After 3675 BC , The Northeastern U. S. woodlands. Kairos life 25: Huyana
“Where are we?” Boston asked again.
Lincoln could only shrug. “My guess is somewhere between Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia. The database is not exactly clear.”
“Smells like upstate New York,” Roland said.
“As good a guess as any,” Lincoln responded.
“How do you figure?” Boston asked.
“I can smell the fall foliage, and the recent man-made campfires. Smells like man-made global warming to me.” He was kidding.
“I had an earth science class in college,” Boston said. “I remember there was a kid who answered man-made global warming for every question. The sad thing was he got a B.”
“The sad thing is earth science and global warming for that matter are impossible to calculate without knowing how the actions of all the little spirits of the earth connect to it all.”
“How do you figure?”
“That is the one we are looking for,” Lincoln interrupted from behind. “Another woman if you were wondering.”
“She is also sometimes called Mojave,” Roland ignored the interruption.
“Yes,” Lincoln started to speak, but with a look from Roland he shut off the database and put it away. Then Roland began.
“Father would know this story well, but as I remember it, she was an unruly and not exactly popular child.”
“Always picked last for the team?”
“Yes, well, she wanted the power to get even, and by the time she became a teenager, she found out she did have power over the little spirits of the earth. She was suffering. They call it dementia, and in a fit of teenage pique one day she called all of her little ones to come to her. The gods prevented most of them, but the ones that were near could not resist or be prevented. Suddenly a whole swath of plains was depopulated and despoiled. Without the Little Ones to tend it, it all rotted.”
“Don’t tell me. The Mojave Desert.”
“Actually, yes. They say it was Maya, the Corn Woman who healed her as well as she could be healed. Huyana realized what she had done and regretted it, but it was too late for many in her own village. They had to move, and quickly to survive, and Huyana was exiled. She wandered some five years, slowly going East and North. She may have been looking for the Amazon lands in the East, now that I consider the last time zone. Some think that might have been the case. But for whatever reason, she finally settled in the woodlands of the northeast, and that is where we are.”
“This is a good place for lunch,” Lockhart spoke up from behind, and the group that had been listening to Roland paused to look around. They were in a clearing in the forest where a circle of stones was already set for a fire. A clear, bubbling stream wandered by just down a little slope from the camp.
“Good choice,” Katie dismounted and wandered up to look at the ashes in the fireplace. She met Roland there who wanted to estimate how long ago people camped there.
“Three days,” he decided. “Not Alexis,” he added for Lincoln who was just getting down.
Elder Stow got down with a groan. “I will never get used to riding on the back of that beast,” he said. “I am thinking I will end up bow-legged and looking like a gorilla.” The others did not have the heart to tell the Neanderthal he already looked something like a gorilla, certainly more gorilla-like than an ordinary human.
The travelers gathered around the circle of stones for a moment of pleasant conversation when a dozen men dropped down out of the trees, spears in hand. Roland and Katie started to jump to the defense, but Lockhart grabbed each by an arm. “No reason anyone should get hurt,” he said. “Let us see what they want.”
The warriors or hunters, unpainted, went straight for the horses and pulled all the rifles. “They seem to know something,” Lincoln remarked.
“Father,” Roland said. “He has great mind magic as witnessed by the fact he has kept Alexis enchanted for so long. I would guess Zoe successfully delayed him from exiting her world and he imagined we were getting too close.”
One man stepped up to the elf and sneered. “Not you,” he said. “You can go. Tell the witch of the woods we have no quarrel with her.”
“Hey, Tumak, do you think these animals will be good to eat?”
Roland stepped to the horses and spoke to the man. “Touch one animal and I will see you haunted until you go mad and eat your own children.” He quickly tied the horses in a line, using the rope from Decker’s bag. Then he mounted and trotted off with a word to the group, in English. “I will find you. Boston, don’t be afraid of the magic inside you. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Boston said even as the men poked their spears in the traveler’s direction and told them to move.
The men had tied their hands behind with vines and now pushed them forward. “We still have our pistols,” Katie pointed out, though they were hardly worth much with their hands tied.
“I think Mingus wanted to delay us, not harm us,” Lockhart suggested. He got a slap in his back with the butt end of a spear for speaking. Katie turned.
“Do that again and I will hurt you,” she told the man. The man paused. He clearly saw something in Katie’s eyes.
“No more!” The head man shouted. “Let them walk. The Shaman will decide.”
There was silence all around for a long mile. Finally, Boston edged up toward the front.
“Tumak?” Boston guessed the speaker was the leader of this hunting group and the man confirmed her guess when he turned his head to look at her. “Your Shaman is a man of power?” A year ago, Boston never would have asked such a question. Even a month ago after seeing fairy magic and the magic of the little ones, she might not have asked. But now that she had seen some small power in herself, she knew ordinary humans were not immune. There really were witches in the old world, so she asked.
“Ogalalo is a mighty man,” Tumak confirmed. “He can do things, magic things beyond your dreaming, young doe.”
“I am not such a young doe, but I have been called Little Fire,” Boston responded. The man looked again.
“So I see.” He eyed her red hair, a color he surely never saw before.
“Yes, and I advise caution. You don’t want to get burned.”
“Keep moving,” the man beside her said, and Boston quieted.
Avalon 2.5: Camp du Jour … Next Time