Tuatha's Children  

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2011 

 

 

Chapter 14

"But you're a member of the Church," Craig blurted out in shock.

"God does not discriminate.  He has made us as we are.  Why should not we
serve him?"

"And you don't find draining the blood from people contrary to the laws of
your religion?" Scott asked.

"It is an unfortunate way to survive," the cardinal said with a low
chuckle.  "We do not have to murder to do this.  There are volunteers and
other ways of obtaining our sustenance.  Surely you must know this.  I'm
afraid we aren't the evil monsters portrayed in the cinema."  He then
looked over at Andre with another chuckle.  "Well not all of us anyway.
Perhaps one day God can persuade our friend Andre to repent his lascivious
lifestyle."

Andre joined the cardinal in a laugh.  "Your grace knows I prefer the young
ladies too much to do that."  A chill ran through the humans at the thought
of what Andre's usual diet must be.

"But let us get down to business.  You have come a long way seeking this
American priest, Father Stephen and his evidence."

"He's not really a priest," Craig explained.  "He only goes by the title
Father as part of his cover for the organization."

"There you are wrong my son," Cardinal Compelli said.  "He is most
assuredly a priest.  We have known of Father Stephen Pentucci for a long,
long time."  The shock was almost visible in the room, but the cardinal
looked around as if he was surprised that the others weren't aware of his
knowledge.  "Oh yes, my children.  The Church knows a great deal, and what
is hidden knowledge may often be rediscovered in church archives.  We, that
is the Church, are aware of Father Stephen and of his organization.  We are
aware of its nefarious purpose, but many in the Church are not aware that
Father Stephen is the same Father Stephen Pentucci who took on the
leadership of the Van Helsing organization back in the late 1800s."

"Wait," Jeff spoke up.  "Are you trying to tell us that Father Stephen is a
vampire?"

"No, no, he is entirely human," the cardinal said, shaking his head.  "But
he is a strangely long lived human.  I do not know the magic of the
blessing or the curse that has kept him alive all these many years.  But he
is most definitely a human, a human priest to be exact.  He was ordained in
the year of Our Lord, 1867.  Of course he may not always have kept to the
practices of a Catholic priest.  I don't believe he has said a Mass or
celebrated the sacraments in over seventy years.  It seems he fell from the
rosters of the Church many, many years ago, and in all that time, he was
presumed dead.  It was but recently that some of our own agents have
discovered that he was very much alive, and the same man who had been
ordained as a priest so long ago."

"Agents?  Your Church has agents?" Scott asked.

The Cardinal nodded his head.  "Yes.  Oh we are not like your spy networks,
your CIA, but we have our own who do research and discover things.  There
is a Jesuit office not far from here that makes extensive use of the
Internet to collect the most remarkable data.  But getting back to the
matter at hand, Father Stephen's greatest desire is to have the Church
recognize and take back into its fold his organization.  I believe he is
going to try and use your boy," he nodded to Robin and Scott, "to do just
that.  He has already approached a number of different offices to try and
arrange an audience with the Holy Father.  Of course his first attempt was
politely turned away, and his subsequent attempts have drawn the attention
of both the Swiss Guard and Vatican security.  That is how I have come to
learn about this.  In an attempt to find out his true motivations he has
been stalled while an investigation has been mounted.  Much surprising data
is coming to light, and much of it involving his organization and our kind.
I fear this is something that will only result in trouble for all of us."

"I intend no offense," Robin spoke up, "but all I want is to rescue my son
and return home with him.  Your court intrigues interest me not."

"Spoken as a true parent," Compelli said with a little bow toward the fairy
king.  "We want no harm to come to the boy, and if in returning him to you,
we can also avert attention to ourselves and return the relative stability
to the Church, all the better.  We certainly want to discourage any belief
in our kind and avoid any notoriety of the goings on of my dear friend,
young Andre here."  The cardinal nodded to the other Italian vampire in the
room.

"Then tell us what we must do, your grace," Andre said deferentially.

"Well," the cardinal said as he leaned forward and steepled his hands on
his desk, "it would seem if Father Stephen had no 'evidence' to present to
the Church, his claims might dissipate.  And so I think it would behoove us
all to remove the child from his custody."

Robin stood.  "Tell us where to find this man and we will do that!" he said
angrily.

The cardinal gestured with is hand for Robin to sit down.  "Calmly, calmly
my high born friend," he said in Tuathan, surprising both Robin and Scott.
He chuckled again and returned to English.  "I have learned a few things in
my many years.  Father Stephen is currently staying at a hostel and is
keeping a tight guard on your boy.  I think we must have him present the
boy to an investigatory panel, and at that point we can separate them.
Once this happens, it will be a simple matter to return the child to you,
discredit the man and send him on his way back to America.  His strange
secret of long life can be questioned at another time.  I shall arrange to
convene such an investigatory panel.  I will need to contact both the Swiss
Guard and Vatican security to calm them down as well.  This will not be an
easy thing to arrange.  But I think I can convene such a panel of priests
and loyal scientists in two days and bring them all together back here in
these offices.  In the meantime, relax and enjoy what our city has to offer
by way of its culture and history.  You may not have another chance to
vacation here.  And do not worry about your son.  We are keeping a close
eye on him and seeing to his safety."

With that, the cardinal rose and it was obviously the end of the audience.
Andre quickly escorted them back out of the office and the young priest who
led them in met them in the hall to take them back to the elevator and
their waiting limousine.  Robin was not happy or satisfied in the least
with the outcome of the meeting.  He couldn't understand why the old man
would not just tell him where Roon was being held and be done with it.  But
Craig did his best to explain that the cardinal was attempting to keep the
bloodshed to a minimum and ensure Roon's safety till they could get him
back in their custody.

* * *

Jeff felt much better staying at the villa.  He was served his meals in
golden goblets by Andre's servants.  He enjoyed the flavor, robust and
healthy, but carefully did not ask where it came from.  When Scott or
Willow made an observation, Craig quickly cut them off, saying they
couldn't afford to offend their host by questioning his practices.  This
made them all feel a bit uncomfortable but they just accepted the situation
and hoped the meals came from willing donors.

Robin and Scott argued repeatedly during the next days.  Robin did not
accept the inaction well.  He wanted to be doing something and chafed under
the restraint imposed by the cardinal.  Scott could see the need to wait.
He feared that if his partner rushed into some violent action he or Roon
could be hurt.  Scott hoped that the cardinal's plan would allow them to
retrieve their son with the least amount of physical confrontation.

The day following their meeting with Cardina Compelli, Andre brought a
message to the group.  He had a note from the cardinal that let them know a
meeting had been arranged.  Father Stephen was to meet and discuss his
concerns with a small tribunal who assured him they would then examine his
evidence and if warranted pass him on to the Holy Father.  Cardinal
Compelli would be part of that tribunal.  He said that they would make sure
the boy was separated from Father Stephen and then it would be a simple
matter to return the boy to Scott and Robin.  Andre was to take them to a
bistro on a piazza not far from the offices where they had met.  Cardinal
Compelli would send a message to come and get the boy as soon as possible.
"My trusted servant Francoise will take you to the bistro.  He will have a
cell phone and await the call from the cardinal," Andre explained.

Robin reached into the tunic he wore as a shirt and pulled out the homing
crystal he had on a golden chain around his neck.  "We can use this to
return home as soon as we have Roon," he explained.

"Use that as a last resort," Craig requested.  "Otherwise we'll never know
if you made it home or what happened.  Bring the boy back here and then
when we are all assembled together you can use the crystal to take us all
back to your palace.  Then I can return through that flying cupboard you
have."  They agreed.

A little before noon on the following morning, Andre escorted the group
back to the garage.  His servant was waiting in the car.  Scott, Robin and
Craig all piled in to see the adventure through.  Willow and Jeff remained
behind with their host.  They watched as the car drove out into the
sunlight.

A short time later, Francoise showed his three charges to a street side
table at the little bistro not far from the offices of the cardinal.  They
sat and the humans shared a bottle of wine while Robin looked nervously
about.  After about half an hour Francoise's cell phone rang and he
answered it, speaking quickly in Italian.  He looked quite concerned and
jumped up.  "Follow me," he said in a thick Italian accent and began to run
across the piazza.  The three men followed him.  They darted through a
covered passageway between two buildings and out onto the street by the
building where Cardinal Compelli had his offices.  There was a priest and a
few men in suits standing in front of the church next door.  The priest,
the one who had escorted them to the cardinal's office two days before
waved to them and they headed directly to him.  He came down the church
steps and began speaking quickly to Francoise.  Craig tried to follow, but
his Italian wasn't that good and he was quickly lost.  As Francoise argued
back, Robin decided to take matters into his own hands and grabbed the
priest, pulling his face around so they could make direct eye contact.  The
priest seemed to be frozen for a moment as the men in suits quickly
descended the stares to come up to the group.  Robin suddenly released the
man and turned to run down the block, Scott dashing off in pursuit.

"What's going on?" Craig demanded.

Francoise tried to explain in his halting mixture of Italian, French and
English.  "The old priest, he come but no bring the boy.  From what he say,
they fear the boy is hurt.  He say they think the boy is hold by others in
room and is in trouble."

"Where?" Craig demanded.  "Does he know where?"

Francoise just nodded and pointed in the direction that Robin had taken.

"I am Marco Frangetti with Vatican security," one of the men in suits
introduced himself to Craig.  "You are the American security man?"

Craig nodded.  "I guess you could say that."

"Then come on.  I don't know how your big friend managed to get the
information, but it looks like he is heading for where they may be holding
the boy.  We're just trying to prevent anyone getting hurt."  With that the
two men took off running in the same direction that Robin and Scott and
gone.  Francoise picked up his cell phone and began to make a quick call to
his master to apprise him of the situation, but one of the other men in
suits reached out and confiscated the phone.  The security men then led
Francoise and the young priest back up the stairs and into the church.

* * *

"This is the building that I saw in the man's mind," Robin said as he and
Scott came to a halt in front of a run down looking tenement.

"Robin, be careful," Scott said as his partner opened the door and walked
into the darkness.

"Roon is here.  I feel it," he said and continued on with Scott at his
heels.  Robin slowly climbed a set of stairs, turning his head to listen
from time to time.  They made it to the third floor, and started down a
dirty hallway.  There were five doors along the hall.  The fairy stopped at
each one and listened intently.  "I can't tell which room he may be in," he
wind whispered to Scott.

"Then I guess we'll have to try them all," Scott whispered back as quietly
as he could.  "Sure wish I had a sword or something."

"Here, take mine," Robin said and held out a thin rapier.

"Where did you get that?"

"I borrowed it from the dwelling where we were staying.  It was on a wall
in one of the rooms."

"Keep it.  You're better with a blade than I am."  Scott stepped up to one
of the doors and turned the knob.  He pushed it open and they jumped in,
frightening a girl who was watching television.  They quickly backed out
and went to the next door.  Again Scott opened it and they sprang in to
find only an empty room of a vacant apartment.  They moved down the hall to
the third door.  They then tried the knob only to find it locked.  Robin
made a gesture over it with his hands and nodded, and Scott opened the
door.  Inside was an old woman folding laundry.  She screamed at them and
began to beat them with the clothing she had in her hands.  They quickly
backed out of the room, pulling the door shut.  The fourth door was locked
as well.  Again Robin manipulated the lock magically and they opened the
door jumping into the room.

Inside were two thuggish looking men watching TV.  They jumped up
immediately and made a dash for the Scott and Robin.  Scott sidestepped the
one man who rushed through the doorway and out into the hall in his
momentum.  He turned to dash back, but Scott slammed the door in his face,
hearing the impact of the body against the wooden door.  The other man
rushed at Robin, not even noticing the rapier he held in his hand.  Before
he could even think, Robin raised the blade and the man rushed upon it,
stabbing himself and falling back onto the floor in a pool of blood.

"Very nice, my American friends," a man said from across the room.  Looking
up, Scott saw a man standing in front of another door, a lethal looking
revolver in his hands, pointed at Robin.  "Now drop the sword."  He made a
gesture with the gun.  Robin growled.

"Do as he says," Scott ordered, fearing for his lover's life.

Robin glanced at him and then dropped the blade beside the dead man on the
floor.  "My love, take the homing crystal and rescue our son.  I will
distract this man," Robin said in Tuathan.

"No!" Scott replied.  "He'll kill you.  I'll distract him without being
shot, I hope.  You disappear and slip by him into the next room.  That must
be where they have Roon."  They both spoke loudly enough to be sure that
their son heard them if he was in the next room as they had hoped.

"Speak in English or Italian.  Not in that foreign speech," the man
ordered, waving his revolver.

"My friend here doesn't speak English or Italian," Scott said as he took a
step to the side away from Robin.  It worked.  The man turned his eyes on
Scott and Robin quickly vanished, using his fairy magic to disappear from
view.

The man with the gun looked back and then quickly around the room.  "Where
did he go?" he asked and pointed the gun directly at Scott.  "Tell him to
come back or you will die."  Robin managed to step behind the man and hit
him on the head with a vase that had been standing on a nearby table.  The
man pulled the trigger as he collapsed, but in his fall the bullet went
wide and easily missed Scott.  The two lovers quickly embraced, then turned
to jerk open the door to the next room.

Tied securely to a chair with silver chains was their adopted son.  He had
a gag in his mouth, but looked none the worse for wear.  The two ran to his
side, Scott hugging him as Robin quickly unfastened the chains.  The boy
fell into their arms, the three of them embracing, tears of joy falling
from all of them.

"These are but silver," Robin said as he noticed the chains and their
locks.  "Why stayed you here when you could easily escape these?"

"They said they would kill you," Roon said as he sobbed.  "They said they
had you in another dwelling and would kill you if I tried to get away.
They somehow thought the chains were magical and would hold me."

"Well, that is the legend about vampires and werewolves," Scott remarked as
he looked at the shiny silver metal.

Robin reached in his tunic and pulled out the homing crystal.

"No," Scott said.  "We owe it to our friends to return back to them and let
them know what has happened.  Then we can all go home."

Robin nodded, dropping the crystal back on its chain.  As they stood up
there was a loud crash from the next room.  They all huddled together,
Robin's fingers ready to tap the crystal.  "Robin, Scott, are you in here?"
a voice called.

"In here, Craig," Scott shouted back.

Their friend then stepped into the room.  He smiled and looked down at the
boy.  "I supposed this is the young man who has been the cause of all this
trouble?" he said with a smirk.

"This is my son, Roon, crown prince of Tuatha," Robin said proudly.

"We might have a little trouble.  There seems to be a dead guy in the next
room," Craig said, concern suddenly in his eyes.

"The dead man is wanted by Interpol as well as the local police," one of
the Vatican security men said, stepping into the room.  "If you can swear
that it was in self defense, I think you will be safe."

"Can we get out of here?" Scott asked.

"I'm sure the police will have a number of questions," the security main
said.  They stepped back into the main room and saw the other security man
on a cell phone speaking in Italian.  He hung up and turned to his partner
and said something.

"There are cars downstairs waiting to take you where you can make your
statements," the first security man said.  The three of them stepped out of
the apartment and followed him down the stairs as a number of police
officers passed them, going up to the scene of the crime.

Once outside they saw a number of police cars lined up at the curb.  A
detective stopped them to get a quick statement and then they were hustled
down the row.  There were two black unmarked cars at the end of the line.
The detective opened the door and pushed Scott and the boy into the car
roughly.  Robin started to follow but the detective shook his head.  "No,
we need to get separate statements from you and we do not want you
coordinating your stories.  You two over there."  He pointed to another car
and gave Craig and Robin a shove in that direction as he slammed the door
shut on Scott and Roon.  The car quickly pulled away from the curb and into
traffic.  The detective hustled Robin and Craig to the waiting car and
opened the door.

"Un minuto," a police officer called, hurrying in their direction.  The
detective quickly jumped in the car and sped away with a squeal of tires.
The back door wasn't even shut and Craig and Robin jumped out of the way to
the curb.  The officer spoke rapidly to the two men.

"Per favore potete parlare lentamente," Craig said to the police officer
asking him to speak slowly.  The officer tried again much slower but no
less urgently.

"That man wasn't a detective," he said to Robin.  The fairy just shook his
head, not comprehending.  Craig spoke again to the policeman.  He turned
back to Robin.  "The man who drove off with Scott and Roon...he's one of
them, the bad guys."


 

 

 

 

 

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