After 3440 BC in the Ukraine. Kairos life 29: Flern
Flern felt cold hands on the back of her neck. She shrieked and jumped. Thrud looked up from her cooking and laughed. Vinnu, who was leaning back comfortably in Big Gunder’s arms while he leaned against a tree hid her smile. The boys, Gunder and Kiren knew better than to smile at all, much as they might have liked. Flern frowned, but as she looked up, Kined bent down and kissed her. That was fine. She was suddenly not mad anymore. Flern and Kined had been married for almost a whole month.
“Where is Vilder?” Kined asked as he grabbed the seat next to his wife. Flern took his hand and smiled at her own thoughts.
“He took Pinn past the trees to the little beach on the river,” Kiren said as he patted Thrud’s butt gently to move her over in order to snitch a pinch of the deer to taste test.
“It’s not done yet,” Thrud protested.
“Seems we need to throw a bucket of water on those two,” Gunder spoke up while Vinnu squirmed into a more comfortable position in his arms.
“The river is cold,” Kined suggested, but with a look at Flern he verbalized, “The Danube,” before he finished his thought. “Maybe we could throw them in.”
“You’re talking about Vilder and Pinn?” Vinnu was half-listening as usual. No one answered her.
“So where are Riah and Goldenwing?” Kiren asked as he retook his seat to wait for the deer to be done. Flern said nothing. She merely looked at Kined, let go of his hand, took his arm and inched up close beside him. Kined tried to look serious.
“Let me see.” He concentrated despite Flern’s attempt to tickle him.
Thrud spoke an aside to Vinnu. “Riah and Goldenwing might as well pair off, too.”
“But we are all married, not just paired off,” Vinnu responded, not quite sure what Thrud was suggesting, but by then Thrud eyed Flern who ignored her friend to focus on her husband.
“Er!” Kined started to speak but first he had to peal Flern’s free hand off his knee. “Riah and Goldenwing went out to hunt and scout ahead for when we leave in the morning. They are – wait. What?” Kined jumped up and shoved Flern to the ground in the process. Flern let out a shout of protest even as an arrow struck Kined in the thigh. Kiren jumped up and Gunder deposited Vinnu on her rump in the grass as he leapt to help.
Goldenwing the fairy zoomed up and got big so the others would be protected behind him and his golden armor. “To the river!” he shouted as a second arrow hit the log Flern and Kined had been using as a seat. Goldenwing pulled his bow from some invisible pocket, but Riah already had hers out and the elf maid was coming on faster than any human could possibly run. She let two arrows fly in the span of a single breath and a grass carpet out in the open field began to rise before it fell back to the dirt to never move again.
“To the woods by the river,” Goldenwing shouted again as he readied his bow and Riah came up huffing and puffing from her run. She was elf fast, but she was not fairy fast.
“Kined!” Flern yelled her concern as Gunder and Kiren helped Kined walk to the river. She stuck her head up, but there was another arrow. It fell short, but Flern put her head right back down. This time Riah and Goldenwing shot together and another grass rug stopped moving.
“Now.” Riah nudged Flern with her foot, but everyone paused when they heard the sound of thunder coming on fast. Flern stood, but someone stood in front of her. It was Vrya, the Aesgard goddess of love and war.
“My son,” Vrya said and touched Flern’s face gently. “Even when you are my daughter.” The goddess smiled and another figure appeared.
“I don’t belong here,” Artemis said. “I just came to tell you if you have to escape across the river I could maybe help.”
“I invite you,” Vrya also smiled for the Olympian. “As my sister among the Amazon, you are welcome to kill as many of these men as you wish.” And with that word more than a hundred horsemen came into view, in a full charge. Goldenwing and Riah could only stare in awe as the two goddesses looked at each other before they let loose a virtual rain of arrows on the oncoming horsemen. It was only moments before those horses turned toward a distant rise they could hide behind. They abandoned their dead and wounded as they rode for their lives.
The goddesses stopped firing at once and their bows disappeared as they turned toward Flern. Vrya slipped one arm around Flern’s shoulder and Artemis slipped her arm over from the other side. In this way, the goddesses turned Flern toward the river and spoke as they walked. Goldenwing, fairy small again sat on Riah’s shoulder and they followed. The cooking fire with the deer still cooking away also followed them to the riverbank.
“I shouldn’t be here,” Vrya said.
“I really shouldn’t be here,” Artemis repeated herself with a nod.
“But maybe if these Jaccar think we are still here, they won’t try another charge.”
“I can’t speak for the ones in the grass.” Artemis glanced around. It was all grasslands apart from the trees that lined the riverbank. The three wagons that carried the bronze making equipment and bronze weapons that Flern and her friends were trying to get home to liberate their village from these very Jaccar sat idle in the grass. All of the horses Flern and her crew rode and with which they pulled the wagons also grazed essentially undisturbed by what just happened.
“Of course,” Vrya spoke again as they stepped behind the trees. “Since I am not really here, you will have to find your own way out of this mess.” She kissed Flern on the cheek and vanished.
Artemis turned to face Flern. “Sorry about your man getting shot. Probably another reason why I don’t want one.” Artemis smiled for Flern like it was some kind of inside joke. “But seriously, if you decide to cross the river, I will help.”
Flern looked back across the grass toward the rise that hid the Jaccar. “It may come to that, but first I have to do everything I can to keep the bronze from falling into Jaccar hands. They are a terror with stone and copper. With bronze they would be unstoppable.”
Artemis merely nodded and planted her own more tentative kiss on Flern’s cheek before she vanished as well.
Flern paused and looked around. She was at the bottom of the four foot river bank beneath the trees. The deer was still cooking at the top of the bank, above her shoulder in a slight clearing among the woods that she never noticed before. Kined grinned for her though his pain and the others all looked at her, including Vilder and Pinn who had obviously dressed quickly. Flern frowned again.
“Okay,” she said. “How do we get out of this one and keep the bronze out of Jaccar hands?” That was all she could say before she stepped over to Kined to hug him and cry all over him.
Avalon 2.9: Dead and Wounded … Next Time