“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.”
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
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.”
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
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
“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.”
“You could have done better than a stupid trow. You're not very
“Make no mistake,
boy, I can frighten you any time I want.”
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!”
still, staring at him.
“I said leave. Now!
Unless you want to be taught yet another lesson?”
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.