Avalon 5.3 Perseverance, part 6 of 6

When the travelers packed, and the sun just touched the horizon, and a mist crept out of the forest and came up off the river, Vishnu and Varuna came to visit.  Varuna went straight to the travelers, shook their hands and hugged Boston.  “There will be peace,” he said. and they all said how happy they were for him.

Vishnu stayed aloof.  He had met the travelers, in Zisudra’s day, but he had not had an occasion to get to know them properly, much less grow close to them.  The travelers did not mind, and Padrama, who stopped long enough to say good-bye, had Mohini on his mind.  Vishnu said he only came to see the woman.  He said he liked the name Mohini, so she had one point in her favor already.  He asked about her appearance.  Pardama did not answer the god directly.  Instead, he asked the travelers if they knew what the Kama Sutra was.  When Katie said, surely it had not been written yet, Padrama declared that he was going to write it, with Mohini’s guidance.

“You’re nineteen, aren’t you?” Katie asked.  When Padrama said yes, she said, “That explains it.”  But she did not explain anything.

Padrama told them he did not plan on going anywhere for at least a week, so the time gate should remain in place for all that time.  The travelers moved toward the setting sun, and for two days, they passed through villages and hamlets where they found the people warm and friendly.  The locals were not at all like the crazy people they saw before the gods settled things.

“This is a wonderful land of mystery,” Katie said, pulling in deep breaths of fresh air.

“As long as we don’t get too close to the forest by the mountains,” Artie said.

“I was just thinking the same thing,” Boston spoke up, and Artie looked back at her and laughed, nervously.

Decker rode up, and the group stopped.  “Trouble up ahead,” he reported.  “I would guess the Aryans have broken out from the Indus, but some don’t seem to have gotten the word that this is a migration, not an invasion.”

They rode up close and spied from behind some trees.  A group of thirty or forty men, looking like soldiers, were in the village, driving people into the streets, killing some at random, and burning the houses. Six men in three chariots kept back and watched.  It looked like they did not want to get their hands dirty.

“We should do something,” Alexis insisted.

“Dare not,” Lockhart responded.

Boston noticed the symbol painted on the side of one chariot.  She voiced her surprise.  “It looks like the Nazis were Aryans after all.”  She pointed.  “A swastika.”

“Look again,” Katie said.  “The swastika shows a man running to his right.  That man is running to his left.”

“Man?” Boston said, and tilted her head to say, “Oh.”

Katie continued.  “Hitler stole the symbol and the whole Aryan notion, but the photograph he saw printed it backwards, like a mirror image.”  Katie shrugged.

“Trouble,” Decker said, as soon as they were seen.  The chariots turned to face them and started toward them.  Lockhart knew they could outride any infantry pursuit, but he was not sure about chariots.  Some ground would be harder on wheels, but they might catch up on flat, level ground.  He decided to talk first, but he pulled his shotgun while Katie pulled her rifle and the rest armed up.  Decker, of course, never holstered his rifle.

“Hello friends,” Lockhart shouted.  He had some lame idea about saying that he noticed they were busy and he did not mean to intrude, so they would just ride on, but before he said anything, a mean looking man with blue skin appeared between them and said, “No.  I know what those weapons can do.”

The blue man glowed with his holy presence, and the travelers trembled.  They had forgotten how awesome the gods could be.  Most of the gods toned themselves down to almost nothing when they came around the travelers, but that was no guarantee they all would be so kind.

The chariots appeared back where they had been, like nothing happened, and the man said, “Go.”  The travelers found themselves transported to a small clearing in some unknown woods.  They startled a tiger.  It roared.  It found an arrow in its side.  It fell, and would not be getting up again.

“Who did that?” Lockhart asked.

“Endangered species,” Alexis complained more softly.

A woman stepped out from the trees and smiled.  She carried the bow, so everyone assumed she fired the arrow.  “I am Mother Devi,” she said.  “I wanted to meet you before you left.”

“Thank you for saving us from the tiger,” Boston spoke up, plenty loud, having been scared first by Shiva and then by a tiger.

“Yes, thanks,” Artie echoed.

“You are more than welcome little elf, or should I say, Little Fire.  And you, too, ART with numbers.  I feel for your people who only wish to be free.  Curious.  I cannot read what is on your minds very well at all.”

“The hedge of the gods,” Lincoln said.  “Brahma and Varuna were among those who first set that up, I think.”

Devi nodded.  She waved her hand over the tiger and a perfectly skinned tiger disappeared, while the skin floated in the air.  “I think I will give this to Shiva for his disappointment in not having his great war.  Call it compensation.”

“A consolation prize,” Decker joked.  Devi laughed, but just a little.

“I don’t know,” Lockhart said.  “He seemed pretty set on destroying something if you ask me.”

Devi smiled again.  He makes at little plays, but it will not last.  Soon enough he will be back to his meditation, and I understand he plans to teach his new son how to meditate.  That should be interesting.”

“Hey!” Boston interrupted.  “The time gate is right in front of us.”

Lockhart looked at Boston before he looked again at the beautiful goddess.  “It is our habit to enter the next time zone first thing in the morning.”

Devi looked at the sky to judge the time.  “Excellent.  I wanted some time to talk to you women.  I understand in the future you are liberated.  Is that the right word?”

“Uh-oh,” Lincoln said quietly.  In that moment, the sky opened-up, like the monsoon finally caught up to them.  All the same, Lockhart said for everyone to get down and set up camp.  He had the feeling it was going to be a long night.

Luckily, Devi sensed their distress and put up a dome of protection that stopped the rain from reaching them.  Elder Stow, who had gotten out his screen device, put it away, and shrugged.  Devi was still speaking.

“Thanks to Padrama, that brilliant young boy, I have been included in the first rank in this new place.  It is a great and exciting privilege, but I have begun to think it is also a great responsibility.  We need to talk.”

“There will be some things about the future we cannot tell you,” Alexis said.

“Agreed.  There may be some things I also cannot tell you,” Devi said.

Katie stepped up and looked directly at Devi, before she followed her instinct and hugged the woman.  “Congratulations, and welcome to the club.”  She stepped back to see a small tear in Devi’s eye.  Artie, who stayed on Katie’s elbow had a question.

“Do you know Anath-Rama?  She is my goddess, and for my people.”

“I am sure she is a wonderful woman,” Devi said, with a genuine smile returned despite the speck in her eye.  “She must be special to be goddess for such a lovely young woman.”  That made Artie return the smile, and they were friends from that moment on.

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

Monday

The travelers find themselves in the Land of Goshen, which is to say, Egypt, where the mysteries run deep, and the daughters multiply.  Enjoy the warmth in an otherwise cold December.

Happy Reading

Avalon 4.2: part 6 of 6, A Sad World

“Avi, sweetheart,” Devya said as she kissed him.  “Please gather Archamenis’ things and horses and bring them back to sanctuary.  I must fly.  It is the only way to end the bloodshed.”  She pointed in the direction of the city of Sanctuary, and up to where the Nuwa dragon was already speeding off.

“Can’t one of the gods help, like Junior, Danna, or Nameless?” Katie asked.

Devya shook her head.  “I’m surprised you didn’t mention Mikos’ female reflection, Amphitrite, but no.  With the amulet, even the gods are limited in what damage they can do.  So is the djin, which I am sure is why he wanted it out of the city.  He had to have told Archamenis about it and got him to steal it.  Now, I have to return it, and hopefully before Nuwa and Fuxi dragons turn the city to rubble and ash fighting off the djin.”

Devya rose up into the air and headed for Sanctuary.  The ones left below stared, dumbfounded, until Lockhart turned to Avi.  “I did not know she could do that.”Zisudra 1

“She can do many things,” Avi said.  “She explained to me in the night.  She told me you met Zisudra, her reflection, when he was at the end of his journey, bringing the last of the people into the Indus, my ancestors.  What you did not know is the people had been slowly moving down to the river valley for fifty years or more.  Devi said the Scythian-like people tried to overrun the land, but since Zisudra was a baby, the little ones stopped them on their own.  Then the Elamites thought to make them slaves, so they finished the migration, as you saw.”

“And how did the little ones stop the wild Scythians?” Lincoln asked.  He was listening, but also helping to pack things, so he did not have the database out to read all about it.

“Ah!  There is the rub, as Devi says.  They stopped the Scythians in their beds.  You know this is forbidden to the little ones.  But by the time Zisudra found out, there were thirty-year-old half breeds with bunches of quarter breed children running all over the place.  He got angry.  Apparently he cursed them, that they should never have a home or settle and be satisfied on this earth as long as there was little one blood in them.”

Avalon Traveler horses“Gypsies?” Katie could not help the outburst.  “Romani?”

“Gypsies.  But I think not Romani, though maybe related.”  Avi really did not know.  “Anyway.  The gods were not about to let him get away with having these breeds wandering all through their territories, so they made Zisudra a lesser god for the gypsies and saddled him with watching over them forever.  Poor Devi has cried in the night for how stupid she, or rather, he was.  The curse has been overcome at times and in places, but it remains.”  Avi shook his head.  “Anyway,” he said again.  “Since Devi is what she calls Zisudra’s gin-tetic reflection.”

“Genetic,” Decker interrupted.

“Exactly, so she reflects in a small way what was given to him.  She cannot move in an instant from here to there like a god or lesser god, but she can do many things that no ordinary person can do.”

“Like fly,” Lockhart said, and looked, so they all paused to look in the direction of the storm over Sanctuary.

###

dev temple 1Alexis gripped her wand as Boston tried out her Beretta.  Boston got off three shots, and may have hit someone before the gun just went click, click.  She got out her wand, and they waited for the Afridi to attack down both roads leading to the palace on that side of town.

Mingus gripped the shoulders of his daughters to give them his magic.  Alexis sent a hurricane force wind out which drove back the Afridi and picked several right off the ground.  Boston released something more like a flamethrower from the end of her wand, and with Mingus’ help, his strength being in fire magic, it was strong enough to shoot through the rain.  The Afridi retreated, and some had to be put out.

Boston’s fire ended too soon.  She had in mind to spark a few behinds of the fleeing men, but her flame gave out, like she was suddenly out of power.  Alexis’ wind quit at almost the same time, and she looked up at the cloud and frowned.  The djin laughed againdev temple 4

“Bows,” Mingus said and turned to the old man.  Boston had hers out already, and had that quiver of never ending arrows to draw on, if she ever hit anything.  Alexis got hers, but protested, and vowed not to hit anything unless she could not help it.  Mingus held his ready and talked to the men.  “Give the bows to the best archers.  The rest of you get ready with spears, and spread yourselves evenly down the line.”  The old man made sure that happened, not about to argue after that display of magic and power.  Boston and Mingus still looked human enough, but more than one servant and guardsman wondered.

One woman let out a soft wail as they waited.  Another put a hand to her own mouth to still her chattering teeth.  More than one man had his eyes closed in prayer.  They expected to hear the dragon 2shouts and screams of the enemy any moment, but it never came.  Fuxi dragon landed in the courtyard, and his flame was much larger and more devastating than Boston could imagine.  They heard screams, but it was not men attacking.

Then they heard screams from the side of the building.  Apparently some men had circled around to the stables and intended to get at the defenders from an unexpected direction, but the Nuwa dragon landed there and only a half dozen managed to get inside in time.  They had bows and swords, and Nuwa and Fuxi got busy above.dragon 4

The sky erupted in lighting and fire.  There were roars and high pitched squeals, the latter from the djin.  The big room shook, and a small section of the ceiling collapsed.  Fortunately, no one was injured, but the people all got down and covered their heads.  The Afridi also dared not move out of the doorway.

magic 1It was not long before the djin had enough.  He raced off to the east toward the next time gate, and he took the rain with him.  Everyone breathed, until they remembered the Afridi in the room.  Those men did not look happy, and they looked determined to take some blood.

The Afridi drew their bows and swords.  Only Boston drew hers faster, but her aim was not so good.  It turned out not to be necessary.  Two men, looking for all the world like Bluebloods, appeared in front of her.  With three arrows each, shot faster than the eye could follow, they killed all six Afridi with six perfect shots.

“Enough brother.  That is all,” One of the blue men turned toward the other as Devya came in a side door.  She stepped up to the center post that held up the ceiling and clicked her tongue at the portion of the ceiling that had collapsed.  She flew, to Boston’s gasp, and paused near the very top where she hung the amulet taken from around her neck.  As she came to the ground, the first blue man continued a thought for Alexis.

“You see, Alexis, sometimes preserving and defending go along with destroying in this sad world.”

“It is a sad world,” Alexis agreed with that much and offered a bow.

“I do not like that amulet of yours,” the other blue man turned on Devya.

“I understand,” Devya offered her own bow to the man.  “But Lord Shiva, have I not taught the Afridi to kill as the world kills?  Have I not sent them to the Khyber able to work your work?”

Lord Shiva growled, but then nodded.  “This you have done,” he said and vanished.god ind b s v 1

“And my Lord Rama Vishnu, how may we serve you?” Devya offered a bow to the other blue man.

“You know I love the name Devya.”

“Not in this lifetime,” she responded with a soft, loving voice.

Visnu shook his finger at her.  “I cannot read your heart and mind.  Such future things as you know are forbidden even to the gods, but I cannot help but live in hope.  I will take a wife and I will call her Devi.”

“Indeed you may,” Devya said.  “Who can deny the will of the gods?”

“Ha!” Vishnu and Brahma said the word at the same time as Vishnu vanished and Brahma appeared.

“Quite an adventure,” Brahma said to everyone present.

“Adventures with dead bodies are not my desire,” Devya said and Alexis nodded.

“Perhaps I could take these Afridi and teach them something other than fighting,” Brahma suggested.

god ind brahmaDevya nodded.  “I wish Katie was here to hear this.”

Brahma needed no further invitation.  He raised one hand and the entire group with their horses and ponies and all of Archamenis’ things appeared in the outside court.  Katie, Lockhart and Elder Stow appeared in the big room.

“You would tell her?” Brahma said.

Devya looked at the god and paused before she turned to Katie.  “Brahma has agreed to teach the Afridi different things, root things.”

“The Brahmins?” Katie blurted out.

“My own people?” Brahama sounded surprised.

Devya frowned.  “And you better take care of them,” she said.

Brahma nodded.  “It was wise to make your knowledge of the future inaccessible to the gods.  And it was wise to put a hedge around your friends from the future to keep that same knowledge hidden.  There are no doubt things that would be better not to be known by the gods.”  He vanished, and Devya wondered what it would take to get her people up off the floor.

“Oh dear,” Katie said with a quick look at Lockhart.  “How can we dare talk without revealing things best left unsaid.”

“Actually,” Devya said, as Lincoln, Decker and Avi came in.  “When we talk and when you talk among yourselves, future and worldly things are bleeped out, by design of the gods themselves.  As long as you don’t talk in front of the gods, they cannot hear you.”

“So Brahmins?”Devya

Devya nodded.  “And Avestan Magi in Archamenis’ direction.  But it is still way early.  Nothing will be settled for a couple of hundred years, and then it will be a long, slow, grinding process to make what history knows.  Meanwhile, who wants to help me fix the roof?”

Katie looked at Lockhart.  She did not want to be scolded again.  Alexis looked at her father Mingus and turned her back on him by walking into Lincoln’s arms.  Mingus folded his arms across his chest and frowned.  Elder Stow appeared to step away from the lot of them and took a seat.  He seemed to be scowling, and did not change his scowl when Decker went to sit with him.  Boston, empathic elf that she was, wanted to cry for all the tension in the room.  She had to say something.

“Well, at least it stopped raining.”

Avalon 3.9: part 5 of 5, Negotiations

With all the action stopped at the appearance of the three gods, Zisudra felt it necessary to speak into the sudden silence. “Godfather,” he called Varuna. “And Shivishuwa, Katie told me all about you.” He smiled, and after a tense moment, Shivishuwa returned a little smile. “And the big fellow. I’m sorry, have we met?” He raised his voice a little like he was trying to reach the man’s ears.

“Indra,” Varuna said.zis Indra

“Pleased to meet you.”

Indra looked down. He looked ready for whatever war might come, but he was wiling to be pleasant. “Pleased to meet you,” he responded, and Zisudra caught a bit of the big, dumb guy in the sound of his voice. He hoped he was wrong.

Varuna merely pointed. There were three gods standing outside the trench, opposite the gods of India. Zisudra only had to think a moment to know who they were. They were the pieces of the old Brahmin “Visnu, Shiva and Brama,” he named them, and thought he better be polite. “Good to meet you all.”

“Kairos,” Brama said, so at least they knew who he was.

“Why are you here?” Zisudra asked, politely.

zis b s v 1“We have come to claim our own,” Shiva said. The words were harsh. It was hard to say what he wanted to do with his own, except it did not sound friendly.

“But which are yours?” It was an honest question. “You have no claim over the Shemsu people. Holding them captive for generations does not make for ownership.”

“This is our place,” Visnu said.

“And for that reason, Elam does not belong here,” A new voice entered the conversation. Zisudra squinted before he named the pair of gods.

“Enlil and Enki.” The twins nodded and Enki straightened his glasses.

“Hold, brother.” Visnu touched Shiva. Shiva looked like he was going to strike first and talk later, but Visnu knew things needed to be decided before action could be taken.

“You have the center of the world,” Zisudra said. “Yours is the Eurasian plate, from east of the Zagros Mountains up to the east side of the Caspian, and from the Sea of Aral all the way to the edge of the Great Mountains of the Himalayas. Yours is the center piece of the earth, with great numbers of Indo-European peoples, whatever you decide to do with them. Yours is the land through which east and west will be joined by the great road, and all commerce and riches will flow. Yours is the way that Elam and the Indus connect, and the He River people and Jericho will touch, and your people in the center may become great, but I should not speak about things that are not yet.” Zisudra quieted, and a fourth party entered the discussion.zis giant 2

Bhukampa, the titan of Iran came tromping into view and he shouted in his thunderous voice. “Everyone stay where you are. Who is it that trespasses on my land?”

“What makes this your land?” Shiva called back sharply, and the titan stopped where he was. He had not realized he had such visitors.

“By the gift of your father, the Brahmin, this land is mine to hold,” he said in a more humble voice.

“But it is not given forever,” Visnu said.

“Things may change some day,” Shiva added, in all but a direct threat.

“Good to see you again,” Lockhart spoke into the tension to diffuse the situation with a friendly wave. Some were surprised he dared to raise his human voice, but Varuna, among others, smiled.

“It is you,” Bhukampa turned from Shiva and roared at the travelers. “You were told to leave my land.”

“They left once, and they will leave again as soon as they reach the gate,” Zisudra shouted.

“Who are you to speak to me?” the titan roared again as he turned his eyes on Zisudra.

Tara 1Zisudra went away, and Tara took his place in time. She took a moment to straighten her dress, though it needed no straightening, but she needed to give Bhukampa a moment to get over his shock on seeing her again. Tara looked straight up into the titanic face and spoke loud and clear.

“Let my people go.”

Bhukampa looked angry, but he dared not do anything with the gods watching, so he whined, like a petulant child. “Take them. Take your people and go to another land, only do not come back here.”

“And we will take Elam back to the Mountains where they are joined to Eridu, Uruk and Kish,” Enlil said.

“I love your glasses,” Boston whispered, and Enki whispered back.

“Thank you Boston dear.”

Tara straightened her dress again and turned to Varuna, and smiled. “Varuna, godfather, will you take my people into your land where the Brahmin has no claim?”

“I will,” Varuna said, and the Shemsu blooded people, with Shivishuwa and Indra disappeared from that place with a wave of Varuna’s hand. The Elamites also disappeared with Enlil. Varuna and Enki together faced the three of the Brahmin. Shiva looked terribly angry, but Visnu nodded to the wisdom of what just happened. He left, and took his brother with him, but Brama stayed and spoke for the first time.

zis brahma“I like this road idea, a road through the center of the earth. I can see great things happening from making a way, but also terrible things.”

Tara smiled for the travelers and went away so Zisudra could return to his own time and place. “I imagine like most things, it will be a mixture and depend on how people use it.”

“I have some other thoughts, many other thoughts. I may see you again and discuss them.” Brama was not asking, but Zisudra answered all the same.

“We will meet again.”

Brama looked satisfied, and disappeared. Enki also went away, and Lockhart had to speak fast before Varuna, the last of the gods also vanished.

“I hate to interrupt, but how are we going to get to the next time gate without crossing the titan’s land?”

Varuna answered. “As I understand it, the gate should come to you when I take Zisudra to the Indus.” He and Zisudra vanished, and Boston whipped out her amulet to look.

zis dravid 1“The gate is right in front of us,” Boston said.

“Pack up,” Lockhart ordered, but they were already doing that Meanwhile, the dwarves and ogres had already marched off during the discussions, but that left some eighteen giants on the field to come out of their frozen state.

“What? Who?” They were confused, until one said, “Well, at least we got you.” The giants looked ready to attack the travelers, but Lincoln spoke fast.

“I heard Bhukampa say stay right where you are.”

“That is what I heard,” Alexis agreed with some volume. “All you giants are supposed to stay right where you are.”

“If Bhukampa told me to stand still.” Roland spoke up and made sure he was heard. “I would not move an inch.”

Lockhart laughed and spoke loud. “Remember when Bhukampa stepped on that giant, what was his name?”

“Veregoth,” Katie said, and laughed.

“”Why are you laughing?” Alexis protested. “That was a horrible, bloody mess. His bones got crushed and his guts squirted all over the place.”

“But he got put in the giant graveyard,” Lincoln said. “Eventually.”zis giant 1

“All I can say, if it was me,” Roland spoke up again. “If Bhukampa told me to stay where I was, I would not move a muscle.”

The giants’ eyes were big and several mouths were hanging open and drooling, but they did not move. The travelers finished packing, mounted their horses, and moved to the time gate.

“As long as we get away from Bhukampa.s land,” Lincoln said.

“How long do you think the giants will stand there before they figure out it is safe to move?” Alexis whispered.

Boston, who went first with Roland to take the point, giggled. She was an elf now. Giggling was allowed.