Tuatha's Children  

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2011 

 

Chapter 3

"Please, Alex.  I have to go to the audience of the king," Scott begged.
"I don't have anyone else to watch Roon."

"But I'm a lousy babysitter.  I'm irresponsible.  I think those were the
exact words."  Alex was still angry about the way he was accused the day
before when the two boys were missing.

"I know, I said some things in haste," Scott apologized.

"What you said was nothing like what your revered spouse and high king of
the whole land said," Alex complained.

"You know Robin was just angry at the moment.  He's over that.  In fact he
specifically asked me to apologize for him and to tell you how much he
values..."

"Don't make excuses for that arrogant jerk.  He did nothing of the kind.
Last night he was talking about banishing me back to the human world."

"Alex, come on.  You know he was just blowing off steam."

"Yeah, well, you can just find someone else to watch that monster kid of
yours."

Scott tried a few more times, but Alex was still angry about being blamed
for losing the two boys the previous day.  As Scott made his way back
across the great hall he spotted Rood, the captain of the guard.  "Hey,
Rood, do you think..."

"Sorry but I have to watch the new visitor, Rayel.  I cannot sit on your
baby."

"Babysit," Scott corrected him.

"That is what I said."

"So where is Rayel?" Scott asked.

"He is still meditating in the guest chambers."

About then Melcot caught up with Scott and Rood.  "My friends," he said,
addressing them both.  "The king bids you both come to the audience
chamber.  He wants you there to speak with the newcomers that Rowana and I
found out in the plain."


"Why us?" Scott asked.

"They speak only English and are from the human world," Melcot informed
him.

"That makes it an interesting audience," Rood said and began to pull Scott
toward the stairs.

"But what about Roon?" he asked, still not solving his babysitting problem.

"I think we might kill some birds with rocks," Rood replied.  "I'm supposed
to watch Rayel and see he gets into no trouble.  Why not have the boy watch
him and he watch the boy.  That way neither of them will get into trouble."

"First off the expression is killing two birds with one stone, and
secondly, that sounds like a great idea, which is why it scares me," Scott
said.

"Tell the king we come anon," Rood told Melcot.  "Meanwhile, you to the boy
and I to the visitor and we shall have them meet here in the main hall,"
Rood said to Scott.  They all separated.

A few minutes later Rayel was making his way down the stairs to the main
hall while Scott and Rood headed for the king's audience chamber.  Roon sat
on a bench against the wall in the grand hall on the ground floor of the
white tower.  He was bored and chafing under the restrictions Scott set for
him before leaving him alone.  But in a minute he jumped as someone grabbed
him from behind.  He turned with a grin to look at his best friend.  "How
came you here?" he asked Raven.  "I thought your mom said you were grounded
for life."

"She said that last night," Raven agreed, nodding.  "But this morning she
has a headache and told me to go away and let her rest."

"And your father?"

"He went to the audience chamber along with most of the other palace
guards.  I heard some strangers are being presented to the king there."

"More strangers?" an adult voice asked from nearby.  Roon turned to see the
odd older man they had befriended the day before standing beside them.

"Greetings of the day," Raven said with a grin.  "Why are you here and not
in the audience like just about everyone else?"

The strange man looked back at the two boys.  "It seems I am to watch you
as a favor to the king," he said to them.  "I am to see you get not into
any mischief."

"Yeah?  Well Rood said I was supposed to watch you," Roon told the adult.

"Looks like we been played," Raven said, switching to English.

"Indeed," Rayel replied in the same strange language.  "I cannot stay here
and watch two small boys," he said half to himself.  "I have to be getting
to my work."

"Cool," Raven said with a smile.  "We'll go with you."

"I think that is not a good idea," Rayel replied in Tuathan.

"I think that is an excellent idea," Roon said in English.  "We are
supposed to watch you, so if you are going to leave the castle, we shall
have to go with you."

The three of them walked across the great hall and out the tall, ornate
doors and into the sunshine of the courtyard.  They walked down the lane to
the main gate, but were stopped there by one of the guards.  "Where go
you?" he asked.

"I am leaving," Rayel said.

"Not with them," the guard said, indicating the two boys.

"He is not leaving, leaving," Roon said, trying to distract the guard.  "He
means he is leaving for a little while.  We are going to go for a walk out
in the corridor of light, and be back later."

"I think that is not a good idea," the guard began to challenge.

"What think you, that he is going to steal us away?" Roon continued.  "Be
not ridiculous.  We just go for a walk."

"Well I suppose that might be okay," the man began to answer.

Rayel and the boys walked through the gate and out across the drawbridge.
Soon they were walking down the winding canyon between the stone walls that
led out onto the plain.  They turned along the path and walked for quite
some way until it once again turned back toward the mountains.  The boys
followed Rayel as they continued on till the path led to the wooden bridge
across the ravine.  They quickly crossed it and began the long descent down
the curving pathway to the bottom of the ravine.  Once there they followed
the bottom until they came to the caves that Rayel had been exploring.
"This is the most promising," he said as he ducked down to walk into the
low ceilinged opening in the rock wall.

"How long have you been searching these caves?" Roon asked.

"Several years," Rayel replied as he reached the back of the opening and
began to feel along the walls.

"And you never found anything?"

"I've found lots of openings, but none large enough to permit a man to pass
through."

"Lead they all to the human world?" Raven asked.

"I think not so," Rayel replied.  The two boys glanced nervously at each
other.  They spent the next several hours feeling around the back of the
dark cave until finally Rayel exclaimed, "Here!" and began to pull loose
rocks away.  He uncovered a dark crevice, but it didn't look like a normal
crack in the rocks.  It held an inky blankness, darker than any the boys
had ever seen.  It was as if there was something in the crevice that was
sucking up all the light.  Rayel put his hand in it and felt around.  "Yes,
yes, this is it," he said.  "Feel in there."

Neither of the two boys wanted to stick their hands into the dark hole, but
Rayel seemed almost crazed.  "Go ahead, feel!" he commanded.

Roon, ever the braver of the two, knelt down and pushed his arm into the
hole.  At first there was resistance and then his hand pushed into the
dark.  It felt like he was pushing his hand into a black bowl of gelatin.
"Ewww," he said and pulled it back, amazed to see that it was clean and
nothing had clung to it.  He expected to see trails of black ooze on his
arm.  "What is that?" he asked in amazement.

"That is gleekah," Rayel said in satisfaction.  "It is the force that holds
the worlds apart.  On the other side of that barrier is another land,
perhaps the land of humans."

"Raven, put your hand in there," Roon said.

The other boy pulled back nervously.  "No, I want not to," he protested.
"I think I should go home now."  Rayel ignored the two boys as he began to
tear at the rocks, pulling them out of the crevice and trying to make the
hole bigger.  "Roon, we should go," Raven said.

"No, this is cool.  Let us stay here and see what he finds," he argued with
his friend.

They stood and continued to watch the older man pull more stones out of the
way.  He finally had an opening just big enough for a very small person to
crawl through.  He finally sat back and looked around.  His eyes fixed on
Roon.  "You, boy.  Crawl through there and see what is on the other side."

"Me?  I am not going in there," Roon said nervously.

Rayel grabbed Raven and put his arms around the child's throat.  "You will
or I shall kill your friend."

Both boys realized how desperate the situation had become.  They should
never have left the castle with this unhinged man.  Raven's eyes pleaded
with Roon to help him.  "Okay," the boy said.  "Just don't hurt him."  Roon
got down on his hands and knees and crawled to the opening.

"Wait," Rayel said and grabbed a rope that was lying on the bottom of the
cave beside some other tools he had left there when last he had explored
it.  He quickly tied the rope around the boy's waist, the pushed him
forward.

Roon took a deep breath and then pushed into the dark hole.  He slowly
slipped into the inky blackness and disappeared from sight.  The only
evidence that he was alive came from the rope that slowly disappeared into
the hole behind him.  The two in the cave watched as the rope continued to
move, sliding into the black hole behind where Roon had disappeared.
Finally it stopped moving.  It just lay there.  Rayel grabbed it and gave
it a gentle tug and it began to move back.  He pulled more firmly and more
of the rope came out of the black hole.  Rayel quickly began to pull and
the rope followed, the end eventually coming out.  The knot had apparently
come loose and the rope must have slipped off the boy.  "Damn," Rayel
cursed in English.

"What happened to him?" Raven asked, a look of panic on his face.

Rayel put a smile on his face and tried to look comforting.  "The knot came
loose.  He is already on the other side.  You will follow him and be sure
to tie the rope onto something firm on the other side."  Raven began to
shake his head and take a step back.  Rayel stood and walked toward him.
Raven turned to run, but tripped over some loose stones and fell to the
ground.  Rayel was instantly on the boy, wrapping the rope around his
middle and tying the knot more firmly.  He then dragged the youth to the
back of the cave and shoved him toward the hole.  Raven barely had time to
gulp fresh air before he was pushed from behind into the inky darkness.

It felt as though he was falling into a pool of black goo.  He couldn't see
and was afraid to open his eyes.  Once his feet were into the black sludge
he couldn't feel anything below him.  In fact he wasn't sure which way up
and down was.  He was suspended in the dark thickness, unable to know what
to do.  He tried to swim, moving his arms and legs as he did when they were
in the swimming hole in the high plains, but he couldn't tell if it made
any difference.  A coldness began to envelop him and he knew he was going
to die in the blackness, isolated from his friends, his mother and father,
everyone he knew.  He opened his mouth to cry out and felt the black goo
pushing into his mouth, trying to force its way into his lungs.  He
screamed.

Suddenly there was light and sound and feeling.  A hand was pulling on his
arm and he was coughing.  A voice came to him.  "Raven, Raven, you are
here.  I was so worried."

The boy opened his eyes and saw his friend looking down at him.
"What...what happened?"

"I don't know," Roon said as he held his friend.  "I was trapped in that
black stuff.  Then suddenly I was here.  But the rope must have come off me
because it wasn't there.  I just sat here, not knowing what would happen
next.  After a while a dark spot appeared on the wall and grew larger.  I
reached into it and felt something and pulled on it and you came out of
that black spot.  I was so glad."  The boys hugged each other.

"Roon, I was so worried.  Rayel pulled on the rope and it came back out of
the hole.  Then he tied it on me and pushed me in.  I thought I was going
to die in there."

The two boys looked down to see that Raven still had the rope tied around
him.  Roon began to unfasten it and they looked about.  They appeared to be
in some sort of wooden building.  There was a dark black hole in the wall
beside which they sat.  The other end of the rope disappeared into that
darkness.  "He said we should tie it onto something firm on this side,"
Raven said.  Roon pulled the end of the rope over to where there was a
large old hook mounted on the wall.  He tied the rope onto the hook.  He
then walked back to the hole and the boys noticed it had changed.  It was
no longer a black spot, but appeared to be an ordinary hole in the wall of
the wood.  Inside were stone walls like a small tunnel or shaft.  The boys
could see light at the other end.  They marveled at the unusual sight but
suddenly the light blacked out.  Something was crawling through the tunnel,
obscuring the other side.  The two boys drew back.  Then suddenly Rayel's
head appeared in the opening.  He pulled himself along hand over hand,
pulling on the rope.  He could barely get his shoulders through the hole in
the wooden surface, but eventually he did.  He pulled himself up and stood,
looking around the room.

"Well done, boys," the man said in English.  He brushed the dust off his
tunic and looked about.  "This must be the human world.  They build their
dwellings out of wood."  He looked around to find they were in a small
wooden building.  It appeared to be an old garage.  He stepped over to the
big door closing one end and slowly pushed it open.  Bright sunshine
streamed in.  "Welcome to the land of humans," he said.  He and the two
boys stepped out of the building and looked around at the strange
surroundings.  They appeared to be standing in a driveway that went past a
large house.  There were other buildings nearby and strange sounds that
were hard to interpret.  This was indeed an unusual world.

"Now what do we do?" Roon asked, also speaking English and excited by the
thrill of an adventure.

"We could crawl back through the hole and go home," Raven suggested in
Tuathan.

"We are home," Rayel said.  "Or we soon shall be.  Speak only English
here," he ordered.  "First we must find out what village we are in, then we
must find our way to Kansas City.  It is where my wife and son live."

* * *

The official audience with the delegation from the west was held in the
lesser throne room.  Rather than the large chamber that held the crystal
throne, the seat of Tuathan government, Robin preferred to hold audiences
in a smaller chamber, where he could be closer to the people, rather than
seated on the high throne, a dozen steps up from the delegates he was
expected to meet with.  This audience with the west seemed to last forever.
Robin had to make certain concessions to them and they promised all sorts
of things that Scott doubted they would uphold.  But eventually the
audience ended and the delegates bowed to the king and withdrew.  Next
Melcot and Rowana stepped forward, bowing to the king.  "My lord," Melcot
began.  "The lady Rowana and I were riding in the plain when we came upon
two travelers.  One appears to be human but we are uncertain of the other.
They speak not our language, so we brought them to see you."

Two very strange young men were brought into the room.  They were dressed
in clean Tuathan attire, but looked a bit uncomfortable.  One man was tall
and thin with an extremely pale complexion as if he had not seen the sun in
a long time.  The other appeared slightly younger and more robust, with
shaggy hair down to his shoulders and bright blue eyes.  He was equally
thin and both looked as though they had not eaten in some time.

"Gentlemen, welcome to Tuatha," Robin said in perfect English, assuming the
two might speak that language since Melcot said one was human.

"Thank you, sir," the taller man said with a slight Southern drawl to his
words.  "It's a pleasure to meet you.  I'm sorry we don't speak your
language but I sure am glad that you speak ours.  We were getting a little
nervous not being able to communicate with anyone."

"I apologize, but we have lately run out of the chrism of communication.
It is a magical oil that allows us to understand you and you to understand
us.  I am sure we shall obtain more soon when the caravans from the east
come through.  In the meanwhile, there are a small number of our court who
can speak your language.  Allow me to make some introductions.  I am Robin,
high king of Tuatha.  This," he indicated the man sitting in the chair at
his side, "my consort, Scott.  He is also human.  Allow me to introduce our
court physician, Sharon, another human."  Robin introduced the doctor
sitting on a chair at the side of the room.  "And my palace guards, Rood
and Akuta."  Two of the guards standing beside Robin nodded.  "Also friend
of the court, Alex."  A young red headed man sitting by the doctor gave a
half sort of wave.  "You may address any of them and they shall understand
you.  Please be patient with the rest of the court.  We are not entirely
bilingual here as we get not many visitors from your world.  Now may I ask
how you came to be here?"

"Your grace," the taller man began.  "We are visitors from another world.
That is true.  Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Jefferson Smythe.  This
is my companion, Willow Granger.  We had heard stories of your land from
others, and I have met a couple of your people some years ago.  We found an
opportunity to come here and decided to take it."

Robin glanced to his partner with a slight look of concern.  "I beg your
pardon, sir, but Tuatha is not one of your usual vacation stops.  Coming
here may have grave consequences for both our lands.  I mean no
inhospitality, but we shall have to discuss this.  I would like to know the
way in which you found an opportunity to come here."

Scott put his hand on Robin's arm and Robin turned to him.  "Excuse me, but
you said you met a couple or our people some years ago.  Could you
elaborate on this?  How did you meet them and who were they?"

Jefferson replied, "There was a man named Flesar and he had a son Jayron.
I helped Flesar find his son when they were separated.  I had a friend who
was a witch.  She arranged for a portal so they could come home.  Many
years later she helped to arrange a similar transportation for my companion
and myself."

Robin nodded then spoke to one of the guards who immediately left the room.
"Flesar is ambassador to the western kingdoms.  He resides there now.
However his son Jayron works in our stables as our horse master.  I have
sent for him to verify your story.  Now may I ask why you have come to my
kingdom?"

Jefferson looked nervously at his companion.  "Well, sir, my companion was
hoping to find out something about his father.  You see, I believe his
father was fairy while his mother was human."  There were looks of concern
between the English speaking members of the court.

"Know you his father's name?" Robin asked.

"Yes, you highness," Willow spoke up.  "It was Rel."

Robin nodded again.  "We shall have that name researched and let you know
what we find," he told the boy.  "Meanwhile, I would ask that you go with
our court physician as her guest until we can provide you some
information."  Robin then switched to Tuathan and spoke to Sharon.  "Please
examine these two.  I sense something odd about the tall one.  And we must
know if the short one is indeed part Tuathan."

Sharon nodded and stood, walking over to the two.  "Why don't you guys come
with me," she suggested, and Rood, captain of the guard stepped over to
escort them.  Sharon seemed friendly and inviting, showing the two
strangers along a corridor and down the stairs to the great hall.  But they
were nervous about the tall guard following along beside them.  He had a
stoic look on his face that couldn't be interpreted as menacing, but
certainly didn't appear friendly either.

Shortly after the audience broke up, Robin, Scott, Alex and Akuta were
sitting around a table in one of the conference rooms when a guard knocked
on the door, then opened it to admit the stable master.  The man who
entered the room bowed to the king and looked about nervously, not sure why
he had been called.  "Please, have a seat," Robin said, and Jayron sat
uncomfortably on the edge of a chair.

"My lord, how may I serve you?" he asked.

"Many years ago you were in the land of humans," Robin opened.

"Yes, my father and I were exploring in the mountains and found a cave.  It
held an entrance to the human world.  We were not aware that we were even
in a different land until I was abducted by an evil creature there."

"How were you rescued and returned to Tuatha?" Robin asked.

"Another being from the land of humans and my father rescued me, defeated
the evil creatures and the other being and his human friend opened a portal
to send us home."

"The one who helped rescue you, had he a name?" Robin asked.

"Yes but I know it not."

"What troubles you, lord?" Scott questioned his partner in English.

"Lord Jayron, when happened all of this?" Robin asked again.

Jayron thought a bit, then replied, "Perhaps forty seasons ago."

"That is what troubles me," Robin replied.  "This happened many years ago
and yet this human looks no older than a youth of perhaps twenty seasons."

"You know as well as I that time passes strangely between our worlds.
Perhaps it has only been a year since that happened in the human world."

"No," Robin answered him.  "Time passes strangely, but time passes more
quickly here than in the human world.  It would be easier to say that this
happened hundreds of years ago in the human world and yet this man looks no
older.  There is something very strange here."

"Lord Jayron," Robin said, returning to Tuathan to speak to his stable
master, "would you know this human if saw you him again?"

"It has been many years, lord, but perhaps I would recognize him.  I am not
sure he would have aged."

"What looked he like then?

"He was about our height, with blond hair and odd green eyes.  His skin was
nearly the color of milk."  The others looked at each other, knowing this
was a perfect description of the human they had just met.

"This is odd," Robin said.  "Why think you that he may not have aged?  Was
there anything strange about this human?  Did he have some magic about
him?"

"Well, he was a night walker," Jayron said.

Akuta and Robin both looked shocked and concerned at this revelation.

"Night walker?  What's a night walker?" Alex asked in confusion.

"You have another word for it," Robin said.  "I believe it is vampire."

Alex and Scott both broke into laughter.  "Vampire?  That's only in the
movies," Alex said still laughing and then he noticed that Scott had
stopped laughing and began to look concerned as well.  "What?  You don't
think..."  Then Alex too realized.  They were living in a world of magic,
and they had found fairies and unicorns existed.  Maybe vampires did as
well.  "You mean there really are vampires?"

"Not in our world," Robin said.  "But I have heard they exist in yours and
come from the dark world.  They are creatures of pure evil that live only
to kill others.  Akuta, go quickly to the halls of healing and find Rood.
We must detain this creature before anyone is hurt."

Jayron and Scott both jumped up as Akuta dashed from the room.  "It's the
middle of a sunny day," Scott began.  "Vampires only come out at night.
I'm sure this is some sort of crazy mistake."

"He may be a night walker, but he is not a creature of evil," Jayron added
quickly.  "He helped to save me from the others.  He is a good man."

"That remains to be seen," Robin said as he stood.  They all left the room
and headed toward the halls of healing.

 

 

 

 

 

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