Beltain. There is an image the travelers don’t want to repeat. She is rough and bawdy, but still the Kairos on the inside. She is quick to point out that Katie (the elect) and Boston (the Spell Caster) are not the ones the women are looking for to complete their Amazon council, but then I would guess the great and terrible power lurking on the horizon decided not to lurk anymore.
“What happened?” Boston shouted her question though the whining sound had subsided.
The Sybil spoke. “The other camps are in rebellion. They think we are saving the best of the meat for ourselves and not being fair in the sharing. They plan to attack us after the sunset delivery.”
“Oktapi must be warned,” Katie said as she picked up a nearby spear. All of the weapons from the future had vanished, and the travelers never noticed. What is more, their fairy weave clothing was shaped to match the local clothing, and the travelers thought nothing odd about that, either.
“Oktapi and his people can take care of themselves, but I will tell him when I meet him. We cannot count on his help or the help of his people. He would just as soon we all die, but I will ask all the same.” Beltain tipped her head to Katie. “Majesty,” she said.
“Thank you Priestess,” Katie responded before she went into queen mode. “Lockhart and Lincoln, gather the men, young and old. Lockhart take the south. Lincoln take the north. You must defend the perimeter for as long as you can, but if they break through, fall back to our line. Star, gather the women. With our smaller numbers we will hold the reserve post.”
“The women are not going to like that,” Star admitted. She already had her bow off her shoulder and an arrow in her hand.
“The decision has been made,” Katie said in a voice which also said she did not care if the women liked it or not. “Our place is to defend the children and the fut… fut…”
“Future.” Old woman Hannah said it because Katie seemed to have trouble with the word.
“Hannah.” Katie turned to the woman. “Gather the rest of the women in the center with the children. Your words and stories will have to be strong tonight to keep the children calm and safe.”
“What about me?” Boston stepped up.
“I want you in the center, but not with the children. It would be best if you could get up high enough to see the edges of the camp. I do not yet know where your power may be needed, but if you start in the west and we need you in the east it may be too late by the time you get there.”
“I will find a way,” Boston said. “But what of the healer?”
“Here I am!” A woman shouted and ran up to them.
“Alexis, you need to stay near Boston at the center. If there are wounded, we will bring them to you. If there are many, we will probably retreat to you in the center.”
“Pray to the gods there are no wounded,” Alexis said with a glance at Beltain.
“Amen,” Beltain said, though the word caused the others to start. It sounded odd.
“Move it!” Katie knew they would have to worry about that later. The sun was already touching the horizon.
Roland looked up when they sky over the camps clouded over. His good elf ears barely discerned the shrill sound through Elder Stow’s screen. He was surprised when Gnumma came to stand beside him and the carcass of the beast to look out over the darkening camps.
“The Djinn.” Gnumma named the cloud. “But what game is he playing?”
Roland could only shrug and worry about Boston and his friends. The greatness of the Genii prevented him from knowing anything for certain and the power was almost unimaginable. “This one is as close to being one of the gods as a greater spirit can get.”
“We will find out soon enough,” Gnumma said and walked away again so Roland could finish his grisly work.
Roland got a steak sizzling on the stone Elder Stow heated with his sonic device. He was not much of a meat eater and neither was the Gott-Druk. He imagined the gnome was a strict vegetarian, but they had to eat something and the Elder was also not a big fan of elf crackers.
“I guess the Djin has no interest in us,” Roland said at last to make conversation. The gnome was altogether too quiet and Elder Stow seemed glued to looking at his screen device.
“An elf, a gnome and an old one? What would he want with us?”
“Hey! I’m not that old.” Elder Stow objected but never looked up.
“Okay,” Roland surrendered. “What is so fascinating about your screening device.”
“Eh?” The Gott-Druk looked up briefly before he looked again at the box. “Something came through the screen some time ago. I have been tracking it.”
“What? Where?” Roland stood and Gnumma sat up straight and looked around.
“Right here.” They heard the voice before they saw Mingus walk into the light.
Mingus came to sit and spoke right up. “I would not say the djin is disinterested in us, exactly. He covered all the camps but just did not bother to stretch it out this far. I was almost taken. Only my mind magic allowed me to hold out until I was out from under.”
“Alexis?” Roland asked right away.
“Completely taken. She thinks she is an Amazon healer, of all things.”
“Katie Harper is an elect,” Roland said to catch his father up with more recent events. “And Boston has shown some magical ability.”
“Really? Katie doesn’t surprise me. I thought there was something about her. But who would have thought that frivolous little red-head would ever amount to anything.”
“Father! Boston is the most brilliant, beautiful and capable person I know.” Roland was miffed. Mingus rubbed his chin.
“So it has gone that far already,” he said.
“Elder Stow,” The Gott-Druk introduced himself again and nodded his head. “Yes it has, and I say that as a disinterested outsider.” The elder stared at Mingus because of what happened the last time they met, but he said nothing so Mingus said nothing.
Gnumma was obviously not following much of the conversation, primarily because his mind seemed focused elsewhere. “I wonder what is happening in the camps,” he interjected.
Every head turned though they could hardly see through the encroaching dark. Mingus picked up the tale.
“Well, as I understand it they have a huntress, a wise woman and a Sybil already. It was the Sybil that found us and saw right through my glamours. Now with an elect to be their queen, a woman of magic and poor Alexis as their healer, they have the foundation for a real Amazon tribe.” It was hard to tell, but Mingus appeared to not think much of Amazon tribes.
“All they need is a priestess,” Roland said.
“Beltain.” Mingus and Gnumma both spoke at once.
“The Kairos? How can the Kairos be taken in by the spell?”
Mingus got fatherly. “Son, the Kairos in this life is simply a human being like any other. As such, she is subject to the full limitations of the breed.”
“She is mere mud and blood.” Gnumma gently stroked his beard.
“Then we need to save her.” Roland got excited again.
“I have already discussed this with Oktapi. Yours is mind magic?”
Mingus nodded slowly. “I have some skill, but nothing to counter the power of the Djin.”
“But with my help and your son. Let me tell you what I was thinking which I did not share with Oktapi.”
Avalon 2.7: The Trenches … Next Time