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Rolfin's Orb
Book 9 - Sapphire
Chapter 10

Callum sank to the ground. His strength had left hours ago. He no longer cared if the bats swooped around him, landed on his face, or hair. He didn’t care about anything except wanting to die. The will to live had vanished, along with any dignity he had once had. Tears no longer flowed and the screams of pain no longer erupted from his mouth. He felt ashamed that he’d revealed so many secrets about Fiona, the orb and the books.

Phelan, bored now that the boy had given up, disappeared, along with the bats, into the depths of the castle, leaving Callum alone in the darkness.

Fiona crept through the stone-walled rooms. Silence enveloped her with its chilled fingers. She dared not utter a word in case Phelan or Drayton was near. Moving from room to room she strained to see in the dark, afraid to turn on the flashlight she carried in her pocket. When she stepped into the room with the stained glass window, enough light filtered through to see Callum chained against the wall. His head hung low and his body looked worn and bruised. A gasp of sorrow burst from Fiona’s lips. Her gaze wandered around the room in search of her enemies. Sensing they were alone, she ran over to her friend. “Callum,” she whispered. She knelt and caressed his cheek, making herself visible again.

He raised his head. “Fiona. I need a drink. I can’t talk.”

“Oh, Callum. What has he done to you?” Fiona felt tears trickle down her cheeks.  She stood and followed the chains from his wrist to the wall. “He’s wanting to make sure you don’t get away, doesn’t he.” She dug in her pockets. “Ah hah. I’ve got a paper clip. I’ll bet if I work on these locks I can open them. I don’t have anything to drink, Callum. Don’t speak. Just rest.”

As she worked on picking the lock, her mind raced. If I can turn invisible, that means Drayton can too.  She looked around the room. I don’t sense him in this room. He’s probably off planning his next cowardly act.

                                      * * *

Elspet led Mairi and Malcolm around to the back of the castle. A wooden door, twice the height of Malcolm blocked their entrance into the castle. “Well, now what? My son is in there. That monster is doing who knows what to him. I’ll break it down if I have to.” Malcolm wrenched his arms in anger.

“Mr. McAllister. Don’t worry. The door is open. Fiona, Callum and I have explored this old castle from top to bottom. You’ve been inside a lot, haven’t you, Mrs. McAllister?”

“Elspet, why don’t you call me Mairi? I don’t mind. It will make it much easier for you.”

“Okay, Mairi. That sounds weird, but I’ll call you that while all this is going on. Push the door, Mr. McAllister, unless you want me to call you Malcolm?” Elspet smiled.

“I’m old fashioned. You can stick to Mr. McAllister please.” Malcolm frowned and pushed the door open.

Loud creaks echoed through the huge room as they stepped inside. “Push it shut, quietly,” Elspet said, putting her finger to her mouth. “Quietly.”

Malcolm closed the door, but couldn’t avoid the squeaks. Once it clicked shut, they gave themselves a few moments to let their eyes adjust to the dim light. A window above allowed a miniscule amount to shine through.

“Where is Callum?” Mairi turned to Elspet. “Do you think he’s down in the bottom part or up in the main hall where he had his fun with me?”

“I think Phelan likes to be in the main hall. Let’s try there, but please, both of you, don’t make any noise. Mairi, you’ve been in his clutches before. You know what he’s capable of.” Elspet took Mairi’s hand.

                             *  *  *

Drayton sat on a rock, watching the men row across the loch. He noticed the others back on the other side. As Fiona had, Drayton made himself invisible. He walked over to where Johnny and the men stood by the door. He leaned against the bricks and listened to their plans.

After ten minutes, he went around to the side of the castle and called to Phelan.

“What do you want?” The wizard’s form appeared in the loch.

“It seems we have some guests. A rescue party has come to save the boy. I count six or seven men. I saw Fiona. I don’t know where she disappeared and the other girl, Fiona’s mum and the boy’s father went somewhere around back. They’re no threat to us, but these men could be.”

“You’re a bigger fool than I ever imagined, Drayton Steele. You and that father of yours are the two most worthless human beings that ever walked on this pathetic planet. Stay invisible and let’s go and pay these heroic men a visit.” Ebony smoke lifted from the water and took the shape of the evil wizard.

                             *  *  *

“Callum, I can’t get the locks open. I’ll have to go for help. Stay here. Sorry. I know you can’t go anywhere.” Fiona turned to run, but stopped when she heard her name being called.

“Fiona. Fiona, are you alone?”

“Elspet? What are you doing here? You and Mum and Mr. McAllister were supposed to stay out back.” Fiona rushed over to them.

Malcolm spotted his son. “Callum.” He hugged the boy and yanked at the chains.

“You can’t pull them out. They won’t budge, Mr. McAllister. They’re old chains, but strong. Do you have a knife?” Fiona joined him next to Callum.

“Yes. Stand back.” Malcolm fidgeted with the locks and after several attempts, the first one fell open. He pulled it off Callum’s wrist dropped it in Fiona’s hands.

“We need to be quiet. I’ve got a feeling it won’t be long until either Drayton or Phelan returns. Hurry.” Fiona urged the man by moving her hands around.

“I’m hurrying as fast as I can. Mairi, rub Callum’s arms. If he’s been chained up, they must be sore and lacking blood.” Malcolm undid the rest of the locks while Mairi, Fiona and Elspet helped Callum stand. His legs wobbled and he fell to the ground. “I’ll carry him.” Malcolm picked his son up. “It’s all right, son. I’ll not let anything hurt you again.”

“You guys had better go back the way you came in and then make your way to the logs. Mr. McAllister, put them on it and row over to the other side. Send Jacob, Jack, Jeffrey and Jared over to help. There’s about to be a battle.” Fiona ran towards the door.

“Fiona. Wait. You can’t…”

“Mum, I have to.” Fiona turned herself invisible. “Go! Now!” She ran toward the main entrance and heard shouts.

 Phelan stood in front of the men. Fiona spotted Drayton next to him. “Johnny and the others will never stand a chance. I wonder…” Fiona ran back into the castle, up the stairs to the room where the others had once been held captive. She pushed the door open and her heart jumped when she spotted the red caps and sluaghs leaning against the walls.

“Well, well, well. Who have we here?”  Deyab, one of the redcaps, jumped up.

“Listen to me. Phelan, your grand wizard, is planning to kill you all. I heard him talking to Drayton. He said you were all fools and that you were his slaves and he’s not giving you any reward.” Fiona lied.

“What? No reward? He’s going to kill us?” Deyab alerted the others. “Did you hear that?”

“I know where he is. He’s outside, by the main door. He and Drayton are laughing at you and saying how stupid you were to believe he’d reward you.” Fiona saw her plan was working.

Rofariir, a sluagh, flew over to Fiona. “Girl, if you are lying, I will personally kill you.”

“I’m not lying. He’s outside right now. No reward. No freedom. No life. It’s up to you.” Fiona turned to leave.

“Why would you help us?” Rofariir flew in front of her, blocking her exit.

“Because he only cares about himself. I don’t like redcaps and sluaghs, but I would rather help you than Phelan.” Fiona stopped and thought for a moment. She spoke to Rofariir in his language.

He listened and was impressed. “You speak our tongue. You’re a smart child, aren’t you? I believe her.” Rofariir turned to the others. “Let’s go and have some fun with Phelan.”

Dokomik shouted his fears. “But he’s much more powerful.”

“Only if we are alone. If we all stick together, he cannot beat us.” Rofariir flew out the door. The others followed him.

Fiona giggled. Good, that worked much easier than I thought it would. I am glad I can speak other languages. I wonder where those bats went.  She sent out a message to them and heard the squeaky sound of their wings flapping. Bats, go with the sluaghs and redcaps. Help them attack Phelan and Drayton. I command you.  Fiona watched the swarm of dark brown flying rodents swoop after the redcaps. Rats, mice and any creatures in this castle, go with the redcaps and sluaghs and attack Phelan and Drayton. She heard the scuffle of tiny feet rush toward the door. “This is going to work out just fine. I hope Mum got Callum and the others out of harms way.”

Fiona rushed to the front door, staying invisible. She watched as the sluaghs, redcaps, rats, mice, fox, and bats attacked the wizard and Drayton.

When Johnny saw what was happening, he urged the others back to the shore. Fiona ran after them, leaving behind her mayhem and misery.  When she got to the shore she grew as tall as the pines and scooped all of her friends up in her hand. She stepped across the loch, picked up the others and went to Angus’s cottage. Once there, she shrunk back down and they all went inside.

                             *  *  *

“Stupid fools. How dare you think you can overpower me! I am the greatest wizard the world has known.  You cannot hurt me.” Phelan saw a redcap beating Drayton with a stick. He raised his finger and a bolt of fire rushed out, engulfing the redcap in flame. It burned, writhing in agony on the ground. Drayton moved out of the way. One by one Phelan killed his attackers, including every bat, rat, mouse, and fox.

When he stopped, all that was left were piles of smoldering ash. Drayton laid against a rock, terror written on his face. Blood ran into his eyes. Gashes decorated his face, oozing and bubbling as the droplets dripped to his chin and onto his shirt.

Phelan, in a rage of horrific fury, wailed. His scream could be heard in the next shire. “This is your fault, Drayton. All your fault. They got away. They have the boy, the books, the orb. We have nothing. My power is growing weaker. Get up and get that girl. You stay with her no matter what and if you don’t bring her back, I will hunt you down and kill you. Every second you will beg for me to end it and put you out of your misery, but I won’t. I’ll drag it out for a week. Find that brat and bring her to me.” Phelan disappeared in a whiff of smoke.

Drayton staggered to the loch. He wiped the blood from his face. He stumbled and fell face first on the ground, unconscious from loss of blood.

                             *  *  *

“You’re back. Oh my, what happened to you all?” Angus showed Malcolm where to put Callum. “The boy, is he all right?”

“He needs a drink and then a visit to the doctor. I’m sure he’ll be all right in the morning.” Malcolm filled a cup with water and held it to Callum’s lips. “What did he do to you, son?”

“It’s all right, Dad. I’m fine. All he did was frighten me. It was the bats that bit me. I don’t need to go to a doctor. I just need a drink and a good night’s sleep.” Callum drank six glasses of water. He sat on the edge of the bed. “Thanks for coming to rescue me, Fiona.  You too, Elspet and Mrs. McAllister.”

“If you think you can walk, son, I think we should go home. Elspet, I’ll drop you off at your house.” Malcolm left with his lad and Elspet.

“Mairi, why don’t I walk you and Fiona home. I think we could all use a good sleep. I’ll stay with them tonight and we’ll be back in the morning. Good night. Stay alert and guard those books and that orb.”

“We shall, Johnny. Take care of my girls for me.” Angus nodded and shut the door behind them.

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