“Where are the stones?”
Holston grimaced at the shadow that demanded answers from him, “The Peacekeeper they sent has the blue one. I am trying to track down the other two.”
“Fool,” the shadow yelled at him, “There are many ways to find these and you do not even think of using those.”
“It is very possible that the stones are not here,” Holston turned as his wife spoke.
“There were rumours from the few magical beings I can contact that they may be in the Keep,” Sara Holston explained.
“A place neither of you have the power to navigate,” the shadow told them, “It matters not; I have allies there that will stop the Peacekeeper in her quest.”
Holston turned to his wife as the shadow faded to nothing.
“We just have to ensure that Davin doesn’t close the second rift,” Holston told her.
“Tell me about your family,” Arianna said as they sat in front of a fire on one of the balconies that she was sure was safe for the night.
Logan shrugged, “There isn’t much to tell.”
“Well, we don’t have much else to do here but talk so start talking,” she laughed at him.
Logan leaned against the wall, “Well my parents divorced when I was five. My Dad runs a chain of hotels while my Mom inherited a lot of money. When I said I was coming to Glasgow to study my Mom was completely against it while my Dad practically offered to send me on a private jet.”
Arianna chuckled, “Are you still in touch with them?”
Logan nodded, “When I had my accident they both tried to make me come home. I refused. Mom hasn’t spoken to me since. Dad at least came to see me every few weeks making sure I was alright.”
“Why didn’t you go home?”
“Because,” Logan said, “I spent years trying to get away from them and no matter what I refused to give up my independence.”
“That’s amazingly brave,” she told him.
“I have no idea how I’m going to explain the fact I can suddenly walk again,” he sighed, “If we get out of here alive.”
“It’s nice to know you have faith in me,” she chuckled.
Logan nodded, “I trust in you, Ari but this place is pretty scary especially what happened between us earlier. What else can go wrong?”
“I’m not going to dignify that with an answer,” Arianna laughed.
“You know that’s not what I mean,” Logan defended himself.
Arianna continued to laugh at how defensive he was being, “Are you hungry?”
“Can we get pizza out here?”
Arianna laughed again, “I’ll see what I can do,” she opened the bag she’d been carrying and pulled out a plastic dish. Opening it she placed two small packages on the lid and murmured a few words.
“So,” Logan said as sandwiches and cake appeared, “No pizza?”
“I remember vividly when I was accepted into the
Peacekeepers,” Arianna told him after dinner, they were sitting against the
wall side by side with a blanket wrapped around them to keep them warm, “I was
ecstatic because I was going to follow in my mother’s footsteps. I was going to
make her proud. Then it just seemed to be so different from what I imagined.”
“You’re good at this,” Logan reminded her.
Arianna sighed, her head resting against his shoulder, “The problem is that I wanted to make my mother proud but I now know that I can’t.”
“Because she wouldn’t be proud that I let them hold me back the way I did,” Arianna sighed.
“Ari, you couldn’t have known,” Logan assured her, “There is no way you could have known what they were doing. Besides it just means you go back and kick ass.”
Arianna chuckled, “You know I’m just hoping to get out of here but to be honest I know exactly what I’m going to start with.”
Logan turned to her interested.
“The Library of Astroth,” Arianna beamed, “I was only able to see it when I was in school. It has the largest collection of books in the realm including Fairy and Elf literature.”
“It’s amazing,” Arianna beamed, “It also means I now have the chance to study whatever I want now I’m no longer an apprentice.”
“And they can’t stop you.”
Arianna sighed, her eyes dropping, “It’s getting late. We should sleep in shifts just in case.”
“You sleep first,” Logan told her, “I’d feel better if you’re the one awake during the later part of the night.”
“Good, because I’m beat,” she smiled sleepily at him, “Wake me in a few hours.”
Logan nodded but to his surprise she was already fast asleep.
Sitting on the balcony Logan watched the most amazing meteor
shower he’d ever witnessed. With no streetlights and the fire almost gone there
was nothing to hide it from his view. It was like fireworks exploding across
the sky in a myriad of colours without the annoying bang that accompanied
fireworks. As Arianna shifted slightly in her sleep he checked his watch, he
was going to let her sleep for another hour before waking her. Logan studied
the woman sleeping against his arm with a gentle smile, he found her beautiful
and in some ways more electrifying than any woman he’d ever met. It astonished
him because in the past he didn’t date women who were anywhere near
intelligent. He liked dumb and pretty but Arianna was incredibly smart.
As he turned back to the meteor shower he realised the light was coming closer than before.
“Crap,” he muttered, “Ari, wake up.”
A soft murmur from his side was all he got so he shook her a little more urgently, “Ari, I think we have a problem.”
Her eyes opened and she stared at him blearily before turning to look where he was pointing. Suddenly wide awake she jumped to her feet.
“Grab what you can and get inside,” she ordered, “Now.”
Logan scrambled to pull together their gear before falling in the door as Arianna positioned herself in the opening.
“What are you doing?” he yelled at her but received no answer.
Logan stared in amazement as Arianna stood with her hand up somehow holding back the lights.
Arianna took a few steps back hoping Logan wasn’t in her way
because falling over him just now wasn’t the best idea in the world. Counting
slowly she let her shield slip away hoping she could get the door shut before
she was struck.
She wasn’t precisely sure what would happen if she was but she was almost certain it wouldn’t be good. Gritting her teeth Arianna jumped back as the door slammed shut and doubled over letting out several breaths in relief.
“Are you okay?” Logan moved to her side.
Arianna stood up straight and waved her hand a few seconds as she caught her breath, “Getting there.”
“What was that?”
“Random magic,” she smiled at him, “Unfortunately we gave it a target.”
“I’m guessing being hit wouldn’t have been a good idea,” Logan grimaced, “I just thought they were pretty lights.”
Arianna chuckled, “Do you want to try and get some sleep?”
Logan rolled his eyes, “Not a chance, my adrenalins pumping so we can move on some more.”
“Well, I’ve got another idea,” Arianna told him, “We should try to get to the tower. I think if we get there we can possibly contact one of the magical creatures. I don’t always admit this but we need help.”
Laurie slammed the first of the three books onto the desk, coughing at the cloud of dust surrounded her.
“Davin, learn to dust,” she called to him, “I’m telling you there’s parts of those bookshelves I’m sure the dust has become sentient.”
He shook his head at her, “I am a bit busy at the moment to clean up.”
“Davin, that’s an excuse for the past few days,” Laurie rolled her eyes at him, “What about the dozen years previously.”
“Just get the other books,” he frowned at her.
Laurie chuckled at his mock gruffness before she headed back up the stairs. Davin was working furiously on finding possibilities of who could have stolen the stones and what they wanted them for.
Her mobile vibrated in her pocket and Laurie grimaced, she knew she was neglecting the pub a little at the moment but considering her friend’s life was on the line Laurie had decided what her priorities were.
“Hi,” she answered the call, “What’s wrong, Bob?”
Bob, one of the two bar managers chuckled, “Nothing, I just need to know where the list is for tomorrow night.”
“Did Mike not leave it on the clipboard?” Laurie asked.
“You’d think he was the one pregnant and not his wife,” Laurie muttered, “Okay, it’s on the computer. Use the guest log in and you should find it under the work folder.”
“Are you coming in?” Bob asked.
“I can’t,” Laurie replied, “I have some stuff to do over the next few days. I’m leaving the bar in your capable hands.”
“And Mike,” he reminded her with a laugh, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
As she hung up Laurie sighed before heading up to get the books for Davin.
Laurie looked up as Davin slammed his hand on the table in celebration, “What did you find?”
“A lead,” he told her with a grin, “It’s a very faint lead but it’s a lead.”
Laurie rolled her eyes, “Come on, tell me and stop bouncing around like a puppy.”
“There is mention of Merlin’s Staff,” Davin explained to her, “It’s part of the legend that when Merlin split the worlds he was caught in the wake. Legend says that he was blasted somewhere but the staff, the instrument he was using to perform this amazing feat of magic was stuck.”
“Okay, so we’re looking for the staff?” Laurie asked.
Davin shook his head, “It’s even better than that. We don’t have to look.”
“Oh, I’m getting a bad feeling about this,” Laurie groaned.
“The staff is in the museum,” Davin told her almost giddily, “It’s sitting in a glass box just waiting for us.”
“And how do you propose we get to it?” Laurie asked.
He shook his head, “That’s the only problem, we’ll need Arianna for this and unfortunately we can’t contact them until they get out of the Keep.”
“So, we’re still waiting?”
Davin smiled, “And looking through more books.”
“I’m beginning to hate you,” Laurie dropped her head onto the table.
“Do you think they could have put any more stairs in this place,” Logan gasped, “It’s like they’re unending.”
“Oh I’m an idiot,” Arianna stopped suddenly, feeling Logan bang into her.
“Because the stairs are unending,” she told him.
Agony covered his face, “What?”
“It’s a spell,” she laughed at him, “I’ll try and break it.”
“Ari, promise me that we can still go down and get out this,” Logan said.
“We could but we’re not going to,” she chuckled as he groaned again, “Logan, we need to get to the top of the tower. I need some help.”
“I’m going to try not to take offence at that,” Logan told her with a completely straight face.
“Anyway, give me a few minutes to see if I can break the spell,” Arianna told him, “And don’t say anything.”
Logan rolled his eyes and took a seat on the stairs to wait for her to do her work. Arianna gently murmured her spell.
“Damn,” she muttered.
“This is a really strong spell,” Arianna told him, “I don’t think I can break this one.”
“But there’s always one more thing I can try,” she smiled, “Give me a few more minutes.”
She closed her eyes again trying to focus on the right spell; she needed to find the right spell to break this one. As she finally settled on one Arianna quickly cast it and released it hopefully.
Logan heard Arianna let out another annoyed sigh and looked
up at her, “I take it the spell hasn’t worked.”
She shrugged, “It’s too powerful.”
“So what now?”
“Now, we head back down,” she sighed annoyed, “And try to find another way up.”
Logan stood up, “At least it’ll be easier walking down.”
Arianna smiled slightly but didn’t say a word as he started down the stairs.
“Hey,” came the astonished cry.
“I take it you found the bottom already,” she chuckled, “I told you it was a spell. It was pretty good one.”
As she turned the corner she found him frowning at her. Arianna moved over and quickly pushed herself up to brush her lips to his.
“Stop complaining,” she whispered, “You were the one who insisted on coming with me.”
“When I thought you needed company,” he retorted, “Not a sidekick.”
Arianna patted his shoulder, “I was thinking of you more as the comic relief.”
Before he could say anything else Arianna pulled away looking around, worry covered her face as she peered at every shadow.
“We have company,” she told him before grabbing his hand, “Run.”