Avalon 2.10: Retrieval

            Tiamut is dead.  Osiris is in the coffin headed back to Egypt.  Assur and Marduk are present, very young and inclined to argue without Eliyawe’s intervention.  It was an interesting lunch, but now it is time to retrieve their friends.

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            They left the horses with the Nymphs to guard them and walked across the field.  There were boulders scattered around the base of a hill, and a cave a short way up the hillside.  Roland reported that they were in the cave.

            Roland and Boston walked carefully toward one of the boulders, uncertain as to what to expect.  Marduk and Assur came a step behind them with their eyes wide.  Lockhart knew of no way to confront whoever they might be except directly.   Captain Decker spoke first.

            “Lieutenant Harper,” he said, and Katie looked up.  Decker signaled with one hand and Katie nodded. 

            “What language was that?”  Lockhart asked.

            Katie smiled for him, then spoke with a straight face.  “Marine language.”  The two marines separated and went to where they could draw a bead on the cave, each from a different angle.  Lockhart kept Lincoln with him to prevent the man from running out or doing something stupid.

            Eliyawe, Elias, Jonas and Atonas walked up in the open.  They figured they were out of bowshot range, so they did not worry.  They were talking and laughing and having a good time.  They only paused when Lockhart stood and shouted toward the cave.

            “Alexis!”

            The answer came back at once.  “I’m here, Robert.”  Lockhart stepped on Lincoln’s foot so he would not go running out.

            “You get one chance,” Lockhart shouted.  “Return Alexis unharmed and we will let you live.”

            They were answered with gunfire.  They had Alexis’ pistol.  Lockhart took the first in his shoulder.  Eliyawe swore and shoved Atonas and Jonas behind a boulder.  Elias followed as Eliyawe called out and her clothes were instantly replaced with fine chain armor over leather.  The suit came complete with boots to the knees, gloves to the elbows, a long white cape that fluttered in the wind and a helmet that made the face hard to see.  She had weapons at her back, including a long sword.

            “Hey,” Elias said.  “You got your sword back.”

            “What, this old thing?”  It was not Eliyawe’s voice.  “Zoe,” the woman gave her name as she stepped out from behind the boulder.  Three bullets came straight to her, but they did not appear to touch her.  Zoe lifted her hand and the pistol came flying out of the cave and landed in her hand.  Then something else came from the cave.  It was dark and faceless and looked like strips of black cloth flying in the wind.  It was a wraith, and Zoe shouted to Boston.

            “Little Fire, make a lasso.”

            “What?”

            “Rodeo queen, make a lasso from your fire.”

            A whole bunch of western, rodeo images flashed through Boston’s mind, but she was not sure she could make a lasso from fire.  She looked at Roland and heard a sound over her shoulder.

            “Eee-ha!”  It was Marduk, dressed in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, and he was twirling a lasso of light and shouting.  He caught the wraith by the head and yanked it to the ground.

              “Hog tie it,” Boston yelled, and Assur flew forward while Marduk kept the rope taught, and in the blink of an eye had the wraith tied, arms behind and one foot with them.  He even stood and raised his arms.  Too bad there was no crowd to cheer.  Boston applauded and Roland joined her.

            Meanwhile, Zoe stepped up to the cave.  The giant was just inside the light, afraid to come out.  It was not connected to the Masters, but a useful tool.  Zoe knew this one was not entirely a fool, just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Several arrows came in her direction, but never touched her as she thought things through.

            Alexis was not beaten badly, and through use of her magic and her fairy weave, which covered her again every time a piece was  taken off her, she was not raped.  Zoe waved her hand and the frightened giant became a little person, just three and a half feet tall.  He vanished from the cave entrance and appeared in the midst of Jonas, Atonas and Elias who sat on him to keep him quiet.

            “Alexis!”  Lincoln came running up at that point.  Lockhart could not hold him.  Katie had abandoned her post and was presently holding Lockhart up and they were watching the Gaian chits in his system push the bullet out of the wound.  It fell to the dirt and the wound began to close up and heal.

            “Benjamin!”  Alexis shouted back.  There were two men determined to carry out the rape, but Zoe got there first and brought Lincoln along.  He and Alexis hugged and kissed while the Queen of the Amazon pantheon get very angry, again.  Zoe made sure those two men would never rape anyone again, ever.  Then she waved her hand again and all six men and three women were tied like the wraith. 

            It was Eliyawe who shouted from the cave entrance.  Zoe was still too angry.  “You can come up now.  Alexis is alright.  No Mingus.  Lockhart?”

            “Here,” Katie answered.  “We are fine.”

            “What are we supposed to do with this little one?”  Elias yelled.

            “Stay where you are for now,” Eliyawe answered.

            Elias looked at the little one he was sitting on.  “You heard my wife.  I try not to argue with my wife.”

            “Wise,” Jonas said and Atonas nodded.

            “Get off me, you elephant,” the former giant complained.

            “Boys, bring the wraith.”

            “Yes, Mam.  Glad to oblige. Shuckins, ‘twern’t nothing.””

            Lincoln walked a weeping Alexis out of the cave.  She had enough fairy weave left to cover her private parts and her breasts, but that was it.  Roland and Boston met her at the cave entrance and Roland handed back all the fairy weave cloth he picked up along the trail.  It merged back into the rest of her cloth and quickly formed a proper dress and shoes.  And the twins only whistled once as they marched by with the screaming wraith in tow.  The wraith was not hurt or mad at being tied.  It was screaming because it realized just who had tied it and the wrath of the gods was a terrible thing to behold, even in those two.

            “Toss her in here,” Eliyawe said.  “Now make sure they are all tied tight.”  She took Marduk’s and Assur’s hands and changed to Junior.  They were in the dark where no one would see them.  He left a message from the three of them when the signal he set up was followed by the gods of El’s court.  “These serve the Masters, not you.  If they are left to live, they will try some new horror.  We leave them for your pleasure to do with them as you will.”

            Then Eliyawe returned and brought the boys back out into the light.  They were looking at her with wide eyes.

            “That was amazing, how you did that.”

            “That was so sophisticated.”

            “Hush,” Eliyawe quieted them.  “We have about three or four days before the LSD is fully broken down and the gods should awake, and we have a long way to go to reach Egypt.  Seal the cave, but leave a small air pocket so they don’t suffocate.”

            “Really?  Can we?  Is it okay?  Yeee-ha!”

            “Boys,” Eliyawe rolled her eyes and grinned at Boston and Alexis as they all ran down the hill to the safety of the plains.  The earth began to shake, and all at once the front of the cave collapsed.  It formed a perfect seal with only a small hole here and there for air.

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Avalon 2.10:  Loose Ends … Next Time

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Avalon 2.10: Lunch and Stories

            While on the trail for Alexis and Mingus, the travelers first found the Kairos, Eliyawe, a skinny young girl in a mini skirt with nice long legs that she obviously liked to show off, who seemed to be suffering from ADHD, at the least.  She had several men and women with her, as well as a floating coffin, but had yet to get through the introductions without interrupting herself.

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            “Boys,”  Eliyawe’s voice grabbed their attention again.  “Leave the fisherman alone.  I want you to meet Roland, the hunter.”

            “Hello,” they said before they ran to the horses.  “What are these?  Where did you get them?  Which is the fastest?  Can I have one?”

            “Children, come and sit.”  Eliyawe made them sit down where Elder Stow was building a fire.  “Now behave so we can have a nice lunch.”  Eliyawe turned to Boston and rolled her eyes in a very Boston-like manner.  “Boys,” she said with a liberal dose of sarcasm.

            “I understand,” Boston said and rolled her eyes in return.

            Roland provided a deer, but it took time to cook.  Elder Stow made a small force field around them so they could let the horses out to graze without worrying about them watering.  Katie and Boston argued a bit about the cooking.  Lincoln sounded morose when he talked.

            “Alexis is a great cook.”

            “And I am sure we will enjoy her cooking when we get her back,” Lockhart said.  And he explained to Eliyawe and the others what they were doing.  They expected to catch up, soon.  Lincoln threw the grass he had yanked out of the ground, but he said nothing.

            “Maybe we could help them?” Elias suggested with a look at his wife.  Eliyawe squinted at him. 

            “I thought you were my husband,” she said.  He nodded.

            “So how far ahead of you do you figure,”  Elias spoke to Lockhart and Eliyawe grinned and took her husband’s arm.

            “Sometime this afternoon.”  Lockhart said, but he looked at Roland for confirmation.

            “Sooner than that,” Roland said.  “I think they saw the Kairos coming from in front of them and with us following they scooted out between us and are hold up somewhere in the rocks there where the hills really start to rise.”

            “What?”  Lincoln sat straight up to look.

            “Relax,” Lockhart held him back.

            “So who is in the box?”  Decker changed the subject when he could not suppress his curiosity any longer.  He slept in an Agdaline box for 500 years, so he was curious.

            “Osiris,” Elias answered and Eliyawe nodded.

            “We are returning him to Egypt,” she said.  “The nymphs of the swamps of Lebanon are doing penance and carrying the coffin.

            “Nymphs?”  The men reacted.  Jonas and Elias looked embarrassed for some reason.

            “Osiris?” Katie also reacted.  “You mean, the Osiris?”

            “Hey.” Lincoln looked at Elyawe with sudden curiosity.  “Which ding dong the Witch is dead?”

            “Tiamut,” Eliyawe said.  “Set planned the whole thing so Osiris would snuff it away from Egypt.  The Masters are working for Tiamut, more or less.  They seeded the streams with the drug.  Tiamut was hoping the gods would go crazy, but it just put them all to sleep for a time.  Some universal default or something would be my guess.”

            Atonas could not contain himself any longer.  “You slew Chaos?  You killed the great and terrible goddess?”  He fell at Eliyawe’s feet and dared not lift his eyes. 

            “Not me,” Eliyawe said.  “All I did was stab her in her big toe.  Broke my best sword, too, and dern, it was my new one.”  Eliyawe shrugged.  “You want the slayer of Tiamut, look to Marduk and Assur.”

            “The Marduk and Assur?” Katie started again but several people yelled at her in case she said something about the future that was best not to mention.

            “I like that phrase, “The” Marduk and Assur,” Assur said.  “But it would be better to say “The” Assur and Marduk.”

            “Yes,” Marduk ignored his brother and spoke in feigned humility.  “I slew chaos for all time.”

            “Ha!  I slew Chaos.”  Assur countered, but Marduk had already jumped to his feet.

            “There she was, a true titan, terrible to behold, but I found the courage to rise up into her face, the very face of death.  I brought my great sword down upon her head and cut her in two so her brains leaked out.  And by the fire in my loins, I set her mind ablaze until it became but ash to blow away on the wind.”

            “Ha!”  Assur had a counter story.  “I rose up to her great maw that was swallowing the light itself and looked big and dark enough to swallow the very sun.  I smote her breast and cut off the paps that fed the world with destruction.  I bore a great hole in her chest and tore out her heart.  This I crushed with my bare hands.”

            “Her heart was only about this big,” Marduk pinched his fingers together to show how small it was.

            “It was not.”

            “It was too.”

            Eliyawe whistled and Marduk and Assur  fell silent.  “Actually, Tiamut was about to step on me and squish me like a bug, and my boys found the courage to finish the job.  Thanks for saving my life, boys.”

            “Aw, hush.  Think nothing of it.  You are more than welcome.  The least we could do.”

            “Twins,” Lincoln said.  “Identical.”

            “So which is older?”

            “Hey!”  Eliyawe intervened before the argument started.  “They were both born at exactly the same time, joined together at the top of their heads.  Doctor Mishka had a hard time separating them.  She had to re-grow the skulls and do some dermal regeneration and stimulate the hair follicles and voila!  Better then a plate in their heads.”  Eliyawe smiled until she saw Marduk open his mouth.  “And they both got an equal number of brain cells down to the micro-nano level, so there.”  Eliyawe stuck her tongue out at the boys.

            Elias got Atonas back up and sat him between himself and Jonas.  Jonas had to lean over to speak.  “You know, I still only understand about one in three words your wife says.  Very disturbing.”

            “Ha!”  Elias said in imitation of Assur.  “What is really disturbing is I am starting to understand the most of it.”  Eliyawe tightened her grip on Elias’ arm and robbed her head against his shoulder like a kitty  All that was missing was the purr.

            They all heard a click.  Captain Decker had his rifle at hand.  “Lunch is over,” he said.  “Time to get our missing travelers.”

            “Thank you.”  Lincoln stood straight up.

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Avalon 2.10:  Retrieval … Next Time

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Avalon 2.10: Eliyawe and Company

            Lincoln has great hopes of finding his wife, Alexis, and Roland has equally high hopes of finding both her, and their father Mingus, but the place where they expected to find them turned out to be a ruined camp.  They determined from the lack of bodies that they are likely still alive, they have been taken by someone, but they are on foot.  The travelers believe it should not be too hard to catch them on horseback.  What they will find as to who took them is the question. 

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            The travelers followed the trail as far as they could into the night, but eventually had to pitch a light camp, eat, and give their horses a rest.  They were up with the sun and moving again, headed to the north and west toward Lebanon and the coast

            Decker took the flank.  Lincoln and Elder Stow stayed in the middle as usual, with Lockhart and Katie watching all of their backs.  Roland and Boston, and that meant Atonas who knew something about the land were out front.  Roland, to be sure they stayed on course, and Boston, to be sure they did not get too far off course as far as the next time gate was concerned,

            Every now and then Roland would ride ahead to a place where he could stop and check the signs of passage.  Once, he came back to Boston and whispered.  “They are not alone.”  Boston looked up and he explained.  “I don’t want to say anything yet because I am not certain, but they are traveling with a ghoul, perhaps, or a wraith and a giant, I would guess about ten feet tall.”

            Boston nodded and looked back to be sure the others did not hear.  Atonis spoke up.

            “I knew a giant once,” Atonas spoke loud and clear.  “Not an Amalakite.  I have to say that back home because everyone in Caana hears giant and automatically thinks Amalakite.”

            Boston rolled her eyes.  Lincoln, Katie and Lockhart were all staring at her.  “Roland thinks they may have a giant with them.  Not confirmed.”

            “Yes, he was taller than me on this beast.  Nice fellow.  Drank too much.”

            “Thank you for your insight,” Lincoln quipped from behind and did nothing to disguise the sarcasm.

            “Glad to help,” Atonas responded.  “Of course you have to be careful with giants.  Some are quite bright, but even the dumb ones can be very clever.  Not a good idea to make them mad either.”

            Lincoln joined Boston in eye rolling.  Elder Stow found the whole thing quite amusing.

            “Hold up.” Decker rode in from the flank and the party stopped moving to hear the news.  “People approaching.  Four men and five women, and they have a box with them that looks like a coffin.”

            Katie got out her rifle.  Lincoln, Boston and Lockhart all checked their side arms.  They started forward again at a slow walk until Decker had them dismount at the base of a ridge which was barely more than a long lump in the ground.  There were trees where they tied off the horses, still afraid the horses might wander to the nearest stream.  Roland and Boston agreed to watch the horses while the rest climbed the ridge to have a look.

            “No Alexis or Mingus,” Elder Stow stated the obvious.

            “No giant or other spookies either,” Katie added as she handed her binoculars to an overly anxious Lincoln.

            “A strange crew,” Decker said.  The casket was floating along without anyone touching it.  Even the telekinetic Shemsu needed to raise their hands and focus on such an object to move it.  But here, four rather scantily clad women merely walked at each of the four corners.  Two young men walked side by side, and the fat one sweating like they had been walking for some time.  The skinny young girl in the super short miniskirt and the other two young men, identical twins, appeared to be dancing along.  The young girl was singing, though it took a few minutes before they were within range to hear the song.

            “Ding, dong, the witch is dead.  Which old witch?  The wicked witch.”

            “Eliyawe,” Katie said through her grin.  It could not possibly be anyone else.  Lockhart stood and waved and instantly found himself frozen in place. Everyone was frozen, including Roland, Boston and the horses who were out-of-sight.

            “Marduk!”  Eliyawe used her scolding voice as she huffed and puffed her way up the ridge.  “Let these people go.  These are friends of mine.”

            “Blame me?  Assur must have done it.”

            “I did not,” Assur protested.

            “Well it wasn’t me,” Marduk responded.

            “Well it wasn’t me either.”

            “Hey!”  Eliyawe put her fingers to her lips and let out a shrill whistle.  “Would you boys please set them free.  I don’t care which one.”

            Marduk and Assur looked properly scolded and the travelers could move again.

            “Eliyawe!” Lockhart shouted and finished his wave before he realized what happened and Eliyawe was now in front of his face.  Eliyawe played along.  She took two steps back, waved and shouted.

            “Lockhart!”  She grinned.

            The two other men then joined them, the fat one huffing and puffing.  The women surrounding the casket also started up the ridge and they all noticed the women at the back levitated in order to keep the casket level.

            Eliyawe immediately went into the introductions.  “This strapping, handsome young man is Elias, my husband.  His wild and crazy friend is Jonas.”

            “Not anymore,” Jonas spoke up as he shook hands with everyone.  “I have given up my wild and crazy.  Eliyawe owns the wild and crazy country and I can’t compete.  Sorry, Elias, but she is all yours.”  He tapped his friend on the shoulder as every eye turned to stare at the young man.  He was not put off.

            “And she is all I want,” he said.  Eliyawe shrieked and tackled him.  She landed on top of him and he grinned the whole time, especially when she wiggled a little.

            “They’ve been married, what, twenty days?,” Jonas said.  No one else said anything, especially the women.  They were too busy smiling, including Boston who climbed up from below to see what was happening.

            Eliyawe turned her head and tossed it to get her hair out of her eyes.  She stared at Jonas through big, brown eyes and said, “A whole month if you don’t mind.”  Then she saw Boston and abandoned her husband to shout, “Boston!”  And she ran to give her a hug.  Then she hugged all the women.  Then she kissed Lockhart on the cheek and got to Lincoln where she stopped.  “Okay,” she said.  “What is going on?”

            “Down below,” Lockhart pointed.  “We build a fire, have lunch and figure out our next move.”

            “But Alexis,” Lincoln protested.

            “That’s an order,” Lockhart said as he took Katie’s hand to help her down the hill, not that she needed help.

            “Order?  You’re resorting to orders?”  Lincoln stomped past and grumbled the whole way.

            “My father,” Elder Stow stepped up to Lockhart.  “He should treat you with more respect.”

            Lockhart looked at the Gott-Druk.  “I know where his heart is.  I trust him implicitly.  No need to make a scene.  He will get over it.”

            The Gott-Druk paused to think and later was surprised to see Lockhart’s wisdom.  “I did not know humans could be so wise,” he said.

            Poor Atonas had to walk sandwiched between Marduk and Assur.  He knew who they were even if the others did not.  He was terrified to the point of being ready to wet his pants at any moment.  “I think I will claim this one,” Marduk said.

            “Atonas the fisherman?  What, are you going to have fish in your temple every day?”

            “Maybe.”

            “Too bad you don’t have a temple.”

            “You don’t either.”

            “Neither do you.”

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Avalon 2.10:  Lunch and Stories … Next Time

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