Avalon 5.4 The Mystery of the Madness, part 4 of 6

“Land of Goshen,” Lincoln said.  He put a piece of wood on the fire before he sat down.

“Land a Goshen,” Decker said, in his best southern accent.  “Y’all don’t say it right.”

Quiet settled around the campfire before Lincoln interrupted.

“Land of Goshen”

Decker echoed with, “Land a Goshen.”  He laid back against a log and smiled.

“How long are you two going to keep this up,” Alexis asked, in her most annoyed voice.

“Land of Goshen,” Boston said, and tried not to giggle.

“Who is this Goshen, anyway?” Elder Stow asked.

“I don’t know,” Decker admitted in a fake-serious voice.  “But this is his land.”

“It’s Land of Goshen,” Lincoln said.

“Land a Goshen,” Decker echoed.

Alexis stuck her fingers in her ears.

“I remember Bubastis when it was just a little village,” Katie said, trying to keep up a normal human conversation.

“If they were androids, I would send them to get repaired,” Artie said, with a look at the men.

“Bubastis is all grown up now,” Lockhart said.  “It has big temples and everything.”

Katie nodded and put her arm around Artie.  “I wonder if our other girl is around somewhere.”

“Sakhmet?  I would imagine she is,” Lockhart said.

“Land of Goshen.”

“I would imagine she is all grown up now,” Katie said.

“Oh, probably for centuries now,” Lockhart agreed

“Land a Goshen.”

“She usually shows up when we are in town,” Katie said.  “Maybe she has forgotten us.”

Lockhart shook his head.  “But she is probably occupied with her own responsibilities these days.  We can’t expect her to show up just because we are here.”

Decker and Lincoln spoke at the same time in their surprise.  “Land of a Goshen.”

Sakhmet appeared, grinned, and rushed to squeeze between Katie and Lockhart only to find another girl there.  Katie quickly introduced them.

“Sakhmet, this is your little sister, Artie.  Artie, this is your big sister, Sakhmet.”

“Oh yes,” Artie said.  “You told me about her.”

“You mentioned me?” Sakhmet sounded surprised.  “You thought of me when you weren’t in Egypt?”  Sakhmet began to cry.  “And you got me a little sister.  I always wanted a little sister.”

“I have a big sister?” Artie said.  “I want a big sister, so I have someone to teach me, and I can ask questions.” Artie started to cry.  “Why am I crying?  I’m happy.  I don’t understand why I’m crying.”  She hugged Sakhmet, who hugged her right back.  Katie got up and hugged them both at once.  The rest of the travelers looked at Lockhart, who looked a little uncomfortable, but got up to hug everyone.

“Girls.  Girls.  I’m glad you’re happy, but no need to cry.”

Sakhmet stopped crying suddenly, so everyone stopped crying.  Sakhmet had a question.

“When are you two going to get married?”

Lockhart looked at Katie.  “Soon, I think.  Ask your mother.”

Sakhmet and Artie both swiveled their heads to Katie.

“Soon,” Katie said.  “Your father knows.  We haven’t set a date.”

“It won’t be without you,” Lockhart said, mostly for Sakhmet’s benefit, and Sakhmet smiled a mischievous smile.

“Come, sister,” Sakhmet took Artie to the side and sat facing her.  She whispered so Katie and Lockhart could not hear.  “They will never get married as long as you sit between them.  They have to be touching, until they need to do more than just touching.”

Artie grinned a big grin and turned her head to look at Katie and Lockhart, but her ears were all Sakhmet’s.  They talked for an hour, while the others followed their lead and whispered, until Lincoln and Decker got up to get in their tents.  They had the midnight to three in the morning watch and needed some sleep before then.

“Land of Goshen,” Lincoln said, and waved as he went into his tent.

“Land a Goshen,” Decker echoed and went to bed.

“Thank goodness for a few hours of peace,” Elder Stow said.

Alexis agreed.  “Time for bed,” she told Boston.  She went into their tent, and Boston followed, but she looked like she was having a hard time keeping her tongue from saying, “Land of Goshen.”

After the hour, Lockhart and Katie were side by side, staring at the girls, no doubt wondering what they were talking about.

“I have to go,” Sakhmet said.  “I’ll catch up with you in Memphis.  That is where Rachel is, but right now there is trouble.  Someone is infesting men with demons, and it is not my place to track down who.  At the same time, I can’t let demonized men run around chopping up the ordinary folks.  For now, the seven so far are in jail cells where they can’t hurt themselves or each other, or any innocent people.  But they are running out of cells, and I think if the demonized men die, they may come back as vampires.” Sakhmet shrugged and vanished.

Artie opened her mouth.  “What are vampires?”

Katie said, “You don’t want to know.”  She leaned over and kissed Lockhart.  Then she got right up and said.  “Come on Artie, time for bed.”

“Wait a minute,” Lockhart interrupted.  “What did you girls talk about?”

Artie shook her head and grinned.  “Sakhmet says sisters can have secrets.”

Katie added, “Dad is always the last to know.” and she escorted Artie into the tent.

After a few minutes of staring at his scanner, Elder Stow announced, “No crocodiles present.  Lincoln said they don’t move around much when the sun is not out to warm them.”

Lockhart said nothing.  He just stared at the fire.

“Vampires,” Elder Stow said.  “That does not sound good.”

Lockhart said, “Land of Goshen.”

Avalon 3.11: part 4 of 5, Preparations

“Lady Mut, they are here,” Kotemmi said, and Sakhmet took to the air. She grabbed Alexis and Katie and raced for the door. Teti also rose up, caught Boston around the waist and told Kidrash to grab on to her free hand. They got half-way to the outside when Sakhmet came back in to snatch Kidrash.

Teti Mut 1Then Mut appeared, and the great stone doors of her sister’s temple slammed shut, but Boston was facing the rear, and with her head now cleared, she let her magic out. Every torch and candle in the place flared, and the braziers exploded. Teti also blew on the doors and they dropped like they were hit with a battering ram. Sakhmet got out first, but Teti also made it to the outside as Mut looked confused with the fireworks and temporary hurricane force wind.

Teti landed on her feet, moaned, and held her tummy like she pulled a muscle. Alexis ran to her, but Mut came to the door of the temple and opened her mouth. Whatever she had in mind to speak was drowned out by the lion’s roar. Sakhmet was in danger of losing it. Katie had been hurt and Sakhmet loved her adopted mother that much.

“Mehit. You and I have no quarrel,” Mut said. “It is these interlopers from time and this Kairos that must be removed.”

“And who told you that?” Katie asked, feeling somewhat recovered. She was concerned to keep Sakhmet from overreacting and reached out to stroke the lion’s fur. No one had been seriously hurt, yet, and Kidrash was doing a good job keeping the people back.egypt lioness

Mut ignored Katie and could not help wagging her tongue at Sakhmet. “Fine guards you have at your temple. They were so easily manipulated.”

Sakhmet turned again into a woman when Katie stroked her fur, but she had something to say. “I should have eaten them.”

“Woman.” there was an interruption. A distinguished looking gentleman stepped around the corner and there was fire in his eyes. “You are so involved in yourself, you have no idea what is happening here.”

Mut looked at the speaker, but mostly looked puzzled.

“I have come for a wedding,” the man said. “And your sister, whose temple you have violated, has come with me.” Nut appeared beside the gentleman and tapped her foot in disapproval.

“As have we,” a young man added and he came around the side of a building with the most beautiful young woman anyone might imagine. The young man straightened his glasses as he looked at the gentleman, and Mut opened her mouth as wide as the temple door, but said nothing.

“Son, do you have something to tell her first?” the gentleman asked.

“Yes. These travelers out of time are permitted to travel anywhere in our lands where their travels may take them, and you are not to interfere. In fact, the least hint or thought that you may interfere will be held in judgment against you, even forever. I have decreed.”

Teti Mut 2“Now, woman,” the gentleman spoke again after giving Nut a look of reassurance. “Go home.” Mut closed her mouth with a “clack” of her teeth. “I am not telling or debating or any such thing. I am saying, go home and be there when I arrive.” He waved his hand and Mut vanished. The people watching did not imagine she had any choice in the matter.

Kotemmi took that moment to stagger out from inside the temple. Her hair bun was collapsed, her dress covered with soot and ash, and she looked totally dazed and confused. She caught a glimpse of Nut, her true goddess, and fainted.

“Papi Amun, I am so gad you could come,” Teti said as the gods came to her. “Horus the brave, please do not frighten the men with your strength.” Horus pushed his glasses up and chuckled. “Cousin.” Teti reached out for the woman, and Boston stared at the woman, dumbfounded by her beauty. But Alexis was preoccupied and spoke.

“Teti needs to be home in her bed. She stressed herself badly saving us, and needs time to heal. I think the baby is all right.”

“The baby is fine,” the woman said in a voice as beautiful as the rest of her, and they all found themselves in Teti’s greatly expanded room, and Teti on her wonderfully improved bed.

“Cousin,” Teti reached for the woman’s hand. “Let me tell you about washers and dryers.”

###

Teti party 2Anak kept saying this was the best dream he ever had. Lockhart and Lincoln agreed, but they pointed a lot and tried to remember all the names. Most were little ones—elves, dwarfs, a few dark elves and the like, but some were lesser spirits and some were gods, disguised as well as the gods could disguise themselves. Horus did well blending into the travelers, but with his glasses, he was a natural, while at the same time, those who knew about glasses did not doubt who he was.

“I must say,” Horus spoke as he clapped along. “Teti’s little ones make wonderful music.”

“They do,” Lincoln agreed. “Even if I don’t recognize any of the instruments.”

“Katie could name them,” Lockhart said, and Lincoln and Horus looked at the man and both secretly agreed that he was next.

“Over here.” the men looked up to where Decker was guiding Elder Stow to a seat.

“My father,” Elder Stow shouted and waved at Lockhart when he got close. “I shpoke with the Lady Nephthys. She shaid I could have a beer without a hangover.”

“Very good,” Lockhart said.Stow 3

“How much has he had?” Lincoln asked

“Just the one cup,” Decker said “As far as I know.”

“Sh-good,” Elder Stow grinned a grin as wide as his Neanderthal face. “Shis very good.” Then the others had to catch him as he fell over and began to snore. They laid him out and the musicians came over to incorporate his regular snoring in their songs.

Once seated again, Decker added his thought. “I heard three lovely ladies are going to dance for us.” He did his best to remember the names. “Neith, Wadjet, and her sister.” He snapped his fingers before he came up with the name, “Nekhbet, or something like that. Do you know them?”

“All warrior women,” Horus nodded.

“I got that impression,” Decker said, and he sounded interested.

Horus pushed up his glasses and looked at the man. “Neith is the ancient goddess, and as far as I know she is asexual, and doesn’t care about that sort of thing. Wadjet is the cobra of the delta and moves well, maybe slithers well, but she is seriously gay. Nekhbet is the vulture who likes her dead meat well aged, but I hear she goes both ways if you are interested.”

###

Teti party 1“I wonder what the men are doing,” Boston craned her neck toward the back as if somehow she could look through the wall to the outside.

“Now it starts,” Teti said with a grin.

“You will wonder that your whole married life,” Alexis said.

“That’s all they talked about the last bridal shower I went to,” Katie agreed.

“Men!” the dwarf queen said in a voice that made the others laugh.

“Here they are, fresh from the oven,” Hathor said, as she and Nephthys came in carrying trays full of food, and everyone went straight for the brownies.

“Wherever did you discover this marvelous chocolate, the elf queen asked, and the fairy queen, the goblin queen, Serket and Seshat agreed.

“Not to mention the sugar,” Alexis added.

“Trade secret I’m afraid,” Teti said, and everyone knew that meant not to pry into the business of the Kairos. “But for Boston, I thought a little taste of home might be nice.”Teti a2

“Won’t your mother be surprised when you bring home a husband,” Nephthys said sweetly.

Hathor nodded and added a thought. “You would think her daughter becoming an elf would be enough to get used to.”

“I’m practicing my glamours to appear human, like I used to look,” Boston said, and craned her neck again to say she really did wonder what the men were doing.

Avalon 3.11: part 3 of 5, Red and Yellow Hair

In the morning, Teti, Katie, Sakhmet, Boston, and Alexis headed for town to shop. There was not much to get, and not really any shops to speak of. There were workers in wood, clay, and metal, but nothing that would transfer well into the future, unless they could find something in gold or silver. Sadly, Thinis had to import everything metal, and that was mostly copper and a crude sort of bronze.

To be honest, most people made what they needed for themselves, or with the help of neighbors, and shortly the shopping trip became a time for visiting Teti’s friends, old and new. Kidrash, the fisherman’s wife, was one of her oldest and dearest friends. Kotemmi was another.

“But she gave herself to the temple of Nut, goddess of the sky, who was once married to Geb, the earth, and whose sister Mut is supposedly married to Amun, but is not so secretly sleeping with Set for the past five hundred or so years,” Teti explained.Teti market 5

“Horus kicked Set out of the two lands some time ago,” Sakhmet said, happily.

“You mean, glasses?” Alexis asked, and she put her hand to her face to show what she meant.

“That’s the one,” Sakhmet confirmed and Boston giggled as Alexis dragged Boston to look at the linen, mostly white, which was used for clothes, sails, blankets, doors and windows, and almost everything.

“I swear,” Kidrash said as they stopped to wait. “Teti, you were irreverent as a child and you haven’t grown one bit.”

“I am,” Teti nodded. “But it is hard, sometimes, given the company.” She nudged Sakhmet and Sakhmet nodded, vigorously.

“Sakhmetet,” Kidrash rolled her eyes and called the girl as she knew her to be Teti’s cousin from Abydos. She scolded them as if they were making a joke, and nudged Teti.. “Your cousin is as bad as you,” she said. “Just don’t be that way around Kotemmi. She takes her worship seriously.”

“So do most of the gods,” Teti admitted. “But sometimes it is all too serious for me. My father, one of them anyway,” Teti winked at Katie. “He said life is too important to be taken seriously.”

Teti guardThey all had to think about that for a minute, while they fingered what vegetables were in the market. Boston screamed. Alexis threw her arm out to protect Boston, but the three big men had spears and were not inclined to stop.

“Red hair. I wonder if it is red everywhere,” one man said

Katie said something else. “Stay here,” and she meant it.

One kick to the knee, and Katie put the first man down, possibly with a broken knee. The second one was quick. He poked at her with his spear, but she dodged and grabbed the shaft, stepped in, while her foot found his middle. He let out a great “Oof,” and she doubled the affect by ramming the butt end of his own spear into his stomach. Then she twisted the weapon to block the third man’s spear.

The man paused. Katie said, “Run,” and the man did as some of the men in the market came up to grab the two on the ground and chase the third.

Sakhmet ran up and threw her arms around Katie, and praised her to no end. They were both happy until one of the men in the market mentioned that the disruptive element were guards from the temple of Mehit, the lion goddess.

“Mine?” Sakhmet got mad, and would have said much more and done who knows what if Katie had not hushed her and calmed her down.

###

Boston 7When they arrived at the temple of Nut, Kotemmi came out to greet them. “Priestess,” Kidrash bowed. The others said hello, but minded their own business, except Sakhmet, who peeked over Kotemmi’s shoulder in an effort to see the temple inside.

“Red and Yellow hair,” Kotemmi said in a suspicious voice. “People told me, but I would not believe it until I saw with my own eyes.” Teti and Katie at least wondered what Kotemmi was suspicious about. Boston modeled her head.Katie 3

“And it is really red,” she said, knowing the rest of her appearance was a glamour imitating humanity.

“Don’t push it,” Alexis said an aside while Sakhmet all but leaned into the temple.

“So how is Nut’s sister, Mut these days, if you know?” she asked. “Most of us don’t get to see her much since she has been skipping down to Kush and Nubia to visit, you-know-who.” Kotemmi raised both eyebrows as she tried to make sense of what Sakhmet was saying. She was about to respond, when another priestess came and whispered in her ear.

“But come. Everything is prepared,” Kotemmi said, and they followed her into the dark.

Teti templeTeti took a good look at the candles, torches and braziers that gave light to the stifling gloom of the temple, and she wondered why the sky goddess didn’t have the roof removed to present herself. She supposed it would ruin all the food laid out on the altar if it ever rained. Teti caught the chanting from somewhere in a room behind the altar, and thought nothing of it. It was what priestesses did, but then Katie went stiff and her eyes glazed over. Boston fought it and let out a sharp sound. Sakhmet looked up from where Kotemmi was kneeling in front of a big statue meant to represent the goddess, Nut. It was like Sakhmet was preoccupied with trying to figure out how the sculptor got it all wrong. And Alexis moved.

With her wand in hand, Alexis stepped behind the altar and shot something into the back room. The sound from there became a muffled protest, like the woman’s tongue was glued to the teeth and the lips were glued shut. Then things got serious.

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

The second half of Avalon, episode 3.11 will post on Monday and Tuesday of next week.  Don’t miss it, the Festival of Marriage.

Teti wedding 4

Avalon 3.11: part 2 of 5, Evening

Two hours later, the travelers came to her front yard. Teti went out to face them, and she caused them to stop and face her. Her hand was still up to shade her eyes, and with her other hand on her hip, she spoke sharply. “Who are you to tromp across my fields on great, unclean beasts.

“Simple travelers,” Mingus said. “Please forgive our ignorance.”

“And a fine looking young couple traveling with you. Are you married?”

“Not yet,” Boston lamented.

“Well, you should be,” Teti said with a grin against the sun. “Maybe we can work something out while you are here.” Before anyone could respond, the others caught up. “Great! How do you expect me to get any grain at all out of that field with you tromping all over it?”Teti a1

“We are very sorry,” Alexis apologized as Decker came in from the wing to where everyone had stopped.

“We are looking for a woman named Teti,” Lincoln said, and added an aside for the others. “Teti is normally a man’s name. The woman should be Tetifer or something.”

“I know who you mean. The lion killer, or maybe the peacemaker if she is around to overhear.”

“Yes, that’s her,” Lincoln said, but he checked the database to be triple sure.

“Does your village have a name?” Katie asked to be polite when the woman blocking their way looked like she was not going to say where they could find Teti.

“Thinis,” Teti answered. “That ridge you came over is full of graves. The great god of war, Anhur is buried there. So is Narmer, the first ruler of the two lands, and many Pharaohs who came after. In the village you will find the temple of Anhur as well as the shrine of Sakhmet, the lion goddess we call Mehit. Perhaps you intend to go and pay your respects?”

“Thinis,” Katie breathed the name deeply. “A city lost in legend.”

“It would be good to see our Sakhmet again,” Lockhart was on a different track.

“Beauty. Love.” Anak came up from the river when he saw the travelers stop at the house. “Welcome friends,” he said as he went to Teti and slipped his arm protectively around her. Mother Nephthys chose that moment to stick her head out the door. little Mia holding her dress.Teti fam 1

“Tell your friends there is room in the barn for their horses and plenty for supper. Come on in.”

“Anak, my husband,” Teti said. “Allow me to introduce my friends. The three elves in front are Mingus, Boston and Roland. The humans behind them are Major Decker, Captain Katie Harper, Lockhart, Alexis and Lincoln. The floating old one is Elder Stow. They are friends from the far future.”

“Forgive my wife,” Anak said. “She sometimes says things that make little sense.”

The travelers smiled and Lockhart spoke up. “But that is the charm,” he said.

“I knew it,” Boston shouted. She got down and ran up, but then paused before she gave Teti a gentle hug around the baby. Teti smiled for her.

“Let us get you married,” Teti said. “Then maybe you can get in this condition.”

Boston looked at Roland and disguised nothing in her look. “Oh, I hope so,” she said.

###

Teti night 2After a fine supper of beef, onion and local bread, Teti and Nephthys excused themselves to put the children to bed. Ankar wanted to stay up, but he was nine, and told their visitors would still be there in the morning. Lenanni wanted to stay up when Ankar protested, but she was glad enough to go to bed. Koteph was half-asleep during supper, and Mia was young enough to still be good. With that, it did not take long to tuck them all in and then Teti turned to her mother with a question.

“Do you think your sister might be wiling to marry young Boston and Roland?”

“Elves have their own ways. It is not generally so formal,” Nephthys responded.

“I know, but Boston has not been an elf for very long. She was raised human and still has human memories and some human dreams.”

“Yes, I know. Roman Catholic. White dresses and flowers and rings.”

Teti paused and tapped her cheek. “I suppose we should have a bridal shower first. Maybe tomorrow, or the day after to have a day to prepare. Then the wedding the next day, unless the men throw Roland a bachelor party. They may need a day to recover.”

“There is a lot to be said for eloping, the way elves usually do it.” Mother Nephthys said, but she smiled. “In the future, people make everything so complicated, but I am looking forward to it.”

“Good. But what can I possibly give her for her shower?”

Mother Nephthys patted her daughter’s hand gently. “You have already given her Roland. Let that be enough.”sakhmet 1

Teti nodded, but still she tried to think of something as they rejoined the others. There was a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it,” Anak stood, and as a kindness to him, it never occurred to him how his small house became big enough for all of those people to be there, comfortably. “Can I help you?” He asked.

“I came to see my mom and dad,” the woman at the door said. Anak stepped aside and the woman came in and immediately squeezed herself between Lockhart and Katie. “So when are you two going to finally get married?” the woman asked. Katie and Lockhart passed a glance over the woman’s head and then gave her a loving hug and squeeze. Sakhmet found some tears.

Avalon 3.2: part 6 of 6, Human Babies?

Ptah looked at Weret. “I noticed, but I was being polite not saying it.” He looked at Wadjt, but she ignored his look.

Wadjt stepped over to the trembling Captain in the middle and spoke softly to him. “I am keeping my word. I am staying out of it, but I would leave Weret alone if I were you. She has too many friends in high places, if you know what I mean.” Wadjt vanished, but Weret was ready to explode. She looked at the Bluebloods beside her, and this time her angry face had some teeth in it before she vanished. Amun Junior came to stand there with the same angry expression, but his was truly a frightening, teeth filled expression. Sakhmet roared again with the appearance of her younger-older brother.

“You explained the rules to your Captain like I asked?” Junior squeezed the words between his teeth.

“Absolutely,” the Blueblood female swore. “Of course. Just like you asked. In great detail.”

“Liar!” Junior yelled, waved his hand and the female no longer had a tongue. “I want every male responsible for impregnating a female and every female who has planted her egg in a human to be in the cafeteria. He jumped to the cafeteria, and so did Ptah, Bast Sakhmet and Boston. There were twelve males and seven females together in that room, and three of the females still carried their egg, not yet having found a carrier.Egyptian banquet

Junior yelled a second time. “The Captain and any senior officers not already here, be here, now.” Four males and two females appeared. Junior double-checked. They were clean. “Stand and watch,” he said, and that group had no choice.

Junior extracted the embryos from the three females by making them disappear and reappear in the woman’s hands. He explained, though for the most part the embryos were too small to be seen.”You are now holding your children in your hand, children that will never be born. If you have trouble washing your hand clean after today, too bad.”

Then he went one by one through the others. He found in their minds the one they had touched and he brought that woman or girl to the room in a state of suspension. He extracted each embryo the same way and placed it in the offending hand. Then he sent the woman back to the place she came from with her never knowing that anything untoward happened.

Last of all was the man from Abydos who implanted his seed in Boston. Boston froze and was released again when the deed was done. She later said she did not feel a thing. The man had his hand out like the others. He wanted to protest but was not allowed to speak.

Junior reached out to his home on Avalon and called for his armor and weapons. They fit themselves around him perfectly, and he immediately drew his sword.   “You were told the rules and have no excuse,” he said and in one sweep of his sword he cut the man’s head off. There would be a blue blood stain on the floor that would not easily come out. Then he turned to the Captain and his officers.

“Go home,” he said. “Go home and tell all of your people this world is off limits. There will be no breeding here, not now, not ever. I was merciful this time. Next time you can expect no mercy.” He waved his hand once more and he and Boston were back outside, well away from the ship. Ptah, Bast and Sakhmet followed.place of the lion

Bast, in human form, came up to Amun with a tear in her eye. She kissed his cheek gently and went home. Boston sat down beside the lioness and did not think twice about putting her arms around Sakhmet’s neck. Sakhmet gave Boston a great big lick, a lion kiss that made Boston go “Ew!” and laugh.

Ptah, as was his way, said something. “That was merciful indeed. Not many of the gods would have shown such restraint, considering.”

“I thought getting the message out was more important in the long run than giving vent to my anger. One killing was enough.”

“And one tongue from a liar.” Junior nodded while Ptah stepped over to his lioness daughter who seemed to be licking a poor giggling Boston to death. “Daughter, you will drown that poor girl. Get dressed. I believe Weret will need her Sakhmetet soon.” Ptah sighed and vanished.

Junior made a tent appear in the wilderness next to the Place of the Lion. “We stay until the ship leaves.” He looked up at the stone lion for the first time since his arrival at the place of the lion, and he saw the human face there. “I see they finally re-carved the face into the image of Osiris. And just in time for Horus to become King of the gods.”egyptian beauty

“No.” Sakhmet said as she made circles with her thumb and fingers and put them to her eyes. “Horus wears glasses,” she said. She went into the tent. Boston followed. Junior sighed and left that place so Weret could come home Junior took the armor so Weret could have her dress back. When she went into the tent, she ignored the roast cooking on the smokeless fire in the center. She waddled to a cot and laid down. In fact, she continued to lie there the whole time they camped.

The Bluebloods did not actually leave the planet until just after lunch on the next day. Weret reluctantly got up and Sakhmet had the honor of reducing their tent to a hand-sized package. Then she took the three of them to where the rest of the travelers were moving lazily down the river. There were a number of riverboats alongside and several thousand soldiers moving across the land and trying not to tromp down any newly planted fields they came to.

“Boston!” Alexis noticed first.

“Boston!” Lockhart tried to sound like the Kairos.

Boston went straight for her horse, Honey, who was trailing behind Roland’s horse. Roland complained. “Your horse got the first kiss.”

Boston leapt up on Honey’s back and leaned over to Roland. “You get the rest,” then she paused and said, “Did I tell you I got pregnant?”

Weret went straight to Lockhart, made him and Katie dismount and follow her to a quiet spot. “You have to be more careful,” she scolded. “You were right not to show them weapons and to discourage the horse idea. But you gave them clean water for the journey. Now Narmer will show up with six or seven thousand men ready for battle instead of the usual four thousand men and three thousand doubled over with diarrhea. In this case, history tells us that Narmer succeeds, but you could change the outcome of an entire war with such a simple thing.” She wagged her finger at them and made a concerned face which was just as cute as the rest of her faces.

“I understand,” Lockhart said.egyptian soldiers

“We discussed that very thing earlier,” Katie confessed and lowered her eyes.

“No harm,” Weret said and she smiled her beautiful smile, and then she moaned and doubled over.

“Drinking the water?” Lockhart kidded.

“Not funny,” Katie pushed him back as Alexis came rushing over.

“My water broke,” Weret said.

“Her water broke,” Alexis shouted for the others.

“Don’t tell Narmer.” She grabbed Lockhart’s arm. “Don’t tell Narmer,” she shouted.

Sakhmet came rushing over. “Is it time?” She turned to the others. “We are going to have a baby boy.”

“What are you going to name him?” Boston shouted.

“Menes,” Sakhmet answered.

Avalon 3.2 part 5 of 6, Prisoners

“Let me get this straight.” Sakhmet was being coy. “You want me to transport you and me and Boston and this shuttle with the five Bluebloods and all of this material to the Place of the Lion in a heartbeat?”

“Please.” Weret was tired and feeling exceptionally heavy. She was beginning to think what Alexis said might be true, that she was off in her calculations and the baby might come any day.

“Okay,” Sakhmet said, and they were there. “I wouldn’t want you to go into labor on my account.”

Weret simply stepped up and gave her older-younger sister a kiss and a hug. Boston, who was no stranger to being transported by the gods, allowed a bit of time for the Bluebloods to get over their dizziness, confusion and total sense of disorientation before she spoke.

“Now, you need to call your Captain and your workers to pick up this material. Then you need to dock your shuttle and prepare it to be dismantled if necessary, as agreed.” She wanted to go outside and scope the landscape, but she knew she needed to eavesdrop on exactly what these Bluebloods told their Captain. She did not trust the man or the woman, the ones who did the talking the night before. She couldn’t say about the other three. They never said anything.

“Orders failed. Commander dead.” It was the woman who talked on the communication device. “Results. Three prisoners who claim they can fix the navigation system. One prisoner is the concubine of the White King and carries his heir. Recommendation. See what they can do with the equipment before selling them to the Red King. Work scow needed to pick up—”

“Ouch!” Boston felt a drop of blood and put her finger in her mouth. Somehow, the Blueblood male got behind her and scratched her. Boston already had reason not to like the guy. As Weret would say, he was not helping his case, and of course he said nothing to apologize, no excuse me or nothing.

Boston turned back to the woman on the communicator, but she had already signed off and was coming to the shuttle door. “Captain said ride in on the shuttle. It will get us through the ship’s screens and we can better guide you to the array from the inside.”

“I smell rats,” Weret said. “You going to visit Wadjt while Boston and I spend the day doing boring things?”

Sakhmet shook her head. “I owe father a visit. I think he is about ready to surrender Memphis, but the King in Buto is fighting.”

“Don’t be out of ear shot,” Weret said, and then she chided herself in her cheekiness for telling a goddess what to do.

As Boston helped Weret up into the shuttle, she whispered in High Elf, what she knew of the language. Roland was teaching her. It came out, “they make us captive,” rather than “they are calling us prisoners” but Weret got the gist of it.

They sat in the back of the shuttle so when they landed, Weret made the Bluebloods wait while she traded paces through time with Martok, the Bospori, the mathematical engineer, a life she would live impossibly far in the future. Martok simply said, “now we go,” and he let the Bluebloods off before he and Boston followed.

By two in the afternoon, they had everything repaired but one circuit, and neither could see any reason why that circuit should not work. Boston was very upset and frustrated with the whole convoluted thing by then, and the fact that they were not offered lunch irked her terribly.

“Wait!” Martok roared. “Let me get out first. Let me get out.” He had his head and tools inside the cabinet and Boston was getting out her wand. Boston waited, but barely. She waved her wand and shouted at the machine, and suddenly it sprang to life.

“It is a wonder you didn’t blow the whole thing to smithereens,” Martok said.

“I know,” Boston admitted, but she was glad that it worked.

“We’re done!” Martok shouted and Boston held her ears. A Bospori shout could be uncomfortably loud. Several Bluebloods came over to begin testing the equipment. Both the man and the woman who did the talking in Abydos came to escort them out.

“Bad feeling about this,” Boston said. Martok simply took and patted her hand like a kindly old grandfather, though currently he was no older than thirty.

When they reached the ramp to exit the ship, they saw three groups of men, each having twenty or more warriors, and three captains standing at the bottom of the ramp, arguing.

“Time for Weret to come home,” Martok said, and he gave Boston’s hand one more pat before Weret was there to let go of Boston’s hand and take her arm instead for support. “Let’s see what we have here.”

Weret and Boston barely reached the bottom of the ramp before Ptah appeared. While a third of the men fell to their knees before their god, he stepped up and gave Weret a kiss on the cheek. “Sakhmet has told me all about you,” he said. “And you must be the irrepressible Boston. I recognized the red hair.”

“Sir.” Boston did not know what else to say.

“So I take it these are locals, from Memphis,” Weret pointed to the men on their knees with their eyes turned to the ground.

“Indeed,” Ptah said with a sharp look at the Blueblood male and female. “And they have no intention of turning you over to the Red King.”

As he finished speaking, a woman appeared and a second third of the soldiers fell to the ground.

‘Mother Bast,” Weret hugged the woman. “So these are yours, from Bubastis.”

The woman simply kissed Weret’s other cheek and transformed into a house cat. She went straight for Boston and wanted to be picked up. Boston loved cats. She was delighted and a bit scared as well. This was one cat she did not want to rub the wrong way.

The captain of the center group called out, and there was plenty of fear in his voice. “Set! Set!” He did not know that Horus was given the whole of the Nile back in Junior’s day and Set was driven out. Set could not come, so the man tried another name. “Wadjt.”

Wadjt came, and Sakhmet was with her. Sakhmet immediately transformed to a lioness and roared at the frightened men in the middle. They had gone to their knees before Wadjt, but fell to their trembling faces before Sakhmet.

“We were playing a game, and I was winning,” Wadjt complained. “Hello Weret, Blueblood trouble? Why look, your friend is pregnant too.” She reached for Boston as Bast got down from her arms. “Just pregnant I would say.”

“No,” Boston looked confused. “I’m still a virgin.”

Avalon 3.2: part 4 of 6, Moonbeams

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?”egypt king and priest

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 egypt crowd generalget 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.Egypt Bedroom

“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.

When the men from the table downstairs burst into the room, decked out for war, they were presented egypt lionesswith this very strange sight. Narmer turned first to the lioness.

“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.”

Avalon 3.2: part 3 of 6, Negotiations

Supper put the six Bluebloods on one side of the long table with several of the king’s generals, the other side was taken up with the travelers beside Weret and Sakhmet who was masquerading as Sakhmetet, Weret’s good friend and something like a lady in waiting. There were other dignitaries, and guards stationed around the room, but to be sure, the king’s table could hardly accommodate thirty.

Narmer sat at the head of the table, Weret to one side and a chief among the priests to the other. Narmer was a middle aged man, but looked to be in excellent shape and health. He was content at first to eat his beef, grain and onion quietly and sip his beer while he watched his guests. The chief Blueblood showed right from the start that rude was to be expected.

“I see the Gott-Druk still has his equipment, and weapons I presume. Special privilege for the one not so bright?”

Weret put her hand on Narmer’s hand and repeated what the Blueblood said, then she turned to the Egyptian banquetBlueblood and answered, calmly, in the local tongue. “Elder Stow and his people are native to this planet. He is a trusted and welcomed guest at this table. You are not of this world and thus far have not proved yourself a friend. You are a guest here, and would do well to remember that.”

Narmer pulled his big hand from beneath Weret’s little one to capture her hand with his warmth. He smiled for the young beauty. Every man did, but clearly Narmer and Weret has shared on a most intimate basis. “She is my reason,” he called her. “She knows things no other person knows and she has resources no other person has. Isn’t that so, master elf?” He looked briefly at Roland who nodded graciously. “Every man in the army is in love with her and no doubt would die for her if she asked them to, but diplomacy is not her strong suit. These blue people are strangers to us, as may be their ways. What we consider proper, they might not understand. They might consider very different things proper.” He shrugged a very human shrug. “But I have said they are welcome at my table. Let it be so for now.”

“But tell me,” Katie spoke up casually. “Weret mentioned your ship is parked down by the Place of the Lion and in need of repair. What brought you all the way up here?”

The second male brought a small translator from his belt that would translate his words to the local words, then he spoke since the chief looked put-off by Weret’s comment. “We heard there was a king in these lands and we thought we might ask his help. There are certain things we need for our repairs, the chief thing being copper.” It was not the whole truth, and many of the people there, travelers and Egyptians alike were not fooled.

“Yes.”   Lincoln took up the question as he imagined he was wondering the same thing as Katie. “But how did you know to come here, to Abydos? There are real cities you passed over on the way, and the Narmerbig cities are all upstream from here. We passed through two, Hekhen, which is the capitol and where I would expect to find the king, and the big city, Thebes.”

A blueblood female leaned over to speak into the translation device. “There are a small number of men outside a town in the north. They told us of the king of the south.”

The travelers looked at Narmer and he took his smiling eyes from Weret to give an answer. “I have three thousand men holding a wall just outside Memphis. I came here a year ago and have raised and trained five thousand more. We hope to pick up another two thousand as we move on the Land of the Bee. That will be an army the Red King cannot counter. We already have Bubastis, Heliopolis and Merimde pledged to switch sides. If we can take Buto, the delta will fall and the two lands can finally be at peace.”

“But we were in Thebes until a week ago.” Weret interjected. “We only came here to see how five thousand men might be moved. We learned a few things, but I am sure word has not yet gotten to the three thousand so there is no way they could have told you we were in Abydos.”

The other Bluebloods looked at their chief. “We saw the army here.” He said the words, but it truly came out as a question. Weret shook her head.temple at abydos

“The impressive building here, the one any stranger would take for a palace is the Temple of Osiris, but you came straight here.”

The Blueblood nodded like he knew he was trapped in the lie. He appeared to think it was time for some honesty. “The king in the north has already promised us all the copper and other things we need. He has required only one price.” The Blueblood took something from his pocket. It looked like a spray bottle of some kind. “He said we must kill the White King.”

Even as the translation box was rendering those last words, the Blueblood raised the bottle and sprayed its contents at the king. He did not know that Sakhmet, the warrior goddess whose job it is to defend the upper lands, had already put up an invisible wall against treachery. The spray only went as far as the wall where it bounced back in the face of the one who sprayed it. They did not get a chance to see what affect that spray might have, though, because Sakhmet’s wall was not put up to stop Decker’s bullet.

Decker had pulled his pistol to his lap, and used it without hesitation. The Blueblood chief got a hole right through is head and he fell to the ground. Several spear toting guards rushed up and stabbed the body several times, but the Blueblood was already dead.

egyptian soldiers“Wait!” Weret yelled and stood, and Sakhmet stood with her, her hand of concern on Weret’s belly. The guards were ready to slaughter all of the Bluebloods present, but with a glance at their king, they were willing to wait for Weret.

“I want to send them home, get them off this planet, and I would rather not see them all killed if we can help it,” Weret said as she sat again, slowly, with Sakhmet’s help. “Let’s start again. What is wrong with your ship and how can we help you repair it?”

The five remaining Bluebloods watched as men came and took the body away. Then the man on the end grabbed the translation box and spoke rapidly. “The wires burned out in the navigation system. We brought extra, but lost it in battle. The hole in the hull is sealed off. It should not be a problem, but without navigation we won’t be going anywhere.”

The woman leaned over again. “Navigation is the system that shows us what path we need to take through the stars—“

“We know what navigation means,” Lincoln interrupted.

“Did you try replacing the wire?” Katie asked.

The man spoke again, more slowly this time. “We had enough to try and replace it once, but it just burned out again.”

Several people looked at Boston. She held the doctorate in electrical engineering, after all. She considered her words. “It sounds like the trouble is deeper in the system, like whatever you are using as capacitors are malfunctioning, maybe shorting out. It sounds like the electricity is being stalled at some point and then suddenly surging out like a mini-lightning strike, frying any little wires in the way. Something like that. But I can’t really know what the real trouble is until I get a look at it.”

“You would look at it?” The woman sounded surprised.

“I will if you want me to fix it, and maybe if Martok helps.”

Weret did her best to lean over to look at Boston. “He says he would be delighted.” She sat back down . “But now you five that used to be six. You have two strikes against you. One more incident and I won’t be able to save you from destruction. Remember the rules. You are not to kill the locals, king or commoner alike. There will be no Blueblood babies. This planet is off limits for breeding. And you will respect the rightful authority here. Again, is that clear?” Weret saw that at least a couple of the Bluebloods were willing. “Then for your own safety, I suggest you sleep tonight in your shuttle. We will see about going to your ship in the morning, after we have all had some rest.”

“But our ship is gone,” the Blueblood woman protested.egyptian beauty

“No,” Weret countered. “It is back where you parked it. But your weapons and engines have been temporarily disabled so you won’t be able to hurt anyone or go anywhere tonight.”

Narmer waved for guards. “Escort these back to their ship for the night. It is in the courtyard?” He had to look at Weret who nodded.

As the Bluebloods marched out, Sakhmet helped Weret stand again. Narmer wanted to help, but Weret waved him off. “I am fine. You have to wait at least another thirty days before you can see your, um, grandson. Right now, I just want to show my friends to their rooms. Ugh. I sat too long.”

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

This ends the first half of Avalon, episode 3.2.  Be sure to return next week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) to see if Weret and Boston can repair the Blueblood ship and how far the Bluebloods may go to test the patience of these two trusting young women.

Avalon 3.2: part 2 of 6, Bluebloods

Weret nudged Elder Stow before the shuttle came to the ground. The sound of the landing was terribly loud, but Weret shouted into the Elder’s ear. “Can you put up a screen wall between us and the ship, just in case?” Elder Stow nodded and pulled out his little box while Weret turned to the Egyptian. “Captain. Captain!” she had to say it twice to get the man to close his astonished mouth and get his attention. “Keep your soldiers on the steps until we see what these visitors do.” The man nodded and ran to get his troop back up on the steps.

The shuttle set down in the courtyard. There was a minute while the engines shut down before a door opened up on the side of the ship. Three men stepped out, and despite the fancy blue and gold striped space suits with the high collars, and certainly in their faces and hands, they appeared human, if one discounted the slightly blue tint to the skin.

“Disappointing,” Lincoln whispered. “I expected jello-blobs.”Blueblood landing

Lockhart whispered back. “You always think they should be jello-blobs.”

“He does,” Alexis confirmed and took Lincoln’s arm.

The three Bluebloods spread out. They had their weapons drawn and the way they moved caused Decker to go on high alert. He pulled his rifle up to the ready, and that caused Katie to do the same.

Weret moved two steps down, opened her arms and said her speech. “Welcome. The King is pleased to greet you and requests your presence in the hall of the gods.” She smiled. The Bluebloods answered with a full blast of their shuttle’s main gun. It stopped short of the steps while Elder Stow monitored his box.

“Impressive,” he said. “A real antique bit of fireworks, but impressive strength. That is about as far as they can go down that energy line before they hit a dead end and have to find a new energy source.”

“That was rude!” Weret looked angry, She stomped her foot on the steps, but the travelers smiled as did the Egyptians. Weret’s angry face was extremely cute, and her pregnancy just enhanced the cuteness. “Elder Stow,” she called, and he stepped down to join her.

“Gott-Druk.” One of the Bluebloods shouted when he saw him.

“I don’t know what you are thinking,” Weret groused. “There are no Pendratti or Sevarese here or whomever it is you are fighting right now.” She raised her hands to be sure she had their attention. “I gave you my King’s greeting,” she said and vanished from that place to be replaced by Junior in the full armor of the Kairos. The Bluebloods took a step back at that transformation. The Egyptian soldiers fell to their knees and dared not look up at the god.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Now you need to hear the rules. You are not to kill the locals. You can visit, but only if you leave your weapons behind.” He snapped his finger and the three weapons in the hands of the three Bluebloods in the courtyard vanished. “Second, you are not permitted to breed on this planet. If you do, the baby will be aborted and so will the offending party. This planet is off limits for breeding. Third, you will show due respect for all who have authority on this planet. If you are here to repair your ship, as I see you are, do so, but break the rules and you will have a long walk home.” Junior snapped his fingers and the shuttle vanished. The man and two women still inside the shuttle were deposited on their rumps on the ground. Do I make myself clear?” he shouted the last.

The Blueblloods bunched up and showed very human expressions of surprise and wonder. They nodded as Junior went away and Weret came back bearing her meanest expression. It might have been more effective if Weret’s mean face was not even cuter than her angry face. Besides, she could not hold it. Her face blossomed into her beautiful smile as she invited the visitors to come meet her King,

“I’ll say that was clear,” another young woman appeared beside Weret and gave her a sisterly hug and kiss on the cheek. “I heard my younger-older brother all the way down in Bubastis. So what did I miss.”

Weret’s smile got bigger than ever. She was not just happy, she was excited, and she pointed to the travelers.   “Friends of yours.”

The young woman’s eyes got big and she shrieked and literally flew up the steps to wrap her arms first around Katie and then around Lockhart. Katie was the one who guessed.

“Sakhmet.”

“My little lion girl?” Lockhart said, and Sakhmet was so thrilled to be remembered, she gave him a kiss. Then she kissed Katie and took their hands.

“I always dreamed if I was born a mortal human, you would be my parents.”

Katie looked up at Lockhart and he stammered, “And I am sure, if we married and had a little girl, we would want her to be just like you.” Katie smiled.

“We are going inside,” Weret said as she walked by. She stuck her tongue out at Sakhmet and Sakhmet returned a pucker-face before she laughed..sakhmet 1

“My younger-older brother makes a great sister. I never had a real sister before.” She looked at Katie and batted her sad little eyes.

“We’ll see,” Katie said, and patted Sakhmet’s hand as she squeezed between the couple and took Katie’s arm and Lockhart’s arm.

Lockhart looked at the woman. “I think our scared little girl desperately trying to reach her father’s house has grown up,” he said. He patted Sakhmet’s other hand.

“You would make a wonderful daughter,” Katie said with an undisguised look at Lockhart.

“I accept.” Sakhmet smiled the smile of a true goddess and guided the couple into the King’s house, where they heard a stick rap three times sharply against a hollow log. A man’s voice followed.

“Narmer, the Aha Hor of the Great God Horus, Master of Aswan, King of Hekhen, Lord of Thebes, Protector of Abydos, the resting place of the Kings, Lord of all the Sedge, Wearer of the White crown and Ruler over all of Upper Egypt, give glory.”

“Holy—“ Katie found her mouth covered by Roland’s hand.

“We are entering days where it will be dangerous to tell what you know or what you think you know,” Roland said. “From now on we need to be careful not to disturb history.”

Katie nodded, and he let her go. She walked past Lincoln who had Alexis’ hand over his mouth in just the same way.

“Better to be like me,” Lockhart confided to Sakhmet. “If you don’t know anything there is no danger of speaking out of turn.”

“Oh, Dad!” Sakhmet scolded, but grinned.

Avalon 2.11: Deeper Underground

            It seems the sorceress had more than one trick up her sleeve, but she had no way of knowing that Wadjt and the Kairos were dear friends from long ago.  Once it was clear that the sorceress was effectively disarmed, ten-year-old Emotep acted like a real grownup.  He got Wadjt, defender of the north and young Sakhmet, defender of the south to make friends.  The future depended on it.  After all of that Serket, the scorpion goddess showed up and everyone vanished, together.

###

            Emotep found himself in a great room, cathedral sized, with columns regularly spaced to make a labyrinth of sorts indoors.  The stars could be seen in the spaces overhead.  The sun was to their left and cast great black shadows off to their right.  But the moon was to their right and full, and it cast its own shadows off to the left.

            “Where are we?” Katie asked the operative question. 

            “Home?” Sakhmet breathed the word.

            “Last time I was here, I thought I was in outer space and beyond that, I was a girl.”

            “Yes, about that,” Sakhmet turned on him.  “Would that make you my older-younger sister, or what?”

            “Sorry,” Emotep grinned at his memory of what mother Vrya of the Aesgard always called him.  He paraphrased.  “I am your brother even when I am your sister.”

            “That’s my Kairos,” Lockhart grinned, and all the more when Katie moved in close and took hold of him.  She was frightened.  They all were, and Neferet scooted around to where she could hold both Emotep’s and Sakhmet’s hands, and walk, if she wanted, with her eyes closed.

            Quite apart from the hot brightness of the sun and the glittering, silvery brightness of the moon, there was a greater brightness ahead of them.  Serket was gone, but in her place there came another woman, one who reminded Katie and Lockhart a little of Innan, the goddess of desire they met in the Middle East.  At first they imagined this might be the Egyptian version, but the woman looked at them and spoke.

            “Innan my mother,” she said.  She was dressed in armor, not unlike Emotep’s and looked hard, like for all her beauty she could kill in a heartbeat.  She grabbed Emotep’s chin and stared hard into his eyes for the longest time.  It was impossible for Emotep to bear until the woman made a pronouncement.  “Not my son.”  This triggered something to come up into Emotep’s eyes that blunted the stare of the goddess, and the words helped.

            “Not my mother,” he said.  She almost smiled and patted Neferet on the head before she turned to Sakhmet and grabbed her roughly by the upper arm. 

            Sakhmet protested.  “Mother!” but it did no good.

            “Daughter take too long to be here.”  She dragged Sakhmet off with one more word.  “Come.”

            They all followed until they came to an alter at the far end of the room.  Osiris was there shining brighter than the sun, standing on the pedestal that put him above everyone in the hall.  He was a ghost of sorts, but certainly not dead yet.

            Isis was also present with all four of her children.  Bast was in cat form and came to stand, or rather sit beside Neferet.  She allowed the little girl to let out her nervousness by petting her fur.  Anubis stood quiet, stately, and totally threatening in his jackal-headed presence which would frighten a minotaur. 

            Horus and Hathor were also there and stood beside their mother, Isis.  Hathor, who looked to be about twenty-one and no longer a teenager, had the true look of Innan about her, even more than Ishtar.  She was the Egyptian version of Innan.  Horus turned around last of all, and he had on glasses, and not the wire rimmed ones the Kairos made for Enki.  Horus had on black rimmed, square, purely geek glasses. 

            “I don’t know if I can,” he said to Emotep.

            “Just do your best,” Emotep responded.  “That is all I can ever do, but I have found when you do your best it is often better than you thought you could do.”

            “Very wise,” Osiris said from the podium.  His voice boomed through the great hall and gave all the mortals chills.  The voice was not dead, but not exactly alive either.  “But that is not why you are here.”

            Isis stepped up to Emotep and a few tears fell.  “Thank you,” she said, which was unheard of.  The gods never showed gratitude to anyone, especially a mortal.  “As long as his heart continues to beat now and then he remains partly in this world.”

            “It will be alright,” Emotep said, and added the word, “Grandma.”  Isis looked at him and started to shed some tears in earnest.  She reached out and kissed his forehead so he felt her tears run down his own cheeks.  She turned to walk back to the altar and her children as Mother Bast leaned over and licked Emotep’s hand.

            “Now, as for the worshipers of my brother dancing on my tomb –“ Osiris paused.  Something went out from Emotep, something he did not know, but even the gods paused to listen.

            “In a hundred years, Horus will find a way and Sakhmet will be taken by fury.  I will be there to help light the fire and douse the fire.  In a second hundred years, I will watch from the palace window while the two lands are united.  A child at last will rule in peace over the two lands and the sun will rejoice and the moon will be happy.”  Emotep shook his head.  “That is all I  know.  He looked up.  Toth was there.

            “Kairos.”  Toth nodded his head briefly as a sign of friendship to Emotep before he went to a knee before Osiris.  “Lord,” he said.  “These three come before you for judgment.  Their hearts were heavy until this last day when they sacrificed their own lives for the sake of the children.”

            Katie Harper drew in her breath.  She recognized one of the men, though they did not appear to notice her presence at all.  They were spirits only, ghosts not given to recognizing flesh and blood.  To be sure, they all noticed and seemed to recognize Emotep well enough, and without the least bit of surprise that he would be present among the gods; but they did not see Lockhart, Katie or Neferet at all.

            The ghosts fell to their knees before Osiris and then they fell to their faces.  Osiris spoke once more.  “I, too am grateful for seeing that one’s personal feelings must not interfere with the performance of one’s duty,”    There was a flash of light, Osiris bright, and Emotep, Neferet, Katie and Lockhart found themselves on the edge of Abydos, Lincoln and Decker having just emerged from the underground.

            “Sudden dismissal.” Lockhart took note.

            Emotep pointed behind them at the field of the dead.  “I imagine he has to judge a bunch there and doesn’t need our two cents.”  Emptep felt the tug on his sleeve.  He looked down at Neferet and then got down on one knee to be face to face with her.

            “Sakhmet?”  She was asking.

            “We will see her again, as soon as she learns to sneak away.” 

            Neferet looked satisfied with that answer.  They hugged and Neferet skipped off into the crowd of children and adults to find her father. 

            “Thank you,” Emotep said, sounding suddenly like the ten-year-old boy he was.

            Lockhart and Katie both glanced at the dead on the field and then the living parents and their children.  Lockhart spoke.  “You’re the boss.  I’m just the assistant director,” he turned to Katie.  “Which makes me the number two paper shuffler.”

            Katie said “Faugh,” but she did not quite get the accent right.

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            The travelers are optimistic, filled with the hope that the Danna in the next time zone might send them home without a need to continue through the time gates.  They know she is a full blooded goddess, not one made like Zoe.  The only trouble may be reaching her as they travel through a world like Tetamon’s world.  Men, spirits, gods and aliens are poised on the verge of what Lincoln calls the ancient version of World War II.  Reaching Danna may be doubly hard given all the creatures still on their trail, and especially the ones that seem to be catching up.

Avalon 2.12:  Celtic Dreams … Next Time

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