Avalon Pilot part II-4: The Heart of Time

“Gentlemen, and Boston.”   Alice spoke in hushed tones.  She did not have to speak very loud to be heard through the utter silence of that tremendous room.  “This is the Heart of Time.”  She pointed at the crystal that throbbed with light like it was a beating heart, but she did not touch it.  “This has recorded all of human history since before the days the human race became scattered across the face of the earth.  In here, you will find Shakespeare’s London, Caesar’s Rome, Alexander’s Babylon and everything all the way back to the Tower of Shinar.

Boston stepped up for a closer look, but Alice had not finished explaining.  “There are time zones represented here.  They are centered around my person, but allow access between one of my lifetimes and the next.  They have always been off limits until a few years ago when Avalon got overrun by a demon, a goddess.  She discovered the time zones.  She got stopped and prevented from carrying out her wicked designs.  She can’t have done more than a few experiments, but still…”

“My wife?”  Lincoln could not contain himself, but closed his mouth immediately after he spoke.  He looked around to be sure he had not disturbed anything or anyone, though they were alone in that room.

Alice nodded grimly.  “Alexis was taken by her father Mingus.  We could follow their progress through the heart.  She got carried back to the end of the eighteenth century, to the days of her birth with the hope that the memory of her happy childhood might convince her to give up her life as a human and become an elf again.  Mingus fears to see her age.  He fears he will lose her too soon and he cannot bear that thought.”

“Uh?”  Lincoln did not want to interrupt again.

“Do not worry.  She steadfastly refused, and tried to escape on several occasions.  But once it became known that the Storyteller—that Glen was awake from his memory loss and long slumber, Mingus panicked.  Through the heart, he has taken Alexis into the deep past.  But do not be afraid.  There is only so far he can go.”

“Why don’t you just zap them back here?”  Lockhart sounded respectful, but not afraid to speak.

“I could fetch Mingus easily enough through the heart, but Alexis is human.  I have no such power over her and I would not dare leave her alone in history.”  Alice paused to collect her thoughts before she spoke again.  “As I said, each time zone centers around a life I once lived.  But I stand at the center of each time zone and the center moves with me.  If they came to the center I could do something, but as long as Mingus skirts around the edge, I can do nothing.”

“What do you mean the Heart of Time has recorded history?”  Boston asked.  She thought hard and tried to picture it.  “Do you mean it is like a computer program, but one you can walk into so it seems real?”

Alice smiled.  “It is utterly real.  The Heart of Time gives access to reality, not just a recording.  The thing is, the reason the time zones are strictly off limits to my little ones—to everyone, is because I have not been able to determine for certain how a change in the events in the zones of time affect actual history on Earth.  I believe they are the same—that history itself is in play.”

“But you can’t reach them as long as they stay out of the center of the time zone.”  Lockhart went back to the original proposition.

“I cannot.”  Alice shook her head.  “But you can reach them.  I can both send you from here and retrieve you as well when you come to where I am in the center of whatever zone you are in.  And don’t worry, Lincoln.  There is only so far Doctor Mingus can go.”

“That sounds risky,” Boston said.  “What if we change things by accident?  What if we change real history?”

“It is a risk, but it is not that simple.  Most changes and minor changes do not seem to matter.  Yet even with interlopers there seems to be some correlation with actual events.  That is why the time zones have remained off limits for all these millennia.  But to ask about the correlation between the events in the zones and actual history as it occurred is really a chicken or egg question.”

“Like do the interlopers have a bearing on history that we don’t quite see or are even their actions somehow directed by the program?”  Boston said, thoughtfully, and Alice nodded.

“Your pardon.”  Lockhart spoke up again.  “But why are you afraid to leave her alone in history?”  His old police instincts acted up again.

Alice looked at the man, but she could say nothing less than the truth.  “Because most of my lives are surrounded by danger.  And if you die in the past, you will remain dead forever.  And then there is this.”  Alice swallowed.  “Several years ago, though Ashtoreth was defeated as I said, she sent ghouls and bogeys, terrible giants, dragons, and things too terrible to name into the zones.  There are still some unsavories there that have evaded my reach.  Presently, the time zones are not a safe place to be.”

“But you can send us to Alexis and bring us right back, right?”  Lincoln needed confirmation.

“I will,” Alice affirmed.  “And I have gotten this help for you since there is no telling how Mingus will respond when he is caught.”  Alice snapped her fingers and two more people appeared in that tremendous room.  She pointed to the first who looked human enough.  “Doctor Procter is half human and has been Doctor Mingus’ partner in the history department for three hundred years.  If anyone can speak sense to the elder elf, I have every hope that Doctor Procter can.”  Doctor Procter looked older than either of the men present, and he had the great white beard to prove it, but he tipped his hat and his smile looked genuine enough.

“Gentlemen, and young Boston, it will be a pleasure and honor traveling with you.  I must say—”

“A-hem,” Alice interrupted and pointed at the other person.  This other man stood nearly as tall as Lockhart, but skinny, and utterly elf in the way Boston always imagined an elf should look.  He did not look at all like Mirowen—a virtual human with pointed ears.  This one still belonged on the reservation, but he was cute, Boston thought, and young.

“This is Roland, Mingus’ son.  He has volunteered to represent the family in this matter.  He is a bit young, but I trust you will keep him in line.”

“Lady, I am fully grown.  I turned one hundred and twenty-six last Yuletide.”

Alice made no comment on the elf’s age but simply added, “He has no trouble with his sister’s choice to live a human life, and disagrees strongly with what his father has done.”

“The important thing is she be happy, don’t you think?”  The young elf looked at Lincoln.

“Oh, I think it,” Lincoln said.  “I just did not know anyone in her family thought it.”

“And I think it, too,” Alice said, with a great and warm smile.  “And I think there is time for a good feast and a good night’s rest before your journey.  Come.”  She led them away from the Heart of Time and to a proper medieval banquet complete with acrobats, minstrels, storytellers, and all sorts of real magical entertainments.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, until the middle of the night.

Avalon Pilot part I-2: Thief, Kidnapper, Father.

Mingus stopped at the top of the stairs.  He heard voices in the lab.  He peeked through the glass in the door and saw old, white-bearded Doctor Procter leaning over a table, trying to concentrate.  Doctor Procter held a delicate piece of equipment in one hand, and held his wand in the other hand, ready to make whatever adjustment might be necessary.  The young elf doing all the talking and interrupting kept leaning into the light, like he might be trying to read over Doctor Procter’s shoulder.

“Roland.”  Mingus entered the room, the name of the young elf on his lips.  “Leave the man to his work.”

“Father,” Roland turned and stood tall.  A look of pride crossed his face.  “I guessed I would find you here.”

“Why?” Mingus sounded suspicious.

“Because I have not been able to find you anywhere since you came back from the past.  But you have always lived in this place… Oh, I guess you are asking…”  Roland straightened up.  “Because I want to give answer to your unasked question when you went away.”

“What question?  Maybe there was a reason it was unasked.”

“Father.”  Roland sounded serious.  “You said some terrible things about Alexis before you made the time jump, but I want you to know, I support my sister.  She freely chose to give up being an elf and became a human to marry a human, and I say, as long as she is happy, she will have my full support.”

“And you have told her this?”

“Not yet.”  Roland looked down at the table and at his feet. He worried his hands before he raised his head again.  “But I intend to.”  He spoke with conviction.

Mingus nodded and kept his sarcasm to a minimum.  “You better hurry up, son.  Your sister is sixty.  Her human husband is sixty-five.  They have children of their own.  They have grandchildren.  You know; humans don’t live very long.”  It irked Mingus every time he thought of Alexis getting old and dying, but he tried not to show it on his face.

“Like a breath,” Doctor Procter breathed.

“Roland.  Son.” Mingus stepped to the far side of the table to face the young elf.  “I am glad you support your sister.  Family is important.  But now, um…  You are over a hundred, aren’t you?”

“Father.”  Roland let out a deep breath of exasperation.  “I will be one-hundred-twenty-seven next winter solstice.”

“Good, good.”  Mingus waved off his own ignorance.  “I heard certain elf maidens have a bonfire and dance planned in the three-circle court of Giovani.  An elf your age should be out enjoying himself.”

“No good.  You spoiled him by activating his brain cells,” Doctor Procter said, with a small grin beneath his long white, unkempt beard.

“Father.  Those elf maids are not exactly well educated,” Roland admitted.

“It isn’t their education you should be looking at, at your age.  Go have some fun.  You remember fun?”

“But father—”

“Get out,” Mingus yelled.  Roland flushed red and made a fist.  He stomped his way to the door.  Mingus and Doctor Procter watched until the door closed.

“No need to yell,” Doctor Procter said.

“That is what children are for,” Mingus responded.  “They are for yelling at when they don’t get the message.”

“Um,” Doctor Procter made a sound, shook his head slightly, and returned to his work.

“So,” Mingus said, casually, taking a deep breath to calm himself.  “Is that the new amulet?  The prototype worked well enough, but it did not give much detail in terms of the surrounding area.  We—I came to a cliff in the Rockies in 1875 and had to backtrack a long way to go around.”

Doctor Procter nodded.  “See any Indians?”

“Native-Americans.  No.  Is it ready?”

Doctor Procter paused in his work.  “We have added some basic scanner technology to the amulet so it will get a reading on the area, cities, towns, forests, mountains, and so on.  But the screen is so small, it will take very good eyes, preferably elf eyes to see it.  It took some real coordination with the technology and IT departments, not to mention—”

“Doctor.”  Mingus cut the man off before he went into a half-hour unintelligible explanation.  “Is the amulet ready?”

“This?  No.  It needs further adjustments, and then testing.”

“Adjustments?”

“Additional work.  I’m afraid it would not work at all in its present condition.”

Mingus nodded.  “The prototype still around?”

“On the wall there,” Doctor Procter pointed over his shoulder without turning from the table.  Mingus walked to find it in the mess by the filing cabinets.  Doctor Procter paid no attention.

“The prototype worked well enough,” Mingus said, in his friendly voice.

“Yes, yes,” Doctor Procter responded as he leaned over his work and squinted at the amulet in his hand.

“It got me home in one piece, through the time gates.”

“And we are all glad.  Welcome home,” Doctor Procter mumbled and he leaned further into his work.  Mingus found the prototype under some papers and slipped it into his pocket.  Doctor Procter paused and turned to Mingus.  “We are glad you are home, but this time, don’t expect to steal the new amulet and leave me a note about going to test it.  The new one is shielded.  If you so much as touch it, alarms will go off and all of Avalon will know.”

Mingus looked down and nodded like a child, properly scolded.  “I understand.  It was just the first one.  I am the only one in all of Avalon who knows the history; maybe the only one who had a reasonable chance of making such a journey, and getting home in one piece.  I might have died at the outset, entering into the crystal.  I felt I was the only one who ought to take that risk.  An expedition of young elves without the proper knowledge would have been a disaster.”

“That is debatable,” Doctor Procter said.  “But you stole the amulet and went before anyone could stop you.  You won’t be stealing this one.”

“Fair enough,” Mingus said.  “I’ll leave you to your work.  You have had enough interruption for this evening.”  He headed toward the door, and paused only briefly when Doctor Procter had one more thing to say.

“Glad you made it back.  The history department would not be the same without you.”

Mingus stepped through the door and hurried down the stairs.

Now that it had become a fully dark night, he needed to get Alexis before she broke free of her enchantment.  They needed to be gone before anyone found out.  He looked once again to be sure the naiad was not in her spring.  He looked again at the tower, now pitch dark, like a giant finger pointing to the stars.  There were various opinions on just which finger the tower represented.

Mingus found his daughter in the closet where he left her.  He paused to note her gray hair, wrinkles, and pale human skin.  At least she didn’t get chunky like some human women got when they turned sixty, he thought.  He made sure her hands were still bound and the magical gag remained in place.  He made her stand and walk.  He had to lighten the trance so she could stagger.  He had to help her, but he dared not let her come to full consciousness, even bound and gagged.  She retained her elf magic when she became human.  She was hardly powerless, and might yet find some way to break free from his control.  She was his daughter, after all.

The most dangerous part came when they went out into the open to cross the green, and particularly when they crossed the little bridge over the stream.  Mingus’ mind wandered.  Doctor Procter was wrong.  The history department on Avalon would get along just fine without him.  Some fifty years ago, the dark elves learned to extract information directly from the Heart of Time and put it on computers.  The history department on Avalon started slowly filling up with computer geeks.  Elves should not be nerds, he thought.  Mingus knew he was old fashioned, like someone out of the stone age.  But he still believed in things that mattered.  He still believed in family.  He believed a daughter should not die before her father, and Alexis, now human, was ageing rapidly right before his eyes.

Mingus got them to the tower door.  He took one last look around the green before he slipped them inside.

“Uh,” Alexis made a sound and wiggled in the light, like a sleeper trying to wake.  Mingus held her until she settled down again into her enchanted sleep.  He looked around.

The ground floor was the only floor in that great hollow finger.  The walls stretched up high enough so Mingus imagined the cathedral roof might have been designed not only to keep out the rain, but to keep the stars from falling in.  No fire gave light to that room.  No torches lined the wall.  No electric lights were allowed near the place.  Only the Heart of Time throbbed with its own internal light, and somehow, the wood out of which the tower got built retained enough of the light to light up the entire inside, even to the ceiling.

There were theories about the wood.  Recently, an ancient theory had come back to the surface—that it was some alien wood Lady Alice snatched off some impossibly distant planet.  Another theory suggested that the tower had actually been planted, like a tree, and the wood was alive, and still growing.  Mingus shook his head.  Some people will believe anything.

He helped Alexis come inside the circle painted on the floor.  They faced the stand in which the crystal rested, silently pulsing with light.  Mingus reached into his right-hand pocket to make sure he still had the amulet.  He reached into his left-hand pocket where he had a handful of gold dust.

“Mister Barrie called this fairy dust,” Mingus whispered to himself—some distant memory.  He sprinkled it on Alexis and himself, three times, and mumbled a long series of unintelligible syllables.  Alexis sneezed.  Mingus reached down to scoop Alexis up in his arms when he caught sight of movement out of the corner of his eye.  Lady Alice was in the room.  Mingus panicked and jumped right into the crystal.  Alexis snapped out of her trance as they jumped into the light.  She yelled, a muffled “No,” before the sound cut off.

Alice and the naiad stepped up to the crystal.

“I think he saw you,” the naiad said.

“He needed to see me,” Alice responded.  “Hopefully, he won’t put up a struggle when the rescue party arrives.  Now, let us see where they went.”

Avalon Pilot Part I: Various Nefarious

Present day, Between Avalon and Earth.  Kairos 121:  Glen, the Storyteller.

Recording…

Mingus, a well-respected elder elf, nearly eight-hundred years old, a true academic and head of the Avalon history department for the last three-hundred years, a peace-loving scholar by reputation, dragged the elderly human woman to an obscure closet on the campus in the castle of the Kairos.  She struggled, but her hands were bound behind her back and her lips were magically sealed so she could not cry out.  Her eyes got big when Mingus opened the closet door and a cloud of dust greeted them.

You wouldn’t, she thought.  Mingus, a master of mind magic, caught her thought because she directed it at him.  You can’t do this.  Lady Alice will find out.  She will know.

“Hush,” Mingus said out loud, as he forced her to sit on the closet floor beside a broom and dustpan that hardly looked used.  He raised his hand, and the woman widened her eyes.

You wouldn’t, she repeated her thought.  Father!  Her mind cried out and her whole being objected when he touched her forehead.  Her eyes rolled up and closed as she fell into a trance.

“Alexis.  I am just trying to save you from yourself,” Mingus whispered.  He left the light on when he gently closed the door.  He paused to make sure the light did not leak out the bottom or around the edges of the door frame.  Satisfied with his work, he stepped out of the first-floor door and headed across the green toward the history building.

The great, wooden tower on his right reached for the clouds.  He understood it was the first building in Avalon.  The rest of the castle got built around that ancient structure.  It housed the Heart of Time, the glowing crystal that beat with light like the beat of a living heart.  The Heart of Time held a record of all human history.  It got created when the old god, Cronos and the Kairos, Alice, held hands, the angel presiding.  Alice made a three-pronged stand to hold the great crystal, built the tower to house it, and there it rested through the ages, beating from its own internal light, capturing a record of everything that happened on the earth.

Mingus shifted his eyes to the spring beside the tower.  The spring and the stream that came from it supplied all the fresh water in the castle.  People called it the spring of life.  Fortunately, the naiad of the spring was not present.   Rumor said she was still in recovery from the time, several years earlier, when the goddess Ashtoreth invaded Avalon and enslaved the people.  The naiad was the last defender of the tower and the Heart of Time.  The goddess overcame her in the cruelest way imaginable, and then Ashtoreth had access to all of human history.

Mingus paused.  He stopped walking and looked again at the spring and the tower.

In the end, the children of the Kairos overcame the demon-goddess with the help of the Knights of the Lance, but in the meanwhile, Ashtoreth discovered some interesting things about the Heart of Time.

First, she found that gateways, something like invisible time gates, bracketed the many lives of the Kairos throughout history—like bookends.  The gates gave real access to the lives before and after whatever life the Kairos presently lived.  If one knew how to find the gates and work them, and could cross safely through each time zone, they made something like a time-travel highway through history, from the beginning of history, when the Kairos was first conceived to live lives number one and two, up to the present one hundred and twenty-first lifetime of the Kairos.

Mingus started to walk again.  The second discovery showed a person could enter the Heart of Time and travel to anywhere in the timeline of history to begin the journey.  Jumping into the past through the Heart of Time displaced a person from his or her normal time stream.  Mingus supposed a person would continue to age according to their own internal time clock, but at that point they could travel through the gates into the future and not fear prematurely ageing, or into the past without suddenly getting younger than their birth.

No one knew this before Ashtoreth.  Maybe the Kairos knew it, but no one previously guessed.  Ashtoreth proved the fact by sending all sorts of terrible persons and monsters into the past, in her effort to disrupt history.  “Unsavories,” as Doctor Procter called them.  Mingus smiled.  That quick access to any point in history was the discovery he counted on, dangerous as it might be.

After Ashtoreth got overcome, the brains and powers around Avalon got together and built a prototype amulet that would lead a person from one time gate to the next.  Mingus volunteered to test it, in the dead of night, without telling anyone.  He took his daughter to the days of her youth, not that anyone knew he kidnapped Alexis.  They jumped to the year 1776, but Alexis remained stupid and stubborn.  She refused to come home to the Long March of Elfenheim.  She insisted on staying married to that human—on remaining human.  There appeared to be no way he could get through to her.  Mingus got angry to think about it.  He ended up dragging her back to the present through the time gates, which proved their worth.  It took him half a year to do that.  He felt prepared then to let her go.  But when they got back to the present, she made him angry, again, and he thought what he had thought a thousand times before.  No daughter should die before her father.

He stepped into the history building and walked up the stairs to the lab.

###

Lady Alice stood on the wall that surrounded the tower and the campus.  She watched Mingus enter the history building before she turned to the lovely naiad that stood beside her.  “You understand.  This one time I want you to stay away from your spring and let Mingus enter the tower of the heart.  He will run.  I will send others to chase him, and when they have him, I will bring them all back through the heart.”

“Aren’t you afraid they will get lost in time or mess up something in history and set the whole course of human life off track?” the naiad asked.

“There is a risk, but it is the only way to test the Heart.  When Ashtoreth broke it, I feared time itself might unravel.  Some said history would come to an end.  Some thought the whole of creation might roll up like a scroll and be finished.  Glen’s children were able to collect the broken pieces of the Heart, and I managed to make it whole again.  It is continuing to record the events on earth, but it needs to be thoroughly tested before I can pronounce it fully healed.”

“But what if you can’t bring them back all at once from the past?”

“Mingus and his captive daughter, that is one elf and one human, tested the time gates between my Michelle Marie’s lifetime and the present; even if Mingus did not realize that was what he was doing.  If something goes wrong, it may take a long time, but we know the people will be able to get home using the time gates.”

“It just seems a big risk.”

“Relax.  Have some faith.  Everything will work out in the end, one way or another.”

“Oh, I know,” the naiad said.  “I love the conspiracy of it, except it makes my waters churn.”

The Travelers from Avalon: Where do they go from here?

Avalon, the Pilot Episode is now up on Amazon for a whopping 99 cents.

 

https://www.amazon.com/author/mgkizzia

 

http://www.amazon.com/Avalon-the-Pilot-Episode-ebook/dp/B00BYKXNMC

 

When Lincoln’s wife Alexis goes missing, he begs the mysterious Kairos for help to get her back.  The Kairos determines her father has kidnapped her and dragged her unwillingly into the deep past.  He brings Lincoln and his whole mission team to his home on Avalon, a place normally hidden from the human race, and to the chamber of the great crystal called the Heart of Time.  This crystal has recorded all of human history, and it can be used for time travel if one knows how. 

Through the Heart, the Kairos transports the entire mission team to the beginning of history; but there are complications.  In order to save Alexis, the Kairos is required to sacrifice himself.  That leaves the mission team with only one option.  To return to their proper time in the future, they will have to travel the hard way, through the time gates and across the time zones.  This will bring them through all of recorded history, many unexpected and unknown historical details, and some nasty surprises.

Written in episodic form, each time zone centers around a different lifetime of the Kairos, a person who has lived 121 times since the beginning of history.  Each time zone presents unique difficulties.  The travelers have to try not to disturb history, which is hard to do when they are fighting for their lives.  But the Kairos, you understand, never lives a quiet life.  And then, not too many years ago, certain … things where driven into the past.  Some of those things may be content to follow the travelers back into the future.  Most have picked up their scent, but some are hunting them.

Avalon, the Pilot Episode is all you need to begin the journey.

Don’t miss Avalon, Season One COMING SOON.  Same E-read, same E-channel.

Also, look for Avalon, the prequel.  Invasion of Memories, where the Kairos in our day comes out of a time of deep memory loss too quickly.  In order to keep his mind from becoming overwhelmed and incapacitated he tells stories from his past, stories from when he remembered who he was, the Kairos, the Traveler in Time, the Watcher over History.  He knows he cannot afford to become incapacitated, because there are three Vordan battleships on the dark side of the moon, and they are preparing to invade.

 

WORKING: Coming to this blog in the Fall

 

Avalon Season 3:  Life in the twenty-first century was never like this!   In the third season, Civilization begins to show its true colors with piracy, slavery and human sacrifice..  Roland and Boston heat up.  Roland may ask Boston to marry him, and his father Mingus will have to do some serious adjusting, again.  All of the “unsavories” presently following the travelers begin to get anxious for fear the travelers may be slipping away.  And they find some new shadow beneath the full moons where Bob, the insane man they once showed kindness to … Well, they say werewolves always kill the ones they love.  Technological and alien wonders, magic and mayhem, and the struggle to race with the human race and stay alive. 

 

AVALON SEASON 3 … DON’T MISS IT …

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