The Way of the Word

30. September 2010

The Gatherers – Chapter 11

“Yes, he’s quite the storyteller,” Habbassin said.

“Please, not so loud,” Ankhoro said. Ghenni noticed that he helped himself to yet another drink of water.

“It’s called a hangover,” Habbassin said. “You shouldn’t drink so much, if you can’t take it.”

“So you were there?” Ghenni said. Habbassin nodded.

“I felt his magic aura, and came to check him out. He’s really quite powerful, you know.”

“And he’s funny,” Miki added. Habbassin laughed, which made Ankhoro whince.

“He’s got a way with words, no doubt about it,” he said. “I mean, that campfire story he told almost even scared me, and god knows I don’t scare easily.”

“I could hardly sleep last night,” Miki admitted.

“No, that was because you overate,” Ankhoro said. “That story didn’t scare me at all. It was only a story. Wasn’t it?”

“I’ve seen stranger things,” Habbassin said.

“Let’s get back to the point, shall we?” Ghenni said.

“Spoilsport,” Habbassin said. “But okay, let’s.”

“Bolwyn is here because he’s looking for a magickal artifart.”

“Artifact,” Habbassin corrected her.

“Whatever. He felt your magic from wherever he comes from. He even managed to find the right island you’re on. I don’t think he’s going to go away before he has found what he’s looking for. And we all know what that thing is, don’t we?”

“Habbassin’s lamp,” Ankhoro said.

“Exactly,” Ghenni said. “So, I don’t think he’ll leave by himself before he has found the lamp. And I fear that we won’t be able to hide it from him forever. So we’ll have to do something.”

“But what?” Miki said. “He’s a mighty wizard, and we’re just three children.”

“And a djinn,” Habbassin said. “Since you’re doing this for me, I at least ought to pitch in, don’t you think?”

“Yeah,” Ankhoro said.

“What do you have in mind?” Ghenni said.

Habbassin glared at Ankhoro.

“Not much, really. I don’t dare use my magic right now. I don’t know how powerful Bolwyn is. If I use my magic, he’ll certainly sense it, and I wouldn’t want him to find me until I know how to beat him in an unfair fight.”

“So, what do you have in mind?” Ankhoro sneered.

“First, we’ll need to gather more information,” Habbassin said. “I prepared something last night, while you all were busy celebrating.” Habbassin held out his hand, and three large crystals materialized. “These are far-seeing crystals,” he explained, giving one each to Ghenni, Ankhoro and Miki. They grew until they filled the childrens’s palms. “You look at them and think of who or what you want to see, and they’ll show it to you. It’s a very simple spell, and I don’t think Bolwyn’ll notice their magic. It should be too minor to attract his attention. And it enables us to keep tabs on him.”

“Let’s try it,” Ankhoro said. He stared at his crystal. A picture began to fill the crystal. Ghenni gaped. It was definitely Bolwyn, standing at the beach with Zoltan, Xulia and Yanag.

“What are they talking about?” Miki said.

“Concentrate,” Habbassin said, bending down to stare intently into the crystal. “Ankhoro, the one who holds the crystal must concentrate. Then we can hear their words too.”

Deep lines appeared on Ankhoro’s forehead. His efforts were rewarded by small, tinny voices that seemed to issue from somewhere deep within the crystal.

“Yes,” they heard Bolwyn say. “If you’ve seen anything unusual at all…”

“Not so much seen,” Zoltan said. “But there’ve been some really weird things going on recently.” He visibly swallowed, and then proceeded to tell Bolwyn of the things Ghenni had done to him and his friends.

“I don’t think that’s good,” Miki said.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say,” Habbassin said. “I remember their faces when they…”

“Be serious,” Ghenni said. “That wasn’t what she meant.”

“Do tell,” Habbassin said, glaring at Ghenni. “Are you sure you’re a child, and not a short adult?”

“Quiet,” Ankhoro said. “I’m trying to concentrate.”

“And all those incidents involved that Ghenni and her friends,” Bolwyn said, stroking his chin.

“Yeah,” Zoltan said. “Something’s definitely weird about her, and since you asked about anything weird…”

“You did the right thing,” Bolwyn said, putting his hand on Zoltan’s shoulder. Zoltan seemed to gain an inch in height. “I don’t know if your information will turn out to be what I’m looking for, but it’s certainly worth a second look.”

The image vanished.

“Are we in trouble now?” Miki asked.

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