Avalon 5.3 Perseverance, part 2 of 6

Earlier that same morning, Boston yelled.  “Keep still.”

“What?” Alexis asked, and tried to peek.  Boston had her amulet out to check on directions.

“There is a little red dot up ahead.  Probably a village.  The Kairos appeared to stop there for the night, and I thought we might catch him.  But now he has taken off from that place, and he is moving kind of fast.  Maybe on horseback?”

“Like chasing someone, or being chased,” Alexis suggested.

“Probably not horseback,” Katie spoke back to them.  “It is too early for that.  He might be driving a chariot, though.  Like Balor had back with the Hyksos.”

“I wouldn’t think a chariot would be much good over open country,” Alexis responded.

Katie shrugged.  “All I know is my prototype amulet can find the next time gate, but once the Kairos moved off the straight line between the gates, I lost track of where he might be.”

“Boston,” Lockhart shouted back.

“There should be a village about an hour from here, but the Kairos is moving again, away from us.”

“You don’t think we should just go on to the next gate, after screwing up the last place,” Lincoln said.

“Not smart,” Lockhart responded.  “We find him first, and try not to screw anything up between here and there.”  He got on his wristwatch communicator, being unable to see Decker.  “Look for a village, about an hour out, Boston says.”

“Roger.”  “Will do,” the responses came from Decker and Elder Stow, who also waved.

When the hour had passed, they indeed came to a village, but a strange looking village it was.  Cows and goats ruled the streets.  People rushed to the river to fill water jugs, and rushed home to hide behind their doors.  Lockhart imagined if he blinked, he would miss the whole thing.  The village was that small.  Then again, he felt glad to see the river, likely a tributary of the Ganges.  The horses needed to water.

“Hold up,” Lockhart said, and watched the only group of people in the street.  Seven men were walking in a tight circle, mumbling, or maybe chanting.  Seven women, he guessed their wives, were circling outside the men, going in the opposite direction.  Every time the wives and husbands met, the women reached out to touch the men, like trying to get their attention.  The men shrugged the women off and just kept walking and mumbling.

“I’m getting dizzy,” Decker said.

“To the river,” Lockhart said.  “At least the horses can take a break.”

While the horses watered, and rested, Alexis and Boston managed to catch one of the women.  She wanted to run away, but paused to face Artie.  Artie looked like a normal young woman of sixteen years.  She had normal enough dark brown hair and eyes, and her natural skin tone looked darker than the others, though she had European looking features.  She might have passed for a local under other circumstances.  So, the woman talked to Artie, and when the first woman talked, some of the other women came to join her.  They opened-up, though the stories they told were strange.

“The gods are fighting,” the first woman said, three times, and added, “What can we do?”

“We’ve been invaded,” another woman wailed numerous times.  “It isn’t safe out.”

A third woman cried a little, but made more sense.  “If the gods come to blows, it will be the end of the world.  New people have moved into the land and brought their gods with them, but the old gods are resisting.”  she paused in her tears to see who she was talking to.  “You are new people,” she screamed.  Several others screamed, and they all ran back to their homes.

“Indo-Aryans,” Katie suggested the obvious answer.  “The Aryans have come into the land.  Everything, right down to the structure of the language itself, is different.  These people are Dravidian connected, I would bet.”

“Not entirely,” Alexis countered.  “Tara’s mixed Shemsu and Sumarian people, and Zisudra’s Elamite and Jiroft people came at least as far as the Indus valley.”  She remembered, and Katie smiled for her.

“Glad someone listens.  But the Indo-Aryans are whitish, non-semetic types from up around the Caspian and Aral Seas in Siberia.  In the west, they become the Celts, Germanic people, the Italo-Greeks, the Slavs, and the Hittites, just to keep it all in the family.  Here, in the south and east of the seas, they become the Medes and Persians, and what we call Indians.”

“They are not all the same, are they?” Lincoln interrupted.

“All the same root, from the same stock people,” Katie said.

“I remember,” Boston shouted.  “Back when we were with Devya in the city of Sanctuary.  She said people would be moving down off the steppes and into the fertile land along the silk road.  She said, eventually some would invade India…the Brahmins.  Others would invade Iran, the invested people.”

“Avestan,” Katie said.

“I know, the Magi, the wise men at Christmas.”

“Christmas is not for a long time from now,” Alexis said.

“Still…” Boston thought about Christmas and smiled.

“Anyway,” Katie got the conversation back.  “We appear to be right on the cusp of the Indo-Aryan arrival in northern India, and things appear to be up in the air, even for the gods.”

Lincoln said, “I remember Varuna saying he was trying to prevent a war between the gods.”

“Looks like that may happen, unless someone can do something about that,” Katie said.

“Hey,” Boston followed her train of thought to its conclusion.  “Maybe those men walking in circles are Brahmins.”

“No,” Lockhart joined them.  “They are just crazy old coots.”  People looked at him, so he continued.  “We need to move several hours upriver, and away from people in this place.  This is one argument we don’t want to get involved in.”

When the travelers finally stopped for the night, Decker brought in a deer and they cooked in the quiet of the night until Lockhart sat down beside Katie and that appeared to open her mouth.

“They must find a way to make peace,” she said.  “India did not sink into the radioactive ocean fifteen-hundred-years before Christ.”

“I’ve been thinking, too.” Alexis said.  “I am sure the Kairos will have to get involved at some point.  As I recall, this very kind of circumstance is why Chronos worked so hard to get the Kairos born in the first place.”

“Hardly seems fair to him,” Lockhart said.

“He is only human in this life,” Lincoln said.  “Padrama, that is, Lord Pad of the Aryan people.  He is a noble, warrior class, not a Brahmin, but only human.”

“Lord Walker,” Katie tried a rough translation of the name, Padrama.  “Maybe King of the Road.”

“Hardly fair to him,” Boston agreed.

“But peace is what everyone wants, isn’t it?” Artie asked.

“Every right-thinking human,” Decker said, as he sat on the grass and put his feet toward the fire.  “The problem is most humans don’t think right, or have moments of temporary insanity.”  He looked at Elder Stow, but Elder stow waved him off.

“That is true of any kind of human,” he said.  “I will not argue that point.”

“Well, I want peace, only the Anazi won’t let my people be free.”  She got quiet as she realized the dilemma with her own people did not lend itself to an easy, peaceful solution.

“Hush,” Katie said, and she patted Artie on her hands.  Lockhart put his arm around Katie, and she smiled and enjoyed the quiet, looking up at the stars and the moon above the crackling fire.  At least they had peace and quiet.

Avalon 3.3 part 5 of 6, Three Witches

Martok heard the cry from overhead and he dared to look. The flying creature of the witches was a griffin, a magnificent creature, and bigger than he imagined. It was a lion with eagle wings, an eagle head and eagle claws instead of the lion’s front paws. That was how the humans saw it and revered it in stone in the millennia to come. But Martok was not human. He was Bospori, and with his alien eyes, he saw something alien about the creature. He wondered briefly what planet the griffins came from, but then he returned to his work because he had more adjustments to make.

The Griffin swooped down to hover in front of the witches. Its powerful wings blew the thatch off the nearest houses and stirred up a dust storm. Martok had to lean over to protect the exposed internal electrics of the Gott-Druk scanner. It did not hover for long, though, before it started over the houses toward the villagers and the children huddled down on the beach.Caspian Griffin

“Damn,” Martok breathed and he twisted the Blueblood tube half a rotation. The griffin instantly fell unconscious from the projected feedback, and it crushed a house on its way to the ground. Martok hoped it was not seriously hurt, but he knew he needed a stronger wave to take down the witches. He was afraid if the witches were smart enough to recognize what he did, he might not live long enough to make that happen.

“Move village. Move village.” The witch in the center repeated its programmed speech twice, and if a robot could be said to be angry, this one sounded angry.

“We bring ourselves,” The one on the left had to say something.

“Ourselves, come,” said the one on the right, and it was followed by several rapid explosions and sudden holes in the ground all around where Martok was working. Decker and Katie answered with their rifles. A few bullets penetrated and created sparks, but most merely dented the robot’s metal skin. Arrows and spears did not even do that much, but then Elder Stow stepped out from behind the house where he had taken refuge, and he fired a wide angle shot that took in all three witches.

The two witches on the outside wobbled in the air. They stopped firing briefly. The witch in the center fell to the ground, but it rose back up again before Andovar’s men or the Amazons could get to it.

“It is going after movement,” Major Decker yelled in the momentary lull.

Katie imagined motion detectors and yelled. “Alia, everyone stand still, stay where you are.”

Most of the men and women did not stand still, so the witches started firing again. They fired some kind of pulse from their right hands at the end of stiff right arms. Katie and Decker continued to search for joints and weak spots while people died and the center witch flew over to the back side of the village.Caspian witch

The witch ran straight into Lockhart. Boston was the first to fire, but her Beretta did nothing and Roland pulled her down to shield her with his own body. The witch turned on them, but Lockhart fired his shotgun before the witch could take aim. Unlike Katie and Decker, he did not aim for the robot middle. He shot the hand – the weapon that was wreaking so much havoc. The hand broke off at the wrist and fell to the dirt. It held wires that sparked and sizzled. The witch gave the hand an uncomprehending look, but managed to rise up again before Lockhart could shoot the head.

“I thought we were dead,” Roland admitted.

“No. I came this way to get close up for a shotgun blast. I see I was right. Come on,” Lockhart came to a space between two houses which was right alongside the witches in the square. Before he reached a position to fire, he felt a deep pulse in his chest, and the two witches in the square collapsed.

The one with the missing hand appeared It was going after Martok, but then Elder Stow stepped out again from his hiding spot and fired at the robot head He had turned his weapon back to a narrow beam and turned up the power. The head of the witch vaporized, and the last witch fell in flames.

Iddin-Addad came back when Martok went away. He handed the scanner back to Elder Stow and took out his long knife. He went to all three grounded witches, including the headless one. “They are self-repairing up to a point,” he said to anyone who was listening as he tore the back of the Witch’s dress, opened the back panel and yanked out the power source. “If they can’t repair, they may be designed to self-destruct,” he added the last note more softly.

Men came from all around the village and they were soon followed by the women and children. Most celebrated, but that was blunted some by the four dead men and the number of wounded. Alia lost two women from her troop. Katie and Decker both took a couple of cuts from shattered rocks, but otherwise the travelers were not affected. By chance, neither the monsters nor the witches touched the house that held Alexis, Lincoln and their wounded man. Of course, Alexis now had more wounds to tend to, but Doctor Mishka returned to give her a hand.Caspian child 1

“Indo-Aryan,” Katie explained to Lockhart and Boston. “Most of the ones north of here have already pushed into Europe and down into Italy and Greece and up into Scandinavia, pushed by the movement of the Slavic peoples that are more slowly expanding into the west. The ones here are like Cimmerians, and on the other side of the Caspian they are like the Scythians. They are also the same people who eventually move down and take over India.”

“Indo-Aryans,” Lockhart repeated.

“So this is like Hitler’s famous people?” Boston asked.

“In name only,” Katie answered as Boston looked around.

“But I don’t see many blonde hairs or blue eye in them,” she concluded, and then she excused herself to find Roland and make sure that hobgoblin was not making any moves.

Caspian child 2“Sorry,” Katie apologized. “Sometimes I can’t help it. I see things that were not entirely clear, sort of theoretical in graduate school, and now they make perfect sense. I just talk too much.”

“No,” Lockhart waved off her concern. “I was never good at history, at least the details, but I enjoy it when you explain it.”

Katie had to turn her head to the side to look at the village. “And you pay attention,” she said as a smile touched the corners of her lips.

“Yes I do,” Lockhart said, and he thought close, personal attention.