Angus opened the door to his croft. Jimmy helped Jack carry Jesse inside.
They laid him on the bed. “I’ll get some clean towels and we’ll wash him
up,” Angus said. He filled a large bowl with warm water, grabbed a towel and
soap and carried over to the others. “Be careful with his wounds. It looks
like he’s got a few burns, but most of the rest of the damage seems to be
cuts and scrapes and a few bruises. I’ll get him some clean clothes.”
Jack squeezed the water from the cloth and wiped as much dirt and grime as
he could off Jesse’s body. “He’ll be fine. Let’s leave him here to sleep.”
Jack pulled a blanket over him and walked over to the fire, sitting on the
settee. Angus and Jimmy joined him.
“We’ll have to stay together. I remember the old days,” Jimmy sighed. “Dugan
and his wizard wreaked havoc on our people daily and all because of greed.
He wanted the orb. His entire focus was on taking it from King Kegan and
using its powers for himself. Dugan’s gone; at least I hope he is. Somehow
Phelan’s managed to return, at least in spirit form. He’s able to
communicate with Drayton, Dugan’s descendant.”
Angus got up and put on a kettle of water for tea. A few minutes later he
carried a cup to each of them. “I’ve gotten myself involved in quite a mess,
haven’t I? When Fiona first brought the book to me I read it with
excitement. Never did I think all this was going to happen. How on earth did
each of you come back to life? I know Zerahemna put a spell on each of you,
but this is all so foreign. I mean, this is the 21st century. How
can someone who lived over a thousand years ago come back to life?” Angus
sat down and sipped his tea.
“Wizards are powerful men, Angus. I’m not sure how it’s done. I’m not a
wizard. All I know is that when the stone is put back in the orb, I found
myself a man again, living, breathing, and thinking. I found myself in
Castle Athdara, a place I’ve never been to before, like the others. The
first thing that came to my mind was to head for this croft,” Jack said.
“My story’s about the same, Angus, but I went to the McAllister’s house,
where Johnny was staying. As the stones are found and put in the orb, the
others will come here, until all 12 of us are together once more. My
memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I know once all the stones are in the orb, we’ve
got a journey ahead of us.” Jimmy put his teacup down on the floor.
“Jesse’s lying over there, injured by a blood
descendant of King Dugan. There’s no reason to doubt that Drayton will be as
powerful and as evil as his forefather. With Phelan on his side, we’ll have
a battle on our hands,” Jack said. “I suppose the children will come back
tomorrow morning and leave for their next destination.”
“Yes, they’ll be back. Drayton and Phelan seem to be content leaving the
wee ones to gather the stones and face all the dangerous traps. Is there
nothing you can do to help them?” Angus glanced over his shoulder at Jesse.
“I think I’ll read more of the book. Since Johnny’s with Mairi, I’ll
translate a few more pages and see if I can find something that might help
us.” Angus got up, went to the cupboard over his bed and picked up the book.
He carried it back to chair by the fire and sat down. His gaze wandered
through the pages of Gaelic writing and symbols.
“It’s out of our hands now. All we can do here is keep Angus and Mairi safe
and guard the orb. I’ve no idea what Drayton will try next.” Jimmy sat back
and closed his eyes, enjoy the aroma of hot tea and the sweetness of the