R5 Greta: Battle, part 3 of 3

Fae took a deep breath and continued.  “When as the knights of the lance, as Hobknot calls them, crashed into the center of the enemy charge, they divided very sharply to the left and the right and many came very close to us.  That was when I took an arrow.  It must have been one of the first to ride by with a bow in his hands. But my people were watching, and with a great cry, they came pouring out of the forest and crashed deep into the side of the enemy horsemen.  Lady, it was glorious!”

“But now you got a big hole in your side.” Hobknot could not restrain himself. “You stupid moron.”

“Oh, shut-up.”  Fae smiled at him.

“No, you shut-up.”  Hobknot wanted to smile back, but he could not for worry.

“You both shut-up,” Greta said.  “Now Hobknot.  Fae is three-quarters human.  She has lived the human life between her and Berry.  I have no authority over that.”  Hobknot looked downcast, but Fae reached out and squeezed Greta’s hand.

“The Don,” she said.  “Or if in her wisdom, Danna will not help me, please, may I see her again before I die?”

Greta checked.  Danna was willing, and she had something she would also do which helped Greta understand a mystery.  “All right.” She told Fae, and she and Danna traded places through the time stream.

Danna looked at Hobknot, Berry, Hans and Bragi in turn.  They were very quiet.  Fae, however, became filled with joy.  “Great Mother,” she said.  “How often I prayed to you and to your children, hoping against hope that I might someday see with my own eyes.  I knew you were gone away.  You left the world in the hands of your children, but I never understood what that meant, until now.  All the same, I think I loved you most of all.”

“I know,” Danna said, and she did know, exactly so.  “The lady speaks true,” she added.  She smiled for Fae’s love, but it became time to act.  “Berry.”  She called softly.  Berry came timidly, but Danna put her free arm around the little one and hugged her. “Would you be willing to give your fairy blood to your sister so that she may live?”

“Oh, yes, Great lady,” Berry said.  “Even if it means I will never be little and never fly again.”  Danna made sure that Berry understood what she was asking.  Berry looked up at Hans.  “Even if it means that Hans will not love me anymore.  Yes, I will,” she said, sadly.

“Good,” Danna said.

“Wait.”  Berry got little and flew all around the tent.  She flew a couple of back flips and then kissed Hans on the cheek.  At last she got big again and stood beside Fae. “All right,” she said.  “I’m ready.”

Danna put Berry’s hand in Fae’s hand and it was done. Berry showed no outward sign of change at all.  She simply became a full-blooded twelve, nearly thirteen-year-old girl.  Fae, however, changed dramatically.  She shrank, but unlike Berry who reflected the fairy side of the family, Fae reflected more of her grandfather, Bogus the Skin.  She became a perfect little dwarf, though technically a half and half.  Hobknot got so excited, he did handsprings and cartwheels all over the tent.  As a dwarf, Fae now became considerably younger than she had been as a human. Seventy or so was not so much in dwarf years.  She seemed to want to jump up and join Hobknot in his game, but she still felt sore in the side though she no longer showed any sign of her wound.

Berry, on the other hand, became shy and tried to hide behind Danna’s back, no longer having access to her hair.  Danna had to pull her out and she held her, until Hans reached for her.

“I don’t have to give her up, do I?”  Hans asked.  “We can still be engaged, can’t we?”  Obviously, Berry wanted that very much, and she giggled a little in delight when Hans took her again, to hold her.

“You still have to wait four years.”  Danna reminded them, even if Berry still felt like that was forever.

“Now Bragi.”  Danna said at last.  “Please don’t tell Mama or Papa about this.

“No problem, er, Great Lady,” he said.  “I’m not likely to tell anyone.  They will just think I am mad.”  He meant what he said, but he smiled and Danna could tell he started enjoying himself again.

“Right now, I am Danna,” she said.  “And I have lived any number of other lives as well.”

“She’s the nameless god, too.” Hans blabbed.

“I know,” Bragi answered.

“Stop winking.”  Danna scolded them.  “Most of the time I am just a plain, ordinary person, like this time.  This is Greta’s life, your sister of the same mother and father.  And I hope you take good care of her.”  She traded back with Greta, and Greta continued speaking.  “I mean it.  Please don’t say anything to anyone.  I would like to live a nice, quiet, ordinary life.”

“Not likely,” Bragi said, with a grin to beat all grins.

Thissle ran in and jumped into Bragi’s arms. Thorn walked in and saluted.  Then the musicians came in.  It was Fiddler, Whistler and several others.  The music started, and Fae did finally get up and dance. She could hardly keep her feet still. Bogus the Skin came in with Ragwart and Gorse and several woodwives.  Greta only felt glad that Thunderhead was not to be seen.  That would have been too much.

The atmosphere quickly became festive and someone even produced a table of wine and sweet meats.  Greta did not really mind.  For the moment the war and the world were shut out.  Then she felt two arms slip around her from behind.  She turned.  It was Darius.  He did not seem to mind holding her close and she knew she did not mind it at all.

“Is this a private celebration, or can anyone join in?”  He asked.

“Not just anyone.”  She answered, and they kissed until Greta felt she could not kiss him anymore.

“I almost forgot,” Darius said at last.  “I have something that belongs to you.”  He reached under his tunic and untied something. He handed it to Greta.  It was her scarf.  Greta became wide eyed and found out she could kiss him a lot more.

************************

MONDAY

What a lovely place to end a story… but the work of the Kairos never seems to end.  Some things need to be remembered, but some things are best forgotten.  Greta will need some extraordinary help to keep the guns out of Rome, and to save as many lives as possible.  Monday, The End of the Day.  Happy Reading.

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