Lincoln has great hopes of finding his wife, Alexis, and Roland has equally high hopes of finding both her, and their father Mingus, but the place where they expected to find them turned out to be a ruined camp. They determined from the lack of bodies that they are likely still alive, they have been taken by someone, but they are on foot. The travelers believe it should not be too hard to catch them on horseback. What they will find as to who took them is the question.
The travelers followed the trail as far as they could into the night, but eventually had to pitch a light camp, eat, and give their horses a rest. They were up with the sun and moving again, headed to the north and west toward Lebanon and the coast
Decker took the flank. Lincoln and Elder Stow stayed in the middle as usual, with Lockhart and Katie watching all of their backs. Roland and Boston, and that meant Atonas who knew something about the land were out front. Roland, to be sure they stayed on course, and Boston, to be sure they did not get too far off course as far as the next time gate was concerned,
Every now and then Roland would ride ahead to a place where he could stop and check the signs of passage. Once, he came back to Boston and whispered. “They are not alone.” Boston looked up and he explained. “I don’t want to say anything yet because I am not certain, but they are traveling with a ghoul, perhaps, or a wraith and a giant, I would guess about ten feet tall.”
Boston nodded and looked back to be sure the others did not hear. Atonis spoke up.
“I knew a giant once,” Atonas spoke loud and clear. “Not an Amalakite. I have to say that back home because everyone in Caana hears giant and automatically thinks Amalakite.”
Boston rolled her eyes. Lincoln, Katie and Lockhart were all staring at her. “Roland thinks they may have a giant with them. Not confirmed.”
“Yes, he was taller than me on this beast. Nice fellow. Drank too much.”
“Thank you for your insight,” Lincoln quipped from behind and did nothing to disguise the sarcasm.
“Glad to help,” Atonas responded. “Of course you have to be careful with giants. Some are quite bright, but even the dumb ones can be very clever. Not a good idea to make them mad either.”
Lincoln joined Boston in eye rolling. Elder Stow found the whole thing quite amusing.
“Hold up.” Decker rode in from the flank and the party stopped moving to hear the news. “People approaching. Four men and five women, and they have a box with them that looks like a coffin.”
Katie got out her rifle. Lincoln, Boston and Lockhart all checked their side arms. They started forward again at a slow walk until Decker had them dismount at the base of a ridge which was barely more than a long lump in the ground. There were trees where they tied off the horses, still afraid the horses might wander to the nearest stream. Roland and Boston agreed to watch the horses while the rest climbed the ridge to have a look.
“No Alexis or Mingus,” Elder Stow stated the obvious.
“No giant or other spookies either,” Katie added as she handed her binoculars to an overly anxious Lincoln.
“A strange crew,” Decker said. The casket was floating along without anyone touching it. Even the telekinetic Shemsu needed to raise their hands and focus on such an object to move it. But here, four rather scantily clad women merely walked at each of the four corners. Two young men walked side by side, and the fat one sweating like they had been walking for some time. The skinny young girl in the super short miniskirt and the other two young men, identical twins, appeared to be dancing along. The young girl was singing, though it took a few minutes before they were within range to hear the song.
“Ding, dong, the witch is dead. Which old witch? The wicked witch.”
“Eliyawe,” Katie said through her grin. It could not possibly be anyone else. Lockhart stood and waved and instantly found himself frozen in place. Everyone was frozen, including Roland, Boston and the horses who were out-of-sight.
“Marduk!” Eliyawe used her scolding voice as she huffed and puffed her way up the ridge. “Let these people go. These are friends of mine.”
“Blame me? Assur must have done it.”
“I did not,” Assur protested.
“Well it wasn’t me,” Marduk responded.
“Well it wasn’t me either.”
“Hey!” Eliyawe put her fingers to her lips and let out a shrill whistle. “Would you boys please set them free. I don’t care which one.”
Marduk and Assur looked properly scolded and the travelers could move again.
“Eliyawe!” Lockhart shouted and finished his wave before he realized what happened and Eliyawe was now in front of his face. Eliyawe played along. She took two steps back, waved and shouted.
“Lockhart!” She grinned.
The two other men then joined them, the fat one huffing and puffing. The women surrounding the casket also started up the ridge and they all noticed the women at the back levitated in order to keep the casket level.
Eliyawe immediately went into the introductions. “This strapping, handsome young man is Elias, my husband. His wild and crazy friend is Jonas.”
“Not anymore,” Jonas spoke up as he shook hands with everyone. “I have given up my wild and crazy. Eliyawe owns the wild and crazy country and I can’t compete. Sorry, Elias, but she is all yours.” He tapped his friend on the shoulder as every eye turned to stare at the young man. He was not put off.
“And she is all I want,” he said. Eliyawe shrieked and tackled him. She landed on top of him and he grinned the whole time, especially when she wiggled a little.
“They’ve been married, what, twenty days?,” Jonas said. No one else said anything, especially the women. They were too busy smiling, including Boston who climbed up from below to see what was happening.
Eliyawe turned her head and tossed it to get her hair out of her eyes. She stared at Jonas through big, brown eyes and said, “A whole month if you don’t mind.” Then she saw Boston and abandoned her husband to shout, “Boston!” And she ran to give her a hug. Then she hugged all the women. Then she kissed Lockhart on the cheek and got to Lincoln where she stopped. “Okay,” she said. “What is going on?”
“Down below,” Lockhart pointed. “We build a fire, have lunch and figure out our next move.”
“But Alexis,” Lincoln protested.
“That’s an order,” Lockhart said as he took Katie’s hand to help her down the hill, not that she needed help.
“Order? You’re resorting to orders?” Lincoln stomped past and grumbled the whole way.
“My father,” Elder Stow stepped up to Lockhart. “He should treat you with more respect.”
Lockhart looked at the Gott-Druk. “I know where his heart is. I trust him implicitly. No need to make a scene. He will get over it.”
The Gott-Druk paused to think and later was surprised to see Lockhart’s wisdom. “I did not know humans could be so wise,” he said.
Poor Atonas had to walk sandwiched between Marduk and Assur. He knew who they were even if the others did not. He was terrified to the point of being ready to wet his pants at any moment. “I think I will claim this one,” Marduk said.
“Atonas the fisherman? What, are you going to have fish in your temple every day?”
“Too bad you don’t have a temple.”
“You don’t either.”
“Neither do you.”
Avalon 2.10: Lunch and Stories … Next Time