Avalon 2.5: Camp du jour

            Taken prisoners by a Neolithic tribe with only Roland the elf allowed to go free with their horses, the travelers wonder what awaits in the camp when they meet Ogalalo, the shaman, the one described as a man of power, and magic.

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            When they arrived in the camp, it looked purely Neolithic, a transient encampment full of wood and bones and skins and stones.  In contrast to the Amazon village, this camp had no sign of pots or metals or even agricultural activity.  This was strictly a hunter-gatherer world.  

            The men were shoved into a tent and Elder Stow immediately broke his bonds.  The Gott-Druk had extraordinary strength and no simple vines could hold him.  Then he set Lincoln and Lockhart free before they sat and waited to see what this Shaman wanted.  They were free of the vines but there were still guards posted just outside the tent, and Lockhart was reluctant to be the first to start the violence.

            “I say we check on the girls,” Lincoln argued.

            “They will be fine,” Lockhart assured him, and he hoped they were not in trouble, but he fingered his knife and imagined the back of the tent would not be too hard to slice.

            The women got a tent of their own.  Once alone, Boston pulled her hands free and stifled her excitement.  “I did it, I did it.  Magic, see?”  She held her hands up and did a little dance, though seated.

            Boston leaned over to untie Katie, but Katie said, “Wait.”  She tugged on the vines and after a second, they snapped.  “Zoe said being elect meant not just blindly accepting whatever the men decide.”

            “That sounds more Amazon.”

            “Probably,” Katie agreed.  “But part of the package is strength.  Strong as any man, she said, and frankly I am tired of hiding it.  I have been hiding it for twenty-seven years, well, twelve or thirteen years anyway.”

            “I don’t want you to hide anything,” a man said, and Boston and Katie whipped their eyes around to see Lockhart’s head sticking through a hole in the back of the tent.  He grinned at them when they heard a sound outside the tent door and Lockhart quickly withdrew and held the hole closed hoping the cut in the tent would not be noticed.

            A young man stepped into the tent and said, “Get to your feet.”  Boston and Katie got up and brushed off their clothes and the young man lifted his eyebrows at the sight.  He turned quickly to the door and shouted, “Hey!  Who cut these two free?”

            “No one,” Boston said.  “We just got tired of being tied.”

            The man showed anger on his face and grabbed Katie by the elbow.  She flat-handed the man’s chest and he flew out of the tent and landed a few feet away hard on his back, possibly with a couple of cracked ribs.  Katie felt sorry about the ribs, but she could not help her smile.  That felt wonderful.  It felt like something she always wanted to do but never let herself do in her whole life.

            The man quickly rose and held his chest as he rushed away to hide.

            The women came out of the front of the tent.  There was a young man in a wolf skin standing by the fire out front, and Boston guessed.  “Ogalalo.”

            Lockhart stepped out from behind one side of the women’s tent while Lincoln and Elder Stow came from the other side.  They flanked the women as Lockhart spoke.  “So what is it you want?”

            Ogalalo said nothing.  He stepped up and looked at each in the face.  He stopped when he came to Elder Stow and raised an eyebrow.  He spoke to the elder.

            “We have no quarrel with the elder races.  You are free to go.”  The others could hear the touch of fear that echoed in the man’s words as he looked away and returned to his place by the fire.  Lockhart repeated his question.

            “What is it you want?”

            Ogalalo simply waved his hand and Boston saw a bluish light escape from the man’s fingers.  It struck each person, and everyone froze where they were, except the Gott-Druk who was spared.  Boston got mad.  The firelight rose in her against the blue, and in a moment she was free even if her friends were still frozen.  But then she was new at this and could not control it well.  The campfire behind Ogalalo also flared and his wolf skin was set ablaze.

            “Sorry!”  Boston spoke right up.  Ogalalo looked startled for a second before he smelled the smoke.  He tore off his wolf skin and dashed it to the ground as Boston repeated, “Sorry.”

            “Little Fire,” Ogalalo said, and he did not sound unkind.  “A big fire, maybe.”  In that moment the sky darkened and the wind picked up suddenly.  There was a wail, like a banshee set loose and the leaves began to shake in the trees.  Boston, Elder Stow, Ogalalo and the people in the camp all looked up and saw a ghost-like creature that began to fly around the camp with great speed like one trying to create a tornado on a clear day.

            The people screamed and ran, some aimlessly in their panic.  Something like lightning shot from the ghost, but Boston noticed it had to become more solid to do that.  The lightning struck at several tents and those tents were set on fire.  Ogalalo lost all concentration, and Katie, Lockhart and Lincoln were slow to come around.  Boston named the creature for Ogalalo and Elder Stow who was searching for his sonic device.

            “Bokarus!  You cannot have us!”

            The bokarus zoomed up and paused to face her and the others.  The expression on that ghost face said it thought it did have them, but Ogalalo did not hesitate.  He grabbed Boston’s hand and she felt something taken out of her gut as she watched a ball of flame form in Ogalalo’s hand.  It shot at the bokarus who had to fly back quickly to avoid being hit.  The bokarus wailed again and began to circle the camp once more, but as long as Ogalalo had his hand up, the ball of flame followed the creature.  What is more, it was gaining.

            Elder Stow finally found his device and he let it rip, though the frequency was mostly above human hearing.  The dogs in the camp howled bitterly, and the bokarus made a sound like pain and rushed away.  The flame ball dissipated and Ogalalo fell to his knees, exhausted.  Boston fell with him.  She felt totally drained.  Katie was right there to hold her up and Lincoln and Lockhart helped Ogalalo back to his feet where they neglected to let go of his arms. 

            Several men came running with spears, but Lockhart put a knife to Ogalalo’s throat and threatened to cut it, so they stopped short.

            “Please,” Ogalalo begged.  “I mean you no harm.  You are free to take your things and go.”

            “It’s alright,” Boston said.  She had seen inside the man enough to know what motivated him.  He was desperately in love with a woman who did not love him in return.  All Boston could see was sadness.  She missed the cunning.  She should have remembered the wolf

            As soon as Ogalalo was set free, he stepped back and called his men to come in close.  “You brought the bokarus creature among us.  I saw how it looked at you.  If we sacrifice your lives to it, it will leave us alone.”  He was thinking like a cave man.

            “On the contrary,” Katie stood and placed Boston in Lockhart’s arms.  She stepped right up to Ogalalo’s face and was not at all worried about the ring of men with spears.  “The bokarus wants us for itself.  If you let us go, it will follow us and leave you alone.  If you kill us, you will make it mad by depriving it of its prey.”

            Ogalalo would have to think about that.  He did not get much time before a woman’s voice echoed through the camp.  “Ogalalo.  Let my friends go!”

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Avalon 2.5:  Unbroken … Next Time

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