Well Duty
rating: +17+x

The Foundation sure does love to choose the worst time to investigate a legend.

Two AM. Freaking two in the morning and I'm being put onto a wild goose chase in the forests of Ireland, with a new guy no less. He said his name was Travis Johnson, which I know is a fake name. When you are working in the Department of Tactical Theology, the first thing you learn from orientation is that you don't speak your true name. I was handed some documents in a manila folder and I flicked through to get a general idea of what I was called in to do. I felt my body ache when I saw the name of this object.

The Well of Healing from old Celtic mythology. Said to not only be maintained but also protected by Dian Cecht, the Celtic God of Healing. According to what we could find, he isn't exactly the most welcoming God, or one that can take the fact someone is better than him at his job.

Obviously, the Foundation looked into it but there was no evidence to suggest that such a thing existed. We did get the odd report of "incurable illnesses being treated" in the wooded areas of Ireland, but they were at random locations and was put down as hoax. Hence why we went from MTF, to a team of agents, to a couple of agents.

And guess who got Well Duty. Again.

As we drove down the dark road, Travis pulled over to the side of the road and stretched. He opened the door and pulled out the equipment used for detecting thaumaturgy in the air. I reluctantly got out of the car and yawned softly. As Travis played with the dials, I grabbed my firearm, my investigation kit, and my emergency medkit. I mean, you'd never know what you are going to find out here.

Travis waved the detection wand around before walking off towards the forest area, with me finishing up my checks and catching up to him. As we walked through the forest, the detection device was picking up sharp spikes of energy within the ground. We kept on going and following the trail of strong energy, changing direction every so often whenever the energy gets weaker.

We kept this up until we ran into its strongest place - a miner's cottage in the middle of a clearing. If any of the folktales like Hansel and Gretel were true, there was always something strange about cottages in the middle of a forest. This one was no exception. The wind wasn't blowing like it was earlier, almost like it was avoiding this place. Yet despite the lack of wind, I still felt a shiver down my spine, as if my body was saying not to approach it.

I don't think Travis's body sent the same memo as he kept walking up to that cottage. Closer and closer we got, the more my body is saying we should run away. Up till Travis started knocking on the wood door no more then six inches thick. The knock echoed around the cobblestone walls and thatch roof, at which point we heard nothing.

Then, bare feet walking on a hard surface could be heard quietly behind the door. Slap slap slap was the noise we heard. The door slowly opened and inside, we saw a young-ish man, no older than 40 at most. Dressed in medical robes and having his golden brown hair in a braid, he looked up at Travis and my face and simply smiled.

"How can I help you two fine gentlemen today?" he asked kindly.

"Hello sir, we're from the Special Care Program," I said instinctively. It was drilled into all field agents day one to assess the situation and come up with a fake cover story or legend as some in the business calls it. "We're doing a check up on all things… medical. We were wondering if you don't mind us coming in?"

The young man nodded and opened the door wide. We walked in to see a desk to the side and some candles on the desk, a bed, a bookcase filled to the brim with books, and a shelf that had a few curious objects inside secure jars with peculiar labels written on them.

"I wasn't aware that there was a program to practice medicine," the young man said as we entered the room. "Is this a normal procedure?"

"It is, if you are a citizen of Ireland," Travis spoke up, laying on his Dublin accent. "You are a citizen of Ireland, aren't you?"

"Of course I am! I'm Dylan Cecht, the medical professional of this clinic. To doubt my heritage is to doubt my work and I take great pride in my work."

"No one is doubting nothing here, Mr. Cecht," I said as I looked through some jars of fermenting herbs. "We're just doing our job. Official government business, I assure you."

"Well…" Dylan reached into his desk and pulled out a tin box. He rummaged through the contents and pulled out a large roll of euros. "If you could call it here and now, I'm sure you would be well compensated for your role here."

Travis and I looked at each other with confusion in our eyes. This, of course, was also drilled into our heads: play dumb and figure out a way to get rid of a potential anomalous being out of the area to perform our work. And this random guy gave us the perfect excuse. I put the jar down and turned to face him with an expression that said he insulted someone on a really personal scale.

"Did you just try to bribe an official of the law?" I quietly said as I approached him. "You know that's a very serious offence and could lead to… well a lot of paperwork on our end. If you could please leave us to our job, I will happily forget this little incident and a shameful attempt of a bribe."

Dylan Cecht shook his head and walked out to a side room. After I make some noise about investigating the contents of the jar or something incriminating, I took the chance to talk with Travis. He was busy looking through the books on a bookcase - thick, leather bound books with the titles written in Latin and Gaelic. My Gaelic and Latin were a bit rusty but I was pretty sure these were medical journals.

"You're not buying this Cecht's story, are ya?" I ask as quietly as I could without alerting our illusive doctor. "I mean, Dylan Cecht is way too lazy to avoid calling yourself 'Dian Cecht, God of Healing', is it?"

"I mean," Travis put the book back and looked around the room. He was probably looking for a camera or a peep hole. Something to say that Dylan was watching and listening nearby to find out if we were who we said we were. "If what our field guide says is true, then at best, we're dealing with a direct descendant of Dian's blood. At worst…"

"We're talking with an actual God and we may as well pack it in and get away."

Travis nodded and motioned to the doorway where Dylan entered. I turned to see the door was open a bit, enough to make it noticeable to an untrained eye. I nodded and approached the door with my gun drawn. A moot point in hindsight against a God, but then again, they don't know what we are capable of. History and myths always dictate that a God isn't always immortal and that if weapons charged with magic can wound one, then why can't modern technology?

At least that was the theory. The Foundation already had debunked early magic as nothing more than common scientific fact and technology… but I did not feel 100% safe with that fact in mind.

I opened the door and checked to see what's beyond. I saw a faint light at the bottom of the stairwell and indicated that Travis should call for backup, in case this was a trick or trap. He pulled out the radio phone and called up the Foundation emergency hotline while I take a few steps down, making sure that I was within running distance of the door. The light was a faint blue white colour and was almost alluring. I took several more steps before I heard Travis shout down towards me.

"Oi partner! Get back up here, we gotta book it!"

I looked back up and saw Travis holding the door open. I smiled and walked back up to him before I heard a quiet voice in the back of my head.

Turn back…

I turned to look down again but I saw no one there speaking to me. Travis must have been confused but refused to come after me, and I could never blame him for his inaction. Rather lose one agent to whatever was affecting me, rather than two and never get a single report back to the Foundation. Travis was hesitating to come forward.

"Do you not hear that Travis?" I asked, staring down the stairs.

"Get back here partner! An MTF is coming here any second now!"

I ignored him and continued down the stairs. The voice spoke with a hint of delight in its tone but spoke clinically, almost like how we would talk with sentient anomalies. It kept warning me to turn back but to be honest, I just wanted to see what was talking to me. Just a few more steps…

The ground shook beneath my foot as I turned the corner to see Dylan Cecht rushing up the stairs and pushing me out of the way. My world flipped and changed as I was pushed to the side. When I stood back up, my body was screaming on high alert and I felt nothing but pure adrenaline pumping through my veins. Wherever I was, it only served to make my body prepared to run. Fighting was never an option for it.

I slowly turned to finally see the goal that set me and Travis off on this task. A cobblestone well made to look smooth, perfectly preserved in time like the day it was built. Perhaps it was a side effect of the Well's power? We knew it had restorative powers to organics, if the legends and the stories were true, that perhaps it had a preservation effect on non-organic materials like stone.

But I continued my rotation nonetheless to face an individual wearing white robes just to the side of the Well. I didn't see their face but their hand appeared to be elderly, just clutching onto their robes as they continued to stare at the Well. It was a strange thing to see but all I saw was their hand clutching some sort of old cup. Too hard to tell from my position though.

Leave this place… no mortal man must behold… my gift…

The earth is shaking violently beneath my feet as I stood there, the being in white moved slowly over towards me, not shuffling but rather like they were gliding. The legs did not move a single muscle beneath those robes. I slowly backed away as the entity glided, making sure I don't lose balance as the earth continued to shake. Enough to make the chamber start crumbling around us.

I gave up with caution, throwing it into the air and ran up the stairs. I kept rushing up the stairs as I passed where I was pushed by that son of bitch Dylan, to which I hope Travis grabbed him before he got away. As I saw the light up top, I felt the earth shaking less violently. I noticed that it got less violent the closer I got to the top, which meant that perhaps whatever was below me was the cause. Although it was hard to say what it was - my money's on the Well reacting to my presence below.

As I burst up through the door, I saw the white robed entity chasing after me. Their footsteps were silent, yet they were catching up with me little effort, proving my supposition that they were indeed gliding. As I brought up my firearm to shoot at it, the entity evaporated before my very eyes. Whether it was a specter, a conjuring of my own mind, or something that that Well had touched to change it. I simply just laid on my back as I looked up to see a group of body armored people aiming their weapons at me.

I scrabbled to grab my ID badge and hold it up for them to see.

"It's me! Dr. Taylor! I'm one of you!" I kept shouting over and over again till they put down their guns. "Next time, maintain watch on the door rather than the thing that came through the door… but regardless, I thank you for not shooting me."

The agents nodded and explored the area while I was being checked out by a field medic. Getting jabbed and poked by multiple sticks and devices that I'm not sure was needed but was useful for data collection, I tried to see if Travis was around. I smiled as I saw him dragging Dylan Cecht off to the back of a car, seems the guy would do okay within our Department.

I finish these notes and observations before I hand these in to my superior with some thoughts: just who was that down in the miner's cottage? Who is Dylan Cecht? What occurred down there and how do we get that Well in containment so we can put this legend down as something for us to study?

To answer one of those questions, I have in my hand a field report of the miner's cottage given to me by the MTF. According to them, there was a basement area but there was no sign of a ghostly apparition nor was there a sign of the Well. In fact, there was no readings of any magical influence being there. I have included the more detailed report with my thoughts and musings and handing this copy to the Foundation archives as well as my bosses. Hopefully they can allow me to at least get a redacted interview log with Dylan Cecht.

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