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Rolfin's Orb
Book 2 - Spinal
Chapter 3

“Sunrises in Iceland are almost as pretty as they are in Inveralba.” Fiona looked out the window. “See how it shines on the ocean?”

Elspet stood next to her. “It’s an artists paradise here.”

“You said that about Hydra, Elspet,” Callum said.

“I guess the whole world is beautiful when you see it at sunrise.” Elspet smiled.

“We’ll have breakfast in the restaurant. I hope it’s not as expensive as supper was last night. After that we’d better get to the Westman Islands.” Fiona led the way downstairs and into the dining room.

“I’m not sure what prune torte is, but I’m not eating it,” Callum said. “I’ll have Icelandic snowflake bread. That sounds interesting. I wonder if it’s made from real snowflakes.” He started laughing.

They filled up with scrambled eggs, stewed fruits, breads and pastries. After breakfast they left the hotel, eager to begin their day.

“We have to take a bus to Thorlakshofn.” Elspet looked at the directions Magnus had given them. “After that we have a three-hour ferry boat trip to Heimaey.”

“I think I’m up to the challenge. I slept well last night. Did you two?” Fiona yawned and stretched.

“I slept fine. That swim wore me out. Imagine everything here in Iceland is all heated geothermally. Is that a word?” Callum chuckled, not sure if he’d made it up.

“I slept okay. I’m excited about today though and sort of scared at the same time. Who knows what we’ll find on Heimaey. The traps might be serpents, or bubbling hot lava, or giant whales with sharp teeth. I didn’t like the traps on the Hydra. I don’t think I can take scorpions again.” Elspet shivered at the memory.

“Somehow I don’t think we’ll run into scorpions in Iceland. There’s our bus now.” Fiona pulled money out of her pocket and paid their fares. They climbed on board, getting the back row for themselves.

“Have you noticed how there are a lot of blond people in Iceland?” Callum looked around at the people on the bus. “Some of them have the strangest color of blue eyes too, like Magnus’s.”

“Actually, I have noticed that. They’re pretty eyes,” Fiona said, “but I see a lot of dark haired people too.”

The twenty-two-mile, forty-five minute bus ride allowed them to see a lot of Iceland’s scenic beauty.

Callum complained. “That was a bumpy ride. I’m glad I don’t get carsick. We’re here. Is that the ferry? Do you think it’s safe? I looked in the pamphlet too, while you were showering. It says that there have been winds recorded blowing over 200 mph there and that in winter the waves are so huge that they go over the tops of the cliffs.”

Elspet, who had her trusty pamphlet handy said, “Callum don’t worry so much. You fret over everything. The ship’s called the Herjolfur. It’s a three-hour trip and the ferry is very modern. It looks new and safe to me. It says it has a good cafeteria and a movie theater. We can also sit on deck and watch the dolphins and whales if we want. I don’t think we’re going to have any winds today and the waves will probably be small. The sea looks quite calm to me.”

“I hope you’re right. It won’t be too bad as long as there aren’t any huge waves,” Callum said, not as afraid.

They boarded the ferry. Finding a seat up on deck, they sat down and watched others board.

“It says we’ll go past cliffs with tens of thousands of puffins on them. Won’t that be cool? I wish I’d brought some pencils and paints and a sketchpad with me. I’d love to draw right now. Look at this. The sky is steel blue, the water dark, like Loch Doon, and there are so many birds around it’s hard to hear myself think, but I love it,” an excited Elspet said.

“Here we go again. The artist has spoken,” Fiona said. “Let’s just sit here and enjoy the scenery. “Why don’t you tell us about Thorlakshofn, Elspet. You’ve got the guidebook.”

She opened it up. “It says Thorlakshofn, which is on the south coast, is named after the patron saint and exports fish and pumice. They also have the Ice Blue water plant here. It bottles water.”

“What’s pumice?”

“Callum, I thought you knew everything? Pumice is made from lava,” Fiona said.

The boat engines started up. “I think we’re getting ready to go. On to our next adventure. I hope we find the spinel easy. Have you had any visions or anything?” Elspet sat in a deck chair.

The boat pulled away from the dock. “We’re moving.” Callum, used to being out on his dad’s boat in the calm waters of the loch, wasn’t used to the action of the sea. “I feel sick.”

“Callum, we just pulled away. We’re not even out in the sea yet. You can’t possibly be seasick already,” Fiona said.

A half an hour later all three of them had trouble with the rough sea. “I feel seasick too.

The waves are awfully big.” Fiona looked at the rolling sea. “What if Callum’s right and the waves sink our ship?”

“I don’t feel very good either, but let’s not be silly. The waves aren’t that big.” Elspet held her stomach. She stood up and went to the railing, trying to distract herself. “Come and look. I see killer whales!”

Temporarily forgetting their sickness, Callum and Fiona joined Elspet at the rail.

“You’re right, they are killer whales. Look at their fins.” It worked. Callum’s sickness diminished. They watched the whales, which hugged their boat all the way to Heimaey.

“There’s Heimaey. Look at the cliffs and birds. There’s the lava flows. Did you hear Magnus tell about the volcano?” Fiona pointed at the black rocks. “I hope it doesn’t erupt while we’re here.”

“Fiona! You both let your imaginations run wild, don’t you? This is a nice little island. It’s part of the Westman Islands, but the Icelanders call them Vestmannayaer. Try saying that. It’s not easy. Westman is much easier to say. Heimaey is a volcanic island. Would you believe that one day pirates came here and kidnapped all the women and girls?” Elspet had studied her pamphlet well.

“Pirates? In Iceland?” Callum didn’t believe her.

“It was in the year 1627 and the story is true. They took them to Africa and sold them as slaves. They killed a lot of the men.” Elspet frowned.

“I hope we don’t run into any pirates here.” Callum scanned the horizon.

“That was nearly 400 years ago, Callum. The only thing we’ll run into here are puffins.” Elspet put her hand on his back. “Oh good, we’re docking.”

After almost three hours on the ferry, the boat docked. They wobbled down the gangplank onto the dock.

“I feel dizzy.” Callum wobbled back and forth.

“You’ll be okay soon. You need to get your land legs back. Should we go and have something to eat?” Elspet’s tummy growled.

“I don’t want anything, but you two can eat if you want.” Callum's face still looked pale green.

Neither of the girls had been as seasick as Callum.

“I’m kind of hungry. If we’ve got a busy day ahead of us, we should eat something first.” Fiona led them to a café. They went inside and sat down at a table. “Look at the things on this menu. There’s banana and pepperoni pizza. How disgusting.”

“Gross. Raw fish. No way. Sick. They have puffins in milk and horsemeat. This is horrible. Who’d kill a puffin,” Elspet's mouth opened in shock.. “No way, Callum. Forget it!”

“Don’t even mention it to me. I don’t want to eat anything right now, especially not horsemeat and puffins.” Callum stood. “I’m going to go and wait outside. The smell of the food is making me sick.”

That’s not all, Elspet. They’ve got reindeer, goose and ptarmigan.”

They settled for the banana and pepperoni pizza. After ordering the waitress brought the pizza to them.

“Do we really want to try this?” Fiona took the first bite. “It’s not too bad,” Fiona said.

They ate quickly and went outside to join Callum.

“Do you feel better now? You’ve got more color in your face,” Fiona said.

“The fresh air helped. I do feel a lot better.” Callum had pink cheeks once again.

“Where do we begin? We’re here now, we’re fed, now what?” Elspet knew time flew quickly when they were on these adventures. “If a man came here in the year 1200, then the jewel or stone is now probably buried under all this lava.”

“I don’t think so. I have a feeling it isn’t as hard to find as we might think,” Fiona said.

“What are these islands anyway?” Callum looked around at the rocky hills.

“Heimaey? It’s a volcano, or maybe two volcanoes. There’s a saga, or story about it, but I don’t know what that is,” Elspet said.

“That’s okay. I don’t really care that much about history right now,” Callum said. “As long as the volcanoes don’t erupt while we’re here, that’s all I care about.”

“Callum must really not feel well. I can’t imagine him not being excited about history. Anyway, I think the spinel is inside a lava cave,” Fiona said.

“What’s a lava cave?” Callum had never heard of one before.

“A lava cave is made when the flowing lava starts to cool, but hot lava flows under it, making a tube. When that flows out, it all hardens and makes a cave. The spinel is not buried under tons of lava. I’m pretty sure it’s in a cave. The island isn’t that big. Let’s just start looking. When we get to the lava, remember it’s sharp and will cut us to pieces if we’re not careful.

With full stomachs and an eagerness to search for the jewel, they headed towards the lava fields. “It’s very pretty here, in a rugged sort of way,” Elspet said. “It’s green.”

“It’s not as nice as Scotland.” Callum admired the stones and grass-carpeted hills. “What’s that? He pointed at something moving. “Hey, I just saw that rock move.”

“It’s a stone, at least that’s what it looks like. Rocks don’t move, unless it’s a troll. While we were eating lunch I heard a couple talking about Huldufolk.” Elspet pulled the camera out of her bag.

“Huldufolk? Dare I ask what that is?” Fiona gulped and waited for Elspet to explain.

“Huldufolk are trolls. They live in the rocks. They blend in with them and they eat people.” Elspet took a photograph. “Come on. I want a closer look.”

“Do they come out in the day or wait till night?” Callum started to sweat.

“Day or night. It doesn’t matter to a troll, but they don’t like direct sunlight.”

They looked at the stone again. “It’s not moving. We must be imagining things. There’s no such thing as trolls,” Fiona said.

“There’s no such thing as marble monsters with snake heads either, Fiona, but we saw one,” Elspet reminded her. “There are lots of elves and gnomes and fairies on these islands too.”

“Let’s watch out for them then.” Fearful, they moved on.

Elspet took a few more photos.

Fiona pulled her camera out of her coat pocket.

“Oh good, Fiona. You brought your camera. You might as well have it ready so you can take a picture of the Huldufolk.” No sooner had Callum spoken when little twinkles and sparkles of something darted in front of them. “What was that? It wasn’t a troll, was it?”

“I know what it is. It’s a light fairy. They were talking about those too. They are sort of like Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell. They fly around and glow and leave sparkly trails.” Elspet ran after it. “They won’t hurt us. If I had a jar I’d catch one and take it home with us.”

“What sort of island is this anyway? Trolls and fairies? What’s next?” Callum wanted to turn back. “Don’t answer that.”

“We’re almost there, Callum. There’s a lava cave up ahead. Be careful. This stuff is jaggy.” Fiona called to Elspet. “Come back here! Leave the fairy, or whatever it is alone. I nearly broke my ankle.”

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