This event had gone on for centuries in complete secrecy and would have continued that way if it had not been for an annoying mistake.
In the city of Dublin Ireland, a city ordinance required all pubs to be shut down totally by one am. Finn Habersham, the owner of the Round Table pub, was extremely strict on making sure all his night Bar keepers obeyed this ordinance. This was mainly because, over the years, Mr. Habersham had committed so many other violations, that one more would put him out of business for a while. Therefore, this rule was drilled time and again to even his most trusted night bar keepers.
Ironically, it was his most loyal and trusted bar keep that made the surprising discovery. It had been a long troublesome night, and Neville had one of his hardest times, getting all to clear out so he could finish before one. It was not until he was almost home that he was plagued with the thought of not remembering if he had locked the safe or not. By the time he drove all the way back to the pub, it was almost two.
Being exhausted, as well as aggravated, he did not notice the dim light coming from one of the corner tables until he was just about to put his key in the door. He instantly jumped back away from the door, and almost fell backwards off the side walk. When he regained his balance, he noticed the light had gone dimmer. His first thoughts were that of calling the Garda (police), but then he would have to try to explain to them and Finn why he had come back to the pub so late. He decided that he would try to sneak in through the back delivery door. Once in, he quietly made his way up close to the dining room. The voices that he heard coming from the table were ones he did not recognize. He inched his way closer to see if he could hear what was being said.
It troubled him greatly that he did not recognize the voices. He had been in Dublin all his life and had been working at the Round Table for many years, He had a talent for remembering not only names and faces, but voices as well.
“Gentlemen, time is getting away from us so, Sir Lancelot, please conclude your thoughts.” One man commented.
“Very well. So, with two swift strikes of the sword, the last of the king’s enemies were laid at my feet, and once again there was peace in the Kingdom.”
There was a short round of quiet applause.
“Very nice, we all enjoyed that tale. Now before we move on, let me remind everyone that this is the last night for Sir Lancelot to be with us for a while. Robin Hood will be taking his place starting next week. Also please remember to be at your transport spots on time, this will prevent some of the problems a few of you have had lately. Of course, if there are any other problems you are having regarding this, please let me know. We are cutting our meeting short tonight for reasons I have already explained. So, as always, it has been a great honor being with you, and I look forward to our meeting next week.”
He next heard a swooshing sound, and the room went silent and dark. He stood there for a while, not sure what to do. He finally took a deep breath and made his way into the dining room. It was empty and the wick from the candle which was on the table was still smoldering. Confused about the whole ordeal, he made his way to the safe and found that he indeed forgot to lock it. He verified that nothing was missing. As he made his way back to leave, something caught his eye. There on the floor where the men had been sitting was something that resembled a tip of a dart. He examined it closely. Neville had played many a dart game, but he had never seen anything like what he was holding in his hand now. He stuck it in his jacket pocket and made his way back out through the back door.
Neville had a rugby match later that day and he needed to get home and get some sleep. Getting home was not a problem, but after the kind of night he just had, sleep was another matter.
The next morning Neville’s head was not in the game. It was not his worst game, but it was far from his best. After a tongue lashing from the coach and a shower, he headed towards the pub.
“Neville? I do believe this is the first time I have ever seen you here on your day off!” Mr. Finn Habersham, stated in a surprised tone.
“When you have a moment sir, I need to speak with you.” Neville said in a serious tone.
It was the tone, not the words that got Finn’s attention.
“No time like the present lad, what is on your mind?”
Neville looked around the room. Lunch time was not the busiest time at The Round Table, but it was still too crowded for what Neville had to say.
“May we speak in your office?”
Now this added to the concern Finn had.
“Certainly, lad, this way.”
Once they were in and the door was shut, Finn started the conversation.
“What’s wrong lad, ye got me a bit troubled.”
Neville did not speak at first, but finally managed to start.
“This is extremely strange, and I am not sure how to say it.”
“Look here lad, you and I have been together for a long time. You know you can tell me anything.” Finn said in a fatherly tone.
“Okay, here it goes. Last night after I locked up and drove home, I could not recall for sure if I had locked the safe or not, so I drove back.” Neville started.
“Really? I mean that is a long drive, it must have been after two before you got back…” Finn mumbled, then cleared his throat.
“Go on lad.”
“Well, when I came up to the front doors, I could see a dim light coming through the window. I was sure that I had turned off all the lights.”
Finn raised his eyebrows a touch.
“So, what did you do?”
“I decided to go in through the supply room, just to be safe.”
Neville shook his head.
“This is the strange part, I made it to the entrance to the dining room and I could hear a group of men talking.”
“Group of men? Really? Are you sure?” Finn asked.
“At this point Mr. Habersham, I am not sure about many things.”
Neville leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.
“It is fine their lad, go ahead, what did you hear?”
Neville waited a few seconds and took a deep breath.
“This is probably the craziest thing you ever heard.”
“I doubt it lad, I have been a pub owner, and bar keep for longer than you have been alive. There isn’t any story that would surprise me.” Finn said with a chuckle.
“Yes, I have too. The problem is I was not then and am not now drunk. Anyway, I guess I really don’t have much choice.”
Neville paused and took a deep breath.
“When I got close enough to hear what was being said, I heard someone say hurry up and finish your story. Then I heard someone who was called by the first speaker Sir Lancelot, finish talking about how he saved the kingdom.”
Finn laughed out loud.
Neville hung his head.
“I know it sounds crazy.”
Finn stood up from behind his desk and walked over to stand next to Neville.
“Tell me lad, how long have you been working here?”
“Ten, no, almost twelve years now.”
“Yes, that seems about right.” Finn stated rubbing his chin.
“I don’t understand.”
Finn went back and sat down behind his desk.
“I bought this place forty years ago next month. In the contact for the sale was a clause that had been in every in there since the first time the place was sold nearly three hundred years ago.”
Finn paused and went over to his private safe, opened it, and took out his bill of sale.
“The reason I ran this place myself for all those year before hiring you was because of what was stipulated in this.”
He opened to the last page and showed Neville.
“You believed this?” Neville asked.
“Of course not, would you? However, if I wanted the pub, I had to agree to all the terms. For years, I simply went about my business and closed on time. Then one evening I stayed late after I closed to catch up on paper work. As I was getting ready to leave, I heard a whoosh sound in the dining room. When I got to the bar, there was this old man, dressed in very loose-fitting clothes, and a bright blue cape.”
Finn paused a moment; He could see that Neville was trying to remember if that were the same person he saw.
“Without turning around, the old man said, ‘I am impressed Mr. Habersham, you waited as long as you did.’”
“How did he…” Neville started to mumble.
“I too had many questions. I will give you a shorten version of the many conversations that I had with Mr. Chambers.”
Finn proceeded to explain to Neville that Mr. Chambers was for lack of a better term was a Time Keeper. He can manipulate time and any number of persons through time. He started centuries ago having these “Revival Meetings.” as he calls them, to entertain himself.”
There was a knock on the office door.
“Yes?” Finn replied.
“Sorry to bother you Mr. Habersham, but the supply delivery is here, do you want me to check it in?”
“I will be done here in a moment, have him bring it in and I will be there to check it soon.”
“Who is that?”
“Conner Adams, I brought him on last week to help during the day, it gives me more time to handle the paper work. He makes one wicked Irish Mule.” Finn said with a wink.
“Anyway, I can explain more at a later time.” Finn said as he stood up to leave,
“What do I do now?”
“Nothing. Just go on with your normal routine. I am sure Mr. Chambers was aware of your presence last night and has faith you will keep this secret. Up till now, only the pub owners have been aware of these meetings, and only I know that there is much more at stake than just a bunch of folk legends meeting together to discuss old times.” Finn said, then opened his office door.
“I really need to help Conner, I will fill you in with more soon, for now forget our conversation.” Finn stated and hurried out of the office.
“Yea right! Like that is going to happen,” he mumbled as he left the office and the pub.
When he got outside, he glanced towards the alley that led to the delivery entrance to the pub. For a brief second, he saw an explosion of light that flashed out from the alley. He rushed to the alley, but all he saw was the delivery truck and Conner standing at the back of it.
Conner looked up at him and waved politely, then picked up a case of wine off the back of the truck and took it into the pub. Neville continued to stare down the alley until a truck horn reminded him that he was blocking the entrance to the alley.
Neville jumped a bit, tipped his hat to the truck driver, and moved back onto the sidewalk. He could not fully here what the driver yelled at him, but he was sure it was not complimentary.
Neville walked back towards his car; His head was really spinning as he reviewed all the odd things that recently happened. So, he was not paying attention to where he was going, and Katie, a young lady that frequents the pub, was not paying attention as she left her flat in a hurry, collided together.
Kattie who was carrying an arm full of boxes, yelped as they went flying.
“Oh my, I am so sorry,” Kattie stated as she scrambled to gather the boxes.
“No, it was my fault,” Neville replied as he went to help her.
It was not until he handed her the boxes, he had gathered that the two of them recognized one another.
“Oh, hi,” they kind of said in unison, then both laughed.
“I hope nothing is damaged,” Neville said politely.
“No, nothing breakable in these. I just moved into this flat and needed to get rid of some old papers that I had been hang onto for some unknown reason,” she said with a smile.
“Well here, some of those seem heavy, let me help you. Where are you taking them?” Neville asked.
“How kind. Thank you. I am taking them to my car, it is down a block or two.”
When they reached her car, Neville put them in the back seat for her.
“Thanks for the help, do you work tonight?” Kattie asked.
Neville glanced at his watch.
“Oh, my yes, I got to get going!”
“I might drop in then. See ya.”
Neville watched her drive off. With everything that had gone on in the last twenty-four hours or so, it really did not register with him that she had said. He hurried off to his car and made the long drive home.
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