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The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 16

Seeking Clues

Spring was moving by fast and summer was right on its heels. The days grew long and warm while the nights still remained cool. The weather had finally settled into its normal pattern. During this time the boys spent a lot more time playing games and having fun. The adults would go with them from time to time to watch some new game they had taught the Satyrs. The games got rough at times, with hard hits from each side, but the boys took it in stride. At times the dragons would arrive and stay for a period, flying the boys to and from different places, mainly other preserves. It was a great time; a peaceful time; it allowed the boys a chance to be kids and the adults to relax. Nonetheless, they still had the events to come, and this dwelt silently in the forefronts of their minds.

More and more, Gwinis noted that the smaller boys were filling out; it was not fat but a leanness, one of muscle and sinew. The regular meals and snacks had filled in for the lack of food the boys had endured before. Eric had hit his growth spurt; it seemed as if the brownies were kept almost constantly busy mending his clothing, lengthening and expanding it, during this time. Jamie remained as always the small boy. Although his muscles developed, he did not get much taller; in time that would change, but for now he was just a little too young yet for those changes to start. Kyle appeared surer of himself, more masculine, more assertive, and yet he carried himself with an air of the knights of old. His manners surpassed many of those who were ten times older. Kyle could easily sit with kings and queens, measuring by his manners alone. Yet he also had a softness deep inside, and that was for his Sunshine. Swift remained virtually the same, perhaps a tiny bit taller, but due to his being an Elf the changes were much slower in appearing. He also carried himself with an air of the ages. His speech was the most notable; he sounded more like the elders, and could carry on a conversation either as a teenager or one who was many years older.

Jamie since finding out he was a Dragon's Son, began to take it in stride; he felt no real changes other than he could use different abilities to his advantage. Being the smallest had provided some advantages already, and he used every one; especially when it came to playing with the Satyrs. Jamie's stature allowed him to duck and dodge and even jump over some of the more wicked hits being directed towards him. It had even allowed him to score points on several occasions. While he still might not be tall enough to reach the cookies on the top shelf, he could run circles around most children his age.

Since it was a quiet time, Kyle and Jamie's relationship blossomed; they became much closer over the weeks that followed. Their bond grew ever stronger as they started to figure out what it meant. It was more than just a simple infatuation; something far more profound than that. It was deeper, longing, even passionate at times. The looks they gave each other; they conveyed messages between them without being too outward in the eyes of others over how they felt. Jamie even began coming out of his shell further and further, from a little at a time, to almost not needing the shell. Finding he was safer on the preserve, even with the looming danger, he managed to push his fears down deep.

It was the same with Swift and Eric. They became closer as well, and all of them formed a friendship that would endure forever. While Swift and Eric's bond formed somewhat slower than Kyle's and Jamie's, it was clear to see they were creating as strong a bond as Kyle and Jamie had. All four boys would soon find out what those feelings would mean as they continued to grow in love and life.

Their days were filled with training, and learning about the preserves, but that was not all that they did. They also spent a lot of time playing as well; mainly rough contact sports with the Satyrs. It was rough; made even more challenging by the Satyrs – if they hit, you felt it. There was no holding back on the boy's part either, they would come home dirty and covered in bruises that would take a few days to heal up. Fortunately, no one ever had any serious injuries.

The morning began like a typical coastal late spring day, with showers that would last the entire day. The boys were eating breakfast and talking about what they would do for the day.

Jamie said, "I think I'm going to check out some more of those books in the study. I feel like reading and relaxing today."

"It sounds like a good idea Jamie," Swift responded. "I think we all need to relax for a bit. We have been working and playing a bit too hard." Swift, in spite of being the oldest and perhaps strongest, was himself pretty banged up from the last round of football with the satyrs, so a nice relaxing day was fine by him.

"I agree, Swift. I have a bruise on my chest where Taaggin accidentally got me with his horn," Kyle said, nodding his concurrence.

"Sounds good to me as well. I'd like to sit and play some video games, and let my whole aching body rest," Eric added, summing up what everyone really felt. "I think we played a little too rough this last time," he added with a grin and a laugh.

"Are you sure Taaggin didn't crack a couple of ribs?" Swift asked.

"I don't know, to be honest he might have," said Kyle. "It's really tough to get a lungful of air right now."

"Let me see your chest, Kyle," said Gwinis, listening to the conversation at the breakfast table.

Kyle stood up, walked over to Gwinis, and lifted his shirt. She gently probed the large bruise, then said, "I think Swift could be correct, although there is nothing to be done about it. Just be careful, a good hit could separate them and then you would have a real problem."

"I'll be careful, Mom. I think we're done playing lacrosse for a while," he said.

They cleared their plates and the sideboard carrying everything into the kitchen for Gwinis. She thanked them, and asked, "What are your plans for the day?"

"We're going to relax today," he answered for the group, while rubbing his shoulder.

As the other boys left the kitchen Jamie stayed behind asking Gwinis if she needed any help. He offered to dry and put the dishes away while she washed, and she replied, "That is sweet of you Jamie, but I think I can manage. You look just as sore as your brothers."

"I'm not as bad as them; I'm good at dodging the hits," he laughed in reply.

Gwinis thanked him and Jamie jogged out of the kitchen heading for the study. He had found a nice comfortable chair that he loved to sit in and read. It was by a large bay window and faced the south. It let plenty of warm sunshine through it throughout the day, although today the rain ran down the glass and no sunlight shone through the large window. Jamie wondered if it had been built that way on purpose, since he never felt overly warm while sitting there, and the light was perfect as he read through the dusty journals written by others who had worked at the preserve in the years gone by. Jamie found Kyle sitting in a chair opposite of the one he liked. Kyle had taken to reading as well with help from Jamie, both he and Eric had learnt to read much better than they could before. While they still both struggled with words from time to time, Jamie happily helped them out.

Jamie was dyslexic, a fact that everyone knew, but said nothing about. Before he became the focus of his father's brutality he had been taught by one teacher who cared, how to get over his reading problem by using a few tricks. Unfortunately once matters at home turned for the worse, school was no longer a part of his life, although he did retain a love for reading. Most of his time on the streets, when not trying to find a way to eat, had been spent at the local libraries, until they either kicked him out or he had been caught by Social Services. Recently Jamie had been pouring over a thick journal written by a preserve caretaker who had spent a lot of time traveling in his youth. Jamie had found that Jonathan Burrows was an adventurer. A man who lived for thrills and took a lot of risks. He had asked Thondir about the man who had wrote the most extensive journals in the library.

"Jonathan Burrows was quite a man. For a mortal human he took plenty of calculated risks, which fortunately seemed to pay off for him. He lived to be ninety-five years of age and died in his sleep. His wife is still around, but that is a story in itself," Thondir related to Jamie. "If anyone had information on the Orb, it would have been him."

"Have you noticed in his works how he is talking to a friend?" Thondir then asked.

"Yeah, I have. I thought it was odd, he wrote it all for someone he knew?" Jamie replied.

"Well there is a bit more to it than that: When Jonathan was younger he was the third son in his family. Typically in a large wealthy family the first son took over the family business, the second son with a business career then out of reach would go into the army or sometimes navy. As the third son, he was pretty much overlooked, and sent off to boarding school. Now keep in mind this was back in the days when death from disease was commonplace. Most people did not live to a ripe old age and medical care, as we know it, did not exist. Families, high and low, would have many children to ensure that the family name would carry on. The first two sons would get the prime positions, and only if one of them died would any of the rest get much consideration. The old joke continues on to this day, 'The heir and a spare'.

"Jonathan came from such a family. After he was sent off to school he was left to find his own way in life, since his family pretty much did not care about him. Now that would have changed if one of the first two sons had died, except they did not; so Jonathan was left to his own devices. While he was at boarding school he made a very close friend. We know him as 'Dickie' but we never learnt his real name. This was a time when cholera epidemics would periodically sweep the land; a deadly virus it would kill tens or even hundreds of thousands each time it came back. His friend Dickie was one of those who died from it; it happened while they were at school together. What we learned from Jonathan is that he wrote it this way because he and Dickie, both being unneeded third sons, had decided on going adventuring together when they had grown up. So the style of writing was his way of never forgetting his friend. I hope this bit of history helps you out," finished Thondir.

"That was really interesting. He almost sounds like me; with a family that didn't care and just let him go," Jamie replied with sadness in his voice.

"This family will never let you go Little One," said Thondir.

With these words from Thondir, Jamie began reading Jonathan's journals very carefully, making sure not to miss a thing. He read about trips to preserves that contained dragons; most of them closed to humans, since humans had been a threat to them at one time and the dragons still hated them because of this. Jamie read how Jonathan had climbed many mountains, visited the vast network of preserves, and he also spoke of his love for his wife. In all Jonathan's journals covered everything he did over the many years of his life. As Jamie read them he felt as if he were taken right to these places; he felt he had climbed the Himalayas', had dived to the bottom of a crystal clear spring that contained actual mermaids, and swum with a leviathan from the deep seas off the Japanese coast. Jamie felt that one day he would have just as many adventures as Jonathan had had.

Jamie smiled at Kyle as he sat down in the overstuffed easy chair. It seemed to him that all the chairs were big enough to swallow a small boy, but they certainly were comfortable. Kyle smiled back when he noticed Jamie's eyes on him. He was reading a book on demon lore as Jamie sat with yet another leather bound journal of Jonathan Burrows' adventures.

"So what is the great adventurer talking about in that journal?" asked Kyle, as he looked over the top of his book. He was reading 'The Professor's Guide to Demons', it was written by a reliable author, and Jamie had seen the selfsame book in the old downtown library as well.

"He's visiting a preserve in Karnak Egypt, and describing some of the more exotic beings like a wear-bear; it's part wolf and part bear. He even talks about Harpies and how they can kill you with just a scratch. Kinda freaky if you ask me, but then I thought those Jackalopes where fake, like the ones you see in gag stores," Jamie replied grinning, knowing now that while what he had seen in the stores were fakes, real ones actually existed on a preserve in one of the deserts of North America.

"Yeah kinda weird eh? I mean who'd have thunk that a lot of the stuff from all those legends was actually real," Kyle replied, more of a statement then a question.

Jamie turned back to the journal, the next entry grabbing his attention and he read on eagerly.

10 March 1865

My Dearest Dickie, I think I may have found an important clue! Do you remember when we used to lay in front of the fire in Sir Harold's apartments at school in the evenings listening with rapt attention to his retelling the stories of the digs in Assyria? And he would tell of the tablets they uncovered when the Great Library of Sargon was discovered? He always came back to talking about the tablet of 'The Orb'

The French and we English are finally cooperating on translating the discoveries brought back from Egypt and ... they've also found out about the Orb! A whole pillar covered in inscriptions about it, I went to Karnak myself to see it, and it's there! And just as Sir Harold said of his tablet, the inscription refers to a location in the East. I've booked passage … I'm going!

While Jamie and Kyle were engrossed with their books in the library Eric had convinced Swift to come and play a zombie-based game with him. Swift agreed saying, "As long as they are not real, it's fine with me."

Eric looked at him puzzled and said, "You mean zombies are real? Wait… forget I asked, I already know the answer to that."

Swift smiled, then said, "Very much so, but it's not like if a person were a zombie. A true zombie is a mindless being with only one drive, and that's its next meal. If a human were in that state it would be a mercy to kill them."

"I still can't get over the fact that everything we have read, seen, beings we've spoken to and had dealings with, they're all real. And yet here we are: sitting in a massive preserve, which by magical means is far larger than it should be, and surrounded by all sorts of whimsical beings," said Eric. As the two boys then entered his room, he grabbed the remote and turned the T.V. on.

Eric was impressed, the Brownies who lived somewhere on the preserve, had one night placed a second chair in his room similar to the first. He was amazed at how they seemed to know what each person needed or wanted. The two boys sat down, turned on the game system, and downloaded the game off of WiFi; as they waited the title appeared and Swift grinned.

"They're not even close to a real zombie," he stated.

"You've seen real zombies?" Eric asked excitedly.

"Yeah I have. One of the oldest preserves in the Sahara desert has a collection of zombies. One escaped and they had to hunt it down. I was there; I was a small boy then. I saw it; it shambled along with a funky gait, not really even a walk, more like a shuffle. They tried to catch it and return it, but it was not going to happen, so they had to destroy it. It was actually sad, since few remain," Swift finished.

"That's sad; I'm sorry to hear that. I'm not sure I understand it all, but I think I'm starting to get it. I think you're doing this to keep everything alive, regardless of good or evil," Eric said. "I think I could do it as well. I don't like to see anything die … well maybe certain people … but that's different."

The game finished loaded, and Eric looked at the screen and said, "Maybe we can play a battle game instead. I kinda lost interest in this."

Swift smiled, took Eric's hand, and said, "You have a much bigger heart than you thought."

Jamie sat reading the journal. He had come to another part where Jonathan was speaking of the orb. He slowed and read carefully.

10 September 1865

My Dearest Dickie, I did it! We did it! I have found the orb! It's magnificent! It has the lustre of a pearl, and the size of your prized cricket ball from that match won. And Sir Harold was right, there is something unworldly about it. I had to securet inside a box, I touched it once, and my hand felt like it was on fire. I think the ancient prophecies were true, this is not a mere bauble from the past, it is something much more. And I wonder, now that I have found it, dare I remove it from this location and place it in a new home

But its location was too easy to discover, and I fear there are those that would misuse it for devastation and they could find it as I have. I am going to bide my time and linger whilst I think on how, or if, I should try to smuggle this artifact away from here.

Jamie re-read the paragraphs again; he suddenly closed the book as he thought to himself, 'It's not possible … It can't be …'. As he thought the words, his mind drifted back to the old library in town, and to a time when he had been caught and taken to the office of the old librarian. The picture vivid in his mind as he remembered seeing an object that somehow looked familiar, and yet did not. Jamie thought more about it, it felt as if his head were going to explode trying to remember all the details. Maybe if he went on to something else it would come back to him.

As Jamie reopened the journal and read on he found more about the orb. He was getting excited, and realized he needed to contain himself, lest others become concerned with what was brewing in his mind. He continued read, then came across another entry that told what he needed to know.

20 December 1865

My Dearest Dickie, Luck was with us! I have gotten away with it, and now the orb lies safe in its new home. I shall not leave the details here. I trust you with my life, my one and only true friend, but others may read this journal and they must not know.

I have entrusted the location with one in Druhull whom I know to be worthy. She is the only one other than you that I would give such a secret to. She will let the one person know where it is located when the time is right.

May it save mankind in its hour of need!

Jamie read the words over again; he knew what he had to do now, the realization dawning fully on him. He started skimming the book looking for any more details it might have on the orb, or who the women was who had the answers about it. Trying to think of who it could be, Jamie began to wonder if Nyssa, the Dryad, was the one that had the knowledge of the orb. After a bit of time had passed his tummy rumbled. He looked up and Kyle was looking at him. The smile on his face said it all; he had heard Jamie's stomach as well.

Setting his book down he looked at Jamie and asked, "Getting hungry Sunshine?"

"Yeah I am. How long have we been here?" enquired Jamie.

"It's been a few hours since breakfast. That's one thing I noticed about being here, you never really keep track of time, 'til someone's tummy voices a complaint," said Kyle with a grin and a little chuckle. "How about we go make some sandwiches? I bet Swift and Eric heard that rumble and will be down soon."

Sure enough as they exited the study they met Swift and Eric coming down the steps. Kyle looked up and spoke first, "I see you're hungry too."

Swift laughed, "How'd you guess?"

"Sunshine's tummy went off just before you came downstairs," replied Kyle.

This set them all off laughing and they continued towards the kitchen, passing through the butler's pantry on the way. Jamie paused and looked at some of the jars of jam that were sitting on the shelf. Some had unusual names, made from fruits and berries he had never heard of. One looked very intriguing; its label written in a flowering cursive, which he could not quite read. He grabbed the jar and carried it with him into the kitchen. Gwinis had said that anything he wanted to try he could, and he was being true to her words. He had already tried most of the exotic fruits and vegetables they had; he was now trying different jams and jellies at lunchtime.

Since they had become used to their new home, the boys had gotten into a regular routine, including helping making meals, as well as making do for themselves. Gwinis was impressed with the way Jamie was filling out, he no longer looked like a pencil stuck into clothing, he had grown a bit as well, but there was not an ounce of fat on him. His muscles were well defined; not excessive or grotesque, like some men looked, his muscles fit his frame. He was also much stronger than he looked; even giving Swift a run for his money in the practice pitch. Kyle too was impressed with how his Sunshine had grown and learnt during the short time that he had been at Druhull.

Even Eric had become more fit over the weeks that had passed; the boys no longer looked like homeless street urchins. All accomplished with the help of Gwinis, and her wonderful meals, along with a good dose of exercise, proper sleep, and not having to worry when the next meal would come.

Swift whispered into Kyle's ear, "Jamie's grabbed the hot cherry jam, should we warn him?"

Kyle looked over and saw what Jamie had in his hand. He smiled, whispering back, "Na, you didn't warn me. I bet he eats it like candy. He's eaten some really spicy foods here and never flinched."

Jamie made his sandwich unaware that the jam was like fire and ice. It was a great tasting jam, made with special cherries from the Midwest. When made right, it was some of the best jam in the world, but if you did not have the tongue for it, it would leave you guzzling water.

They all walked back to the dining room and sat down to eat. Kyle bit into his sandwich and looked over at Swift who was eyeing Jamie. Jamie took a bite of his own sandwich and his eyes suddenly lit up. He felt his face getting warm, as his nose began to run and his eyes began to water. Swift and Kyle watched closely, they did not want their buddy hurt.

"Are you OK, Jaime?" Kyle asked.

"WOW! That stuff is wicked!" Jamie replied, taking another bite of the sandwich as he felt his face turn red once again.

Swift looked at Kyle and with a bit of awe in his voice, said, "I think he likes it."

Eric looked at Jamie and then at Swift and Kyle, finally asking, "What is it he's eating? It sure turns his face red."

Swift replied, "It's hot cherry jam. It's like both fire and ice when you eat it. Yet it's real tasty if you can handle the heat."

"I can't tell if he likes it or hates it," said Eric, looking at Jamie as he would alternately smile and then squint his eyes.

"I think he likes it. He keeps eating and not saying anything," Swift replied.

Jamie finished the last mouthful of sandwich and then said, "That was awesome! Once you get by the heat it's so yummy. I can't believe it. Oh, and to keep the heat down just keep your mouth closed."

They all laughed at Jamie's review of the jam as he licked his lips, took a large drink of milk, and then wiped his mouth on his sleeve. This gained another round of giggles from everyone. Jamie's age was definitely showing and the normally shy, reclusive boy, who formerly used to sit there looking down at the floor all the time, was gone. In his place sat a bright, happy, smiling, regular eleven-year-old boy.

They cleared the table and Jamie noticed that the rain has stopped after all; the sun had come out as well. He looked at the others wondering if he could slip away for a bit and go speak with Nyssa. Burrows never mentioned whom he had married, but it fit with what Nyssa had said to him when they first met. Jamie finished clearing the dining room and took care of all the dishes. He hoped it would make a good cover so he could slip out and speak with Nyssa.

The others had wandered back to what they had been doing, talking about later heading to the gatehouse and soaking again in the hot tub. Jamie went to his room, put his camouflaged outfit on, slung his bow and daggers, and headed out of the house. He promptly ran into Thondir on the back porch.

"I'm going to go walk the path for a bit. I've been cooped up inside and need some fresh air," said Jamie as he looked up at Thondir.

"Sounds like a good idea. Make sure not to go off the paths," reminded Thondir.

"I won't," Jamie replied.

Jamie walked casually down the steps and toward the woods. Since the boys had been shown all of the safe and dangerous areas, he had a good idea as to where he could travel safely. Once out of sight of the house Jamie started to jog down the path, he figured he could get there quicker and not be missed as soon by the others. Soon he was jogging down the main path and coming to the fork where the Dryads had their home. He slowed to a walk and turned down the path they had, following it to the main home of the Dryads. He was very cautious as he walked along, looking for any signs of danger. A voice sounded unexpectedly behind him, causing him to jump.

"Hello, Little One," said a smooth mellow voice.

Jamie turned, saw that it was Nyssa who had startled him, and said, "Hi Nyssa. I came to see you."

"I knew you would come sooner or later. Have you been reading Jonathan's journals?" the tall Dryad asked him.

"Yes I have, and I wanted to ask you some questions. If that's okay …" he replied.

"That would be fine, although I think I can answer some of them right up front," she said. "I am sure you have figured out that I am Jonathan's wife."

"Yes I have."

"So you know then that I know the secrets of the orb?"

"I sorta figured that out. I was hoping you could help me find a way to retrieve it?" asked Jamie tentatively.

Nyssa laughed a little bit and smiled at Jamie saying, "I would love nothing more than to go with you on this quest. But I am tied to my tree here, and to wander beyond the bounds of this preserve would cause me to fall to mortality; I do not desire that. I will aid you however, in better ways. Jonathan recovered the orb and hid it away. The orb was stolen some years later by someone we know only as 'The Bookman'; an evil person who wants to use the orb for the destruction of all. After it was stolen Jonathan did all he could for the rest of his life to find it, but since little was known of the Bookman we were unable to learn where the orb lies."

Jamie looked at her with surprise, and said, "I know where it is! At least I think I do … I'm quite sure I do. I know who the Bookman is! It's the old guy at the old library in the centre of the city. I'm almost positive it's him. He had me in his office at one time, he'd called the police and they forced me to go back home. I was reading the journal, and Jonathan's description of the orb, and it started to come to me. I wasn't sure then, but I am now. I'm pretty sure that it's sitting on a shelf, there in the library in his office. I can see it almost as plain as day now in my mind."

"You must also know then that you are the one person who can touch and retrieve it. If any others should try to hold the orb they will surely depart from this world. The orb is even more dangerous now than in Jonathan's time. With the prophecy coming to fulfillment, I doubt even he dares touch it," said Nyssa.

Jamie realized the gravity of what she was saying; if any of his newfound family were to touch the orb they would die. He could not let this happen, most especially one member of his new family. His mind was made up; he would go as soon as he could and retrieve the orb.

"How did Jonathan die?" asked Jamie. "From what I read the orb injured him, did it kill him as well?"

"The orb injured him, yes. In spite of that however, he went on to live a long life, my husband died peacefully in his bed at the manor you are staying in. As a matter of fact you carry his bow and daggers, they were one of his most prized possessions. Do you know who made that bow?" asked Nyssa.

"Swift said it was Elvish made, but never anything more," Jamie replied.

"He was mistaken. It was made by my sisters, as a wedding gift to Jonathan. It is much more than just a bow. There is magic woven into it. It cannot be taken or used by an enemy should you fall; it would turn to dust in their hands. The same is true of the daggers; they will never break and cannot be held by an enemy. It also will shoot special arrows, I have some to give you," Nyssa then reached down by the tree she was standing next to and picked up several arrows that Jamie had not noticed earlier.

"These arrows are special; the blue-fletched arrows will open a portal to any place you picture in your mind. So should you picture your bedroom and shoot the arrow it will dissolve and a portal will be opened and remain for a short time. You can then step through and be in your bedroom," Nyssa explained as she handed Jamie the blue arrows.

"The red fletching is made from feathers of a Fire Drake. When you shoot these a wall of flame will appear in front of you; should you hit an enemy with them they will be engulfed in flames. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be careful with these," said Nyssa, handing Jamie the rest of the arrows.

"A blessing of all the woodland folk be upon you as you take on this quest, may you succeed in your endeavour. Now I think you should return home before the others notice you are gone," finished Nyssa as she smiled at him.

"Thank you my lady. You are most kind and have given us all hope. Blessings be on you and yours here at Druhull," said Jamie and then he turned and walked away.

Jamie headed back down the path; he now knew what he had to do. The plan was set in stone since none of the others could touch the orb without dying, and he would not let that happen. Arriving at the main path Jamie started to jog back to the house, quickly going over what he could do in his mind. It had not taken that much time for him to return. As he approached the house Thondir was still sitting on the back porch, he had been joined by Gwinis and Aunt Faervel along with Lornen, Brúndaer, and Onas. Jamie approached with a nervous look on his face, he wondered if they knew what he was planning.

"Hi everyone," said Jamie, trying to keep his tone cheerful. He was almost skipping up to the porch, all in an attempt to avoid suspicion.

They all returned his greeting and smiled at him. The adults were so amazed at how well Jamie had adjusted to his new home. It had taken a while, but Jamie had come further out of his shell than any expected. For the first part of spring Jamie had been very shy around everyone, but as he saw and felt that he was safe he gradually opened up more and was enjoying everything now. Even his knowledge of being a Dragon's Son had, after a period of reflection, been taken in stride.

Aunt Faervel spoke first, "How is Nyssa doing?"

"She's fine. She says 'hi' to everyone," said Jamie, as he took a seat on the steps, doing his best to act like nothing important had happened. Yet, he wondered how Aunt Faervel knew he had been to see Nyssa.

"How are you enjoying Jonathan's journals?" Thondir asked.

"He's great! I think he's the only person who ever wrote a journal that I enjoyed reading. He really detailed everything and made it sound fun; even the dangerous stuff. I could live like him – a carefree adventurer travelling the world," Jamie replied.

The back door suddenly opened and Kyle stepped out, "There you are Sunshine! I've been looking for you."

"I went for a walk. I was feeling all stuffy sitting in the house so long," Jamie replied with a carefully pasted-on smile.

"Well we have a plan so that was why I came looking for you," Kyle said, smiling back at Jamie. "How about a sleepover at the gatehouse? We can all use a good soak in the hot tub," he explained, while rubbing his chest where he still had some bruises from playing lacrosse.

"That sounds great," Jamie replied, thinking and smiling at how it would be a nice distraction, and time for him and Kyle to enjoy each other's company.

Gwinis added, "Would you like to stay here for dinner or would you like to take it with you? Maybe some hotdogs and buns; you could roast the hotdogs on the fire."

"That sounds yummy, Mom," Jaime said excitedly, he had never roasted hotdogs until he had stayed here at Druhull. He had found that he loved them that way, lightly blackened on the outside and almost too hot to eat on the inside.

"Faervel can you take a look at Kyle's chest? I think he has a couple of cracked ribs. I forgot to mention it to you earlier. I just want to make sure he will be fine, before they head out," Gwinis asked.

"I will happily have a look. Kyle come over and let me see," said Aunt Faervel. Kyle walked over and lifted his shirt once again for her to examine his ribs. She probed with her fingers, Kyle wincing slightly from pain. "Yes there are two that are possibly cracked. Kyle, after your soak take a wrap with you and have one of the boys place it around your chest, that should help ease the pain and allow them to knit better. I will also send along some special tea for you to help with the pain."

"Thank you Aunty, it has been a bit hard breathing," Kyle replied.

Jamie stood up and went with Kyle to pack some gear for the night out. They ran through the house and up the stairs to their rooms to get their things. Soon they all met in the hallway, and Swift said, "So, it's hotdogs and hot tubs tonight, eh?"

The boys all laughed and then headed out for the gatehouse.

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[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead