Down at the Yukon River a small crowd gathered.
Most of the tourists who came to Whitehorse spent some of their time panning
for gold. It was the ‘tourists way’ and fun for all. Drayton paid his rental
fee for the pan and found a place next to the river. A family from the
United States stood next to him on one side and an elderly man and woman
stood on the other side.
Drayton knelt down and scooped some of the
riverbed up into his pan. He started shaking it, but all he saw were pebbles
and sand. The elderly couple didn’t have much luck either, but the family
did. Shouts of joy erupted every few minutes as one of the children
discovered a shiny gold nugget in their pan. He scowled, furious with
jealousy and envy. Others lined up along the river’s bank shared the elation
of discovering gold. Why is everyone but me finding gold? He stood up and
stretched his back. Bending over took its toll on his body. His knees ached,
as well as his back, his neck and hands from holding the heavy pan. Since
they’re all finding gold, it’s time for me to take a walk.
Starting with the family next to him, Drayton began his plan of robbery. As
he walked past them, he pretended to slip and pushed one of the little boys
into the water. The frantic parents, brothers and sisters, dropped their
pans and ran into the water to rescue the boy. In those few moments, Drayton
stole the bag holding the nuggets from their cache. When the soaking wet
family came out, they gasped in horror to see their gold was gone. Drayton
had moved on to his next victims. So it went for the next hour. One person
after another lost their nuggets. When his pockets were full, he headed to
the bank to exchange his gold for money. Several thousand Canadian dollars
later he walked down the main street, his pockets bulging.
* * *
Shane dropped them off at their hotel. “I want
to go home now,” Elspet said. “It’s been a long day.”
“Me too. We’d better check out of the hotel
first though. Did we leave anything in our room?” Fiona looked at the
others. “Do you have Uncle Angus’s camera, Elspet?”
“Yes and I have got my disposable ones too. I
can’t wait to see the photos when we get them developed.” Elspet felt for
her camera. “I almost lost them when the water washed away our backpacks.
I’m glad I took the cameras out and put this one around my neck.” She showed
them it was safe.
“Let’s go home then.” Fiona went and checked out
of the hotel.
“Don’t we need to go back to the place where we
first arrived?” Callum stood staring at Shane’s jeep driving away.
“No. At first I thought we did, but we don’t
have to. As long as we’re in the same area, it will work,” Fiona said.
“How do you know that?” Elspet wasn’t so sure.
“I just know. Come on. Let’s go down to the
river.” Fiona led them to the Yukon River. “Wow, there are a lot of wet
“Do you think the floodwaters from the glacier
came this far?” Elspet watched the families leaving, all with sour looks on
“Maybe. Who knows! Hold my hands. It’s time to
go home. Daleth shapish yam bet.”
* * *
“I’m not staying around this place another
minute. I hope those brats found the jewel.” Drayton hid behind a building
He found himself standing in the McAllister’s
house. “I wonder if they got the jewel.” He headed for Angus’s croft. From a
distance he noticed smoke coming from the chimney. Standing on his toes he
peeked in the window. They’re back with the jewel. Good. I think I’ll pay
another visit to John and Susan McAllister’s house. I hope they stay out of
town for a while.” He turned and headed for town.
* * *
“You’re back!” Mairi said, relieved to see the
children home safe.
“We told you they’d be right back.” Angus looked
at Fiona. “You look tired. Did you have a rough time of it?”
“Rough, you said that right. Here’s the
emerald.” Fiona took it from her pocket.
“Here’s your camera too.” Elspet slipped it from
her neck. “I almost lost it in the flood.”
“Thanks to you both. Now, let’s get this jewel
in the orb and then you can tell us all about your trip.” Angus picked up
the orb and carried it into the living room where everyone sat. Slipping it
in the hole, they watched in amazement as it lit up, along with the other
three stones. “There. The light is getting stronger.”
“It’s as beautiful as I remember it being,”
Jimmy said. “I remember the day King Kegan removed the stones and handed
each of us one. Now here we are together again, standing in a small croft in
Scotland, with the orb right in front of us, after all this time.”
“It is remarkable,” Jack said. The others
nodded. “Johnny, maybe we should show them the other book we found.” Jack
picked it up off the bed.
“Another book? Is it the same as this one?”
Angus picked the first book up.
“The book on the table next to you, Angus, is my
book. I kept it as a journal, so to speak. I recorded what I saw, heard and
felt. This other book belonged to the wizard, Zerahemna.” Johnny took it
from Jack and sat down next to Angus. “You can see the outside looks very
much the same. See the leather, wood and gold? They were both made by
Zerahemna. But inside, they are different. While I wrote in ancient Celtic,
Zerahemna wrote in the writing of his homeland, Xilia. Phelan is from there
“Xilia? Where is that?” Mairi looked confused.
“It’s wizard country. I have no idea where it
is. All I know is that all wizards come from there. King Rolfin’s wizard,
Lehimna, came to Roflin, pleading to be his personal wizard. Rolfin agreed.
You know the story about his murder. King Kegan also had a wizard. He was a
great man. I remember the first time I saw him. He was a sight. His hair was
long and dark brown, nearly black, hung down his back. He wore a pointed
purple hat on his head and a long flowing robe that hung to the ground. It
was decorated with designs and symbols that I didn’t recognize. His nose was
long, but his eyes sparkled like diamonds. The odd thing is that they were
white, no colored iris, just white and shiny. He told us about Xilia. I
suppose you would call it a land of milk and honey. Phelan lived there for a
time, but was tempted by the evil one and went that way. He was banished
from Xilia forever. He hooked up with King Dugan and that’s when all the
problems started. Bartolf, his ancestor, also had a wizard. I’ll have to
look up his name. I’ve forgotten it at the moment,” Johnny said.
“That’s quite a story, Johnny. This is all too
much to absorb at once. Wizards and kings and evil men. I think I want to go
sit outside and clear my head,” Mairi said, opening the door and stepping
Jack leaned over to Johnny and whispered, “Now’s
a good time to give her the necklace.” He winked at his friend.
Johnny smiled and put the book down. “I’ll be
back in a few minutes.”
“What about the book? I’d like to know what it
says,” Angus said.
“I’ll explain it all to you shortly. I’ve got
something to do first.” Johnny went outside.
He found Mairi standing by a pine, watching a
flock of ducks fly overhead in v-formation. “I suppose they’ll do that as
long as time goes on,” he said, disturbing her concentration.
She turned and looked at him. “I never tire of
nature. The smell of the pines, the crisp air, the sound of ducks quacking
as they land on the lake, it all amazes me.”
“Mairi, I have something for you.” Johnny pulled
the necklace out of his pocket. “It belonged to Queen Sarmantha, just like
the bracelet I gave to Fiona. This was her favorite. She wore it often. I
know she’d want you to have it.” The necklace dangled from his hand.
Mairi took it, wrapping the chain around her
slim fingers. “It’s beautiful. I love the pearls and the rose. It’s
delicate, fragile, like real rose petals. This must cost a fortune, Johnny.”
“There can be no price put on it simply because
of the value you feel in your heart.” He took it from her and slipped it
around her neck, clasping it together at the back. “A beautiful necklace for
a beautiful woman.” He bent his head and kissed her.
“Thank you.” Her face flushed with passion.
“While I was out here I thought about Castle Athdara. You may think I’m
crazy for saying this, but I’d like to own it. It belonged to my ancestors
and I would love to fix it up and move into it, but only after we get rid of
the monster in the loch.”
“There is no monster, Mairi. Drayton and Phelan
did that to frighten you. The loch is peaceful and calm. As for the castle,
it would take a lot of work, but you do have a lot of helpers around right
now. In fact, the idea of living in the castle once again excites me.”
“Do you think we could do it?” Her eyes glowed
with anticipation. “Am I nuts for thinking about it? I mean, we’d have to
run electricity to it and fresh water, and we’d have to put heating in it
and patch up all the holes. We could do it, right?”
Johnny saw the sparkle in her eyes. “We could.
If all of us pitch in and help, we could have that castle ready in a few
“Think of the work the gardens need.” Mairi
slipped her fist to her mouth.
“It just so happens that Julian, one of the 12,
is a gardener. He’ll have this place looking magnificent in no time.”
“Let’s do it, Johnny. Let’s fix Castle Athdara.
One thing though,” she hesitated.
“The spiders and tunnels have got to go. I want
them filled in and all the creepy crawlies out of there.”
Johnny laughed. “That’s a deal. Why don’t we go
and tell the others.”
They went inside and Mairi’s eyes went straight
to the orb. She marveled at its beauty once again. “Fiona, I’ve got
something to tell you. All of you gather round.” Everyone sat down and gave
their full attention to Mairi. She was just about to speak when there was a
knock at the door.
Angus opened it. “You must be Jeffrey,” he said.
“We’ve been expecting you.”
“Jeffrey? My name isn’t Jeffrey. It’s Kitar.” He
stepped inside. “Artur? Cowan? Pond? Alroy? What is happening?”
“Kitar, this is Mairi and Fiona, Elspet, Callum
and Angus. They found Rolfin’s orb at Castle Athdara and the children have
been traveling about gathering the jewels. They just got back with the
emerald. You’ve come through the time portal as Zerahemna promised. One by
one we show up.” Johnny explained.
“Castle Athdara? That must be the place I found
myself. What year is it?” Jeffrey looked at their clothing.
“It is the beginning of the 21st
century. We’re in Scotland. After you and the others separated from King
Kegan, he came to Scotland, right here, and built Castle Athdara. Mairi and
Fiona are his descendants,” Johnny continued.
“Come and sit down,” Jack said. “There’s plenty
of time for explanations later. Mairi was about to announce something.”
Jeffrey saw the necklace. “Queen Sarmantha’s
“I gave it to her. The Queen would have wanted
it that way. Sit down, Kitar. We all have different names now that we are in
this century. Yours will be Jeffrey. I’m Johnny. Cowan goes by Jimmy, Pond
goes by Jesse and Artur goes by Jack.”
“This is all so confusing, but I’ll be patient.”
Jeffrey sat next to Jimmy. “Jeffrey. What an unusual name.”
Mairi coughed a short cough to get everyone’s
attention. “Jeffrey, you look different than the others. Your hair is light
and your eyes are blue.”
“Yes, that’s true. My father was Germanic, from
Gaul. My mother was Arabic, a native of Burill,” Jeffrey explained.
“Oh. If you don’t mind me saying so, you seem
more mature than the others too,” Mairi said.
Jeffrey laughed. “That’s a polite way of saying
I’m older. You’re right. I am the oldest of the twelve men that King Kegan
sent to hide the jewels.”
“That answers my question. Now, if you’ll all
listen, I’ve got some news. I’m going to fix up the castle and we’re going
to move into it.”
“Mum! That’s the coolest thing I’ve heard.”
Fiona jumped up and ran to give her mum a hug.
“That is cool. I can’t imagine living in a
castle. That would be so much fun,” Elspet said.
“What about the spiders?” Callum’s face frowned.
“We’ll get rid of the spiders by filling in the
cave and tunnels. I will need all of your help to get things in order. As
you know, there’s a lot of work to be done,” Mairi said.
Angus, who’d sat quietly listening, said, “I
think you need to make this legal, Mairi. “I’ll go to Crianlarich tomorrow
and see about the official paperwork. I’ll take Jeffrey with me and acquaint
him with the area. Would you like that, Jeffrey?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “As long as you tell
me what’s going on, I’ll go anywhere you’d like.
“Well then, that’s settled. Mairi, you can count
on me to help financially. Johnny, we’d like to hear about that other book.
You say it’s written in Xilian?” Angus picked up the book and handed it to
“Xilia is part of our world, yet not. Neither
you nor I can ever go there. It is only for wizards. I believe it is in
another dimension. We as humans don’t use all of our brain capacity, so it
is difficult for us to understand such things. From what Zerahemna told me,
I can tell you this, it is a place where rivers flow with clear water filled
with tiny air bubbles. When the sun shines and the water appears golden,
like a river of molten gold. The trees are full with perfect shaped leaves
and no insects chew them away. The flowers bloom colors we can’t even
imagine, colors so vivid and brilliant that they would blind an ordinary
man. The birds sing with such a melodic beauty that our ears can’t hear. To
us, they merely sound like chirps, but to a wizard, their songs sound like a
symphony of joyful music. The animals live together in peace and harmony.
Fruits grow in abundance and honey flows from every pot on every table.”
“Why would a wizard leave there then?” Elspet didn’t understand the sense in
“A wizard only leaves for two reasons. One, he is banished for evil doing,
or two, they desire to serve others. Most wizards are content to stay in
Xilia. They go to school as children and learn the wizard ways.”
“You mean there are women wizards too?” Callum giggled. “I’ve never heard of
a woman wizard before.”
“Some of our greatest wizards are women. The children are raised in joy and
acceptance by all others. They are taught right from wrong from the moment
of birth. Most stay, wanting to keep away from the human world. Others are
adventuresome and have the desire to come and help those in need. Phelan and
others before him, can’t accept the ways they are taught. They rebel and are
defiant and end up being banished forever. They come to earth and find
someone evil to serve.”
“Wow! That’s cool. What does the book say then?” Fiona looked at the cover.
“It tells of wizard spells and wizard magic and even tells how to get to
Xilia. We must keep this from Drayton and Phelan. With it in their
possession, the book could change your world, our world.”
Angus asked, “Can you read Xilian, Johnny?”
“I cannot, but one of the 12 can. He won’t be here for a while. His name is
Buntabi and he is the only one of us trained to read Xilian. We will just
have to protect this book, as we do the orb, until it is his time to join
“This is all very exciting and there will be a lot to talk about, but for
now, we’d better get these children home. I’m sure their parents will be
worried and want an explanation. Fiona, you and Mairi should rest too,”
“There’s no reason for you all to be cramped up here in Angus’s croft. Why
don’t two of you come with us and you can stay on the couches and in the
extra bedroom.” Mairi wanted Johnny to be one of them.
“I’ll stay with Mairi. Jesse, why don’t you come with us? You’ll be much
more comfortable there than here,” Johnny said. “There’s a soft bed for
Mairi was relieved to know Johnny would be staying with them. Jesse agreed
and they left to take Callum and Elspet home. Angus, Jimmy, Jack and Jeffrey
stayed at the croft.