After 1643 BC, Greece. Kairos 60: Amphitrite, Queen Goddess of the Sea
Katie and Artie moved first through the time gate and into the next time zone where a cloudy sky and a misty drizzle of rain greeted them. Katie helped Artie rework her fairy weave clothing into long slacks and a hooded yellow slicker against the rain. She changed her own weave to the same while the others came through the gate to join them. By the time Lockhart and Boston, who came straggling at the back, joined them, Lincoln had out the database to see what he could about this place.
“I would guess Greece,” Lincoln said, with a brief look around. “But we could be anywhere in the Mediterranean. The Kairos is Amphitrite, or Salacia if we are in Italy, or maybe Calypso if we are across the Atlantic.”
“Mediterranean climate and flora,” Alexis suggested that much was true, and the other side of the Atlantic seemed unlikely.
“Temperate zone,” Elder stow agreed, with a glance at his scanner.
“At least it’s spring,” Boston blurted out. The others all trusted that as an elf, Boston was well tuned to the seasons.
“Go on,” Katie said, as she checked the amulet she wore and looked for a road, or at least a path of some kind that they could follow. The land looked rough, rocky and hilly. Though not far from the sea, Katie imagined them coming to some great sea cliff and having to backtrack a long way, unless they could find a road that avoided such obstacles.
Lincoln continued the commentary on what he read. “This isn’t Atlantis, I think. That is spelled like Akalantis. That is where Amphitrite grew up. But she is a goddess, the queen goddess of the sea, actually. She could be almost anywhere in the world, but most likely in the jurisdiction of Mount Olympus. She married Poseidon, or Neptune, if we are in Italy.”
“Helpful,” Lockhart quipped again. “Which way?” He asked Boston and glanced at Katie. Boston pointed. Katie nodded, and they started right off, headed downhill in what would have been a pleasant ride but for the drizzle.
After a short way, the travelers came to a meadow full of sheep. They barely came out from the trees before they found three shepherds gathering their flock. Katie, and thus Artie rode up to the three while the others paused and Decker and Elder Stow casually wandered in from the wings, sensing no danger and not wanting to startle the sheep.
“Excuse me,” Katie said. “What city lies in this direction?” She looked closely and decided the shepherds consisted of a father and his two sons.
“Road?” Artie asked Katie. The younger son stared at the sky. The elder son stared at Artie. The younger one spoke in a friendly manner.
“You probably won’t get to Argos before the storm hits.”
“Unless you have wings to fly, like the gods,” The father said, clearly unsure how to take these strange people.
“Argos is a long way,” the elder son spoke without removing his eyes from Artie. “Our village is not far. We can shelter you, and your beasts.”
“Thank you,” Artie felt obliged to respond, but otherwise a bit uncomfortable under the stare.
Katie grinned at her. “Sorry to interrupt,” Katie said to the old man. “I am sure you want to get your sheep gathered before the storm.” Katie moved the group to where she found a path through the wilderness, and figured that was the road to Argos. The others followed, and Lincoln, Lockhart and Elder Stow all tipped their hats. Decker tried not to frighten them with his smile.
Katie and Artie rode side by side, though the path was not especially wide. Alexis and Lincoln crowded them from behind so they could converse. Lockhart heard the initial words before he focused on the path, the countryside, and the weather. Boston, beside him, likely heard the whole conversation with her good elf ears, and it no doubt kept her entertained. She and Elder Stow who followed her, wore glamours to appear human. Boston looked like a twenty-two-year-old with auburn hair where she toned down some of her red head, and Elder Sow like an older man with a gray beard.
Decker, beside the elder, did not bother with glamours. In fact, when the others made the effort to change their fairy weave clothes to look more like the local dress, Decker sometimes did not bother with the clothes, either. The Kairos told him that in most places, as a dark skinned African, he could get away with more leeway in terms of dress. He often shaped his fairy weave into camouflage fatigues, even when the other men prudently walked around in floor-length dresses.
“Greece,” Lincoln said, definitively. “In fact, the Peloponnese. After Argos comes Mycenae, and then Corinth, if the Corinthians have migrated in at this point.”
Katie asked a history question. “Are the Minoans in charge here, or have the Mycenaeans overthrown them?”
“Wait…” Lincoln said, and looked at the database. “The Akoshians…wait,,,” he flipped to the dictionary and back. “The Akoshians are the Minoans, and they are sort of in charge. The Mycenaeans are like the overlords in Greece. They are the reason the country began to settle down. Until then, it was filled with wandering tribes that constantly fought. Argos was one of the first real permanent settlements. Mycenae was built by the Akoshians, and they are still tied in a way, but the relationship appears complicated.”
“Most are,” Alexis said, with a look at Katie and a glance at Lockhart.
“As far as I can tell, the Akoshians are mostly merchants, and they have exclusive trading rights with the Mycenaean coast, including Athens… I assume in most places, that means the Akoshians just take what they want… Apparently, Athens rebelled at one point, and the Akoshians brought in an army, which they could easily afford, and forced Athens to pay tribute in the form of slave labor, seven young men and women every nine years or so.”
“I don’t think that has happened yet,” Katie shouted back.
“Greece?” Alexis wanted back on track, and gave Boston a sour look. Elves could certainly hear, but they needed to learn not to interrupted. That could be rude.
“Yes,” Lincoln said, and put away the database. “But there is no telling how long after her childhood we may have arrived. That narrows things down to about a forty to forty-five-year time span.”
Artie had a question that whole time, and it finally burst out of her lips. “Road?”
That was followed by Alexis’ question. “City?”
Katie smiled. “Yes.” She spoke to Artie. “When we started this trip, people were still wandering, working in stone, and living in tents of animal skins. They slowly learned to use soft metals and began to settle in hamlets of mud and straw huts. Eventually, they built villages and began to till the soil, though plenty still wandered. Then they began to domesticate some of the animals they followed, and they began to discover things like pottery. That was when the villages became towns and, in some few places, cities. One big discovery was Bronze, the blending of metals in a furnace they could get hot enough. It took time, but cities began to trade, and sadly, they began to make war on each other.”
“It was a great adventure,” Lincoln said. “I mean the progress of the human race, not just our wandering through the middle of it all.” Artie looked fascinated, and Katie nodded and continued.
“About twelve time zones ago,” she glanced at Lincoln who got the database back out. “We arrived on the silk road. That is a way that cuts through and around the mountains and links the far east with the west for real trade, long distance, and other things. Cities began to join together, or be conquered, and empires were born. Some would call that the real beginning of civilization, and that was when roads began.”
“Which time are you thinking?” Lincoln asked.
“Lin, the first Hsian empress.”
“Fourteen time zones.”
Katie nodded. “Since then, we have seen cities, roads and empires building. We were there when Babylon was first being built, and came back when Hammurabi was ready to build the first Babylonian empire. That was with Ishtara’s help, and the time zone where we found you.”
“That is where you saved me and gave me life,” Artie said. “And I am ever so grateful.” Artie turned away for a moment. Her emotions being so new, she had not yet learned to hide them or put up a mask.
“What?” Katie reached out.
“I am sad for two reasons,” Artie said. “I am sad because my people have no such noble history. You humans have struggled and grown. You have overcome such great hardships, and made yourselves better. You have created life. I know, some good and some bad. I know some succeeded and some failed. But you never give up. You keep striving. And overall, you have done great and wonderful things.” She let her voice trail off. Katie had to prompt her.
“You should not be sad. What is the second reason you are sad?”
“I am not part of it,” she said. “I wish I was human, so I could really be with you and part of all that surrounds me. I feel…” She could not describe what she felt.
“You can be part of it from now on,” Alexis said, kindly.
“Yes, but not really,” Artie insisted, and let a few tears fall.
Alexis looked back. “Meanwhile, Boston is moving away from the human experience, but she is still so young and vulnerable. She is so very young. She has learned much, but she still needs help to come to grips with her elf life—with being an elf that is an elf, not just a human that got changed into an elf.”
“She will hear you,” Lincoln whispered.
“I am sure that she did.”
“So now,” Katie concluded, and changed the subject as they came around a bend in the path and saw that they were headed down toward a seaside village on a small bay. “We look for roads and we ask what city les ahead. I imagine the Kairos will often be associated with cities at this point, because that is where most of the action will take place, not to mention most of the chances for history to go awry.”
“Keeping history on track has to be getting complicated and difficult at this point,” Lincoln added. “Being an actual goddess has got to help.”
Alexis countered. “But she won’t always be so.”