With the help of the Amazons, the travelers outrun the “bad men” to the safety of the Amazon border, only now they are curious and a bit concerned to see what this fabled land contains.
The travelers, the old woman and a half-dozen young women rode down into a valley full of huts, simple homes and farmland. Both the village and the distant sea – the Black Sea could be seen from the heights but both disappeared behind the horizon as they came down the hill. The mountains turned out to be off to their right and still some distance away. The coast land was hilly, but held the promise of several such fertile valleys.
There were men in that valley, not nearly equal in number to the women, but some were armed. One looked like he just returned from a hunt and arrived in time to kiss his wife. The people gave no notice to the group of armed women on horseback. They did show some interest in the strangers, though the travelers all supposed it was the mustangs they were really interested in.
As they approached the village, Katie perked up her nose. “Foundary,” she said, and amended her word. “Blacksmith.”
“Not iron,” Lockhart said, but it was a question.
“Probably copper, tin and other soft metals. But just so you know, I don’t intend to leave here without taking a good look.”
“And the potter,” Iris said and she looked back at the couple. “My sister is the potter.”
“I thought all Amazons were like sisters,” Lockhart said, and again it was a question.
“After a fashion,” Iris responded. “But some of us are blood as well.”
“I want to see it all,” Chloe said, but she had to hold on to her seat. She was not used to horses and Iris’ pony was not as easy a ride as Katie’s with the saddle.
Boston and Lincoln flanked the old woman who now rode more comfortably at a walking pace. Roland on the outside held tight to Amira who turned her head everyway as if she was looking at it all and not blind.
“We are a society of women,” the old woman explained. Once again she paused to find the right word. “A matriarchy. We always have a Queen who may have a consort. But we treat our men as equals. There are no slaves here.”
“Good to know,” Lincoln said. “My wife would be happy here.”
“Your wife would be happy where you are,” the old woman responded. “She is not happy now, but she is remembering. Give it time.”
“Be patient?” Boston was kidding.
“Little Fire,” the old woman called her. “If you lived here, that would be your name.”
“I like that name,” Amira spoke up as Boston turned to look at Roland.
“It matches your hair,” Roland said.
“So maybe I’ll shave my head,” Boston responded and Amira and the old woman spoke as one.
“See?” It was like she proved their point.
“But how is it that this land came to be?” Katie took everyone’s attention. “And why are there so many women and so many young ones that are mostly girls as far as I can tell.”
“It is our Queen who saved us from death,” Iris said and then quieted as the old woman coughed and spoke up. She spoke as loud as she could and even some of the escort leaned in to hear.
“It began some twenty years ago when a plague devastated the residents of this place. We are surrounded by many gods and many worlds. Cimmerians and Scythians to the East with the lands of the Brahmin. Slavic tribes of all sorts and Asians ride across the northern plains. Germans rule in the West with the Greeks. South is the land of the Tigris and Euphrates and the many diverse gods there that stretch all the way to a city I have heard of called Jericho. South and east also is the no-one’s land of Persia. This land is in the middle of it all.
“All of the gods of these worlds around us sent people to attack each other across the borders and over time we became too small in number to defend ourselves and keep the border secure. When the plague attacked us, we believed it was the end for us, but the gods had something else in mind. It was the goddesses in particular who saw the real danger in these endless wars. They feared the gods themselves might go to war and destroy the earth. They decided a buffer was in order. Buffer is what Queen Zoe calls it.
“It was Zoe, the Queen who convinced the goddesses to give her the land. Then, by her great power, she sent her little ones in search of babies. All over the world people pray for sons. Daughters are tolerated, but sometimes they are set out on the rocks to die. The little ones saved those girls and brought them here to be raised. My Queen has said it has not done her little ones good in their reputation, to be seen as baby stealers, but now we have a safe place for women to live, though we treat our men well.”
“So that is why the eldest is generally eighteen or younger,” Boston said.
“But you are older,” Katie pointed out.
“Yes, I survived the plague, and there are others, but soon enough we will pass away and this great buffer land will belong to the Amazons and to their daughters. May they stay ever strong to defend the borders and may the whole council of goddesses from all the halls of all the worlds around speak ever of peace.”
“So what?” Boston was listening, but also thinking that whole time. “We left the Neolithic and suddenly we found civilization?”
“No,” Katie said. “Different parts of the world discover things at different rates. Some only learn of things like horses by trade. Here they have pottery and plows, copper swords and copper tipped arrows, but that is simply several things, not exactly civilization. Really, it is only one thing, learning how to make a fire hot enough. Hot enough to heat metal for shaping is hot enough to bake pots, so it kind of goes together.”
“So here copper is King,” Lincoln concluded.
Boston corrected him. “Here I think copper is Queen.”
Avalon 2.4: The Elect … Next Time