CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED-ELEVEN
Standing at the bottom of a 3-foot hole, Nelson looked up and nodded.
They had found the last piece of the chainmail shirt at the Monzón Castle, located in Monzón, Spain.
The Goddesses cheered and the dogs barked. Alex held her hand out to Nelson and helped to pull him out of the hole. They landed on their rears and laughed.
They had slogged their way through nearly twenty Templar Castles to find bits of this chainmail. The completion of the shirt meant that they were one object closer to completing their quest. That was something that made everyone happy.
Alex and Nelson’s attendants appeared. They pulled Alex and Nelson to standing to check their clothing and give them cups of broth. Every two or three Castles, the attendants had appeared with this broth.
“We will need to stop for rest and a real meal soon,” Nelson’s attendant instructed Minerva.
She gave him a concerned nod. He gave her a slight bow before disappearing again.
Nelson’s younger attendant was fixing something on his back when the spirit of Myddrin Wylit appeared.
“Where is my mistress?” Myddrin asked.
“She can’t be here because it’s a Roman site,” Nelson said.
“This is not a Roman site,” Myddrin said. “This site was built by the Banu Hud, an Arab dynasty.”
“Hecate hasn’t been able to come to the ancient Moor sites either,” Alex said with a shrug. “Some kind of curse. The Greeks, either. Only the Roman Goddesses have been able to attend the quest in Portugal and Spain.”
Myddrin gave a solemn nod. He sighed.
“I always look so forward to see her,” Myddrin said.
“You will see her again,” Nelson said.
“I was just thinking that,” Myddrin said, with a grin. “You know where you need to go next?”
“Castle Ponferrada,” Nelson said.
“Show me what you’ve made,” Myddrin asked.
Nelson held up the chainmail shirt. Now complete, the shirt was exactly Nelson’s size. Myddrin carefully looked it over.
“Should I put it on?” Nelson asked.
“Oh no,” Myddrin said.
“Why?” Nelson asked.
“It will likely kill you,” Myddrin said.
“We’ve been looking all over hither and yon to find things that will kill the heir?” Diana the Goddess said.
“Yes, mistress,” Myddrin said.
“Why are we collecting these things?” Alex asked.
“That’s a question,” Myddrin said. “But is it the correct question?”
Frustrated, Nelson just shook his head.
“What do we need to find next?” Nelson asked.
“The lost sword of Jacques Malloy,” Myddrin said.
“This?” Nelson pulled a sword from his back.
“Look at that,” Myddrin said. “It’s almost as if Jacques de Molay wasn’t the last Grand Master of the Templars.”
With that, Myddrin disappeared.
For a moment, no one said anything. Mari the fairy appeared.
“Where have you been?” Nelson asked irritably.
“Now, now,” Mari said, with a smile. “You’ve been cursed. We’ve been trying but we could come with you.”
“We’ve been here,” Minerva said.
Hedone as cupid flew over to them. Mari took one look at Hedone and burst out laughing. Nelson punched her on the shoulder. Mari fell over laughing.
“It’s pretty funny,” Hedone said.
Alex and Nelson smiled at her.
“What is our next task?” Diana asked.
“He said that I needed to go to the Castle Ponferrada,” Nelson said. “That’s in. . .”
The world spun and suddenly they were standing on a grassy field surrounded by intact castle walls. The grass covered dirt and rubble which had filled in much of the castle. In front of them stood what looked like an intact castle tower complete with a turret and a corner tower.
“. . . the capital city of El Bierzo in the Province of León, Spain,” Nelson said, finishing his sentence.
“Now that’s a castle,” Artemis said, having returned to her Greek form.
“Where are the dogs?” Alex asked.
“My brother has them,” Artemis said with a wide grin. “If we need them, they will come.”
“Nice to see you again!” Abi said.
Walking out of vapor, Aphrodite hugged Artemis.
“I’m so glad to be myself again,” Artemis said.
“Athena?” Nelson asked.
“She has other things to attend to,” Abi said. “She said that she had great fun and would be happy to help if we need her. I told her that I thought we’d be okay. She is so busy trying to bring wisdom to war mongers.”
“Her work is very important,” Alex said.
Hecate arrived took one look at them and laughed. They rushed her and hugged her tight. Hedone appeared in her usual Goddess form. She touched Nelson shoulder and they hugged. Nyx stepped forward from the shadows.
“You have done so well,” Nyx said. Her gorgeous face broke into a bright smile. “But we must keep moving.”
“They need rest,” said Nelson’s attendant as he appeared right in front of Nyx.
To Nelson’s surprise, Nyx nodded and smiled at the attendant. The attendant blushed. Alex grabbed Nelson’s elbow, and he nodded.
“One more, good sir,” Nyx said. “And then I will take them somewhere lovely to rest.”
The attendant nodded to Nyx and disappeared.
“What were you told?” Hecate asked.
“He said that we needed to find the sword of Jacques de Molay,” Nelson said. He pulled a sword from the scabbard on his back. “This sword. It’s the sword of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Jacques de Molay is the last known Grand Master.”
“That’s not true?” Alex asked. “Who is the Grand Master now.”
“My father,” Nelson said. “Well, me. My father was holding the position until I was ready, able, or willing to take it.”
“You?” Alex asked.
She looked from face to face. Each of the Goddesses nodded.
“Wow,” Alex said. “Should I kneel?”
Nelson laughed, and she grinned.
“Okay, I have to tell you something,” Alex said.
“You told Jax to help me,” Nelson said.
When Nelson left home, he was assisted by Michael Scully and, later on, by Jackson “Jax” Theriot, both members of Alex’s original Special Forces team
“You knew?” Alex laughed. “Why didn’t you say something?”
“I love Jax,” Nelson said. “I’ve seen you at the yearly celebrations.”
“I haven’t seen you,” Alex said with a wide grin.
“You will this year,” Nelson said.
Nyx cleared her throat.
“If you’re done,” Nyx said.
Alex and Nelson looked up to see the Goddesses’ glaring at them.
“What do we know about this sword and this site?” Hecate asked, stepping back into her role as the quest leader.
“Site first?” Nelson asked. “Or sword first?”
“Let’s start with the site,” Hedone said.
The other Goddesses nodded.
“I’ve got that,” Alex said.
Nelson gave her a nod to continue.
“Do you know James the Great?” Alex asked. “He was one of Jesus of Nazareth’s original apostles.”
“Killed by Herod Agrippa?” Hecate asked.
“Him,” Alex said. “Herod Agrippa ordered Saint James beheaded. His head was buried under the altar of the Cathedral of Saint James in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem.”
“Anyone there?” Nelson asked.
The goddesses all looked down at the ground or away. Mari laughed out loud.
“Anyway,” Alex said with a grin. “The Historia Compostelana says that Saint James preached the gospel in Spain as well as the Holy Land. After his martyrdom, James’s disciples carried his body by sea to Iberia where they took it inland for burial.”
“You’re saying that sweet James’s human body is buried here?” Aphrodite asked.
“That’s one story,” Alex said. “To many people, including my biological father’s family, this is considered to be as much of a holy site as Rome or Jerusalem. James the Great is the patron saint of Spain.”
She nodded to Nelson. He took over the narrative.
“The Templars defended pilgrims from just south of Lyon, France to this site, among others, on the Camino de Santiago,” Nelson said.
Aphrodite nodded to Hecate.
“The Celtic tribes used to travel the same pathway from the interior to the Atlantic coast of Galicia,” Hecate said. “They believed that watching the sun set over the endless waters was a spiritual experience. Not all this gold and swords and. . .”
“But the love of this planet,” Aphrodite said.
The Goddesses nodded.
“The Romans held Iberia from 200 BC on,” Nelson said with a nod. “They built roads from Bordeaux in modern France to Astorga in northwest Spain.”
“To mine the area’s gold and silver,” Hecate said with a sneer.
“Of course,” Abi said, rubbing Hecate’s back to calm her.
“Pilgrims use this trail today,” Alex said to finish her statement.
Knowing that they had to keep moving, the goddesses ismply nodded.
“I have recently learned a story that Jacques de Molay, the supposed last Grand Master of the Templars, was praying in the Chapel to James the Great at this location,” Nelson said. “This was his last trip on the Camino del Santiago. He is said to have left his sword inside the chapel.”
“People come to this site today to look for the sword,” Alex said.
“This sword,” Nelson said, gesturing to the sword in his hand.
“What happened instead?” Hecate asked. She looked at the others. “I have heard this story as well. I’ve been asked more than once to find the sword and return power to. . .”
She gestured her hand as if it could be anyone. She lifted an eyebrow and shoulder at the same time.
“What is the true story?” Athena asked.
They all turned with surprise at her appearance.
“I have heard the story as well,” Athena said. “Blade of great power. Could restore order. Blah, blah.”
“May I see the sword?” Athena asked. “Touch it?”
“Of course,” Nelson said. “As far as we know, it’s just a sword. It has no great power — mythical or otherwise.”
“Not like the Sword of Power or the Vanquisher — both of which I believe Hecate’s father gave to children,” Athena said, with a dark look in Hecate’s direction.
Hecate held up her hands in acquiescence. Nelson scowled at Athena.
“There are a number of power swords,” Nelson said. “Having two found in the hands of growing humans is a very good thing, a hopeful thing for the future of all.”
Athena nodded in acquiescence.
“Shall I continue?” Nelson asked, holding the sword out to Athena.
Athena took the sword. She looked at it the sword and swished it around, before passing it to the others.
“It’s just a sword,” Athena said.
“That’s what I said,” Nelson said. He put his hand on his chest. “I come from a long line of Weapons Masters dating back to the beginning of time. We were the only creator of Templar swords and armor. There’s no one in the world who knows more about swords than I do. Just for the record, I happen to know more than Ares. But it is true that I haven’t talked swords with the esteemed Athena.”
“Let’s put that on our calendars,” Athena said.
“Isn’t that what people say now?” Athena asked.
Nelson and Alex grinned.
“They do,” Alex said.
“Keep moving,” Nyx said, appearing from the shadow again.
“Moving on,” Nelson said. “The actual story is that the Grand Master set down his sword and his Weapons Master picked it up. The Grand Master could not travel back to France without his sword. He’d have to be a complete idiot. We have had the sword since that time. It was in my Templar gear when it appeared.”
“Where does this sword fit in the realm of swords, oh Weapons Master?” Athena asked.
“It’s a sword,” Nelson said with a shrug. “I brought my own sword, which is sharper, lighter, and easier to use. I have knives that are better than this sword.”
“So why. . .?” Mari asked.
“I detect something in this sword,” Hecate said, looking at the sword. “But we’d need to walk back in time to activate it.”
Hecate looked at the sword again.
“I think,” Hecate said, shaking her head. “I don’t know. . .”
“Is it possible that this Jacques de Molay was attempting to activate the sword and was unable?” Alex asked.
“Sure,” Nelson said, with a shrug. “Anything’s possible.”
“It would explain why we needed to come here,” Abi said.
“I believe that we need to go back in time,” Hecate said. She passed the sword to Athena. “You?”
Athena looked at Hecate.
“The hilt?” Hecate asked.
Athena shrugged and shook her head.
“Give it to me,” Abi said.
Athena tossed the sword to Abi. Before the sword could reach her, Abi opened her hands and pulled them apart. The sword came apart by its minerals.
“What the. . .?” Alex started.
Nelson walked forward. He looked at Abi, and she nodded for him to go ahead.
“Okay, okay,” Nelson said. “All of these are not unusual for a sword made in this era. But this? This is amber. Amber is fossilized tree resin.”
“Is it?” Hecate asked. “That’s very interesting.”
The other goddesses nodded.
“I’ve never seen it in a sword,” Nelson said. “Can you put it back together? I’d like to see what the amber looks like in the sword.”
Abi pulled her hands together.
“It’s there!” Mari said.
She pointed to a thread of amber that ran down the entire shaft of the sword.
“This would be very hard to do,” Nelson said. “Very hard.”
“So it was a special sword,” Hecate said.
“Why is this amber special?” Artemis asked.
There was a moment of silence. Nelson looked up.
“Oh sorry, I thought that they would answer,” Nelson said.
“We wanted to hear what you had to say, Weapons Master,” Athena said.
“Amber holds a charge,” Nelson said. “That means magic. Magic is electricity, energy. You can put it back to original shape.”
The sword came back together. Nelson grabbed the sword from the air. He smiled from ear to ear and looked at the goddesses.
“We need to find the chapel of James the Great,” Nelson said. “There must be something in that chapel that will activate this sword.”
“Do we need to go through time?” Mari asked, excitedly. Everyone looked at her. “What? It’s always so fun to see the old days again.”
“I don’t think so,” Nelson said. “I think that he would have activated it if he could have. He would have done it then.”
“You don’t think that he needed you?” Alex asked. “The male heir of Bernard?”
“The heir is correct,” Hecate said. “We need to first find this chapel. If we need to walk time, we can do that easily.”
“Do we need the dogs?” Artemis asked.
Nelson shook his head.
“I know where it is,” Nelson said. “I’ll just need some help getting there.”
The Goddesses laughed. Nelson and Alex grinned, and the world started spinning again.
Denver Cereal continues next week...
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