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Rolfin's Orb
Book 12 -
Chapter 15

            Bartolf’s army marched out of the castle. Most of them were weak, still getting over the sicknesses that Phelan had thrown their way. Dugan’s army followed Bartolf’s and at the end came the creatures. Phelan, with no body, took over the body of one of the King Bartolf’s lead generals, who was too weak to fight him off.

They pressed on past the loch into the rolling green hills on the west. The people in Inveralba had no idea what was happening just outside their small town. King Bartolf, King Dugan, Wizard Sidero and their generals rode their horses to the top of the highest hill. “We need a plan,” Dugan said. “What about those useless trows and other hideous creatures. Where did that worthless wizard, Phelan, dig them up? Is this all he is worth? He’s your brother, Sidero.”

“I am ashamed to admit that he is,” the wizard replied.

Phelan was about to answer in his defense, when Bartolf spoke up. “It’s a good plan. We’ll send them in first. They’ll take most of spears and arrows. By the time our men go in to fight, our enemies will have used a lot of their weaponry on those worthless redcaps and goblins. They do have a use after all.”

Sidero spoke up. “Master, if I may make a suggestion; I would send half of the army around the loch and have them approach our enemies from the back. We can surround them and defeat them quickly.”

Bartolf turned to his wizard. “When I want a suggestion from you, I’ll ask for it. You have your own worries. The Wizards of Xilia will be in the battle and you will be outnumbered a thousand to one. Do you think they will let you go? You worry about yourself and let Dugan and I worry about the troops.”

The wizard bowed his head. “As you wish, Master.”

Phelan, who listened from his horse, grew angrier by the moment, resentful of the human’s attitude and treatment of others, especially wizards. They mocked them at every chance. He vowed vengeance upon the two kings and his brother.

              *  *  *

One of King Kegan’s men came riding in, jumped off his horse and burst through Angus’s door. “King Kegan! Bartolf, Dugan and Phelan’s armies have gathered in the Dunrobbie Hills, west of town. There’s plenty of them. I’d estimate approximately 300,000 troops.

“It has begun then,” King Rolfin said. “We outnumber them counting just our armies. We’ve got dragons and wizards and our men are loyal. I’m sure Bartolf’s men and Dugan’s would run if given the chance. Phelan’s zombies will be no match for us.”

“I’ll take my men into the hills. We’ll wait there until others arrive. At least we can keep our eye on them,” King Kegan said. He and his army left.

Angus spoke up. “This has been an adventurous time for us all. I am afraid I am too old to fight and I won’t let Fiona, Elspet, Callum, or Mairi anywhere near those hills.”

“You won’t let us? Angus, you have no say in what I do.” Mairi was furious and let him know.

“Mairi,” Johnny said, “he’s right. You need to be here with Fiona and the others. Stay here please, for me, and watch over the books and the orb. This is the opportune time for Phelan to try to get them, while the rest of us are away. I am leaving Drayton here with you, to protect you.” Drayton nodded.

“But Johnny,” Mairi began.

“Mairi, please.” Johnny pulled her close.

“All right. I’ll stay, but I don’t like it.” She pouted. He leaned over and kissed her and walked over to King Rolfin.

“These people will be slaughtered. Our armies, combined with the wizards and dragons, will destroy them. Is there no other way?” Johnny spoke his thoughts.

“Most of the men in their armies are good men who were given no choice. They were pulled out of their beds in the middle of the night and ordered to battle. Half of those so called soldiers are children, probably not much older than Fiona.” Johnny turned to look at the girl.

“Hey! We’re not children, Johnny!” Her face furrowed in anger. “I know more about battles than you think. Evil armies are usually a bunch of men herded and forced to fight, as you say. They never get fed and fight between each other for power. They wouldn’t hesitate to desert because they have no loyalty to their leaders.”

“I’m impressed by your knowledge, but you’re still not coming.” Johnny nodded his head at Drayton. “Don’t let her come.”

“Johnny, that’s not fair. I want to help.” Fiona struggled to free herself. “Drayton, let go of me.”

Johnny ignored her. “We’d better join Kegan and his men. We can discuss this once we are together.”

Rolfin, Johnny, the wizards and dragons and the twelve men marched out of the croft. No sooner had they left when the room shrunk back to normal size. Mairi glanced at Fiona. “It’s not my fault. I don’t want to be stuck here either.”

“Drayton, let go of me now. I won’t run away. Go and fight with the other men.” Fiona wriggled from his arms.

“Sorry, Fiona. It’s for your own good. I’m staying and I’m going to keep you to your word. Stay here.” Drayton said.

“Mum, you heard Johnny. Most of those men are innocent. I’m sure those ugly creepy things didn’t have a choice either. Most of them keep out of our way and don’t do us any harm.” Fiona turned to Elspet and Callum.

A look of peace fell upon Drayton’s face. “They know what they’re doing, Fiona. Those wizards saved me from my horrible life. Mairi, I have to go somewhere for a few minutes. Do you think you’ll be safe for a while and handle it on your own? Do you promise not to leave?” Mairi nodded.

“Where are you going, Drayton?” Fiona smiled at her former enemy.

“I think I need to find my mum and aunt. I owe them an explanation and apology.”

“Go on then, Drayton. Don’t be long. We’ll manage for a while.” Angus chased the man off.

After Drayton left, Fiona nodded her head to the right. “Shh.” She winked at Elspet and Callum and then turned to Angus and Mairi. “Mum, we’re going to go and sit outside. We won’t go to the battle. It’s just stuffy in here.”

“Yes, it is stuffy in here,” Callum said.

The three of them went outside and left Mairi and Angus with the books and orb. “All right. We are not going to sit here and let all those innocent people die. The bad people are Phelan, probably Ithgar, King Bartolf and his wizard, whatever his name is, and King Dugan.” Fiona started pacing back and forth.

“Some of those generals are bad too. They’ll be loyal to their kings. Generals always are. It’s the army that we have a chance to save.” Callum rubbed his palms together. “What are we going to do?”

“Callum, we need to think this through. You heard King Rolfin. The dragons and wizards will probably end the battle before it even starts,” Elspet said.

“We can do better than that. They’ll still kill thousands of men and boys,” Fiona said.

“We’re just kids, like Johnny said,” Callum shouted.

“Calm down, Callum. Mum and Uncle Angus might hear us. I don’t want them to know what we’re doing.” Fiona scolded the boy. “We’ve been all over the world. We’ve fought dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers, giant snakes, bears, scorpions, monsters; I could go on for an hour. We’ve done all that, we can do this. We can stop this battle from ever happening.”

“You’ve got twelve things you can do, Fiona,” Elspet said. “You can start a huge fire in between the two armies. That would stop them.”

“It would also alert the people in the surrounding villages and they’d rush over there and get involved, maybe killed,” Fiona said.

“You can make yourself big, or small. I know you can’t do anything if you’re tiny, but you can make yourself big and scoop up the leaders and take them far away,” Callum suggested.

“They’ve got wizards too, Callum; at least one, maybe two. I don’t think that one will work,” Fiona said, “but a great idea.”

“I know. You can communicate with animals. You could call Nessie from Loch Ness and have her come,” Elspet said.

“And do what? Swim around Loch Doon and spit water at them?” Callum scoffed at Elspet’s suggestion.

“It doesn’t matter where jewels are. They’re so rich that money won’t matter to them. How about the weather? You could make it rain, or snow, like you did with Genghis Khan.” Elspet’s eyes grew wider.

“I suppose we could do that one. That would stop them for a while, but once again, the wizards would probably interfere.” Fiona kept pacing while Elspet and Callum came up with ideas.

“It doesn’t do any good that you speak different languages, or that you can read people’s minds. It won’t matter if you turn invisible, because there’s still nothing you could do to stop them.” Callum’s voice sounded with hopelessness.

“He’s right, Fiona. It won’t matter that you can transport yourself to other places or control the sea and rivers. The only two options are for you to turn yourself into another object or person, or to time travel. Hey, that’s a good idea. You could go back into the past and stop Bartolf from being a bad person,” Elspet said.

     “That would be nearly impossible to do. I’d have to stay there forever and have a lot of influence over him. I can’t do that, Elspet.”

     “How about going into the future?” Callum scratched his hea

     “What good would that do?” Fiona snickered. “In the future the battle has already happened.”

     “Right. Bad idea,” Callum said.

     The ground beneath their feet shook. “Either we’re having an earthquake or the battle has begun. Mum said to stay away, but I can’t. I’ve got to help.” Fiona took Elspet and Callum’s hands.

     “Stay here with Mum and Uncle Angus, please. You both don’t have powers. I do. I can turn invisible and do all sorts of things to protect myself. I’ll never be able to live with myself if anything happened to you both.” Fiona pleaded with them. “I’ll think of something.”

     “All right, Fiona. You’re right. Callum and I will stay here.”

     “Don’t tell Mum where I’ve gone. Lie. Tell her I’m around back with the kittens or whatever.” Fiona gave them both a hug.

     “Be careful, Fiona. Do whatever you can,” Callum said.

     “Fiona, you’d better not die or I’ll never speak to you again,” Elspet said, wiping tears.

     “I’ll be fine. Stay here.” Fiona ran off into the woods.

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