croft was abuzz with reacquainting and introductions. Tears were shed, hugs
were given and finally there was quiet. King Kegan cleared his throat. “I
have talked to my wife, Queen Sarmantha, and we’ve decided to stay here. We
plan to renovate Castle Athdara to the way it once was, plus modernize it a
bit, on the advice of Alroy, I mean Johnny. It will take time for us to get
used to these new names.” He smiled at nodded at the others.
“Before I move into the
castle, I’d like to go back one more time to say my goodbyes to my people.
I’d like to leave my family here; all of them,” he said, seeing his
children’s faces frown. “Alroy, Johnny, I mean, will you come with me?”
“I’d love to go back and get
some more of my books from the library. I think a few of the others would
like to come too,” Johnny said.
“I’d like to go,” Jared
said. “I’ve spoken with some of the other men and Jeffrey, Jesse and Jason
want to go also.”
“I want to look at those
books as much as you do, Johnny,” Jason said.
“Of course, Jason. You might
enjoy going back to Rolfin’s days and getting hold of some of the books from
his time. Go and talk to him about it.”
An hour later five of the
men disappeared through the time portal, going back to King Kegan’s days and
Jason followed a few moments later, going to Rolfin’s.
* * *
Mairi was in charge of
feeding everyone, even though she didn’t ask for the job. With the help of
Ackley, King Kegan’s head cook and the other cooks, Carling and Locke, they
managed to put together a few recipes that would feed a large crowd. She
dragged them to the grocery shop, which was an exciting adventure for the
three of them. They returned with bags full of food and went about preparing
a stew in Angus’s big pot. Rolls, bannocks, scones and other breads were
stacked on plates. The hungry crowd polished off paper bowls full of the
stew, leaving nothing in the bottom of the pot. They’d just finished when
King Kegan and the others came back through the time portal.
“You’re back,” Fiona said.
“Was it hard to say goodbye?” She took the king’s hand and led him to his
family. “Johnny! You brought some books back. I see Jared, Jesse and Jeffrey
all volunteered to go.”
“Put them down over here,”
Angus said, moving a few empty boxes out of the way. The men stacked the
books and rubbed their sore arms.
Jason appeared a few moments
later. “Hello, Jason! You’ve got some books too.” Callum ran over to him and
glanced at the books. “They’re written in Xilian. That will keep you busy
for a while.”
“It was grand going back in
time to see Burill a thousand years before. It’s amazing how few changes
there has been in that length of time. The desert keeps things intact more
than it would here, with all the dampness,” Jason said. “I had many of the
books sent to Rome.”
“Jason, come and eat. I’ve
saved you all some stew and bannocks,” Mairi said. The others joined Jason
for the meal she’d put aside.
“Tell us about your trip,
Johnny. How did it go?” Mairi sat next to him while he ate.
“It was amazing. I went to
the library and what books we couldn’t carry back with us, I sent on to
Cairo, Egypt. It is dry there and the books will keep better. They’ve got a
grand museum and library there.”
“They still do,” Elspet
said. “My mum and I watched it on the telly.”
“I’m glad to hear that. The
people of Burill threw a parade of sorts, not like the kind you have
nowadays, but a Burillian parade, in honor of their king. They were
devastated to hear of his departure,” Johnny said, glancing at the king. “He
left them all of his wealth, aside from what he needs to survive here for
the rest of his life. I know it was so hard for him to leave, but his wife
and children mean more to him than being a king. Knowing what would happen
to them if he stayed gave him no choice. He had to leave.”
Fiona looked around the
room. King Kegan and his family sat huddled in a corner. They laughed and
showered affection on their father. King Rolfin kept himself busy with his
wives and children. Fiona snickered when she saw the jealousy between the
woman and how they vied for the king’s favor. The various servants of the
kings gathered around Mairi, listening as she told them of the modern day
appliances. When Mairi asked them to do all the cooking for her wedding,
they were all flattered and delighted.
A rap came at the door.
Callum, who stood next to it, opened it up. “It’s the Chief Wizard, Nahimena,”
The wizard came inside.
“Thank you, young man.” Nahimena cleared his throat and a hush fell across
the room. “I’ve come for several reasons. Mairi, Johnny, while you’ve been
busy here, we wizards of Xilia have been busy elsewhere. You will be in
peace the rest of your days. Phelan and the others have been dealt with and
are no longer a threat to you.”
A round of applause and
cheers filled the croft.
“King Kegan, I’ve been told
that you and your family wish to stay on here, in the 21st
century and live in Castle Athdara. Is this true?” Nahimena gazed at the
king and his family.
Little Gilian ran over to
the wizard. “We’re staying here. I want to ride a bike. Elspet told me I’d
have fun here. What’s a computer?”
Everyone burst out laughing.
Johnny swooped the girl up. “I’ll tell you all about it later. Let’s allow
Nahimena to finish.
“I am pleased by your
choice. Your family will live long and your descendants will be many. It’s
good to see you Isabella and Anna and your families. Little Kenneth, you are
a welcome sight! Now, let me get on with what I have to say. If you stay
here you will lose your wizard, Zerahemna. He will be allowed to visit, but
he will have to reside in Xilia, not here in Inveralba. You and your family
will lose your royal status. While you will be king, queen, princes and
princess in your hearts, you will live out your lives as normal everyday
Scottish people, as Fiona and her friends and family do.”
King Kegan grinned. “We
accept. While we will miss Zerahemna, we know he will be happy with his
family in Xilia. Being royal means nothing to us. I want my children to
live, to enjoy growing up and playing and they’ve got their two big sisters
and their families to be acquainted with. There is no decision to make,
“Very well. So it shall be.”
He looked at Mairi. “Mairi, bring your fiancé over here to me.” Mairi and
Johnny stepped forward. “As a gift to the both of you for all of your
sacrifices and help, the Wizards of Xilia wish to give you a gift. We have
fixed up Castle Athdara for your wedding. It is fully furnished and
decorated, landscaped and better than it has ever been. Of course, after the
wedding, it should be turned over to Kegan and his family and those servants
who want to stay with them.”
Mairi’s eyes filled with
tears. “Married in the castle? I’d love that. I want to stand under the
stained glass window. I’d like King Rolfin to marry us, if that’s all
right?” She turned to the king.
He bowed. “It will be an
honor, Mairi and Johnny.”
“Good. Then it’s settled.
The Wizards of Xilia will return and be in attendance at the wedding. The
twelve men of King Kegan, will you step forward.”
Jack, Jacob, Jared, Jason,
Jasper, Jeffrey, Jeremy, Jesse, Jimmy, Joacquin, Joseph and Julian pushed
their way through the crowded room and gathered around Nahimena.
“Each of you has the choice
to go back in time to either Burill, or the land of your ancestry, or you
may choose to stay here in this century.” The wizard glanced at each of
them. Please step forth one at a time and tell me your wish.”
Jack stepped forward first.
“I wish to stay here. I have no family in Burill. My family is here now with
Mairi, Fiona, Elspet, Callum, Johnny, and Kegan and his wife and children.”
He stepped back.
Every one of the others
simply stepped forward and said, “Ditto.”
“You got that from watching
Ghost, didn’t you?” Callum nudged Julian from behind. The man turned
“You have all been granted
permission to live out your lives here. Rolfin, I understand you and your
wives and children will be returning to Burill?” Nahimena leaned his arm on
the mantle over the fireplace.
“Yes. I find it fascinating
here, but I long to return to my people and my palace. I built that city
from the ground. It is part of me and I am part of it.” Rolfin gathered a
few of his children around him.
“As you wish. After the
wedding reception, you and your family will return to Burill with the orb.
The time portal will be closed forever and Fiona, though this will break
your heart, as of now you have lost your powers. There is no need for them
ever again.” The wizard stood straight.
“That’s all right. It’s a
big responsibility having power. I look forward to being a kid again,” Fiona
“All right. Enough of this
mushy stuff. Let’s go see the castle,” Callum said.
Nahimena bowed and