Avalon 3.9: part 2 of 5, The Gods Stop By

Boston lifted her happy face and shouted in her best elf voice which echoed around the whole camp and shot off into the wilderness. “Father Mingus, hurry up. I’m going to marry your son, so please hurry.” Everyone in the refugee camp looked up, and some applauded at the idea of the love goddess marrying the hunter, even if they did not know who Father Mingus was.

“Boston, you are not helping our situation,” Alexis scowled.

“Actually,” Lincoln piped up. “I am surprised this complication has not come up before. Think about it. The elf bread I shared had to look miraculous in the eyes of the people. Elder Stow has the gadgets which must look magical, and Alexis heals by laying on hands. No doubts there.”

“We ride these wonderful, obedient beasts, and offer free food,” Roland agreed.Stow 6

“And we found the water, I suppose,” Elder Stow added.

“And tomorrow, if what we think is following turns out to be true, the god of war and the death goddess are going to get a workout,” Lincoln said.

“And the king of the gods will roll out the thunder,” Katie agreed, referring to Lockhart’s shotgun.

“You just are not going to convince these people that we are not gods, almost whatever we do,” Lincoln concluded.

“Well, I am ready to sleep,” Elder Stow said. “I will endeavor to snore like a god.”

Alexis shook her head. Boston questioned her before Lockhart could speak. “You don’t find this funny?”

“Not at all. I think we are playing with fire,” Alexis said, and she turned away from the group to sleep.

“Double watch tonight,” Lockhart said in all seriousness, and Alexis got up with Lincoln to take the first turn.

zis dravid 6The hundred people following came in around midnight. Another three hundred or so came in at sunrise. That made more than seven hundred gathered on the edge of the hills, a small city of people for those days. The striking thing about the gathering, though, was it was mostly women and children. The men, especially the sixteen to thirty-two-year-olds, were missing.

“Zisudra’s army is fighting somewhere,” Katie suggested.

“Zisudra,” Boston said the name. “It feels strange, and different to have a male as, you know.”

“Not really,” Katie admitted. “But the Storyteller was a male.”

“Yeah, he was,” Boston said, like it was a sudden revelation. “Oh, but he was older, like gray beard and all. To be honest, I thought he was a bit like Santa Clause, and that was before I, you know.” zis dravid 9

“Not really,” Katie repeated, when they were interrupted by several women from the camp. The women had been up cooking and preparing something since before dawn. Boston stepped over several times to rev up their fires with a touch of magic, and she thought it hardly mattered. They already thought of her as a god.

The women had flushed a covey of more than a hundred Himalayan quail and had birds and eggs to share. They first brought their offering to the gods, and Boston could not help herself. She got up when she felt the heartbreak in the young woman’s heart, so she hugged her and said, bless you, and the woman began to cry, so Boston began to cry.

Roland came over after a few minutes and pulled Boston free, and Boston got mad, then upset at herself. “I’ve always been sympathetic. I thought I was empathetic, but not like this. She lost her love in the escape. I know that. I felt exactly what she felt, and it hurt so much. Roland, there was not anything I could do for her.”zis dravid 8

“And you must remember that,” Roland said. “There is not anything you can do for her.”

“That isn’t fair, to make me feel all that and be powerless to change it,” she said to the ground. “That isn’t fair,” she repeated to the sky.

Lockhart, Lincoln and Alexis graciously accepted their offering of bird and eggs. Lincoln got out the bread and tried to make toast without burning it. That was not easy. Lockhart stepped over to sit beside Katie, and she growled at him.

“I’m not in a good mood. I don’t know why,” she said.

“I’m not good company lots of times,” he responded. “My wife used to tell me that all the time.”

“Enough,” Katie spoke sharply. “When are you going to get over your wife business? I’m beginning to think you are a moron after all. Here, you have been given a chance to start over, and you can’t let go of the past.”

zis lockWhat?” He meant, what is the matter? or what can I do to make it better? but it came out, “What?” It was the same word he always said to his wife, and it never helped her, either.

“Nothing,” Katie snapped, put her plate down, and stood. That was when a big, young man, a newcomer with the group at dawn, had the bad sense to try and prove something to his friends. As Katie walked by, he made a fist and took a swing at her head. She saw it coming, ducked, grabbed and twisted the arm, which made the young man howl. Then she let all her frustration out in her punch right to the man’s solar plexus. The man flew several feet and crashed to the ground, and Katie heard a rib snap.

Katie stared at the man. She knew that as an elect, as one in a million, maybe one in ten million, she was as strong as any man, and equally good in combat with or without weapons. But she knew the gods made the elect to protect and defend the community when they men were away. She was not supposed to break men’s ribs. She was sorry, sort of.

Alexis pushed past her. “You didn’t have to take it out on him,” she said as she knelt to examine the man.

“I didn’t kill him,” Katie mumbled, as Boston raced up, running much faster than an ordinary human Katie 7could run.

“What happened?”

Katie turned and fetched her horse. She wanted to ride out to the horizon and look for the enemy, but while she saddled Beauty, she heard what Lockhart said.

“Listen up,” he said, but the people were whispering, and he could not get them to stop. Elder Stow came up with the solution. He set his sonic device and told Lockhart where to hold it.

“It amplifies sound waves,” he explained, and Lockhart took it like a microphone.

Avalon 3.9: The Valley Below, part 1 of 5

After 2677 BC, Highlands Above the Indus. Kairos lifetime 42: Zisudra, The Rig (the root).

Recording …

“Refugees on the horizon,” Roland reported back to the group.

“Where are they all coming from?” Katie wondered out loud.

“We have to do what we can,” Alexis said, and she got down from her horse. Lincoln got down with her and looked for a safe area to hobble the horses and let them feed. He knew better than to argue. So did Lockhart.

“Lunch,” he called out.zis nature 1

The travelers rode through one group of refugees early that morning, and barely kept Alexis and Boston from bringing the whole group to a halt. They passed by another group at a distance some time around ten o’clock, and kept on going. Now, this group was headed straight toward them. They could not go around, and Alexis was not going to take keep moving as an answer.

Roland and Boston made a great fire beside the road, and Roland took Katie and Decker out into the fields to hunt. He knew they were going to need quite a bit of food to feed all those people.

Elder Stow spent a good hour fiddling with his scanning equipment before he made his announcement. “Three hundred, and another hundred not far behind. The first group was fifty, and we passed thirty in the distance. This looks like the main group, unless there are other larger groups still to come. My equipment is all running dry. I have drained most of my other things to keep the scanner going as I deemed it most critical. My weapon is about empty. My sonic device is good, but it uses little power.”

“What happened to the charger you got from the Marzalotipan?” Lincoln asked.

“It was too primitive,” Elder Stow said. “It took a long time to charge anything, even after I rebuilt it, and then it fell apart and became useless much too fast.”

“Moving through time will do that,” Lockhart said. “Nothing like ageing fifty years in one step.”

cooking meat 4Roland, Decker and Katie all came back with deer over their shoulders, and Roland barely got the first one up on the fire before the people reached them. As they came in, they appeared to have no trouble with the travelers, which surprised everyone. The people even sounded like now they were safe and their long journey was over. Lockhart questioned that.

Alexis got right to the wounded, and worked without argument, and the people blessed her. Elder Stow used his device to pull out shards and rocks from various body parts, and several arrowheads, which he showed around.

“These people have been in a war zone,” Decker said, and he sounded like he guessed that already. Once the deer got cooking, he took Katie, and they rode out over the horizon to see if they could catch a glimpse of what might be coming.

Boston cooked and the people, in particular the women, called her blessed of Zisudra, and helped, when they weren’t bowing to her. She hugged a bunch of them to show she was just a person like the rest of them, but they were not buying it. More than once, Boston had to check with Alexis to make sure her glamour did not slip. She figured the people had been through enough without having to have elves in the camp.

Lincoln made the elf crackers into bread, and he privately gave thanks that the crackers were endless in number. He passed the bread to the people, and the people bowed to him as well. He feared that they might run out of water to turn the crackers into bread, but Elder Stow located a natural, bubbling spring, which Lincoln dug out with little effort. That at least relieved one problem.

Lockhart made the decisions. He told Roland to track his sister to keep her safe. He told Elder Stow to help Lincoln locate a water source. He told Boston to keep cooking because the had so many mouths to feed, and he worried about Katie, and Decker, but he knew they could take care of themselves. The rest of the time, he spent interviewing the people, mostly the men, to try and piece together what these people had been through and who might be following them. In the process, he found out some very interesting information.zis dravid 3

“No,” he told more than one man. “We are not the gods, just people like yourselves.”

“In truth,” the man responded with a wink and a smile. “And I will be sure to tell all of the people that you are not the gods, but just ordinary people who ride the beasts of heaven and perform many miracles to heal and sustain us on this long journey.” He winked again as he left and let the next man be interviewed.

When Katie and Decker returned, and the evening turned to night, Lockhart called everyone aside for a conference. “They think we are the gods,” he said, and tried not to laugh.

“Not funny,” Alexis recognized the seriousness of the situation. “Some of the gods are very sensitive and might not appreciate us going around, masquerading.”

“I told them all we were not the gods, but they don’t believe me.” Lockhart shrugged his innocence. “They think we are masquerading as humans.”

“And I suppose you are the god king,” Decker said.

“You are the god of war,” Lockhart said.

Decker ripped off a chunk of deer and chewed it like jerky. “I can live with that.”

Alexis 2“Alexis, you are the goddess of healing, obviously. Lincoln you are the god of agriculture, as near as I can tell, because of the bread, I imagine. Elder Stow, you are the god of ancient knowledge, learning and wisdom, I think.”

Elder Stow smiled. “Among my people, many a happy ending is when a man becomes fat and full of wisdom.”

“You need to work on the fat part,” Boston teased and handed him some more deer meat. He looked at it unhappily. He was not a vegetarian, but he was not inclined to eat much in the way of meat. He did better with fish and even bird of some kind.

“Roland,” Lockhart went on. “You are the god of the hunt, and Katie—“

“I’m not sure I want to know,” Katie said. “The people keep giving me strange looks and they don’t want Katie 6to get too close. It would bother me if I wasn’t more concerned about what might be over the horizon.

“Shivishuwa, or something like that,” Lockhart said.

“What is Shivishuwa?”

Roland and Lockhart spoke at the same time. “The death goddess.”

“The goddess of death,” Alexis agreed.

“Hey!” Decker looked like he was thinking about it. “No, I am fine where I am.”

Katie did not look too happy about it, but Boston spoke up.

“Hey!” she sounded like Decker. “What does that leave me? There isn’t anything left. Am I the goddess Boston 3aof cooking and dirt?”

Lockhart grinned, even if he could not manage a true elf grin. “You are the goddess of love, and I think marriage, family and the home.”

“I could have told you that,” Roland said.

************************

In tomorrow’s post, someone need to get a handle on why these people are refugees, and what are they running from?