Both Chloe, the young girl native to 3700 BC, and Lieutenant Katie Harper, the Marine from the early twenty-first century have been called “Elect,” and neither one of them has any idea what that means.
They arrived in front of a great, long log house and found a woman of about thirty-five years standing out front. The travelers had no doubt who this was. Her hair had the same extra light golden brown look that the Princess had and she was also clearly a warrior, being in the same excellent health and Princess shape. She was the same height as the Princess as well, or just a smidgen taller at about five foot, eight, which made her a very tall woman in that world. But the give-away was the armor she wore. It was the armor of the Kairos they had seen before. Only her eyes were not like the Princess, being sparkling green instead of penetrating blue, and while this woman, this Kairos was beautiful, perhaps very beautiful, she was not the Princess.
“Glen?” Boston felt obliged to say it.
Zoe frowned before she smiled and said, “No. But about time you got here, Boston. I was getting ready to worry.”
“We had some followers,” Lockhart said. “No big deal.”
“Revelon,” Iris said as they all dismounted.
Zoe nodded before she spoke. “Lockhart, Lincoln and Elder Stow, you need to go with the escort. They have prepared a place for you and some food. Roland, you and Boston need to escort Amira and my Sybil wherever the Sybil tells you. Katie, you and I need to talk. Iris, go fetch Minas. Chloe, come in.” And with that said, Zoe turned and stepped inside the long, log house that had to be city hall and the national government offices as well.
“What is this place?” Katie looked around and found Chloe stuck close to her side.
“The hall of the goddesses,” Zoe said. “You may meet one or more at their pleasure, of course.”
“Goddesses?” Chloe spoke with a shiver in her voice.
“Chloe,” Zoe put her arm out to invite the girl in. Chloe looked at Katie first.
“Go on,” Katie said. “Zoe is probably the best person you will ever meet.”
“Now, I don’t know about that,” Zoe said as Chloe stepped in close and Zoe slipped her arm over Chloe’s shoulder.
“Man or woman,” Katie said. “I haven’t found one to complain about yet.”
Zoe did not answer directly. She brought them to the center of the room where a table was laid out with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, greens, flowers and breads. “Our offering table,” Zoe said. “No blood, though some of the goddesses would not mind if there was. We always give the best of the first fruits. You must learn this if you would be Queen.”
“Me?” Chloe asked and looked back again at Katie. “But you are the Queen,” she spoke to Zoe.
“But the gods require me in some way I cannot explain, but I cannot be Queen for much longer. Someone must be Queen and you are the elected one. In the future days, there may be regents, but only an elect can be Queen of the Amazons.”
“What about Katie?” Chloe took a step back.
“I don’t belong here,” Katie said. “And I don’t even know what an elect is.”
“One in a million,” Zoe said. “Though in your day with over a billion inhabitants that has become more like one in ten million.”
“But what does it mean, elect?” Chloe asked.
Zoe squatted before the girl and took her hands. “An elect one is a woman with a strong mind and a pure heart who is gifted by the gods to protect and defend her family and community. Strong as any man, she has great speed, dexterity, agility and coordination. She has a high threshold for pain, is hard to injure, but when hurt, she heals quickly. An elect has an uncanny ability with whatever weapon comes to hand, but she can fight just as well with no weapon at all. She is a strategic and tactical thinker with great energy, perseverance and courage.” Zoe turned her eyes on Katie and stood but kept hold of one of Chloe’s hands. “Does that sound about right, Katie?”
Katie shook her head to deny it, but Zoe would not let her.
“Didn’t you out shoot and out run and beat up the boys in your training? Even back in high school and college I am sure you surprised yourself and often deliberately kept yourself hidden.”
“No, I –“
“And on this trip you matched Decker, the expert Navy Seal every step of the way, though you are a lowly scholar. Don’t think the Marines did not notice. That is why you are here.”
“No, but –“
“Minas.” Minas stood. They had not seen Minas and Iris come in. The two women were kneeling with their heads bowed. “Iris, give me your sword.” Iris gave it to Zoe who immediately handed it to Katie. “Minas came to us just a few years ago, but she has learned quickly.” Minas was one of those women who were much too big and strong to ever play the helpless role.
“But I have never held a sword before,” Katie admitted and felt good that she knew which end to hold.
“Then this should be fun,” Minas said, and she drew her own sword, and smiled. Katie felt cornered as Minas made three quick swings. Katie backed up and parried, but on the third, a backstroke, Katie lost her grip and her sword crashed to the floor and slid well out of her reach.
Minas hesitated until Zoe said, “Finish it.” She moved in, but Katie dropped to the floor and kicked Minas’ feet out from beneath. Katie at least knew Karate. As Minas stumbled, Katie rolled and grabbed her sword.
This time, Katie was the one swinging, and Minas was hard pressed to counter. Katie might have been swinging out of fear, but it seemed more than Minas could handle. In a moment, Minas was backed to one of the many posts in the room that held up the ceiling. The last stroke was hard enough to wrench Minas’ arm. She dropped her sword and grabbed her arm as if it might be dislocated.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Katie used the line she had used since she was Chloe’s age. It was the first part of her litany about how it was an accident and she was just lucky and it probably would not happen that way again in a million years. But she did not get to say it all. Zoe interrupted.
“Give Iris her sword,” Zoe ordered, and Katie did. “Here.” Zoe tossed a knife to Katie, or at her, but in any case, Katie caught the knife without being cut. “Now, Iris, kill her.”
“You heard me,” Zoe said and she squeezed Chloe’s hand to keep her out of it.
Iris was trained to the weapon since she was a baby, and this strange woman only had a knife, but Iris was wary. She circled and danced in and out at first to test Katie’s defenses Katie turned the knife back and countered every stroke, but she felt confused. It was all happening too fast to think. At once, Iris moved in for the kill, but instead of backing up as expected, Katie appeared to be waiting for this and moved in as well. That move negated Iris’ longer reach sword and made the knife the stronger weapon. Katie could have cut Iris, badly, but instead she kicked Iris in the solar plexus. Iris flew back several yards and crashed her back against one of the poles. Her sword clattered to the floor while she groaned. But then Iris was trained well. She quickly got to her knees as Katie hovered over her. Iris bowed her head in submission and spoke.
Zoe let go and Chloe ran up to hug Katie. “That was wonderful. That was magnificent, and with only a knife against a trained sword.
“But I have been trained to fight,” Katie said with a look at Zoe who shook her head.
“Iris was trained to fight since she was a baby, and trained with knives and swords, and with her hands and feet. You are an elected one, and you know it.”
“But how did you know?”
“I have known since the beginning, but I could not say anything until now. The whole idea of being elect has just begun with this generation. One in a million, and right now at Chloe’s age they may be found anywhere around the globe.” Zoe turned to Chloe. “You will become stronger as you reach maturity, but remember, finesse can beat strength if you know what you are facing. You will learn to fight.” Chloe looked excited by that idea, but Katie wondered if being an elect was such a good thing as Zoe turned to her again. “Can’t you feel it? Can’t you feel it in Chloe. Look at Iris and Minas. They are both warriors, but Chloe is different.”
Katie paused and looked at Iris. Then she looked at Minas. Finally she looked at Chloe and Zoe beside her and nodded. “I do feel it. I understand what you are saying, but I don’t feel it in me.”
“I do,” Chloe said, and her eyes got big.
Avalon 2.4: Unexpected Magic … Next Time