Tuatha's Children  

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2011 



Chapter 15

Robin began to run down the street, but the car he was chasing had
disappeared quickly into traffic and he was totally lost.  He stood there
in the middle of the street with cars honking and whizzing by him.
Suddenly one pulled up beside him and a door opened.  "Get in," Craig said
from the back.  Robin jumped into the car.  It was a police car.  They went
to a station where the officer escorted Craig and Robin out of the car and
into the building.  They took seats in a tiny office and a detective came
in and took their statements.  He was very sympathetic, but said he was
pretty much unable to help them.  The men from the apartment where Robin's
son was being held were known thugs and worked for Italian organized crime.
Apparently Father Stephen had hired them to hold the boy while he met with
the investigation committee.  He had no idea who these people were, or that
he was dealing with a heavy criminal element.  The detective assumed Scott
and Roon had been kidnapped and would be offered for ransom.  That often
happened with rich Americans he told them.  After an hour or so, Craig and
Robin were released and driven back to the bistro where they met with
Francoise who took them back to Andre's villa.

As soon as they were back, Jeff and Willow as well as Andre wanted to know
where Scott was and what had happened.  When they got the full story they
were almost as angry as Robin.  "I can't believe this.  We've come all this
way only to have the boy snatched from your hands along with Scott.  This
is ridiculous.  What kind of country is this?" Jeff demanded.

"Peace, my friend," Andre said.  "We have our criminal element the same as
does your country.  But we have something here that you do not."

"What's that?"

"We have my family and we shall pursue these criminals and get your friends
back.  Let us sit down and make some plans."

Andre called a meeting in one of the larger dining halls.  He, Jeff,
Willow, Craig and Robin sat at the head of a large table.  There were a
number of other vampires, part of Andre's clan, also attending.  In
addition several of his trusted human servants joined them.  He began by
making a conference call to Cardinal Compelli.  "Your Grace, can you tell
us anything you may have learned from this Father Stephen?" he asked after
he had explained the situation to everyone, including the cardinal via
phone link.

"I regret that I may not be of much help, my young friends," the cardinal's
voice came from the speaker phone.  "Father Stephen told us his plan and
tried to convince us, hoping we would examine the boy which he carefully
kept safe from us for the time being.  When we learned that the boy was
being held elsewhere, I'm afraid Father Stephen did not fare as well with
Vatican security.  I was able to question him, and I believe he realized my
nature which shook him to his very foundation.  I did learn that he hired
the men to watch the boy.  He found them from a woman who lived in the
apartment building but who has subsequently disappeared as well.  The
Church's official position is to excommunicate Father Stephen and suggest
that he return home and not trouble us in the future."

"So we are to let this man go free?" Robin growled.

"I think we need to focus more on how to find Scott and Roon," Craig said.

"Can you contact my world with that little box you talk in?" Robin asked,
indicating Craig's cell phone.  "I can raise an army and have them here in
a matter of minutes."

"Hold that thought.  Andre, if we located them, do you think an army of
fairies would help?"

The vampire leader thought for a minute.  "It is an intriguing idea, but I
think it might be better to hang on to that as our fall back plan.  My
family is better equipped to handle this task than most armies," he said,
gesturing to the five or six vampires seated around the table.  Robin made
a derisive sound and Andre looked surprised.  "Don't discount us because we
appear small in number.  Each of my family members here represents over
twenty individuals that will answer his or her summons."

"That's well over a hundred vampires.  That's a lot of fighting power.
Let's not get the fairy army mixed in with that just yet," Craig suggested.
"But first we have to find what they did with Scott and Roon.  The police
seemed to think they would contact us for a ransom."

"I don't think we can wait that long," Andre said.  He then turned to an
attractive young woman sitting half way down the table.  "Simone, see if
you can determine where these thugs might have taken our friends."  She
nodded and left the room so quickly, she seemed to vanish in thin air.
"When Simone returns with a location, we shall move on them this evening.
Jefferson, my friend, you are most familiar with the scent of your friend
and the boy.  I will leave it to you to track them and when we have them
located, I shall leave you to defend them as we eliminate any potential
dangers.  My right hand man, Sidonio will coordinate our attack plan."

In a few minutes Simone returned to the room.  "I will have the location
shortly after sunset," she said in an almost musical voice.  "There is a
man who fancies me.  He will tell me what we want to know.  I will call you
to relay the information."  With that she left the room.  Francoise
followed her.  Craig assumed he would be driving her to her rendezvous.

Andre spoke up again.  "Gentlemen, this is not a time to be squeamish.  We
must be ruthless in achieving our goal.  We will be accomplishing several
things this night.  We hope to rescue our friend and his son.  We also will
teach these criminals a lesson about whom they should avoid in the future.
We will rid the country of many of the criminal element as well which can
only benefit our society as a whole.  Perhaps it would be best if some of
you stay behind," he said glancing at Craig and Willow.

"I've seen combat before," Craig replied.

Willow swallowed hard, and then spoke up.  "I'm not leaving Jeff.  Where he
goes, I go."

"My young friend, you may see some very unpleasant things," Andre

"I'm not afraid."

"Then it is settled.  Let us prepare our departure.  As soon as I hear from
Simone we will be on our way."

In the back of the garage Craig was surprised to see a number of dark vans.
Andre climbed into one of the vehicles with Jeff, Robin, Willow and Craig.
The driver was a roguish looking young vampire with a long scar down the
side of his face.  He grinned at the party and winked.  Robin couldn't help
but smile back.  The lopsided grin reminded him of his captain of the guard
back in Tuatha.

Andre's cell phone rang and he flipped it open.  "Pronto."  He listened and
muttered back a response then closed his phone, tucking it in his jacket
pocket.  "They are in Perugia.  It is about a three hour drive."  Andre
relayed the information to the other vans in the garage and then they all
drove off into the evening.

The driver turned to smile at Robin.  "We will get there in two hours," he
said with a heavy French accent.  "I have made the trip many times.  I used
to make it on horseback when I was young.  It is much faster by car in this
modern age," he said as he drove, not really looking at the road at all.

"Andre, a lot of your people seem to be French, rather than Italian," Craig

"Yes.  I emigrated from Paris in the 1500s.  Since then I have surrounded
myself with people from my native land."  He chatted with Craig and Jeff
about his history.  He had been a young Jesuit student and studied under
Ignatius of Loyola.  He accompanied Ignatius to Rome in 1556 and there they
were both attacked.  Ignatius was killed by a vampire; the official story
was that he died of Roman fever.  Andre was turned by the man who killed
Ignatius.  Andre's first act as a vampire was to kill his maker, something
rare in the vampire community.  Usually a vampire looked to his maker with
a sense of respect almost as a father figure.  But Andre looked on his
maker as the man who had killed his teacher and mentor.  Jeff could
certainly understand that.

Eventually the caravan of vehicles pulled into the city of Perugia.  Well
known for its universities, as an arts and culture center, the city covered
a hillside and spread into the surrounding valley.  They came to a halt in
the outskirts of the town.  It was nearly impossible to drive into the
city, the narrow streets clogged with tourists, students and others.  The
vampire army quickly melted into the background of the city.  Jeff, Willow,
Robin and Craig followed Andre and their driver Sidonio who they learned
was of Portuguese descent but spoken broken English with a heavy French

"Where are we going?" Jeff asked.  "And where did everyone else go?"

"They are blanketing the city and will sweep it as we all converge.  There
is one place we can expect to find our quarry.  Where else would the
villains hide out in Perugia?'

"Where?" Jeff asked again.

"In the necropolis, of course."

"Necropolis?" Willow asked, not liking the sound of the unknown word.

"We are heading for Ponte San Giovanni.  It is a neighborhood...What is the
American word?  A suburb.  There we will the necropolis, the city of the

"I sure don't like the sound of that," Willow breathed.

"Not to worry, young fairy," Sidonio laughed.  "You have plenty of dead
ones around to protect you."  He smiled his roguish smile and they
continued on their way.

It was nearly midnight when Jeff caught a familiar scent.  "That's the
boy," he said and began to move much more swiftly along the trail.  The
vampires all stepped up their pace and Willow and Robin also began to run
along.  Craig was left behind and about to call out when he suddenly felt
himself grabbed and lifted into the air.  He realized he had been picked up
and flung upon Sidonio's back.  In a moment they had caught up with the
rest of the party.  In moments they came upon the old Etruscan ruins.
Without a thought of the danger, Jeff quickly descended the stairs down
into the old burial chambers.  At the bottom was a metal gate, chained with
a padlock.  Robin waved his hands over the lock and the chain dropped to
the ground.  The gate came open with an ear piercing screech of old metal
hinges.  Knowing their entrance was anything but secret they quickly
entered the dark vestibule only to immediately be engaged in mortal combat
with a number of men.

Sidonio in the rear of the party had dropped Craig at the top of the
stairs.  Before he could descend, he was pulled back and out of the way by
a number of hands.  He realized they were other vampires converging on the
subterranean battleground.  Robin and Willow were quickly passed up the
line of vampires as well, Willow being pushed back like a small child, but
Robin struggling with all his might against several of Andre's followers.
Just then they heard the sound of gunfire.  Someone in the chamber below
was firing an assault weapon.  The staccato tattoo of the gunfire caused
Craig to duck down and pull Willow down with him behind a large stone
edifice at the top of the stairs.  "Robin, get over here," he called.  "You
can't fight guns with your bare hands."  One of the vampires pushed the
fairy king down beside Craig and Willow.

"But Jeff," Willow shouted, trying along with Robin to fight his way back
down the stairs.

"Bullets won't hurt him, or any of Andre's crew," Craig said, pulling the
two of them back down and out of the way.  There were screams coming from
below, punctuated occasionally by gunfire.  The gunfire soon ended and the
screams died away.  Andre came limping up the stairs to rejoin the trio.

"Scott and Roon?" Robin asked anxiously as he jumped up.

"They aren't there," Andre said, shaking his head sadly.

"But where are they?" Craig asked.  "And Jeff?"

About that time Sidonio helped Jeff up the stairs.  He looked to be a
bloody mess, his shirt in tatters with bloodstains all over his chest.  His
face was streaked with blood as well.  Willow cried out and rushed to his
lover, helping him up the stairs to sit on a stone bench nearby.

"It is not so bad," Sidonio said smiling and displaying his own wounds.
"He just not used to it as I am."

"I'll be alright in a minute," Jeff wheezed.  Some of the bullets must have
pierced his lungs.  "I'm pretty well bullet proof."

"But your face," Willow said, looking at the blood staining Jeff's cheeks
and face.

"That not his," Sidonio said with a lopsided grin.  "That was dinner."

Jeff smiled in return.  "I'm afraid he's right.  I couldn't help myself.  I
had to do something to try and stop those men from shooting our friends."

"But where are Scott and Roon?" Robin demanded.

"They were here," Andre answered.  "I was able to pick up the scent of
Scott as well.  I think they were taken away just minutes before we
attacked.  They could not have gone far from here."

"Then cannot we continue searching?"

"You bet, buddy," Jeff said and tried to stand.  Willow helped him to his
feet.  "I'll be fine in just a minute.  Like Sid says, I'm not as used to
being shot.  I think he's seen a bit more combat than I."  Andre and Jeff
took but a minute to regroup, then they both started off down the road
leading out of the city.  "They were in an open car," Jeff said as he began
to run, picking up the pace.  Craig again found himself slung onto
Sidonio's back.

"We are fast, but not as fast as a car," Willow said breathlessly as he
ran, trying to keep up with the vampires who were pulling out into the
lead.  No sooner had he said this than a black van pulled to a halt beside
them.  The doors flung open and one of Andre's men motioned them to get in.

Sidonio dropped Craig in the back while he pushed the man out of the way,
muscling himself into the driver's seat.  "I drive," he called, and looked
back to make sure all of their party had climbed into the van.  He rolled
the window down and took off with a screech of rubber on the stone roadway.

* * *

"This is all my fault," Roon cried.  "I am so sorry.  I should never have
gone with that man."

"Shhh.  It's not your fault," Scott whispered back.  "Sometimes bad things
just happen to us and we have to get through it.  At least we're together
now.  And you know Robin will find us."

A man came back to where Roon and Scott were sitting beside each other,
their hands tied, and he swung his arm, backhanding Scott across the mouth.
"Be quiet," he said in English.  The two just glared back at him in
silence, the blood running down Scott's lip where he cut it from the blow.
The man stared back for a minute, and then walked back to the front of the
cave like ruin where they were being held.

"When Robin finds them, those men will pay for what they did to you, to
us," Roon wind whispered to Scott.  His adopted human father just nodded.

* * *

The van screeched to a halt.  "The scent vanished.  They must have turned
off," Andre said as Sidonio threw the vehicle into reverse.  He backed up
and saw a gravel road off to the left.  He turned onto it and picked up the
speed.  Craig turned and looked out the back window, seeing headlights
following them.  He knew some of the other vampires were on their tail.

The road bounced along between vineyards then turned again and opened out
into a field that sported some old stone ruins left over from the days of
Roman conquest.  No sooner did they pull into the field than the windshield
was shattered from gunfire.  Craig ducked down in the back seat, pulling
Robin down with him.  The car bounced and headed directly for the gunfire.
Craig could hear the screams as it plowed into the gunmen.  "Come on," he
shouted and pulled the door open, crawling out and trying to stay low as he
heard more machine gun fire.

"They are protecting that opening over there," Sidonio said as he pointed
to what looked like a cave in the side of a low hill.  "That must be where
they are holding the boy and your friend.  We shall cover for you."  Andre
and Sidonio took the lead and ran toward the cave opening.  Craig and Robin
followed behind.  Meanwhile Jeff was busy trying to protect Willow as
another carload of vampires descended on the battle.  The vampires drew the
gangsters out of their secure location and there were a number of screams
all around.  The gunfire slowly died off and Andre managed to lead Craig
and Robin to the cave.

Robin called in Tuathan, "Are you in there."

"Be careful.  There's a man with a gun," Scott's voice came back in a
shout.  Andre sprang into the cave and took the bullet in his shoulder as
he reached for the man's throat.  Sidonio rushed to his side and the two of
them were biting the man as Craig and Robin pushed past.  Scott and Roon
jumped up to run to their loved one's arms.  The group was all crowded
together as Robin reached in his tunic and tapped his homing crystal.  The
group suddenly found themselves in the middle of a huge stone courtyard.
They were in the great hall of the white tower in Tuatha.

Sidonio and Andre both let go of the man they were holding.  His body fell
to the stone floor, the blood pouring from the wounds on his neck.  The two
vampires both fell to their knees, retching onto the pavement beside the
dead human.  Scott, Robin and Roon all fell into each other's arms, sobbing
with joy as Craig stumbled a few steps away.

"What is wrong with this man?" Andre demanded.  "His blood, it tastes..."

"It is tainted, foul," Sidonio agreed as he spit the last of it out of his

Craig turned to the men and looked down.  "It's not his blood," he said.
Andre looked up and suddenly looked around him in surprise.  He hadn't
noticed the change in venue.  Sidonio also looked up in shock.  A small
group of palace guards were quickly circling the newcomers.  "It's you that
have changed," Craig tried to explain.  Andre suddenly gasped in pain and
grabbed his shoulder, the dark stain of blood flowing out of the gunshot
wound.  "We better get you to the halls of healing fast.  You've been

"This hurts so bad," Andre said as he fell back in pain.  "What is
happening to me?"

"I'm afraid the two of you are no longer vampires," Craig said.  "You're in
the fairy land.  You've become human."

* * *

The fighting died down as the vampires began to feed on what remained of
the men.  "Come on," Jeff said, grabbing Willow's hand and leading him to
the cave opening in the back of the ruins.  "They went in here."  The two
of them stepped into the cave and looked around.  It was totally empty.

"Are you sure they went in here?" Willow asked, looking about.

"Yes, I saw them."

"But there's no way out of here.  It's just a dugout into the side of the
hill.  If they came in here, they must have left."

"Yes, they must have left here," Jeff said in a soft voice looking around.

"What?" Willow asked.

"I think they used some fairy magic.  I can kind of feel it in the air."

Willow nodded.  "Now that you mention it, yes, I can feel it too.  I guess
they probably had a magical way back to Tuatha."

Jeff agreed.  "They took Craig with them and we're stuck here in Italy.  We
are going to have to find a way to get back to the States and get to that
house to get back there."

"That may not be easy," Willow said nervously.  "The Italian vampires are
sure to notice that their leader is missing as well."






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