Avalon Pilot part III-7: Kairos

“Children?  Child?”  Doctor Procter tried to get the children’s attention.

“Kairos?”  Mingus tried, and the children at least stopped crying.

“Glen?” Boston spoke, and the children looked up.  Both sets of eyes got big and both mouths spoke in perfect unison.

“Boston!”  Then both mouths closed and there appeared to be some internal struggle before the boy spoke first and then the girl.

“I am Zadok, a word for rock.”

“I am Amri, a word for love.”

“Glen is here but not,” Zadok continued.  “I don’t know if I can reach him, exactly.”

“Or Alice,” Amri said.  “And I know where she is.

“I am confused…”

“…and I don’t know why.”

“I cannot send you home, either.”

“I don’t even know if the gods can.”

“Hold it.”  Lockhart interrupted.  “Could just one of you speak?  I’m getting dizzy.”

The children looked at each other before they nodded.  “I will talk,” Amri said.

“I will listen,” Zadok finished the thought.

“Wait a minute,” Lincoln stepped forward.  “You are like the Princess and he is like the Storyteller, or…”

“No, dear,” Alexis explained.  “They are one and the same person, only that one person is in two bodies.”

“Actually,” Amri looked briefly at Zadok.  “I am one being, like one consciousness in two persons.”

“But that doesn’t make sense,” Lincoln said.  “How can you be one being in two persons?”

Amri and Zadok looked briefly at each other once more.

“Amri likes to talk,” Zadok said.

“Zadok likes to listen so it works out well.”

Boston inched up close and squatted.  “What are you, six?”  Both heads nodded before Amri spoke again and it sounded like a hurried speech.

“You have guns that will never run out of bullets and vitamins that will never run out no matter how many people start taking them.  But that is all I can do for your health and safety.  That, and remind you that when the demon Ashteroth invaded Avalon and gained access to the Heart of Time, she wanted to change time.  She thought she could do that through the Heart of Time.  It doesn’t work that way, but in the attempt, she let all sorts of horrid creatures into time.”  Amri paused.  Someone had come up to the top of the hill.  The old man, Nimrod, interrupted everyone with a roar.  He looked bruised and bloodied in any number of places.   His face looked pummeled, and included the beginning of a terrific black eye.

“You!”  Nimrod pointed at Lockhart.  “You caused all this.”  Boston moved slightly and that attracted Nimrod’s attention.  The man shouted on sight of the children and raised his spear.  He threw it at Zadok, but Boston jumped.  The spear grazed her side and caused a great gash and a great deal of blood, but its trajectory changed, so Zadok was spared.

Roland’s arrow arrived first in Nimrod’s chest.  A look of utter surprise crossed the old man’s face before Lockhart’s slug from his shotgun and corresponding fire from Captain Decker knocked the man completely off his feet to roll back down the hill, dead.

“Boston!”  Zadok reacted first.

“Alexis!”  Amri seconded the sound of concern, but called for help.  Alexis, already on the way, started to open the medical kit.

“Daughter?”  No one understood what might be going through Mingus’ mind, but Alexis waved him off, locked her thumbs, and placed her hands an inch away from the gash in Boston’s side.  A golden-white glow of magic formed around Alexis’ hands, but when they touched Boston, Boston grimaced for a moment before she relaxed.  Lincoln, Lockhart and the others all watched while the bleeding stopped and the wound slowly closed-up.  The healing was not as fast or as complete a healing as Lockhart’s hand, but clearly Boston would be fine.  All the same, Alexis wrapped Boston in some gauze and tape, and helped her stand.  She then helped her repair her fairy weave clothes.

“I’ll be fine,” Boston said, as she felt two arms encircle her and two heads press up against her, with tears welled up in Amri’s eyes.  “Oh,” Boston returned the hug.  She wanted to squat again and hug the Kairos properly, but she was not sure if she could squat.  “You are cute when you are young.”  She said, instead.

“Of course.”  Zadok looked up with a smile and Boston saw the same smile spread across Armi’s face.  “I’m always cute.”  The twins backed up and looked once around at everyone.  Then Amri spoke again.

“You must go.  Nimrod might have died alone, the tower fallen, and him ever so slightly afraid that something of him might survive death after all.  You may have done him a mercy, but now you must go.  Godfather Cronos must come to see me, and the tower must be shattered.”

Lieutenant Harper, who craned her neck to see the top, nodded.  “Bad bricks.  Straw would have helped.”

“Ahem!”  Captain Decker coughed to get her quiet.

“You better hurry,” Amri said.  “I feel Cronos may come tomorrow, and shortly after he arrives, the tower will fall and I will cease.  Then I don’t know.   This time zone might start again at the beginning—at the moment of my conception.  It would be better if you were not here when it reset.”

“So, we have until tomorrow to get to the next time gate,” the doctor summarized and got out his amulet.  He turned to face the woods, then he turned back to say farewell.

“Will you be all right?”  Lockhart asked.

“Of course,” Amri responded.  “I live here.  But you must hurry.”

“And Lockhart,” Zadok interrupted himself, or rather, herself.  “I am sorry to burden you with having to get everyone back home the hard way, but I believe in you.”  Amri nodded her head in agreement, quite independently of what Zadok was doing.

Lockhart said nothing.  He just turned and followed the others back down the hill, toward the woods.

Avalon Pilot part III-6: Babel

The travelers and twelve men with great spears, like their leader, gathered on the mound.  The men all looked big and strong, and as Boston noticed, they all looked mean and cruel besides.  The travelers got to walk in between the two lines, which may not have been military lines, but certainly spoke of men who knew how to retain prisoners.  Doctor Procter got to walk up front next to the big old man.

“It’s all right,” Lockhart suggested.  “The amulet is programmed correctly.  You just take us in the direction we need to go.”

Doctor Procter still did not get it, but he made no objection.  They started off the mound, and the people parted before them like the Red Sea parted for Moses.  Lincoln looked around and he did not like what he saw.

“The people.”  He spoke quietly to Alexis, but Lockhart and Boston in front of him and Mingus and Roland with their good elf ears heard.  “They look like people past the tipping point.  The looks they are giving the old man as soon as his back is turned are frightening.  I sense trouble.  I don’t think we will get all the way to the tower.”

“Humans,” Mingus scoffed.

“They look to be cooperating,” Roland pointed out.

“Are you sure?”  Lockhart asked Lincoln, even as he took the shotgun from his back and cradled it with one eye to be sure the marines were ready.

“Oh, yes,” Alexis whispered.  “I trust Benjamin’s nose for trouble.  His senses are excellent.”

Lockhart nudged Boston to encourage her to get ready to run, but she had her eyes on a man who paralleled them in the crowd.  He seemed like one man who did not appear to have evil intentions toward them.  It stood out, an unusual sight in a crowd of people who looked like they would just as soon eat the strangers as look at them.

Then it happened, just below the tower hill, and just before they broke free of the crowd.  A big, burly man full of soot from the fires, one who looked something like a blacksmith stepped forward, supported by three other equally gruff looking men, and they blocked the way.

“What is this?”  The old man looked up from the amulet and stared hard at the blacksmith who responded with what sounded to Lockhart like, “Gubba-dubba-mubba.”

“Gibberish,” the old man spat.  “Remove him.”  He turned to the man with the spear beside him, but that man also said something odd.

“Bullaka Meeko?”

“I think he said, who died and made you god?”  Roland whispered

Still, the intent of the big old man was clear, so the spearman lowered his spear and stepped forward.  The blacksmith stepped inside the stone point of the spear and landed a right hook on the spearman’s jaw.  That one act set everyone free.  Suddenly fists were being thrown everywhere and the scene dissolved into mayhem.

“Gibberish.  Why can’t you speak sense?”  They heard the old man shout even as Boston shouted louder.

“This way.  Hurry.”

The travelers followed Boston, and she followed the man who had signaled to her.  She had no idea what that man wanted, but he led them away from the ever-widening circle of violence.

The last they heard from the big old man was, “You must do what I say.  I am god!”  Then a fist went into the old man’s mouth while the travelers, with no real injuries, managed to break free.  The man they followed led them quickly up the tower hill until they were above the mayhem.

“I am Peleg,” the man said, once they could slow to speak.  “My family is safe.  Come.”  He led them around the base of the hill to where the forest grew up to the back of the rise.

“Peleg?”  Lockhart looked at Doctor Procter and then back at Mingus.

“One of the good guys,” Mingus assured him.

“So why are you helping us?” Lockhart finished his question for the man.

“Because you don’t belong to Nimrod.  You are strangers and deserve no part in the madness that is breaking out everywhere.”

“But what is going on?” Alexis was the one who asked.

They came to the trees and Peleg whistled before he turned to answer.  “Nimrod has told us there is no God.  He has taken the place of God and played on the fears of the people.  He says this monstrous tower of his will be our lasting memorial in case the flood comes again and we are all swept away.”

“But you don’t believe that.”

“No.  Some few of us have not forgotten.”  As he spoke, young men, women and children came out from among the trees to stand beside him.  “We remember the source of all, and the rainbow pledge.  Many people have already escaped, but sadly they have taken to the worship of the powers in this earth.”

“But that was madness back there,” Boston took up the cause.  “I can still hear the screaming and fighting and dying.  Why?”

“Because the people finally realized if Nimrod can be a god, so can they.  They are all being their own god.”

Lieutenant Harper got it.  “And when everyone is their own god, everything becomes relative.  Then even the words you speak mean whatever you want them to mean, whether anyone else understands them or not, it doesn’t matter.”

“So the gibberish.”  Alexis stepped up and took her husband’s arm.

“What a nimrod.  What a maroon.  Yuck, yuck.”  Lockhart smiled.  To Boston’s curious look he simply added, “Just something from my youth.”  Oh.  She curved her lips but made no sound.

“Our way lies along the edge of the trees.  My family is reluctant to venture into the forest.”

“Our way?”  Lincoln asked, and Doctor Procter pointed into the deep woods.

“Thank you.”  Lockhart thought to say it.

“Go with God.”  Peleg responded, and he and his family began to move off the plains.

“Humans.”  Mingus shook his head.  “It is all gibberish if you ask me.”  He started into the woods, and everyone became obliged to follow.  They did not get far, though, before Doctor Procter shouted.

“No.”  He spun around, ran toward the hill.  He began to climb.  He ran elf fast, or half-elf fast, but because of his age, it did not take long for the others to catch up.

“What is it?”  Captain Decker asked.

“He will not leave until he sees the Kairos,” Mingus answered for the half-elf.  “And on second thought, I suppose I agree with him.”  They did not have to look far.  A child, rather, two children sat in the shadow of the tower, joined not along one whole side as in the drawing on the Ark, but only at the wrists.  He had no left hand and she had no right.  They sat in the dirt, turned away from the madness going on across the plains below.  They could not have been older than five or six, and they were crying.