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Rolfin's Orb
Book 11 - Diamond – Malawi
Chapter 10

           Phelan ran through the hills as the moon rose higher into the darkening sky. His paws pounded the grasses as the wolf raced northward. I must find some werewolves. They are my only chance.

          The wolf stopped to lap water from a peaty stream. The clear amber water refreshed him. Phelan looked up at the moon. A full moon tonight. Surely I’ll find one. He let out a howl, calling to any creatures in the woody forest glen. As he sat watching wispy clouds sail across the front of the moon, a shadow appeared behind him. Phelan looked at his reflection in the stream and saw a monstrous image step forward. The teeth dripped blood and slobber. The eyes glowed with evil. Reddish brown hair stuck out from its body, some patches caked in dung and other parts in blood. The stench was overpowering. Phelan turned. “I’m glad you answered, werewolf.”

          “What do you want?” The half-animal smelled of sweat and rotting meat.

          “Are there others in the highlands?”

          “We are many. What do you want with us?” The werewolf snarled, dropped to all fours and bent over the stream to drink.

          “First of all I want you to take a bath. You are putrid. I need you to come with me to Inveralba. We must attack the people in the town.”

          “Why are you using the body of our brother, the wolf? Are you a wizard?”

          “That is my business. Will you come?”

          “What do we get out of it?” The werewolf stood on its back two legs.

          “A supply of food. I will need you to stay at Castle Athdara with me. I am building an army. A great battle will take place soon. The victors will win glory and honor and rule the world. If you help, you may stand at my side after the defeat of our enemies.” Phelan let out a loud howl.

          “I am the mighty Growler, leader of the werewolves of Scotland. If I agree to help, you can stand at my side and I will rule the world.”

          Phelan had to control his temper and anger. He was half the size of the hideous beast. He’d let the werewolf think he agreed to its terms and then once he was united with his body, he’d destroy it and all the others. “As you wish. Glory and riches. Forget about honor.” The wolf howled again.

          Growler turned and ran off to gather his pack. He returned an hour later, cleaner, and with seventeen other werewolves. “My other brothers refused to come and participate in your plan of destruction.”

Phelan grumbled and then led them to Inveralba.

                                      *  *  *

          “Elsie, you’ve got quite a mess here.” Malcolm’s gaze roamed around the room. “The whole town does. There’s broken glass everywhere. I’ve notified all the shop owners, who are on their way down to see what’s going on.”

          “What’s he doing here? I’d say that’s a lot of nerve showing up after destroying the town.  You should be in prison.” Elsie spoke with rudeness to William Bradbury.

          “Elsie, it’s a long story, but it wasn’t really him,” Malcolm said, trying to avoid a long explanation.

          “Not him? What do you mean? Does he have an identical evil twin? Was he possessed?” Elsie shook her head. “I don’t want him back in my place, no matter what.”

          “I’ll be on my way. I’m sorry for any problems that occurred.” William headed for his car and drove away.

          Malcolm, Johnny, Jasper, Jared and Jesse spent the next few hours sweeping up glass, repairing doors and hammering boards over broken windows. When exhaustion took over, they headed back to Angus’s.

                                                *  *  *

“You’re back,” Angus said.

“Where is everyone?” Fiona flopped on the settee.

“There was some trouble in town. The others will be back later on. Tell us about your trip.” Angus picked up the orb and put it on the table next to him.

Fiona pulled the diamond out of her pocket. “Here it is. The carved dragon looks so cool. We had to go through a lot to get it. This time the traps were more dangerous and difficult. We went to Africa. It was cool because we met some great people and made some new friends.”

“We saw a lot of wild animals too,” Callum added.

“I’ll put the stone into the orb. Extraordinary. We’ve got eleven of the twelve stones now.” Angus set it in the right hole. Immediately the room lit up with color. A current of dynamic force flowed from the orb, filling the room with energetic impulses. The jewels pulsated, throbbed, emitting a boom boom, like a heart beat; like a living thing. The carved dragons inside each stone radiated from within. “It’s so strong now. I can’t imagine how it will be when the twelfth stone is inserted.”

Everyone gathered around. “Breathtaking,” Mairi said.

After thirty minutes, the lights died down and the group went back to the settees and chairs. “Tell us more about your trip, Fiona.”

Elspet and Callum sat on the arms of Fiona’s arm chair. “We were attacked by lightning bolts way before we even got near the diamond,” Fiona said.

“Did you know that when lightning hits sand it makes fulgurites? It makes glass, in other words,” Callum said. “I helped some of the boys find them. They sell them for food. Here. Have a look at one.” He pulled it from his pocket.

“Interesting, Callum,” Jacob said, turning it in his hand.

“What was your second trap?” Jason looked up from his book.

“Headhunters and cannibals,” Elspet blurted out.

“What?” Mairi felt the blood drain from her face. “Cannibals in this day and age?”

“It was gross, Mum. They cut people’s heads off and shrink them. They eat the rest of the body. Ick. We saw a lot of blood and half-shrunk heads. They were going to cut ours off, but…”

Callum jumped in. “But Fiona called to the hyenas, jackals and wild dogs and they came and attacked the cannibals. We escaped after that.”

“Exciting, Fiona,” Jeremy said, winking at her.

“Exciting? I’d hardly call it that. Dangerous is more like it,” Fiona’s mum said.

“Come on, Mairi. It’s all just one big adventure.” Jack patted Jeremy on the back.

“I don’t consider it that. Each place we go is a different type of adventure,” Fiona said.

“What was the last trap?”  Jeffrey sipped a cup of hot cocoa.

“That was the most exciting of all. First of all there were four huge crocodiles. We had to get the jewel from behind a waterfall, so Fiona had to swim through the pool at the bottom of it.” Elspet’s eyes widened as she continued. “Callum and I distracted the crocs while Fiona swam, but a giant anaconda got her and pulled her under.”

“Heavens to Betsy,” Jimmy said. “Giant crocodiles and snakes?”

“The snake wrapped around me and started squeezing me. I thought I was going to die,” Fiona said.

“What happened? How did you get out of it?” Julian clenched his fists together in anticipation.

“That was the coolest part of all.” Callum interrupted again. “Cloudwaltzer, the dragon, came out of nowhere and it fought off the snake and all the crocs. It saved Fiona’s life.”

“The dragon from Xilian came?” Jason put the book down. “When we’ve got time, I’d like to hear more about that part of it.”

“All right. I’m tired. “It’s too late to take Elspet and Callum home. Besides that his father will be coming back here later. Why don’t you three find a place to sleep. I think we all should. You know where the pillows and blankets are,” Angus said. “By the way, Fiona, you now have the power to turn into any object, or even into another person.”

Fiona yawned. “Right. Tell me again in the morning.”

Half an hour later, with everyone situated, soft snores filled the croft as they slept.

                                       *  *  *

Johnny opened the door to Angus’s croft. He turned to the others. “They’re all asleep.”

“Why don’t you four come to my house for the night. We’ve plenty of room there. Have a good night’s sleep and then we’ll come back here in the morning.” Malcolm stood at the bottom of the steps leading to Angus’s door.

“Good idea. Let me leave a note.” Johnny stepped inside, scribbled on a piece of paper and then he, Jasper, Jared and Jesse headed for Malcolm’s house. They’d only gone a short distance when an old friend came from behind a tree. “Limhi, you’ve arrived. Come with us and we’ll explain the whole thing. First of all, Limhi, your name is now Joacquin.”

“Whatever you say.” Joacquin chuckled and followed the men. His long black hair hung to his waist and blew around his face as the breeze whispered through the trees. “I hope you’ve got a good explanation for all of this.”

“We do. Patience, Joacquin. Patience,” Johnny said, patting his friend on the shoulder.

When they arrived at Malcolm’s and opened the door, Devlyn and Creanth, his two dogs, rushed at them, licking their faces. “Down boys,” Malcolm said. “Why are you boys up?” Malcolm stroked the dogs. “The dogs are agitated.” Off in the distance wolves howled. “Did you all hear that? No wonder the dogs are anxious.”

“Wolves? Is that normal to hear around here?” Johnny looked behind him, towards Inveralba.

“We have wolves now and then. That sounds like a pack. I’d better keep the dogs inside tonight. You can crash on the couches. There are plenty of them. One of you can sleep in the recliner.” They sat for a while talking, explaining everything to the new arrival and then, without arguing, they found a place and promptly fell asleep.

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