Avalon 2.6: Underground

            So, while the main group of travelers are in the wild being attacked by the enemy, Boston has been captured by what she hopes are friendly folk, even if they are goblins, and a troll.

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            “Now missy, we won’t hurt you, much.” One of the goblins spoke to Boston when her feet were safely on the ground.

            “That works out well,” Boston said and hoped her voice remained on an even keel.  She did not need to show the fear she was feeling.  “Because I have no intention of hurting you either.”

            “Hey chief,” a goblin spoke up.  “She is not afraid of us.”  The goblins all scratched their heads.  This was not the usual response from outsider humans and they were not sure how to take it.

            “Shredder,” the chief goblin called and the troll moved to the front.  Boston most certainly would have blanched at that, but something else caught her attention across the field so she did not have to look at the troll directly.

            “You expecting company?” she asked and pointed.  The goblins and troll all looked and the chief shouted.

            “Traitors!”

            Of course that got the attention of the traitors who immediately turned and attacked.  Boston pulled out her pistol and killed or wounded three of the enemy before the two sides met.  After that she dared not interfere because she thought she could tell the difference between the goblins and their distorted images in the enemy, but she could not be sure.  One horribly distorted looking creature broke through to attack her.  She was sure of that one and three bullets made short work of the beast, but then she had to wait for the fighting to be over, and only hoped her goblins won.

            Boston held Honey and patted his nose to keep him calm while the six goblins and one troll survivor of the attack came to fetch her.  “We have to get underground,” the chief said.

            “Going to have to back fill the tunnel now that they found it,” one goblin said.

            “How did they find it?”  the troll asked.

            “No telling,” a goblin answered as he lifted a bush to reveal a dark hole.

            Boston stopped and faced the darkness.  She held out her palm and tried to make a light again.  It was a meager thing, but she was not going into the dark with goblins and a troll even if they were on her side.

            “Save your little magic,” the chief said.  He reached inside and grabbed a torch, which Boston noticed was smokeless.  Several of the others also grabbed torches and they provided plenty of light.

            “That banger did not look like little magic to me,” one of the goblins said as they started down the tunnel.

            “No wonder she wasn’t afraid of us.” Another pointed his finger and said, “Bang!” 

            “Credit for four kills. ” The chief stroked his chin.  “That is impressive.”

            “Hey!  What is she doing now?   Why, she is crying.”  Boston was crying because she did not like killing things, even distorted wicked things.  Several of the goblins showed surprising sympathy.

            “We better watch this one, she’s tricky,” the chief said, but to be sure, Boston was also crying because she was exhausted.  They walked in silence for what seemed to her like forever, but finally they came out of the tunnels and into a tremendous cavern, one where she could not take in all the walls and where stalactites and stalagmites met in the middle and appeared like pillars holding up a great ceiling

            Honey followed the whole way though the tunnels, content as long as he was following Boston.  When they got to the big cavern, however, there were too many strangers and too much noise in that closed in space.  He balked and would not move forward until several of the smaller little ones came up and began to speak to him.  Curiously, it looked to Boston that he could understand what they were saying.  Equally curious was the fact that she could not, but she imagined talking to animals was not on the Kairos’ translation program.  As far as she was concerned, everyone else was speaking English, unless she deliberately thought about it.

            “Little Witch,” the goblins were anxious to keep moving.  No doubt they had to report in.

            “Give him some oats if you have any,” Boston said, not the least concerned that these little ones might have in mind to eat her horse.  There was something about them she trusted, and apparently Honey did as well.

            “And a good rub and rest,” one of the little ones spoke.  “We care for horses, even in the wild.  We know our business.”

            Boston nodded.  She was too tired to speak again.  She grabbed her pack and followed the goblins.  They were really dark elves, she reminded herself.  It all depended on how she looked at it, and for her, looking at them as dark elves was better than goblins.

            The huge cavern room was full of different species, and plenty of humans as well.  Boston saw human children running around within reach of an ogre’s arms and no one said anything.  The human families were obviously seeking shelter from the war and devastation above.  This underground life was not the best option, but better than the no option they would have above.

            “How long has this war been going on?” Boston asked.  She saw dwarfs bring in straw from some tunnel.  Fairies fluttered over to strike the straw with their wands.  The straw took shape, something like a bed and that was carried off by elves for distribution to the people.

            “More than a year,” the chief dark elf answered.  “Things are beginning to get hard, and the food a bit thin.”

            “Why have the gods permitted this?” 

            “Which ones?  There are four different claims on this land, well, three, but Domnu is the only one so far willing to take it by force if she can.”

            “Well three?”

            “Yes, The gods across the Mediterranean have no claim this far north, but the Kairos has hope that his mother may yet persuade some of those at Karnak to join the effort against the titans across the channel.”

            Which three?”

            “Aesgard, Olympus and Domnu who claims the throne of Vanheim even if everyone knows it is not hers to claim.”

            “I see,” Boston said as the chief goblin stepped aside.  They had arrived at a room off the main cavern.  There was a man who recognized her immediately.

            “Boston?”

            Boston said nothing, but went straight to hug the two women who stood at each side of the man.  She hugged KimKeri gently because KimKeri was very pregnant.  She fell into AhnYani’s arms and spoke.  “Roland, Katie, Lockhart and Lincoln are lost.  I got separated in the snow storm.  Elder Stow went invisible, and I don’t know where he went.  Please help.”

            KimKeri spoke to the man in the middle.  “Not before daylight,” she said as another woman appeared in the room and took Boston right from AhnYani’s arms.  She lifted Boston in her arms like a mother might cradle a baby.

            “We will get them come sunrise.  Don’t worry.”

            Boston squinted.  “Artemis?”  She had never been held by a real, full blood goddess before.

            Artemis smiled.  “Can’t have my little Amazon wall maker dying of exhaustion.”  She kissed Boston on the forehead and Boston immediately fell into the first truly relaxing and restful sleep she had since leaving the castle of Avalon.

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Avalon 2.6:  Escape and Discovery … Next Time

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