After 4447BC in the Sinai Peninsula. Kairos: Ranear of the Ophir.
Lunch was quail that Boston and Roland flushed out and bagged. People had been on edge the whole day, but they needed to eat. They all mentioned the bokarus at one time or another that morning, but they all agreed that was not right. Several times Roland, and once Captain Decker claimed they heard something, but found nothing. Still, they all felt a sense of dread, like they were being followed by something inexplicable.
“This quail is good.” Lincoln attempted to lighten the mood
“Tastes like chicken,” Captain Decker said flatly. Lockhart was beginning to wonder if the man ever smiled.
Lieutenant Harper frowned and looked around at the terrain. It was rocky, but that would not account for the poor vegetation. Boston said they were in the Sinai and as far as she knew it would not change much in the next six thousand plus years. The grass was poor, like it was overgrazed, the bushes were full of brambles and thorns – one day a real pain to shepherds – and the trees, what there were of them, were short and spindly. Still, the rocks were everywhere, sticking up from beneath the earth like fingers pointing at the sky. She imagined there was not enough rain in the region to wear them down. “Maybe in twelve thousand years,” She muttered.
Lockhart stood and stretched and made his own attempt to lighten the mood. “You know, it is remarkable being thirty again. You cannot imagine the aches and pains that develop by the time you reach sixty.”
“What was that?” Mingus looked up, but he was not asking Lockhart to repeat himself. Roland scooted up to spy from behind a rock, They heard something. Then they heard a word, “Ophir!” and three spears came shooting into their camp. Two missed as people reacted, but Lockhart got one in the thigh and cursed, He pulled himself up behind Roland’s rock even as the marines returned fire.
A few moments later, Lincoln and Boston brought their pistols to bear and Roland fired Lockhart’s shotgun once when he saw some movement. He would have been more accurate with his bow, but the arrow supply was limited and movement did not necessarily equal a person. Captain Decker slipped out of the camp and very quickly the gunfire stopped. There were no more spears and nothing to see among the bushes, trees and rocks within view.
“I think we may have scared them off,” Lincoln suggested.
“Primitive,” Lieutenant Harper examined one of the spears. “I would say locally and human made.” She felt funny having to add that last part, but given their experience thus far, and given their feelings all morning, it was necessary.
“Sit still.” Alexis yelled at Lockhart. “The spear is about to come out on its own but you don’t want to make the wound worse.”
“It’s those Gaian healing chits still running through his body,” Lincoln suggested and Lockhart confirmed that with a nod.
“The whole area is already numb. I imagine I will be fine, shortly.”
“The muscle is torn. I would guess that will take longer than shortly to heal this wound.”
“I don’t know,” Mingus started to add his opinion when Captain Decker came back escorting a native with a bullet crease in his own thigh. The native, a young, dark skinned boy of maybe sixteen summers collapsed when he came into the camp and Alexis immediately turned her attention to him.
The Captain gave his report. “One dead, the others ran but this one couldn’t run. You can stand down.”
“You are Ophir?” Boston asked because the Kairos was listed as being of the Ophir people, but it was sketchy on the details.
“No, you are Ophir.” His eyes got big as he watched Lockhart’s wound stop bleeding and then heal over like it was never there. His eyes got even bigger when Alexis laid her hands over his own wound and he felt the warmth and healing power flow into his leg. He looked up at Captain Decker.
“You are Hivite, like me. Why are you with these enemies?” Decker said nothing and the boy looked again at Boston’s red hair and changed his mind. “You are not Hivite and you are not Ophir.”
“No, but the Ophir are our friends.”
“Ahh!” The boy suddenly put his face in his hands and shivered. “I have fallen among the gods of the Ophir. You kill with lightning and thunder and cannot be killed. I will be meat. I will be consumed. Help me Set.” He began to weep. He was terribly afraid, and everyone saw that.
“We won’t harm you,” Alexis assured him and smiled for him, but he pulled back from her hand which was meant to comfort him. He shrieked again when Mingus came over to extract his daughter from the boy’s side and the boy got a good look at the elf.
“One dead?” Lockhart asked. Decker nodded. “Is he strong enough to carry his friend?”
“I don’t know,” Alexis said honestly. “His leg is fine. The bullet only creased him. It was not really much of a wound. I would say it depends on how big his friend is and how far he has to go.”
“We could help,” Boston suggested, but Lockhart shook his head.
“Direction?” Lockhart turned to Doctor Procter and the doctor pointed. Decker pointed the opposite way to say which way the others ran off. “No.” Lockhart said, and he knelt to the boy. “Get up,” he insisted and they both stood. “Take your dead. There is no help we can give him.” Then he added something the Kairos often said. “Go in peace.”
The boy backed out of the camp. The tears never entirely left his eyes, but when he realized he was going to live, they noticed the change. Now he was crying for his dead friend. They watched as he retrieved the body, scant yards from their camp. It was hard, but he managed the young man around his shoulders like he might carry a deer and he soon disappeared in the wilderness.
“Maybe the others are not so far away,” Lieutenant Harper suggested. People nodded. They liked to think that as they packed their things. No one said they already had enough to worry about what with the bokarus, the ghouls and a missing bogy man. Worry about the locals, about getting caught up in some war or trouble was not something they were prepared for, yet.
“That was not what has been following us,” Lincoln said. They all knew it was true and it did not help.
“This way,” Doctor Procter said. They followed him. Lockhart only limped a little.