Angus went from one hotel to the other, asking
questions about strangers in town. Most of the hotels were booked solid with
“There aren’t any men alone here,” Bonnie
McFarland, owner of the Highland Thistle Hotel told him. “Try the B&B’s.”
He decided to follow Bonnie’s advice. After an
hour he came to McDougal’s B&B. He glanced at her garden of white foxgloves
and catmint. “Pretty flowers,” he mumbled to himself. He turned the doorknob
and went inside. “Hello! Elsie!” When nobody came to the door, he shouted.
“Would that be you, Angus? Och, it’s great to
see you.” Elsie wiped her hands on her apron. “I’ve just been doing some
baking. Come back to the kitchen. You can talk to me while I put the
bannocks into the oven.”
He followed her back. “Smells good in here,
“If you behave yourself, I’ll send some home
with you, seeing as how you’ve not got a woman around to cook for you.”
Elsie turned her back to him.
Angus sat down on a wooden chair. “Say, Elsie. I
don’t mean to be nosy, but I’m wondering if you’ve had any strange things
happen here over the last few days.”
“Why do you ask that, Angus? It just so happens
there have been a few problems. Some of the patron’s jewelry and wallets
disappeared. I think they were robbed. There have been some strange noises
going on at all hours of the night. Is that what you mean, Angus?”
“What sort of strange noises?”
“Creaking noises, noises on the roof. Some of
the guests have come down for breakfast complaining about the thuds and
bangs outside their windows. One man said he saw shadows going past his
“That’s odd. You don’t think you have a ghost on
the premises do you?” Angus teased Elsie. “We do live in the highlands of
Scotland. Who know? You may have a melancholy ghost hanging about the
“This B&B is quite old, I agree, but ghosts? Och,
no, Angus. That’s daft!”
“Who have you got staying with you right now?
Any single men?”
“Why, yes. We’ve got a young man from England.
He’s a writer. He came to find some peace and quiet. Nice young man, he is;
keeps to himself. His name’s Drayton Steele.”
“Drayton Steele? Is he here? I’d like to meet
“I’m not sure. Let’s go and find out.” Elsie put
the tray of bannocks into the oven and wiping her hands on a towel. “Come
on. He’s up on the 2nd floor.” Angus followed her up the stairs.
She knocked on a door. Nobody answered.
Drayton heard the noise outside his room and
when Elsie knocked, he sensed trouble. He opened the window and climbed out,
hung over the edge and dropped to the ground.
“I’m afraid he’s not here right now. Strange. I
thought he was in his room. I can’t keep track of the comings and goings of
all my guests, Angus, surely you know that.”
“Yes, I understand. Thanks for trying. When Mr.
Steele comes back, please call me, would you? I’d like to speak to him.”
“I’ll do that. Now, come in the kitchen and fill
up a bag with something to eat. The bannocks will be piping hot and
“I’ll give you no argument.”
She filled a brown paper bag with the hot rolls,
added a jar of orange marmalade and sent Angus on his way.
Drayton watched Angus leave with a paper bag in
his arms. “What’s he doing here, asking around about me?” Keeping his
distance, he followed Angus home.
Angus’s mind raced. “Drayton Steele. I think
I’ve found our missing descendant.” He hurried home.
* * *
“Where’s Uncle Angus?” Fiona saw Jimmy and Jesse
sitting on the settee. “How long were we gone?”
Jimmy stood up when they appeared back in the
croft. “Hello Fiona. You’ve only been gone a few minutes. Your uncle stepped
out. He went to town to ask some questions. He’ll not be long. How was your
trip? Did you get the jewel?”
Fiona pulled the pearl out of her pocket. “I got
it. Our trip was great. We went to the Seychelles.” She handed it to Jimmy.
“Your uncle told us to wait for him before we
did anything, so I suggest we sit here and talk and wait until he gets
back,” Jimmy said. “This pearl is perfect. There are no flaws.”
“It was inside a big clam,” Callum said.
“You mean oyster, don’t you?” Jimmy questioned.
“No, it was a clam. Remember, someone put it in
the clam. It didn’t grow in there,” Elspet said.
“Yes, well, you’re right about that. Jesse, why
don’t you get these children some hot tea.” Jimmy gazed at the pearl.
“I don’t want anything to eat or drink. We’re
full. We ate in the Seychelles.” Callum patted his tummy. Instead they sat
around the fire talking.
An hour later the door opened. Uncle Angus
smiled when he saw the children. “You’re back.”
“We got back a while ago, Uncle Angus. I got the
pearl. I want to tell you all about our trip. We went to the Seychelles.
I’ve been telling Jesse and Jimmy all about what happened,” Fiona said.
Jimmy handed him the pearl.
“Let’s get this jewel into the orb and see what
happens first,” Angus said. The six of them stood around the orb, watching
as he slipped the pearl into its appropriate hole. “Got it right on the
The three stones shone a little brighter than
before. “How did someone carve a dragon inside a pearl?” Callum looked at
the three dragon images flashing against the croft wall.
“Wizards are amazing. They can do just about
anything. I hope some day you’ll have the chance to meet Zerahemna,” Jimmy
“This means that Artur will be arriving soon,”
“Artur? That’s an unusual name. Do you mean
Arthur?” Elspet scratched her head.
“No, it’s Artur. To anyone besides us in this
room though, he’ll go by the name Jack.”
“I think it’s confusing. You all have two
“Then just call us Jimmy, Jesse, Johnny and
Jack. Forget about our real names.”
“I think I’ll do that. It’s easy to remember
with all of your names starting with the letter ‘j’. Thanks.”
# # #
Drayton looked in the window just as Angus
put the 3rd stone in. “That’s three of them now; only nine more
to go.” He glanced down at his necklace. The third arm of the star glowed.
“Great. Keep it up, Fiona. Dragons? Why are there dragons shining on the
wall? The last thing I need right now are dragons. This is going to take
forever. I hate the thoughts of sitting around this stinking village for
another week.” He heard someone coming. Twigs snapped under his feet. “Who’s
this, I wonder?”
The man knocked on the door. Angus mumbled a few
words and let him in.
Drayton watched as they shook hands. “The men
know each other. Whoever they are, there are now three of them. I wonder if
this has anything to do with the three stones. It’s time for a visit to the
castle for a talk with the wizard.” Drayton walked off, heading to Castle
# # #
“Artur! It’s good to see you.” Jesse embraced
“How did you know to come here?” Callum picked
up a chocolate biscuit and took a bite.
“Who might these children be?” Artur looked at
“Artur, this is Fiona, Callum and Elspet. This
is Angus. All are involved with the orb,” Jimmy said.
“The orb? I knew it must have happened,” Artur
said. He saw the orb. “It’s the pearl. After all these years. What year is
“You won’t believe it when we tell you,” Jesse
said. “It’s the 21st century.”
“What? Which one of these children is the
descendant of King Kegan?”
“That would be me,” Fiona said. “I’m a
descendant of King Dugan too, according to Johnny.”
“Alroy Cathmore,” Angus said.
“Why are we going by different names?” Artur
looked as confused as the others.
“In this century, your names are odd. Cowan has
taken the name of Jimmy. Pond has taken the name of Jesse and you, Artur,
will go by the name Jack,” Angus said.
“Jack? What sort of name is that?”
“A modern one.” Jesse smirked.
“Have a seat, Jack. Fiona’s about to tell me of
their trip to the Seychelles,” Angus said.
“You put some bad spells on that jewel, Jack.
Callum, Elspet and I had a hard time getting the pearl. We were nearly
killed by the giant octopus and the waves,” Fiona said.
“Yeah, but the pirates were lame. They were
stupid pirates. You could have done better,” Callum said.
“I’ll remember that next time.” Jack smiled,
winking at Jesse and Jimmy.
Fiona told her uncle and the others the story of
their trip to the Seychelles.
When Fiona finished, Angus said, “I think I’ve
found our foe. I’m not 100% sure yet, but Elsie, down at McDougal’s B&B told
me about some strange things happening. It has to be our man. His name is
“Drayton Steele. The name means nothing, but if
you’re suspicious of him, then we’ll all be on guard,” Jimmy said. “There
have been attempts on Angus’s life, Jack. We need to stay here and guard him
while the children go and get the other jewels. Phelan’s power will grow
stronger with help from this Drayton Steele.”
“I think I should walk Fiona and the other
children home and find Johnny. He’ll be most interested to hear what’s
going on. Is he still with your mum, Fiona?” Jesse said.
“I think so. It’s nearly dark outside. I’d like
an escort home,” Fiona said. “Wait, Uncle Angus. What is my third magic
power? I didn’t use the fire one in Seychelles, but I sure had to use the
shrink and grow big spell. What is it this time?”
“I read about this last night. You’ve now got
the ability to talk to animals,” Angus said.
“I sort of could do that already. When we were
in Iceland, I talked to the puffins,” Fiona said.
“That was only because the light fairy and
Magnus helped you,” Elspet reminded her.
“Yeah, you’re right. I’m ready to go home,”
“Me too,” Callum said. Elspet nodded.
“Very well. I’ll stay here with my guardians,
Jimmy and Jack and you, Jesse, would you mind taking the children home. By
the way, did you see anything unusual when you arrived at the castle?” Angus
placed his hand on Jack's back.
“Castle Athdara? Aside from feeling King Kegan
and his family’s spirit, nothing else,” Jack said.
“Spirit? There are spirits at the castle?”
Callum didn’t like the sound of that.
“I knew King Kegan and his queen very well. I
loved them both dearly. I sensed their presence in the castle. I knew they’d
once lived there because I could feel their spirit in the walls. Does that
make sense?” Jack looked at Callum.
“Sort of. We used to have a highland cow. Her
name was Flora. Every day she stood under one of our oak trees. Even after
she died I thought of her every time I saw that tree. Is that what you
mean?” Callum tried to understand.
“Yes. That’s what I meant. When you love someone
so much, their spirits never leave your heart,” Jack said.
“Maybe while Jesse takes the bairns home, we
three should go to the castle. I’d like to have a look around,” Angus said.
“Jesse, get Johnny and meet us there in an hour.” With that, he and the
children left. Angus showed Jack around the croft and spent a while
explaining how things worked in these modern times. Angus opened the front
door, ushering Jimmy and Jack out into the cold, autumn night. “It’s been
years since I’ve been to Castle Athdara. I wonder what tonight will bring?”
“Hopefully nothing,” Jimmy said. The three
disappeared into the darkness of the surrounding trees.