Traveler: Storyteller Tales: Battle

            Madam Elizabeth came around and began to rise, her eyes fire red with anger; but as she rose, Mother began to grow until she was no longer a house cat and more like a black panther; and one the size of a Siberian tiger.  Madam Elizabeth’s anger flashed toward Michaela for the briefest second before she was distracted by Mother’s nerve shattering roar.  Poor Michaela collapsed in the corner, hand to her mouth, tears of abject fear in her eyes but unable to shut those eyes against what was happening.

            “What are you?”  Madam Elizabeth demanded of the cat

            “A friend come to set you free,” the cat said as she transformed into the Danna, an inhumanly beautiful but nevertheless human looking person.  Nearly all of the lives of the Kairos are ordinary human and mortal.  That gave Danna an advantage of the other ancient gods when it came to appearing mortal; but to be sure, if Michaela had not been in the room, watching, Danna might have been tempted to let out a little of her true nature, and that might have simplified things.

            “Remarkable, as Mister Casey might say.”  Madam Elizabeth was taken aback by the transformation, but not startled.  “Now there is a real talent, and I would have it.”  The Madam began to chant and Michaela reacted.

            “Beware, Lady.” 

            Danna just stood there and waited.  When the chanting was done, thin tendrils of blue light snaked out from the woman and tried to wrap around Danna.  Michaela shrieked again before she saw the tendrils pass through and return to their mistress without touching Danna at all.

            “What is this?”  Madam Elizabeth complained.  “You are not without power.  I saw your transformation.  I should be filled and reveling in your power, but I am not.  Explain.”

            “I have no power,” Danna said calmly as if she was simply speaking over tea.

            “Don’t be absurd.  All power is derived from other sources.  I discovered my power in Egypt, in the ancient texts.  It is the power of Amonette herself, the very serpent of Egypt.  What can you compare to that?”

            “My mother was Egyptian,” Danna said brightly.  She sounded like a schoolgirl.  “My father was Greek and my husband was from the North, from Aesgard.  That was the agreement that gave my children the West.  But my mother was Egyptian.  She was Anu, the twin sister of Anubis, though in Egypt she was called by a different name.”  Madam Elizabeth looked up as if to ask that name.  Danna dropped her voice and stared down the old woman.  “Bast.”  She spoke her mother’s name.

            “A fanciful tale,” Madam Elizabeth said weakly as her eyes turned to the ground.

            “And I also have another name in Egypt.”  Danna took a single, powerful step forward.  “It is Amonette.  I am the serpent of Egypt.”

            Michaela laughed, but it was a soft, hysterical sort of laugh.

            “No.”  Madam Elizabeth spoke the word Moira had spoken, but in this case it was the word of a woman who was suddenly just old and frail and failing.

            “You see?  I have nothing that can be given or taken away.  I have no power.  I am power.  I am the embodiment of the power itself.  I am the one from whom the power is derived.  This is my authority and my responsibility and my burden from birth, and you are my responsibility as well.”  Danna paused to examine the woman inside-out.  “In this place, in the West, in my jurisdiction, I am the Danna, and my children whom I loved, kept their responsibilities well.  Now, alas, it falls to me once again.  Miss Eizabeth, what shall I do with you?”

            Madam Elizabeth collapsed in a chair, tears in her eyes, her head hung, her hands in her lap worried a handkerchief.  “Mercy,” she breathed.

            Danna waved her arm in her way and the demonic presences that swirled around the woman vanished.  They would never return.  Michaela sat up to see what she could, and she saw Madam Elizabeth raise her arms to the table, drop her head into her arms and weep. 

            “Go home, Miss Elizabeth.  Go to confession and make peace.  The day is gone and the time is short.”  Danna spoke softly before she stepped over to Michaela.

            Michaela was surprised that Danna smiled down at her and held out her hand.  Michaela never felt so much awe and fear in her life, but something inside her said that everything would be alright, so she took the hand and let the goddess lift her to her feet.

            “Shall we see how my granddaughter is making out?”  Danna asked with such a casual tone, Michaela was amazed.  The goddess was actually speaking to her!

            “De Danna.”  She breathed.  She remembered Moira using the words.

            “Yes, that one,” Danna said, and she let out the faintest laugh that was so sweet and perfect and lovely, Michaela almost stumbled from the beauty and joy of it.  Fortunately, Danna never let go of her hand.

###

            Moira got outside in time to see Mister Brannigan throw a net of pink force over Mickey so Mickey could not move.  Mister Brannigan spoke.  “I will drain your life from you, all but the last little bit so you can live as an old man and remember how you cheated me.”

            “You will not.”  Moira acted without thinking.  Her hand came up as it had inside and Mister Brannigan was knocked on his rump by a surge of light and fire.  Unlike Madam Elizabeth, however, Moira’s surge appeared to make the man mad.  He got up and let out his own surge of power, and Moira found herself equally deposited on her butt, and she said, “Ouch!”  Even as Pumpkin zoomed up to her.

            “Lady!”  She acknowledged Moira, but only briefly as she turned fairy fast and zoomed up to Mister Brannigan’s face where she shook her finger and spoke sternly.  “You leave my Lady alone you big, smelly breed!  You don’t know what you are doing.  You are going to make my Great Lady very angry!”  Mister Brannigan was fascinated.  He lifted his hand slowly as if testing the air around the hovering fairy and stared with open eyes and open mouth, but said nothing.  “I’ll get my friends and you will be sorry.”  Pumpkin rushed back into the inn so fast she appeared to vanish.  That gave Moira an idea.  She was not very good at it, but she thought she might do it if she concentrated, and sure enough, she vanished from sight.

            Moira moved quickly from where she had been sitting while Mister Brannigan looked around, finally turning in a complete circle.  “Over here.”  Moira’s voice sounded out behind the man and she moved quickly again as the man spun around.

            “Grrr.”  The man growled like a beast and he let the pink of his magic form a cloud which rapidly expanded around him.  “You cannot hide.  You and the little man owe me, and I will have my justice.”

            Moira was caught in the cloud before she could escape.  It stung her eyes and made her cough, and when it began to clear, she saw Mister Brannigan floating about four feet off the ground, hovering over her and grinning, wickedly.  Moira flew up to meet him and the man’s jaw dropped.  “You can’t do that!”  He shouted, before he shared his deeper thoughts.  “I see why you came out rather than Madam Elizabeth.”  Moira merely shrugged and began to circle him, and while she could not come anywhere near fairy speed, she was able to create enough wind to blow off the cloud.  Moira just smiled and waved at the man as she went invisible again. 

            “Not fair!”  The man shouted.  “You cheat at everything.”  Then he appeared to have a second thought and he floated down to where Mickey was still captive in his pink bubble.  “Show yourself or I will hurt him.  I swear it.”

            “You will not hurt him,” Moira said as she became visible a few feet away.  Brannigan quickly tried to place a bubble around Moira, but Moira merely waked through it and it dissipated like the smoke.  Brannigan tried his shot again.  He hoped to knock her down again, but Moira waved her hand and knocked the shot aside like it was barely there.  Then Moira tried something of her own and Brannigan found himself wrapped in a bubble, but one that was shone like sunlight and it was smaller than the one around Mickey as well so Brannigan could hardly move.  Then Moira reached out her finger and touched the pink bubble and it popped like a pin-popped balloon.  Mickey staggered a little, shook his head and yawned to pop his ears, but he looked unhurt.

            It was then that the big front glass window at the inn shattered and garnered all of their attention.  Pumpkin squirted out the inn door followed by Macreedy and Ellean with bows at the ready.  Prickles had chosen to go through the glass, and a reluctant looking hobgoblin followed the ogre, carefully.  “I’m coming!”  Prickles shouted in a kind of roar that made Mickey fall to his knees in prayer and made poor mister Brannigan soil himself.  When the Little ones arrived, though, Moira stood, hands on hips and tapped her foot.  They all stopped short.

###########

NOTE: To read this story from the beginning or to read any of the stories of the Traveler please click the tab “Traveler Tales” above.  You can read the stories on the right independently, or just the Vordan story on the left, or the whole work in order as written.  Your choice.  Enjoy. 

–Michael.

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