Portents of Things to Come

 

 

(a sequel to Rainbows and Pots of Gold)

 

by

 

Linda Delaney and Jane Daffron

 

 

(Authors’ notes…  This is a strong story with some very strong sexual content.  It is the story of what really happened in the part of Rainbows and Pots of Gold that Admiral Nelson glossed over.  It is, in part, a very dark tale and we want to warn our readers.  There are some scenes that may make you uncomfortable.  In fact, there may be parts you will not want to read.  Bearing all that in mind, we hope that you find this, at least, an interesting tale.
Linda and Jane )

 

To our readers;

We thought that perhaps a synopsis of ‘Rainbows and Pots of Gold’ might help some of  you understand the ramifications of this story.

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The Senior Staff of the Institute is gathered with their families for Dinner at the Nelson Residence at the Institute.  They are driven inside by a rain storm, that shortly after produces a double rainbow much to the delight of Sean Nelson.  The story of the rainbow brings questions, and Nelson begins to tell the story of  a trip the boat took to an enchanted Island, many years ago. 

 

On this Island, Lee and Nelson come in contact with a druid, a sprite, and a sidhe.  The Sidhe is Silve, a Lhiannon Sidhe, a vampire spirit.  She decides that she wants Lee Crane, and she bites him, and feeds on him two times.  The men are also involved in a ceremony that Nelson does not talk about to the children, and that the men have not shared with their wives, and girlfriends.

 

The Admiral glosses over a lot of the details, leaving much of the story untold to the young ones, and ends the tale with a happy ending, and ‘they all lived happily ever after’.   This is what really happened on the Island…

 

 

 

    Inguz – Fertility

 

 

Present Time, the Nelson home, after the story in Rainbows & Pots of Gold…

 

 

The house was still…all the guests had left.  Yet there was an air of uneasiness that had settled over the great home at the head of the hill at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research.  Inside, Admiral Harriman Nelson and his wife, Karen, began to change for bed.  It had been a rather long day.  They had spent hours doing paperwork and other assorted chores, then later had the other members of the Senior Staff and their families to the house for dinner.  After a torrential downpour had driven everyone inside, their son, Sean, had seen a rainbow once the weather cleared and asked his father about it.  This, in turn, had led to the telling of a story about the men, the boat, and an Enchanted Island that had appeared off the coast of Ireland.  Nelson had decided to relate the story in such a manner as to not frighten the children.  Throughout the story, glances had been exchanged between the men, and the women present had realized that there was a great deal more of this story than was actually being told.

 

Karen Nelson was now sitting cross-legged on the bed, wearing her favorite bedroom attire, one of her husband’s khaki shirts.  She watched Harry as he hung his things in his closet and pulled on a blue robe.  Studying him as he moved quietly about, she reflected on the story he had told earlier in the evening.  Something about it didn’t set right with her and she had realized, very early on, that it was the ‘squeaky clean’ version that he had told.  Pondering his slow movements and his quiet spirit, her curiosity finally got the better of her and she finally asked, “Okay, Harry, what was the real story?  What really happened there?”

 

“Hunh?  Oh!…sorry, Karen…I was thinking…”  He seemed distracted and she knew it was because of the evening’s tale.

 

“I know.  I can see that…so, now tell me…what really happened on that island?  And let’s dispense with the Tinker Bell saga…I know you well enough to know you did that so that the kids, our son in particular, wouldn’t end up with nightmares.”

 

He slowly closed the closet door and sat on the edge of the chair next to the dresser.  Leaning forward, he rested his head on his open hands then ran his fingers through his hair.  In a voice quiet with dread, he finally answered, “Oh, it was a nightmare, alright.  On the Island, I tried to kill Lee…”

 

“Harry?”  Over the years, she’d been privy to some of the stories of some of the more rather unusual missions Seaview had had…as well as the dire consequences…so his answer, as well as his demeanor, confused her.

 

He raised his head, his eyes now filled with a pain she’d never seen before.  “He was … tied… to this altar… they forced me to drink some kind of drink, it was drugged with something…  I could see, but I had no control… my body was doing what they wanted it to, and I couldn’t stop.  They had put markings on his body and, in the firelight, they looked alive…  I looked and I had this stone knife in my hand, then I saw, or at least I thought I saw, one the monstrosities move across the altar…and I stabbed it….  But what I really stabbed was Lee!  My God, Karen…  I was ready to stab it again and again.  But then someone grabbed my hand…. I know it was Chip…and then I lost consciousness.  The next thing I remember was waking up in Sick Bay.”  Tears blurred his blue eyes as he whispered, “God in Heaven…I almost killed Lee Crane.”

 

“Harriman, from what you just said, you had no control over what you…”

 

“But I should have.  I’m stronger than that!  I should have fought it more!  You don’t … you can’t…understand this.  I had my hand on his chest, on that monstrosity of a painting of the Horned God that they’d put on him…I stabbed him.  I had his blood on my hands, Karen!!!”  Turning from her, he hung his head and his eyes glazed with the beginning of tears.  The torture of the burden he had carried all these years had finally come crashing down around him. 

 

Sensing his immediate need, she quickly got off the bed and went to him, reaching out and cradling his head against her chest.  Nothing she could say would take this pain away from him and yet, the severity of his pain puzzled her.  He and Lee had been through some strange and horrendous things before, both had tried to kill the other, several times if the truth be told…but this incident seemed to be far worse than anything she’d ever known him to relate to her.

 

Finally, after several minutes of unspoken comfort, he looked up at her, his eyes still filled with an unrelieved pain.  “And there’s more…much, much more…”

 

Cautiously she said, “I don’t believe this… how much more can there be?”

 

He sighed heavily, still holding tightly to her.  Then, finally letting go, he took her hands into his.  Sitting back in the chair, he explained, “A year later, we got another call from the Irish…concerning the Island.  It had mysteriously reappeared.  However, this time, the appearance wasn’t benign.  They were reporting storms and upheavals…appearances of a Druid of old in the night, wearing black robes, carrying weapons as well.  The locals said he was taking all the young people from their families…boys and girls…their ages ranging from 13 to 14 years old.  Just suddenly appearing and coming into the homes and taking them at night.  Somehow…someone got a picture.  The Druid… he looked like Lee…”

 

“My God!  Like Lee?  How?”

“He, ah…it was his son…”

 

“His son?” she drew a deep breath and looked at her husband.  “Harriman…I think you better tell me the whole story… now.”

 

Moments went by, his hands still tightly grasping hers.  Then slowly, painfully, “I don’t even begin to understand all of it but Lee Crane had a son by the Lhiannon Sidhe, Silve…as a result of the Ceremony.”

 

Karen was having a hard time digesting what he’d just told her and coupling that with the story he’d told the children earlier.  “Are you telling me that …this….Silve… this Sidhe, seduced Lee to get pregnant?”

 

His voice became more hushed.  “Remember, we’re not dealing with the real world here, Karen.  And he wasn’t seduced, Karen. Not at all!  It was…  It…it was all part of the ceremony.  He was used.  Used to impregnate them…there were seven women that night.

 

She was clearly stunned by the revelation of her husband’s words.  “Used…?”

 

Nelson took a deep breath and slowly exhaled.  “He was tied to the altar… painted… branded… drugged.  The vampire had bitten him twice…the Old Druid said he’d been…prepared  They’d done unspeakable things…”

 

“Harriman, you’re telling me that Lee was …used…by these seven women…as a tool for impregnation, and you couldn't prevent because you were unable to?”  Karen was struggling to keep her own voice on an even keel.  Yet her own heart was breaking at the incredible story he was now relating and at the obvious pain her husband was in.

 

“Yes …he was, in front of hundreds of beings as part of an ceremony, a most integral ceremony, so he would father the one being that would retake the world for the ‘old ones’ and free them from the Island.  Take them from the Shade into the Light.”

 

She searched his tormented eyes for understanding.  “My God, Harriman!  Does he … remember any of it?”

 

“I don’t know…  I couldn’t stop it…I was tied up, gagged…held by two druids…I couldn’t move…I don’t know.”  His voice full of remorse as he continued, “He remembered the attack …but the rest… the wounds, the brand…  He didn’t know… And his recovery took such a long time, that after a while, he never asked.  After the second incident, he was ‘treated’ to forget that it…all of it.  I think it helped keep all the memories at bay.”

 

Karen’s gaze held his, both filled with pain that no one could describe.  “Have you ever told him that you knew…what you saw…how you tried to stop it…” Her face was ashen white with the images he was painting.

 

He gripped her hand and shook his head to the negative.  “After the second encounter, we never spoke of any of it again…  None of us…  Chip saw someone for a while about it all…  Tonight…tonight was the first time I even thought of it in all these years.  I don’t know what…brought it all back.  I’ve kept it locked away inside… all this time…until now.  All the memories have returned.”  He stopped for a moment as a slightly confused look crossed his face.  “Why I told that story, I don’t know.  Maybe…maybe I thought that if…if I was…telling it as a child’s story…it’d make all the reality of it go away.” 

 

Warily, he added, “You know…there’s an element of truth to every child’s tale and legend…and it’s usually worse than we ever want to remember.”

 

“Maybe…or maybe, subconsciously, you felt it was time…time for the truth to come out.  And maybe you could start by telling me what happened, if…if you can handle doing that…”

 

He shook his head again, then rose and went to the small safe in the back of his closet.  He opened it carefully and took out a book, one of his personal logs.  He handed it to her and then sat opposite her.  “Go on and read it.  I wrote out everything that happened the first time we were on the Island.  Chip only knows what he saw and was horrified enough.  The men…well, they were told not to speak of it, and in all truth, I actually think Sharkey and the others may have blocked it out.”  He stared at his hands, turning them back and forth, the light catching the gleam of the gold wedding band he wore.  “That journal begins after I lost consciousness, after Lee was attacked the second time.  Don’t ask me how I knew some of it… I don’t know and in a way…I don’t want to know.  If you have questions…I’ll try to answer them the best I can.”  Shaking his head sadly, “It was long ago…so very long ago…”

 

Karen looked at him carefully, sat back down on the bed, and then opened the leather bound journal…

 

 

PERSONAL JOURNAL, HARRIMAN NELSON, USN, ret.

 

“I write these words down here, only so that I can rid myself of the nightmare we all have gone thru.  In all my life, I have never been so frightened of things beyond my control, nor have I felt so helpless.  I must write of these things so that I can go on, and put these memories away forever…”



  Jera – Cycle of one year

 

Years earlier – the first time on the Island…


They led him to the altar in the center of the stones.  He gave them no resistance.  He was completely powerless, weakened by Silve's second feeding on him.  His body barely had enough blood left in it to remain functioning.  His mind saw nothing, his body felt nothing.  At that moment, he merely was a shadow of the man that had landed on the island the day before.  He stood before the altar, clad in a white hooded robe, surrounded by the six women…

 

After Silve had fed on him for a second time, she gave him over to the women to prepare him for the ceremony.  They had taken him from the hillside .The six women, all blonde and fair skinned, led him to a steaming pond.  They stripped him of the remains of his bloodied, torn clothes; then shedding their own coarse robes, led him into the warm steaming water.  One of them held a goblet to his mouth and he drank the mixture of wine, honey, and herbs because his body was craving fluid from the blood loss.  His awareness of what was happening had fled, and his body was simply going thru automatic reactions.  The person that was Lee Crane had ceased to exist on all but the deepest subconscious level.

 

The potion filled him with a warm feeling, easing the pain of his many wounds from Silve's long nails, the pain in his neck, and it wiped away the last tiny vestiges of control...

 

The women poured potions from several bottles and began gently to bathe and wash his body.  He could do nothing but accept their attentions.  They massaged and stroked him, admiring the strong legs and arms, the tight buttocks, the broad shoulders, the planes of his chest and back, which though badly damaged, still showed their strength.  They poured more potions onto their hands and began to work their way to that part of him that held the most interest, that which was to be the most important in the coming ceremony.  They massaged his stomach, his inner thighs, and then his groin, putting several layers of oils on his genitals and manipulating the testicles and penis until they began to swell with the constant attention.

 

His body felt intense warmth and sudden need.  He struggled to look at the women, to focus, to see them, but to no avail.  His mind and will were lost to the overwhelming sensations driving all vestiges of memory, of right and wrong, all that was the person of Lee Crane to the furthest corners of his subconscious mind.

 

The women smiled at the beginnings of his body’s response and gave him yet another steaming potion to drink, then led him from the water to the side of the pond.

 

They toweled him dry with soft fabric, continuing to manipulate his groin as they led him to a small brazier that stood smoking alongside the reeds of the lake’s edge.  The steam from the hot springs mixed with the smoke of the burning coals and the incense mixed within.  The smell of the incense was heavy and earthy…extremely sexual.  Two of the women went to their knees in front of him, and the other four surrounded him and pressed their bodies against his, supporting and holding him.  One of the women began to kiss his legs, slowly moving up towards his manhood.  The other began to massage and kiss his testicles and penis until he was groaning with the beginnings of an orgasm.  As he reached his climax, one of the women in front of him reached for the handle sticking out of the brazier, and holding it high above her head, chanted briefly in the old tongue, then laid it on his flesh on the mound that covers the pubic bone.

 

It was an intense, hot, blinding pain at the moment of the intense climax…pleasure and pain mixing and becoming one.

 

He cried out, his loud cry mixing with the soft keening of the women.  He collapsed into the soft, warm bodies that surrounded him, held him, clung to him, pressed against him, the many pairs of hands beginning to caress his body, now covered with a fine sheen of perspiration from the pain and pleasure that had overwhelmed his body.  The smell of the burned flesh now mixed with the other scents in the heavy air, giving a strange, otherworldly essence to this, the first part of the ceremony.  Each woman then moved in a pattern about him so that each could kiss the newly seared flesh, paying homage to the intricate symbol for fertility now permanently branded on his body, on the part that held the greatest significance.

 

The pain from branding was like that which he had never before felt and, in spite of the potions and the pleasure from the spasms of his climax, he had cried out in pain, nothing else.

 

The women then gave him another potion to drink.  After he drank it, they then helped him stand.  The charred flesh throbbed with his movement and they knew it, so they laid layers of oils and potions on it until the center of the throbbing shifted downward to what was becoming the center of his existence… his manhood, his being, his identity…

 

His body now had a need to become one with a woman…a need to die in the ultimate act of self-gratification.  There was no thought, no knowledge of what was going on, only primal instinct, fostered by the herbs and mixtures in the potions he drank, and the oils that were applied.

 

The women then proceeded with the preparations for the Ceremony of the Ages.  They reached for other earthen bottles that lay near by.  Pouring oils and scents into their hands, they massaged and scented his body.  They ran their hands through his hair, massaging his head, using oils to scent his hair, and bringing the curls he strove to control, into glistening, riotous disarray.  They stroked his face, gently wiped at his battered back and chest.  Six sets of hands began to again massage his testicles and his manhood.  His senses were flooded with intense physical desire.  He moaned softly.  He tried to move his hands, to touch them, but he was too weak.

 

His body wanted them…  His physical need wanted to penetrate the warmth of each one of them.  His body needed to release this building fire into a warm, welcome body…and his body needed to do it many times, not once, for his body to have some satisfaction.  His mind had no focus, no realization, no awareness of what was going on…only his body was responding.

 

As his shaft rose again in response, the women smiled at one another and nodded approvingly.  Yes, he would prove more than satisfactory for their use.

 

They took bottles of differing colors of dyes and began to paint his body in the patterns of runes and symbols as ancient as Eire itself.  Carefully, his entire body was covered, even his face.  The symbols for strength, for war, and many for fertility, were painted on him.  On his chest, they drew a large image of the Horned God – Cerrunnos - the God of fertility and the god of the ‘old ones’.  They made each of its’ eyes red, and added a powder that made them glow.  Each one of them in turn took his shaft in hand and kissed and suckled at it, making it grow harder and harder.  He again moaned aloud, his body lost in pleasure and desire.

 

He was aware of the women, the touches, and his body wanted release but they held it from him, instead arousing him further than he, if his conscious mind had been aware, would have ever dreamed was possible.

 

Each woman, in turn, kissed him, long and deep, allowing her naked body to touch and blend with his.  Finally, two of the women painted more runes on his erect penis in the glowing red dye, each of them kissing it one more time.  They also paid final homage to the brand, kissing and licking it, making him moan in pleasure/pain, then painting the blackened tissue glowing red.  Two of the other women then drew a white robe over him and circled him.  They danced around him, circling him seven times, chanting in the old language and using the old words.  They then gave him a goblet of wine laced with the strongest and most powerful of the local aphrodisiacs to prepare him for his part in the final part of the ceremony.  They drew the hood of the robe over his head, leaving him standing in their midst.

 

He stood in the center of the women.  Seeing them, but not seeing, their keening drawing him deeper into wave after wave of simple carnal need, the throbbing of the branded flesh, and in his groin, there focusing on only one thing, his body’s imminent need for release into a woman’s welcoming body.

 

Each of them took a bottle of potion and rubbed it on one another, the potion giving their bodies a gilded look and as it soaked into their skin, and enhancing their sexual desire, freeing them for the rest of the ceremony.  After treating one another, and after painting the signs and runes on their own bodies, they bent to take robes of their own, snow white linen ones replacing the coarse gray.  Two of the women took his hands to lead him and the other four followed.

 

They led him to the altar stone, in the center of the ring of stones.  There were blazing torches all around the circle, and the entire community of the Island had gathered for the Ceremony.  A low keening was heard throughout the ring, as the women brought him to the center. The center of the ring was focused on a stone, worn smooth with years of sacrifice, and more.  The large flat stone, six foot wide, and eight foot long, was black, and stained.  There were rings fixed in the stone, four of them at four equal points.  As they entered the ring, and approached the stone altar, the eyes of all gathered were focused on the man and the women in their center, and they waited in anticipation of that which was coming.

 

One of the watchers’ eyes went wide with horror when he realized what was about to take place.  Harriman Nelson struggled violently but unsuccessfully against the bonds and gag that held him prisoner and had silenced him.  He was, literally, wrapped in coarse cord, bound tightly, and gagged so he could not talk.  He was held upright by two druids and was standing next to Turlough.

 

The head druid looked at his prisoner, and smiled.  "Ye should be proud of yer friend.  He's a brave one.  And that bravery will live on in our people.  He will be the Instrument through which we retake our world.  And he will be remembered fer an eternity, his name said with reverence on the lips of his descendants.  Now be watchin’ his final moments as a man... and be proud o’ him."

 

Nelson's eyes filled with tears of frustration and anger.  He had been unable to help Lee…in any capacity.  And he could do nothing for him now.  All he could do was hope...pray…with all his might and faith…that help would somehow come.

 

The women in the center of the stones dropped their white robes, and danced around the stone, leaving the hooded figure standing, in the center... their naked bodies gleamed and glowed in the light of the torches that encircled the gathering.  The runes and designs on their bodies moved in the firelight. 

 

When they had finished the dance, they moved to Crane and eased the hood off his head.  The curls of his hair ran uncontrolled, gleaming in the light, falling about his face, and giving him an otherworldly look.  The amber hazel eyes, usually bright and vibrant, were now vacant and empty, but the light still made them glow, their emptiness giving them a preternatural luminescence.  The runes on his face pulsed and jumped to life in the light.  Two of the women came to him and held steaming goblets to his lips.  He drank both of them, one at a time.  They pulled back the robe, pinning it open, giving all a view to the Horned God on his chest and allowing his hardened, throbbing penis, glowing with the painted amulets and talismans of old, to be visible to all of the gathering.  Each of the six women touched and stroked it with veneration.  They then led him around the circle, chanting low, as the keening increased in fervor, as all the females, of all the types present, fought to the inner part of the circle to touch, caress, and stroke his pulsing member.

 

His mind was empty, his body had a single focus, a single want and need, to drive into a waiting sheath and explode in the dark soft warmth of a willing woman...the sounds, colors, and touches melded into intensifying physical need for immediate satisfaction.  He saw the lust and desire in all the eyes as they reached for and touched him, and his body longed for release.

 

Once they had made a complete path around the circle, they led him back to the altar and they waited as the keening increased.  In the center, above the altar, Silve appeared, spinning around and around, the keening growing louder, until she landed on the altar stone in the form of a woman.  She had long black hair, ivory skin, blood red lips, and coal black eyes.  She held her arms above her head and slowly moved around so that all could see her, and the intricate tattoo that lay between her breasts, that matched the brand on Crane.  Then she slipped from the altar and went to Lee.  Reaching out, she let the catch at the neck of the robe release, and it fell to the ground, revealing him in all his glorious nakedness.  The face of the Horned God, red eyes glittering, was alive on his chest, the painted runes and symbols covering the rest of his body, pulsing and shifting, his shaft hard and erect, and throbbing.  Those ancient designs on his body came to life as well in the firelight, shifting and twisting with the sound of the keening.  Silve walked to him and wrapped her arms around him, kissing him long and deep and grinding her womanhood against him.  He swayed and she dropped to her knees to kiss and suck him.

 

Another set of lips on his, kissing, seeking from him, that which his body was willing, more than willing to give…what it wanted to give…  Her body pressed against his…pressing…grinding…  His body sought to relieve this need, in her, but she pushed him off, going instead behind him and handling him, arousing him even more, and bringing him closer to orgasm.

 

Slowly, she rose, running her hands over his chest and shoulders, kissing his chest, his neck, his throat, her long tongue leaving a shining trail.  She grabbed his buttocks and pulled them to her, forcing his penis to slide between her legs, to be moistened by her warm wetness.  Hungry for him, but knowing that she had to wait a while longer, she slid behind him, running her hands over his hips and thighs, her hands stopping to examine the fresh brand, and smiling, caressing it lovingly.  She continued to roam his body, until her hands came to rest on his pulsing shaft.  As she licked and chewed on his neck, preparing to begin her final draining of his blood, she sucked his life force, as she stroked and pulled on his member until he exploded, and he cried out as a stream of creamy white semen shot high into the air.

 

His body shuddered in release!  Needed release!!!  The sensations were blinding… sweet… pounding with the beat of his heart…she was biting him, draining him… and he wanted her to finish… to give him that final ecstasy… and yet, her continued worship of his body made him continue to need more…and more…

 

The women’s keening grew louder, and they all moved around him, and holding and caressing him, made him harden again.  They then laid him on the altar, binding him to it.  They spread his arms and legs far apart, and fastened them with enough of the coarse rope to prevent much movement on his part. 

 

His body was cold and hot all at once…  His arms were being stretched as far as they could be, and further, and fastened tightly with rope to the rings in the stone.  He couldn’t move his arms, his torso… He felt them stretching his legs far apart, adding to the strain already in his groin… the tightness and stretching of his legs made the tenseness in his groin increase further…  He was aware of the cold stone beneath his buttocks, his legs, his torso…but his groin, his penis… there he was hot!!  So hot!!  His body had to have release!

 

One of the women then climbed atop the altar, and after kissing him, lay atop of him, touching the shifting designs, kissing the pulsing glowing eyes of the god painted on his chest.  She slid lower and kissed the lips of the god that rested on the flesh above the pubic bone.  She kissed the brand and then his penis and sat up.  Leaning over, she plundered his mouth and quickly mounted him, moving slowly but deliberately on his engorged shaft until he came into her, filling her…leaving her satiated as well.  Recovering, she climbed off him and began to kiss and suck at his penis until it became hard and pulsing again.  Then the next woman mounted him and repeated the performance.  Six times he came, sending his seed into each one...  With the completion of each act, the keening became louder, the moans and cries of the beings wanting to see more, and more, waiting to see that final act that would take their kind on the path to what was rightfully their world.

 

His body having orgasm after orgasm, yet none of them giving him the total release his body sought, the absolute relief it needed.  Each one had left his body unsatisfied, unfulfilled, although each one had been stronger than the one that preceded it.  His body wanted more… and more…

 

And then Silve, Lhiannon Sidhe, climbed onto the altar

 

As she ran her hands over his tortured body again, one of the women handed her a goblet.  She held it to his lips, as two of the women raised his head so he could drink.  He drained the cup, and she threw it to the ground then leaned forward to kiss him, sliding her body atop his.  Finishing the deep kiss, she bit him, and then took her finger and dipped it in the blood.  She took the blood and traced the symbols on his penis in his own blood.  His shaft was becoming harder and harder and she smiled, kissing him several more times, and then, quickly mounting him.  Once on him, she rode hard until his climax, and as he came within her, she changed form into the vampire creature, and shrieked with her own climax.  She removed herself from him and made several passes over his body, slicing the skin anew, and causing the keening to become more and more shrill....

 

A cup was pressed to his lips…He drank…  New warmth flooded his body, fresh desire pounding in his groin…  He was kissed, and returned the kiss, his body hungry for her, seeking the release her body on his promised…She bit him and she saw him feel the sharp pain as she played with him…  She then mounted him, and he groaned as she began to ride him, slowly at first…then harder with each succeeding stroke, until his explosion was imminent.  At just that moment, her face and being suddenly transformed to that of the demon, and he came into her with a soul shattering force that at once satisfied his body and left him senseless …

 

After that climax, she flew to Turlough, and staring him in the face, sang out...  "His seed is here.”  She waved her hands over her abdomen.  “Even now, ... it begins to grow...in but three days his time, his son and mine will be born...  We will begin the path to take our rightful place... his son will lead us.  Your maidens also carry his seed....  Seven times seven he has given us...  We will be fruitful with his offspring...  There will be many of his to lead us from here ... We begin now…and now…you, Druid…now you must complete the ceremony lest we lose the benefit of this blessing...there is one more part that you have to see to."  And quickly she spun away.

 

In the circle, the women had returned to the man on the altar, and were circling it, their hands touching and caressing him as he lay there, on the tiniest edge of awareness…  His penis was hardening again with their touches…pulsing and wet with the semen and fluids from the seven couplings. There was blood all over him, all over the altar, from the last caresses of Silve, and at his wrists, and ankles, where the tight rope had cut deeply

 

He was aware that he was dying, leaving this world, yet he also had the awareness that it was not the death that he had expected.  He soul was being called to be with the dark-haired demon that drank his blood.  She wanted him to be her mate, to share the otherworld with her…  Somewhere, he knew he didn’t want to spend his eternity with her, but he also knew that with one more step, his fate would be sealed.  He gave over to the weariness.  His body was spent.  His spirit trapped and tied to the female demon, and what would seem to be his eternal damnation he sought the blackness, and waited for his fate to be decided.

 

Turlough looked at Nelson.  The Admiral, barely conscious from his own struggles, had heard Silve's words and shivered with the meaning of them.  One of the druids took off the gag and Nelson inhaled deeply.

 

"We've one more step to the ceremony, Harry, and ye'll be playin' yer part.  Fer the spells and enchantments ta have their full benefit, the Horned God must be slain by his best friend.  I told ya, we allowed ya here fer a reason…Ye’ll be the one doing the sacrifice… ye’ll be the one giving him ta Silve fer eternity… he’ll be at her side when their son conquers yer world.  And ye’ll be the instrument o’ his destruction…"

 

“No!  No! I won’t!!  I won’t do it!!”  Nelson cried out frantically as he began to struggle violently against the bonds.  He fought, trying hard to free himself, but the druids had been thorough.  The harder he fought, the tighter the restraints became. 

 

Turlough nodded to one of the druids holding Nelson and he went off a few feet, returning with a large goblet filled to the brim with a foamy mix.  It was a sour-smelling brew, looking bitter and noxious, Turlough continued to speak, as one druid held the cup to Nelson's lips, and another held his nose closed, so that he had no choice but to drink, or choke.  When they had finished making sure that Nelson had downed the entire contents of the cup, the Chief Druid smiled.

 

 "Ahh, but ye will, Harry… ye’ll have no choice.  Ye'll be feeling the effects of the potion quickly.  Yer mind'll go, and ye'll hear, but not know, and do my biddin’ wi'out question.... I’m very glad you came...  Ya were able to help us more than ye’ll ever know.”

 

Turlough was right.  The potion took effect quickly, and soon all that Nelson had left was a vague awareness.  He felt the pressure on his body give and knew his hands and body were free.  He heard a voice, didn't hear the words, but understood on some level what he was to do. He felt pressure in his hand, and knew that something was being pressed into it.  He knew that he was moving, but didn't know how and why, or even what he was doing.  He saw the body on the altar, but didn’t recognize it, instead being drawn to the pulsing, twisting, throbbing tattoos that covered it.  He found himself staring at the red eyes of the Horned God, and instead of being repulsed, being drawn in instead.  Reaching out to touch one of the creatures, he felt the thing move in his hand, and pulled back, revolted by it.  Looking down, he saw that in his hands was a stone knife.  He wondered at its presence there, but accepting it, he reached out again for one of the designs on the body.  Crane moved slightly and one of the creatures appeared to jump across his body, sliding over Nelson's hand.  Repulsed by the thing, he took the knife and brought it down on the creature.  There was a cry from the thing beneath it and Nelson took away a hand covered in blood.  Nelson thought he had killed it, since he didn’t see the body, only the creatures, and he resolved to do away with them all, no matter the cost.

 

He felt the weapon penetrate his shoulder… the pain was great…  Suddenly, clearly aware of his body, he felt the stone knife as it ripped and tore flesh and muscle, as it struck bone, with jarring intensity, and was pulled out.  He cried out, the cry one of pain, mixed with the knowledge that the next blow would lead to his eternal damnation.  He became aware once again, of the cold stone beneath him, of the body with the knife poised above him, and he knew, with sudden, final clarity, and greater regret, who it was that would send him to Hell…

 

Several more of the creatures moved, and brushed Nelson’s hand, and he raised his hand high above his head to strike again, when it was captured by another hand, and stopped.  He felt pain, and then nothing, as he collapsed into blackness.

 

 

  Berkana – Growth - Fertility

 

Present Time…the Nelson home…

 

Karen Nelson looked up from the journal as she finished the last word on the page, half way through the book.  Her eyes slowly raised and met his in a terrifying gaze.  For one of the very few times in her life, she was horrified and speechless.  Moments passed silently…she truly didn’t know what to say to her husband.  No wonder he wanted to keep the exact details secret.  And yet, he’d carried this horrendous secret and guilt for all these years.  Guilt over something he could not stop…guilt over something he’d had no earthly power to halt.

 

Struggling to find her voice, she slowly closed the journal and whispered, “Harriman…this can’t be true.  It can’t be…”

 

“It…is.  Every word of it.”  He got up and slowly walked over to the open window and stood with his back to her.  The moon had risen in the night sky and there was a slight breeze that gently blew the curtains against him. 

 

All the memories he’d hoped to suppress…that he’d hoped time would erase, came flooding back.  Why on earth had he chosen that particular story to tell…why???  Even he wasn’t sure!  Maybe Karen was right.  Maybe his own subconscious mind was saying that it was time to deal with the realities of what happened, so long ago. 

 

“And he has no memory at all of any of this?  Any of it at all?” she asked and came over to him, slipping her arm around his waist in order to try to comfort him.

 

“No…he wasn’t in any shape to when we got back on board.  He was almost dead. Jamie and I…felt it best that he not know too much.  I think the drugs…whatever they gave him…caused him to block a lot of it out.  Sometimes, the mind can provide the best defense against horrendous things.”  He quietly reached for her hand.  “Go on, and read the rest of it, because, in Sick Bay, when I woke up, Chip…”

 

 

   Ehwaz – the Sacred Horse - Fertility

 

Years earlier… after the first time on the Island…

 

 

Later that night, Chip stole into Sick Bay.  Jamison was asleep at his desk.  Several monitors clicked and pinged for both men, as Corpsman Frank Lerner moved between the two gurneys, watching silently.  He nodded to Morton, who pulled a stool to Crane's bedside to begin his vigil.

 

Sitting on the high stool, he shook his head and laid a hand on his friend’s shoulder.  A hospital gown covered Lee, hiding most of the markings and bandages that covered his body.  Chip shook his head slowly as he spoke to the unconscious man.  "Lee, buddy, I don't know all that you got yourself into, but State's been on the horn with the Irish Government, raising holy hell over your condition and the Admiral's.  Angie called from the Institute…she had some information from Intelligence.  McNally and O'Flaherty have been put on administrative leave because they wanted to leave you and the Admiral behind…damn idiots didn’t even want to affect a rescue and I raised holy hell.  After we got back here on the boat, the Island disappeared, Lee, it just plain out disappeared…didn't sink.  It just vanished.   The Irish government won't say anything else and have closed the book.  But after what I witnessed, what we all saw…well, I guess your report will be one for the books, to say the least…"

 

Morton shook his head, his mind still refusing to accept all the things he'd seen there…he sat and listened to the monitors, their sound like a lullaby to his frayed nerves, there was something reassuring in the pings, and beeps that at this time was soothing to him. Sitting at Crane's side, Chip had started to doze, when he heard a quietly resonant voice softly call him.

 

 "Chip…" Nelson's eyes were open and he was watching the Exec.

 

"Admiral!" his voice was one of surprise and pleasure with Nelson's awakening…"How are you feeling?"  Chip moved quickly to Nelson's side, and stood by the gurney.

 

"Lee?  How is he…will he make it?"

 

"Jamie doesn't know…he's baffled by Lee's condition… muttering that if he didn't know any better, he’d believe it was a vampire that did some of this…"

 

With absolute clarity, Nelson replied, "It was…a she-vampire faerie… a Lhiannon Sidhe.  An ancient Celtic spirit."

 

Chip shook his head, "You know…if you had told me that 24 hours ago, sir, I would've had you sent away for a while.  But, after what I …we…saw on that Island…we …watched…we didn't know what to do… we didn’t seem able to stop it...It was almost as if we were tied to the place unable to move for either one of you…Oh, God, Admiral…. Lee…I never…I …  do you think …  Will he…remember…I mean… what was going on?  I… He…what they were doing to him…with him…and…"

 

"Easy, now…” Nelson swallowed hard, reaching for the Exec and gripping his hand, "I need to know how much…you saw…when you came upon the circle." 

 

Chip's face went white as he continued to recall what he witnessed on the island.  "I think it was just as it was beginning.  The women were leading…Lee… around the circle…they were letting the female creatures…touch…" he shuddered with revulsion of the memory… and swallowed hard, "him…” Chip ran a hand over his head, his other hand tucked in his back pocket.  "I didn't know what to do… they continued…we saw you, … saw you being held next to the old man…"

 

"Turlough… the leader of the beings on the Island, " Nelson told him.

 

"And then that she thing…and those women, and Lee…  Admiral, how in God's name is he going to deal with this…will he remember?  I mean, we're no virgins, hardly innocent, either one of us, but… to be …" he searched for a word.

 

"Used?" the Admiral offered.

 

He nodded, his grief for all that he knew Crane had been put through, and for all the more that he didn’t know.  "To be used, like that… like an object…" he shook his head.  "…And those markings…all over his body…"

 

"…Were symbols, runes…to intensify the power of the ceremony," came the explanation.

 

"Admiral, what if…” He swallowed hard again,  "What if a child…."

 

Quietly resigned to what to him were inescapable facts, "There will be… the she thing said so…” A tear glistened in Nelson's eye, "And I don't have an answer, Chip.  Good Lord, I wish I did… we've faced some terrible things, all of us, together…but nothing, nothing like this…what I do know…when that child is born, it’ll be evil and it’ll have to be destroyed."

 

"But how can we destroy it if we don't even know where it is?  I mean…"

 

Nelson sighed heavily.  "We'll just have to wait until it comes to us…and it will.  I know that if I know anything.  It’ll come to us.  Silve thought I would …kill…Lee and finish the ceremony.  You stopped that…Thank God for that at least!"  He sighed again, “By doing that, the ceremony wasn't completed and they'll want him again… to finish it all…to give them, to give the child the final energy."  He looked at Chip, his blue eyes full of a mix of grief and appreciation.  "Thank you for stopping me…  What I did to him was bad enough…if I had gone any further…"

 

"No matter what, sir, I wouldn't have let that happen… I'm just sorry I didn't stop it sooner."

 

"No, you did what you could, when you could… the best that could be done."

 

"Still…I…"

 

"You saved both our lives, Chip, and you prevented me from doing something that I wouldn't have been able to live with.  Thank you, with all of my being…from the bottom of my soul….thank you."  Both men remained silent, spent with the realization of what they had been through.  Then Nelson asked quietly, "Where's Jamie?"

 

Morton smiled slightly, "Asleep at his desk.  Frank knows I'm here, so I didn't want to wake Will."

 

"Go get him now, will you?  I want to know how Lee’s doing and I think I'm going to have to fill him in with all the …details, however unbelievable they may be."

 

"Aye, sir… and, Admiral… I'm sorry that I couldn't have done more, sooner…maybe stopped it…"

 

"Chip, if you had tried, there's a good chance we’d all be dead, and then no one would be able to stop these beings, when they make their next move…. You did exactly the right thing under the circumstances.  That's all that you could do…"

 

"Aye, sir," he said quietly. "I'll go get Jamie…” He left Nelson, going into Jamison's office, lightly placing a hand on the doctor's shoulder.

 

The Seaview’s doctor sat up with a start.  "What's wrong?” Seeing Morton standing there, he paused, “Oh, Chip…. when did you come in?"

 

"A while ago, Will…” he stood next to the desk,  “ I was sitting with Lee when the Admiral woke up.  He wants to see you… to ask about Lee."

 

Rubbing his eyes and stretching, he rose from the chair.  "I have quite a few questions for him… and you, as well….” He walked into the main cabin of the Sick Bay and stopping at Crane's gurney, checking the IV lines and the monitors.  He called softly to the corpsman, who was in the corner of the Bay. 

 

"Frank, set up another two units of blood… it looks like we're going to need some volunteers for donors on the next watch.  Make the arrangements.  And get those two units hung now."  Lerner nodded, and moved about briskly and efficiently doing his tasks, and Jamison moved to Nelson's bedside.  "How're you feeling, Harry?  You look like hell."

 

The resonant voice replied quietly, "I feel like hell…and I know that I've been there and back. Will, … how's … Lee?"

 

"Alive… barely.  Can you tell me what the hell happened to him?  If I didn't know better, I'd swear he was attacked by a vampire."

 

Again, the reply was a quiet one.  "He was."

 

The look on his face was one of disbelief.  "Good one, Harry…  If I hadn’t seen some of the things I’ve seen on this boat, I could almost believe you…” He looked at Nelson and saw that his face was serious and unwavering.  “C'mon, Harry, you really can't expect me to believe…"

 

"Technically, it's called the Lhiannon Sidhe.  This one's name was Silve.  A faerie that entraps a man and drinks his blood, then uses him for her own needs."

 

"Even so, how do you explain the rest… the dye, the drawing on his chest, all the marks on his body, not to mention, the wounds on his arms and torso, and the wound in his shoulder…” he shook his head  “and that wound, on his lower body…"

 

"It…  It’s a brand, Will.” Jamison’s eyes grew wide with the revelation.  “Lee was used, as part of a ceremony.  There will be children… as a result…half human, half-other…and I …I was supposed to kill him, as part of it..  I stabbed him.  I didn't know it was Lee. I thought it was something else.  They gave me something… all I need to know is…will he be alright?"

 

Slowly shaking his head, he responded, "That explains a lot, Harry.  What I found in your blood, in what was left of his…  All right?  I don't know…I can do what I can do.  The rest…well… God… the fates…whatever you believe… His recovery will be up to them, and as much to him.  I can't tell you anything else."

 

Nelson nodded, grimly. "I want to sit with him.” He shook his head, despairingly,  “ I need to sit with him."  He attempted to rise, only to find that firm hands kept him lying down on the gurney. 

 

"Not now, Admiral Nelson!  Do you think you're here, in my Sick Bay, because you had a light walk in the park?  You were hurt…Understand me, Admiral?  Hurt.  You've got a concussion, some wounds on your back, and a really weird mix of stuff in your blood, half of which I’m not even sure I’ve seen before.  You're here, on your back, for the next 48 hours at the very least.  And if you even try and bust orders, I'll keep you here, under sedation, for a week or longer if I have to!”  He crossed his arms at his chest, taking a most defensive pose.   “Now…is that clear?"

 

Sighing, "Agreed, Doctor.  48 hours.  After that, I will leave."

 

Will Jamison automatically felt the Admiral's forehead.  None of the Senior Staff liked the Sick Bay, and keeping them confined was always a challenge.  For Nelson to agree so easily to his demands made the medic uneasy and suspicious.  "Harry, what are you up to?"

 

"Nothing, Will…I just want to be close…to be here…to see how it goes for Lee.  And if you say  I have to be here, well, then it serves my purpose.  Besides, my back does hurt, and so does my head.  I'll sleep and I won't give you any trouble.  Just, if something should happen, well, wake me.   I'm just tired, too tired to fight with you. " To himself, he reflected, 'And although you don’t know it, my heart is heavy as well.' 

 

"Alright, Admiral…  I'll take your word that you won't give me any problems.  I've got my hands full with our Captain.  I don't want to have to worry about you, too."

 

Nelson settled back into the pillow.  "You won't, Doc, you won't."

 

Jamison left the bedside.  "I'll be checking on you in a couple of hours, Harry.  This had better not be trick on your part," he warned.  He checked on Crane again, making further notes on his chart, and went back to his office, leaving Morton and Nelson alone.

 

Watching until the doctor closed the door to his office, Chip brought his face closer to the Admiral, and asked, sotto voce, "Alright, sir.  Now will you tell me what happened there… before  we saw what we saw… we heard…what went on with you and Lee before we arrived at the circle…My God!! I never in my life dreamed that I would witness something so horrible!" Chip shuddered, and Nelson reached again, and laid a hand on his arm that was resting on the rail.

 

Slowly, the older man said, "Chip, there’s a great deal more to tell you.  About what you saw…and what you didn't see.  But right now, all I want to do is rest.  I'll fill you in on the rest of it later…Can't seem to keep my eyes…open.    Will must…have…" and his eyes closed, his breathing becoming more regular.

 

Chip waited until the Admiral was sleeping, and then he moved back to the stool next to Crane's gurney.  Something told him that there was a great deal more to learn.  Laying his arms on the rail of the gurney, he crossed them and leaned his chin forward, talking quietly to the unconscious man.

 

 

  Isa –Ice and Freezing

 

Sick Bay, several days later…

 

 

Several days later, Lee regained consciousness, and slowly begun to recover.  From the start, he was troubled by horrific nightmares.  Jamison worried about his recovery, medicating him with sedatives, trying to get his psyche to accept that all that he remembered, of what had happened, was over. 

 

As Lee began to heal, there was very little in the way of memory of the events on the Island, but he was plagued with visions and flashes of horrific things that he couldn’t explain.  He wondered at the wound in his shoulder and the remains of marks on his body…  And then there was the wound on his groin…any movement hurt, especially there…and no one would tell him anything, since he had become fully aware

 

He shifted on the rack, wishing he was in the more comfortable bunk in his cabin and wishing that Jamie would disconnect all the damn wires and tubes…all the tubes.  He sighed heavily and wondered, again, at what had really happened on the Island.  He had tried to talk to Nelson about it but the Admiral had hedged away from any deep discussion, and at the time, Lee had been too tired to chase after the answers…  But now it was time; He had to know.  His mind and his body was telling him he had to know.  He sighed again and shifted again on the rack.  The sound of his movement brought Frank Lerner to his side.

 

“How’re you doing, Skipper?” Frank asked, knowing full well what the boat’s Captain would say.

 

He smiled slightly at the Corpsman, “Well, I’d like to get the hell out of here, and out of here now, but I don’t think my doctor’s going to let me.”

 

Lerner nodded perceptively.  “Skipper, you know….”

 

He held up a hand, “Yeah, Frank, I do know… that doesn’t help… and no, I won’t do anything stupid.  However, do you think you could tell Jamie that I want to talk to him?”

 

“Sure, Skipper.”  Uneasily, Lerner continued,  “ I’ll get him, and send him over as soon as I finish here… I… I …umm…I have to check the dressings on the wounds…”  For all of his experience with the Senior Staff, Frank was still uncomfortable with having to examine such an intimate part of the Captain’s body, knowing full well what a private person Crane was.

 

“Go ahead, Frank…the sooner you do, the sooner it’s over with.  It’s okay…really.”  Lee closed his eyes and lay there quietly.

 

Face slightly tinged red, he replied, “Thanks, Skipper…” and he proceeded to check the shoulder and groin wounds.  Quickly, carefully, and efficiently,  he took care of the Captain, and when he was finished, straightened the hospital gown, and pulled up the sheet, saying, “I’ll send the Doc, sir.”

 

Crane reopened his eyes, “Okay… thanks, Frank.”

 

Lee laid there, patiently, and shortly, the boat’s doctor came over to the rack, pulling up a chair, and laying his clipboard on his knees.  “You wanted to talk to me, Lee? I would imagine that now that you are back with us, you have some  questions?”

 

In a voice tinged with  exasperation, “A hell of a lot of them!  Like, for starters…what the hell happened to me, Will?  I don’t remember much.  The attacks by the vampire… vaguely… but the shoulder wound…  I remember feeling the knife or whatever it was.  And that other wound, ...  How did it get there...and what the hell is it?  And this…”  He touched the outlines of the runes on his arms…  “What are these?  How…?”

 

Jamison took a deep breath, knowing that the real explanation should best come from the one person who really knew what happened.  “Lee, I don’t have the answers.  There are physical things that I can explain, but as to what really happened, I’m gonna call the Admiral in.  He’s the one who can tell you what you need to know.” 

 

He signaled Frank to come over, and when the Corpsman did, he told him to call Nelson down to the Sick Bay.  Then he turned back to Crane.  “ Now, let me ask you… how are you feeling?  Any thing I should know about? I mean besides your favorite litany…‘I’m okay and I want out’.  How did you sleep?”

 

“Not too well.… those pills that you slipped me, and yes, I know that you’re slipping me pills…they help me get to sleep, but I can’t sleep long before the nightmares start up.  And then, well, let’s just say that I don’t get much sleep after that.  It’s not that I’m not trying to sleep. Just that I can’t get back to sleep…”

 

“I see… Well, when we get back to NIMR, there’s someone I want you to talk to… an old friend… he may be able to help you  a little.”

 

Lee immediately stiffened, becoming defensive,  “Yeah, right, Jamie…I’m gonna  talk to somebody.  I’ll tell them, I can’t sleep because I was the victim of a vampire and I see things in my dreams.” Lee’s amber-hazel bored into the doctor’s, “ Come on…think about it, will you?  Just how long do you think they would let me captain this boat, with that kind of history?”

 

Jamison smiled knowingly.  “This boat, and this crew  Lee, we’ve all seen enough, and heard enough, that no one will question you because of that.  Suffice it to say, the person I’m talking about won’t think you’ve gone over the edge…he’s been in the business way long enough to see and hear things that don’t make him think less of anyone.  He’s used to military and government types.”

 

Lee hesitated, part of him wanting to talk, to rid himself of the nightmares that he didn’t understand, and the horrific scenes he didn’t remember. “Yeah, well…we’ll see, okay… if the nightmares go away, then there’ll be no need… and you know...”

 

Jamison nodded…“Yes, Captain Crane…I do know…you don’t like doctors and hospitals….”

 

A hand on Jamison’s shoulder told him that Nelson had arrived.  Jamison looked up into blue eyes full of concern and slightly tinged with a bit of uneasiness. The face of his commander and friend was weary, from the workload he was carrying, and the grief that he held in his heart.  He knew that the telling of this tale to Lee Crane would not be easy on Nelson and there was no way that he could help.  The two men had to work this out between them…

 

“Admiral, why don’t you take this chair… and I’ll leave the two of you alone.  Frank will pull the door so that you can have some privacy, and well, if you need me, you can call.”

 

Nelson nodded in grateful acknowledgement as he sat, “Thanks, Jamie…We’ll … be awhile…”

 

Jamison left, and shortly, Frank quietly closed the folding door, giving the two men as much privacy as possible in the Sick Bay.

 

For a few moments, neither said a word, thinking of what each remembered, Finally, the Admiral asked, “How are you feeling, Lee?”

 

Lee gingerly replied, “I know that I’ve been better, and I know I’ve been worse… sleeping is tough… I guess all the rest seems to be going the way that Jamie wants it to.  How are you?  I know that you didn’t have it too easy there… trying to look after me… I’m sorry that I was such trouble.  You should’ve left me there… blown up that damn place.  Enchanted Island?  More like the gates to Hell if you ask me.”

 

Quietly, Nelson nodded and then ventured, “Yes, Gates of Hell seems appropriate. How much do you remember…about what happened, Lee?”

 

“I don’t know…”  He cleared his throat, and unconsciously touched the bandage on his neck.  He shifted biting back a small cry of pain, as movement brought discomfort to a very tender area.  “I remember… her…  I was caught in the sound…  She sliced my sweater away… it was cold…her nails cut, I felt it… her eyes, they were…dead yet I couldn’t turn away from her… they showed me things I’d never seen before…”  He swallowed hard…  “She, ah, kissed me, and…” his voice lowered, “…used her tongue…licked my face… as if she was tasting my skin…seeing if it was compatible….I remember…hearing a voice…and putting my arms around her… and bending my head… so she could bite me! …I couldn’t stop myself.”  His voice cracked, miserable with his failure to resist her.  “I allowed it to happen…Admiral, I can’t even begin to tell you what it felt like… she drove her fangs deep in my neck.  I felt them.  Oh, God!  I felt them…there was some pain, but it went away quickly…  I could feel the blood being pulled to the place where she bit.  And I know that things started to get fuzzy, I was losing all touch with anything, and then I woke up in the cottage…”

 

Nelson nodded, laying a hand on Crane’s shoulder, and letting him go on, putting off his own telling of the nightmarish experience.…  “I remember bits and pieces of the cottage…not a lot, I remember a fire, and some kind of warm food… I think we talked a bit… I know that I was pretty much out of it… … and then the warmth was gone, and we were running away… I was cold again…I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life.”

 

Harry sighed.  “The sprite had protected us for a while.  Turlough destroyed her when he found that out…”

 

Lee nodded; his face then became flushed and he hesitated to share the rest of his remembrances.  “I remember seeing her once more… she was naked and coming to me… and that’s all that’s really clear… the rest is…like a puzzle without a plan…  Lots of pieces, strange and bizarre pieces, but nothing that fits…”

 

Quietly, Nelson asked him, “Share the pieces, will you?  It’ll help me to tell you the story from my point of view…”

 

Lee nodded, the pink flush remaining… “Well, it’s rather…embarrassing… um…I remember women… naked women… and a hot spring… and being bathed… and being given some things to drink, and then drinking them… I was so thirsty, but they didn’t quench the thirst…and then…well, nothing else concrete.  I felt hands touching me, all over…” he paused, and his voice lowered in embarrassment, “My mind, I didn’t have any thought… all I knew was what my body felt.  It was…more like a force pushing my body…to… to…  have sex…with anyone that was willing…” he  choked out the rest, “I… I …think I did… many times…I somehow know I did once… with her…”  He turned from Nelson, supremely humiliated with the revelation, and disgusted with himself.

 

The Admiral’s hand on his shoulder tightened.. “Lee…” he said softly,  “It’s all right…”

 

Crane refused to face him, sliding down into self-reproach.  “No, sir, it’s not…It’s not all right!!… If I did that…if I behaved in that manner, then something’s wrong with me.  I have my own values, my own standards.  I would never….”

Choosing his words carefully, Nelson sought to both calm him and explain.  “Lee, I know you, we all know you, and you have to believe that you didn’t have any choice.  There were … forces…at work that you couldn’t resist…  The sex, on your part, wasn’t consciously voluntary at all.  It wasn’t something that you wanted to do…you weren’t even aware of what your body was being forced to do…You were drugged, you had been given all sorts of herbs, all sorts of wines, ales, and all of them filled with the local drugs and aphrodisiacs.  Your body did what it was physiologically supposed to do, under those circumstances.  Your mind wasn’t there. You weren’t there… your body was, but Lee Crane was not.  You couldn’t help yourself,” he paused, all the guilt of the days past coming to the fore.  “You couldn’t stop what your body was doing, anymore than I could stop mine.”

 

Crane turned his head back to face his friend and commanding officer.  “What do you mean… you couldn’t stop yourself… what did you do?”

 

Nelson became extremely quiet for a few moments, then asked him, “Do you have any idea how you got the shoulder wound?”

 

“No…no,  I don’t…  Again…I saw a hand, and I felt it…felt something,   I imagine it was some kind of knife tear and rip the shoulder, I felt it hit the bone…  But no, I saw no face… only a hand…  Do you know?”

 

Soft and guiltily, “Yes…I do.  I did it…I was the one who stabbed you.  If Chip hadn’t stopped me, I was going to kill you…”

 

“You what?”  Crane’s eyes grew wide in astonishment.

 

“Lee…you don’t know, but…if Chip Morton hadn’t arrived when he did, you’d be dead and I would’ve been the one who killed you.”

 

The silence between the two men was long.  Finally, Lee asked him, “How?  Why?”

 

“Because, just like you, I was drugged into behavior that wasn’t normally mine… they forced me to drink this…brew… held my nose so I had to drink it or choke…I lost all ability to see or feel reality…they put a stone knife in my hand…  I thought I saw a thing crawling over my hand… and I stabbed it…but I, in reality, I stabbed you…What they gave me something similar to what they gave  you …caused me to hallucinate.  I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t.”  Nelson’s face was white with the emotions of the revelation.  “I saw more of them…of long, dark ugly things, crawling about,   I was about to try and get the rest of them when Chip came up behind me and stopped me… I’m sorry…I should have had the strength to be able to resist the drugs...”

 

Lee reached for Nelson’s hand that lay on his shoulder, and grasped it, trying hard to console the older man.  “You couldn’t help it… you said so yourself… so don’t worry about it …”  Reflecting on the shared tales, he said, “Admiral,  it’s over.  Thankfully…we’re both okay.”  His tone lightened slightly.  “And as soon as Jamie will let me get the hell out of here, things will be back to normal…  We won’t have to think about it again…”

 

The Admiral sat back in his chair in resignation.  “I wish that were true, Lee.  However, there are still reports to file and some questions to answer.  Angie sent word that McNally and O’Flaherty were recalled to Dublin, and State still has questions that I will answer but will not be part of the report.  And you, Captain, you still need to rest here for a while.  According to Jamie, your shoulder was pretty severely damaged.  Your back and chest have to heal… and you need to get stronger.  That will take time,  Will said you had ‘lost’ so much blood he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get your volume up quick enough to stabilize you.”

 

Lee moved slightly and grimaced.  “Admiral, one more question, , before we put this away…”  He gestured to the area under the sheets…  “How did that get there and even more importantly, what the hell is it?”

 

Nelson thought for a minute how to best explain, then answered, “Just a simple wound.  There were some hectic moments trying to get out after the rescue, and there were a lot of sharp objects flying around.  We think that, somehow, you were hit… You weren’t in the best of shape for a fight, you know…”  Crane simply accepted the Admiral’s story for what he said it was.  If he questioned the veracity of his friend’s words, he never indicated it in any way… Nelson stood, “Look. Lad,  I think the best thing I can do for you right now is to let you rest.  All I can say is that I’m sorry… I’m very sorry… If only we hadn’t been send to that island…”

”Admiral… it’s over …ok?  All over.  We’ll write the report and then move on from this… I look forward…”  He raised his voice so that it could be heard through the closed door, “…to getting the hell out of here and back on duty!”  He grinned at Nelson, the first genuine smile of amusement that Nelson had seen in days.  They waited for the door to open and the doctor  to come in.  The wait wasn’t long. 

 

Jamison drew open the door, and with a look on his face the displayed mock seriousness, said, “What’s that I hear, Captain?  You think you’re getting out?  I don’t think so…as I see it, you’re here for another seven to ten days… if you behave and if I decide to let you have anything more than beef broth and lime Jell-O.”

 

Crane made an appropriate scrunched up face, and then looked properly repentant as he said, “Okay, Jamie…how about a compromise here?  You get me some real food and a pair of pajamas to wear instead of this damn gown, disconnect the blasted wires and tubes, and I promise I’ll be a good Captain and not try to bust orders?  Deal?”

 

“Well, Captain…” he said, amusement in his eyes, “Let’s just say…we’ll take it under consideration… and then make our decision.”

 

Nelson found it an appropriate time to leave.  Sick Bay was Will Jamison’s domain and he knew not to tangle with Will Jamison when the CMO and Lee were arguing about the Captain’s care.  “Will, I’ve got some paperwork to finish, I’ll be in the Nose…  Lee, if you want me…”

 

“Aye, sir… and don’t worry, Admiral…it’s over now…all over…” he attempted a weary smile.

 

“I hope so, Lee,” he said,  “I hope so…”

 

Nelson left the Bay walking down the companionway, his hands shoved in his pockets.  I wish it was, but I think we only have more to look forward to.

 

 

  Perthro – Things unexplainable

 

Present…the Morton home…

 

Chip Morton was restlessly pacing in front of the fireplace of his home.  His children were now in bed and his wife was patiently waiting for him to tell her about the real story behind the one that Nelson had told that evening.  Ever since the Admiral had begun to tell the tale, the XO of the Seaview had grown increasingly quiet and uneasy.  Surprisingly, he had not shut down, as was his usual mode.  Instead, on their way down the hill from the Nelson’s, Matty had asked him what had really happened, and he had simply said, “We’ll talk later…”

Accepting that, they had gotten home, put the children to bed, and come back downstairs to the family room.  Chip poured them both a glass of wine and then he began to pace.  He drained one glass, pouring a second, as Matty simply nursed her first glass.  Suddenly, he stopped pacing, and turned to Matty.  His blue eyes were brimming with tears, his normally calm face wearing an expression of extreme sorrow and embarrassment.

 

“Matty, the whole thing … it was horrible… the part that the Admiral glossed over… horrible…  I have never, in my entire life, witnessed anything like that, and I hope to God in Heaven that I never will, ever again.  And that no one…no one… that I love or hold dear to me should have to endure what Lee went through and what we witnessed that day…”

 

Matty silently studied him.  Finally she rose and went to him, putting her arm around his waist, gently pulling him toward the couch.  Softly she said to him,  “C’mon, Sailor…sit here with me and tell me the whole story.”

 

In barely a whisper, he shook his head sadly, saying, “Matty, I don’t think I can…  I can’t begin to describe it.  The whole thing is beyond description.  Just… just the horror of it all….”

 

“Chip, after all we’ve been through together, there is nothing… nothing… that you can’t tell me… the two of us have shared so much good, and so much bad and terrifying… nothing can be all that bad.”

 

Chip looked at her, his face looking almost ravaged, saying in a ragged voice, “You don’t know… you have no earthly idea what it was like.  What I saw that day on the Island…no decent person should witness or be a victim of.  It was indecent, horrific abuse of one person for the unholy needs of the others.”

 

Matty tugged gently on his arm.  “Then I think that you should sit with me and tell me.  Tell me the whole story, the real story, from the beginning…and maybe it will help you to put it all, finally to rest.”  She pulled gently at him again, “Come.”

 

Reluctantly, Chip gave in, and they moved to the large sofa and sat, Matty wrapping her arms around him.  Chip closed his eyes, leaning back, as the visuals of that time past came rushing past his mind’s eye.  In a low voice, full of pain, he began to try and tell Matty what his impressions of that day were.

 

“We landed on the Island, after we had gotten rid of the group from Ailleles.  There were two rafts…  I had one, Sharkey had the other.  ‘Ski, Patterson, Rodriguez, Malone, Harrison and Matthews were with us.  It was strange, very strange.  When we dropped the rafts, the fog surrounded us.  We had to use the compass to guide us in the right direction.  Then, suddenly…I don’t know why…the fog parted.  We were in a channel in between the fog…  A clear path opened right to the Island.  As we got further and further from the boat, the fog closed in around it, behind us.  We couldn’t go back.  Our only choice was to move forward…  It really was as if someone or something was pushing us towards the Island.  We made a beachhead and pulled the rafts up and secured them.  I had a map that we’d made from the flyover photographs the Admiral had wired us…I figured we should make for the center of the Island, so we found a small path and followed it …”  He stopped, and the look on his face, as he remembered more and more of the time, spoke volumes to Matty.

 

“Go on, Chip…  go on…” she squeezed his hand, trying to reassure him.

 

He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  “There were hundreds of … creatures… and that’s what they were, creatures, Matty. I’ve seen a lot… a lot of different things on the boat, but nothing like all of these, together…I could touch them.  Leprechauns, trolls, giants, faeries of all kinds.  Druids, centaurs…just name the creature from myths and magic and I swear they were there.  All around us…all around.  I did  touch many of them.  They were real, Matty!!… They were real!!!”  He shook his head in remembered disbelief and whispered, “They were so damn real and so was the ceremony we saw…”

 

“Ceremony?”

 

He continued describing his visual, so immersed in it now that he never heard her question. “We reached the head of the hill, the Tor, and found we were looking down on a huge gathering.  It seemed that all the beings on the Island were heading there.  There was a ring of stone, and in the center of the ring…was an altar… Some sort of an altar for a sacrifice.”  He shuddered.  “There were hundreds of beings…maybe even more…”

 

Beads of perspiration formed on his forehead.  He began to tell her in short sentences, punctuated by deep gasps.  “In the middle of the circle were six women…  And a man…a man in a white robe.  When we arrived, the women were naked, with these designs painted all over their bodies, their bodies shining in the light.  They were beautiful…almost perfect… they were pressed all up against him.  As we watched them, they pulled down the man’s hood.  My God!  It was Lee.  But he looked different.  His hair, so curly and…almost wild.  He had this blank expression on his face.  His eyes were empty… unfocused.   He looked…he looked like his body was there, but his mind wasn’t.   And he was painted… his face was painted.  Jamie said that it was some sort of dye, which is why it took so long for it to come off his skin.  There were designs like the ones on the  women  painted on his face…on his cheeks, his forehead, his neck.  They seemed to be alive… in the firelight.  Then the women…”  He took a deep breath, “… two of the women took the robe he was wearing and pulled it open.  There was a design, a face…painted on his chest, the Admiral called it the Horned God.”  He gulped again  “He said that it was the face of the god of Fertility.  The face was dark but the eyes were glowing bright red, and the mouth of the God was red as well…painted just at his navel…  And below that…”  Tears fell down his face.  “Below that…they had branded him… branded him with some sort of a fertility symbol…branded him…like an animal…”  He trembled with raw emotion, the pain of seeing his friend treated like that manifesting itself.

 

All Matty could do was hold him… hold and cradle him until he felt strong enough to go on.  After several minutes, he began again.  His voice was lower than it had been before and Matty had to strain to hear him.

 

“He had …an… erection…and he was painted on that, too…painted red…they walked him around the circle, and let all the female …things…touch him…there…  It was horrible…some had fingers and hands, some had claws, some paws, and they touched, and stroked him… He didn’t react to it at all… it was as if his body was functioning, but his mind was gone.  They completed the circle… and led him back to the center… the top and palms of his hands were painted, his legs…  The Admiral later said that these were all ancient symbols for strength, wisdom, intelligence, fertility, blessings for everything that they planned….”

 

Matty gasped.  The absolute horror Chip was conveying to her caused her mind to jump ahead and, in some part of her psyche, she realized the enormity of what had happened to Lee Crane. Her heart grieved for her friend, and her husband as well  She kept silent and allowed Chip to continue. 

 

“Then she appeared over the altar… the vampire creature… and she took human form and landed.  She was naked as well, her body was clear except for a tattoo on her chest… an intricate elaborate pattern of rings and knots… another fertility symbol, one that matched the … the brand on…Lee.  She had long black hair, ivory skin, and red lips.  She spun around on the altar, her arms above her head, showing herself to the gathering.  Then she jumped off the altar and  went to Lee.  All the time that this was going on, he didn’t move or react…he was like a zombie…” 

 

He slowly looked into her eyes and saw the pain she was feeling for him.  “I don’t know if he was even aware, but I hope to God he wasn’t…Jamie said the stuff that was in what was left of his blood was far beyond anything he had any familiarity with.” He shook his head, sadly.  “Said that the tox screens showed some really strange combinations. There were some he recognized, several dozen aphrodisiacs that were in the old medical books, a number of old drugs and herbs. All of which were supposed to subliminate conscious awareness and control, and increase sexual capabilities… And  that…that thing, she had taken his blood twice…I don’t know how he could’ve remained standing…”

 

She touched his arm, gently.  “Chip…we both know that drugs enable the body to do things it ordinarily wouldn’t.  And if these were drugs that Jamie didn’t know much about, then hopefully he won’t ever remember….”

 

Chip gripped her hand… “Matty, it was like being in a movie…some sort of strange sexually, sadistic movie.  But the victims in the movie were my two best friends.  That thing went to Lee and…took the catch at the neck and dropped the robe.  He was naked, just like the rest of ‘em… his body was covered….all over…with those designs and that face on his chest … the designs, they looked like they were moving.  All over him…  She pulled him to her, and …she wrapped her arms  around him…held her body close to him…  She kissed him…then kissed his body, all over, until she came to his … erection…”  He shuddered.  “She kissed and sucked on him.  God!  It was horrible…!  She was all over him and she kept kissing and ….touching.  She moved behind him and held him, and she… she… brought him to a climax…and then the women…they were all over him…she bit his neck again and started to take more blood…   they lifted him and tied him to the altar…  They pulled his arms far apart and then his legs… tied him so tightly that he couldn’t move, even if he wanted to… And one by one… the women aroused him and then mounted him…and they used him… Oh, God! they used him…” Chip choked out the words, “…like some animal brought to stud…  And I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it!.  It was as if some unseen force was keeping us from moving to help them.”

 

He sobbed aloud.  She wrapped her arms around him and held him until he drew a deep breath and continued, “When they were finished, … the vampire creature…she aroused him and mounted him, and as he came…she turned back into the vampire and when she was finished, she flew off of him and around him, then sliced him up with her nails and flew to the druid.  There was a sound coming out of her,  it… it was most hideous, horrible sound … The sounds around in the gathering increased… got louder and louder.  It sounded like they were all expecting something… All the while, the Admiral was tied up and gagged and being held next to him, by two or the other druids  She flew in front of them…  I couldn’t hear what she said, it was being drowned out by the sound from the crowd…. but I could see her talking and gesturing and then she spun away.  That was when they started moving toward the Admiral… the druid was talking to him…They took a cup of something and literally forced him to drink it.  Then they started to untie him…  That’s when I decided to make my move based on his actions…  So we watched, and in a short time, he started toward the altar… The sound increased… The women were dancing around the altar and Lee… They were touching him, and rubbing him… The Admiral had a stone knife in his hand.  He was getting closer and closer…when I looked around,  I realized that no one was seeing us, that they either couldn’t or just…didn’t .  So I signaled Sharkey and we moved down the hillside to the center of the stones/ All of a sudden, we could move again. It was like the invisible curtain that had been keeping us from moving had lifted… The Admiral had raised the knife and stabbed Lee…He raised his hand to stab him again and I grabbed it..  Once I did that, he collapsed.  Sharkey picked him up and with the two of the other men, started out of the circle and toward the beach.  I had to cut Lee free… he was completely out of it.  I threw him over my shoulders…Rod, Ski and Pat had stayed with me.  We got out of the circle, and when we got to the woods,  I put him down… we were going to go back to the boat.  Ski gave took off his fatigue jacket and we wrapped Lee in that.  We made out way to the beach and decided to go to the FS1.  I was surprised Lee made it…carrying him was like a carrying a broken doll… he didn’t even move…didn’t make a sound…we had tried to put something on the wound, we made some kind of a bandage… he wasn’t bleeding , but the shoulder looked so bad.  The tissue was all ripped and bloody.  It was real bad, Matty.” 

 

Again Matty saw that look of overwhelming grief in his eyes, and she didn’t know what to say, so she said nothing, and waited for him to continue.

 

He took a deep breath, and continued. “We got back to the FS1 and then took it to the boat.  When we finally got back to her, Jamie took Lee and the Admiral to Sick Bay ASAP and I took the boat and got the hell out of there.  State was the only one still concerned about the mission, and once we left the bay, the Island disappeared.  It was gone…just gone…and so there was nothing.  No proof of it… none…except the damage done to Lee and the Admiral…”

 

“And to you, and the men that witnessed it…” she said, softly.  She held his hand for a while and finally he looked at her. 

 

“I… I saw someone for a while…talked this all out… I thought it was over, Matty, but tonight, when the Admiral was telling the story… I… all the pictures came back… I can’t begin to tell you… not at all… Lee… Lee was okay, we thought, after the first incident…until… well, from what the Admiral told me… the vampire thing… said that there would be a child…and about a year later… well, Lee started to have problems…”

 

 

  Raido - Journeys

 

At the Nelson home…Present time

 

 

"Then…about a year later, we got the word about the island appearing again,"  Harriman Nelson said quietly as he continued to gaze out at the moon.  He and Karen now stood together in front of the window as he struggled to relate the events of years past.  "Shortly before the phone call came to the boat, Lee started having problems with the site…where he'd been branded.  It became inflamed and we thought it was simply infected.  Apparently, he went to Jamie about it, but everything Will tried, didn't work."

 

"Was Lee aware of what it was, and why it was in the place it was?  Did he know it was connected with Silve?" Karen quietly asked.  The tale had been a mesmerizing yet horrifying one.  She could tell how devastating it had been for Harry, having to keep things buried all these years.  She also understood why he had kept it buried.  No one in their right mind would have believed such things were true.  Yet the one thing Karen Davis Nelson had learned since coming to the Nelson Institute was that events once thought impossible were more than likely probable.

 

Harry turned and walked over to the bed, sitting down on its edge.  Undoing the belt on his bathrobe, he then took it off and threw it over on a chair.  Taking a deep breath, he told her, "No…where it was placed he, ah…didn't have any reason to question what I'd told him  Even if he had any indication…"  The details of the explanation were becoming more uncomfortable for him, yet he subconsciously knew he had to go on.  "As to any other possibility…for all the talk about Lee Crane's 'harem' of girlfriends earlier in his life, Lee's always been fairly straight laced.  I'm not saying the man was a saint, Karen, even Cathy knew that  During that time, after we had been to the Island, to my knowledge, he didn't have a relationship with any one.    We had several projects going on at the time,  and time in port was very sporadic, at best.  And I also knew that Lee's not the type to sleep around… He’s always been very choosy about the women he’s gotten seriously  involved with…So we pretty much ruled out a sexually transmitted disease.  When he went to Jamie, he was embarrassed, to say the least.  But Jamie already knew what it was and where it was.  We really didn't connect the inflammation with anything until we got the call about the island's reappearance."

 

She simply looked at him.  "Harry, he had to question it, especially after it became infected…I mean...the man isn’t stupid…and…"

 

"I know what you're getting at, but… no. After the wound itself healed, he never questioned it. Besides, it'd been a little over a year since it'd happened and he’d fully accepted what I’d told him about it.”

 

Karen seated herself across from her husband, as he sighed.  In the nine years she'd known him, she'd never seen him have this much trouble telling her about something.  Waiting a few moments, she then ventured, "I take it then that the inflammation of the brand and the fact that the island just suddenly happened to reappear wasn't coincidental?"

 

"No…it was a 'calling' of sorts.  Silve's way of calling Lee to her, to meet his son and to join them for all eternity.  Once again, if we’d only realized at the time what was happening to Lee, we might have prevented what happened next…”

 

 

  Thurisaz – The Seeing of Things to Pass

 

Years earlier…  a year after the first incident

 

 

Lee tossed and turned in his bunk.  For the past week, his sleep had been restless.  He felt as if something was preventing him from getting the deep seated rest that he needed.  He had slept no more than two hours in the last two nights.  He would make it just to the edge of sleep and then get rudely pushed to awareness instead of the deeper REM sleep his body craved.  He was reluctant to go to Jamison because he knew that the good doctor would want to do a complete physical and he didn’t have the time for that.  Nor did he want to have to listen to the doctor’s litany of do’s and don’ts.  He tossed again and finally sighed. 

 

Looking at his watch, he saw the hands indicating 0348.  He rolled onto his back and ran his fingers through his hair.  Sighing hard, he hauled himself to a sitting position, letting his legs hang over the edge of the rack.  He stood and padded to the head.  On nights like this, he truly appreciated the spaciousness of Nelson’s boat and the luxury of his own shower in his own cabin.  He decided to shower and dress, then take an early tour of the boat just to let the Delta watch know that he did care about the job that they did.  And he wanted to be able to make the 0600 mess call in the ward room.

 

Yeah…I need a shower…a shower, and week… no two weeks, in port… time to get away…

 

His hand hit the light switch and the tiny bathroom was flooded with bright light.  He took a good look at himself in the mirror.

 

Crane, you look like hell… the bags under your eyes have bags… man, you need to get some sleep!

 

He shook his head and ran the water in the sink, splashing his face with it.  He turned in the small room, turning on the water in the shower.  He closed the cover on the sink full of water, leaving a steaming bowl of water waiting for him, and he shucked his sweats then stepped into the shower.

 

Crane stood under the shower head and allowed himself the small indulgence of simply standing in the steaming water as it cascaded over him.  He wished that he could stand there forever.  The damn thing was, this was a no-brainer of a cruise.  Sail out of port, hit the Galapagos Islands, pick up some marine biologists and their samples then head back to the Institute.  Simple, no-brainer.  Yet, for some unknown reason, he was uneasy with the whole trip.  He felt like something was about to happen, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was.  He reached for the small bottle of shampoo and proceeded to wash his hair, then took the soap and lathered himself, again luxuriating in taking the time for himself, something he rarely did.  The hot water helped ease his tension and to feel somewhat better about the return to Santa Barbara.  The Admiral had promised that they would have at least a two week leave for all the men, and that was a leave they all needed.  He sighed and turned off the shower, reaching for the towel his steward left next to the door.  Wrapping the white fluffy material around his waist, he went back into his cabin for undergarments and his uniform.

 

He stood next to his bunk, toweling down, and he was about to roll the towel into a ball, when he looked down and saw what looked like a crimson stain on it.  Unrolling it, he saw that it was, in fact, blood.  Startled, he quickly began to examine his body.  He carefully moved his hands down his body  .  As his fingers touched his groin, , he was confused by the sudden pain and swelling of the region, and further perplexed when his hand came away with some blood on it.  He stared at his hand  for a moment and then wiped it on the dirty towel.  By nature an extremely modest man, he wondered at what he could possibly have done to injure himself there.  He didn’t have any recollection of any kind of an accident or injury.  And blood…now how in the hell did that happen?  Gingerly, he touched that area again hissing aloud at the daggers of pain that the touch sent through his being.  Reaching for his robe, he shook his head.  Nelson wouldn’t believe this, not at all… and for that matter, neither did he.  He had been perfectly fine when he had hit the rack at 0045.  Sleepy, somewhat anxious, but fine.  This was only four hours later.

 

He sighed and reached for the mike at the head of the rack, and double-clicked it to Jamison’s quarters.  He was sorry to be waking the doctor, but this was a case where he knew he had no alternative.

 

“Crane to Jamison…Wake up, Will.  I need you in my quarters.”  He waited for Jamison to answer and it didn’t take very long.

 

The sleepy voice responded.  “Lee…”  He cleared his throat.  “Lee, what’s wrong… it’s … ah… 0430, … your watch doesn’t start for another … what…two and a half hours.”  The voice became clearer and stronger…  “What in the hell are you doing up at this hour?”

 

With quiet dread, Crane responded, “Jamie, please, just come to my cabin…now.”

 

Alarmed by the tone in the Captain’s voice, Jamison replied, “On my way!” and the line clicked dead.

 

Moments later, Jamison burst through the door to the Captain’s Cabin, robe belt hanging, black bag in hand.  He closed the door and moved to Crane.  Lee hadn’t moved from the bunk.  He was now sitting slightly hunched over, arms wrapped around his middle, his head bent.  When Jamie entered, he didn’t even look up.  Moving to the Skipper’s side, he placed a hand on Crane’s shoulder.

 

“Lee…?  What’s wrong?”

 

Crane raised his head, and looked at the medic.  “I seem to have a problem… I don’t know … how to put this…  my… my uh… well… I’ve some pain, and it’s swollen… there was some blood…”

 

Alarmed,  “Blood!  How … where?… Lee, what are you trying to tell me…?”

 

Crane sat further back on his bunk.  “I… I …uh… think you may want to do a physical and I’d prefer you do it here.  I’d… like to try to keep this…uh… quiet…”

 

“Lee, what the hell are you talking about?  If you’re bleeding…then where?”

 

Flushed with embarrassment, he looked into Jamison’s eyes.  “My…groin.  Its swollen and painful…there was blood on my towel and my hand when I touched the area.”

 

The doctor took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, immediately knowing the place he was referring to.  “All right, Lee, just lie back and let me do an exam.  I promise…we’ll keep this as private as possible…”

 

Crane nodded glumly and laid back on his bunk, allowing the doctor to turn back his robe and examine him.  Jamison’s touch was gentle, but Lee still ground his teeth when the medic probed the area.  Seeing the concern on Jamie’s face didn’t help Lee’s peace of mind at all…

 

The doctor completed his exam quickly, and looked at the Captain. 

 

Lee was apprehensive and he asked,  “Well…?”

 

Jamie took a breath, and rummaged in his bag… “It looks like the wound that you got last year on the Island has somehow become infected and inflamed.  In other words, something’s irritated it.  It’s swollen and it’s bleeding a little…”  He briefly placed his wrist on Crane’s forehead.  “I think you’re running a slight fever, too…  Well, Captain, As of right now, you’re on Medical Leave.  Morton, O’Brien, and the new man, McDermott, can take your watches.  I want you here, in your cabin, in the bunk… You can do paperwork, but you can not…and I mean this or I’ll drag your ass to Sick Bay, whether you want to go or not…you can not get out of the bunk.  I’ll put some medication on the wound, but there’s no way that you can even dress with that the way it is.  The robe is all that you’ll be allowed, and that for your peace of mind, not mine.  If I had you in the Sick Bay…”

 

Lee replied uncomfortably, “Alright, Jamie, I get the picture.  I don’t think I could leave here even if I wanted to.  Frankly, it would be too damned uncomfortable.  I feel like an old man…if I move, it hurts like hell.  I don’t remember it being this bad last year when the wound was fresh.  Then again…” he shook his head, “I don’t remember much…of that time last year…."

 

Jamison grinned wickedly as he took a bottle of pills from his black bag, “Dr. Will’s famous medicines…take’em and you don’t remember much.  And now, to continue in that vein… take this….”  He held out a cup, along with several pills.  Lee rolled onto his side and supported himself on his elbow, he let out a grunt of pain, as he moved.  Reaching for the cup, Jamison read his eyes,  “A mild sedative and an antibiotic… one that you’ve had several times before.  One that I know that you aren’t allergic to…and hopefully this will do the trick, and in a few days, we’ll have it cleared up…”

 

When Crane didn’t give even attempt to fight him on it, Jamison looked at the Captain, puzzled by his compliant behavior.  “Lee, what’s bothering you?  You’re being unusually cooperative here…”

 

“I’m just tired, Will…  I…I haven’t been sleeping… and I wish I knew what caused this…”

 

The doctor shot Crane a look at the additional revelation that he hadn’t been sleeping. “Frankly, so do I.  And I do wish you would’ve let me know about your not sleeping.  I could’ve helped.”  Seeing the look on Lee’s face, he simply continued, “Look, I’ll inform the Admiral, and Chip, too…he’s on Delta Watch this trip, so he’s in the Control Room now.  I’ll shut the lights and you try and sleep.  The sedative and pain-killers should kick in soon”

 

Crane’s eyes were beginning to close…he nodded, slowly, fighting sleep.  “Send Chip to me with the Ship’s status reports…at the end of the watch.  Tell him…I…need…”

 

He fell into a light sleep and Jamison turned off the light and closed the door, then headed down the companionway to the Admiral’s quarters.

 

 

 Teiwaz – Spiritual Warrior

 

Nelson’s Cabin, several minutes later

 

 

Will Jamison knocked on the Admiral’s door, and waited for permission to enter.  He was deeply concerned for Lee Crane. And even more concerned about how they would explain to him what really was going on… as if they knew…

 

A voice, resonant but tinged with sleep, called “Come.”  Will opened the door and walked into the cabin.  Harriman Nelson had gotten up and was tying the belt of his robe around his waist.  One look at the CMO’s face as he entered and he immediately asked, “What’s wrong, Will?”

 

“It’s Lee.  The brand on his groin is inflamed and it’s been bleeding slightly.  It’s raw…looks like it did when he first came back on board…before it healed.  He’s in a great deal of pain and he’s running a slight fever.  Needless to say, he’s embarrassed and uneasy and he doesn’t know what he did to irritate it.  You’ve got to tell him, Harry.  You have to tell him what it really is, how he got it, and what it means.  And I’ve got to find a way to get it to heal.  I’ve restricted him to his quarters and he didn’t even argue the point.  In fact, he’s been most agreeable and that bothers me, too.  Lee’s usual piss and vinegar attitude is missing.  I gave him a sedative and told him that I’d let you and Morton know.”

 

Nelson ran a hand through hair mussed by sleep.  He shook his head and reached for a cigarette as he sat in the chair behind his desk.

 

“What should we tell him?  It’s been a year… 13 months to be exact.  And I thought we put it far behind us.  How do I tell a man like Lee Crane…that he was the center of a public … spectacle …in which he was sexually aroused a number of times…and in which seven women copulated with him??  That he was drugged and painted?  And how in hell do I tell him that the injury that I told him last year was a wound is, in fact, actually a brand.  A brand that these…creatures…did to him.  That he was branded like some kind of stud animal with an ancient symbol of fertility…to enhance his sexual performance and to make him capable of fathering a son with a creature from another plane of existence.  And I should tell him that with a straight face and a perfectly sober mind set, with the CMO of the boat sitting with me.”  He paused, drawing deeply on the cigarette, leaning on the desk on his elbows.  “Well, Will?  Help me out here.  You tell me what I should do…’cause I don’t have goddamn clue as to how I should proceed.”

 

Will Jamison settled himself into the chair facing the desk.  He was just as disturbed as Nelson was about the situation.   “Harry, if you don’t have a clue, how do you think I feel?  I just spent time with the man!  And to be perfectly frank about it, he was extremely uncomfortable with just calling for me and having me do an exam.  How the hell do you think I felt?”

 

Nelson shook his head, his hand running through his hair, “ Well, we both made the decision not to tell him the truth at the time.  I guess we have to decide if now is the time to, in fact, tell him.”

 

“I don’t know, Harry.  Anyway that you look at it, we’ll be facing a very traumatized man. I would rather there be someone more experienced in this kind of thing available for Lee to talk to.”

 

Nelson snorted in sarcasm.  “I don’t think so.  Who in the hell would be experienced in this kind of thing?  Pagan rites tinged with supernatural bits and pieces.  Let’s see…do we look them up in the Yellow Pages?  C’mon, Will…cut me a break here!”

 

Jamison sank back into the chair and looked at Nelson in desperation.  “Do you have a better idea, Harry?  If you do, Lord, please tell me…and I’ll go along with it.”

 

Nelson shook his head sadly.  “I don’t have a clue.  I guess we’ll just have to see what happens in the next few days and then see what we do.”

 

Jamison rose, wearily, “Well, I’m going to call Chip and tell him he’s got to double up on the watches, and then I’m going back to check on Lee.  I’ll let you know how he’s doing.  Then I’m going to have Cookie brew me up a strong cup of coffee.  I think I need it!”

 

“Fine, fine…tell Chip I’ll be in the Control Room at 0730.  I’ll go over a redo of the watch schedule then.”  He spread his hands on the desk as he stood.  His tone softened just a bit.  “Will, how do you think he’ll take the news?”

Jamison shook his head sadly, very despondent…  “I don’t know, Harry…I really don’t know.”

 

 

  Uruz – Brute Strength

 

Sickbay…during the next several hours…

 

 

The next few hours went quickly and events took a turn toward the bizarre.  When Jamison went to check on the Captain, he found Lee’s fever up and the injury more inflamed and irritated.  Concerned, Jamison tried to wake him but was unable to.  He decided to move Crane to Sick Bay so that he could monitor him more closely, notified Nelson and set about making arrangements.  As quickly as Jamison had made his decision, Lee was quickly and firmly established in the Sick Bay.  With his usual speed and efficiency, Will set up the IV’s and monitors, and then prepped the corpsmen to be ready to deal with Crane when he came to.  If he came to and remembered what was going on…

 

Will went to his office and sat with Lee Crane’s chart.  This was one of the most bizarre cases regarding the boat’s Captain yet.  He had seen Lee through many things, from aliens to mermaids and more…but this was way beyond his frame of reference.  Too many unexplained things… and once again, at Crane’s expense.  He had hoped that things would calm down in the Captain’s life but so far, he didn’t see any change.  Lee continued to take chances and pay the price for it.  Although in reality, this wasn’t Lee’s fault at all. Jamie shook his head, and started to write on Crane’s newest chart.

 

Patient: Crane, Lee

Admitted: 0745 ZULU, 18 September

Diagnosis: Inflammation of the tissues of the groin at the site of a pre-existing injury.  Said injury was an incident of branding the skin, and adding of dye to said brand in an incident, report of which is sealed at the orders of Admiral Nelson. 

 

Inflammation has caused surrounding tissue to become swollen and sore to the touch, and had caused some slight discharge of blood.  There seems to be a fever accompanying it, although after extensive blood work, I have been unable to determine a cause for either a fever, or the inflammation.  This isn’t the first time that Crane has thrown me a curve with his medical condition… and I certainly will do what I can to contain this.

 

Temperature: 102.5

BP: 110/60

Respirations: 60

Pulse: light and thready.

 

I have embarked on a heavy course of antibiotic therapy, and am pushing IV to maintain fluid levels.  For some unknown reason, Lee is losing blood volume.  Almost as if he is being drained of his blood.  It’s becoming a struggle to keep his fluid levels steady.  Will have to get volunteers for transfusions if this keeps up.

 

W.J.

 

 

   Hagalaz – Destructive Forces

 

Nelson’s cabin, several hours later…

 

 

As Nelson abstractedly went over some of the myriad of reports that covered his desk, the intercom on his desk interrupted him.

 

“Admiral, incoming from State.”

 

“Alright, Sparks… is it print or a visual?”

 

“The Undersecretary’s on the line, sir.  He’s requesting to talk to you.”

 

“Very well, put him on the videophone, and make sure the line is secured.”

“Aye, sir.  The signal is coming in now.” 

 

Nelson reached over, and turned on the video phone.  A ruddy face came into view.  Undersecretary Arthur Thees was older than Nelson, to the far side of his sixties.  He had blondish hair going to gray, green eyes, and a round face that smiled without feeling.  He wore the look of a typical bureaucrat, one too long in the job and too tired of it.  Without any pleasantries, he opened.  “Admiral Nelson, ComSubLant is forwarding your orders.  You’re on active duty as of now  the damned Island’s back in Ballydonegan Bay…and you and your men are going back there.  You have to put an end to it, Nelson.  There are bad things going on since you and Crane were there last year…they want you back.  An operative named McNally sent you this and said you’d understand.” 

 

Thees held a picture to the  monitor.  Nelson looked carefully at it then drew in a sharp breath with recognition. 

 

“All right…I’ll notify my Exec and we’ll alter course for Ireland.  Send me all the pertinent facts and fax me that picture now.  I’ll be in contact with you in…let’s say…three hours.  We’ll have changed our heading and be on our way by then.”  He reached over and turned off the phone.  Picking up his intercom, he clicked it on.  “Control Room, this is the Admiral.”

 

“Control Room, Aye.  Morton here.  Yes, sir?”

 

“Chip, we’ve been summoned back to Ballydonegan Bay…the Island has reappeared.  Calculate the most direct course, set her at 100 feet, and I want flank, all the way.  I’ll have the details to you as soon as I get them.  Come down to my cabin at 0930.  I should have everything by then.” 

 

“Aye, sir.”  Hesitating just a moment, “.Is there any further word on the Skipper?”

 

Nelson sighed, “No, Chip.  He’s not any better.  Jamie and I plan to send him back to Santa Barbara in the FS1.  We both feel he needs more than Jamie can give him here“.”

 

Chip was silent for a few moments.  “When are you sending him?”

 

“As soon as we can arrange it.  After I get the plans for this mission set, I’ll fly him home and then rendezvous with you in the Atlantic.  We can get to the Island in the next two days, so and that’s more than enough time for me to get back here to the boat.  But we can go over all that at our briefing.  When you come up here, bring Sharkey and the men that accompanied you to the Island last year.”

 

“Aye, sir. I’ll have the Flying Sub readied for takeoff. She should be ready in about an hour.”

 

“Very well, Chip.  Notify me when she’s ready. Nelson out.”

 

Morton clicked off and Nelson went back to his paperwork.  Several minutes later, there was a  knock at his door.  “Come.”

 

Will Jamison entered, his long face looking longer.  Nelson looked up, and seeing the expression on the Doctor’s face, asked, “What’s wrong, Will?  Something else with Lee?”

 

Jamison nodded and sat down heavily into the chair next to the desk.  “Nothing new, I just can’t seem to do anything to help him.  I’ve done everything possible here on the boat to see what’s causing the blood loss…and I can’t find a thing.  He’s gone through eight units… The next step is transfusion and that’s a whole other matter.  There’s only four men aboard that have the same blood type.  Lee’s AB Negative and that’s the most difficult to match.  If he keeps going through blood at this rate, I’m going to have to start substituting O Neg, and although it’s considered the universal type, there are risks further complicating the circumstances.”  He ran his hand over his thinning hair, “Damn…I’ve tried everything, Harry…  And I just don’t know what else to do.  None of the antibiotic therapies are working and his fever’s slowly getting higher, not suddenly mind you, but a slow progression…points of a degree at a time, but still higher and higher.  If it gets too much higher, we’re going to have to start ice baths, and with the wound, well, I don’t want to do that unless I have to…”

 

“I assume, then, that taking him back to Santa Barbara is out of the question?”

 

“I’m afraid so, Harry.  As much as I want to send him there, he just isn’t stable enough to transport. I’m afraid a trip in any way would possibly compromise all that I’ve been able to do for him so far.  He has to stay here on the boat until we get to port.”

 

“Theres, a change in plans there, Will. We’re not going home We’ll just have to hope that we can find some kind of help for him in Ireland.  We’ve just received orders from State to go back to Ballydonegan Bay.  The Island has reappeared and I don’t like the preliminary reports that I was given.  I’m waiting on the rest to arrive. We’ve changed course and are heading there at flank.  I’m sorry, Will….  But as concerned as I am about Lee, I have to get there as quickly as we can.  There’s something about this appearance that’s different.  I’ve got a meeting scheduled with Chip and the men that were on the Island last year at 0930. Why don’t you join us?  Maybe you can give us a different spin on the information that we receive.”

 

Jamison nodded and rose.  “All right, Harry.  I’ll be back then.  Maybe, if the fates are with us, our luck will change and something that we do will help Lee to improve.”

 

He nodded to Nelson and went out the door.  A short while later, Sparks called into the intercom,  “Admiral, incoming paper relay from State.  Being sent to your fax machine coded and marked TOP SECRET.”

 

“Very well, Sparks.  Thank you .”

 

The Admiral rose from the desk and went to the fax machine behind him that sat on the low piece of furniture that also held his private radio and several other pieces of equipment.  He waited, impatiently tapping on the side of the fax machine.  Within several minutes, the machine began to hum and slowly started to spit out the information.  He reached for and let the page feed into his hand.  He was anxious, dreading the faxed picture.  He knew… he knew what the picture would tell him, although part of him was wishing that he was wrong.  The picture landed in his hand and he took it and looked at it long and hard.  It filled him with fear and dread.  He knew that all that had happened last year was not some nightmare, some bad dream.  In his hand, he held the proof that Silve’s words to Turlough last year were true…too terribly true.

 

The picture was of a man in flowing, black, Druids’ robes.  He was carrying a Blackthorne stick, at his waist was a sword, ornate and covered with symbols.  He also had a large dagger and smaller knife at his waist, each in ornate scabbards.  The hood of the robe was down and he was looking at a face, at once familiar, yet very alien.  He was looking at the face of a young Lee Crane!  The face was the same as the one he had come to know at the Naval Academy…the same,  but yet, different.  His dark, curly hair, was long and flowing, almost to his shoulders.  He was wearing a beard, one that was amazingly neat and trimmed, in contrast to his hair.  And his eyes…his eyes were frightening; where Lee’s eyes were warm hazel/amber this man’s eyes were coal black, like Silve’s, and lacked any warmth at all.  Nelson shuddered just looking at him, and the man in the picture seemed to stare back.  Holding the picture in his hand, walked back to the desk, letting the rest of the orders, and information fall into the tray at the foot of the machine.  He sat hard at his desk, holding the picture, and staring at the visage it presented.  In deep emotional pain, he spoke to the picture…

 

“Lee… my God!  What are we going to tell you ??  What???”

 

 

  Inguz - Fertility

 

Present time…the Nelson home…

 

 

“You can have no idea what I felt when I saw that picture,” Harriman Nelson related to his wife.  “There was absolutely no doubt it was Lee’s son…  But there was also something else in that picture.  I swear…just looking at it…it was evil.  Pure,  evil.”

 

Karen was still having a hard time believing the story that her husband was relating.  “But he was an adult, Harry?  How?”

 

“You have to remember…we weren’t dealing with total reality here.  It was more akin to…the supernatural mixed with reality.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned…anything’s possible.”

 

She had seated herself on the bed, propped up by several pillows.  It was more than evident that Harry was having a hard time relating the story, but for some reason, she also got the distinct feeling that he was actually finally relieved to have things out in the open.  Leaning forward, she gently put her hand on his arm.

 

“I understand that, Harriman…I’ve learned a lot since I first came here…and one of the things I’ve learned is that the concept of reality often times doesn’t match what truly happens.”  She moved to within inches of him and placed her head on the back of his shoulder as he sat on the edge of the bed.  For the next few moments, they simply sat in silence until he was ready to continue.  Finally, she quietly spoke, “How did he take it when he found out?  I mean…it couldn’t have been easy for you to tell him or for him to…”

 

“It wasn’t… but we didn’t have a chance to tell him…he already knew…”

 

 

  Nauthiz – the Negatives of Human Needs

 

Sick Bay, same day, Years ago…

 

 

Will Jamison looked at his chart on Lee Crane for the umpteenth time since he had returned to the Sick Bay.  There had been dramatic changes in Lee’s condition in the short time he had been gone, and they looked to be for the better.  The inflammation had suddenly, almost completely, disappeared, to the point where the area was no longer swollen.  The brand itself was still looking fresh, but there was apparently no pain attached to it any longer.  Lee’s fever had also gone down to normal, making him more comfortable.  The only thing that continued, though at a slower rate, was the blood loss.  No matter what they did, his blood volume was down, and although they continued to add fluid to his body, the level continued to remain low.  Jamison sighed and made some further notes on the chart.  He put it down and was about to go and check on his patient, when the private phone line on his desk rang.  He picked it up.  “Yes, Admiral, what can I do for you ?”

 

“How’s Lee?”

 

He humphed.  “I was about to check on him, just now. According to his chart, surprisingly better.”  He ran a hand over his head,  “ Actually, he’s remarkably better.  The inflammation is suddenly gone and the fever broke.  He’s still losing blood volume but even that has slowed.  It’s encouraging, at least.”  Nelson was exceptionally quiet. “You called me on the private line.  What’s wrong, Harry?”

 

“I…uh…  I have something here that you have to see… you… and Chip…  Right away.  It will have an impact on all of us, and on this mission as well.  I need you to quietly get Chip and come to my cabin…right away.”

 

Jamison hung up the phone and stared at the handset.  He shook his head and looked for Frank Lerner.  “Frank, I’m going to get Mr. Morton, and go to the Admiral’s cabin.  If  you need me, I’ll be there.”  He left the Sick Bay on his way to claim Chip and then head to Nelson’s cabin.

 

 

  Jera – the Cycle of One Year

 

Nelson’s cabin, minutes later…

 

 

The two men knocked on the door, and entered as Nelson called ‘Come’. He gestured to the two chairs next to the desk.  They sat, and Nelson came around behind them.  Leaning over, he handed each of  them a picture.  While they stared at it, as he had, he quietly commented, “She was right.  And this appearance means more than State can ever imagine.  No one that I know of, except our people, saw what happened a year ago.  The true story isn’t in the report… they don’t know what Turlough and the others have planned.”  He paced the room, as Will and Chip stared at the picture in their hands.  Shoving his hands into his pocket, he asked aloud, “So… now what do we tell Lee?  Will, you said he was showing some improvement.  Will he regain consciousness?”

 

“I think he will…and very soon.  We’re managing the blood loss and the other two problems have disappeared in a way.  The brand is still livid but the other symptoms have gone.  I’m surprised, because I don’t understand how or why…but I’m pleased.  At least he isn’t getting any worse…and hopefully, he’ll wake up soon.”

 

“And when he does, and we tell him about the new mission, how do we explain this…there’s no denying that this is his son!”

 

Chip shook his head as Nelson and Jamison were having their discussion.  Finally he looked at the two men.  His blue eyes were sad as was his expression.  “I don’t know how we tell Lee, but we’d better tell him as soon as Will feels we can.  We better tell him the truth, and all of it, without any subterfuge or deception.  He has to know!

 

Quietly, Nelson added, “Yes, he does.  While I now believe that we should’ve told him at the time, although I never shared it with the both of you, he did have some level of awareness of what happened.  He told me he remembered having  relations…with the vampire.  Even so, this is going to be much more difficult.  So much more…I don’t know where or how to begin.”

 

Jamison shifted uneasily in his chair.  “Admiral, until he becomes aware, it’s a moot point.  And when he does gain awareness, then I would say, go slow and easy….let him tell you again what he remembers, and then you can tell him what he needs to know… if it’s not the full story, then so be it.  I think, right now, as  personal physician to all of you, that I’m recommending that Lee be treated by a professional with capabilities far beyond mine after this is all over.  Either,  to help him forget all of it, or to help him deal with it.  And he will have to deal with it, it seems to me, sooner than any one of us expected.”

 

Nelson nodded.  “Call me, and Chip, when Lee wakes up.  I think the three of us should be there when we tell him about this.  He’s going to need our support.  And with our return to the Island, I know he’s going to have some difficult, if not life threatening decisions to make….”

 

 

  Nauthia – the Negatives of Human Needs

 

Sick Bay, same time…

 

 

He felt Silve with him… felt her fangs in his neck.  He felt it as she slowly, so slowly, drew his life’s blood from him.  Her naked body lay against his, cold, and yet stirring his body to react to her, her hands arousing him as she drained his blood.  He found himself wrapping his arms around her, molding his body to hers, as she drank of him.  He found himself entering her, even as she was killing him.  She whispered to him, calling him to her.  He didn’t want to go with her, but he found he couldn’t resist her thrall. Time after time,  she kept returning to him.  Telling him of how they would be forever together, with someone called Midhir Cillian, who Silve was calling his son.  His son!!!!

 

His eyes snapped open and he looked around.  He wasn’t in his cabin.  Momentarily disoriented, he slowly panned the room, looking for someone to explain how and why, since he immediately recognized the Sick Bay.  Lee moved cautiously, remembering the pain in his groin as something that he didn’t want to experience if he could avoid it.  Movement brought no pain and that surprised him.  He tried to move again, and again found a lack of pain… there was some discomfort but it felt like it was from a dressing, not the wound itself.  He found one arm with a hep-lock attached to an IV line, and two bags hanging from them, one clear, and one filled with blood.  His free hand went to his neck, to the place where she had bitten him.  It hurt again, as if it had been used anew.  It felt like it did last year…after he woke up back here on the boat.  He sighed and heard footsteps on the deck coming in his direction.  Turning his head, he saw Jamison approach, followed by Frank.  Jamison wore his best bedside smile, and Lee was immediately uneasy.  Jamison smiling like that usually was the portent of some sort of problem.  He moved around on the bed, trying to get comfortable, and waiting for Jamie to drop the bad news.  At the same time, Lerner moved to the other side of the gurney, working with the IV.

 

“Lee!  How are you feeling?”

 

Warily, “I’m not sure.  Maybe you can tell me how I should be feeling and I’ll let you know if that’s the way I feel.  After all, you’re the doctor!”

 

“Enough, Captain!” he answered with a faint smile.  “I didn’t know you were such a comic.”  His face became more serious.  “Lee, honestly, how are you feeling?  Once again, you’ve been giving me a run for my money.”

 

He gestured to his groin, “The pain’s gone…  I can move and not feel anything too uncomfortable. I’m a little light-headed….”  Grinning a bit, “So I feel better, so I can get dressed and go back on duty, right?”

 

Jamison didn’t miss the hopeful note in Crane’s voice.  “I don’t think so, Skipper.  At least, not yet.  We’re still having some trouble with your blood pressure.  It’s way too low.  If you try to stand, you’ll be flat on your back before you get upright.”

 

He pushed himself up on his elbow, “Now wait a minute, Will… watch, I’m okay…I’m perfectly able to…”  He had continued to rise, and as he reached a sitting position, the room began to shift.  He let out low groan and laid back.  Taking a few deep breaths, he sighed and quietly said, “Okay, you win…  I’ll stay … at least, for the time being.” 

 

“For the time being what, Lee?” Harriman Nelson asked as he entered the Sick Bay with Chip Morton.  “Is he giving you a hard time again, Doctor Jamison?”  Nelson smiled slightly as the Doctor and Captain waged an ongoing battle of wills over who would control the Captain’s actions. 

 

“No, not at all, Admiral.  Captain Crane here just found out how right his friendly family doctor can be.  I think that this time he’s going to have to admit that I know better than he does..”

Crane wasn’t so out of it that he missed the doctor’s jab.  “Just a temporary setback,” Lee mumbled.  “I’ll have my uniform, Jamie.  I need to get back to duty…  Chip here is overworked and underpaid as it is, and this has just made him more overworked.”

 

Chip joined the banter, “Hey, not to worry, Skipper…  The Admiral has promised me a big raise for picking up after the goldbrick of a Captain that we have, who, by the way, just can’t seem to stay out of the Sick Bay.”

 

Lee humphed, “If you get a raise for picking up after me, then what do I get, for picking up after the rest of you?”

 

Harriman Nelson laughed aloud.  “We’ll work on that, Lee.”  He looked at Jamison and Chip, and Jamison made sure that they were alone, in the Sick Bay.  He fussed with the IV, and elevated the back of the gurney so that Lee was half sitting on the gurney.

 

“That a bit better, Skipper?” the Doctor asked.

 

Crane nodded and looked at the Admiral’s face, as he began to look once around the room

 

Certain that the four of them were alone, Nelson’s mood become very sober, and he quietly asked, “Lee, do you still remember much of last year, when we were on the Island?”

 

Unconsciously, his hand went to his neck, rubbing at the spot that Silve had bit him.  Jamison looked at it startled, seeing the fresh looking wounds.  “Lee!  What happened?  What did you do?”

 

Reacting with surprise at Jamison’s alarm, “Nothing, Will…nothing!  Why?”

 

“Your neck… it looks like….like you’ve been bitten again.”

 

Crane sighed and shook his head.  “I… I’ve had…dreams… of her… she wants me … to be with her.  And… and my…” his voice lowered to a mere whisper… “My…son.”

 

What color he had, drained from his face; the look of devastation in his eyes was beyond description.  “She said I had a son… she called him Midhir Cillian.”

 

Nelson’s face blanched and Morton and Jamison remained quiet.  Finally, Nelson looked Crane squarely in the eyes, “She’s right…  however she’s in contact with you, she’s right.”

 

Lee looked worse with those words than Nelson could ever have imagined he would.  Quietly, he stated,  “Then my dreams… of… of… being… with… of having….sex, like that… in that place,  they weren’t dreams… they were…they were real?”  Crane was horrified with the truth of what had happened last year.  “And I… have a son?  By her?”  He became more and more appalled at what he was hearing, and feeling.  “How???  How do you know, Admiral?  They disappeared… the Island… disappeared… they’re all gone.”

 

Slowly, quietly, Nelson explained, “They’re from another … plane… they disappeared, but we don’t know where they'd gone… we hoped we were done with them…but...They had their own agenda, when they…used …you.  She… the she vampire…she told the druid that she carried…your seed.  She told him that in a year’s time, their place would be found in this world.  She said that they would have a leader, because of you.  She told him that she had bound your spirit to hers and that once the ceremony was over, you would share eternity with her.”

 

Lee was quiet, listening, and then he said.  “I know… on some level, I must have been aware of what was going on.  I knew… but I didn’t care… it didn’t…affect me… I was just in need of one thing.  I needed to have a release… I…”  His face grew flushed with the remembrances.  “My body wanted a woman… any woman…It needed a woman… many of them… I…”  He ran his hand through his hair, “…couldn’t stop what was happening,  I tried but my body…I…had to keep …  It  needed more… and more… and then… then she was on top of me… and… and I remember… I … came… and she was turning into that… thing… that… vampire….  And the next thing…the next thing…  I couldn’t feel anything… but I was aware, totally aware and there was a hand holding this knife, and I felt it,  as it tore my shoulder, and was pulled out, and I knew that the next time it hit me, it would kill me, and I would be with …. Her…for Eternity… and I didn’t want to go there… but I knew I was going to go there…. And then…then…” there were silent tears on his face, as he remembered what he did of what  he had been subjected to .  The tears were tears of embarrassment, of humiliation, for with the memories, came the realization that others had seen it all…his friends, his crew and others as well. “And then, I woke up here.. How do…you know…about Midhir Cillian.  How…old…is he…where is he?”

 

With infinite slowness, Nelson took out the picture that he had been faxed, and handed it to the Captain.

 

Lee held the picture in his hand, and it began to shake…he looked up at Nelson… “Admiral… I…”

 

A strong hand on the younger man’s shoulder gripped him tightly.. “Easy, Lee.  We’re all in this together.  They… they aren’t real… they’re too far beyond this reality  I don’t know how we’ll deal with this, so we’ll have to go with this as it comes….You just rest now….”

 

Chip moved to the other side of the gurney.  He leaned over to talk to Lee, distracting his attention as Jamison put a sedative in the IV line.  “Lee, we all understand… above all, …that none of that…whatever that was, was willing done by you… none of it.  We all know you too well and we understand how you feel right now…” 

 

“But Chip… you...you can’t understand… It didn’t happen to you…it happened to me! Not to you .  not to any of you!  and what you all saw…My God!  What you saw!!  What …they… what I was….you don’t understand!  You can’t!  And a son!!  A demon son!!!  Oh, God!!!”

 

He turned his head, and buried it into the pillow, totally devastated.  There was nothing else that any one of the men standing around the gurney could say.  They waited until Jamison’s sedative took effect, then they retired to his office.  Jamison stepped out after gesturing for Morton and Nelson to sit.  He was gone for about ten minutes, and when he returned, he sat.  Looking at Nelson and Chip, he ran a hand over his head, sighed and said.  “He’s sleeping.  Not well, but sleeping.  He’s still down about a liter of blood volume wise, but it seems to have stabilized at that level.  Those marks on his neck are fresh.  Fresh bite marks…judging by the look of them, the bites were within the last few hours.  I wish I understood this, Admiral.  I really wish I did!”

 

“I wish we all did.  There’s some kind of psychic connection between him, and the vampire faerie.  I don’t claim to understand it, but… well, she let him know about his son.  She told me on the Island that she claimed his spirit.  That when they were finished with his ‘shell’ that she would hold his spirit close to hers.  She said that I had to finish the ceremony for it to be complete.  If she’s been coming to him in his ‘dreams’… why can’t we also believe she’s still draining his blood… who’s to say she isn’t here, on the boat right now!

 

Jamison and Morton looked at one another, horrified at what Nelson had said.  Chip was the one who finally spoke, “But, Admiral, if she’s here, now, then there’s nothing that we can do to stop her… especially if she’s coming to him in his dreams….”

“I think that our awareness of her will diminish her hold on Lee.  And I don’t think that she’ll hurt him further…she needs him.  I think, if you’ll consider this yourselves, that the problems he had, were her way of letting us know that she would be calling us again… That she wants him back is dramatically apparent.  Whether or not she gets him, well, we all will have something to say about that.”  Looking at the doctor, “Will, is Frank with him now?”

 

Jamison nodded.

 

“Good…tell him that if Lee starts to get restless, starts to move around a great deal…to wake Lee up.  Do whatever he has to to bring him around.  If he’s awake, and aware…well, then we can talk about all of this.  He can help us as much as we can help him.  And we will have to help him, if we intend to end this when we get to the Island.  I have some things to do, in my cabin, Will.  Chip, you come with me, and Will, call me down here as soon as Lee is fully aware again.”

 

“Alright, Admiral.  The sedative I gave him was a mild one.  He may come out of it in a couple of hours, if he’s fighting it.  I’ll call you when he comes around.  In the meantime, I’d like to see if I can stop this blood loss. Real or unreal reasons, Lee can’t afford to lose more blood.  He simply can’t.”  The doctor rose and went in towards his patient, while Chip and the Admiral went to Nelson’s cabin.

 

 

 Raido – Journeys

 

Several hours later, the Sick Bay…years ago…

 

More than three hours passed before Lee began to rouse.  Jamison knew that his sedative had been light, designed to calm, not induce deep sleep.  Still, he wasn’t totally surprised that Crane had slept that long.

 

Lee’s body was weak from fighting infection and blood loss, and even mild sedation could cause deeper sleep at this point.  Still, Jamie was glad when he began to come around.  While his pressure was still low, it had stabilized.  He hadn’t been able to raise the blood volume, he wasn’t losing any more.  The wound on his neck still wept and wouldn’t even begin to look like it was healing, but, kept bandaged, and with a good level of antibiotic on it and in the Captain’s body, would prevent any infection. 

 

As for Lee’s state of mind, about the revelations before he was sedated, well, Jamison would have to watch and monitor him on that.  He knew that Lee was deeply devastated by all that he had been told, and had turned away from those closest to him when he realized all that they had known, and seen.  Still, he, Nelson, and Morton would have to lead Lee back to the circle of friendship that sustained all of them.  And he also knew it was going to be a rocky road.

 

 

  Gebo -  the Gift of Harmonic Relationships

 

Present time … Lee Crane’s home…

 

 

That night, the Nelsons and Mortons weren’t the only ones dealing with shadows of the past.  Lee Crane and Caitlin Davis had gone back to Lee’s house after the dinner.  Robert, Lee’s son, had gone back with his mother,  Helen Crane to her apartment, for the two of them had made plans to spend the Saturday together, going to several of the local museums.  That gave Caitlin and Lee time alone together. Their relationship was still new, having begun only several months ago, after Caitlin’s declaration of love to Lee after he had been shot by Dr. Gamma.  He had finally realized that he had cared for her for a long time, and her unqualified gift of herself to him in the apartment one night, had made him realize that he had loved her without knowing it.  They had then made a commitment to one another on Valentine’s Day, and since that time had taken each opportunity to be together whenever the boat was in port, and their schedules allowed.  The both of them had many pulls on their time, so this night had been a special gift.  Lee had originally planned to be with Robert, Helen, and Caitlin on Saturday.  However, Helen and R.C. seemed to have made different plans.  It enabled Lee and Caitlin a night together, and they had put the early part of the evening to good use.

 

Their lovemaking had been particularly intense and they had fallen asleep wrapped in one another’s arms.  Caitlin’s last thoughts were how lucky she was…however, she certainly didn’t anticipate what had followed.

 

Lee found himself walking around a large ring…  There were all kinds of creatures…beings…things from nightmares, and fairy tales…  Things that he had never even imagined…  He looked down and saw that he was naked,  wearing only a robe with the front pulled open…  He also was aware that his body was painted with symbols and designs.  And he became immediately aware that he had an erection…  And he was being led around this circle, and that these beings were reaching out and touching him…the things… creatures… were touching him…touching him…there!  He tried to move away but his body wouldn’t obey.  He couldn’t get away from the women…Couldn’t stop moving with them…  He couldn’t stop the touches, the strokes, the look in the eyes of the beings looking at him…the pure lust that he saw in all their eyes and faces…He didn’t want to do this, but his body wouldn’t obey him.

 

“NOOOOOO!  Don’t touch me!!!” he screamed at the top of his lungs.  He swung his arms, pushing the body pressed against him…  Pushing against the women that were touching him, handling him.  He rolled off the bed, and on the floor, scrabbling across the room, and into the corner, huddling and shaking.

 

When he had pushed at the body next to him, he had pushed Caitlin out of the bed and onto the floor.  She hit her head on the nightstand, and fell, momentarily stunned.  She recovered and pulled herself to a sitting position, her hand going to the side of her head, and coming away bloodied.

 

“Damn!!”  She came to her knees, and leaned on the bed, searching for Lee.  Not seeing him in the bed, she scanned the room, the moonlight casting shadows and light around the room…  In the shadows, opposite the bed, she saw a figure, huddled in the corner.  “Lee!” she called sharply.  When he didn’t respond to her call, she rose and went to him, bending over him. Going down on one knee, she touched his shoulder.

 

He cried out, hazel eyes looking at her and not seeing her, “Don’t touch me!!” and he pushed her hand away.  He looked at her hands, saw the blood on them, and began to shudder.

 

Gently, she called his name in a softer voice.  “Lee…”  Hesitantly, she reached for him again, touching his shoulder…and this time he didn’t pull away.  Her touch became firmer and surer of herself. “Lee… it’s me…Caitlin.  Lee… can you hear me?”

 

His shudders slowed and his body gradually untensed.  “Caitlin?”  His voice was raspy and ragged.  He looked at her, seeing her for the first time since she had come over to him… he saw the blood running in a small rivulet down the side of her face… Horrified, “Caitlin… sweetheart… what…?  Did I do that to you?  Oh, God!  Sweetheart, I’m… I’m so sorry…”

 

He reached out with a shaking hand to touch, and she captured his hands in hers.  “I’m okay.  I just hit my head…I’m worried about you. What happened?”

 

He shook his head slowly… “I… I don’t know.  A nightmare, I guess.”  He shivered and she took his arm.

 

“C’mon… you’re cold and so am I.  Let me get your robe and mine… and then, we’ll talk…”  Steadying himself, with her help, he rose, and they took their robes from the foot of the bed, and moved to the easy chairs on the opposite side of the room.  Lee sat, his robe tied at the waist, falling open, his head thrown back against the back of the chair.  Caitlin sat opposite him, her elbows resting on her knees.  She had gone into the bathroom and wiped at the small cut on her temple, put some antibiotic and a band-aid on it, and come back quickly to sit with Lee.  She let him have silence for a while, watching his face, in the moonlight, as a number of expressions crossed it.  Finally, seeing the sad and fearful expression remaining there, she said quietly,  “Lee… Lee… we need to talk…”

 

With his head still thrown back on the back of the chair… “No…it was a nightmare… it’s over.  What concerns me more… is the fact that I hurt you…” he paused,  “maybe our being together… isn’t such a good idea.”  He swallowed hard.  “I… I love you and I’ve hurt you… that isn’t the way that things are supposed to be.  I’ll go and sleep in Robert’s room and I’ll take you back to your apartment first thing in the morning.”

 

“No!”

 

“Yes, I will!  I’ve made up my mind… that’s the way it’s going to be.” He tried to cower her in his best Captain’s voice.

 

“The hell it is, Lee Crane.  I’m not one of the sailors on your boat, and you can’t frighten me with the ‘I am the Captain, and my word is law’ voice.  You’re not getting rid of me that easily.  It’s taken me too many years to get here, in your arms, in your heart, in your bedroom, and dammit…you’re not putting me out because of a little accident.”

 

I pushed you out of the bed, you cut your head.  I hurt you!” he dropped his head into his hands and in a voice soft with pain and grief, “I … hurt…you!  The woman I love…I hurt you!…and I’m so very sorry.”

 

She was on her knees in front of him in a shot, holding both of his hands in hers.  “Lee, I fell out of bed, that’s all.  I fell and hit my head.  I’m okay and you didn’t do anything to me.”  She kissed his hands and slid into his arms.  In turn, he wrapped them around her, pulling her close.  “I’m not leaving unless I want to…and I don’t want to.  I love you  too much to leave because of a little accident.”

 

Absentmindedly, he kissed the top of her head, as he held her close.  They stayed that way, silently holding one another, for a long time.  As Caitlin heard Lee’s heart rate return to normal, and felt his arms tighten around her, she quietly asked, “What was it about?  The nightmare…”

 

“I don’t know… I don’t remember.  I saw images… horrible images.  It was jumbled…”

 

“You shouted out ‘don’t touch me’ and that’s when I think you pushed me out of bed.”

 

His voice became rougher.  “I don’t… remember…  I’m sorry… that I hurt you.”  He stroked her head tenderly and bent over to meet her lips and kiss her gently.  “I love you, Caitlin Davis, with all my heart and soul, and I would never…never hurt you.”  His kiss became stronger and more passionate.  Never!”

 

Her arms encircled his neck, and she returned the kiss with equal passion, “And I’ll never, never leave you …  Never…”  She kissed him with increasing warmth, and then as the kiss ended, she burrowed more tightly into his arms, and said, “Now…tell me about the nightmare.”

 

“I can’t… I don’t remember… I … don’t want to remember…it’s a bunch of pictures, women, creatures… touching…me…” He was lost in the memory and his hold on her slackened as he continued to talk.  “I was… naked… and there were these…things…touching me…”  His face flamed red telling her.   “They were touching me and I didn’t want them to…I guess that’s what I was calling out about… I must have thought you were one of them.  I guess that’s why I pushed you …”  He shook his head.  “I’m so…”

 

She put her finger against his lips…“Shhhh… don’t say anything about it again.  It was an accident and it’s all over.  I’m more concerned about you… Is there any more to the dream?”

 

“No, the images are all the same…”  His face went white, realizing what he had said to her, what he had told her.  The level of intimacy that he shared with Caitlin was deeper than with any other person in his life.  However, revealing his nightmare took their relationship to  a greater level.  He was embarrassed by what he was telling her, yet it felt right to be this open and honest about his dream.  This evolving relationship was an ever increasing wonder to him…

 

Caitlin was amazed that Lee had revealed this much to her and she decided to take things further, emboldened by his revelations to her.  “Is this … nightmare… related to the story that the Admiral told tonight?”

 

“I don’t know, Little Girl.  I don’t remember too much of that time.  It’s all blurry, the memories, and I guess that what the Admiral told tonight was pretty much on the mark.”  He pulled her hand to his shoulder and held her hand on a long white scar on his left shoulder.  “There… that one’s from that first trip to the Island.”

 

Hearing a tone in his voice, she asked, “There were more trips…?  It seems to me that the first one was more than enough.”

 

She looked at  him as he shuddered slightly.  In a voice, less than a whisper, he said “Yeah… we went back… but I can’t tell you anything else about it.  The report and the incident are Classified although I don’t remember why.”  He sighed.  “And trust me here, sweetheart, if I did remember, I’d tell you at least that much.”

 

“I know…” She wriggled out of his arms, and standing, pulled him towards the bed.  “Let’s get back into bed and, hopefully, we can get some more sleep.  I think we’ll have a better chance of talking about this in the morning.”

He wrapped his arms around her as they moved to the bed, “Have I told you lately how much I love you, Little Girl?”

 

She giggled and held him close.  “Not within the last four hours…but you certainly can show me…and I am going to do what ever I can to make you forget those nightmares.”

 

 

 Pertho- Things Unexplainable

 

Years earlier, the Sick Bay…

 

 

Lee woke, and when Jamison came to his side, he attempted to feign sleep.  A warm hand on his bare shoulder told him that the charade wouldn’t work.  Slowly he opened his eyes and found a pair of caring brown ones looking at him… an easy smile played on Jamison’s face. 

 

“Have a nice nap, Skipper?”

 

“Not really.”  He moved, and sighed.  “Not really at all.  She was there…in the dream.  I can’t get away from her, Will.  I can’t…and the rest…I can’t look them in the eye… what they saw … Will, it wasn’t me… I…”

 

“Lee, what happened to you was beyond your control.  Beyond the control of anyone that was involved.  You, the Admiral, even Chip and the men… no one could control what was happening.  We were just fortunate that Chip was able to rescue you both, as he and the men did.”

 

“But you don’t understand!…”

 

“No, Lee.  I don’t understand…But you have to believe that no one here, from the Admiral to any of the crew that was there, thinks any less of you because of what happened there… and no one wants to see you think less of yourself because of it.  It’s over.  We have to deal with the consequences of it.  We will deal with it…and we will move forward.  Now…you…just rest.  I’ve got to go and call the Admiral and Chip.  They want to talk to you…”

 

Despondently, he said, “All right, Will.  Seems as if I don’t have much of a choice.”

 

“No, Skipper, you don’t.  Frank’s going to come in and we’ll elevate the bed.  We’re going to get you up in about 24 hours, because you are needed on the bridge. I’m not happy about it, but you are.  Regardless.  And in the light of what we talked about here, I also want you to realize that your friends, and the men that were on the Island, were aware all along of all that went on, and that didn’t change their regard and respect for you one iota.  Think about that, Lee.  Just think about it.  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

 

Crane merely nodded as Jamison went to his office.  He lay there thinking.  Reflecting on what Jamison had just told him.  Will was right.  Once he had recovered last year and come back on duty, there had been no change.  His relationship with Chip, on and off duty was the same.  His relationship with Nelson, whatever that was, had not changed.  The men continued to work with him in the same way.  The only change, if any would now be in himself, now that he remembered what happened.

 

A son!  I’ve got a son!  A grown man, apparently, in a year’s time…

 

It didn’t make any sense to him and he didn’t know what to do or say about it.  He just didn’t know.

 

He turned his head as footsteps approached, Nelson and Chip Morton coming to the bedside.  Nelson’s eyes told Lee more than he could have asked or sort as an answer.

 

“Lee?  Feeling better?”

 

“Honestly?  Not really…”

 

“Too much information, in too short a time?"

 

“Something like that.  I still don’t understand…”

 

“None of us do, Lee.  And I don’t really see how we can even begin to figure any of it out, unless we do a good long search in the old tales and right now, we really don’t have the time to do that either.”  He hesitated and took a breath, then, “We’re on our way back to the Island.”

 

Lee stiffened.  “Why?”

 

“The island’s…reappeared.  This Druid, … the young one, is taking young people and bringing them to the Island.  No one’s been able to set foot on it. .  It doesn’t allow any one to land… to get close.  And then there are the storms and the earthquakes.”

 

“What’s going on with the storms and earthquakes?

 

“Well, it seems as soon as the Island appeared, a whole new set of phenomena began.  The weather turned, and Ireland and Britain, have begun to have earthquakes.  They’re growing more severe with time…and both places have been in almost a twilight darkness since.  So it looks like we’re going back.”

“And… that …being, …my son?”

Nelson drew a deep breath and slowly exhaled.  “He seems to be the key to this.  Silve said that he would lead them out of the Island.  To take over the real world.  Apparently…it seems to be happening.”

 

“His name…Midhir Cillian…do you know what it means?”

 

“I’ve done some investigating and from what I can find out…it’s a combination of meanings.  A god of the underworld and of war or strife.”

 

“And…”

 

“Well, I think we could say it means War Leader.  They’re planning a war against the real world and they have the power, or a good part of it…but they need you, and they need me.  They need me to …kill you to complete the ceremony that’ll give Midhir Cillian his ultimate power…and I, for one, have no intention of cooperating at all.”

 

Crane smiled warily.  “Well, I’m not too thrilled with my planned participation either, sir.” 

 

Nelson arched an eyebrow and replied, “Well then, I guess we’re going to have to change their plans, aren’t we?”

 

Lee nodded, suddenly tired.  Will noticed and said to Nelson, “I think my patient needs a bit of a rest, Admiral.  Why not come back in, let’s say, two hours.” 

 

“Fine, Will.  Chip has the watch so I’ll come by, Lee.  We have some planning to do before we reach the Island.  Maybe with a bit more rest, you’ll be able to help me refine this plan that I’m forming.”  He clapped Crane on the shoulder.  “We’ll beat this thing, Lee.  All of us, working together…we’ll beat them.”

 

“I hope so, Admiral.  ‘Cause I don’t exactly like the final picture that I see if we don’t.”

 

The Brand of Fertility

 

Present time…Lee Crane’s home, later that same night…

 

Lee had taken Caitlin back to the bed and had held her close.  He felt terrible about the way he had pushed her out of the bed, and that he had hurt her that in the process.  He was still finding his way about this relationship and tonight certainly hadn’t helped.  Tonight!  The memories of that time, in Ballydonegan Bay, were still fragmented, but what he did,… what he was remembering,… was terrible enough.  He pulled Caitlin closer and she sighed softly in contentment.

 

She had waited a long time to be wrapped in his strong, loving arms…a very long time.  She squirmed closer, allowing her hands to gently caress his lean body.  She was bothered by his nightmare.  Not for her sake, but for his.  Whatever had taken place years ago had left a deeper impact than Lee had imagined.  Her hands aimlessly wandered over his lean form, feeling the tenseness, and beginning to try and ease it.  He relaxed slightly and she smiled to herself, knowing even this early in the relationship, he was at ease with her touch.  If only his head would relax as well.  He released his tight grip on her and rolled onto his back, pulling her to him, pillowing her head on his shoulder, and wrapping an arm around her to hold her close.  She lifted her face to his, and kissed him warm and lovingly.  He began to rub her back, as her hands began to move over his body again, moving further downward.  Gently stroking his stomach, her hands found their way to his groin, and as she lightly touched, she felt the ridges of the brand.  Surprised at her discovery, she ran a light finger over the outline.  At that same time moment, she felt his body tense with her discovery. 

 

“Lee,” she asked softly, “What’s that?”

 

Abruptly, he rolled from the embrace and sat up, grabbing for his sweats and pulling them on.  Curtly, he told her, “What’s that?  It’s a scar.  That’s all… a scar.  Look, I can’t sleep… I’m going out… on the deck… You stay here and sleep.”  Without looking back, he padded out of the room and left her behind.

 

She sat up in the bed, and stared at the doorway, hurt and angry.  Hearing him go down the stairs, she sat and listened as the deck doors opened and then closed.  Damn!   Stubborn man!!!!  Damn! 

 

Rising rose from the bed, she grabbed her oversized NIMR tee-shirt and went down the stairs, following him out to the deck.  She opened the door and saw him, standing at the edge of the deck, looking out to the sea.  Closing the door behind her, she then leaned back against the wall of the house.  Seeing the set of his shoulders, the way he was leaning on the deck railing, she momentarily thought of relenting, but then she said, quietly but firmly, “You either tell me or I go ask HN about it.”

 

With an equally determined, quiet voice and no facial expression, he replied, “Go on... ask him.  He won't tell you a thing.”

 

“He'd tell Mom…and Mom would let me know, if I ask.”

  

 “The Admiral won't even tell Karen about this.”

 

Oh, really????  I saw the looks between you and HN and Chip....and if I saw them, you can damn well bet Mom did, too.  I know my mother, Lee...and I’ll be willing to bet dollars to donuts that she's talking to him right now.”

 

“And I know him, too…better than you do.  He won't tell her... it’s between us... The three of us and the men that were involved.”

 

“But Chip will tell Matty and she’ll tell me.”  She was holding her ground.

 

“I don’t think so, but even if Chip or the Admiral tell them, they won’t tell you… it’s not something you would want to share with someone you love…”       

 

She looked at him and then she said "Dammit, Lee!  You didn't throw me out of bed because of nothing.  Something's wrong.  Or something was wrong, years ago.  If you won't tell me, one way or the other, I will find out."  She started to the door to go back up to the bedroom, and then paused,   "Look...I love you....and if there's to ever be anything else....you've got to trust me."

 

“Little Girl, trust is one thing, telling you about this…is something else,” he said sadly.

             

"Lee...trust me to know that I love you and that nothing you can tell me will change that.”

 

Still there was no expression.  “This could...  believe me…this could… you don't want to know about this...this…” 

 

She takes his hand..."Yes, I do want to know…, do you think that after all these years of loving you...anything is going to change that? Trust me, Lee... Trust me!  And maybe, just maybe telling me will help put it at ease."

             

He shuddered, at once cold and feeling totally alone.  She moved behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist and she laid her head against his back, just standing there, against him, holding him. 

 

Feeling her warmth, and her love, he finally relented.  "It's... ugly...the whole thing… ugly… I… I was...  I was part of a ceremony…an unwilling participant in ... a dark, evil ceremony … I don't remember all that much of it, at least not clearly.   What I do remember, I wish I didn't."  His hands tightened on the rail, as a flash of memory suddenly tore across his awareness.  The pain and horror of the memory caused him to sway in her embrace.  His voice dropped to a whisper. "Oh, God!  I remember…  The scar…the scar that you found…I, ah…It's from a brand… Caitlin, I was branded…like some sort of prize animal…"  He swallowed hard, and turned in her grasp, to take her into his arms, and simply hold her tightly.  "They treated me like I was an animal…nothing more…nothing else…  A prize animal put to stud…"  His body shuddered with embarrassment and humiliation.  Tears fell freely, almost as if his body was trying to wash away the memory.

 

After a short while, she gently pulled away from his embrace.  "Lee…come and sit with me… Tell me what you do remember."  She took his hand and led him inside to the Great Room and to the couch.  He sat at one end, and she sat, facing him, her legs drawn beneath her, and holding his hand, tightly, said, “Okay, now, tell me…and remember… it can’t hurt our love.  Nothing…ever will hurt our love…”

 

 

 Thurisaz – The Seeing of Things to Pass

 

Years earlier, several days later… in Ballydonegan Bay

 

 

Several days later, the SSRN Seaview broke the surface in Ballydonegan Bay.  Her majestic form and size dwarfed the many smaller craft afloat in the Bay.  It had been a delicate maneuver for the boat’s Captain and crew, but once again, they had made the impossible, possible.  When the boat settled at anchor, a number of red and blue jump-suited men scurried about on the deck of the silver craft.  A tall, blonde man in work khakis stood on the flying bridge, supervising the work.  In less than twenty minutes time, the boat lay at rest, and at the hatch at the foot of the sail, a group of sailors emerged and put several rubber rafts into the water.  The rafts were followed by a number of men in the jumpsuits as well as five men in khaki.  The group split into three separate ones and the men began to head toward the Island and the sudden fog that surrounded it.

 

The fog bank looked thick, almost viscous, seeming to have a life all its own.  The three small craft threw lines to one another so that they would not get separated, and the lead raft, plunged into the bank of clouds.  The lead raft had two large portable lamps that they tried to use to see…they steered by the compass and the position of the island.  Then suddenly, in the center of the fog, when they were completely disoriented, the murkiness began to part.  With visibility now somewhat increased, they began to move more rapidly toward the Island.

 

Sitting in the lead raft, Lee Crane was uneasy and uncomfortable as they made their way to the Island.  Jamison had been correct in telling him he wasn’t ready to leave the Sick Bay but Lee was just as adamant about being on the mission to the Island. What had taken place in the year before there had impacted him. So, the Seaview’s Captain and its’ Chief Medical Officer struck a deal.  The compromise was for Jamison to come along with them.  Secretly, though, the tall, lean man was glad that the CMO had come was along.  He’d been suffering bouts of dizziness since he had left Sick Bay…and Crane being Crane, he hadn’t told anyone.

 

Will Jamison had been diligent about monitoring the Captain’s blood pressure and the very fact that Lee hadn’t complained about it convinced the doctor of the need to watch him carefully.  Everything else was better and improving, except that his blood level continued to be diminished, and although Lee didn’t tell him (as he knew he wouldn’t), Jamison’s constant vigilance confirmed that the Captain was having periods of lightheadedness and dizziness. He also knew that with all that Crane was dealing with, emotionally as well as physically, the less said, the better.  He would simply keep the Captain under close observation, and see that nothing else happened to him.

 

All of a sudden, the beach of the Island appeared as part of the fog bank lifted.  The men quickly made for it, before the fog closed in again, and beached the lead raft, pulling the others quickly in.  Once they had secured all the rafts, they started to survey their surroundings.

 

The beach area was rocky and foreboding.  No vegetation lightened it in any way.  As they looked around, all they could see was an almost sheer cliff-face and no visible path inland.  The weather was stormy, rain and thunder and lightening beating on them…a stiff wind was also present, making the conditions all the more miserable.

 

“Not very welcoming, is it?” Nelson asked no one in particular. 

 

Morton stood looking up at the cliff face and then glanced over at Nelson.  “No, sir…and quite a bit different from when we were here last.  Either this is a different beach or it’s a different Island altogether.”

 

Looking around, Nelson shook his head.  “No, Chip…it’s the same Island…  Just a different look.  Remember…all of you… these creatures are from a different plane… they’ve got powers that we don’t understand.  Don’t believe all of what you see.  It could be what the sprite called an enchantment.  And we don’t know exactly how to fight them… they intend to take over our world.  All we do know is that we have to beat them…however, we can…and at any cost.”

 

The men nodded solemnly, knowing that, to a man, they had been down this path many times before and that they would certainly do the best that they could.  They organized into two groups…Nelson and Crane with Jamison, Rodriguez and Kowalski; Morton and Sharkey with Malone, Patterson, Stevens, and Edwards.  Each team’s aim was to seek a means to get into the Island itself.  They each spent several hours searching until Nelson and Crane’s team found what looked like a narrow path, between the rock face and the beach.  It was small and well concealed but, narrow so as to allow only one man to pass through it at a time.  After a brief discussion, the two parties moved to the path, Morton and Sharkey leading the way, with their party followed by Nelson and Crane.  As Lee came into the pathway, the stones began to shake and creak and the earth beneath them began to shift.

 

The men reached out to balance themselves, and to stop from falling.  The movement stopped, and they recovered their balance, and then continued on their way.  Sometime later, they reached the end of the path, and found that they were on the edge of a ridge, that led downward, to a circle of stone pillars with an altar in the middle…

 

Lee froze at the sight of the stone ring.  Tired, and weak, a multitude of fragmented memories assailed his mind, and he shuddered with the onslaught.  All of the men, who had been here before, had similar experiences.  The memories… recollections of that time came flooding back with a vengeance.  They all stood and stared, at the empty area, soaked in rain, looking bleak and barren and unlike the night of the ceremony.  

 

The air of unease amongst them all increased, as the rain slowly stopped and the area was suddenly dry.  The clouds continued to roil and boil and the lightening increased.  The air in the middle of the circle became warm and felt heavy.  The Seaview men made their way down to the bottom of the ridge and stood at the edge of the circle.  Above the altar, a large dark cloud appeared and it began to spin and twist, and soon, at the foot of the altar, three figures stood.

 

Turlough, the elder; Silve, the Lhiannon Sidhe, and the third, the male in the pictures that Nelson had, the one that Silve had called in Lee’s dream, Midhir Cillian.  The elder nodded toward the group of men, and spoke.  “Aye…Ye’ve returned…an’ in yer minds it’s not ta be finishin’ the ceremony.  Ye’ve other things in yer’ minds, I’m thinkin.”

 

Stepping forward, Harriman Nelson confirmed the old Druid’s suspicion.  “Yes, we do have other things we plan to do, Turlough, and I think that you know why we’re here.”

 

Turlough nodded gravely.  “Aye…’tisn’t fer the father ta know the son.  Yet he will, fer tis time…  Aye…tis time…”

 

Midhir Cillian purposely stepped forward and stood in the center of the center of the circle.  He was dressed in a flowing black robe, open to the waist, and belted with a coarse cord, looking as he did in the picture that Harry had on the boat.  His garb was the same and he carried the same weapons as well.  Harriman Nelson was looking at a Lee Crane that was totally evil.  Longer, curly hair, a carefully trimmed beard; a similar lean form, equally strong looking.  His eyes, eyes that were coal black and completely without any feeling.  Eyes that were cold…cold and evil.

 

Silve spoke to them, her voice different than Harry remembered, but still sounding as evil as before.  Glancing at Nelson, but looking hard at Crane, she stated, “Lee Crane… this is yer son…the result of our coupling.  Yer son… He bears yer likeness and he crosses both worlds, but he is mine.  Mine… and he is here ta do what we have planned fer eons.  We have begun… we have the young ones… they’ll soon be ours, in mind and heart, and then… then… the end of the Otherworld… and the reclaiming of it fer all of us!!”

 

Lee was staring at the man that they called his son.  In return, the younger man bowed from the waist, not in respect, but in mocking.

 

Father… I am pleased… ta meet ya,” Midhir’s words were mocking in tone and in presentation.  “Me dear mother has spoken of the man who fathered me.”  He spoke with further derision.  “She has told me that yer performance that night was unparalleled.  It musta been, seein’ as how I stand before ya.  Congratulations… Da!”

 

Lee blanched at the words, realizing they were meant to be hateful and hurtful.  “I… I’m afraid that I can’t return the…greeting with the same enthusiasm, Midhir Cillian…”

 

Silve floated toward Lee, extending her hands toward  him.  Her red lips shone in the eerie light.  Her eyes, black and lifeless, stared at him.  She floated around him several times, coming closer and closer each time.  She reached out for him and her hand brushed his face.  It was cold… cold as death.  The other men, now frozen in place, were unable to move or speak.  All they could do was watch as an unspeakable evil approached and spoke to the Captain.

 

“Ye will join me, darlin’ man … join me in me world…” she whispered to him, hovering close to his face, and leaning to his ear…“Join me…f’rever… We’ll control yer world, yer son, you and me.  Together with Turlough… we’ll bring our people back to the world ya claim as yorn.  Me an you…tagether fer eternity!”

 

He felt himself caught in the seduction of her voice once again, but he resisted the thrall.  “No,” he stated quietly.  “No… I will not be with you…”

 

“Ahhh….” and she caressed his face gently again, her long nails not visible or extended.  Lee shivered, with her touch… he wanted to pull away, but  the power that she had over him compelled him to lean to her.  “Ya see… yer not as strong as ye think.  I’ve more power than ye thought over ye.”  She lightly touched the ground, and stood in front of him.  She reached pulling his unresisting face to hers, and kissed him, long and passionately. She drew him to her. He found that his mind fought her, but his body wanted to return the kiss, a slight sigh escaping his lips as his warm ones touched her cold ones, his mouth joining a second time  with hers in a passionate kiss. She pushed him off gently , and smiling wickedly,  ran her finger across his lips, drawing blood with the nail. She took the finger and sucked on it once, her eyes never leaving his, “There…see… me power is still great.  Yer likin’ me touch…and me kiss.  But I need ye ta be with me completely.”

 

Lee seemed to come to himself.  “No…” he said in a low voice.  “I will not!  I don’t want to be with you … Under any circumstances! You’re an evil …thing… I don’t want to be near you!” 

 

“Ahh, but yer didn’t stop kissin’ me.…  Twasn’t a bad kiss, was it?  Yer likin’ the kiss, I’m thinkin’... at least from the way that you kissed me back,” she replied most seductively.  She lightly stroked his shoulder, cold fingers reaching under his shirt, and making contact with warm flesh.  He again felt the cold as he had last year, and with the remembrance, the control he had began to slip.  “Yer findin’ that yer attracted ta me, aren’t ye?”

 

“No!”  Lee was horrified at the suggestion.  “I…  I’m not!”

 

Their conversation was interrupted by harsh laughter.  “He’ll not come ta ya this time, Silve!  He hates ya and what ya did ta him… and he hates me!  His own son!  He supplied the needed seed…twas all that he did!  Here now, woman, let’s get on wi’ it…I find I’m needin’ me full power ta finish what we started.  Ya need ta kill him!  Ya need ta have his friend here finish the ceremony and do the killin’…so get on wi’ it, woman!  Stop all this nonsense.  These young ones need ta be shown the power.  I need the power!!!!!”

 

“’Tis no nonsense, Midhir Cillian!!  I be yer mother, and more.  ‘Tis my decision when ta begin …Mine and Turlough’s.  We’re the ones wi’ the power and the knowledge fer now.  Ye be strong…but we’re stronger.  Ye have the power, aye…but we have more.  ‘Tis us, not ye, that the decision makin’ comes from.  Yer thinkin’ that yer the one ta be leading us ta take over…and that be the plan.  But plans kin change and there are others that kin take yer place.  Others that were conceived that night… mayhap they’ve not yer power, but they could…they could!!” she warned.

He slammed his stick into the nearby stone, and it sparked.  “Woman!  I am the one ta lead!  ‘Twas written that way, or so ye said.”  He angrily pointed the walking stick at Lee.  He was the one…  The one ye used to plant the seed.  Kill him!  Gi’ me the power I need, the power I crave ta do what I was conceived ta do.  Ta destroy the other-worlders and make their world ours again…as it was meant to be!!”

 

“Midhir!  Ye be knowin’ that the plans be one thing…  That the final decision is ourn, not yours!  In spite of the reason ye were conceived, in spite of the power that ye have, and that ye’ve been promised, we are yer elders!  We make the decisions!  And ye will show Turlough an’ me the proper respect or I will take me own measures.”

 

The air crackled.  Two strong spirits warred.  Then one tactfully backed down and the other moved back to Crane.  “I’ve summoned the women ta this place.  We need ya friend.  Yer going ta be joinin’ us soon…yer goin’ ta come over ta our side o’ this plane.  I’m wantin’ ya body, but tis yer spirit that will be mine…”

Lee found that now, like the others, he was also unable to move, to do anything but watch and listen.  Silve turned to Turlough.  “What must we do ta be certain that we see his spirit stays wi’ me…  I want his soul wi’ mine. We know that his friend needs ta kill him fer the power ta go ta Midhir.  What do we do, Turlough?”

 

The ancient druid/sorcerer looked at the scene.  He knew of the battle of wills going on between Silve and her son.  The younger sorcerer wanted all the power that his mother had promised him and more… and Silve had become fascinated with the mortal that had fathered him, deciding that she wanted the spirit of the man.  Turlough knew she wanted the man as well.  He knew she had had a brief taste of something at the ceremony for which she hungered for still.  And she thought that keeping the human male’s spirit with her would be what she needed.  He believed that she was wrong.  He knew that the conflict between Midhir and Silve centered around this.  Yet he also knew what the plans were for the beings here to retake the other world.  He also knew that Midhir would do what he was supposed to, once he had the power.  However, he feared that once the younger male had the power, he would find it so fulfilling, that he would go way beyond what was planned.  Turlough sighed.  They were so close to completion he had to let the plan stay its course.  But he was also worried about the conclusion.  He waved a hand and the circle was suddenly filled with beings.  The Seaview men were surrounded by strange beings keeping them from the circle, Nelson being held apart from the rest of the men.  The six women appeared and surrounded Crane.  Silve moved toward them, her son standing off to the side, next to Turlough.  The older man looked at the younger sadly, knowing what he desired, and what he would receive before the ceremony was finally over. 

 

Silve floated toward Lee and the women.  She smiled at him, a smile that was both wanting and victorious.  “Ye will soon be mine…yer friend will finish what we begun …”  She reached out and stroked his face.  “We know that a  passin’ that is unwillin’ brings pain, and in the pain o’passing to this plane, ye will change…and yer mind will come over ta our side.  Yer friend will be killin’ ya, and there will be part of the pain.  Yer dying will be slow and painful… an’ he’ll not know that it’s ye  ‘til he’s done.  And then once ye’ve passed, an’ come ta me… my son…our son…will have more power than anyone ever imagined.  An’ come ta me yer will…so filled with hate an’ loathin’ fer yer friend, who killed yer…”

 

The women were holding him tightly and the enchantment that she had cast prevented him from moving or speaking.  The women held his head and held a cup of steaming liquid to his lips.  Caught in the enchantment, he drank it, and felt the warmth of it and his grip on control slipping.  The grip of the women loosened and Silve floated to the ground, her teeth shining in a smile. 

 

She extended her arms to him and he stepped to her.  “Come…” she hissed softly   “Come ta me…join me… Join with me in me world…”  He extended shaky arms to her and she stepped into them, sliding her arms around him as he pulled her to him… bending his  head, to pull her into a kiss.

 

His mind was crying out for his body to obey him…yet it wouldn’t …  it was as if they were separate entities… his body was reaching out for her… pulling her into an embrace… kissing her …but his mind… his mind was screaming, “No!!!!  I don’t want this!!! I don’t want her!!!  NO!!!!!!!”  His mind continued to say no but his body wouldn’t cooperate…his body moved toward her, pulling her closer…

 

She slid her hand up his chest and opened the buttons of his shirt.  Her hands caressed his chest, fingers lightly probing.  She smiled as she held her hand over his heart, feeling its strong steady beat, feeling the warmth of his body, knowing that it was pumping his blood steadily through his body.  She smiled again and shifted slightly.  Bending her head, she kissed his chest, her lips coming to rest slightly above his heart.  He held her tightly to him and she looked up, and smiled, then sunk her fangs into his chest above his heart.  His body shivered with the intrusion, and a small cry escaped his lips…her head moved on his chest, as she sucked his blood…  She kept feeding for what seemed to be an eternity to the men of the Seaview, as they watched the vampire attack Crane, and they could do nothing about it.  This time…they were caught in the enchantment as well.

 

Harriman Nelson watched…his heart and mind churning.  He knew he had to stop this, had to beat the enchanter, but he didn’t know if he could.  He struggled against the invisible bonds that prevented movement.  He couldn’t speak or call out.  Turlough watched his struggles and he turned to Nelson.

 

“There’ll be no rescue this time, Harry… this time ye will do what we wantcha ta…this time… ya will kill yer friend… we will win… we will have the otherworld, and ye will have helped us do it.”

 

Nelson did the most he could do, he shook his head in a violent ‘NO’ .

 

Turlough grinned at him… “Sorry, Harry.  This be our world and we’re goin’ ta  be the victors.”  He nodded to the men surrounding Nelson and one of them went off, coming back with a steaming cup.  The events of last year screamed upon Nelson’s consciousness, as they forced him to drink once again from the cup.

 

Silve lifted her head from Lee’s chest, her lips wet with blood.  She left a wound on his chest, raw and bleeding, and she ran her fingers over it, then licked them clean, watching him as she did.  She stepped away, and he would have fallen, if the women hadn’t caught him.  They removed his shirt and then lifted him, tying him to the altar, as he had been bound a year ago.  He lay there, barely aware, from the drug in the potion, and the weakness from the blood loss.  Somewhere, at some level, he knew what was happening, and he resigned himself to his fate… he didn’t struggle for he knew there was no use.  Silve’s face bent over his.  Her lips touched his lightly, his blood still on them, and she kissed him again.  Raising her head, she looked into his eyes.

 

"Tis time now, time ta finish what we started.  Yer son is ready… he is here, and when ye cry out in yer passing, yer energy will be his, and he will become the strongest of all of us.  I will have yer spirit wi' me fer ever, tho… I will miss this shell," and she ran her hands over his torso as he shivered with the cold of her touch.  "I will miss its warmth…and its pleasure…fer its pleasure ya gave me when yer son was conceived… pleasure like I’d never known."  She leaned over and kissed him long and hard for a final time, and his body, with a will of its own, kissed her in return and then drew away.  "I will miss it."  She turned to Midhir Cillian and said, "Wish yer father much pain on his journey…fer the more he has, the harder his passin' over, the stronger ye'll be.  So bid him what he needs fer the journey…"

 

Midhir Cillian stepped into Lee's field of vision.  Smiling, he looked at his father with cold, hate-filled eyes.  "Yer not able ta say much, thanks ta the potion Silve fed ye…but I kin change that…I want fer ya ta know more pain than ye ever could have imagined.  Would ye like ta know how much a bite from a creature like her hurts?"

 

He waved his staff over Lee.   Suddenly the veil of murkiness lifted and the pain of the bite on his chest and the pain in his body from the way that it was stretched on the altar assailed him.  He groaned, perspiration beading on his forehead as he tried to contain any further outbursts.

 

His son smiled sadistically.  "Well, Father, how does it feel… is the pain intense?  Father?"

 

Lee said nothing to the druid.  Instead, he tried to pull against the ropes that held him to the altar…

 

Midhir laughed, "Go ahead, struggle, all ya want… fight it… fight long and hard, Father. Ya won't win…I will…and I will be stronger fer yer struggles."  He laughed harder.

 

Lee tried to pull free but he was already weak, the pain that was radiating thru his being was only increasing his weakness.  He closed his eyes trying to blot out the man's face…his son’s face and the evil that it was…

 

"Ah, Father, dinna ye go an' leave us yet… I won't let ya….I need ya aware of the moment ya pass over…  I want ya to know how an unwillin' passage will cause impossible pain…"

 

He waved his hand over Lee, and new pain erupted throughout his body.  He cried out, and Midhir laughed at him.  He laid a hand on Lee's shoulder.  "Ah, Father… 'tis a wonderful sound.  Yer in pain… an' ye'll be havin' more… much more… it makes me glad ta see yer suffer so, Da.  An' a greater pain will be ta se yer friend, as he takes me knife, and he stabs ye, again an' again…  Oh, the thought of it!"  He grinned again, leaning closer to Lee, "I'll say me goodbyes now, Father.  And I do hope that yer crossin' is painful…very painful… and I hope that ye enjoy yer eternity wi' Silve. She's a demandin' mistress!"

 

Lee tried to rise above the waves of pain, to respond but his mind was clouded.  He also knew that he couldn't wish hell on this being, already from there.  Gaining a small measure of control, Lee looked at the man they called his son, this man that was such an embodiment of evil on two planes, and gasped, through gritted teeth.  "I won't wish you damnation…I seem to be on the way to my own."  He shuddered, moaning low with a new wave of pain.  "But I will wish you all…the hurt and harm that…you have inflicted on innocent people… return to you a hundredfold.  And may whatever…God or whatever gods you worship … see that you never have peace."

 

With a sarcastic laugh, Midhir replied, "Peace, Da?  I never wanted peace!  I be a warrior… in me world, and from yer's, the blood of the warrior runs deep… I dinna seek peace!"

 

"Then…" Lee gasped as Midhir waved his hands over Lee's body once again, releasing even more fiery pain in Crane's already ravaged body, "May…you…never find it!!!"  He pulled against the ropes that held him so tightly, writhing against the bonds, blood oozing from wrists rubbed raw, his gasps of pain mixing with the increasing volume of the keening from the gathered beings. 

 

Midhir smiled at Lee Crane, knowing that the moment he had been conceived for was about to unfold.  "Father…behold… yer executioner approaches…yer friend…he'll be killin' ya, wi' this knife…"  Midhir held a ceremonial knife above his head, and began chanting in the old language.  Lee couldn't understand him, for that matter he could barely hear…there was a rushing sound in his ears, growing louder and louder as the pain increased.  He was crying out now, control of his pain far beyond his depleted capabilities to control his cries.

 

Midhir stepped away from the altar and circled it once, holding the knife high above his head.  In the old language, he chanted, "Behold the weapon that will bring us to the otherworld as rulers, and return us to what was once ours… this is the weapon of power.  The weapon of victory… When this plunges into the heart of me father, I will gain the power to lead us away from this prison… this prison that his kind sentenced us to eons ago.”

 

He gestured with the knife in a wide sweeping move, and from between the pillars, several dozen young people entered the circle.  They were dressed as Midhir Cillian, in long black robes, tied at the waist with coarse rope, and they stood, eyes focused on the Sorcerer.  "These are yer future…they were spawned of human and Sidhe…male and female… they will inherit the power when the time is right…"  He gestured to six young adults that had appeared next to him, all wearing the same black robes.  All looked similar, with long, brown, curly hair, the men with beards, with fair skin, three women and three men… "And I will share the power with these… me kin and siblings thru me father.  While I will lead ye, they will aid me…"

 

He looked down at Lee, smiling evilly and said to him, in English, “Have ya seen yer other children, father…me brothers and sisters…me ma was right.  Yer were a strong one… seven o’ us…from that one night…yourn!   All yourn!!!!!”

 

The grief and humiliation that tore Lee’s soul was mirrored in his eyes and Midhir laughed at him again.  “Congratulations, Da… ‘Tis a fine family ye’ve spawned… a fine one!  An’ it causes ye pain…great pain,  don’t it?  Yer a moral man an’ what we did ta ya last year was most immoral, now wasn’t it?”  He laughed, throwing his head back, and looking down at his father with a look of complete contempt.   “An ya took a measure o’ pleasure in it, didncha?… Didncha?  An’ now yer seein’ all o’us here.  Tagether…we’ll be watchin’ ya die and enjoyin’ yer pain, and yer death…” 

 

He took the knife and held the blade in front of Lee…  “Look at it, Da… ‘tis the blade that’ll kill ya…  It’s been prepared and readied fer this moment.  Would ya like ta feel it?  ‘Tis sharp…very sharp!”  He held the blade to Lee’s chin and dropped it to Lee’s chest.  He slowly drew the tip of the blade down the center of Crane’s body, allowing it to penetrate the skin and opening a long slender cut the length of his torso.  Blood welled up and filled the long wound, spilling over onto his body, some of it meeting and mixing with the blood from the wound on his chest.  Silve watched, and licked her lips, the sight of the fresh blood igniting her hunger again.

 

Lee chewed on the inside of his mouth to prevent crying out at the new pain.

 

Midhir simply grinned at him, and as he approached Lee’s waist, took the blade, and raised it, looking at the fresh blood on it.  He turned his back to Lee, and raised the blade high into the flickering light.  Here!!!!  Here is the blood of the giver of the power….Here is the way that we will regain our world…Our world!!!!!  The beginning of the end of the otherworlders!!!!”  He swung his arms wide….  “And here comes the instrument of Death to the Giver of the Power….”

 

All eyes in the circle looked in the direction of the gesture.  Harriman Nelson was being led into the circle by two men.  The Admiral wore a glazed, almost blank expression.  He stumbled once and one of the men held him until he steadied himself.  The men led him to the altar, where Midhir walked around him in a circle.  He chanted words in the old language, and then turned to Crane, on the altar, and said, “Here he is, Da… yer best friend… and he’s about ta take this knife and kill ya… most painfully.  We’ve given him some drugs…  He’ll not be seein’ you…but things…the things that he hates most…an’ he’s so mad wi’ the drug, that he’ll stab’em again, an again.”  Midhir laughed long and loud, “But he’ll be stabbin’ you!!!  Again and again!!”  He lowered his voice, “An’ ye’ll feel each stab, the scrappin’ of bone, the tearin’ of muscle… and when it hits yer heart, ye’ll feel it rupture, and then…you’ll die!!!!!!”

 

He laughed yet again, and turned to Nelson.  “Ahh, Harry, if ye only knew what a part ye’ll be playing for us… too bad that when it’s over, ye’ll be dead as well… fer it’s yer energy we need as well.”  He waved his hands over the Admiral, chanting the old tongue in a low tone…the eyes looked at Nelson, cold…dead eyes, in a face filled at one time with hate and desire…The power that Midhir Cillian had been promised from his birth was within his grasp.  He was so lost in the desire for power that he didn’t see the faint spark in Nelson’s eyes as he handed the Admiral the knife. In a mix of old language and English, he walked Harry seven times around the altar and the body lying on it.

 

Lee was now too far from his reality at that point to see what was going on, the pain in his body increasing with each of Midhir’s circuits of the altar.  By the seventh time, there was nothing left for him to do but to continue to cry out as wave after wave of pain assaulted him from all over his body.  Weakened, before he had even arrived on the island, and further weakened by Silve’s attack on him, the increasing levels of pain took their toll, so that all he wanted was to die, to be released from the torture.  His struggles with his bindings slowed, so by the time his son finished with Nelson, and led him to the side of the altar, his voice was gone from his cries of pain, and he had nothing left but to whisper a cry for release.

 

Hearing the furtive request, Midhir Cillian put his head even with Lee’s.  “Ahh, Father…I kin hear yer request…but it’s not goin’ ta happen… a fast release is not what we need here…  We need it ta take a long time… and since Harry here seems a bit reluctant, even after the incantations, I’m going ta have ta show him how ta do this…slowly and deliciously painful.”  He took the knife, raised it high, and plunged it into Lee’s thigh.

 

Lee cried out and then his body went slack.  Midhir stood, looked at those around him, and smiled yet again.  He signaled one of the women to come to the altar.  She came carrying a goblet and raised Lee’s head, then held the goblet to his lips, pouring a small bit into his mouth.  He coughed, and opened his mouth, and she slowly poured the liquid into his mouth, making sure he swallowed it all.


Lee looked at her, eyes glazed with pain.  “Why?” he croaked.  “Why are you doing this?!”

 

She ran a soft hand over his face.  “Ta keep ya aware, so’s ya kin feel it all…ya need ta be aware … Da!  And the potion assures ya will be…Da…” and then she leaned forward, and kissed him gently on the cheek.  “I look forward ta meetin’ ya on the other side!”

 

Raising the bloody knife in one hand, Midhir Cillian wiped his other hand in the blood from the new wound in Lee’s leg, tearing at the bloody khaki, until his hand was covered with blood. He then grabbed at Nelson’s hand, and covered it with the fresh blood, pressing the knife into the same hand.  “Here, Harry, here’s ya weapon… ye’ve got to use it.”  His voice had a crooning quality, matching the rhythm of the rising keening.  He wrapped both hands around Nelson’s.  “Here Harry… look there…see the beasties… the ugly beasties… Kill them, Harry….kill them all!!!!”  He took Nelson’s other hand and laid it on Crane’s shoulder.  “Feel them Harry…Feel them…”  He held Nelson’s hand on Crane, and pulled the other hand, covered in blood, and grasping the knife high over their heads, “Kill them, Harry…Kill them all!”  He released Nelson’s hand, as he dropped the knife towards Crane, and stood back to watch the ritual come to its conclusion.

 

Nelson’s arm dropped toward Crane’s chest, and Midhir Cillian laughed seeing the promises made to him about to become a reality.

 

Silve waited for the end to come, so she could have the soul she desired, with her in eternity.

 

Turlough watched it all and waited, not knowing how this would end, in spite of the careful plans.

 

Harriman Nelson’s arm dropped toward Lee Crane, the keening increased in pitch, drowning out all else…

 

Lee watched Nelson through eyes blurred with pain and exhaustion, each breath he took becoming more and more painful.  No part of his body was free, no part able to function without pain…and his mind…his mind was begging for some release…his voice was gone, a raw, unintelligible croak all that was left…

 

He watched the Admiral, and suddenly saw the glazed look lift, and the fire and life that was Harriman Nelson return to those steel blue eyes.  Almost as if in slow motion, he saw the Admiral spin on his heel, and take the dagger, with the momentum that he had built, and drive the dagger deep into the heart of Midhir Cillian.

 

Midhir’s face showed absolute surprise, and he fell backwards, instantly dead.  The keening took on a high, mournful wail as the sky got even darker, and the lightening began to flash with even greater regularity….

 

The entire Island rumbled.  Silve shrieked.  The young people, taken from the mainland by Midhir were suddenly freed from their seductive haze…

 

The men of the Seaview, also now freed, moved quickly as if they were a single unit to the center of the stones. 

 

The other beings began to shriek and run, groaning from the loss of their future, and fearing for their own safety.

 

Nelson turned to Lee Crane.  He was now, blessedly, unconscious.  He moved to the rings where the ropes held Lee tightly to the altar and began to work the cord holding him bound.  He became aware of other hands, all working, to free Crane.  He also became aware of the young people from the Island, milling around, not knowing where to go or what to do, with the sudden knowledge of where they were.  He caught Sharkey’s eye, and the COB nodded, knowing what the Admiral wanted.  Pushing his own concern for Lee Crane to the rear of his mind, the Chief took several of the men, and went to the young people, gathering them together, and bringing them to the altar. 

 

Chip, Jamison and Nelson had freed Lee, and Jamison was furiously working on him.  Chip quickly moved to Nelson’s side.  He placed a hand on the Admiral’s shoulder and the familiar voice asked, “Admiral, sir …are you okay?”

 

Nelson nodded somberly.  “Yes, and I can thank God, and our good doctor, for that.  I’m fine.  The fact that Will had a record of all the different things that he found in my bloodstream, last year and he was able to counter all of them with a mix of his own, made all the difference.  I just wish we’d been able to give it to Lee…Lord knows I didn’t want him to have to go through any more pain…but Jamie felt his system couldn’t handle it.  At least those young people should be okay now.” 

 

The wind began to increase, rain in pelting them in large, dollar size drops, thunder boomed more loudly, and the ground began to shake more and more.  Nelson shouted at his Exec, “We’d better get everyone the hell out of here.  Help Will with Lee…I’ll see to Sharkey and the men and help them with the children…”

 

Morton moved back to the altar to help Jamison and Kowalski with Lee, and Nelson hurried toward the group gathered on the far side of the circle. 

 

“Chief, let’s get these young people to the beach, and the water.  I have a feeling that this island isn’t long for this world!” he yelled.

 

“Aye, aye, sir!” he shouted over the increasing din.  He held his hand to the side of his mouth and hollered to his men, “Let’s get these kids to the beach!  And be quick about it!”

 

Automatically following orders, the men pulled the group together, and moved out of the circle to the path they had followed into it.  Nelson looked over to the altar… bright flash of lightening illuminated the area, and he saw the Sidhe fly toward Lee.  Jamison and Morton threw their bodies over him to protect him, and she flashed her razor like nails, diving and attacking them.  Chip’s back was first slashed, then Jamison’s as she tried to get to Crane.

 

As she dove at them a second time, a voice called out over the noise,  “SLIVE!!!  Cease woman!!”

 

Nay!!!” she shrieked.  Pointing to Nelson, “That one killed me son, and his friendship with him and them ‘tis the reason.  He killed me son ta save his friend!!!  I will have them all!!!  All!!!!!!!”’

 

“Ye will do no further harm!!!  Midhir was too evil from the beginnin’.  He would have destroyed us as well as the otherworlders.  ’Tis better this way…” the old Druid commanded.

 

My son would nay have harmed me!!!” she protested in anger.

 

“Woman, his only need was to feed on the power…the power that ye’d promised him from his birth.  He cared not fer us.  He would have destroyed you as easily as any other… and if he’d the power, he’d have done it.  Now…cease woman…leave the otherworlders be, and come back inta ourn.  Ye can grieve wi’ yer own kind!”

 

Silve was furious and refused to hear Turlough’s words.  He was me kind!!!!  He was me child.  Of me spirit.!!!  Only his flesh, his link to the otherworld was his father.”  She flew towards Lee, “That one!!  Midhir was me child…and I will kill and destroy the spirit of those who killed him….”  Turning on the Admiral, her face twisted into a grotesque mask of furor and grief.  “I curse ye….curse ye, an’ all that come after ye…  Yer son…and yer son’s sons…that they may never know peace…happiness …or love.”

 

Nelson looked at the spirit.  In spite of the horror of the night, and all that had gone on before, he smiled wearily.  “I’ve no child, Silve…nor am I likely to have one…Your curse means nothing to me.  Nothing!”

 

Turlough raised his staff in the direction of the Sidhe.  Cease now, Silve!  Or ye will met a fate like yer son’s!”

 

“I have cursed him, and I will kill his friends…Ye shall not stop me, Turlough!”

 

I will stop ye… and more.  I will send ye to the same place Midhir now is… Stop now or suffer his fate!!!!” he again commanded and stood his ground against the Sidhe.

 

“Nay!!  I will kill them!!” she shrieked and started toward Nelson.

 

Turlough raised his staff, drawing himself to his full height, waved the staff in the air, chanting low, and then said, “Spirit of the Sidhe…Silve, Lhiannon, ye have broken the bond ‘tween me an’ ye.  Ye have taken the spirit that was to be our champion and corrupted it…because of that, he has passed, his mortal form dyin’, his spirit gone from us.  Ne’er again shall ye do this…for from this time until the end time, ye, Silve, Lhiannon Sidhe shall have form no more…begone from all planes….You will cease to be…!”

 

She screamed, and then screamed a second time.  Her form twisted and contorted in the air, and in a shower of sparks and yet another unearthly scream, she suddenly was gone…

 

Nelson approached the ancient druid, fighting the rain and wind, as he walked toward him.  For all the power that Turlough had, at this moment, he looked a tired, spent, drained old man… he looked at Nelson with weary eyes, and said simply, “Harry, ye an’ yers have won… Me an’ mine will nay be bothering ye agin… ‘Tis over…”  He hesitated then started again.  “I canna remove the Sidhe’s curse, but I’ll soften it as much as I can.  Yer son will nae have a bad life, and peace, and happiness will be his, if’n he passes the one test.  An’ that’ll be a test o’ the heart, nothin’ else.  Tis all I kin do… ye and yer friends had best take the young ones and go…”

 

Though emotionally and physically drained, Nelson replied, “I thank you for that, though there is no child from me nor is there likely to be one…but…thank you anyway.”

 

An eyebrow raised slightly and Turlough replied smiled knowingly.  “Someday…in a future time…think o’ me an’ this, at moment… when ye do hold him in yer arms… think o’ me.”

 

Nelson smiled, somewhat sadly, “If it ever comes to pass, I will…”  Then pausing, he began again, “Perhaps if…”

“Aye, Harry I know… mayhap, if things had been different… but they’re not, and we’re not.  We all are what we are, human or spirit or both “ he sighed, and then looked at Nelson with what could have passed for a knowing and benevolent smile.  “Just make sure that when yer son arrives in that world of yours, that he has a fine Irish name.  He deserves that.  Fer the brave and determined father that gave him life and the fine, strong woman that bore him.  He will make ye both proud.  And tell yer friend, that I regret his part in all this…tell him, I was wrong, the way that I went about this…truly wrong, and tell him his son, by his first wife, will grow ta a fine man.  Good-bye, Harry.”

 

“Good-bye,” Nelson said to no one in particular, for by the time he mouthed the words, the Druid had disappeared.

 

Thinking no more of Turlough’s words, Harry quickly turned and ran toward the small group huddled over Lee Crane.  The doctor had allowed ‘Ski to help him, once the Sidhe had been cast away.  They had bandaged the leg, and the chest wound, and Jamison had set up a small IV line to try and restore fluid and more.  For the wound that ran the length of Lee’s torso, Jamison would wait for their return to the boat to properly treat it.  He saw that Lee was bundled in blankets and laid in the collapsible stretcher.  Carrying the Captain was different matter.  ‘Ski and Rodriguez each took an end of the stretcher, and gingerly made their way to the path out of the circle, towards the beach.

 

Of Crane’s ‘protectors’, Morton had suffered the greatest damage to his back from Silve.  He had received the brunt of her attack, his back slashed and bleeding.  Though Chip was in some pain, he insisted that Jamison see to Crane and his care, then  worry about him once they got to the boat.  Jamison’s injury was slighter, and while uncomfortable, not anything that worried him.  He only wanted to get to the boat and then he would worry about all of them…

 

Nelson joined them, and above the now driving cold rain, and thunder, shouted at the Doctor, “Will?”

 

He looked at Nelson.  “He’s about as stable as I can make him…we’ve got have to get him, and everyone here, back to the boat…” the doctor shouted back and continued his ministrations to Crane.

 

The stocky man nodded and moved to follow the group.  As he reached the top of the rise, he turned to look down at the circle and the altar, and seeing it in the dark and driving rain, shook his head and shivered.  He was glad to be leaving this place.  Reaching out, he steadied himself against the side of the rock as they passed through the passage to the beach.  The earth beneath them continued to shift.  The noise of the earth’s moving was soon drowning out the sounds of the increasing storm.  On the beach, the men lashed the rubber rafts together and herded the children into two of them.  In one, they fixed the Captain’s stretcher and Jamison joined him there.  Every one else, officers and enlisted men alike, pushed the rafts into the water and followed them, hanging onto the sides of the rafts, pushing them off towards the Seaview.  With the storm and movement of the Island, the fog had lifted and the boat was now clearly visible in the churning water.  Each of the men in the water tied themselves to the rubber rafts so that they would not be lost, and they all concentrated all their efforts and energy to making the way to her…

 

For Harriman Nelson, Chip Morton, and the men of the Seaview, the time it took them to reach the boat seemed an eternity.  None of the men spoke to one another, each alone with their own thoughts.  They were all thinking and analyzing what they had witnessed, and the cost of the events, once again, on the Captain of the boat. 

 

The enlisted men were hard pressed to accept all that they had seen and experienced, in the light of the events of last year.  That the man called Midhir Cillian was related to Crane was beyond doubt to any of them.  However, that he could be the Captain’s son seemed impossible.  Long accustomed to accepting the impossible, they either could not, or would not, believe that someone so completely evil could ever be related to Lee Crane. 

 

As for Chip Morton and Will Jamison, they had each felt the evil touch them and were profoundly moved by the experience.  Neither man would ever forget it…and both would have to deal with it in their own way.

 

Harriman Nelson had also made a decision, as he helped to push the rafts to the haven of the Seaview.  A decision that would have long term implications for all involved in the events on the Island, but a necessary one just the same.  He knew that he had to help Lee get over this trauma and he also knew the key was a phone call to one Michael Taylor with ONI.  Taylor had worked with Crane and Nelson on a number of assignments and he would do all the footwork necessary to help.           

 

The water around the small group began to churn wildly, the rafts tossed about by the rough seas.  The men in the water clung to the rafts, as the water got wilder and wilder.  Heads turned to watch and the Island began to slowly sink, the water swirling and great crests of water falling over the rafts.  The water became rougher and rougher and the people in and at the sides feared for their lives, for there seemed to be no way to reach the safety of the Seaview.  As larger and larger waves washed over them, they heard the sound of several motors in the distance, approaching, and they realized that O’Brien had sent the Zodiacs to haul them in.  The motors on the sturdy boats, along with the assist of the men in them, would quickly pull the rafts to the safety of Seaview.

 

The two zodiacs quickly arrived at the rafts, pulled the men in the water out, and tying the rafts to them, they quickly made their way back to the boat.  The rafts were offloaded and the Captain carefully carried to the Sick Bay followed by the XO and the rest of the party.  Nelson stood on the deck, shivering and wrapped in a blanket, watching the island, in its death throes, sink below the surface of the Bay.  He waited there until the waters of Ballydonegan were quiet Sharkey then tapped him lightly on the shoulder…

 

“Admiral, Mr. O’Brien requests your presence on the bridge.  He requests permission to dive the boat and take her out to the open sea until a course of action is decided upon.”

 

“Umph… yes… Tell Mr. O’Brien I’ll be right down.  And thank you, Francis…for all your help…”

 

“Er… Admiral, off the record, sir?”

 

“Yes, Chief?  What is it?”

 

“About what happened, and what… what we all saw…Admiral…the Skipper… he… that man… and that… thing….that …. And I mean, well…last year… and now this…I mean sir, how’s the Skipper?”

 

Nelson turned to the COB, his eyes telling the Chief more than what his words did.  “How’s the Skipper, Francis.  I don’t know… I can’t tell you that, and I don’t even know if Jamison can.  I do know that he will do all in his power to keep Lee alive, and that is all we can hope for.  As for the rest of what you saw, and what happened, well,  I can’t order you to forget what you’ve seen.  That would be impossible…for anyone.  What I am doing is asking you to forget it ever happened.  You… and the men that were with you.  I would appreciate that, and I know that the Captain would, too.  This is something that is, I think, an intensely personal experience for all of us, especially for him.  If it could be forgotten, or filed amongst the memories of nightmares, if that’s at all possible, well, I would consider it a very personal favor.”

 

“Consider it done, Admiral… the men will forget it, or I’m not the Chief of the Boat…  But Admiral…what about the Skipper, sir?  I mean… after all he’s been through…”  

 

“I’ll see that he has all the care he needs, one way or the other, Francis.  You take care of the men, I’ll see to the Skipper and the Exec.”

 

Sharkey shook his head mournfully, “ Admiral, if I can help you, I mean… with the Skipper… well, I…” 

 

Nelson clapped him on the shoulder.  “Francis, I am far more grateful for your offer than you will ever realize.  Thank you… thank you very much.”

 

Uncomfortable with the sentimentality, Sharkey cleared his throat, “Aye, sir…And ah, now, sir… don’t you think you’d better get below your self, Admiral…  You’re gonna  need to get some dry clothes and warm up. Mr. O’Brien does want to get underway.  I’ve seen those young people to the mess, and Cookie is fixing some soup and hot food for ‘em.  We’re trying to get some dry clothes together for them.  There’s 30 kids, sir… 13 and 14 years old.  They…don’t know what happened to them.  all they remember is meeting that man, and the next they knew they were on the Island, and it was coming down around them… they’re all pretty confused and not to mention, scared as hell.”

 

“Well, we’ll get them the dry clothes, and feed them… I’ll get McNally on the videophone and we’ll make arrangements to get them back to their families.”  He turned and moved to the sail hatchway.

 

Looking back at the COB, he smiled slightly.  “My thanks again, Francis.”

 

Sharkey cleared his throat.  “You’re welcome, sir…very welcome…" and with that,  he followed Harriman Nelson down into the boat.

 

Nelson made his way down the gangway to the Control Room.  Someone handed him a dry towel and a mug of steaming coffee, and he made his way to the Plot Table, where Lt. Bob O'Brien stood, waiting for him.

 

"Admiral, the boat’s ready to dive, sir.  We’re waiting on the word.”

 

"The word is given.  Dive the boat, Mr. O'Brien, and take her out into the sea.  Lay her on the bottom until we can settle matters here…"

 

"Aye, sir."  O'Brien turned from Nelson.  "Dive…All Dive!" he ordered and the Control Room crew quickly moved into action to get the Seaview to sail.  “Helm, come to course zero nine zero, relative.  Blow all ballast, and take her out.”

 

Satisfied with the efficiency of the Second, Nelson said, "Mr. O'Brien…you have the Con.  I'll be in the Sick Bay or the Crew's Mess, if needed."  And with that, he left the Control Room, heading up the spiral gangway to his quarters and the Sick Bay.

 

 

  Kenaz – An Opening

 

Harriman Nelson’s cabin, a half-hour later

 

Nelson stepped from his shower, wrapped in his blue terry cloth robe, with a white towel draped around his neck.  Still tired, the hot shower had somewhat relieved his exhausted body, but not his soul.  He went to his phone and picked it up.

 

“Sparks, get me McNally at Irish Intelligence.  Tell him it’s urgent and that it’s a priority one message… then pipe it in here when he gets on.”

 

He sat heavily at his desk and reached for a cigarette.  His bottle of Glen Livet stood next to the cigarettes that he had left on the desk.  He had poured himself a healthy swig when he had come into his cabin, he’d drunk that and now was seriously thinking about having another.  He lit the cigarette and leaned on his elbows, allowing the smoke to drift lazily to the ceiling.

 

‘God help me! What am I going to tell Lee?  How do I tell him that I killed his son… his son!  That man… that thing wasn’t his son…at least not a son of the man that I know… the man that I know, and love, like a son… How the hell do I do this?!!  How the hell do I tell him that I killed Midhir Cillian, who was the son of his blood if nothing else!

 

He ran one hand through his hair as he pulled deeply on his cigarette and inhaled the smoke.  He took the bottle of Glen Livet, looked at it seriously, and poured a half glass this time and drank it down.  The golden liquor flowed smoothly down his throat, and to his stomach, warming him.  He knew that that the light amber liquid was not an answer to his questions, but he also knew that, at that moment, he needed the false strength the alcohol would give him…he needed something…someone… he felt alone…  Totally alone, with no one to talk to or to share his innermost feelings with.

 

Katherine, how I wish things were different.  Oh, how I wish I had you to talk to… it would help…help me so much…

 

He snapped out of his reverie as the phone beeped and Sparks voice came over the intercom on his desk.

 

“Admiral.  Mr. McNally on the line, sir, as per your request.  He’s on your private line.”

 

“Thanks, Sparks.”  He picked up the handset, “Liam?”

 

“Yes, Harry?  What’s the story?  What’s happened?”

 

“I damn near killed my Captain…again!  That’s what happened.  No damn thanks to you for getting us involved in the first place!”

 

“Ya said ‘near’, Harry.  I take it Crane will be alright?”

 

Nelson sank back into the chair and sighed.  “I don’t honestly know, Liam… I can tell you that we have the children that the sorcerer took and they’re here on the boat… they’re scared, but they’re safe.  They don’t know what happened to them on the Island, and if it was anything like what we went through, then they are better off not knowing.  The sorcerer who took them…he’s dead.”

 

There was silence on the other end of the line, then Nelson heard a clearing of the throat, and McNally asked, “Was it Crane’s son?”

 

“Yes, you read the first report.  You’re one of the few people who know what really happened to Lee.  Yes, it was his son by the Lhiannon Sidhe.  And he’s dead… I killed him.”

 

Again there was silence, and then, “I’m sorry, Harry… it must have been a difficult thing to do…”

 

“You’ll never know, Liam… never.  What I can tell you will be in my report.  I’m bringing the boat to shore at 0945 the day after tomorrow.  Have someone there to take the children… and for God’s sake, take good care of them…they’re going to need some very special help, after what they saw…”

 

“I’ll see to it, Harry… don’t be worryin’ about them.  I’ll see they have the best of care… and Crane…?”

 

“Liam, the Seaview and her crew take care of our own.  If he makes it, we’ll take care of him…”

 

“My best wishes go with ya, Harry… and I’m sorry for all the problems we’ve caused.  But the government is grateful… they want to give you all some kind of recognition…”

 

“Tell them thanks but no thanks.  All we need to do is get Lee Crane back on his feet and we’ll go on… Just you make sure that the youngsters are well taken care of…”

 

“As I said, I will… you have my word on it.”

 

“Very well, Liam…. Seaview, over and out…”

 

“Good-bye, Harry…and good luck.”

 

Nelson hung up the phone and slowly rose from the desk.  He went to his closet to pull out Khakis to wear and quickly dressed, finished off the remains of the Glen Livet in the glass, then went out of the cabin and down the companionway to the Sick Bay.

 

 

 Pertho- Things Unexplainable

 

Sick Bay, minutes later…

 

 

Harriman Nelson stepped through the doorway to the Sick Bay.  As all too often, the two room cabin was a hotbed of activity.  Corpsman John Warner was working with several crewmen that had been with the landing party, and doing check-ups on them, following the Captain's Standing Orders that any one, officer or lowest enlisted man, report to the Sick Bay after a mission.

 

Frank Lerner was working on Chip Morton's back.  The Exec was lying on his stomach on a gurney while Frank applied salve and some bandages to the razor-like wounds that criss-crossed his back.  Nelson heard Morton grunt once or twice as Frank worked over him and he went to the gurney, wanting to be at the side of the other, where it appeared that Jamison was working furiously, but he went where he knew he could do the most good. 

 

Standing on the right of the gurney, he waited until Frank finished with the Exec, and went to the supply cabinet.

 

Nelson bent close and quietly asked, "How are you doing, Chip?"

 

Morton had been given a mild sedative and he had allowed himself to relax finally, knowing the boat, the men, and the Captain and Admiral were safe aboard.  He had been drifting off to sleep with the drug and the topical pain reliever on his back when Nelson came to his side.  His head was fuzzy and he had some trouble responding to the older man.

 

"Mmm, I'm… okay, sir, … Back’s sore….Umm… Frank says off duty ‘til… two days… sorry… um, Admiral….not with it… Jamie’s meds…Lee… how's Lee…?"

 

Nelson placed light pressure on Chip's shoulder.  "You protected him, Lad.  He'll be okay… O'Brien has the con… you rest now… we're going to stay on the bottom until all of this is sorted out.  Don't worry, Chip… just rest…I'll be by to check on you later."

 

"Yessir… um… check on Lee… tell me…"

 

"I will…in a few moments…"  He patted Morton's shoulder, then moved across the room to Crane.  Will Jamison was wearing surgical scrubs, and under them, Nelson could see a layer of bandages.  He was concerned for his CMO… as concerned as he was for Chip or Lee. 

 

"Will?"

 

"Not now, Harry… I'm okay… Frank looked at my back… it's not bad.  Chip took the worst of it but even his back isn’t as bad as it could’ve have been …and I've got Lee to worry about… too much to do, to spend the time worrying about my back.  I’ll be fine.”  He paused, “…I think he'll be alright.  Lee, that is.  I had Frank look after Chip.  He'll be sore for a week or so, but I'll let him back on duty in 48 hours.  Lee is, well, another story…"

 

"Why?  What's wrong that I don't know about?  That I haven't seen?"

 

"Nothing that you aren't aware of… I said that he would be okay, physically, but Harry, how are we going to explain all of this to him?  To let him know that he wasn't at fault, wasn't… isn't responsible for those 'children' that he fathered?  I can take care of his physical body… it's his mental state that I’m going to be worried about. That one, the young sorcerer, Lee's son, he was talking to him… and there were six others there… that looked like him… were they…?”

 

“He contributed the seed that made them half human… that’s all… and we have to remember that his participation in that was not voluntary…yes… they’re his ‘children’.  And with the Island gone, so are they all…  Turlough said that this was the end of it.  And I believe him.”

 

“Holy Mother of…!” Jamison softly exhaled.  “Do you think that Lee was aware of them…?”

“Oh, Midhir made quite sure that he knew… very sure.  As difficult as it’ll be for him to deal with, I’m more concerned about what I did… I’m the one who killed his son, Will.  And aware or not, he saw me do it.”

 

“And you also know that, in some part of his mind, he knew that you had to do it… to save us, the men, the boat…”

 

“Regardless.  Midhir Cillian, however evil, was still Lee’s son… and I killed him.  And I have to deal with that and I have to help Lee deal with it….”

 

“Harry, for the time being, it might be best to follow Lee’s lead here.  I don’t know what kind of shape he’ll be in when he comes to… that, in and of itself, may take a while.  He lost a great deal of blood.  A great deal.  And there’s the leg wound, the abrasions on his wrists, and ankles, the wound on his chest.  She fed on him for a long time.  Left his chest a mess.  I’ve been pushing the blood in a forced IV.  I’ve got his pressure up about ten points.  I need to get it higher, closer to normal… right now, he’s in shock, from the blood loss, and well, there were a lot of strange things in his system.  Different from the last time…I just wish to God I’d been able to give him the countermixture I gave you…but in his already weakened state…I didn’t dare.”

 

“I know, Will…I know…It about killed me to watch him being put through any more pain, but if we were going to have any chance at all…”  He sighed.  “I guess that you didn’t hear it all, but they gave him some potions to increase his sensory awareness…his awareness…of physical pain… they told him that the greater his pain, the more power that Midhir would receive, once Lee’s spirit passed to the other plane.  I heard him taunting Lee, telling him things no son should ever tell a father…regardless of the circumstances of conception.  I’m as concerned about what that creature told him, and how he responds to it, as much as I am about his physical condition.”

 

“Then my suggestion is that we keep him in here, at least until we reach Santa Barbara, and then, let me make the arrangements.  I know that ONI will want to be in on it since he is an operative, but I did some work for Michael Taylor, before I came on the boat… I have some contacts that even you would be surprised at.”

Nelson quirked his eyebrow, “Will, you never cease to amaze me.  Your work with Taylor isn’t in your file…”

 

“And is yours and Lee’s…even Chip’s…in your files?”

 

Nelson shrugged, “Point well taken, Commander.  Okay… you make the arrangements.  If we can help Lee to forget that this ever happened, then it will be the best for him, and, I think, all of us.  Obviously, the records will be sealed… and only the Command Staff, and yourself, will have all the details… the men that were involved will report to you… and as for the children from the village, well, that will be in McNally’s hands.  My concern, our concern, is Lee.”

 

“And you, and Chip… We all need to talk to someone…All of us, Harry.  Even you.  And I’ll make the arrangements for that.”

 

Nelson humphed and Jamison grinned slightly.  “Let me check on Lee and see what I can tell you …”

 

 

 Mannaz- the Nature of Humankind

 

Hours later…in Sick Bay…

 

 

His level of awareness was filled with images.  Images of a horrible nature to be sure.  He was not conscious but he was aware…  His mind filled with memories of intense, indescribable pain…there had been no escaping it.  His son!!  The man that was his son was holding the knife, drawing it down his body.  The pain.  He tried to cry out.  He had no voice…he could make no sound.  His son!!!  He was dead…someone killed him… He saw the face, heard the voice…  Midhir Cillian was dead!!!  And the Admiral had killed him!!!  The pain didn’t stop…but he knew… he knew that the man that was his son was pure evil… and the Admiral put an end to him… An end to him… He was dead!!!  He found himself wanting to wake…wanting to be sure that he was alive, and not in some other plane.  SLIVE!!  That thing… She wanted him… and he couldn’t resist her call.  He didn’t want to be with her… didn’t want to spend eternity with her, but he had found himself drawn to her.  Linked to her in some way…for the first time in his life, he hated a  woman that he could not stay away from.  He had to admit to himself that there was something intriguing about someone so evil.  But she was cold…and so horrific.  He had wanted to get as far from her as possible but he couldn’t. He had wanted to be with her, at least on some level.  It was over…all over.  She was gone…his son was dead…His son was dead!!!

 

He woke, crying out…calling out, or at least, trying to call out.  He was in pain… Horrible pain…his  leg, his chest…his entire body. 

 

“No!” he rasped.  “Stay away from me!!!  I don’t want to go with you!” 

 

He tried to move and found he was not tied down.  They must have cut him free!  He sat up and moved to get off the altar.  He stood… and collapsed to the floor. 

 

The corpsmen, Jamison, and Nelson ran to the Captain of the boat, now crumpled on the floor.  Gentle hands lifted him and settled him back onto the gurney.  Jamison checked stitches and the hep lock, as well as the other wounds, and when he was satisfied that no further damage had been done, turned to Nelson. 

 

“He must have been dreaming he was still on the Island.  Still thought that he was tied to the altar.  He was trying to get away…from all of them.”

 

Nelson looked at his Captain and friend, his face a mask of sorrow over what had happened.  Crane moved restlessly on the cot, mouthing words that they could barely hear.  When Nelson looked at the doctor, Jamison simply said, “He’s done some slight damage to his vocal chords… all the crying out with the pain… he won’t have a voice for a few weeks…  It would need a month of complete silence to heal well, and we know that ain’t gonna happen…”  He checked the monitor and saw the increase in body temperature.  Looking at the Admiral, “His fever is up…I’m going to increase the antibiotics.  He’s got enough open wounds on his body to encourage rampant infections.  I just hope I can ward anything more than a slight one off… we’ll have to see, Admiral…”

 

Lee chose that moment to open his eyes.  He recognized Jamison immediately.  “Will,” he mouthed, swallowing hard.  “The Admiral…Chip… the men…?”

 

“Everyone’s fine, Lee.  Everyone.  You’re safe on the boat.” 

 

He closed his eyes with relief that Jamison’s words gave him.  “Good.”  He opened them slowly.  “My son?  He’s dead?”

 

“Yes… it’s really all over, Lee.  It’s gone, the Island, the beings, Silve.  Everything and everyone.  They’re all gone.  And you have to rest.  You need a lot of rest.  It was horrible for you there.”  A hand rested on Crane’s shoulder, and Lee turned his head slightly, to look into Harriman Nelson’s concerned eyes. 

 

“Lee?”

 

“Yes, sir…you’re alright, sir?”

 

“I’m fine, Lee.  Just fine.  We all are.  And you will be, too.  It’ll just take a while longer.”

 

“How did we get off the Island…  I don’t remember… I know that he…my son… he tried to kill me… wanted me dead…  So…so did Silve…both for different reasons.  I couldn’t … fight her, sir.  I couldn’t resist … her call.  And he… he didn’t care, about me, about anyone…anything but himself.  I’m sorry sir…very sorry.  I didn’t…I…” he moved restlessly on the gurney, the full import of the events beginning to take their true toll.

 

Softly, almost as if he were talking to a sick child, Nelson spoke to his Captain, and friend, “Listen, lad.  There’s nothing to be sorry for.  You didn’t do anything wrong. We shouldn’t have gone back there…we didn’t have a choice, but we shouldn’t have.  We should have tried to solve it in a different way.  What happened to you there is as much my fault as the creatures.  All I can say is…it’s over now…”

 

“Mmm…over…”  Lee’s eyes were becoming heavy with the meds that Jamison had put into the IV.  “Can’t seem to think straight…tired…so tired… He’s dead… ‘s’over…  over…”

 

He fell into a deep sleep, his breathing becoming more settled, his body relaxing in sleep.  Nelson sighed.  “I… I don’t know what to say to him…I…”

Jamison laid his hand on Nelson’s shoulder, the gesture one of respect and friendship as much as one of a physician about to give some much needed advice.  “Harry, listen to me, and listen well.  As CMO of this boat, I am going to keep her Captain, my patient, sedated until I can get him to a treatment facility.  I’m concerned about his mental state as well as his physical condition.  Once he’s there, then I’ll decide on a course of treatment, calling on my contacts in the ONI.  Michael Taylor will have to be informed, and we, together, will help Lee heal.  You are not to feel guilty about this.  And you will also speak to someone, that I choose, about it.  Is that understood?  Lee will recover.  We all will.  And once recovered, none of us will speak of it again…”

 

 

  Raido - Journeys

Present time, Lee Crane's home….same night…later on….

 

 

"That's all that I can remember clearly.  So much of it’s lost in …drugs…and pain.  God, there was such, such pain, Caitlin, like I’ve never known… before or since.  That time in my life, I put it away… I never thought of it… remembered it.  Some of it is so real… and some of it… so unreal.  The Admiral…and Michael Taylor… he's my supervisor at ONI…they arranged for me to see someone…I, ah, was at a 'facility' for a month, I think… .  They said they were treating me to prevent PTSD.  I … I really don't know.  The Admiral and I never spoke of  it again…  And neither has Chip.  But… God, Caitlin…what I do remember…I wish to hell I didn't!" Crane recited and then took on a far way look.

 

Caitlin leaned forward on the couch and took both of Lee 's hands in hers.  "Remembering and dealing with things that are horrific is good for you…for us…  I'm here, Lee.  I love you and I'm here…and nothing….nothing… can take that away….  It doesn't matter what happened then.  This is now…yours and mine.  And whatever the results of that time, we will deal with it… because we have the strength of our love, and the love of all of our family here.  So now, my dearest love…tell me, tell me how you feel and let me try to help you…"

 

Lee shook his head…  "No, Little Girl…it's too much.  I've told you too much already…much too much…."

 

"Now, see here, Lee Crane…" she said gently teasing,  "You started all of this when you knocked me out of the bed.  The very least that you can do is to share it all with me."  Her tone then became more serious.  "I think the worst thing in all of this interweaving of relationships that we have here, at the Institute, is that no one wants to believe that I’m a woman with the ability to accept and believe all that’s has gone on in the lives of the ones, and in particular, the one that I love…"

 

"But…"

 

Caitlin held up her hand to silence him.  "No ‘buts’…let me finish, okay?  Just hush for a minute.  I’m a woman who’s seen a great deal, if not with my eyes, then through the eyes of the people I love the most in the world.  I've read the reports when I was helping HN convert some of the logs to the computer.  He got me clearance to read them and transfer them…so I know.  About the Lobsterman, and the giant whales, the aliens, the takeovers…  I know as much about Gerhard Krueger, and what happened, as anyone who was there and wrote down what they saw in the logs.  Mom’s told me other things as well…and although you all don't realize it, I can handle anything you throw at me.  I’m not a child, Lee.  Besides, you wonderful dense man, I happen to love you."

 

"Caitlin… I…."

 

She had to make him understand.  "Just tell me, Lee…" she asked softly.  "Tell me, my love…"  She moved across the couch and nestled herself into his arms.  She looked into his amber-hazel eyes, seeing in their depths the pain, the hurt, and the uncertainty.  Almost instinctively, he wrapped his arms around her petite form and held her close.

 

They sat there, silent, for a long while, until, finally, Lee began to talk to her.  "I have children, Caitlin…"

 

"Of course you do…R.C… he's such a wonderful little boy…"

 

"No… no one knows that I … they don't realize that I know, that I remembered that much …Michael Taylor and the Admiral…I have six 'children' on that other plane…on the Island… I had seven, Caitlin…One of them is dead… He died there on the Island.”  Lee became very quiet.  “He wanted me to die…he said I had to die, so he could have the power to take over this world.  He was helping them…to kill me.  He was leading the ceremony.  He stabbed me, in the leg… to show how it was supposed to be done…  He hated me… he hated all of us, because we were human, and of this world…  And there are six others, three girls and three boys … I don't know… One of them…one of the girls…she gave me one of the potions…she kissed me on the cheek and told me that she wanted me to die in great pain… so that her brother could have the power…"

 

Silent tears were running down his cheeks as he remembered Midhir Cillian's words.  "He told me he wanted me to have the most painful of deaths so that he could be even more stronger in the power.  That the more pain I had, the more power he would…"  He shuddered.  "He didn't care… all he wanted was power at any price… he was my son… and he wanted me dead…"

 

A few moments passed, then in a whisper, Caitlin responded, "You may have provided the seed, but he was no more your son than the Admiral's.  He was the son of that thing that gave birth to him… that evil creature from another realm.  He was not your son!"

 

"You didn't see him… he looked like me, had my voice…"

 

"But he was not your son…there was nothing of you in him… he was as evil as his mother...and from what you’ve told me, she was totally evil…"

 

"Yes," he said quietly, "More evil than Krueger…so much more.  In some perverse way, I can almost understand why Krueger did what he did.  He wanted to be reunited with his long lost love.  But Silve…Silve was evil personified…but for some unholy reason, I was drawn to her… I couldn't help it… the second time…  I …"

 

"She had you in her 'power' if you would, Lee.  She’d weakened you and you couldn't resist.  From the story HN told, and what you just told me, it’s something that we can't understand.  It happened, Lee.  But more important, it's over, and you all beat them…"

 

"Maybe, Caitlin,… maybe…  But there are others…and we don't know where they or the Island went to…"  He sighed, more in sorrow than in tiredness.   "Six more of them…  Mine…  My children…"

 

"No, .Lee.  Beings that you were forced to contribute a seed to…no more than that.  They’re from another plane of existence and not yours.  The only child that you have, that you’re a father to, is R.C. and from what I’m seeing, and have seen over the past few years, you’re doing a wonderful job with him.  He loves and adores you and you love him in return.  That's all that matters… and as for the rest …well, we’ll have to deal with that in our own way… you and I together,  if and when we need to."  She felt his grip on her grow stronger.  “The bottom line is that I love you and you love me, and together… together…we will get past this… because we’re together."

 

She lay there, in his embrace, and waited until he spoke…"Thank you, Little Girl…for being here… for loving me… for accepting the unacceptable…  just… thank you."

 

She pulled him, gently, into a warm, loving kiss.  When she pulled apart, she replied, simply, "No… thank you.  I love you, Lee… never, ever forget that…I love you…"

 

He pulled her closer, "And I love you, Caitlin Davis… and thank you for returning that love…."

 

 

  Gebo – the Gift of Harmonic Relationships

 

The  Morton House… same night…

 

 

"There was more?  More happened a year later?" Matty Weaver Morton, in spite of all her training, was having a hard time with all of Chip's revelations about the events of years ago.  It wasn't that she couldn't believe it… she could…she had seen too much in her ONI experience not to believe what a solid, no nonsense man like Chip Morton had said.  The difficulty was that it had happened to Lee Crane, and been witnessed by Chip, and some of the men on the boat.  The absolute horror of the whole story was finally sinking into her mind, and she was becoming more and more appalled.  "Chip?  What happened a year later?  What could have been worse than what already took place?"

 

"The rest of the story, Angel.  The ceremony hadn't been completed.  They needed Lee… needed him dead…and they planned to kill him…or rather, have the Admiral kill him…  So, Lee took a shower one early morning, when he couldn't sleep, and when he was drying himself, he found the site of the brand bleeding slightly, and swollen.  He was shocked.  He didn't know what it was.  The Admiral told Lee that he’d been injured getting him off the Island… he didn't remember much of the time.  So he just accepted what the Admiral told him.  And to find, a year later, that he was having a problem, well…it threw him off center.  He called Jamie, and eventually, he wound up in the Sick Bay.  He kept on throwing curves at Will, with his condition constantly changing…and we found out that he had been having nightmares, of the vampire, Silve.  Somehow, she was draining his blood in his dreams.  And once we knew that the dreams were happening, it seemed to let up and although he didn't get well, he didn't get worse."

 

He sighed.  "Maybe it would’ve been different if the Admiral hadn't gotten word from State that the Island had reappeared.  We were ordered back… We shouldn't have gone… but we had to.  Lee was weak, but as eager as the rest of us to bring it to an end…"  He looked at Matty, his eyes filled with new tears…  "If I’d known what the end was going to be, I would’ve stopped it …long before it began that day."

 

"Chip?"

 

"Because of the Ceremony, the year before…Lee had… children…seven children.  One by each of the women, and one by the creature…that one….his name was Midhir Cillian.  He was to be the leader for the life forms from the other plane to conquer this world.  He was a sorcerer with enormous power… and he had a matching ego to boot.  He… he looked like Lee… a younger version, with longer hair, and a beard… but he looked like him.  Had the same build…the same voice. "

 

Chip sat on the couch next to Matty. She took his hands in hers, and wrapped on arm around her shoulders, sliding into the curve of his body.  She pulled herself close to him, and tilted her head upward, her lips meeting his…"I love you , Chip… and I hate seeing you in this kind of pain.  This was a horrible time for you … and Lee… How …"

 

Chip sighed, and pulled her closer.  "There's more, Matty… much more.  I don't know if I can tell you all of it… the images that I'm seeing in my mind, for the first time in years… Like the Admiral, and the others, I put it out of my mind.  I did see someone, someone that Will recommended.  He was a big help.  I was lucky.  Lee's… 'therapy' was more intense. He was in a sanitarium for a month.  They did some subliminal suggestions so he wouldn't remember…he hasn't spoken about it in all these years…"

 

"Chip…I'm so sorry… I…"

 

"There's still more… Lee's son… was killed….by Admiral Nelson."

 

Matty stiffened with that news… "Oh, God!  Poor Lee, and the poor Admiral!  How… why?"

 

"Let me finish the story, Angel…I don't think I'll ever tell this to anyone else, for the rest of my life.  According to Midhir Cillian, Lee had to die at the hand of the man closest to him in order for the power that the mother, Silve, had promised to him to come about.  When we landed, we made our way to the circle of stones…  We had broken into two groups.  Remember, were looking for the missing children from the town on he mainland.  I led one, Lee and the Admiral the other.  Once we reached the edge of the circle, they appeared in the center of it, Silve, the vampire creature, Turlough the leader, and Lee's son, Midhir Cillian.  We were all suddenly frozen in place.  None of us could move.  The elder male, Turlough introduced Lee to his son…"

 

"But Chip,"  Matty interrupted, puzzled.  "How could he be an adult?  In a year's time?"

 

"I don't even begin to know.. all I know is that he was.  And all the Admiral would say was that time passed differently in that plane…"

 

"Oh, I guess…not real time…"

 

"I guess… the son was totally evil, Matty.  I couldn't believe that someone like Lee could have fathered, could have been even a small part of  a creature like that… he hated Lee.  Total, absolute hate… You could see it and hear it.  He began to torture Lee with his words and I could see how it was hurting him, but, just like the others, I couldn't speak or move.  All I could do was watch it unfold.  After Midhir taunted Lee, calling him Da, and saying things that Lee has never told us, Silve came at him, or rather to him.  She told him she wanted him with her in eternity…to watch their son rule this new world…she said she’d bound his spirit to her.  She came at him, stroked his face, then kissed him.  He said later that he knew he was caught in her enchantment, he couldn't stop himself.  Then the women from the last year appeared around them and they gave him something to drink, and she, the vampire faerie, bit him again, this time, above his heart.  When she was finished, they took his shirt, and then they lifted him, and tied him to the altar."

 

Chip's arms convulsed around his wife and she returned the gesture with a gentle one of her own.  "Easy, my love.  I know this is hard… very hard… but I think you need to talk it out, now."

 

He took a deep breath, and continued. "We couldn't hear what was being said, but Silve and Midhir took their turns talking to him, and whatever they did, he was soon crying out in pain.   He was in such pain, he was pulling against the ropes, trying to get free, and they, the mother and son were smiling…"  Again he sighed, a catch in his voice, giving away more than he even realized,  " I couldn't do anything to help him!! They were torturing my best friend, and I couldn't do anything to stop them… And it was his son!!!  His son was planning on seeing him killed, laughing about it, and I couldn’t stop it!!!"

 

He shuddered then continued.  "One of the girls, one of his daughters, brought a potion in cup to him, and made him drink it, and then she kissed him and laughed.  Midhir kept on talking to Lee, and taunting him, and then they brought the Admiral over to the altar.  They had forced a potion on him, too, like the one they made him drink the last time.  He was like some sort of a zombie, then they led him to the altar.  He stood there… and when he didn't follow what Midhir told him to do, to take the knife and stab Lee, then…. Midhir took the knife and stabbed Lee in the leg.  He took the knife, held it high, and then wiped Lee's blood on the knife, and on the Admiral's hands.  He put the knife back in the Admiral's hands and held them high, then let them drop.  As his hands fell toward Lee, he suddenly came alive, and he turned and dropped the knife into Midhir's heart.  In one move, he was dead… and then all hell broke loose.

 

“The men and I were suddenly free and we ran towards the Admiral and the altar.  Jamie and I went to help the Admiral untie Lee, and Sharkey went to him, and then to the children that had been taken by the sorcerer.  They’d been freed from their enchantment as well… All the other beings were running off… the old sorcerer was watching it all, and Jamie and I were trying to untie Lee.  The vampire creature attacked and we threw ourselves over him to protect him.  She slashed my back pretty well and got Will, too.  Then the old sorcerer and she had one hell of an argument, and she disappeared, and we finally made our way to the beach.  We carried Lee, and the Admiral followed.  At the beach we had to rig one of the rafts so that the youngsters could get in, and then we put Lee in one with them.  The rest of us went into the water…We pushed the rafts about halfway to the boat, when we were met by a couple of zodiacs who pulled us the rest of the way in.  I wound up in Sick Bay…my back kept me there for a couple of days.  Lee was there until we docked at the Institute.  Then Jamie had him airlifted to a facility in San Diego.  He was there for a month or so.  When he came back, we never spoke of it again.  Not until tonight…. … not until tonight…God!  I wish the O.O.M. had never told that story!  I wish…"   his voice faded, and he shuddered as he gave in to tears, held back by many years of control.  His anguish over the events was totally encompassing.

 

Matty turned in his arms, and saw the tears on his face.  She pulled herself to a sit, and wrapped her arms around him.  "Go on, Chip…let it out… let it all out.  You've held this too close to your heart for too many years… You saw your best friend used in a most horrific manner, saw him close to death because of it.  You saw him confronted by his son, and your other friend try to kill him again… you also saw that friend then turn and kill your friend's son.  You've kept this to yourself for all this time, the three of you have…

 

She hesitated a moment.  “Don't you understand that it was bound to come out some time, and you all would have to deal with it.  With one another, and with whoever you were involved with at the time.  You all are, and have been, closer than most families.  We all are a family.  Those are ties that bind us closer than most people who are related by blood.  And that makes something like this happening to one of us, all the more abhorrent.  But Lee knows that.  He knows that you were all victims in this event.  He knows that you all have done what you had to do… the Admiral knows that as well…although, I think that the burden of guilt that he carries must be enormous.  To have killed that being, knowing he was totally evil, yet that he was Lee's son… well, I know Karen has strong shoulders, thank God.  And you, you my love, have to realize that you did all that you could… you saved their lives.  That's the bottom line in this. You saved their lives, and the three of you, once again, resolved things, with the aid of the men and the boat… and went on to other projects and missions.  I'm sorry for the pain all of you have had. But, you’re all here now… You've remembered something horrible, but now you can put it behind you, and move on.  Lean on me, Sailor, and let's go forward together… We will be stronger, and hopefully Lee and Caitlin, and the Admiral and Karen will work this out as well…"

 

Chip pulled her close, into a tight embrace, one of love, and also of relief.  Holding her tightly, he whispered, "Thanks, Angel… for being who you are, and for giving me so much… Thanks…"

 

Matty returned the embrace, and then gently rose, and pulled him with her.  "Come on, Sailor… it’s been a long night and you and I need some sleep.  We’ve some little ones that will be demanding our attention in a few hours.  We're not going to resolve this in a night, or even in a day or two…but we will resolve it…together…with our friends… I think that the best thing that I can do is to take my husband to bed, and show him how loved he is… by his wife…who also needs for him to hold her close…" 

 

Chip pulled her close for a moment as they stood…  He ran his hand over her hair, in a gentle caress, while he held her .  He kissed her cheek, softly,  and whispered to her, "Matty Weaver… how did I ever get so lucky to find you, and have you share my life?  I’m thankful every day since the moment that I saw your incredible eyes come over the coaming in the Nose, followed by the rest of the wonderful woman who is now, tho I still can’t believe it, even after all these years, my wife.  The holder of my heart and so much more.  And I need to hold you close as well…  I need your love to put these memories out of my mind, so, yes, let's go to bed and begin to resolve all of this…together…" 

 

And together, they went up the stairs, hand in hand, to begin the long task of putting his memories of that terrible time in its proper place.

 

 

 Keno – An Opening

 

Lee Crane's home, at about the same time

 

 

0350.  Caitlin sighed softly in her sleep.  Lee pulled her closer to him.  There was a sweetness and tenderness in her that Lee treasured.  Together for only a few months now, he was amazed at how quickly she had become such an important part of his life… it frightened him at times.  He remembered how carefully he had begun his relationship with Cathy and how fast things had happened with it Caitlin…

 

‘Fast!  Yeah…right, Crane.  Fast…seven years… Fast!!  She and Karen were right…  You had to be hit with a damn 2 x 4 in order to realize that you were in love with the girl.

 

Of course, he’d known Caitlin, now, longer than he had ever known Cathy.

 

"Cathy…God!… we were so innocent then… what we didn't know… what we didn't share… I'm so glad that you didn't know about this… so glad that I didn't remember what this was…

 

His hand moved to his groin, to the scar from the brand, tracing the pattern.  He flushed with embarrassment at the flood of fragments of the memories of that time.  Easing his arm from under Caitlin, he turned onto his back, and slid the arm under his head.

 

"Cats… what would you have said if you’d known what Caitlin does now?  Seven children… on another plane…  Seven!  You and I were so thrilled with your pregnancy and then Robert's birth…  I never realized that that time had given me children…  The treatment at the facility had worked…  You never mentioned the brand…not once… weren't we that loving… or was the Admiral and Taylor's explanation enough at the time…  I guess we were pretty nave…but what we had was good.  I did love you… I do miss you even now…  now that Caitlin and I have found one another… and Robert…well, he is a special child, Cats…  A lot like you…giving and loving, something that my other children were not.  They all wanted me dead… My own children wanted to see the Admiral kill me and they wanted me dead…  Because they were brought up to hate and to take the power, at any price…they were taught that power was the be all and end all, and as far as we know, it ended for all of them on the Island that day.  All of them…'

 

He shifted again, wrapping an arm around Caitlin, and she slid into his arms, murmuring in her sleep.  Kissing her shoulder and her head gently, he pulled her as close as he could.

 

'I wish I could let the Admiral know that I know what he did on the Island.  I know he was the one who killed Midhir… and I wish I could tell him that it was all right.  I wish I could tell him that although I fathered the man he killed, he was no more my son than any of the beings on the Island were.  I know he’s got a lot of guilt.  I just know he does.  And I can never let him know that I do know… or he’ll only feel worse…much, much worse…"

 

 

  Mannaz – The Nature of Humankind

 

Present time, the Nelson home, later that night…

 

 

There was an uneasy silence in the bedroom as he finished his recitation of the events of years past.  It was almost a relief to have finally unburdened himself of the terrible truth.  His eyes slowly found hers, as if searching for understanding and confirmation…and maybe absolution…that what he had done had been the right thing.  For all these years he had carried the guilt…the guilt that he had been the one who had killed his friend’s son.  And though no man who had been present would have ever condemned him, he bore that terrible truth in his own heart.

 

Karen Nelson slowly drew her arm through his and laid her head gently on his sagging shoulder.  The horrific personal price her husband had paid in keeping this secret seemed almost too much for him to bear.  Now, as he had finished, she saw before her a man who seemed to have had a terrible weight lifted from his shoulders.

 

“…and that’s what really happened,” he told her, trying to avoid her eyes as he finished.

 

Gently, she told him, “You had no choice in what you did, Harriman.  You did what had to be done.  Midhir Cillian was totally evil and had to be destroyed.”

 

He laid a hand atop hers and slowly turned to face her.  The sadness in his eyes nearly broke her heart.  “Yes…but at what price, Karen?  Regardless of how evil he was, he was Lee Crane’s son.  And I’m the one who killed him.”

 

“True, but even you said that Lee knew…”

 

“I know…but if he ever remembers…”

 

“Harriman…what about the brand?  I mean, wouldn’t that trigger some sort of reaction…some sort of flashback?

 

“Taylor assured me…that the ‘suggestions’ they implanted would take care of that.  He would simply accept them.”

 

Karen drew away and slid off the bed.  Turning to face him, a frown now graced her face.  “You mean to tell me that even during his marriage to Cathy…it didn’t even come up?  I mean, Harry, let’s face it here…there are certain things during intimacy that can’t be so easily explained away.”

 

“If Cathy ever questioned him…I don’t know…but I’m assuming that if she did, Lee would have told her what he’d been told.”

 

“Harry…you and I both know that these treatments aren’t always necessarily permanent…  What about now?  I mean…what about the fact that you’ve told the story, though in a very sanitized form, but you’ve told it nonetheless.  You know it’s got to have stirred up some memories…it has to.  I saw the looks being passed between you and Lee and Chip.  And you know if I saw them, my daughter did, too.  She and Lee have become closer since the incident with Gamma… and I know my daughter, Harry.  Should things progress to a more intimate point, she’s going to ask questions.”

 

“Then that’s going to be between them…I’m sure Lee will handle it in the best way possible,” he replied softly.

 

“That may be true…but what about her?  I mean…Look, I’m having a hard time believing what you’ve told me…”

 

“It’s true…every word of it…” he adamantly told her.

 

“I’m not doubting that…” she reassured him.  “Remember, I’ve been aboard during some rather unusual missions and I’ve also read some of the logs of past ones.  However, my daughter hasn’t had the experiences you or Lee and the crew have had.  I think the fact that the man she obviously loves was used in such a sickening way would terrify her.  It wouldn’t cause her to love him any less, but it would terrify her.  Add to the fact, from what you’ve said, there’s possibly six more of these ‘children’ out there somewhere.  Who’s to say that one or more of them wouldn’t suddenly pop up somewhere, sometime?”

 

Nelson’s voice suddenly turned testy.  “Don’t you think we’ve wondered about that?  My God, Karen…That’s one thing we fear…and yet, we can’t let Lee ever know…  Besides, these ‘children’ are on a different plane of existence.  I believe that when the Island died, they did too.”

 

“Well, if he was ‘called’ for once, what’s to keep it from happening again?  Harriman…please understand what I’m trying to ask here…  I’m trying to protect my daughter from this madness…”

 

“Goddamn it…I know that.  Do you think I’d want to put her in danger?” he snapped back, then realized what he’d done.  His voice softened somewhat as he lamented,  “I should have never told that story…”

 

“But you did, don’t you see?  You ‘had’ to tell it, Harry…Obviously, it’s been eating at you for years.  You had to get it out…somehow, someway.  It must have been that it was time.”  She sat down on the floor at his feet and took hold of his hands.  Looking up into his eyes, she saw a mixture of emotions ranging from mild irritation to sadness to fear to confusion.  “Caitlin’s never had to face the ‘reality’ that you and the others have faced.  Even some of the things I’ve been privy to are beyond her comprehension.  I just want to make sure that she’s not caught in the crossfire of something totally unholy and that she’s totally unprepared to handle.”

 

He tightened his grip around her hands, almost as if one needed to try to convey strength to the other.  “Karen…if that day ever comes…I’m sure that Lee will deal with it in the appropriate manner.  I also think that you have to give her more credit than what you’re doing.  She’s a bright and observant young woman. She knows a great deal more than you believe she does.  However, I’ve got to ask you to swear to me that you’ll never reveal to anyone what I’ve just told you…and that means even to Caitlin.”

 

“Harry…my daughter is not stupid.  If they get that close and she starts to ask questions…”

 

“You’ll let Lee handle it.  That’s the way it has to be.  Now…I think we both need some sleep.  It’s been a long day.”  Nelson got up from the end of the bed and turned back the covers to get in.  It was clear that he was weary of the whole ordeal and wanted to try to put it behind him forever.  Somehow, for the first time in years, he felt relieved to have the nightmare revealed.

 

She could see how hard on him it had been to reveal the whole incident, so deciding against further discussion, she slid into bed next to him.  As he reached over and turned off the light on nightstand, she quietly molded her body to his and his arm enveloped her.  Nothing else needed to be said between them…and yet, there were questions…with answers he could never reveal.

 

 

 Thurisaz – The Seeing of Things to Pass

 

Later that night, the Nelson home…

 

 

He tossed and turned…finally looking over at the clock.  0413.  He looked over and saw Karen as she lay in peaceful sleep next to him.  He couldn’t sleep.  The memories that had been dredged up had proven to be too vivid and too disturbing.  Finally, he quietly got up and, using the residual light from the digital clock, found his robe, slipped from the bedroom.  Padding down the hallway, he suddenly stopped at his son’s room and looked in.  Seeing that Sean had kicked his blanket off, he stepped in and recovered him.  As he started out the door, he stopped and looked back at the sleeping child.

 

He knew about you… Turlough knew.  But how???

 

He could barely hear the child’s breathing and watched as Sean lay snuggled up to his favorite stuffed animal, a killer whale.

 

What was it that he had said… ‘Make sure, when yer son arrives, that he has a fine Irish name.  He deserves that…fer the brave and determined father that gave him life and the fine, strong woman that bore him.  He will make ye both proud.  Yer son will nae have a bad life, and peace, and happiness will be his, if’n he passes the one test.  An’ that’ll be a test o’ the heart, nothin’ else.  Tis all I kin do.’

 

Nelson sadly shook his head as he remembered what the old man had predicted.  This was the one part of the story that he hadn’t told Karen about…and no one else knew, save him.  How could he?  How could he tell her that their son’s birth had been foretold and yet had been cursed by that ‘thing’…and that the curse itself had been softened by Turlough in an act of benevolence?  He hadn’t believed it at the time, he remembered.  He’d had no reason to…Katherine Campbell had been long dead and it was still a long time before he would make Karen Davis’ acquaintance.

 

He stepped back and walked to the bed.  Gently, he reached down and touched the unruly head of reddish curls.  His eyes misted as he gazed down at the biggest miracle of his life, his only son. 

 

“He knew…the old man knew,” he whispered.  “Oh, God…I swear to you, Sean…I’ll keep you as safe as I possibly can, for as long as I possibly can…but your mother…nor you…can never know about it.  But I promise you…as long as I live and breath…I’ll keep you safe.”

 

The child sighed and shifted position, clutching the whale tighter to his chest.  Harry silently shook his head, bent down, and softly kissed him on the top of his head… then left.

 

He walked down the stairs to the wet bar and fixed himself a drink, then proceeded out to the deck that overlooked the calm Pacific.  Standing at the railing, he drank in the cool night air and watched as a few clouds slowly made their way across the night sky.  He was exhausted…physically, mentally, emotionally.  And yet, the fact that Karen now knew somewhat eased his conscience.  Harry knew that his actions had been right.  Amazingly enough, even the old Druid had known that…even he had known that they could have never contained Midhir Cillian in his quest for absolute power.

 

He could never tell Karen that their relationship and their son’s birth had been prophesied.  He wouldn’t have known how to begin…especially the part of the curse.  No…that final part of the story was something he would take to his grave.  There was no sense in frightening her about something that she could not change.  No…this was his responsibility and his alone.  Taking another drink of his scotch, he sighed and looked out over the ocean.

 

It was over in one respect…but not in another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Secrets, secrets are no fun…share your secrets with everyone…’

from a children’s rhyme.

 

 

 

 

 

*Author’s note… this is the name of the character of Lee’s son in this story… and what it’s derived from…

 

Midhir Cillian

 

Midir - (MY-tir) a fairy king and another god of the Underworld, connected with the Isle of Falga (Isle of Man) where he had his palace. Midhir

Cillian - (KEEL-yan) "war or strife"; variant of Ceallach.

 

Sidhe is pronounced ‘Shee’ as in Ban-shee

 

Silve – is pronounced ‘She-la’

 

 

*Much of this tale of the Island is a blend of many tales in Irish folklore.  The Lhiannon Sidhe is found thru out the tales of Eire, and so are tales of Druids and faeries.  There are also tales of the ‘old ones’ coming to power to reclaim the world that was theirs before the mortals came.

 

The website for the runes shown in the story and the descriptions of them can be found at Anglo-Saxon Celtic Runes

 http://village.fortunecity.com/bernhard/864/runes.html

 

 

 

 

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