Avalon 9.3 Bewitches, part 6 of 6

Two university students came rushing into the inn, yelling.  “An army is gathering in the University Square.”  The students felt sure they were going to attack the school, and maybe the church where Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses.  “Beer,” they demanded.

The inn, on one side of the broad street that came down from the square, sat beside the University Commons.  It was a favorite pub for both students and professors alike.  Pater got them all rooms at the inn and rested the horses and mule out in the corral behind the inn.  The wagon sat in the barn next door which sat beside a couple of small shops on the square itself.  The broad street between the University Square and the University Commons was not a long street.  A church with a couple of small out buildings and an equally small cemetery sat across the street from the inn and barn.

Hans checked the corral behind the inn when he told Heidi to keep Helga inside.  He left Kurt at the inn to guard the women and make sure Helga stayed safe.  It was not the O K Corral, thank goodness, he thought, as he hurried down the back alley.  He saw soldiers, or more probably, mercenaries coming in from both sides of the town.  It looked like one group came from the east gate and the other from the west gate.  They gathered in the square, and Hans, and Pater who came up behind him, had no doubt who they were looking for.

Alderman climbed up to the roof of the barn where he could look over the shops and get a clear view of the square.  He looked for Mister Muller.  They found Mister Muller’s wagon full of sacks of coarse ground, ergot-laced rye flour in the barn, but had not yet found the man.  Hans figured Mister Muller planned to feed the hallucinogenic flour to the university students and faculty in order to make Martin Luther’s ideas look like the cause of all that insanity and death.  It might kill the reformation.  Hans decided if Mister Muller did not work for the Masters, he was at least doing their job.

“There’s two witches,” Bushwacker said as he came up beside Hans and Pater. “Sergeant Adolph, Ralph, and Herman are watching from the barn door, just shy of the shops on the square.”

“What do you mean, two witches?” Pater asked.  Bushwacker merely pointed.  Two women rose about twenty feet above the men and horses.  They both sat on brooms, cliché though that was, and they appeared to know each other.  Pater and Hans both recognized Ursula.

“The one says she is following the Kairos. The other says she is following the travelers from Avalon,” Bushwacker reported, and promptly cleaned his ears with his fingers, like he got some dirt in there.  Hans and Pater watched the witches laugh, like it was all so funny.  Hans imagined it was more like a cackle.

Hans already called to the armor of the Kairos, so he stood there ready to fight, even if he was not much good with the weapons at his back.  He suddenly put his hand to his head when he remembered who the travelers from Avalon were.  Fortunately, the sudden influx of information passed quickly, and he spoke.  “I hope Lockhart is not caught unaware.”  Then he had to think.

Hans realized the witches, servants of the Masters, were demon infested.  He also knew they were only there to kill him and the travelers.  In his case, it would not ultimately matter.  He would simply be reborn, though the Masters might get fifteen or more years of freedom to do whatever evil plan they had in mind while he grew from a baby. Squashing the reformation might be a big one the demon-Masters might like to do.  As for the travelers… he imagined they would interfere with more events in the future.  Eliminating them would prevent their interference.

But what can I do about these demonized witches? he thought.  He had no magic to fight them, and his few men would not stand a chance against forty or more hardened mercenaries.

“Burn them at the stake,” he heard clear as a bell.  He was not sure which lifetime talked to him.  Probably not the Storyteller, peace lover as he was.  Probably not the Captain, or Diogenes, or Martok who never had to deal with anything like that, and probably could not imagine it.

“Lord?” Bushwacker got Hans’ attention.  He and Pater were staring at him rather than the events in the square.

“This is beyond my ability,” he confessed.  “I need help.”  He did not explain.


The travelers made a big swing around through the town when they saw the witch Inga and her men got ahead of them.  They arrived at the church across the street from the inn when the soldiers began to gather in the University Square.  After tying off their horses, they snuck up through the cemetery and hid behind the grave markers.  They all saw the two witches fly up to get above the crowd of soldiers.

Decker spotted Blondy.  He appeared to be leading one side of the soldiers, and Big Ugly was right there with him.  “Major,” Decker called Katie.  He had her get Big Ugly in the scope of her rifle while he kept his rifle pointed at Blondy.  They waited, wanting to give Elder Stow as much time as possible to get his screens ready to deploy.  They had to act sooner than planned.

A man stood on the ground beneath the witches and shouted up to them to make himself heard.  An arrow came from the roof of the barn across the street.  A perfect shot, it killed the man on the ground.  Decker did not hesitate.

“Now,” he said.  Katie killed Big Ugly with one shot.  The man made a big target.  Decker had to fire twice before Blondy went down.

“I’m not ready,” Elder Stow shouted.  Sukki stood right there and felt his distress.  The witches both turned their heads toward the barn and then the cemetery.  Sukki let her power out of both hands.  She hoped to fry the witches without setting the city on fire.  The witches did not burn.  Something prevented Suki’s power from reaching them.  Everyone looked surprised, especially Sukki.

Nameless, son of Frya of the Vanir and Tyr of Aesgard.  The Nameless god, grandson of Odin the Alfader, and also the Kairos appeared beside the witches.  All the soldiers in the square froze in place. The witches appeared powerless in the face of the god.  Nameless did something that made the witches scream, and the witches fell to the cobblestones.

Thirty men came up the broad street from the University.  They looked prepared for a fight.  At the same time, people came from all the side streets around the square, again, mostly men being the watch and city guards.  They disarmed the mercenaries who came stiffly out of their frozen state.  They grabbed the two women who were seen by all flying over the heads of everyone.  Those witches got securely tied and gagged and hauled off to the nearest jail cell.

Nameless appeared by the travelers.  He smiled for them, and they remembered him from the past.  Then Nameless returned to the past and Hans appeared in his place.  “Lockhart, good timing for once,” he said, before he opened his arms for a hug.  “Sukki.”  Sukki began to understand why Boston loved her hugs so much.

Pater and Bushwacker came through the barn from the back, and Alderman came down from the roof.  Sergeant Adolph, Ralph, and Herman all got introduced and Alderman reported on the ergot.

“I got Mister Muller with an arrow, but I noticed his wagon and sacks of rye flour are missing from the barn.”

“Nameless thought it best to remove it to prevent it being baked into bread.”

“Ergot,” Alderman said to explain.  Katie and Tony both recognized the word.

“Yes,” Hans said.  “Mister Muller had in mind to poison the university students and faculty and blame Martin Luther and his teachings.  He wanted to accuse Luther of witchcraft and demonizing the people.  My guess is the Masters would rather not have a reformation.”

“But what will happen to the real witches?” Nanette asked, and Sukki stood with her.

“Inga and Ursula,” Hans said.  “Nameless took away their magic.  They are just ordinary girls now, but still demon possessed.  No one can help them unless they want to be free, and that is in God’s hands.  My guess is they will be tried and burned at the stake, or hung, or beheaded.  These are the years for that sort of thing, you know.  Nanette and Sukki, you need to be careful right now on what power you show in public. You don’t want to be arrested and tried for witchery.”

“It’s okay,” Nanette said.  “Lincoln has assured me in the next time zone my magic will go away, and I won’t get it back until 1875, five zones from here.”

“Good,” Hans said.  “Come and meet the rest of the crew.”

They all walked across the street and up the steps of the inn.  They did not get in the door because a young woman came out the door, wrapped herself around Hans just as tight as she could hold him, and she went for his lips.  People paused and smiled before Pater took the lead.

“Heidi,” he named the woman, and waved everyone into the inn.  “Let’s see how Kurt and Helga are making out.”

“I am sure they are,” Alderman said with a grin for the travelers who knew exactly what he meant.



The travelers travel to the Caribbean in season 9, episode 4 (9.4) Broadside where they find Captain Hawk, the Flying Dutchman, and some nasty visitors from the stars. Until then, Happy Reading.


Avalon 9.3 Bewitches, part 1 of 6

After 1499 A.D. Bavaria

Kairos lifetime 114: Hans of Brementown

Recording …

The Freiburg Inn filled with folks yelling about matters of faith.  Lincoln, having spent the last two days reading, now wanted to tell the others about Hans, the Kairos in that time zone, but it was too noisy, with too many people getting jostled about and too many unauthorized ears around to overhear.  Likewise, Sukki merely talked direction in general terms.  Being the end of the second day in the time zone, it let her track the Kairos and she saw that he was moving toward them.  She could not be sure, though.  It appeared to be a lazy movement and not at all like the Kairos was in a hurry.

They sat at a table for six with a chair on each end occupied by Decker and Lincoln.  Nanette and Tony sat around Decker.  Elder Stow and Lockhart squeezed Lincoln.  Katie and Suki faced each other in the middle.  They only got that much of a table because they were paying customers at the inn.  Most of the people, mostly men, had to stand and argue.  The beer flowed liberally.

“Hey,” Decker pushed a man away who would have otherwise banged into the table.  Somebody noticed them.  Two men grabbed chairs, dumping the occupants of those chairs, and they pulled them up to the corners left and right of Lincoln.  Decker looked too intimidating.  One man shouted to be heard over the din.

“Are you good Catholics or followers of the heretic, Luther?”

“We came from France,” Lockhart said.  “What is going on in the Germanies?”  They discussed it a day earlier and Lockhart delivered the line perfectly.

“The Diet of Worms,” the other man said without explaining.  Sukki had to cover her giggle.  She couldn’t help it.  The Diet of Worms struck her as funny.

Katie leaned over and talked to the man who first spoke.  “I heard something about that.”

“The emperor and the pope agreed.  Luther is a heretic.  The people of Freiburg will stick with Rome and the true faith handed down from the apostles.  We are driving out the heretics.”

“I heard Luther just wants to reform the church,” Lincoln said.  “Where it has gotten off from… The apostles… You know… The Bible and such…” he let his voice fall to a mumble.  He had his nose in the database when the other discussed it all.  He forgot, but realized he was opening his own can of worms and quieted.  Lockhart did not even have to kick him.

Katie continued nice and loud.  “We have to tell Lincoln all the time that he should not believe everything he hears.”

Elder Stow interrupted.  “Wisdom says he should not say everything he hears.  Some might get the wrong impression.”  Elder Stow smiled for the big, ugly one that sat beside him.  The man just lifted his brows, and Elder Stow revised his thinking.  The man, probably ugly to the humans, appeared to have some Neanderthal in his genetic makeup. Elder Stow shrugged in answer to the man’s raised eyebrows.  The other man, a shorter man with blond hair and sharp features spoke to Lockhart and Katie.

“I don’t know what he heard, but both the church and the empire have declared Luther a heretic, and that is good enough for me.  There is no higher authority on this earth.”

“So, Freiburg is going to stay with Rome?” Lockhart redirected the conversation.

“We will, as soon as we drive out the rest of the heretics,” the man said.

“When was the edict issued?” Katie asked nonchalantly.

“Last month,” the man said. “We are just about in July, I believe.”

“Well, we are good believers here.  The French will always stay with Rome, and fight anyone who doesn’t.”  Katie concluded with a smile. “Go with God.”

“Yes, Godspeed in cleaning up the town,” Lockhart added, and deliberately turned back to his meal.  The two men left slowly, and likely never stopped looking at them.

Katie risked a word to Lincoln.  “You know, in our day, back home, comments or even questions about the wrong point of view can get you in trouble.  Only here, people will not try to ruin your life.  They will just kill you.”

Lockhart smiled.  “Do you see?  All we do is destroy people’s lives.  We have progressed.”

After that, only Nanette, whispering to Decker, asked something worth overhearing.

“What is it going to take to get Lincoln to keep his mouth closed?”

“The loss of his tongue, maybe,” Decker answered with a straight face.

In the morning, the travelers left Freiburg behind and climbed the road through the Black Forest that went up into the hills.  Tony chewed on a piece of rye bread as Nanette spoke softly.

“Three days into this time zone and nothing bad has happened.”

“I know,” Tony said.  “It has Lincoln nervous.” He nodded ahead of them to where Lincoln rode, Lincoln’s head darting left and right like he worried about what might be hidden among the trees.

“I would think there ought to be at least one lifetime of the Kairos where nothing terrible is going on,” she said.  “Even the Kairos can’t live in perpetual terror.  I would think that would be very unhealthy.”

“Quiet,” Tony said.  “You are going to get Lincoln blaming you for jinxing us.”  Nanette laughed and Tony continued.  “Actually, I asked about that.  Apparently, Hans, the Kairos in this time period, lives many happy years running a candy shop in Switzerland.”

“But we are in Germany, not in Switzerland.”

“Yes.  Well, he was born in Bremen.  Apparently, a young woman from Zurich traveled with her merchant father to the Dutch coast where he traded for cocoa, among other things from the new world.  He ran into some trouble, got killed, and the young woman got stuck in the north with no way to get home.  Hans, and some others, got roped into escorting the young woman back to Switzerland.  I don’t imagine he was hard to convince.  It was one way to escape the killing going on around him.”

“So, he is escorting a young girl to Switzerland?” Nanette asked.

Tony nodded, but he said nothing as a dozen men walked from the woods, five or six men on each side of the road, and three in front blocked the way.  They carried matchlocks, ready to be fired.  Tony recognized the short blond one from the inn.  Nanette recognized the big ugly one, and those two seemed to be in charge.  Tony drew his handgun and pulled Ghost close to his horse.  Nanette drew her wand.  Lincoln put away his database and pulled his handgun as well.

Lockhart, up front, switched on his watch communicator.  He spoke to the three not in the immediate group, Decker and Elder Stow out on the wings, and Sukki on the point.  “Listen.  We have visitors, about a dozen.  Don’t respond.  Just listen.”  He left his wristwatch communicator turned on.  Any conversation with the highwaymen might echo a bit through the wristwatch communicators the others wore, but hopefully, Decker, Sukki, and Elder Stow would hear what was going on.

Lockhart spoke first to the blond.  “Did our conversation not satisfy you?  Even if you think we are heretics, we have left your town, which is what you said you wanted.”

The blond man laughed softly and shook his head.  “I don’t care about that.  If we are lucky, the Catholics and Protestants will beat each other senseless.  Too many survived the plague, drought, famine, little ice age, and everything else thrown at them in the last two hundred years. A good world war should bring people down another notch.”

“Does the word “Masters” mean anything to you?” Katie asked.  She and Lockhart had their hands down by their own handguns and got prepared to draw them at the first opportunity.

The blond man’s face basically said, yes, but the big, ugly one spoke.  “Right now, you have gold and silver, horses and weapons. We will have these things.”

“What is that echo?” the blond finally asked, but word came through the communicators.

“Breaker,” Decker said.  “I have them in sight.”

“Same,” Elder Stow said.  “Hopefully, I won’t set the forest on fire.”

The big ugly one reacted.   He pointed at Lincoln and shouted.  “We have weapons.”  With a bit less volume, he added, “Shoot him.”

Several things happened at once.

Nanette raised her wand to point at the sky, and all of the matchlock rifles and pistols pointed up and discharged harmlessly into the upper branches of the trees, thus making them useless until they could be reloaded.  Lincoln shot one man.  Decker quickly shot two from behind. Elder Stow shot one, and Tony shot another.  Lockhart and Katie drew their handguns.  The men drew their swords and long knives.

“Get them,” the blond yelled as he took off running up the road.  Big ugly and the other man in front followed.  Katie had to turn to the side to shoot the man who had his sword pointed at her.  Lockhart had to turn to the other side, as Lincoln shot a second man and got a knife in his thigh.  Lockhart shot the knife man.  One man tried to grab at Ghost.  Ghost kicked out and probably killed the man as the kick caved in the man’s ribs.  Tony shot the man in any case, and Decker arrived and shot the final man.

All eyes turned to the front and the three men running away.  Big ugly and the blond split and crashed off into the woods as a heat ray came from down the road and caught the man in the middle.  The man became charcoal.  Sukki walked up, her horse trailing from behind.  Elder Stow also arrived and shouted to Sukki.

“Hold it there, daughter.  Don’t chase them.”  Sukki looked left toward the blond man and right where the big, ugly man went, and then looked again at Elder Stow who finished his thought.  “Not worth the risk of setting the whole woods on fire.”

Nanette got down to look at Lincoln’s leg.  Elder Stow met her there.  Elder Stow pulled out a device and waved it around the thigh.  The thigh went numb as the knife seemingly pulled itself from his leg.  Nanette laid her hands on the wound, and the wound stopped bleeding and pulled itself together.  Nanette was not a healer like Alexis, but Alexis taught her some and she had some natural skill, as long as she had her magic.  After bandaging the leg, Lincoln himself said they needed to move on from there.  They took it slow.