When they arrived at the Pivdenny Brugh it had to be later than four in the afternoon, about an hour from the sunset at that time of year. They moved mostly below the hills and forest, though they had seen it for miles as they approached. The river ran as Badl described it, deep enough and fast-moving water, though not terribly wide. Badl knew one ford.
“Normally, I don’t go too near the wood elves. I just like the grassland better I guess.”
“Oh.” Moriah sounded a little disappointed. She had seen elves a few times when they came to trade in her village, perhaps some of these very ones, but she never had a chance to talk to any or spend any time at all with them. The prospect of seeing a real elf village, as she imagined it, intrigued her.
“Here we are,” Badl said, when they arrived at the ford. To be honest, none of the others would have ever guessed that this stretch of the river might be any different than any other, except perhaps it widened out a bit and thus slowed the current across that wider field. “Of course, I never crossed this time of year without ice. It may be deep, and it will be cold for them that feel the cold.”
“Make it across as quickly as you can.” Wlvn told everyone, and then he let Thred take him down into the water where he waited and watched. He figured the current had to be stronger than they were used to, and he wanted to be available in case someone got swept away. It turned out they came to a spot where the horses had to swim, but not for long before they could touch bottom again and walk out the other side. They found a field, not too far from the woods, but a long field where deer could graze and come to the water to drink.
“What is that?” Elleya became the first to speak, even as Wlvn nudged Thred ahead to join them on the far bank.
“I have never seen the like.” Badl said, as Wlkn interrupted with his loud voice.
“Helpers!” As he shouted, Wlvn felt hands grab him, drag him off Thred’s back and pull him underwater. The last thing he saw, as he looked to the sky, was his swan hurtling down toward the river.
Three of them wore what Wlvn assumed to be their space suits. He guessed they were waiting for him in the deep. He also guessed they did not know that he could breathe underwater, or that the god Thor had filled him with a strength greater than their own. He easily broke their grips and pulled out the nearest air hose. The swan paused just below the surface before imitating Wlvn’s move and yanking out a second air hose. She almost got nabbed but rose too rapidly and took to flight as she broke the surface. She may have thought to make another dive, but it would not be necessary. Elleya showed up to de-hose the third helper, and suddenly, the Gott-Druk were the ones in danger of drowning.
One grabbed Elleya and she shrieked underwater. She sounded not unlike a dolphin caught in a net, but Wlvn easily set her free. He grabbed the Gott-Druk by the hands and towed him out of the water altogether, and up on to the near bank. The second followed, but then Wlvn felt two massive Gott-Druk arms circle his throat from behind. Wlvn kicked off from the bottom as he grabbed the wrists and forced the arms open. He broke the surface of the water and surprisingly kept rising. Nanna, the moon, he thought, consciously identifying the source of his ability to fly. He stopped about ten feet above the surface of the water, and by then, he was in a position to toss the third Gott-Druk onto the riverbank to join his hacking and coughing brothers.
Helmets came off, and Wlvn recognized his Gott-Druk from that first day outside the electric fence. “I told you to leave this world!” He yelled at the man.
The man nodded. “Elenar,” he said, still gasping for air. “But if we kill you, we can come back later.”
“You can’t come back. You aren’t allowed.” Wlvn still yelled. He did not realize the Gott-Druk mother ship parked on that field of green, just up the way, where some trees blocked a view from the river. Now that he had crossed the river, he came within sight of their guns. They fired, and he got caught dead center and pushed back through the air until he crashed through tree branches and disappeared in the woods.
The others all saw it happen and were stricken with silence. They hardly believed their eyes as they made it to the nearest bit of trees. Elleya held on to Brmr’s mare for dear life since she had gotten wet, and her legs were not back yet. Andrea, the first to arrive at the trees, turned, but would not go far in. She preferred to stare at the aliens and their massive craft with dumbfounded eyes. Badl and Moriah spoke in hushed tones.
“He isn’t dead.”
“He can’t be dead.”
“I would know it if he was.”
A sudden distraction that gained all of their attention. Arrows poured from the woods and bounced off the metal hull of the ship. It kept the three suited Gott-Druk on the shore and kept their heads down, though one got an arrow in the arm. The Gott-Druk aimed their guns, but by the time they fired, they smoked only the trees. The archers moved.
Back among the trees, Wlvn moaned and shook his head. He thanked the gods for his armor, but he knew that the armor by itself had not saved him. The armor felt hot, and the edges of his cloak appeared singed. “Frigga.” He named the goddess that gave him the energy screen. Probably to fend off whatever titanic bolt of primal energy the titan might hurl at him, he thought. He sat up and found himself in a tree branch some ten feet off the ground. He ached and felt bruised everywhere, but nothing appeared to be broken. “Damn it!” He got angry, and his adrenaline started to pump. “I gave them fair warning.” He dove, or rather, flew to the water and submerged, glad to find his ability to fly proved strong enough to move him underwater, even against a strong current. He popped out of the water again at the ford and grabbed the Gott-Druk around the throat from behind, even as he had been grabbed, and he lifted the man up into the air.
“I warned you about the Elenar and asked you kindly to leave. This time I am not asking. I am telling. Contact your ship. You are leaving this world because if I catch you again, the Children of Layettee will end with this generation.”
The Gott-Druk did not argue. He proved powerless to break Wlvn’s grip around his throat, and while a human would have been in real trouble hanging there by the neck, such were the muscles in a Neanderthal neck; the Gott-Druk became restricted, but not incapacitated. He lifted his arm, pushed a button on his wrist and spoke into it, and he either forgot that Wlvn spoke his language, or he thought it did not matter. Wlvn immediately dropped him, and he fell to the ground below and twisted his ankle as he landed. Wlvn raised both arms and let loose with Odin’s thunderbolt before the Gott-Druk could fire, because what the Gott-Druk said was to sacrifice his own life for a shot at Wlvn with the ship’s main guns. The main guns of the Gott-Druk cruiser melted under Wlvn’s assault, and that caused a short circuit in the system which blew out the Gott-Druk weapon’s system. Wlvn floated down to the three on the riverbank and shouted as he arrived.
“Hold your fire! These folks are leaving, hold your fire.” He looked at the three on the bank, one with a twisted ankle, and one bleeding from the place where the arrow had pierced his arm. “You are leaving this time, aren’t you? Without weapons, I can’t imagine how you will stand against the Elenar when they come.”
“Elder?” The one without a wound looked at the one with the twisted ankle, and Wlvn realized that this was news to the man.
“Oh, yes,” Wlvn said. “They were called some weeks ago and should be arriving very soon.”
The two beside Wlvn’s friend got hastily to their feet, grabbed their comrade, and dragged him, ankle and all to the ship, talking into their wrist communicators on the way. They were not long inside before the ship started to rise into the sky, and Wlvn hoped that might finally be the last he would see of them, especially since there was nothing he could do about it if they decided to change their mind. At that moment, he had to collapse and pass out.
Wlvn and his crew reach Miroven, the home of the elves, but while there, Wlvn and Flern, two lives of the Kairos that are genetic reflections accidentally double trade paces through time, and now Flern needs to find a way to kill theTitan, a task for which she is in no way prepared. Until Monday, Happy Reading