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Rolfin's Orb
Book 10 - Argentina – Tanzanite
Chapter 8

        Phelan ran until he came to Loch Doon. “Our only option is to get into the water. If we hide for a while they’ll leave.” Phelan jumped into the water.

          “It’s freezing. I’ll die if I stay in here,” Drayton groaned.

          “Shut up. I’m in control and we’re staying in this water until I feel it’s safe. Stop your whining.  You’re just like that father of yours. The only way to shut him up was the give him a bottle of whisky.” Phelan’s words enraged Drayton.

          “He drank because of you? Do you have any idea what my life was like being raised by a drunken father?”

          Phelan laughed. “Do you think I care? Shut up.”

          “I’m shivering. It’s freezing. I can’t stay in this cold water much longer.”

          Phelan moved the body to a pile of stones and wedged himself in between them. “We’re staying in here until I think we’re safe.” Phelan felt Drayton’s body slowing down. “You’re going into hyperthermia you fool.” He climbed out of the water. “Our job will be much more difficult now that they know how to summon the wizards of Xilia. If you’d just gotten those books, you incompetent idiot.” Phelan took one of the hands and punched Drayton in the jaw. “Now we’ve got to be on the run, hiding in these woods. It’s not safe at the castle. We’re going to find an empty house to hide in.”

Shivering, Drayton said, “Hurry. I need to change clothes.”

“Don’t rush me, boy.” Phelan headed for town. When he saw an empty house, he broke the window and climbed in. “There are some dry clothes. Change into them and get in the bed. You need to recharge the body or we’re both worthless. Sleep.”

Drayton changed and climbed between the sheets, pulling the blankets up around his neck. Within moments he fell into a deep sleep.

                                      *  *  *

With the coming of dawn, Fiona, Callum and Elspet decided to sleep in and enjoy having no cares. When wee Alastair and Malcolm woke up, they jumped on their sister, ending the quiet time. They ate breakfast and then spent the morning playing games with Fiona’s wee brothers.

Elspet’s mum decided to go to town and after much pleaded from Elspet, Catriona agreed to take the boys with her, leaving the three of them by themselves.

“I’ve got an idea,” Fiona said. “You know how I have a new power. I can go wherever I want in the world just by thinking about it. Nahimena told me to use my new power wisely. I’ve been thinking about what he meant. I want to go to Hadrumetum, Burill and Zanaad and see if they are still there. What do you think?”

“Your mum wants us to relax today,” Callum said.

“Yes, but my mum doesn’t have to know. If traveling to places is anything like when we go together, then I’ll only be gone a few minutes. You two can sit here and wait.” Fiona tied her shoelaces tighter.

“I want to go with you,” Callum said.

“You can’t. I am the only one who can use this power. I won’t be long and if you run and get your camera, I’ll take photos. Boy, we’re going to have a lot of film to hand in when we’re through with all our traveling.” Fiona waited while Elspet ran into the house and got the camera.

“I think I’ll go to Hadrumetum first, Burill second and Zanaad last.”

“Will you come back here between each and let us know that you’re all right?” Elspet took Fiona’s hand. “I’ll worry.”

“Yes, I’ll come back. I’ve got some of Uncle Angus’s money still in my pocket. I’ll buy you a present if there’s something there. If not, I’ll pick you up a stone.” Fiona felt her pocket for the money.

“Be careful, Fiona. Take lots of photos.” Elspet grabbed Callum and sat in the grass.

Fiona thought about Hadrumetum and when she opened her eyes, she found herself standing in the middle of a souk. “Oops.” She turned herself invisible. “I don’t fit in here and I’m alone. Better stay out of view.”

“Now, let me think. I remember that this city was near Carthage a long time ago. It’s a modern city now.” Fiona walked down the streets, taking photos and mumbling to herself.  “Oh look, a group of American tourists. I’ll just join them and listen to the tour guide.”

The tour guide wore a name tag. His name was Malik. He spoke clear, well pronounced English. “This city, Sousse, has had many names. It is now the ‘Pearl of the Sahel’ and is part of the country, Tunisia, as you well know. We are on the eastern shore. Hadrumetum was a Phoenician colony earlier than Carthage, and was an important town.  The Phoenicians, who were traders, founded Hadrumetum.

“Hadrumetum was very important because of its location. This land, as you can see, is very fertile. During the Punic Wars, they didn’t stand by their fellow Carthaginians. They were on the side of the Romans and because of that, the Romans didn’t destroy the city, as they did Carthage. There are many Roman mosaics in this city, which we will see later on our tour.

“The city changed hands and names over the centuries as it was conquered and re-conquered by different cultures. By the time the 7th century came along, the Arabs controlled it and named it Sousse, as it is still named today. As you have seen, there are many fortresses and citadels, mosques and minarets that have been built over the centuries.  Now, it is a thriving port of the Mediterranean Sea. “

When Fiona tired of listening to the Malik, she wandered off on her own. She passed tiny colorful shops full of silver jewelry, pure wool blankets, copper and carpets. “Time to take some photos for Elspet.” She snapped as many shots as she could, using the entire new film. “It’s impressive here. I like these covered alleyways. The tiles are decorative. I wonder if there is anything left of the ancient Hadrumetum.”

Fiona wandered around the old city. She came upon an area with columns lying on the grass. A sign pointed out that this area is all that remains of Hadrumetum. Sadness filled her heart. “Wow. That’s it? I guess that’s life.”

She purchased a silk scarf for Elspet and a soapstone carving of a Roman soldier for Callum. She bought a pendant necklace for her mum. It had a desert diamond in it. When she spotted a ring with a supposed piece of marble from a pillar at ancient Hadrumetum, she bought it for herself and then thought about Elspet and Callum.

“You’re back. That didn’t take long. Callum and I barely finished deciding what that cloud looked like.” Elspet looked up. “It’s gone now.”

“I need another film. You’re going to love the photos, Elspet. Here. I brought you a present. It’s a silk scarf. Hadrumetum is just a pile of ruins now, but there’s a big city where it once stood. It’s called Sousse and it’s like being in Jordan. Here Callum. I thought you’d like this.” She handed him the stone soldier.

“I love it, Fiona. Thanks,” Callum said.

“I love my scarf. I’ll go and put it in my drawer and grab another film. Wait for me.” Elspet ran into the house and came back out with three more films. “Just in case.”

“Take this and keep it. It’s for my mum. Do you like this ring? The man said it was made from a marble pillar. I don’t believe him, but I love the ring.”

“It’s pretty. I love the necklace you got for your mum.” Elspet let it dangle from her fingers.

“Fiona, be careful with that bracelet you’re wearing. Johnny won’t be happy if you lost it in the desert.” Callum twirled it around Fiona’s wrist. “It’s rather loose.”

“I’ll be careful with it. Now, off to Burill to see what’s there. I won’t be long.” She put a new film in the camera and handed the used one to Elspet. “Here you go. I’m off.”

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