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Rolfin's Orb
Book 2 - Spinal
Chapter 14

Fiona knocked the croft door. “Uncle Angus, open up.” She shouted, disturbing the men and her friends sitting out back.

Uncle Angus pulled the door open just as Jimmy came around to the front of the croft.

“What’s going on here?” Uncle Angus saw the urgency on Fiona’s face.

“Someone broke into our house again while we were at the tea party,” she said.

“Calm down, lass. Jimmy, bring the others inside and let’s talk where it’s warm,” Angus said. They stacked the outdoor chairs against the whitewashed wall and went inside. “Now, tell us what happened.”

“Mum and I came home from the tea party and someone had gone into our house and spray painted with black all over the walls. He even sprayed her shoes. Poor Mum. She’s upset. Luckily Johnny came over. He’s helping her clean it up. I’m glad he’s here to help Mum,” Fiona said.

“Did they break in through the window again?” Uncle Angus took hold of Fiona’s hand.

“No, he must have used some tool because they went inside the back door and out the front door. He even left the empty spray paint can on the floor. Doesn’t he care about fingerprints?” Fiona paced back and forth.

“I think it’s best if you go to the next place and retrieve these jewels as quickly as possible,” Uncle Angus said.

“Uncle Angus, you’re talking about this in front of Jimmy and Jesse. They don’t know anything,” Fiona said.

“They do know. I had a talk with Johnny, Jimmy and Jesse about what’s been going on. We can trust them,” Uncle Angus said.

“It’s all right, Fiona. We’re here to help you. In fact, Jesse and I will be staying here with your uncle to help him with the orb. With all the strange things that have happened around here lately, we decided to stay and guard the orb,” Jimmy said.

Elspet and Callum listened without speaking.

Fiona said, “I’m glad you’re all here. You’re nice brothers. Come on, Elspet, Callum. Let’s go to the next place and get the jewel.”

The two of them joined Fiona. She was about to utter the magic spell when they smelled smoke. “What smells?” Elspet said, sniffing the air.

* * *

Drayton walked to Angus’s croft, watching each step he took to avoid making any noise. “I hope that fool of a man doesn’t have another houseguest, but just in case, I’d better be quiet.” He parted the flowering broom and saw them stacking the chairs against the house. “Great! Those brats are there and he’s got two guests. Let’s see what’s going on inside.” When the door shut he tiptoed to the croft and looked in the back window.

“Six of them in there having a little conference. There’s the orb.” Suddenly remembering his new powers, an idea burst into his mind. “Let’s start a wee fire.” Phelan had warned him not to kill anyone or harm them if he wanted the orb. “It won’t be a big one, just enough to get your attention.” When the children held hands, a fire began on the corner of the thatched roof. Smoke filled the air. “That should do it.” He ran away, hiding in the woods to watch.

* * *

“There is a smell, Angus. It’s fire.” Jesse ran outside and saw smoke billowing from the roof. “Get some buckets of water!”

Fiona, Elspet and Callum ran outside. “Oh no! Uncle Angus’s house is on fire. Hurry and put it out!” Fiona and her friends backed away from the croft, out of harm’s way.

Angus, Jimmy and Jesse tossed buckets of water on the flames, dousing them in just a few minutes. Black water ran all over the whitewashed walls. “What a mess. It’ll be near impossible to get that off the croft. I’ll have to re-paint it.” Angus shook his head back and forth.

“What happened, Uncle Angus? How did your roof get on fire?” Fiona ran into the croft to see if the fire was burning in the fireplace. She went back outside. “Sparks must have come from the fire and landed on the roof.”

“I’ve lived here for many years and it’s never done that before. I burn peat. It doesn’t make sparks,” Uncle Angus said. He looked at Jesse and Jimmy.

“Our intruder?” Jimmy nodded. “We’re going to have to be careful now. The more jewels in that orb, the more trouble we’re going to have around here,” Jimmy said.

“What’s going on here?” Elspet sensed danger.

“I suppose we should tell you,” Angus said. “Children, come back inside. Jimmy, would you and Jesse please clean this mess up. I’ll be out shortly to help.”

“Jimmy and Jesse and even Johnny are not who they appear to be. You must not tell a soul about this. Do you promise?” After Uncle Angus had their word, he explained. “Jimmy and Jesse are actually called Cowan and Pond.”

“Pond?” Callum thought the name sounded funny for a person.

“Yes, Pond. They aren’t brothers. Johnny isn’t his real name either,” Angus said.

“What is his real name, Uncle Angus?”

“Johnny is Alroy Cathmore.”

“The man who wrote the book? King Kegan’s scribe?”

“Yes, that Alroy Cathmore.”

“That’s impossible. He lived hundreds of years ago. Nobody can live that long.”

“Remember me telling you about King Kegan’s wizard, Zerahemna? He put a spell on Alroy. When the book was opened again at any time in the future, he would travel through a time portal to the future.”

“Wow,” Callum said.

“You mean Johnny came from the past, a long long time ago?” Elspet couldn’t believe it.

“Yes, that’s what I mean. Jimmy, or Cowan, is the man who took the obsidian to Hydra and hid it there and set up all the traps. Jesse, or Pond, is the man who hid the spinel in Iceland. When you got the jewel and we put it back in the orb, they came back to life. Zerahemna’s spell works the same for them as it did for Alroy. Each time you bring a jewel and we put it in the orb, the man who hid it will come through a time portal from the past to right here in Inveralba, where Castle Athdara, home of their king stands,” Angus said.

“They’re the ones who made the scorpions and Hydra monsters,” Callum said.

“They also made the earthquakes and Vikings,” Elspet said.

“Yes. That’s true. It was all to protect the jewel. All of us feel that Phelan, King Dugan’s wizard, is using one of Dugan’s descendants to get the orb from us, so he can come back to life and reign once more as wizard,” Angus said.

“Wow. This is cool; scary, but cool. So do you think that the bad man who is breaking into Fiona’s house is King Dugan’s descendant?” Elspet’s mind was sharp.

“Definitely. Somehow, so it seems, he’s also acquired magical powers. You’ve got the power of fire, Fiona and so does he. That also means he’s got the power of making himself big or small too. With each jewel, his powers will grow, just as yours will. You can see why I need the twelve men, as they come, to help protect the orb and all of us.” Angus looked at Fiona.

“Why do we have to get the jewels then? Why can’t the men go and get them, or Johnny?” Fiona’s fear showed in her words.

“Only you can get the jewels, you and Callum and Elspet. You two are part of this now too. You, Fiona, are a descendant of both King Kegan and King Duncan. I’ll explain it to you later. Just trust me on this. Only you can gather the jewels. You’ve been given two helpers,” Angus said, pointing at Callum and Elspet. “You must get the jewels.”

“What about this other descendant guy? Can he go and get the jewels? Will he be able to hurt us, Uncle Angus?”

“According to Alroy, he can go to the places you are, but only you are allowed to get the jewels. He can cause trouble for you, but he cannot get the jewels in your place. You’ll need to be careful.”

“But we don’t know what he looks like? Is he old, young, or what?”

“I don’t know. We’ll try to find out as soon as we can. In the meantime, while you’re gone, keep your eyes open. If you see a familiar face at different places and times, you can presume it’s him.”

Jimmy and Jesse came into the croft. “We’ve cleaned up as much as we can. We need to do some painting. Do you have any whitewash?” Jimmy washed his dirty hands in Angus’s sink. “Why are you looking at me like that?” He saw the children’s stares.

“We know who you are, Cowan, and you too, Pond,” Elspet said.

“Ah. You told them. All the better that they know what they’re up against. You children need not worry. We’ll stay here with Angus. You have a job to do. Get the next jewel. With that we’ll get another man to help us,” Jimmy said.

* * *

Drayton showed no fear as he moved closer to the croft. He stood outside the same window, listening. When the children said, ‘Daleth shapish yamm’ and disappeared, Drayton mumbled, “So that’s how they do it. There’s a spell to get to the places. But how do they get back?”

No sooner did he say this when he heard Angus tell Jimmy and Jesse the words to the spell that the children needed to return to Inveralba. “Thank you, Angus. Who are those men? Phelan will know, if I can find a stupid boat to get to the island. What’s this?” He listened as Angus explained that in Inveralba time the children would return in only a few minutes. Wherever the children went, they spent several days in their time. Drayton wasn’t sure he understood it all, but was happy with what he’d learned about the spell. “Very interesting, Angus. Any more secrets to spill?” When he saw Angus pouring tea, he left, heading back to Loch Doon.

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