Avalon 2.8 Flight

            So the Pendratti want the travelers for some unknown “experiments,” but there is a Gott-Druk presence on the planet as well, and they don’t appear to be Pendratti friends, especially after they find Elder Stow with the travelers.  Before hostilities can break out, however, a young dragon interrupts everyone.  This suggests there are Agdaline around as well.  It also suggests things are heating up.

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            Once they returned to the elders on the hill who appeared to be unmoved, eyes staring, mouths open exactly as they last saw them, and Otapec praised and hugged his children for being good, and Maya collected Kuican to sit in her lap, Otapec finally got around to the introductions.

            “This is Lincoln, the one who knows more than you can imagine.  He is the one in search of his wife – a trail that is not easy to follow.  Beside him are his friends and fellow travelers.  The one with fire red hair is Mary Riley that everyone calls Boston.  In truth, though, she is the witch, Little Fire.  Her betrothed is the spirit of the earth, Roland.  The Gott-Druk is Elder Stow, pledged to be good in my hearing.”  Otapec paused only a second to stare at the Gott-Druk.  “He is like the others, from the far future and trying to get home.  The one with the yellow hair is Katie.  She is an elect, one in a million, and could have beaten Shushak in a fair fight.”  Maya smiled.  The elders gasped.  They knew who Shushak was.  Otapec turned to Katie.  “Of course, Shushak did not fight fair.  And by the way, if you are tired of the Marines you can come to work for me.”

            Katie smiled.  She knew she had to be invited.  “I would like that.”

            “Of course that means Lockhart will be your boss.”

            Katie paused and looked at Lockhart before she responded.  “I would not mind.”

            Otapec went on.  “Captain Decker you know.  But what you do not know is he is Farsight, the man of the eagle.”  Otapec turned to Lockhart.  “He cannot really see what is ahead, especially through the trees or behind the rocks, but he should have the skies covered.”  Lockhart nodded as Otapec introduced him last.  “And the leader of this migration back to the future is Quetzalcoatl, the man of the feathered serpent.  Note the beard and scruffy look.”

            “Quetzalcoatl?”  Katie asked.

            “Mesoamerican feathered serpent god,” Lincoln explained.

            “I know that.  But Quetzalcoatl?”

            Otapec nodded.  “I just figured that out.  Though he goes away, he will come again.”

            “Clever,” Lockhart said and did not object.  He turned instead to Boston.  “Hey Little Fire.”  He waited.  “Boston.”

            “Sir?”  Boston whipped her head to look.  She was busy holding Roland’s hand.

            “Why don’t you light the bonfire?”

            “Good idea,” Otapec said as he sought a seat next to Maya.  That was not easy to do.  Ixchel had squeezed between her mother and Katie.  Kuican was wiggling in his mother’s lap.  Only Chac was being good, but that was because he wanted to see Boston light the big fire.

            “Just think about it as a done deal,” Roland encouraged, but Boston was a bit miffed by his words.  She was starting to think of herself as beyond the beginner stage, even if not very far beyond.  And perhaps like a growing child, she wanted to do it herself.  She pulled out her wand and focused for a second before one wave of the wand sent a torrent of flame toward the piled wood.  It was enough to singe the end of her own wand.  Chac appropriately said, “Wow!”  Roland had something else to say.

            “I would mention that it helps if you calm your spirit first, but you would probably be mad at me for saying it.”  In the empathy that the little spirits of the earth generally show, he caught her unhappiness with not being allowed to do it herself.

            Boston looked at the elf, her brow furrowed.  But then she lifted herself with her toes and put her lips on his.  Chac appropriately said, “Eww,” and returned to sit with the others.

            That night it was deer and corn, and everyone was happy.  Katie asked if Lockhart named his dragon pet.

            “Puff,” he said.  “I was going to name it Bob but that name is already taken.”  He took Katie’s hand.  Boston and Roland were holding hands as well.

            “Opi,” Maya took Otapec’s hand and placed it to her belly.

            “It’s too early for there to be any movement,” Otapec said.

            “Who said I wanted you to feel the baby?”

            “Hey,” Lincoln interrupted.  He was into the database and ignoring the lovers lest he become morose about his missing wife.  “It says you are taking these people to Veracruz.”

            “That general area,” Otapec said as he slowly took his hand back.  “These Shemsu are the remnants of Qito’s people who fled north the last time the Agdaline were in town.  They will increase in numbers over the next 1500 years, and without much intermarriage with the natives, but by then they will form the foundation of the Olmec culture.”

            Lincoln switched off the database and spoke.  “Fifteen hundred years, maybe, but I can’t imagine they will still be pure blooded in four thousand years.”

            “They won’t,” Otapec admitted.  “But there will be enough to build the pyramids so well known in the Yucatan and Guatemala as well as the stone structures in Mexico.”

            “You mean the Mayan pyramids?”  Boston asked.

            Maya looked at Otapec.  “My own people?”  She looked shocked and thrilled by the idea.

            “Shh!”  Otapec scolded Boston.

            “And the feathered serpent?”  Lockhart asked.

            “Prominent, with Decker’s helmeted marine head.”  Otapec smiled.  Decker did not flinch.  “After all, it was all they could see for five hundred years.”

            “The colossal heads!” Katie shouted her revelation, though she did not intend to shout.

            “Incoming.”  This time Decker and Elder Stow spoke at the same time, and everyone stopped to watch.  Eleven perfect and spherical lights came down below the clouds and wound their way slowly across the horizon.  It was impossible for the people to know how big those ships were, but the travelers had seen them on the ground and knew in the vastness of space, while the Agdaline slept in their cryogenic chambers, they carried dragons who roamed the halls and guarded the sleepers against intruders.

            “They will park near the scout ship, the ship Puff came from,” Otapec said as he slipped his arm around his wife.

            “Pendratti, my people and now Agdaline,” Elder Stow said.  “Looks like things are getting complicated.”

            “Looks like,” Otapec agreed.

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            In the early morning just before the sun broke above the horizon, Lockhart’s sleep was rudely interrupted by the sound of a siren.  Elder Stow had sensors on the horizon, just in case.  Captain Decker was also up and rousing the travelers.  Opi and Maya were already helping the people get up and ready to flee.  This did not appear to be a visit.  These were one and two man fighter ships.

            Maya must have waved her hand.  The fires all went out and the tents were all packed and ready to go in an eye blink.  Lockhart found himself lying on the dew filled grass.  “I guess I might as well get up,” he said, and he saw the people streaming toward the far woods.

            “Boston,” Lockhart yelled when he caught up.  “A glamour would be nice to make them think they are hitting the target.”

            Boston looked at Roland.  Roland shook his head.  “Even our magic combined could not conjure something like that.”

            “Good idea,” Otapec said as he and Maya ran up.  Maya waved her hand and the camp appeared on the hillside just like it was before dawn.

            “The people images will replay the last hour and react naturally when attacked.  They will run for the woods everywhere except this direction, and some will appear to die when hit.”  She smiled at her own good thinking. Roland and Boston could only stare, mouths open at how easy such a thing was for a goddess.

            The people moved through the jungle, but Lockhart, Decker, Katie and Otapec stayed by the edge to watch.  The fighters were sleek and swift, and they knew how to dive bomb.

            “Not Balok,” Decker said, though he knew the Balok were no more.  “Certainly not Agdaline,” he added.  There were some explosions as the fighters shot some air-to-ground missiles.  They were not content to let their laser-like weapons set the tents and field on fire.

            “What is that?”  Katie pointed.  It was small but coming on fast.

            “Puff,” Lockhart saw.  “No.  Get away from there.”  He raised his voice but he knew the dragon would not hear him.

            Puff fried the first fighter, though he took a laser shot to the middle.  One of the fighters turned and managed another prolonged shot at the tail.  Despite all the fire-proof feathers, Puff clearly felt it.  His back quarter was fried.  He squirmed like a worm caught in the sun, and in this way he collided with the third fighter.  That fighter plummeted to the ground and exploded while Puff rushed off, terribly burnt and bleeding.

            “Will he survive?”  Katie asked.

            “I don’t know.”  Otapec could only shake his head while the last of the fighters shot for home.  “I expected a Pendratti reaction but not this quickly, only –“  He let his voice go silent while he put a hand to his chin.

            “Only what?”  Lockhart asked.

            “Only they were not Pendratti fighters.  They were Sevarese.  That makes four species right here, right now.  If the Elenar and Bluebloods show up we could have a full scale war break out, and that would not be good.”

            “What can we do?”  Katie asked.

            “Help the people reach the Coatzacoalcos River and settle there.  Let Boston and Roland and Decker, you take one side of the migration.  Lockhart, you, Katie and Lincoln take the other.  Tell Elder Stow to monitor the skies, and remind Maya she needs to keep her screen like a dome over the people when you cross open ground.  There are some native tribes between here and there, and while I don’t expect hostilities, you never know.  Some firepower to guard the flanks will be most useful.”

            “What will you be doing?”  Katie asked.

            “I will be trying to send people off planet before a real war breaks out and goes nuclear.”  Suddenly, Otapec was no longer standing there.  It was another lifetime of the Kairos, but they were not sure exactly who as he vanished immediately.

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Avalon 2.8:  The Journey … Next Time

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Avalon 2.6: Out in the Wilderness

            The main group of travelers have discovered that Boston is missing, and Elder Stow as well.  And the communicators are useless due to the interference in the air.

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            “Roland?”  Lockhart turned to the expert.

            Roland shook his head.  “I don’t think I could find her in the dark and snow and smoke.  We might try and just end up wandering for hours, and might get the rest of us separated.”

            “I’m thinking Elder Stow left our company on purpose,” Lincoln said again.

            “Possibly,” Lockhart agreed.  “But that does not explain why Boston is missing.”

            Katie said nothing.  She was slouching a little in her saddle and Lockhart was concerned.  “Boston has the amulet,” he said.  “Can we move on a bit further and maybe find some shelter, or do you need to rest now?”  He was really asking Katie.

            “I can go for a bit more,” Katie said, and Roland turned to lead the party.

            “I can stay to the same direction we were going and compensate for our sidesteps.  It is true of the elves generally, but especially those gifted with the hunt.”  Roland was certain about that.

            “If we can get out in front of her and find a rise of some sort, we might catch her in the morning.

            “Not on a rise,” Lincoln said.  “Too many eyes in the air.”

            Lockhart heard and nodded, but he was not going to lose Boston somewhere in the past.

            The snow soon slackened and stopped and the clouds cleared off to reveal the moon and stars.  The smoke in the air slowly became more of a mist than smoke, but that just made the forest appear enchanted in the moonlight.  When they came to a clearing, it was a large opening in the woods.  They quickly saw the signs of slash and burn agriculture and felt they were on the right path to something.  It was not much further on before they saw a big two-room cabin in the opening.

            “We can’t just march in there,” Lincoln insisted.  He had Katie’s binoculars but saw nothing so passed them to Lockhart.  “No sign of anyone home, and no sign of alien visitation either.”

            “Gott-Druk and Elenar are not aliens,” Roland said.  “They are Elders of the earth, what you call Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon.”

            “I understand,” Lincoln said.  “But the principle is the same.  We look for burn marks from landing craft and other signs of advanced technology.”

            “Yes, of course,” Roland said.

            “We go,” Lockhart got up and caught the reins of his horse and Katie’s horse.  Katie had felt it best not to get down.  She feared she might not have been able to get back up.  Of the many cuts she received, only a few had been significantly deep, and the healing machine used by Elder Stow was a miraculous help, but she lost a fair amount of blood and was still torn up on the inside.  Continuing to walk and ride and walk and ride since then had taken its toll.  She hated being the weak one, but she was going to have to stop and rest.

            The cabin room was empty as expected.  The other room appeared to be a big barn area, big enough for a dozen cows.  It easily fit the horses.  Most of the grain had been taken with the cows, wherever they went, but there was enough in the few bins and areas of the floor to put together a real tasty supper for the horses.  There was even a water trough, and though the water in it was undrinkable. They emptied it and melted some fresh snow.

            Both men and the elf cared for the horses while Katie stayed in the cabin.  She was told to get into her sleeping bag and rest, but she tried to help out as much as she could.  She spread the tent material they carried around the walls to block any cracks for the cold or the light, then she lit several lamps and spread out everyone’s bags.  By the time the men came in, the inside was homey and warm.

            “We need to keep this one,” Lincoln said. 

            “Yes we do,” Lockhart agreed.

            They came at dawn.  Roland and Lincoln were in the barn tending to the horses.  Lockhart was failing to build a fire.  Katie was still in the house when the ship landed out front.  Three men came from the hatch, or at least they looked more like men than the Gott-Druk.  Lockhart recognized them as Elenar, and he stood as they approached.  He considered running, but he knew he could not get far enough.  He also thought of escaping into the cabin or the barn, but those structures would not provide any protection from an energy weapon, so he just stood and spoke first when they got near.

            “Good, can I borrow your heat ray?  I can’t get this fire started.”  He noticed two of the Elenar touched their side arms, and he smiled.  “Welcome,” he added.  “What can I do for you?”

            “Where is the Gott-Druk?”  The one out front did the talking.

            “Gone,” Lockhart said honestly.  “And I wish I knew where.  I’m worried about him.”  The same two touched their side arms again, but no weapons were drawn.  “Mostly I am worried about the girl he took with him.  Boston doesn’t know anything about being in the middle of a war.”  The Elenar looked at each other before the front man spoke again. 

            “Why should you worry about the Gott-Druk?” the Elenar asked.

            “Because he doesn’t belong here anymore than we do, and if he is lost he might never get home on his own.”

            “And where does he belong?”

            Lockhart stood up a little straighter.  “Five thousand, six hundred years in the future,” he said without blinking.  He could tell the Elenar were not expecting that answer.  Katie came out while the Elenar turned to each other to discuss things among themselves.  She had her rifle in her hands.  Lincoln also stepped out of the barn door with his rifle.  Lockhart guessed Roland was getting the horses ready for a quick getaway.

            “You do not look like the corrupted men of the enemy, but this may be a new ploy.  Can you offer any reason why we should not kill you?”

            “Because you will have to answer to the Kairos, and for murder,” Lincoln spoke up.

            “And because you will deprive yourself of help against the ones in the trees,” Katie said and pointed, and Lockhart realized she came out because she saw something in the distance, not because of the Elenar. 

            The Elenar out front put a finger to his ear to listen to something and then two things happened at once.  The Elenar ship began to rise into the air and about a hundred fur-clad men came roaring out of the woods with a hundred little ones among them.  The men looked starved and desperate and charged like their only hope was to kill and eat the ones by the cabin.  The little ones looked worse in a way.  They appeared twisted and distorted in their forms and features, but Lockhart guessed they were once elves, dwarfs and maybe a couple of ogres.

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Avalon 2.6:  Underground … Next Time 

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