Avalon 2.6: Splinters

            War is confusing.  Ask anyone who has been there.  It is especially bad when you think you are fighting bows and arrows and suddenly get blasted with what Lockhart called a heat ray.  Then to be saved by fighter aircraft, like from a space ship, makes the head swirl around 3550  BC.  War may be Hell, but only if you can wrap your mind around it.

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            The sun went down but there was plenty of light as the distant patches of fire became more apparent.  There was a general haze in the air and plenty of smoke and ash in the sky, but the moon was nearly full and the stars behind the haze were bright. 

            “Keep going,” Lockhart insisted.  He was not going to be satisfied until  they were completely out of that area or into the next time zone, whichever came first.

            “We should be fine if we can get beyond the fires,” Roland said and pointed off to the side.

            “Boston nodded and put the amulet back beneath her shirt.  She touched the collar of her fairy weave coat and said, “Hood, and a mask over the mouth and nose to filter out the smoke.”  The fairy weave grew and shifted to conform to the picture in her mind.  Shortly they all had such masks except Elder Stow who did not seem as bothered by the smoke in the air.

            “Can you walk a bit?”  Lockhart asked Katie and she nodded.  Her legs had been spared the rock shards.  “Dismount and walk them,” Lockhart called out and they did.  It slowed their progress considerably, but gave the horses something of a break to rest them.  It was as much of a break as Lockhart dared to give them at the moment.

            A half-hour on and they saw a smoldering ruin in their path.  When they got close, they all read the markings on the side of the craft.  It was a fighter craft called the Karrigan’s Claws.  No one asked what a Karrigan was, but they all recognized the writing as Gott-Druk.

            “It seems the magic of translation the Kairos gave us works on written words, too,” Boston remarked.  Elder Stow ran forward and Lincoln caught the reins of Captain Decker’s horse.  After rummaging around inside the craft, Elder Stow came back out and made an announcement.

            “No bodies.”

            Everyone was relieved, and did not seriously mind when the Elder insisted they search the immediate area.  Lockhart and Boston got the horses while the others went out.  Roland seemed better able to navigate the smoke and Elder Stow was motivated.  Lincoln and Katie had the marine night goggles on to complete their outfits, and though Katie walked more slowly than she might have otherwise, she insisted and carried her rifle besides.

            There were no dead or wounded to be found anywhere near the crash.  This was also good, but when they mounted again, Elder Stow asked Lincoln some pointed questions.  Lincoln had to get out the database and read up on the subject to answer.

            “At this point in history, roughly, the Balok are being overcome if they have not yet been defeated, but the Pendratti are making noises about taking over.  The Sevarese work with the Gott-Druk and the Bluebloods work with the Elenar, but they all remain allies in the struggle against the Pendratti menace.”

            “So my people and the Elenar are still allies at this point in history,” Elder Stow was searching for something.

            “Yes that’s right.”

            “So they should not be fighting each other.”

            “That’s right, why?”

            Elder Stow looked back at Lockhart and Katie.  He looked ahead to Boston and Roland, though he supposed there was nothing he could do about the elf’s good ears.  He tried to whisper, but Gott-Druk were not good at whispering in general.  Their natural habitat was small groups and family groups of the size where it was generally not good to keep secrets.

            “I believe those fighters were Elenar,” he said.

            “I see,” Lincoln nodded, and after a moment of thought he looked again at the Gott-Druk.  “So you think the ones who attacked us were your people.”

            “Humans mostly,” Elder Stow said.  “But the energy weapons were likely held in Gott-Druk hands.”

            Lincoln nodded but made no move to tell the others.  “Well,” he continued the private conversation.  “At this point in history that should not be happening.  The Gott-Druk and Elenar should be helping each other, not fighting each other.”

            “That is accurate?”  Elder Stow questioned the database.

            “The information in this database was taken from the Heart of Time itself.  That is the crystal heart that has recorded all of history since the first days of the Kairos.” 

            “But maybe not accurate concerning my people?”

            “No, as far as I know it is totally accurate.  Gott-Druk, Elenar, Agdaline or any of the other species that touch the earth at any point have a detailed description of who they are and where they fit into the overall picture of the larger universe.  I imagine Lady Alice was very thorough in that.

            Elder Stow said nothing as the clouds moved in and the little drips of snow began to pick up steam.  It was not much further before they had to go single file.  The wind picked up and began to blow the snow into their faces and they had to move forward with their eyes on the rump of the horse in front. 

            Boston dropped back to check on Katie.  She knew Lockhart’s healing chits would have him healed in short order, but Katie had no such help.  She also knew an elect had a high tolerance for pain and healed quickly, but she was worried all the same.  Boston might have found a little magic in her veins, but she was no healer like Alexis.  They had already lost Captain Decker.  They could not afford to lose Katie too.

            When they started to move single file, she found herself between Katie and Elder Stow.  Her eyes became glued to the back end of Captain Decker’s horse and did not waver.  She was not worried about their direction.  Roland had an unerring sense of direction and would keep them headed in the right direction no matter how many side steps he had to make to get around obstacles in their path.

            When they came to a corner, Elder Stow kicked his horse to a trot.  Boston stayed right with him  Katie had to hustle to keep up and turned to warn Lockhart.  Soon enough Katie saw the rear end of the horse again, walking in front, and she slowed down.  Because of the snow and ice, she did not recognize the back side of Lincoln’s horse.  Elder Stow had left the procession and unwittingly taken Boston with him.  When he touched the device on his wrist and he and his horse became invisible, Boston suddenly found herself alone in the woods.

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Avalon 2.6:  Boston in the Dark … Next Time

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