R6 Greta: The Quest, part 3 of 3

Two years passed, and Greta headed toward the great hall, late to the table, as usual.  Gaius and Marta were in bed, asleep at last, and their nurse, Selamine, sat by the fire, sewing, but ever vigilant.  Greta’s husband already sat in the great hall entertaining her mother and father, no doubt telling some tall tales about the adventures of Mother Greta, and the others at the dinner party were likely smiling and approving of the stories.  That felt fine with Greta, because truth be told, apart from the children, she lived a rather quiet life.  Of course, the children could be a handful, but Mother Greta did not mind that so much.

Greta put her hand to her tummy as she walked. She heard the growl in her belly, but it felt more from an upset stomach than from hunger.  She threw up that morning and wondered if she might be pregnant with baby number three.  It certainly felt possible.  Darius kept her busy in bed of late.  But then, he would be going away, she thought.  He would be gone more than six months, touring the province with her father, the high chief of the Dacians.  Greta smiled and thought he did not mind giving her something to remember him by and think of him on those long fall days and cold winter nights.

“Sorry I’m late,” Greta apologized, as she stepped into the Hall.  Darius and her mother and father stood, so the rest of the table stood.

“Quite all right,” Greta’s father assured her.

“How are the children?” Greta’s mother asked at the same time.

“Here.”  Darius pulled out her chair, and Greta offered him a peck on the lips as she sat, because she felt like it.  She kept thinking of children and babies and loved him very much at the moment.

“Vaden was just telling us about the wolf man and poor Mother Hulda.”  Darius reached for her hand when he sat and he showed pleading in his eyes where the others could not see.  Father started showing his age, telling a story he had told a thousand times, and one that Darius knew perfectly well without having to be told.  “I just said we had a visit today from a man who claimed to be a member of the Wolf Clan.  Celtic, you know.”

Greta stifled her grin.  A man from the Wolf Clan triggered the memory and story of the werewolf.  She accepted Darius’ hand, but the moment they touched her eyes rolled up and she staggered in her seat, caught up in a vision.

Greta saw the ship, a space ship screaming through the sky.  She felt impressed with the notion that it had to be a Humanoid ship, but she had no idea what kind.  It might have been an escape pod with one to six passengers.  It might have been an entire battleship with more than a thousand crew members, or anything in between.  All she saw was a white fire burning in the atmosphere, and she only saw that for a moment before it crashed into a forest, and slid.  It tore great, old trees from their roots, crushed young saplings and set the whole woods on fire.  Greta felt the heat and felt the ground shake before the scene shifted.

It became sometime later, though how much later she could not say.  Nothing looked familiar and she saw no evidence of burning trees, and no ash. There appeared to her a wall built of great blocks of stone, five blocks high at the highest spot, but only two or three blocks high in most places.  It looked like a temple, fallen down, a complete ruin of some very ancient structure.  She saw Berry, and Hans running to hold her because Berry screamed, utterly terrified, and Greta screamed for her.  “Berry!”

Greta’s eyes shifted to where Berry looked.  She saw a wide gap in the stone wall, and she saw a Wolv in the gap.  The creature came from the space ship, a demon creature, a psycho-killer, always hungry for flesh.  The Wolv stood seven feet tall on its hind legs.  Its eyes looked bloodshot and its mouth sported daggers for teeth.  Its front finger-like claws gripped tight to an energy weapon.  The Wolv wore a wristband that Greta knew projected a personal shield against enemy weapons, and it wore a vest which had pockets full of other technological wonders. It probably had a communication device, but it did not need one.  It lifted its head and let out a great howl that echoed through the woods beyond the stone wall, and it followed the howl with a drooling growl.  Other Wolv started coming, but this one could not wait. It turned its head to the side so it could study its prey with one big, glaring eye before it tried to leap through the gap.  Some force pushed it back, and it roared in frustration.  Greta saw another Wolv jump to the top of the wall, but it could not come any closer.  It punched on the invisible force field.  It clawed at it, but remained ineffective.

The Wolv paused as a great shadow passed overhead. Greta heard a deep-throated Caw that echoed in her head like a monster crow or a Roc, but then the shadow passed and Greta’s eyes turned to her ward.

“Berry?” Greta breathed the name as she watched Berry calm when Berry and Hans realized they were safe, for the moment.  The Wolv in the doorway tried its weapon.  It reflected back from the invisible shield and nearly struck the Wolv.  That made the Wolv roar again and pound on the invisible shield, but it would not be able to shred the people it saw within claw’s reach.  Others began to join in the chorus of growls and howls. The sound came from all around, but the Wolv came no closer.

“Berry?”  Greta still felt concerned when she fluttered her eyelids and opened her eyes.  Darius stared at her, and her father looked concerned.

“Give her some room to breathe,” Greta’s mother said, and pushed the men back.  They all knew she had visions.  She grew up having them, but wisely, she did not always tell the others what she saw. In this case, she thought in the privacy of her mind that she would have to go and fetch Berry, Hans, Fae and Hobknot. Two years on their quest felt like long enough, and if they were now trapped somewhere far to the north, well, she would just have to go set them free.  She thought of a whole ship full of Wolv and shivered.  She would have to go north in any case.  The Earth had no business being overrun by Humanoid shock troops.  She would have to send the Wolv packing, back out into space, or at least minimize the damage they might do.  As the Kairos, the Traveler in Time, the Watcher over History, it was her job. She turned her eyes from the vision as she turned her head away from her family.

Greta wondered if there were other lives she lived or would live in the future that might help her in her quest, especially in dealing with the Wolv.  All she could imagine at the moment were her partners in time; Festuscato, the Roman Senator, the person she would be three hundred years in the future; and Gerraint, a Knight of the Round Table, the life she would live after Festuscato. They were no help.  She would never put her strictly human lives in such danger, and the Wolv were the epitome of danger.  Besides, back when she was a child she learned from Gerraint that each life she lived had to fight his or her own battles.  Well, just for that, she thought, Festuscato and Gerraint ought to have to go on their own journeys; especially Gerraint.  Squire Uwaine was going to pitch a fit if Gerraint didn’t take him somewhere, soon.

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MONDAY

Greta is going to have to go and fetch her family from the land of the lost, no matter the Wolv, no matter the warning.

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