Roanoke Chapter Fifteen
“Weal come to White Town.” the man had said. With those words Edwyn le Fay believed that he must have found the Lost Colony, or some place created by them. Le Fay had read up everything that he had been able to get his hands on concerning the Lost Colony. He knew that the original governor of the colony on Roanoke Island had been called John White.
“Be you friend or foe?” There was a warning tone in the man’s voice. Even somebody like le Fay could tell that this man was guarded. The man did not trust him.
“Friend.” le Fay said. Who on earth would be stupid enough to say foe in such circumstances?
“What be your name?” the man asked.
“My name is Edwyn le Fay.”
“I know not that name.” the man said.
“Well, it’s my name.”
The man stared at le Fay. The wizard felt that he was being judged, in some manner.
“You are weal come to White Town.” the man said, after a while. “Come, eat, stranger, and we will tell you who we are; and then, stranger, you can tell us how you came to White Town.”
Food was not amiss as far as Edwyn le Fay was concerned. He entered the house, to see the man’s wife, and four children – two boys, and two girls – of various ages. All six people were dressed as a person might be dressed in the late sixteenth century. The children stared at Duffield, making him feel self-conscious. But he supposed that they had never seen anybody dressed as he was before in their lives.
The eldest boy got up from the wooden table where he had been sitting. Duffield realised that there must be some wood in this world, for them to be able to make wooden things. Perhaps trees were simply a little less plentiful.
His stomach rumbled. He was hungry. Considerations of the number of trees in this universe could wait for some other time.
He was given a hunk of bread and cheese and a flagon of water. Edwyn thought about asking if they had any wine. But he did not want to offend these people. Perhaps they did not consume alcohol.
He sat down at the table and began to eat. He had to resist the urge to wolf the food down. As he ate, he told them that he had come from a different world, to try and discover what had happened to the colony of Roanoke. They did not seem too surprised to hear that. It was obvious to them that he was a stranger. They had already guessed that he was not of this world.
Le Fay asked them to tell him just what had happened to the Lost Colony, and how they had come to be in this strange place. The people exchanged glances, but did not say anything. The father nodded, and sat next to the wizard. He began to talk.
The legend of these people was related to le Fay. He listened intently as the story was told. He knew part of it, of course, at least as far as the disappearance of the colony. He had guessed some of the rest. But there was still a lot which he did not know.
The colony had not been going well. They had expected the return of the ship from England. But it had not come back. They had been running low on food and other supplies. Roanoke Island had not been the best place in the world for a colony. They had expected the ship to return with more supplies. But it had not. They had not known that it had been delayed by the Spanish Armada.
It had looked like they were going to starve. There was a lot of discussion as to what they should do. One person proposed that they make contact with the nearest Indians, and ask them for help. That person even went as far as carving the name of the Indians into a tree, so that if the ship came from England it would be known to where they had gone. There were then discussions of what to do, as many of the colonists feared the natives, as they were not Christians, and they feared that the natives would murder them. The way that le Fay’s host described the Native Americans made them sound almost like monsters. It was clear that the man had never seen anybody like that, and that the story had become a little exaggerated over the years. The tale continued.
Then one of the colonists, a man by the name of Michael Bishop (or so they had thought at the time) had said that he could save them. He said that he knew powers, and that he could take all of the villagers to safety, if they would only trust him. It was only much later that they learned that the man’s name was not Michael Bishop.
White was not in favour of anything to do with Magick. He considered it to be against the teachings of the Bible. This was despite the fact that White Magick was legal in England – by then England had even had a Magician Royal for the last thirty years.
Some of the colonists were desperate, though. They did not trust the Indians, fearing that the savages would murder them. And they feared that the ships from England would not return in time, leaving them to risk starvation.
They overruled White, telling Bishop to use his Magick to save them. Bishop had everybody assemble in the middle of the colony. Even White assembled there, for the man was no coward, and, whatever happened to his people, he would be with them.
Bishop cast the spell. Strange winds encircled the colonists, and they went into some whirlwind of colours, that harmed them not, but which took them away from their colony on Roanoke. The whirlwind seemed to go on forever. But it put them down again with no harm coming to any of the people.
They were not back in England. The colonists found that they had come to a world different to the one which they had left, with a great red sun in the sky. It did not take them long to discover that they were on Roanoke, but a Roanoke which was different to the one which they had left. There was no trace of the colony which they had founded.
There was much consternation at what had occurred. It was demanded of Michael Bishop that he transport them back to where they had come from. The wizard tried to reverse what he had done, but without success. The colonists did not return to that other Roanoke.
There was much anger at that, and some colonists wanted to kill Bishop. But he produced fire from his hands, scaring some of the colonists. He said that although he had failed this time, that he might succeed in the future, but if they did anything towards him they would be trapped forever. While he lived there was a chance that they might return. He pointed out that his Magick might be useful if they were going to survive in this strange new world. The colonists let him be, and concentrated in building new houses, and all of the other things which they needed to do to survive.
The situation was even worse than it had been, for the colonists knew that no ship would come with more supplies. But they founded another colony on the island of Roanoke, for they knew not what else they could do.
It was soon clear that the colonists could not survive on this other Roanoke. There were fish in the sea, but they seemed few in number. Trees had been few, and all had been felled in constructing the colony, leaving little in the way of wood for fires. There were no animals on the island. It was clear that if they stayed there that they would starve.
It was then that the decision was made to travel to the mainland, and seek help from the Indians there. Michael Bishop, he whose real name was De’ath, said that he should not do so, for if there was some way back, it would be from that island.
It was then that White expelled Bishop, who had brought them into such dire straits. Bishop was banished from the colony, and told that, because of what he had done, he could never return to the colony, no matter what occurred.
The man who still claimed to be Michael Bishop vowed vengeance on white at that turn. He said that he would found his own colony, one based on power not foolishness. He would call his colony the Bishopric, though he was no priest. Bishop left then. But a third of the colonists, foolishly impressed by the power of Bishop’s Magick, went with Michael Bishop.
They left in one of two boats the colonists had built, when they had felled the trees. The other boat was used to ferry the colonists who had remained true to the mainland. By the time that the colonists under White had all been taken across there was no sign of those who had followed Bishop. They had begun their trek away from the colony which they had rejected. They went far inland, and founded their town called the Bishopric. Le Fay was told that the Bishopric still existed, but that the people of that place had been cursed by God, and that the place did not prosper, for they did not follow Christian ways, but indulged in Black Magick and consorted with devils and demons. White Town had no contact with the people of the unholy Bishopric.
White Town was founded then. It, and the Bishopric, are the only human settlements on this world, according to the teller of this tale. He told le Fay that they had explored much of this continent of America, but not found any other settlement. It was the belief of these people that there were no other people anywhere in the world. It was a world without man. And that was the end of the tale.
Edwyn le Fay had heard the tale of these people. His questions as to what had happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke had been answered. But one question remained: how was he going to return back to the world from which he had come?
Le Fay was given a pallet on which to sleep, close to the fire in the main room. It was not the most comfortable bed in which he had ever slept. But it was not the worst. He went to sleep staring into the flames of the log fire, wondering what was going to happen next.