Roanoke Twenty One
Edwyn le Fay had to dive out of the way as he was almost run over by a cart. He dived sideways, into a market stall. He landed on a bunch of vegetables. The stall tipped over, and the vegetables fell down onto the dusty ground.
A second later there was an angry man standing over le Fay, pointing at the vegetables and shouting in Chinese.
“I’m sorry.” le Fay said, as he picked himself up. He picked the stall up, righting it, and began picking the vegetables up off the ground. He didn’t recognise them. He had never seen bok choi before. The stall owner continued to berate le Fay in Chinese. It seemed that he wanted some recompense for having had his produce thrown into the dirt.
“I haven’t got any Chinese money.” le Fay said. Why couldn’t everybody speak English? It would make things a lot simpler. He felt his pockets to see what he did have. It had been a long time since he had needed any money at all.
He had some dollars and cents. Of course he did, because he had been in America. That seemed almost a lifetime ago. He thought that he might soon need the dollars. But he handed the cents over to the stall owner.
The stall owner was not impressed. He took one look at the money and threw it down on the ground. He crushed the coins under his foot, before pointing at le Fay and continuing to shout at him.
“I’m sorry.” le Fay said. He wanted to get out of there. He wanted a food, bed, something to drink, and a bath, not necessarily in that order.
He ran away, without looking where he was going. He knocked some old woman over. The next thing that he knew was that his arms had been grabbed by a pair of guards (or maybe policemen, he wasn’t sure), and he was thrown into a cold, dark cell.
There was a lot of head scratching at the gaol when the guards went for le Fay the next morning and discovered the cell to be empty.
Edwyn le Fay stayed for two days at Bill’s house in Kitty Hawk. He slept for most of those days, being awake only to take in food and water and have a bath. Le Fay had thought about going back to London. But he had got rid of his rooms there, rather foolishly. He had sold up nearly everything. And what possessions he had were on the island of Roanoke. But they could wait for a few days while he rested.
Le Fay told Bill the full story of what happened, during those days. Bill said that it was a good tale. Le Fay was not sure whether the old man believed him or not.
After two days or so le Fay went to Roanoke. He felt some trepidation in going there, as he expected to be questioned about the wizard who had been killed by Trevelyan. But nobody asked him anything about that.
Le Fay went and found job Denton. The man had kept all of le Fay’s belongings. The wizard was reunited with his spellbooks – which was a great relief, as far as le Fay was concerned. He had feared that he would never see them again.
Le Fay also got his Magickal Oscillator back, and his Falcombe’s Magickal Viewer. They had been discovered near the site of where the Lost Colony had been, and Job Denton had guessed that they had belonged to le Fay, and that the wizard would, one day, return for them.
“Did you find anything else there?” le Fay asked.
So the dead body of ‘Zadikiel’ had not been discovered. Maybe Trevelyan had hidden it after he had shot the man dead. Maybe, in the end, he had thrown it through the vortex. At least it meant that there would not be any awkward questions concerning how the man had died.
Le Fay was required to tell Job Denton all about what had happened. Le Fay told the complete story – except the bit about Zadikiel being shot dead. He left that man out of the tale. Le Fay was not sure whether Denton believed him.
Afterwards le Fay took his Falcombe’s Magickal Viewer and his mythometer and went and inspected the vortex. Le Fay wanted to see what state it was in. His fear was that people from the island of Roanoke might stumble through it, and find themselves in the Red World. Le Fay, though, was surprised to find that there was no trace of the vortex. He could not detect it with his mythometer. He could not see any strange, mystical effect with Falcombe’s Magickal Viewer. Eventually, after a long internal discussion, he went to the other end of the island, entered the Shadow World, and examined the area from within. But there was no trace of the vortex. Le Fay surmised – although he had no proof – that when he had come through the second vortex that he had completed some mystical effect begun back in 1587, and that the Red World was lost forever. Which meant, hopefully, that he would not have to worry about Trevelyan ever again.
Le Fay slowly made his way back to London – the old-fashioned way, via steam ship. He was till feeling tired, after his adventures. He did not intend to do any mystical travelling, whether by the shadow world or mystical vortices, for a long time.
He would have to find some new rooms in London. Blackchapel was cheap, until he found some way of generating an income. Perhaps he could become a mystical detective, offering his services to solve mysteries. There was one thing which he would have to do before that, though, and that was to find fame and fortune as the person who had solved the mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke.
In that, though, Edwyn le Fay proved to be an utter failure. He contacted all of the publications on Magick, explaining how he had solved the mystery, and found the Red World. None of the publications would print his tale. They said that it was fanciful; invented; and without proof. One publication even suggested that he send his story to a penny dreadful – if he worked on his grammar.
He had solved the mystery of Roanoke. But nobody believed him. He had not thought to bring back anything from Roanoke to prove his tale; and, of course, none of the people from White Town had been willing to come back with him. The vortices in China and Roanoke Island had closed as fully as though they had never been there. He had solved the mystery: but, for all his trouble, he had been left monetarily out of pocket, branded an inventor of tall tales, and living in ruddy Blackchapel.
The only consolation that he had was that he, alone, knew the truth.