Hugh threw up his hands and rolled his eyes. “You see. Even after so many years we are still maligned.”
Angela patted him on the arm to calm him but turned to Billy and continued. “No, not the bad guys. Demons infiltrated our order and turned several of the brothers as well as many cardinals at the Vatican. A papal bull was issued under the influence of those demons and the destruction of the Knights Templar was set in motion.”
“But they did not get us all,” Hugh said, with a glint in his eye as he rocked back toward Billy. “We escaped in ships from La Rochelle just ahead of those hounds.”
“And now you stalk kids who have out of body experiences and can walk in the ether,” Billy added.
“When you say it like that is sounds so dirty,” Hugh said. Billy raised his eyebrows. “It was only a matter of time before you chose sides. Miss Magdala seems to think you have chosen our side. If that is so we can help you harness and focus your gifts.”
“Isn’t that what this place does?” Billy said indicating the facility they were in.
“In a manner of speaking, but they do not fully realize the scope of the conflict they are engaged in. For that matter, they do not even acknowledge their adversary yet. They think it is worldly people committing worldly acts of destruction.”
“Well, isn’t it?” Billy asked, already knowing there was more to it than that.
“You yourself know there’s more to it than that,” Hugh answered, mirroring Billy’s thoughts. “You’ve seen and met both angels and demons. We can teach you more about the nature of this conflict than that silly colonel can, and we can guide you in the use of your gifts rather than just using them as tools like he will.”
Billy thought about what the two people sitting before him had said. It all sounded fantastic. If you’d told him a week ago he’d be talking with angels and fighting demons he’d have said you were crazy too.
“No commitments?” Billy asked.
“Well, we do not give our secrets away to just anyone,” Hugh said.
“How do I know you aren’t the bad guys history says you are?” he asked.
“Faith,” Hugh said. Angela contemplated her coffee for a moment and then took Billy by the hand.
“When we go inside again. Leap to wherever Hugh is and see if he has a demon,” Angela said. Hugh sat forward with concern etched across his face.
“My dear, I do not think this course of action wise,” he said.
“It’s the only way. Billy, leap to Hugh’s location and see if he has a demon or an angel,” Angela repeated. “Then you’ll know, trust me.”
“I don’t know,” Billy said, hesitantly.
“Really, you’ll know,” she said. Hugh still did not look convinced. Angela faced Hugh to address his concern. “Trust me, he’ll know, and then he’ll be fully convinced and on our side.”
Hugh regarded his charge thoughtfully for a moment more, then smiled at her and patted her on the back. He faced Billy and smiled again.
“I will be staying at a local hotel just off the base for three days. Angela will contact me once you’ve satisfied your curiosity. At that point, if you are committed, she will instruct you,” he said rising.
“But I have so many questions,” Billy said rising also.
“They will have to wait. As I said, we do not divulge our secrets to just anyone.”
“What will Colonel Peters say?” Billy asked.
“He won’t know,” Angela said.
“And were he to find out we can address that as well. We have friends in very high places,” Hugh said, nodding his head knowingly.
“I don’t know. I don’t like lying to the Colonel,” Billy said.
“Who said anything about lying to the Colonel, mon ami? Besides, who do you think got this place started anyway?” Hugh said, with a sly wink and a smile.
Just then the intercom crackled to life.
“All project personnel report to your duty stations. If you are not on duty you must report to your rooms and await further orders. No exceptions. Any base personnel found away from either their duty station or their room will be arrested and subject to article 15 non-judicial punishment. All civilian contractors not currently on duty will report to the cafeteria. Any contractors found not at their station or in the cafeteria will be subject to having their contract terminated immediately.”
“That sounds ominous,” Hugh said. “I am neither of those. I wonder what they want me to do?”
As though summoned by the statement two armed guards appeared in the doorway to the cafeteria, scanned the room, and then walked with purpose toward where Angela, Billy, and Hugh sat.
“Please come with us, sir,” one of the guards, a sergeant, said.
“Perhaps I shall not be at the hotel after all,” Hugh said as he rose, smiled congenially to both the guards, and indicated they should lead the way.
Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm. For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.