Avalon 1.2: Unexpected Encounters

After 4465BC.  in Southern China.  Kairos:  Keng


            Boston checked the database and read the results out loud.  She concluded with her finger on the map and a note that they appeared to be somewhere between the Yangtze River and the southern mountains.

            “How many time zones do we have to go through to get back to our own time?”  Lieutenant Harper asked from the rear where she and Captain Decker continued to act as rear guard.

            “One hundred and twenty,” Boston answered from where she was straggling at the back of the pack.  “Glen is the one hundred and twenty-first lifetime of the Kairos.”

            “It won’t be anytime soon,” Alexis looked back.

            The land was a mix of forest and meadow with much steeper hills than the Sahara.  When they came to the top of one of those hills, a place where there were rocks sticking out through the soil, Lockhart called a halt.  It would be dark soon, and they needed the rest.

            “As good a place as any,” Lincoln sighed.

            “Yeah,” Captain Decker added.  “Something is bound to catch up to us no matter what we do and this is as defensible a position as any.”

            “Chinese deer,” Roland announced and he got out his bow and jogged back down the hill.

            “And some greens,” Alexis said as she dragged Boston and Lieutenant Harper off to gather.  “I was never a big fan of Atkins.”

            “Some rice would be nice,” Boston thought out loud.  “Too bad we don’t have a wok.”

            Once Alexis showed the others what to look for, they gathered as the sun sank in the west.  They saw plenty of deer, and Boston was sure Roland was already back at the camp and had cut the beast for the fire.  She stepped around a few trees and caught sight of a light in the forest.  It was not too far away so curiosity drove her to take a closer look.

            There was an opening among the trees and sweet grass and flowers in that little place.  There was a bubbling spring, and a creature that positively glowed a brilliant white against the growing shadows.  Boston put her hands together in delight, but she dared not say a thing, not even to call to the others for fear of frightening off the beast.  Thus she simply watched, enthralled as the sun sank lower in the sky.

            “Unicorn.”  Roland came up beside her and whispered.  Alexis and Katie Harper were with him. 

            “But no bones have ever been found of such a creature,” Katie protested.  “I thought such things did not exist.”

            “It isn’t a creature,” Alexis said.  “It is a spirit, a greater spirit of purity and virtue, though it behaves much like a creature.  There are a few still in our day on Avalon.  Certain elf maids pledge themselves to their feeding and protection and do not marry or have relations with men until they retire at age one hundred.”

            “You met Mirowen back at the Headquarters building,” Boston whispered.  “She was a unicorn maid before she met Doctor Roberts.”

            “She lost her unicorn on earth and it was captured.  Doctor Roberts helped her retrieve it from area 51,” Alexis added.  “I imagined you knew that since you and Captain Decker are stationed there.”

            Lieutenant Harper shook her head.  “The whole complex at area 51 is strictly on a need to know basis,” she said.  “Colonel Weber,” she added by way of explanation.

            They watched while the unicorn went to the spring for a drink.  “Unicorns can be injured and even killed when they inhabit this form,” Alexis continued with the information.  “But they are very powerful creatures, much more powerful than the form implies.”

            “If it chose to charge, we would not escape,” Roland added.

            “And it knows full well we are here,” Alexis said.  “But I don’t get it. They usually are not seen unless there is an innocent in need of protection.”

            “Hey.” Roland reached out, but it was too late.  Boston had stepped out on to the meadow.

            “Unicorns are dangerous.”  Alexis spoke quickly.

            “You said it knows we are here,” Boston responded softly.

            “Boston,” Roland raised his voice a little.  “Don’t you dare.”  He turned on Lieutenant Harper because she raised her weapon to the ready.

            “You have to be a virgin.”  Alexis whispered very loud.  Boston paused, turned to look back at them in the bushes and then turned again to continue toward the unicorn.  The unicorn raised its head and began to nod, but it made no hostile moves in Boston’s direction.  When she arrived, the beast turned its horn away from the girl as Boston reached out carefully to touch the unicorn’s neck.  She felt a moment of electric shock when she touched before she was drawn to do what was in her heart.  She put her arms gently around the unicorn’s neck and kissed it right behind the ear.  It was something she dreamed about.

            The unicorn nodded again and broke free, gently.  With one more nod, it turned and bounded into the bushes to be lost in the coming night.  The light it emitted vanished with the beast, and Boston remained to cry gentle tears of joy.

            When the others joined her in the meadow, Boston turned to Alexis.  “You don’t mind?  It was something I just had to do.”

            “It called to you,” Alexis smiled.  “I don’t mind at all.”  She punched her grinning brother in the stomach before they escorted Boston back to the camp. 

            “Boston visited with it,” Alexis said in a cryptic way.  She said nothing about the virgin qualification.  She imagined Lincoln understood and Lockhart may have guessed.  She assumed Captain Decker had no idea, and Alexis was not going to spell it out for him.

            “A unicorn.”  Mingus understood right away.  “Then we may have help guarding the camp against the creatures following us.”

            “I see no good in it,” Doctor Procter said, and he looked morose.

            “We still set a good watch,” Lockhart insisted.  “And if you think you hear or see something, make sure everyone is awake before you go to investigate.”

            That night, when everyone else was worried about defending the camp from ghouls and the bokarus, Boston dreamed about riding on the back of a unicorn.

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