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Rolfin's Orb
Book 9 - Sapphire
Chapter 1

          “This is all so unbelievable. You mean to tell me that Drayton is under a spell, or power of some ancient wizard who worked for an evil king, who happens to be Drayton’s ancestor?” Penelope clasped her hands together. “That boy has always been a little bit off. I see why, now. It's in his blood. His father was a rotter too. I'm glad I only had one child; though I always wanted a daughter.”

          “Don't blame yourself, Pen. Never underestimate the influence of a father. You did the best you could with him, under the circumstances. I’ll never understand what you saw in that man in the first place.” Nellie squeezed her sister's hands. “What we need to concentrate on now is how to protect Drayton from this wizard and how to protect ourselves from Drayton? Mairi? Any suggestions?”

          “I'm afraid not. Drayton's quite under Phelan's control now. He's done some horrible things. I understand your concern for him, but for now it's best we think about how to protect the both of you from him.” Mairi poured herself a cup of tea. “Would you like some?”

          Both Nellie and Penelope nodded yes. “I brought this book. I thought it might be of some help to you.” Penelope pulled it out of her bag.

          “Drayton has a book too?” Angus took it from Penelope. He opened it to the first page and sat to read it. “It's written in Gaelic, just like the one Fiona found in the castle. It looks like this one was written by King Dugan's scribe, Talon Hormdin. I think this can help us figure out what's going on in Drayton's mind.”

          “His father, Shardow, used to spend hours up in the attic reading through it, or attempting to. I know he couldn't read Gaelic, but something attracted him to it.” Penelope took the cup of tea from Mairi. “Thanks dear.”

          A knock at the door interrupted them. Angus stood and pulled it open. “Callum! Elspet! We've got the whole gang here. Come in.”

          Elspet eyed Penelope and Nellie, unsure of why the women were there. “Hello Mrs. Steele. Hello Mrs. Crawford. It's nice to see you both.”

          Callum smiled and waved. “Hello.”

          Fiona, sensing their concern, blurted out, “They know everything, so you guys can relax. Phelan took over the body of some creature and went to Cornwall; that's where Drayton disappeared to. The creature tortured him and made him come back.”

          “Where is he now then?” Callum's eyes darted back and forth between the two elderly women.

          “I'm not sure. He stormed out of the house an hour or two ago,” Nellie said.

          “He's probably gone to the castle.” Johnny picked up his book. “We've got three books now. I think Fiona, Elspet and Callum should be on their way to the next place. We've got to hurry. A storm is coming and I don’t mean rain. We're all going to be involved.”

                                                #   #   #


          The castle loomed before him, its high walls, dark and cold, even in daylight. Drayton stood on the shores of the loch, gazing at the deep water. An icy wind blew across the surface, frothing the waves into a churning cauldron of black. Resigning himself to misery, he sighed in defeat.

          “How am I going to get to the castle? There is no boat.” Remembering he now had the ability to control water, he raised his hand and commanded the loch to freeze into a solid mass of ice. Crackles filled the air as the loch turned into a glass-like sheet of frozen crystals. He stepped onto it to test its strength. When he slipped on his bottom, he knew it was safe to cross. Sliding and teetering on the ice, he made his way to Castle Athdara.

          When he stepped inside, Phelan stood waiting, in the form of an ugly, deformed Orkney trow. “I see you've decided to return to us. Good choice, Drayton. I've been waiting for you.”

          Drayton scoffed. “You could have done better than a stupid trow. You're not very frightening.”

          “Make no mistake, boy, I can frighten you any time I want.”

          Remembering his experience in Truro, Drayton lowered his gaze. “I know. I'm sorry. What is it you command of me, Phelan?”

          “Where is your book? You did bring it with you, didn't you?”

          “It's at my aunt's house. I didn't think to bring it. I can go back and get it.”

          “You're a bigger fool than I ever dreamed you could be. You left the book with your aunt? What are you?” Phelan laughed out loud.

          “I'm sorry. I'll go and get it and come back in a while.” Drayton raised his voice, but refused to make eye contact.

          “Here's what I want. Go and get your book and then get me the other two books. If you have problems, bring me back one of those children to use as hostage. Don't fail me this time. Bring me the books.”

          “But there are only eight of the twelve men so far. I don't think....”

          “You're right. You don't think. I didn't ask you to think. Go and get me the three books. I don't care what you have to do to get them. I'm tired of waiting. I'll deal with the orb later. Leave!”

          Drayton stood still, staring at him.

          “I said leave. Now! Unless you want to be taught yet another lesson?”

          “I'm going.” Turning his back on the wizard, he ran from the castle, across the ice to the shore. “Sorry auntie, I'm going to have to kill you now.” Ten minutes later he stood in the living room of Nellie’s house. “Nobody's here and my book is missing. My dear mum has taken it with her. Where would they have gone with it? Mairi's? Angus's?” Leaving the front door wide open, he headed for Angus's croft.

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