Gruznig, a redcap, stood outside of Angus’s croft. He
gazed into the window and watched as the wizards and dragons appeared in the
room. He rushed back to Castle Athdara. “Master Wizard, I have done as you
commanded and as you predicted, the dragons and wizards have appeared. They
came through some sort of time portal. There are hundreds of them. The girl
you told me of went into the time portal.”
“You did your job well. I
won’t kill you, at least not right now,” Phelan said to Gruznig.
“Thank you, Master.” He
lowered his head and joined the other redcaps.
“Fiona’s gone back in time
to get Kegan and probably Rolfin too. It’s time for me to bring their
counterparts here to the castle.” Phelan looked around the cold stone room.
“You,” he pointed to a sluagh. “Stand guard while I tend to some business.
If one thing leaves this castle, you’ll understand a new meaning of the word
pain. Am I clear?”
The sluagh bowed. “Yes,
Master. As you command.”
Phelan rushed to the room
with the portal that the twelve men used. “I have to send someone back to
get them.” A guard stood next to the door, as it had been ordered to keep
everyone out. “You. I have a job for you.”
“Yes, your Wizardship. What
can I do?”
“I want you to go through
this time portal to Zanaad and bring King Dugan and his army back here.”
The guard gawked at Phelan.
“I have no idea who King Dugan is, your Wizardship.”
“Very well,” Phelan said. He
sent a bolt of lightning out from the tips of his fingers and vaporized the
trow. His helmet and sword clanged on the ground. Phelan stepped outside the
room and saw another trow down the hall. “You. Come here.”
The trow shook with every
step. “Yes, Master?”
“I command you to go into
this time portal. Go to Zanaad and bring back King Dugan and his army.”
Phelan snarled at the Shetland trow.
The trow looked at the pile
of ash that was once his friend.
“Do you have a problem with
that?” Phelan snarled.
“No, your Wizardship. I will
oblige,” the trow said.
“Wise choice. When you
return, or should I say, if you return, you will go in again to get King
Bartolf. Hurry on then.” The trow hesitated. “Step into the blasted sparks
and go. What are you waiting for?” Phelan pushed the trow into the light and
roared in anger. “Fools. None of you are worth the hairs on your chests.” He
stomped around the castle knocking into whoever or whatever got in his way.
* * *
“This feels really weird,” Fiona said. She whizzed
through a spiraling rainbow of color as she traveled back in time. “I’m
dizzy.” A few moments later she landed with a thud in the sand. She sat
still for a while, allowing the twirling feeling to stop.
“Where am I? Oh right, I’m in Burill. Am I in the days
of King Kegan, or of King Rolfin? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.” She
glanced at her clothes. “I doubt if any girls dressed in denim jeans.” With
the power to change objects, she switched from her modern clothes into a
maize-colored robe, leather sandals and a beaded strap around her head.
“There. Now I look more like a Burillian.”
“Jacob was right,” Fiona said, twirling around in a
circle. There is nothing around here for miles, just sand. Whoa! Look at
that castle. It is as high as the clouds; higher even. I guess I might as
well go inside and start searching for the king. I wonder how I’ll get near
him. Surely they won’t let a young peasant girl like me get near the king.”
The arched gateway caught Fiona’s attention immediately.
Instead of a wooden gate, as she’d expected, it was made of pure gold and
decorated with gems of every type imaginable. It was actually two doors that
opened in the middle. Both were wide open, allowing the inhabitants and
guests in and out of the city.
Trees sprung up along side the cobblestone road, but
Fiona saw them growing behind houses and in the surrounding orchards. Dates,
banana palms, lemon, orange and lime trees saturated the air with fragrant
tang. “This is so pretty.” Stone wells sat on every corner; fresh water
flowed from springs and funneled through stone runways around the city,
supplying everyone with enough.
The stone block wall encircling Burill stood about
twelve stories high. Three ramparts were built on each side of the wall and
a walkway allowed the guards to move from one rampart to the other without
difficulty. Rectangular holes had been cut in each wall, providing
protection from oncoming warriors. “Genghis Khan would have loved this
place. I wonder if he ever tried to attack the Burillians. They’d have given
him a fight.”
Archways and domes covered with mosaics, gold and
sparkling jewels glittered in the sunlight. Fiona looked at the castle.
“There are twelve towers and they are all different in size and shape, just
like Jacob said. King Rolfin must have loved his twelve wives. That is so
gross to think about. Yuck. There are twelve huge domes, twelve giant
archways. I remember Jacob saying everything here was done in twelves. I
wonder where the main door is.” Not in a hurry, she continued wandering
around the city, delighted by all the sights, sounds and smells.
People wandered the streets;
all smiling, cheerful and full of laughter, kindness, and respect for one
another. Stalls sold fresh breads, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Others sold
leather goods, fabrics and polished stones to use in jewelry. Fiona couldn’t
resist a peek. A woman stood behind a cart of jewelry. “I love this
necklace. What’s it made of?” Fiona grinned at the woman, who grinned right
back at her.
“You are a beautiful girl.
Your hair is so fair. You are not a Burillian native are you?” The woman
touched Fiona’s golden locks.
“No. I’m here with my family
from…” Fiona had to stop and think. “We’re Germanic.”
“You are welcome in Burill.
What is your name? You can call me Abir. The name means ‘fragrant one’. My
mama sells perfumes and oils. Nice name, don’t you think?”
“It’s a beautiful name. My
name is Fiona.” She was glad she could speak any language. The words flowed
from her mouth as if she’d lived there all her life. “Is King Kegan the
king, or is it King Rolfin?”
“What a silly question to
ask.” Abir laughed. “King Rolfin lived forty-five generations ago. This is
“Oh. Sorry for asking that,
but I’m feeling a little odd today.” Fiona shrugged her shoulders.
“That’s all right. I have
days like that myself. Fiona, what necklace do you want to purchase today?”
Abir picked up the one Fiona had looked at. “This is made of moonstone. It
is magical, you know?”
“Really, Abir. Magic?”
“It’s not real magic, but
they say it is magical. Watch.” Abir held up the blue stone and a mysterious
gleam appeared whenever she moved it to a different position. I have some
other colors of moonstone. Would you like to see the green, peach, gray,
orange, and brown ones?” Fiona nodded.
“I love the green one,”
Fiona said. She picked it up and held it to the sunlight. “Gorgeous.”
“They say that if you wear
it, it will make your dreams stronger and it is a good stone for lovers. But
you are too young for that, no?”
“Yes. I am way too young.
I’m only eleven.”
“Of course. About the
moonstone, I should warn you it is very delicate and will break easily.
Would you like one?” Abir held the blue one up.
“Yes, I’d like four of them.
I want a blue one, a peach one, a green one for me. Make it two blue.” Fiona
remembered about money. She had some in her pocket. She closed her eyes and
made it change into Burillian money, whatever that may be. She pulled coins
from her pocket and handed it to Abir. “This is for you. Is there enough to
pay for these?”
Abir gasped. “That is far
too much money. Your father must be very rich. I would hide that. All these
vendors will try to get you to buy their wares if they see you with all that
money. I will take what you owe me.” Abir picked some of the coins out.
There.” She handed Fiona a small cloth bag that tied at the top. “This will
keep them safe.”
“Abir, I will think of you
whenever I look at it. Thank you.” Fiona smiled at the woman and was about
to leave, but stopped. “Oh, can you tell me where the entrance is in the
palace. I have a meeting with King Kegan.”
“Your father must be very important indeed. Go down this
street to the end and turn to the left. The main entrance is there. You’ll
have to get past the guards first. Good luck, Fiona.” Abir turned her
attention to another customer.