Avalon 9.1 Johanne, part 1 of 6

After 1374 A.D. Northern France

Kairos lifetime 112: Quentin, the Highlander

Recording …

The travelers came through the time gate on to a country estate of some sort.  They moved quickly down the long driveway to the dirt road that led into the village.

“Did anyone see us?” Sukki asked.  She sounded worried about what might happen if someone saw them.

“I saw the gardener at that early hour,” Nanette said. “He just waved.”

“I imagine most of the house is still asleep.  The servants may be out back fixing breakfast,” Katie said and got out her amulet, so Sukki got hers out to compare.

“I think we are okay,” Lockhart said.   “So which way?  Lincoln, any idea where we are?”

Lincoln already had the database out and tried to read it.  “England?  Flanders?  France?  Not Scotland I think, though we may be in the low country.”

“Good to have options,” Lockhart joked.

Elder Stow frowned as he stared hard at his scanner.  It showed the area for several miles around, including roads and habitations, like the estate house and the nearby village, but he did not recognize the area.  He thought to expand the search grid, but he saw no particular landmarks he could name.

Tony tugged on the lead for the mule, like Ghost suddenly decided running was not part of his job description.  Decker was the only one who noticed they had a visitor, and he only had to clear his throat once to get everyone’s attention.

“You are at Wandomme,” the man said and pointed to the big house.  “I am Lord Lionel of Wandomme, where you arrived out of nowhere, and you did not even allow me the chance to invite you inside.”  The man smiled like he said that as a joke.

“Lockhart,” Lockhart said and tried to return the smile.  “My wife, Katie.”  They were not often caught in the open like that.  Then again, Lockhart imagined the man posed no threat.  Otherwise, Nanette might have picked up the bad vibes, and Katie’s elect radar would have gone off.

“Lovely to meet you,” the man said, tipping his hat, and offering another thought.  “I was riding.  I find an early morning ride most invigorating.  It sets me right for the whole day.  But then I saw your hole to another place in the middle of my lawn.  I thought you must be angels.  I hurried, but now I see that you are merely human, unless you are cleverly disguised angels.”

“Human,” Lincoln raised his hand, but hardly took his eyes from the database.

“We are all human here,” Katie said, and she proceeded to introduce everyone, carefully pointing out that Decker and Nanette were African, and saying Elder Stow and his daughter Sukki were Slavic, an idea they got in the last time zone.  “Robert and I are German and Swedish.  Lincoln works for Robert.  Tony is Italian and works mostly for Decker.”

“Indeed,” Lionel said. “But the question is, where did you come from?  You came out of a hole that appeared on my front lawn.  I am concerned, if you are not angels cleverly disguised, then are you witches or demons?”

“Nothing of the kind,” Katie said.  She looked at Lockhart while Lockhart looked once around the group.  It was his decision, but no one appeared to object to the idea of being honest.

“Strictly human.  Remember?” Lincoln raised his hand, his nose still in the database.

Lockhart spoke.  “We came directly from just outside Milan, Italy.  The year was 1347, just before the plague swept through Europe and killed half the population in some places.  We jumped forward in time by going through a time gate.  Hopefully we missed the worst of it.”

The man went pale.  “Plague is not something that people want to hear about, at least polite people,” Lionel said.  “But then tell me.  Where are you headed?”

“Lincoln?”  Lockhart asked.

“Aragon and Castille.  Somewhere between 1437 and 1499.”  Lincoln looked up at Lord Lionel.  “We don’t normally talk about our journey and especially about the future.  Future knowledge can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.”

“We are like pilgrims,” Lockhart said.  “Except our journey is through time not just across land and sea.  We travel from one time gate to the next.  They are normally about four or five hundred miles apart.  We are trying to get back to the year 2010, or whatever year it is when we get there.”

“We got company,” Decker interrupted.  A dozen soldiers on horseback came up the road.  Lord Lionel held up his hand.  The soldiers saw and dutifully stopped twenty yards away.

“So, you are from the future, originally.” Lionel said.  “But you don’t know exactly where the next stop is on your journey.”

“We know the general time frame, but not the exact date until we arrive,” Katie said.

“What year is this?” Lincoln asked.

“1430,” Lionel answered.  “Spring.  Early May, I believe.”

Lincoln wanted to say something, but Katie, Tony, and Nanette, all gave him hard stares, so he held his tongue.

“We went into the past on a rescue mission,” Lockhart explained.  “We succeeded, but then we feared we would be stuck in the past forever.”

“God always makes a way, if you trust him and follow after him,” Nanette said.

“Yes,” Lionel said.  “And your way seems so hard to believe.  I would not believe a word of it if I did not see you appear out of nowhere in my front yard.  Come.  Go my way for a bit.  I have so many questions.”

“Katie?” Lockhart asked without spelling it out.  She pointed in the direction of the soldiers, so the travelers went with the man.

The dirt road was not well kept, but wide enough to ride three or four abreast.  Lionel squeezed between Lockhart and Katie so he could ask his questions.  Decker, Nanette, and Lincoln followed.  Sukki, Elder Stow, and Tony with Ghost brought up the rear.  The soldiers divided so half led the way and half followed behind.

Lionel started right away with more questions, and Lockhart and Katie did their best to tell what they felt was safe.

“I heard the bells, you know,” Lionel said.  “It lends further credence to your Milan story.”

“The bells of the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore,” Katie said.  “They ring the bells at sunrise.”

Lionel nodded before he asked a serious question.  “So, something I don’t understand.  Why is the Lord taking you home in such short hops?  Why not just bring you home all at once?”

“Because there is something we must do in each time zone, as we call them,” Lockhart said.  “Everyone needs to do the work assigned to them.”

“We have an advantage over Abraham,” Katie said, dredging up the reference from her Sunday School days.  “We know where we are going.”

Nanette leaned forward and added some additional thoughts.  “David was anointed twenty years before he wore the crown.  The people of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness making an eleven-day journey from Egypt to the promised land.”

“What work could the Lord possibly require of you folks?”

“I could tell you how we saved Charlemagne’s life,” Lockhart responded.  “Have you heard the stories about Robin Hood or King Arthur?”

“I see…” Lionel had to think.  “I guess the question becomes, why are you here at this time?  Are you on the English side or the French side?  And if the French side, do you support Charles and the Armagnacs or the Burgundians?”

“No side,” Katie said, plainly.  “We are not here to take sides unless the Lord says otherwise.  Usually, it is a person or two we have to protect, or someone we have to stop from doing whatever evil thing they have planned.”

“In this place,” Lincoln interrupted from behind.  “Joan of Arc is the name that keeps coming up.”  Nanette immediately hit Lincoln in the arm, the way Alexis used to hit him to get him to shut his mouth.

Lord Lionel shook his head.  “Joan d’Arc is what the English call her.  Johanne de Bar is who she is.  An illiterate peasant girl.  The Maid of Orleans, she is sometimes called.  Who would have thought such a one could cause so much trouble and death?”

Katie looked over at Lockhart, who looked at her with questions.  Lockhart might not have the history at his fingertips, but he heard of Joan of Arc and understood she was one of the good guys.  Nanette hit Lincoln in the arm again just on general principle.

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