The Scrolls of Icaria by Jamie

Part II - A Gathering of Angels

Chapter 7


Nic released me from his embrace. I looked at him and smiled shyly, and while I now knew that shyness was not something that came naturally to me, I also knew from my recently recovered memory that it was something that did come to me when I was with him. Nic was so much a part of my life. And while there were still large patches in both our memories that were black holes, one thing was solid and certain – our love for each other. The boy who held me in his arms was not only my protector – that was clear from his daring rescue of me in the city of Tardon – but also, my soul mate. That fact was evident just gazing into his eyes and knowing how I felt every time I journeyed there.


“I’m relieved you’ve recovered your memories from before the Orb of the Snake, Jamie. I was fairly sure you would if I was able to find you, although for a while I must admit I did have some doubts. One minute you were standing there with Cody and me and a second later you were gone in a blinding flash of red lightening. It took a while to track you down, but Cody was a big help there.”


“I’m not completely sure how I feel yet, Nic. I’m still trying to brush some of the cobwebs from my brain, but I seem to have all the knowledge I had before I absorbed the Orb of the Snake, plus what seems to me like quite a bit more that the orb has allowed me to access. I’ve gained more knowledge, but you have to know there are still lots of empty holes in my memory.”


“I know Jamie, but try not to dwell on it. We have to be happy that I was able to rescue you and content with the fact that your knowledge and memory have grown a bit more. Of course, I’m hoping that over time we’ll both continue to learn more. Remember, there are still more orbs to claim, and if I’m right, one of them is very near.”


At his last sentence I turned and shot him a serious and questioning look.


“I was wondering about that. Part of what you say surprises me, but from the time you brought me back here to the forest I’ve been able to just barely sense something in the air. There was a feeling under my skin and in the back of my mind that’s been distracting me, like an itch I can’t reach.”


“Cody definitely agrees. He’s traced it to the abbey. Which means we’re going to have to journey there, and the sooner the better.”


“Abbey? What do you mean Nic?”


“There’s an ancient abbey not far from here, it’s a short distance through the forest. It sits high on a mountaintop. Cody discovered it during our search for you, and he told me about it just before I left for Tardon, when I realized you might be in the city. While I was interested in his discovery, my first priority, of course, remained searching for and finding you. But he definitely feels there’s a second orb there.”


“Yes, I do.” Cody interrupted. He had come up behind us as Nic and I were talking. “I could feel it. The sensation was quite strong, and I know it was coming from the abbey.”


My heart sank as the word “abbey” finally registered in my brain, for suddenly I remembered Abbot Gude talking to General Zakaria about an abbey. Could this be it?


I mentioned it to Nic who agreed I might be right, but like Nic, I felt that if there really was an orb residing there, we must go and retrieve the magical relic lying within the abbey walls.


Our discussion continued a bit longer, with an occasional comment or suggestion from Cody, but after a while Nic and I decided that we’d talked about the matter long enough and carefully began to prepare for our mission. We all agreed that we would keep the camp as our base. Cody would remain behind, packing and securing everything in the event that we would be forced to make a hasty departure. Luc would stay with Cody and help him.


By now, Luc was following Cody around the camp assisting him as the young angel went about his various chores. I imagined that since Luc had been a servant back in Tardon, it was a role that he felt familiar and comfortable with and one that might be helping him to cope with the terror and confusion of the past day. At the thought of him, I looked around the camp and saw him at the edge of the clearing gathering some wood for the fire.


“Luc,” I shouted, calling him and motioning for him to come and join me.


Luc looked up at me, and walked back into camp, put down his sticks and trotted over.


“How are you today?” I asked, wondering what his response would be.


“I don’t know,” he said, frowning slightly.


“I’m very sorry about your brother, Luc. I’m so sad that he’s not here with us.”


“It’s not your fault… Your… Grace.” He said the words your and grace with a bit of hesitation, as if he were unused to the title.


“You can just call me Jamie,” I said with a smile


He looked up at me shyly. “I feel strange.”


“Why Luc?”


“I’m very sad that Jon was killed, I loved him and I always looked out for him, but I’m also happy to be with you. You saved me.”


“Well not really, I just didn’t want to leave you behind.”


“No one ever cared that much about me.”


I moved closer to him and put my hand on his shoulder. “I care about you very much, Luc. You were nice to me when I was taken to the general’s provisional offices. I was scared. I didn’t know what would happen to me. You were kind and helped me.”


I smiled at him. He returned my smile with a searching look. I could feel the emotion flowing from him; instinctively I stretched out my arms to him. He leapt into them and hugged me with all his might. I held on to him tightly. Neither of us said a word. After a few minutes we ended our embrace.


I released Luc and gazed down at him with a sad smile, then turned when I heard the sounds of movement behind me. I looked to see Nic and Cody standing there. Nic was smiling at Luc. Cody also had a broad smile on his face. Then he walked over to Luc, stood behind him and wrapped his arms around him, draping them across his chest in a warm hug. Luc rested his head on Cody’s shoulder. I smiled as Cody then bent his wings and wrapped them slightly around the young boy. A feather brushed against Luc’s cheek and he giggled. He closed his eyes and I could see by his expression of contentment that here was a boy hungry for affection. At that moment I realized that he’d probably lived a life empty of love and compassion, except for that of his brother, Jon.


The moment was broken by Nic. “Jamie, I think its time for us to go.”


I nodded my head in agreement, and we continued our preparations for our mission to the abbey. As we packed, Nic made sure he had his short sword, some water and a few provisions. I also took water and a small amount of food, but had no weapon. From the display of pyrotechnics I’d demonstrated the night before and armed with knowledge I gained from the amulet and the red orb, I knew that I was armed well enough – maybe even better than Nic.


Our preparations went quickly; Nic wasn’t one to drag his feet and I was able to match his speed. We’d mutually agreed that we would fly to the site of the abbey, survey it and the surrounding area and if possible would enter it, find the orb, and exit as quickly as possible. Nic decided that we should take only what we could carry without getting weighted down so that we could move with the fastest speed possible. Everything moved rapidly until all our preparations were complete. After one final check, we said goodbye to Cody and Luc, then stepped into the clearing of the camp and jumped. Instantly our wings took over and we were ascending out of the forest.


The woods, while still a bit dark and forbidding, began to take on a majestic beauty as we soared high above the treetops. The sun was warm and bright. The forest appeared endless as it stretched as far as I could see. Nic flew by my side and just slightly ahead of me.


As we flew, I began to think about what I’d just regained in knowledge from my second encounter with the amulet. In my first brush with it – before my amnesia – the amulet had appeared damaged or at least not fully functional. And even though I’d gleaned information from it, there seemed to be large holes in the knowledge it provided. It was hard to say how much was missing, but I suspected that it was quite a bit. Even so, what I’d originally learned from its brush with my mind was still quite astounding.


Everything Nic had said about the two of us being in a coffin for a long period of time was true. Our names were Niklas and James. Somehow we had been buried then resurrected, but why this had come to be was missing from the amulet’s information.


It was obvious to both of us that we were not normal creations of nature; someone, somehow, somewhere had fashioned us into the creatures that we were. We were specifically paired together for a purpose. We formed some sort of unit and held a deep bond of love. This had all been woven into the very fabric of our existence, possibly before we were even born. The amulet had hinted to the fact that Nic and I would form some sort of group, or society – we had come to call it our kingdom – but its order, hierarchy and structure were unclear.


What was clear was that Nic was somehow to become the leader or ruler of this society and I was to be the creator and controller of it. The amulet had given a single reference to the terms “highness” and “grace”. It also hinted at a king-like leader and a wizard. But, on these brief points it gave us no further guidance, so we gave ourselves the titles of King and Wizard more in jest then seriousness, yet for some reason they seemed appropriate.


Nic was nineteen, and I was almost eighteen – of that we were sure from the information provided in the amulet – although appended to our ages was the oblique reference Commonwealth Standard that neither of us understood.  For a boy of his age, Nic had remarkable strength and agility while I had an array of powers. This was all in agreement with what the amulet told us, but it was unclear what all of these powers were, or how to use them. So while we knew some things, there was so much more that remained a mystery.


Then there was the matter of the orb. From the moment we emerged from our coffins and began our odyssey, we felt unseen forces pulling us along. Neither of us could explain these forces, but we could feel them. We were determined to learn as much as possible about ourselves, the place we were living in, and most importantly, our destiny.


From our initial awakening, I could sense a feeling – like a buzzing in my head. Somehow we felt that it was directing our journey. We started to refer to it as an Energy Compass. At first we didn’t understand it, and we certainly didn’t know what it was. One particular day, after moving though acres of open fields, we came back to the edge of the forest we’d come from, and agreed to reenter it. It was then that it appeared to me that the strong feelings of energy we’d been experiencing emanated more strongly from this dark and solemn place.


Previously we’d avoided the forest since the growth was dense and even in the bright light of day it always appeared dark and foreboding. But the energy I felt seemed to radiate from it, so Nic and I decided to explore it in the hopes of gaining more knowledge.


We entered the forest and began to hike through it. Since the pull of energy was strongest when we were on the ground, it was decided for the time being that we would walk instead of fly. Flying also caused us to expend large amounts of energy after which, because of fatigue, we would often be forced to rest for extended periods of time. It also caused us to consume more food, and under our present circumstances an unlimited or easily accessible supply of nourishment was not available. Nic would hunt and procure meat for us, and I would gather what nuts, berries or roots appeared to be edible, but our resources were meager at best.


Upon entering the forest our compass of energy grew stronger, and we continued in the direction of its source. It took almost two weeks from the time we first entered the forest, but guided by the flow of energy, we finally came to a point where its power seemed to overwhelm us. At that point, we found ourselves standing in a large clearing in the forest. In this open area I could feel that the energy seemed to be at its greatest strength, but much to our disappointment there was nothing to discover. Surrounding us was the forest; its tall canopy hung above us, its dense undergrowth encircled us.


But even so, although there was nothing to see, I still felt overwhelming waves of pure energy washing over me, and was perplexed as to its source. In frustration Nic, who had drawn his short sword, plunged it into the forest floor. The earth of the forest was black and soft and the metallic clang that echoed through the forest followed by the resistance his sword met caused us both to look at each other in surprise. There was something lying underground!


In an attempt to uncover whatever was hidden there, Nic began to use his sword to dig into the forest floor. Then for some unexplainable reason, I felt a sudden urge envelope me and I told Nic to stand aside. He did so, and then I reached outward, extending my hand. In my mind’s eye, I could sense and then feel an object buried there. My mind began to explore its shape. I discovered that I could wrap my thoughts around it, and I did. Almost like reaching out and plucking an apple from a tree, I extended my mental energy out to it, gripped the object and began to pull on it.


As I did so, the ground began to vibrate and rumble. Nic took a few steps back, but I stood my ground, my mind grasping the object and dragging it upward. Finally something shaped like a long cylinder broke through the surface of the earth. I continued to pull at it with my mind, reaching out my hand as if I were actually gripping it and pulling it into the light of day. Eventually it lay on its side next to the large hole that had been created in the act of wresting it from the earth. Now that it was above ground, the energy hum was deafening in our heads. I could see that Nic was completely amazed at my demonstration, but the humming coming from the object was so loud and distracting that any discussion on that, or any other topic, was almost impossible.


As we got a closer look at it, we knew immediately that it was a coffin similar to the one that had held Nic and me. At first, no matter what we tried, it was impossible to open, but then I experienced another revelation. Circling the coffin I came upon a strange circular protrusion that had what looked like symbols carved into it. It also had a small depression in its center. I got closer to so that I was standing directly over it, reached out my hand and placed it on the spherical knob The palm of my hand seemed to fit quite naturally in the depression. The metal felt cold to my touch and I could feel the raised symbols against my hand.


By now the ringing in my head was more then I could bear. Quickly I touched the coffin in the spot I’d seen; as soon as my hand touched the metal I began to feel a bit dizzy. Nic started over towards me, but since I didn’t feel ill or in danger I told him to wait and see what happened. After a few seconds more, a warm sensation welled up from my feet, through my body, and into my hand.


I didn’t understand the thoughts that jumped to my mind; they were strange and unknown to me. The warmth concentrated into my hand and I began to feel flushed. The energy I directed through my hand into the protrusion must have had an effect, because there was a sudden swoosh and the lid of the cylinder popped open, almost hitting Nic in the jaw and he jumped back, as did I. But immediately the energy hum stopped and the ringing in our heads subsided.


We walked over and peered into the coffin. There were two figures lying next to each other – just as the two of us had lain. On the right was the skeleton of what had once been an angel, but was now just a gray skull grinning at us atop a bony skeleton wrapped in the remains of wings, now dried and brittle. On the left was a beautiful sleeping angel boy who looked to be about sixteen or seventeen years old – a boy we would later come to know as Cody. His clear smooth skin, brown hair, long eye lashes, and blue and silver tipped wings made him look like the perfect and pure creature that we would soon discover him to be.


At his feet was a glowing red sphere. It was about a foot in diameter and emitted a low pitched and steady hum. I picked it up with the intention of setting it aside. It felt warm in my hands and the light that came from it had a slightly hypnotic effect, so much so that Nic had to prod me to release it and set it down while we attended to the boy.


Carefully we removed him from the coffin. Within an hour, he was fully conscious and alert. Like Nic and I, when we’d awakened, his memory was weak at best. We noticed that neither he nor the dead angel had an amulet like the one I had. We asked him who had been buried with him, but he couldn’t tell us. He also didn’t have any explanation for the red sphere.


Taking the sphere and Cody back to our camp, we acquainted ourselves with each other and then, since there was nothing more to be learned sitting around talking, we continued on our quest. During the next two weeks we journeyed deeper into the forest. By this time we’d discovered Cody to be a perfect companion.


Cody was always ready to help with any task. After only a few days traveling with him, we soon discovered a warm sense of humor in this wonderful boy who easily offered up a smile or broke into laughter. No matter what we encountered or how tired we got, Cody’s cheerful presence among us at the end of the day always made us grateful for his company.


Well-spoken and intelligent, Cody also had a natural ability to assess complex social situations while offering positive solutions. More than once when Nic and I would become exasperated over some issue or problem, Cody would point out a variety of logical & practical options.


Often when his laughter would pierce the silence of the forest, Nic and I would look at each other and smile over our luck in finding such a kind and warm companion.


As we journeyed, we told Cody of our story along with some of the theories and speculations we’d made regarding our existence. Cody for his part immediately took to heart the idea of a kingdom – a land for us to claim and live peacefully in. We were amazed when he took our unofficial titles of king and wizard very seriously, so much so that we often had to remind him that we were just angel boys like him and we really didn’t know that much about our destiny.


Just as Nic had the power of strength and I the power of intuition and magic (for that’s what we called it since we had no other explanation for it), Cody had the ability to move objects. Every evening as we sat by the fire, he would delight and amaze us by levitating rocks, and fallen tree branches. He couldn’t move any really large or heavy objects, but it was clear that he had the power of telekinesis. We also learned that he was extremely sensitive to the energy emitted from the red sphere – even more so than Nic or I.


One evening after a long day of hiking, we stopped and set-up camp. Cody almost always prepared dinner, a task he seemed to thoroughly enjoy, and one that we’d been quick to relinquish, since meals post-Cody were much taster than those pre-Cody when the two of us would attempt to create something edible out of what we’d procured. Sitting around the fire finishing up our meal, I looked over at the red sphere. It was lying on the ground to the right of Cody, much like it usually did when we settled down for the night. I stood up, walked over to it and picked it up.


I carried it back to the fire and just stared into its glowing pulsating surface. Clutching it tightly, my hands vibrated from its low-pitched hum. As I stared at the orb, the red glow and pulsing images coming from inside it began to mesmerize me. It was then that I felt the urge to breach its warm outer shell and enter its core with my mind. I wasn’t sure why I was doing it, but as I continued to stare at the glowing ball of light, the urges I was now feeling rapidly moved from strong to irresistible. I began to stare at it with a greater level of concentration.


For some reason I began to think of the orb in the same way I thought of the minds I’d earlier entered. Its rhythm and pulse seemed to be calling me, inviting me to probe it with my mind. Holding it before my face I stared into it, trying to let my thoughts penetrate it just as I was able to penetrate minds. Then quite unexpectedly, I felt like I was losing consciousness as I was drawn into it. Suddenly I was getting bright and vivid images from the sphere, but the sensation had the negative effect of making me dizzy and sick to my stomach. I dropped the sphere to the ground where it bounced. Nic and Cody just looked at me. After a minute or two, I regained my composure.


“Nic, this sphere…”


“Yes Jamie?”


“Nic, it’s very important. I can feel it.”


“How so?”


“Somehow, when I tried to penetrate it, it locked on to my mind and I was drawn in. When that happened, it allowed me to view much more of the information I received from the amulet. I really don’t know how to explain it, but… well… you know the blank spots I told you that I thought were in the amulet along with holes I thought I was experiencing in my own memory – the gaps that I told you I discovered where information seems to be missing?”




“Well, I really don’t think there are any gaps! I suddenly have a feeling that all the information we need is in the amulet, one hundred percent of it – and also in my brain. Somehow the spheres are the keys that allow me to access it.”


“What do you mean spheres, Jamie?”


“There are more than one, I don’t know exactly how many, but I suspect there are quite a few.”


“Where are they?”


“I don’t know. I can’t get to that information – not without another sphere. What’s more Nic, each sphere has a color, a symbol, a name and attributes assigned to it. In fact, to be completely honest with you, the true term used to describe them is ‘orb’ and not sphere as we’ve been calling this one. This orb for example is the red orb – the Orb of the Snake.”


“What are you saying here, Jamie?” Nic asked giving me a quizzical look.


“That’s what I’m trying to explain Nic,” I continued. “Each orb has a color, this one is red, I know that there are also yellow, light blue, and purple orbs – there may even be more, but those are the ones I can dig out of my brain after my encounter with this thing.”


I pointed to the red orb lying on the ground, pulsating and vibrating. Its red glow was now brighter and it’s humming distinctly louder. I wondered if probing it with my mind had caused this hyperactivity.


“The symbol and name for the red orb is Snake. The attributes, traits and information associated with the Red Orb of the Snake are great insight, intelligence, shrewdness, and compassion. I know that it is the most powerful of the orbs. And when I probed it I received a caution from deep inside it warning of dangerous consequences for someone trying to internalize its information without first internalizing any of the other orbs.


“What kind of dangerous consequences?” he asked.


“Consequences like teleportation, amnesia, and sensory overload. And that’s not all. Each orb also has negative characteristics associated with it.”


“Like what?”


“The Orb of the Snake carries the negative traits of pride, manipulation, vanity, malice, and possessiveness.”


“You mean you were able to get all of that information just from your probing?”


“Yes Nic, that and much more. But to really make it work, and to be able to use it combined with the knowledge of the amulet that’s now in my head, I have to somehow join with it.”


“Like a mind probe Jamie?”


“Well, the how to do it part I don’t quite understand, but somehow I’m expected to join with this thing, and to absorb its essence.


“Then I guess you could try to enter even deeper into it with your mind Jamie.”


“Nikki, I can’t. I just can’t explain it completely because I don’t totally understand it. I know that it will allow me to access some its knowledge – almost like looking at a scene through a dirty window – but to make use of it, I have to actually join with its essence.”


“And how do you do that?”


“I really don’t know.”


“Then it isn’t going to do us any good.”


“I guess not,” I shrugged.


As Nic and I continued talking, Cody walked around me and bent down, picking up the orb. My eyes went from Nic to him as I watched him shake it lightly and begin to turn it over in his hands. I knew that he was more sensitive to its energy field than Nic and I were, and I wondered if he could feel anything different about it. Then without warning, there was a loud crash and thud in the forest as a dead tree branch fell to the ground. Having been in the forest for over a month it was something that we’d gotten used to. From time to time the wind blowing through the forest canopy, or an animal running across a branch that was decayed or dried up would cause it to fall to the ground. This must have been a particularly large branch since the cracking and then crashing that followed seemed louder then usual.


It was so loud and sudden, in fact, that it startled Cody causing him to drop the orb, and we all turned our heads and watched as it fell to the ground, bounced two or three times, then rolled for a short distance until it hit a small rock that was sticking out of the ground. The rock was sharp and when the orb made contact with it, it instantly shattered with a loud pop. We were suddenly bathed in an eerie red glow as the essence of the orb lay there on the ground like a molten shimmering mass. It was moving like some strange alien creature and before I knew it, it flew into the air and came directly at me. I didn’t even have time to react as it shot into my chest and entered my body.


My eyes were blinded by a bright red light. I couldn’t think clearly and was completely overwhelmed until there was nothing but darkness. After that, I awakened in an alley in the town of Tardon, where I met General Zakaria and Abbot Gude.


What I didn’t know at the time was that I’d been teleported to the city that Nic and I first stumbled across months before. Through my encounter with the orb I also developed amnesia – one of it’s harmful side effects, a symptom that had occurred because I accepted the energy of the Orb of the Snake without having the protection of any of the other orbs to buffer its intense effects. Apparently I’d spent the night unconscious in the alley and had awoken the next morning where my adventure had begun. In the meantime, Nic and Cody frantically began a search for me.


After the red orb was broken and I absorbed its powerful energy, it’s overwhelming presence was gone. During one of his forays into the forest to search for me, Cody could faintly sense the aura of yet another orb coming from somewhere. The closeness of the red orb had blocked the sensations from the second orb, which were weaker and further away. Following the new but faint energy signature, Cody discovered the abbey and with his heightened sensitivity to the orbs he perceived that one might be found there.


It was then that I blinked as an object appeared out of the corner of my eye. Jolted back to reality, I realized that it was Nic flying off to the right of me. I’d been blindly following him, lost in the memories of what preceded our current flight. I attempted to clear my head, but try as I might, thoughts and memories continued to cloud my mind as we flew in the direction of Cody’s discovery – a place we suspected all but certainly housed a second orb.


The sun was rising higher in the sky and the beauty of the forest and tree covered mountains was breathtaking from our height. Below us I noticed a river snaking through one of the valleys; the sunlight was shimmering and sparkling on its surface much like it did on the silver tips of my wings. Although the air was cool, the rays of the sun cast some warmth upon us.


As we flew onward, I could see that we were rapidly approaching a large mountain range covered in trees. At the base of the mountains, the river continued to flow along the length of the valley. Though I strained my eyes, I could see nothing below me but endless green forest. Nic caught my eye and pointed ahead just as we rounded the bend of a gap between two tall mountains. There, sitting atop the near side of what looked like the tallest mountain in the range, sat a magnificent structure that looked like it had been carefully balanced on one of the slopes near the summit.


I flew faster, drawing up side by side with Nic. I stretched out my hand to him. He, in turn, reached out his hand, took mine into his and squeezed it tightly. Then he motioned for us to begin our decent. Before we did, I looked closely at the sight coming up before us. It was an immense structure formed from a mass of thick stonewalls, high turrets and fortified battlements. Although I tried to push the thought from my mind, in my heart I knew that we were looking at the abbey – an abbey I feared might be stronghold of Abbott Gude.