Fiona put her bag of gems inside the pocket on her robe. She went the way
she was told by Abir and came to the castle doors. “This isn’t a castle.
It’s a palace. Twelve guards stood at the entrance. Each was dressed in a
tangerine orange robe with brown stripes on the sleeves, leather shoes and a
matching orange turban to keep the sun off their faces. They each held a
spear. Fiona walked up to them. They blocked her path as she neared the
“I’m here to visit King
Kegan. My name is Fiona and I am his family, from Inveralba, Scotland,”
“Do you have an appointment
with him?” One of the guards bent over to talk to her.
“Why don’t you just show him
this?” Fiona slipped the necklace with the stones in it off her neck and
handed it to the guard. “I think when he sees it, he’ll let me in. Tell him
Alroy Cathmore sent for me.” The guard disappeared. Fiona shouted after him.
“Make sure I get that back when you’re done.”
As she stood waiting, she
looked around the palace grounds. Roses bloomed everywhere. Every color of
the rainbow was represented by the velvety petals. “It smells nice here,”
Fiona said to another guard. “I like the rose gardens. Does Julian, I mean
Edwi, take care of the flowers?”
The first guard appeared at
the door before the other could answer. “King Kegan is most anxious to see
you, Fiona. He wishes to keep the necklace until you arrive, so he may
further examine it. Follow me please.”
Fiona shrugged her
shoulders, waved a teasing goodbye to the eleven other guards and followed
the man. “What’s your name?” She tugged on his orange robe.
“My name is Ginton. You are
a talkative young woman. It is obvious you are not from Burill. What brings
you to our city?” Ginton cleared his throat after speaking.
“I came with my father,”
Fiona lied. “I’m Germanic.”
“I thought you said you were
from Scotland, land of the Picts,” Ginton said, suspicion in his eyes.
“Oh, right. I am from
Scotland now, but I have Germanic blood.”
“I see.” Ginton led her down
a long hallway. The walls were carved in delicate designs. Not one inch of
any way did not have carvings on it. “King Kegan is in the Grand Room,
finishing up a meeting with tradesmen. If you would kindly have a seat, he
will be with your shortly.” Ginton turned and walked back down the hall.
Fiona looked around the
room. It was indeed a grand room. “I’ll bet a hundred, or even a thousand
cottages could fit in this room. It’s enormous. Look at the tapestries. The
floor was made of marble tiles, so rare and exquisite that they shone like
glass. Each square was intricately decorated with geometric designs. The
walls were mosaic design; patterns of African animals, trees, flowers and
rivers were displayed by the tiny pieces of colored glass. More geometric
designs spiraled up the columns. “It must have taken them a hundred years to
do all of that work.” She reached behind her and touched the wall. Ivory
containers carved with peacocks, rams and lions, silver perfume flasks with
gilded handles, glass vases and marble, clay and pewter ornaments sat on
huge wooden tables. The legs of the tables were intricately carved with
design and polished to a vibrant shine. Chandeliers hung from the ribbed
dome roof, which rested on a series of three-way arches. Each crystal tear
glistened like a prismic rainbow.
She was so busy looking at
everything that she didn’t see the man standing in front of her until he
coughed to get her attention. “Do I presume you are Fiona, owner of this
necklace and visitor to my palace?”
Fiona stood and curtsied.
She’d seen enough of Queen Elizabeth II on the telly to know what to do when
you meet royalty.
“Oh, a polite young lady
too. Follow me, Fiona. We shall have a chat.” King Kegan led her to one of
the tables. He clapped his hands and a man came out. He wore baggy pants
that came to his knees, slippers that turned up at the front and a tight
shirt. Fiona struggled not to giggle. “Fiona, this is Ferran. He is my
server. What would you like to drink?”
Fiona nodded at Ferran.
“What do you have?”
The server cleared his
throat. “We have goat’s milk, water, wine, pomegranate juice, lemonade, and
if you don’t want any of those, I can find something else to offer you.”
“Thank you, Ferran. I’d like
some lemonade, please. Wait. Is it sweet lemonade? Is there sugar in it?”
Fiona tried to be as polite as possible.
“We use honey, not sugar. Do
you still want the lemonade?” Fiona nodded. “Very well. King Kegan?” Ferran
turned to his highness.
“I’ll have some pomegranate
juice. Thank you, Ferran.”
The man disappeared and came
back a few moments later with two goblets. “These are exquisite,” Fiona
said. Both goblets were made of pure silver. One had a king on it with an
outstretched arm and the other had a queen, her arm extended too. When
together, the hands united, fitting perfectly together.
“These are special to me. As
you have guessed, the king is myself and the queen is my beautiful wife.”
King Kegan’s eyes shone with love and adoration.
“Queen Sarmantha. That’s
cool that you love her so much,” Fiona said.
The king’s eyebrows arched.
“Where did you get this necklace?” He sipped his pomegranate juice.
“That took us right to the
point. All right. You might not believe this, but have I got a story for
you. I am Fiona McAllister. I live in the 21st century in
Inveralba, Scotland. Right now, at my house, there are dragons, I don’t know
how many Wizards of Xilian, your twelve men; I can’t remember all their real
names, and Alroy Cathmore, your scribe.” She looked at him, trying to see
“Go on, Fiona McAllister.”
“Also at my house is
Rolfin’s orb and all the stones are in it. I went around the world and
gathered them. I know all about you, your family and what happens to you in
the future. I was sent back in time to get you and your army and bring you
back with me to the future because Phelan has an army of his own, made of
creepy things, and there’s going to be a huge battle of good versus evil and
we need you.” Fiona took a deep breath and exhaled. She watched his eyes.
“Aren’t you going to say anything?”
“And this necklace?”
“Well, that’s another story.
King Dugan, who is your enemy, got the necklace from you after he, well, he
got it, let’s just say that, and he passed it down to his son, who passed it
to his son, on and on, blah, blah, until Drayton Steele got it from his
father. Drayton came to Inveralba, to Castle Athdara, which is your castle,
and he and Phelan teamed up and have been doing bad things to everyone.
Nahimena, one of the wizards, came and got Drayton and took him to Xilia and
he turned out to be a nice guy after all. He’s going to be a wizard too. He
gave me the necklace before I left to come here and told me that you’d know
I wasn’t lying once you saw it.”
“You don’t talk much do you?
A typical man, as my mother would say. All right, this is the way it is. You
have to gather your army and come with me. I have the ability to travel into
the future with you all.”
“You certainly are a
confident girl, I must say.” King Kegan held the necklace up and ran his
fingers over it. He pulled one out from under his tunic. “And what about
this one? This is King Rolfin’s.”
“I’m sure it is. Remember, I
come from the future. Let’s just say you lose it and King Dugan finds it.
Look at them. They are exactly the same. As we put the stones into the orb,
one of the stones on the necklace lit up. They’re all shiny. They aren’t lit
up on yours.” The king glanced at his. “They are the same necklace; it’s
just that mine is from the future and yours is from the present. They are
one and the same. Trust me, please.” Fiona sighed. “I know it sounds weird,
but it’s true.”
King Kegan stood. “Stay
here.” He walked towards another room.
“King Kegan, I think I
should tell you, I’m your great great great whatever granddaughter.”
He stared at her and then walked off.