It seems the imps and elves, goblins and dwarfs are all on the march to rescue Flern and her company. That doesn’t get rid of a hundred Jaccar warriors, but it does make a big difference on which side has the advantage.
Katie and Lockhart sat quietly side by side and looked out over the grass as the sun rose behind them and a bit off to their right hand. “Late fall.” She took a big whiff of air and Lockhart nodded.
Goldenwing was asleep, up in his tree branch. Riah was also asleep beside her lady. Roland slept at last when it was clear Boston was going to make a full recovery. Decker slept fitfully, as did Lincoln. Lincoln was probably dreaming about his missing wife, Alexis. They could not imagine what Decker was dreaming about after five hundred years in stasis. Elder Stow appeared asleep, but it was sometimes hard for the humans to honestly judge the Gott-Druk. The gnomes, all on the far side of the horses, snored, and some loudly. They might be good help with the horses, but not worth much on guard duty.
It was up to Lockhart and Katie in the early morning, but all that changed in a second when they heard a sound with which they were all too familiar.
“Bokarus.” Lockhart mouthed the word even as people jumped to their feet.
The Bokarus came screaming toward them, flying in his horrendous, ghostly form. Vinnu screamed and this time Gunder appeared to want to join her. But the Bokarus merely buzzed them and continued out over the river.
“To the high ground!” Roland shouted and others echoed the words. Roland carried Boston to the top of the riverbank and then returned to help Flern and Riah carry Kined. The rest were on their own.
“Get up,” Lockhart yelled as he grabed Vilder’s hand, pulled and reached again for Pinn. Everyone scrambled when the bokarus came again and brought a great wave of the river with him. He shot out over the grassy field and began to circle around the field, faster and faster.
Thrud, who was a bit slow in the morning was soaked, but at least no one was damaged by the water, or dragged under. Katie, Riah and Flern stood side by side and wondered what the bokarus was doing.
“The wind created by that flying pest is almost a tornado,” Captain Decker said as he checked his rifle just in case the bokarus should solidify for a moment. Lincoln could only nod, and he actually wished his father-in-law was there to strike the creature with a fireball.
The grass beneath the bokarus bent and broke, and some of it began to rise up in sheets. It took a second to realize why the sheets.
“Jaccar!” Lockhart shouted. The bokarus had removed their camouflage and likely undid an entire night of inching closer and closer. The ones exposed that were still across the way turned and ran back to the rise and the Jaccar camp. But the ones near imagined no alternative but to pull their knives and attack. Guns went off. The Jaccar fell. The last one was hit with an arrow from Riah even as Lockhart pulled the trigger on his shotgun. Then it was over and the bokarus was nowhere to be seen.
“It did us a favor?” Katie asked, confusion in her eyes.
“No,” Lockhart shook his head. “It just did not want to Jaccar to get its prey.”
Katie looked at Riah and then Roland, and Roland responded and pointed at Lockhart, “What he said.”
“Lockhart. I promise I will do something about that bokarus just as soon as I can,” Flern said, and Riah, Goldenwing and Pigot, who had just come tumbling up, all gasped. The gods never made promises. Roland just nodded and smiled. This Kairos was fully human and as unpredictable as ever.
“Lockhart. How are we going to get out of this?” Lincoln asked with some exasperation in his voice. “There are still eighty or more over there. Eventually they will figure some way to get at us.”
“Yes,” Elder Stow said, but he sounded a bit put off. “How are we going to get out of this?”
Lockhart had no ready answer, but that was fine because he disappeared from that spot and immediately reappeared on the rise overlooking the Jaccar camp. There was a man there, crooked to look at, and he did not appear to be happy. Lockhart had learned from past experience about unhappy gods. He thought it best to hold his tongue.
“You cheat.” The god spit at him with his words. “You killed twenty and none has gotten close enough to touch you but for that red headed witch. And you healed her with more witchery. You cheat.”
Lockhart said nothing.
“Too bad I can’t deal with you like I want. The others have set a hedge around you and your group, even the elder among you. And I can’t touch the Kai-gross either, nor any of hers. It isn’t fair.”
Lockhart looked down on the Jaccar camp. The Jaccar did not seem to be aware that anyone was on the hill. The god followed Lockhart’s eyes down the hill and frowned before he waved his hand and all the Jaccar and their horses disappeared. “She will get her whole army killed before the battle even starts if I let her. The Traveler may be her undoing and I will not be able to help her out.” The crooked god ground his teeth. “I suggest you leave before I think of a way to ruin your life.” And he vanished while Lockhart turned and made the slow walk back to the others on the beach.
They stayed one more day with Flern, to see Kined and Boston fully recovered. “No Boston,” Flern said. “Those healing chits were not designed for your specific genetic signature. They will die out soon enough and you haven’t the means to grow more. Besides, they were specifically programmed so they might not do you any good except against maybe another poison arrow in the next few days.”
“Let us hope we won’t have to test it,” Roland added.
“And you won’t tell me?” Katie looked at Lockhart, but he shook his head.
“Just one of the gods.” That was all he ever said. “It is hard to know sometimes. I can see that now. Some things the Kairos just has to find out for himself.”
It was not until they were a half-day away, headed toward the next time gate that Lockhart finally relented.”
“Let’s just say he is a god and he has an army.”
Katie had to think before her eyes lit up. “Ah! Too bad we don’t have a Hulk.”
The next time zone finds poison everywhere – the kind that causes temporary insanity, and it is in the water. The days are hot and sweaty, and the travelers don’t have much clean water, but somehow they have to find the Kairos and hope she isn’t under the influence, and if she is, they have to hope there isn’t the usual crisis looming.
Avalon 2.10: Born To Be Wild … Next Time