R6 Festuscato: 9 For Peace, part 1 of 3

Festuscato stood on the small hill where he could look out over the activity around Caerdyf.  The wall around the village looked unfinished and the village looked burned and smoldering.  The walls of the fort looked to be holding, but even with every man from the village added, there could not have been more than three hundred human defenders. Luckily, Hywel from Caerleon got there first with two hundred additional men, and Festuscato sent Pinewood and a hundred fairy archers to help.  That put six hundred against some two thousand wild Irishmen under Sean Fen.

Leinster must have sent his whole army.  Sean Fen must have convinced him that now would be the time to strike, with the dragon in Ireland with Patrick.  Festuscato understood well enough.  Caerdyf represented a strong Wales shutting the door against the Irish.  If they could tear down the fort, they could keep the Welsh weak and Wales easy pickings. Sean Fen, the pirate wanted easy pickings, but overall, the Irish benefited from keeping the Welsh weak. It could not have been a hard argument to make.  Sadly, six hundred against over two thousand did not make good odds, even if the six hundred were behind stout walls.

“Addaon.”  Festuscato called the young man to the front.  Dyrnwch stayed with his men as did Bryn.  They had four hundred men from the midlands and three hundred more from the north under Ogryvan.  Roughly another four hundred came from the coasts, but they were mostly disorganized and in small groups, including thirty men and monks from Branwen’s Cove.  The monks Cedrych and Madog smiled when they said they wanted to see that their horses were getting proper care.

“Sir?”  Addaon did not know what to call Festuscato.

“What do you see the Irish building there, over there on the west side of the fort?”

“That is a very long way,” Addaon said.  He squinted and stumbled when he felt a sharp slap on his back.

“Look with your fairy eyes, man,” Festuscato said. “You don’t have to play ordinary human with me.”  Addaon turned his head to stare at Festuscato, so Festuscato used his finger to point and his other hand to turn Addaon’s head to the task.  “There.  Over there. What are they building?”

“They look like towers.  I would say several, and nearly complete.”  Addaon wrenched his head free of Festuscato’s hand and spouted. “How did you know?”

“I know your sire, that disobedient son of a mother. He is a full blood fairy but with a little spark of the goddess Amonette in him so he is immortal, and I can’t get rid of him, God bless him.  He knows full well fairies are not supposed to mate with humans, but how can I punish McKraken when my own son disobeys me?”  Festuscato shook his head.

“Wait.  My father is your son?  How is that possible?  You can’t be more than a few years older than me.”  Addaon was bright.

“I’m not, and if you call me Grandad I’ll hit you. He is Danna’s son, but explaining that is a bit complicated.”

“A woman?  Danna?”

“The goddess Danna.  The Mother goddess.”

“So, I should call you Granma?”  Addaon grinned.

“You do and she will hit you, and she hits harder than I do.  All of her children and grandchildren and so on just call her Mother, and so you understand, I don’t answer to the name Mother.”

“I’m confused,” Addaon admitted.

“Lord Agitus,” Mirowen stepped up and interrupted before she inserted a note for the young man.  “Confusion is what the Lord does best.”

“What?” Festuscato kept looking back at the troops, trying to figure out how to deploy them so they didn’t trip over each other or start killing each other by accident, thinking the unfamiliar face was the enemy.

“Lord.  The wood elves and dwarfs under Weland, and the hundred fairies Pinewood left on our side of the fort have all volunteered to take down the towers on your command.”

“Hold that thought.  I want to try something else first.  For now, tell them to keep to the woods.  If the Irish try to flee the battlefield, it will be important to stop them before we end up with hundreds of wild Irishmen roaming the wilderness.”

“Lord Pyre an Nog suggested we wait until dark when he and his can sneak up on the Irish, unprepared.”  Mirowen made a face.  “He means when the Irish are unprepared.”

“No, but I imagine some Irish may try for the woods in the dusk and dark.  He and his will not lack for targets, as long as they stick to Irish targets and avoid the innocent Welsh.  Now, let me see what I can do.  What?” Festuscato appeared to be talking to himself.  Mirowen waited patiently, as did Dibs and Bran.  Addaon did not know what to think.  “But this is not a job for you.  I’m surprised you are even accessible.  You god types usually hide when it is strictly a human event.  I understand Gerraint and Greta because they are close, and maybe the princess or one of the others around the storyteller, but … No, now wait a minute.  You showed up with Patrick.  You practically took over with the wraiths.  Now you want … I don’t care if he is your grandson … oh bother.” Festuscato went away and Danna took his place.  She smiled and laid a hand on an astounded Addaon’s cheek.  Then she told him to be good for a moment.

“Talesin!” she shouted, and a fairy appeared, took one look and would have vanished again if Danna did not keep him there. “Big.”  It was all Danna had to say, and Talesin got big, and whistled, and looked at the sky.  “Your son, you naughty boy.  Where is his mother?” she asked, but the moment the question formed in her mind she knew the answer.

“He is with his mother.  Dyrnwch doesn’t know.  He went on a trading expedition and was gone sixteen months.  Poor Caru said he could not give her children.  I felt her sorrow so deeply, I could not help myself.  Really. I couldn’t help it.”

“And now you see the results of your infidelity,” Danna tapped her foot, impatiently.

“He seems a fine lad,” Talesin said with a hopeful grin.

“You see the results of you refusing to go over to the other side.”

“Mother?”

“Turn around.”

“But Mother.  People are watching.”

“Turn around,” Danna repeated herself, and Talesin reluctantly turned.

Charmed: Part 10 of 11, A Disney-Like Halloween Story (Without the Singing)

Chapter 10

All of the creatures and people, with Mary, Jake, Jessica, Elizabeth, Cinnamon, Nuggets the dwarf and Mister Greely Putterwig found themselves back in the pine forest where the adventure first began. “Time to go home,” Mister Putterwig sighed, but before he could do anything, he got interrupted.

“We got you now.” It was Marrow the goblin. Worms and Maggot were with him, as was Big Tooth, the troll. “You need to take us to Earth or we will tell Lady Alice that you stole a human child.”nal gobin king

“We already did that part,” Mary got right into the goblin’s face and did not even blink. “Lady Alice has forgiven him now that he has set Elizabeth free.”

“Hey.” Worms sounded very unhappy. “Does that mean we can’t go and scare the children to death?”

“You are not going to scare any children to death,” Jake spoke up, loud, but it was from fear. The goblins were frightful to look at. “I won’t let you.”

“Me neither,” Jessica stood right beside Jake, and they both protected Elizabeth between them.

“How are we going to feast?” Maggot asked.

“Quiet. I’m thinking.” Marrow frowned and pulled on his chin.

“The portal,” Big Tooth suggested.

“That’s right,” Marrow grinned, a look almost more frightening than his frown. “You got an unauthorized portal to the human Earth. You need to let us go there or we will tell Lady Alice.”

“I am sure she already knows,” Cinnamon said.

hween dwarf 1“No doubt about that,” Nuggets agreed.

“Puts!” Marrow swore.

All that while, Mister Putterwig worked on opening the way to Earth, but he was not quite finished when they were all interrupted again, this time by the ghost of Thackery James Barrett, Esquire.

“Sir,” Thackery came up beside Jake and Jessica as if to protect them, and he stared at the goblins. hween thackery“You are brigands to be sure. You should certainly be hanged for highway robbery, but I confess you have the upper hand at present. Thus I implore you, in the name of Christian decency, let the women and children go unharmed.”

“You’re not a woman or a child,” Marrow responded. “I suppose that makes you free game, doesn’t it?”

There was a sudden flash of blinding light as the portal between here and there formed. Thackery let out a chilling shriek before the light settled down and Thackery became able to speak with more calm. “I remember,” he said. “I remember those very words. Suddenly a great light appeared beside me. I was facing certain death, so I ran toward the light. I heard the gun. I stumbled into the light. My God, the man shot me in the back and killed me, and I ended up here.” Thackery began to weep. “Gone. Gonnnne!” He wailed a true ghostly wail and then shouted. “Abigail. Abigail.” And he went into the light. Everyone stayed silent for a moment before Jake spoke loud and clear to the goblins.

“Doesn’t matter. I won’t let you eat any children.” He reached for the cutlass and got a bit unhappy to realize it had vanished along with the Lady Alice.

“What eat children?” Marrow responded with a dumbfounded shrug.

“Do you know the penalty for eating humans, especially children?” Maggot said, and the goblins, troll, and several of the others in that big group from the circle moaned and shivered at the thought.nal goblin extra

Marrow spoke. “We just want to scare them so bad they drop their bags. Then we plan to feast on all that Halloween candy.”

“I want to eat so much I throw up,” Worms said, and sounded happy with that prospect.

“Don’t forget,” Maggot said. “I claim the vomit.”

Most of the people moaned again at that thought.

The portal wavered.

“Hey!” The goblins yelled, but Mary, Jake, Jessica, Elizabeth and Mister Putterwig went though first. Everyone else followed and got directed by Mister Putterwig out the back door, toward the big back yard where an old fairy circle was already present. It wouldn’t take long to put up some lights and get the music started.

hween putterwig house 2Jake, Jessica, Elizabeth and Mary went out the front door and got surprised to find Tommy, Blockhead, Mike and Serena still there, sitting around, nibbling on Elizabeth’s candy. It turned out to be a bit after seven, and they had been waiting for more than an hour.  At least they were sitting and waiting before the ghost came through the locked door. They backed up to the yard and the fence, and Blockhead looked ready to bolt every time Thackery wailed for Abigail.

“Watch it! There’s another one,” Mike shouted. It did not help being by the street, under the street light, when another ghost came floating up into that light. In fact, Mike and the others moved back into the shadows since the ghosts appeared to be attracted to the light.

“Thackery?” the ghost called. It looked like a woman, dressed in a fine traveling dress and cloak. She looked very young and pretty, even if she did not seem to have any feet.hween ghost love

“Abigail?”

“A very fine and proper lady named Alice said I would find you here,” the woman ghost said.

“Oh Abigail. I searched for you for ever so long.” Thackery flew to her and they embraced.

“At last, at last.” Abigail hugged him before he set his lips to hers in a passionate kiss. The two faded from sight and were not seen again in this world. Everyone sighed, except Blockhead, who looked more relieved. Then Jessica made a decision.

“Serena,” Jessica said. “Call Vanessa and tell her the party is being moved to the old Putterwig house.”

“Really?” Serena looked uncertain.

“Hey, we are talking Halloween party.” The music began to work its enchantment from the back to the front yard.

“There is that,” Serena said, and she got out her phone.

hween tommy 2“Tommy,” Jake called. “I got twenty bucks. Take Mike down to the supermarket and buy as much candy as they have left. We got some big kids that are dying for Halloween treats.”

“Keep your money,” Tommy said. “For the ghost show it’s my treat. So how did you do that?”

“Holographic?” Mike suggested.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Elizabeth said, and she tugged on Jake’s hand to take her out back. Fortunately, just then Sage and Thyme, with their mother Cinnamon, all in their natural small fairy form, came to fetch the little girl. This time, they sprinkled her all over with fairy dust and Elizabeth giggled when she lifted right off the ground and flew with the fairies down the hall and out the back door.hween fairies 2

“Serena shut your mouth and get the party here,” Jessica yelled, while Jake reached over and took her hand. Jessica stared at their hands for a minute.

“Blockhead, how’s your dancing?” Jake asked.

Blockhead said nothing. He just began to bounce up and down in a way that showed he had no sense of rhythm. Serena interrupted. “Hold it big boy. Save it for when we get to the dance floor.” She grabbed his football jersey and pulled him toward the back.

Jessica suddenly turned Jake to face her. She looked him square in the eyes. She tried to listen to her thumper, and she said, “I am loving you.”

“Well.” Jake hardly knew what to say, so he returned the words. “I am loving you, too.”

“Goody,” Jessica said, sounding like a genuine fairy, and she locked her lips to his. Jake was surprised for all of a second.

Tommy and Mike came back after a while. A bunch of other kids from the high school came. But neither Jake nor Jessica wanted to stop long enough to take a breath.hween greely 7

Greely Putterwig came out of the house, looking once again like an ordinary enough old man. Mary had pulled up a chair and was quietly knitting, have gotten her needles and yarn from some unknown source, presumably by magic. She gave the hobgoblin a look that he thought to explain. He pointed at himself. “You might call this my un-Halloween costume.” He chuckled.

Mary merely smiled and patted the seat on the rocking chair beside her. Greely sat and then stared at hween mary on porchthe witch for a few minutes before he spoke again. “So,” he said. “Want to go out on a date?”

Mary stopped knitting and her jaw dropped.

“Then again, we could just get some DVDs and stay in and cuddle by the fire.

Mary’s face turned red, but she did not say no.

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hween alien 5Charmed is either a very, very small book or a long story offered in eleven parts over this October, hween alien 32015, leading up to Halloween. The posts will be put up on the blog on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5, 6 and 7; 12, 13, and 14; 19, 20, and 21; 26, 27, and an extra note on the 28th. If you miss a post, or want to go back to the beginning, they are easy enough to find. Just click on the archives and select October 2015. Charmed is the only posting for the month … So after the 28th, I say to you all, Happy Halloween, you know, aliens, robots, cyborgs and such.hween alien 1

hween alien 2hween alien 4

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hween alien 6hween alien d2

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Avalon 2.6: The Battle for Freedom

            Apparently, getting out of the war zone did not get them out of the war.   The enemy is guarding the time gate.  There is no other way around it.  Someone is going to have to move or the travelers will never get home to the future.

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            Katie handed her binoculars to Boston as she spoke.  “If they charge, they will run into a wall of arrows here at the edge of the trees and we will be able to get behind them.  If they dig in we will be here a while picking them off one by one.”

            “And if they do both?  Won’t that put Ivy at risk on his own rear?” Lockhart asked.

            “I can see that,” Ivy said.  “But we can watch for that.  I think this is the most brilliant plan I ever heard of.  Who would think of circling around to hit the enemy from the front and rear at the same time?”

            “War is still a relatively new business in the world,” Lincoln suggested as he put down the binoculars he inherited from Decker.  “Anger, fighting, tribe on tribe sure, but tactics?  This scale of war is probably unknown.”

            Boston lingered.  She was looking at the gate, perfectly framed by two great oak trees.  She guessed one of the gods or titans caused the trees to grow and caused their branches to curve and meet overhead.  The space was three riders wide and twice as tall as a horse.  She could see the slight shimmer in the air under the cloud-filled sky.

            “Boston,” Lockhart called and she scooted down the glacial boulder that was their spy perch.  She knew the plan was good, but it was going to take some timing with untrained people.

            Ivy and Holly got a full hour to explain the idea to their people.  Elder Stow spent that time with the help of Gimble and Linnia pinpointing the lesser spirits among the enemy.  His powerful weapon would be needed to take out as many of them as possible.  When he mounted his horse he expressed his reservations.

            “They would be fools to charge us when they have the strong position.”

            “Then we must hope they are fools,” Linnia said, and then Holly and Ivy were ready.

            The travelers on horseback rode out from the trees at some speed.  They had to act like this was the first time they saw the enemy and also make it look like it took thirty yards or so to get their horses to stop the forward motion.  They wanted to get close enough to present a tempting morsel for the enemy to bite.  Immediately, the travelers began to fire their weapons and men and spirits in the flesh began to drop.  Elder Stow was more deliberate in selecting his targets, but hopefully no one noticed in the midst of the confusion made by the guns.

            It did not take long for the enemy to respond.  They charged full out.  Only a half-dozen men and a couple of spiritual creatures remained to guard the gate.

            The travelers turned their horses and rode.  They knew some of the spirits would outrun the men and only hoped they would not outrun the horses.  When they rode into the forest and turned again, they saw the devastating effect of their plan.  Holly brought twenty-five fee from one side and Ivy brought twenty-five from the other so they met at the rear of the charge.  The enemy became covered with volleys of arrows from the hundred Little Ones at the edge of the trees and fifty at their rear.  Some near the sides managed to scoot out from the trap, but they simply ran for their lives.  Half of the enemy lay on the field, dead and dying, and the two sides never actually met.

            The ones left by the time gate realized they were too exposed by the oaks.  They moved aside to take up residence in a cluster of nearby rocks.  It was a wise move, but it allowed an opening that Lockhart was quick to exploit. 

            “Ride!” he shouted, and the travelers rode full speed for the gate.  They shouted as they went.  “Good-bye, thank you, good luck.”  They zipped through the gate into a world of grass that stretched out before them in small, rolling hills that looked like waves at sea.  Lincoln was content to ride straight on until morning, but Lockhart and Katie knew better.  Roland also knew better so he turned back and Boston followed him, and that left Lincoln and Elder Stow in the rear and grumbling.

            A lesser spirit, a harbinger of death that would one day be called a banshee followed them and three men followed the banshee.  The travelers could not take their eyes off the men as the banshee spoke.  Those men aged at least fifty years in a matter of seconds.  Two fell to their knees in pain and clutched their chests.  One fell to his face like one already dead.

            “The two before you escaped before we came to guard this place,” the banshee whined in a voice that made the travelers open their eyes wide and grind their teeth.  “You will follow me down into the land of the dead.”

            “And where might that be?” Roland asked as he came up alongside Katie. 

            The Banshee paused, floated up about three feet in the air, let her head circle all the way around on her neck like a scene from the Exorcist, and she even turned green.  Clearly the banshee had no idea where it was.

            Elder Stow arrived and fired his weapon.  The banshee was caught in the middle and thrown back through the gate, and if it was not dead, it was near enough.  Meanwhile, the three old men struggled to get to their feet and Lockhart got down from his mount to confront them.

            “I don’t know if you can get back through the gate or not.  If you can, I do not know if you will become young again.  Only this much is certain, that we cannot stay here and we cannot take you with us.  If you can get through the gate, you must surrender yourselves, and hear me.  Domnu and her children hate you and will kill you all.  Tetamon and the gods will give your people land and homes and bless your children.  Make your own choice, which is it you want?

            Lockhart got back up on his horse and turned away.  He led the group into those grasslands and while Boston and Lincoln looked back, he never looked back.

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            Once upon a time the world was full of grass, until the day it became overgrazed and began to dry.  That was when people moved in search of greener pastures.  Great and successive migrations eventually filled the place between the fertile Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but in Beltain’s day, keeping the various tribal groups from killing each other while on the road is the key to a successful migration,  and the headache.  The travelers from Avalon are not much help with this problem.  In fact, they get caught up in the problem, thanks to the thing that is following them.  It is big and powerful, cruel, and hidden in the clouds, and it has an irresistible agenda all its own.

Avalon 2.7:  New Blood … Next Time.

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Avalon 2.6: Traveling Mercies

            When the travelers discovered they would be more of a hindrance than a help in the war, they reluctantly decide to more on.  Getting out of the war zone was good, but it hardly meant they were out of danger.

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            The line of lights in the dark steadied for a moment and Katie wondered if it was some kind of ground machine, like a truck with side lights.  “Is it Gott-Druk?” she asked.

            “No,” Elder Stow said flatly.

            “How about a dragon hunting near the ground?” Lockhart wondered with a look at Lincoln.

            “Thanks!” Lincoln sat up straight.  “That is an image I won’t soon forget.”

            Gimble, the chief dwarf stood, squinted, and then let out a whistle guaranteed loud enough and shrill enough to crack a window.  The string of lights wavered, turned, and fluttered straight for them.  The humans might have been afraid if the little ones were not so relaxed about it.  When the lights arrived, it turned out to be fairies, as many as a hundred, and they went mostly for the trees for the night, but a number of them paused to examine the horses first.  Two, one golden lit male and one bluish lit female made a special effort to pause before each human face around that camp.  They hesitated in front of Elder Stow as well, but only very briefly.  They also hardly paused at the elves and dwarfs as if they knew what they were and had no real interest in them.

            “It is as we heard,” the female spoke.  “Humans and spirits working together.” 

            “Strange,” the male said.  “And the gods divided and alien creatures fighting beside the rest.”

            “We are not aliens,” Elder Stow spoke up loudly.  “Our genesis was on this world the same as the humans.  We have as much right to be here as they do.”

            “But you are no longer authorized to be on this world.  By decree of the gods, it is a human world now.”  Lockhart spoke the truth of it.

            Elder Stow got a little hot.  “But the gods have gone away, at least in our day.”

            “Hey!” Roland, Boston, Katie and Lincoln all spoke up.  “You are not to speak of future things like that.”

            Elder Stow paused and looked around the group and ended with a look at Katie.  “Mother.  My apologies.  I did not mean to speak out of turn.”

            “Accepted,” Katie said without hesitation.  Her eyes were on the blue glowing fairy.  “I knew a fairy once that was blue like you.  Her name was Bluebell.”

            The blue fairy rushed up to Katie’s face.  “My mother’s name was Bluebell,” she said. 

            “But it couldn’t be,” Katie shook her head, sadly.  “That was on the other side of the world and had to be almost nine hundred years ago.”

            “My mother lived to be over nine hundred.  I was born five hundred years ago two years ago.”

            “That makes you five hundred and two,” Lockhart suggested.

            “It does?  Well, that is a good thing, isn’t it?”

            “A good thing,” Lockhart agreed.

            “And we just arrived from the other side of the world,” the male added.

            “But I don’t know.  Mother avoided humans.  You see, she met some once shortly before she lost her Lord.  After that, she stayed away from the human world.”

            “But she met some?”

            “Yes.  One with hair like fire who was called Mary Riley, but her real name was Boston and one with hair of gold called Lieutenant Harper, but her real name was Katie.”

            “That’s my Bluebell!”  Boston shouted.  “I’m Boston.”

            “And Honeysuckle?” Katie thought of her special friend.

            “She was my mother,” the young male said.  He did something then that caused Katie to audibly gasp.  He got big, which is to say human sized.  His wings vanished and his fairy weave clothes grew with him to fit his new size.  Katie had forgotten fairies could do that.  “My name is Ivy, and my wife is Holly,” he said.  Holly got big, and she was as beautiful as everyone expected a fairy to be.

            Katie stood.  “I am Katie,” and she did what she did when she said good-bye to Bluebell and Honeysuckle.  She hugged each of the fairies in turn, this time to say hello.

            Captain Arturo rubbed his hands together.  “Good thing you are here.  We can use your help.”

            When the travelers set out in the morning, they had a hundred fairies with them to watch their rear, move way out on their flanks, scout ahead and spy from far overhead.  Elder Stow said he was honestly not sure of the range of the Gott-Druk scanners in the atmosphere, but he thought they might send a ship if they saw him traveling with humans, and especially if they picked up sign of the spirits with them.

            “Then again, in this mixed-up war, they might find that normal and ignore it,” he concluded.

            “Some little or lesser spirits might notice,” Captain Arturo admitted.  He was jogging beside Lockhart and was speaking with him, Katie and Ivy in his small form who sat on the neck of Lockhart’s horse and held on to the horse’s mane.  “Lesser spirits might have been a real problem with just my troop, but I have confidence now that we have the force to meet any such threat.”

            “Let us hope the force won’t be needed,” Lockhart responded.

            “I asked for this assignment,” Arturo admitted.  “But my Lord could only send me and my troop.  There were no others that could be spared.  I believe the retreating has ended now and the real fighting will begin.”

            “What?”  Lincoln looked back as if looking all the way to the burning woods.  “You mean there hasn’t been any real fighting yet?”

            “To be sure there has,” Arturo said.  “But most of our effort until now has been in an orderly retreat.  They landed at the place my Lord calls Normandy.  He brought the humans and us from that place step by step.  We carried what food we could and destroyed the rest.  We harried the enemy, but did not pitch battle.  Now the enemy men are starving and the rebellion of the spirits is wavering.  One good blow now and the enemy may fall apart.  If the elder race can be turned, all the better.”

            “Elder race?”  Katie had to be sure she understood.

            “The Gott-Druk,” Lockhart confirmed.

            Up front, Boston talked nonstop with Missus Holly who was small and rode in her horse’s mane and Linnia who jogged beside them.  Roland did his very best to ignore them.  They were all three talking when a troop of six fairies rushed back from the front.  They paused only long enough for a sentence before they rushed back to report to Lord Ivy.

            “The enemy is up ahead just standing there, doing nothing.”

            Boston got out her amulet and took a reading.  The time gate was less than a mile away and she turned and shouted back to the others.  “I bet they are guarding the time gate.”

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Avalon 2.6:  The Battle for Freedom … Next Time

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