After 3852 BC in Jericho. Kairos life 22: Cophu of the Shemsu
The travelers paused at the edge of the rise despite the rain and looked across the fields to the city wall. It was mammoth, built of standing stones, and the gates looked formidable as well.
“Bigger than anything we have seen so far.” Roland’s voice carried through the weather. He had the ability to make himself heard, if necessary.
“One of Anenki’s cities come to fruition?” Boston asked. Roland shook his head, but Lincoln who was on the other side of her spoke up. He had the database and was trying to read it and keep it dry at the same time. He was not entirely successful.
“This is older. I think it is Jericho. If we entered Cophu’s life early on, it has to be Jericho.”
“Well, wherever we are, we better move,” Lockhart shouted. “This wind is picking up. Huh?” He looked at Katie who nudged him on the shoulder and pointed to the sky. There was a ship of some kind and it looked to be in distress. They all saw it. It was coming down through the low clouds, probably hoping to land on the other side of the city. A stroke of lightning flashed across the sky, and the ship was gone without even telltale smoke to mark its passage.
Lockhart said nothing and nudged his horse down the rise. The others followed and immediately they all felt like they were passing through a gate or invisible wall of some sort. It was an electrical tingle that touched the edges of their skin and the smell of ozone was strong.
“Keep moving,” Lockhart said. They would discuss it later.
There was no neat path through the farmland, but they went single file through the wheat to minimize the damage. When they arrived at the actual double-door gate in that massive stone wall, they found it shut fast. There did not appear to be anyone around.
“No lock to shoot,” Lockhart commented and watched as Roland got down from his horse. Boston held the reigns while Roland studied the situation. Lincoln and Katie tried to fend off the rain, Lincoln to keep the database dry and Katie to keep her weapon dry. Captain Decker’s horse pranced nervously every time the lightning struck, but Lincoln kept it under control. Lockhart sat like a stone in the saddle, but inside he felt like Decker’s horse.
Roland raised his hands and thrust them at the door three times, hard. They all heard the boom, boom, boom. “Open up.” Roland shouted. He could make himself heard.
Finally, Roland picked up some mud and spread it horizontally across both doors of the gate. When he was satisfied with his work, he paused to concentrate. Suddenly, he lifted his hands straight up and shoved, like he was lifting something terribly heavy and throwing it away. Then he threw his shoulder into the place where the doors met. Lockhart leapt to help, and in a few seconds, they had the doors open wide enough to squeeze through. The big piece of lumber that had kept the doors locked was a few feet away.
Roland grabbed one door and tugged as hard as he could while Lockhart tugged on the other. Lincoln pushed his horse in and brought Decker’s horse along. Boston followed with Roland’s horse in tow. Katie came last. She had taken a moment to stow her rifle and get out her pistol, just in case. There were men in the plaza beyond the gate, and they looked afraid. Fear, she knew, could sometimes cause people to react foolishly.
“Friend, friend.” Katie shouted, not sure if she was heard through the rain or understood. Lockhart understood something.
“Roland, you need to appear more human here.” He turned to the group while Roland turned his back on the men in the plaza in order to affect a glamour to give himself the right look. “Dismount. We need to walk the horses.” He took the reins for his horse and Captain Decker’s horse. “Lincoln, search the database for any relevant information on this city.”
“We go through it, I think,” Boston spoke up after she examined the amulet. “We might have gone around.” Boston looked at the men while the others looked around the plaza. “Excuse me.” Boston handed her reins to Roland and stepped up to the men who huddled together. Lockhart almost stopped her, but at the last second turned to Lincoln.
“Got to get out of this rain,” he said, and that was what Boston asked the men. One of the men reached out and touched Boston’s red hair. Katie raised her pistol and the motion caused two other men to look in her direction. Her blond hair was probably not a whole lot better. But then one of the elder men stepped forward.
“This way,” he said, and the group followed that man through a back street to what appeared to be a barn. There was room for the horses and the group immediately began to strip them and brush them free of the wet. The older man and one other stayed to watch. The rest probably went back to the gate.
“Thank you.” Katie spoke to the men while Roland found some hay for the horses to chew. Lincoln pulled out a fairy weave tent and made it into an awning that extended out from the barn door. He had in mind to make a fire right there, but away from the barn if possible.
“You are of the gods?” The elderly man asked. Clearly he did not understand everything he saw, but began to doubt that these people were divine. They were soaking wet and behaved like anyone who stood for too long out in the rain.
“No,” Boston started to answer but Lockhart hushed her with a wave of his hand.
“We are ordinary people but we come from tomorrow. We have accidentally fallen back into today. We are trying to get back to tomorrow.” Lockhart spent a long time figuring out how to say that in a way a post-Neolithic copper and soft metals civilization might understand.
“You are from the future?” The old man understood very well.
“Yes,” Lockhart affirmed, though he hated the idea of saying they were trying to get back to the future.
The old man turned to the man beside him and whispered. That man ran off into the rain. Then he turned to the group. “Welcome to Jericho. May I see the future?”
Lockhart shook his head. “Not advisable.”
Lincoln spoke up. “Keep your eyes open. I am sure you will see some things.” The man nodded and watched while the travelers cared for their animals, found a dry wood pile in the back of the barn and started Lincoln’s fire out front. They also found some lumber to sit on to keep their pants dry and off the wet ground.
“I would recommend staying the night here near the horses,” Katie said as she sat down beside Lockhart.
Lockhart was studying the old man but Katie’s words shook him awake. “My name is Lockhart, and these are my companions. Katie Harper, Lincoln, Boston and Roland.”
“I am Asspurbinal, priest of Tiamut.”
On the word, Tiamut, Lincoln and Katie retrieved their high powered rifles and Lockhart drew and cradled his shotgun. Roland checked his blades, including his sword, and Boston spoke.
“I second the idea that we stay here near the horses tonight.”