Dazed, Colin slid along the wall until his rear hit the floor.
No one said anything for a moment. Paddie ran over to his father. The child crouched down.
“Daddy, you can’t touch the sword!” Paddie said.
Paddie gave his father a broad smile and helped his father to his feet.
“I’ll go,” Jill said gesturing to the toddlers crying in the other room.
“Let’s start over,” Jacob said. “You know that there are objects in this world that hold power.”
Jacob nodded to where Colin was standing. Colin lifted his shoulders in a shrug.
“This is the Sword of Truth, Daddy!” Paddie said. He gave his father a big smile. “I am her keeper and all of my children and their children and forever will be too.”
Julie put her hand over her heart, and Colin simply gave his son an assessing look.
“This is what we know,” Jill said. “The Sword of Truth is old — really old. No one is sure who created the sword or who forged it. It’s endued with the capacity to clear all magic, lies, and, for lack of a better way to say it, anything untruthful.
“It seems to have been created by the blacksmiths who became the weapons masters for the Templars. We’ve learned that from Nelson and his father, Pierre. They are Templars.”
“Like from Jerusalem?” Colin said. “1500s? French? Crusades?”
“Why am I unable to touch it?” Colin asked.
“The sword chose Paddie,” Katy said at the same time Paddie said, “The man with the white eyes gave it to me.”
“It’s an unbreakable bond,” Jacob said. “There are only a handful of beings who can touch it and we are not them.”
“This is ridiculous!” Colin said. His eyes flicked to Julie but she seemed to stunned to respond. “Paddie is a child. He is carrying around a lethal weapon.”
“I’ve never, not even one time, cut myself, Daddy,” Paddie said.
“Or hurt anyone else,” Katy said.
“Not ever,” Paddie said.
“He’s been carrying it for years, Colin,” Julie said. “This is ‘shiny sword’?”
Colin looked at his wife and then took in the wooden sword at Paddie’s side.
“This one is just a trick,” Paddie said. “To hide it.”
“Magic,” Colin said in a soft voice.
“I have to carry it all the time,” Paddie said. “It’s very valuable and important.”
As if Colin was a little dim, Paddie and Katy gave Colin a slow nod. He scowled at them. He opened his mouth, and then closed it. Shaking his head, he opened his mouth again. No words came out.
“Why does my son have a lethal weapons and your daughter does not?” Colin asked a little too aggressively.
“First, you should know that we did not give Paddie the sword,” Jacob said. “We had nothing to do with it. He came home from the Isle of Man with it.”
“They didn’t know for a long time,” Katy said.
Having settled the toddlers, Jill rejoined them at the table.
“We didn’t tell anybody because the man with the white eyes told us it was a secret,” Paddie said.
Nodding to Jacob, Julie asked, “Can you tell us more about this sword?”
Julie put her hand over Colin’s.
“The best way to show you about the sword is to get the children up,” Jill said.
“Any why is that?” Colin asked.
“The sword is tied into Paddie’s DNA,” Jill said gently.
“What?” Colin jumped to his feet. “You did this without even bothering to consult us?”
Jill touched Colin’s hand.
“It sounds crazy but it was done by the sword itself,” Jill said.
“You’re right, it sounds crazy,” Colin said.
“I’m not sure why we never talked about it with you,” Jill said. “Honestly, it was more of an oversight than an intentional slight. We just didn’t talk about it with you. We had the twins and…”
“We are talking about it now,” Jacob said. “Let me get the children.”
“I’ll get them,” Jill said.
Julie got up when Jill did. The men sat in uncomfortable silence as the women went into the small bedroom and woke up Paddie and Katy. It took a few minutes to get them awake. They brought the children into the living area.
“Daddy!” Paddie said.
The boy ran to his father. Colin lifted the child onto his lap, and Paddie snuggled in. Katy hung on Jill’s neck. Jacob stood to help Jill sit down with Katy. When they were settled again, Jacob looked at Paddie.
“Paddie,” Jacob said. “Your parents would like to see your sword.”
Paddie looked at Jacob and then gave his parents a sly looked. He held up the wooden sword that hid the Sword of Truth.
“The actual sword,” Jacob said.
Paddie hopped off his father’s lap. He pulled the adult sized sword from what looked like a wooden scabbard.
Julie gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. Colin’s mouth fell open and then he looked angry.
“Paddie put that down right now,” Colin said. He stood up. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but my son is not yet six years old. That’s…”
Colin reached for the blade. Sparks flew off the sword. Colin flew across the room. He hit a wall with a thud. Jill’s twins and Paddie’s younger brother Conner began to wail in surprise. Dazed, Colin slid along the wall until his rear hit the floor.
“But you’re saying that they didn’t get Paddie’s shiny sword,” Julie Hargreaves said.
“They did not,” Jacob said.
“Does that mean that they are coming for Paddie and Katy again?” Julie asked.
Her eyes flicked to around the room to look at each person in the room. Julie and Colin Hargreaves had come up to Dillon as soon as they knew that Paddie was home.
“It’s ridiculous,” Colin Hargreaves said. “Unacceptable.”
“Can we just give them the sword?” Julie asked.
Her husband’s head jerked to look at her.
“I mean, it would destroy Paddie, but if they want the stupid sword, why not just give it to them?” Julie asked.
“Unfortunately, that’s not possible,” Jill said.
“Why?” Colin asked. “Give me one good reason that we can’t just give these witches this child’s sword and…”
Reading Jill and Jacob’s faces, Colin stopped talking.
“What?” Colin asked. “Just tell us.”
To stall for time, Jill got up to refill everyone’s glasses. Jacob waited until Jill returned. He gave her a soft smile and she gave him a nod.
“You know that there are objects in this world that have power of their own,” Jacob said.
“No,” Colin said with a shake of his head. “I know that there are fairy tales that we tell children…”
“You’re in the middle of a fairy tale,” Jill said softly.
“What does that mean?” Julie asked.
“You should know that this is something that was thrust upon us,” Jacob said. “It’s not something we chose or…”
“When I was having the twins a variety of weird things happened,” Jill said. “Jacob was right in the middle of it.”
“When Paddie and Katy disappeared before?” Julie asked. “The time he said they were held captive by the man with white eyes.”
“That was just a dream,” Colin said. “He heard about this place from his uncle and…”
Jacob shook his head.
“And what does that mean?” Colin asked mimicking Jacob’s shake of his head.
No one said anything for a long moment.
“I looked up that guy,” Julie said softly. “Maughold.”
Colin turned to look at Julie.
“You were on a trip, and Paddie was so afraid,” Julie said.
Jacob and Jill nodded.
“He was a real person, Col, not a dream,” Julie said. “Maughold was brutally tortured by Patrick of Ireland and then cast out into the Irish Sea in a small boat without an oar. He opened a church on the Isle of Man. Paddie and I watched a documentary on the man and the place. There is an oil painting of Maughold. Paddie said that the man with white eyes looked just like this painting.”
Julie snuck a look at Colin.
“You had so many other things on your mind that Paddie and I decided not to bother you with it,” Julie said. “Max made the map and Jimmy went to take video. They had it done before you got home.”
“You need to believe that we are safe when you aren’t with us,” Julie said. She sighed. Nodding to Jacob, she said, “Can you tell us more about this sword?”
“Would you bring this message to Áthas?” Jacob said. He pointed at the fairies. “You tell Áthas that my friends, my family — we are coming for her.”
The fairy warriors yelped when he pointed his finger at them. Without fanfare, they turned in place and ran away.
Jacob closed that door.
“That was easier than I thought,” the man said. “I don’t believe that I’ve introduced myself. I was so surprised to see you. You look so much like my son.”
Jacob smiled at the man.
“I am also a Marlowe,” the man said with a wide grin. “My name is Joseph. My family has been here since the days of Mannanan. I never knew that we had an American branch.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jacob said. “This is my daughter, Katy, and her friend, Paddie.”
“Are you fairies?” Joseph asked.
“Human,” Jacob said. “Mostly. You?”
“Likely the same,” Joseph said. “How about some tea?”
“We’re hungry,” Paddie said.
“I bet you are,” Joseph said. “Come with me.”
They followed Joseph to his kitchen. For the next two hours, they laughed and talked to this Joseph Marlowe. At one point, Jacob put a video call through on his cell phone to his father and let them men talk to each other. After a moment or two, it was determined that they were, in fact, family.
They shared a delightful meal. When Katy began to fall asleep, Jacob made his excuses. With promises to visit again, they left the man’s house and ran into Maughold.
“Did I tell you that you have family here?” Maughold asked with a laugh.
“We’re going home,” Jacob said. He hugged Maughold tight. “Be well.”
“Thank you, Jacob,” Maughold said. “Bye bye, Princess Katy and her Knight Paddie.”
“Bye bye Keenan!” Katy said.
With Katy and Paddie in his arms and a hand on Sarah’s collar, Jacob jumped back to the cabin in Dillon. They arrived on the mountain where Jacob and Sarah had been running. Katy and Paddie were sound asleep in Jacob’s arms. Jacob carried the children back to the cabin.
Once he’d settled the children, he called Jill.
“Katy’s here,” Jacob said. “Paddie too. They are safe from the fairies.”
He climbed down the ladder until he reached the bottom. He hugged Katy and Paddie to him. He knelt down to Katy and Paddie. He checked their bodies and kissed their foreheads.
“You don’t seem hurt,” Jacob said, almost to himself.
“We’re okay,” Katy said. “A little hungry.”
“Katy has a sword that will bring her whatever she needs,” Paddie said.
“Really?” Jacob asked. “Can it tell me why that guy locked us in?”
“Why are we locked in?” Katy asked the sword.
As if it were a movie projector, a video came out of the end of the sword and projected on the wall.
The first image was of Jacob coming to the door. The man laughed and took Jacob to the priest hole entrance. Jacob had just started down the ladder when there was another knock on the man’s door. The man looked after Jacob. He scowled and started toward the door.
He got across the room and went back to the priest hole. He closed up the priest hole. The jogged when the person knocked again.
Fairy soldiers were standing at the door.
“Ugh! I hate those fairies!” Paddie said.
The man looked through the peep hole to see fairies clad in armor carrying weapons. He glanced to where Jacob had gone. Shaking his head, he locked the dead bolt on the door and ran to the back door. The man locked the back door.
The fairies knocked on both doors.
“He needs our help,” Jacob said. “Those doors won’t hold forever.”
“We’re ready, Daddy,” Katy said.
“How do we get out?” Jacob asked.
“Can we get to the man?” Katy asked the knife like sword in her hand.
The Vanquisher didn’t respond for a moment. Then the sword showed Jacob climbing up the ladder. At the top, he uses his psychokinetic skill to reopen the priest hole. Katy and Paddie join him in the man’s living room.
“Better than sitting here, I guess,” Jacob said. “Here goes nothing.”
He climbed back up the ladder. At the top, he tried to visualize the book on the shelf. There was a click from the mantle. He moved the mantle and the panel.
“No, no, Mr. Marlowe, stay below,” the man yelled down to them.
“We will not leave you undefended,” Jacob said.
He came through the fireplace. Katy and Paddie joined him in the living room. The man shook his head, but Jacob went to the door.