“We are cat people, not dog people,” said the woman.
Cleo was surprised to find a beautiful middle aged woman sitting on a bench in the barn she selected. She squinted at the woman and turned to her red dog. “Sadites,” she told him. He sat dutifully at her side.
“You don’t remember me?” the woman asked.
“Have we met?” Cleo asked. What was this strange language… and how can she understand and speak it?
“Of course not,” muttered ISIS, with a smirk. “Well, there was a time I was your goddess and you, young princess, were the apple of Ra’s eye. Then of course you ran off with that Julius fellow, scandalizing all of Rome.”
“Your glorious country has been struggling ever since. I might add that the author will receive quite a pile of manure for this Deux ex Machina, but who better to play that role here than yours truly?”
“At risk of adding several wheelbarrows to the criticism, I’m going to give you some advice. You have learned how to find Tsar Peter. I suggest you attend the unification party at the edges of town tomorrow, and learn about this Swedish Charles XII. Learn how to shoot one of those clumsy flintlocks.. and refresh your memory of a blade. They’ve gotten quite nice since you handled one.” Isis handed Cleo a dagger in its leather and gold trimmed sheath. The sun god symbolism at the end of the handle appeared strangely familiar to Cleo.
“Once you have promised the Tsar you will kill his Swedish rival, find the Danish king. He evidently enjoys masquerade balls, where perhaps you might offer to dispense with the Swede in return for a ship to America.”
Cleo was confused. “You don’t understand this yet, but you will catch on. You always do.” Isis considered disappearing with a flash, in a cloud of smoke, but instead turned to walk away.
“Oh,” she said, as an afterthought. “Get rid of the dog.” Then, tossing Cleo a coin of the local realm, said “Get yourself a room. There is a vacancy at the inn for you.”“Thank you,” called Cleo, scratching Wolf behind the ears. “But I think will keep you,” she whispered to her new companion. “I heard that,” shouted ISIS.
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