that evening, after a supper of hot meat pies with beans and salty chips,
they separated into groups to talk. Jason took the book that he was studying
and went off by himself, too distracted by the laughter.
Fiona taught them
all how to play charades and then she had Elspet draw pictures and the group
had to see who could guess first what she was drawing. Laughter filled the
croft and for all, but Jason, the horror and stress of the last few weeks
disappeared for a while.
After studying the
book for an hour, Jason’s eyebrows arched with joy. He picked up the book
and rushed over to the others, interrupting their game. “I’ve discovered
something that is of great value to us,” he blurted out.
burst in here right as I was about to guess who Callum was,” Johnny said.
“Hang in there until I make my guess, please.” He looked at Callum. “I think
you are Julius Caesar. Am I right?”
“No! Ha ha ha. I got you again! I’m Alexander the Great. Too bad, Johnny.
Johnny shrugged his
shoulders. “I lost again. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all, as Elspet would say.
Jason, what is your news.” They turned to Jason to listen.
how to summon the wizards from Xilia to capture Phelan and Drayton.” Jason
grinned like a Cheshire cat.
“What? Are you
sure?” Julian clapped his hands. “That’s more exciting to hear than winning
the drawing game. No offense, Fiona.”
“That’s all right,
Julian,” the girl said, winking.
“There’s a spell of sorts, actually words that I have to say in Xilian and
they will come. Once they come, we can ask them go to the castle and get
Drayton and Phelan, or at least one of them. They’ve been after Phelan for a
long time. I think it’s best if we call the wizards we are familiar with and
then maybe some others, if needed.”
“How many wizards
are there?” Callum tried to sneak a glance at Jason’s book.
“There are several
thousand of them, I presume. It names most of them in the book, except the
young ones,” Jason said.
news, Jason. We’ll all step back and give you some space. Everybody clear
the room. Back up against the walls so they can fit in here. Jason, we’re
ready when you are.” Angus leaned his back against the front door.
Jared. “This is very confusing. Even after Angus explained it all to me, I
feel like I’m in a dream.”
“You’ll get used to
it,” Jared said and then stepped back.
Jason stepped into
the middle of the room. He put the book down on Angus’s table and moved the
orb next to the book. “Kihelem orbani tik. Mehum dipando fibonti. Shimesa
buroli cartingad. Erufa galyo hepvimuc jakinso.” He stopped and stood in
silence. “Daleth shapish yam wustix.” Silence.
Upon hear those
words, Fiona tapped Elspet and whispered, “Those words? Those are our words
Elspet put her
finger to her lips. “Shh.”
The room filled
with a static electricity that fluxed through the room. Fiona felt her scalp
tingle and goose bumps zoom up her arms and down her legs. Tiny popping
sparks of violet blue exploded in front of Jason and flew into the air. Soon
the sparks swirled around the room in a whirlwind. Five wizards appeared;
each in flowing robes. The sparks ended and the room stood silent and still.
Jason bowed. “Lehimna.”
Dressed in a deep forest green robe, the wizard stepped forward and embraced
Jason. “Zerahemna.” A wizard in a dark crimson robe did the same. “Lephimah.”
As the other two had done, the wizard dressed in a midnight blue robe bowed
and embraced Jason. Nahimena, who wore a violet purple robe, the royal color
of the Chief Wizard of Xilia, leaned forward and kissed Jason’s hand.
Samothi, former Chief Wizard, wore a golden robe with a violet-purple
stripes on each sleeve. Jason nodded. “It is an honor to have you in our
The wizards glanced
at the others. Lehimna spoke. “You called for us, Buntabi. I presume it must
“We know where
Phelan is and Drayton too. We have the three books in our possession and the
orb with ten jewels; however they wreak havoc upon us and others and
continually try to harm us and take the books and orb. Once we have the
other two, we can proceed as planned. Both of them are at Castle Athdara.
Serbel arrived earlier and saw them both.” Jason bowed and stepped back.
The five wizards
spoke to each other in Xilian and then Lehimna spoke once more to Jason. “We
will need one of you to come with us.” The wizard’s gaze moved around the
room, stopping at Fiona. “Young lady, Fiona, we ask you to join us.”
Fiona looked at her
mum, looking for her approval. “Mum?”
Mairi’s hand. “Yes, Fiona. Go with them and help them as much as you can.”
closer to the five wizards. “I’ll go with you.”
Lehimna smiled at
her and took her hand. “Very well. We will return.” He lifted his hand in
the air, swirled it around and they disappeared.
Mairi let go of Johnny’s hand and ran to the spot where Fiona had vanished.
Jason put his arm around her. “She will be fine. They will watch over her. I
suggest we find a place to sit and wait this out.”
* * *
Phelan, in Drayton’s body,
went from room to room in the castle, searching for anything ancient that
might help him in his battle against the others. He didn’t succeed in
finding anything, except an old sword and shield and a few gold coins from
Burill. He made his way to the upper floor. A noise coming from outside
caught his attention. He looked out the window, down on the grounds and saw
the five wizards and Fiona.
Phelan snarled. “Them. They’ve come for us, Drayton. There is no possible
way for us to escape them if we stay here. They’ll hunt us down and drag us
off to Xilia. We must get out of here. Any suggestions? You’ve been all
around this castle and its grounds.”
Drayton’s spoke and
Phelan heard and replied. “The maze? You think we should go into the maze?
That won’t stop them, you fool. We can’t hide from them. These wizards are
more powerful than I. With five of them, I don’t stand a chance. Our only
hope is to escape and leave this area. Don’t think they’ll go easy on you,
boy, because you’re not a wizard. I have seen the do some ghastly things to
humans they feel are dangerous to them.”
“Go into the maze.
It’s the only way,” Drayton said again. “Listen to me. I’ve been in there
many times. There is no where else that we can hide.
“You’d better be
right, boy.” Phelan ran down the steps leading from the upper level and then
scrambled out the back door. He made his way around the side into the maze
and hid among the yew hedges.
* * *
The wizards stood near the
door. “He’s not inside,” Lephimah said. “Both of them have fled.
Nevertheless, we should go and look, just to be sure. We may find something
They stepped into
the castle and walked from room to room and ended up on the roof. “They’ve
been here. I sense something,” Nahimena said. He stood and thought. “Phelan
has entered Drayton’s body and controls it.” He stepped to the edge. “They
are in the maze, hiding.” The wizard lifted his arm and sent a wave of light
into the darkening sky. It hovered over the maze. “It is difficult to see.
This will help us with that.” He took Fiona’s hand. “You’re a brave girl,
Fiona. We have watched what has been going on from our castle in Xilia and
seen all you’ve accomplished. We’ve even talked of making you an honorary
wizardress when this is all over.”
“You have?” Fiona
looked up at the wave of brilliant light. “That is so cool. Me, a wizardress.
I like the sound of that. Fiona, the wizardress. “What’s it like there
Nahimena leaned over the wall. “Patience, Fiona.” He turned to the four
other wizards. “He is in the maze. Find Drayton and you’ll find Phelan. They
are one. I will stay here with Fiona and watch from above.”
The others charged
down the flights of stone steps and hastened into the maze.
“My castle in Xilia
is ten times the size of Castle Athdara. The walls on the outside are made
of Xilian marble and when the sun shines it stands like a field of white
snow, fulgid and lambent.”
“I don’t know what
those words mean, Chief Wizard,” Fiona said.
“It means that it
sparkles and shimmers like the brightest star in the heavens. There are
twelve towers, two on each corner and four in the center. Spires reach so
high into the sky you cannot see the tops. The master stonecutters and
sculptors have decorated every block of marble with designs of flowers,
birds, leaves; anything to do with nature. There are a lot of archways and
smaller spiraling towers. Inside the castle the floors are covered with
decorate squares of emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and all the other jewels,
like in the orb and more. There are jewels in Xilia that you can’t find on
Fiona turned and
looked down at the maze. “That’s cool. You can tell me more later. I can see
into the maze. I see the other wizards, but not Drayton. That’s weird. How
can Phelan go into Drayton’s body? Does Drayton know he’s in there?”
“Yes, he knows and
I’m sure he’s not happy. Phelan is a snake. We’ve been trying to capture him
and take him back to Xilia for centuries. Phelan wasn’t always evil, you
know. I remember when he was a boy, in training,” Nahimena said.
“Phelan good? I
would never believe that. I’ve seen him do some horrible things and I know
he’s cruel and very evil,” Fiona said, thinking back to the wizard’s
“He was a good
wizard long ago. His father was devastated when his son went to the darker
side of wizardry.”
“Is his father
alive? What about his mother?” Fiona kept her eyes on the maze.
“The guy who used
to be Chief Wizard before you? He’s Phelan’s father?” Fiona raised her gaze.
“Whoa. I’ll bet he’s disappointed.”
“Samothi has six
sons and four daughters. Phelan is the second son. His mother died when he
was but a young boy. He witnessed the whole thing. A dragon, one of our
best, Andromeda, became ill and the disease affected her brain. She went mad
and then lost control, going on a rampage. She attacked everything in her
sight. It happened that Ambrosia, Phelan’s mother, was walking past when
Andromeda saw her and burned her to a crisp before devouring her. Phelan was
watching out the window of the castle and witnessed the entire incident.”
Fiona felt a wave
of compassion rush through her. “That must have been a horrible thing for
him to see.”
“It was. Phelan was
never the same after that. He stayed home and stopped coming to wizard
school. He became angry and his father discovered he’d been secretly
practicing the darker arts of wizardry. When Samothi confronted his son, he
went into a rage and left Xilia. We never saw him again, but heard that he
had turned into a powerful evil wizard. You’ve seen the end result. We’ve
come to take him home.”
“What about his
brothers and sisters? How did they turn out?”
“They are all great
wizards and wizardresses, good and kind,” Nahimena said, sighing with
regret. “All were distressed over their brother’s behavior.”
Shouts erupted from
the maze. “He’s over here. I’ve found him.” Fiona saw Lehimna running down
one the paths.
Phelan felt like a
trapped rat. “I’m not about to let them catch me.” He ripped at the yew
hedge until there was a hole large enough for him to squeeze through. The
branches cut at Drayton’s arms and face, and wore his fingers to a bloody
mess, but Phelan didn’t care. He ran away from the maze, disappearing into
Return.” Nahimena spoke in a soft voice and the other wizards turned from
the maze and climbed the steps.
They returned to Angus’s
cottage without Phelan or Drayton. The others waited to hear what happened.
Fiona blurted it out. “It was so cool. Nahimena lit up the sky and we could
see the whole maze. We were at the top of the castle while the others went
to find Drayton and Phelan. Phelan took over Drayton’s body and they
escaped. I saw them get away. Now what are you going to do?” She turned to
“Wizardship, I am Drayton’s mother. I am ashamed to admit that. If that evil
Phelan has taken over my son’s body, does that mean my son no longer
Nahimena turned to
the elderly woman. He saw sadness in her eyes. “We love our sons, even when
they disappoint us.” He turned his gaze to Samothi. “We will do all we can
to save Drayton.”
Penelope said. Nellie took her sister’s hands in hers.
“We shall return to Xilia for
now. Call us back when you come in contact with him. We will wait there for
further notice.” He turned to Fiona. “You have another power. You can travel
anywhere in the world by thinking about the place you want to go. I would
suggest you put this power to good use.” Nahimena called the others to him.
“We will return.” The violet-blue sparks returned and along with it, static
electricity. The room spun and the wizards disappeared.
“Wow! That was so
cool.” Fiona ran over to her mum. “He said he’d make me an honorary
wizardress. Isn’t that great!”
Elspet and Callum,
excited and impatient, wanted to know what happened. Fiona took them and
they went outside to sit on the porch. Crickets chirped and darkness
enveloped them. “It was so so so cool. Nahimena told me some stuff about his
castle in Xilia. He also told me some things about Phelan and how he turned
said, opening the front door. “It’s nearly bedtime. You can tell Elspet and
Callum about this tomorrow. I’ve a grand idea. Why don’t you go home with
Elspet tonight? I’ve ran into Catriona and Jamie in town and they said it’s
all right. You spend the night and tomorrow with Elspet and just play and
have a fun day with Wee Alastair and Malcolm. Callum, I’m sure your mum will
let you stay over too. You three have been through so much. I’ll take care
of everyone here. Go on and be a child for a day.” Mairi hugged her
daughter. “Go on.”
The three children
left for Callum’s to get permission and then spent the night giggling and