Avalon 4.2: part 6 of 6, A Sad World

“Avi, sweetheart,” Devya said as she kissed him.  “Please gather Archamenis’ things and horses and bring them back to sanctuary.  I must fly.  It is the only way to end the bloodshed.”  She pointed in the direction of the city of Sanctuary, and up to where the Nuwa dragon was already speeding off.

“Can’t one of the gods help, like Junior, Danna, or Nameless?” Katie asked.

Devya shook her head.  “I’m surprised you didn’t mention Mikos’ female reflection, Amphitrite, but no.  With the amulet, even the gods are limited in what damage they can do.  So is the djin, which I am sure is why he wanted it out of the city.  He had to have told Archamenis about it and got him to steal it.  Now, I have to return it, and hopefully before Nuwa and Fuxi dragons turn the city to rubble and ash fighting off the djin.”

Devya rose up into the air and headed for Sanctuary.  The ones left below stared, dumbfounded, until Lockhart turned to Avi.  “I did not know she could do that.”Zisudra 1

“She can do many things,” Avi said.  “She explained to me in the night.  She told me you met Zisudra, her reflection, when he was at the end of his journey, bringing the last of the people into the Indus, my ancestors.  What you did not know is the people had been slowly moving down to the river valley for fifty years or more.  Devi said the Scythian-like people tried to overrun the land, but since Zisudra was a baby, the little ones stopped them on their own.  Then the Elamites thought to make them slaves, so they finished the migration, as you saw.”

“And how did the little ones stop the wild Scythians?” Lincoln asked.  He was listening, but also helping to pack things, so he did not have the database out to read all about it.

“Ah!  There is the rub, as Devi says.  They stopped the Scythians in their beds.  You know this is forbidden to the little ones.  But by the time Zisudra found out, there were thirty-year-old half breeds with bunches of quarter breed children running all over the place.  He got angry.  Apparently he cursed them, that they should never have a home or settle and be satisfied on this earth as long as there was little one blood in them.”

Avalon Traveler horses“Gypsies?” Katie could not help the outburst.  “Romani?”

“Gypsies.  But I think not Romani, though maybe related.”  Avi really did not know.  “Anyway.  The gods were not about to let him get away with having these breeds wandering all through their territories, so they made Zisudra a lesser god for the gypsies and saddled him with watching over them forever.  Poor Devi has cried in the night for how stupid she, or rather, he was.  The curse has been overcome at times and in places, but it remains.”  Avi shook his head.  “Anyway,” he said again.  “Since Devi is what she calls Zisudra’s gin-tetic reflection.”

“Genetic,” Decker interrupted.

“Exactly, so she reflects in a small way what was given to him.  She cannot move in an instant from here to there like a god or lesser god, but she can do many things that no ordinary person can do.”

“Like fly,” Lockhart said, and looked, so they all paused to look in the direction of the storm over Sanctuary.

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dev temple 1Alexis gripped her wand as Boston tried out her Beretta.  Boston got off three shots, and may have hit someone before the gun just went click, click.  She got out her wand, and they waited for the Afridi to attack down both roads leading to the palace on that side of town.

Mingus gripped the shoulders of his daughters to give them his magic.  Alexis sent a hurricane force wind out which drove back the Afridi and picked several right off the ground.  Boston released something more like a flamethrower from the end of her wand, and with Mingus’ help, his strength being in fire magic, it was strong enough to shoot through the rain.  The Afridi retreated, and some had to be put out.

Boston’s fire ended too soon.  She had in mind to spark a few behinds of the fleeing men, but her flame gave out, like she was suddenly out of power.  Alexis’ wind quit at almost the same time, and she looked up at the cloud and frowned.  The djin laughed againdev temple 4

“Bows,” Mingus said and turned to the old man.  Boston had hers out already, and had that quiver of never ending arrows to draw on, if she ever hit anything.  Alexis got hers, but protested, and vowed not to hit anything unless she could not help it.  Mingus held his ready and talked to the men.  “Give the bows to the best archers.  The rest of you get ready with spears, and spread yourselves evenly down the line.”  The old man made sure that happened, not about to argue after that display of magic and power.  Boston and Mingus still looked human enough, but more than one servant and guardsman wondered.

One woman let out a soft wail as they waited.  Another put a hand to her own mouth to still her chattering teeth.  More than one man had his eyes closed in prayer.  They expected to hear the dragon 2shouts and screams of the enemy any moment, but it never came.  Fuxi dragon landed in the courtyard, and his flame was much larger and more devastating than Boston could imagine.  They heard screams, but it was not men attacking.

Then they heard screams from the side of the building.  Apparently some men had circled around to the stables and intended to get at the defenders from an unexpected direction, but the Nuwa dragon landed there and only a half dozen managed to get inside in time.  They had bows and swords, and Nuwa and Fuxi got busy above.dragon 4

The sky erupted in lighting and fire.  There were roars and high pitched squeals, the latter from the djin.  The big room shook, and a small section of the ceiling collapsed.  Fortunately, no one was injured, but the people all got down and covered their heads.  The Afridi also dared not move out of the doorway.

magic 1It was not long before the djin had enough.  He raced off to the east toward the next time gate, and he took the rain with him.  Everyone breathed, until they remembered the Afridi in the room.  Those men did not look happy, and they looked determined to take some blood.

The Afridi drew their bows and swords.  Only Boston drew hers faster, but her aim was not so good.  It turned out not to be necessary.  Two men, looking for all the world like Bluebloods, appeared in front of her.  With three arrows each, shot faster than the eye could follow, they killed all six Afridi with six perfect shots.

“Enough brother.  That is all,” One of the blue men turned toward the other as Devya came in a side door.  She stepped up to the center post that held up the ceiling and clicked her tongue at the portion of the ceiling that had collapsed.  She flew, to Boston’s gasp, and paused near the very top where she hung the amulet taken from around her neck.  As she came to the ground, the first blue man continued a thought for Alexis.

“You see, Alexis, sometimes preserving and defending go along with destroying in this sad world.”

“It is a sad world,” Alexis agreed with that much and offered a bow.

“I do not like that amulet of yours,” the other blue man turned on Devya.

“I understand,” Devya offered her own bow to the man.  “But Lord Shiva, have I not taught the Afridi to kill as the world kills?  Have I not sent them to the Khyber able to work your work?”

Lord Shiva growled, but then nodded.  “This you have done,” he said and vanished.god ind b s v 1

“And my Lord Rama Vishnu, how may we serve you?” Devya offered a bow to the other blue man.

“You know I love the name Devya.”

“Not in this lifetime,” she responded with a soft, loving voice.

Visnu shook his finger at her.  “I cannot read your heart and mind.  Such future things as you know are forbidden even to the gods, but I cannot help but live in hope.  I will take a wife and I will call her Devi.”

“Indeed you may,” Devya said.  “Who can deny the will of the gods?”

“Ha!” Vishnu and Brahma said the word at the same time as Vishnu vanished and Brahma appeared.

“Quite an adventure,” Brahma said to everyone present.

“Adventures with dead bodies are not my desire,” Devya said and Alexis nodded.

“Perhaps I could take these Afridi and teach them something other than fighting,” Brahma suggested.

god ind brahmaDevya nodded.  “I wish Katie was here to hear this.”

Brahma needed no further invitation.  He raised one hand and the entire group with their horses and ponies and all of Archamenis’ things appeared in the outside court.  Katie, Lockhart and Elder Stow appeared in the big room.

“You would tell her?” Brahma said.

Devya looked at the god and paused before she turned to Katie.  “Brahma has agreed to teach the Afridi different things, root things.”

“The Brahmins?” Katie blurted out.

“My own people?” Brahama sounded surprised.

Devya frowned.  “And you better take care of them,” she said.

Brahma nodded.  “It was wise to make your knowledge of the future inaccessible to the gods.  And it was wise to put a hedge around your friends from the future to keep that same knowledge hidden.  There are no doubt things that would be better not to be known by the gods.”  He vanished, and Devya wondered what it would take to get her people up off the floor.

“Oh dear,” Katie said with a quick look at Lockhart.  “How can we dare talk without revealing things best left unsaid.”

“Actually,” Devya said, as Lincoln, Decker and Avi came in.  “When we talk and when you talk among yourselves, future and worldly things are bleeped out, by design of the gods themselves.  As long as you don’t talk in front of the gods, they cannot hear you.”

“So Brahmins?”Devya

Devya nodded.  “And Avestan Magi in Archamenis’ direction.  But it is still way early.  Nothing will be settled for a couple of hundred years, and then it will be a long, slow, grinding process to make what history knows.  Meanwhile, who wants to help me fix the roof?”

Katie looked at Lockhart.  She did not want to be scolded again.  Alexis looked at her father Mingus and turned her back on him by walking into Lincoln’s arms.  Mingus folded his arms across his chest and frowned.  Elder Stow appeared to step away from the lot of them and took a seat.  He seemed to be scowling, and did not change his scowl when Decker went to sit with him.  Boston, empathic elf that she was, wanted to cry for all the tension in the room.  She had to say something.

“Well, at least it stopped raining.”

Avalon 2.7: Death and Life

            The travelers did their best to lead the defense of the camp, but unless they got help, divine help, it will be a short lived defense.  Fortunately, the compulsion laid on the gnomes allowed them to set Beltain’s mind free of the control of the Djin, even if only for a moment.  It is enough for the Kairos to reach back I time and bring the goddess into the present.  Divine help arrived.

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            Up on the hill, Roland and Gnumma were completely taken in by the events transpiring in the camps.  Roland did not see his father sneak away.  Once it appeared that his ruse would work, Mingus quietly shuffled off.  Elder Stow saw, but said nothing.

            “Look at Boston,” Roland said with some pride in his voice.  “That is really some powerful magic.”

            “Not bad for one made of mud and blood,” Gnumma agreed.

            The light went out and Roland drew in his breath, sharply.  “Father?”  He was afraid Boston might have been seriously hurt.

            “Gone,” Elder Stow spoke at last.  “I was surprised you did not go with him.”

            “What?”

            “I figured as exhausted as he was, he went to see if he could help.”

            “Father!”  Roland turned and shouted, but there was no answer.  Before he could follow up, a stroke of lightning hit the center of the Aramean camp.  “The Djin!”  Roland shouted and again drew his breath in, sharply.

            “No, boy,” Gnumma explained.  “That bolt went from the ground into the sky.  I would guess our ruse worked and the Kairos is restored.  No telling which life she borrowed.  One of the gods, I suppose.  But I would say she burned the bottom of that Djin and now I think the Djin is running for his life.”  He pointed and the cloud over the camp rapidly cleared.

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            Down in the camp, the combatants paused at the lightning.  They trembled when they got a look at Zoe, and a few fainted.  The glow around her was very different, and in a way much stronger than the bit of sunlight Boston had produced.  This glow said holy, awesome power of the sort that men and women might be inclined to worship.  It also said you have really made me mad, and the men trembled, not for their lives, but for fear as to which hell she might cast them into; and they did not doubt that she could.

            “Go home!”  Zoe shouted in a voice that demanded a hearing and demanded obedience.  “Go back to the camps you came from.” She waved her hand and the attackers all disappeared at once.  Whether they reappeared in their respective camps or were sent all of the way back to Caana, Syria and Lebanon remained to be seen.

            “Katie!”  Zoe called and Katie ran up.  By her own volition she went to one knee.

            “Queen of Queens,” Katie said.

            Zoe frowned, but only a little.  “Would you get up, you’re embarrassing Beltain.”

            “I know.  I remember myself, but your way is to keep history moving in the right direction.  There are many women here who need to see this.”

            Zoe thought for a second.  “One point for you, but really, you can get up now.”

            Katie did and spoke frankly.  “I am worried about Boston.”

            “Boston is fine,” Zoe said, but before she could add, thanks to Alexis, Lockhart ran up from one direction and Lincoln from the other.  Star and the Sybil also approached, but much more carefully.  The Sybil especially was in tears.

            “Quickly.”  Zoe spoke quietly to the travelers before the others arrived.  “I have taken away the genii’s ability to sap the will.  He will not be able to put you under again, but he lives and I have no doubt he will follow you into the future.  Let us hope he has learned his lesson.”

            “The Djin is from the future?”  Lockhart asked.  Zoe nodded as Lincoln spoke.

            “Odelion.”  They all remembered the encounter with a Djin in Odelion’s day, but they all thought it was local.  They would have thought the same this time if Zoe had not said otherwise.

            “Now, I must go and speak to the leaders in the other camps.  Men have died, and if they try anything so stupid again, more men will die.  They must trust Beltain and be grateful for what she shares.  That is all.”

            Star came up, mouth open but without words.  Zoe acknowledged her.  “Hunter.”  Star fell to both knees and trembled, and more so when Zoe laid her hand gently on the girl’s head.  “My best friend Artemis is not native to this jurisdiction, though I do convince her one day to take part ownership in a temple in Ephesus.  Still, the little sparks of her spirit do tend to get around.”  Zoe spoke tenderly and let out a precious bit of laughter before she took back her hand.

            “Sybil.”  Zoe acknowledged the woman who fell all the way to her face before her goddess, the Queen of all her goddesses.  Zoe’s tone was not quite so tender.  Rather, it was stern but not unkind.  “Always speak the truth or say nothing at all,” she said, before she added, “Later,” and vanished. 

            “Boston?”  Lockhart asked.

            “She is fine.  Alexis is with her,” Katie said and paused for all of a second before she shouted, “Alexis!”  Lincoln’s shout was one second behind, but he ran faster.  Two women were there, helping Boston to sit up.  Boston immediately put her hand to her head like she had a whopper of a headache.  Lincoln noticed, but he could not hold back the shout.

            “Where is Alexis?”

            The women were shocked, but looked up at Katie and one answered.  “A man came for her.  He brought two beasts, and the two of them got up on the backs of the beasts and went off in that direction.”  She pointed.  Lockhart and Katie noticed.  Lincoln just went into a string of invectives which, fortunately for the locals, was mostly in English.

            It was not long after that when the Sybil guided them back to Beltain’s tent.  Star was particularly anxious to see if the priestess was alright.  They found Beltain at the tent door and were a bit surprised by her first words.  “Did you bring Gorman with you?”

            Lockhart shook his head.  “He is still with the men on the perimeter.  But I don’t think he has stopped smiling yet, if that is any consolation.”

            Beltain got a look on her face, but refrained from swearing by simply saying, “What Lincoln said.”  She heard all the swearing.  In fact, Roland later insisted he heard it all the way up on the hill behind Elder Stow’s screens.  “So how many did we lose?”  No one answered her, because the Sybil shrieked and threw her hands over her eyes.  There was a flash of light and a man appeared facing Beltain.

            “I need Doctor Mishka,” the man said.  “It is urgent.”

            “Ask much?”  Beltain responded.

            “The babies are due.  She is in labor, but something is wrong  They are joined together, here.”  Enlil put his hand to the top of his head.

            “Enlil, these are my friends.”  Beltain would have to think for a minute.  This was not good.

            “Hello.”  Enlil barely turned his head before he made his demand.  “The doctor?”

            Beltain looked around.  “Star, tell Gorman to wait for me.  I wasn’t finished.”  Star nodded.  “Anath, be sure these people get whatever food and supplies they require.  I will be back.”  The Sybil nodded as well, though she never uncovered her eyes.  Beltain took Enlil’s hand and said one more thing.  “Doctor when we get there.  Here and now you get me.”

            With that Enlil actually took a moment to look around.  He spoke to Lockhart.  “Not much of a war.”

            “War!”  Beltain tried not to spit.  “I should invent football.  Boys are stupid.”  The word “stupid” floated on the wind as Enlil and Beltain vanished

            Lincoln looked up.  “What did she mean boys are stupid?  We are not stupid, are we?”

            Katie, Boston, Star and the Sybil answered in unison.  “Yes.”

###

            In ancient days there were a few places on the earth where the human race met with … “visitors,” like the place of the Lion where the Shemsu people built those three great pyramids in Egypt.  In the new world, that common ground was the jungle that covered the Yucatan, Guatemala and southern Mexico.  One alien landing can keep the Kairos busy trying to limit alien contact and influence on human development and history.  But when the travelers arrive in the next time zone, they find four species, and they are picking sides and talking war.  For the late Neolithic humans caught in the middle, contact will be explosive; a struggle just to survive.

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Avalon 2.8:  Encounters … Next Time

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Avalon 2.7: Changes

            Since leaving the deepest past, the travelers have picked up any number of creatures – creatures that are hunting them, following them through the time gates from time zone to time zone.  The power of the Djin has attracted them and the travelers have to fight for their lives.  They no sooner drive one off and another comes.

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            “Boston?”  Alexis called up to her.  She was concerned.  She knew like no other what magic could take out of a person.

            But Boston stood again and climbed slowly back on to her chair.  “Just like an all-nighter at school,” she shouted.  “I could use an energy drink.”  She raise her arms and began to glow once again, just like she did before she sent the great wind.  Then she shouted, “Ameratsu, give me your light and strength.”  Down below, Katie tried to be more practical about it all.  She prayed for Zoe to send help.  Two hundred men presently faced Lockhart’s one hundred, and a hundred and fifty skirted Lockhart’s position and were presently headed for Katie and her warrior women.

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            Oktapi and a dozen gnomes came in from the west, driving a small herd as agreed.  The animals were mostly lame, halt and broken in some way, but that would hardly matter when the creatures of mud and blood cut them up for food.

            Beltain waited patiently.  She folded and unfolded her hands in front of her belly and tapped her foot, but that was about as patiently as she could wait.

            “Lady.”  Oktapi stepped forward and bowed as soon as he arrived.  “The animals agreed.”

            “I thank you, Oktapi, on behalf of all your people.  You have been a great help to us all as we cross this land and do not settle here.  I know it is your wish that we be gone from your territory, and that is our wish as well.  But tonight I have a special request.”  Oktapi looked at Beltain with a twisted eye.  This was not the goddess he knew and loved.  Okay, he admitted it to himself.

            “You may certainly ask,” he said.

            “I know I can only ask, and here it is.  Some geis has fallen on the other camps to make them believe we have not shared fairly from the herd.  Even now they are attacking us.  I have every hope that come daylight, we may be able to work out our differences, but for now we are in grave danger.  My request is to ask if you and your people may help us defend ourselves on this one night.  I would be very grateful.”  Beltain quieted for an answer, and that was when the Djin descended on them. 

            The Genii had seen this troop of gnomes travel through the boundary set up by the old one.  He watched the elder elf, aided by his son and that other gnome, lay hands on each of these little spirits in turn.  He expected to find a resistance to his power, but imagined he was too clever for them.  He found the spell of resistance and easily vanquished it.  Then he swallowed the will power of the little gnomes almost as easily and he swallowed the human will power.  The gnomes were completely his, but then he was distracted by a great light in the battle and just had to see what these clever people from the future were up to.

            Oktapi finally answered Beltain’s question.  “Not a chance.  We would like nothing more than to see you destroy yourselves in blood and go back to the mud from whence you came.”  He laughed, and several of the other gnomes laughed with him.  All the same, the gnomes spread out to circle around Beltain.  They began to dance around her and quietly chant.  There was a compulsion laid inside of them all, much deeper than the surface resistance found by the Djin.  They belonged completely to the Djin and would do whatever his will required, after they finished doing what they were compelled to do.

            Beltain watched them dance and chant.  They had her surrounded.  She fell to her knees in their midst and became afraid.

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            When Boston was fully cooked, she leaned forward, suddenly, which almost made her lose her balance.  She was indeed glowing like the sun at that point.  People could not look at her directly.  And all that energy projected from her in a single beam of sunlight.

            Lincoln was backing up from the snarling wolf and telling others to stay behind him.  He had a copper sword in his hand, not that it would have much effect on the drooling beast.  The wolf looked hungry when the light fell on it.  The wolf howled.  It was trapped in the light.  And Lincoln watched as the snout became a human mouth and the claws became hands, and very quickly a filthy, naked man collapsed to the ground.

            “Rope, quick!”  He rushed forward into the light and pinned the man to the ground while others came up with rope.  They tied up the man, hands behind, legs together, and Lincoln determined he wanted a rope mummy.  The light went out all at once, but Lincoln knew they had to have the man completely incapacitated before it turned back into the wolf.

            Boston fell.  The chair slipped off the table which was on top of the upside-down wagon.  She fell, and would have landed hard on the ground, but Katie was right there to catch her as easily as a mother might catch a small child.  Katie could not stay, however, because the attackers were getting close.  She put an unconscious Boston in Alexis’ arms to work whatever healing magic Alexis could work, picked up her spear and rejoined her Amazons.

            “Archers ready!”  She shouted even as Lockhart was shouting the same thing out on the perimeter of the camp.  “Aim.”  She yelled and raised her hand with the spear grasped tightly even as a lightning bolt struck the earth between the two opposing groups.

            A figure appeared between the combatants, some of whom were looking up because the sky became suddenly cloudless and the full moon made everything visible.  The figure was a woman.  Katie recognized her at once.  It was Zoe, but the goddess, not just Zoe the human Queen she knew.  This was Zoe transformed, the Queen of the Amazon Pantheon of goddesses, and she looked pissed.

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Avalon 2.7:  Death and Life … Next Time

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Avalon 2.7: The Trenches

            Looks like war in the camps.  The Djin seems to have taken over the mind and will of the people to play a dangerous and deadly game.  The travelers in the camp have no will to resist, and the ones on the hill who are still in their right minds appear equally helpless.

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            Boston and the women built a tower on which she could stand.  They made it out of upside-down wagons, a table and a chair.  It slanted a little, but it was not entirely unstable.  Boston felt safe enough to stand up on the chair, and there she watched all around as the sunlight faded into evening darkness, Alexis paced, and the old woman told stories to the gathered children.  Better than television, Boston thought, and then she wondered what television was.

            Even as the last wisps of purple left the sky, Katie came up to check their handiwork.  “We may need some light.”  She shouted up to Boston, though Boston was not that high up.

            “I was thinking that, but I see Lockhart has set some signal fires a little way into the wilderness and pulled his men well within the perimeter.  Lincoln is still setting his.  I would guess Lockhart told him what he was doing and Lincoln is copying the idea.

            “And a good idea it is,” Katie responded.  “I assume you can’t blaze like the sun for very long.”

            Boston was not sure she could blaze like the sun at all, but she said nothing.

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            Lincoln saw them coming.  He moved all of his hunters with their bows to the front, first.  He briefly wished he had his rifle before he wondered what a rifle was.  That was okay,  they had to wait for the enemy to get close enough.

            “Ready?”  Lincoln moved down his line of archers.  “Remember, just shoot in a straight line.  They are bunched up and you will hit something.  Don’t try to pick a target at this range in the dark.  I don’t want twenty arrows in one person and none in the rest.  Aim.”  Lincoln raised his hand and paused to let the enemy inch closer before he dropped his hand and shouted, “Fire!”

            The volley was withering.  A number of men were struck with arrows and the attacking group quickly gathered their wounded and retreated. 

            Lockhart, a good man in charge of protecting the south ran into the same kind of situation – the enemy attempting to sneak up in the dark.  He dealt with it in a similar way, but this enemy raged after the first volley and attacked.  It took two more volleys to finally drive them off, and certainly some of those men that were down were dead.

            With Lockhart distracted by the attack, a third group took advantage and tried to move on them from the Southeast.  Fortunately, Boston saw from her perch and did not hesitate.  She raised her arms and groaned and shouted.  Katie, who was gifted, Alexis, who had magic of her own, and no doubt the Sybil who looked up, saw the golden power of Boston’s magic rise up into the air like a flare.  At once, Boston threw her hands forward, pointed straight at the sneaky enemy.  The Golden sparkles rushed out over the camp to that place, and the wind followed.  It was a concentrated wind blast of hurricane strength.  It picked up most of the enemy and blew them back in the direction from which they had come.  A few escaped by falling flat to the ground, but then Lockhart was alerted and men came running, so as soon as Boston’s initial blast gave out, the men on their faces jumped up and hastily retreated.

            Everyone paused to catch their breath, and in that brief silence they heard a howl.  It was one with which the travelers were familiar even if the people were not.  The bokarus in ghost form came rushing over the perimeter of the camp and brought Boston’s wind back with it.  People were knocked in every direction.  Tents were torn up by the roots.  Wagons were shaken.  A couple fell apart while several others wheeled off in whatever random direction they were pointed.

            Lockhart and Lincoln held their lines together, as did Katie at the center.  Otherwise, some might have run wild in panic.  “Alexis.  Boston.”  Katie shouted.  This creature, in ghost form, was something which she, for all her gifts could not touch.  The frustration of that ate at her.

            Alexis stomped over to the women and grabbed Star’s bow and one arrow.  She groused, “I am a healer, not a wounder.”  Her magic was much whiter than Boston’s yellow, slightly orange magic and she covered the bow and arrow with a white glow before she handed it back to the hunter.  “Star, shoot it at the bokarus when it flies overhead.  You don’t have to hit it, exactly, but the closer the better.”

            Star waited at the ready, and let the arrow fly with some lead time as a good hunter should.  Alexis had her hands together and her eyes shut tight.  The arrow missed and they thought it was laughter that came from the bokarus; but then Alexis opened her hands and opened her eyes, and the arrow exploded like a bomb on the Fourth of July. 

            The bokarus shrieked.  It felt that.  The women cheered, but then it looked like the arrow just made the bokarus mad.  It headed for the children, and Alexis was afraid some of them were young enough for the bokarus to suck out their life force without having to kill them first.  She looked up at Boston.  So did Katie, Star and the others.  Boston appeared to be staring at her finger.  She did not have a wand.  No one ever told her she needed one.  Her finger would have to do, and when she heard the children scream, she pointed that finger.

            Boston was thinking of Lockhart’s “heat ray” comments.  She did not know what a heat ray was, but she imagined herself as her Amazon name, “Little fire.”  She knew that fire consisted of light and heat, and she felt there was no reason they had to go together.  When the children screamed, a dull red beam of light came from Boston’s finger.  If she had been herself, she might have likened it to a laser beam.  It struck the bokarus in the back and this time the cry of the bokarus sounded painful.  It pulled up from the children, but Boston’s finger followed it.  It began to fly in wild directions, but still she followed.  Her finger fire set a tent aflame as she tracked the bokarus near the ground, but she caught it and stayed with it as often as not.  Finally the bokarus had enough and it streaked out across the camps and vanished in the dark in the distance, Boston hoped never to return.  It had better not.  She was used up.

            Boston sat on the chair to catch her breath.  She did not hear the cheers from the women, but she did hear the Sybil when she ran up as fast as she could.  “Lincoln,” she yelled.  “He is facing the wolfman!”

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Avalon 2.7:  Changes … Next Time

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