Tiamut is dead. Osiris is in the coffin headed back to Egypt. Assur and Marduk are present, very young and inclined to argue without Eliyawe’s intervention. It was an interesting lunch, but now it is time to retrieve their friends.
They left the horses with the Nymphs to guard them and walked across the field. There were boulders scattered around the base of a hill, and a cave a short way up the hillside. Roland reported that they were in the cave.
Roland and Boston walked carefully toward one of the boulders, uncertain as to what to expect. Marduk and Assur came a step behind them with their eyes wide. Lockhart knew of no way to confront whoever they might be except directly. Captain Decker spoke first.
“Lieutenant Harper,” he said, and Katie looked up. Decker signaled with one hand and Katie nodded.
“What language was that?” Lockhart asked.
Katie smiled for him, then spoke with a straight face. “Marine language.” The two marines separated and went to where they could draw a bead on the cave, each from a different angle. Lockhart kept Lincoln with him to prevent the man from running out or doing something stupid.
Eliyawe, Elias, Jonas and Atonas walked up in the open. They figured they were out of bowshot range, so they did not worry. They were talking and laughing and having a good time. They only paused when Lockhart stood and shouted toward the cave.
The answer came back at once. “I’m here, Robert.” Lockhart stepped on Lincoln’s foot so he would not go running out.
“You get one chance,” Lockhart shouted. “Return Alexis unharmed and we will let you live.”
They were answered with gunfire. They had Alexis’ pistol. Lockhart took the first in his shoulder. Eliyawe swore and shoved Atonas and Jonas behind a boulder. Elias followed as Eliyawe called out and her clothes were instantly replaced with fine chain armor over leather. The suit came complete with boots to the knees, gloves to the elbows, a long white cape that fluttered in the wind and a helmet that made the face hard to see. She had weapons at her back, including a long sword.
“Hey,” Elias said. “You got your sword back.”
“What, this old thing?” It was not Eliyawe’s voice. “Zoe,” the woman gave her name as she stepped out from behind the boulder. Three bullets came straight to her, but they did not appear to touch her. Zoe lifted her hand and the pistol came flying out of the cave and landed in her hand. Then something else came from the cave. It was dark and faceless and looked like strips of black cloth flying in the wind. It was a wraith, and Zoe shouted to Boston.
“Little Fire, make a lasso.”
“Rodeo queen, make a lasso from your fire.”
A whole bunch of western, rodeo images flashed through Boston’s mind, but she was not sure she could make a lasso from fire. She looked at Roland and heard a sound over her shoulder.
“Eee-ha!” It was Marduk, dressed in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, and he was twirling a lasso of light and shouting. He caught the wraith by the head and yanked it to the ground.
“Hog tie it,” Boston yelled, and Assur flew forward while Marduk kept the rope taught, and in the blink of an eye had the wraith tied, arms behind and one foot with them. He even stood and raised his arms. Too bad there was no crowd to cheer. Boston applauded and Roland joined her.
Meanwhile, Zoe stepped up to the cave. The giant was just inside the light, afraid to come out. It was not connected to the Masters, but a useful tool. Zoe knew this one was not entirely a fool, just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Several arrows came in her direction, but never touched her as she thought things through.
Alexis was not beaten badly, and through use of her magic and her fairy weave, which covered her again every time a piece was taken off her, she was not raped. Zoe waved her hand and the frightened giant became a little person, just three and a half feet tall. He vanished from the cave entrance and appeared in the midst of Jonas, Atonas and Elias who sat on him to keep him quiet.
“Alexis!” Lincoln came running up at that point. Lockhart could not hold him. Katie had abandoned her post and was presently holding Lockhart up and they were watching the Gaian chits in his system push the bullet out of the wound. It fell to the dirt and the wound began to close up and heal.
“Benjamin!” Alexis shouted back. There were two men determined to carry out the rape, but Zoe got there first and brought Lincoln along. He and Alexis hugged and kissed while the Queen of the Amazon pantheon get very angry, again. Zoe made sure those two men would never rape anyone again, ever. Then she waved her hand again and all six men and three women were tied like the wraith.
It was Eliyawe who shouted from the cave entrance. Zoe was still too angry. “You can come up now. Alexis is alright. No Mingus. Lockhart?”
“Here,” Katie answered. “We are fine.”
“What are we supposed to do with this little one?” Elias yelled.
“Stay where you are for now,” Eliyawe answered.
Elias looked at the little one he was sitting on. “You heard my wife. I try not to argue with my wife.”
“Wise,” Jonas said and Atonas nodded.
“Get off me, you elephant,” the former giant complained.
“Boys, bring the wraith.”
“Yes, Mam. Glad to oblige. Shuckins, ‘twern’t nothing.””
Lincoln walked a weeping Alexis out of the cave. She had enough fairy weave left to cover her private parts and her breasts, but that was it. Roland and Boston met her at the cave entrance and Roland handed back all the fairy weave cloth he picked up along the trail. It merged back into the rest of her cloth and quickly formed a proper dress and shoes. And the twins only whistled once as they marched by with the screaming wraith in tow. The wraith was not hurt or mad at being tied. It was screaming because it realized just who had tied it and the wrath of the gods was a terrible thing to behold, even in those two.
“Toss her in here,” Eliyawe said. “Now make sure they are all tied tight.” She took Marduk’s and Assur’s hands and changed to Junior. They were in the dark where no one would see them. He left a message from the three of them when the signal he set up was followed by the gods of El’s court. “These serve the Masters, not you. If they are left to live, they will try some new horror. We leave them for your pleasure to do with them as you will.”
Then Eliyawe returned and brought the boys back out into the light. They were looking at her with wide eyes.
“That was amazing, how you did that.”
“That was so sophisticated.”
“Hush,” Eliyawe quieted them. “We have about three or four days before the LSD is fully broken down and the gods should awake, and we have a long way to go to reach Egypt. Seal the cave, but leave a small air pocket so they don’t suffocate.”
“Really? Can we? Is it okay? Yeee-ha!”
“Boys,” Eliyawe rolled her eyes and grinned at Boston and Alexis as they all ran down the hill to the safety of the plains. The earth began to shake, and all at once the front of the cave collapsed. It formed a perfect seal with only a small hole here and there for air.
Avalon 2.10: Loose Ends … Next Time