Saturday, August 15, 2015
Ridre Dubh's Quest
At the mention of Maureen, his mood changed from annoyed to angry. Beckett turned his head so he was looking directly at the tiny creature. "I don't take well to idle threats, Your Majesty, so I suggest you employ another tactic."
She reached up and gave his ear lobe a sharp pinch. "You be as stubborn as an old mule, Ridre Dubh, and if these were not such dire times, I'd change you into one as a lesson learned. Alas, we have no time to play games in the traditional manner. What I say to you is of great importance. To us both." She flew from his shoulder, settling herself on his ankle and using the bridge of his foot as a workable chaise. Once comfortable, she continued. "What know you of your wife's bloodline?"
"Until a few days ago, I assumed my wife was the eighth child of Irish immigrants, a pretty common occurrence in the Boston area. This whole idea that she and her brother were in any way different than what they appeared is a new concept...one that I haven't had time to...accept."
She tisked, and gave his ankle a poke with the heel of her shoe. "Accept, or not accept. It matters little. Things be as they are. There are currently 140 million humans world wide who carry traces of Fay blood. They are noted by their red hair." Beckett opened his mouth to speak, and she raised her hand to stop him. "Do not ask me to explain our entire history to you, Ridre Dubh. It would take more time then we have at the moment, and much will be made clear to you as you complete your quest. It is enough to say that in the majority of them, the blood line is very weak. They go about their mortal lives unaware of the history they pass to their offspring."
She Who Is All snapped her fingers, and a gold goblet appeared in both of their hands, his obviously much larger than hers. Inside the cup, he could see a golden liquid that smelled curiously like beer. Seeing his hesitation, she giggled, then explained. "Drink up! Tis only honey ale, Knight. I would be mightily foolish poisoning my own property so early in the game."
Beckett took a sip, and finding it quite good, added a larger gulp. Satisfied, the Queen took her own sip, and continued. "Of those 140 million, only 407 carry the Royal line, a much purer connection to those of our kind. The blood line appears much stronger in females, your mate being one of them, but there are a few males who have shown great ability. Your prey is one of them."
"And because of that ability, you want him dead. He's a threat to your reign."
The Fairy Queen turned pale, and in obvious anger, threw her cup at him, sloshing drops of ale all over his clothes, the goblet hitting him on the chin. "You understand nothing, Ridre Dubh! You are a pea brained mortal, incapable of contemplating the whole of things. That is surely what your people might do. What we face is a bigger challenge that reaches far beyond my own person. Can you even contemplate that?"
"I apologize if I have offended you, Your Majesty. Please continue."
She looked at him through narrowed eyes, and then slightly appeased, continued her story, though it was clear that speaking of it was difficult for her. "The Fay are spirit beings. Though we are blessed with physical bodies, and can interact in a physical world, we do not share all the gifts of our mortal brothers and sisters. Our spirits are immortal, though our physical bodies are not. When we return to the Creator, we leave nothing of our physical self behind."
"I'm not in any way a religious man, my Queen, but I do believe many mortals hold to the same truth. The body dies, but the spirit moves on."
"Aye, Ridre Dubh, so it does. But humans are capable of leaving some of their physical presence behind in their offspring." She looked away, and a sense of profound sadness seemed to hang in the air, one he could feel like rain on his skin. "Our females are incapable of bringing forth children, though we desire nothing as profoundly. Surely you have heard the old tales of the Fay stealing human infants? Leaving a challenging in their place? It was an awful time, and why our males sought out human women. It was a chance for the Fay to leave their mark upon the world. For a time, the Creator allowed it as such. But it has been over a millennium since such a coupling has brought forth a child, and now we must protect the blood line that remains if we are to exist in the physical world. Our kind are shedding their physical bodies and returning home to the Creator at an alarming rate. Soon, there may nothing left of us here except the bloodline."
"I understand the need to protect your heritage, my Queen. Why then do you wish for me to eliminate someone who has such strong biological ties to the Fay? It doesn't make sense."
"As a boy, he showed so much promise. It was obvious that he would be exceptional. Handsome, brilliant and charming, he was a boon to both the Fay and Mortal worlds. In addition, he seemed to favor his Fay side, and took to magic at a very early age."
The Ridre Dubh made a face, and the skepticism was hard to hide in his tone. "Magic, Your Majesty? Really?"
She shook a finger back at him. "You sit here speaking to me...you've traveled to time in the past, and yet you draw the line at the concept of magic? You are truly an ass, Knight. I would have hoped for better in one who serves me. Magic is nothing more than the control of energy. It is not an impossible feat, even for regular mortals, though few in this time show enough mental capacity for it. And for those with Fay blood, it is quite easy with proper training. Though for Owen, training in magic became his life's purpose."
"Aye. Owen Michael Kelly. Your prey."
"So...this Owen character has become too powerful for mortal existence?"
"That is not it at all, Ridre Dubh. It is what he does with his power...what he intends to do...that has caused us such concern. He seeks a mate with a bloodline as strong as his to create a child. A child that is more Fay than human." She snapped her fingers again, a second cup of ale appearing in her hands. She took a long drink as if to steel herself for what needed to be said. "As I have spoken, there are 407 humans currently alive that carry the Royal bloodline. Of that number, 203 are females, with 148 being of child bearing age, your wife among them."
It took a few minutes for her words to sink in. "Wait...are you saying that this asshole...this Owen character... plans on...is attempting to...have a kid with my wife? Because that's not gonna happen. Ever. "
"I am glad to see that I now have your full attention, Ridre Dubh. And if these two were to produce a child during their loving union, the Fay would celebrate, as such a thing has never been done before. A few attempts have been made throughout history, but no surviving child has ever been produced, most being lost in the first three months. We are not sure it can even be done. But that does not matter."
"Well, it sure as hell matters to me. There's no fucking way that this prick is getting anywhere near Maureen. No way. No how. I'll make sure of that."
"I need you to do more than that, Knight. Owen needs to be stopped. Completely and permanently. What he is...what he does...is an abomination. His ability with magic is stronger than any mortal we know of. But he works the dark magic. There is no good in it. No peace or joy in the spells he casts. They are for his personal gain alone..." She stopped and finished the ale in her cup, while he found his cup suddenly filled to the brim again. The expression on her face was grim, and the colors of her being had dimmed to the palest shades. "I have not told you the worst of it, Ridre Dubh. I can barely speak the words aloud. Owen does not seek a physical union with your wife, or any of the others. He seeks only their ability to create a new life. He desires the sacred eggs they carry in their womb. He does not welcome the new life he wants to create, nor does he plan on the existence of a child. He wants only the..the essence of the poor thing he will create, not by the plan of the Creator, but in some sterile place, in the bottom of some tube."
At first his head seemed fuzzy, and he wondered if he hadn't been drugged by the honey ale after all. Her words swam in his head like small fish in an aquarium, going back and forth, darting from any type of grasp, and hiding amongst mental boulders. Then, the clarity hit him with such force that he jumped to his feet knocking the wee Queen from his foot, and causing her to tumble to the ground.
"Wait a second! Are you saying that this Owen is stealing the eggs from their ovaries? That he has some crazy idea to create a test tube baby?"
She dusted herself off, not bothering to scold him for her abrupt upheaval. Looking up at him, she nodded, the weight of her sadness a physical presence around them. "Aye, Ridre Dubh. That is what I am saying."
"But you said yourself, no child was ever brought to term. What makes him think it will work for him?"
"He does not desire the child. Not at all. The life he creates is meaningless to him except for its essence. Once he has what he desires, he will destroy the wee creation. If he is successful, he will only need the poor thing to live 7 days. Then he will have what he wants."
"Essence?" He stopped a moment, and then the thoughts fell into place. "Holy Hell! He needs the embryonic stem cells. He's after the combined DNA!"
"Aye, Ridre Dubh. It is an abomination, and he must be stopped."
She had convinced the nurse that she was in need a light snack for the simple purpose of escape. She was thoroughly sick of being trapped in bed, and if a white lie helped her stretch her legs a bit, she was willing to choke down whatever healthy menagerie the woman returned with. With wobbly steps, Roxanne made her way to the window overlooking the church grounds. From this vantage point, she could see Kevin sitting in the bushes next to the church, seemingly having an animated conversation with himself. She hoped no one else saw what she was seeing, as they surely would have thought the Pastor had gone around the bend, though on her end, after what she'd been through since moving to Dollywood, she knew better.
Here was hoping that Kevin had made contact with his little pal. Maybe the wee man could shed some light on the Sheriff's whereabouts. Not that she was worried about Beckett. He had proven time and time again that he was more than capable of tackling whatever was thrown his way. Still, it would offer Maureen some piece of mind, a gift she was sorely lacking. Across the yard, she could see her friend tossing empty boxes from the rooms over the garage, and could hear laughter coming from inside. Male laughter. Ian's laughter.
Thinking about Ian made her feel more wobbly. How in the hell was she supposed to process all of this? The whole time travel thing had been weird enough, but to now find herself with a 250 year old boyfriend was more than the average woman was meant to handle. A boyfriend, who apparently, in this time and space, was a few...no make that several...years younger than she was. When Ian had revealed his supposed age, she was shocked. She had never guessed him to be that young. Maybe people in Colonial times just looked older. Never the less, here in 2015, she felt like a cougar after the companionship of a young man barely out of his teens.
She pushed that thought out of her head. There was no way she was ready to think about any permanent relationship with Ian Sawyer, but she certainly couldn't just leave him to fend for himself. It was her fault he was stuck here in the 21st Century. Away from everyone and everything he had ever known. The least she could do was offer the poor guy some companionship and support, right?
Who was she kidding! She was already a 100% sucked in. The minute he stepped into the room, her temperature rose a few degrees. Yesterday's day nurse had even joked abut it. And when he touched her, held her hand, patted her arm, kissed the top of her head, she could feel her heart beat so frantically in her chest, she was sure the monitors she was attached to would give her secret away.
From the window, she could see Ian make his way down the long flight of stairs. Somehow, he must have sensed she was looking, because he turned toward the rectory and waved, his smile wide and beaming across the expanse of lawn. She waved back, and then pulled away from the window, flushed and sweaty. This was crazy. Like something from a frickin' Disney movie, or one of those sappy shows you find on cable TV. Storybook romance didn't happen to girls like her. Not girls whose fathers went to prison. Whose mothers lost themselves inside a bottle. No. There were no Prince Charmings for girls who made their living taking off their clothes for strange men. This was all well and good for now. But when Ian got to know the real Roxanne Spinelli, he'd hightail it and run for the hills. And who could blame him. Men like Ian weren't meant for girls like her.
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved