Mairi opened her eyes. “Morning?” Her shoulders ached from sitting up all
night. Glancing around the room she saw that everyone was still asleep. She
put on her shoes and cardigan and left, heading for the bakery
Mac was in the back baking for the day’s sales. “Hello, Mac.”
“Mairi? I never thought I’d see you again. You rushed in and out yesterday
without even saying hello. Decide to finally come back to work?” Mac pounded
dough with his fists.
“I apologize for that, Mac. As for me coming back to work, it will still be
a few days yet, Mac. Thank you for being so understanding. I’ve got some
major family problems. It won’t be much longer. I came to buy some fresh
pastries and breads. A lot of the family has gathered at Angus’s croft and
you know how his place is. There’s never any food and everyone is sick of
eating stew out of a big black pot.” Mairi chuckled and went up front. “Ah,
you’ve been busy this morning. If you don’t mind, I’ll take the day old
stuff too.” She filled a bag full of jam and cheese pastries, raspberry
buns, Abernethy biscuits, bannocks, brandy biscuits, raisin scones and three
loaves of fresh baked bread.
“Got enough there, Mairi? Are you feeding an army?” Mac wiped his
flour-coated hands on his not so clean apron and pulled a large bag from
behind the counter. “I’ve got more bread baking.”
“I am feeding an army actually. I’ve left money in the till for you. Thanks,
Mac.” Mairi kissed his cheek and left with the bag in her arms.
* * *
Mairi met Johnny and the others at the door. All went inside. Introductions
were made; Mairi handed Joacquin a rubber band so he could pull his hair
back off his face. “Joacquin, I love your curly hair, but every bite of
pastry you take, you eat a strand or two of your hair.” Mairi laughed.
Fiona walked up to the man. “I know you and you know me.”
“Yes. We met at the waterfall. You’re a brave girl, Fiona,” Joacquin said.
“Thank you,” Fiona said.
“Your hair, Joacquin,” Mairi reminded him.
“Very tasty,” Joacquin said. He tied his hair up and sat next to Callum.
“So, Callum. How did you like Africa?”
“I liked some of it, but I didn’t like your traps. Fiona almost died by
being squeezed to death by a giant anaconda. We were almost eaten by
cannibals and electrocuted by lightning.” Callum took a deep breath and
sighed. “But, I found some cool fulgurites. See this one.” He pulled it out
of Fiona’s pack. “When lightning hits the sand, it makes glass. Look!”
“That’s interesting, Callum,” Joacquin said, taking it from the boy.
“That’s what Jacob said too. It’s cool, not interesting,” Callum said with a
“I’m not sure what cool means yet. Sorry about the traps. You see, I knew I
had to hide it well and protect it at all costs. I’m glad nobody was hurt.”
“Fiona was saved by Cloudwaltzer, the dragon. It took the anaconda far away
and the crocodiles too, so she could go behind the waterfall and get the
diamond,” Elspet said, coming over and kneeling on the floor in front of
Joacquin. “I like your long hair. Jared has long hair too. See how his is in
a pony tail too?”
Joacquin glanced at his friend. “Yes, you’re right. I think I’ll go and say
hello to all my old friends. Remember, I’ve not seen them in a while. I’ll
speak with you later on.”
For the next hour they feasted on the breads and pastries. Jasper, Jared,
Jesse, and Johnny told them about the werewolf attack and the damage done
all over town.
“We spent most of the night helping clean up broken glass and putting doors
back on their hinges. There will be a lot more work to do over the next few
days.” Johnny said.
“The werewolves came here. Jack, Julian and Nahimena went off to hunt them
down. They completed the task. It appears that Phelan took over the body of
a wolf, gathered a pack of werewolves and came to destroy us all,” Jimmy
Nahimena sat at the back of the croft talking to Fiona. “Where are Julian
“Their clothes were covered with werewolf blood. Angus gave them some clean
clothes. They’ll be back shortly,” the wizard said. “Jack and Julian are
brave men. They battled those werewolves with courage and brute strength
against strong odds. Imagine eighteen werewolves and two men.”
“Did you help?” Fiona looked in the wizard’s lime green eyes.
“I put a spell on them, paralyzing the creatures, but the leader, Growler,
overcame the spell and was free to wreak havoc,” Nahimena said.
“I’m glad they are all dead. By the way, how is Drayton? Is he still bad? Is
he still sick?” Fiona called Callum and Elspet over to hear the answer.
“Drayton is healing well. He had horrible damage done to his body. He’s been
going through the re-healing process. As for if he’s still bad, let’s just
say I think he’s coming around to our ways. Phelan’s desire to spread evil
ended up nearly destroying Drayton. We’ll have to wait and see how it ends.”
“His mum and auntie are in Truro, Cornwall; at least they should be by now,”
Callum said. “I heard your Uncle Angus telling Johnny.”
“There is something you should know. Right now, wizards from all over Xilia
are gathering. Dragons are coming together. We’re preparing for battle.”
Nahimena adjusted the long sleeves of his robe.
“Why are you preparing for battle? What battle?” Elspet put her hand on
“Surely you’ve noticed evil is growing. Phelan’s power is growing too. He’s
going to act upon it soon enough and gather his cohorts. A battle is coming
and we’re all going to be involved.” Nahimena glanced at Fiona. “I don’t
want to frighten you, but you three will be a vital part of this battle. It
is through you three that we will win and end this evil once and for all.”
Fiona looked at Callum and Elspet. “Whoa! We’re that important?”
Nahimena cleared his throat. “Yes. You must prepare yourselves for what is
to come. Listen to Johnny and the others. Do as your uncle Angus and Mairi
say. Get that twelfth stone into the orb. You must be careful. The last
jewel will not be easy to obtain. It will be your most difficult trial yet.
All the evil in the world will try to stop you. Be on guard. Trust nobody
but each other.”
“You’re scaring me, Nahimena,” Elspet said.
“I’m not trying to. I just want to alert you so you don’t go into this
blindly.” The wizard stood. “I must leave now. I have work to do. Prepare
yourselves for your last journey to Mongolia.”
* * *
Phelan, in the body of a bird, sat on a branch outside an open window of
Angus’s croft. He listened as Nahimena talked to Fiona, Elspet and Callum. I
will gather my forces and prepare for battle. I will succeed, not you, Chief
Wizard of Xilia. I’ll never allow children to defeat me.
Nahimena turned and looked directly at Phelan. He lifted his arm and shot a
bolt of lightning at the brown-feathered bird.
Phelan leaped from the body into a butterfly and fluttered away. To avoid
being caught again, he stayed only short amounts of time in different
animals and insects. Switching back and forth, he made his way to Loch Doon.
In the body of a frog, he jumped around the loch until he was at the other
side. Feeling safer, he went back to his normal spirit form. Using all the
power he could, he put his arms to the side. “Evil ones of the land of
Scotland. Come to my aid. I need your help. It is time to battle the
righteous ones who dare to believe they will eradicate all of us. Come to
Castle Athdara immediately. It is time for battle, a battle of good versus
evil. We shall prevail.” A chilled wind blew across the loch. Dark, wispy
clouds formed above the surface and swirled around Phelan. A low moan joined
with the mist as it spiraled high into the sky above the castle. “Come.
Come. Come.” A heinous laugh
was carried across the
country, seeping into every cave, rotting tree
and muddy riverbank.
They arrived at Castle Athdara in groups. The redcap, bean-nighe and sluaghs,
unaware of what Phelan had done to the others of their kind, showed up
first, eager and anxious to help the evil wizard.
The bogles, pechs, spunkie, fachan, unseelie court, hobgoblins, bogies,
banshees, trows, shape-shifting witches, baobin sith, duergar, hags, bodachs,
bogarts, killmoulis, lipsipsip, and tarans arrived in the wee hours of the
morning, most with an aversion to light.
Phelan directed them to different parts of the castle, doing his best to
keep the ones who tended to be troublemakers apart.
Just before dawn the water ghoolies came. Hordes of merman, kelpie,
nuckalavee, a few wayward selkies, and each-uisge found their way into the
loch. Phelan commanded them to stay there. The castle ghosts and assorted
witches arrived soon after.
Stragglers showed up off and on during the morning hours. Phelan felt hope
for the first time in weeks. “Now that they are all here, I can put my next
plan of action into effect.” He glanced at all the creatures. “Never have
there been so many evil ones in one place at the same time. The Wizards of
Xilia will have a battle, if that’s what they want. Bring on your dragons
and the best wizards. I am anxious to begin.”