Earlier that same morning, Boston yelled. “Keep still.”
“What?” Alexis asked, and tried to peek. Boston had her amulet out to check on directions.
“There is a little red dot up ahead. Probably a village. The Kairos appeared to stop there for the night, and I thought we might catch him. But now he has taken off from that place, and he is moving kind of fast. Maybe on horseback?”
“Like chasing someone, or being chased,” Alexis suggested.
“I wouldn’t think a chariot would be much good over open country,” Alexis responded.
Katie shrugged. “All I know is my prototype amulet can find the next time gate, but once the Kairos moved off the straight line between the gates, I lost track of where he might be.”
“Boston,” Lockhart shouted back.
“There should be a village about an hour from here, but the Kairos is moving again, away from us.”
“You don’t think we should just go on to the next gate, after screwing up the last place,” Lincoln said.
“Not smart,” Lockhart responded. “We find him first, and try not to screw anything up between here and there.” He got on his wristwatch communicator, being unable to see Decker. “Look for a village, about an hour out, Boston says.”
“Roger.” “Will do,” the responses came from Decker and Elder Stow, who also waved.
When the hour had passed, they indeed came to a village, but a strange looking village it was. Cows and goats ruled the streets. People rushed to the river to fill water jugs, and rushed home to hide behind their doors. Lockhart imagined if he blinked, he would miss the whole thing. The village was that small. Then again, he felt glad to see the river, likely a tributary of the Ganges. The horses needed to water.
“Hold up,” Lockhart said, and watched the only group of people in the street. Seven men were walking in a tight circle, mumbling, or maybe chanting. Seven women, he guessed their wives, were circling outside the men, going in the opposite direction. Every time the wives and husbands met, the women reached out to touch the men, like trying to get their attention. The men shrugged the women off and just kept walking and mumbling.
“I’m getting dizzy,” Decker said.
“To the river,” Lockhart said. “At least the horses can take a break.”
While the horses watered, and rested, Alexis and Boston managed to catch one of the women. She wanted to run away, but paused to face Artie. Artie looked like a normal young woman of sixteen years. She had normal enough dark brown hair and eyes, and her natural skin tone looked darker than the others, though she had European looking features. She might have passed for a local under other circumstances. So, the woman talked to Artie, and when the first woman talked, some of the other women came to join her. They opened-up, though the stories they told were strange.
“The gods are fighting,” the first woman said, three times, and added, “What can we do?”
“We’ve been invaded,” another woman wailed numerous times. “It isn’t safe out.”
A third woman cried a little, but made more sense. “If the gods come to blows, it will be the end of the world. New people have moved into the land and brought their gods with them, but the old gods are resisting.” she paused in her tears to see who she was talking to. “You are new people,” she screamed. Several others screamed, and they all ran back to their homes.
“Indo-Aryans,” Katie suggested the obvious answer. “The Aryans have come into the land. Everything, right down to the structure of the language itself, is different. These people are Dravidian connected, I would bet.”
“Not entirely,” Alexis countered. “Tara’s mixed Shemsu and Sumarian people, and Zisudra’s Elamite and Jiroft people came at least as far as the Indus valley.” She remembered, and Katie smiled for her.
“Glad someone listens. But the Indo-Aryans are whitish, non-semetic types from up around the Caspian and Aral Seas in Siberia. In the west, they become the Celts, Germanic people, the Italo-Greeks, the Slavs, and the Hittites, just to keep it all in the family. Here, in the south and east of the seas, they become the Medes and Persians, and what we call Indians.”
“They are not all the same, are they?” Lincoln interrupted.
“All the same root, from the same stock people,” Katie said.
“I remember,” Boston shouted. “Back when we were with Devya in the city of Sanctuary. She said people would be moving down off the steppes and into the fertile land along the silk road. She said, eventually some would invade India…the Brahmins. Others would invade Iran, the invested people.”
“Avestan,” Katie said.
“I know, the Magi, the wise men at Christmas.”
“Christmas is not for a long time from now,” Alexis said.
“Still…” Boston thought about Christmas and smiled.
“Anyway,” Katie got the conversation back. “We appear to be right on the cusp of the Indo-Aryan arrival in northern India, and things appear to be up in the air, even for the gods.”
Lincoln said, “I remember Varuna saying he was trying to prevent a war between the gods.”
“Looks like that may happen, unless someone can do something about that,” Katie said.
“No,” Lockhart joined them. “They are just crazy old coots.” People looked at him, so he continued. “We need to move several hours upriver, and away from people in this place. This is one argument we don’t want to get involved in.”
When the travelers finally stopped for the night, Decker brought in a deer and they cooked in the quiet of the night until Lockhart sat down beside Katie and that appeared to open her mouth.
“They must find a way to make peace,” she said. “India did not sink into the radioactive ocean fifteen-hundred-years before Christ.”
“I’ve been thinking, too.” Alexis said. “I am sure the Kairos will have to get involved at some point. As I recall, this very kind of circumstance is why Chronos worked so hard to get the Kairos born in the first place.”
“Hardly seems fair to him,” Lockhart said.
“He is only human in this life,” Lincoln said. “Padrama, that is, Lord Pad of the Aryan people. He is a noble, warrior class, not a Brahmin, but only human.”
“Lord Walker,” Katie tried a rough translation of the name, Padrama. “Maybe King of the Road.”
“Hardly fair to him,” Boston agreed.
“But peace is what everyone wants, isn’t it?” Artie asked.
“Every right-thinking human,” Decker said, as he sat on the grass and put his feet toward the fire. “The problem is most humans don’t think right, or have moments of temporary insanity.” He looked at Elder Stow, but Elder stow waved him off.
“That is true of any kind of human,” he said. “I will not argue that point.”
“Well, I want peace, only the Anazi won’t let my people be free.” She got quiet as she realized the dilemma with her own people did not lend itself to an easy, peaceful solution.
“Hush,” Katie said, and she patted Artie on her hands. Lockhart put his arm around Katie, and she smiled and enjoyed the quiet, looking up at the stars and the moon above the crackling fire. At least they had peace and quiet.