Thorne, listen, I need your help. I must do something but I can’t do it alone without causing a lot of trouble.
Well, I need to speak with Emerald’s siblings.
Yes, right now, with all of them.
Yes, including the baby girl. You see my problem?
No, I haven’t gone mad. Podaga spoke to me.
Don’t look at me like that.
I had a vision and I saw Podaga and the spear.
I don’t know why. I just need to do it.
Well, three things. I’m sure their guardians aren’t going to cooperate. Actually, I don’t want them to know at all. So you do your mind thing and they won’t remember, right?
So we get the baby first, then the kids, and we have a chat. You watch my back for weird things. I mean, it’s Podaga so who knows.
What’s that? Oh, the third thing. Well, you can help me convince the kids to listen to me.
You’ll be fine. You’ll be the Prophet. Speak some wise words or something.
Oh, after? We return them, the villagers none the wiser.
Well, are you going to help me or not?
- – -
Thorne scowls at Olis, rubbing sleep from their eyes. “You want us to help you kidnap babies? Why? We’re not adopting them Olis. So your plan is for me to slag the brain of their minders while you have a silent conversation with 8 kids in the middle of the night? You know that’s how people get hanged, right?”
“Listen, I’m not one to deny the will of Podaga, but if you’re going to do it, we need to try and do one at a time. Speaking to them all at once would be worse than herding cats. It could get the whole village going, and every one you talk to is going to have to feel great after or that’ll be the end. What do you want from these kids, Olis? What could we possibly do for them?”
- – -
Olis rubs his chin. He had always been good with small children. They would flock to him and climb all over him. They would laugh and giggle while he tossed them about. He would find strange presents in his pockets, acorns, beetles, pebbles, that the kids would leave him. Once the kids started to grow, then they began to fear him. Maybe it was his size and bulk, maybe it was his warrior’s stance, but something let the older kids know he was dangerous. Thinking back to his last interaction with kids, in that small mountain village on the way to the silo, brought a frown to his face. The adults sure didn’t like him talking to the kids but how were the kids with him? Was Thorne right?
“Thorne, I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. Maybe we should speak with them one at a time. But that’s going to take too long… I think. Podaga saw Emerald. Podaga knew Emerald. You know how we came into possession of this spear. That fury, that vengeance, is the same that was in Emerald. Now she is dead but her line need not die out. Podaga has given me a name, a gift for the baby. It will be her real name. The name is Devana. She is the moon. She is the huntress. She is the virgin. She is the change, or has the potential to be the change. I’m not sure, but I think that’s what Podaga is implying. The other kids must know the true name, one that they will know her by but keep secret from others. It will bond them together, protect them, and perhaps bring about change to this world. That is what Podaga is offering. I don’t know if I can tell it right, but I must try.”
Thorne looks at Olis’ determined face and sighs. “All right, I understand, but there is a problem. I overheard that the kids were being split up now that the ‘Forest Witch Problem’ has been resolved. They are now all over the village. I’m good, but I’m not that good. We can’t possibly gather them in one place without the villagers noticing.”
“Damn it, damn it, damn it!” Olis grits his teeth. What was most important to Podaga? What did she actually want? What should he do? “The baby. We get to the baby and giver her the name. The villagers, they follow space Thesme, so they might not like it but screw them. We need someone other than the baby to know. We’ll go in the morning. Go back to sleep. And, thank you.”