By the Light of Day

The next morning, they got up before dawn to greet the day at the family altar in the sitting room.  After dawn, while Opa was making their breakfast, Frieda and Liesel got Konrad’s attention and then slipped outside to the patio.

As Konrad joined them, he frowned.  Looking from one to the other, he said, “What’s going on?”  He kept his voice soft enough that Opa wouldn’t hear and Liesel appreciated that.  After all, she wasn’t quite certain about letting him know yet.

Frieda glanced at Liesel and, at her nod, she said, “There was a fairy in the garden yesterday – except that it wasn’t a real fairy and it definitely wasn’t nice.”

“A tainted spirit?” Konrad breathed.  He adjusted his glasses.  “Were either of you hurt?  Did Johannes take care of it?”

“No and yes,” Liesel said, nodding firmly.  “We found a portal too and, last night, he closed it.”

“Mostly,” Frieda murmured, which Liesel echoed.

Konrad heaved a sigh.  “Setting aside for a moment that you should have told me at the time,” he said.  He shook his head.  “Why are you bothering to tell me at all, seeing as it sounds like you’ve taken care of everything already?”

“Because…” Liesel started.  She grimaced and glanced at Frieda.  It was one thing to break the rules and tell her twin her secrets.  She really wasn’t meant to tell anyone exactly how her gifts worked.  She heaved a sigh and then looked back at Konrad.  “I know that it’s not over,” she said.

Frowning, Konrad said, “What do you know?”

“We need to beware of the dark ones,” Liesel said.  Then, she shook her head.  “The problem is that we don’t know who the dark ones are, Brother.  You’re the Sword… do you know who the dark ones might be?”

For a moment, Konrad just frowned at them.  Then, he heaved a sigh and nodded.  “It’s something we’ll all need to be together to discuss, though,” he said, his voice soft.  He looked from Liesel to Frieda.

Then, he crouched down so that he was level with them.  Putting a hand on each of their shoulders, he said, “I know that the Elders and the other crosses seem to thrive on secrets, but… that’s exactly why Muti and Vati pulled away from the Haven community.”

“I thought it was because the Elders didn’t want them to be married,” Liesel said, frowning.

“That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back,” Konrad said, shaking his head.  “They were already having friction with the Elders over all the secrecy.  We’re family.  Families don’t keep secrets from each other.  If something like this happens, you need to let us know.”

“Should we tell Opa that there’s a portal in his garden?” Frieda asked, frowning.

Konrad gave a weak chuckle and then nodded.  “I’m really tempted to say no, but that would contradict what I just said about keeping secrets from your family members,” he said.