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Apollo's Soldiers
by Margo Fallis
Chapter 33

     Water swirled around Leith. After several swift kicks he freed himself from the witches’ grasp. He turned to the portal only to watch it topple in front of him. The sides of the house fell outward as a monstrous wave fell on them. Leith managed to take a few gasps of air before being pushed by the water towards the palace. Within seconds darkness enveloped him and the last thing he saw was a row of sharp teeth.

*  *  *  

When Paisley opened her eyes, she lay piled on top of Mr. Wallace. The others lay spread about the tunnel. “We made it. We’re here. The question is, where is here?”

Mr. Wallace jumped up. “Leith? Did he make it? Where are you son?” His gave fell on each child and then the portal in the tunnel. “I must go back. I have to find my boy.”

“Let it go, Mr. Wallace. Leith’s gone. He died saving your life.” Millei put her hand on his back. “He’s a hero.”

     “We’re at the school, under the Pictish cemetery. It’s about 3 P.M. I suppose Professor Wilson didn’t make it,” Sandy said.

     They climbed out of the tunnel and stood on the grass. “Am I in your time now?” Millei looked around. “It’s cold here. Where are we?”

     Fraser burst out laughing. “You’re in the northern part of Scotland. That building over there is where we go to school. Paisley’s house is in a small village on the other side of the loch.”

     “Loch? What’s a loch?” Millei’s gaze wandered all around.

     “The water. In Scotland it is called a loch,” Paisley said. “Don’t worry about it. You’ll learn soon enough.”

     “I am speaking your language, not Atlantean.” Millei said a few more words. “I sound funny.”

     A form appeared before them. “It’s Abaris.” Paisley ran toward him. “Abaris, we did as you asked, but Leith didn’t make it.”

     “I know and I am proud of you. It has ended. Taygetus will never be born. His ancestor is dead. The past will stay as it was.” Abaris turned to Millei. “You are of the family of Taygetus, but now that you are in the future, it doesn’t matter any longer. You are safe and free from your burden. It is time for me to return to Apollo. He sent the destruction because of the evil of the Atlanteans. It is the way things happened in those times. People are blessed with riches and all that they need and instead of showing appreciation, they turn greedy and evil and are destroyed. Man has never learned that lesson yet.” He saw Mr. Wallace. “Your son is one of Apollo’s Soldiers, as are the others. It is a title of pride and only the most courageous deserve it. Treat them well, Mr. Wallace. Apollo will watch over your son. Did he give you the arrow?” Mr. Wallace pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to Abaris. “Thank you. I shall return it to the rightful owner. I have nothing else to say aside from thank you. Go on, Apollo’s Soldiers, and spread goodness throughout the land.” Abaris smiled and then disappeared.

     “All sorts of strange things have been happening. Leith is gone now, but he’s not gone. He’ll always be with me.” Mr. Wallace managed a smile.

     “Mr. Wallace, Headmaster will hear us. It’s midnight here.”

     “What will happen to me?” Millei hung her head.

     “You’re coming home with me to my Auntie Bessie’s house. From now on you will be my sister.” Paisley hugged her.

     “Go on home to your auntie’s place, Paisley. Have a shower, eat, get some sleep and then in the morning meet us here. We have some unfinished business.” Sandy gave Paisley a hug. “Mr. Wallace, will you please escort Paisley and Millei?”

     “It would be my honor. I’ll meet you in Headmaster’s office in an hour.” With that, Mr. Wallace climbed into the rowboat along with the two girls and headed for Dunstan.

     “I’m tired and I’m hungry. I want a shower and a hot plate of food. I suppose we’ll have to tell Headmaster what happened. We’ve got to explain Professor Wilson’s disappearance.” Sandy yawned. “How long has it been since we’ve slept?”

     “Too long, but it’s only 3 P.M. here.” Frasier led his friends back to the school. They headed for Headmaster’s room and knocked on the door. When Headmaster opened it, Frasier glanced at the busy man. Papers were piled high on his desk. “We’ve got something to discuss with you.”

     “Come in,” Headmaster said, allowing the four boys into his room. “Where is Master Wallace?”

     “Can we wait a few minutes? His father will be here shortly and then we’ll explain.”

     “Certainly.” Headmaster glanced at the lads. “You’ve had a busy afternoon, I presume?”

     Sandy snickered. “You could say that. We’ll tell you the whole story in a bit.”

     Ten minutes later Mr. Wallace knocked on the door. Headmaster stood and opened it. “You’re quite a mess, Mr. Wallace. I suppose you’re involved somehow in all of this?”

     “Yes, but I’ll let my son’s friends explain it.”

     “I’m listening,” Headmaster said.

     Three hours later Sandy finished the story. Murray showed him the candols and seashells. He and Duncan lay on the floor and fell into a sound sleep. Fraser and Sandy lay snoring on Headmaster’s bed. Only Mr. Wallace and Headmaster were still awake. “I’m sorry to hear about your son. He was one of our best students. That’s quite the story. I would like to accompany you to Iona to retrieve the evidence from the library. I’d like the other professors to come too. As for Professor Wilson, he’s replaceable.” Headmaster grinned. “I never could be bothered with that man. I think we should all get something to eat. It looks like you all could use some sleep. Mr. Wallace, I will provide you with a change of clothes and use of my shower. You may stay here for the rest of the day and evening. There’s a bed in the guest room. I will leave the young masters asleep where they are. No use in disturbing them. If they are hungry enough, they’ll wake up. We shall meet together tomorrow, after breakfast, and go together to the Pictish cemetery. I’m quite curious now about these tunnels and portals. Many rules have been broken lately, but we shall overlook them. Supper, Master Wallace?”

*  *  *

     Mr. Wallace joined Leith’s friends for breakfast. After they’d finished, they stood in the main hall. The front door opened of the school and a man walked in. They stood in silence until he stopped in front of Mr. Wallace. The man’s skin, tanned and leathery, caught the attention of the headmaster, who approached him. “May I help you?”

     “I’m looking for a boy named Leith. I heard he attends this school and am wondering if I could have a few words with him. Pardon my manners. My name is Catt Sousa. I am from the Azores. I have traveled far to meet this young man. Is he here, perhaps?”

     “Mr. Sousa, Leith Wallace is my son. He won’t be able to visit with you.”

     “I’m saddened to hear that. My name is Mr. Sousa. I am from the Azores. I have come with a message from the past. Many many centuries ago one of my ancestors told a story of a lost continent named Atlantis. He made sure that every generation knew this story and passed it on through time. I was instructed to find this young man, Leith, on this date, and give you something.” He pulled a letter from his pocket. “This is fragile. It was written ages ago and has been carefully preserved so that he would have it.”

     Mr. Wallace took it from him. “I’m his father. Will that do? What is your first name?”

     “My name is Catt, Catt Sousa.” The other lads and Mr. Wallace  whispered to each other. “It is true. Catt of Atlantis is my ancestor. What does the letter say? We could not decipher it. Obviously it is written in his native language.”

     Sandy gasped. “Leith gave the golden arrow to his father to hold and he gave it back to Abaris. May I have a look?” A tingling wave flowed through his body. He saw the fisherman, Catt, standing before him reading the letter. The words flowed into Sandy’s mind. He pictured Leith and Catt together. Sandy wept when Catt finished and his image had disappeared. He turned to his friends and Leith’s father. “It is from Catt. He made it!”

     “He wanted Leith to do as he promised. He was to accompany me to the woods. I have a peacock feather. Together we were to honor Catt’s wife, Irisia, and daughter, Hanala, by placing this feather on the grass.” Mr. Sousa handed the turquoise feather to Leith’s father.

     Mr. Wallace spoke. “Mr. Sousa, why don’t you accompany us to Iona. We want you to be part of this historical day. It’s a shame to have you come all this way and leave with nothing. We will make sure this is preserved. It’s time to go to Iona. Should we call the British Museum and have them send someone up here first?”

     “No, Mr. Wallace. We will call someone after we’ve seen it. Once they are involved we’ll never get near the place. How are we getting to Iona?” Headmaster glanced at the boy.

     “Follow us,” Duncan said. They cut through the kitchen, out the door and toward the cemetery. “You might as well give Headmaster back his key, Sandy.”

     “My key? What key?”

     Sandy took it out of his pocket and gave it back to the headmaster, along with all the other keys he’d borrowed.

     “I see that I’ll have to keep better track of the things in my office.” Headmaster rubbed Sandy’s hair. “You are a rascal.”

     “Headmaster, are you aware of the tunnels and torture chamber under the school?” Duncan tugged on the man’s coat.

     Headmaster chuckled. “I am aware, but I’ve forgotten about them. I suppose I should make the effort to go down and check on them. Come on. Let’s be on our way to the cemetery.”

     Paisley and Millei stood near the cross waiting for them. Sandy introduced Headmaster and Mr. Sousa and they went into the tunnel. When they emerged from the time warp, they stood on a mound of grass in Iona.

     “Looks different in the day, doesn’t it?” Fraser’s gaze wandered about.

     “What is that?” Frasier pointed to a large black mound. “Is it another tidal wave?”

     “How odd? I’ve never seen the water act so strangely before.” Headmaster walked towards the sea. “It’s a whale of some sort. I’ve not seen this species. It looks rather like an octopus.”

     Frasier grinned. He turned to Sandy, Duncan and Murray. They winked and ran as fast as they could do the beach.

     “Boys! Wait. It might not be safe.” Headmaster shook his head. “Lads!”

     Frasier and the others stood on the pebbly sand. The whale rushed towards them, but they didn’t fear it. The mouth opened wide and something came flying out of it’s mouth. “Leith! It’s Leith!” Frasier stood above the wet boy. “He smells like fish. The whale must have rescued him.”

     When the adults saw what had happened, they rushed down. “Leith! Leith! Son!” Mr. Wallace wept as he scooped his son into his arms. “Son, are you all right.” He held the boy close.

     “Father, stop squeezing me. I can’t breathe.”

     “You’re alive.” Mr. Wallace put Leith down. “How? What?”

     “I thought I was dead. All the walls came crashing down. Norindal grabbed my leg and I had to kick her to make her let go. But it was too late. A huge wave swept me away and that’s all I remember until I woke up and realized I was alive and inside the whale creature. It’s the same one. It’s got the stab marks I made with the golden arrow. It saved my life.” Leith smiled and waved as the whale backed away from the sand and disappeared into the dark waves.

     “How did it get through time from Atlantis until today? That’s thousands of years!” Millei’s eyes nearly popped out of her head.

     “Apollo did it. He opened a time warp just so the whale could bring me back.” Leith looked at the stranger. “Who are you?”

     His father spoke first. “Leith, this man has a story for you that you’re not going to believe. I think it’s important that you and he spend some time by yourselves. This is for you.” Mr. Wallace handed his son the letter from Catt.

     Mr. Sousa took Leith by the hand and they walked off. Half an hour later they stood in a grove of trees. The only sound heard was the rustling of leaves. Leith laid the peacock feather on the grass. “I place this here in honor of Catt’s wife, Irisia, and his beloved daughter, Hanala, who he adored. Though you both passed away before he could save you, Catt loved you with all of his heart and in his name; I want you to accept this peacock feather.” Mr. Sousa put his arm around Leith’s shoulder and the two wept.

     When Leith came back, he was alone. He ran over to the others. “Mr. Sousa said he had to get back.” No questions were asked.

Murray walked to the stones they’d put as a marker. “The library is right here.” He pulled back the grass and slipped into the hole. The others joined him.

     “Marvelous! The treasures in this library will change the way we look at the history of the world. All these books from Atlantis, Lemuria and other ancient civilizations! Gentlemen and ladies, we will never see anything as grand as this again.” Headmaster looked through some of the books. Mr. Wallace found an aisle and checked the titles.

     “Leith. Leith. There’s a letter for you,” Murray said. “Your name is on it.” He handed it to his friend. “What does it say? Is it another one from Catt?”

     Leith opened the cracked wax seal. “It’s from Zimon. He tells about his journey and says thanks and tells us to take care of these things.”

     “We will,” Fraser said. “Can you imagine the boats coming here and knowing Atlantis was being destroyed?”

     “He says,” Leith said, “that they barely escaped the tidal wave. They encountered it on the open sea and nearly capsized, but rode it out. The royal navy was destroyed. Zimon saw pieces of their boats drifting in the water.”

     “Can you imagine how the world will feel when all of this is in the museum?” Duncan grinned with joy. “We can go and see them anytime we want.”

     “The best thing that has come out of this is that Scotland will go on as it is. Malcolm Canmore will live and so will we.” Murray’s grin stretched from ear to ear. “I don’t know about you, but I’m glad.”

     Leith’s father, dressed in clean clothes and freshly shaved and showered, called his friend at the British Museum. Within a few hours a boat sailed over from mainland Scotland with three men on board. A week later they had removed all the items except for a few things. Plans were made to use the empty library as a museum. Leith and his friends were each given an enormous reward for their discovery.

     A feast was held when the British Museum donated a huge sum to Ewan McDiarmad’s School for Boys. Paisley, Millei, their mother and auntie were invited, along with the Board, their wives and their children.

     Headmaster stood and tapped his goblet with a spoon. “I have an announcement to make. May I have your attention please?” A hush filled the room. “As of today, I will be retiring as Headmaster. Since there is nobody in my family who wishes to take over, I am proud to announce that Mr. Muirfinn Wallace will be the new Headmaster.”

     Mr. Wallace stood. “Father? You?” Leith smiled.

     “Yes, Leith. I am the new headmaster. Your mother will be staying at the new Dunstan School for Girls. She will be the Headmistress there.” Mr. Wallace joined Headmaster at the front as a roar of clapping filled the room.

     Paisley’s mother and Mrs. Wallace walked to the front and joined the men. Headmaster spoke. “Ms. Greer will be the assistant Headmaster to Mrs. Wallace. She’s decided to relocate from London to Dunstan. The peacock will be their school symbol and the British Museum has donated several of the newly discovered books to both libraries. Leith Wallace, along with Duncan Bruce, Sandy Stewart, Murray Tait, and Fraser Laird, have donated all of their reward money to our school, but since we received our own reward, we have decided to donate all of the lad’s money to help build the Dunstan School for Girls, in honor of Irisia and Hanala of Atlantis.”

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