Reflections Flern-12 part 3 of 3

The night creature, and one that seemed able to move in daylight, contrary to all things natural, roared. It moved slowly and awkwardly, like a donkey might move in a barnyard, as it looked her over. Flern was not fooled by the awkward gate. When it attacked, it would move more graceful than a leopard and with more ferocity than a whole pack of hungry lions. Flern felt she only had one choice, to call on the gift of Odin. She felt it in her gut, and it burst from her hands just as the night creature prepared to charge. No way her blast would have melted the main gun of a Gott-Druk battleship, but in this case, it proved enough to put a foot-wide hole through the beast and continue to where it put an equal hole in the newly erected wooden wall. The night creature, what remained of it, collapsed, and then sizzled in the sun until it was no more.

The Wicca screamed and threw her hands toward Flern. Flern got caught in the middle by the same kind of force she just used, a force great enough to lift her from her feet. The force could not break through the shield of Frigga, and even if Flern only reflected in a small way the gift given to Wlvn, it seemed enough so the force did not harm her. It did drive her back, however, until she reached the middle of the river where it sent her down under the deep of the water and held her there.

Flern asked her water sprites to wait. She figured the gift of Njord would not let her breathe all day underwater like it would for Wlvn, but she could certainly breathe underwater for a few minutes. The Wicca kept up the pressure for a good five minutes before assuming she must have drowned. When the pressure lifted, Flern let the sprites help her up. She came to her feet on the top of the water where her water babies held her up. She spit the water out of her lungs and then walked back to the land on top of the waves.

“Thank you,” Flern said as her feet reached the shore.

A little water baby head popped up from the waves and squeaked an excited, “Your welcome,” before it disappeared again moving downstream.

By the time Flern reentered the circle, she had gotten just about dry, apart from her hair. “A fine dip in the fine water. Very refreshing. Thank you,” Flern said. The Wicca said nothing. She simply clapped again. Flern imagined the Wicca had to be running out of steam, given her age and the amount of power she had already exerted. Flern knew she was getting tired with all of this.

When Flern looked up, she saw her parents and sisters dragged to the circle by Jaccar. The Jaccar had swords drawn, and the threat appeared to be against her family’s necks.

“No,” Flern said in a surprisingly calm voice. Mother Vrya said I had to be willing to be who I am. Well, I am her son even when I am her daughter. And I am also her son when I am her son.” Flern went away from that time and place so Nameless could stand in her place. “You go too far,” he said, and in the blink of the Wicca’s eye, Flern’s family and all three hundred and fifty-two villagers disappeared from their village and reappeared safely across the river. The Jaccar found their swords all put away, and Nameless took one step toward the Wicca who screamed in terror.


Loki came, and the first word out of his mouth was, “Please.” It had a touch of sarcasm in it.

“Hilde,’ Nameless called. “Mother.” Both women appeared, one to each side of him, and they waited with an eye on Loki to see what might transpire.

“Please,” Loki began again with much more sincerity. “Odin pledged a time of indulgence.”

“The time is over,” Nameless said. “Your spoiled little brat has caused too much undue suffering. Set the Jaccar free and let them go home to their families and children. Let her go home to live out the remainder of her days in peace.”

“But she is my daughter.” Loki’s crooked face scrunched up with angst. “They won’t let me make her immortal. A little kindness. She has so little time.”

“That is the problem. Your kindness to her is terror and hatred to everyone else. Now it is ended.”

“But Hellas has vowed to keep her half-sister in torment and torture forever, and there is no talking her out of it.”

“Mother?” Nameless turned to Vrya. He did not have to spell it out. She took her son’s hand and pointed at the Wicca.

The old woman crashed back in her chair and screamed again. “Father. You promised.” A sickly green light, the color of mold and decay came out of the Wicca to dissipate in the sunlight. Then it was done. The Wicca collapsed, like she no longer had the energy to sit up straight. She was old, and now she showed it. She looked tired. She looked used up.

“Now she is fully human,” Vrya said. “Now I can let her serve in my house when the time comes to make up for all the people she forced to serve her in her lifetime.”

“When the time comes, I will personally bring her to your home,” Hilde said.

“How can I trust you?” Loki’s face contorted. “Do you promise to do this?”

“The gods don’t make promises,” Nameless responded. “But you have three witnesses who will see if people stay free and if she lives in peace.”

“But father,” the Wicca’s voice sounded weak and cracked in the upper register. “You promised I could have what I want.”

“You don’t know what you want, child,” Vrya said, and she looked to her son for an answer.

Nameless nodded. “It is a breach of temporal etiquette, but I can give her something like medicine to indulge her in her final days.” He thought through the recipe so Vrya, Hilde and Loki could catch it. Then he produced a small bowl out of thin air. He handed it to Loki who tested it with a finger. He gave a small spoonful to his daughter who made the strangest noises.

“Nectar,” the Wicca called it and grabbed for the bowl. It was Chocolate ice cream, and with it in hand, Loki and his daughter vanished from that place.

“Indulgent,” Vrya said with a slight smile.

“I’ll never be thin again,” Hilde admitted.

“Jaccar leaders!” Nameless shouted. The Jaccar were all on their knees before the gods so Nameless softened his voice, but it still carried the power to be heard. “Go home.” The Jaccar found their horses saddled and ready, and with minimal urging from their chiefs, they mounted and rode off into the East, never to return.

Vrya kissed her son. “I await the day when you will be my little one,” she said, and vanished.

Hilde bowed. “My Lord. I am yours with a willing heart, and I have sisters now to help in this great work.” She vanished.

Nameless waited until the Jaccar were all gone before he vanished and Flern came home to stand on the riverbank, all alone in her own village. Across the bank, the people were cheering and celebrating, and Flern did not blame them. No more good people would have to die.



The conclusion of the story followed by a look ahead toward Avalon, Season 9, the final season.  Until then, Happy Reading.


Reflections Flern-2 part 1 of 3

Flern sat straight up in bed. Poor Wlvn just lost eight months of his life, somewhere in time. Hardly fair, she thought.

“Flern!” The reason Flern woke up from her afternoon nap became apparent when her baby sister came bounding into the room. Gurdi turned fifteen, hardly a baby anymore. The real baby in the family belonged to twenty-year-old Thul who already had a girl of her own. Flern felt glad for her older sister, and not the least because the infant took some of the pressure off of her to marry as soon as possible.

“Stenis is taking the young men out on a hunt this afternoon.” Gurdi spoke as she plopped down on the end of Flern’s bed. “Isn’t it wonderful the way he takes charge. He is so dreamy.” Gurdi looked up at the ceiling, so she did not see her sister’s frown.

“I’m going for a ride this afternoon.” Flern acknowledged that her nap had become impossible. “Alone.” She knew what her sister wanted. Gurdi wanted to take her to the market and make small talk all day long with a bunch of fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds, and maybe do some sewing or basket weaving with more gossip. No thank you.

“But Flern!” Gurdi bounced on the bed just to be sure Flern did not plan to go back to sleep.

“Not a chance.” Flern escaped the bed out the other side. “And yes, Stenis is dreamy, if you think so.” She would not quite concede that any sixteen-year-old boy could be dreamy. Flern dressed quickly while Gurdi exaggerated all of Stenis’ dreamy qualities, then Flern heard something that got her feet moving.

“Flern,” Mother called from the other room, and that meant there would be chores. Flern went to her window and stared hard at Gurdi. Gurdi crossed her heart and looked up once while Flern escaped to the outside. It did not matter what Gurdi promised. Flern knew her sister would tell Mother in the next few nanoseconds, so Flern had to hurry.

Flern ran to the stables and only snatched her bow and quiver along the way. No one rode or shot with her much anymore. Vinnu and Thrud were too busy being married, and Pinn stayed too busy not touching Vilder. Elluin also stayed too busy being stupid with Drud, and Flern’s stooges were not around much, thank the gods. Flern whistled from behind the barn. She did not dare step into the open for fear of being caught, and she let out a soft whistle besides, but she knew Bermer would hear. Sure enough, after a minimal wait, Bermer the mare came trotting around the corner. Flern got right up and took off for the river. She had in mind to ride up the back of the hill to the cliff’s edge, and maybe take her nap there where her mother and sister could not find her.

“Okay,” Flern confessed to Wlvn for the hundredth time as she rode. “So I named my horse after your sister, but only because she is the sweetest thing I could think of.” Then Flern stopped talking altogether. She did not want conversation at the moment. She wanted to be alone and undisturbed, and that included Wlvn and all of her other lifetimes, at least the ones she could remember.

Flern let her mind wander as she rode, the way Wlvn had when he rode to the edge of his universe. She realized that essentially Wlvn got it right about her and her friends. Pinn had her Vilder in a commitment, though they were not married yet, just engaged. Vinnu had her Gunder, and they were married, and Thrud, the not nearly as beautiful as her name might lead you to believe, had her Tiren, and they were about to be married. Elluin looked like she was not going to give up on Drud, though there was no official word there yet, and that left Flern with her three Bozo the Clowns. We are all Bozos on this bus, she thought.

Of course, there was Kined, even if Flern did not feel allowed to think of him in that way. He remained just a very good friend, maybe her best friend. He told her that, even as he seemed to finally be giving up on Elluin. In fact, the last time beautiful, blonde Elluin ran away from Drud, Kined had not been there for her, hard as it must have been for him. He confessed how hard it felt to his good friend Flern in private, and Flern did her best to comfort him. Hugging seemed to help.  Come to think of it, she and Kined spent a lot of time together in the last year; but Flern imagined it as no more than a sort of a misery loves company kind of thing. Kined seemed heartbroken over Elluin, and Flern needed some rest from her daily duty of telling her stooges, “No, I don’t want to marry you.” Good thing Bunder never asked. Actually, he never said more than two words to her in her whole life. She would have gone mad, though, if she had to say no four times a day.


Flern dismounted and climbed the hill to the little grassy spot at the top. The rocks still held a bit of ice, so she had to be careful, especially when she approached the cliff. She started moping by then and so she did not pay her full attention, but she managed not to slip. She had spent a year and a half badgering the Elders in the village to mount an expedition to go over the mountains and bring back the technology of bronze. At first, the Elders simply refused to listen to her. Then, the more she badgered them, the more stubborn they became against the idea. In the end, even some of her friends began to doubt what they had seen with their own eyes when they were, as they called it, “mere children.”

Couldn’t they see? This would be the only way they would have any hope against the Jaccar, and by then, no one doubted that the Jaccar were coming. Flern reached down to her side where she had begun to carry a copper knife. She said it helped cut her meat, but to be sure, it was the kind of knife with which she could skin her meat, not just cut it. She drew it out and used it like a pretended sword. She would be the woman warrior if she had to be, but her movements were awkward, and she knew it.

“Ga!” She spoke to herself. “All of the other lives I live are so dashing and capable.” She thought of the Princess as the true woman warrior, and Diogenes, sometimes called Alexander’s eyes, as a warrior in the extreme. Flern brandished her pretend sword again, pretending to be Diogenes, she cut down Persian after Persian. Doctor Mishka and the Storyteller had such skill, and they knew so much. “I ain’t got no edjumication.” Flern said, out loud, though whether it came out in her own tongue or the Storyteller’s English, it felt hard to say. Nor did it matter. She started to wonder why the goddess Amphitrite and the Nameless god put up with her as one of their lifetimes. What could she do? She began to cry, sat on the grass and felt like an ant, like a bit of temporal dust, totally useless. The women she had been in other days were all so beautiful, and the men were simply the best. Who was she?

“Now, now.” Flern heard a woman’s voice, and at first, she thought it might be the Princess. “You were just thinking about possible husbands and who might be a good father for your children. If you can handle that, surely you can handle a little southern vacation.”

Flern shook her head. “I’m not good enough to be the Kairos.” She felt shocked when she felt an arm slip around her shoulder. She looked, but all she saw at first was the cloak and the hood pulled up.

“My son,” the hood said. “Even when you are my daughter.” And Flern knew who it was; Vrya, mother of the Nameless god she would one day be. While she found it a little frightening at first to be held so tenderly by a goddess, that did not prevent her from having a good cry. Vrya pulled back her hood and let the girl cry it out while she spoke softly through the tears. “Sweetheart. We all don’t like ourselves, sometimes. Consider the responsibilities I carry. Many is the time I wished I was just a normal, mortal woman. After Od was taken from me, I thought I would be chaste and never have a child of my own, but here you are, even as you will be one day, and I am holding you and telling you that everything will be all right.” These were powerful words, coming as they did from the lips of a goddess. Flern could not help crying a little harder and burying herself in the warmth offered until she got it all out of her system.

After a while, Flern pulled back her head and tried to smile while she wiped her eyes. Mother Vrya smiled for her and brushed her red bangs back out of her eyes. “Feeling better?” she asked. Flern nodded. Of course, she felt the peace that so often comes after a good cry. Mother Vrya just nodded and tapped Flern on the forehead.

Flern immediately remembered the tap on Wlvn’s head all those years ago. “What was that?” Flern asked and looked up for a second as if she could see her own forehead, as if Mother Vrya pasted something there.

“I cannot stop you from being the Kairos and living one life after another after another. No god can stop you. You are not in our hands.”

“But I thought—”

“Every mortal human is in our hands, and even the half-humans, but not you. You live beyond the reach of the gods. You are a very special person despite what you may be feeling at the moment.” Vrya touched Flern’s nose and smiled as she spoke. “But what I can do is hide who you are for a time so others may not notice.”

“Like you hid Wlvn from Loki.” Flern got excited. She suddenly understood.

Vrya nodded. “Now then. I understand you have learned about the discovery south of the mountains. I would say you have a decision to make as to what you will do.” She turned Flern’s attention out over the Cliffside to the village and helped Flern’s eyes see what her eyes unaided would never have seen. The Jaccar had arrived, and it looked like they took the village completely by surprise. The men were already being herded into a hastily erected compound, though the women and children still appeared to be in their homes, for the present. Flern’s countenance dropped once again. She knew it was long past time she should have gone for the bronze, herself. She chided herself for waiting and pleading with foolish old men and believing that they would eventually do something. All this time, she should have known that it would be up to her. There wasn’t anyone else, and she felt like such a fool.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Mother Vrya said. “Go and collect what friends you can and plenty of horses. Some will suffer while you are away, but you stand a good chance of getting there and back, and on your return, you should save most.”

“Most? A Good chance?”

“About fifty-fifty,” Vrya said, which did not sound all that reassuring. “In part, it will depend on how willing you are to be who you are. Don’t be slow to ask for help when you need it and do your best. That is all that anyone can do.” And Mother Vry simply was not there anymore.

Flern sat there for a little bit and stared down toward her village. She would have to go over the mountains herself, she decided, though Mother Vrya had been right about one thing: she needed to have her friends with her. She needed to wait until dark. With that, Flern curled up on the grass. Now she needed that afternoon nap more than ever. She tried not to think about it all, though she did not imagine her mind would let her rest. She actually fell asleep thinking, It’s the stress that gets you.

Reflections Wlvn-14 part 3 of 3

Wlvn, his family, and Laurel rode straight to the dome and dismounted just beyond the Titan’s reach. They looked in the distance. There were a couple of Elenar fighters in the air, zipping about, trying to get a clear shot on the Gott-Druk below. It looked hard, because Wlkn and company had gathered a hundred or more men who were trying to catch and kill any stray Gott-Druk they could find. Wlvn felt sorry there would be a human toll, but he prayed that this might be the end of the Children of Layette.

In another corner, Thor and Tyr had a protesting Loki by the arms, and Vry stood behind the group, just in case the god should wriggle free. Wlvn remembered the last time Loki wriggled free, they had to chase him down over half the earth. Of course, that would be about 2700 years in the future. Wlvn sighed. Sometimes he wished his memory would run in chronological order, but he imagined there was nothing he could do about that.

Baldur and Nana were by Eir’s cage and setting the girl free. She still looked to be about thirteen or fourteen years old, but Wlvn knew the gods aged slowly. She might be seventy, and she might have spent most of her life in a cage. Wlvn got angry and looked up at the Titan. Curiously, he had little room in his heart to feel afraid. When he went away and let Nameless take his place, the anger that filled him became a fire, and the earth itself trembled briefly beneath his feet.

Ymir stared at everything going on, but it looked clear that he did not understand what was happening. Laurel held the horses back, not that they needed the encouragement. Gndr looked petrified. He had his mouth open and drooled, slightly. Strn had his hands over his eyes. Brmr shot pure hatred at the Titan and looked like she wanted to prove the expression “if looks could kill,” but at the same time, she kept back where she could be surrounded by Shana’s protective arms. For one moment, Nameless saw the Swan Princess protecting her little gosling under her wing. That helped him settle his rage and brought the task into sharp focus.

He looked up and shouted. “Hey Moron! Ymir! Yeah you.”

Ymir looked away from all the confusing activity in the distance and looked down at something he could better comprehend. His mouth immediately began to drool and Gndr closed his mouth with a snap in response.

“Have you brought me treats little god? They look young and very sweet.”

“No, I have come to kill you,” Nameless said, and drew his sword.

Ymir paused and then laughed a great, rumbling laugh. “You cannot kill me. I have Odin’s promise.”

“So, you don’t mind if I take three chances. I tell you what, give me three tries, and if I fail, then you can eat the three children.” He mumbled, “If you can catch them,” but no one except maybe Laurel, heard.

“Wlvn. No. No!” Brmr and the boys yelled and called Nameless by the name they knew. But Shana wisely pulled Strn close and that made Gndr also move near, and she spoke.

“Trust your brother.”

“Maybe I eat them now,” Ymir said.

“Why? Are you afraid? I ask for three chances. Or do I need to tell everyone in heaven and on earth that Ymir is a coward?”

Ymir paused his hand. “I am not afraid.”

“Of course. You have Odin’s promise. So, I get three chances to try and kill you.”

Ymir paused to think. It looked painful on that face. “What is three?”

Nameless took Wlvn’s brothers and sisters and compelled them to stand apart and keep quiet while he touched each on the head. “One, two, three,” he said.

“Little god, you cannot kill me. I have Odin’s promise.” Apparently, that much got ingrained in the Titan’s head.

“Good. Are you ready for try number one?”

Ymir took a moment before he stood up straight and smiled. “I am ready, little god.”

Nameless leapt until he was above the Titan’s head. At the last moment, he traded places with Wlvn and brought the sword down on the Titan’s soft spot in his skull. The sword bounced off, and Wlvn barely held on to it as he got thrown back. He traded back to Nameless as he landed on his two feet beside the children. He did not expect Wlvn to be able to do the deed. He had been graced by too many of the gods.

Ymir laughed. “Haw. Haw.”

“That is the first try,” Nameless said.

“So, I eat one?” Ymir did not seem sure how this game would be played

“Not yet. I have two more chances.” He compelled Gndr to go with him to a spot just outside the Titan’s peripheral vision. “But we will put this one here, out of the way, so we don’t lose count.”

“I want to eat one.”

“Two more chances first. You don’t want to be called a cheater.”

Again, Ymir thought, and it looked like a headache coming on. “I will not cheat.”

“Ready?” Nameless said, and hardly waited. He leapt again, but this time he traded places with the Storyteller, the most human, unempowered, unmagical lifetime he presently remembered. The Storyteller thought of himself, “that’s me. Mister Dull.” Then the sword came crashing down, but again it bounced off and the Storyteller could not fly like Wlvn. He lost his grip on the sword, but Nameless returned to grab it and land once again on his feet. He thought, if mister dull could not make a dent, that explained at least something of what it meant to be counted among the gods.

Nameless brought Strn to stand with Gndr and effectively kept their mouths closed and their feet glued to the spot just outside the Titan’s vision. To be sure, he could not be exactly certain what the Titan saw. Ymir did not appear to have noticed the change in people pounding on his head. He checked his sword as he walked back to where Brmr and Shana stood. Brmr was in tears.

“Hurry up,” Ymir roared. “You are making me hungry.”

“But I have one more try. Isn’t this a fun game?”

“Fun when I feast.” The Titan grinned. Not a recommended sight. Fortunately, the grin did not last long. “But, hey! You said one more turn but there are more than one left.”

One and more than one, Nameless thought. Good counting system. He spoke. “Shana is a Swan Princess. She is not part of this contest. And Laurel is an elf. You only get the humans.”

“I could still eat them,” Ymir insisted.

“Maybe another time.” Nameless shook his head. “First we deal with the humans,” he said, and he hoped the boys were ready. He said it out loud, “Ready?” Ymir stood up straight and too tall.

“One more try,” the Titan said, and Nameless leapt, but as the sword came down he disappeared and Strn an Gndr found their hands on the hilt of the elf blade. With their utterly human guidance, the elf-forged blade easily sliced through the Titan’s soft spot at the forehead and continued through the brains until it disappeared inside all that jelly-like substance and the boys lost their grip.

Ymir put his hands up to his head, but the boys were already back on their feet beside Brmr and Shana. “Ungh” Ymir tried to speak before his eyes rolled up and he fell to the ground, stone dead. Loki voice became the only sound that could be heard above the crash and rumbling of the earth.


Nameless briefly thought the god needed to deepen his voice for that real Darth Vader sound when Eir flew into his arms. She wrapped her legs around his waist, her arms around his neck, and planted her lips on his and did not let go. The only thing Nameless thought after that was this was no thirteen or fourteen-year-old kiss. They stayed that way while her parents, Baldur and Nana walked up to join them.

“He asked for her hand in marriage,” Baldur said.

“But she is just a child,” Nana protested.

Baldur nodded. “But she won’t always be so,” he added.

Then Brmr tugged on the skirt of Nameless’ armor. “Wlvn,” she called him. “You already have a wife.”

“Oh.” Nameless and Eir let go and slowly stepped away. They looked into each other’s eyes and all the promise in the world was there. Then Nameless spoke.

“You are right.” He went away and let Wlvn come home. Wlvn immediately turned to Shana. “Sorry.”

Shana came in as close as she could around the baby, having just had an example of how it was done. With a glimpse at Eir she said, “Nothing to apologize for. I didn’t marry Nameless. Only you.” And they practice their own version of a lip lock. In fact, they were still working on it when Wlkn and Elleya, Boritz and Andrea, Badl and Moriah rode up and thought to join them. All was quiet, until Gndr and Strn began to argue about whose hand mostly killed the Titan.

Brmr turned to Mother Vrya, who arrived and was the last god present, the others having gone their way. Mother Vrya put her arm around Brmr’s shoulder and smiled. “As my son has been known to say, I love it when a plan comes together.”



The other half of the story.  Flern and her friends have their own quest ahead of them if Flern can find the courage to be herself.  Until then, Enjoy, and Happy Reading.


Reflections Wlvn-13 part 2 of 3

Snow covered the path up to the village, deep in places, and it made for slick going. Shana had to hold on tight, and Wlvn had to keep one eye on her at all times to be sure she did not slip. It made conversation difficult, and he only caught a glimpse of a couple of houses built by people who ventured down from the stockade to claim a bit of land for their own. Now that the whole world was not at war, it became safe to venture out, or anyway, safer.

“Lord, what do you expect to find here?” Laurel asked. She walked beside Wlvn, a bit wary perhaps in her words. Wlvn noticed she reverted to calling him Lord Wlvn or just Lord, and he dreaded the struggle Flern had to go through to get her to stop calling her “Lady.”

“I don’t know, exactly,” Wlvn admitted. “A rest from a bit of the winter, perhaps. Normally I imagine it is not such a good idea to return to a place where my grandchildren might still be running around, but in our case, there are not a lot of options.”

“Grandchildren?” The word came from Shana who listened in when she was not busy holding on.

Wlvn nodded. “According to the Storyteller’s estimate, Faya died in 4086 BC at the age of sixty. Faya’s cousin Raini would have been about fifty-six or so. Kartesh was born around the same year and also live sixty years. Then I was born around 4026 BC. That means Faya was alive here a bit less than eighty years ago. She could easily have grandchildren still around, or great-grandchildren anyway.”

“But Faya lived mostly with the Were, did she not? I was going to ask about Carolen,” Laurel said.

Wlvn nodded again. “Carolen is a grandson, but the Were have longer life spans. They generally live about 120 years to the human sixty.”

“And Raini, Faya’s cousin?”

“Vrya was honestly her mother. Raini, a beauty herself, also became a most capable warrior. I don’t know how long she lived, but she certainly had children. I met one of her descendants when I was in Flern’s time.”

“Kartesh?” Shana had a question that backed the conversation up a few steps. She did not keep up with all the nuances.

“Egyptian, originally,” Wlvn turned to her. “She helped the Agdaline, a people from space, return to the skies, and discovered dragons in the process.”

“Dragons?” Neither Shana nor Laurel knew the word.

Wlvn nodded once again. “A great and terrible flying worm that breathes fire. I believe there are a couple right now in Egypt and one or two somewhere in the Middle East or the Sinai. We barely escaped being eaten by one in Flern’s day. When they are small, they are a perfect defense for the slower-than-light ships of the Agdaline. Anyone attempting to board the ships will be eaten, while the Agdaline sleep peacefully in their cryogenic chambers. They were bred to respond to simple Agdaline commands, and when they are small, they are fascinating and obedient creatures if you speak the tongue. Of course, they live for maybe a thousand years, and when they get big, they are dangerous. Often, they develop enough minds of their own to ignore the command words. Even the Agdaline eject them from their ships when they reach a certain size and age.” Wlvn stopped talking. He clearly paused to think about the matter. He rejected the idea after a moment, because as big as dragons got, the big ones were too uncontrollable. Instead of attacking the Titan that they probably would not be able to defeat, they might take the easier route and just start eating the people and their horses. And then what would he do with them?

Laurel and Shana were meanwhile looking at each other. “I understood some of that,” Laurel said.

“Not much,” Shana admitted, and they both nodded like Wlvn.

By then they reached the gate in the stockade which stood open but guarded. They stopped, but when Thred stopped moving, Shana started to lose her seat. Wlvn caught her well enough, but that left Laurel to speak to the guards.

“Faya has come in the form of Wlvn to see if there are children or grandchildren he may visit,” she said. From anyone else it might have sounded ridiculous, but from the mouth of an elf it gave the guards something to think about. One whispered to another who ran off at top speed. Wlvn gave Laurel a stern look, but then he wanted to ask what the guard whispered, knowing full well that Laurel’s good elf ears heard. Laurel just smiled at him with her best elfish grin.

“Paybacks for threatening to find you a husband, huh?” Wlvn surmised. Laurel said nothing but kept grinning, broadly.

Some time passed before they saw people coming to the gate. An old woman came in the midst of the group and Wlvn could not believe his eyes. “Raini!” He shouted. She had to be nearly a hundred and forty years old.

“Faya?” The old woman looked up.

Wlvn took Shana’s hand and placed it in Laurel’s hand. Then he let himself slide into time so Faya could come and stand in his place. Faya flew through the gate, and no one dared to stop her. She hugged her old cousin who walked with a cane, helped by several gentlemen. She cried on Raini’s shoulder, and Raini cried as well. Everyone else backed away and the rest of Wlvn’s crew came up only to wait inside the gate.

When Raini could talk, and in her age, she had less tears than Faya, she asked a simple question. “So, what trouble have you brought us this time?”

“Oh, Raini. None I hope,” Faya responded as Raini started to hobble to the village center square. Faya helped her walk but knew the help was not entirely needed. Raini remained a demi-goddess after all, even if she got older than time.

“So you say, but trouble follows you as close as your little ones.”

“Not always. We had some quiet years,” Faya defended herself.

The old woman looked up at Faya as she walked. “Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to some trouble. I’ve been bored out of my mind these last forty years.”


“Mother thinks I need some peace and quiet in my age, but the boredom is what is killing me.”

They came to the square and Faya saw her perch just where it always sat, and the big copper bell hung beneath. Raini needed help to step up on the small platform, but she needed no help to grab the bell clapper and ring the bell with authority. People came running, and soon the square filled with curious faces. After a moment, Raini leaned on her cane and spoke loud for all to hear.

“Beauty has returned to our village,” she said, and she hardly had to point out Faya because her beauty was obvious. “We are forewarned. I hope we will have peace, but I expect trouble will not be far behind. We need to double the watch on the walls and see what comes.” She turned to Faya and spoke quietly. “Now let me see what you look like in this life.” Faya looked at the crowd and hesitated. That was one thing the Kairos normally did not like to do in front of a crowd of people because people talked and one day, they would begin to write down the stories they talked about. “Come, come.” Raini insisted. Faya leaned over and gave Raini a kiss on the cheek and then got out of the way so Wlvn could return to his place and time.

“Pushy,” Wlvn said it before Raini could smile. A number of people in the crowd gasped, but at least none fainted. Faya had been known to be a shape shifter, after all, the queen of the Were.

“This is what Faya looks like now,” Raini said. “You will listen to him as you would to Faya or myself, especially when the trouble comes.” Raini stopped speaking and immediately started to get off the platform. Wlvn had to jump to catch her and help her. “So, what trouble are you into now? I just want to have some idea what we might be facing.” Raini started them back toward the gate.

Wlvn shook his head, but Raini squeezed his hand. Wlvn had strength given from Thor himself, but Raini, being a demi-goddess, made Wlvn quickly extract his hand with an “Ouch. Okay. I’m supposed to kill a Titan, one I would guess the gods have promised not to injure.”

“And?” Raini wanted the full story.

“And Loki is supposed to be spying on the Titan, but everyone knows he has his own agenda, and that involves keeping the Titan alive.”


“And Eir is a prisoner of Loki, but one day Nameless will marry her, assuming things work out.”

“Faya’s reflection.” Raini knew who Nameless was, being his half-sister, both being children of Vrya. “And?”

“And that is it. Really.”

“Kill a Titan, deal with Loki, save the maiden. It is enough. I will think on this and meanwhile, let me meet your wife and friends.”

Reflections Wlvn-11 part 2 of 3

Moriah came up beside Laurel. “We did it,” Moriah announced. She looked covered in blood and held a hunter’s knife in her hand that still dripped purplish puss from the blade. Flern turned her head and went away from that place. Nameless came to fill her shoes. Laurel looked to the ground on recognizing the god. Moriah gasped, but Nameless smiled for her before he walked the village square and made certain that all of the ghouls in the village were dead.

Twenty ghouls had died, and none of them were merely wounded. They melted and left a purple-greenish puddle of puss on the ground. The village defenders had already made certain of that. Nameless sensed a half-dozen ghouls running for their lives, headed back to their home in the north, and he knew they would not come that way again, so he let them go. “Take the wounded to the house of the village chief,” Nameless ordered. “Carefully.” He underlined the word. “I will be along shortly to help.” He looked at his feet. The body of the village chief lay there beside the body of the chief dwarf. “Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid,” he said softly, as he knelt down to close the poor dwarf’s eyes. Then he called, and everyone stopped for a moment to hear as the sound vibrated in their souls before it left that place and scattered to the wind. It crossed over the mountains, even to the Great River, and sped north through the limitless forests, to the North Sea and beyond to the great peninsulas that hung down over the world like fingers from the ice cap. The call pushed across the east and south to the shores of the Black Sea, over the waves of the Crimea and to the wilderness beyond. And it went north, even to the Ural Mountains where more than one man lifted his head from the hunt to listen and wonder. There was one. She heard. She appeared in a flash of light and dropped to one knee without even looking up.

“Hilde.” Nameless knew her name and said it tenderly. Then the angelic-like form looked and saw the smile on his face and became very curious. “Hilde. First sister of many, I have a task for you which you alone can do.”

“I will, my Lord. But how is it that I know you and do not know you? How is it that I love you so dearly though I love no man? And how may I be the first of sisters when I have no sisters?”

“These mysteries will resolve in time. Be patient, only for now you have work to do.” Nameless pointed to the chief at his feet.

“The dwarf is gone beyond my reaching,” Hilde said. “It is so with all of the people of the spirit, from the littlest up to the gods themselves, yet this man is within my grasp should I choose him.”

Nameless nodded. “The valiant should not suffer in the pit with the wicked. I charge you, Hilde, and all of the sisters that follow after you to take the spirits of the valiant to the house and halls of Odin so that the Alfader may decide where to keep such men for eternity.”

“And the women?”

“Take them to my mother, to the House of Vrya and let her care for them as she will.”

“I will do this thing,” Hilde said as she stood. “It feels right, like I have been sleeping all of my days and have been waiting for this moment to come awake.” She returned Nameless’ smile at last, vanished from that place, and took the souls of the dead with her.

“Who was that?” Laurel still stood by his side, though Moriah had gone in search of Badl.

“The first Valkyr,” Nameless told her, and then he made her wait there a minute while he took two steps forward. Skinny Wilken ended up among the wounded and needed Doctor Mishka, but he had one more thing to do first.

Nameless reached out with his thoughts. “Loki. Play your games, do your tricks, make you mischief through your surrogates as you will. That is your business, not mine. I only want to remind you of the penalty for killing a god.”

After a pause, there came a response, one that felt cold in the mind. “I am in no danger, foolish boy. I would say it is that little girl of yours that is at risk if she should come up against the Titan.”

“Yes, but I kill more than one over the next several thousand years, so it is too late for me.” Nameless thought the words with a little coldness of his own. “But you should remember that the little girl is the Kairos, and the Kairos is counted among the gods.”

Another pause, but Nameless knew that Loki was still there. “But no one knows exactly what that means,” the response came.

“Even so, a little friendly advice. The Kairos will be coming for your big friend, and I would not recommend getting in the way.”

“That girl has a long way to go yet.” Loki responded more quickly that time.

“Just so we understand each other,” Nameless thought, and he cut the connection. He watched the escaping ghouls for a minute before something else caught his attention. Badl talked with the remaining dwarfs who were now leaderless. He took Laurel by the arm and walked to the meeting.

“Your mother was the daughter of a chief, and your father, though not strictly a dwarf, he was beloved by the goddess, and we need no better recognition than that. You could come with us and be our chief.”

“And if the Halfling can cook like you say, she can come, too.” A second dwarf interjected, and no one seemed to have an objection.

Nameless arrived and took Badl by the other arm. “Sorry friends,” he said. “I need him first. He can come to Movan Mountain after we are done.” He turned to Badl. “Time to go see Skinny Wilken,” he said, and he became Doctor Mishka as she walked toward a nearby house.

“How did we do?” Those were Wlkn’s first words, once Elleya took a breath. She mothered him, terribly, and told over and over how he saved her life. Apparently, a ghoul busted down the door to escape the carnage, but Wlkn got there first and sent a knife into the creature’s throat. The ghoul slammed Wlkn against the wall before it collapsed, and Elleya proceeded to beat the poor dead ghoul senseless with a frying pan, and no, she did not otherwise know what a frying pan was for.

“I’m not as young as I was, you know.” Wlkn pointed out, though he had no gray hair. “It felt like he tried to eat my youth with magic, if you know what I mean. I think the bite of apple I ate might have been too much for him, though.” Wlkn quieted as Mishka worked. She examined Wlkn and was pleased to find no broken bones, but then she had another duty.

Nameless returned and he told them all that he would be right back. He touched the dead ghoul at his feet, and both vanished to reappear in the woods outside of town. Nameless pulled his sword, and in a swift move, chopped the ghoul’s head off. Sure enough, he heard a moan as he did it. The ghoul had been trying to live off of Wlkn’s youth, and the last thing the village needed would be a ghoul resurrecting itself. Nameless threw the head into the mountains and left the body where it lay. It quickly shriveled and shrank until only a small greenish-purple stain remained. That was the way of ghouls, unless they were eaten. Nameless cleaned his sword, returned it to its place, and reappeared in the room to change immediately with Mishka once again.

Mishka said nothing as she finished examining Wlkn’s wounds, then she finally answered Wlkn’s question as she bandaged Wlkn’s head. “Even with the surprise turned to our side, and the arrows that decimated the ghouls before the fighting started, and an extra surprise of nearly as many dwarfs as there were ghouls, the ghouls managed to take as many with them as we killed. Twenty ghouls fell in the battle, and fifteen men and five dwarfs died. Plus, we have many wounded besides.”

No one spoke. That seemed a terrible toll, and Mishka knew that when Flern came home, she would be in tears because, in a real sense, all of those lives were given to protect and defend her, even if it was not the only reason for fighting. Mishka wiped her own eye and took Laurel and Moriah to check on the others. Badl stayed with Wlkn and Elleya until he needed to go out for a breath of fresh air and a bit of quiet.

Reflections W-2 part 3 of 3

Dismounting got the boy babbling.

“B-but, you were, you were….”

“One of the gods. Yes.” Wlvn dragged Gndr to old man Wlkn’s house where Strn and Brmr were already piling out of the doorway.

“N-no, you were….”

“Dressed for war and with weapons, yes I know.” Wlvn picked up Brmr for a hug while he looked at Strn. “Get your things, all of them,” he said.

Gndr tugged on his sleeve. “N-n-no! You were a girl.” Gndr, at fifteen, noticed.

“Oh. I suppose I was,” Wlvn said. He had not really thought about it that way until Gndr mentioned it.

“You’re not a girl,” Brmr assured him and Wlvn took a second to smile for her, but that was all the time he had. The mothers, children, and few old men and women left in the village were beginning to gather and ask questions. Wlkn asked as well. Wlvn whistled for all of his horses before he turned to the gathering crowd.

“Go,” he said. “Flee. Go visit your parents or relatives in the other villages. Go visit a friend. Move in.”

“What? Why?” People asked.

“The helpers will be here soon with their flying wagon, and I don’t expect there will be any village left after they are done.” The people looked horrified, but they did not move until Wlvn yelled. “Go! Now!” A few screamed and everyone shouted as they rushed off to gather whatever few possessions they might have.

“Wlvn?” Old man Wlkn did not ask an actual question.

“You need to come with us,” Wlvn said, and he turned to his siblings. “Gndr and Strn, mount your horses. We have to ride hard and fast.”

“Not again,” Gndr complained, but he did as he was told.

“But it will be dark soon,” Strn protested.

“I don’t know if I can,” Wlkn said, honestly enough, while Wlvn gathered the reigns of the gentle mare that Brmr started learning to sit upon.

“You must do your best,” Wlvn told Wlkn, even as he looked at Strn.

“But that’s my horse,” Brmr complained.

“You are riding with me,” Wlvn assured her, and he lifted her to the back of his second-best horse, and after realizing that he had nothing worth taking, he jumped up behind her and grabbed the reigns.

“But wait.” Old man Wlkn, who had gotten up very carefully on to the back of Brmr’s horse, looked like he wanted to dismount again, like he forgot something, but Wlvn interrupted the old man’s worried mumbling.

“Too late. Ride.” He took off. Gndr and Strn followed, after a moment, and Wlkn tried to catch up the whole way. Fortunately, with the coming darkness, Wlvn knew he would have to slow their pace, considerably. He only hoped that they could gain an insurmountable lead, first. He knew the shuttle might find them through the trees; but then it might not have scanners sophisticated enough for that. To be honest, the thing that scared him most was the idea that they were being followed by a bunch of dead men on horseback.

Wlvn never looked back, he didn’t dare, but he kept his ears open. He expected to hear the faint whine of the helpers’ shuttle at any moment. Helpers! Wlvn gagged a little on the name. He remembered who they were, one of the elder races of humanoids that had once shared the earth, but who had been taken off world in the time of a world-wide catastrophe. The Storyteller called them Neanderthal, but they called themselves Gott-Druk; and then he remembered something else. The Gott-Druk were not supposed to come back to the earth. Neither they nor any of the other elder races were supposed to return. Nor were they welcome. Yet here they were, helping Loki and a Titan enslave the one remaining earth-bound race, the human race. Fortunately, Wlvn remembered yet one more thing. One elder race, the one called the Elenar had issues with the Gott-Druk. Wlvn did not know where the message came from, whether it came to him from somewhere in time, or from somewhere closer to home, he heard the message loud and clear that the Elenar were on the way.

“Great!” He mumbled. All he needed was two ancient, space-faring races battling it out right over his head.

“It is great!” Brmr shouted, her face in the wind and her hair blowing for all it was worth. “It is great.” She said it again and turned her head to smile up at her brother with a smile so full and sure, Wlvn could practically count her teeth.

 Wlvn prayed mightily, but he did not stop when he saw the line in the ground up ahead, now in the dim light of the moon rise.  He felt the sting as soon as they touched the barrier, but he had every hope that the horses would carry them across to safety, and they did, though it was not far before they slowed and eventually stopped. Both Strn and Gndr had slipped off to lie unconscious on the ground. Old man Wlkn stayed up on horseback, but he sagged and looked ready to slip off his mount at any moment. Brmr still breathed, thank God. Wlvn felt terribly dizzy, but he alone stayed conscious, not because of any virtue on his part, but because he was more or less fully grown, going on nineteen years, and yet still young enough to withstand the electrical shock. Sadly, there would be nothing he could do for the others for some time. Good thing he did not have to.

Mother Vrya arrived. She helped the boys recover quickly and made a cushion for Wlkn to fall on. Wlvn got down, Brmr in his arms, but he quickly fell to his knees and felt in danger of passing out. “Mother.” He managed the word before he slumped forward. He felt grateful for her attention, and he imagined she would speak soothing words. He did not expect the scolding.

“Quit being so dramatic. You survived the electric fence; now change to my son for a minute.”

“Oh.” Wlvn spoke with his face in the dirt and once again, he vanished from that time and the Nameless god came to take his place. “Mother!” Nameless almost scolded her right back as he sat up and spit the dirt from his mouth that Wlvn should have tasted: but the word of near scolding came also full of love. Vrya, after all, was the goddess of love.

Vrya stood over Brmr, the little one, but she paused as Nameless stood. She walked up to him with a very strange look on her face. “How long before you will be my little one?” She asked and placed her gentle hand on his cheek to caress his face.

“You know I cannot tell you that,” Nameless responded, but he had to smile when he said it.

“You know I cannot help asking,” Mother Vrya said, and she returned to her task. She picked up Brmr in her loving arms. Gndr and Strn shuffled up to stand beside her as she glanced at Wlkn who lay still, unconscious on his cushion. “Now that you are free of the land of the abomination, I can take these children to a safe place. I am sure you already have something in mind to do. I suspect that it will not be an easy journey, especially if you run into too much interference, only remember, I will be there when you need me, my son.” And she vanished. They were all gone, disappeared into thin air so only Nameless, old man Wlkn and the horses were there, including Thred, who had followed them all of the way from Wlvn’s village.

Nameless got to his knees as a precaution before he went away and Wlvn came back, also on his knees, of course. Wlvn thanked Nameless for being thoughtful because he decided that he might pass out for a while after all.


MONDAY Chapter 3

Wlvn and old man Wlkn begin their quest but are immediately interrupted by Odin and by a high radiation energy blast which is luckily not well aimed.  Until then, Happy Reading


Reflections W-2 part 2 of 3

Wlvn had a week to prepare for his journey to the center of the universe. He left the actual preparation of the grain and the wagon in Gndr’s hands since Gndr came of age and could not avoid going. Strn, not old enough, had to stay home and take care of Brmr, though Wlvn expected old man Wlkn to do most of the watching since he finally reached the age considered too old to make the trip.

“It will probably snow,” Wlkn said, while his eyes examined the sky. “And the villagers from Mskvt will fail to show up with the grain, and with the snow, we probably won’t be able to hunt or gather much.” Wlvn ignored the man and walked away before Wlkn started in on starving to death and whatever other worries might be on his mind.

While Gndr got the grain ready, Wlvn carved a new kind of harness, one where the horse could pull with his shoulders, not cut against his neck. He knew he tempted some time displacement in doing that, but he would not put Thred in any other kind of harness, and he would not take any other horse. Thred did not like being made to pull a wagon at all, but he was willing to lower himself for Wlvn’s sake who believed, without any evidence, that it was imperative he have the quick means for a getaway.

“All right, Thred. It won’t be for long.” Wlvn assured the horse and the horse puffed in response, but settled into a nice, easy pace. When they got to the line, Gndr seemed amazed. He never saw so many people in his life and he did not know that many existed. Wlvn hushed him and told him to keep his head lowered and do as he was told, just as he had been instructed by their father. “Don’t draw attention to yourself.” Wlvn talked to both Gndr and Thred, and then he looked around for his mysterious cloak, but he did not see Mother Vrya anywhere.

When they came to the top of the rise, Gndr let out the expected gasp, and Wlvn hushed him as he had been hushed. As they came near enough to be within range of hearing, Gndr, Wlvn, and every man and woman in the train had a terrible start. Wlvn had to cover Gndr’s mouth to keep him from screaming, and he had to look away to keep his own scream at bay. The Titan came out of the dome. He eyed the horses in the line and drooled like he could eat several, raw, and no doubt he would have if the immortal had not stepped between them.

“My Lord!” Loki shouted up and did something in the exercise of his godly power to be sure he was heard. Wlvn and everyone else found their eyes drawn up to the Titan, but in his fear, Wlvn quickly pulled his gaze away and turned it toward a party of mounted men that were half-hidden by one of the long houses. Wlvn recognized several men from the villages who looked to be riding in good order, and some helpers were with them, though they did not look at all comfortable on horseback. “My Lord!” Loki regained Wlvn’s attention. “Consider this new development before you act in haste. Think how these riders can extend your territory and bring ever more to the truth.”

The Lord of All did consider, and he looked out over the line of humanity which already served him, utterly. When he spoke, it was in a voice like thunder.

“Very well.” The Titan’s face seemed easy to read. He looked reluctant to give up his lunch. “For it has been said: cursed is the ground because of men. Through wretchedness they shall eat of it all their days. By the sweat of the ground, they shall eat until they return to the ground from whence they came, for they are dust and to the dust they shall return. All men must know this. We will extend our reach until all men can be made to understand.” With that, the Titan reached out and grabbed a man, snatched him right up off the ground. The man screamed. Many people screamed and looked away. The man stopped screaming when the Titan bit the man’s head off and went back into his dome because clearly the smell of horseflesh was driving him crazy.

Wlvn focused his eyes for a minute on Loki and noted how easily he swayed the Titan, even when the Titan wanted something. Wlvn wondered who was in charge here, and the worst of it, Loki would probably get away with it by blaming it all on the Titan. Wlvn felt like letting out a little Flern-type “Grrr,” but he got interrupted by a woman’s voice.

“No, no, my son.” He felt the tap on his forehead. Of course, by the time Wlvn looked around, the cloak went half-way down the line. He watched it disappear over the little rise, and then he heeded Mother Vrya’s advice, turned his eyes from Loki and concentrated on the task at hand. He reached down and scooped up a big handful of mud left from the recent fall rains. He splattered it directly in Gndr’s face which made Gndr open his eyes, wide. The mud went back and forth for a little, but then Wlvn ended it when he spoke.

“That is about as unappetizing as I can make us, now drag your feet and look down. Don’t do anything except what you are told.”

Gndr looked like he finally understood on the third telling. He tried to look stupid which Wlvn thought was a very simple thing for his brother to do.

When Wlvn and Gndr were third from the front, the movement of the horsemen caught Wlvn’s attention. He looked up, but his first sight was the face of Eir, peering out from the little window in her cage. He felt like she called him and spoke to him, though she could not have been speaking, exactly, from that distance. “It is a trap.” Wlvn hardly had time to respond when the horsemen pulled up for a closer look.

Wlvn looked down, emptied his mind and did everything he could think of to hide, hoping they would pass him by, but they stopped alongside the wagon all the same. Wlvn looked up at the riders in a last, mad hope that they might not give him away, but what he saw disturbed him beyond anything he had yet seen. The humans looked like empty shells. This appeared far worse than mere mind control or brainwashing. These men were the living dead, soulless zombies, animated flesh or flesh reanimated by the souls of the men after death, and it seemed a wonder the horses would even let them ride. Again, Wlvn suspected Loki. Wlvn knew that none of those living-dead options would be beyond the reach of the gods, but he also knew that the flesh was probably no longer under human control. No doubt, the flesh had become demon infested. They certainly pointed out Wlvn without hesitation, and one of the decaying corpses even made a sound probably meant to be, “He is the one,” but it came out, “Eeeaawonn”

Gndr screamed at the sight of the flesh falling off that finger, but Wlvn did not have the luxury to scream. One second, he reached for his knife and the next second he no longer stood there. Diogenes came all the way back in time from the court of Alexander the Great to stand in Wlvn’s place. What is more, he came clothed in the armor of the Kairos, god-forged chain mail over leather, and he had a sword at his back and a long knife across the small of his back also forged of that wonderful new material the dark elves had discovered, Flern’s dream metal, bronze.

“G-gods of Olympus!” Diogenes’ sword jumped into his hand, and he cut down the nearest helper where the helper had a hard time keeping his seat. He cut the restraining harness on Thred’s back with the same stroke. Thred responded by rearing up and making a great noise in the face of the zombies. Terrified by the smell of death, he could hardly contain himself. Gndr barely got out of the way, and at the same time, Diogenes sheathed his sword, well-practiced soldier he was, leapt up on Thred’s back and grabbed Gndr with his hand to drag the fifteen-year-old up behind him in one motion.

The zombies started to push their horses in to cut off his escape route, but Diogenes grabbed Gndr’s hands around his waist and brought Thred up again. Thred responded with a great noise and motion that made the other horses hesitate, and Diogenes seized the opportunity to race for freedom, brushing by the horse formerly occupied by one of the helpers, where the horse desperately tried to back away. Diogenes considered and went away from that place to let the Princess come and sit with Gndr, lightening the load on Thred’s back.

The sudden appearance of the woman in the man’s place disturbed and confused the zombies and dumbfounded the helpers so none of them went rushing after her. That allowed the Princess to take off back up the road at great speed, and she wasted none of the opportunity. Thred seemed more than happy to get out of there; but then, Loki, a master of false appearances, had not been fooled in the least; yet even he shouted, “Get him! Stop him! Kill him!” That did not help the zombies or the helpers since the boy, Gndr, was the only him present at the moment. The Princess wondered why Loki did not simply trap her with a small exercise of his godly power, but then, she did not waste too much energy wondering.

As soon as they were over the rise and out of sight, the Princess considered trading places once again through time even as she caught sight of the robe out of the corner of her eye. She thought Mother Vrya smiled. Of course! She traded places with Vrya’s son-to-be, the Nameless god, and that proved a good thing, because Gndr could not hold on much longer. Nameless glued the boy to his seat, but then he found he could do little more. No way they were going to disappear and reappear in Wlvn’s village. “Eir.” He said her name out loud. She was the one, blocking Loki’s efforts, canceling out any exercise of Loki’s godly power. That eased the Princess’ getaway. Unfortunately, Eir blocked Nameless as well. Nameless knew it was only because she was so young and did not exactly know what she was doing. Nameless smiled and loved the girl as he always would, and he at least tried to send a message. “Thanks. I’ll be back for you.” He felt her heart beat a little faster.

Thred let out great gasps of air by the time they got back to Wlvn’s village. The sun would soon be down, so he did not have much time to make his moves. Nameless unglued Gndr, who looked to be in absolute, uncomprehending shock, and then he let go of that place so Wlvn could return to his own life. Wlvn decided to keep the armor and weapons, however, and his armor dutifully adjusted itself to fit this new form

“Get down.” Wlvn had to tell his brother what to do and help him dismount.

Reflections W-1 part 3 of 3

Since Wlvn had turned old enough for the pilgrimage, he got to hunt that winter with the men. He did not have to hang around his mother’s skirts and dig through the snow to gather whatever he could or climb trees to steal nuts from the squirrels. All of that digging and climbing could be hard work, especially when it turned ten or twenty below. Of course, hunting was not exactly easy, though as often as not, for the first couple of years Wlvn got to stay in the camp and keep the fire burning while the older men went out into the wilderness. In fact, he was busy doing that very thing one day when he had an unexpected visitor.

A mature man came to him, one certainly older than Wlvn, though it seemed hard for Wlvn to tell exactly how old the man was, like the man appeared very old and quite young at the same time. The man held in his hand a string of large, swift animals tied in a line. Wlvn had seen such animals before and ate one once when the men brought back one that they claimed had fallen into a ditch. He had never seen them before, though, with bits in their mouths and reigns and standing still in a line as if the man himself was the lead stallion.

“You are Wolven?” The man pronounced the name imperfectly. “I’m sorry. You must be. I can’t read your mind all that well.”

Wlvn felt that he knew this man even if he could not find a name. He decided to stand up as tall as he could to show that he was not afraid, though indeed, if he felt anything, it was a protective warmth that emanated from the man.

“I am Wlvn,” Wlvn said. “What brings you so far from home?” He asked that because he felt that surely this man had to be a long way from his normal haunts.

“I have Odin’s permission,” the man said, assuming that Wlvn knew who Odin was. “Nereus, the Sea Elder said that in all the world you would be the only one who would know what to do with these and make proper use of them.”

“Horses?” Wlvn said the word like a question even as his mind flooded with images from the future—images of riding horses, plowing in the fields, of chariots and carriages and millennia of cooperation. The dog might be man’s best friend, but the horse was always man’s best help. Wlvn had to sit down again to clear his head.

“Who are you, really?” The man asked as he tied the lead horse to a tree branch and stepped closer. Obviously, the man had some thoughts on the subject.

“Poseidon?” Wlvn named the man and the man stopped where he was. “But I don’t really know what to do with them. The idea of catching them and training them and caring for them is all too complicated right now for me to remember. I think I am still too young.” Wlvn looked up into the big man’s eyes, but the man smiled as if he had guessed correctly.

“No, but that is easy,” the man said, and before Wlvn could protest, the man took that last step forward and laid his big hands on Wlvn’s head. Then Wlvn knew. In that moment, he knew more about horses than anyone alive, perhaps ever. “And here.” The man took Wlvn’s hands to help him stand, and Wlvn felt a strong tingling in his hands as he stood. “Now you can give the basic knowledge to others. It is that simple.”

“But where did they come from?” Wlvn asked. He let go of the man’s hands to examine the lead horse. He felt a little uncomfortable and not sure he liked the way the man kept staring at him.

Poseidon tried to get serious as he shrugged. “Athena won.”

Wlvn put his hand to his head. It all felt like too much, too fast. He felt a little dizzy. “Athens.” He got that word out and it helped him say the rest. “The olive tree.” Poseidon nodded and smiled and Wlvn felt the strangest thing happen that he had yet imagined. A woman pushed up inside of him; or rather, not inside, but from somewhere in time, one of those imaginary lives he would one day live. She pressed really close to his consciousness. It almost sounded like she might be speaking to him, like she stood right beside him, or inside him as he thought at first. She appeared to be asking if she could visit with her husband for a minute.

No. Wlvn thought, absolutely not. But the woman pleaded so sweetly, and Wlvn felt so confused at the moment, he finally said yes, but make it quick. Then Wlvn no longer stood in his own shoes. A woman stood in his place and Poseidon spoke her name.


She stepped up into his arms and they kissed, passionately, before she asked how the children were.

“How like a woman,” Poseidon responded. “Our son is just fine.” Then he got a very curious expression. “Children?”

Amphitrite nodded but said no more. She had obviously appeared very deep in the past, and they only had one son, Triton, so far. She knew she was not supposed to tell him about the future, so instead she reached up again and let him kiss her again and again. Finally, they heard a “Cooo! Cooo!” in the distance and Amphitrite stepped back.

“I will do my best with your gift.” Amphitrite spoke for Wlvn.

“You always do.” Poseidon grinned, knowing it was time to leave. “Children.” He let that word float on the air as he vanished.

“Thank you Wlvn,” Amphitrite said, not hiding the grin on her own face. She said the words out loud, though she knew Wlvn would have heard her merest thought. She told the horses to be good and mind the boy, and then she let out a “Cooo!” in Wlvn’s voice before she vanished and let Wlvn come home.

The first thing Wlvn did was wipe his lips clean, though it had not been his actual lips that did the kissing. Then he sat down because that had been the strangest experience in his life. He wondered briefly if he could do that again, and he thought of Flern; but no, he did not want to be another stupid girl. He got a shock when he actually heard a response.

“And I don’t want to be a stupid boy, either.” Flern spoke clearly into Wlvn’s mind, and he even heard the raspberries. Fortunately, the lead horse had just nudged him and let out a puff of cold air. Wlvn had to look at the horse. The men were coming back, and he realized that he had to act fast. Even so, it was nearly impossible to keep Ktrn from immediately killing one of the beasts.

After Wlvn explained things as well as he could, leaving out the part about Amphitrite, of course, he laid hands on the men so the horses would not appear to be simply lunch. They returned to the village without much meat, but with the most sensational find any village ever knew. They rode home, and Wlvn felt two things he never felt before. First, he felt proud, and second, he felt happy. Until that moment, Wlvn could honestly say he did not really know what happiness was, and given the hardship of his life, that was no wonder. Now, with the horses, that life might be immeasurably improved. Sadly, that elated feeling lasted a very short time. Mother had been taken by the selection.

A great deal of yelling happened at first. Brmr and the boys fell to tears. They could not frame clear sentences, but Wlvn could hardly blame them. Finally, Father and the other hunters got old man Wlkn to explain.

“They came on the ground and with one of their air wagons, though I cannot imagine how it stays up in the air. Anyway, they had some selections on the ground, and they looked like a despairing lot, though I did not see anyone from the other villages that we know.”

“They come around for selections every few years.” Father interrupted. “They want to make sure we are not hiding any grain in the years of calling. We know this.”

“They searched everywhere,” Wlkn said, and his eyes got big and filled with fear at the memory. “They were very thorough, and I felt sure that this time I would be selected, but when they finished searching my house, your wife asked me to keep the children while they searched your house. Then they asked about everyone and made sure we were all accounted for. They wanted families and ages and all. Your wife was very honest. She said she had three sons and a daughter that was six. That seemed to satisfy them, and I thought they would leave, but they said something about her replacing herself and she got added to the selections. It was just like that.” Wlkn snapped his wretched old fingers. “They tied her to the end of the line, and they were gone.”

“Where did they go?” Wlvn spat and growled. The red rose to his face and made him look and feel like he had a fever.

Wlkn raised his brows, surprised by the fury of the boy. “To the next village, I suppose.”

“Father.” Wlvn turned to his father, but the man stood still like a statue. “Father, we have to go after them and get her back.”

“Oh, that would be very dangerous.” Wlkn verbalized his fears. “They have an air wagon that can rain fire from the sky, and the immortal came with them.”

“What?” That got Wlvn’s attention. “What immortal?”

“The tall, boney one with the crooked eyes.” Wlkn blinked. “They said he was looking for a particular person. I am only glad he did not find that person here. I hate to think what might have become of us.” Wlkn looked away and started to shake his head.

“Loki!” Wlvn spat again as he turned to his father, but the man kept shaking his head as well. “But we have the horses now. We can catch them by surprise.”

Father looked up at that, but his head still shook. “No, son. There is nothing we can do.” He grabbed Wlvn by the shirt and spoke sternly into his son’s face. “And I forbid you to go after them.” He shook his son hard before he let go.

Wlvn’s face turned red with both anger and tears. He stomped off and for the first time in his life he seriously considered being disobedient. Someday, someone had to do something. He knew the Princess could track them easily in the snow. She had been gifted by the goddess Artemis herself and knew all of the ways of the hunt. And Diogenes could beat them up. Wlvn believed that Alexander the Great’s first cousin was the greatest warrior of all time. It was hard to think of Diogenes as simply himself in another lifetime. And if Mother is hurt, Doctor Mishka can heal her.

“And accomplish what?” Wlvn heard the words clearly in his head. It was like when Flern talked to him, except this sounded like a man’s voice—like the Storyteller. “All you will do is make them mad enough to kill everyone.” There. He said it.

“I’m sorry, Wlvn.” Flern added her words, but by then, Wlvn sat down to cry, bitterly. There was nothing he could do.


MONDAY Chapter 2

It does not take long to get horses into the hands of the people, but it puts a strain on Wlvn.  He takes a break before his village is called to the center of the universe where Loki and the Neanderthals are looking for him.


Reflections W-1 part 2 of 3

Wlvn never said anything, but he had imagined for some time that he had lived other lives in the past and many more in the future. He supposed it was his way of escaping the hardship and hopelessness of his daily life—to pretend to be someone else in some other land and some other time. He also thought at times that it was not exactly a sign of mental health, but then, he had little else to live for. Sadly, most of what he supposedly remembered about those lives seemed a plague of useless information, given his present life and circumstances. He could not remember anything about working in metals or even how to build a plow better than the stone and bone contraption they used. Sometimes he imagined that certain information was being kept from him, deliberately, for some reason. Only now, Wlvn felt certain that, given the opportunity, he could fly the craft he identified as a shuttle. This information did not come to him from the Storyteller, the Princess, Diogenes, or Doctor Mishka for that matter; the four people he imagined as lifetimes he would live one day, far in the future. They were lives with which he was slowly becoming familiar, yet as impossibly far in the future as those lifetimes felt, he knew they were not far enough. The knowledge of the shuttle had to be coming to him from even further in the future, from a lifetime of which he was not even aware. “Unless, of course, this is not the first life where I have encountered whoever these helpers are,” he mumbled out loud.

“Son?” Father looked up.

“Nothing.” Wlvn shook his head. He looked at his feet. He had a great deal to think about as they inched forward, one wagon space at a time. Naturally, the first thing he thought of was more of the useless stuff. He guessed that this line of wagons might be the first traffic jam in human history.

Wlvn took a step and someone touched him square on the forehead and whispered, “My son, even when you are not my son.” The words were spoken with the kind of true whisper where he could not tell if it was a man or woman speaking. He looked up and saw the back of a full-length cloak and hood, which told him nothing. This cloak walked, unnoticed, against the train of wagons. It walked slowly and deliberately away from the center of the universe. Wlvn touched his forehead, but nothing had been put there. When he looked again, the cloak was gone. He stood on his toes and tried to look over and around all of the wagons behind, but the cloak was not there. Whoever it was, had vanished into thin air.

“Son.” Father’s word sounded a bit more urgent.

“Sorry father.” Wlvn tried to assume the right position and attitude. He mirrored his father as well as he could.

They did stop when it got dark, but Father proved right; little sleep came Wlvn’s way. With the first light of dawn, they started again, and Wlvn got his first real look at the helpers. Some walked up the line to be sure everyone got up and started moving. They had whips.

The helpers hardly looked human, being squat, very muscular, with great brow ridges and sloping foreheads. But they had to be human, didn’t they? Wlvn pondered all of this and searched his memory. He searched through time to those few lifetimes he could remember, but neither the Princess, the Storyteller, Diogenes, nor Mishka told him anything. He knew it was pointless to ask Flern, a fifth lifetime he often remembered in detail, and one that made him uncomfortable. Flern was a girl. Wlvn could not imagine living life as a girl. True, the Princess and Doctor Mishka were girls, but they were far enough away in the future, and generally older, so he could overlook that reality. Flern lived too near him in time and shared a similar culture, living almost as Neolithic a life as his own. He could not imagine being a she. He decided not to think about it at all.

By the time their turn came, Wlvn started thinking of his mother, Gndr, Strn, and little Brmr. He managed to get himself into the right position and the right attitude, as his father told him, so he felt a little surprised when one of the helpers came up to him, grinning, holding tight to something in his fat fist.

“How old is this one?” The ugly brute looked hopefully at the one who examined the grain offering. Father had just finished explaining about Mother being home with the baby and the two younger children. Father hid nothing, he did not dare, but when asked the question, he had to blink. An expression crossed his face that looked briefly like fear for his son.

“Fifteen.” Father spoke honestly enough. Wlvn wanted to say nearly sixteen, but something held his tongue.

The one beside the grain shook his head to the disappointment of the other, and then he spoke in words that no one among Wlvn’s people should have been able to understand. Wlvn’s surprise turned to shock. He understood the words, perfectly.

“We don’t take them that young, however tempting, lest they cease producing and we run out of selections altogether,” the chief helper said. “And we don’t take the fathers until the sons are old enough to take over.” With that, the chief helper put a mark on the back of their hands and told them exactly where to put their grain. Father moved them on.

“Quickly,” he said; but Wlvn moved slowly, still in a bit of shock. He could not keep his eyes from staring back, in part for understanding what they said, but in large part for realizing that the bone the grinning one nibbled on was not an animal bone, but the end of a human leg. Wlvn looked away before his empty belly emptied itself further.

“Come on, son.” Father risked speaking again. “Quickly now.” They were the last ones to fill that bin, after which the wagons would be sent over to the other side, and Wlvn tried to concentrate, but again he got distracted. A man that was clearly a man, not one of the ugly brutes, kept staring at them. He seemed to point at them with a boney hand, a hook nose, and a pointed chin, all pointing together. Wlvn thought the man looked crooked in some strange way, yet he was about to smile a friendly smile when the man floated up into the air. It seemed the man was looking for something and thought perhaps a little height might help it come into focus. Wlvn looked away, thinking, this is one of the gods! The man came back down to his feet, walked off to the other side, and Wlvn breathed. Then he remembered the man’s name when a memory came to him from somewhere in time. Loki! Wlvn also remembered his feelings were not kind toward that particular god.

“Son.” Father tried again, and Wlvn began to empty the grain from the cart into the bin, but for a third time he became distracted. This time, it was a face, a girl’s face. The girl appeared to be a prisoner in a cage, a small cage, like one a lion or tiger might occupy in an old city zoo or on a circus train. Wlvn felt his jaw drop because the girl looked absolutely stunning, though she could not have been older than thirteen. Wlvn paused, in part because he was not sure if the girl called to him. Perhaps the call came only in his mind, but it came with enough pull to garner his attention.

“Son.” Once again, father’s voice required his attention. Wlvn hurried to finish unloading, at which point Father was for getting out of there as quickly as possible. Wlvn spoke before they could turn from the bin.

“Turn this way, Father, please. I am asking you to trust me, and I can’t explain just now, but please.” He asked his father to turn the cart around by heading deeper into the camp rather than away from the center of the universe. Father looked at him, dumbly, but there must have been real urgency in his plea because his father complied. Then came the hard part.

“Stop here,” Wlvn said, and he pulled hard on the oxen collar to stop the beast from turning further. “Pretend you are having trouble with the harness, fix the wagon, anything, only stay here for a minute.” Again, Wlvn’s father raised an eyebrow, but he noticed that all eyes were turned in the other direction where they were presently sending the wagons, so he said nothing, and he began to fiddle with the rigging. He watched his son melt away behind the nearest small building.

Wlvn found the back of that building to be a genuine cage with metal bars and everything. The girl stood right there, so close, in fact, she was able to reach her skinny arm through the bars and touch Wlvn’s cheek almost as quickly as he saw her.

“Wlvn.” He whispered his name.

“Eir.” She gave hers as she studied his face. “You are not the one,” she said at last and collapsed. “I saw your hair, it is like his, the color of the sunset, but your eyes are not his. Your eyes are brown, like the mud. His eyes are as dark as the night, though sparkling as if full of stars. And yet…” She sat up a little straighter. “I sense that you and he are very close, that somehow, he must come and stand in your place.” Eir withdrew her hand and withdrew herself into her captivity.

Wlvn was not sure what he felt, but a storm brewed somewhere in time, and it was such a storm, Wlvn dreaded to think what might happen if that storm ever got loose. “You are a prisoner.” He made it a statement.

“Since I was a baby,” Eir answered softly. “I am a hostage. I barely remember my mother and father, but one day my Nameless, red-haired, black-eyed warrior will come and save me. I have seen it in the setting sun. I have felt it in the earth and heard it whispered in the wind.” She fell silent.

“It will be me.” Wlvn spoke without hesitation in his voice, like he was speaking undeniable truth. “Though perhaps not in this lifetime,” he concluded, strangely. Eir frowned, but only for a moment before her expression changed because of some understanding that Wlvn could not yet grasp. His own thoughts got interrupted by his father.

“Son. They have noticed,” Father said, and Wlvn felt obliged to return to the cart even as Father spoke more loudly. He nudged the ox and they turned toward the road for home.

Wlvn spoke of his encounter several times on the way home, but Father always had the same basic answer. “It is not our concern. There is nothing we can do for her.”

Wlvn finally let out his deepest feelings about the issue. “But I believe she is being held as a hostage against the gods. I think that she, herself, may be a goddess.”

Father looked horrified at that thought, but still he said, “There is nothing we can do.”

Wlvn and his family made it through the worst of the winter, though not everyone in the village survived. Three elderly people and two children died of the winter plague. Wlvn knew it was likely some strain of pneumonia, a disease against which he felt powerless. Despite having access to his future life as Doctor Mishka, the only thing she suggested was near starvation and malnutrition contributed mightily. Wlvn got angry and cried. He imagined his future lives were as bad as everyone around him. There is nothing we can do, he thought.

Avalon 2.9 Morning Surprise

            It seems the imps and elves, goblins and dwarfs are all on the march to rescue Flern and her company.  That doesn’t get rid of a hundred Jaccar warriors, but it does make a big difference on which side has the advantage.   


            Katie and Lockhart sat quietly side by side and looked out over the grass as the sun rose behind them and a bit off to their right hand.  “Late fall.”  She took a big whiff of air and Lockhart nodded.

            Goldenwing was asleep, up in his tree branch.  Riah was also asleep beside her lady.  Roland slept at last when it was clear Boston was going to make a full recovery.  Decker slept fitfully, as did Lincoln.  Lincoln was probably dreaming about his missing wife, Alexis.  They could not imagine what Decker was dreaming about after five hundred years in stasis.  Elder Stow appeared asleep, but it was sometimes hard for the humans to honestly judge the Gott-Druk.  The gnomes, all on the far side of the horses, snored, and some loudly.  They might be good help with the horses, but not worth much on guard duty.

            It was up to Lockhart and Katie in the early morning, but all that changed in a second when they heard a sound with which they were all too familiar.

            “Bokarus.”  Lockhart mouthed the word even as people jumped to their feet.

            The Bokarus came screaming toward them, flying in his horrendous, ghostly form.  Vinnu screamed and this time Gunder appeared to want to join her.  But the Bokarus merely buzzed them and continued out over the river.

            “To the high ground!”  Roland shouted and others echoed the words.  Roland carried Boston to the top of the riverbank and then returned to help Flern and Riah carry Kined.  The rest were on their own.

            “Get up,” Lockhart yelled as he grabed Vilder’s hand, pulled and reached again for Pinn.  Everyone scrambled when the bokarus came again and brought a great wave of the river with him.  He shot out over the grassy field and began to circle around the field, faster and faster.

            Thrud, who was a bit slow in the morning was soaked, but at least no one was damaged by the water, or dragged under.  Katie, Riah and Flern stood side by side and wondered what the bokarus was doing. 

            “The wind created by that flying pest is almost a tornado,” Captain Decker said as he checked his rifle just in case the bokarus should solidify for a moment.  Lincoln could only nod, and he actually wished his father-in-law was there to strike the creature with a fireball.

            The grass beneath the bokarus bent and broke, and some of it began to rise up in sheets.  It took a second to realize why the sheets. 

            “Jaccar!”  Lockhart shouted.  The bokarus had removed their camouflage and likely undid an entire night of inching closer and closer.  The ones exposed that were still across the way turned and ran back to the rise and the Jaccar camp.  But the ones near imagined no alternative but to pull their knives and attack.  Guns went off.  The Jaccar fell.  The last one was hit with an arrow from Riah even as Lockhart pulled the trigger on his shotgun.  Then it was over and the bokarus was nowhere to be seen.

            “It did us a favor?”  Katie asked, confusion in her eyes.

            “No,” Lockhart shook his head.  “It just did not want to Jaccar to get its prey.”

            Katie looked at Riah and then Roland, and Roland responded and pointed at Lockhart, “What he said.”

            “Lockhart.  I promise I will do something about that bokarus just as soon as I can,” Flern said, and  Riah, Goldenwing and Pigot, who had just come tumbling up, all gasped.  The gods never made promises.  Roland just nodded and smiled.  This Kairos was fully human and as unpredictable as ever.

            “Lockhart.  How are we going to get out of this?” Lincoln asked with some exasperation in his voice.  “There are still eighty or more over there.  Eventually they will figure some way to get at us.”

            “Yes,” Elder Stow said, but he sounded a bit put off.  “How are we going to get out of this?”

            Lockhart had no ready answer, but that was fine because he disappeared from that spot and immediately reappeared on the rise overlooking the Jaccar camp.  There was a man there, crooked to look at, and he did not appear to be happy.  Lockhart had learned from past experience about unhappy gods.  He thought it best to hold his tongue.

            “You cheat.”  The god spit at him with his words.  “You killed twenty and none has gotten close enough to touch you but for that red headed witch.  And you healed her with more witchery.  You cheat.”

            Lockhart said nothing.

            “Too bad I can’t deal with you like I want.  The others have set a hedge around you and your group, even the elder among you.  And I can’t touch the Kai-gross either, nor any of hers.  It isn’t fair.”

            Lockhart looked down on the Jaccar camp.  The Jaccar did not seem to be aware that anyone was on the hill.  The god followed Lockhart’s eyes down the hill and frowned before he waved his hand and all the Jaccar and their horses disappeared.  “She will get her whole army killed before the battle even starts if I let her.  The Traveler may be her undoing and I will not be able to help her out.”  The crooked god ground his teeth.  “I suggest you leave before I think of a way to ruin your life.”  And he vanished while Lockhart turned and made the slow walk back to the others on the beach.

            They stayed one more day with Flern, to see Kined and Boston fully recovered.  “No Boston,” Flern said.  “Those healing chits were not designed for your specific genetic signature.  They will die out soon enough and you haven’t the means to grow more.  Besides, they were specifically programmed so they might not do you any good except against maybe another poison arrow in the next few days.”


            “Let us hope we won’t have to test it,” Roland added.

            “And you won’t tell me?”  Katie looked at Lockhart, but he shook his head.

            “Just one of the gods.”  That was all he ever said.  “It is hard to know sometimes.  I can see that now.  Some things the Kairos just has to find out for himself.”


            “That too.” 

            It was not until they were a half-day away, headed toward the next time gate that Lockhart finally relented.”

            “Let’s just say he is a god and he has an army.”

            Katie had to think before her eyes lit up.  “Ah!  Too bad we don’t have a Hulk.”


            The next time zone finds poison everywhere – the kind that causes temporary insanity, and it is in the water.  The days are hot and sweaty, and the travelers don’t have much clean water, but somehow they have to find the Kairos and hope she isn’t under the influence, and if she is, they have to hope there isn’t the usual crisis looming.

Avalon 2.10:  Born To Be Wild … Next Time