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Rolfin's Orb
Book 13 - The Beginning
Chapter 13

            A year passed quickly. “Zerahemna, it is time for you to go back to Jerusalem and meet up with the twelve men. Be sure they have hidden their stones. Since we still have far to go on our journey, grant them their freedom to do whatever they please with their lives. Give them gold so they will never do without.” The wizard did as King Kegan commanded and returned in a few days with tales to tell and news of the twelve men. All was well. Everything had been done as planned and each man was on his own to do as he pleased. Most of them wished to go back to the places they’d been to or passed through. Kegan rejoiced inside. The orb would never again harm anyone.

            On their way to Constantinople they stopped at Damascus. Like Jerusalem, the old city was surrounded by walls and eight gates. Queen Sarmantha wanted to enter and exit all eight of them, taking time to shop at the souq for some, dried fruits, eggplant,  molded almond paste, fabric and a few extra baskets. The king pointed out how overloaded the camels were getting, but managed to fit the new ones on without a problem.

            After Damascus they headed in a northwesterly direction, into Turkey. Aghilas, Idus, and Usem kept their distance, but always knew where the royal couple were at all times.

            “My Queen, I have heard of a place in this country where rocks jut into the sky, with mushroom-looking caps. They are often referred to as the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia. I think you would enjoy seeing them, since we are so close.” Alroy nodded to King Kegan.

            “That sounds lovely. It will be a change of pace from the big cities. Do people live in these chimneys, as you call them?” Sarmantha adjusted herself on her camel blanket.

            “Yes, I believe so. There are a lot of underground tunnels and caves. I have a bit of artist in me. I would love to opportunity to sketch them in my book.”

            “It’s settled then,” Kegan said. “We’re going to see the fairy chimneys. Alroy, lead the way.”


“Where are they going? This isn’t the way to Constantinople.” Idus scowled in confusion.

“We’re not traveling that far out of the way, Idus. Stop your complaining and enjoy the journey.” Aghilas slapped Idus across the back of his head with his palm.

“If King Dugan knew we would be having so much fun, he’d have wanted to come along with us.” Usem’s words ran thick with sarcasm.

“Anytime you wish, you may turn back to Zanaad. Why, I would never understand, but feel free. Would you rather stay in a filthy city, covered with sand fleas and spiders and full of crawling vermin, or travel to exotic places?” Aghilas pulled out a pouch. “I know I don’t want the plague. Dugan made sure we had enough money to take us wherever we needed. We’re eating like kings. Why not continue?”

“All right. All right. I’ll shut up.” Idus watched a buzzard fly overhead.  “Do you have any plans for them in the near future? I don’t want to end up in another barrel of honey. I’m still finding sticky spots.”

“I’m thinking of a few ideas. When the opportunity arises, we’ll put the plan into action.” With that Aghilas pulled out a handful of pistachios and munched away.


 The ancient volcanic cones had been eroded away over the centuries, leaving the odd shaped chimneys, along with gray, white and pink rocks. Kegan and his group stayed for several days, exploring tunnels, underground monasteries and churches, and caves of Cappadocia in central Turkey that once belonged to the Hittites.

Their next stop, Constantinople, at the entrance of the Bosporous and Black Sea. Once called Byzantium, this ‘City on Seven Hills’ captured the royal family’s hearts with the continuous display of historical buildings. After a week they made their way to Athens, Greece, and then on to Italy, where they stopped at the Isle of Capri, Rome and Venice. From there they traveled through the Alps into Switzerland; Rhineland, Germany; and then to Paris, France, where they decided to stay for a few days and rest from their journeys before continuing on to England and to their final destination, Scotland.

Dugan’s three guards were as weary of all the traveling as the others. They had been on the go for a few years and were burned out seeing old buildings and cathedrals. “Did you hear that, Aghilas?” Idus grinned. “They’re stopping. I’ve never been to Paris before. I would think they would by more anxious to get to Scotland. I have to agree with them though on resting. I’m a bit fed up with all of this too. Say, Aghilas, you said you had a plan to torment them. We’ve done nothing to them since Jerusalem. I don’t think much of your plan.”

“I agree with Idus. Dugan would be disappointed with us. I don’t want to be the one to tell him we just followed them without making them miserable. We’re here for a few days. I say it’s time to give them a little Zanaad mischief, don’t you?” Usem sneered.

“Let me catch my breath. I’m as tired as you are. The streets of Paris are filthy. Watch where you are stepping. I say we follow them and wherever they stay, we do too. We’ll have to be careful to not let them see us, but we’ll have a lot more opportunities for disturbances.” Aghilas yawned.

They followed Kegan and his entourage through the winding lanes until they stopped across the river from the Ile de la Cite. Alroy checked them into a fine inn on the banks of the Seine River, knowing the queen would be happy being so close to a church that she could walk over to pray whenever she desired. Aghilas, Usem and Idus waited until the king and his wizard had disappeared up the steep stairs to their rooms. “All right,” Idus said, “they’ve gone. I’ll get us a room, a large room with three large beds.” Idus checked them in and they followed the innkeeper to a room at the back near the kitchen. When he opened the door, the three men cheered and collapsed on their beds.

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