Avalon 2.7: The Trenches

            Looks like war in the camps.  The Djin seems to have taken over the mind and will of the people to play a dangerous and deadly game.  The travelers in the camp have no will to resist, and the ones on the hill who are still in their right minds appear equally helpless.

###

            Boston and the women built a tower on which she could stand.  They made it out of upside-down wagons, a table and a chair.  It slanted a little, but it was not entirely unstable.  Boston felt safe enough to stand up on the chair, and there she watched all around as the sunlight faded into evening darkness, Alexis paced, and the old woman told stories to the gathered children.  Better than television, Boston thought, and then she wondered what television was.

            Even as the last wisps of purple left the sky, Katie came up to check their handiwork.  “We may need some light.”  She shouted up to Boston, though Boston was not that high up.

            “I was thinking that, but I see Lockhart has set some signal fires a little way into the wilderness and pulled his men well within the perimeter.  Lincoln is still setting his.  I would guess Lockhart told him what he was doing and Lincoln is copying the idea.

            “And a good idea it is,” Katie responded.  “I assume you can’t blaze like the sun for very long.”

            Boston was not sure she could blaze like the sun at all, but she said nothing.

###

            Lincoln saw them coming.  He moved all of his hunters with their bows to the front, first.  He briefly wished he had his rifle before he wondered what a rifle was.  That was okay,  they had to wait for the enemy to get close enough.

            “Ready?”  Lincoln moved down his line of archers.  “Remember, just shoot in a straight line.  They are bunched up and you will hit something.  Don’t try to pick a target at this range in the dark.  I don’t want twenty arrows in one person and none in the rest.  Aim.”  Lincoln raised his hand and paused to let the enemy inch closer before he dropped his hand and shouted, “Fire!”

            The volley was withering.  A number of men were struck with arrows and the attacking group quickly gathered their wounded and retreated. 

            Lockhart, a good man in charge of protecting the south ran into the same kind of situation – the enemy attempting to sneak up in the dark.  He dealt with it in a similar way, but this enemy raged after the first volley and attacked.  It took two more volleys to finally drive them off, and certainly some of those men that were down were dead.

            With Lockhart distracted by the attack, a third group took advantage and tried to move on them from the Southeast.  Fortunately, Boston saw from her perch and did not hesitate.  She raised her arms and groaned and shouted.  Katie, who was gifted, Alexis, who had magic of her own, and no doubt the Sybil who looked up, saw the golden power of Boston’s magic rise up into the air like a flare.  At once, Boston threw her hands forward, pointed straight at the sneaky enemy.  The Golden sparkles rushed out over the camp to that place, and the wind followed.  It was a concentrated wind blast of hurricane strength.  It picked up most of the enemy and blew them back in the direction from which they had come.  A few escaped by falling flat to the ground, but then Lockhart was alerted and men came running, so as soon as Boston’s initial blast gave out, the men on their faces jumped up and hastily retreated.

            Everyone paused to catch their breath, and in that brief silence they heard a howl.  It was one with which the travelers were familiar even if the people were not.  The bokarus in ghost form came rushing over the perimeter of the camp and brought Boston’s wind back with it.  People were knocked in every direction.  Tents were torn up by the roots.  Wagons were shaken.  A couple fell apart while several others wheeled off in whatever random direction they were pointed.

            Lockhart and Lincoln held their lines together, as did Katie at the center.  Otherwise, some might have run wild in panic.  “Alexis.  Boston.”  Katie shouted.  This creature, in ghost form, was something which she, for all her gifts could not touch.  The frustration of that ate at her.

            Alexis stomped over to the women and grabbed Star’s bow and one arrow.  She groused, “I am a healer, not a wounder.”  Her magic was much whiter than Boston’s yellow, slightly orange magic and she covered the bow and arrow with a white glow before she handed it back to the hunter.  “Star, shoot it at the bokarus when it flies overhead.  You don’t have to hit it, exactly, but the closer the better.”

            Star waited at the ready, and let the arrow fly with some lead time as a good hunter should.  Alexis had her hands together and her eyes shut tight.  The arrow missed and they thought it was laughter that came from the bokarus; but then Alexis opened her hands and opened her eyes, and the arrow exploded like a bomb on the Fourth of July. 

            The bokarus shrieked.  It felt that.  The women cheered, but then it looked like the arrow just made the bokarus mad.  It headed for the children, and Alexis was afraid some of them were young enough for the bokarus to suck out their life force without having to kill them first.  She looked up at Boston.  So did Katie, Star and the others.  Boston appeared to be staring at her finger.  She did not have a wand.  No one ever told her she needed one.  Her finger would have to do, and when she heard the children scream, she pointed that finger.

            Boston was thinking of Lockhart’s “heat ray” comments.  She did not know what a heat ray was, but she imagined herself as her Amazon name, “Little fire.”  She knew that fire consisted of light and heat, and she felt there was no reason they had to go together.  When the children screamed, a dull red beam of light came from Boston’s finger.  If she had been herself, she might have likened it to a laser beam.  It struck the bokarus in the back and this time the cry of the bokarus sounded painful.  It pulled up from the children, but Boston’s finger followed it.  It began to fly in wild directions, but still she followed.  Her finger fire set a tent aflame as she tracked the bokarus near the ground, but she caught it and stayed with it as often as not.  Finally the bokarus had enough and it streaked out across the camps and vanished in the dark in the distance, Boston hoped never to return.  It had better not.  She was used up.

            Boston sat on the chair to catch her breath.  She did not hear the cheers from the women, but she did hear the Sybil when she ran up as fast as she could.  “Lincoln,” she yelled.  “He is facing the wolfman!”

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Avalon 2.7:  Changes … Next Time

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