Tuatha's Children  

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2011 



Chapter 5

The evening meal was held in one of the large dining halls.  Robin, Scott
and several of the guards were conspicuously absent.  Akuta and Alex
introduced Jeff and Willow to Caseldra and Jennifer whom they had met
earlier.  Sharon also joined them.  They all ate in silence for a time, the
mood set by the absence of the others.  "Usually we are much more
hospitable hosts," Sharon said, breaking the silence.

"I understand that the king's son and another boy were kidnapped," Jeff
said in a sympathetic tone.

"We don't know that," Jennifer explained.  "The two boys get into more
trouble than anyone can imagine.  They may have voluntarily wandered off
with this stranger.  No one really knows him so that's why everyone is
worried.  And they certainly should have been back by dinner hour."

"So tell us why you came here again," Sharon prompted.

Willow jumped in.  "Jeff thinks my father was from this land and he
suggested we come to see if we could find him.  Also, it offered a cure for
Jeff's condition."

"You were really a vampire?" Sharon asked, shaking her head in

"Yes, but I'm afraid it wasn't quite like everyone seems to think from the
movies and books.  It certainly isn't as romantic as the Twilight films or
the True Blood TV series makes it out to be."

"Twilight films, True Blood?  I'm afraid we're not familiar with that

"They are the contemporary popular vampire stories in the US."

"As you can tell, Tuatha is a little behind the times," Alex explained.
"We don't even get cable."

"I suppose the Internet is out of the question," Willow joked.

"Inter what?"

"So you think your father may be here in our land?" Caseldra asked,
changing the subject.

"Yes, his name was Rel Granger," Willow answered eagerly.

"Rel...that doesn't sound familiar.  And the last name is of no help.  They
don't have last names here," Sharon said.  "He probably adopted that after
he moved to the human world."

"Other than royalty designations," Caseldra replied.  "Such as Robin
Goodfellow, son of Oberon the Stalwart..."

Jennifer shushed her.

"I learned of the connection through Willow's grandmother," Jeff said.
"She told me that her son-in-law, Rel was a fairy and that..."

"What did you say his name was?" Akuta asked, perking up.

"Rel," both Jeff and Willow said together.

"Not you, be quiet," Akuta said to the younger man.  "You, say it again,"
he said looking directly at Jeff.


"Hear you the difference in how he pronounces the name?" Akuta said

"Yes, he has what we call a southern accent," Jennifer explained.

"I was born in Virginia," Jeff acknowledged.  "I still have a bit of an
accent from my upbringing in the early 1800s."

"My God, you were really born in the 1800s?" Sharon asked excitedly.

"But the youth pronounces it differently," Akuta pointed out coming back to
his original thought.  "Say it again."

Jeff repeated the name.  Sharon suddenly caught on.  "Yes, he makes it two

"Rayel!" Alex said as he caught on as well.  "Rayel!"

"I don't get it," Willow said in confusion.

"The man who took the children!" Sharon said loudly.  "His name was Rayel!"

"My father is a kidnapper?"  Willow sat back dejectedly.  "Doesn't that
just figure?"

"He said he was a stranger from far away, and he was just passing through."

Caseldra jumped up from the table.  "This is what was needed.  If this boy
be the son of Rayel, my father can use his essence to find the man, or at
least track him."  She grabbed Willow by the hand and all of them rushed
from the dining hall to find the wizard.

"I don't understand any of this.  And I thought I was the strange one,"
Jeff said as he followed along behind the group.

* * *

Robin and Scott came back across the drawbridge well after dark.  They had
no luck in finding any trace of the children or their abductor on the
plains.  As they came up to the white tower, the large oak doors opened and
a number of people ran out to greet them.  "Found you them?" Akuta asked

"No," Robin said as he dismounted.  Clearly he, Scott and the others were
depressed at the end of their long search.  "We shall go again on the

"We can find them, lord," Caseldra said in excitement.  "My father has..."

"I want no false hopes," Robin dismissed her.  He had experiences in the
past with the little wizard that were less than successful.

"But, lord," Akuta argued.  "We have the man's son.  With his essence we
can track him."

"His son?" Scott said, coming up.  "Did someone else come while we were

"It is the boy from the other world.  Willow.  His father is Rayel."

"Is this the truth?" Robin asked, suddenly concerned.  "Why have we not
learned this before."

"They thought it was pronounced Rel," Sharon explained.  "It wasn't until
Jeff said the name with his southern accent that we figured it out."

Robin looked over at where Jeff and Willow stood apart from the crowd.  He
slowly walked over to them.  "Night walker, you have aided us with your
human speech.  I thank you if you have helped locate my son."

"They have done nothing," Elnar, the short little wizard said, pushing his
way through the taller humans and fairies.  "I be the one who is brewing
the potion that will find them."

"He jabbed me with a knife and used my blood," Willow said, holding out his
hand to show a bandage wrapped around it.

"Then my thanks are to you as well for your contribution," Robin said to
the boy.

"Of all the ungrateful..." the wizard began to mutter.

"And to you, lord wizard," Robin said smiling down at the little man in the
oversized blue robes.  "If you can use this boy's essence to find the

"Essense, shmessence.  It's just his DNA," Sharon interjected.

"I know not what DNA means," the wizard replied.  "But the child's blood
will follow the blood of the father once my potion is ready."

"And when will that be?" Robin asked.

"By dawn tomorrow."

"Then humans, go sleep.  All others meet with me in the conference chamber.
We shall be ready to ride at first light."

* * *

"Are you sure you want to go with them?  Have you ever ridden a horse
bareback, other than when we came in here?" Jeff asked his lover as they
followed Alex and Akuta down the stairs in the predawn light.

"I didn't fall off then," Willow said.

Jeff gave him a look and replied, "I still have the bruises from where you
were holding on to me."  He rubbed his arms.  "Funny, I never used to
bruise at all."

"Well it can't be any harder than hitchhiking from Kansas City to St. Louis
when I was a kid, or hitchhiking from St Louis to find you when my
grandmother died."

"Yeah, yeah, you're real tough.  But I don't have any way to protect you
like I used to."

"So you're just a human among humans.  Get used to it," Willow said.
"Besides I'm not going to miss the opportunity to find my father now.  And
if he is a kidnapper, I want to know.  That doesn't sound like the man I
grew up with."

"You haven't seen him in nine years," Jeff replied.  "A lot can happen in
that time."

They finally crossed the great hall and met with the group just inside the
doors.  "I think this is not the place for our guests," Robin said, seeing
Jeff and Willow among those assembled.

"He's my father," Willow argued.

"And where Willow goes, I go," Jeff remarked.

"Very well," the king agreed, and he signaled for Rood and Akuta to open
the main doors to the tower.  Outside in the courtyard were an assemblage
of guards and horses.  Melcot and Rowana, the two who had first befriended
Jeff and Willow were waiting with the mounts.

Robin and Scott took the lead followed by Caseldra with the potion from her
father.  Jennifer was at her side, then came Rood, Sharon, Melcot and
Rowana.  Not realizing that the new guests were going to be part of the
party, Alex and Akuta shared a ride and Jeff and Willow had to share as
well.  "At least you won't fall off," Jeff whispered to his lover as they
climbed onto the horse.  Jeff was comfortable on the horse although he
would have preferred a saddle.  He was glad he was able to hold Willow in
place.  The humans were cautioned to keep their eyes closed in the corridor
of light, the straight canyon leading from the drawbridge.  The column
crossed the drawbridge led by the fairies and continued on through the
canyon until it turned.  Then they all made a bit faster time through the
serpentine twists as they rode out into the plains.  Once leaving the rocky
entrance toward Esbereth, Robin brought them to a halt at the crossroads
and asked Caseldra to use her father's potion.  The girl dismounted from
her horse and sprinkled some of the liquid from the bottle she carried out
on the ground.  Almost instantaneously glowing footprints appeared in the
dust.  They were bright iridescent blue.

"These are the footsteps of Rayel," Caseldra said in Tuathan.  The party
began to follow the direction they had turned.  Caseldra walked ahead and
only occasionally sprinkled the precious liquid to make sure they were
still on the right track.  They soon came to the turn back toward the
castle that went between the rocks toward the bridge down into the ravine.
Caseldra verified that the footsteps led that way.

"They must have gone down into the ravine," Robin said in amazement.  They
had not thought to check that direction before.  "There is no way out of
there.  We have him now."  They all mounted and began to ride down the
short canyon to the bridge.  Once they got to the bridge they slowed and
led their horses across, then began to quickly descend the winding road to
the bottom of the ravine.  There Caseldra sprinkled a bit more of the
potion and saw the footprints lead off to the left.  The party followed a
bit more slowly.  She walked along and whenever they came to a cave or
crack in the wall she would sprinkle a bit more of the potion which was
rapidly dwindling.

Eventually they came upon a cave and the sprinkled liquid showed that the
footsteps turned into the dark crevice.  The party all dismounted and Robin
led the way into the cave.  Once inside he walked toward the back and found
a hole with a rope coming out, tied around an outcropping of stone.  "My
lady, how much more of the liquid do you possess?" he asked.

"Just enough for one last sprinkle," she said, holding the bottle up with
only a few drops of the liquid remaining.

"Will it work in another land?" he asked, suspecting the tunnel led to
another world.

"I believe not, my lord," she replied.

"Then verify they went through this passage."

The girl sprinkled the last remaining drops on the floor of the cave.  The
footsteps were confused, tracing over themselves, but it was apparent that
they were aimed toward the opening with the rope, and vanished close by it.

"I shall go through," Robin stated.  "Scott and Rood shall follow.  The
rest of you remain here."  There were a few protests among the party, but
they were quickly squelched by a look from the king.  Robin got down on his
hands and knees and wiggled into the opening, pulling himself in with the
rope.  It was a tight fit for is broad shoulders, but he managed with a
little help from Scott who pushed from behind.  Once he was through, Scott
followed a bit more easily, being thinner and not quite as broad
shouldered.  Then Rood crawled into the tunnel.  He had the most
difficulty, getting stuck part way through, but Scott reached in and helped
pull him out on the other end.

"I don't believe it," Scott said as he stood up and looked about, brushing
the dust off his tunic.

"Yes, looks this not familiar?" Robin said, looking about.

"This is my old garage!" Scott replied.

"It seems that there have been enough passages from this area to our world
to establish some sort of link to here in your world," Robin explained.  "I
think we had best begin by checking out the house and if we find nothing,
then we may need to return to the land and see if we can find some other
means to track them.  Who knows where the man may have gone in this world?"

The three slipped out of the garage, crossed the back yard and tried to
open the back door to Scott's old home.  They found it locked.  Of course,
Scott didn't think to bring a key, not knowing they would end up here.
Rood was about to break the door open when Robin waved him back.  The king
mad a few odd gestures and hummed to himself, then reached out and turned
the knob.  He opened the back door and they quickly entered and examined
the house.  There was no evidence that anyone had been there since their
last visit quite some time before.  Scott picked up a phone and dialed the
number of the public library.  When he got the reference desk he said, "I
am setting my atomic clock.  Can you give me the exact date and time?"  He
smiled at his inventiveness and then thanked the lady on the other end of
the line.  He hung up and said, "It is 10:45 a.m., March 21st, 2011."

"That information is good to know.  When was the last time we came here?"
Robin asked.

"About 10 years ago.  Apparently the time hasn't changed that much for us,"
Scott replied.  "No but it might have changed much for Rayel," Robin
replied.  "He may have come here to try and find his son, not knowing the
boy has grown into a man and followed him to our world."

"But why would he bring our children?" Scott asked.

"That may have been an accident.  They may have followed him and he knew
not how to return them without questions being asked.  Whatever the story,
we must find them."

"How?" Rood asked.  "They may be anywhere in this land."

"There is one who may have an idea," Robin suggested.  "Let us return to
our land and prepare for a proper journey.  Meanwhile, we shall have the
guards open the old passageway into the garage in case we need to transport
something larger than Rood's stomach," Robin said with a grin.

"It was not my stomach that was stuck," Rood complained.  "It was my nether

"Then perhaps you have been sitting too much of late," Robin teased as they
returned to the garage.

Rood and Scott crawled back through the tunnel and Robin untied the rope.
He followed them, bringing the rope with him.  Once back in the cave, they
drew the rope in and the tunnel vanished, turning back into an inky black
spot at the back of the cave.  Robin quickly gave orders and they returned
to their horses.  Part of the guards under the command of Melcot took the
rope and headed further down the ravine while the rest of them returned up
the winding path to the castle far above.

* * *

"I'm not sure I understand," Jeff said as he and Willow sat in the
conference room with Scott.  "Your king wants to take my lover back to the
human world?"

Scott tried to explain the plan again.  "Robin thinks that Willow may be
able to find his father.  Where his father is, we hope to find our children
and bring them home."

"And I can't go because I'd turn back into a blood sucking vampire," Jeff
continued the thought.

"Well, you are normal here," Scott replied.

"Normal?  You call this normal.  My back hurts from sleeping on that hard
pallet you call a bed.  My stomach aches from trying to digest food that I
haven't eaten in nearly 190 years.  And I can feel this body growing older
by the second."

"Part of being human, babe," Willow replied and leaned over to kiss his

"I don't like the idea of you going back there alone," Jeff growled.

"I'll have all these guys to take care of me," Willow responded.  "And he
is my father."

"Well, if you get in trouble..."

"I'll be fine.  Now come on, we don't have a lot of time."

* * *

The group met in Elnar's chambers.  The little wizard led them to his
library.  In one corner stood an old wardrobe covered with what looked like
a dusty sheet.  "This has not been used in many years," Elnar said as he
pulled the cloth off the cabinet.

"What is this?" Jeff asked, perplexed.  The others stood around him,
dressed in odd human clothing.  Willow was in the clothes he had worn when
they arrived, but the others were dressed more like a decade out of

"This is a doorway to our world," Scott said as they prepared to leave.

"But I thought you were doing something down in the ravine," Jeff replied.

"That's for the big stuff, if we need horses or anything.  This will
transport the people."

"Yeah, right," the man answered.

Scott pulled the door open and he and Robin climbed inside the wooden
cabinet.  Rood closed the door over them, waited a moment then opened it.
The cabinet was empty.  "We're next," he said.  He and Sharon climbed
inside and pulled the door shut.  Jennifer stepped up and opened the door.
She and Caseldra climbed in, pulling it shut.

"I don't like this," Jeff said as Willow stepped forward.

"I'll be fine," he replied and kissed his lover.

"Come on, come on," Elnar exclaimed.  "The time currents between worlds may
sweep you to a different time if you don't hurry."  He pulled the door open
and Willow climbed into the cabinet.  Jeff watched as the wizard shut the
cabinet door.  A moment later Jeff pulled the door back open to see an
empty wooden box.

"He'll be okay," Alex said to the man.  "Let's go."

"I just don't feel right about this," Jeff groused as the two of them
walked out of the wizard's chambers.  "And what about you?  How can you
just let your lover go to a different world while you stay here?"

Alex sighed.  "Akuta can take care of himself.  We've been through a lot
together.  And he'll be with the other guards, Scott, Robin and the rest."

Jeff just shook his head.  "I still wish I was going too."

"Yeah, but you have a special condition.  If you go back there, you'll
change.  We have that in common."

"What do you mean?" Jeff asked, his head whipping around to look at Alex.
"You aren't..."

Alex laughed.  "No, I'm not a vampire."  They walked along in silence for a
bit.  "You see, I had contracted AIDS before I ever came here.  When I did
come to this land, they thought the disease would be cured, kind of like
you becoming human again.  But it didn't work that way for me.  I died."

"You died?" Jeff asked in surprise.

"Yeah, and Akuta risked his life to try and bring me back from the land of
the dead.  He actually succeeded, but there was a condition.  I had to
return to the human world once and only once more.  When I did, I felt
great.  I felt whole again.  Then I could come back here to spend the rest
of my days with Akuta.  But if I return to the human world again, the
disease will come back and take me.  You don't get a third chance at


Alex nodded.  "Since Akuta and I have been to the land of the dead, we were
told we would live a very, very long life here, maybe not real immortality,
but as close as you can get.  We don't seem to be aging.  If I return to
the human world, all of that will be taken away.  It's kind of the bargain
we made."

Jeff just shook his head.  "I still find it hard to understand all this
magic stuff."

Alex laughed at that.  "You were a vampire and lived for nearly two hundred
years, and you don't understand magic."

"Yeah, I guess that does sound pretty stupid," Jeff replied.  "Let's go
find some lunch, my human stomach is making noise again."






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