After 2677 BC, Highlands Above the Indus. Kairos lifetime 42: Zisudra, The Rig (the root).
“Refugees on the horizon,” Roland reported back to the group.
“Where are they all coming from?” Katie wondered out loud.
“We have to do what we can,” Alexis said, and she got down from her horse. Lincoln got down with her and looked for a safe area to hobble the horses and let them feed. He knew better than to argue. So did Lockhart.
The travelers rode through one group of refugees early that morning, and barely kept Alexis and Boston from bringing the whole group to a halt. They passed by another group at a distance some time around ten o’clock, and kept on going. Now, this group was headed straight toward them. They could not go around, and Alexis was not going to take keep moving as an answer.
Roland and Boston made a great fire beside the road, and Roland took Katie and Decker out into the fields to hunt. He knew they were going to need quite a bit of food to feed all those people.
Elder Stow spent a good hour fiddling with his scanning equipment before he made his announcement. “Three hundred, and another hundred not far behind. The first group was fifty, and we passed thirty in the distance. This looks like the main group, unless there are other larger groups still to come. My equipment is all running dry. I have drained most of my other things to keep the scanner going as I deemed it most critical. My weapon is about empty. My sonic device is good, but it uses little power.”
“What happened to the charger you got from the Marzalotipan?” Lincoln asked.
“It was too primitive,” Elder Stow said. “It took a long time to charge anything, even after I rebuilt it, and then it fell apart and became useless much too fast.”
“Moving through time will do that,” Lockhart said. “Nothing like ageing fifty years in one step.”
Roland, Decker and Katie all came back with deer over their shoulders, and Roland barely got the first one up on the fire before the people reached them. As they came in, they appeared to have no trouble with the travelers, which surprised everyone. The people even sounded like now they were safe and their long journey was over. Lockhart questioned that.
Alexis got right to the wounded, and worked without argument, and the people blessed her. Elder Stow used his device to pull out shards and rocks from various body parts, and several arrowheads, which he showed around.
“These people have been in a war zone,” Decker said, and he sounded like he guessed that already. Once the deer got cooking, he took Katie, and they rode out over the horizon to see if they could catch a glimpse of what might be coming.
Boston cooked and the people, in particular the women, called her blessed of Zisudra, and helped, when they weren’t bowing to her. She hugged a bunch of them to show she was just a person like the rest of them, but they were not buying it. More than once, Boston had to check with Alexis to make sure her glamour did not slip. She figured the people had been through enough without having to have elves in the camp.
Lincoln made the elf crackers into bread, and he privately gave thanks that the crackers were endless in number. He passed the bread to the people, and the people bowed to him as well. He feared that they might run out of water to turn the crackers into bread, but Elder Stow located a natural, bubbling spring, which Lincoln dug out with little effort. That at least relieved one problem.
Lockhart made the decisions. He told Roland to track his sister to keep her safe. He told Elder Stow to help Lincoln locate a water source. He told Boston to keep cooking because the had so many mouths to feed, and he worried about Katie, and Decker, but he knew they could take care of themselves. The rest of the time, he spent interviewing the people, mostly the men, to try and piece together what these people had been through and who might be following them. In the process, he found out some very interesting information.
“No,” he told more than one man. “We are not the gods, just people like yourselves.”
“In truth,” the man responded with a wink and a smile. “And I will be sure to tell all of the people that you are not the gods, but just ordinary people who ride the beasts of heaven and perform many miracles to heal and sustain us on this long journey.” He winked again as he left and let the next man be interviewed.
When Katie and Decker returned, and the evening turned to night, Lockhart called everyone aside for a conference. “They think we are the gods,” he said, and tried not to laugh.
“Not funny,” Alexis recognized the seriousness of the situation. “Some of the gods are very sensitive and might not appreciate us going around, masquerading.”
“I told them all we were not the gods, but they don’t believe me.” Lockhart shrugged his innocence. “They think we are masquerading as humans.”
“And I suppose you are the god king,” Decker said.
“You are the god of war,” Lockhart said.
Decker ripped off a chunk of deer and chewed it like jerky. “I can live with that.”
“Alexis, you are the goddess of healing, obviously. Lincoln you are the god of agriculture, as near as I can tell, because of the bread, I imagine. Elder Stow, you are the god of ancient knowledge, learning and wisdom, I think.”
Elder Stow smiled. “Among my people, many a happy ending is when a man becomes fat and full of wisdom.”
“You need to work on the fat part,” Boston teased and handed him some more deer meat. He looked at it unhappily. He was not a vegetarian, but he was not inclined to eat much in the way of meat. He did better with fish and even bird of some kind.
“Roland,” Lockhart went on. “You are the god of the hunt, and Katie—“
“I’m not sure I want to know,” Katie said. “The people keep giving me strange looks and they don’t want to get too close. It would bother me if I wasn’t more concerned about what might be over the horizon.
“Shivishuwa, or something like that,” Lockhart said.
“What is Shivishuwa?”
Roland and Lockhart spoke at the same time. “The death goddess.”
“The goddess of death,” Alexis agreed.
“Hey!” Decker looked like he was thinking about it. “No, I am fine where I am.”
Katie did not look too happy about it, but Boston spoke up.
Lockhart grinned, even if he could not manage a true elf grin. “You are the goddess of love, and I think marriage, family and the home.”
“I could have told you that,” Roland said.
In tomorrow’s post, someone need to get a handle on why these people are refugees, and what are they running from?