Avalon 6.3 Stubborn, part 2 of 6

In the morning, the travelers found people on the beach, and some rough-looking fishing boats in the water, not far from the shore.  The travelers got up quietly and tried not to attract attention.  Boston woke everyone with a warning to keep quiet, while Sukki kept an eye on the people.  Lockhart opted not to build up the fire.  They chewed on what they had, packed what they could carry, and got ready to ride.

“No sign of Aneas,” Lincoln stated the obvious.

“I have a feeling he will show up.” Lockhart was not worried.  He recognized it took a great deal of courage for the fauns to contact them as they did. “Their distress must be real and serious, and I imagine they will not miss the chance to solve their problem.”

“I was thinking,” Katie said. “Maybe their dimension is more in line with the fourth dimension of time.  They may be in tune with the man’s distress because of his time displacement.”

“You mean because he is out of his own time,” Lockhart put it in his own words.  “And maybe that is how they found us and knew who we were.”

Katie nodded.

“An excellent suggestion,” Elder Stow said, as he mounted.  “The little bit of data I gathered might suggest something like that.”

As Elder Stow got up on his horse, Sukki and Boston scooted down from the ledge where they watched the humans on the beach.  Sukki got right up, being a much-improved horsewoman.  Boston grew up riding rodeo in Massachusetts.  She leapt up on Honey, her horse, and could ride rings around the rest of them.

“Are we ready to ride?” Decker asked.

Lockhart nodded and pushed forward. They had to come through the gap in the rocks single file.  They tried not to rush, but the women down the beach who saw them and screamed did not help.

Once they started up the shoreline, they quickly got out of range of the screamers.  Shortly, they turned inland and imagined they would not be followed. They had seen some horses used to pull the plow, and saw a chariot once, but they had not seen any horsemen in the villages, so they were not too worried.  Elder Stow’s scanner spotted a village up the shore, so they had to turn inland in any case.  But they figured they could outrun any men who followed them on foot.  They already had.

It did not take long before they found Aneas and his two companions waiting for them.  Lockhart pushed out front and called to the gray-haired faun. He had instructions.  He got down, thinking Aneas might fear the horse, but the horse did not appear to be the faun’s problem.  Clearly, Lockhart himself made the faun wary, then Lockhart remembered the faun mentioned the centaurs who still lived in the mountains and figured the horse might be no big deal   He got ready to speak, but Aneas spoke first.

“We will stay out front, and you may follow.”

‘Fine and well.  We will keep our distance as long as you don’t lose us. Keep in mind, the path you choose must be acceptable for the horses.”

“I understand.  We will go the way of the centaurs so you will have no hardship.”

Lockhart nodded.  “Also, it would probably be better if we stayed away from other people.”

“We are so inclined.”

Lockhart nodded again.  “Also, it would be best if we had some warning when we come near the village where the man is kept prisoner.  It would be better to see it secretly from a distance and decide on the best approach.”

Aneas paused to think, and finally shrugged.  “I do not understand humans.  You do not care for each other, and even hurt each other and hurt everything else.  I do not understand why you should not ride in and say, “Hello neighbor”.  But your ways are not our ways.  I will do as you ask.”

Lockhart did not nod that time. “All the same,” he said.  “One more question. Does the man have a name?”

To Lockhart’s surprise, the faun smiled a little at the question.  “One of our kind has made a song of the name.  It is Evan Cecil Emerson, Assistant Professor of Antiquities in Latin and Greek.  It seems a ponderous, long name, even for a human.”

“Thank you.  We will do our best to help.”  Lockhart turned and got ready to ride.  He realized he forgot to ask about lunch, but he imagined it was too late. The fauns stood ready, but looked uncertain about the humans.  “Burn that bridge when we come to it,” Lockhart mumbled.

“What bridge? Katie asked.

Lockhart waved her off.

The fauns led them all day by a path that in some places almost appeared to be a dirt road.  Katie imagined the future Appian way, and said so.  They never saw any people, and sometimes wondered if any people lived in the area, though they felt certain some did.  One time, they climbed a hill and saw what looked like smoke in the distance.  They could not be sure.  The fluffy-white clouds, gray on the bottom, sat low in the sky and melted into the horizon. It might have been a piece of a cloud, or something smoldering from the thunderstorm two days earlier.  It might have been a fire built by some of those centaurs Aneas talked about.

Lunch did not take long.  The fauns disappeared.  The travelers did not build a fire, so they only had smoked leftovers to chew on, a breakfast repeat.  Alexis and Sukki found some grapes and greens.  The grapes were not quite ripe, and the greens tasted bitter, but it would sustain them.

Elder Stow pulled out his scanner to read what might be on the horizon.  Decker meditated to let his eagle totem lift him into the sky for a similar look around.  Both reported the mix of woods and fields covering seven hills on the other side of a river.

“Every hill appears to have collections of buildings,” Elder Stow said.  “I would only call three villages.  The rest would be hamlets, or family farms and homes; though it seems to me they are all relatively close to each other, and building closer.  Soon enough, the fields and pastures will begin to disappear under buildings.”

“Farmers and shepherds, for the most part,” Decker agreed.  “But I hope they are all good neighbors.  If they keep building, it won’t take long until the whole area looks like urban sprawl.”

“The main village, at least the biggest one, appears on the center hill, and built on the side where the people can overlook the river.  They probably watch for river traffic and whatever trade might go up and down the river. They probably also watch for enemies.”

“Enemies, for sure,” Lockhart said. “All of the different tribes around here do seem to hate each other.”  Decker agreed, but then he reported on something different.

“The fauns appear to be angling us up above a bend in the river, north of the town-hill, to a place where the river and a large field of a sort stand between where we are headed and the villages and people on the hills.”

“Rome,” Katie named the seven hills.

“Agreed,” Lincoln checked the database. The villages and people on the seven hills would one day be Rome.

“I imagine the fauns intend to give the people a wide berth,” Lockhart suggested.

“Boss,” Boston spoke up.  She had her amulet out to check what she could see, though the map on the amulet remained skimpy on most details.  “I can see where the Kairos is located, like near a village, but a little north.”

“Likely in his own place on the back side of the hill,” Elder Stow said.

“Her place,” Lincoln corrected the Gott-Druk.  “Valencia, the Kairos in this life is a her.”

“Of course,” Elder Stow said, graciously. “It is hard to keep up with the him and her changes.”

“You got that right,” Decker mumbled.

“Let’s see where the fauns lead us,” Lockhart concluded.  “We may be going around the seven hills to some other town further away.  After we get Cecil, we may have to backtrack to see Valencia.”

“Evan,” Boston blurted out.  “Not Cecil.”

“Evan,” Alexis agreed.

“Evan,” Lincoln supported his wife.

Lockhart looked at Katie who shrugged. “Professor Emerson?”

It did not take long after lunch to reach the river.  They stayed in the shadow of the woods, but saw the distant village on the hill. They also found an island in the river, and everyone reacted, though they did not stop for a good look.

“I remember that island,” Boston told Sukki. “Truscas the Centaur carried me across the river there.  Saturn’s house sat at the top of the hill, there.”

“Palatine Hill has had some occupation since back before the flood,” Katie told Lockhart and the girls. “Early Neolithic, that is stone age.”

“My people are familiar with the area,” Elder Stow said.  “It was one of our gathering places in the before times.”

Decker got Elder Stow’s attention and pointed.  He saw something shine on the island.  He got out his binoculars.  Elder Stow got out his scanner.

“Gott-Druk,” Elder Stow reported. “They are powered down and well camouflaged, like they were when we found them on Malta.”

“I did not see them from the sky,” Decker admitted.

Katie looked and handed her binoculars to Lockhart, who also caught a glimpse before the trail took them more deeply into the woods.

“Well,” Lockhart said, as he returned Katie’s binoculars.  “Looks like we will have to backtrack and find the Kairos for sure.”

“The Gott-Druk do not belong there,” Lincoln said.  He had started getting good at stating the obvious.

After that, they quickly came to another small hill beside the river, but on the near side.  The fauns stopped, and Aneas approached the humans, carefully. Lockhart and Katie dismounted and walked out to meet him.  They tried not to scare him.

“Our home is in this place,” Aneas said.

“Vatican hill,” Katie called it.

“There is nowhere on this planet where the sickness of violence does not intrude.  But mostly, in this place, there is peace.”  Katie and Lockhart looked around.  They felt the calm in the air, and the sense of peace that pervaded the area.  No doubt, they sensed the faith and quiet contemplation that would fill the area in the centuries to come, but they never would have understood it if they were not time travelers who knew where they were.

Aneas spoke again.  “The man from the future is captive in the village you saw across the river.  The goddess of time lives in a cave near there.  If you are willing to take him into the future with you, you will have our gratitude, forever.”  He stepped behind a tree and was not present anymore.

Katie and Lockhart held hands as they walked back to Lincoln and Alexis who held their horses.  Alexis had a suggestion.

“We could camp here tonight.”  It sounded like a question.  “We might be far enough away from people where we can build a fire and honestly get a night’s rest.”

Katie shook her head.  “We should not violate this place with our humanity.”

“No,” Lockhart answered Alexis directly. “We have to backtrack to a place where we can keep an eye on the village, and on the island.  Then we will need to decide what to do in the morning.”

“I got some good data,” Elder Stow told Boston.  “But it will take some serious study to understand it.”

Avalon 6.3 Stubborn, part 1 of 6

After 761 BC Before Rome. Kairos lifetime 75: Valencia, Mother Wolf

Recording …

“I remember this place,” Boston shouted. “Last time we came here, Roland, Father Mingus, Truscas the Centaur, and I had to try and get Silenus to help us sober up Saturn so he could get all of you out of Pan’s dance.”

“Y’all,” Decker said.  “To get all y’all out of Pan’s dance.”

“Yeah,” Boston agreed.  “You were going to dance the whole month, but you-all would not have survived that.”

“Hopeless,” Decker said.

Boston turned her joy to sorrow as fast as a fee.  “I miss Roland.”

“He is in the future, waiting for you,” Alexis said, quickly.  “I feel certain of that.”

Boston nodded, but still sniffed.

“Are we going to get in trouble this time?” Sukki asked.  She had not been there the last time, but she grew concerned about needing to be rescued. All told, though she was homo-Neanderthal rather than homo-Sapiens, she behaved, a good girl who did not like conflict, and she did not want to be in trouble.

“We will be fine this time,” Katie said.

“I hope,” Lockhart mumbled, and Katie elbowed him softly.

Lincoln sat up, put a log on the fire, and cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention. “So, Valencia.” People quieted to listen.  “She is Etruscan.  We should pass through the entire Etruscan home territory.  Near as I can figure, judging from Boston’s clues, we came into this time zone somewhere below Naples.  We should pass through Rome, which probably isn’t there yet, and exit somewhere beyond Pisa.  No leaning tower there yet, either.”

“So, Valencia is in Rome, about the mid-point?” Alexis asked.

Lincoln shrugged.  “Rome is on the edge of Etruscan territory, and the map in the database suggests there are two Etruscan towns, I guess cities, close by. I would guess she is somewhere in there, depending on how old she is.”

“Always the question,” Elder Stow said, and he got up to head for bed.  They had been in this time zone for three days, but this was the first chance they had to relax and ask about what they might be facing.  They spent the previous days avoiding tribes of humans and hostile villages.  Apparently, no one trusted anyone else in that part of the world.  They had to ride hard to escape several roving bands of men, and had twice been attacked, once in the night.  They had to be ready to move at night, and had to get up extra early to be gone by the time the locals arrived.  Here, they found a sheltered cove by the beach where a large rock blocked their firelight and rocky ridges sat securely at their back.

“So, Valencia has red hair,” Lincoln started to give the details.

“Woo-hoo!” Red-headed Boston shouted, before she grabbed her tongue.  They had visitors, and not ordinary visitors.  “Sorry,” Boston whispered.  “My radar is set for humans.”

An old gray-haired faun hobbled up from the beach, followed by two younger fauns.  it felt unusual to see them.  Fauns were notoriously shy.  It felt doubly odd to hear the gray-haired one speak.

“Pardon.  Forgive me.  My name is Aneas, or that is what you may call me.  You are the people from the future?”

The travelers appeared shocked. Memories of Pan’s dance that Boston spoke about bubbled up in their minds from more than two years ago in their journey.  That happened more than three thousand years ago, real time, but the images felt like yesterday.  They remembered goat-hooved Pan, the satyrs and nymphs, the fermented grapes; and most of the images felt embarrassing, like images they would just as soon forget.

Elder Stow, not with the dancers at that time, fiddled with something on his scanning device.  Sukki, as usual, looked around and waited for someone else to speak.

Since no one else appeared willing to answer, Boston said, “Yes, that’s right.”

Aneas nodded.  “You are the red-headed elf that was once human.  And your friend is of the elder race, as is the one who looks like the old man.  The dark one is your defender.  This man here has knowledge I must not see, and his wife is the black-haired witch who used to be an elf.  The other man there is the leader of this expedition, and his wife is the golden-haired one-in-a-million elect.  Am I correct?”

People looked at each other before Lockhart finally spoke.  “Clearly, you know us, but what can we do for you?”

Aneas and the two behind him appeared to let out collective sighs of relief.  No telling what kind of a reception they feared they might get. The travelers got the impression that being seen by humans was a rarity, and talking to humans amounted to something that never, ever happened.  The travelers understood that fauns might be more than just shy.  The appeared fearful and timid people as well.

“There is another, a human male that does not belong here.  The centaurs that still hide in the mountains have discerned that he came here from the future.  He has been taken captive by the ones who first came here on ships from the sea. He is made to toil for them, but his labor is not appreciated.  We have seen how he is treated.  I cannot begin to imagine I know anything about human behavior.  Only, I would not care to be treated that way.”

Aneas paused to think, so Alexis asked, “What would you have us do?”

“He cries out day and night for Mildred. I do not know what a Mildred is. And sometimes he cries for Professor Fleming.  I cannot imagine such a thing.  But his heart cries, not just his mind, you see?  His heart cries, and we hear the heart, and feel all the pain he feels. It disturbs the little ones so they cannot sleep.”

“I understand,” Alexis said.  “But what are you asking of us?”

“We were wondering if you might be willing to take him back into the future with you.  It might be that he can find his Mildred there, do you think?  In any case, we might have a little peace.”

“Which direction?” Boston asked, and got out her amulet, the one that showed the location of the time gates. Aneas pointed, and Boston said, “Yes. That is right.”

“How will we find him?” Lockhart asked the practical question, assuming the man, after a time, would appear no different than any other local.  Besides, he knew his group needed to avoid human contact wherever possible, knowing that most of the time it would not be possible.  They had discussed it and agreed that from this point going forward, it would be best to avoid doing something that might throw history off track. Of course, that had been impossible since entering this time zone, but the sentiment was there.  Indeed, their trouble caused the topic to come up, and they agreed in theory.  Katie offered the summary.

“Right now, and for a few more centuries, depending on where we land, we probably won’t make much of a ripple. History is still mostly verbal and memories.  But we need to practice, because from here on, history is beginning to be written.   The future does not need a record of ancient time travelers, even if most in our day would cross it off as an ancient conspiracy theory, like bigfoot or ancient aliens.”

“We have seen our share of ancient aliens,” Lockhart teased.

“You know what I mean,” Katie said, grinned, and elbowed him softly in the ribs.

Aneas answered Lockhart’s question plainly.  “We will take you to him.”

“Fine,” Lockhart said.  “But we have had a harrowing few days since coming here.  We need a good night’s sleep, and the horses are not made for the wilderness in the dark.”

“We will return in the morning to guide you.” Aneas said.

“Would you care to join us?” Alexis asked, pointing to the warm fire and the food still smoking to eat and take in the morning.

“Meat,” Aneas said, with a shake of his head.  Without a further word, he and his two companions turned and vanished.  Elder Stow let out a sound of surprise that sounded as close as he ever got to an expletive.

“They did not run off faster than the eye could see, or go invisible, or teleport to some other place on the planet,” he said.  “As near as I can tell, they slipped out of this world altogether.  I mean, they were here, solid and real.  The scanner is still analyzing that data.  But then they went…somewhere.  I would guess, from the data, they slipped into another universe. I don’t mean a temporal universe, like a parallel earth.  I mean a spatial universe, or physics universe, or another dimension.”  He went back to fiddling with his scanner.

Everyone sat quiet and thought, not sure they understood, so they were not sure what to ask.  Decker changed the subject.

“So much for not interfering with the locals.”

“Yes.”  Katie and Lockhart agreed.

“Do you think we should find the Kairos first?” Lincoln wondered.

Alexis responded.  “If this man is from the future, he is a risk to the present if he does not know any better.  I would think the Kairos will be glad to have us take him out of harm’s way.”

“Besides,” Sukki spoke, and everyone paused to listen.  “It does not sound like he is being treated well at all.”

No one said the words slavery or torture, but they all thought them.

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

Chapter 11 Afterword

Elizabeth went home at ten o’clock and hugged her mom and dad, not without a few tears, and went straight to bed because she had a long, exhausting night. Jessica met Jake’s mom and dad, who decided Jake was growing up and needed some time to enjoy his last couple of years of high school. They vowed to work on their own schedules so Jake would not have to always be saddled with his little sister. Jake said he did not mind, but that made his mom just say, “See?”hween bonfire 2

Mary, the witch, cast a little spell so when the kids woke up in the morning they would remember having a wonderful time, but the details would be fuzzy. This turned out to be a good thing, because Mike the nerd spent most of the night talking to Jack-o-lantern, wondering if it was made in Japan, and curious about how it worked. He said the programming almost made it sound like it knew what it was talking about, and he marveled at how they got the words and the mouth to work together so well.

Blockhead spent the night trying to explain football to Big Tooth, who understood the game, but enjoyed stringing the kid along. Serena, on the other hand, marveled at the goblin costumes, which is what she hween dancing 1thought they were.

“Second best costumes I’ve seen in my life.”

“Second best?” Marrow was offended until Serena explained. The Italian dance troop with the naturally hairy legs dressing up as fauns was shear genius, and Marrow agreed.

Thomas “Tommy” Kincaid Junior spent the night trying to impress Sage with his money, his car and his presence, that is, whenever he caught Sage in her big form. That was most of the time because Cinnamon insisted the girls not take their fairy form in front of people. Cinnamon took it upon herself to make glamours to disguise as many of the spirits, people and creatures as she could. They did not really object because they knew they were not supposed to be parading about on Earth in the open like they were. Sage rewarded Tommy at the end of the night with a little kiss on the lips. The poor fellow took a long time to get over that.

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In all, it was a good night and people did not seriously begin to leave until just before sunrise. Cinnamon had to make the portal because Mary Procter and Greely Putterwig were fast asleep in their chairs on the porch, and snoring. Jake walked Jessica home.

hween kiss“What are you thinking?” Jessica asked when she turned into his arms for a good night kiss.

“I’m a guy. What do you think I am thinking?”

“Oh.” Jessica thought for a moment before she said, “OH. Let’s not go there yet.”

Jake shrugged. “I was wondering how the Pirates and Indians are making out.”

Jessica smiled. “See you in school.” She ran to her front door.

ihween pirated v indians 1

In fact, the Pirates and Indians were tied in the top of the third, nothing to nothing. They had been playing baseball, one night per year for almost a hundred years, and only reached the top of the third inning. But the Pirates had a man on first, and John ‘the Butcher’ Roberts was at bat.

hween graveyardThe bat boy found a skeleton head on the ground. He jammed it into a complete skeleton and pointed. “Look, a double header,” which proved conclusively that a sense of humor is not improved by death.

The Indian pitcher palmed the skeleton head they were using for a ball. He sent in a literal screaming fastball. The Butcher backed away, and Pusshead, the home plate umpire called it a ball.

“What?” The Indian catcher protested. “It went right over the edge of the plate. You must be blind.”

“Not blind,” the skeleton head ball said. “He’s an ogre, you know, a moron.”hween pirate 2

The pirate on first could not help himself. While they argued, he tried to steal second He slid head first, but his body stopped about ten feet shy of the grave they were using for second base. His hands, however, finished the journey, and as the Indian shortstop went to tag the runner, the hands squirted under the tag. The pirate got up grinning and ambled up to catch up to his hands. The occupant of the second base grave stuck his head out of the dirt.

”Safe,” he said.hween indian tomahawk

The Indian shortstop got so angry, he took out his tomahawk and split the hween pirate 3skull of the second base umpire. This, of course, resulted in a bench clearing brawl in the infield which is why, after a hundred years, the teams had yet to make it past the third inning.



If you missed all or part of Charmed, please click on the archives and click on October 2015.  Charmed is the only posting in October, and you are welcome to read as you wish.  It is free.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I will have a treat, or a trick … for Halloween, you know, Jack-o-lanterns by the front door and all hween porch 1

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hween jack 1hween Jack 3

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