Avalon 3.1: Freedom Road, Part 1 of 7

After 3146 BC in the Alps. Kairos lifetime 34: Lucas

Recording …

“Who are you talking to?” Elder Stow looked around in the dark but saw no one. “Are you talking to me?”

Major Decker stopped unpacking his things. “The ghost here. Don’t you see him?”

Elder Stow shook his head. “I see nothing. No ghost, certainly.”

“Ghost, you got a name?”

“Carthair,” the ghost said, but he wasn’t paying attention. He was watching the couples who were making up for being in the land without love. “I used to kiss my wife like that. I remember.”

“Never,” Decker said. “Unless we were naked or headed in that direction.” He looked at Elder Stow. “Ours was a relationship of mutual lust, my wife and I.”

The Gott-Druk shook his head again. “I do not understand you homo sapiens.” He went to set up his tent for whatever remained of the night as Lockhart and Katie came over to the clearing.

“Who are you talking to?” Lockhart asked. Lockhart had his arm around Katie and she held on to his waist. It was not uncomfortable, but still a bit awkward letting go. Back home they would probably start dating.

“He has a ghost,” Elder Stow spoke up.

“You don’t see him?” Major Decker was asking to be sure, but he made it a statement because he understood Carthair was not on most people’s radar. Lockhart and Katie shook their heads, took one more look at each other and began to unpack their horses in the dark.

Lincoln and Alexis came next, arm in arm like the old married couple they were. They were made young again, but they still had many of the habits of age which mostly consisted of being very comfortable with each other. Lincoln started to unpack the tent, but Alexis felt something. She squinted at Decker.

“Alexis, surely you can see the ghost. Carthair, this is Alexis.”

“Ghost.” Alexis squinted a bit more.

“Ghost?” Lincoln’s eyes widened. He could not see anything, but thinking about it was worse in his mind.

“Ghost,” Alexis repeated, and with the magic inside of her she was able to perceive the vague outline of a man. “Carthair?”

“Yes,” Carthair said, though Alexis did not hear him.

“Roland!” Alexis called and said an aside to Decker, her husband, and she supposed the ghost. “Those two young lovebirds would be there all night if I didn’t interrupt them.”

“What?” Roland shouted back. He and Boston were standing in a bit of snow, holding tight to each other and not inclined to let go.

“We picked up a ghost.”snowy woods

“What?” Roland and Boston came over and Roland saw the ghost right away. Alexis had to show Boston how to use her magic to see, but when she did, Boston saw the ghost clearly and heard him as well.

“Carthair,” the ghost introduced himself

“Glad to know I’m not crazy,” Decker mumbled.

“I see him,” Boston shrieked. “But what is he doing here?” she asked Roland.

“A fair question,” Roland said.

Carthair looked at his feet where he did not really have any feet. “I died here somewhere on the Alpine path and I haven’t been buried. I think I’m stuck.”

Roland repeated what the ghost said so everyone could hear before he spoke again, “Hasn’t an escort come for you?” Roland asked before he explained for the others. “There are little sprits of the Kairos that are charged with collecting and escorting the spirits of the dead to their resting place.”

Carthair shook his head. I am in an odd place, I think, like on the border the gods argue about. I don’t belong to Hades. I grew up dreaming of entering the halls of Vrya, the great Vanheim goddess of love and war or maybe Valhalla, but now I think I need to go west, like there is a new house I never heard of. All I hear are the Children of Danna.”

“Carthair,” Katie spoke up after Roland repeated the words. “Probably a very early Celtic name. The Celts will move west over the next couple of millennia to fill France, Northern Spain, the low countries and eventually the British Isles. They will belong to the house of the Don.”

“I didn’t know that,” Carthair spoke softly.

“Maybe we can find his body and see that it is properly buried,” Alexis said.

“Cremated,” Lincoln said. “The people of the urn were all about cremation.”

Carthair looked up, and while the ghost face would never quite settle down into a clear picture, those who could see saw hope there. “Only not tonight,” Decker interrupted. “We all need sleep. So tell me, do ghosts sleep?”

“Yes. No. I don’t know,” Carthair said and he flew up into the trees and vanished from sight.

“I won’t sleep,” Lincoln told Alexis who smiled at his words. Of course, Lincoln slept very well.

It was six in the morning, not long before dawn, when a bear wandered into the camp. Decker woke to the sound and looked carefully from his tent door before he rushed out into danger. He saw the bear pick up a log and place it on the fire. He decided to stay where he was and peek out from the dark when he heard the bear talk.

“Little Fire is not doing her job here.”bear in snow

“I think she is doing just fine.” He heard the woman’s voice before the woman appeared, a beauty beyond telling. Decker could not really look at her without trembling with desire. “She snuck out of her tent to be with Roland since he is alone without his father to keep him company.” The woman made the cutest face. “I like sneaky sex.”

‘You like any kind of sex,” the bear said. “And you leave my elect alone.”

“Don’t worry. They haven’t finished cooking.”

“Humph,” the bear said and changed into a woman, also a beauty, but a rugged beauty of the kind that was almost worse for Decker. “These poor people have a long way to go on the Alpine road. I’m concerned that there are so many people up here hunting right now, if you can call it hunting.”

“I don’t know why. We all know Lucas is out of reach,” the first woman said. “Safely in the arms of the Oread on the other side of the mountains. Even Hades can’t go there without an invitation from Asgard. Vrya would kick his butt.”

“Uncle Hades is just stubborn.”

“And you aren’t?”

The two women looked eye to eye before the one that was a bear spoke. “Aphrodite, you wouldn’t dare.”

Aphrodite smiled before she shook her head. “Dear Artemis, keep your bow and arrows, but I am putting Uncle Hades on the list. He needs to loosen up.”

Artemis looked like she was not sure she believed her sister, but she did not press the point. “She better be special.”

Aphrodite simply nodded with a look that suggested she already had someone in mind. She did not say so, but instead turned to the tent door and pointed right at Decker. “And you are on my list, too.” Then she vanished.

Decker stuck his head out of the tent. “No, please.”

Artemis laughed at him and looked up. “Carthair, you can come back now.” And she vanished as well.

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Avalon 3.1 is what on television would be a two part episode. It will be posted in seven posts, four this week, M, T W & Th, and three next week, M T W. Let me urge you to stick with the story to the end. I believe you will find it an enjoyable read. MGK

Avalon 2.6: Escape and Discovery

            Well, the rest of the travelers slept for at least half a night before and Elenar ship found them and the enemy came charging out of the wood with the sole desire of killing them and eating them.

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            Katie was the first to fire at the oncoming horde.  Lockhart’s first thought was for the horses.  “To the barn,” he yelled.

            “Back door!” Lincoln pointed at the barn and yelled back.

            “Our equipment!” Katie joined in the yelling and pointed to the house.

            “Damn,” Lockhart expressed himself.

            “We will pick you up out back.”  Roland finished the conversation.  To be sure, most of the camp was packed and ready to go.  Only Lockhart and Katie still had their bags in the house.

            “Come on,” Lockhart yelled at the three Elenar that had gone to their knees in firing position and were taking a toll on the attackers.  Arrows were beginning to come in their direction, and while they still fell short, they would not fall short for long.  “Come on,” Lockhart was a bit more insistent and got the leader’s attention.  Lockhart pointed to the house and the Elder nodded and barked orders.  They fell back to the house.

            Katie already had the bags in hand.  “Out the back,” he told her.  There was a window and she dove through it.  “Come. hurry.”  The Elenar were not sure what he had in mind, but they knew their three handguns, as advanced as they were, would not hold off this attack or even make much of a dent in it.

            Lockhart got out as Roland brought up his horse.  He mounted and put a hand down for the Elenar leader.  The leader did not look sure, but he took the hand and Lockhart hauled him up behind and told him to hold on.  The other two got up behind Roland and Lincoln and avoided the human female, though the one behind the elf looked very uncomfortable.

            They rode hard for the woods on the far side of the field, and Katie was glad she was not burdened with an extra rider.  It gave her the chance to turn, fire on the enemy as they rounded the building, and still turn again to catch up.  By then the Elenar ship came in to cover their retreat.  This enemy had no weapon to match the flying machine, but they did have some runners among the spirits that could race a horse.  Fortunately, the ship could target them even at that speed, and it was not long before three of those darting Elenar fighters joined the battle. 

            The riders found what appeared to be a natural path through the woods.  They revised their idea of natural when they discovered it led to a village.  It was a primitive, mobile village that was deserted some time ago.  They decided deserted rather than overrun because of the lack of bodies.

            “Who knows if that means anything, though,” Katie said when they stopped to check for pursuit.  “They may have eaten the dead.”

            “No bones,” Lincoln pointed out, and no one wanted to argue that even the bones might have been eaten by one group or the other.

            The Elenar all got down carefully.  They were shaken, frightened by the horses far more than by the enemy.

            “Invigorating,” the Elenar leader said and stepped aside to put his finger to his ear again.  “They have retreated back to the woods from whence they came.  Our ship has zeroed in on our position and will be here in a second, not that you would understand anything about flying in a ship or how it might find us,.”

            “Radar or geo-positioning?”  Lockhart asked, and the Elenar looked surprised.

            “Might be radio if they each have a micro transmitter, like sewn in a pocket, that could show them permanently on a grid,” Katie suggested.

             “But too easy to jam,” Lincoln said.  “Maybe they have a simple scanner on the ship that can track their life-signs.”

            “Who are you people?”  The Elenar asked as the ship appeared over the trees and set down in the adjacent field.

            “People who don’t belong here,” Lockhart said honestly enough. 

            “And there you are.”  They heard the woman before they saw her.  When she manifested, Katie’s face lit up. 

            “Artemis?”

            “Yes, my elect.”

            “Boston?” Lockhart voiced his first thought.

            “Safe,” Artemis said and she raised her arms and they vanished, horses and all.  They reappeared beside the entrance to a tunnel.  “The main cavern is about two miles in.  Tetamon set up a nine square mile area that does not appear to exist in the world so even the opposing titans cannot detect it.  Cheating, I know, but at least the refugees are safe for now.  Don’t be long.”  Artemis vanished down the hole and even the horses at full speed could not have kept up.

            “Curiouser and curiouser,” Katie said.

            “Lamps,” Lockhart said.  “We have a rabbit hole to negotiate.”

            “If it is big enough for trolls and ogres we can probably ride the whole way,” Roland said.

            “Comforting thought,” Lincoln frowned and they started into the tunnel.

            They walked the horses after one point in the tunnel narrowed.  In that way it took them an hour before they came out into the great cavern.  Gnomes were waiting for them and quickly relieved them of their horses.  It was an ordinary man who led them after that, straight to the chamber where Tetamon was waiting. 

            “Lockhart.”  Tetamon recognized them right away, and though they had never seen him before, they knew him once he spoke.  They also knew KimKeri and AhnYani and were pleased to see them safe and free of Jericho.

            Boston was still sleeping comfortably, but it was enough to see her.  They did not have to wake her.  That left them at liberty to ask about Elder Stow.

            “No trace of him,” Tetamon admitted.  “With so many competing powers on the field, even the gods are hampered in what they can do.  We retrieved Captain Decker’s horse.”

            “You did that,” AhnYani said with a joyful voice of praise.

            “Nameless did that,” Tetamon corrected.  “Wlvn plugged Nameless in when you first got your horses.  Nameless is still connected to them, not as strongly as you are connected, but certainly strong enough.”

            “But the Gott-Druk?” Lincoln asked.

            “I fear he may have gone to join his people,” Tetamon admitted what they all feared.

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Avalon 2.6:  Lost and Found … Next Time

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Avalon 2.6: Underground

            So, while the main group of travelers are in the wild being attacked by the enemy, Boston has been captured by what she hopes are friendly folk, even if they are goblins, and a troll.

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            “Now missy, we won’t hurt you, much.” One of the goblins spoke to Boston when her feet were safely on the ground.

            “That works out well,” Boston said and hoped her voice remained on an even keel.  She did not need to show the fear she was feeling.  “Because I have no intention of hurting you either.”

            “Hey chief,” a goblin spoke up.  “She is not afraid of us.”  The goblins all scratched their heads.  This was not the usual response from outsider humans and they were not sure how to take it.

            “Shredder,” the chief goblin called and the troll moved to the front.  Boston most certainly would have blanched at that, but something else caught her attention across the field so she did not have to look at the troll directly.

            “You expecting company?” she asked and pointed.  The goblins and troll all looked and the chief shouted.

            “Traitors!”

            Of course that got the attention of the traitors who immediately turned and attacked.  Boston pulled out her pistol and killed or wounded three of the enemy before the two sides met.  After that she dared not interfere because she thought she could tell the difference between the goblins and their distorted images in the enemy, but she could not be sure.  One horribly distorted looking creature broke through to attack her.  She was sure of that one and three bullets made short work of the beast, but then she had to wait for the fighting to be over, and only hoped her goblins won.

            Boston held Honey and patted his nose to keep him calm while the six goblins and one troll survivor of the attack came to fetch her.  “We have to get underground,” the chief said.

            “Going to have to back fill the tunnel now that they found it,” one goblin said.

            “How did they find it?”  the troll asked.

            “No telling,” a goblin answered as he lifted a bush to reveal a dark hole.

            Boston stopped and faced the darkness.  She held out her palm and tried to make a light again.  It was a meager thing, but she was not going into the dark with goblins and a troll even if they were on her side.

            “Save your little magic,” the chief said.  He reached inside and grabbed a torch, which Boston noticed was smokeless.  Several of the others also grabbed torches and they provided plenty of light.

            “That banger did not look like little magic to me,” one of the goblins said as they started down the tunnel.

            “No wonder she wasn’t afraid of us.” Another pointed his finger and said, “Bang!” 

            “Credit for four kills. ” The chief stroked his chin.  “That is impressive.”

            “Hey!  What is she doing now?   Why, she is crying.”  Boston was crying because she did not like killing things, even distorted wicked things.  Several of the goblins showed surprising sympathy.

            “We better watch this one, she’s tricky,” the chief said, but to be sure, Boston was also crying because she was exhausted.  They walked in silence for what seemed to her like forever, but finally they came out of the tunnels and into a tremendous cavern, one where she could not take in all the walls and where stalactites and stalagmites met in the middle and appeared like pillars holding up a great ceiling

            Honey followed the whole way though the tunnels, content as long as he was following Boston.  When they got to the big cavern, however, there were too many strangers and too much noise in that closed in space.  He balked and would not move forward until several of the smaller little ones came up and began to speak to him.  Curiously, it looked to Boston that he could understand what they were saying.  Equally curious was the fact that she could not, but she imagined talking to animals was not on the Kairos’ translation program.  As far as she was concerned, everyone else was speaking English, unless she deliberately thought about it.

            “Little Witch,” the goblins were anxious to keep moving.  No doubt they had to report in.

            “Give him some oats if you have any,” Boston said, not the least concerned that these little ones might have in mind to eat her horse.  There was something about them she trusted, and apparently Honey did as well.

            “And a good rub and rest,” one of the little ones spoke.  “We care for horses, even in the wild.  We know our business.”

            Boston nodded.  She was too tired to speak again.  She grabbed her pack and followed the goblins.  They were really dark elves, she reminded herself.  It all depended on how she looked at it, and for her, looking at them as dark elves was better than goblins.

            The huge cavern room was full of different species, and plenty of humans as well.  Boston saw human children running around within reach of an ogre’s arms and no one said anything.  The human families were obviously seeking shelter from the war and devastation above.  This underground life was not the best option, but better than the no option they would have above.

            “How long has this war been going on?” Boston asked.  She saw dwarfs bring in straw from some tunnel.  Fairies fluttered over to strike the straw with their wands.  The straw took shape, something like a bed and that was carried off by elves for distribution to the people.

            “More than a year,” the chief dark elf answered.  “Things are beginning to get hard, and the food a bit thin.”

            “Why have the gods permitted this?” 

            “Which ones?  There are four different claims on this land, well, three, but Domnu is the only one so far willing to take it by force if she can.”

            “Well three?”

            “Yes, The gods across the Mediterranean have no claim this far north, but the Kairos has hope that his mother may yet persuade some of those at Karnak to join the effort against the titans across the channel.”

            Which three?”

            “Aesgard, Olympus and Domnu who claims the throne of Vanheim even if everyone knows it is not hers to claim.”

            “I see,” Boston said as the chief goblin stepped aside.  They had arrived at a room off the main cavern.  There was a man who recognized her immediately.

            “Boston?”

            Boston said nothing, but went straight to hug the two women who stood at each side of the man.  She hugged KimKeri gently because KimKeri was very pregnant.  She fell into AhnYani’s arms and spoke.  “Roland, Katie, Lockhart and Lincoln are lost.  I got separated in the snow storm.  Elder Stow went invisible, and I don’t know where he went.  Please help.”

            KimKeri spoke to the man in the middle.  “Not before daylight,” she said as another woman appeared in the room and took Boston right from AhnYani’s arms.  She lifted Boston in her arms like a mother might cradle a baby.

            “We will get them come sunrise.  Don’t worry.”

            Boston squinted.  “Artemis?”  She had never been held by a real, full blood goddess before.

            Artemis smiled.  “Can’t have my little Amazon wall maker dying of exhaustion.”  She kissed Boston on the forehead and Boston immediately fell into the first truly relaxing and restful sleep she had since leaving the castle of Avalon.

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Avalon 2.6:  Escape and Discovery … Next Time

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