Roanoke: Chapter Seven
It was the bald man who acted first. He raised his left hand and pointed at le Fay. He seemed about to say something. But Edwyn le Fay was not about to let this man get off some spell. Perhaps these men were former associates of Gideon de Ville, who had come looking for revenge. Well, he was no longer some naïve young wizard. He was a master of Shadow Magick; and it was to Shadow Magick that le Fay turned.
Le Fay opened a doorway into the real of shadows as quickly as he could and dived inside, going into the only shadow he could see, one cast by a large rock. He just wanted to get out of there.
As soon as he was in that other place he knew that something was wrong, however. The shadow did not look as it should. It was twisted into some semi-spiral. Everything was twisted into some curve.
Le Fay immediately felt himself seized by some powerful force, something which he had not yet encountered in the realm of shadows. It grabbed him and pulled him, trying to twist apart both mind and body. He was no longer under the rock, but out where there were no exits back to the real world.
For a second le Fay thought that he was done for. He thought that he would die in that mysterious other realm. Nobody would find his body. There would not be any memorial to him. There would not even be any grave.
He was being drawn to the heart of where the colony had been in the 1590s – to the centre of the Lost Colony. He had not been able to detect anything there back in the real world. Nothing had shown up on his mythometer. But, here in the shadows, he could see that something was very wrong.
There was some sort of whirlpool there. But it was not one of shadows. The stuff of the realm of shadows went int. But the whirlpool was one of many colours, bright and iridescent and ever swirling. There was a maelstrom of colours, and le Fay was being drawn helplessly towards them.
It was the first time that he had seen bright colours in this shadow realm. He had thought that there couldn’t be bright colours here. Then he realised that there couldn’t be. What he was seeing was a breach in the realm. If he entered the breach as he was he would be ripped apart.
For a second he thought back to when he had been investigating the missing monolith. He had entered another world then, a place he thought of as the Grey World. It had been a strange other dimension, one in which he had thought that he was trapped. He had not once tried to escape from the Grey World into shadows, and then back to the world in which he had been born. He had not even considered it. But, subconsciously, he had known that there would not have been any point. He would only have entered the shadows of that other dimension. Perhaps each world had a realm of shadows alongside them.
Then le Fay realised just how much danger he was in. He did not want to see where that whirlpool went to. But le Fay feared what it might do to him if he was swept through in his current form. For all that he knew he would be torn apart, his body drawn down in fragments to… somewhere else.
He had to get out of there.
Somehow le Fay managed the strength for another doorway out of there, otherwise he might have been stuck in the realms of shadows forever.
He fell out of the realm of shadow into a dark room. He had no idea where he was. But he didn’t care. He was still alive, and that was the main thing.
He fell to the floor. The floor was bare wooden boards. He kissed them. He had never been so pleased to have bare floorboards pressed against his face.
He did not know where he was. He did not care where he was. But the important thing was that he was still alive.
He spent ten minutes resting in darkness, the wooden floor beneath him. He could hear muffled sounds outside where he was. Maybe those sounds were people’s voices. But le Fay could not discern what they were saying.
When he had calmed down he decided that he had better find out just where he was. He was going to do that the old-fashioned way. No more Magick that day – not after just what had happened.
He stood up, and almost knocked something over. It was something long and wooden.
“LUMEN!” Alright, perhaps just a little bit of Magick, just to see where he had appeared. A ghostly green light appeared cradled in his left hand.
He was in a broom closet. He had knocked over a broom. There was also a bucket and mop in there, as well as some cleaning supplies. He had reappeared in a ruddy broom closet. But a broom closet where? That was the question. Was he still on Roanoke Island?
He tried the door to the broom closet. It was locked, or bolted.
“Oh, come on, who locks a broom closet?” he muttered. He sighed, and let the mystic light go out. If he was to get out of here it might be best if he didn’t scare his rescuers with Magick.
Le Fay banged on the door of the broom closet and shouted.
“Hello! Is there anybody there? I’ve been locked in the broom closet. Help!”
He had to bang and shout for a couple of minutes before he heard the bolt on the door being drawn back. The door opened. A woman in her thirties was standing there, staring at him as though she could not believe what she was seeing. She had mousy brown hair. She was wearing quite thick spectacles.
“How on Earth did you get locked in there?” she asked. “Was it one of the children? Who are you, anyway?”
“Children? Where am I?”
“You are in a school. You must know that.”
Le Fay wondered how much he should tell this woman. It might be that the only way that he could explain his presence in the broom closet was to admit that he was a wizard. But he decided that he was not going to use his real name. He could invent one. William something. Wilberforce? Yes, that would do. He would be William Wilberforce.
Somewhere at the back of le Fay’s mind there was the idea that William Wilberforce had been somebody important. But he did not listen to that lone voice.
“How did you get in the closet? What are you doing in my school?”
“It was an accident.” le Fay said. “I was involved in an experiment which went wrong. The next thing that I knew was that I was in your broom closet. William Wilberforce, at your pleasure.”
“William Wilberforce? The campaigner against slavery who died seventy years ago?”
Now le Fay knew where he knew the name from.
“No, obviously I am not that William Wilberforce.” le Fay said. He wished that he had chosen some different name.
He stepped out of the closet before the woman shut the door on him. Not that she would have. But le Fay just wanted to get out of there. He was not at his best in awkward situations.
“What sort of experiment?” the woman demanded, in a rather sharp tone.
“An, er, mystical experiment?” le Fay said. He had not wanted to say that he had been using Magick. There were some people who simply did not like Magick or magicians. He understood that there were quite a few people like that in the Americas. But his flustered brain had not been able to think of a different explanation for why he had appeared in the closet.
“You have been doing Magick in my school? I should report you to the police.”
“I didn’t do Magick in your school!” le Fay said, quickly, before the woman did something stupid like screaming for help. “I wasn’t in your school. I was… elsewhere. But the spell went wrong and I ended up in your broom closet. Believe me that was the last thing which I had wanted to occur.”
“Alright, then, William Wilberforce.” the woman said. “If that is the case, and it really was an accident, then I suppose that you had better get out of here. But no Magick in my school! I don’t want any of my children picking up bad habits from you. Get out of here before I change my mind and report you to the authorities.”
Edwyn le Fay opened his mouth to ask whether the school was in Manteo or not. But one look at the woman’s face and he thought better about it. He almost ran out of the school.
Once he got outside he could see that he was not in Manteo any more. He was in some busy city. That meant that he was no longer on Roanoke Island. But where was he?
There was some old woman in black, with a shawl over her head, about to walk past him. Le Fay stopped her and asked her a question.
“Excuse me, but could you tell me where I am?”
The woman stared at him as though he was a madman.
“Don’t you know where you are?”
“No, it appears that I have lost my memory.” the wizard said. It was a lie. But he didn’t want to go into a long explanation of what had happened to him.
“You’re in Richmond.”
“Richmond in Virginia?”
“Yes, sir, that is correct.” the woman gave him an odd look. But, as there were no further questions, she left this strange young man standing where he was and continued on her way.
Le Fay was stunned. He had thought that he might have gone a few miles, at the most. But he was not even in the same state. He did not know how far it was from Roanoke Island to the capital of the Confederacy. But he imagined that it must be hundreds of miles. He was probably lucky that he was still in one piece.
Well, he knew where he was. Now all that he had to do was to get back to Roanoke Island.