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Rolfin's Orb
Book 1 - Obsidian
Chapter 12

At the bottom, Fiona sat on a low stone wall. “I am not going up those steps again, no matter what!”

“What will we do? Can we take the brick back to Inveralba and get the obsidian out at home?” Callum wanted to go home as soon as possible.

“No, Callum. We’ve got to get it out before we go home.” Fiona caught her breath, exhausted from the day’s events. “It’s part of the rules. We have to have the stone in our hand in the country we find it.”

“Is the obsidian a jewel or a stone?” Elspet took the brick from Callum’s hand.

“It’s really a stone, but it’s so valuable that it’s also a jewel, or so Uncle Angus said. Call it whatever you want,” Fiona said.

“Let’s get a big rock and drop it on the brick. I know it’s marble, but if the rock is really big, it will break it, won’t it?” Callum wasn’t sure his idea would work.

“If it’s big enough to break that brick, how in the world would we be able to pick it up? Imagine how heavy a rock we’d have to lift. We need to come up with another idea. All we need to do is break it in half,” Fiona said.

“I have an idea. Why don’t we go up to the top of that church over there, the one with the blue dome? Two of us can go up to the top and drop it over the edge. The other one of us can get the jewel before any one else comes along,” Callum said. “It’s a great idea.”

“That’s marvelous, Callum. I wish I’d thought of it.” Fiona patted him on the back.

They moved through the narrow alleys, making their way toward the larger Byzantine church. When they stood at the entrance and looked up, Elspet said, “It’s not as white and pretty as some of the ones on the other Greek Islands, but it’s nice enough. Who’s going to go up?”

“I’ll go. Callum, why don’t you come with me? Elspet, you stay here and grab the jewel right away,” Fiona said. “Don’t let anyone else near it.” She turned and opened the door to the church.

“Here’s the brick,” Elspet said, handing it to Callum.

He and Fiona went inside. “We’ve got to be quiet in here This is still a church and we need to respect that.”

They disappeared, leaving Elspet standing alone outside the circular stone building. She used this time by herself to look around the town. “What a lovely view,” she said, watching the sun sparkle on the sea. A man walked past carrying an octopus. Its eight suction-cupped tentacles dangled from his arms, nearly touching the ground. “That’s gross. It’s all slimy. Yuck. I hope he’s not going to eat that.” Elspet whispered, hoping he didn’t hear.

The grubby-faced man smiled at her before disappearing around a corner.

She saw a donkey approach and ran to hide behind the curved wall of the church, in case it was Nikolas.

A gray-haired man holding a rope, guided the hay-laden donkey through the alleys.

“Whew! Thank goodness it wasn’t Nikolas.”

“Elspet!” Fiona shouted down. “Where are you?”

Elspet came out from behind the wall and looked up.

Fiona’s and Callum’s heads stuck out through a narrow, slotted window.

“Stand back,” Callum called. “I’m going to drop it.” He let go of the brick. It fell to the ground, shattering into several pieces.

Elspet moved the broken pieces apart and saw the jewel. “Wow, this is beautiful.” She picked it up. The jewel, about two inches in diameter, glittered when the sun hit it. She held it up to her eye and looked through it. “It’s like glass. I can see right through it.”

Fiona and Callum came rushing outside through the open door.

“You’ve got it. Thank goodness.” Fiona sighed with relief. “Let me see it.”

Elspet dropped it in her hand.

“We’re lucky. There were only 2 traps for this jewel.”

“Uh, Fiona. I think you spoke too soon,” Callum said, pushing the two girls out of harm’s way. He pointed at the broken pieces of marble. It bubbled and melted, turning into a thick, white liquid, running all over the ground. The drops of gooey marble ran together and formed into a shape.

“What is it? What’s happening?” Fiona put the stone in her pocket. The three of them backed up, not taking their eyes off it. Horror filled their bodies as it took the form of a snake. “It’s turning into a Hydra monster.” She gasped in disbelief. “This is all your fault, Callum. You kept talking about Hydra monsters all the time. Now look what’s happening!”

The shape grew taller. Nine snakes grew from its head, each with sharp fangs and hissing with flickering stone tongues.

“I can’t help it. I hate Hydra monsters. Let’s get out of here,” Callum said. They turned and ran. He looked back. “Oh no! It’s following us. Run faster.”

They darted in and out of buildings. “How can a brick melt and turn into a monster from Greek mythology? This is all too weird. Let’s get to the bay and go home before it gets any weirder,” Fiona ran toward the sea. The church bells starting ringing, stopping her. “Wait. Maybe we’d be safer if we went back into the church. We’re going the wrong way.”

“Are you crazy, Fiona? We can’t turn around and go back. The Hydra will find us. Those snake heads have fangs.” Callum cried in despair. “I don’t want to be bitten by a marble snake nine times.”

“We have to go back. Don’t ask me why, but I just know we must. It will find us and kill us if we don’t. It’s going to happen. You’ll have to trust me this time. My heart tells me to get back to that Byzantine Church,” Fiona said. “Come on. We’ll go a different way.” With hesitancy the other two followed, too afraid not to.

Elspet heard the hissing sounds first. “Do you hear those noises? It sounds close.”

Callum and Fiona heard too. “It’s right behind us. Hurry.” Fiona shouted. The marble hardened, but somehow the stone monster was able to move. “It’s like it’s hovering above the ground.” She glanced at it. “There’s the church and the door is still open. Whoever is the last one in, slam it shut behind you.”

When they reached the door, Callum was first inside, with Fiona right behind him. Elspet entered last.

“Shut it, Elspet. Shut it now!” Callum shook with fear. He helped her slam the door shut just as the monster reached it. “Did you see its ugly face?”

“I think I’ll pass on that. Let’s go upstairs. We’ll be safer.” Fiona climbed the steps leading to the window they dropped the brick from.”

They looked down and saw the monster at the door. The fanged heads bumped against the wood. “It won’t come inside the church. We’re safe in here, aren’t we?” Cracking sounds and splintered pieces of wood falling to the ground frightened Elspet.

“We’re safe for now, but we can’t stay here forever,” Fiona said.

“But it’s chewing through the door. It’s coming to kill us.” Callum slid to the floor and pulled his legs close to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. “I want to go home.”

Fiona took the jewel out of her pocket and looked at it. She saw the dragon carving, etched deep inside. It emitted a slight glow. She slouched to the floor next to Callum and closed her eyes. In her vision she saw a giant black dragon, with eyes shining like the jewel. It swooped down from the clouds, caught the Hydra monster in its sharp teeth and carried it away.

“Wow! Look at that!” Elspet shook Fiona’s shoulder. “Come and see this, Fiona. Callum, get up. You’ll miss it. It’s a dragon! It must have a fifty foot wing span.”

Loud screeches rattled their eardrums.

They jumped up and looked out the window. The glossy black dragon had a row of even darker black spikes running down the middle of its back and a long pointed tail dangled behind it.

“How can that be? I just dreamed this. It’s the same dragon from my vision.” It flew so close to Fiona that she saw the veins in its leathery wings. Its long snout, scaly and emitting puffs of brownish-red smoke, attacked the Hydra. It picked the marble monster up with its fangs and carried it away. The Hydra hissed and struck at the dragon’s legs, but it didn’t loosen its grip and disappeared into the clouds.

“It tried to bite the dragon,” Elspet said, “but the dragon was too big.”

“I didn’t know they had dragons in Greece,” Callum said.

“They don’t have dragons in Greece, or anywhere else in the world!” Fiona said. “This is all really strange.”

“Where did it come from then?” Callum leaned out the window.

“I think it came from my dream. It was in my vision and then it became real. I think King Kegan had something to do with it, or else it was his wizard, Zerahemna.” Fiona smiled.

“I don’t care who did it or where the dragon came from. I’m just glad that thing, that ugly monster thing with all the heads is gone. I hate snakes,” Elspet said.

With relief, they went down the steps and outside, looking into the sky. “The dragon’s gone now. I wonder where it went? I hope none of the local people saw that, or heard it either,” Fiona said. “It happened so fast though. I’m sure nobody did.” But as they walked through town they noticed people pointing at the sky and talking. “Oops. Well, some of them did.” She burst out laughing. Callum and Elspet joined in. “They’ll have something to talk about for a while. Are you both ready to go home?”

“I am,” Callum said.

“Me too.” Elspet skipped down the cobbled street. “Even though this was a very scary day, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot too.” Fiona and Callum agreed.

As they neared the departure point, they noticed a few boats bobbing up and down in the bay. From shore, dozens of rowboats made their way out to greet them. Shouts of bargaining went on amongst the two groups. “It’s a floating market,” Fiona said. “I saw an advertisement taped up in one of the shop windows. Once a week, farmers come from surrounding islands and bring their produce to sell. My mum would love this.”

“The boats are full of vegetables, fruits and fish. I can see aubergines, kiwis and avocados. I wish I had a camera with me. It’s all so colorful. I’d take pictures of the donkeys, the floating market, the church, the monastery, even the scorpions,” Elspet said.

“Don’t you want to paint them too, Elspet? Not me. I’d have taken a picture of the dragon. Nobody will believe me when I tell them I saw a dragon,” Callum said.

“Do you think they’ll believe any of this? Who’d believe we had to run from a brick that turned to liquid and then formed the shape of a marble Hydra monster that chased us all over town? Do you think they’ll believe any of it? I don’t. They’ll think we’re nuts. I think we need to keep this to ourselves, at least for now,” Fiona said.

“I think you’re right. Nobody will believe us,” Callum said.

Elspet said, “Before we go, let’s get something sweet to take back to your Uncle Angus. I don’t think he’s ever been to Greece before.”

“Good idea, Elspet. Let’s see what they have in the bakery,” Fiona went inside and looked in the glass cases, her mouth drooling. “What should we buy?”

“See that cake?” Callum pointed. “It’s called an amigdalota. I remember my teacher saying that’s an almond cake. We can also buy him one of those galaktoboureko. It’s a milk pie with cinnamon and syrup. It’s messy, but I’ll bet it tastes good.”

“You buy some for him and then get something for us too. I’m taking the rest of our money and changing it back into British pounds.” Fiona walked off, leaving the two of them to ogle the sweets. She returned with her original money. “Got it.”

Callum held the bag of goodies.

They walked down to the pebbly beach, eating and licking their fingers clean.

“This is the spot,” Fiona said. They looked around at the town one last time. “I think I’m going to miss Hydra.”

“I will too, but I’m glad we got to come here, even if we were chased by policemen and marble monsters.” Elspet said. “I’ve got a lot to write in my journal.”

“Let’s all hold hands,” Fiona said. Callum and Elspet slipped their hands into hers. “Be careful not to drop the bag.” She winked at Callum. “Are you ready?” They nodded. “Daleth shapish yam bet.”

The clouds seemed to come down from the sky and encircle them in a cocoon, swirling in dozens of colors. Dizziness engulfed them. When they opened their eyes, they stood in the middle of Uncle Angus’s croft.

“Hello children. I’m glad you’re back.” Uncle Angus got up off the floor and dropping the wooden blocks from his hands to the floor.

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