Bartolf’s army marched out of the castle. Most of them
were weak, still getting over the sicknesses that Phelan had thrown their
way. Dugan’s army followed Bartolf’s and at the end came the creatures.
Phelan, with no body, took over the body of one of the King Bartolf’s lead
generals, who was too weak to fight him off.
They pressed on past the
loch into the rolling green hills on the west. The people in Inveralba had
no idea what was happening just outside their small town. King Bartolf, King
Dugan, Wizard Sidero and their generals rode their horses to the top of the
highest hill. “We need a plan,” Dugan said. “What about those useless trows
and other hideous creatures. Where did that worthless wizard, Phelan, dig
them up? Is this all he is worth? He’s your brother, Sidero.”
“I am ashamed to admit that
he is,” the wizard replied.
Phelan was about to answer
in his defense, when Bartolf spoke up. “It’s a good plan. We’ll send them in
first. They’ll take most of spears and arrows. By the time our men go in to
fight, our enemies will have used a lot of their weaponry on those worthless
redcaps and goblins. They do have a use after all.”
Sidero spoke up. “Master, if
I may make a suggestion; I would send half of the army around the loch and
have them approach our enemies from the back. We can surround them and
defeat them quickly.”
Bartolf turned to his
wizard. “When I want a suggestion from you, I’ll ask for it. You have your
own worries. The Wizards of Xilia will be in the battle and you will be
outnumbered a thousand to one. Do you think they will let you go? You worry
about yourself and let Dugan and I worry about the troops.”
The wizard bowed his head.
“As you wish, Master.”
Phelan, who listened from
his horse, grew angrier by the moment, resentful of the human’s attitude and
treatment of others, especially wizards. They mocked them at every chance.
He vowed vengeance upon the two kings and his brother.
* * *
One of King Kegan’s men came
riding in, jumped off his horse and burst through Angus’s door. “King Kegan!
Bartolf, Dugan and Phelan’s armies have gathered in the Dunrobbie Hills,
west of town. There’s plenty of them. I’d estimate approximately 300,000
“It has begun then,” King
Rolfin said. “We outnumber them counting just our armies. We’ve got dragons
and wizards and our men are loyal. I’m sure Bartolf’s men and Dugan’s would
run if given the chance. Phelan’s zombies will be no match for us.”
“I’ll take my men into the
hills. We’ll wait there until others arrive. At least we can keep our eye on
them,” King Kegan said. He and his army left.
Angus spoke up. “This has
been an adventurous time for us all. I am afraid I am too old to fight and I
won’t let Fiona, Elspet, Callum, or Mairi anywhere near those hills.”
“You won’t let us? Angus,
you have no say in what I do.” Mairi was furious and let him know.
“Mairi,” Johnny said, “he’s
right. You need to be here with Fiona and the others. Stay here please, for
me, and watch over the books and the orb. This is the opportune time for
Phelan to try to get them, while the rest of us are away. I am leaving
Drayton here with you, to protect you.” Drayton nodded.
“But Johnny,” Mairi began.
“Mairi, please.” Johnny
pulled her close.
“All right. I’ll stay, but I
don’t like it.” She pouted. He leaned over and kissed her and walked over to
“These people will be
slaughtered. Our armies, combined with the wizards and dragons, will destroy
them. Is there no other way?” Johnny spoke his thoughts.
“Most of the men in their
armies are good men who were given no choice. They were pulled out of their
beds in the middle of the night and ordered to battle. Half of those so
called soldiers are children, probably not much older than Fiona.” Johnny
turned to look at the girl.
“Hey! We’re not children,
Johnny!” Her face furrowed in anger. “I know more about battles than you
think. Evil armies are usually a bunch of men herded and forced to fight, as
you say. They never get fed and fight between each other for power. They
wouldn’t hesitate to desert because they have no loyalty to their leaders.”
“I’m impressed by your
knowledge, but you’re still not coming.” Johnny nodded his head at Drayton.
“Don’t let her come.”
“Johnny, that’s not fair. I
want to help.” Fiona struggled to free herself. “Drayton, let go of me.”
Johnny ignored her. “We’d
better join Kegan and his men. We can discuss this once we are together.”
Rolfin, Johnny, the wizards
and dragons and the twelve men marched out of the croft. No sooner had they
left when the room shrunk back to normal size. Mairi glanced at Fiona. “It’s
not my fault. I don’t want to be stuck here either.”
“Drayton, let go of me now.
I won’t run away. Go and fight with the other men.” Fiona wriggled from his
“Sorry, Fiona. It’s for your
own good. I’m staying and I’m going to keep you to your word. Stay here.”
“Mum, you heard Johnny. Most
of those men are innocent. I’m sure those ugly creepy things didn’t have a
choice either. Most of them keep out of our way and don’t do us any harm.”
Fiona turned to Elspet and Callum.
A look of peace fell upon
Drayton’s face. “They know what they’re doing, Fiona. Those wizards saved me
from my horrible life. Mairi, I have to go somewhere for a few minutes. Do
you think you’ll be safe for a while and handle it on your own? Do you
promise not to leave?” Mairi nodded.
“Where are you going,
Drayton?” Fiona smiled at her former enemy.
“I think I need to find my
mum and aunt. I owe them an explanation and apology.”
“Go on then, Drayton. Don’t
be long. We’ll manage for a while.” Angus chased the man off.
After Drayton left, Fiona
nodded her head to the right. “Shh.” She winked at Elspet and Callum and
then turned to Angus and Mairi. “Mum, we’re going to go and sit outside. We
won’t go to the battle. It’s just stuffy in here.”
“Yes, it is stuffy in here,”
The three of them went
outside and left Mairi and Angus with the books and orb. “All right. We are
not going to sit here and let all those innocent people die. The bad people
are Phelan, probably Ithgar, King Bartolf and his wizard, whatever his name
is, and King Dugan.” Fiona started pacing back and forth.
“Some of those generals are
bad too. They’ll be loyal to their kings. Generals always are. It’s the army
that we have a chance to save.” Callum rubbed his palms together. “What are
we going to do?”
“Callum, we need to think
this through. You heard King Rolfin. The dragons and wizards will probably
end the battle before it even starts,” Elspet said.
“We can do better than that.
They’ll still kill thousands of men and boys,” Fiona said.
“We’re just kids, like
Johnny said,” Callum shouted.
“Calm down, Callum. Mum and
Uncle Angus might hear us. I don’t want them to know what we’re doing.”
Fiona scolded the boy. “We’ve been all over the world. We’ve fought
dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers, giant snakes, bears, scorpions, monsters; I
could go on for an hour. We’ve done all that, we can do this. We can stop
this battle from ever happening.”
“You’ve got twelve things
you can do, Fiona,” Elspet said. “You can start a huge fire in between the
two armies. That would stop them.”
“It would also alert the
people in the surrounding villages and they’d rush over there and get
involved, maybe killed,” Fiona said.
“You can make yourself big,
or small. I know you can’t do anything if you’re tiny, but you can make
yourself big and scoop up the leaders and take them far away,” Callum
“They’ve got wizards too,
Callum; at least one, maybe two. I don’t think that one will work,” Fiona
said, “but a great idea.”
“I know. You can communicate
with animals. You could call Nessie from Loch Ness and have her come,”
“And do what? Swim around
Loch Doon and spit water at them?” Callum scoffed at Elspet’s suggestion.
“It doesn’t matter where
jewels are. They’re so rich that money won’t matter to them. How about the
weather? You could make it rain, or snow, like you did with Genghis Khan.”
Elspet’s eyes grew wider.
“I suppose we could do that
one. That would stop them for a while, but once again, the wizards would
probably interfere.” Fiona kept pacing while Elspet and Callum came up with
“It doesn’t do any good that
you speak different languages, or that you can read people’s minds. It won’t
matter if you turn invisible, because there’s still nothing you could do to
stop them.” Callum’s voice sounded with hopelessness.
“He’s right, Fiona. It won’t
matter that you can transport yourself to other places or control the sea
and rivers. The only two options are for you to turn yourself into another
object or person, or to time travel. Hey, that’s a good idea. You could go
back into the past and stop Bartolf from being a bad person,” Elspet said.
“That would be nearly impossible to do. I’d have to stay
there forever and have a lot of influence over him. I can’t do that, Elspet.”
“How about going into the future?” Callum scratched his
“What good would that do?” Fiona snickered. “In the
future the battle has already happened.”
“Right. Bad idea,” Callum said.
The ground beneath their feet shook. “Either we’re
having an earthquake or the battle has begun. Mum said to stay away, but I
can’t. I’ve got to help.” Fiona took Elspet and Callum’s hands.
“Stay here with Mum and Uncle Angus, please. You both
don’t have powers. I do. I can turn invisible and do all sorts of things to
protect myself. I’ll never be able to live with myself if anything happened
to you both.” Fiona pleaded with them. “I’ll think of something.”
“All right, Fiona. You’re right. Callum and I will stay
“Don’t tell Mum where I’ve gone. Lie. Tell her I’m
around back with the kittens or whatever.” Fiona gave them both a hug.
“Be careful, Fiona. Do whatever you can,” Callum said.
“Fiona, you’d better not die or I’ll never speak to you
again,” Elspet said, wiping tears.
“I’ll be fine. Stay here.” Fiona ran off into the woods.