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.
“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.
“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.
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.
Zisudra 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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.