Avalon 3.9: part 5 of 5, Negotiations

With all the action stopped at the appearance of the three gods, Zisudra felt it necessary to speak into the sudden silence. “Godfather,” he called Varuna. “And Shivishuwa, Katie told me all about you.” He smiled, and after a tense moment, Shivishuwa returned a little smile. “And the big fellow. I’m sorry, have we met?” He raised his voice a little like he was trying to reach the man’s ears.

“Indra,” Varuna said.zis Indra

“Pleased to meet you.”

Indra looked down. He looked ready for whatever war might come, but he was wiling to be pleasant. “Pleased to meet you,” he responded, and Zisudra caught a bit of the big, dumb guy in the sound of his voice. He hoped he was wrong.

Varuna merely pointed. There were three gods standing outside the trench, opposite the gods of India. Zisudra only had to think a moment to know who they were. They were the pieces of the old Brahmin “Visnu, Shiva and Brama,” he named them, and thought he better be polite. “Good to meet you all.”

“Kairos,” Brama said, so at least they knew who he was.

“Why are you here?” Zisudra asked, politely.

zis b s v 1“We have come to claim our own,” Shiva said. The words were harsh. It was hard to say what he wanted to do with his own, except it did not sound friendly.

“But which are yours?” It was an honest question. “You have no claim over the Shemsu people. Holding them captive for generations does not make for ownership.”

“This is our place,” Visnu said.

“And for that reason, Elam does not belong here,” A new voice entered the conversation. Zisudra squinted before he named the pair of gods.

“Enlil and Enki.” The twins nodded and Enki straightened his glasses.

“Hold, brother.” Visnu touched Shiva. Shiva looked like he was going to strike first and talk later, but Visnu knew things needed to be decided before action could be taken.

“You have the center of the world,” Zisudra said. “Yours is the Eurasian plate, from east of the Zagros Mountains up to the east side of the Caspian, and from the Sea of Aral all the way to the edge of the Great Mountains of the Himalayas. Yours is the center piece of the earth, with great numbers of Indo-European peoples, whatever you decide to do with them. Yours is the land through which east and west will be joined by the great road, and all commerce and riches will flow. Yours is the way that Elam and the Indus connect, and the He River people and Jericho will touch, and your people in the center may become great, but I should not speak about things that are not yet.” Zisudra quieted, and a fourth party entered the discussion.zis giant 2

Bhukampa, the titan of Iran came tromping into view and he shouted in his thunderous voice. “Everyone stay where you are. Who is it that trespasses on my land?”

“What makes this your land?” Shiva called back sharply, and the titan stopped where he was. He had not realized he had such visitors.

“By the gift of your father, the Brahmin, this land is mine to hold,” he said in a more humble voice.

“But it is not given forever,” Visnu said.

“Things may change some day,” Shiva added, in all but a direct threat.

“Good to see you again,” Lockhart spoke into the tension to diffuse the situation with a friendly wave. Some were surprised he dared to raise his human voice, but Varuna, among others, smiled.

“It is you,” Bhukampa turned from Shiva and roared at the travelers. “You were told to leave my land.”

“They left once, and they will leave again as soon as they reach the gate,” Zisudra shouted.

“Who are you to speak to me?” the titan roared again as he turned his eyes on Zisudra.

Tara 1Zisudra went away, and Tara took his place in time. She took a moment to straighten her dress, though it needed no straightening, but she needed to give Bhukampa a moment to get over his shock on seeing her again. Tara looked straight up into the titanic face and spoke loud and clear.

“Let my people go.”

Bhukampa looked angry, but he dared not do anything with the gods watching, so he whined, like a petulant child. “Take them. Take your people and go to another land, only do not come back here.”

“And we will take Elam back to the Mountains where they are joined to Eridu, Uruk and Kish,” Enlil said.

“I love your glasses,” Boston whispered, and Enki whispered back.

“Thank you Boston dear.”

Tara straightened her dress again and turned to Varuna, and smiled. “Varuna, godfather, will you take my people into your land where the Brahmin has no claim?”

“I will,” Varuna said, and the Shemsu blooded people, with Shivishuwa and Indra disappeared from that place with a wave of Varuna’s hand. The Elamites also disappeared with Enlil. Varuna and Enki together faced the three of the Brahmin. Shiva looked terribly angry, but Visnu nodded to the wisdom of what just happened. He left, and took his brother with him, but Brama stayed and spoke for the first time.

zis brahma“I like this road idea, a road through the center of the earth. I can see great things happening from making a way, but also terrible things.”

Tara smiled for the travelers and went away so Zisudra could return to his own time and place. “I imagine like most things, it will be a mixture and depend on how people use it.”

“I have some other thoughts, many other thoughts. I may see you again and discuss them.” Brama was not asking, but Zisudra answered all the same.

“We will meet again.”

Brama looked satisfied, and disappeared. Enki also went away, and Lockhart had to speak fast before Varuna, the last of the gods also vanished.

“I hate to interrupt, but how are we going to get to the next time gate without crossing the titan’s land?”

Varuna answered. “As I understand it, the gate should come to you when I take Zisudra to the Indus.” He and Zisudra vanished, and Boston whipped out her amulet to look.

zis dravid 1“The gate is right in front of us,” Boston said.

“Pack up,” Lockhart ordered, but they were already doing that Meanwhile, the dwarves and ogres had already marched off during the discussions, but that left some eighteen giants on the field to come out of their frozen state.

“What? Who?” They were confused, until one said, “Well, at least we got you.” The giants looked ready to attack the travelers, but Lincoln spoke fast.

“I heard Bhukampa say stay right where you are.”

“That is what I heard,” Alexis agreed with some volume. “All you giants are supposed to stay right where you are.”

“If Bhukampa told me to stand still.” Roland spoke up and made sure he was heard. “I would not move an inch.”

Lockhart laughed and spoke loud. “Remember when Bhukampa stepped on that giant, what was his name?”

“Veregoth,” Katie said, and laughed.

“”Why are you laughing?” Alexis protested. “That was a horrible, bloody mess. His bones got crushed and his guts squirted all over the place.”

“But he got put in the giant graveyard,” Lincoln said. “Eventually.”zis giant 1

“All I can say, if it was me,” Roland spoke up again. “If Bhukampa told me to stay where I was, I would not move a muscle.”

The giants’ eyes were big and several mouths were hanging open and drooling, but they did not move. The travelers finished packing, mounted their horses, and moved to the time gate.

“As long as we get away from Bhukampa.s land,” Lincoln said.

“How long do you think the giants will stand there before they figure out it is safe to move?” Alexis whispered.

Boston, who went first with Roland to take the point, giggled. She was an elf now. Giggling was allowed.

Avalon 3.9: part 4 of 5, Fight

“Who are they and how far behind are they?” Lockhart stepped up to pull his shotgun and check his revolver. Decker was sitting on a rock, his rifle across his lap, and he spoke.

“About an hour, and it is an army. I count about a thousand men and maybe thirty giants among them.”

“So we have an hour to build defensive works,” Katie said. “I recommend a trench with the ground shoveled into a wall of sorts so we can stand five or so feet above them and not expose ourselves entirely to enemy arrows.”

“What is our weapons inventory?” Lincoln asked.zis dravid man

“We have slings, bows, spears and some copper swords and knives,” One older man stepped forward as he spoke.

“Aren’t you taking your families to safety?” Zisudra asked.

“Our families will not be safe if the Elamites break through.”

“Too early for Elam, wouldn’t you say?” Katie spoke up. “Don’t you mean the Jiroft culture?”

Zisudra pointed at his people. “These are the last of the Jiroft, and they are the first in the Indus. The men after us are Elamites, from Susa and other places where they built on top of the old Gott-Druk settlements.”

“My people settled this far east?” Elder Stow did not know.

“Mostly in the Zagros Mountains,” Katie interjected.

zis nature 4“People. History lesson later.” Lockhart raised his voice, and all of the men got to work while the women and children began again to travel down the hills toward the distant Indus River.

It was fascinating to watch the Shemsu work. They lifted stones with their thoughts alone, and placed them in the wall where they would do the most good. Some stones they set aside to heave at the enemy. Some smaller ones were collected for use in the slings. The trench needed to be dug, but they had some early bronze tools to help with that, then also some literally dug by hand.

Even as Decker reached out earlier with the eagle eye to see and count the enemy, Roland reached out with his own hunters sense and found a tribe of dwarfs not too far away. Better yet, they were working the mountain with the help of two ogre families, and they had seven adults between them. He called them to come in and help, and they did, reluctantly. Roland figured fifty ax wielding dwarfs and seven ogres would help the odds a bit.

“No,” Zisudra complained. “You and Boston need to stay out of it, not drag a bunch more into the fray.”

“No,” Roland said. “I am not staying out of it. I have friends.”

Boston’s eyes got big. She realized she had been willing to go along with whatever her Lord decided, but she suddenly felt human again, though she remained an elf, and she agreed with Roland. “No,” she said.zis dwarves 2

Roland explained. “You said I worked for Lockhart, and he needs my good work.”

“And he would not be a good employee if he did not get all the help he could,” Boston added, and grinned at her ill logic, but Zisudra just threw his hands up and did not argue.

The dwarves arrived about twenty minutes before the enemy was expected. All they could do was drive a number of spikes into the field, the kind that would cut a man’s foot open if he stepped on it. They put a general hex on the field, so the enemy would lose their courage when they charged. And the Shemsu searched for as many big rocks as they could find so the ogres would have something to throw. The men were not happy about having ogres in their midst, but they were assured that the ogres were friends of the hunter, and on their side, and that helped some of them, anyway.

They were somewhat ready when the enemy topped the ridge. The army of Elam looked like more than a thousand, and the giants looked especially big. The men behind the wall held their weapons with sweaty hands, and prayed. The ogres looked ready to smash something. The dwarves looked determined, but Zisudra knew this was not the battle of the five armies. They were not facing stupid orcs, and there were no eagles coming to bail them out.

Decker 2Decker got on a high rock and clicked his scope into place. He figured at that distance, it would be hard to pick out targets and hit them. But he also figured giants were hard to miss, so he opened up and did not wait for orders. “Go for the giants,” he hollered, and Katie got her own scope and opened fire. They hit ten, and more than a dozen ordinary men who got in the way before the enemy realized this was not going to stop. They appeared to hesitate, but when they charged, they came yelling and screaming like berserkers on a rampage.

Decker and Katie switched to rapid fire, while the others opened up with their pistols. Roland had the archers ready and waiting, while the ogres began to heave their stones, like cannon balls. Boston saw several men taken down by the spikes, and more were piled up behind them and had to go around, mostly with looking down at their feet and not exactly charging. The arrows went, and the slingers began to heave their stones.

Elder Stow held back with his weapon. They had determined with his limited charge, it would be better to wait and take out any giants who got close. When Elder Stow finally let loose on one of the giants, the giant’s head exploded, and the enemy around him began to retreat.zis fight

The men behind the wall held tight to their spears and swords, expecting the wave of the enemy to crash into the trench and come up against the dirt wall any minute. Some of the enemy all but stopped in their tracks. Some were pulling back. But they still expected twice their number to come up against them, and even with all of the extraordinary help, they all understood they might not survive.   Then at once, everything stopped. Everyone froze right where they were, human, dwarf, ogre and giant, all except Zisudra and the travelers.

Varuna appeared, and Shivishuwa and a big man, a bit of a giant in armor with an ogre sized sword in his hand