Fiona woke up to the sun
radiating in through her bedroom window. Prismic colors danced on her walls.
She watched with a smile as they swirled from one side of the room to the
other. “Yikes! It’s Saturday.” She jumped out of bed and slipped on her
clothes before going into the kitchen.
Mairi stood at the sink
washing dirt off several carrots.
Fiona sat at the table.
“I’ll fix you something in a
minute. I just pulled these carrots out of the garden. I’ve got some turnips
and brussel sprouts for supper tonight. How does mince and tatties with
neeps and sprouts sound?”
“You know I love mince and
tatties, Mum,” Fiona said. “I’ll just have cereal this morning. I’m meeting
Callum and Elspet. We’re going to be busy playing all day, so don’t expect
to see much of me.”
“Ah yes, it’s Saturday, play
day. That’s good. I’ve got to work at the bakery most of the day. Before I
go, I’ll have to go out to the beehives and get some honey. The Perfect Bee
is nearly out. With all the tourists in town lately, nothing lasts long in
the shops.” Mairi laid the clean carrots next to the turnips on the counter
and wiped her wet hands with a dishcloth. “I think I’ll have some cereal
Fiona looked at her mum. “You
really are beautiful, Mum. Your hair is pretty and shiny brown and your eyes
are green, like the ferns in the glen. Are you going to visit Mr. Thomson
today? He’s staying at Callum’s dad’s guest house. You could take the
McAllisters some of the brussel sprouts. That would give you a reason to see
him,” Fiona teased.
“Fiona Isabella McAllister!
Are you trying to do a little matchmaking?” Mairi couldn’t help but adore
her daughter. “I do thank you for your compliments though. You’re right.
Maybe I will take a basket of vegetables and some pastries to Anne and
Malcolm. If I’m lucky, maybe Mr. Thomson and his brother will be there.” She
smiled and ate her breakfast.
“Why don’t you pick some
flowers from the greenhouse. I’m sure Anne would love a vase of tulips,
since they don’t grow normally at this time of year.” Fiona winked at her
mum and put her dishes in the sink. “I’ll wash these when I get home, all
right, Mum? I’m really in a hurry.” She kissed her mum on the cheek and ran
out the back door before she could argue. “Cheerio, Mum. Have fun with John
Elspet, her two brothers and
Callum waited for her in Bruce’s Meadow. “What took you so long?” Callum
wasn’t one for patience.
“I’ve been here for ten
minutes,” Elspet said. “I tried to hurry, but Mum caught me and I had to
bring my brothers.”
“I’m here now. Let’s go see
Uncle Angus,” Fiona said. They walked through the woods toward his croft. A
few red deer darted across the dirt path in front of them, nearly knocking
“Watch out, Callum,” Elspet
said. “Those deer seem to spring out of nowhere. It’s a good thing no
hunters are hanging around.”
“I’ll have to tell my dad I
spotted some this way. Hunting’s been bad lately for the tourists and my dad
isn’t making as much money this year.” Callum sighed.
“Well, I think that’s good.
It’s horrible to hear about people shooting deer,” Elspet said, running up
“Just ignore her.” Fiona held
Callum back. “We’re here; all five of us. Good morning, Uncle Angus,” she
said as he opened the door.
His face, unshaven and grubby
looking, didn’t look any worse than his eyes with black circles under them.
“Didn’t you get any sleep?”
“I was up all night studying
this book. You must come in and hear what I’ve found. It’s simply amazing
and quite exciting.” Uncle Angus stepped out of the way. “Come in. Have you
had breakfast?” They nodded yes. “I’ve not. I’ll nibble on some biscuits, if
you don’t mind.”
“Biscuits. That’s not a good
breakfast,” Elspet said. “Don’t you have cereal, or eggs?” She looked around
his croft. “Doesn’t the milkman bring milk to you every day? You don’t have
a refrigerator. Malcolm, Alastair, go and play with the toys.”
The boys ran over to the pile
of blocks and dumped them on the floor.
“My milk is delivered every
morning, Elspet. I get fresh eggs too, but not very many. Never could be
bothered much with eggs. It’s cold enough in the back room that I don’t need
a refrigerator. I just put the milk and eggs in there and when I have
cheese, it goes down on the floor right next to them. Never had a problem
with it yet. Never mind that. Come in and sit down on the settee. I’ve got a
lot to tell you.” Angus sat in a large leather armchair. “First off,
someone’s torn out several pages towards the middle of the book. Thank
goodness they left most of it intact. I’ve looked over a lot of interesting
reading material. I’ve found so much more, including a spell, a spell that
will take a person, the blood descendant of King Kegan, to the places where
the twelve men hid the gems.”
“Does that mean his
descendant can find all the jewels and be rich?” An eager Callum wanted to
find out the answer.
Angus opened the book. “It
says right here that when Kegan didn’t turn up in Jerusalem as planned, the
men disappeared and kept the secret hiding places to themselves as
instructed by the king, according to Alroy Cathmore. After he found his king
dead and the castle burned, he left. Over the next few years, the scribe
went around the world, searching for each of these men. He succeeded in
finding each one and gathered as much information from them as he could. I
imagine that wasn’t an easy task. He came back years later and left the book
once again in the trunk. It also seems that there was a twelve-pointed
necklace, shaped like a star. Each point represented one of his trusted men
and the jewels. See this picture.” Angus leaned over to show them.
“That’s the necklace we saw
in the stained glass window at the castle,” Elspet said. “Fiona took a
picture of it.”
“This was no ordinary
necklace. King Rolfin’s wizard, Lehimna, had the necklace made at the same
time as the orb and out of the same gold. He used slivers from each of the
original twelve jewels. When Dugan’s men killed King Kegan they ripped the
necklace off his neck; I'd say more than likely cut it off along with his
head. King Dugan wore it from then on and passed it down from generation to
generation, from eldest son to eldest son. The scribe wrote that it wasn’t
around Kegan’s neck when he returned and found them slaughtered, so he
presumes that Dugan’s men took it.
“I’m finding out the whole
story piece by piece. What I figured out from the scribe’s notes is that
King Rolfin’s kingdom, Burill, was in the area which we now call the Middle
East, somewhere on the Arabian peninsula, perhaps Yemen. I don’t think he is
originally from that area though. As for where that might be, I have no
idea. I’ve not been able to established that yet, but they didn’t come from
the Middle East. That’s what’s peculiar. The name Rolfin isn’t a Middle
Eastern name. It’s more Russian, or Eastern European, or even Phoenician.
King Kegan also lived in Arabia during his early life and didn’t come to
Scotland until after he left with his family, about 1070 A.D. That's not
long after William the Conqueror invaded England. I have no idea what
happened to Kegan’s old palace in Yemen, but no more is it mentioned.
Perhaps, as I study the book more I’ll discover the answer.”
“Where are the jewels hidden,
“Fiona, last night I figured
it out. It wasn’t easy. Gaelic’s not an easy language, but here’s what I’ve
come up with so far. Once the descendant says the spell, it will take him,
or her, into the general vicinity of the jewel, but its up to the descendant
to use visions and any other inner strengths and resources to figure out
exactly where it is. He or she will not know which of these places the spell
will take them to. Once they’ve been there and retrieved the jewel, they
will not be taken to that place again.
“Each place has a jewel
related to it. The wizard traveled all around the world to gather each one,
going to places unknown by common man at that time. Each jewel, or stone, is
priceless and rare. The twelve men didn’t hide the stones in the places
where Lehimna originally found them, which is rather peculiar, but it is the
way it is. There are many peculiar things about this book and its story.”
“This is so cool, Uncle
Angus. I can’t believe you figured all this out. I’m glad you learned
Gaelic,” Fiona said.
“Your dad knew Gaelic well
to, Fiona. He was better at it than me. Now, let’s get on with it. I have a
list here of the places the jewels are hidden. Why don’t you gather around
the chair and I’ll show you. I copied it onto paper and wrote it in
English,” Angus spread out the paper. “You’ll have to forgive my scribbles.
I jotted down a few notes so I’d not forget.”
The paper read: The jewels
are hidden in the following places:
Hydra, Greece – black obsidian…Leminha said
this volcanic stone came from the volcano that they believe formed the
first lands on the earth, when the seas and dry lands first separated. It
doesn’t say exactly where this volcano was though
Iceland – spinel (pinkish red) – (Lehimna
found this stone in Afghanistan)
Seychelles – pearl (from Tahiti, in one of its
Yukon, Canada – emerald (rainforests of
Tasmania – topaz (Ural Mountains of Russia)
Jordan – that’s where the ruby was hidden
Mexico – amber (From the Baltic shores washed
in from the Baltic sea)
Nepal – opal (Australia)
Spain – sapphire (Madagascar)
Argentina – tanzanite (blue) (Tanzania – the
plains of Kilimanjaro found by Masai herdsman)
Malawi – diamond (Lesotho in South Africa)
Mongolia – alexandrite (though it was first
found in Russia, this gem came from India)
“As you can see, children,
I’ve put the place where the jewel is now, what type of jewel it is, and
where it was found originally,” Angus noted.
“This is exciting. I’ve never
heard of most of these places, or some of the jewels either,” Callum said.
“Me neither. Where are the
Seychelles?” Elspet asked him, dazzled by the information.
“ The Seychelles are a group
of islands in the Indian Ocean, not far from the east African coast. You’ll
soon learn about the places. What’s even more interesting is the information
about the jewels. Apparently each one has a carved dragon etched inside it
and when a true descendant holds it, the dragon glows; that’s how you know
it’s the right stone. The stone also emits some sort of a pulse to help the
descendant figure out where it is hidden. It can cause them to dream, or
visualize the location. There is something worrisome too. It also says that
each of the twelve men were instructed to set up traps around the places
they hid the jewels, but it doesn’t tell what they are, as they never met up
with the king again. Alroy never bothered to write them down, or they may
have never told him, just in case the book got into the wrong hands.”
“What happened to Alroy
Cathmore, the scribe?” Callum asked.
“He was sworn to secrecy,
obviously, and after contacting the twelve men and returning the book to the
castle, he must have just vanished and became one of the local folk. I
imagine nobody knows for certain.” Angus guessed.
Fiona’s mind raced with new
information. “So what about this King Dugan and his wizard?”
“I don’t know what became of
them. Zerahemna disappeared upon the death of his king. Dugan killed Kegan
and his family, but since none of the jewels were at the castle and Alroy
Cathmore had the book out on his boat fishing, he must have been very angry.
There is a note in the book about Dugan. It says his wizard, Phelan, was
capable of strong spells and as far as the scribe was concerned, he had the
ability to well, let me put it this way, Dugan may still be alive today. If
he’s not, his descendants, if any, probably have inherited his powers. They
may not realize that yet, of course.”
“Does that mean there’s an
evil man out there looking for King Kegan’s descendants?” Fiona gulped.
“It might be a woman, but
yes, it’s a possibility. Now about this orb. It will be safer with me than
with you, just in case, somehow, this evil king, or his sorcerer, found a
way to come back to life. His descendants may know about the orb and that
could cause a lot of problems for us.”
“You can keep it, Uncle
Angus. I don’t think our mums will appreciate us bringing it into our homes.
Besides that, someone’s bound to find it if we do,” Fiona said.
“What’s the spell?” Callum
leaned over to look in the book.
“What spell?” Angus wrinkled
“You told us there was a
spell. You found it last night, remember?” Callum shook his head back and
forth, amazed by Angus’s lack of short-term memory.
“Oh yes, that spell.” He
opened the book and went down the pages until he came to it. “You have to
say these words, ‘Daleth shapish yamm’ to get to the place and to get back
home, you add the word “bet” at the end. So you’d say, ‘Daleth shapish yamm
bet,' to return to this cottage, or wherever you left from. I suggest you
“Those are strange words,”
“They’re written in the
language of King Kegan’s ancestors. They mean, ‘door to the sun and the sea’
and bet means ‘home’.” Angus shut the book. “I’ll try to figure out what
language it is. It sounds more Phoenician, as in Hannibal, not Eastern
European or Russian, as I once thought.
“I want to try the spell,”
Callum said. “I might be a descendant.” He moved off by himself and shouted,
“Daleth shapish yamm.” Nothing happened.
“You’re not a descendant,”
Elspet said, laughing and scoffing. “I’ll bet I am though. Let me try.” She
traded places with Callum, pushing him out of the way. She closed her eyes
and clenched her fists. “Daleth shapish yamm.” Nothing happened to her
either. “Well, I’m glad nothing worked. I have to babysit until this
“Do you always babysit your
brothers?” Callum was glad he didn’t have to do the same with his little
brother and sister.
“Yes, Mum is busy and the
boys get in the way. It’s a lot of work carding and spinning and dying. I
normally don’t mind. We go out and play with the sheep and have picnics.”
Elspet defended herself. “I don’t mind them tagging along.”
“That was foolish of the two
of you to try the spell. What if it had worked? You’d have gone off to a
foreign land, unprepared and alone. I almost certain I’m not a descendant,”
Angus said. “I have no blood relatives from the Castle Athdara. You might
find this interesting though. It says in our local legends.” Angus pulled a
history book about the Inveralba area off the bookshelf, “that two young
women came to the castle, claiming Kegan was their father. Their names were
Isabella and Anna.”
“Uncle Angus, I didn’t
mention this before, but my middle name is Isabella and my mum’s is Anna. It
didn’t seem important, just a coincidence, but now I’m wondering if Mum and
I are their descendants. Does it say anything else?” Fiona shivered with
“It says the princesses
married two men, local folk from the village on the other side of the loch.”
Angus took Fiona's hand and squeezed. “This is very interesting.”
“Does that mean Inverdrochit?
My mum’s from there.” Fiona gasped with astonishment.
“It doesn’t mention any
villages in particular. Let me finish. Later both families moved into the
castle. Their descendants lived there for several centuries and then, in
time of battle with England, the castle fell into ruin and was never
repaired. The people who lived in it moved into the local villages around
the loch. Maybe you are a descendant.” Angus closed the book.
“This is so exciting,” Elspet
said. “Fiona, you’re a descendant. I can feel it.”
“Do you want to try the
spell, Fiona?” Callum hoped she did.
“Wait, before you say another
word; just in case you disappear, take this money and put it in your pocket.
You’ll need some. You can trade it for foreign money at a local bank.”
Angus handed her a wad of
She put it in her pocket. “My
mum said our ancestors lived in the castle. I think I want to try. It’s sort
of scary though. Callum, Elspet, come and stand by me. If it does work, I
don’t want to go alone.” They stood right next to her, their bodies
touching. ‘Daleth shapish yam.’” The room filled with a brilliant colored
mist. Hues of metallic blue, crimson red, lime green, deep purple, lemon
yellow and orange darted in rays from one wall to the other. “It’s working.
Come with us, Uncle Angus.” Fiona shouted to her uncle. “Hurry! Come with
“I can’t. I need to stay here
and guard the orb,” he said, but they didn’t hear him... “and the lads.”
The room swirled around in
circles and when it stopped, they found themselves standing on the shores of
the Aegean Sea, on the island of Hydra, Greece.
“Where did Fiona and Elspet
and Callum go?” Alastair stood holding a block in his hand, looking at the
empty space that had moments ago occupied his big sister.