostly traveled the roads was frowned upon.  At the first one the travelers came to they found an old man looking for help over the mountains.

“There are thieves in the mountains, and in a month the snows will come and make the passes impossible for travelers.  Please.  I heard there is a great sickness in Genoa, and it has spread to Pisa.  I am worried about my family.  Please.  I left my train some days ago.  They will make the trip to the low countries and return in the spring, hopefully with a profit, but I must see to the safety of my family.”

“We are not inclined to travel with strangers,” Katie said.  She looked at Nanette and Lincoln, both of whom thought the man looked like the old man who sat alone by the fireplace in Lyon, but the others did not see it.

“Do you have a name?” Lockhart asked.

“Dagnanus,” the man said.  “I am a simple merchant from Pisa where the grapes grow thick.  I bring Tuscan wine to the world, and even to the French who only think they know how to make wine.  Ha…”  He scoffed.  “But please.  I have been over the mountains many times.  I know the way, and the ways to avoid, but I will not make it alone, and the weather is turning.  I must go to save my family, but I need help.”

Lockhart stared at Lincoln and Nanette who he later told they had to keep one eye on the man, but he spoke.  “Dagnanus.  We leave in the morning right after breakfast. Be up and ready if you want to go with us.”

“I will.  I will go and pack my few things right now.  Thank you.  Thank you.” The man hurried up the stairs.

“He is spritely for an old man,” Katie remarked.

“Dagnabit,” Decker said through whatever he was chewing on.  He looked like he wanted to spit, but he held it back while Nanette smiled.

Two days later, well up into the mountains, some friends of Dagnanus blocked the road and surrounded the travelers.  Everyone stopped moving, but only Lincoln said anything.

“I knew it.”

Dagnanus moved ahead and got down from his horse next to the leader of the group.  His appearance changed as he moved, like the man wore a glamour that whole time, which told the others he had magic of some sort at his fingertips.  He proved to be the man Nanette saw in the street, and she almost echoed Lincoln’s I knew it comment.  Then Dagnanus said something that surprised everyone, and at the same time, did not surprise anyone.

“The Travelers from Avalon, as promised.”

“Good,” the brigand leader grunted.  “Malore and her old lady Babara have the Kairos in sight.  If we can kill her at an inopportune time and stop her rebirths, then all we need to do is remove these annoyances traveling through time and the future can be shaped the way the Masters want.”

“I am to serve,” Dagnanus said, but Elder Stow spoke at the same time.

“There.  I have put up Decker Screens all around us.  You may fire when ready.”

“Good,” Decker said.  He pulled his rifle and began to shoot the ones that might have ended up inside the screens.  The others reacted more slowly, except Nanette, who got mad.  She whipped out her wand and caught Dagnanus and the brigand leader in her own magic.  She lifted them two feet off the ground so they could not run away, and she growled at them.  She studied the face of the brigand leader even as Lincoln shot the man.  When they turned to Dagnanus, however, they saw that he escaped somehow.

The confrontation did not take long.  The brigands quickly hurried away.  Several arrows came in their direction and bounced off Elder Stows screens, but then everything went quiet.

“We have to hurry,” Lockhart said.  “Ready?  Is Ghost ready?”

“Ready,” Tony said, and he pulled the mule in close.

“Okay, Elder Stow.  Cut the screens.  Everybody ride.”

They hurried as well as they could.  It was all uphill, so a strain for the horses, but no more arrows came in their direction, and they soon got out of range.  They left ten dead men behind them, including the brigand leader.  There were still ten or more out there in the woods, and Dagnanus.  Nanette refused to curse to think of it, so Lincoln cursed for her.

“He may have taken us off the main road without us realizing it,” Katie said, as soon as they got about a mile away and slowed to let the horses catch their breath in the cold.  They saw some early snow in the area.

“My mother,” Elder Stow responded to Katie’s concern as he pushed forward.  “I was thinking the same thing, but I see in my scanner that this path soon returns to the main path.  I can hardly call it a road.”

“Good thing we ditched the wagon,” Lincoln said.

Lockhart nodded.  “Decker and Elder Stow, stay in close.  Sukki, you have the point.”

“Yes boss,” Sukki said, echoing the response Boston would have given, and she pushed her horse, Cocoa, out ahead of the others to scout the area.

That evening, the travelers might have frozen if not for their fairy weave clothes, which they made as thick as possible, and their fairy weave tents, which they also thickened and made waterproof.  It began to snow.  Fortunately, they had plenty of fairy weave blankets which they draped over Ghost and the horses and shaped to imitate real medieval blankets that fell to the ground.

“At least the horses won’t freeze,” Sukki said.

That night, Elder Stow surrounded the camp with a screen no normal thing could break through, though they understood Dagnanus might contrive some magical way to get inside the screens.  With that in mind, Nanette and Katie kept their senses on high alert and worried in the night.  Elder Stow set the alarm on his scanner so if anything bigger than a marmot or an owl came into the area and got through the screens, they would be alerted.  The big predators, like lynx and wolves could be kept out by the screens, along with people.  The return of the brigands would be bad, but they also did not need a bear stumbling into the camp.

Avalon 9.0 Pestilence, part 3 of 6

Lincoln relayed information from the database while the others ate their supper.  The inn stayed quiet and empty.  The one older man by the fireplace sat alone and seemed to want to ignore everyone.  He might have listened.  If the staff did not have other things to do, they might have eavesdropped to relieve their boredom.  But no one else was around to overhear, and Lincoln figured he would not be talking about anything that would alter the course of history.

“Prudenza was born in 1312, in Genoa.  She was a Doria, a prominent Genoese family, though her branch of the family was not so prominent.  Her father and uncle had a couple of ships and traded between Genoa, Sicily, Constantinople, and Caffa in the Crimea on the Black Sea.  Prudenza was the eldest of four siblings.  Prudenza, Bartolino the only boy, Nina, and Tedesca.

Prudenza was forced to marry at age seventeen, in about 1330, and the database says she was happy for about a year and had a son, Iacobo.  Her husband was Anthonio D’Amalfi from another not so prominent-prominent Genoese family.  Anthonio was a mercenary captain of a company of crossbow men.  When Iacobo turned three months old, Anthonio raised a hand to Prudenza, and she walked out on him and moved home.  It doesn’t explain…

In 1331, Anthonio took his company and sailed off to fight for the Byzantines.  He came home again in 1335 and it says he raped his wife.  He promptly left town and headed north to fight for the French, who had some money at the time.  Pay from the Byzantines was an on again-off again thing.  Prudenza had a girl, Sancta, and always said it was not her daughter’s fault that the girl’s father was such a horrible man.

In 1339, her brother Bartolino succumbed to the temptation and ran off to fight with Anthonio.  They fought for the French who lost the battle of Sluys.  The company of crossbowmen survived, but they needed to recruit men to fill the decimated company.  Around that same time, Prudenza’s mother died, and her father lost his ship in a skirmish with the Venetians off the coast of Messina.  The man ended up crippled, but he had lived a high lifestyle, living and raising his children above his means, so he was in debt and saved no money to help in his infirmity, much less money for a new ship.  They had to sell the house and move to the slums.  Prudenza’s uncle helped where he could, but it was not much.

Finally, it broke Prudenza’s heart when her son, Iacobo, ran off to fight for his father.  He was just fifteen and no doubt imagined he was relieving some of the burden of staying home.  He had offers on several mercantile ships and a chance to learn the business, but he was not interested in that.  He thought war and adventure, but preferably on land.

1346, the battle of Crecy.  The French lost that one, too.  Bartolino and Iacobo survived, but Anthonio died.  It says Prudenza got the letter from her brother the same day her uncle’s ship arrived in port.  It says her uncle picked up the pestilence in Caffa, spread it to Constantinople and Sicily and brought it home.  He, and most of his crew, were deathly ill by the time they arrived.  Prudenza promptly lost her sister, Nina Bonoconte, Nina’s young son, and her father.”

“What do you mean pestilence?” Nanette asked.

“Plague—bubonic plague,” Tony, Katie, and Lincoln all answered together.

“But what happened to Prudenza?” Sukki asked, not fully understanding what the plague might be, though they had mention of it in previous time zones, so she had the general idea.

“Prudenza packed up her things, her daughter Sancta, her sister Tedesca and her brother-in-law Carlo Bonoconte and headed for Paris to escape the city—to get while the getting was good.  I checked around.  This is late October 1347.  Prudenza is thirty-five and traveling in this direction.  But she does not get over the alps before the weather.  She stops at a way station, and then moves to an out-of-the-way Alpine village where she has to wait until spring.”

“Good luck,” Lockhart said.

Katie looked at him.  “The plague will be dogging her heels, though it probably will not move fast until the warm spring weather.”

Tony nodded.  “It may get down into Italy, but it will probably move slowly over the alps.”

“Great,” Lincoln said, showing Tony the proper way to do sarcasm.  “And we are heading right into the middle of it.”

Everyone quieted.  a young nobleman came into the inn. Two soldiers placed themselves on either side of the door as the young man walked to the table.  He grabbed a chair and placed it at the end of the table, and said, “Mind if I join you?”


Prudenza sat on a rock and tried not to start crying again.  Her twelve-year-old daughter Sancta stayed with Tedesca and her Aunt Bellaflore.  The dogs started barking.  Sancta was wary of barking dogs, but Prudenza looked.  The dogs did not seem unfriendly to her.  This was a way station on the trade route over the alps that led into France.  Surely the dogs were used to strangers.

“Do you have names?” the woman asked, holding back what was likely her own young daughter.

“Prudenza D’Amalfi de Genoa.  My daughter Sancta.  My sister Tedesca and my Aunt Bellaflore.  The old man is Benedictus de Auria.  The middle-aged fellow is Luciano Calvo.  And the young man…”

The so-called young man, who was near thirty, stepped up and interrupted with a flourishing bow.  “Carlo Francischo de Bonoconte.  Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“We don’t have room for all of you,” the woman said, flatly.  She looked at the sky.  The sun would soon set.  “We have two others already, but the next village is a day away.  I suppose the men can stay in the barn, but they will still have to pay.”

A man came around the corner of the big house and stopped to eye the motley group.  “You are a strange collection,” he said.  “We don’t often get unescorted women here.  You have no soldiers, no hired men?”

Prudenza shook her head.  “My father died.  A terrible sickness has come upon the city, and we thought to escape the city while we are well and able.  My brother Bartolino and my eldest, my son Iacobo are among the soldiers fighting for the French.  I am going to fetch them and bring them home.  I am sure the sickness will be over by the time we return.”  She sighed and the woman paused in her rough attitude to show some sympathy.

“My father died last winter,” she said.  “I am Francesa.  My baby is Divitia.” she pointed to the girl beside her.  “My husband is Augustinus.”  She pointed at the man.  “No telling where my son is.”  Francesa smiled, though it did not look entirely like a natural occurrence.  “You might as well come inside.  There may be a delay in fixing supper with so many more mouths to feed.”

“I am sure whatever you fix will be fine,” Prudenza said.  “Bellaflore and Tedesca can help.”

“Prudenza,” Tedesca complained about being volunteered.

“And yourself?” Francesa asked.

“No,” Tedesca responded.  “She is not the best cook.”

Francesa nodded and walked Tedesca through the house.  The kitchen fires were out back.  Bellaflore followed.  Prudenza paused to look at the men while Augustinus moved to intercept them and spoke.

“Let me take you to the barn.  It is where the men often stay, and where the soldiers and hired men always stay.  It is not as bad as you may be thinking.”

Old man Benedictus took the ox and wagon, and the men followed.

Prudenza stopped and turned in the doorway.  She watched the two girls.  Divitia went straight to Sancta, and the dogs followed, tails wagging and tongues lolling.  Sancta stood her ground but did not look entirely comfortable.

“Hi.  I’m Divitia.  I’m thirteen.”

“Sancta.”  Sancta gave her name but neglected to say she was only twelve.

“This is Filipo and Giletta.  They are very nice.  They won’t hurt you.  They like people.  They hate rats.  They are ratters. Father says they are pinschers, but Mama calls them ratters.  They keep the rats away from the house and Mama says that lets her clean the house for the travelers to stay.  Mama says it is a good thing they have short hair.  They don’t shed so much.  I like your hair.  You can show me how you put it up like that.  Your mother is very pretty.  I wish I was pretty.  Your mother has big breasts.  Giletta got breasts when she had her puppies.  We got three puppies.  Come and see them.”  She turned to lead the way.

Sancta said nothing that whole time.  She stiffened a little when the dogs sniffed her, but she followed Divitia on the chance that she might make a friend.

Prudenza turned her eyes inside the house.  She saw an old woman and a girl by the fireplace.  The old woman looked like a Gypsy crone.   She had a stick in her hand that she waved at the fire.  The young one, maybe fifteen, sat at the old woman’s feet like an apprentice of sorts.  She wore fancy rings and something like an amulet that hung from a gold chain around her neck.  Witches, Prudenza thought before she scolded herself.  She must not judge based on appearance.  They were probably a grandmother and her granddaughter trying to get warm in the October chill.

“Hello,” Prudenza said in her friendliest voice.  “I’m Prudenza.”

The two stared at Prudenza for a minute.  Prudenza waited and felt the need to scratch the back of her head.  The old woman frowned and spoke.  “Babara.  My young one is Malore.”  She had nothing more to say as she and Malore turned in unison to stare once again at the flames.



Everything seems calm and quiet, but strange things are swirling around the travelers and around Prudenza and her family. Until Monday, Happy Reading.


Avalon 9.0 Pestilence, part 2 of 6

Prudenza watched Tedesca and Bellaflore march into the village inn while Carlo and old man Benedictus led the ox drawn wagon to the barn out back.  Her daughter Sancta wanted to stay by her side, but Prudenza told her to go with her aunt Tedesca and great-aunt Bellaflore to see what might be available for supper.  Sancta huffed but nodded and hurried to catch up to the others.  Prudenza found a bench under an awning that jutted out from the roof of the inn.  She sat heavily and pulled out the letter.

My dearest sister, Prudenza,

I do not know how long it may take for this letter to reach you, but in August, anno domini 1346, the French faced invading English forces near the village of Crecy.  It was a disaster for the French.  The English dug into their well defended lines and the French wasted themselves in charge after charge with no success.

Being bowmen, we moved up first to soften the enemy and make little holes in their lines that the French cavalry could take advantage of, but being hurried, we had no shields.  They were still in the baggage train, so we had to use whatever natural cover we could find and hurry close enough to be affective.  The English archers remained strong.  They fired five or six powerful arrows in the time it took us to fire two.  The mud hampered our ability to reload, and I am not sure all of the company even got in a second shot.  We would have been hopelessly slaughtered to no help for the French, so the call went out to withdraw.

It was in the pulling back that the French began their first charge.  They were not happy with our failure and some of the knights made their displeasure known on our person.  It is now that I must give you the sad news.  Your husband, Anthonio, was struck with a blunt instrument, possibly a mace.  He died within an hour.  I do not know what kind of a husband he was.  You said he became like a sour lemon in your mouth, but he was a good captain to the men in his company, and his leadership will be missed.

In the meanwhile, let me assure you your son, Iacobo, my nephew is alive and well, while I have only a scrape from an English arrow which the doctor says will not even leave a scar.

It was a disaster for the French.  I don’t know what the king may do.  I don’t know if we will be paid.  I must confess.  The adventure of it all has left me and sometimes in the night I think I may give it all up.  I will grab your son, and we will come home to father and to you, and to my little sisters, Nina and Tedesca.  I pray all are well.  Since mother died and father became crippled, I fear there is no man to watch over you, to care for you and keep you all safe.  I know my namesake, Uncle Bertolo can only do so much, and he is away at sea so much of the time.  Now that Anthonio is gone, I do not know what will happen or what I may do.

Do not worry yourself.  Things will work out, and I will watch over your son and bring him home to see you one day soon.  Until then, God keep you and I pray all are well.

Your devoted best and only brother, Bartolino

Prudenza crumpled the letter.  Then she smoothed it out and carefully folded it to put it back in her pocket.  She cried.  No one in Genoa was well.  The pestilence came.  Uncle Bertolo brought it into the port and died from it.  Father died.  Nina and her young son both died.  Somehow, she knew the plague would reach Pisa and from there kill so many in Italy.  She knew it would reach Marseille and France would fall.  She cried like someone in prison with no way to escape.  But then, Sancta came back out looking for her.  Prudenza quickly wiped her eyes and put on a smile as Sancta spoke.

“When are we going home?”

Prudenza reached out and hugged her daughter.  “Come now.  Paris is a long way from here.  It has only been three days.  We have a long way to go to find your big brother and your uncle Bartolino.  Courage.  We will get there.”


While the travelers waited for supper to be served and all sat around the table together, being the only customers at that time in the downstairs room, Lockhart told everyone what Nanette sensed when they arrived.  Nanette confirmed everything and concluded with, “I don’t know what the man intends, but it won’t be good whatever it is.”

“I remember being arrested by soldiers in Jerusalem,” Tony said.  That was the first time zone he and Nanette went through after they joined the group.  The whole experience felt traumatic at the time.  He thought the others took the whole affair with a light heart, like it was no big deal.  It bothered him.  It felt serious, but he since learned that being arrested was mild compared to most of the troubles the travelers faced.

“That was about twenty time zones ago,” Lincoln pointed out. He had the database out but did not look at it.

“Doesn’t mean it can’t happen again,” Decker insisted.

“But for what reason?” Elder Stow asked.  “We blew up a gun factory in Damascus back then if you recall.  But we have not done anything in this time zone to bring attention to ourselves and certainly nothing for which we should be arrested.”

“Why should people need a reason?” Sukki asked.

“We are well into the Middle Ages,” Katie said and nodded to Sukki.  “Just being strangers is enough reason for some people to be suspicious.  We are on a main trade route, so we should not stand out too badly, but you can be sure, any stranger in town will be watched.”

Lockhart interrupted.  “Katie and I discussed this.”  He glanced at Katie, and she nodded again.  “Now that we have lost the wagon, we cannot really pretend to be merchants.  For the duration, if anyone asks, we are pilgrims.”  Katie interrupted to explain.

“Being on a pilgrimage is something common people understand in the middle and late medieval period.  We have a long way to travel.  At least eleven more time zones, so it is not exactly a lie.”

“In this case, we are headed toward Rome,” Lockhart finished.

“Wait,” Lincoln said.  “We won’t get as far as Rome.  The time gate may be around Milan when we get there.”

People rolled their eyes.  “No one said we would arrive in Rome,” Katie explained. “But Rome is one of the main places pilgrims go.  In this case, that is the direction we are going.”

“We are headed toward Rome,” Lockhart said flatly.

“Oh,” Lincoln said softly.  He got it.

Tony had another thought and practiced his sarcasm.  “So, when the soldiers arrest us, we should just say we are pilgrims headed to Rome and they will let us go?”

“I doubt that.” Lincoln agreed with Tony.

“There,” Elder Stow spoke up.  “I have set my device and Sukki still has a disc so if the soldiers come, Sukki and I can go invisible like last time and break the rest of you out of whatever jail they throw you in.”

People frowned but did not get to say anything as Decker grabbed their attention.  “There is another possibility.”

He looked around the table and ended with a kind look at his wife, Nanette.  “We discussed it.”  He smiled for Nanette, and it was a nice smile.  “Without the wagon to hide our equipment under tarps, we agreed to keep our rifles and such in hand.  They stand out no matter how we dress to blend in with the locals.  I imagine since we have finally moved into the days where there are guns of a sort, they will be recognized as weapons and hopefully ignored.  But they do stand out, and any servant of the Masters will recognize them for what they are.  If that man was a servant of the Masters, he may have recognized us and set us up—accused us of some crime or something to get us out of the way.”

“And God knows for what reason,” Lockhart said.  “No doubt the man has something nefarious in mind.”

People understood.  They would have to look out for that going forward, but right then the food came, and an old man walked in to take a small table over by the fireplace.  The old man did not look familiar, though both Katie and Nanette took an extra look.  They saw the maid at the inn bring a mug of beer to the table without asking first, so they figured he had to be a regular.

Avalon 9.0 Pestilence, part 1 of 6

After 1312 A.D. The Alps

Kairos lifetime 111: Prudenza Doria D’Amalfi de Genoa

Recording …

Nanette stepped up to the porch out in front of the inn.  She paused to look on the streets of Lyon.  She came a long way from Rome—she and Tony.  He was Professor Fleming’s graduate student.  She was the Professor’s administrative assistant, but that was in 1905.  Decker insisted on the title of administrative assistant, though in truth, she was simply the professor’s darkie in 1905.  The professor taught antiquities and classics, but his special love was Rome.  He taught about the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.  In fact, he was speaking on that very subject when the whole house they were staying in got picked up from 1905 Rome and sent back to the days of Julius Caesar.  She lived in those days for seven years—she and Tony.  They would still be living there if the travelers had not come along.

Nanette sat down on a chair to watch the soldiers and the strange looking man that the soldiers talked to.  She pulled her fairy weave shawl tight around her shoulders against the chill.  She even told the shawl to thicken a little and marveled at the material.  She could change the size, shape, texture, color, and all with a word.   It was not any magic on her part.  The magic was in the material itself, and she understood in this way the travelers could dress like the locals no matter what time zone they entered.  Presently, they were somewhere in the fourteenth century.

Nanette paused in her thoughts.  She thought the man in the street looked familiar, but they had traveled a long way over the last year and a half, from 44 B. C., time zone by time zone, to the present.  Since this was now the fourteenth century A. D., of course the man could not be familiar.

Nanette shrugged it off and thought about Decker.  Lieutenant Colonel Milton Decker was now her husband.  Milton, with the other travelers, came from 2010, not 1905.  As a couple, they had things to work out, to say the least, but she had no complaints.  Of course, he dd not like the name Milton.  Everyone called him Decker, or Colonel.  She thought Milton was a fine name for 1905.  Nanette sighed.  They had things to work through, not to mention both being black Americans from what sometimes seemed like two different worlds.  Nanette’s grandmother was a plantation slave freed by the Republicans and that wonderful Mister Lincoln; God rest his soul.  Decker’s grandmother lived in the segregated south, and he grew up in the hood, whatever that was.  And he claimed to be a Democrat, the very ones who forced segregation, wore hoods, and lynched negroes at every opportunity.  A Democrat?  Nanette steamed before she changed it from “lynched negroes” to “lynched blacks”, and then “lynched African Americans”.  It was like learning a whole new language, but she was learning.

Wait…  She remembered Elder Stow and Sukki were not even human, originally.  Well, she was assured they were human, just not homo sapiens. They were Neanderthals who got taken off the Earth at the time of the flood.  She never heard of Neanderthals before.  Elder Stow was the result of thousands of years of learning, or evolution, as Decker said.  He had devices he carried around—Lockhart called them gadgets—which seemed miraculous.  He had a screen device which could make an invisible barrier that nothing could break through.  He had a scanner that could far-see and tell him what was over the horizon.  He had other things, including a sonic device, and a weapon—a powerful handgun that could melt metal or set whole buildings on fire.  And he could fly and go invisible.  She often forgot he was a Gott-Druk, as the Neanderthals called themselves.  He wore a glamour that made him look like an elderly human, well, a homo sapiens, and he seemed such a nice man.

Sukki was also a Gott-Druk, at first.  She actually got taken off the Earth at the time of the flood with Elder Stow’s ancestors and slept in a chamber of some sort where she did not age at all.  When she arrived on her new home world, she joined a small group of Gott-Druk determined to return to Earth and repopulate their ancient territory.  By the time they got back to Earth, it was thousands of years later, and she was the only survivor of that fateful trip.  The travelers took her with them knowing she would never survive in that day and age on her own.  Elder Stow adopted her as his daughter.  But then things changed.

Sukki said she never felt comfortable as a Gott-Druk traveling with humans through a human world.  When the travelers arrived in Rome and Nanette and Tony joined the group as the only relatively safe way to make it back to their own time, Suki begged to be changed, before the gods went away, she said.  Nanette saw the goddesses appear in her living room in that Roman house.  They transformed Sukki from Neanderthal to homo sapiens and gifted her with all sorts of special things.  She could fly, and produce her own heat ray, as Lockhart called it, and more.  Decker said the goddesses empowered the poor girl like a superhero.  Nanette was not sure what a superhero was, but she got the idea.  Sukki was sweet, shy, and a good girl, and Nanette imagined that was why the goddesses did not mind gifting her with so much power.

More curious from Nanette’s point of view, was the fact that she was not without some power of her own.  She reached in the side sack Alexis used to carry and touched her wand.  She understood her ability to do magic would come and go as they traveled though time, depending on the position of the Other Earth, whatever the Other Earth was.  But basically, she would be empowered for three hundred years, and then be without her magic for three hundred years.

Nanette’s hand touched something else.  It was Boston’s Beretta, gifted to her when Boston and Alexis made the jump through the Heart of Time back into the future.  They had to be elves to do that, but Alexis’ father, Boston’s father-in-law was dying.  They had to go.  The rest of them, the humans still had to get back to the future the slow way, time gate by time gate.

Nanette was not happy carrying around a handgun, but she understood that sadly it might come in handy during those years when she was without her magic.

Nanette paused when the man in the street pointed at her, or at the inn.  The soldiers all looked in her direction before one of them said something and they once again faced each other.  What was that about? Nanette wondered, before she thought again about Decker and her companions.

Come to think of it, of the eight people traveling through time, only four remained from the original group.  Colonel Decker was her husband.  Lockhart, the leader of this expedition through time, was the Assistant Director of something called the Men in Black.  He, and Major Katherine Lockhart, or Katie, an elect, which is a one-in-a-million warrior woman, were the other married couple in the group.  And then there was Lincoln, a former spy who carried the database.  The database had all the relevant historical information about the time zones they went though, including information about whatever life the Kairos was living where he or she stood at the center of the time zone, equidistant from both time gates.

Nanette considered the time jumps.  When they came through a time gate, they traveled usually between six and sixty years into the future in one step.  Then they crossed the time zone, about two to three hundred miles to the Kairos and another two to three hundred miles to the next time gate.  If only it was that simple, Nanette thought and rolled her eyes.  They inevitably ran into trouble in every time zone.

Lockhart came out to the porch.  “Are you coming in?” he asked.  “Katie and Sukki are comparing their amulets to figure out where we are going, and they are comparing it to the map in Lincoln’s database.”

Nanette glanced at the street.  The street conference broke up.  The soldiers marched away, and that strange man was not to be seen.  She glanced at the barn and stables just down from the inn.  Decker and Elder Stow had the horse duty for the day, and apparently, they were taking their time.

“Might as well,” she said.  “But I am more curious about who the Kairos is in this time zone.”

“Prudencia, no Prudenza,” Lockhart said.

“Prudence,” Nanette responded as she stood, and Lockhart held the door.  “Seven years of living in ancient Rome and speaking Latin every day has to be worth something.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Lockhart responded with a smile.  “One of the gifts of the Kairos when we started this journey was to be able to hear and respond in English to everything, and sound to the other person like we are speaking their native language.  Even the written word automatically translates to English in my head.”

Nanette frowned.  “I know.  I was kind of hoping we could get to a point where I could practice my French.  Now, that is not going to happen.”  Nanette stopped in the doorway and glanced once more at the street.

“What?” Lockhart asked.

Nanette shook her head as she spoke.  “I saw someone in the street talking to some soldiers and pointing at the inn.  I don’t know if it means anything, but I thought he looked familiar.”

“The Masters have repeat people,” Lockhart responded.  “It may have been one.  The Kairos told us if we see any repeat people and they are not one of the good guys, we need to consider them the enemy.”

Nanette nodded.  “But it might not have been someone I saw before.  Maybe I was just picking up a bad sense about him.”

“A bad vibe.”  Lockhart rubbed his chin.  “Alexis told me before she left us that apart from Katie and her elect senses, where she can detect danger and enemies in the distance, you know.  Apart from her, you are the only one we have to count on when you have your magic.  She said you have something near telepathy, not that you can read minds, exactly, but you can sense intentions, like what a person might be thinking about and how they feel about that.  I’m not sure what Alexis was saying, but do you understand?”

Nanette stared at the door before she nodded.  “That was it.  It was us, not the inn that he was pointing at.  I sensed he wants to hurt us in some way.  I wish I had thought of that.  Alexis taught me how to focus and concentrate.  I’m sorry I didn’t do that.  I just picked up the bad feelings—bad vibes with a casual glance.”

“It’s okay,” Lockhart said and smiled.  “Next time.”  Nanette agreed and went inside.  Lockhart followed.

Coming Attractions II

Coming Soon

The editing is done.  The formatting will happen soon.  The covers are ready.

If you have visited this website in the last few years, you have had a chance to read stories of the Kairos, the Traveler in time, the Watcher over history including Greta, the wise woman of Dacia in the time of Marcus Aurelius, Festuscato Cassius Agitus who calls himself the last senator of Rome and is no friend of the Huns, Gerraint son of Erbin in the days of King Arthur, and Margueritte who is not a witch, but is a friend of Charles Martel. I hope you enjoyed these stories.  They will be edited, formatted, and covers will be made so they can go up for sale, soon.  But first, a trilogy of the Kairos origin stories will go up very soon (I hope).  Here are the covers.







What do you think?


Avalon Stories available as of today

Avalon is a television series in written story form.  Please consider buying the books and supporting the author, and remember, reviews matter. Thanks.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/mgkizzia

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MGKizzia

Or look under M. G. Kizzia in your favorite e-book retail store

I only have one general rule for the Avalon stories: 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.


Look for the Avalon books, Season One Travelers, Season Two Bokarus, and Season Three Werewolf at your favorite e-book retailers.  Thirteen Episodes from the earliest days 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.


Avalon, Season Four Ghouls, Season Five Djin, and Season Six Witches & Outlaws brings the travelers face to face with the worst of all monsters: 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 great civilizations, but 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.


Avalon Season Seven Wraith can be found in the archives of this website mgkizzia.com.  It was blogged from March 22, 2021 through September 1, 2021.  Season Eight Aliens began posting on April 4, 2022.  Most episodes are 6 posts, so the complete episode will be published Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday over 2 weeks.  A few episodes are only 4 parts long and will be posted in a single week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Avalon Season Nine The Masters will begin posting on Monday, March 20, 2023 and be the end of the series being the third book of the third trilogy.  Editing, covers, and formatting for seasons 7, 8, and 9 are happening slowly, but hopefully all nine books of the Avalon Series will be ready for purchase by the end of 2023.


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.  Now, also available from Amazon in print-on-demand paper editions.

I hope you enjoy reading the Avalon stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.  Reviews on the e-book websites are always appreciated, and if you wish to support the author by buying a copy, thank you.

Happy Reading.

— MGKizzia


MONDAY Book 9, Episode 9,0 Pestilence

The Travelers need to make it over the Alps before the winter comes on strong. At least it appears as if the Kairos in heading in their direction. Until Monday, Happy Reading.



Preview: Avalon, Season 9, Masters

Table of Contents

9.0 Pestilence 

After 1312 A.D. The Alps: Kairos lifetime 111: Prudenza de Genoa

9.1 Johanne 

After 1374 A.D. Northern France: Kairos lifetime 112: Quentin, the Highlander

9.2 The Called 

After 1437 A.D. Aragon & Castile: Kairos lifetime 113: Catherine, La Halcon

9.3 Bewitches 

After 1499 A.D. Bavaria: Kairos lifetime 114: Hans of Brementown

9.4 Broadside 

After 1562 A.D. The Caribbean: Kairos lifetime 115: Peter van Dyke: Captain Hawk

9.5 Men in Black 

After 1624 A.D. Scotland: Kairos lifetime 116: Elizabeth Stewart MacLean of Gray Havens


9.6 Earth and Sky 

After 1690 A.D. Delaware Valley: Kairos lifetime 117: Lars of the Lenape

9.7 Revolution 

After 1755 A.D. Valley Forge: Kairos lifetime 118: Michelle Marie Lancaster

9.8 The Wild West 

After 1823 A.D. Dakota Territory: Kairos lifetime 119: Marshal Miguel Casidy

9.9 California Dreaming 

After 1889 A.D., Hollywood Springtime: Kairos lifetime 120: Nadia Iliana Kolchenkov, M. D.

9.10 July Crisis 

May 1914 A.D. Heidelberg: Kairos lifetime 120: Doctor Kolchenkov

9.11 Blitz 

May 1941 A.D. London: Kairos lifetime 120: Colonel Kolchenkov

9.12 Home 

Christmas 2014 A.D. : Kairos lifetime 121/137: The Storyteller/Alice of Avalon

Avalon Season 9 Introduction

The travelers came to Avalon in the Second Heavens to be transported instantly through the Heart of Time to the beginning of history.  They went on a rescue mission, but things did not go as planned.  The Kairos—the Storyteller, had to jump into the void before history to become lost in eternity.  Now, in order to get home, the travelers must return the slow way.  They follow the Amulet of Avalon that points the way from one time gate to the next, and 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.  Inevitably, they have to 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.  That is not easy.

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.

Season Nine brings the travelers into modern times and to home in the twenty-first century. They travel through the renaissance and the reformation, the age of enlightenment and exploration, the industrial and other revolutions.  They just want to get home, but the Masters seem to be everywhere trying to send the human race off course and destroy the future.  If the Masters can turn humanity to despair, and make the human race desperate enough for safety, security, and solutions, then with kind words and empty promises the Masters can take over.  That would ruin and destroy all people—a fate worse than slavery.


Robert Lockhart, a former police officer, is now the assistant director of the Men in Black.  He was in charge of the rescue mission that left from 2010 and traveled through the Heart of Time to the beginning of history.  Something went wrong.  The Kairos, the Storyteller had to jump into the void before history began in order to save their charge.  Now, everything on Avalon is out of sync, and the travelers are forced to return to the future through the time gates and across the dangerous time zones that surround the many lives of the Kairos.  Lockhart is now charged with leading this expedition through time, though he has no idea how he is going to get everyone home alive.

Major 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, though since she married Robert, her path seems set.  She carries the prototype amulet first used to travel the time zones.

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.

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.  His technological toys, as he calls them, have come in handy.

Sukki, a Gott-Druk from the before time who got 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.  The travelers take her with them, knowing she cannot survive alone in the past, and she is learning that these travelers are now her new family.  Though adopted by Elder Stow, she begged the Kairos to be made human, like the rest of her family.  The goddesses who did that got a bit carried away and left her empowered like a superhero.

Lieutenant Colonel Decker A former navy seal, now a marine special operations officer, he 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.  An African American, he got gifted in the deep past by his eagle totem and can see beyond normal vision.

Nanette Jones Decker A student from 1905.  She is an African American who once worked as Professor Fleming’s Administrative Assistant.  She only willingly left the professor back in the time of Julius Caesar when the professor got diagnosed with cancer and insisted.  She has magic, rooted in telekinesis, when the Other Earth phases in and leaks magic energy into our universe.  A brilliant woman, she fell in love with Colonel Decker, thanks to Aphrodite and the Colonel had no power to resist the goddess.

Tony (Anthony) Carter A graduate student in Antiquities in Latin and Greek.  He also got pulled into the past from 1905 and lived seven years with Professor Fleming and a few classmates in the days of Julius Caesar.  He joined the travelers because it seemed his only chance to get back home.  He has since learned that he will likely get home in time for World War One.  Something to look forward to.

Plus, as always,

The Kairos.  But that is a different person in each time zone.



Something special. See you then.

Reflections Flern-13 part 1 of 1

“What the Hell is wrong with me?” Flern screamed. “I never said I wanted kids.” She began to breathe. “Let me rephrase that. What the Hellas is wrong with me?”

“Hush, you are doing just fine,” Eir reached up to wipe Flern’s brow.

“Doctor Eir. Just for that, I’m going to get you pregnant, again.”

“Really?” Eir tried not to look excited. “A playmate for Tien?”

“Listen to me. A woman telling another woman she is going to get her pregnant.”

“I know how that can be arranged.”

“Hush you two.” Nanna stood up with baby Tien in her arms. “Isn’t it time for you to push?”

“Dubba, dubba, dubba.” That felt like all Flern could say for a minute. When sense returned, she added. “Really. You know we don’t have to stay in the far east to watch the Jaccar.”

“I like it there,” Eir said. “It is peaceful.”

“Eir doesn’t like being too close to the watchful eye of Aesgard,” Nanna said and sat back down.

“You know, you have fine hips for babies,” Eir said.

“Are you saying I have a fat butt?”

“One more push.”

An hour later, Kined came in, Riah and Goldenwing on his tail. He looked so concerned.

“One would think you were the one sweating,” Flern said.

“He was,” Riah admitted.

“Our daughter?” Kined looked down and touched the precious, baby face, and then the crew came in. Vinnu’s son sat on her hip and chewed a block of wood. Thrud’s daughter wriggled to get down, so she could crawl around and break things. Pinn came last of all. Her baby son, born only a month ago, nursed. Pinn smiled and indeed, she had not stopped smiling since the baby was born.

Flern looked around while Kined held their baby. “Well, we survived.”

“I know,” Thrud said. “Amazed the heck out of me.” Vinnu and Pinn just nodded while Kined spoke.

“Yes, that was a long, dangerous trip. But we made it home and saved our village and brought peace at last to all the people.”

“What are you talking about?” Thrud asked. “We were talking about childbirth.”

“Oh.” Kined froze. He looked once around and handed the baby back to Flern. “Excuse me. I think I am late for being punched in the arm multiple times,” and he left, Goldenwing clinging to his shoulder, just to be safe.




The introduction to Avalon, Season 9, the final season when the travelers get home, wherever home might be… See you tomorrow


Reflections Flern-12 part 3 of 3

The night creature, and one that seemed able to move in daylight, contrary to all things natural, roared. It moved slowly and awkwardly, like a donkey might move in a barnyard, as it looked her over. Flern was not fooled by the awkward gate. When it attacked, it would move more graceful than a leopard and with more ferocity than a whole pack of hungry lions. Flern felt she only had one choice, to call on the gift of Odin. She felt it in her gut, and it burst from her hands just as the night creature prepared to charge. No way her blast would have melted the main gun of a Gott-Druk battleship, but in this case, it proved enough to put a foot-wide hole through the beast and continue to where it put an equal hole in the newly erected wooden wall. The night creature, what remained of it, collapsed, and then sizzled in the sun until it was no more.

The Wicca screamed and threw her hands toward Flern. Flern got caught in the middle by the same kind of force she just used, a force great enough to lift her from her feet. The force could not break through the shield of Frigga, and even if Flern only reflected in a small way the gift given to Wlvn, it seemed enough so the force did not harm her. It did drive her back, however, until she reached the middle of the river where it sent her down under the deep of the water and held her there.

Flern asked her water sprites to wait. She figured the gift of Njord would not let her breathe all day underwater like it would for Wlvn, but she could certainly breathe underwater for a few minutes. The Wicca kept up the pressure for a good five minutes before assuming she must have drowned. When the pressure lifted, Flern let the sprites help her up. She came to her feet on the top of the water where her water babies held her up. She spit the water out of her lungs and then walked back to the land on top of the waves.

“Thank you,” Flern said as her feet reached the shore.

A little water baby head popped up from the waves and squeaked an excited, “Your welcome,” before it disappeared again moving downstream.

By the time Flern reentered the circle, she had gotten just about dry, apart from her hair. “A fine dip in the fine water. Very refreshing. Thank you,” Flern said. The Wicca said nothing. She simply clapped again. Flern imagined the Wicca had to be running out of steam, given her age and the amount of power she had already exerted. Flern knew she was getting tired with all of this.

When Flern looked up, she saw her parents and sisters dragged to the circle by Jaccar. The Jaccar had swords drawn, and the threat appeared to be against her family’s necks.

“No,” Flern said in a surprisingly calm voice. Mother Vrya said I had to be willing to be who I am. Well, I am her son even when I am her daughter. And I am also her son when I am her son.” Flern went away from that time and place so Nameless could stand in her place. “You go too far,” he said, and in the blink of the Wicca’s eye, Flern’s family and all three hundred and fifty-two villagers disappeared from their village and reappeared safely across the river. The Jaccar found their swords all put away, and Nameless took one step toward the Wicca who screamed in terror.


Loki came, and the first word out of his mouth was, “Please.” It had a touch of sarcasm in it.

“Hilde,’ Nameless called. “Mother.” Both women appeared, one to each side of him, and they waited with an eye on Loki to see what might transpire.

“Please,” Loki began again with much more sincerity. “Odin pledged a time of indulgence.”

“The time is over,” Nameless said. “Your spoiled little brat has caused too much undue suffering. Set the Jaccar free and let them go home to their families and children. Let her go home to live out the remainder of her days in peace.”

“But she is my daughter.” Loki’s crooked face scrunched up with angst. “They won’t let me make her immortal. A little kindness. She has so little time.”

“That is the problem. Your kindness to her is terror and hatred to everyone else. Now it is ended.”

“But Hellas has vowed to keep her half-sister in torment and torture forever, and there is no talking her out of it.”

“Mother?” Nameless turned to Vrya. He did not have to spell it out. She took her son’s hand and pointed at the Wicca.

The old woman crashed back in her chair and screamed again. “Father. You promised.” A sickly green light, the color of mold and decay came out of the Wicca to dissipate in the sunlight. Then it was done. The Wicca collapsed, like she no longer had the energy to sit up straight. She was old, and now she showed it. She looked tired. She looked used up.

“Now she is fully human,” Vrya said. “Now I can let her serve in my house when the time comes to make up for all the people she forced to serve her in her lifetime.”

“When the time comes, I will personally bring her to your home,” Hilde said.

“How can I trust you?” Loki’s face contorted. “Do you promise to do this?”

“The gods don’t make promises,” Nameless responded. “But you have three witnesses who will see if people stay free and if she lives in peace.”

“But father,” the Wicca’s voice sounded weak and cracked in the upper register. “You promised I could have what I want.”

“You don’t know what you want, child,” Vrya said, and she looked to her son for an answer.

Nameless nodded. “It is a breach of temporal etiquette, but I can give her something like medicine to indulge her in her final days.” He thought through the recipe so Vrya, Hilde and Loki could catch it. Then he produced a small bowl out of thin air. He handed it to Loki who tested it with a finger. He gave a small spoonful to his daughter who made the strangest noises.

“Nectar,” the Wicca called it and grabbed for the bowl. It was Chocolate ice cream, and with it in hand, Loki and his daughter vanished from that place.

“Indulgent,” Vrya said with a slight smile.

“I’ll never be thin again,” Hilde admitted.

“Jaccar leaders!” Nameless shouted. The Jaccar were all on their knees before the gods so Nameless softened his voice, but it still carried the power to be heard. “Go home.” The Jaccar found their horses saddled and ready, and with minimal urging from their chiefs, they mounted and rode off into the East, never to return.

Vrya kissed her son. “I await the day when you will be my little one,” she said, and vanished.

Hilde bowed. “My Lord. I am yours with a willing heart, and I have sisters now to help in this great work.” She vanished.

Nameless waited until the Jaccar were all gone before he vanished and Flern came home to stand on the riverbank, all alone in her own village. Across the bank, the people were cheering and celebrating, and Flern did not blame them. No more good people would have to die.



The conclusion of the story followed by a look ahead toward Avalon, Season 9, the final season.  Until then, Happy Reading.


Reflections Flern-12 part 2 of 3

Flern and her friends looked across the river and into their village. It looked very different, but familiar at the same time. The houses, barns, workplaces, and market square looked much the same, as did the great hall in the village center, but all around stood a great wall that no one imagined would be there. It looked like the greatest fence ever constructed, made of whole trees driven into the ground, with mortar of some kind filling the little cracks between. It had a walkway all around which would put a man on the inside of the wall, able to see over, some twenty feet down on an enemy.

“I see why they only made those few little stabs at the men,” Flern mused out loud.

“Little stabs?” Karenski, Venislav and Vilder, speaking for the young people, were all amazed at her description. Good men fought, and good men died. But Diogenes knew, and both Mishka and the Princess confirmed, and so Flern knew that the attacks of the Jaccar were no more than sorties, meant to test the strength and determination of the opposing force, and to probe for weaknesses. If the enemy got driven off, all good and well; but it had not been expected. The Jaccar had the village fortified and showed that any confrontation would cost many lives. Now, the Jaccar counted on the attackers being unwilling to lose the lives it would take to break the wall. Only the riverside of the village had no wall. No doubt, the Jaccar assumed the river would act as a wall of its own.

Flern thought for some time. She had goblins, trolls, dwarfs and ogres who could tunnel under the wall before a single night was over. She could call up fire sprites from the deepest depths in the earth and burn the wall, and probably the village, so that would not be a good idea. If she wanted to destroy everyone, her sprites in the sky could bring torrents of rain, and her water sprites could overflow the river. She could flood the village, and the wall would act as a retaining wall to keep the flood waters rising. But she would not do these things. She would never put her little ones in danger if she had another way. And besides, they had every hope that their parents and families were still alive. They planned to save them, not get them killed.

Flern waved to the old woman in the chair that faced them across the river. Then she dismounted and everyone dismounted with her. She went first to Pinn and gave her a hug without a word. She hugged Vilder and then spoke. “Whatever you do, keep the people together.”

“Why? What do you have in mind?” That came from Kined, the smart one. Flern smiled and added a great kiss to her hug.

“I have in mind to face the Wicca first and keep both armies out of it,” Flern said, and stepped back. “All of this fighting is giving me a headache.”

“No. But wait. No.” Several people spoke at once, but Flern turned quickly toward the river.

“It is my job,” she shouted. “I just have to be who I am.” A water bridge formed instantly over the river and Dinester, the naiad stood an imposing twenty feet beside it. That vision made everyone pause just long enough. Flern started over, and as she did, the bridge collapsed behind her so no one could follow her. She had on her armor and weapons, but hoped she would not need any of it, though she might. The Wicca was a power to be reckoned with. She had a thousand Jaccar warriors enchanted to do her will. She had the power to enchant people hundreds of miles away. She had power over certain monsters, even night creatures. When Flern thought about it, she imagined she had little chance against this woman, but she had to try. It might be better not to think about it.

 The Jaccar kept a respectful distance as Flern stepped on land. She marched toward the woman in the chair and stopped some twenty feet away. This woman looked old. She looked fragile, with the brittle bones of age and that gaunt look that nevertheless got bloated with fat in certain places. She did not look long for this world. But with all that, Flern reminded herself that this woman remained a power to be reckoned with. She was half human and half god, and Flern thought she knew who that god might be, but thus far, she had only circumstantial evidence. Flern waited for the woman to speak.

“Do you dance?” the Wicca asked. Flern said nothing as the woman continued. “Circle, circle. We need a circle for the dance.” The Wicca raised a boney finger and slowly drew a circle in the air. The ground trembled and a circle, cleared of grass, slowly formed on the ground some forty feet in diameter with the chair just outside, but with Flern in the middle. “Let us see how my servants dance.” She clapped her hands, and a half-dozen imps appeared around Flern.

The imps immediately began to dance and chant. They reached down and pulled up grass and dirt to sprinkle at her as they danced. Flern put her hands to her hips and frowned. The imps were brought from the east, and like all the Wicca’s slaves, they were uprooted from their families. After a minute, the imps stopped, and one spoke to the Wicca.

“I doesn’t seem to be affecting her.” The Wicca did not look happy.

“Let’s see how you deal with their bigger companion.” She clapped again and an ogre appeared. The ogre needed a minute to get his bearings, and Flern covered her grinning mouth.

“Stonecrusher,” Flern named the beast. “Gods you are an ugly brute.”

“I am,” Stonecrusher said with a touch of pride. He reached for Flern, and he did not move slow, but Flern had some superspeed from one of the gifts given to Wlvn. She slapped that hand on the knuckle and the ogre yelped. “Ouch!” He pulled his hand back just as fast as he put it out and he stuck the whole finger in its mouth. He looked at Flern, dumbfounded.

Flern got tired of this game. “Stonecrusher, and all of you imps. You are free of the control of the Wicca. Now go home.” She did not clap her hands. She merely waved and they all vanished.

“No!” The Wicca stood in protest, but then sat again as she decided on another avenue. “Let us see how you dance with my pet,” she said, and with another clap, a great black bear appeared in the ring.

Flern immediately shot up some twenty feet in the air. Another gift to Wlvn, she remembered. The bear stood but it could not get at her. Flern pulled her sword and used the flat on the bear’s head, like she did once before in the wilderness. Even standing, the bear’s paws were too short to reach up at her. After a couple of good clonks on the head, the bear had enough. It whined, fell to all fours, and waddled off to the river where it swam around the village wall and headed for the wilderness.

Flern had her sword put itself away because she had not practiced doing that, and she figured it would be a good show for the watching Jaccar. The Wicca had something to say. “You cheat.” She clapped her hands again and ten ghouls surrounded her. “Try to cheat with these.” She laughed.

Flern only hesitated a moment before she began to run at super speed. But Flern did not run away. She ran in the circle, which made everyone watching her get dizzy, including the Wicca and the ghouls.

The ghouls tried to grab her, but they were too slow and awkward, a weakness. They began to bunch up, but eventually one thought to stick out his arm and let her run into it. Unfortunately for the ghoul, Flern saw, and she arrived filled with the strength of Thor. She grabbed the ghoul and dragged him around after her, before she ripped the arm right out of its socket. Flern had no sympathy for ghouls. They ate human souls.

Flern ran once around, slapping each ghoul in the face with the arm. The ghouls got knocked back, and she felt that gave her the room she needed. By the time the ghouls remembered their weapons, Flern already had her sword out. She did not use the flat side this time but cut a deep gash in the middle of every ghoul she passed until she came to a halt, once again in the center of the circle, now surrounded by ten puddles of purple and green puss. Flern, however, did not have time to amaze herself at the ease of overcoming ten ghouls since another creature already arrived on the field.

Flern took a step back. The night creature was the only thing she truly feared.

Reflections Flern-12 part 1 of 3

Three four wheeled, double-axle wagons, each drawn by a double team of horses—a terrible breach of the temporal order—stopped just outside the village beneath the mountain pass. Scores of gnomes of various sorts, some like imps and some like dwarfs, swarmed all over the wagons, greased every joint, checked all the stress points, tracked the cargo, and set the horses free to be groomed and fed.

Some hundred and twenty light elves: elves, brownies, kobold and various fairies came behind the wagons and camped at a distance beneath the village, along the Dnepr River. They would be joined by thirty elves from Miroven, the ones led by Laurel that Flern thought of as her own personal guardians. Fifty sturdy dwarfs with three ogres under Balken’s command would march beside them, down from Movan Mountain. In the night, more than a hundred dark elves, goblins mostly with a couple of trolls, would move down the mountain to guard the precious cargo in the hours of darkness.

That precious cargo in the wagons was the promised bronze, weapons in the first wagon – swords, spears and plenty of arrows. The second wagon carried mostly weapons as well, but on Flern’s insistence it also carried some plows, hoes and such tools that would benefit the people. The third wagon held the tools and pieces to put together their own forge along with enough raw material to get them started. Pinn and the boys had high hopes once they set their families free. Thrud and Vinnu were pregnant and just wanted to get home.

Eight young people and Riah the elf, wearing a glamour to make her appear human, with Goldenwing at rest and hidden in her horse’s mane, rode ahead to meet the village elders and the waiting travelers. The travelers spent six months moving down the Dinester and back up the Dnepr drumming up support in every town and village along the way. There were presently some four hundred people, mostly men and mostly hunters camped on the grasslands across the river to the east.

“Good to see you.” Venislav was the one who spoke for the village. “Our food stores are exhausted.”

Flern figured that. “I have people bringing game and bread from the Brugh and others bringing in a whole herd from the wilderness between the rivers.”

“Good to hear,” Tird said. He rode on horseback beside Venislav. Trell, hair greased down which made him almost unrecognizable, rode beside Karenski of the travelers.

“Where are the girls?” Pinn asked.

“Vincas and Arania?” Flern remembered.

“Measuring their tummies,” Trell said with a straight face before he grinned and gave a sideways glance at Tird who returned the grin.

“Vinnu and Thrud are pregnant, too,” Flern said

“Flern and I are still working on it,” Pinn added.

“Children.” That was all Karenski said before they turned to ride into the village. They were going to feast that night, pass out weapons in the morning, and from the way some of the elders acted, hopefully leave in the afternoon. Flern knew it would not be quite so easy.

It was Vilder who nudged Pinn and that got Flern’s attention. Venislav and Karenski also paid attention as it seemed they agreed to stick close to Flern. “There are campfires there at the foot of the pass.” Vilder pointed. Flern shook her head. It was not Movan or Miroven. She did not know who they might be. But it appeared as if three people headed their way.

“Ah,” Venislav made the sound before he spoke. “They came down the pass two days ago and claim to be from the other side of the mountain and the plateau, though I cannot imagine it. They say the plateau is full of monsters.”

“Hello!” One of the oncoming three waved and yelled. Vilder at least returned the wave. The other waited until they were close enough for Pinn to shout.

“Fritt!” When they got closer, Pinn’s word became a question. “Fritt?” Fat Fritt no longer looked fat.

“Nadia.” Flern recognized the girl and gave her a sisterly kiss in greeting before she remembered she never met the girl. Wlvn did. Nadia looked embarrassed, even if it had been explained to her. Fortunately, the third member of their party took everyone’s attention when he dropped to one knee.

“Mother of old,” he said.

Flern remembered the young man from her brief time on the plateau, or rather Faya’s time. “Horan. My name is Flern if you don’t mind. I’m not sure I like the old part.”

“From the plateau?” Pinn asked. She wanted to be sure.

Flern knew what she was asking. She nodded. He was Were, a shape shifter who had the good sense to appear human. “Come on,” she said. “We are going to eat food.”

At the door to the main building, which would not be nearly big enough for all the chiefs, Flern ran into Elluin. She also looked pregnant and very glad to see them. She made a point of saying that Drud had been good that whole time. Flern did not exactly believe her when she noticed that Drud stayed conspicuously absent from the festivities.

“I’m feeling left out,” Pinn complained. She did not have to spell it out that she wanted a baby. Flern took her arm as they went inside.

“We will just have to work at it harder,” she said, and got lost for a minute in her own thoughts.

In the morning took all day. They had a limited number of swords and spears to hand out and tried to get them into the right hands. They had the ungodly number of a thousand arrows with bronze tips. Everyone got two.

Miroven and Movan arrived in time for breakfast, which did wonders for the food supply. It also scared some of the locals and the travelers when they heard the food came from the Brugh. That great forest was seen as the land of ghosts and spirits and unnatural things. Flern wisely had the troops camp beside the Were, well away from the village and the sight of men.

It did not get much better when her gnomes brought in the herd from the land between the rivers that evening. Flern had a makeshift pen constructed that used a natural bend in the river. It gave all those men something to do other than sit around and gripe. But then, she insisted her gnomes stay invisible when they brought in the beasts, and it got hard for some of the men to watch the beasts they normally hunted willingly move into captivity unguided by any hands. Of course, some by then had settled on the idea that Flern was the witch. Curiously, that comforted many of the men, like they had a secret weapon.

As the sun set, Karenski took up speaking where Venislav left off. “I see you have men camped some distance below the wagons and have not brought them up to join the other men.” From a distance, they mostly looked like men.

Flern stood with Kined to watch the sunset and she took Kined’s hand while he spoke. “Not a good idea.”

“They don’t mix well,” Flern added.

Karenski looked thoughtful. “And also, I know the ones camped at the foot of the pass are more than we can see. We know them only by the fires they light in the night.”

“Best to leave them alone,” Kined said.

Karenski nodded. “But to be curious, may I ask how many fighters you have brought?”

“Enough to double the number of men camped on the grasses.”

“So many?” Karenski acted surprised, but it appeared to be an act. Venislav spoke then what was on his mind.

“So, what do we do next?”

“We leave in the morning,” Flern said, and squeezed Kined’s hand. “It will take the men close to a week to cross the land between here and our village. The ones by the pass will stay above them the whole way and the ones below the wagons will stay below them. That way the Jaccar will not be able to sneak around and surprise the men from the side or from the rear.”

“Such wisdom, and from children,” Karenski smiled.

“I almost wish the Jaccar would get around behind the men in the night,” Kined said, and he grinned as he thought about it.

Flern quickly explained. “There is a third group who will follow behind the men. It would be best if you did not ask about them at all.”

“I see,” Karenski sounded thoughtful again. “I think I better go tell my people to stay close to their homes in the night.”

“Yes, me too,” said Venislav

“Good idea,” Flern said. Vilder, Gunder and Tiren were presently telling the men in the camp that very thing.