Elder Stow spent most of the supper time purifying the water so he could drink something safe that did not have alcohol in it. He offered to set his tent up on the courtyard where he could keep an eye on the Bluebloods, but Weret declined. The girls all moved together toward a doorway. The men stayed, but Elder Stow looked ready to retire. Lockhart only made Elder Stow pause because he had a question.
“You seem changed, somehow, since the last time zone. Are you okay?”
Elder Stow gave a slight and uncharacteristic bow of his head. “My father,” he began. “Through the eyes of the furies I saw myself. I did not like what I saw. Decker keeps reminding me of the mission, to get everyone back to our own time zone, alive. This also is what I want, and it has come to mind there is more I can do to help accomplish this task.” He looked like he might say something more, but changed his mind. “Right now I believe I will sleep. I will try my best to snore loudly so you can find the room when you come.” He hurried off to catch up with the women. Fortunately, the feet of the women were moving rather slow even if their jaws were not.
Lincoln nudged Lockhart. “His ways are not our ways,” he said.
At that same time, Narmer turned to the old priest beside him. “You are a learned man,” he said. “You are perhaps the most learned man in the kingdom. So tell me. Did you understand the conversation the Princess had with her friends and the blue ones?”
The priest shook his head and sipped his brew. “Hardly a word.”
“Lord.” Two of the generals came up from the far end of the table, stepped around the blood on the floor, and took seats by their king. “If we could get weapons like the dark one has, we could end this war in no time.”
Narmer doubted it. Weret made clear to him the dangers of disturbing history. “I will ask,” he said. He waved the travelers to come and join them at the head of the table. He also called for more brew which the servants brought right away. The travelers sat opposite the priest and the Generals, with Lockhart next to the king. That left Roland in the odd, extra seat, but he did not mind.
“A fine supper,” Lockhart felt the compliment was in order before he sat.
“This brew is not the best,” the king confessed. It was watery, but acceptable. Of course, it would be hard to top the thick brewed ale made by Bogart in the last time zone. “But now, Major, I have a question.” He looked at Decker. “My Generals were wondering if they might look at that miraculous weapon of yours.”
“Not allowed,” Decker said flatly.
“The Kairos,” Lockhart said. “The god of history would be very upset if we shared things from the future and disturbed the present.”
“That probably goes for the horses, too.” Lincoln added.
“So it has been explained to me,” Narmer turned back to his Generals. “There you have it.” The Generals did not look happy.
“Lockhart, correct me if I am wrong,” Roland said. “But I have been thinking about what Elder Stow was doing all night, purifying some water to make it safe to drink. How about if we offer them a chance to get to the battle without having half their army out of action with dysentery.”
“When are you leaving with the army?” Lockhart asked.
“I was thinking in the morning with the Princess and the blue people.” Narmer was curious.
“What!” Both Generals jumped to their feet. “Morning?”
“Wait.” Lockhart held up his hand. “Give it one more day. Let me explain what we can do for you.”
Upstairs, the women all wanted to feel the baby move. “He is not moving as much as he used to,” Weret admitted as she stepped to the window. The window was actually a wide open space between the columns. Only a simple overhang of the roof protected the room from the rain, if it should ever rain in Egypt. There were curtains Weret could pull across the space, but she preferred to leave them open so she could see the moon and the stars.
“Are you sure you have another month before delivery?” Alexis asked.
“Doctor Mishka’s estimate,” Weret said. “But it is hard to estimate when I can’t examine myself.” Alexis nodded as Boston butted in. She put her hand on the baby and whined.
“I want a baby.”
“So do I,” Alexis said. “But you should know, elves, and all the little spirits reproduce slowly. I know an elf couple that faithfully mated for six hundred years, and in all that time they only had six children.”
“One per century. But I don’t have that long,” Boston continued to complain until Sakhmet’s words distracted them.
“I hope you have a handful, Mom.” She hugged Katie and spoke to the others who were listening in. “Surrogate mother, and Lockhart is my surrogate dad.”
“Yes, What is wrong with that man?” Boston found something else to complain about.
“He is slower than Benjamin,” Alexis said.
“The moon.” Weret had moved to the window and the bit of a balcony that it had. She was pointing to the risen moon. “It has been full for a fortnight. Chron is so sweet. I told him the full moon was romantic, so he has kept it full all this time.” Something special crept into Weret’s voice on the mention of Chron’s name. Alexis picked up on it.
Weret turned to face them and there was something special in her smile as well. “He is young and strong and handsome. Oh, Narmer is a lovely older gentleman, and I love him in a very special way, but he is a bit of a father figure.” She stopped talking and everyone stared. Something on the balcony railing behind her growled at her.
“Come away, slowly,” Katie said. She had her pistol out. Alexis and Boston pulled the goat bone wands they had fashioned in the alps. Sakhmet was not there anymore but a lioness was, and she was full grown, and she roared and growled in response. The werewolf stepped down from the railing, but it went no further while it tried to judge the opposition.
Weret stepped in little steps from the window and tried not to trigger the instinct that pursued anything trying to escape. A man appeared in the room. He held a big sword, but could not use it around Weret who scurried into his arms and buried her eyes in his chest.
With the appearance of the lioness and the man with the sword, something triggered in the werewolf’s brain that said this was not a good place to be. It howled and leapt back out the window. When it touched the ground below, it scurried off into the long shadows of Abydos at night.
The man looked down at Weret as she looked up at him. The sword vanished so he could hold her better, and they kissed for some time with hardly a breath between them. Katie’s hand reached down to pet and scratch the head and ears of the animal beside her. It did not occur to her at first she was petting the lioness because the lioness was sitting and panting like a puppy.
‘Chron.” Alexis guessed the visitor’s name and added an odd thought. “You know, if the moon was not quite full, the werewolf would not be able to take the wolf form.”
“Hush,” Boston said. She had her arms folded and was watching the kissing.
“You ate Sakhmetet again, I see.” The lioness did something like stick her tongue out at the man before she plopped down by the window and began to clean her paws.
The couple separated and both wore doofy grins the way only young people in love can look. When they noticed the room was filled up with visitors, Chron thought it wise to vanish and Weret felt a sudden need to straighten out her dress.
Alexis went to Lincoln and held him. Boston went to Roland and kissed him, not wanting to miss out on the action and wanting a doofy grin of her own. Roland obliged. Katie looked embarrassed for having been standing there petting a lion without realizing it. Lockhart went to her and gave her a kiss which she thought was all too brief.
“Gentlemen,” Decker called. “Listen.” Everyone got still so they could hear Elder Stow and the honks and snores that penetrated from the room next door.
“Right,” Lockhart agreed. “Busy day tomorrow.” He headed toward the door. When Narmer joined him and he realized he would have to wait a moment for Lincoln and Roland to catch up, he asked the King a question.
“Does it bother you?”
Narmer knew exactly what Lockhart was asking. “I am happy for her if she is happy. This way she will be safe. Otherwise, when the baby is born, I have every assurance that the Queen will have her killed. Better she be safe and happy, don’t you think?”
“I agree.” Lockhart nodded. “I was just wondering.”