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Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

Monday night — 9:45 p.m.

Jill followed Nelson out of the back sliding glass door. They walked across their private courtyard and up the six steps to the carriage house Nelson used to live in. They went around the corner to reach the front door of the carriage house.

Nelson knocked twice.

“Just give them a heads up,” Nelson said.

Jill nodded. Nelson let them inside the carriage house. Jill stood in the entrance and listened. She’d been here many times to help Nelson’s father, Pierre Semaines, when he was unconscious. She knew that her mother and her grandfather had also been here. Their efforts focused on strengthening Pierre so that he would be able to survive long enough for Nelson to find the Templar Hoard. Now that Mari had brought the “Adam’s Apple” ruby, Pierre Semaines was healing from the months of being inactive.

“He just woke up,” the nurse said. “We’ve had a shower and changed.”

“Would you like a little break?” Nelson asked.

“Sounds good to me,” the nurse said. “But please — no more than a half-hour. He pretends to be well, but he tires easily.”

“Thank you,” Jill said with a nod.

The nurse smiled at Jill and nodded to Nelson before leaving the room. They listened while she went outside. Jill knew that she liked to sit in the sunny patio outside the door between the carriage house and Mr. Matchel’s home. This time of the night, Jill assumed the nurse was reading her emails.

“Nelson?” Pierre croaked from his bed.

They went around the corner to find Pierre in his hospital bed. They had set up the bed in what had been Nelson’s dining room. Nelson leaned over to kiss his father’s cheek. They spoke back and forth in quiet, quick French.

“Jill!” Pierre said. “My son tells me that you, your mother, and grandfather are one of the reasons I am still here.”

Embarrassed, Jill looked down and smoothed her hair.

“How are you, sir?” Jill asked.

“Now, now,” Pierre said. “Call me Pierre. You are family after all.”

“Sir?” Jill asked.

“My son is in a committed relationship with Blane, who is your husband’s. . .” Pierre shrugged. “Brother?”

“Cousin,” Jill said.

“That makes you family,” Pierre said. “Not to mention that you’ve helped me in a way that I can never repay.”

Jill looked down.

“Are you a Titan?” Pierre asked.

“Me?” Jill asked.

She looked up to see Nelson nodding. Pierre’s intense eyes tracked her face.

“My father is Perses,” Jill said. “My mother is human. We are mostly human.”

Pierre gave her a doubting look but nodded to let her off the hook.

“Help me up,” Pierre said in French.

Nelson helped his father to sitting.

“I am allowed to walk a tiny bit inside the house,” Pierre said. “Would you like to walk with me?”

Nelson looked at Jill, and she nodded.

“Shall I make us some tea?” Nelson asked.

“No,” Pierre said with a laugh. “I’ve had so much tea. I would like to see you, speak with you.”

Pierre looked at Jill and then winked at Nelson.

“This beautiful woman is not here for tea,” Pierre said.

Jill blushed. Nelson put his arm over her shoulder and said, “French men. We are just like that.”

Jill grinned.

“Let’s see if we can make it to the living room,” Pierre said. “Now little Titan-ling, may I draw on your strength?”

“Nelson said. . .” Jill said abruptly.

“He is right,” Pierre said. “But he forgets that I need strength. May I borrow some of yours?”

“Of course,” Jill said.

“I will put my arm over your shoulder,” Pierre said.

Pierre’s arm went over her shoulder. She put her arm around him. Pierre put his arm over Nelson’s shoulder as well.

They shuffled to the steps to Nelson’s living room. Jill closed her eyes and let out a breath. She directed some of her strength into Pierre.

“Thank you,” Pierre said.

They took the steps one at a time.

“This is a real prize,” Pierre said with a laugh.

Nelson directed Pierre to the comfortable reclining chair. Nelson checked that his father didn’t need anything before sitting on the couch. Jill took an armchair across from Nelson.

“Tell me what brings you here in the middle of the night,” Pierre said.

“My daughter was giving the Vanquisher,” Jill said.

“Not possible,” Pierre said. “The sword was destroyed.”

“The sword was made by Jill’s father Perses,” Nelson said. “Or so he says. He left it where he was told that his granddaughter would get it. Maughold was to give her the sword when he gave the Sword of Truth to Paddie.”

Pierre squinted at Nelson to see if he was saying the truth. Nelson nodded.

“I would show you the sword, but. . .” Jill said.

“You cannot break the sword of power away from her owner,” Pierre said with a nod. “Have I seen the Sword of Truth?”

“I don’t think so,” Nelson said.

Pierre nodded.

“My daughter is just a little girl,” Jill said with a sigh.

“How old is she now?” Pierre asked.

“She’ll be eight this month,” Jill said. “Paddie is seven.”

Pierre nodded.

“You know that many Queens of old were crowned at nine years old,” Pierre said.

“So?” Jill shrugged. “She is a little girl. Whatever she does with her life or in her life, she deserves some time to just be a little girl.”

“I see,” Pierre said. “Her father has fairy ancestry?”

Jill gave him an assessing look.

“Why?” Jill asked.

“There is a prophesy,” Pierre said.

Jill shot an angry look at Nelson.

“Jill is angry with me for not telling her about a prophesy that involves the Templars and her daughter,” Nelson said. He put his hand on his chest. “I don’t know of one.”

“That’s true,” Pierre said. “My son never took a lot of stock in prophesies, even the ones that include him.”

“Until I met Delphie,” Nelson said.

“The Oracle,” Pierre said with a nod. “Yes.”

Pierre sighed and Jill could see just how sick and fragile Pierre was still.

“I remember,” Pierre said. “Delphie.”

“She’s been here with you while you were sick,” Nelson said.

“I will look forward to another visit,” Pierre said. “I saw Maresol today. She’s always such a breath of fresh air.”

Jill and Nelson smiled at Pierre’s smile.

“You didn’t come here to hear about my day,” Pierre said. “Tell me — what has happened?”

Nelson nodded to Jill.

“Dad,” Jill said.

Perses arrived so quickly that Nelson jumped to his feet. Pierre yelped and leaned back.

“Nelson,” Perses said in a kind of growl. Seeing, Pierre’s fright, he shifted, “I apologize Mr. Semaines. It was not my intention to alarm you.”

“You know who I am?” Pierre asked.

“You were the Grand Master of the Templars,” Perses said. “You may not remember me being there, but I was in Arizona when the Templars attacked.”

“My sister, Candy, had to make him promise not to kill everyone,” Jill said.

“They died anyway,” Pierre said.

“Yes,” Perses said. “Now, let’s make you comfortable.”

Perses turned to Nelson.

“He needs something warm to drink,” Perses said. He closed his eyes. “Mulled wine would be perfect. Do you have something like that?”

“I can. . .” Nelson started.

“Heather,” Jill said.

There was a knock at the door and Heather came into the carriage house. She was wearing her bathrobe over her pajamas.

“My father is very ill!” Nelson said. “More people, more risk of virus — what are you doing?”

“Define ‘people,’” Pierre said with a laugh.

“How may I be of service?” Heather asked.

“Dad says that Pierre needs something like mulled wine,” Jill said with a shrug. “I don’t. . .”

Heather knelt down to Pierre. She put her hands on either side of Pierre’s face. Nelson gawked at her.

“He is stronger than he looks,” Heather said. “You are correct, Perses.”

“Of course I am,” Perses said with a sniff.

Heather openly laughed at him which made Perses grin at her. Heather held out her hand and a jug of wine appeared.

“With the oranges?” Perses asked. “Spices? Honey?”

“Of course,” Heather said. She looked at Nelson and said, “Mugs?”

“What is that?” Nelson asked. He couldn’t help but be a snippy doctor. “I’m not going to get my father drunk on some crap from your freak of a grandfather’s cellar! I. . .”

“The alcohol is much reduced by the cooking,” Heather said. “It has what your father needs. You can either give it to him or. . .”

“Fuck,” Nelson said.

Jill got up and ran to the kitchen. She took five mugs from the cabinet and returned. Heather poured the wine. Perses passed out the mugs. For a moment, everyone took a sip of the wine. After a first sip, Pierre swallowed down the wine. Heather refilled his mug.

“Slowly, now,” Heather said.

“Ma’am,” Pierre said.

The room was silent as they took sips of the wine, fruit, and spice mixture.

“This is really good,” Jill said, surprised.

Heather nodded.

“It’s an old remedy,” Perses said. “But sometimes, the old remedies are the best. How are you feeling, Pierre?”

“Better,” Pierre said. “Thank you. This brings me back to my mother’s kitchen. She made something like this. Where did it come from?”

“My grandfather’s home,” Heather said. “His bees, oranges. . . come to think of it, I think he grows the spices too.”

Pierre took another drink.

“You are here about the prophesy,” Pierre said. “We should speak quickly before the nurse returns.”

“Is this the prophesy my sister referred to?” Perses asked.

“Yes,” Jill glared at Nelson.

“I did not know,” Nelson said. “You know that I love Katy.”

“Oh, Katy?” Perses looked at Jill. “You think it’s Katy?”

“Your sister told Katy that. . .” Jill said. Angry again, she just shook her head.

“She has the Vanquisher,” Nelson said.

“Yes,” Perses said.

“That sword is yours?” Pierre asked Perses.

“I had it made,” Perses said with a shrug.

“Huh,” Pierre said.

“Who made the prophesy?” Heather asked.

“Oracle of Delphi, actually,” Pierre said. He nodded to Perses. “You knew them?”

“Sure,” Perses said. “Some of them were as good as our Delphie. Most of them were not. Our Delphie is the best oracle that I’ve ever known.”

Perses shrugged.

“The woman who told me to leave the sword with Maughold,” Perses said. He sipped his mulled wine. “That was right.”

“What. Did. She. Say?” Jill said her words through her teeth. “What is this God damned prophesy?”

Her words echoed in the living room as if she’d shouted. Nelson and Pierre looked a little shocked while her father laughed, and Heather smiled.

“There will be a female child — not an average child, but a female child, none the less.  She will rise from the greatest house of the great houses, the greatest blade will guide the smallest hand, the smallest blade, the finest cut will change the fate of those strive for powerful and greatness.”

“What?” Perses asked.

Pierre held up a finger. Everyone in the room leaned forward.

Pierre said. “My father used to add this last bit — ‘And the swords of the son — either ‘s-o-n’ or ‘s-u-n’ — will fade into the darkness from whence they came. None who survives will remember.’”

Pierre nodded to Nelson and said, “Your mother used to add — ‘Watch for her as she will need your help, your love, but get out of the way when the time is ripe.’”

No one said anything for a long moment.

“Well, at least that’s clear,” Heather said.

Everyone gawked at her. When Heather started to laugh, everyone laughed.

“That could mean anything!” Jill said. “It probably doesn’t have anything to do with Katy.”

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s true,” Pierre said. “May I ask — your daughter? Is she. . . special?”

While everyone nodded, Jill said, “She’s just a little girl.”

“And if she isn’t?” Pierre asked.

“Whatever she is, she is a little girl!” Jill insisted.

Pierre gave Jill a kind nod.

“I understand,” Pierre said. “I’m the father of the last Grand Master of the Templars. I don’t love that my son is out there risking his life. I tried to hold onto the title for as long as I possibly could. But there was nothing I could do. He was bound to take on the role no matter what I did.”

“I. . .” Jill shook her head. She nodded to Pierre. “Thank you, Mr. Semaines. I have to think about everything. Talk to Jake.”

“I understand,” Pierre said.

Jill nodded and started toward the door. Heather got up, smiled at Pierre, and left with Jill.

“It was nice to see you again,” Perses said before disappearing.

For a moment, Nelson and Pierre sat in the living room together.

“Do you get used to it?” Pierre asked Nelson.

“Used to what?” Nelson asked.

“Their coming and going?” Pierre asked.

“They are like the tide,” Nelson said. “They come and they go. I never know who or what will be there. It’s. . . interesting, I guess.”

Nelson shrugged.

“I have been an ER doctor for a while,” Nelson said. “Being an ER doctor is likethat. I never know if they are bringing good things or some horror. But that’s true for most people.”

Pierre nodded. He sighed and Nelson saw how tired his father had become.

“Let’s get you back to bed,” Nelson said.

“I hate that bed,” Pierre said.

“You are getting better,” Nelson said. “You must rest to regain your strength.”

Nelson pulled his father to his feet. They hugged for a long moment. Nelson tried to will his strength into his father.

“I’m okay, son,” Pierre said in French.

“I know,” Nelson replied in French. “Let’s get you back to bed.”

They were across the living room when the nurse returned. She helped Nelson get Pierre back in bed. Nelson stayed long enough to help get his father settled. Nelson’s own exhaustion returned the moment he stepped out of the carriage house. He moved across the yard and stumbled up the stairs to his room.

Not for the first time, he was grateful for his own private space. He used his bathroom and got into bed. He was just falling asleep when he realized that he had previously heard that prophesy. He fell asleep wondering when he’d heard it.

~~~~~~~~

Monday night — 10:15 p.m.

Valerie tapped on the door to her old apartment. When Ivan didn’t answer, she peaked inside. Ivan was sitting in an armchair with a tablet computer on his lap. He waved her inside.

Valerie opened the door, picked up the legged tray, and went inside. The tray had Ivan’s Chinese medicine, his night time cancer medication regimen, a croissant, and a pot of tea. Because Valerie and Mike were usually awake at this time of night, she usually brought Ivan his night time medications and a snack.

“Thank you,” Ivan said without seeing the tray.

“It’s my pleasure,” Valerie said. “How is Sissy?”

Sissy had returned to France to take a position in the chorus at the Opera de Paris ballet. She, the lead boy, and the lead girl from their school had all been offered parts.

“She is well,” Ivan said. “Bored. It’s common for students to be board by the company if they join the company associated with their school.”

“Oh?” Valerie asked.

She set the tray on the table. She removed the saucer from the top of Ivan’s Chinese medicine tea.

“Mmm,” Ivan said. “Smells absolutely horrible tonight.”

“I’d love to hear more about Sissy,” Valerie said. “Why don’t you sip it and tell me how she is?”

Ivan nodded.

“She’s cleared my things from the apartment I was staying in,” Ivan said. “I thought that she would move in there, but she is back with Claire and Ben. She says that being around family makes her happy and being on her own reminds her of her childhood loneliness.”

Valerie spied that Ivan was about halfway through his drink.

“I understand that,” Valerie said. “Her life seemed pretty bad, and I was way on the sidelines.”

Ivan swallowed down the rest of the Chinese medicine. He grimaced.

“We have to wait a few minutes before you can drink anything,” Valerie said.

Ivan nodded.

“What does she like about living with Claire and Ben?” Valerie asked.

“Oh,” Ivan said. “They have a young children. Sissy loves little kids. Claire has been able to mother Sissy in a way that is exactly what she needs. I cannot describe it. It’s beautiful to witness. They have been so kind to Sissy.”

Ivan looked at Valerie.

“You have been kind to me,” Ivan said. “How are you? How is the scripting going?”

“For the new movie?” Valerie asked. “Slow. Very very slow.”

She held out the pills for Ivan to take and a glass of what looked like water. He swallowed down the pills.

“What is this?” Ivan held up the water. He took a sip. “It takes like water and is not water.”

“Jill infused it with her special healing,” Valerie said. “She thought it might help make everything work.”

“Anything,” Ivan said. “I’m happy to do anything.”

Valerie gave him a soft smile. He closed his eyes but gestured for her to keep speaking.

“My ego likes that I’m getting parts for more serious roles,” Valerie said.

“Yes, I have been there,” Ivan said with a smile.

“But they are so slow to come together,” Valerie said. “I could be filming an action or a thriller right now. Instead, I’m waiting on scripting. Honestly, Ivan, I don’t know if I have the temperament for this more serious work.”

Ivan smiled at her.

“You do,” Ivan said. “See how you feel when you are filming the part. It’ll make up for all of this chaos and anxiety.”

“I hope so,” Valerie said.

Ivan sighed.

“Try to eat,” Valerie said. Switching to her “special” voice, she added, “We got these today from the French bakery. It’s warm.”

Valerie poured him some tea from pot.

“This is from our mint patch,” Valerie said. “I put in Delphie’s honey as you like it.”

Ivan had such a hard time eating that he continued to lose weight. Valerie found that he‘d eat if she asked in her special voice, even though he knew that she was using it.

He drank some tea and ate a piece of the croissant.

“Delicious,” Ivan said. He took three more bites and finished his tea. “As always. . .”

Ivan fell sound asleep. Valerie put the computer tablet on the table. As she did every night, she took off his shoes. There was a tap at the door and Mike came in. While Mike was changing Ivan into his bed clothing, Valerie collected his dirty dishes. Mike got Ivan settled into bed. They left their old apartment together.

There was nothing anyone could say about what was happening with Ivan. According to the doctors and Blane, he would either get well or he wouldn’t.

They deposited the tray of dirty dishes in the main Castle kitchen and went to pick up their children from Honey’s apartment. Arm in arm, they went to their new apartment.

Denver Cereal continues next week...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part six)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

(part six)

Monday night — 10:15 p.m.

Valerie tapped on the door to her old apartment. When Ivan didn’t answer, she peaked inside. Ivan was sitting in an armchair with a tablet computer on his lap. He waved her inside.

Valerie opened the door, picked up the legged tray, and went inside. The tray had Ivan’s Chinese medicine, his night time cancer medication regimen, a croissant, and a pot of tea. Because Valerie and Mike were usually awake at this time of night, she usually brought Ivan his night time medications and a snack.

“Thank you,” Ivan said without seeing the tray.

“It’s my pleasure,” Valerie said. “How is Sissy?”

Sissy had returned to France to take a position in the chorus at the Opera de Paris ballet. She, the lead boy, and the lead girl from their school had all been offered parts.

“She is well,” Ivan said. “Bored. It’s common for students to be board by the company if they join the company associated with their school.”

“Oh?” Valerie asked.

She set the tray on the table. She removed the saucer from the top of Ivan’s Chinese medicine tea.

“Mmm,” Ivan said. “Smells absolutely horrible tonight.”

“I’d love to hear more about Sissy,” Valerie said. “Why don’t you sip it and tell me how she is?”

Ivan nodded.

“She’s cleared my things from the apartment I was staying in,” Ivan said. “I thought that she would move in there, but she is back with Claire and Ben. She says that being around family makes her happy and being on her own reminds her of her childhood loneliness.”

Valerie spied that Ivan was about halfway through his drink.

“I understand that,” Valerie said. “Her life seemed pretty bad, and I was way on the sidelines.”

Ivan swallowed down the rest of the Chinese medicine. He grimaced.

“We have to wait a few minutes before you can drink anything,” Valerie said.

Ivan nodded.

“What does she like about living with Claire and Ben?” Valerie asked.

“Oh,” Ivan said. “They have a young children. Sissy loves little kids. Claire has been able to mother Sissy in a way that is exactly what she needs. I cannot describe it. It’s beautiful to witness. They have been so kind to Sissy.”

Ivan looked at Valerie.

“You have been kind to me,” Ivan said. “How are you? How is the scripting going?”

“For the new movie?” Valerie asked. “Slow. Very very slow.”

She held out the pills for Ivan to take and a glass of what looked like water. He swallowed down the pills.

“What is this?” Ivan held up the water. He took a sip. “It takes like water and is not water.”

“Jill infused it with her special healing,” Valerie said. “She thought it might help make everything work.”

“Anything,” Ivan said. “I’m happy to do anything.”

Valerie gave him a soft smile. He closed his eyes but gestured for her to keep speaking.

“My ego likes that I’m getting parts for more serious roles,” Valerie said.

“Yes, I have been there,” Ivan said with a smile.

“But they are so slow to come together,” Valerie said. “I could be filming an action or a thriller right now. Instead, I’m waiting on scripting. Honestly, Ivan, I don’t know if I have the temperament for this more serious work.”

Ivan smiled at her.

“You do,” Ivan said. “See how you feel when you are filming the part. It’ll make up for all of this chaos and anxiety.”

“I hope so,” Valerie said.

Ivan sighed.

“Try to eat,” Valerie said. Switching to her “special” voice, she added, “We got these today from the French bakery. It’s warm.”

Valerie poured him some tea from pot.

“This is from our mint patch,” Valerie said. “I put in Delphie’s honey as you like it.”

Ivan had such a hard time eating that he continued to lose weight. Valerie found that he‘d eat if she asked in her special voice, even though he knew that she was using it.

He drank some tea and ate a piece of the croissant.

“Delicious,” Ivan said. He took three more bites and finished his tea. “As always. . .”

Ivan fell sound asleep. Valerie put the computer tablet on the table. As she did every night, she took off his shoes. There was a tap at the door and Mike came in. While Mike was changing Ivan into his bed clothing, Valerie collected his dirty dishes. Mike got Ivan settled into bed. They left their old apartment together.

There was nothing anyone could say about what was happening with Ivan. According to the doctors and Blane, he would either get well or he wouldn’t.

They deposited the tray of dirty dishes in the main Castle kitchen and went to pick up their children from Honey’s apartment. Arm in arm, they went to their new apartment.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part five)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

(part five)

“Well, at least that’s clear,” Heather said.

Everyone gawked at her. When Heather started to laugh, everyone laughed.

“That could mean anything!” Jill said. “It probably doesn’t have anything to do with Katy.”

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s true,” Pierre said. “May I ask — your daughter? Is she. . . special?”

While everyone nodded, Jill said, “She’s just a little girl.”

“And if she isn’t?” Pierre asked.

“Whatever she is, she is a little girl!” Jill insisted.

Pierre gave Jill a kind nod.

“I understand,” Pierre said. “I’m the father of the last Grand Master of the Templars. I don’t love that my son is out there risking his life. I tried to hold onto the title for as long as I possibly could. But there was nothing I could do. He was bound to take on the role no matter what I did.”

“I. . .” Jill shook her head. She nodded to Pierre. “Thank you, Mr. Semaines. I have to think about everything. Talk to Jake.”

“I understand,” Pierre said.

Jill nodded and started toward the door. Heather got up, smiled at Pierre, and left with Jill.

“It was nice to see you again,” Perses said before disappearing.

For a moment, Nelson and Pierre sat in the living room together.

“Do you get used to it?” Pierre asked Nelson.

“Used to what?” Nelson asked.

“Their coming and going?” Pierre asked.

“They are like the tide,” Nelson said. “They come and they go. I never know who or what will be there. It’s. . . interesting, I guess.”

Nelson shrugged.

“I have been an ER doctor for a while,” Nelson said. “Being an ER doctor is likethat. I never know if they are bringing good things or some horror. But that’s true for most people.”

Pierre nodded. He sighed and Nelson saw how tired his father had become.

“Let’s get you back to bed,” Nelson said.

“I hate that bed,” Pierre said.

“You are getting better,” Nelson said. “You must rest to regain your strength.”

Nelson pulled his father to his feet. They hugged for a long moment. Nelson tried to will his strength into his father.

“I’m okay, son,” Pierre said in French.

“I know,” Nelson replied in French. “Let’s get you back to bed.”

They were across the living room when the nurse returned. She helped Nelson get Pierre back in bed. Nelson stayed long enough to help get his father settled. Nelson’s own exhaustion returned the moment he stepped out of the carriage house. He moved across the yard and stumbled up the stairs to his room.

Not for the first time, he was grateful for his own private space. He used his bathroom and got into bed. He was just falling asleep when he realized that he had previously heard that prophesy. He fell asleep wondering when he’d heard it.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part four)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

(part four)

Jill got up and ran to the kitchen. She took five mugs from the cabinet and returned. Heather poured the wine. Perses passed out the mugs. For a moment, everyone took a sip of the wine. After a first sip, Pierre swallowed down the wine. Heather refilled his mug.

“Slowly, now,” Heather said.

“Ma’am,” Pierre said.

The room was silent as they took sips of the wine, fruit, and spice mixture.

“This is really good,” Jill said, surprised.

Heather nodded.

“It’s an old remedy,” Perses said. “But sometimes, the old remedies are the best. How are you feeling, Pierre?”

“Better,” Pierre said. “Thank you. This brings me back to my mother’s kitchen. She made something like this. Where did it come from?”

“My grandfather’s home,” Heather said. “His bees, oranges. . . come to think of it, I think he grows the spices too.”

Pierre took another drink.

“You are here about the prophesy,” Pierre said. “We should speak quickly before the nurse returns.”

“Is this the prophesy my sister referred to?” Perses asked.

“Yes,” Jill glared at Nelson.

“I did not know,” Nelson said. “You know that I love Katy.”

“Oh, Katy?” Perses looked at Jill. “You think it’s Katy?”

“Your sister told Katy that. . .” Jill said. Angry again, she just shook her head.

“She has the Vanquisher,” Nelson said.

“Yes,” Perses said.

“That sword is yours?” Pierre asked Perses.

“I had it made,” Perses said with a shrug.

“Huh,” Pierre said.

“Who made the prophesy?” Heather asked.

“Oracle of Delphi, actually,” Pierre said. He nodded to Perses. “You knew them?”

“Sure,” Perses said. “Some of them were as good as our Delphie. Most of them were not. Our Delphie is the best oracle that I’ve ever known.”

Perses shrugged.

“The woman who told me to leave the sword with Maughold,” Perses said. He sipped his mulled wine. “That was right.”

“What. Did. She. Say?” Jill said her words through her teeth. “What is this God damned prophesy?”

Her words echoed in the living room as if she’d shouted. Nelson and Pierre looked a little shocked while her father laughed, and Heather smiled.

“There will be a female child — not an average child, but a female child, none the less.  She will rise from the greatest house of the great houses, the greatest blade will guide the smallest hand, the smallest blade, the finest cut will change the fate of those strive for powerful and greatness.”

“What?” Perses asked.

Pierre held up a finger. Everyone in the room leaned forward.

Pierre said. “My father used to add this last bit — ‘And the swords of the son — either ‘s-o-n’ or ‘s-u-n’ — will fade into the darkness from whence they came. None who survives will remember.’”

Pierre nodded to Nelson and said, “Your mother used to add — ‘Watch for her as she will need your help, your love, but get out of the way when the time is ripe.’”

No one said anything for a long moment.

“Well, at least that’s clear,” Heather said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part three)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

(part three)

“That’s true,” Pierre said. “My son never took a lot of stock in prophesies, even the ones that include him.”

“Until I met Delphie,” Nelson said.

“The Oracle,” Pierre said with a nod. “Yes.”

Pierre sighed and Jill could see just how sick and fragile Pierre was still.

“I remember,” Pierre said. “Delphie.”

“She’s been here with you while you were sick,” Nelson said.

“I will look forward to another visit,” Pierre said. “I saw Maresol today. She’s always such a breath of fresh air.”

Jill and Nelson smiled at Pierre’s smile.

“You didn’t come here to hear about my day,” Pierre said. “Tell me — what has happened?”

Nelson nodded to Jill.

“Dad,” Jill said.

Perses arrived so quickly that Nelson jumped to his feet. Pierre yelped and leaned back.

“Nelson,” Perses said in a kind of growl. Seeing, Pierre’s fright, he shifted, “I apologize Mr. Semaines. It was not my intention to alarm you.”

“You know who I am?” Pierre asked.

“You were the Grand Master of the Templars,” Perses said. “You may not remember me being there, but I was in Arizona when the Templars attacked.”

“My sister, Candy, had to make him promise not to kill everyone,” Jill said.

“They died anyway,” Pierre said.

“Yes,” Perses said. “Now, let’s make you comfortable.”

Perses turned to Nelson.

“He needs something warm to drink,” Perses said. He closed his eyes. “Mulled wine would be perfect. Do you have something like that?”

“I can. . .” Nelson started.

“Heather,” Jill said.

There was a knock at the door and Heather came into the carriage house. She was wearing her bathrobe over her pajamas.

“My father is very ill!” Nelson said. “More people, more risk of virus — what are you doing?”

“Define ‘people,’” Pierre said with a laugh.

“How may I be of service?” Heather asked.

“Dad says that Pierre needs something like mulled wine,” Jill said with a shrug. “I don’t. . .”

Heather knelt down to Pierre. She put her hands on either side of Pierre’s face. Nelson gawked at her.

“He is stronger than he looks,” Heather said. “You are correct, Perses.”

“Of course I am,” Perses said with a sniff.

Heather openly laughed at him which made Perses grin at her. Heather held out her hand and a jug of wine appeared.

“With the oranges?” Perses asked. “Spices? Honey?”

“Of course,” Heather said. She looked at Nelson and said, “Mugs?”

“What is that?” Nelson asked. He couldn’t help but be a snippy doctor. “I’m not going to get my father drunk on some crap from your freak of a grandfather’s cellar! I. . .”

“The alcohol is much reduced by the cooking,” Heather said. “It has what your father needs. You can either give it to him or. . .”

“Fuck,” Nelson said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part two)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

(part two)

“Shall I make us some tea?” Nelson asked.

“No,” Pierre said with a laugh. “I’ve had so much tea. I would like to see you, speak with you.”

Pierre looked at Jill and then winked at Nelson.

“This beautiful woman is not here for tea,” Pierre said.

Jill blushed. Nelson put his arm over her shoulder and said, “French men. We are just like that.”

Jill grinned.

“Let’s see if we can make it to the living room,” Pierre said. “Now little Titan-ling, may I draw on your strength?”

“Nelson said. . .” Jill said abruptly.

“He is right,” Pierre said. “But he forgets that I need strength. May I borrow some of yours?”

“Of course,” Jill said.

“I will put my arm over your shoulder,” Pierre said.

Pierre’s arm went over her shoulder. She put her arm around him. Pierre put his arm over Nelson’s shoulder as well.

They shuffled to the steps to Nelson’s living room. Jill closed her eyes and let out a breath. She directed some of her strength into Pierre.

“Thank you,” Pierre said.

They took the steps one at a time.

“This is a real prize,” Pierre said with a laugh.

Nelson directed Pierre to the comfortable reclining chair. Nelson checked that his father didn’t need anything before sitting on the couch. Jill took an armchair across from Nelson.

“Tell me what brings you here in the middle of the night,” Pierre said.

“My daughter was giving the Vanquisher,” Jill said.

“Not possible,” Pierre said. “The sword was destroyed.”

“The sword was made by Jill’s father Perses,” Nelson said. “Or so he says. He left it where he was told that his granddaughter would get it. Maughold was to give her the sword when he gave the Sword of Truth to Paddie.”

Pierre squinted at Nelson to see if he was saying the truth. Nelson nodded.

“I would show you the sword, but. . .” Jill said.

“You cannot break the sword of power away from her owner,” Pierre said with a nod. “Have I seen the Sword of Truth?”

“I don’t think so,” Nelson said.

Pierre nodded.

“My daughter is just a little girl,” Jill said with a sigh.

“How old is she now?” Pierre asked.

“She’ll be eight this month,” Jill said. “Paddie is seven.”

Pierre nodded.

“You know that many Queens of old were crowned at nine years old,” Pierre said.

“So?” Jill shrugged. “She is a little girl. Whatever she does with her life or in her life, she deserves some time to just be a little girl.”

“I see,” Pierre said. “Her father has fairy ancestry?”

Jill gave him an assessing look.

“Why?” Jill asked.

“There is a prophesy,” Pierre said.

Jill shot an angry look at Nelson.

“Jill is angry with me for not telling her about a prophesy that involves the Templars and her daughter,” Nelson said. He put his hand on his chest. “I don’t know of one.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-nine - Old remedies, new times (part one)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE

(part one)

Monday night — 9:45 p.m.

Jill followed Nelson out of the back sliding glass door. They walked across their private courtyard and up the six steps to the carriage house Nelson used to live in. They went around the corner to reach the front door of the carriage house.

Nelson knocked twice.

“Just give them a heads up,” Nelson said.

Jill nodded. Nelson let them inside the carriage house. Jill stood in the entrance and listened. She’d been here many times to help Nelson’s father, Pierre Semaines, when he was unconscious. She knew that her mother and her grandfather had also been here. Their efforts focused on strengthening Pierre so that he would be able to survive long enough for Nelson to find the Templar Hoard. Now that Mari had brought the “Adam’s Apple” ruby, Pierre Semaines was healing from the months of being inactive.

“He just woke up,” the nurse said. “We’ve had a shower and changed.”

“Would you like a little break?” Nelson asked.

“Sounds good to me,” the nurse said. “But please — no more than a half-hour. He pretends to be well, but he tires easily.”

“Thank you,” Jill said with a nod.

The nurse smiled at Jill and nodded to Nelson before leaving the room. They listened while she went outside. Jill knew that she liked to sit in the sunny patio outside the door between the carriage house and Mr. Matchel’s home. This time of the night, Jill assumed the nurse was reading her emails.

“Nelson?” Pierre croaked from his bed.

They went around the corner to find Pierre in his hospital bed. They had set up the bed in what had been Nelson’s dining room. Nelson leaned over to kiss his father’s cheek. They spoke back and forth in quiet, quick French.

“Jill!” Pierre said. “My son tells me that you, your mother, and grandfather are one of the reasons I am still here.”

Embarrassed, Jill looked down and smoothed her hair.

“How are you, sir?” Jill asked.

“Now, now,” Pierre said. “Call me Pierre. You are family after all.”

“Sir?” Jill asked.

“My son is in a committed relationship with Blane, who is your husband’s. . .” Pierre shrugged. “Brother?”

“Cousin,” Jill said.

“That makes you family,” Pierre said. “Not to mention that you’ve helped me in a way that I can never repay.”

Jill looked down.

“Are you a Titan?” Pierre asked.

“Me?” Jill asked.

She looked up to see Nelson nodding. Pierre’s intense eyes tracked her face.

“My father is Perses,” Jill said. “My mother is human. We are mostly human.”

Pierre gave her a doubting look but nodded to let her off the hook.

“Help me up,” Pierre said in French.

Nelson helped his father to sitting.

“I am allowed to walk a tiny bit inside the house,” Pierre said. “Would you like to walk with me?”

Nelson looked at Jill, and she nodded.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-eight - Prophesy? You've got to be f***ing kidding me!

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-EIGHT

Monday morning — 12:15 p.m.

Katy couldn’t help it.

She was bored.

Life had gone from heartbreaking not-being-able-to-see-Paddie to fun play-at-home to exciting back-to-school to dreary boring-winter. Katy sighed at looked out the window. The snow was gently wafting down.

“Okay,” the teacher said. “Why don’t we head outside for a bit?”

“But it’s ’nowing,” the kid whose nose was always stuffed up said.

“We’ll be okay,” the teacher said. “Let’s put our warm clothing on.”

Katy could tell that the teacher was putting on a brave face for the class. The teacher was worried that it would be too cold for her students.

“Can’t wait,” Katy said, hopping to her feet.

Katy started pulling on all of her outdoor gear. With Katy’s movement, the rest of the class started to pull on their outdoor gear. The teacher checked to see that everyone had on their wool caps and face masks before sending them to walk quietly to the outdoors.

Katy watched the teacher turn on the UV lights, open the windows, turn on the fan, and then head to the teacher’s hang-out-place. With the teacher out of the way, Katy went to find Paddie.

Paddie’s class had break time when Katy’s class had break. Katy waited for Paddie to pull on all of his gear and head out into the hall.

She fell in next to him as they walked quietly to the door. Once at the door, the classes screamed like banshees and ran out into the cool midday. The recess monitor and the volunteer parents were watching the children for signs of being too cold, but most of the kids were so happy to be able to play and be loud that no child complained.

Katy and Paddie slipped to the side to avoid the monitor and parents.

“What’s going on?” Paddie asked.

“Bored,” Katy said looking down.

“What do you want to do?” Paddie asked.

Katy looked up at her best friend. Even with his facemask covering his mouth and nose, she could tell that he was up for an adventure too.

“I don’t know,” Katy said with a shrug.

“You wanna. . .” Paddie said.

Hecate appeared next to Paddie. She looked from Katy to Paddie.

“What are you two planning?” Hecate asked.

“Why are you here?” Paddie asked defensively.

He instinctively pushed Katy behind him and put his hand on the Sword of Truth.

“Now, now, young human,” Hecate said. “I mean you harm. I am here because my niece, Mistress Katy, is bored. A bored niece is a dangerous niece.”

“Hecate!” Ms. Palio, the principal of the Marlowe School, said as she walked around the corner. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”

“Auntie,” Hecate said. “How lovely to see you!”

The two Titans hugged. Ms. Palio was the sister of Hecate’s mother Asteria, who was currently trapped in the form of Cleo the cat.

Ms. Palio looked at Katy.

“What are you up to young lady?” Ms. Palio asked Katy.

Still unsure, Paddie stayed in front of Katy.

“Why?” Paddie asked defiantly.

“That’s the Sword of Truth, isn’t it?” Ms. Palio asked.

The principal gestured to what looked like a wooden sword on a belt at Paddie’s side.

“What if it is?” Paddie asked. He stuck his chin out defiantly.

“They are so cute,” Hecate said.

Ms. Palio grinned and nodded before turning to look at Hecate.

“Why are you here, niece?” Ms. Palio asked.

“I was instructed to keep an eye on Katy,” Hecate said.

“Why me?” Katy asked. “I haven’t done anything.”

“Uh-huh,” Hecate said with a grin. “Katy gets bored. She decides that she and her friend should have an adventure which leave her and the boy are vulnerable to be pulled into conflicts for the swords.”

“What?” Paddie asked, doing his best to look offended. “When did we ever?”

“Fairy war?” Hecate asked. “Remember when the fairies were trying to steal the Sword of Truth? How about the time you were in the middle of a big fairy fight when Katy’s mom was having her twins? That’s not to mention all of the bs with the Templars. . .”

“Oh, Gods, is that heating up again?” Ms. Palio shook her head. “Are the Templars back?”

“Our friend is trying to end them,” Katy said, mustering all of her courage to talk back to an adult she didn’t know well. “He’s the last Grand Master.”

“Guy Semaines,” Hecate said.

“The prophesy,” Ms. Palio said.

“His name is Nelson Weeks,” Paddie said. Shaking his head, he said, “You’ve got it all wrong. We’re not doing anything and. . .”

Two apparition’s men appeared in the middle of the playground. Their vapor bodies wore the historic costumes of the Templars. Their clothing was covered in splatters of blood and mud. Playing children ran right through the men. The men were clearly looking for someone.

“Shit,” Hecate said.

Hecate snapped her fingers. She was wearing complete modern body armor.

“Nice,” Ms. Palio said. “Where’d you get that?”

“It’s who you know, Auntie,” Hecate said with a laugh.

Hecate opened her hand in the direct of Ms. Palio, and Ms. Palio was wearing full modern body armor as well.

“Thanks,” Ms. Palio said.

Paddie moved to pull out the Sword of Truth. The moment his hand touched the sword, the men seemed to hear the sword’s call. They turned toward where Paddie and Katy were standing. Their menacing, angry faces would have terrified any normal children.

But Paddie and Katy simply got into position.

“You do not belong here,” Ms. Palio said. “Your problems are long over. Be gone.”

With all of her Titan power, she was unable to make the apparitions leave the grounds of the school.

“Dad,” Hecate said under his breath.

Perses the Titan of Destruction appeared. He looked at the apparitions of the Templars and scowled.

“Get into the building,” Perses said.

“But. . .!” Paddie started to protest.

“You see two men here, right?” Perses asked.

Hecate and Ms. Palio nodded along with Katy and Paddie.

“There are thousands here,” Perses said. “It’s a trick.”

Perses wrapped his arms around Katy and Paddie. They were standing in the middle of the Marlowe School.

“They don’t seem able to get inside,” Ms. Palio said.

“It’s a very long story involving the spirits of hundreds of children. . .”

“And us!” Katy said.

Paddie nodded.

“Jacob has made the building impenetrable to spirits and magic of any kind,” Perses said. To Ms. Palio, he said,“I believe you’ve strengthened the charms on the building, s.”

“Why are we able to get inside?” Hecate asked.

“You are my kin,” Perses said.

Perses turned and knelt down to Paddie and Katy.

“You little ones are once again in grave danger,” Perses said. “These Templars do not wish to be disbanded. They do not want their hoard found. They do not wish to fade into history.”

Katy looked up at Hecate and Ms. Palio. They nodded in agreement with Perses.

“They need your swords and will stop at nothing to get them,” Perses said.

“Same shit, different day,” Paddie said with an exaggerated shrug.

Katy nodded in agreement with Paddie.

Perses grinned at the children.

“You will be safe here,” Perses said. “But don’t take any risks.”

“I’m bored,” Katy said.

“What if you’re not?” Paddie asked. “I mean think about it. Those scary smelly guys could make you feel that way and then. . .”

Paddie’s blue eyes got very big. Katy shivered. After a moment, she nodded.

“Come with me,” Ms. Palio said.

“Why?” Katy asked.

“We are going to work on your defenses,” Ms. Palio said.

“They’re just kids,” Hecate said.

“These men will kill them whether they are children or not,” Ms. Palio said. “We have to make sure that your minds do not let them in, not matter what.”

Katy and Paddie slumped along after Ms. Palio. Hecate and Perses whispered back and forth behind them. When they reached the auditorium, Ms. Palio turned to them.

“I want to see your defenses,” Ms. Palio said.

Paddie went to pull out the Sword of Truth.

“No,” Ms. Palio said. “I know that you are the bearer of a great magical sword. You must be able to do this without the sword. The sword can only assist you. It cannot fully protect you unless you know what you’re doing.”

Paddie gave Ms. Palio a nervous nod. Katy flicked an energy buzz toward Ms. Palio. The Titan absorbed the energy.

“Nice,” Ms. Palio said. “Thanks. You’ve now diminished your power while giving me energy.”

Katy scowled at Ms. Palio and began chewing on her lip.

Hecate and Perses spoke with Ms. Palio for a long moment. The principal nodded.

“I apologize,” Ms. Palio said. “I hadn’t realize that you’ve not actually been trained by anyone other than humans.”

Katy and Paddie nodded.

“That ends today,” Ms. Palio said. “My niece, brother-in-law, and I will undertake your training from this moment further. You will meet with us here every break, every school day. We will speak with your parents to figure a way to work on the weekends.”

“But my dad. . .” Paddie said.

“You’ll continue working with your fathers,” Ms. Palio said. “You will need to do all of this and keep up with your schooling. Can you do that?”

“We can try,” Katy said, meekly.

“That’s all I ask, my dear,” Ms. Palio said. “Let’s get started.”

For the next fifteen minutes, Ms. Palio tested Paddie and Katy’s psychic capacities to protect themselves. When they were done, the children felt like they had run in circles for hours.

“You did very well,” Ms. Palio said, dropping them off at their classrooms.

Katy gave Paddie a tired look and Paddie nodded. The children went back into their classroom for the rest of the afternoon.

~~~~~~~~

Nine hours later

Monday night — 9:15 p.m.

Nelson groaned when he stepped out of the taxi.

“You okay?” the cab driver asked in French.

“Just old,” Nelson replied in French.

The cab driver was from French speaking Ivory Coast.

“What does that mean about me?” the cab driver laughed.

“Bonne nuit!” Nelson said.

Nelson grinned at the man and stepped back. The cab driver waved to Nelson and headed toward Sixteenth Avenue. Sighing at his own fatigue, Nelson started down the path to his home. His mind was bleary from the long day on his feet. His boss, Ava O’Malley, and the rest of the team had presented their evidence to the DA’s office in a crazy and complicated crime involving finger bones and casinos.

He was just glad to be home.

As he reached the door, he noticed a small someone was sitting on the bench outside the front door. He folded back his left wrist and a thin red knife slid into his hand from his wrist.

“Show yourself,” Nelson said.

The person stood up and turned toward Nelson.

“Jill!” Nelson said, pressing the knife back into the holder. “Please, come inside. Why aren’t you inside?”

“I was too angry,” Jill said, through her face mask. “I wanted some time to collect my thoughts.”

“Angry?” Nelson checked that his face mask was in place as he neared the door. He stuck his key into the lock. He turned his head to her. “Why are you angry?”

“Oh, just something about a prophesy and the French asshole who hasn’t said even one word about it,” Jill glared at him.

“Prophesy?” Nelson asked. He lifted his shoulder in a shrug. “Please. Come inside. We’ll figure out whatever this is. If you wish to kill me when we’re done, I won’t fight you. I’m way too tired for that.”

Nelson gestured to the door. Glaring at Nelson, Jill went inside. The house was dark and silent.

“Everyone is already asleep. Let’s go down to the big kitchen,” Nelson said. “I’ll make us some tea and we can talk.”

Jill sniffed at him and walked down the stairs to the large open kitchen. Jill took a seat at the table while Nelson made a pot of mint tea.

“Would you like something to eat?” Nelson said. “I find myself to be peckish.”

Jill reached out and touched his arm. She shook her head.

“No Covid?” Nelson asked. “That’s good to know.

Nelson quickly made himself a sandwich from left over salmon and grabbed a tin of cookies.

“Chocolate chip,” Nelson said setting down the tin. “I do have a secret stash of croissants. Would you like one?”

Jill shook her head.

“Why were you so late?” Jill asked.

“We just finished this big and super stupid case,” Nelson said. “We presented all day and most of the night to the district attorney and then the state attorney. They are trying to figure out how to prosecute and who’s going to do it.”

“Is this the one where Ava was shot?” Jill asked.

“We call it ‘Freddie the Freeloader,’” Nelson said with a nod. He took a bite of his sandwich. “We finished it a while ago but the DA wanted to wait until Ava was back to talk about prosecution for the case at large. Are you sure you don’t want some? It’s perfect.”

Jill looked at him for a long moment.

“I know that you don’t eat when you’re angry,” Nelson said. He gestured to the bread. “I made this bread from my family’s sourdough. It’s. . . mmm. There’s more salmon. Looks like Heather made it. She has some Olympian magic with fish. I have no idea what she does but it’s magical.”

“Sure,” Jill said. “I could use some magic.”

Nelson got up and quickly made her a sandwich like his. He poured the tea. They ate in silence for a while. Feeling better, Jill sighed.

“What do you think she does with the fish?” Jill asked.

“I think it is very, very fresh,” Nelson said. “But don’t quote me. I am no chef.”

“I didn’t think Heather could cook,” Jill said.

“Mostly she doesn’t,” Nelson said. “Then, suddenly, there’s this magnificent fish.”

Jill nodded.

“What’s this about a prophesy?” Nelson asked.

Jill shot him an angry look.

“Now, little Titan, don’t glare at me,” Nelson said. “I am merely human. I have no special powers. I can’t read minds. You have to use your words.”

“Fine,” Jill said. “There was trouble at the school today. Templar ghosts. Thousands of them.”

“Huh,” Nelson said with a shrug. “That’s weird. I wonder why.”

“Ms. Palio. . .” Jill said.

“I remember that she’s a Titan, but I don’t remember which one,” Nelson said.

“I thought you knew all this stuff,” Jill said.

“I skipped the Titans because they are supposed to be dead,” Nelson said.

“I guess that makes sense,” Jill said. “She’s the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Most of what she was assigned to do has been lost to history, and she’s not telling anyone. My dad thought that she would like being the principal at the Marlowe School so she applied.”

“How’s she done?” Nelson asked.

His curiosity seemed genuine, so she answered, “She’s an amazing principal, truthfully. She’s been dealing with the state throughout the pandemic. She found the funding for all of the improvements and made them happen on time. The teachers love her and most of the parents.”

Jill nodded.

“We’re lucky to have her,” Jill said. “Oh, she’s also Asteria’s sister.”

“Your father’s sister-in-law,” Nelson said with a nod.

“He calls her ‘Sister,’” Jill said. “Honestly, they are all so inbred that she may as well be his sister.”

Smiling, Nelson nodded.

“She said something about a prophesy?” Nelson asked.

“She and Hecate referred to a prophesy that includes the Templars and the Sword of Truth,” Jill said. Her anger ignited again, she added, “You could have mentioned it anywhere along the way.”

“Okay, okay,” Nelson said, raising his hand. “I see where you’re coming from. But you forget, I’d have to know about a prophesy to tell you about it.”

“You don’t know?” Jill asked.

Nelson shook his head.

“If I ever knew, I’ve forgotten,” Nelson said. “Honestly, the years I spent with the Templars have blotted out a lot of things I knew really well.”

“I bet.” Jill nodded.

Nelson looked up at the clock.

“My father is usually awake at this time of night,” Nelson said. “He is very weak but regaining his strength. Why don’t we finish up here and head over? We can bring the cookies.”

Jill gave him a slight nod.

“I know that you are angry,” Nelson said. “And honestly, you have a right to be angry. But outside of knowing the swords exist and what they can do, I don’t know anything about the Sword of Truth or the Vanquisher. I mean, I do know that the Vanquisher is supposed to destroy the world, but your dad told me that he made that up so that people would stop looking for it.”

“Did it keep them from looking?” Jill asked.

“No,” Nelson said. “That’s how it got ‘destroyed.’”

Jill nodded. Nelson gestured to her food.

“Finish up and we’ll head over,” Nelson said.

“Okay,” Jill said.

“I will tell you,” Nelson said. “My father knows that you are the child of a Titan but he does not know the power you wield. I will ask you to tamp down. He is very ill. Still.”

Jill nodded. They ate in silence. Nelson got up to use the restroom. Jill cleaned up their meal and tucked the plates into the dishwasher. She washed her hands. Nelson grabbed the tin of cookies and they headed over to see Nelson’s father, Pierre Semaines.

Denver Cereal continues next week...

Curious about Freddie the Freeloader? This is a new Seth and Ava novella coming out December 7, 2021. Here's the link or it's available everywhere you buy books. I can't give you a discount because it's in pre-order. Sorry.


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-eight - Prophesy? You've got to be f***ing kidding me! (part six)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-EIGHT

(part six)

Nelson got up and quickly made her a sandwich like his. He poured the tea. They ate in silence for a while. Feeling better, Jill sighed.

“What do you think she does with the fish?” Jill asked.

“I think it is very, very fresh,” Nelson said. “But don’t quote me. I am no chef.”

“I didn’t think Heather could cook,” Jill said.

“Mostly she doesn’t,” Nelson said. “Then, suddenly, there’s this magnificent fish.”

Jill nodded.

“What’s this about a prophesy?” Nelson asked.

Jill shot him an angry look.

“Now, little Titan, don’t glare at me,” Nelson said. “I am merely human. I have no special powers. I can’t read minds. You have to use your words.”

“Fine,” Jill said. “There was trouble at the school today. Templar ghosts. Thousands of them.”

“Huh,” Nelson said with a shrug. “That’s weird. I wonder why.”

“Ms. Palio. . .” Jill said.

“I remember that she’s a Titan, but I don’t remember which one,” Nelson said.

“I thought you knew all this stuff,” Jill said.

“I skipped the Titans because they are supposed to be dead,” Nelson said.

“I guess that makes sense,” Jill said. “She’s the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Most of what she was assigned to do has been lost to history, and she’s not telling anyone. My dad thought that she would like being the principal at the Marlowe School so she applied.”

“How’s she done?” Nelson asked.

His curiosity seemed genuine, so she answered, “She’s an amazing principal, truthfully. She’s been dealing with the state throughout the pandemic. She found the funding for all of the improvements and made them happen on time. The teachers love her and most of the parents.”

Jill nodded.

“We’re lucky to have her,” Jill said. “Oh, she’s also Asteria’s sister.”

“Your father’s sister-in-law,” Nelson said with a nod.

“He calls her ‘Sister,’” Jill said. “Honestly, they are all so inbred that she may as well be his sister.”

Smiling, Nelson nodded.

“She said something about a prophesy?” Nelson asked.

“She and Hecate referred to a prophesy that includes the Templars and the Sword of Truth,” Jill said. Her anger ignited again, she added, “You could have mentioned it anywhere along the way.”

“Okay, okay,” Nelson said, raising his hand. “I see where you’re coming from. But you forget, I’d have to know about a prophesy to tell you about it.”

“You don’t know?” Jill asked.

Nelson shook his head.

“If I ever knew, I’ve forgotten,” Nelson said. “Honestly, the years I spent with the Templars have blotted out a lot of things I knew really well.”

“I bet.” Jill nodded.

Nelson looked up at the clock.

“My father is usually awake at this time of night,” Nelson said. “He is very weak but regaining his strength. Why don’t we finish up here and head over? We can bring the cookies.”

Jill gave him a slight nod.

“I know that you are angry,” Nelson said. “And honestly, you have a right to be angry. But outside of knowing the swords exist and what they can do, I don’t know anything about the Sword of Truth or the Vanquisher. I mean, I do know that the Vanquisher is supposed to destroy the world, but your dad told me that he made that up so that people would stop looking for it.”

“Did it keep them from looking?” Jill asked.

“No,” Nelson said. “That’s how it got ‘destroyed.’”

Jill nodded. Nelson gestured to her food.

“Finish up and we’ll head over,” Nelson said.

“Okay,” Jill said.

“I will tell you,” Nelson said. “My father knows that you are the child of a Titan but he does not know the power you wield. I will ask you to tamp down. He is very ill. Still.”

Jill nodded. They ate in silence. Nelson got up to use the restroom. Jill cleaned up their meal and tucked the plates into the dishwasher. She washed her hands. Nelson grabbed the tin of cookies and they headed over to see Nelson’s father, Pierre Semaines.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday...

Curious about Freddie the Freeloader? This is a new Seth and Ava novella coming out December 7, 2021. Here's the link or it's available everywhere you buy books. I can't give you a discount because it's in pre-order. Sorry.


Chapter Six Hundred and Sixty-eight - Prophesy? You've got to be f***ing kidding me! (part five)

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-EIGHT

(part five)

Nine hours later

Monday night — 9:15 p.m.

Nelson groaned when he stepped out of the taxi.

“You okay?” the cab driver asked in French.

“Just old,” Nelson replied in French.

The cab driver was from French speaking Ivory Coast.

“What does that mean about me?” the cab driver laughed.

“Bonne nuit!” Nelson said.

Nelson grinned at the man and stepped back. The cab driver waved to Nelson and headed toward Sixteenth Avenue. Sighing at his own fatigue, Nelson started down the path to his home. His mind was bleary from the long day on his feet. His boss, Ava O’Malley, and the rest of the team had presented their evidence to the DA’s office in a crazy and complicated crime involving finger bones and casinos.

He was just glad to be home.

As he reached the door, he noticed a small someone was sitting on the bench outside the front door. He folded back his left wrist and a thin red knife slid into his hand from his wrist.

“Show yourself,” Nelson said.

The person stood up and turned toward Nelson.

“Jill!” Nelson said, pressing the knife back into the holder. “Please, come inside. Why aren’t you inside?”

“I was too angry,” Jill said, through her face mask. “I wanted some time to collect my thoughts.”

“Angry?” Nelson checked that his face mask was in place as he neared the door. He stuck his key into the lock. He turned his head to her. “Why are you angry?”

“Oh, just something about a prophesy and the French asshole who hasn’t said even one word about it,” Jill glared at him.

“Prophesy?” Nelson asked. He lifted his shoulder in a shrug. “Please. Come inside. We’ll figure out whatever this is. If you wish to kill me when we’re done, I won’t fight you. I’m way too tired for that.”

Nelson gestured to the door. Glaring at Nelson, Jill went inside. The house was dark and silent.

“Everyone is already asleep. Let’s go down to the big kitchen,” Nelson said. “I’ll make us some tea and we can talk.”

Jill sniffed at him and walked down the stairs to the large open kitchen. Jill took a seat at the table while Nelson made a pot of mint tea.

“Would you like something to eat?” Nelson said. “I find myself to be peckish.”

Jill reached out and touched his arm. She shook her head.

“No Covid?” Nelson asked. “That’s good to know.

Nelson quickly made himself a sandwich from left over salmon and grabbed a tin of cookies.

“Chocolate chip,” Nelson said setting down the tin. “I do have a secret stash of croissants. Would you like one?”

Jill shook her head.

“Why were you so late?” Jill asked.

“We just finished this big and super stupid case,” Nelson said. “We presented all day and most of the night to the district attorney and then the state attorney. They are trying to figure out how to prosecute and who’s going to do it.”

“Is this the one where Ava was shot?” Jill asked.

“We call it ‘Freddie the Freeloader,’” Nelson said with a nod. He took a bite of his sandwich. “We finished it a while ago but the DA wanted to wait until Ava was back to talk about prosecution for the case at large. Are you sure you don’t want some? It’s perfect.”

Jill looked at him for a long moment.

“I know that you don’t eat when you’re angry,” Nelson said. He gestured to the bread. “I made this bread from my family’s sourdough. It’s. . . mmm. There’s more salmon. Looks like Heather made it. She has some Olympian magic with fish. I have no idea what she does but it’s magical.”

“Sure,” Jill said. “I could use some magic.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...

Curious about Freddie the Freeloader? This is a new Seth and Ava novella coming out December 7, 2021. Here's the link or it's available everywhere you buy books. I can't give you a discount because it's in pre-order. Sorry.