Summary: the grief over the loss of his genius has built invisible walls between Artemis and Holly that not even the fairy's eternal love can break down. Only something radical can help - or force - Artemis to sort out his priorities, but will he be able to handle it or will he let himself be defeated by despair?

AUTHOR'S NOTES (please read): this is the sequel to my first AF fic, Artemis Fowl: The Aztec Incident. If you haven't read that one, don't even start on this one, because you won't understand most of it.

There are some mentions in this fic referring to things that happened in the A/H smutfic, Welcome in heaven, but don't worry, save a few little details, you will understand this fic even if you haven't read that one (btw, I was most delighted to see that the smutfic got over 4000 hits on adultffnet… no other AF fic on that site got that many.)

This fic is only based on the first three AF books and The Aztec Incident, so nothing in it relates to anything that happened in The Opal Deception. Root is still alive, and Holly is still officially a LEP fairy.

Many of you wrote me reviews and emails over the spring and the summer, requesting that I start uploading this fic ASAP. That's something I couldn't do. The reason? Well, the plot of this one is much more complicated than that of the Aztec Incident, so I couldn't afford to make a mistake. Had I started to post the fic when only a few chapters were written, I could have made huge mistakes, and several of them. It's like this: when I was ready with eight chapters, I suddenly realised that the fic should take place in 2016 not 2014 and I had to re-write several parts because of it. That is something I couldn't have done if the first eight chapters had been up here already. Once I read a very good guide to 'how to write a decent fanfic', and one of the rules was: never start uploading your fic before it's fully written. I wholeheartedly agree with it.

I must warn you to be careful with the reading, especially with the dates, because I will be jumping back and forth in time and you might get lost and confused if you're not paying attention. This ' jumping back and forth tactic' might remind some of you of one of my Harry Potter fics, If The Fates Allow, but I'll be doing it even more frequently in this story.

To all the Arty/Holly fans: this story isn't as romantic as the first one. It has much less A/H in it, for rather obvious reasons (you'll see what those are later). Therefore, this fic is a bit more 'innocent' than its predecessor. Only chapter 17 has a bit of 'strong PG-13' material, but not even that can be considered naughty.
This is more of a 'father and son' fanfic than a romance one, but don't worry, you'll still get a few sweet A/H moments.

Also, I wrote most of this story shortly after I saw Revenge of the Sith that brought back my long-gone Star Wars mania, so there will be loads of SW references in it (and a few Harry Potter ones too). Grin and bear it :)

I got several requests over the summer to write a long Harry Potter fic based on HBP, but I refused, saying that I had to devote all my attention to this sequel. I hope you AF fans appreciate my decision and reward it with many-many reviews!

All in all, this is a story darker, eviler and more complex than the Aztec Incident. If I haven't managed to scare you away, then fasten your seatbelts, we're taking off!

I'd like to say thanks to:
-Mum for the plot beta
-Eve for the grammar beta
-Kati for proof reading
-Members of my yahoogroup for their occasional help with various terms
-Michael for his constant help

Disclaimer: the Artemis Fowl universe belongs to Eoin Colfer, Star Wars belongs to George Lucas, Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling. I only own my OC's. Many characters that appear in this story come from Hun legends and I don't know for sure whether they indeed existed or were made up. Attila existed for sure…

Dedication: To Michael (septempopuli), for being the best online friend one could wish for

Artemis Fowl: The Sword of God

by AgiVega

Chapter 1 / Prologue

Around 440 A.D.

In the heart of Pannonia, among the hills of Pilis, there was a deep, circular valley. Hawthorn and briar bushes grew all over its edges, forming a ringlet of shrubbery around the clearing in the middle. A crystal clear brook wound its way across the valley, its shores covered with sky-blue forget-me-nots. In the centre of the clearing, surrounded by several eglantine bushes, babbled a tiny spring - 'Well of the Fairy Lady', as everyone called it.

As the legend says, the clearing had once been home to fairies. Sometimes people who happened to venture across this picturesque valley swore they had seen the tiny magic creatures. "I've seen one, honestly! It was a female with long red hair and pointed ears! She was just sitting there by the spring, weaving a wreath of wild roses! When she spotted me, she disappeared, and nothing remained of her but a shimmer in the air and the half-woven wreath!"

Most people only laughed at such tales, but others never doubted they were true. And true they were, indeed.

This was a time when the human population was growing at such a rate that the fairies decided to leave this world and move underground. Most fairy families had moved underground centuries before, but some of them were still too attached to the healthy breeze, the fragrant flowers and daylight (even though they avoided getting in direct contact with the sunrays).

The 'rebels' as the underground fairies called them, always found a reason for staying above ground, even though anyone could see that their reasoning was anything but well-founded. Some even called them liars and lunatics who'd do anything to get themselves noticed by the Mud People. But they were neither liars nor lunatics… merely dreamers. Dreamers, who loved watching the moon and the stars on cloudless nights, revelled in lying down under a tree and breathe in the fresh scent of the wildflowers or listening to the concert of nightingales.

Fiona Springwater was one of these rebels.

And, for the time being, she felt more rebellious than ever. In fact, she was seething with rage as she pushed the branch of a bramble bush out of her way. How dare they? - she fumed. Those stupid, stupid fairies and their stupid marriage laws! How dare they force her to marry someone she didn't even know? How dare they rob her of her freedom?

She waded through the tiny creek, blinded with anger to such an extent that she didn't even notice her feet get wet.

Rage and grief were stifling her.

Her father had recently passed away (she had never known her mother who had died when she'd been a baby), and now, according to the idiotic fairy law, she was to get married to the elf her father had decades earlier promised her hand to. When she'd got engaged (unbeknownst to her) she'd only been forty - a mere child - and now that she was of age and should be free to live her life as she pleased, she couldn't, because the promise of her father bound her. And she had thought that fairy laws were modern and fairies were open-minded compared to the Mud People! How wrong she had been! She'd been living in an illusory world, and now she found out that all her father had left for her was a few dozen fairy coins and an obligation to marry this… this… Alex-what's-his-name-again. Marry an elf whom she'd never ever met, and who - to her utter horror - lived underground.

She angrily kicked a nearby stone and flopped down on the ground, in the shadow of a hawthorn bush. She looked around, and her heart clenched at the thought of having to leave all this beauty and move into some stuffy hole in the bowels of earth, where, besides her 'husband', she'd have no one as company but a few worms. Here she had everything she ever wanted; there she'd have nothing.

Tears began running down her cheeks. She hid her face in her palms, and wept silently.

She didn't know how long she'd been oblivious to the outside world - it must have been several minutes. She only got shaken back to reality when she heard some clinking sound, followed by a soft thump and a deep sigh.

She wiped her tears, her curiosity taking over her grief, and peeked out from behind the bush. As she'd expected, it was a Mud Man. The clinking sound must have been caused by the sword and various metal weapons that hung from his belt. The thump must have been due to the fact that he'd dropped himself on a fallen tree trunk. As for the sigh, Fiona didn't need to have a particularly developed emphatic sense to see that the man was sad about something. Downright crestfallen.

She wasn't the type of fairy who found humans interesting, but she just couldn't take her eyes off this one. The man wore expensive clothes that suggested he wasn't a commoner. His weapons seemed elegant too, undoubtedly the work of the finest armourers. He had long black hair worn in several braids that cascaded down his shoulders as he propped his jaw into his hands, staring at the ground.

Fiona couldn't help perceiving that the very air around him was vibrating with sadness and perhaps anger too. His furrowed brows made his face look stern, but it was beautiful, despite its seriousness. Not even the most talented sculptor could have carved it to greater perfection, she thought. This man was both sad and angry - just like her.

Not for nothing were elves called emotional creatures: Fiona's heart already ached for the unknown man, forgetting about her own sorrows. If only she could ask him what pained him, if only she could reach out and caress his braided head, if only…

She shuddered. What was she thinking? This was a Mud Man, for Frond's sake! One of those who'd forced the People to leave their homes and move underground! Mud Men didn't deserve pity! Especially not a fairy's pity!

Yet, she couldn't help pitying him. Couldn't help longing to console him... And she couldn't even have explained it to herself. She had never before felt like this for anyone. It was such a warm, enticing, exciting feeling…

She had never before let a Mud Person spot her, unlike some of her kind who loved playing hide-and-seek with the humans and then told stories about the Mud Men's stupid faces after they'd seen them disappear into the thin air… Fiona didn't like playing with anyone's emotions, not even if they were unworthy humans. She had always carefully avoided Mud People, but this once, the rebel in her urged her to show herself to this black-haired nobleman. To let him notice her, let him address her, and perhaps even answer him… What would his voice be like? - she wondered. Surely deep but soft, solemn but heart-warming…

Once in a lifetime she could afford the liberty of talking with a Mud Man, couldn't she? Soon she'd have to get married and leave this world forever, so why not try to live before it happened?

She didn't know how long she had till her fiancé came to claim her as his wife - perhaps a few years, perhaps months, perhaps only weeks… Then a sudden thought flashed into her mind. What if she became known to the Mud Men? What would the whole fairy society think of her? Surely they would condemn her even more than they already did… and would Alex-What's-His-Name want a wife who'd become famous for associating with humans? No, surely he wouldn't want to marry someone whose 'honour' was lost. If she were spotted in human company by other fairies, she'd be as good as dead for her kind, her so-called fiancé included. It'd be worse than if her husband-to-be caught her in bed with another elf…

No, he definitely wouldn't want her anymore.

She'd be an outcast for the rest of her life, but free. Free to live above ground, free to enjoy the moonlight, the birdsong, baths in the crystal clear brook… No obligations. Nothing but freedom…

The man was still staring at the ground, deep in thought, when there was a crack. He immediately jumped up from the tree trunk and whipped his sword out of its ruby-covered sheath, ready to strike down at any attacker. However, his blade stopped in midair as he spotted the source of the noise.

His eyes widened in surprise.

His 'attacker' wasn't a man, not an assassin sent after him by the Saxons, nor one of his brother Buda's faithful followers. It was a creature such as he had never seen before. It was tiny - didn't even reach his waistline, and had funny, pointed ears. Its long, red hair, cherubic lips, voluptuous figure and long, white dress suggested that it was a female of some unknown-to-him species.

The tiny girl held up a hand. "Don't be afraid, I mean you no harm."

The man couldn't hide a grin - did this weenie little thing think she could actually harm him? Him, the greatest warrior? Him, who, despite his young age, was feared by the whole of Europe?

"I'm not afraid," he replied and holstered his sword. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"

"I just wanted to ask what worried you." She shrugged.

"What worried me?" The warrior furrowed his eyebrows.

"You looked sad." The girl said simply, her face radiating compassion. Even though the man had never seen her before, he couldn't help but trust her. There was something in her eyes - something that radiated innocence, intellect and benevolence. Whatever this creature was, she indeed meant him no harm - on the contrary, she wanted to help.

With an amused look, the young man sat back on the trunk, never taking his eyes off her. "Because I'm really sad," he replied.

"Why are you sad?" she asked, taking a step towards him.

"Because my only brother turned on me," he sighed.

"You love him a lot, don't you?"

"Certainly I do. And now he believes I've turned traitor and wanted to get the throne for myself only…"

"The throne?" The girl blinked in surprise.

The man made a grimace. "I don't even know why I'm telling you these things. I don't even know you."

"Well, my name's Fiona. Fiona Springwater. Now you know me." She replied willingly. "And you? What's your name?"

He couldn't help but smile again. No, there was no way this creature could be a spy… she looked too innocent. Such innocence couldn't be acting. Obviously she didn't even know who he was, not even after he mentioned the throne…

Her huge hazel eyes were boring into his, reflecting willingness - almost longing - to help him.

"Attila," he said. "My name is Attila."

Naples, 2016 A.D.

"Sir! Sir, we've found something!"

"Indeed?" In a bored sort of way, Cesare Cavalieri raised a greyish eyebrow at his employee. He had had enough of this: day after day hearing one of his men shout 'we've found something', his heart starting to beat quicker in the hope of putting his hands on something worthy, something invaluable… and always coming to realise that all his men had managed to find was a chipped earthenware mug or the skeleton of a mere slave. No jewels, no graves of ancient noblemen, nothing that could make him the second Howard Carter. No, in fact Signor Cavalieri didn't even want to be the second Carter - he wanted to be the first Cavalieri. Someone, who managed to find something just as huge and wonderful as Tutankamen's grave… or rather someone, who managed to find something bigger and even more wonderful than that.

But no, he didn't have such luck.

Not that he could have complained about his life: he was a well-to-do man with a nice little villa in Capri and a manor near Kilkenny; educated too, as he'd graduated from Cambridge. However, one thing was missing from his life: fame.

Had he not pursued fame so much, he could have lived a happy life at his villa with a wife and several children, but the idea of sitting at home and raising a bunch of feisty little brats filled him with disgust.

"Sir!" One of his employees held up the object they had found.

Typical. An earthenware pot covered with a lid. True, it was in an unusually good condition despite having spent centuries, perhaps even millennia underground, but it was still nothing but a pot. Cheap, useless, unimportant.

"Catalogue it and send it to the local museum," Cesare grunted, not even giving the pot a second glance.

His employee's face fell, but he nodded. "As you wish, Signor."

"Honestly, I thought you were more sensible than that, Cesare!"

"I don't know what you're talking about," the man replied in a bored voice.

"You're a bloody archaeologist, for heaven's sake! Behave like one!"

"No need to throw a tantrum, Emese." Signor Cavalieri turned his armchair around to face the woman, as he had so far been staring out the window, pretending that he hadn't noticed her enter.

"No need eh? You're mistaken!" She stamped her foot. "If I hadn't had a little sense, then you would have let the parchment slip through our fingers!"

"Parchment? What parchment?"

"The one we found inside that nondescript little pot, you idiot," the woman hissed. She was the only person who dared talk to him like that, and the only person he couldn't feel angry with, no matter how arrogantly she treated him. There was something about her that he truly liked. Her temperament, her wittiness, her greediness… Not that he was in love with her… far from it. But she completed him in a way no one else could.

"And what's on the parchment? Another invaluable recipe by Emperor Diocletian's cook?" Cesare folded his arms, giving her an amused look.

"Not exactly. But judge it yourself," she replied, reaching into her bag and gingerly pulling something out of a cylindrical case. "Here. Be careful with it, it's close to crumbling."

"I know how to handle ancient scripts," the man replied sharply, with a little bit of childish defiance in his voice. "I am an archaeologist, after all."

"Sometimes I doubt it." Emese replied sarcastically.

"Well, what have we here?" Cavalieri carefully unrolled the parchment and began to read.

Journal of Ferro, servant of Theodosius II, the parchment said, naturally in Latin.

In the yeare of oure Lorde Foure hundred and fyftie-three

Recentlie I have returnede unto mine home toune whilke hight Neapolis. It was of no use that I sholde stay in Pannonia after that the Scourge of God had died. With him died heroisme, fayme and glorie of the Huns. I, as his personal clerke, have been orderede by his moste favoured menne to wryte that he had died of haemorrhage of the nose, so that there be no problems of the bodie politicke. In the official wrytinges, Attila died a natural deathe, but what harme wolde it do if I put the truthe into mine owne journal? None will ever reade thyse, and the truthe wille remaine a secret forever. The truthe is that Attila hath been murdered by his new wife Mikolt. On his weddynge nyghte. It is onlie understandable that the Hun noblemen deemed it moste embarrassing if the whole worlde founde out that the greate hero died at the handes of a mere woman.

I wist not even what became of Mikolt after the funeral… Oh, that funeral! No one on earthe hath hearde of a funeral like this before! I have spente manie yeares amonge the Huns and learned to respecte them in a way, even learned to accepte that they be not alle barbarians, but… that funeral was the moste barbarouse thynge that I have ever hearde of. A Christian woulde never sinke so low as to murder them that undertooke the funeral, but the Huns dydde soe. Fyve thousande slaves were sent to divert the course of the river Tisza, to digge Attila's grave in the bedde thereof, and place his triple coffin thereinto, then to lette the river back into its bedde. This in itself wolde not have been out of the ordinarie, as the keepynge of slaves is onlie naturalle, but the killynge of them alle after that they dydde their worke is barbarouse indeede.

The Huns dydde a thoroughe job. They mayde sure no human wolde stay on live to telle where their greate kynge was buried and raide his grave. No human, indeede… but there was someone whilk stayed on live, despite having witnessede the funeral. No, it be not a human. It be a faerie. Yea, a faerie. I wot, if someone reade my rambling, they wolde say old Ferro hath gone madde, but truste me, I remaine as sane as ever.

I was onlie sente to Attila his campe a few yeares ago, but this faerie girle had been visitynge him for at leaste twelve years, so I hearde from Csaba (Attila his oldest son, whilk, I wot, is ryghte now fyghtynge for the throne with his half-brothere Aladár). Certys, this faerie hath always been the greateste mysterie for me in Attila his campe. She be tiny, red-haired, and can disappeare from syghte as pleaseth her. I hearde that the Hun warriors whilk shotte the thousandes of slaves tried to shoote her alsoe when they spotted her at the funeral, but she disappeared. Then the Huns shotte their arrows randomlie, hoping to hitte her in her invisible forme, but I greatlie doubt that they managed it. I understande them not - why did they feare that a faerie wolde wante Attila his treasures? Faeries are sayde to be riche… my seconde-cousin Silvius whilk liveth in Britannia wrote me that the people of the neighbouring lande of Hibernia believe faeries to carry a greate potte full of golde whithersoever they goe. So, I reck not that the faerie wolde have wantede the golde hydden in Attila his coffin. In facte, meseems she had rather caste her love upon the kynge.

Silvius says faeries be longe of lyfe. They can live for thousandes of yeares. Mayhap Attila his lyttle admirer is a thousande yeares olde alreadie, I wot not. I wish I kannede. I wot not even her name, but none in the campe dydde. She refusede to telle anyone. Mayhap onlie Attila kannede it, mayhap not even he dydde. And if he dydde, then he tooke that knowledge with him into the grave. Just as he tooke the greatnesse and prosperitie of the Huns with him alsoe. Somehow I thinke not that the Huns will survive. Neither Csaba nor Aladár is fitte to rule over them. I claime not to be a seer, but in my mind's eye, I can see the Huns going downe, disappearynge from off the face of the earthe, and alle that wille remaine of them wille be the scriptes (wryttene mostlie by youres trulie). And if that happeneth, then none wille remaine to telle where the greate kynge be buried. None, but that tiny, redheaded, faerie of no name.

Certes, enoughe of the Huns. Today I was invitede by my friende Calvus to his sommer residence, and…

Cesare lowered the parchment and glanced at Emese.

"Well?" She asked in a challenging voice.

"Well… I expect this Ferro was either a complete idiot… or we've found something interesting at last."

A/N2: obviously, this chapter had no Artemis and Holly, but the next one will. Lots of A/H in chapter 2!

In case you didn't fully understand Ferro's journal and would like to read a simpler - modern-language - version, then tell me and I'll send it to you (you need to submit a signed review or add your email addy if you want this.)

And now, review, please!