Avalon 4.1: A Time for War, part 1 of 6

After 2395 BC around the Aegean.  Kairos 47: Mikos, Akos of Akoshia

Recording …

Katie checked the amulet that had been placed in her hands, and pointed a little to their left.  It was the prototype, not as sophisticated as the one Boston wore around her neck, but it pointed well enough to the next time gate, and that was all that mattered.  To be honest, she hardly gave it a thought as her mind was occupied with another matter.

“I’m worried about Elder Stow,” she said out loud.  “He is being so quiet.  I remember Lincoln read from the database that Neanderthals, I mean, the Gott-Druk are naturally gregarious and very family oriented people.  I thought he was finally starting to open up and accept us as family, but suddenly he has gone back to being all stiff and formal.”

“I don’t know,” Lockhart said.  “He isn’t human.  I don’t think we can judge him in human ways.”

Katie nodded.  “If he was human, I would say he is acting like a petulant teenager.”

Lockhart nodded.  “But he isn’t.”

“But Mingus and now Boston are not human, either.” Katie did not finish her thought.avaloncover1

“Yes, but Boston was human,” Lockhart responded.  “Besides, I have come to accept that elves, dwarfs, and even dark elves and the rest are still native to this planet.  The Gott-Druk are no longer welcome here, at least not since the flood.”

“Do you think there really was a flood?”

“We saw the boat on the mountain.  That is some pretty hard evidence.”

“And the tower of Shinar, we saw with our own eyes.” Katie nodded with glee, but one eye went to look at Eder Stow who was dutifully riding out on the flank.

“Speaking of Mingus and Boston,” Lockhart said to distract Katie’s attention.  “Are they keeping up?

Katie looked back.  Father Mingus was instructing his new daughter.

“Now Miss Riley, invisibility is hard, it takes some real concentration, but I am sure you can do it,” Mingus encouraged her.  “Let the end of your wand be the focal point for your magic.  That is what wands are good for.”

“It’s hard,” Boston complained, sounding like a young child.  “Besides, I’m afraid I’m going to set myself or Honey on fire.”

“Now, I know the Amazons called you Little Fire,” Mingus spoke kindly.  “But you should not fear the spark inside you.  I have looked with the mind magic, and you have a fine roaring flame, but invisibility comes from a different section of your brain, and I have seen that you can do it.  You must trust, and not me.  You must trust yourself.”

Boston nodded, but she did not look too sure.

Alexis, riding in front of Mingus and Boston, spurred her horse to catch up to where Katie and Lockhart were watching out ahead.  She left Lincoln to read whatever he was reading in the database, and made a face of disgust that Katie noticed.

“He is treating her like a porcelain doll,” Alexis groused.

Alexis t2“Not the way you remember your childhood?” Lockhart guessed.

Alexis shook her head.  “Okay, it was the eighteenth century, but I got whippings with a switch when I got something wrong or didn’t do what I was told.”

“Whippings?” Katie sounded shocked.  She could not imagine light elves doing anything of the kind.  She still thought they were all peaceful, loving vegetarians, despite her experience of watching them in battle.

“Maybe not whippings, but near enough.  People don’t realize that the little spirits of the earth parallel human behavior much more than any want to admit.  The magic and all seems like such a great divide, but we all think and feel the same.  We marry after a fashion, and have families.  We all raise our children to do what is right, more or less.  And we share emotions like love, hate and fear.”

“I suppose that is true,” Lockhart said.

“I really hadn’t thought of it that way,” Katie admitted, and one eye went again to Elder Stow.

“I am not downplaying the differences, which in some ways are profound and eternal, but we share more in common than most know or admit.”

“And right now you are jealous of Boston?” Lockhart was seeking clarification.

Alexis lowered her eyes to think, but everyone else lifted their eyes to look overhead.  Decker rode in from the flank and pointed up.  It was a good sized ship of uncertain markings, and unfortunately, there was no cover to which they could run and hide, only a few small trees over where Elder Stow stopped in the shadows to watch.

The ship flew in a big arc before it circled back toward the travelers, who dismounted but did not move from where they were.  What was the point?  They were obviously seen.

“I don’t recognize the markings,” Decker said.

“I don’t either,” Lockhart confessed

“Just coming to it.” Lincoln had the database out.

“What do you suppose they want with us?” Decker asked.

“Don’t know that they do,” Katie responded before Lockhart explained, drawing on knowledge gleaned from his years with the Men in Black..UFO battle 1

“We are an unusual sight in this day and environment.  They may have scanners that picked up the worked metal content of our weapons, for example.  I’m guessing they are just interested in a good look.”

“They might have as much interest in the horses as us,” Mingus suggested as he rode up and got down to join the group.  Boston stood in her stirrups and waved before she got down.

“Not Marzalotipan, I hope,” Katie frowned at the thought of another visit by those interstellar used car salesmen.

“No.  The marking match sevarese markings,” Lincoln said.  “They are bird men, too, but very different.  The last ones I met, in Etana’s day, were flesh eaters, human flesh.”  Before he could explain further, a green light came from the ship and bathed the travelers.  All of the people, fell unconscious.  The horses were stunned, but remained on their feet.

“Quick as you can,” Mingus said and grabbed a groggy Boston’s hand.  They ran at super speed to the trees and bushes where Eder Stow was just then turning himself invisible.  “Now, girl, get invisible,” he ordered, and Boston was motivated.  She succeeded as Elder Stow’s horse wandered over to join the others.

When the ship landed, the sevarese rounded up the horses and people to bring them aboard.  “Follow me,” Elder Stow said, and he snuck, invisible, into the ship.  Mingus and Boston, who could still see him and hear him, followed.  Elder Stow could not see the elves until Mingus made a window so just the Elder could see him.

“An advanced lesson,” he told Boston.  Boston nodded.  She had enough to do to keep herself from suddenly appearing and being seen by everyone.

Boston LF1

Avalon 3.6: part 5 of 5, Escape Before Supper

“For an operation like this, we go with our strengths. I’m a police man, not a thief. A bit of a klutz, and you are right, you are not trained. Besides, Roland, can you make yourself invisible?”

“What? Yes. Not for long. About a day. It is very draining.”

“Elder Stow?”

“Yes, but it is draining, in my case on the battery.”

“Okay Decker—“

“I don’t do invisible, but I try.”

“Just keep in mind. You are not Rambo. Your mission is to free the hostages, not blow up the enemy in ever more cinematic ways.”

Decker almost smiled as he went, seemingly by himself to the cave entrance.cave marine

Katie put her arms around Lockhart’s middle and hugged him, and he hugged her. “I don’t want to lose you,” she said.

“And I don’t want to lose you,” he responded. “But I can’t make decisions based on that. Sometimes you or I will be in danger and the other will just have to suck it up.”

“I would not expect it to be otherwise,” Katie said, and thought about how comfortable she felt. Lockhart thought about how hard that might be for him in the future.

###

Alexis and Boston came out first and took a good look around. There were no guards, and more than likely the snake people never considered a jail break. Boston stepped out front while Alexis directed the crowd to hug the wall and move slowly. They were in the shadows, and Alexis meant to keep them in the shadows.

“Why are we moving so slow?” a young woman asked in her normal voice. Alexis threw something at the girl and all they heard after was “Mmmph, mmph.”

About twenty yards from the door, and not yet near the entrance, Alexis got everyone to kneel down. She risked moving and threw her hands toward the other side of the cavern. Everyone heard the sound of clattering rocks. Three men rounded the corner from the entranceway, and they immediately went to investigate what might be making that noise.

BostonBoston kept up with the group and kept her wand at the ready, but she was still so new at this magic business, she did not think of any of the things Alexis did. When three more men came from the entrance way, carrying their spears, Alexis tired herself out trying to make their attention focus on where they were walking and on each other.

“Hey!” There were two more behind them. Alexis stood.

“Run,” she yelled, and the people ran toward the entrance as everything erupted into chaos.

Boston laid down a line of fire that was enough to make the men back up, but not enough to stop them.

The eyes of the statue fired lasers at her, but Boston felt herself grabbed from behind and hauled out of the way just in time.

The five men on the stairs shouted. Lincoln was there, followed by seven bird-men who also let out sounds of distress and anger.

There was the sound of gunfire from the entrance, and Alexis knew the cavalry had arrived.Alexis 1

Elder Stow had his sonic device out and the stairs began to tremble, but Alexis was still there, waving the others on, and she yelled. “No. Benjamin is on the stairs. Get Benjamin first.” Elder Stow was invisible, but it was not too hard to figure what was happening. The sonic vibrations stopped, and Lincoln shoved his way toward the entrance before the men could recover.

The bird-men came to the bottom of the stairs, and afterwards, the people could not say if they flew or just exited the stairs quickly. They certainly knew the bird-men were armed when streaks of power began to fire at the fleeing people.

At the same time, a great roar came up from the crack in the ground.

fire drakeThe bird-men looked stymied. Somehow, Elder Stow had the people, including Lincoln, covered with a screen against the energy weapons. Whatever power was being projected by the eyes of the idol could also not break through.

Roland and Boston came at the back of the line, and Elder Stow last of all. Decker was behind a rock. Four men by the entrance were dead, and the people all ran out into the fresh air. When Eder Stow became visible again, Decker exited, and Alexis yelled for the elder.

“Be prepared to raise your shield again. We don’t know if the Balok will follow us.”

“Or the Sevarese,” Lincoln added, before he paused to kiss his wife.

“Fire drake,” Roland explained to Boston, and whoever was listening, and then he thought to include Lockhart. “It came up from the crack in the earth. It is a creature of fire.”

“It chased the birds and the men back into the cell room where they were holding the people prisoners,” Boston added. “The bird men, whatever they are, and their energy weapons don’t have any effect on it.”UFO Birdman 2

“Sevarese,” Lincoln said.

“Bird men?” Katie asked.

“Later,” Lockhart insisted even as he decided there was no way they were going to fit everyone on the horses. They would have to go on foot, the hard way, and hope no one tried to stop them.

###

The people all gathered around a big bonfire in the night. They were not far from Kish, but it was too dark to continue, and they imagined they would make it by mid-afternoon on the following day.

“At least there are too many of us to be taken again by the men,” Lothar said while Alexis checked his wound once more and saw that it was healing properly this time.

“Men are not what we are worried about,” Lincoln said and Lothar nodded as more than three dozen men came out of the dark, armed with copper headed spears and copper knives.

bonfire“My apologies,” Elder Stow said. “I was only looking behind.”

“And I was only watching the skies,” Decker said.

“And Roland?” Lockhart asked, but Roland and Boston were busy kissing.

“Hey Lockhart!” Lockhart heard the voice before he saw the man.

“Etana?” Lincoln had to ask, and Etana nodded while he shouted something else.

“Boston!” She stopped and she and Roland both looked at him, but they looked like their minds were not able to focus on what they were seeing. “You two need to set a date,” Etana said. “Or we need to throw a bucket of water on them,” he said generally to everyone, and waved so his men relaxed.

“Speaking of buckets of water,” Alexis interrupted and patted the seat between herself and Lincoln. “Do you have any idea what we have been through?

“You are going to need a bucket of water to put out the fire drake,” Lincoln said.

“Yeah, all that and you weren’t even there yet,” Lockhart joked, but Katie touched his sleeve as the sound of a Sevarese fighter went overhead.

************

Next week, beginning on Monday:Nuwa 6

The travelers discover the sky has fallen and Nuwa, the Kairos, has to resurrect the pillars in the pledge of the gods to hold back the storm of war beginning to rage across the star systems.  Meanwhile, things heat up between Boston and Roland.  Something must be decided as they travel down “The Sulk Road.”