“I set the screen to the dimensions of the building,” Tara said. Three arms of zombies that were trying to reach in through the narrow windows were sliced off. They still tried to reach, grab and scratch whatever they could, but Elder Stow, who was back down from the rafters with Boston, used his own weapon to turn the arms on the dirt floor to dust.
Tara moved the knob to push the particle screen ten feet out from the edge of the building after checking the compensator to be sure the earth was not shoved out from beneath the building. The screen pushed the zombies back from the wall and the giant zombie back from the door, and the people could breathe a moment of relief.
“But I don’t imagine whoever is doing this will let the equipment continue to work for long,” Roland said.
“Of course,” Tara said. “I saw the dark in the sky.”
“No.” Katie and Alexis breathed as Alexis stepped over to where they were holding down Lord Veregoth. She was going to put him to sleep.
“The Djin?” Lockhart asked through his short breath. His arms were getting tired holding down the giant’s head.
“A big, bad genii,” one of the dwarfs said. “Bangles,” he tipped his hat.
“Blinker.” The other dwarf tipped his hat.
“Good to meet you,” Boston said, and then caused gasps from the dwarfs when she went to kiss Roland.
“Something helped me,” Alexis admitted as Veregoth went to sleep and Decker got off the giant’s chest. “It seems the Djin isn’t the only power around.”
“Probably why this equipment is working,” Tara added with a look at Elder Stow.
“Movement outside,” Katie said from the nearest window, and everyone squeezed in to look “Sky is clearing,” she added. A moment later, all the zombies collapsed. Tara was back on the floor with her eye closed. She reported what she saw.
The titan, Bhukampa was coming. “Brihaspabbi did something right for a change. I don’t know if he reported to the Brahmin, but he fetched the titan.”
“Brihaspabbi?” several people asked.
“Her husband,” Baga said.
“Separated,” Mitra added.
“Hoth!” They all heard the roar. It was deeper and more penetrating than Veregoth’s roar. As Boston said, it echoed down to the toes. Veregoth was coming around and Visana moaned before they all found themselves outside at the feet of a person who stood thirty feet tall and did not look happy. There was a twelve foot giant at the titan’s feet, and he fell to his knees.
“Father. Forgive me. We were caught unaware.” Hoth was making excuses.
The titan leaned down and stretched out a hand toward the travelers. His unhappy expression turned to anger. “Fool,” he said and slapped Hoth who flew through the air and crashed into a wall of the Great Hall. Hoth collapsed, but by then Veregoth was on his knees with his eyes downcast. “You were told these were under a hedge of the gods. Will you bring the gods here to take our land?”
“Lord. They claim to be from the future, but that doesn’t make sense.” Veregoth was shaking. “I thought they were telling lies.”
“Did the woman confirm this?”
Lord Veregoth paused. “I thought she started the lie to deprive us of good workers.”
“The woman does not lie. And you do not lie well, fool.” The titan Bhukampa stepped on Veregoth like a man might step on a mouse. They all heard the bones crushed under the titan’s heel. Then a simple wave of the titan’s hand and Veregoth made a new grave on the giant’s hillside. In fact, all the zombies, human and giant alike returned to their final resting place.
“What happened?” Young Lord Visana was coming around and shaking his head, like he was trying to clean out the cobwebs.
“No. Not possible. My mind is too strong to be possessed as you say.”
“The woman does not lie,” Hoth said as he staggered up to fall again to his knees before the titan.
“Hoth. You were told to get rid of the woman.”
“Seven times we drove her away, and seven times she returned. You forbade us from harming her in any way.” Hoth clearly tried for naked honesty. “She speaks for all the slaves, human and spirit, and keeps the work progressing. Shall we drive her out an eighth time?”
The titan did not answer. “You will let these future people go with their horses and all of their things. I do not one future thing stolen or left behind. Is that clear? I will not have a slit of an opening where the gods may come up into this place, and by capturing these people, you have made a door with an open invitation.” The titan shifted his eyes to glare at Tara. “Woman. What do you have to say?”
Tara looked straight up into those eyes ad raised her voice. “Let my people go,” she said.
Tara took a deep breath, but Alexis and Katie were both there to hold her up. “He scares me to no end,” Tara said.
“Me too,” Katie agreed.
“Lincoln too,” Alexis said with a grin, and the women laughed.
“You heard Lord Bhukampa.” Hoth yelled. “Get your things and go.”
The travelers were not far down the trail when they saw a man in rags approach. They planned to warn him about the giants, but before he joined them, Boston, who was out front as usual, slipped off Honey’s back and began to vomit.
“She has a fever,” Roland cried out, but Alexis was already down and running to help.
Decker and Elder Stow came in from the wings while Katie ran to the front. Lockhart and Lincoln grabbed the horses, not that there was anything more than scrub grass to tempt them.
“I don’t know what it is,” Alexis said, a touch of panic in her voice. “She is fading, but my senses are not picking up anything I recognize.”
“Did the zombies touch her,” Lincoln called out. “Did they bite her or scratch her?”
“Why should it be like those old movies?” Alexis asked.
“The Djin probably got the idea from one of our minds,” Roland said.
Elder Stow came to his feet. “She did receive a small scratch on her leg when she shoved the zombie off the roof.” Roland examined Boston’s leg and saw the scratch that looked like it barely bled.
“But I don’t know how to fix that.” The panic was now evident in Alexis’ voice.
“Here. Allow me.” The ragged man from the road had caught up with them. Suddenly, they all recognized him.
“Varuna.” Katie was the one who said it.
“Baga,” she said. “You are Varun, and Mithras is your brother, I bet.”
“Tara does not know. No one knows,” Varuna said, and he answered the questions that were on several minds even without them being asked. “Tara is a seer of the Shemsu. She sees in her minds eye if any Agdline come to earth. She knows the Agdaline sacred symbols, knows how to construct them and where to plant them. She needs to bring her people into the Indus valley, but is prevented. Meanwhile, we are using her talent to keep a watch on the gods in the north. And we are watching over her.”
“You were the power that made Elder Stow’s equipment work,” Katie put it together.
Varuna nodded and continued. “Tara’s husband, Brihaspati works for the Brahmin up in what you would call Afghanistan. The Brahmin also has his eyes on the Indus valley, but that would mean war among the gods. Dayus is fool enough to let that happen.” I hate deceiving Tara, but I must find a way to prevent war at all costs. Tara bringing her Shemsu people into the valley would at least delay things. I don’t know if war may be prevented, but I will not bring the Kairos into the picture if I can help it.”
“I do not think you are deceiving her as much as you are helping her,” Alexis said, and she and Varuna helped Boston to her feet.
“I like to think of it that way,” Varuna said. “And now I have helped you.”
Boston checked her amulet and spoke her surprise. “Hey. We have traveled all the way to the gate. How did we do that?”
“Please,” Varuna said. “Go forward and do not look back.” He vanished, and Lincoln had one mumble to add.
“War among the gods does not sound good at all.”
Beginning next Monday, Avalon, episode 3.6 finds the travelers in Sumaria in the days of Etana, King of Kish, where they find enemies, old and new, among the serpents and the eagles brought down from the heavens. Enjoy …