CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-NINE
Saturday afternoon— 12:15 p.m.
Nelson Weeks awoke with a start.
He took a breath.
He knew this feeling — a low grumbling in his belly, a sense of tension across his shoulders, a feeling light a bright light had been shone in his eyes but was suddenly gone.
Something — some thing? —was happening.
He needed to get ready. His feet hit the floor with purpose. He pushed himself across the room to the closet. He let out a breath. A broad sword in its scabbard was leaning against the closet.
He reached for the sword and stood up.
By magic, he was clothed in the garb he wore as a Templar. He jerked open the door.
“Is it the 14th Century in that room?” Mari, the fairy, asked.
“Wha. . .” Flooded with words in a variety of languages, this was all Nelson managed to say.
Mari nodded to what he was wearing.
“Out here,” Mari said, “it’s already the 21st century.”
“And?” Nelson asked, irritably.
“Humans have developed this incredible stuff they call ‘body armor,’” Mari said.
“Then tell the magic on the sword to dress me in this,” Nelson said.
“You could actually use your eyes. . .” Mari started. “Oh, never mind.”
She snapped her fingers. One item at a time, Nelson’s 14th Century gear was replaced with modern military body armor.
“But. . .” Nelson started.
“The sword is tuned to whatever you’re wearing,” Mari said. “When you touch the sword next, you will be dressed in this.”
“Fine,” Nelson said. “Why are you here?”
“I came to get you,” Mari said.
“For what?” Nelson asked.
“What do you feel?” Mari asked.
“I’m not sure I can put it into words,” Nelson said. He fell silent thinking for a long moment. “Time for battle, I guess. But. . .”
“Yes?” Mari asked.
“Who?” Nelson asked. He looked at the fairy. “Am I well enough to do this?”
“Do what?” Mari asked. “I’m not sure who’s ass we’re about to kick.”
Nelson grinned at her. He looked down at himself in this armor. He had become heavier, with denser, bigger muscles across his chest and his arms. His thighs and calves bulged through the fabric of this new body armor. He was surprised at how thin he’d become as well. He looked down at himself for a long moment.
“You look good,” Mari said with a nod.
“Do you know what’s happening? What triggered my. . .” He waved his hand in front of his face. “Spidey sense?”
“I don’t know about spidey senses,” Mari said, “but your father is in trouble.”
“Why?” Nelson asked.
“Templars,” Nelson and Mari said in unison.
“Assholes,” Nelson said. “Let’s go get them.”
“You sure you don’t want to call the cops?” Mari asked. “They are trespassing.”
Mari nodded to her left. She was standing in front of the window in what was now an nearly completed small kitchen. Because Jeraine and Tanesha needed the privacy, the window was set up so that while you could look out it, no one could see inside. A group of seven men and women were creeping in front of the window.
“Why?” Nelson asked.
“You’re asking that as Nelson the brilliant doctor and forensic scientist,” Mari said. “We need Nelson the Grand Master of the Templars.”
Nelson heaved a heavy sigh.
“Look at your sword,” Mari said.
Nelson looked at the sword for the first time. This was not his sword. He held it up to his eyes.
“This is. . .” Nelson whispered.
“Come on,” Mari said.
She snapped her fingers, and they were standing next to Nelson’s father Pierre’s bed. Nelson slipped the sword back into its scabbard.
A nurse wearing a face mask looked up at their sudden arrival. She stood and walked toward them.
“I don’t know how you got in here, but this man is very ill,” she said. “He. . .”
She looked at Nelson for a long moment.
“Guy?” the nurse asked. “Guy Semaines? You probably can’t tell with this mask but I’m Mary Joy. Mary Joy Baldwin.”
“Mary Joy?” Nelson asked. “Wow, I haven’t seen you since. . .”
“Junior high,” Mary Joy, the nurse, said. “Yeah. We moved. I came back for nursing school. I saw that this position was for Pierre Semaines and thought that I. . . You probably aren’t here to chat. You look. . . Wow.”
“I’ve been working out,” Nelson said with a smile. “Nice to see you. I apologize, but we’re expecting family that. . .”
“Yes, I was warned,” Mary said. “I was assigned here because I was a medic in the Army. Afghanistan. Let me get dressed.”
Nelson gave her a kind of nod and a bow. Mary Joy stopped at the door.
“Please put on your face mask,” Mary Joy said in a soft chide. “Your father is very ill. He doesn’t need the coronavirus as well.”
“Sorry,” Nelson said. “I should know better.”
“Yes, you should,” Mary Joy said before she disappeared out the door.
Mari snapped her fingers, and they were both wearing face masks.
“Fin said that we should wear them too,” Mari said. “He said that humans are part fairy so there’s no way to know if we’ll be affected. I’ll tell you that Edie shut down the fairy queendoms. No one in or out. Since we went to help Sam Lipson. “
“You went to help Sam?” Nelson asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I took Otis there,” Mari said. “I found a lost fairy working in the ER there so I called Edie. She thought. . . well, let’s just say that she’s annoyed with me.”
“Is that new?” Nelson asked.
“No,” Mari said. “Sisters. They are always annoyed with you for something. Just be glad you don’t have any.”
Nelson grinned at her but then realized that she couldn’t see him smiling. He winked, and she nodded in understanding.
“Here they come.”
He heard Mari whisper through the mask. Sighing to himself, he turned toward the door.
They heard scratching and saw the door knob giggle. Mari raised her hand to block them out but Nelson pushed her hand down.
“We need to deal with this,” Nelson said.
“Why?” Mari asked.
“They’ll keep coming until they know,” Nelson sighed. Taking a breath, he said, “They have to know that I am the Grand Master and that everything that happens from here on out is up to me by the blessing of. . .”
He waved his hand in the air.
“Blah, blah, blah,” Nelson said.
“I’m here,” Mary Joy said.
They turned to look at her. She had changed into modern military grade body armor. Her face was covered in a black mask and she was holding a machine gun.
“I don’t think we’ll need that,” Nelson said.
“Better to be safe than sorry,” Mary Joy said.
“I like her,” Mari said.
“Who are you?” Mary Joy asked.
“This is my friend, Princess Marigold,” Nelson said.
“Oh, a princess,” Mary Joy said with a roll of her eyes.
“She’s of the fairy realm,” Nelson said. “Don’t antagonize her. Fairies are fierce warriors, not little fluffy, giggly things like in the movies. They are long lived and have spent much of that time battling for their realms. In fact, they are the only realm that held back the Viking hoards. We are no match for them.”
Unoffended by Mary Joy, Mari just lifted an eyebrow and nodded.
“Just don’t get in front of her,” Nelson said with a sigh.
“Are you getting tired?” Mari asked. She put her hand on his elbow.
“I’m tired of having to protect myself and my father from people who are supposed to be family,” Nelson said.
“I understand,” Mari said.
“I know you do,” Nelson said.
The door moved a tiny bit.
“Here they come,” Mari said.
Mary Joy turned off the lights.
The door opened with a dramatic bang. Two men and a woman slipped inside the door. The back door of Nelson’s little house banged open. A man and two women moved in their direction. When they were set, Nelson pulled the sword from its scabbard.
Sparks of light burst from the sword as it was pulled from the scabbard. Nelson held the sword above him. The light from the sword was so bright that the invaders had to cover their eyes from the sight.
“I am Guy Semaines, the Grand Master of the Templars,” Nelson said in old Frank. “Who dares to disturb my father’s sick bed?”
“What did he say?” A woman whispered.
Nelson sighed and shook his head.
“You are Templars,” Nelson said in modern French. “You should, at the very least, be able to speak old Frank.”
There was some mumbling between these invaders. Nelson pointed the sword at Mary Joy and she flicked on the light. Nelson, Mari, and Mary Joy shaded their eyes. The invaders groaned and covered their eyes.
“And you should be wearing eye coverings,” Nelson said, continuing in French. “You say that you are Templars, are will to kill for the cause, and yet you are. . .”
“Pathetic,” Mari said.
“Pathetic is too mild of a word,” Mary Joy said.
Nelson sighed and shook his head.
“Go home,” Nelson said. “That is my order.”
“You can’t order us,” a middle aged man with a significant paunch said. “You are not Grand Master.”
“I am the surviving heir of Bernard of Clairvaux,” Nelson said. “My father passed the Grand Master to me when he inherited it.”
“Show them the sword,” Mari whispered.
“Jacque de Molay gave me his sword,” Nelson said. “It’s a direct pass of the Grand Master position from him to me.”
He held up the sword and the invaders took a step back.
“Where did you. . .?” the woman who’d come to kill him previously.
“I went back in time,” Nelson said. “I fought side-by-side with our ancestors for more than seven years. I was returned to this time by some ancient ancestral magic. The sword came with me. I have been recovering. But, I promise you — I am well enough to kill all of you.”
“You wouldn’t kill us!” the elderly woman who came in the back door said.
“I’ve killed plenty,” Nelson said. “You are here to kill my father?”
The invaders gave him a variety of guilty looks.
“Prepare to die,” Nelson said, feeling a bit like the movie character Indigo Montoya.
“Yay!” Mari said. “Let’s kill them all!”
The invaders turned in place and ran out of the building. Nelson grabbed Mari by the shoulders to keep her from running after them. She let him hold her back.
“Consider your life forfeit should you ever return,” Nelson yelled after he got a hold of Mari.
“Your life forfeit?” Mari asked. “Who talks like that?”
Nelson laughed. He swung the sword around and stuck it back into the scabbard.
“How did you get that?” Mary Joy asked. “The sword I mean. It’s beautiful and so powerful. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I went on a quest for it,” Nelson said. “Right after my father got sick. It was my effort to help him get well. But I have only completed half of it.”
“Count me in on the next one,” Mary Joy said.
They heard rustling behind them and turned quickly. An elderly man stepped out from behind them. He gave Nelson a kind of bow.
“What do you want?” Mary Joy asked irritably.
“We have met,” the man said in modern French. “We have decided to accept you as the Grand Master.”
“Whoop-di-doo,” Nelson said. “Why would I give even one care about that?”
“We are having issues in France,” the man said.
“Okay,” Nelson said mildly.
He had a vague memory of his father speaking about the government taking land from the Templars and something else. He glanced at Mari. She gave him a curt nod. She had blocked him from any stress that might impede his healing.
“If you are to be Grand Master, then our problems are your problems,” the elderly man said.
“Who are you?” Mary Joy asked. “Where do you get off telling someone else what to do?”
“I am his great uncle,” the elderly man said. “His mother was my niece.”
“The mother you killed?” Mari asked.
“I don’t know anything about that,” the elderly man said.
“One of the women you travel with told us that she paid for the bombing,” Nelson said.
“I will look into it,” the elderly man said. “My name is ‘Guy.’ I am also a Semaines. You were named after me.”
“I go by Nelson now,” he said.
“Yes, I am aware,” Guy said.
“How are you a Semaines?” Mari asked.
“Pierre took our name,” Guy said. “It was your mother’s father’s requirement.”
“He still tried to kill us anyway,” Nelson said.
“Yes, I know about that,” Guy said. “And you killed him?”
“I wasn’t there,” Nelson said.
“They were killed by an ancient and angry God,” Mari said.
The man snorted and shook his head in disbelief.
“Who could believe this kind of tripe?” Guy asked. “There are no Gods. No. . .”
He sucked in a breath when Perses appeared out of nowhere.
“May I introduce you to Perses?” Nelson asked, mildly. “You may remember that he’s a Titan. He was also there.”
“Want me to kill him?” Perses said in a loud excited whisper.
The man fell back. After a moment, he gained his bearings.
“You are connected with the Titans?” Guy asked.
“Beings of power seek each other,” Perses said. “I am married to the mother of his partner’s cousin. His partner is married to a Greek Goddess.”
“I’m a fairy,” Mari said.
“She’s a fairy,” Perses said.
Guy looked at Mary Joy. She shrugged.
“I’m human,” Mary Joy said. “As far as I know.”
“You’re super-human,” Nelson said. “You’re a nurse.”
“And a soldier,” Mari said.
Mary Joy blushed and nodded.
“Why don’t you head back to wherever you are staying?” Perses asked. “Discuss what you need from your grandmaster. He and I and possibly one of those. . . what are they called?”
“Lawyers,” Mari said.
“Lawyers,” Perses said. “And this little fairy. Is your partner around?”
“Otis?” Mari asked.
“I’ll bring him,” Mari said. “Good thinking.”
“Why so many?” Guy asked.
“We need to support our friend,” Mari said.
“Teach him how to lead,” Perses said. “Her partner, a man named Otis, has led large groups of humans. He will be able to help.”
“If you have a partner, I’d like to meet her,” Guy said.
“Him,” Nelson said. “We are not ashamed.”
“Of course,” Guy said. “Good for you.”
With that, the man turned in place and walked out of the building. They waited to see if anyone else would show up. When no one appeared, everyone took a breath.
“How is he?” Perses asked.
“Stable,” Mary Joy said. “He has been sick for a long time.”
“He touched a powerful object,” Perses said.
“Yes,” Mary Joy said. “Let’s hope that someone awakens him soon.”
“Why soon?” Nelson’s voice was tight with concern.
“No human can stay in this state forever,” Mary Joy said.
Nelson gave a stiff nod.
“If we are meeting them later, I need to rest,” Nelson said.
Mari touched his arm and he was back in the little room that he’d been staying in. Oddly, the room was bare of all furniture and equipment.
“Where is the bed?” Mari asked.
She tipped her head backward.
“Upstairs,” Mari said.
She touched his sleeve, and they moved through the house. They landed outside the door to what would be his bedroom.
“I’ll be back,” Mari said. She turned to go and pushed him forward, “Go on.”
Nelson opened the door. He sucked in a breath.
The room was beautiful. It was everything he could have ever wanted and then some. The back wall had a large window that opened out onto a tiny patio. He floated through the room touching this and that. There was the antique armoire he’d used when he was a child. The mirror that had been his mother’s hung on the wall next to a closet filled with his suits, workout clothing, and even a chest of drawers with everything else.
The walls were painted a color that he couldn’t begin to describe. The floors were made from his favorite wood — beetle-kill pine that meant that they were light yellow with streaks of blue. The bed was. . . perfect. He recognized the bedframe as one he’d used where. . . This was from his father’s home as well!
Nelson wandered into the bathroom to find all of his favorite products lined up waiting for him.
Waiting for him.
It was like this entire life — his entire life — was waiting patiently for him.
He came out of the bathroom and went out to the open windows. Blane was sitting at a small table reading a book. There was a bottle of champagne and two empty glasses. Blane looked up when Nelson appeared at the door.
“What do you think?” Blane asked.
“Wow,” Nelson said. “I don’t think that I’ve stayed at a hotel that was this nice. It’s perfect.”
“Did you do this?” Nelson asked.
“No,” Blane said. “This was Jill and Jacob. I found a few things for them, but mostly it was them.”
“The only thing that I notice is that this patio is too small for my telescopes and. . .” Nelson started.
Blane pointed to something behind Nelson. He turned to look. There was a spiral staircase that went up.
“Shall we?” Blane asked.
“I don’t want to miss our time together.” Nelson gestured to the champagne.
“We can take a look and come back down,” Blane said with a grin.
Nelson gave a nod to Blane and started up the stairs. Very soon they were at the top of the building. A wide patio was cut into the roofline. There was a gas barbeque and a comfortable outdoor seating arrangement
“This was attic space,” Blane said. “We thought it would be perfect for a little observation platform. All of your gear is. . .”
Blane pointed to a closet sized space with a microwave, a small refrigerator and a closet.
“We took the liberty of putting all of your star watching stuff in there,” Blane said. “Even all of the stuff from your attic.”
Blane opened a door in the little space which opened a long storage space where his books, charts, and telescopes were arranged. Nelson giggled like a school boy. He went through the space and touched everything.
“This is. . .” Nelson said. “Is yours ready too?”
“All of our space,” Blane said. “Tanesha and Jeraine’s is the last space to finish because Jeraine has been a little slow to let go of control.”
“Ah,” Nelson said. “I never would have given over this much control.”
“Lucky, I’ve been so sick,” Nelson said.
Blane grinned in agreement.
“I need to rest,” Nelson said. “I have to meet with the Templars this afternoon.”
“Yuck,” Blane said.
“I know,” Nelson said. “But I have time for champagne and you.”
Blane turned in place and jogged down the stairs. Laughing, Nelson followed him.
Denver Cereal continues next week...
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