The Next Chapter
by Michael Elliott

Nathan picked up the wine bottle he had just dropped while Elena recovered from choking on her forkful of salad. The two looked at each other, and then across the table at their daughter Cassie. Her girlfriend Amanda was holding her hand.

“You dropped out of university to become a grail hunter?” Nathan repeated.

“As I was saying,” Cassie said staring at the table, “according to Amanda’s research the only version of Longinus’ lance that may be genuine is--”

“Wait,” Elena held up a hand, “You’re really serious?”

Cassie looked up at them. “Yeah.”

Her father grimaced, “You really believe in that nonsense?”

“Dad I know what I saw,” she pointed at Amanda next to her, “Amanda's book was front and center in their research. The Order think she's onto something and if we don't act soon they’ll ruin it.” Nathan shook his head.

“Well at least Marlowe’s old crew are chasing nonsense.” He looked at Amanda, “No offence.”

Amanda glared behind her freshly emptied wine glass.

Cassie chuckled, “That's real rich coming from you dad.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Cassie looked at her father, “Iram of the Pillars? Shambala? All myths. But they could all have been proven true if you weren’t so talented at destroying evidence.”

“Cassie that's not--” Elena interrupted.

Cassie continued, “I found El Dorado. A city of gold? Zombies? Fucking Nazis?” She shook her head. “Do you have any idea what that changes about South American history? Did you care?

You spent your whole life chasing history and then ruining it. Amanda and I have a chance to do this properly. To document it. Unlike you.”

The dining room fell quiet as Nathan stared out the window, avoiding his daughter’s anger. Elena leaned forward, “So what's the plan?” Cassie turned to Amanda, who adjusted her tortoiseshell glasses.

“Well... several churches claim to have the spear of destiny but we know most of them are fakes.” She paused, “Except for the one in the Vatican.”

“Beneath the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica” Cassie explained.

“Oh god,” Nathan said as Elena put a hand on his.

“And the grail?”

“Well, we won’t know for sure unless we find the lance, but... you’re familiar with the missing ninth Roman legion?” Amanda asked.

Nathan groaned as if he had been shot, and then yelped in pain as Elena squeezed his hand.

“The one that disappeared somewhere in the first century?” Elan offered.

“Well, some Grail scholars,” Amanda looked pointedly at Nathan, “think that the legion was trying to find a place to hide important Christian relics.”

“Where did they go?”

“The Colorado desert.”

Nathan laughed, “So you want us to stop a heist in Vatican City, and then look for an ancient Roman ship carrying the holy grail in the middle of California?”

Cassie looked at them, “I thought you were the only ones who would believe us.”

Nathan stood up and went back to the kitchen, “I need another drink.” ◒

 

Michael Elliott is a freelance writer and amateur tabletop RPG designer. When he isn’t trying to survive in this cyberpunk hellscape he tells stories. You can support his projects at www.patreon.com/notwriting, see his games and writing at http://notwriting.net, and follow him on Twitter @kindelingboy.