It was an hour later, before the sun set, about thirty soldiers came out of the trees and stared at the ship and the party that was happening around the outside. Decker asked if Reglala had a Blueblood hand cannon handy, but he did not.
“Hadj of the Hjammad,” one of the soldiers shouted.
“Welcome, friends. You know, I have some uniforms that would fit you well, for your people. My woman, Ouklee is a master with a needle to make them fit just right. The material is equally good, hot and cold weather. Come, Come,”
“Sokar,” Hadj got that much out before Sokar threw his hands up and yelled.
“What is this madness? Who are these creatures? “Who built this great building in the wilderness? What is going on?” He ran out of ideas to express in his dumbfounded mind what he was seeing, so he went silent while his men stared and milled about, unsure of what to do.
“He wants to know what the hell all this is,” Ibin el-Wadi stepped up and translated for Hadj. Of course, the travelers, and the elves heard it all as English, the Marzalotipan heard it in their own tongue through their translators, and the Pendratti the same, if they had their translators turned on.
“My grasp of the Elamite tongue is not very good,” Hadj admitted. “Lockhart, you explain it.” Lockhart looked at Hadj and realized he heard one language from Hadj and a very different language from Sokar. The Marzalotipan spoke a third language, and the Pendratti a fourth. It was easy when he heard it all in English, and his brain adjusted without thinking about it, depending on who he was talking to. But here, he was asked to do that consciously, and he was not sure he could.
“Allow me,” Mingus stepped up, and Sokar’s eyes got especially big on sight of the elf, but he listened. “This ship is like a giant riverboat, but it flies on air instead of on water. These birdmen come from far away, but they are merchants, and very good ones. They will sell you your own shirt off your own back if you are not careful.” Several of the men listening snickered at the thought. “These lizard men are from far away in another direction, but their air ship crashed, like a riverboat that gets a hole on a rock. One is injured, but we are trying to help. Chief Hadj and his people you know, but the rest of us are from far in the future and have come back to these days by an act of the gods to see how the people lived in these times. We have seen too much war and people hurting each other, and some of the gods are not happy with the spilling of blood. Even these animal people are at war, and the lizard woman has been hurt because of it. I hope you have not come here to make more war. I cannot say what the gods will do if you have.”
“Yes,” Hadj said. “I cannot say what we will do either, and some of the gods will not be happy no matter what.” Hadj smiled and looked at Lockhart. “I always understand my little ones no matter what language they are actually speaking,” He explained and Lockhart nodded, like he knew that but had forgotten.
“He is of the ancient men who walked these mountains ages ago. His people laid the foundation stones of many places here, including Susa.”
“My father,” Elder Stow tried for Lockhart’s attention, but Decker interrupted.
“Incoming,” he shouted, and a Sevarese transport escorted by a single fighter came out of the setting sun and looked for a place to set down.
The Sevarese transport set down gently a hundred yards out while the fighter flew cover overhead. Sokar the Elamite sat down on the grass because he could not take it all in. Even as three Sevarese came from the transport, guns drawn and ready for action, and Alexis got Cody to put his gun down with the promise of protection, Mingus convinced the Elamites to set up camp for the night. One of the Sevarese saw the movement and fired his weapon without permission. The shot stopped short, like it ran into a wall, and people jumped.
“Innocent people here,” Lockhart yelled.
“There is no fighting here,” Alexis also yelled.
Reglala shrieked. “By treaty with the Sevarese high council, anything you break, you pay for.”
“It is late,” he said. “You may rest here if you wish to keep one eye on the Pendratti, or in your ship as you prefer, but you come and talk to me in the morning about whether or not you may have prisoners. Listen well. You know this planet is off limits. If you behave yourselves in the night, we may talk. Misbehave, and your lives will be forfeit and your battle cruiser will be melted down and sold for scrap. This is not a threat. It is a promise.” Hadj turned his back and walked to his family group. The goats were roasting and would be done soon, and Leahn wanted some more of that bread stuff.
Here ends part 1 of Episode 3.10. The area appears to be filling up with antagonists, alien and human. The travelers, as usual, are caught in the middle, but this time, maybe the Marzalotipan has something to relieve the headaches and stress. Be sure and come back Monday and Tuesday for the conclusion of Avalon, episode 3.10 Battle Above