U.S. Army Lieutenant Alexandra Hargreaves awoke with a start. She was naked, tucked under her husband’s arm, in her own bed. She closed and opened her eyes.
How did she get there?
She tried to remember. They had been standing on the grassy field of Castle Ponferrada in the early dawn. “They” consisted of a bizarre collection of mythological creatures, Goddesses, and even a Titan. She had been standing next to Dr. Nelson Weeks, who turned out to be a good friend of her husband’s. Dr. Weeks was also Guy Semaines, Templar or possibly head of the Templars. Grand Master? He’d said as much but he was also… It was hard to keep track of all of the things the handsome man was an expert in.
She turned to look at her sleeping husband. His curly hair was clipped close. Knowing she wasn’t going to be home, he’d not shaved before bed. With his even stubble, he could give any sultry male model a run for their money. She loved him in a way she could never explain.
Feeling her eyes, he opened his eyes. In the dark light, his cobalt blue eyes looked nearly black. He squinted at her face and then smiled. He leaned his face forward to kiss her.
“What a wonderful surprise!” Dr. John Drayson said. “When did you get home?”
“Just now, I think,” Alex said, shrugging her eyebrows. “I seem to have been set into bed.”
“Lucky me,” John said. He stroked her face.
“How long have I been gone?” Alex asked.
“You left after dinner tonight?” John asked. “You don’t know?”
“Hecate said that we would ‘walk time,’” Alex said. “I don’t know what that means, really.”
“You mean that you’ve been off on a quest?” John asked, sitting up.
He turned on the light to look at her.
“More than twenty castles in Portugal and Spain,” Alex said with a sigh. “We spent a weekend at on an uncharted island that belongs to Aphrodite. We raised some saints on Bardsey Island. Met the real Merlin, even.”
“You were off the coast of Wales?” John asked.
“London, too.” Alex nodded as she sat up and leaned against the headboard.
“We spent time on the Isle of Man in the company of the Manannàn,” Alex said.
“What?” John asked. “The actual Celtic god?”
“You know him?” Alex asked.
“My mother’s favorite Celtic God,” John said with a shake of his head. “At least that’s what Rita used to say. ‘If you cannot worship the Catholic God, you can pray to Manannàn.’ I still do that sometimes.”
“That’s what I said,” Nelson said. He put his hand on his chest. “I come from a long line of Weapons Masters dating back to the beginning of time. We were the only creator of Templar swords and armor. There’s no one in the world who knows more about swords than I do. Just for the record, I happen to know more than Ares. But it is true that I haven’t talked swords with the esteemed Athena.”
“Let’s put that on our calendars,” Athena said.
“Isn’t that what people say now?” Athena asked.
Nelson and Alex grinned.
“They do,” Alex said.
“Keep moving,” Nyx said, appearing from the shadow again.
“Moving on,” Nelson said. “The actual story is that the Grand Master set down his sword and his Weapons Master picked it up. The Grand Master could not travel back to France without his sword. He’d have to be a complete idiot. We have had the sword since that time. It was in my Templar gear when it appeared.”
“Where does this sword fit in the realm of swords, oh Weapons Master?” Athena asked.
“It’s a sword,” Nelson said with a shrug. “I brought my own sword, which is sharper, lighter, and easier to use. I have knives that are better than this sword.”
“So why…?” Mari asked.
“I detect something in this sword,” Hecate said, looking at the sword. “But we’d need to walk back in time to activate it.”
Hecate looked at the sword again.
“I think,” Hecate said, shaking her head. “I don’t know…”
“Is it possible that this Jacques de Molay was attempting to activate the sword and was unable?” Alex asked.
“Sure,” Nelson said, with a shrug. “Anything’s possible.”
“It would explain why we needed to come here,” Abi said.
“I believe that we need to go back in time,” Hecate said. She passed the sword to Athena. “You?”
Athena looked at Hecate.
“The hilt?” Hecate asked.
Athena shrugged and shook her head.
“Give it to me,” Abi said.
Athena tossed the sword to Abi. Before the sword could reach her, Abi opened her hands and pulled them apart. The sword came apart by its minerals.
“Pilgrims use this trail today,” Alex said to finish her statement.
Knowing that they had to keep moving, the goddesses simply nodded.
“I have recently learned a story that Jacques de Molay, the supposed last Grand Master of the Templars, was praying in the Chapel to James the Great at this location,” Nelson said. “This was his last trip on the Camino del Santiago. He is said to have left his sword inside the chapel.”
“People come to this site today to look for the sword,” Alex said.
“This sword,” Nelson said, gesturing to the sword in his hand.
“What happened instead?” Hecate asked. She looked at the others. “I have heard this story as well. I’ve been asked more than once to find the sword and return power to…”
She gestured her hand as if it could be anyone. She lifted an eyebrow and shoulder at the same time.
“What is the true story?” Athena asked.
They all turned with surprise at her appearance.
“I have heard the story as well,” Athena said. “Blade of great power. Could restore order. Blah, blah.”
“May I see the sword?” Athena asked. “Touch it?”
“Of course,” Nelson said. “As far as we know, it’s just a sword. It has no great power — mythical or otherwise.”
“Not like the Sword of Power or the Vanquisher — both of which I believe Hecate’s father gave to children,” Athena said, with a dark look in Hecate’s direction.
Hecate held up her hands in acquiescence. Nelson scowled at Athena.
“There are a number of power swords,” Nelson said. “Having two found in the hands of growing humans is a very good thing, a hopeful thing for the future of all.”
Athena nodded in acquiescence.
“Shall I continue?” Nelson asked, holding the sword out to Athena.
Athena took the sword. She looked at it the sword and swished it around, before passing it to the others.