Monday, 25 February 2013

Mamelon - Chapter 18

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN



If Gail Wright was aware of her father’s approval for the way she had raised her sons to handle themselves passably well under duress, she chose to pay it scant attention.  Astor, she would dearly have preferred to forget, was inclined to blow as hot and cold as motherworld weather. Besides, she had greater concerns on her mind.
 After persisting with the crystal seer bowl, she had managed to track down Mick and Bethany. Slightly reassured that Astor had both in his sights, although not impressed with Ricci, she had scanned the northern territories for any sign of her youngest child. Time and time again, she tried to impose her desperation on the shifting patterns of crystal but none yielded any clue as to Pete’s whereabouts. She broadened her sweep but was careful to avoid Lunis, City of Moons, judging that a head-on clash with Ragund was best avoided for now. Time enough for that, she brooded, as she scoured the red and purplish hues of Mamelon. “Nothing!” she exclaimed aloud for the umpteenth time, “Peter, Peter, where are you?” she moaned softly.
“He’ll be warded,” suggested Tim Wright, twenty-first century architect, slipping with reluctance, yet easily enough, into the long ago but only half-forgotten and never utterly renounced identity of Timon, Holy Seer of Mamelon.
“Of course he’s warded!” Galia responded sharply, “But how and why? Peter is of no importance to Mamelon. It’s Michal they want, although Bethany may have a part to play,” she conceded pensively.
“You think she may be a Keeper?”
“Don’t you?” Galia countered irritably.
Timon shrugged. “Only time will tell. But you mustn’t worry about Peter. He’ll be fine.”
“Speaking as a seer or a father?” she retorted, but immediately relented and even managed to raise a watery smile, “I’m sorry, that was…”
“Undeserved and unkind,” he agreed but without rancour.
“I could try and contact my father, I suppose?” she suggested guardedly.
“Over my dead body…!”
“What else can I do?” she wailed.
“Keep looking,” urged her husband.  “I will not have that old fox manipulating us  or the children. Besides, you know he won’t thank you for it. He’ll get in touch again when he’s good and ready.”
“So long as you and I are good and ready too,” she murmured acidly. “I still can’t believe he contacted you and not me. I am his daughter, after all...”
Timon swallowed, with some difficulty, the obvious comment that sprung to his lips. None knew better than he how little love there was, or had ever been, between father and daughter. He continued to mull over a half-formed plan of his own that involved drawing upon a Forbidden Power.  Forbidden, yes, but a Holy Seer might access it should ever the direst need arise. And what could be more so than for a parent to protect his children? 
Wait, instinct cautioned urgently. Nor could he deny the sense of it. For if Tim Wright was no less concerned for their children than their mother, Timon of Mamelon could rally precious little motivation for dealing with druids. They cannot be trusted, and who knows that better than I? Besides, it was only a hunch that any still existed. Astor was reputed to have druid powers, but quite apart from being a meddling old rascal, his father-in-law was also a powerful mage in his own right. True, Astor may yet prove to be a viable source of direct help. For now at least, though, it is one best avoided.  That the old devil would keep a weather eye on his grandchildren, their father did not doubt for a moment, but only while it happened to suit whatever Grand Plan was presently preoccupying the self-styled Mage of Mages.
Tim-Timon glanced over Galia’s shoulder. The shimmering crystal revealed nothing but passing images that, for all their shadowy brevity, told a sorry tale. It did not take a seer to comprehend that the once lush Mamelon landscape was surely dying.
“Nothing…!” Gail-Galia sobbed and snuggled gratefully into the strong arms that enfolded her.
The seer bowl’s light began to fade and, with it, any chance of spotting the familiar carrot top head.  Impossibly, it had vanished without trace. Or else, both frantic parents privately acknowledged, but not to each other, Peter Wright was dead.

To be continued