After 3029 BC, around the Caspian Sea. Kairos lifetime 36: Iddin-Addad
Every time Iddin-Addad reached the top of a hill, he expected to see the shoreline of the Caspian Sea stretched out in front of him in blue and deep glory. Instead, he found there was yet one more hill. “There is always another hill to climb,” he said out loud, and then scolded his tongue for mouthing the cliché.
“We are almost there,” Clicker the imp said. He always said it with the same cheery voice, and Iddin thought if he said it one more time, he might hit the imp.
Serpentelle, the hobgoblin laughed. She always laughed when the imp said it, and licked her lips with her forked tongue. Iddin thought he might have to do something about these two and their obsessive, compulsive disorders.
Iddin stopped and looked back. Whoever that group was that was following, they were still following.
“Over here,” Roland yelled. “This one is alive.”
Boston raced up and dismounted before her horse stopped moving. She rushed to Roland’s side, but said nothing as she looked. Alexis was moments behind. She arrived as the man began to moan and mumble.
“Three witches,” the man said. “No escape. Three witches.” He fell back into a semi-conscious state as Alexis came up and began to lay on hands to heal the man’s obvious wounds.
Lincoln and Lockhart rode up more slowly. They each had a string of ponies that trailed out behind their stallions. Three of the ponies had dead bodies of men carefully draped over the backs and tied underneath with old fishing net to keep them from falling off.
“Did he say anything?” Lockhart asked. He was searching for some idea of what they might be up against.
“He said something about three witches,” Boston responded. Lincoln quickly looked around. That did not sound good.
“We must be getting near the Kairos.” Lockhart tried not to grin.
“How do you figure?” Lincoln asked without moving his eyes from the horizon, what he could see of it over the hills.
“Dead bodies and witches. What could be more Kairos than that?”
Lincoln gave Lockhart a foul look, as Katie came up leading another pony. “That makes seven ponies,” she said. “But we only found four men.” She craned her neck to see what she could. “How is he?”
“He’ll live,” Alexis stood. “But I have no doubt he has a concussion and maybe some internal bleeding around the brain. He had a terrible gash there.” Alexis looked at the arrangement. “Katie, would you take Lincoln’s string of horses? I want to tie the pony you found to the back of Benjamin’s horse so we can put our wounded one on it. I want to keep an eye on him.” Katie nodded, and she and Lincoln got down to make that arrangement.
Major Decker and Elder Stow came in last and the Elder reported. “The scanner doesn’t pick up any more bodies.” He looked up. “Flesh and blood bodies.”
“There is a village not too far north along the shore,” Decker said with one more look around. “But this is a pretty desolate area.” The rises in the ground they had been traveling over were full of rocks. The horses had to tread carefully. Even the shoreline of the Caspian Sea was rocky, though those stones were rounded from the sea and the tides. “No place to hide a body here,” he concluded. There were trees here and there and some grass and bushes between the rocks, but that was it.
Lincoln got up on his horse to keep the horse steady while they got the wounded man up on the pony. They draped the man’s arms around the neck of the pony and Alexis and Roland did some magic to keep him glued there. Lincoln would not be able to move fast in any case because of the man’s wounds and head trauma, but at least they would not have to worry about the man falling off.
Roland and Boston prepared to take the point, as usual. They had seen two villages in the morning, likely fishing villages, but both were deserted. There were signs of violence, like the people were driven out in a hurry, but at least they found no bodies until now.
Lincoln and Alexis took the middle, and Alexis paralleled the pony with the wounded man. Decker and Elder Stow switched their normal sides so Decker could watch the inland flank while Elder Stow floated over the sea. Katie and Lockhart took rear guard position, still wary of what might be following them, though presently, two strings of ponies with three dead men, trailed out behind. The ponies at least seemed to be obedient animals and had not bucked much since being tied in a line.
“We ready?” Lockhart asked with a quick look around at the nods. “Wagons ho!” He waved his hand forward and spoke in a funny voice before he turned to Katie. “I always wanted to do John Wayne.”
“That wasn’t anything like John Wayne,” she scoffed. “He was a movie actor, right?”
Lockhart was astounded before he said, “We have some generational issues I see.”
“Great Gobs of Puss!” Elder Stow swore. He had not done that before. Everyone looked as three giant serpent heads rose out of the shallows. The center one snapped at the Elder and could have swallowed him in one bite. Elder Stow raced to the shore as Decker came riding up, blazing away with his rifle.
Everyone kicked their horses into high gear as Katie got out her rifle and began to fire. One snake head lunged for Alexis, but Lockhart blasted it with both barrels of his shotgun and it swerved off.
Decker and Harper put enough holes in the one on the end, it began to jerk from the concussions before it collapsed to the beach behind them. They turned on the one out front that made a snap at Alexis. Elder Stow had his sonic device out, but the sound made no difference to the snakes. He fumbled for his weapon, but before he drew it, the center snake grabbed the pony on the end of Lockhart’s string. The serpent easily lifted the pony and began to lift the whole string of ponies.
Katie dropped her rifle and grabbed her knife. She got up on her horse’s back and leapt straight toward that terrible mouth. She cut the lead and the snake head snapped back, the screaming pony in its jaw. It began to submerge.
Elder Stow had his weapon by then, but he dared not fire on the snake with the pony for fear of hitting Katie. Decker was riddling the other even as it made a try for the pony with the wounded man. Elder Stow turned and made short work of the beast when his weapon sliced through the neck. The head fell and landed inches from Alexis. Then the body fell, mostly in the sea.
There was pandemonium as the travelers struggled to restore order to their animals and the trailing ponies. Katie was banged up when she fell, but all right. The second to back pony on Lockhart’s string broke its leg when it fell. It had a body tied to it so they had to transfer the body to one of the unburdened ponies they had. They took it and tied it at the end of Lockhart’s string so he and Katie now had two each rather than three ponies trailing behind. Lockhart shot the poor pony with the broken leg, and Decker came up to Elder Stow with an observation.
“Now we can guess where the other three bodies went.”
Please forgive my haphazardness in posting these episodes. I am 70,000 words into a book. I’ve been writing for the past twelve days like a madman, and losing track of day and night, and things like posts. Episode 3.3 of the Avalon season 3 will cover six posts. M, T and W of this week, and again, M, T, and W of next week. If I lose track and miss a posting. Bear with me. I will get it up on the net.as soon as my brain starts functioning outside my current story mode. Thanks, and enjoy the episode.