from the third page..
The two jeeps carrying the Legacy team pulled up in
front of an aging stone building. Jesus had arranged for
rooms in a private home which took in the rare tourists
who managed to wander so far from the main cities. It's
owners, their guide explained, were related to one of the
other House members and would ask no questions of their
American guests. Nick looked up at the cracked facade
with a rueful grin.
"Well, I've stayed in worse." He said, hoisting
his bag up on his shoulder. "At least this place
will have indoor plumbing, unlike some of those dig sites
Derek's dragged me to."
"Nice quiet little town." Alex commented,
looking up and down the dusty streets.
"Let's hope it stays that way." Derek replied
"If Arkady is already here, where would he be
staying?" Philip asked, reaching into the jeep for
"Nick, once we've settled in I want you to start
scouting the area, see if you can located Arkady."
Derek ordered, his eyes stern. "Alex you stay and
set up here. Make sure you can get a good connection to
the Legacy database from your laptop. Philip and I will
go to the church and talk to the local priest."
Nick cast a quick look at the other members of his party,
his mind recalling another time when his precept had
split the team to better cover more ground. That
decision, which had cost Julia her life, had hung between
the young man and his mentor for a very long time. Now he
feared Derek had again chosen expediency over safety.
Alex frowned and ever so slightly shook her head,
motioning him to remain silent for the time being.
"Senor Rayne? May I introduce our host, Senor
Allende. He is abuelo to our youngest member
Vincente." Jesus lead another elderly man to the
group, glancing with concern at Derek. The other man, a
small frail looking individual with a luxurious handlebar
mustache, held out his hand to the groups leader.
"Buenos Dias, Senor Rayne." The man began, his
English accented but understandable. "It is an honor
to have you here. Mi Casa es su Casa. My home is your
"Thank you for having us, Senor Allende." Derek
responded gravely, shaking the old man's hand firmly.
"I hope that my friends and I will not be too much
of an imposition." He turned and handed Alex his bag
then motioned to their guide. "Jesus, can you tell
me how far it is to the church from here?"
"You will speak to Padre Saenz?" Senor Allende
asked quizzically. "He will be here in a few moments
to speak to my family."
"I'm going to go ahead with my recon." Nick
said, opening his bag on the jeeps hood.
"What are you looking for?" Alex asked.
"My gun." He replied, fishing the small package
out of the bottom of the bag. He unwrapped it and clipped
the revolver to the back of his belt, under his shirt.
"How did you get that past customs?" Philip
"It was in my luggage in a lined box." Nick
replied, scanning the dusty streets with a practiced eye.
"Figured I had a better chance of getting into the
country with it there than in my carry on stuff. "
He shrugged off the concerned glances directed at him by
his team. "What? Did you really think I was going to
run up against Arkady without a weapon, especially after
the last time?"
"There's no time for that now." Derek
interjected, motioning Alex forward. "Just try to
keep that out sight of the local police." He entered
the house behind Alex with Philip, Jesus and Senor
Allende trailing along behind him. Nick shrugged and
started off down the street, then stopped and looked back
along the row of stone buildings. He could feel the
prickling of the hair on the back of his neck as it stood
up in the noon day heat. There were eyes watching him
walk down the street yet there was no one visible on the
"Must be my imagination." He muttered to
himself, walking quickly down the cobblestone street.
"Imagination can be a dangerous thing, soldier. Gets
people into all sorts of trouble." A voice replied
from behind him. He whirled to find himself looking into
Marianne's amused eyes. The tall brunette was leaning
against the crumbling facade of the town's only bank,
dressed in beige slacks and shirt. Her long hair was
pulled up into a tight bun and tucked inside a dusty
Panama hat. She smiled engagingly at the surprised man.
"Where the hell did you come from?" he
sputtered, reaching automatically for the gun at his
"That wouldn't be a good idea." She pointed up,
looking up the alley way behind him. "Since I think
that's a police officer coming towards us. Considering
the trouble lately with the Basques, the police would be
less than understanding about some American walking their
streets "packing heat". That is the proper
phrase, isn't it?"
"Close enough." Nick agreed grudgingly, yanking
his jacket back over the clip at his belt. "You
didn't answer my question."
"Not likely to either, not if it's asked in that
tone of voice." She began to move down the alley
towards the spot where the officer had been standing.
Nick fell in at her side, curiosity winning out over his
"You're after the cup, aren't you?"
"Not exactly." Marianne replied, matching her
stride to the young man at her side. "I'm just here
to observe. Treasure hunts are not my favorite type of
sporting events. I'd rather be out hunting boar with my
hounds and my bow. Or maybe a bear. Yes, right now I
would dearly love to be hunting bear."
"So sorry we're keeping you from your
playtime." Nick replied sarcastically. "I don't
suppose you want to tell me what you and your brother
want with Derek or is that something I'll have to find
out the hard way."
"I haven't a clue what my brother might want, either
with the cup or Derek." She said, mentally
chastising herself for the lie. "We can talk about
it some other time. For right now, I suggest we step into
this alleyway here and wait for a certain Mr. Arkady to
pass us by when he steps out of that café across the
street. If we are clever we can follow without being seen
and discover where he goes. What do you say, soldier?
Willing to call a temporary truce until the cup is
Nick looked quickly in the direction of the café
Marianne mentioned. Arkady was there, barely visible
through the glass as he used their telephone. He glanced
back at the woman at his side, who was already moving to
take up a position in the alley. Nick weighed what he
knew about Arkady with what he didn't know about this
mysterious creature offering her assistance and slid into
the alley at her side. "Truce it is. But when this
"When this is over soldier, you and I will have many
stories to tell and songs to sing, just as all warriors
do at the end of their battle. But for now
she leaned against the brick walls, willing the shadows
to cover her and her companion as they waited for their
prey to make his next move.
Arkady mentally cursed a blue streak as he slammed the
café's phone done. It was bad enough that he was having
to stay in that joke of a bed and breakfast but that
there was no working phone in the hostel which had been
almost too much to believe. It had taken him some time to
find a phone who's owner was willing to allow him to
monopolize it. If that wasn't enough, the small group of
hired mercenaries he had hired before arriving in Madrid
had just been picked up in a general round-up by the
authorities. Someone, it seemed, had called in a tip
about Basque extremists gathering in a particular house,
armed with automatic and chemical weapons. The house had
just happened to be leased under his name and the men in
his employee, something the anonymous tipster had
neglected to mention. The police hadn't wasted time in
assaulting the place and it would be some time before his
lawyers would be able to free them. *If I bother to free
them at all.* he fumed, grabbing his now wrinkled jacket
and storming out of the café. *They're no use to me
now.* He stomped down the streets, ignoring the annoyed
looks from the local inhabitants he managed to shove out
of his way. He didn't notice the two shadows following
him until he reached the plaza, the center of the town's
social life. It was then he happened to glance into a
shop window and recognize a figure reflected there.
Nick and Marianne followed the agitated Arkady for
several blocks, trying to remain as inconspicuous as
possible, a feat made more difficult by the fact that
strangers rarely visited the small town and so tended to
stand out. Nick noticed that more than a few of the men
they passed gave his companion a look that spoke volumes.
"Don't think you're going to stay incognito
long." He commented, maneuvering so that he was
between the woman and most of the men they passed.
Marianne sighed. "Damien tells me that I'm a
distraction. I wouldn't know, though. The only time I
look in a mirror
well, let's just say it's not my
face I'm looking for." She grinned as a wicked
thought surfaced. Without warning she leaned over and
planted a kiss on the surprised ex-SEAL's cheek.
"There. Now they will look at you with envy,
thinking you must be "muy macho" very much a
man to have such a woman."
Nick laughed, then stopped in his tracks. Their quarry
had moved into the central plaza and was staring into a
shop window with an intensity that worried him.
"Damn! I think we've been made." He moved
forward to intercept the man when he realized his
companion was no longer at his side. "Where the hell
did she go?" He turned back to see Arkady moving
towards him across the plaza.
*Damn!* Arkady thought, seeing the stocky figure of
Rayne's chief of security in the glass. *Well, I knew I
was going to run into that lot sooner or later. Maybe I
can turn this to my advantage.* He turned and moved
directly toward the surprised Legacy member, a false
smile on his face. "Mr. Boyle! Fancy meeting you
here. Small world, isn't it?"
"Yeah, small world." Nick replied, quickly
regaining his composure. "So, what brings you to
this little piece of Heaven?"
"Oh, I think we both know what I'm here for Nick. I
can call you Nick can't I?"
"Mr. Boyle is fine with me." Nick replied
"Really now, that's not very friendly is it? I'm not
as bad a person as Derek would have you believe."
"Tell that to Sister Jehanne. I'm sure it would be a
great comfort to her to know you didn't mean to let her
walk into that demon's clutches."
Arkady smiled sadly. "Well, even if I had told her,
do you think she would have listened? Fanatics have a way
of hearing only what they want to hear."
"What's the point of this conversation,
Arkady?" Nick replied angrily, his eyes never
leaving the man in front of him.
"You're right, this discussion is rather pointless
isn't it? Well, I think I see a conversation that might
be much more interesting. That policeman over there, the
one talking to the pretty brunette. I wonder what he'd
say when I tell him you threatened me with that illegal
gun you're wearing."
Nick turned to see Marianne talking animatedly to a local
officer who was listening intently to whatever she had
said. He moved to stop Arkady from walking across the
street towards them then stopped as the officer turned to
them with a frown.
"Senor, this lady says that you have threatened her
and her friends with violence. Is this true?"
Arkady smiled smugly at Nick. "Yes, this young man
has made some threats
"No Senor, I'm talking about you. This Senorita has
said you are carrying a weapon. This is a crime in Spain,
punishable by time in jail."
"That's absurd! This man is the one carrying a gun
not me. If you don't believe me, search him." Arkady
demanded, his voice raised in anger.
Nick looked quickly at Marianne, who nodded
imperceptibly. "Sure, go ahead. I've nothing to
hide." He locked his finger together behind his head
and stood with his legs apart as the officer did a quick
pat down. When he ran his hand down Nick's back, the
soldier realized that the familiar bulge of his gun clip
was missing. Nick looked back at his companion to see her
surreptitiously make a mystical sign with her hand in the
air behind Arkady.
"My apologies, Senor. It is obvious you are not
carrying a weapon." The officer removed his baton
from his belt and moved to stand in front of Arkady.
"This is ridiculous. I'm not carrying
Arkady's voice trailed off as he felt the gun clip fall
from his belt to the ground behind him. "This is a
trap! A set-up! These people are trying to frame
"We will let the authorities decide what is true in
your case, Senor. Senorita, I would ask that you and your
friend not leave the village until this matter is
resolved." The officer roughly grabbed the still
protesting Arkady and moved him quickly out of the plaza
and towards the jail.
Nick looked at his companion with suspicion. "How
did you do that?"
"Now is not the time to discuss parlor tricks,
soldier. We must gather your fellow hunters and the find
the cup, before our enemy finds an official willing to
believe in the color of his money." She trotted off
in the direction of the hotel, Nick following quickly
behind her. In the distance, Arkady's voice could still
be heard protesting his innocence.
Derek moved quickly down the narrow streets, the
village priest and Philip at his side. The group had not
had to wait long before beginning their journey to the
village Church. Padre Saenz had arrived at the residence
shortly after Nick had left on his reconnaissance and had
been greeted with enthusiasm by his cousin Jesus.
"Holla Primo!" Jesus had called out, ignoring
the shocked look on his hosts face. "Como estas? How
are you ? It's been a long time since we last saw one
another hasn't it?'
"Probably as long as it's been since your last
confession." Padre Saenz replied dryly in Spanish,
embracing his cousin with affection. "What brings
you here to our little village? Surely it's not to hear
one of my sermons."
"No!" Jesus laughed, motioning the remaining
Legacy members to step forward. "I've heard enough
sermons in my lifetime. My employer, Senor de la Vega,
asked me to bring these people to Las Rosales. They have
an interest in the old gravestones behind the church and
the caverns underneath it."
"We're not far from the church are we?" Alex
asked, fishing in her jacket for the keys to the jeep.
She ignored the frown on her precept's face, determined
that this time she would not be left behind to mind the
"No Senorita, the church is just a little over a
mile from here at the edge of town." Jesus assured
her, tucking his own keys back in his pocket. "This
is a small village. Everything here is within walking
"Suddenly my poor church is the center of
attention." Padre Saenz commented switching to
heavily accented English. His eyes swept over the
strangers finally lighting on Philip's priestly collar.
"You are interested in the history of my church, my
"Father Philip Callighan at your service Sir. These
are my friends Dr. Derek Rayne and Alexandra
Moreau." Philip began, looking back at his leader.
Derek motioned for him to continue. "We are from the
Luna Foundation in California and have an interest in the
relationship between your church and an ancient fighting
order known as the Knights Templar. We have been told
that some of that order might have retired to this
village many centuries ago, when the order was
"I have heard stories since I was a nino that such
an order once buried some of their dead in our old
cemetery, but there is no written proof of that. Only the
strange symbols on some of the tombstones that the old
women say are signs to keep away the devil." Padre
Saenz thought for a moment, then looked intently at his
cousin. "Senor de la Vega is a good and decent man.
If he speaks for you, then I can trust you come only in
the service of good. Come, I will show you the church and
the graveyard. The caves, I fear, you will have to search
yourself. I'm too old for such explorations. But I fear
you may be disappointed." He took his cousin by the
arm and began to walk in the direction of the church.
Derek and Philip quietly fell into step behind them.
"Father, you said your church has become the center
of attention." Alex commented as she strolled along
beside the older men. "Has someone else been asking
about the Templars?"
"A man was asking about the church just today. From
the way he spoke I would say he was an American, like
you. He was pleasant enough but his eyes were cold, like
a snake. It is fortunate that the Bishop sent that young
couple to warn me of his designs on my church."
Derek stopped dead in the center of the sidewalk. "A
young couple? Was the man tall and blond and the woman
dark-haired with violet eyes?"
"Ah, You known them!" Padre Saenz exclaimed,
turning back to the stranger. "Yes, that was them. A
very nice young couple, but strange in their own way. Yet
I felt that their warning was meant with good intentions.
They were, after all, sent by the Bishop." He
continued back along his path, oblivious to the effect
his words had on the man behind him.
"So our mysterious friends got here ahead of
us." Alex commented, gently urging her stunned
precept on down the road. "If they knew the cup was
here, why didn't they just get it and leave?"
"I don't think they can." Derek whispered, his
mind racing at the unexpected news. His hand slipped
involuntarily to the arrow pendant under his shirt,
reassuring himself that the Lady's gift was still there.
"I think they are only able to guard it from a
distance. But why is the danger so great now? What has
changed since it was brought here that makes it so
important that the cup be moved again?"
"Arkady's interest?" Alex guessed, watching
Philip try out his Spanish on his fellow priest.
"No. If it were just Arkady they would eliminate him
as they did his hired killer. Something else has occurred
to make this place too dangerous for the cup to
remain." Derek quickened his pace, pulling Alex
along in his wake. Ahead of them was the old village
church and the last piece of their puzzle.
Nick raced along the narrow streets, following the
instructions his companion had received from passersby.
At least, he hoped that's what she had asked. Nick's
Spanish was passable for shore leave but Marianne had
left him in the dirt when she had begun to speak to the
local postman. "Pretty long conversation for such a
simple question." He remarked, glancing back to see
if the woman was still beside him.
"No conversation is ever simple, especially in a
small town." Marianne replied, looking behind her
with a frown. "Did it occur to you, soldier, that it
was too easy to get Mr. Arkady out of the way?"
"Yeah, surprisingly it did. Don't suppose you know
who he called?"
"Probably reinforcements. There is no more time to
waste." Marianne stopped and shaded her eyes from
the bright sunlight. "There is the church. Your
companions should be here shortly. Find the treasure and
find it soon, lest the fates catch up with you and wrest
your prize away." She turned and started off across
the field, away from the churchyard.
"Hey! Where are you going?" Nick called out,
starting after her. Suddenly he felt a rush of wings
above his head as a bird flew silently out of the sun and
grazed his face. He threw himself to the ground and
rolled, reaching instinctively for the gun he knew was no
longer there. But the attack did not continue. Nick
watched in amazement as a Little Owl flew after the
rapidly fading figure of the woman as she made for a
glade of trees beside a mound of rocks. It dipped
momentarily to snatch a field mouse off the ground before
it vanished as quietly as it had appeared. *What the
hell!* he thought to himself. *Owls don't come out in the
daytime. Hell, I'm not even sure there are owl like that
in Spain. What's going on?* He picked himself up and
after a moments hesitation, retreated back to the church
to await reinforcements.
"Well, all players are on the board now."
Damien commented, leaning against the rocks as his sister
moved to join him. He glanced back at the partially
blocked entrance to the caves that would soon become the
center of the human's treasure hunt.
"Yes, but I fear that it will take more time than
they have for them to find the right path to their
goal." Marianne remarked, removing her hat and
letting her hair down from it's severe bun. From behind
her, the owl which had attacked Nick swooped down onto a
shaded branch, the appearence of a frown on it's face. It
sat solemnly on the tree branch, finishing it's meal as
it waited for it's mistresses attention. "Yes, I
know you don't like hunting in the daylight, but there
was no other way and besides there weren't any crows
about. I made sure of that. You and I both know the
wolves would have been too rough to use as a distraction.
I need the man able to defend himself and his friends,
not partially crippled by the jaws of a playful
dog." She tossed the hat down under the tree and
moved to join her brother beside the cave entrance.
"We've already done more for these humans than we
should." Damien reminded her, examining the rocks
with exaggerated care. "We can do no more for them
"I'm aware of our limitations." Marianne
replied in exasperation. "All I'm saying is that
they need more time." She ran one hand over the
crumbling rocks blocking the entrance, noting the slight
gaps with interest. "Perhaps a little diversionary
tactic is in order."
" Damien warned, his voice grim.
"I'm not suggesting that we intervene again. Just
point out a few things that they might use
to send their adversary in another direction, at least
for a while."
Damien sighed then smiled, throwing his hands up in the
air. He knew no matter what he said, she would hunt in
her own way, maneuvering the Legacy members as she would
her hunting dogs until she had brought down the prize.
With any luck, he would be there at the kill to prevent
her hunter's instincts from overriding her noble heart.
He moved out of the glade and disappeared into the bright
waves of sunshine, leaving Marianne to contemplate her
next move. Above their heads, the owl fluffed his wings
and closed his yellow eyes, preparing for the coming of
night and the beginning of a proper hunt.
"Derek! Over here!" Nick called out, holding
a piece of his shirt to the scratches the owls claws had
left on the top of his head. He grimaced as he pulled the
cloth away to check of the bleeding had stopped. From
what little he knew about owls, he had a feeling that he
had gotten off lucky to only have received a few
"What happened to you?" Alex asked, running up
to her partner.
"I lost an argument with an owl." Nick replied,
shrugging off her concern. "Your friends around here
"My friend?" Derek responded, looking beyond
Nick to the old church.
"Yeah, the lady with the attitude. She helped me
ditch Arkady back in the village square, but I have a
feeling that won't last long. She essentially told me to
get on with it, find the prize before Arkady and his
Derek tore his eyes from the church to focus on Nick.
"Did she do this to you?"
"No. But I bet she and that owl on are first name
basis. It's not bad, let's just get on with it. It's
going to be dark soon"
Padre Saenz approached the group a worried frown on his
face. "You are injured my son?"
Nick made a face and tucked the rag in his pants pocket.
"Not really. Thanks for asking."
"Father, can we examine the church now?" Philip
requested, attempting to distract the older man from
"Yes, of course. There are stones in the church
which have symbols on them that no one remembers the
meaning of. Also, some of the older gravestones have
these marks. Those are located at the far end of the
cemetery, close to one of the entrances to the
caves." The Spanish priest moved to lead his guests
into his sanctuary, followed by all but Derek. The Legacy
precept stood for a moment looking across the field
caught in a vision of the future.
He saw his friends running through an underground tunnel,
bullets flying around them. A voice was urging them to
run faster, but he wasn't sure why. There was the sound
of an explosion just behind him and rocks and dust flying
everywhere. With a startled gasp, he came out of the
vision to find himself looking Philip's worried eyes.
"I saw you stay behind and thought there might be
something wrong." Philip said, his soft brogue
soothing to the ear.
"I saw something, something that tells me we'd
better get on with this hunt, before Arkady's
reinforcements arrive to help their master." Derek
turned and started off towards the cemetery, the young
priest trailing in his wake. Behind them the shape of an
owl in flight could be seen in the fading light.
Alex and Philip managed to make tracings of the
symbols in the church on the gravestones before the sun
set too far in the horizon. They seemed to be similar to
those found on the armor, clues pointing to a location
near the church where something had been concealed. But
finding their precise translation was proving more
difficult than either of the Legacy researchers had
anticipated. Padre Saenz had graciously invited the group
to take supper with him, an invitation which they were
glad to accept. His housekeeper had quickly set more
places at the priests table with the help of her
granddaughter, a bored young teenage girl with an
interest in anything American. She and Nick had quickly
struck up a conversation about music and cars.
"I think we need to have a frame of reference to
guide us to the right location." Alex remarked,
reading her notes for the fifth time. She stretched her
arms above her head, trying to work the knots out her
back. "If our translation is correct, then these are
directions to somewhere but they make no sense."
"They refer to landmarks that may no longer
exist." Philip mused, munching on a piece of bread.
"Trees that died long ago, buildings that burned,
that sort of thing."
Derek only half listened to the conversation, his eyes
fixed on the fire before him. His vision had disturbed
him more than he was willing to admit. Somewhere in the
background, the young girl was playing a CD for Nick, a
song by Loreena McKennett with a Middle Eastern beat to
it. The heat in the room and the tempo of the music
lulled him into a trance-like state, his Sight
overwhelming his normal senses. A vision began to form, a
vision of a stone cavern with shelves carved into the
walls. Nothing moved in the room, not even the dust yet
somehow he sensed a force was present, beckoning him. In
his vision he moved to a shadowed niche peering futility
into the darkness for the thing he knew was there. A
voice sounded softly in his ear
"There Knight, there is what you seek. Reach out
your hand to it and it is yours. Reach out
could just make out the glow in the far corner and feel
the power emanating from it. A power which was
intoxicating in its strength. He reached for it, longing
for it's touch, longing for something he could not
describe. "Reach out Knight
"Derek?" Alex's voice broke through his
reverie, banishing his vision as quickly as it had
formed. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I'm fine." He replied, his voice tight.
"What have you discovered?"
"Padre Saenz has gone into his study to see if he
can find his predecessors notes. Seems the priest that
was assigned here before he was had made a study of those
marks in the church and in the graveyard. He seemed to
feel that if he could find out what the lay of the land
was when they were made, he might be able to locate the
entrance to cave the directions mention." Alex knelt
quietly at his Precept's feet, her face worried.
"What is it, Derek? Tell me what's wrong and don't
tell me nothing because I know better."
"It's just a vision Alex" he replied, softly,
looking back at the fire. "A voice in my head
telling me to reach out for something. It frightens
"Why does it frighten you?"
"Because of how much I want what I'm reaching for.
Someone once told me that the cursed items the Legacy
finds itself in possession of are not evil but have been
used to perform evil deeds. The intent of the user is all
important. And the faith. I'm not sure my motives are all
that pure in seeking the Grail or my faith strong enough
to face it."
Alex laid a hand gently on her mentors arm in comfort.
"If you can trust yourself as completely as we trust
in you Derek, than your faith will be strong enough and
your motives will be clear. Just believe in yourself. I
Derek smiled wearily at his friend. "Thank you
"We found it!" Jesus exclaimed, entering with
his cousin at his heels. "Here, Padre Moreno made a
map of the area from an description he found in an old
tome. See, here are the markers that the symbols speak
of. The cave entrance is just here." He pointed to a
spot on the map with a gnarled finger.
Nick looked down at the map with interest. "Well, if
that marker is the Church," he began , pointing to a
rough drawing of a building in the center of the map,
"then this cave entrance is somewhere in the
"Yes." Padre Saenz agreed, peering at the map.
"It looks as if the entrance is at the far corner of
the graveyard, but I haven't seen anything that looks
like a cave there."
"It's probably overgrown by now." Alex
"Or it was deliberately blocked. Is there a
sepulcher or grave in that far corner?" Derek asked,
his interest peaked.
"Yes, now that you mention it. There is a very old
grave there, but I can not tell you whose. There is no
headstone, only a pile of rocks to mark where the body
lay. I wouldn't have know it for a grave at all except
for a notation in the church registry." Padre Saenz
bustled back into his office and returned with a dusty,
leather-bound tome. Derek winced as the old priest
dropped the ancient manuscript unceremoniously on the
table. "Now where did I see that
Oh yes, here
it is. An unknown vagrant was buried in that part of the
graveyard. Oh dear!" The elderly priest re-read the
faded writing on the page with a worried frown.
"What's wrong father?" Philip asked.
"That part of the graveyard was unconsecrated ground
when this burial was recorded." The priest
explained, rubbing his hands together nervously.
"This man was buried there because he was a
"Are you sure, Padre?" Alex asked, moving to
stand beside the old man.
"It is so hard to read this writing." Padre
Saenz complained, moving his finger slowly across the
entry. "I would not be able to read it at all if not
for Padre Moreno's insistence that we both be able to
read it. He was interested in the study of his families
lineage and thought that translating these entries would
help others who held a similar interest."
"Good for him." Nick remarked, sitting on the
edge of the group where he could watch the door. "So
what's the problem with unconsecrated ground?"
"Nothing." Derek replied firmly. "Anyone
looking for the treasure wouldn't think to look in
unhallowed ground because of the item's reputation. It
would make the perfect hiding place."
"What is this item you are seeking?" Padre
Saenz asked suspiciously.
"Something that the Church would not want to fall
into the hands of a man like Arkady. It is the cup of
Christ, the Holy Grail." Derek answered solemnly.
"Dios Mio!" Padre Saenz moaned, then fainted
To be continued...
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