Roanoke: Chapter Eight
Edwyn le Fay had to get back to Roanoke. Even if he had decided not to continue to investigate the Lost Colony he had still got to go back there, as all of his books on Magick were on that island. There was no way that he was going to abandon his precious books. They were, really, the only things in his life which mattered to him. Without his Magick he was nothing.
He could have journeyed back from Richmond the normal way, using trains and boats. But he wanted to get back as quickly as he could; and he didn’t want to leave a trail behind him. He decided to use his Shadow Magick. He had no luggage with him. So he could move far faster than in the real world.
This was despite the fact that he had decided not to use any more Magick that day (apart from the Word of Command to produce a mystical light to illuminate the inside of the broom closet). But that decision had been all of ooh, minutes ago. And it had been before le Fay had realised just how far he had gone.
Le Fay paused, though, before seeking out some shadow for a doorway. He had to give this some thought. He recalled that colourful maelstrom, which had been a hole in the world of shadows. He could not afford to go anywhere close to that. He might not escape a second time. And he did not know just how far out on the island its attempts to suck him in might extend. Going directly back to Roanoke Island might be a little too dangerous: and he had always been a bit of a coward.
No, he would go to the town of Kitty Hawk instead. That, at least, would get him closer to Roanoke Island. He should not encounter any problems if he did that. He could get some fisherman to take him back to Roanoke Island, just like the first time.
He reckoned that he could get back to Bill Campbell’s house. But maybe he could find some shadow near there to exit from, rather than popping up in the house. He didn’t want to give the old boy a heart attack. He would have to find some shadow first, though.
Le Fay looked around for some area of deep shadow. But he didn’t want to simply disappear back into thin air. The fewer people who knew about Shadow Magick the better, as far as he was concerned.
He could see a church. He walked into the churchyard, and wandered between the graves. There were a couple of people in the graveyard. But they weren’t paying any attention to him.
Le Fay was looking for some tomb, where he could open the door and go inside. Once inside he could simply disappear.
He was lucky, so he thought. There was some tomb which seemed to belong to some family called Sewell. He’d never heard of them. He hoped that they would not mind him using the resting place.
He looked around. But there was an old woman placing flowers on some grave. Le Fay waited for her to go. He didn’t want anybody to see him go into the tomb.
The old woman seemed to linger forever. He thought that she was never going to go away. But, eventually, she walked away. He waited until she was out of sight.
Then he tried opening the door to the tomb. But the door would not move. It really was not his day. He thought about trying to find somewhere else as dark as the inside of the tomb. But he wanted to get out of Richmond and back to Kitty Hawk.
He put his shoulder to the door and pushed. Edwyn le Fay was not a strong man. He had done very little physical labour in his life. At first he though that the door was not going to open. But, with a scraping sound, he managed to get the door open enough so that he could squeeze inside.
He pushed the door shut. Another scraping sound. He was alone in the dark. But darkness no longer scared him. He had gone back and conquered his fears of the Dark House.
Edwyn le Fay opened a door to the world of shadows. He stepped through into that mystical realm. Then it was a matter of recalling the shadows in the room where he had stayed in Kitty Hawk – and he had taken notice of them at the time, hardly without realising what he was doing. It was lucky, perhaps, that the room in which he had stayed had not faced towards the sun.
His thoughts propelled him along through the world of shadows. They flit past him faster than the mind could see. And it really was with his mind that he perceived this mysterious dimension.
Time hardly seemed to matter. Or perhaps he no longer perceived it in the same way. But sooner than should have been possible he stepped out of a shadow in the corner of the spare room in Bill Campbell’s house.
“Hello?” le Fay called out. There was no reply. It seemed that Campbell was not home at the moment.
Le Fay went and let himself out of the house. He stood outside and waited for Bill Campbell to return. Le Fay did have some manners, after all.
He had to wait around an hour before Campbell returned.
“What are you doing back here?” Bill Campbell asked. It was clear that he was astonished to see le Fay. He opened the door, and they both went back inside (not that Campbell had bothered to lock his house).
“It’s a long story.” le Fay said.
“I’ve got time.”
Le Fay decided to give the short version.
“I was on Roanoke Island, at the sight of the Lost Colony. There were two men there. I think that they have been following me. I think that they might have followed me from London. So I decided to get out of there, using Magick.”
“You can do that?”
“I can do that.” Le Fay was not going to mention that he used Shadow Magick to travel distances. Let that remain his secret. “Anyway, something went wrong. There was – well, there was some sort of effect which I had not encountered before. I got flung a long way away. I found myself in a broom closet in a school in Richmond.”
“Richmond in Virginia?”
“Richmond in Virginia.”
“How did you get back here?”
“Magick, the same way that I escaped from Roanoke Island. But this time nothing went wrong, and I was back at your house.”
“Let me ask you a question.” Bill Campbell said. “If you can use Magick to travel great distances then why did you come here by boat? Why not just use your Magick to travel?”
“First of all, it’s very tiring to use Magick.” le Fay said. “And I’m not sure just how far I could travel in that way. I don’t think that I could have gone all of the way across the Atlantic. I don’t think that would have been possible. But the way that I travel I really need to know the place where I’m travelling to. I think that it would be dangerous to try to go somewhere I’ve never been before. So I try not to travel in that manner. As I have discovered things can go wrong. It’s much safer to go by boat – especially if you have a lot of luggage.”
“It’s a shame that you can’t travel that way all of the time.” Bill Campbell said. “Otherwise you could tour the entire world. You could go and see the Eiffel Tower in Paris one day, and the pyramids in Egypt the next.”
“I suppose so.” le Fay said. It had never occurred to him to try and use his Shadow Magick to go on holiday. But sightseeing had never really appealed to him. He wasn’t interested in the pyramids or the Eiffel Tower. Magick was the only thing which had ever interested him.
“Well, it appears that I have the pleasure of your company.” Campbell said. “Are you going back to Roanoke Island?”
“Yes, but I will travel by boat, not Magick. I cannot risk Magick to travel there.”
“What about those two men?”
“I will be careful.” the wizard said. He had not yet worked out, really, what he was going to do if he saw them again. He hoped that he would be able to avoid them. That was his plan, such as it was: investigate the island without running into those men.
“Well, I won’t be able to arrange anybody to take you back there today.” Campbell said.
“Tomorrow, then.” le Fay said. He was a little relieved. All this Magick was tiring. Not setting out until the morning would allow him to recover.
The only thing which troubled him was the fact that all of his books on Magick were in Denton’s house on Roanoke Island. He hoped that they were safe. They were the only things in his life which he cared about. He even had a copy of the Book of Black Earth. Not that he could actually understand the book, as it was written in an unknown language. But he still owned a copy, and he knew of no other wizard who could say that.
Le Fay spent the rest of the day inside Campbell’s house, eating his food and sitting on his furniture. Occasionally Edwyn le Fay would sneak a look out of a window, to see if he could see the two men who he had seen on Roanoke Island. But there was no sign of them. At the moment it seemed that he was safe.
Early the next morning le Fay took another boat out to Roanoke Island. These early morning starts were killing him. He was not a morning person.
Le Fay set foot on Roanoke Island for the second time in his life. This time, though, he was going to be a lot more careful. Now he knew that he had not imagined the idea that he had been followed.
He went straight to the house of Job Denton. He wanted to check that his personal belongings were safe.
“What happened to you?” Denton asked, when le Fay walked through the door. “You didn’t come back last night. I went out to look for you. But I couldn’t find you.”
“It’s a long story.” le Fay said.
“I have some time.”
Le Fay sighed. But he supposed that Job Denton deserved some sort of an explanation. Once he had determined that his belongings were safe he explained, as briefly as possible, his misadventures since he had set out for the site of the Lost Colony.
“Have you seen those two men?” le Fay asked, when his tale was complete.
“Good.” Perhaps after seeing him disappear the men had left the island. It might be that he had given them the slip. Hopefully they had given up. Maybe they thought that he would not return to Roanoke Island again.
“I will continue my investigations.” le Fay told Denton. “I hope that it will now be safe. If you see anybody like the two men I have described please come and warn me.”
There was nothing else to do other than to go back to the site of the Lost Colony. Le Fay took only his mythometer with him. He knew that there was some sort of mystical vortex there, which he could not see. But he wanted to try and see what more he could discover with his mythometer before he tried any other piece of equipment.
He would have to try a lot of different settings on his mythometer to try and work out just what sort of Magick was involved. He knew that there would have to be some guesswork on his part, as this was not any sort of normal Magick with which he was dealing.
He approached the site of the Lost Colony carefully. He had half-expected the two men to be there, waiting for him. But there was no sign of them. He was safe.
Le Fay got out his mythometer. He had not been able to detect anything the first time. But now he had the advantage that he knew that there was something there.
He cast another spell to detect Magick. He sat down on a rock as he concentrated, and he slowly altered the setting on his compass-like mythometer, turning first one dial, and then another. Le Fay did not notice the sun glinting off something in the distance. He was too caught up in what he was doing.s
It took him a long time. He was twisting and turning the dials on his mythometer for around half an hour before the needle actually jumped, and changed direction, pointing towards that maelstrom which he had glimpsed when he had entered the world of shadows. There was definitely some mystic force there. But he did not know how to describe it. It certainly was not detectable by any of his standard settings. It was not like when he had gone in search of the Lost Monolith. It was like no Magick which he had encountered before. He was not even sure if it could really be described as Magick. But he knew exactly where the vortex was. He now knew where to point his other devices.
“I have it.” he said. “I know where the doorway is.”
“Well done.” a man’s voice said. Jumping up off the rock le Fay looked to see who had spoken. He had been so caught up with what he had been doing that he had been oblivious to the rest of the world.
Le Fay gasped in shock. It was the two men again.