Green Cabin part 72

“There is no way around the town?” he asked looking at her when he did.

“We can try the lake if it’s possible to obtain a boat large enough to be safe for Minerva. That may be possible but we will need substantial credits to pay for it.”

Stanton had some given to him by Druids he’d worked for while fixing the gristmill. Not much but maybe enough. “I’ve some,” he informed her.

She grew quiet and traced a trail, or road with a forefinger, tapping spots along it. “This one is treacherous since it runs through part of the forest known for carnivorous animals, snakes, bears, some big cats.”

Not having seen any wildlife except squirrels and birds since arriving on the ring world, Stanton could only nod. “Then we must find a different route.”

“This one then,” she said a traced a wider path that looked like a true road that could be driven using normal traffic from his world and time.

“Good,” he said and yawned. “Tired still,” he said.

“Sleep then. I will stay awake for another hour and then sleep too.”

Stanton stood, and returned to his bunk, dropping into an exhausted sleep.

Having a small child with him proved daunting. Minerva was like a little adult in some ways likely due to how she was raised by the healers. In other perhaps more important ways, she was a helpless child.

Stanton spent more time than he’d considered necessary getting her fed, and then helping her wash and change clothing. The entire time he did, he felt rather clumsy and self-conscious.

Taisie did nothing to assist but did occasionally chuckled, which Stanton found annoying. He said nothing because he knew that no matter what happened he was now responsible for his child’s life and welfare.

Finally, they were ready to mount up and travel. The idea of riding her horse again made Minerva smile. She waved one hand at the horse, and then waved goodbye to the cabin as their horses took them away from it.

Stanton hide the grin she caused, and admitted to himself that having a child might prove to be as much a pleasure as a challenge.

Keeping Minerva in the middle, him at the end at the warrior’s insistence, they made good time slowing only when they reached the cross roads where they had chosen with the map to head west in the direction of the lake.

The ultimate plan was to find a boat like the one he and Margaret rode and lived on before ending at the dock to the elevator.

They remained surrounded by old growth forest filled with wildlife but not one human yet. The road surface that had been hard packed dirt, was now wide thick planks mounted, he assumed on half-logs that crossed the planks at ninety degrees. The ride was much more stable than he would’ve believed if he had know ahead of time how the roadway was built.

Not seeing other people began to trouble him. The roadway was obviously well used, worn into groves in places.

So where are they?He wondered.

They were about to plan to stop for lunch since Minerva started asking to eat they discovered a large hill where the road would be if it went straight. The road builders curved it around the mound instead of cutting a path through it.

The warrior dismounted, assisted Minerva while Stanton cleared an area to build a small fire for cooking. The routine felt comforting to Stanton, and he found himself relaxing some.

He successfully started a fire, which he thought surprised Taisie.

She had removed food and eating utensils.

An odd semi-metallic clang from a gong froze Stanton as its ring hovered over him. He stood and looked around for Minerva.

“Where’s Minerva?” He asked the warrior.

She jerked upright, concern slicing a frown, narrowing her eyes.

“Minerva!” They said together.

Green Cabin part 71

“I will protect you,” he spoke quietly. And carried her back to where Taisie sat watching.

As they reached her, the warrior removed her helmet and the child smiled weakly. Taisie had blood and dirt smeared on her face. Her hands looked like she’d fought the battle she had, and now wore the residue. She was breathing easier, and Stanton knew was regaining her strength.

“The Druids cast a spell to seal the bridge which keeps them safe. But they removed the spell so we might cross. It’s very possible that those three men wanted access to the Druid village and was angered by us standing in the way,” Taisie said. “I must signal them so they recast the spell now.”

She reached a hand up and Stanton locked hands with her each on the other’s wrist and helped her stand. Then she went to her horse and removed what Stanton thought might be a flare. She struck the end against a large stone and green flames shot into the air. Taisie held it aloft. A moment later a matching flare from the village answered.

Stanton heard a sound like screaming hawks about to kill prey. The air at the far end of the bridge shimmered and then solidified.

Now we are truly on our own, he thought as pain slashed across his shoulder.

With the warrior’s assistance, he removed his jacket and shirt, and used the healing solvents from his first aid kit to seal the wound after they stopped the bleeding.

Minerva had been watching at first, but now lay on her side asleep.

Taisie went to the river first to clean up. When she returned even her armor looked new. Stanton did the same and hung his shirt and jacket to dry after returning to the bridge.

“We could stay the night here,” Taisie said, “but another two miles down there is a cabin prepared for us.”

“Then we should go there. I would rather not have Minerva outside all night.”

It required serious effort, but two hours later, as night began to settle in, they were safely in the cabin with the door barred and locked. This cabin was built of stones with a concrete like mortar. The walls were thick leaving a wide ledge at the bottom of the windows. But it was weatherproof and he knew would hold the warmth of the fire the warrior built and started.

This is going to be a long and difficult journey, but what part of my time on the ring world has been anything but that, Stanton thought as he finally drifted to sleep.

It was silver light that roused him in the middle of the night. He rolled onto his back off his left side and looked around. The window covering on the window in the small kitchen area was rolled up to let the moon’s greeting inside the cabin.

He swung his legs off the bunk, and walked into the kitchen finding Taisie sitting at the table with an elaborate map. It did not show the entire ring world, but what looked to be a continent with the Lake Terminus at the center. There were rivers, mountains, forests and vast meadows, which were marked for division into farmlands.

Taisie glanced up and then tapped the map. “This is the Druid village. To reach the mountains you need we will stay as close to the lake as we can. There are villages here, here, and here,” she tapped them as she spoke. “This one is where I am from so it will not present us with trouble. This one,” she tapped the village in the middle of the three, “may be trouble. A large family from the mountains, moved in about ten years ago and now control everything. Rumor claims the leaders of the family, two men and a woman, locked up the elected officials and replaced them with other family members.”

Stanton smiled to himself thinking, Should’ve done that with a some of the ones elected in my world.

Green Cabin part 70

Taisie pointed ahead and to the left. “There is a narrow bridge we must cross. It should not dangerous at this time but when the storms cycle through the river rages and often flows violently over the bridge. I will cross first to be certain it is safe and stable. Then you and Minerva cross together.”

“Okay,” Stanton said and wondered if anyone native to the ring world used that word. He grinned and shook his head.

Several minutes later they reached to bridge. It looked like an oldtime earth covered bridge like he seen during ancient history classes and on old time vids.

The warrior crossed with no problems. Stanton rode alongside his girl and they too crossed trouble free.

It was the first arrow that glanced off Taisie’s armor that alerted them to problems. Taisie quickly donned her helmet, swung off her horse, tied its reins to a post just into the covered bridge where Stanton had guided his daughter to keep her out of the line of fire.

He too dismounted, but was without a weapon again.

Have to change this,” he thought angrily.

Taisie slid her sword out and handed it hilt first to Stanton. “Stay with Minerva. You and she are gifted and neither of you can be lost if Attrea is to succeed.”

He frowned as he head tilted slightly wondering how he was gifted then asked, “You know Attrea?”

“Everyone knows her.” Taisie waved him off and strode to the end of the bridge. Arrows flew in waves, but none penetrated her armor. However, Stanton was certain that would change. He worked his way as close to her as possible and saw three huge men walking in her direction.

He passed her the sword when her last arrow did nothing to slow them down. When she glanced at him he saw in her eyes a look of violent determination and a touch of serious concern.

Her hand wrapped the hilt and she stepped out to confront these new enemies.

Stanton desperate to help saw a pyramid shaped mound of rocks all larger than his fist. He grabbed two, stood and took careful aim, threw one a hard as possible and felt a stab of satisfaction when the rock crashed into the head of the man on the left. Blood sprayed the air and he dropped as if dead.

Taisie engaged the leader who had drawn his own sword. Hers was a bit longer but he had weight advantage. Each blow shook her, but she countered swiftly. They were so seriously engaged in personal battle so the last of the three men was momentarily forgotten by Taisie, but not Stanton.

He grabbed two sharp edge rocks, and stepped into the open where the last of the three might see him. The first rock hit the man square on the chin, staggering him but not ending the fight.

Now he ran at Stanton with a short sword raised overhead. Stanton shifted mentally into assassin, waited, allowing his enemy to think he was frightened and incapable of moving. As the adversary raised his sword even higher, Stanton dove at him, using the rock as a club, striking the man’s head several times. Blood coated his hands and arms before he succeeded. As the man fell to his knees he swung the short sword. It whistled past Stanton’s head, glanced off his shoulder and dropped to the ground with a metallic clang.

Fortunately for Stanton there was little strength in the blow. If not he knew he would’ve lost his arm. Instead he felt his own blood flowing down his arm, but knew that would need to wait. 

Taisie was fighting for her life, and Stanton knew she was weakening. He scooped up the short sword and when she looked to see what moved, he tossed it to her hilt first. She caught it and with one last powerful thrust, drove the blade under her enemy’s ribs. She jammed it hard and twisted it ferociously letting her rage and possibly fear get needed release as she ended the battle.

Her enemy was dead before he began to fall. She stepped back and kicked him hard enough to drive him off the narrow dirt roadway and into the river.

Stanton saw her swaying and quickly helped her sit. Then he recalled Minerva. She was not on her horse. In the distance he head footsteps running across the bridge. He ran and quickly saw her heading back the Druids.

“Minerva,” he shouted. She slowed enough for him to catch up to her. “Stop please, everything is fine now. You’re safe.”

She stopped and turned to him. The fear on her face staggered him emotionally. He dropped to his knees and held out his arms. It took her a second or two, but the she ran to him and he wrapped her in the safety he could offer then.

Green Cabin part 69

Part Two

Weeks turned into months. Stanton was, taken by a healer with one of the moving disks once a week to visit his daughter. He felt awed by what he and Margaret created and pleased to discover that she looked almost exactly like her mother.

He hadn’t thought of a name for her was tempted to call her Margaret, but he didn’t believe the child’s mother would want the girl to have the same name.

The gristmill was close to completed. He had been delighted when someone or more than one would appear each day to assist.

Finally the day came when he was ready to finish the sluiceway, which would carry flowing river water to the top of the wheel. Once there the water would fill the wooden cups spaced evenly around the wheel. The weight of the water would get the wheel spinning and keep it spinning until the board that acted to shut off the flow of water was slid down the slots he’d rebuilt to guide it.

Stanton had made the announcement the previous day and happily watched everyone from the druid village show up to watch the event. As he walked to open the sluiceway, he saw two healers approaching. They carried his daughter, who was actually old enough now to walk. They were, accompanied by a woman wearing armor, and carrying a sword, quiver filed with arrows and a sliver bow.

With a nod from Galyna Stanton opened the sluiceway. At first little happened then the river water filled it and the great waterwheel began to spin.

A loud cheer lifted through the valley. Stanton knew he was finished and would leave later that day, but at the moment he felt personally complete and reengaged with life.

His daughter walked to where he stood. She was not yet a year old, but already moving as if she’d celebrated her first birthday. Her short curly hair was blonde like Margaret’s and she had the same blue eyes.

Who will you become? He thought. On this world is the happiness I once knew even possible? All we, you mother and I experienced was laced with violence and human evil. I need you where I can protect you from all of that and give you the chance to find your own happiness.

His child was accompanied by the warrior. The warrior did not wear a helmet, had silver-blonde hair, pale gray eyes, a slightly large nose over a mouth that showed signs of frequent smiles. At the corners of her eyes were the beginnings of crow’s feet. Her hands and forearms looked strong and had the scars of a person not afraid to fight anyone. Above the elbows and from the neck down to her hips her armor shielded her. Below hip level she wore chainmail that was met by heavy leather boots.

She stopped and stood directly alongside the girl staring at Stanton’s face as if expecting a reaction from him. Whether that might be positive or negative, he failed to decide.

Instead he held out his hand and said, “Am I to assume you’ve been assigned as my child’s guardian?”

“Among my people,” she looked at those surrounding them, “a child begins life with a personal warrior. You are aware by this time that our world is filled with strife and with that comes danger. I will be with you for as long as the child needs me and I alone will determine when that ends.”

“It is my plan to head into the mountains I saw while riding a boat in the central lake.” Stanton informed her.

“Lake Terminus,” she said.

“That’s what its called?” He asked and when she nodded he added, “The mountains on the far side from where I entered this world is where we need to go.”

The warrior nodded as if Stanton’s presumed destination held no relevance to her assignment. “I have three horses ready. One is small for your daughter with a special saddle designed to keep children from falling. You child has ridden several times and seems to quite enjoy herself.”

Stanton felt a sense of loss then. Loss because he child had grown so much without his full time fathering and loss because his daughter didn’t have a mother to guide her through childhood. But he knew acceptance was needed if he was to succeed in reaching Attrea where he now strongly believed that they would be safe far into the future.

“I have no worldly goods other than what I normally carry in my backpack and what I am wearing. We can leave now.” He watched her nod and turned to Galyna.

“You helped me when I was truly ready to quit life. I have no way to repay what you’ve done.”

She smiled and put her hand on his shoulder. “It has been a joy to work with you. I hope you have a safe journey to your true destination here.”

Stanton hesitated and then nodded, put his hand on the back of hers. A moment later Galyna walked away and was followed by all of the villagers except a few who planned to operate the rebuilt gristmill.

Watching, then trying to assist as the warrior woman helped his daughter on her horse. The child grinned and said, “Like horsey.” Her small hand reached and patted the horse’s neck. The horse looked back at her and brayed gently.

Once Stanton secured his gear, her swung his leg over the horse and settled into the saddle. With the reins in hand, he gave then a shake and followed the other two.

“I think I will name her Minerva,” he spoke aloud without meaning to.

The warrior looked over her should and nodded. “That’s a noble name. It suits her, I believe.”

Minerva looked at him and asked, “I’m Minerva?”

He smiled and told her, “Minerva Wilson.”

“Okay,” Minerva said and then looked where they were headed.

“It would be helpful if I knew your name,” Stanton told the warrior.

She didn’t look back, but said, “Taisie. We do not use surnames. Warriors cannot afford the luxury of intimate individuality.”

“I understand,” he said and then, “On my world we had an ancient Irish princess with the name.”

The warrior did not respond. Instead she sat up a bit straighter, which at first, Stanton thought might’ve been a show of pride, but then didn’t believe that since a warrior class would never be prideful if they wanted to survive.

Instead, he wondered if she’d spotted trouble this soon since leaving Galyna’s village.

Green Cabin part 68

Morning came with a wave of misery as Stanton recalled the minute details of the previous day. Escape from the king had felt like new freedom especially since they followed the advice he received from William, who relayed a message from Attrea. Now, as he walked outside to discover he was alone and the ashes from the pyre still lay in a mound where he last saw them, except for what was scooped out where Margaret’s body was incinerated, he stood as still as possible.

When the tension he felt quivering throughout his body didn’t lessen, he turned and walked into the forest hoping to find solace within nature as he always had back on earth. He followed a narrow river where eventually, he discovered a resting water wheel alongside a dilapidated gristmill.

He entered through a double door set in tracks at ground level and found the wide plank flooring solid. He pushed the doors open with little effort and nodded. After examining the wide rough timber hand hewn beams used as framing and for rafters and joists Stanton found all solid and stable.

The siding was not in good condition, but he knew it could be repaired. He stepped in a deep puddle as he approached the waterwheel, stumbled and caught his balance before falling into the river.

“You might want to watch your step out here.” Galyna said with a note of concern.

“Didn’t hear you approach,” he said as he dragged his boot out of the mud, knocking it against a large stone to dislodge the mud. Instead of putting it back on he removed the other and his socks then walked to where she stood.

At first he wasn’t sure if she was the warrior although she had the warrior’s soprano voice. She wore a loose fitting opaque blue blouse made from a material that clung and moved as she did, and trousers that he believed were made from something kin to denim, but silver grey.

As he drew closer, he saw that on her face she had a tattoo of a vine starting at the tip of her nose. As it rose up her face the vine spread out with tiny flowers evenly spaced to the entire thing was symmetrical. Along her ears were separate vine highlighting their details. More rose from the center of her chest and spread left and right and then over her shoulders. All of them glowed a light bluish color leaving Stanton to think they were not tattoos but natural.

“I needed to walk,” he said, “and nature normally offers me peace and at least a bit of solace.”

She nodded as if she understood. Then she pointed at the mill. “No one has run the mill in several generations. Last I heard the wheel locked, perhaps rusted or something.”

He watched her eyes as she spoke. In his training he was taught that a person’s eyes told the watcher everything they spoke and much that they did not.

Galyna appeared truthful and he felt himself relaxing. “It is a solid building. I was thinking I might repair it do something useful while I wait for my daughter to…” He ran out the thought as a picture of Margaret’s smiling face invaded.

“That would be constructive. We normally travel half day to acquire the grain we need for both us and our livestock.”

“Are there tools I might use?”

She nodded and pointed back to the village. “We have a series of workshops and a outbuilding where all tools are stored. You are welcome to use what you need.”

“Good,” he said, and then needed to sit, which he did with her assistance.

“Grief is like an ocean storm. At first the waves are quite high and knock down the living with no effort. Then as time passes they grow smaller until we can tolerate them, but we can never ignore them since like the ocean grief never departs completely.” She sat alongside him, placed a hand on his shoulder and both grew quiet.

When Stanton finally felt he’d regained the strength to stand and in some ways to continue living, he walked alongside Galyna as they returned to the village.

“It is afternoon mealtime,” she told him. “If you want to join us please do but if you are not feeling that comfortable yet, I will bring yours to you.”

He drew a deep breath through his nose and exhaled hoping that might help his decision. “I’ll join you. I cannot hide in my grief and expect it to pass to any degree.”

As they found places to sit, at platter was passed from person to person. Stanton took a small helping of cooked meat, what he thought was mashed potatoes, and a variety of vegetables.

No one spoke before, or during the meal as mugs of a strong tasting ale were distributed. As Stanton felt the alcohol warm him slowly, he heard voices and turned to see a healer walking in his direction.

He stood and met the healer. “Is my daughter okay?”

The healer looked to Galyna as if she needed a translator. Then the healer nodded and spoke in musical tones to the warrior.

“The healer says you daughter is strong and that she like her father is gifted. They do not yet know her gift, but since her mother was both gifted and a hybrid human, it is likely your daughter will benefit all around her.”

Stanton frowned. “I am not gifted. I am as ordinary as any man might be.”

“You are wrong in that assessment, Stanton Wilson. No one is allowed to pass through a portal to our world unless they are gifted. I suspect you are unaware of what your gift may be. However since your child bears a gift of healing and unification, it is possible you carry one or part of both.

“Quite often a child bears a stronger gift when two parents give her each of their gifts. We shall see how you and your child do. Attrea will alert us as she learns more.”

As the warrior spoke the name Attrea, Stanton felt mixed emotions. There was still strong almost powerful feeling of attraction he never denied, but added now was a sting of confusion.

“How much does Attrea control this world?” he asked as calmly as possible.

“Attrea is descendant from the builders. The original families mostly died off due to the usual things that happen to families over centuries of time. Attrea’s family is one of three that remain pure.”

He shook his head feeling confused and then exhausted. “Does the healer have any more to say about my child?”

Galyna trilled to the healer who trilled back a long sequence of tones.

“She tells me your child will grow and develop quickly. That is one of the gifts she received from her mother. The healer also wants you to know and understand the reason that they could not save Margaret.”


“The poison the king’s men included in the explosive that severed her leg, was a slow acting nerve agent that killed incrementally and quite painfully. If Margaret had not lost her leg and therefore became unconscious, her pain would have killed her within minutes of injection.

“So the healers, recognizing the poison from previous engagements with that enemy had to act quickly to save the child. Had the poison reached her to the smallest degree, she would’ve been lost. Her heart might have seized and if not her lungs would have.” Galyna looked at her feet, then up again. “I am sorry for all that happened, but the healers made the correct choice.”

“I know,” Stanton agreed. “Please tell her I thank them for saving my girl.”

The warrior trilled to the healer. Thee healer stepped close to Stanton placed one hand on the center of Stanton’s chest and one on the top rear of his head. He felt energy pass through him, and with it his grief lessened enough that he knew he would survive it.

When the healer stepped back, Stanton bowed with his hands on his chest to show the universal expression of gratitude.

The healer smiled, turned and rose into the air, stepped onto a moving disk and was gone.

When he began collecting tools for the repairs, he understood he would need a source for planks to patch the flooring in places and replace missing siding. He climbed on the roof and found it mostly sound, but in need of shingles on the riverside.

With what he considered a complete inventory, he gathered what he found near the workshops and after inquiring about its use, found it all available.

For the first two days, he removed rotted and damaged wood throughout the mill. As he did he discovered a wide belt and pulley system that included massive tools powered by the waterwheel including a round saw blade, and a pounding device that he might use to split logs. However the belt was dry and brittle and where it attached to the waterwheel, the main pulley was hanging to the side showing that axle had split and broke.

Deciding to change his plans, he removed the hundred-foot belt, laid it on the ground up the hill from the river and returned to remove the axles supporting the belt from the waterwheel to the end where the round saw blade sat idle.

A week passed without much progress except the feeling of acceptance and satisfaction that he was at least working with his hands and accomplishing a task that in the end would help those he lived with now.

Green Cabin part 67

He glanced back and up and saw in Galyna’s eyes a look he could not decipher. “Is there trouble?” he asked as he worked his way to his feet, realizing he was still quite exhausted.

She nodded and pointed to the spot where the tree trunk touched the disk. There was a yellow-white light at the contact point. Stanton wondered about it for a second and then followed her stopping when she did close enough to the light that he felt a steady vibration spreading from the tree trunk through the disk. As close as they stood to the source, the vibration was strong and slowly it crept up from the soles of his feet into his legs and warmly spread up until even his head felt it.

“This is the tree’s healing source. It will strengthen you from the core of your spirit outward. When you feel your fingertips and toes tingling it is completed and you will understand all.”

He could only nod feeling the vibration filling him, revitalizing him, nourishing, his, spirit. When his fingertips did as she’d said, Stanton knew that despite every effort the healers made, Margaret would not live. The explosive device used to amputate her leg injected her with an unknown poison that the healers could not counteract.

Stanton’s heart felt heavy wrapped in a grief that felt overwhelming.

Galyna took his hands in hers, and when she squatted he was forced to do the same. He tried to resist, but she was strong enough to stop him. Then she placed his hands directly on the place with the tree’s light originated. Nothing came to him to explain what her then felt, but when she released him, Stanton had accepted the coming lose of the mother of his child, but also felt a coldness he’d once buried so he the assassin wasn’t as ruthless, and without mercy. Now he felt driven to return to the king’s land and kill them all. But the portal was gone and with it the opportunity to seek and enjoy revenge.

The tree’s light flashed red/orange as he thought of his rage and thirst for revenge, and as it did those feelings left him too.

He stood again, and faced the warrior. “Will she regain consciousness so I may speak with her?”

Galyna shook her head. “No, and the healers must remove the child now before the poison reaches its heart.”

He nodded and went to Margaret, lifted her warm hands and kissed them both, then her eyes, and last her mouth. When finished, he looked around and a sharp drilling pang of regret reminded him of losing Blythe.

This is the way for me. Death is my companion and all I touch will feel its sting before my joy is complete, he thought and stepped back to allow the healers save his child.

About two hours later they, with the horses, began descending to the floor of the forest. He healers had left with his child since she his daughter was too premature for him to care for her. They would keep her until she was old enough to travel with Stanton. Galyna assured him that was their intention and they could be fully trusted.

He watched the tree disks slid around the base of the tree as they stepped on a different disk along with the body of the woman he’d loved when he’d not desired to love again.

Finally, as the sun began to darken, they were down. Several Druid males awaited their arrival. They gently gathered up Margaret’s remains and carried her to a large clearing with a pyre stood. After they’d arranged her, the Druids produced rods that emitted blue-green flames. With these they lit the wood piled around the base of the pyre.

Stanton fought the tears, the horror and anguish as the flames rose slowly, embracing her body and then she was gone.

He and the warrior stayed in place until the pyre and Margaret were nothing but ashes. Then Galyna reached for him, took his hand and guided him into the forest where a small village of stone houses and buildings stood. She took him into a one-room house and stopped at the doorway.

“You may live here as long as you need. If at time you want to help us, tell me and I will assist so you assimilate as easily as possible.”

He nodded. “And my daughter? When can I see her?”

“The healers will send one of their kind and take you to her at least once a week. They have informed me she will need to be with them for several months. After that you and she may leave if you so desire.”

“I don’t think I have a choice in that since I’ve been guided or even driven this far by powers I cannot understand or defy.” He tried to smile and failed. “Thank you for all you’ve done. I think I need rest now.”

She did smile, but in it was a kindness that made him feel that she cared. Without another word, she turned and left him.