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Rolfin's Orb
Book 12 -
Chapter 26

           By ten p.m. all the guests had headed home. The wizards quickly cleaned up by simply waving their wands, returning the castle to its glorious state.

     King Rolfin’s children had gone to bed and his wives had disappeared to their rooms. “We’ll leave in the morning,” the king said. “We’re all too tired tonight. Before I leave, however, I’ve got some gifts to hand out.

        Callum, you’ve been a brave boy. I’ve heard some of your heroic efforts. I’d like you to have these.” He pulled a wooden box from inside his cape. “The box is made from Carthaginian wood. Go ahead and open it.”

     Callum lifted the lid. “Wow! Dragons.” Each had been carved from the same wood as the box and painted different colors.

     “These were mine when I was a boy. My grandfather made them for me. I’d like you to keep them.” King Rolfin put his arm around Callum’s back.

     “What about your sons?” Callum looked at the steps leading up.

     “I’ve got nearly a hundred sons. Do you think I can pick just one? No. I’d like you to have these.” The king closed the lid. “Always remember me, Callum.”

     “I will.” Callum buried his face in Rolfin’s chest. “Thank you.”

     “That’s not all, Callum,” said Nahimena. “We wizards have something for you too.”

     Callum put his box of dragons on the table. “What is it?”

     Nahimena clapped his hands. A man walked inside with a blue baby dragon. “This is your dragon, Callum.”

     “My dragon? I’ve got my own dragon?” He ran over to it and stroked its head. “It’s mine?”

     “Yes. He will have to stay in Xilia, but you can come and visit it anytime you want.” Nahimena grinned at the boy affectionately. “We don’t often offer that privilege to a human.”

     “How can I get to Xilia? I’m not a wizard.”

     “You simply take the blue dragon out of the box that King Rolfin gave you and think about your dragon’s name. You’ll instantly be transported to his side in Xilia.”

     “I have to pick a name?” He stroked the dragon again. “I’m going to call him Jabberwock because my favorite poem in the whole world is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. Hello, Jabberwock.” The dragon’s aqua tongue darted from its mouth and licked Callum.

     Elspet and Fiona ran over to pet the dragon. “He’s cute, Callum. Wow, your own dragon. I love your little wooden dragons. You’re lucky!” Fiona looked at the baby dragon’s tail. “He’s got tiny spikes. How cute!”

     “We’re not finished yet,” King Rolfin said. “Elspet, please come to me.” Elspet ran over to the king. “These are for you.” He handed her a set of eight goblets. They were rose-colored crystal with pewter roses decorating the glass stemware. “These were a wedding gift for my first wife, given to us from one of the Caesars in Rome, Titus, I believe. My wife never wanted to use them. She thought of him as an animal who slaughtered so many. Still, she doesn’t know I’m giving them to you. Keep them hidden until after we leave.” The king winked.

     “Your secret is safe with me. Holy moley. These come from the early days of Rome? I’m so thrilled,” Elspet said.

     Nahimena stepped over to her. “Guess what, Elspet?  You’re not finished either. I am prepared to grant you one wish, anything you want. You’ve shown courage, determination and creativity. You’ve been loyal to your friends and deserving of something special.”

     “I love my friends. I will always stand by them. I do know what I want. I want to come to Xilia once a week and take art lessons from your best artist. I’ve seen pictures of Xilian artwork and I’d love to learn about it and how to paint, draw and all that. Nobody here in Scotland, or anywhere else I can think of, has seen art like that. I want to be the one to bring the style into the world, if that’s all right.”

     “That’s fine, Elspet. We don’t mind sharing our art styles with humans. Our best artist is Manassah. You will be granted the right to come once a week for private instruction. Simply look at a painting and think about Xilia and you’ll be transported there immediately.” Nahimena patted her on the head.

     “Fiona. It’s your turn.” King Rolfin pulled another box from his cape. “This is for you.”

     Fiona opened the lid. “Oh my.”

     “Those elephants are made of pure gold. Count them. There are twelve. Each of them has a stone in its eye. Can you see them?” Rolfin urged her to pick one up. “The twenty four eyes are the same twelve stones that were in the orb. I know you no longer have your powers now that the orb is out of danger, but I hope this suffices.”

     “These elephants are brilliant. I love them. Thank you. I will call each elephant after the twelve men who were such a help to me.” Fiona turned to look at the men, who stood around her.

     Nahimena pulled her back to him, holding her against him. “Fiona, you are a natural leader. You are so full of integrity, courage, compassion, love, endurance and so much more. I know at times you wanted to give up, but you didn’t. You fought to the end. You may keep the necklace, the one with the twelve stones. It is yours forever. I also grant you a wish.”

     Fiona smiled and looked at her mum and Johnny. “I know what I want too. I want a baby brother.”

     Johnny took Mairi’s hand. “We’ll do our best to see you get one.”

     “There’s more, Fiona.” King Rolfin pulled another box from his cape and handed it to her.

     She opened it. “Hankies?”

     “Not just hankies, Fiona. These are made of Phoenician lace and are nearly 2000 years old. The wizards have put a spell on them for you to keep them intact forever. I would like to share a story, if that’s all right. I know it’s late.”

     “Go on, King Rolfin. I will never tire of hearing your stories,” Fiona said.

     “Let’s sit on these lovely settees. Come on, everyone. Sit and listen. During the days of Troy, there were other things going on in the world. A Phoenician woman, Elishat, or Elissa, who was Tyrian, from Tyre, took a group of her people and went to Cyprus and then to the north coast of Africa. She picked up the name Dido – the wanderer. It is said that she founded in Carthage, which was an important location for trade. Dido was friends with my ancestor, Tanith, who accompanied her on her journey to Carthage. As a token of their friendship, she gave her these handkerchiefs.”

     “You treasure them and care for them and remember who gave them to you.” King Rolfin stroked her cheek. “Are you sure you don’t want to come back to Burill and be my wife?”

     Fiona burst out laughing. “King Rolfin! No! I’ve got an entire life to live out here, but thanks for the offer.”

     “All right. I’ll accept defeat.” The king acted offended and then smiled.

     “It’s bed time,” Mairi said. “Callum, Elspet, your mums said you could stay here tonight. Up to your rooms. You too, Fiona. As for the rest of you, I’d suggest you get a good sleep. Tomorrow is moving day for Johnny and I.”

                   *  *  *

     The rising of the sun the next day brought great joy, but also heartache. Rolfin gathered his wives and children.

     “Before you go, King Rolfin,” Johnny said, “may I suggest that you make sure this orb makes it to a museum. I recommend the Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It is the largest library in the world. I sent most of my books to Cairo, but many to Alexandria. It was founded in the third century B.C. during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. It will be safe there for a while. Centuries later the library burns to the ground, but if you leave instructions to have it transported to Cairo one hundred years after your death, there it will sit safely and out of evil hands. Your brother and his posterity will still seek it, but we must keep it from them.”

     “I shall do as you suggest,” the king said.

     After farewells and tears, they disappeared through the orb and then it disappeared, never to be seen again.

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