Reflections Flern-3 part 3 of 3

Flern woke when she heard a rustle in the bushes not far from where she and the other girls slept. She got up slowly, thinking at first that one of the horses may have wandered into the woods and away from the open, grassy area in which they rested. To be sure, the grassy area where they slept came merely at the edge of the grassland that stretched all of the way back to the river. They stopped when they reached the trees. Common sense told her if the horse was inclined to wander anywhere it would be deeper into the grasses, yet the rustling came from the woods, and it sounded large. She thought of a horse, in part, because she did not really want to consider the other possibilities. Several had been afraid the horses might wander off in the night, but Pinn had kept the rope Diogenes found, and it seemed long enough to tie all fourteen horses to the rope and tie the rope to a tree. So, it could not be a horse, Flern thought to herself. She reached for her sword and long knife as a comfort. She certainly did not know how to use them. Then she supposed that the horses were not tied comfortably. The rope did not seem long enough for that. One horse might have pulled free, or it might not have been tied well in the first place.

Flern heard the rustling again. The rustling came from the leaves. Vinnu stuck her head up to listen. “A bear?” Vinnu asked in a shaky whisper. Flern just shook her head, though whatever it was, it had to be big. She imagined night creature big. She looked around the camp. Fritt, Trell and Tird were missing. Flern supposed it could be them, but why didn’t they just show themselves? Unless they were joking around.

Flern put down her blades and reached into the back of her cloak. She found the bow there, the one the Princess used in town. A true, ebony wood, elf bow, with plenty of arrows, and Flern at least felt she knew something about using the weapon. She notched an arrow and backed up from the sound to listen once more.

“What’s up?” Tiren called from the far side of the fire, and he called much too loud.

“Quiet!” Vinnu hushed him with even more volume, and everyone started to stir. At once there came a great rustling of leaves. Two Jaccar stepped out from the trees. They looked like they had spent half the night underwater. One charged the campfire, but Flern’s arrow caught the man dead center. At that distance, she could hardly miss. Kined and Tiren jumped on the man, and he did not live long. The other man went for the horses, and brandishing a blade, he cut one free. He mounted on the run like a well-trained horseman, and everyone started yelling at once, but Flern no longer stood there. The Princess came to take her place.

The Princess called to her weapons, and they rose up, the sword attaching to her back, so it stuck out over her left shoulder, and her long knife attaching across the small of her back just before it jumped into her hand. She cut Flern’s horse free, mounted like the expert horsewoman she was, and rode after the man. She passed Vilder and Gunder on the way as they ran across the field, yelling.

The Jaccar looked back once, but the Princess already had an arrow on her string. She stood on the back of the galloping horse, like some circus act, but not for showing off. It was the only way she would get a clear shot. It only took one shot. The man, struck in the back, peeled off the back of the horse that immediately slowed to a trot and then to a walk. The Princess finished the journey more comfortably in the seat and finished the man with her long knife before she let Flern return to her own time and place. Flern immediately mounted again and rounded up what turned out to be Thrud’s big steed. “Lazy as her mistress,” Flern said to herself. Then she started to cry as she rode back to the camp and decided that she did not like killing at all. The only thing that made it palatable was the certainty that the Princess did not like killing either.

“That was amazing, incredible, I knew you were good, but…” Most of the camp looked ecstatic, but Vilder and Kined stayed quiet. They saw that it was the Princess, and so did Pinn, apparently, but with her hood up, Flern imagined that all of the others saw her back and they just assumed Flern. Drud was hard to read. He stayed quiet but kneeled and stared into the fire. Who knew what he might be thinking?

Flern cried a little more as she dismounted, and after a moment of rejoicing, Elluin and Vinnu offered their condolences. Not long after that, Fat Fritt, Strawhead Trell and Tird came waltzing into the camp. They bagged a deer and expected massive congratulations. What they got instead was regaled with Flern’s adventure, as they were calling it. Flern took out the long knife the Princess used to slice the man’s throat. She threw it into the side of the deer, and it sank, almost to the hilt.

“It’s like a Ginsu knife, you know, never need sharpening,” she said, and she stepped off into the woods where she could have some privacy to relieve herself and cry some more.

Flern hardly stayed alone for long before she felt a tingling in her hands and a rumbling in her gut. Anyone else might have thought they were getting sick, but Flern felt suspicious. She looked up at the sun to gauge the time and mumbled two names. “Wlvn. Odin.” But why should she be feeling the effects of Odin’s gift to Wlvn? Surely, he did not mean to empower the Kairos forever.

“That gift isn’t in me.” The Princess spoke into Flern’s mind.

“Or me.” Diogenes and the Storyteller each confirmed.

“Perhaps because you are Wlvn’s genetic reflection, you are also reflecting his gifts.” Doctor Mishka suggested. “You certainly received his gift for horses.”

“But not to his extent.” Flern often tried to deny the gift even if it became self-evident.

“So, Odin’s gift may also be reflected in you to a lesser extent, but it is being reflected in you all the same.”

“But I don’t want it.” Flern confessed, and all she could see was the minute she started throwing thunderbolts around, she would have no friends left at all, and Kined would not want anything to do with her. She refused to do that, and she tried to make the feeling go away, and tried not to think about it at the same time, which proved very hard to do. Eventually, she remembered how to send her armor and blades back to wherever they came from and recall her own dress from that same place. The poor boys probably had a bit of a shock when her long knife disappeared, but she figured they were well skilled with their copper instruments and her long blade, while more than up to the task, had not really been designed as a butcher’s tool.

After a while, Flern went quietly back to the camp where she could sit on the grass and frown. The boys still argued about cutting up the deer and the girls argued about how to cook it. They all paused to look at her in her regular dress, and Kined spoke.

“Your knife,” he said.

“I know,” she responded, and that ended it. They all went back to their arguing, except for Pinn, who came over and sat beside Flern. She said nothing, so after a while, Flern spoke.

“Bunder is staring again. Dunder head.” Flern added the insult when she pointed at the boy who all but drooled.

“Maybe your Princess could beat him up. I assume that was the Princess, earlier,” Pinn suggested and Flern did not reject that suggestion. “Who is she, anyway?”

“Me.” Flern gave the simple answer and looked at her friend. “But I won’t be born as the Princess for three thousand, two hundred and twenty-four years, according to the Storyteller’s estimate.”

Pinn raised her eyebrows. “Three thousand years in the future?”



Flern and her companions find the first people beyond their village. They are nomads, an unsettled people heading in their direction, an they have had run-ins with the Jaccar, twice. Until Monday, Happy Reading.


Reflections Flern-3 part 1 of 3

The Princess led the boys straight up alongside the river and stopped only when they came to a few trees and bushes where they could tie off the horses. They went on foot and Vilder expressed surprise that the Jaccar had no men out to watch, but the Princess figured as much. They probably had all of their men out on the other three sides of the village prepared to surprise any returning hunters or other such arrivals, but they probably figured they were safe on the river side where the river would be as effective as a wall.

The Princess handed her long knife to Kined with the hope that he would not have to use it. She handed her sword to Vilder and pulled out her bow. She noticed she had plenty of arrows, and they were good ones, too. A couple of arrows even had silver tips, so she knew Artemis was alive and well, somewhere in the world. After hunting and tracking, the Princess’ chief talent was with the bow, and hers had been designed by Athena and approved by Apollo. Once upon a time in the future, Artemis would gift the Princess as surely as Odin gifted Wlvn. Fortunately, she always carried the gift with her, even when she traveled back into the past. So, she could hunt and shoot like the goddess, and beyond that, she had practically been born on horseback.

“Why have we stopped?” Vilder interrupted. He appeared to be getting anxious, and that would not be a good thing.

“Patience,” she whispered in her military whisper. “Practice patience before you do something stupid. Now listen.” They were close enough to hear two Jaccar who guarded something or someone. The boys could not understand the language, but the Princess caught the gist of it which sounded something like this:

“You better stay extra sharp tonight. The Wicca says there are boys out in the wilderness, and she wants them alive when they return.”

“I know my job.” The second man sounded grumpy. “The Wicca wants everything, but it won’t be our fault if some of those boys get killed. You know that can’t be helped, sometimes.”

“Maybe I know that and maybe I don’t,” the first said. “But I wouldn’t say it again if you don’t want the Wicca to turn you into a frog like poor Chuang. You just stay alert, that’s all.”

“I know my job.” And the one man stepped away.

The Princess nodded and took back her long knife with instructions to stay put until called. She snuck up behind that alert man and cut his throat so he could not cry out.  A wave of her arm brought the others, and she wiped the blade clean and handed the knife back to Kined, who almost did not want to take it. He stared at the dead man.

“Don’t dwell.” The Princess risked another whisper. “It isn’t healthy.” She moved on.

“I can’t help it,” Kined said, as he followed. “I will see that even in my sleep.”

The Princess looked at Vilder. He got stoic. He looked determined. He also took her arm. “Pinn’s house is this way.”

The Princess shook her head. She pointed to Thrud’s house, which was where Pinn, Thrud and Vinnu should still be, probably worried to death. They hurried, pressured by Vilder’s nervousness, though the Princess should have known better. As they came around a corner, they bumped into three Jaccar. One got a knife in his chest. One got sliced across the guts, and the third had an arrow rammed into his throat. The Princess whipped out her boot knife even as the man cut in the belly began to raise his head. She made a near perfect throw into that man’s neck before he could cry out. Then she snatched her sword out of a stunned Vilder’s hand and finished the job before handing the sword back to Vilder. She raised her hand, and her long knife vacated the one man’s chest and flew to her hand. She cleaned it and handed it back to Kined again with some words.

“I would appreciate it if you would take better care of my things.”

“Now I’ve done it,” Kined confessed once his mouth closed. “Now I will have my own nightmares.”

The Princess leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “That’s from Flern,” she said, before she retrieved her boot knife. “Now shut up and come on.” They moved more slowly then, and kept to the shadows, until at last they came to a window at the back of Thrud’s house. “Pinn. Thrud.” The Princess called through the window shutters. They could see a light on in the room, so they knew it was occupied.

“Who is there?” The voice sounded a bit loud, but they heard Pinn’s voice.

“Flern, sort of. Come on out. We have to get moving.”

“You don’t sound like Flern,” Pinn came back.

“Pinn.” Vilder sounded much too loud, and for his efforts he got the Princess’ boot pushed hard into his foot.

The shutters came open and Pinn popped her head out. “Vilder.” She seemed sensible enough to keep her voice down. The Princess turned to watch both sides of the house, an arrow on the string and her senses on full alert.

“Are Thrud and Vinnu there?” Kined whispered. “Hurry.”

Pinn came out first and dropped easily to the dirt. She had her bow and arrows, good girl. Vinnu followed and accepted Vilder’s help to the ground.

“No, Thrud, no!” Someone, a woman inside started shouting. “We are safe in the house.” They all heard a loud slap followed by some angry whispers. Thrud might not be the prettiest thing on two legs, but she was no dummy. Her mother would get them all killed if she did not shut up!

Even as Thrud clambered out the window with her bow, having forgotten the arrows, a Jaccar came around the corner, perhaps attracted by the noise. The Princess made her usual perfect shot, and the man went down without a sound. “Come,” she said, before Thrud’s feet were fully on the ground, and she led them back the way they came, even if it meant the girls had to notice all of the dead bodies. Once they were free of the last house, the Princess stopped them and spoke, still in her military whisper. Then again, she gave military orders.

“Vilder and Pinn. Work back to the others and mount up. Take my horse. I will meet you by the riverbank just this side of the hill, only stay out of sight and keep quiet.

Vilder nodded, and Pinn accepted his assessment and nodded with him.

“Who is that?” Thrud asked.

“I’ll explain in a minute.” Kined said as he handed the Princess her long knife. He took Thrud by the elbow and escorted her away from the village. Thrud kept looking back.

“What about you?” Vilder asked.

“I have one more thing to do. I will meet you. Go.” She took back her sword.

Vilder nodded again and led Pinn and Vinnu after Kined and Thrud. The instant they were out of sight in the dark, the Princess changed to Diogenes. Diogenes looked like the Princess’ perfect genetic reflection, like Wlvn and Flern, even sharing the same hair and eye color, what some have called an identical twin of the opposite sex. As such, Diogenes also reflected to a lesser degree whatever gift the Princess received from Artemis. He was known in his day as a great hunter and great with the bow. Though not as skilled as the Princess, in this case, he had mastered this type of covert operation. He was the one with all of the experience of sneaking into an enemy camp and causing havoc.

Diogenes considered the village, which he knew perfectly from Flern’s memory. He knew the fenced in field where the men were being held, but it was too far away to risk and probably heavily guarded. Much nearer sat the public corral and the big barn near the village center, the place where the whole village stored hay through the winter. Diogenes moved swiftly. He knew it would only be a matter of time before the dead men got found. Two guards watched the barn and corral as well, but they did not last long, and they never raised the alarm. Diogenes made sure of that.

Reflections Flern-2 part 3 of 3

She led them a short way down the hill to some open space broken by an old stump that she could sit on. For some reason, she felt like she might have to sit down for this, though to be sure, the boys were probably going to need to sit as well.

“Take my hands,” Flern said.

Kined took one readily, but Vilder had to speak as he acquiesced. He looked around and obviously did not see anything out of the ordinary. “Well?”

“Just listen first.” Flern was not sure how to explain all of this, and none of her other lives really knew how to explain it either. It was something that had to be seen to be believed. “I’ve lived before and I will live again after this life, in the future.”

“The goddess told you this?” Kined looked honestly willing to go along with her and try to understand.

Though the move got harder to see in the lessening light, Flern shook her head, even as her mouth said, “It doesn’t matter. Anyway, I have recently learned that I can trade places with those lives when the need is appropriate.”

“Trade places?” Vilder also tried to understand. She gave him credit for that much.

“I mean I go away into the past or future or where—whenever, and my other life comes here, to be with you guys.”

“What, in your mind?” Kined suddenly sounded worried, like Flern might be losing a grip on her sanity, but again, Flern shook her head.

“I mean actually, physically and everything, and what I want you to do is hold my hands when I do it and promise you will not let go no matter what.”

“You mean you actually become a different person?” Kined wondered.

“No. It will still be me, but it will be who I was in a past life, or in this case, in a future life. I am going to trade places with the Princess because she knows everything there is to know about hunting and tracking and sneaking up on an enemy encampment.” To be sure, she probably should have traded places with Diogenes, the spy, but she figured the male-female thing might be a bit much for these boys.

“The Princess?” Vilder sounded more than just skeptical. “What kind of a name is that?”

“Promise you won’t let go. It is tradition,” Flern insisted and squeezed both of the hands she held to emphasize her words.

“I promise.” Kined simply agreed.

“I promise.” Vilder easily agreed because he sounded as if he was certain nothing would happen. It only took a second and very light golden-brown hair replaced red hair, blue eyes replaced brown eyes, and though Flern was very pretty, the Princess looked absolutely beautiful. Both men let go. Kined fell down in shock and landed hard on his butt. Vilder snatched his hand back like he feared he might catch fire or something. When the Princess stood, she proved a good three inches taller than Flern as well, being almost as tall as Kined’s five-eight and Vilder’s maybe five-nine.

“So? How do I look?” the Princess asked, being careful to speak in Flern’s language with as little Greek accent as possible. She turned in a circle once, even as Flern had modeled the armor earlier. “Speechless?” She teased because neither boy said anything. “So, here is the plan. You two are going with me to fetch Pinn, Vinnu, Thrud and Elluin while the rest of the crew stays here. Then you are going to escort Flern south and over the mountains to fetch bronze weapons and raise an army on the way.” The Princess paused only to tap a finger on her chin. “I don’t know how that is going to work out, but that is the assignment. Clear?” On hearing no objection, she continued. “Now, you have to follow my instructions in the village without question and I will kick the first one of you that makes an improper sound.”

Just then they heard the sound of a twig snapping behind them. The Princess had her long knife in the air in no time and it sunk into a tree beside a man’s head. “Come out of there and show yourselves before I have to fetch you,” she said, without seriously raising her voice, which made her sound cold and very sure of herself, and which was probably more effective than a shout. Besides, she had her sword in her hand and at the ready, so she made an imposing sight in the dim light. The man stepped into the small clearing slowly, followed by another man and a woman. Drud, Bunder and Elluin came into the light, and the Princess sighed. “Elluin, I’m so glad you are safe.” She spoke this as an old friend, even though she knew the girl would not know her at all. She put her sword away and stretched out her hand. The long knife vacated the tree and jumped back to her waiting palm, at which point she put it away as well. “A virtue of its making,” she explained. “The same makers as Thor’s hammer.” She paused. She was not entirely sure they had made Thor’s hammer yet.

“Goddess.” Elluin went to her knees at this display of power. Drud and Bunder just stared, open mouthed.

“No.” Kined laughed, nervously. “It’s just Flern.”

The Princess shook her head. “You three, up the hill with the others and wait until we come back, is that clear?” She had underlined the word, “Wait.”

Drud nodded. “But if you are taking these two mortals down there.” He pointed toward the village. “You will probably get them killed. We had a hell of a time getting Elluin out, and Bunder had to kill a man.”

“Bunder, I’m so sorry.” The Princess sounded sympathetic. The young man just stood there, dull faced as usual. Though the Princess had killed more men than she dared count, a friend named Leodis constantly reminded her how hard it could be, even in war, and especially a first kill.

“We will wait.” Elluin got off her knees, but her attitude still said, goddess. As usual, she did not quite get it, and neither Kined, Vilder, nor the Princess had the time to explain it to her. She led the two boys up the hill, but once beyond the trees, Vilder grabbed the Princess by the arm and turned her to face him.

“Flern.” He started to speak to her.

“Princess,” the Princess interrupted. “Flern is who I was, or will be, but right now I am the Princess.”

“Princess. What does it mean?” Kined asked, accepting her hand to help him up. He asked because Flern’s language had no such word, so she used the Greek word.

“Chief over many chiefs.” The Princess explained. “Are we ready?” Vilder shook his head. He just could not grasp it all. The Princess said something to help steady him. “After we get the girls and some horses, I will be depending on you and Pinn to lead everyone safely to the bronze. You know Flern is no leader and does not want to be the leader. You and Pinn need to lead, only right now we need to fetch Pinn first. Okay?”

Vilder nodded slowly. Getting Pinn to safety came foremost in his mind, too. The Princess, knowing exactly where they were, led the boys to the horses.

“I was going to say the horses are this way,” Kined said, “But you knew.”

The Princess pinched the young man’s cheek. “And anything you tell me, Flern will hear as well.” She felt it only fair to warn them.



Flern needs to get her friends safely out of town,  They need the horses and need to escape, to get far enough away so the Jaccar cannot follow  Until Monday…


M3 Gerraint: Winter Games, part 1 of 3

Once up, he almost slipped right down a side of the roof, but caught himself in time, and then drew Gerraint’s long knife.

“Please don’t go home until I am done,” Trevor begged the knife in his hand, and he fell on the lone guard outside the door.  It was over in a second, and the door unlocked.  Gerraint and the others were right there, waiting.  Gwillim stripped the guard of his cloak and sword while Gerraint gave his long knife to Uwaine.  Trevor had to content himself with the guard’s cutting knife, but then he was a cook, not a soldier.

“Which way?”  Uwaine asked.  Gerraint pointed and started out.  The others followed as quietly as they could.  The village seemed all put up for the night.  No telling how late it was, until they reached the edge of the village and Trevor judged the night sky and the rise of the moon to suggest it might be about one in the morning.

“Late as that?”  Gwillim sounded surprised.

“Pray the moon stays with us until morning,” Gerraint said, and they started down a well-worn path in the snow, not knowing exactly where it would take them.

After two hours, when they still heard no sounds of pursuit, they found a hollow where they had protection from the wind and a touch of warmth.  They rested there and took turns on watch.  Exhaustion, which had caught up with them, became their worst enemy at that point.  A couple of hours of rest, if not sleep, would be needed the next day when the pursuit started in earnest.  The clouds came up, but the moon still shone through, giving them enough light to see, though it was their ears they depended on.

Near sunrise, they set out again and this time turned off the path and moved in a more certain southerly direction.  “But how did you know which way to go in the dark?”  Trevor asked.  Gerraint did not answer as Gwillim spoke in his place.

“The North Star,” he said.  “You know it isn’t just for sailors at sea.”

“Duh!”  Trevor slapped his own forehead.

By sunrise, the clouds had come fully into the sky and it started to snow.  When it began to snow with some strength, Gerraint took them deliberately through some rough, overgrown patches, and finally up a stream where they had to balance carefully on the rocks to keep from soaking their boots.  Then he turned their direction from south to southwest, hoping to confuse anyone trying to catch them.

About then, they heard a sound they had hoped to never hear.  The Scots were on their trail, well enough, and they had dogs, likely bloodhounds, with which to track them.

“Damn!”  Gwillim swore.  All the turning of direction, pushing through inhospitable bushes and tracking through the stream would likely do them no good at all.  They pushed on, as fast as they could, but they were very tired and hungry, and the wind picked up, blew the snow in their faces, and threatened them all with frostbite.

At the bottom of the next hill, Gerraint made them pause where the hill ahead and the bushes and trees behind gave them a touch of shelter from the wind.  Gerraint surveyed the spot.  They essentially had one way up the hillside, a deer path, and the rest of the hill looked covered in impassible brambles and briars.  They had good cover for one dressed in the white cloak of Athena, and there were several trees nearby that could be scrambled up in a pinch.

“You three go on.”  Gerraint had to raise his voice a bit in the wind.  They were all stomping and blowing hard on their hands to keep their toes and fingers working.  “I’ll lay in a little surprise for our pursuers and maybe slow them down a bit.”

“My Lord!”  Gwillim started to protest, but Uwaine grabbed him by the arm and pointed him toward the path.  Uwaine nodded.  He knew better.  He pushed the still plump captain up the path while poor, half-frozen, skinny, blue faced Trevor followed.  Gerraint watched for a minute until they disappeared in the falling snow.  He listened.  The dogs started closing in.  He guessed there might be three of them.

Diogenes, the Macedonian came to mind, but he opted for the Greek Princess from about two hundred BC.  She had been endowed with the spirit of Artemis, and as such, was about as good as an archer could get.  The Princess only hesitated because of the cold, but she knew Gerraint was freezing and in need, and that became enough to move her hand.  Gerraint went into the time stream, and the Princess stood in his place.  His armor, boots and all adjusted automatically from his shape and size to hers.  She wore the same chain armor, of course, in her day, and for much of her life, so she was quite used to the way it felt and moved.

The first thing she did was stretch Athena’s cape nearly to the ground to maximize her warmth.  The cape of Athena and the Armor of Hephaestos were proof against almost everything, including the cold.  She looked briefly up the hill and worried that her friends had no such help.  She felt when she caught up with them, she would lend the cloak to Trevor.  He did not look good.

The baying of the hounds brought her attention back to task.  Beyond the bushes stood a little clearing which the dogs, if right on their trail, would have to cross.  She reached into the inner pocket hidden in her cloak, and like Mary Poppins pulling a full length lamp out of an empty carpet bag, she pulled out her bow and a full quiver of arrows.  The arrows were elf made, of course, except for the few silver tipped arrows which Artemis herself had given her long ago.  She paused to remember her very best friend in the whole world, and then pulled three finely made steel pointed hunting arrows. She fitted the first loosely to the string, and waited.

The Princess did not have to wait long.  She heard the howl and saw two dogs as they bounded straight toward her in great leaps across the snow.  They were close, and they knew it.  The Princess took aim.  There was a hard wind and the snow itself to compensate for, but she did so almost automatically.  Two arrows took down two dogs.  But where was the third?

At once, the third dog, which had circled around, came rushing up beside her.  She had no time for the bow.  She reached for her Long Knife, but remembered that Uwaine had it.  “Stop,” she yelled.  “No.”

The dog stopped short.  The spirit of Artemis echoed strong in the Princess, and certainly hunting dogs were included in the mix, but this one had its’ lips drawn and kept growling, snarling, and drooling.

“Rabbit.”  The Princess said as she reached slowly for her sword.  “Go hunt a rabbit.”  The dog did not listen, being too filled with blood lust.  Her sword came out as the dog leapt and an arrow came from some quarter.  It struck the dog perfectly and dropped the beast just inches away.  The Princess whirled, but she saw no sign of an archer.  Then she whirled back as she heard shouts from across the clearing.  An arrow got loosed from that direction, but it fell woefully short, not even reaching the dogs, dead in the reddening snow.

“Go,” the Princess told herself, and she turned one final time and began to climb the hill.