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Rolfin's Orb
Book 1 - Obsidian
Chapter 14


Rain pelted against the windowpane. Drayton Steele pulled the heavy blue and gray plaid drapes apart and looked outside. “Another miserable day in Truro, Cornwall,” he snarled at the clouds. “Depressing place this is. I’ve got to get out of here.” He dropped the drapes and they fell together, locking out the light. Enveloped in a muted gray gloominess, he stumbled to his chest of drawers, searching for his motorcycle keys. The only light in the room was a low emitting bulb, hidden under a lampshade covered with a thick layer of dust. Glancing in the mirror, he saw a nineteen-year-old man with long black hair, stringy and greasy, covering his ten-ear-ringed ears. A row of tattoos stretched up and down his arm, each a pigmented scar of a skull with an arrow piercing its eye and coming out a crack in the back. “You’ve got to get out of here,” he mumbled to his reflection. Ripping off his dingy tee shirt, he tossed it on the floor. It landed on top of an assortment of other filthy clothes, most piled there weeks ago.

“What the…!” The necklace hanging around his thick unshaven neck glowed. He slipped it off and held it in his hand. One of the twelve points on the star shined an opaque blackish-brown. “What’s going on here? It’s never done that before.” He yanked open his desk drawer and pulled out a magnifying glass. Holding it above the necklace, he examined it. “The black stone’s lit up.” Dropping the magnifying glass on the dresser top, he opened his bedroom door. “Hey you! What is going on with this necklace Dad gave me?”

His mother, who sat in a chair in the living room watching television and sipping a cup of tea, didn’t hear him call.

He plunged down the stairs, stomped into the room and stood in front of her, blocking her view. “Are you deaf, woman? I said, what’s going on with this necklace?”

Penelope, as afraid of her son as she had been of his father, shook in fear, refusing to make eye contact.

“Look at this. What do you know about it?” Drayton shoved it into her hand.

Still avoiding his eyes, she said, “Oh, this old thing. Your father wore it every day since I married him, probably years before that too. I don’t know what it is. How odd that it’s glowing. I’ve never seen it do that before.”

Drayton yanked it out of her hands. “Are you telling me Dad never told you about the necklace? You’re a lot of help old woman.”

His mother cowered as he raised his hand to hit her. “Don’t Drayton.” She pleaded with him, putting her arms up in front of her face for protection. “He didn’t think I needed to know anything about his life, just as you feel too. If you go into the attic, there’s a box up there, at least I think it’s up there, well maybe…”

“Stop your rambling woman and tell me without all this idiotic mumbling.” Drayton lowered his hand and squatted, so he was eye level with her. His deep brown eyes pierced her hazel ones. “Now, tell me slowly, what is all this about a box in the attic?”

“I think the box is in the attic. Your father kept a lot of old books and papers. Shardow was very much into his family history. He spent hours up there every day reading. You might find it interesting.” Penelope forced herself to be brave.

“Family history? I can’t imagine wanting to know more about this family, never mind our history. There must be something else.” Drayton stood up straight and walked out of the room, knocking the tray with her supper and drink of water onto the floor. It clattered, shattering the ceramic plate and crystal glass. Fried egg, chips and beans flew everywhere. His mother stared at the mess. “Are you going to stare at it all day like a daft idiot, or are you going to clean it up? If that egg dries on the carpet, it’ll take you a week to get it out. Stop leaving your things in my way.”

Penelope waited until she heard his footsteps going up the steps before getting up. She set her cup of tea down and went into the tiny kitchen to get a bucket of hot soapy water and a cloth. Her arthritic knees ached as she scrubbed the carpet until the stains from the food disappeared, not daring not utter a word of complaint.

The sound of Drayton kicking boxes and whatever else got in his way across the room echoed throughout the house. Thuds, bangs, and vile cursing slithered like a snake down the long flight of stairs, shaking the inexpensive chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the living room. She looked up and whispered. “That boy is just like his father. Both of them are the most useless pair of evil beings.” With a damp cloth in hand, she wiped the walls and put the broken glass into the rubbish. “That was my good Waterford Crystal too.”

Drayton dumped out each box. “Look at this mess. All she’s got up here are mothball stinking clothes that she’s too fat to wear now. No wonder my father drank himself to death. Being married to the likes of her…” He threw the empty boxes to the other side of the room, his anger mounting with each failure to find what he searched for. At the back of the attic, hidden under a box of old piano music, Drayton found the cardboard box filled with papers and books. “Well, what have we here.” He picked it up. “I think this is it. Finally!” He carried it down to his room, leaving the attic door open. Stored clothes hung over the edge and cold air rushed into the house. The ladder dangled from the hole in the ceiling. Downstairs, his mother pulled her shawl around her shoulders, holding the cup of hot tea in her hands.

Kicking his bedroom door open, he dumped the box out on his bed. “There’s got to be something of value in here.” A thick, leather-bound book, worn and filthy with dust, caught his attention. “What have we here?”

He sat in his armchair and using his muscular arm, brushed everything off the desk onto the floor and laid the open book down on it. Dust flew into the air. Waving it away, he turned the first page, reading out loud to himself. “The History of King Dugan, written by His Highness’s scribe, Talon Hormdin. In the year…” Drayton sat reading for three hours, not moving except to turn the pages.

“King Dugan kidnapped Princess Isabella and Princess Anna, daughters of King Kegan. Partial to Isabella, Dugan forced himself on her and nine months later she gave birth to a son, he named Ithgar. Way to go, Dugan!” Drayton continued reading aloud. “He kept his son and banished Isabella and her sister from his kingdom. She vowed to some day get her revenge on him for stealing her child. Ithgar, a product of both kingdoms, Dugan’s and Kegan’s, wore the necklace of the twelve jewels stolen from Kegan’s kingdom, around his neck after his father died. Though an illegitimate heir, Ithgar was the only son of Dugan, therefore entitled to the throne. It is said the princesses, Isabella and Anna eventually returned to their father’s kingdom, only to find him gone. This is fantastic. No wonder Dad was obsessed with it all.” He continued, “Ithgar and his descendants ruled Zanaad for three hundred years, until no male heirs ended the line. After that, the inheritances passed to the daughters and their sons.” When he turned the last page he sat back and sighed. “So, I’m a descendant of Dugan, the mighty king, and his concubine, Princess Isabella, daughter of King Kegan, the weak.” Slamming the book shut, he went into his mother’s room. The closet door flung open; he threw her things out of the way, searching for her suitcase. About to shout, he found it. Empty, yet heavy, he threw it on his bed and crammed everything he thought he might need inside and locked it up. He slipped the necklace around his neck, put the book back in the box and carried them down the stairs.

“Where are you going, Drayton?”

His mother watched him put her suitcase and the cardboard box down near the back door.

Her son walked toward the kitchen carrying her shopping bag.

“Drayton?

He ignored her, poured a plate of shortbread into a paper bag and then opened the refrigerator and grabbed a plate of sandwiches. After emptying the cupboard of crisps, crackers and biscuits he turned and glared at her. “Shut up, woman. I’m leaving. You’ll not see me again.”

“Drayton, what did you find in the box?”

“I’ve discovered that I am the descendant of Kings. My dad was too, not from you. You should have treated him with more respect. You don’t deserve to be in my presence any more than you deserved to be in his, you lowly, pathetic excuse for a human being. I have a right to the treasure as much as anyone. I’m going to Scotland. You’re from Scotland, aren’t you? What is the name of that pathetic village you were born in?”

“Inveralba? One of my sisters still lives there.”

“Inveralba. Isn’t it in the highlands somewhere?” His mother nodded. “I’m not interested in your idiot, fat, useless sister, so shut up. I’m after the treasure.” With that said, he opened the back door and left.

She heard his motorcycle engine rev and then fade away. “What treasure?” His mother stood, not sure whether to feel sad or rejoice.

* * *

The train pulled out of the station late that afternoon, due to arrive in Edinburgh the next morning. Drayton found his sleeping cabin, tossed his bag on the shelf and lay down. Pulling the book from the box, he held it close to the light above him and read about Dugan’s evil wizard and his powers.

“What’s this?” He sat up, leaning his back against the wall. “It says that because Ithgar carried the blood of both lines, he had special powers, very evil powers. He could do the magic of the good and of the bad.” Talking to himself, he continued reading out loud, taking particular interest in the chapter about the orb and powers it bestowed upon its owner. “So, besides the powers of Dugan, I am entitled to the twelve powers from Kegan’s orb.”

His eyes flickered with black flames. “Once I have it in my possession and say the spell, I can summon the evil wizard, Phelan, from the past to come and teach me how to use other powers. I must have the orb first and all the jewels. The only place I might be able to find it will be Castle Athdara in Inveralba, Scotland. Now isn’t that interesting? The one horse town my mother is from is where the castle is. Very interesting. I hope for their sakes that nobody else has found it before me.” An evil grin spread across his face. “The first thing I’m going to do is turn my dear mother into a toad and throw her into a pit of crocodiles. Worthless thing she is.” He studied the book until the wee hours of the night crawled upon him and fell asleep to the swaying of the train, one hand clutching the necklace; the other hand around the book.


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