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.

Avalon 3.9: part 4 of 5, Fight

“Who are they and how far behind are they?” Lockhart stepped up to pull his shotgun and check his revolver. Decker was sitting on a rock, his rifle across his lap, and he spoke.

“About an hour, and it is an army. I count about a thousand men and maybe thirty giants among them.”

“So we have an hour to build defensive works,” Katie said. “I recommend a trench with the ground shoveled into a wall of sorts so we can stand five or so feet above them and not expose ourselves entirely to enemy arrows.”

“What is our weapons inventory?” Lincoln asked.zis dravid man

“We have slings, bows, spears and some copper swords and knives,” One older man stepped forward as he spoke.

“Aren’t you taking your families to safety?” Zisudra asked.

“Our families will not be safe if the Elamites break through.”

“Too early for Elam, wouldn’t you say?” Katie spoke up. “Don’t you mean the Jiroft culture?”

Zisudra pointed at his people. “These are the last of the Jiroft, and they are the first in the Indus. The men after us are Elamites, from Susa and other places where they built on top of the old Gott-Druk settlements.”

“My people settled this far east?” Elder Stow did not know.

“Mostly in the Zagros Mountains,” Katie interjected.

zis nature 4“People. History lesson later.” Lockhart raised his voice, and all of the men got to work while the women and children began again to travel down the hills toward the distant Indus River.

It was fascinating to watch the Shemsu work. They lifted stones with their thoughts alone, and placed them in the wall where they would do the most good. Some stones they set aside to heave at the enemy. Some smaller ones were collected for use in the slings. The trench needed to be dug, but they had some early bronze tools to help with that, then also some literally dug by hand.

Even as Decker reached out earlier with the eagle eye to see and count the enemy, Roland reached out with his own hunters sense and found a tribe of dwarfs not too far away. Better yet, they were working the mountain with the help of two ogre families, and they had seven adults between them. He called them to come in and help, and they did, reluctantly. Roland figured fifty ax wielding dwarfs and seven ogres would help the odds a bit.

“No,” Zisudra complained. “You and Boston need to stay out of it, not drag a bunch more into the fray.”

“No,” Roland said. “I am not staying out of it. I have friends.”

Boston’s eyes got big. She realized she had been willing to go along with whatever her Lord decided, but she suddenly felt human again, though she remained an elf, and she agreed with Roland. “No,” she said.zis dwarves 2

Roland explained. “You said I worked for Lockhart, and he needs my good work.”

“And he would not be a good employee if he did not get all the help he could,” Boston added, and grinned at her ill logic, but Zisudra just threw his hands up and did not argue.

The dwarves arrived about twenty minutes before the enemy was expected. All they could do was drive a number of spikes into the field, the kind that would cut a man’s foot open if he stepped on it. They put a general hex on the field, so the enemy would lose their courage when they charged. And the Shemsu searched for as many big rocks as they could find so the ogres would have something to throw. The men were not happy about having ogres in their midst, but they were assured that the ogres were friends of the hunter, and on their side, and that helped some of them, anyway.

They were somewhat ready when the enemy topped the ridge. The army of Elam looked like more than a thousand, and the giants looked especially big. The men behind the wall held their weapons with sweaty hands, and prayed. The ogres looked ready to smash something. The dwarves looked determined, but Zisudra knew this was not the battle of the five armies. They were not facing stupid orcs, and there were no eagles coming to bail them out.

Decker 2Decker got on a high rock and clicked his scope into place. He figured at that distance, it would be hard to pick out targets and hit them. But he also figured giants were hard to miss, so he opened up and did not wait for orders. “Go for the giants,” he hollered, and Katie got her own scope and opened fire. They hit ten, and more than a dozen ordinary men who got in the way before the enemy realized this was not going to stop. They appeared to hesitate, but when they charged, they came yelling and screaming like berserkers on a rampage.

Decker and Katie switched to rapid fire, while the others opened up with their pistols. Roland had the archers ready and waiting, while the ogres began to heave their stones, like cannon balls. Boston saw several men taken down by the spikes, and more were piled up behind them and had to go around, mostly with looking down at their feet and not exactly charging. The arrows went, and the slingers began to heave their stones.

Elder Stow held back with his weapon. They had determined with his limited charge, it would be better to wait and take out any giants who got close. When Elder Stow finally let loose on one of the giants, the giant’s head exploded, and the enemy around him began to retreat.zis fight

The men behind the wall held tight to their spears and swords, expecting the wave of the enemy to crash into the trench and come up against the dirt wall any minute. Some of the enemy all but stopped in their tracks. Some were pulling back. But they still expected twice their number to come up against them, and even with all of the extraordinary help, they all understood they might not survive.   Then at once, everything stopped. Everyone froze right where they were, human, dwarf, ogre and giant, all except Zisudra and the travelers.

Varuna appeared, and Shivishuwa and a big man, a bit of a giant in armor with an ogre sized sword in his hand

Avalon 3.9: part 3 of 5, Showdown

“Listen up,” Lockhart said again, and the sound echoed off the distant mountains. The people held their breath. “This is not your stopping place. All of you said you were told to go until you reached the river. This is not the river. And we cannot protect you if you do not do what you are told. Remember, there are others behind you who want to take your place and rule over you. It is time to move on, before anyone else gets hurt.” He handed Elder Stow’s sonic device back to him and turned, as a man threw a rock at him, or more accurately, picked a rock up with his mind and heaved it at him. Lockhart raised his hand to fend off the missile, but at half the distance, the rock turned into two pigeons and they flew away.zis pigeons

“For your own safety, go.” Lockhart added, not in the echo voice, but plenty loud enough for the rock thrower to hear.

Roland and Lincoln moved up beside Lockhart and Elder Stow. “Nice moves,” Lincoln said. “More than half of these various shaded brown and dark brown people are mixed blood, but plenty of it is Shemsu blood. They should build some nice cities.”

“Not if they never get there, and we can’t help them,” Lockhart admitted. “It was fun playing god for a few moments, but we are not gods and have no business pretending.”

“As I told Boston,” Roland said. “She felt the woman’s pain. The woman lost her husband, or her man. Maybe you have to be an elf to really understand that sort of empathy. But I told her it did not matter because there was not anything we could do about that.”

“How did you turn the stone into birds?” Elder Stow looked stumped on a different point.

varuna on the road“I did that.” There was another man beside them that they had not noticed. He waved hello. “I hope you don’t mind. The people made up their own minds, I understand. But it does not look good to fail to a rock.”

Lockhart took a close look before he spoke. “Thank you, Varuna. That is two I owe you, at least.”

“You take responsibility for the one now turned elf?”

“It is my job to get us home, alive if at all possible, and disrupt history as little as possible in the process. Boston was dying. You saved her and gave her another chance to get home. Thank you.”

“Yes,” Varuna nodded. “I understand this sort of responsibility, and I wish you only well. For me, I only wish it was so easy.”

“You are facing a war,” Lincoln said.

“I am still trying to prevent a war among the gods.” Everyone nodded.

Out on the field, Katie found a woman pacing her, floating in the air to be eye level, and moving at the speed of the horse with no problem. The woman had blonde hair, and blue eyes, and Katie was afraid to say her name.

“Shivishuwa,” the woman said. “And you should not fear to say my name. I get called many things through time.”zis goddess 2

“A cathartic god. A god of the dead?”

“Yes, that’s right.” She seemed pleasant enough. “You know, I can’t get with Amazons, but I understand Anath-Rama has established a real Woman’s paradise over by the Black Sea.”

“Don’t tell me. We get to drink wine and have our nails done and get messages and pedicures while the men all cook and do the laundry.”

Shivishuwa laughed. “Something like that. I like you. Maybe not Amazons, but I think you can be fun. I know,” Shivishuwa held up her hands to forestall the objections “The elect are supposed to defend the innocent women and children, not be offensive.”

“For the record, I don’t like being possessed.”

“I didn’t possess you, exactly. I just nudged you to say the thing you were not willing to say, and do something you wanted to do.”

zis goddess 1“I did not want to hurt that man.”

“No, but you wanted a test for your skill., and it would not have been bad to kill him. He is a coward.”

“I didn’t kill him.”

Shivishuwa shrugged. “With his bad attitude, he won’t last long.”

“Whose bad attitude?” a man asked. Katie stopped her horse and stared. There were roughly three hundred men standing there. The missing men, she thought. Katie looked again to the side, but Shivishuwa was gone.

“Zisudra?” Katie asked.

“Right,” a middle aged man responded. “As usual, your timing is impeccable, either good or bad, depending on you point of view.”

“Zisudra!” A streak of running madness, faster than a cheetah full out, came racing up and threw her arms around the man. “Zisudra. I love you. I didn’t know if I would because you are a man, but I do. I really do, and I miss you when I am not with you.”Zisudra 1

“I don’t hug,” Zisudra said, and Boston extracted herself, looking embarrassed. “But in this case, I am willing to say, Boston!” He shouted her name and waved like they were far away, though they were face to face.

“Zisudra!” Boston returned the shout and the wave, and almost giggled for joy.

Katie turned her horse and spoke. “Now that the important things are over, let’s go and find out what is happening with the rest of the crew.”

“Captain Harper,” Zisudra said. “You are hanging out with Lockhart too much. You are learning his sarcasm.”

Katie put one hand to her mouth and Boston nodded. “You are,” Boston said.

“Men,” Zisudra spoke up. “You might as well catch up with the women and children while I find out why they are still here.”

“We kind of ran into them and they were delayed for a day,” Katie said.

“Sorry,” Boston added.

“I’m glad I sent them ahead so they could get to safety,” Zisudra said in his own version of sarcasm. He stopped at the edge of the camp and shook his head. “Now I have run out of options.”

Avalon 3.5: part 5 of 5, Darkness Overhead

“I set the screen to the dimensions of the building,” Tara said. Three arms of zombies that were trying to reach in through the narrow windows were sliced off. They still tried to reach, grab and scratch whatever they could, but Elder Stow, who was back down from the rafters with Boston, used his own weapon to turn the arms on the dirt floor to dust.

Tara moved the knob to push the particle screen ten feet out from the edge of the building after checking the compensator to be sure the earth was not shoved out from beneath the building. The screen pushed the zombies back from the wall and the giant zombie back from the door, and the people could breathe a moment of relief.

“But I don’t imagine whoever is doing this will let the equipment continue to work for long,” Roland said.

“Someone is doing this?” Boston asked.Djin sky 1

“Of course,” Tara said. “I saw the dark in the sky.”

“No.” Katie and Alexis breathed as Alexis stepped over to where they were holding down Lord Veregoth. She was going to put him to sleep.

“The Djin?” Lockhart asked through his short breath. His arms were getting tired holding down the giant’s head.

“A big, bad genii,” one of the dwarfs said. “Bangles,” he tipped his hat.

“Blinker.” The other dwarf tipped his hat.

“Good to meet you,” Boston said, and then caused gasps from the dwarfs when she went to kiss Roland.

“Something helped me,” Alexis admitted as Veregoth went to sleep and Decker got off the giant’s chest. “It seems the Djin isn’t the only power around.”

“Probably why this equipment is working,” Tara added with a look at Elder Stow.

“Movement outside,” Katie said from the nearest window, and everyone squeezed in to look “Sky is clearing,” she added. A moment later, all the zombies collapsed. Tara was back on the floor with her eye closed. She reported what she saw.

The titan, Bhukampa was coming. “Brihaspabbi did something right for a change. I don’t know if he reported to the Brahmin, but he fetched the titan.”

“Brihaspabbi?” several people asked.

“Her husband,” Baga said.

“Separated,” Mitra added.

titan 1“Hoth!” They all heard the roar. It was deeper and more penetrating than Veregoth’s roar. As Boston said, it echoed down to the toes. Veregoth was coming around and Visana moaned before they all found themselves outside at the feet of a person who stood thirty feet tall and did not look happy. There was a twelve foot giant at the titan’s feet, and he fell to his knees.

“Father. Forgive me. We were caught unaware.” Hoth was making excuses.

The titan leaned down and stretched out a hand toward the travelers. His unhappy expression turned to anger. “Fool,” he said and slapped Hoth who flew through the air and crashed into a wall of the Great Hall. Hoth collapsed, but by then Veregoth was on his knees with his eyes downcast. “You were told these were under a hedge of the gods. Will you bring the gods here to take our land?”

“Lord. They claim to be from the future, but that doesn’t make sense.” Veregoth was shaking. “I thought they were telling lies.”

“Did the woman confirm this?”

Lord Veregoth paused. “I thought she started the lie to deprive us of good workers.”

“The woman does not lie. And you do not lie well, fool.” The titan Bhukampa stepped on Veregoth like a man might step on a mouse. They all heard the bones crushed under the titan’s heel. Then a simple wave of the titan’s hand and Veregoth made a new grave on the giant’s hillside. In fact, all the zombies, human and giant alike returned to their final resting place.

“What happened?” Young Lord Visana was coming around and shaking his head, like he was trying to clean out the cobwebs.

old giant 2“You were possessed by the Djin who made you capture these people and then brought the dead back to life,” Tara said.

“No. Not possible. My mind is too strong to be possessed as you say.”

“The woman does not lie,” Hoth said as he staggered up to fall again to his knees before the titan.

“Hoth. You were told to get rid of the woman.”

“Seven times we drove her away, and seven times she returned. You forbade us from harming her in any way.” Hoth clearly tried for naked honesty. “She speaks for all the slaves, human and spirit, and keeps the work progressing. Shall we drive her out an eighth time?”

The titan did not answer. “You will let these future people go with their horses and all of their things. I do not one future thing stolen or left behind. Is that clear? I will not have a slit of an opening where the gods may come up into this place, and by capturing these people, you have made a door with an open invitation.” The titan shifted his eyes to glare at Tara. “Woman. What do you have to say?”

Tara looked straight up into those eyes ad raised her voice. “Let my people go,” she said.

“I will think on this,” the titan responded, wheeled around and walked off briskly.Tara 1

Tara took a deep breath, but Alexis and Katie were both there to hold her up. “He scares me to no end,” Tara said.

“Me too,” Katie agreed.

“Lincoln too,” Alexis said with a grin, and the women laughed.

“You heard Lord Bhukampa.” Hoth yelled. “Get your things and go.”


The travelers were not far down the trail when they saw a man in rags approach. They planned to warn him about the giants, but before he joined them, Boston, who was out front as usual, slipped off Honey’s back and began to vomit.

“She has a fever,” Roland cried out, but Alexis was already down and running to help.

Decker and Elder Stow came in from the wings while Katie ran to the front. Lockhart and Lincoln grabbed the horses, not that there was anything more than scrub grass to tempt them.

“I don’t know what it is,” Alexis said, a touch of panic in her voice. “She is fading, but my senses are not picking up anything I recognize.”

“Did the zombies touch her,” Lincoln called out. “Did they bite her or scratch her?”

“Why should it be like those old movies?” Alexis asked.

“The Djin probably got the idea from one of our minds,” Roland said.

Elder Stow came to his feet. “She did receive a small scratch on her leg when she shoved the zombie off the roof.” Roland examined Boston’s leg and saw the scratch that looked like it barely bled.

“But I don’t know how to fix that.” The panic was now evident in Alexis’ voice.

“Here. Allow me.” The ragged man from the road had caught up with them. Suddenly, they all recognized him.

“Varuna.” Katie was the one who said it.

varuna on the roadVaruna took Boston’s hand and she opened her eyes, all cured, smiling, and even the cut on her leg disappeared. Alexis squinted and called Varuna by another name.

“Baga,” she said. “You are Varun, and Mithras is your brother, I bet.”

“Tara does not know. No one knows,” Varuna said, and he answered the questions that were on several minds even without them being asked. “Tara is a seer of the Shemsu. She sees in her minds eye if any Agdline come to earth. She knows the Agdaline sacred symbols, knows how to construct them and where to plant them. She needs to bring her people into the Indus valley, but is prevented.   Meanwhile, we are using her talent to keep a watch on the gods in the north. And we are watching over her.”

“You were the power that made Elder Stow’s equipment work,” Katie put it together.

Varuna nodded and continued. “Tara’s husband, Brihaspati works for the Brahmin up in what you would call Afghanistan. The Brahmin also has his eyes on the Indus valley, but that would mean war among the gods. Dayus is fool enough to let that happen.” I hate deceiving Tara, but I must find a way to prevent war at all costs. Tara bringing her Shemsu people into the valley would at least delay things. I don’t know if war may be prevented, but I will not bring the Kairos into the picture if I can help it.”

“I do not think you are deceiving her as much as you are helping her,” Alexis said, and she and Varuna helped Boston to her feet.

“I like to think of it that way,” Varuna said. “And now I have helped you.”

Boston checked her amulet and spoke her surprise. “Hey. We have traveled all the way to the gate. How did we do that?”

“Please,” Varuna said. “Go forward and do not look back.” He vanished, and Lincoln had one mumble to add.

“War among the gods does not sound good at all.”


Beginning next Monday, Avalon, episode 3.6 finds the travelers in Sumaria in the days of Etana, King of Kish, where they find enemies, old and new, among the serpents and the eagles brought down from the heavens.  Enjoy …