Excerpt for The Keeper of The Flame by , available in its entirety at Smashwords




The Keeper of The Flame


Vincent Gilvarry

Book Four

of

Tales of a Yumi Master




Published by the author

in association with

Smashwords


This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment.

It may not be resold or given away, but if you’d like

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Copyright

2017

©


INTRODUCTION


According to the Bureau of Intergalactic Travel, Planet Earth is over ten million light years away from a star system called Alpha Centauri. But if you were to travel even further, you would encounter yet another equally extraordinary galaxy.

As of the early 21st century, there is no established form of transport between Earth and the Khavala. But if you were so inclined, you could hitch a ride on an interstellar vessel, but that is not the only way to get there.

One alternative is to summon an inter-dimensional portal. They are the most efficient form of transportation in the universe, but they do have their secrets. Another alternative is to physically relocate from one place to another. The primary advantage of this method is that you arrive at your destination a few seconds later, but not always in the same condition as you left.

It is not a well-known fact, but some aliens do have that option. For an advanced race of beings known as Yumi Masters, physical relocation is the standard mode of transport.

A young Yumi Master called Addric Sharano, is about to make a social call on his brother Dheago, and his girlfriend Elisabeth. They live in the little town of Bumpton, just north of London. What Addric doesn’t know is that it is customary to let someone know that you are on the way. Earthlings can be unpredictable creatures. If you turn up out of the blue, you never know what sort of reception you are likely to get from a flustered householder.



















CHAPTER 1

Part One

First Taste of Planet Earth

1985


Most intergalactic travellers would agree that Planet Earth is the jewel in the crown of the Solar System. For one thing, it’s a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. There is every possibility that it’s at the top of the list as an interstellar tourist destination. Thousands if not millions of aliens would love to explore its natural and man-made attractions, but unfortunately, at this point in time, that is not possible.

An intergalactic law clearly states that Earth is out of bounds, but it does not apply to everyone. Yumi Masters visit quite regularly with the permission of the Intergalactic Alliance. Their task is to sort out problems in one part of the universe or another, and that gives them the freedom to go wherever they choose.

One such Yumi Master has time on his hands at the moment, and one fine winter morning in the year 1985, Addric appears at the front door of an old friend’s house. The little village of Bumpton is a typical English country town where nothing much ever happens. But it’s always a good idea to keep a lookout for those nosey neighbours. God knows what they’d do if they saw a Yumi Master materialising out of the blue.

One of the drawbacks of physical relocation is that it not only makes a mess of your hair, it also plays havoc with your clothes, and Addric does his best to make himself presentable.

He knocks politely on the door, but the last thing he expected to hear is a flurry of activity. There is every possibility that Elisabeth is running around doing a last minute clean up. Addric has obviously caught her on the hop. And when she finally opens the door, she is looking a little bit flustered.

‘Addric, how wonderful to see you,’ she says, ‘but get inside before someone sees you.’

In some places, visitors are welcomed with open arms. And in others, they are likely to receive an icy reception at the very least. Addric was expecting to see the beautiful young woman he had come to know, but this is not the Elisabeth he remembers. Judging by her appearance, and the mess around the house, a lot of things have changed over the last two months.

The last time he saw her, was the day that they escaped from the long-lost continent of Lemuria. His brother Dheago has had quite a few rocky romances over the last few years. The poor boy was given the flick by one heartless floozy after another, but on the day that he first set eyes on Elisabeth Trundle, he knew he had met the love of his life.

They have not ventured much further than the village square over the last two months. But they did spend a few weeks with her parents in tropical north Queensland. Most people have to book a seat on a global carrier to travel to the opposite side of the world. But they didn’t have to spend thirty hours on an international aircraft. As a Yumi Master with the ability to physically relocate from one place to another, Dheago saw to that.

It was an interesting few weeks, and an opportunity to meet Elisabeth’s parents. Over the last few years, George and Helen have been working on an archaeological site, in a remote area of north Queensland. Chillagoe is several hours north of the tourist mecca of Cairns, a town of approximately two hundred people. And even though it is not a major tourist destination, Chillagoe is famous for its magnificent limestone caves, and its beautiful pink speckled marble.

Elisabeth obviously has something on her mind, other than an unfinished thesis on Lemuria. But this is not the time to ask. She has things to do, and leaves them to their own devices. When she finally emerges from her study, several hours later, she is itching to get a breath of fresh air.

‘Addric, how would you like to explore a typical English country town,’ she says.

After such a cool reception, he was seriously thinking of going back home, but he didn’t really want to, not if he could avoid it.

‘I would love that,’ he says.

Bumpton has a history that dates back over one thousand years. And as Addric is delighted to see, it’s not all that different to any other country town in any other part of the known world.

Elisabeth is a student of archaeology, but she is also a font of knowledge on the local area. And she is more than happy to point out a few things of interest as they wander along the High Street.

‘The focus of the village is the town square, and a rather elaborate, if somewhat grubby old fountain,’ she says.

‘Bumpton has a long and interesting history, as it was once the site of a Roman garrison. It has been around in one form or another since the time of the Saxons.’

Addric has no idea what she is talking about most of the time. As to who the Saxons are, he can only guess, but it’s obvious that Bumpton oozes history from every wall and window.

‘But one of our most treasured landmarks is the Church of St. Bartholomew. It was built in the Romanesque style, and is adorned by two steeples, and a bell tower, but it also has a rather imposing roofline.’

Other than a few elderly women, sitting quietly with their thoughts, the church is deserted. But this is the day that Addric has his first encounter with Jesus. As to the purpose of a huge crucifix, with a rather dismal-looking man nailed to a cross, he cannot begin to imagine.

‘What’s that all about?’

‘That’s Jesus,’ Elisabeth says, ‘he was the Son of God and renowned as a miracle worker.’

‘And that is how he is usually depicted.’

‘Very interesting,’ he says.

Addric is in two minds about this idea and just has to ask.

‘Elisabeth, there’s something that I don’t understand.’

“And what is that Addric?’

‘It seems to me that the thoughts of the congregation would be better served, if they could contemplate their saviour in a somewhat different way.’

‘Such as,’ she says.

‘Well, if Jesus was seated on a golden throne, dispensing the generosity of heaven, say for example, in a more positive way.’

‘I agree Addric, but it’s a very long story.’

‘I am sure that if he had his way, Jesus would prefer something other than being nailed to a cross.’

‘After all, he was some sort of highly advanced being.’

‘Really,’ Addric says.

‘Yes, he did things like cure people and walk on water. He brought a man back from the dead. And believe it or not, he even rose from the dead.’

‘Which explains the cross, that was the Roman way of getting rid of troublemakers like him.’

‘It also explains the look of pain and misery on his face, and the gaping wound in his right-hand side.’

‘That’s the part I can’t come to terms with,’ Addric says.

‘But you will be relieved to hear that is not the only way in which he is portrayed.’

‘Come on boys, it’s a little too chilly for my liking. I will tell you all about it over a cup of coffee at the local cafeteria.’

















































CHAPTER 2

As they wander down to the village square, Addric is intrigued by this character called Jesus. It’s an overcast day, and that makes it so much easier to visualise the horrors of the crucifixion.

Winter is settling in, and the sky is ponderous with dark grey clouds. Addric and Dheago are dressed in the standard clothes of the day, blue jeans and a leather jacket. Elisabeth is wearing a blue woolen coat, and a big furry hat that only accentuates her natural beauty.

Today is market day, and the square is a hive of activity, with people inspecting the produce of the local region. Most of the stalls offer freshly baked cakes and biscuits, while others have a variety of locally made cheeses, and an inexhaustible range of homemade jams.

A cup of coffee from and a freshly baked pastry from the local bakery is Addric’s idea of a good time. And according to Elisabeth, it is standard practice on Earth to have at least one a day.

He is savouring every moment of this experience, when he just happens to notice something out of the ordinary.

‘Dheago, can you see what I can see,’ he says.

As Yumi Masters, they have the ability to do a number of unusual things, one of which is see the energy field around the human body.

‘I can Addric, and I have seen characters like that before. They often appear out of the blue at the most unexpected times.’

‘They do?’ says a surprised Addric.

‘Yes, Elisabeth and I spent a day in London recently, and I saw quite a few of them there.’

‘We were wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere,’ Elisabeth says, ‘when I noticed that Dheago was acting a little strange.’

‘I presumed that it was culture shock at first, being in London and all. The city is ridiculously busy at Christmas, with people rushing around everywhere. But every now and then he would stop and stare at someone or other.’

‘After a while, I demanded to know what was going on.’

Elisabeth spent two weeks with them in Lemuria, and she knows only too well the sort of power they have at their disposal.

‘We were on our way to Jolariel’s bookshop, when we encountered the first of two very strange characters,’ she said.

Jolariel was a physician they met in Lemuria. And after seven years of study at the Temple of Rejuvenation, he acquired the ability to extend his lifespan indefinitely.

Elisabeth had brought a book from his shop, several months before. It was a history of a lost civilisation called Lemuria, a culture in which Jolariel had lived for almost two hundred years.

‘As to who those men were, I have no idea,’ Dheago said, ‘but one fellow came up and just stared at me.’

‘He was completely bald, his skin was almost translucent, and his eyes had a pinkish glow.’

‘We were a little shocked to say the least, but the curious thing was, that he didn’t say anything at all,’ Elisabeth said. ‘He just looked Dheago up and down and then wandered away.

‘However, a few minutes later, another character appeared out of the blue, and he was seriously creepy.’

‘His eyes were cold and empty, but the moment I saw him, I had the distinct feeling that he was looking deep into my soul.’

‘And did he say anything.’

‘Yes, he did, something very un-nerving.’

‘And what was that?’

‘Your time has come.’

‘I was a little taken aback, as you can imagine, as I had no idea what he meant.’

‘But a passing stranger came to our rescue, and he was definitely a human being.’

‘Leave these people alone,’ he said. ‘You know the rules.’

‘I didn’t realise who it was until later. Addric, that man had vibrant green eyes and short cropped hair.’

‘It was Yusef,’ he says.

‘It was indeed, and I would know that face anywhere, but he had no idea who we were at the time.’

The last time that Addric saw Yusef was on a bleak and miserable day, when he and Jolariel set sail in an effort to escape the imminent destruction of Lemuria.

Yusef was just one of millions of people in Lemuria who were desperate to overthrow the tyrannical High Priest, Hyperion. And if he had had his way, he would have achieved that dream with their support. But they had to comply with his Yumi vows, and there was nothing they could do.

If they had done as Yusef asked, their very short lives as Yumi Masters would have ended there and then. If a Yumi Master ever breaks the Yumi code of conduct, they will be judged by their masters. And if found wanting, they would spend the remainder of their lives in the Phantom Zone, a place from which they could never escape.



















































CHAPTER 3

It was on that day that Addric vowed to meet up with Yusef and Jolariel, and resume their friendship once again.

‘I am relieved to hear that they are still friends, ‘he says. ‘I can’t wait to see them.’

‘When can we go?’

‘Anytime you like,’ Elisabeth said.

The following day, Addric gets his first taste of train travel, but the big city of London is a real eye opener in every way. It is the festive season, and every shop is decorated with tinsel and glistening lights. To see so many people loaded down with bags of Christmas presents is a new experience. And even though he is intrigued by this curious custom, he just can’t wait to see his two old friends.

Jolariel’s bookshop is just one of many in a quaint little alleyway, off a major London thoroughfare. And to Addric’s surprise, it is called, Secrets of the Ancients.

‘A name like that must have a special meaning.’

‘More than likely,’ Elisabeth says. ‘Everyone is searching for meaning, in this day and age.’

Addric has often wondered what life must have been like after they left Lemuria. They would have travelled from one place to another, and lived in just about every civilisation that has ever existed. But the very last thing that Jolariel ever said, was that he would eventually settle down in the city of London.

‘I have a plan,’ Addric says, ‘please wait here for a few minutes.’

He steps through the door, only to discover that the shop is like a sanctuary. Wooden display cabinets, with thousands of books, line the walls from the floor to the ceiling. They have titles like Energetic Healing, Meditation, Crystals and Channeling. And to Addric’s surprise, one shelf is even devoted to a few books on Lemuria.

Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and a hint of incense floats through the air. But not everyone is rushing around in a frenzy. Some people are quite happy to pass a few lazy hours, reading a book in one of the many comfortable chairs.

Yusef and Jolariel are busily serving one customer after another, and they look resplendent in the colours of the season. Yusef is dressed in a red velvet coat, but as to why he is wearing a truncated hat without a brim, Addric has no idea. As he will one day learn, the fez is a hat with a long and chequered history.

Jolariel looks equally festive, in a deep green coat with a deep red trim. His silvery grey hair is somewhat shorter than it used to be, but his eyes are still a vibrant blue. And it’s apparent that he has never lost that air of quiet respectability.

Addric waits patiently as he serves another contented customer.

‘Now young man, how can I be of assistance?’

‘I am looking for a book,’ Addric says.

‘Well, you’re in the right place.’

‘This particular book is a rarity. It was never published and is virtually unknown. And as far as I know, it has never been in circulation, if at all.’

‘Now that is a mystery,’ Jolariel says. ‘What’s it about?’

‘It’s a story of a long lost civilisation.’

‘It sounds very interesting, but does this particular book have a name?’

‘Yes,’ Addric says, ‘it’s called, A Tale of a Lost Land.’

Jolariel is mystified as to the identity of this young man, and isn’t sure what to say. Yusef has been listening closely, and suddenly realises who it is.

‘Addric,’ he cries. ‘Is it really you?’

‘It is indeed, Yusef, after all this time.’

‘But you haven’t changed one little bit.’

A Yumi Master rarely ages if at all, but any young girl would agree, that a handsome young man with fair hair and deep blue eyes would be a very good catch indeed.

‘Addric, you are a most welcome surprise indeed,’ Jolariel says, ‘but how I have missed you my friend.’

He wipes a stray tear from his eyes, takes a long deep breath and does his best to maintain a little decorum.

‘I’ll be back in a few minutes, as we have a lot of catching up to do.’

He asks the few remaining customers if they would kindly leave, as he has a personal emergency to attend to. As he is about to lock the door, he happens to notice two familiar faces standing on the footpath.

‘Elisabeth and Dheago, please come in. It seems that we really do have a reason to celebrate.’

CHAPTER 4

They spend the remainder of the evening in a beautifully decorated room at the rear of the shop. It is a treasure trove of antiquities and personal memorabilia, that Jolariel has collected over a long period of time.

The contents of one cabinet are treasures that any museum would love to get their hands on. A bouquet of dried flowers, a brass ring, a wooden toy, and a bronze spoon are just a few of his mementoes. But the most poignant thing of all, is a faded parchment, inscribed with a poem, from a little girl to her father.

Yusef has set a table of exquisite European wines, and a veritable feast of delicacies. And it is, in every way, reminiscent of the time they spent in Jolariel’s villa in Lemuria.

They really have lived in almost every civilisation, and over the next few hours, Addric listen with interest to tales such as he has never heard before.

For Elisabeth, this is rare information indeed, primary evidence from the horse’s mouth, and not second-hand information from some musty old book in a library.

‘I am curious to know how you survived after the cataclysm,’ she says.

‘We were stranded on the highest peak on the planet for several years, with hundreds of other people,’ Jolariel says. ‘But we didn’t starve, because someone was looking after us.’

‘And who was that?’

‘It wasn’t until sometime later that we found out. But every few weeks, we would wake up to find a stockpile of food.’

‘And did you ever get to meet them.’

‘Yes, we did, eventually, and as we now know, they are the people that live inside the planet.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ Elisabeth says.

‘The years passed uneventfully, until one day, we received a visit from a group of very unusual-looking people.’

‘You’re not talking about aliens, are you?’

‘No Elisabeth, they were not aliens at all, they were very much human.’

‘Living conditions were abysmal, and people were dying every other day, but they invited us to live in their world, until things settled down.’

‘We were somewhat hesitant at first, but we had no other option, so we decided to go with them.’

‘We had to travel high up into the mountains, and then through passageways that went deep into the planet.’

‘And what did you find once you got there?’

‘You may not believe it Elisabeth, but this planet is hollow.’

That is an item of information she had not expected to hear, and hastily opens another bottle of wine.

‘As we now know, the world within is the home of several highly evolved civilisations that no one even knows about.’

‘That is so incredible.’

‘Some of the people on the streets actually come from deep inside the Earth. But there are many others as well, who are not from here at all.’

‘Aliens are not permitted to interfere in the lives of Earthlings,’ Addric says.

‘We are of that now, but there’s one character who doesn’t follow the rules. And oddly enough, he has a particular interest in young women.’

‘He does,’ Elisabeth says, ‘and why might that be?’

She has every reason to be wary after her recent experience on Oxford Street.

‘No one knows Elisabeth. It’s as if he is searching for someone in particular. And if he does speak, he usually says the same thing.’

‘And what is that.’

‘You time has come, or you have one more chance, that sort of thing.’

‘Why do you think he does that?’ Elisabeth says.

It’s apparent from the look on her face that she is visibly disturbed.

‘I have no idea at all.’

Her experience has obviously left an indelible imprint on her mind. And even though she has never mentioned it to anyone, she can’t stop thinking about it.










CHAPTER 5

In days gone by, Jolariel was a travelling physician, and Yusef was a sailor. Jolariel has long since hung up his gloves, but Yusef still does a bit of sailing every now and then.

They had no choice but to change with the times, but today, they lead very different lives, and are both independently wealthy men.

‘But there always came a day when we had to pack a bag, and disappear into the mists of time, never to be seen again,’ Jolariel says.

‘That was always so heartbreaking, but it was my children I missed the most.’

‘The fact that I never aged often became a topic of interest, and it even got me into trouble on a number of occasions.’

‘But I always made sure that my family was well provided for.’

They often went their separate ways, but would meet up again, at a pre-arranged time and place. And even though they have lived in many different places, they eventually settled down in London.

Jolariel is the owner of several bookshops, and Yusef is the proprietor of a chain of inconspicuous antique shops, scattered throughout some of the oldest cities in Europe.

Elisabeth’s experience is still very much on her mind, but she comes back to life when Jolariel continues his story about life in a subterranean world.

‘The people who inhabit the world within are the descendants of the people who found safe refuge beneath this planet, before Lemuria was destroyed.’

Thousands of people had planned to live in a vast underground city, one designed as a refuge from the cataclysm that was about to destroy Lemuria.

‘They discovered that it was possible to thrive deep inside the planet.’

‘Do you have any idea why that fellow might have said that to me?’ Elisabeth says.

‘Numerous women have complained of the same thing, but try not to take it to heart.’

It is obviously far too late, because Elisabeth has taken it to heart, and a few too many European wines do nothing to help her agitated state at all.


I know that because we have an interesting range of friends, some of whom are psychics, and others are channellers.’

‘And what are they?’ Addric says.

‘A channeller is someone who transmits a message from a being from the heavenly realms. It’s usually about spiritual matters.’

‘But their messages are always couched in metaphor, as if they can only reveal an insight into what is about to happen.’

‘And what sort of things do they say?’ Elisabeth says.

‘It seems that changes are about to take place, that the inhabitants of this inconspicuous little planet are about to become members of the grand alliance.’

‘I have no idea what that means at all Jolariel.’

‘It probably means that they are about to go to the next level,’ Addric says.

As to why she looks so troubled, no one knows, but it is obviously all too much for Elisabeth, and she is on her feet in an instant.

‘Dheago, please take me home, I have to go to bed immediately.’

Dheago does as he is told, takes Elisabeth by the arm, and a few moments later, they have simply vanished.

‘I hope she’ll be okay,’ Addric says.

‘I am sure it’s just the wine,’ Yusef says. ‘However, on a different note Addric, perhaps you would be interested in accompanying us on a short journey?’

‘Of course, I would Yusef. Where do you have in mind?’

‘Ostensibly, it is to spend some time in our house on the east coast of Scotland. But we will be making a detour to the Scottish Highlands first, to see an old friend of ours.’

‘Count me in,’ he says.

Addric loves nothing better than a new adventure, and has so many ideas as to what he wants to do. But for some unknown reason, Elisabeth is weighing heavily on his mind. And even though he has no idea what it means, he has a feeling that something is about to happen.

Their original arrangement was that they would take her home after they left Lemuria. But Elisabeth couldn’t face the thought of being left alone, especially after what she had just been through.

She invited them to stay for afternoon tea, and while she was whipping up a batch of scones, Addric decided to look around the house. He discovered cabinets crammed with objects from different eras in time, treasures that her parents had obviously collected on their travels. But in another room, was a cabinet with a very range of things, most of which were objects of a very colourful bird. Some were made of hand-painted porcelain, while others were carved from semi-precious stones.

Addric had no idea at the time that the bird in question was a phoenix, a creature of magic and legend. When the phoenix dies, it does so in a ball of flames, and is miraculously reborn from its ashes.

Yet another cupboard was full of devotional objects, one of which was a small figurine, a white alabaster image of a woman with watery veils.

If Addric was correct, it was a depiction of the being that inhabits his home world, the Khavala.

"Addric, this is my soul sister," said a quiet voice in his head. "To the people of the future, she will be known as Gaia. Her spirit has inhabited this planet for millions of years, as I have inhabited the Ocean of Infinite Mystery. She will be calling upon you soon. Listen to what she has to say as it is important."

‘The plot thickens,’ he said.

Gaia will no doubt make contact in her own good time, but before that day dawns, Addric is looking forward to something completely different. He is about to make his first foray into unexplored territory, and Scotland is the first country on the agenda.

















CHAPTER 6


To pass the time, he and Dheago spend most of the day in front of the television. It’s one way of learning about life on Planet Earth, but the six o’clock news is a horror show from beginning to end.

Elisabeth sleeps in later than usual, but no matter how she tries, she just can’t concentrate. She’s been moping around for most of the day, and it’s obvious that she is in a bit of a tetchy mood.

‘Gentlemen, it’s time to get your act together. We are going to Scotland tomorrow. And there is every possibility that the weather will be a force to contend with.’

‘It will not only be cold, it will be blustery as well, which means that you will need suitable clothing.’

She hands Addric a copy of a fashion magazine and suggests that he study it closely.

‘Check out the men’s section, in particular.’

‘Okay,’ he says.

‘You should have a range of options at your disposal. And that means clothing suitable for all occasions, breakfast, lunch or even a formal or informal dinner table.’

Elisabeth goes to some pains to point out the difference, and demands that they conjure up a readymade wardrobe, just to be on the safe side.

‘After all, you will need something in your suitcase, apart from a toothbrush, won’t you?’

‘I guess so,’ Addric says.

This is not like Elisabeth at all. She is about to flip out at any given moment. But to Addric’s relief, she’s in a better frame of mind the following day. He wasn’t game to say so at the time, but she was starting to get on his nerves.

After a hectic start to the morning, they eventually make it to King’s Cross Station with plenty of time to spare. The distinctive aroma of smoke permeates the air, and hundreds of people are making their way from one platform to another.

Addric has no idea what to think when a swarm of bizarrely dressed people pass by. It is only four o’clock in the afternoon, and they look as if they haven’t yet recovered from a night on the town.

‘They look so dark and strange,’ he says to Elisabeth.

‘They’re a generation of youngsters, inspired by modern music, Addric.’

‘Those with shaved heads are called Skinheads, while those with even stranger hairstyles, ripped jeans and jackets festooned with safety pins, are called Punks.’

‘If I didn’t know any better, I would say that they’re going through an identity crisis.’

‘That is what the older generation, and people from outer space tend to think as well, Addric.’

‘Hmm,’ he thought, ‘Elisabeth is still a little overwrought. There is obviously more going on than I realised.’

If Elisabeth does have a dark side, Addric has never noticed it before. But he’s relieved to see Jolariel and Yusef waiting under the clock on Platform One. As to why they are wearing such unusual travelling clothes, he has no idea. He has never heard of Sherlock Holmes, and has no idea that this is a style of clothing made famous by a legendary but fictional detective of days gone by. Sherlock always wore a distinctive coat and cape, but the accessory that most people remember is his dapper travelling hat.

‘Elisabeth, why are they dressed like that?’ he says.

‘Because they can, I suppose.’

‘Sherlock Holmes was a detective who was rarely seen without his famous pipe or cape. But his hat is called a deerstalker, Addric, and it is usually worn by a country squire on a hunting expedition.’

Yusef and Jolariel couldn’t care less what people think. After all, they have seen it all and done it all and lived to tell the tale. And as far as they are concerned, they can wear whatever they like. If anyone does have something to say about it, well, that’s their problem.

‘Now that everyone is here,’ Yusef says, ‘let’s get this show on the road.’

As they make their way to Platform Six, he decides to educate Addric in on a few of the lesser known details of train travel.

‘We will be taking the overnight train, which means that we will be travelling on a high-speed express, the latest addition to the British Rail fleet.’

Addric is all ears, and dying to know more, but it soon becomes obvious that Yusef has a particular interest in some of the more gruesome aspects of rail travel.

‘The passengers leave a lot to be desired, especially the young ones. Their language alone would have deprived them of an essential part of their anatomy in days gone by.’

‘But I have no idea what sort of qualification you need to be a train driver now. It’s a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.’

‘The train careers around one corner after another, and when it comes to a screeching halt, half the passengers fly out the window and they’re never seen again.’

‘He’s just pulling your leg,’ Jolariel says. ‘Don’t take any notice of him Addric. His imagination gets the better of him sometimes.’

‘Sounds like someone I know,’ Dheago says to Elisabeth.

An hour later, they are still waiting around, and while she has the opportunity, Elisabeth decides to record a situation of historical significance.

‘Line up gentlemen, as you are about to be immortalised.’

‘Yusef, what does she mean by that?’ Addric says.

‘She is going to take a photo. And one day she will probably sell it for a million pounds, and retire to a life of luxury.’

‘I don’t understand, Yusef.’

‘It means that Elisabeth will have a photo, of two aliens from Vela-Rishan, and two men from the long-lost continent of Lemuria.’

Addric is perplexed. Would Elisabeth do something like that? Not the Elisabeth he first met, but now anything is possible.

‘She wouldn’t, would she Yusef?’

‘In her current state, Addric, anything is possible with a woman on the edge.’

‘You’ve noticed too.’

‘Hard not to,’ he said.

They take a seat on a bench, and Elisabeth ruffles around in her bag, removes an elegant silver box, pops a catch on the side, and reveals a dozen perfectly rolled tailor-made cigarettes.

Addric has never seen a cigarette before, and has no idea what she is about to do.

‘What are those things?’ he says to Yusef.

‘They’re cigarettes, a product that contains tobacco leaves and numerous other unpalatable ingredients.’

‘Francis Drake, part-time pirate and one-time favourite of Queen Elisabeth the First introduced this habit to England in the 15th century.’

‘Since then, it has taken off like wildfire, you could say.’

‘In other word, Elisabeth is about to smoke a cigarette.’

‘Addric, would you like to try one?’ she says.

‘No thanks, but I wouldn’t mind a peppermint, if you have one.’

This is another mysterious habit of the people of Planet Earth. Addric watches closely as she removes a little wooden match from a matchbox, and strikes it against the side of the box. A few moments later, they are puffing away and inhaling the residue.

‘The modern world has many interesting pleasures,’ Yusef says, ‘and smoking is just one of them.’













































CHAPTER 7

An announcement over the loudspeaker advises passengers that the hi-speed express will be out of action until further notice.

‘Passengers travelling to Scotland, are to proceed to Platform Eight, and board the train from there.’

‘That can only mean we will be travelling on the Grand Deliberator,’ Jolariel says. As far as I know, it has been out of service for over twenty years.’

‘And if that’s the case, we will be travelling in old-fashioned style.’

Addric grabs the first available trolley, and loads it up with a pile of bags, while Yusef keeps an eye on the passing traffic.

‘Stand back everyone, it’s a stampede.’

Hundreds of children with wooden travelling trunks come storming down the platform. They are chatting away happily as they are obviously eager to get to their destination.

‘What an odd-looking bunch,’ Addric says. ‘But why do they have cages full of owls, cats and birds.’

‘They are wizards and witches,’ Jolariel says, ‘purveyors of the fine art of magic, people who live in an alternate reality.’

‘Really,’ he says. ‘Now that is a revelation.’

‘In which case Addric, I will introduce you to a book about the torrid experiences of a trainee wizard, a young man who is not unlike yourself in some ways.’

‘Okay,’ he says.

‘However, we will probably meet a few witches over the next few days, but of a very different kind.’

When they arrive at Platform Eight, it is only to discover that the train on which they will be travelling really is the Grand Deliberator.

‘This is a relic of the past,’ Yusef says, ‘it was withdrawn from service many years ago, but it is a luxurious way to travel.’

The Grand Deliberator is one of great icons of the early twentieth century, and for many years, it was the flagship of British Rail. It was a celebrity in its day, a magnificent black creature, with two flaps on its invisible eyes. It was the workhorse of a generation, and renowned for the speed at which it travelled from London to Edinburgh.

A team of porters, dressed in the distinctive uniform of yesteryear are waiting to be of service. They look resplendent in a peaked cap with a British Rail badge, a blue blazer, polished buttons and a glistening epaulet on each shoulder.

Addric is allocated his very own compartment, a relatively compact space, with a lower and upper berth, baggage racks and a window with a retractable blind.

‘Considering its size, it looks relatively comfortable.’

It appears to have everything a passenger would need when travelling on a fast-moving train.

‘There isn’t much room for a party, and barely enough room for me, but it will do.’

He collapses onto the lower bunk, and within seconds, he is fast asleep. He drifts away into a very strange dream, one where he and Dheago float along through a world of mist and vapors. They travel high up into the mountains, and eventually arrive at the mouth of a cave. They are just about to venture in, when Addric is rustled from his sleep by the sound of someone knocking on the door.

‘Addric, wake up, ‘Dheago says, ‘it’s time for dinner.’

He is surprised to see Dheago dressed in a very impressive dinner suit.

‘You look very smart,’ he says.

‘According to Elisabeth, this is what you will have to conjure up,’ Dheago says. ‘We will be having dinner in the dining car.’

One of the advantages of being a Yumi Master is that you can have a Yumi style bath, especially when you’re in a hurry. It’s a no-fuss, no bother routine, and you don’t even have to take your clothes off. A Yumi bath will not only clean your teeth, but style your hair as well. Addric does a quick Yumi wardrobe change, and in the blink of an eye, he looks equally resplendent.

‘Apparently, you are wearing a tuxedo,’ Dheago says, ‘a very classy version of a dinner suit.’

A tuxedo is a stylish black suit, with two long tails at the back, an outfit that is usually worn with a winged collar shirt and black bow tie and, and a sash around the waist.

‘It’s called a cummerbund, but why I don’t know,’ Dheago says.

‘Probably to make you look sexier than you actually are.’



CHAPTER 8

They head off down the corridor, and have barely moved ten feet, when they encounter two men, dressed in long white robes. They have a distinctive pink tinge to their eyes, and Dheago recognises them immediately.

‘Who are you and what do you want?’ he says.

‘You are Addric and Dheago, are you not?’ one of the men says.

‘Who wants to know?’

‘We have been sent by an old friend, to give you something useful.’

‘And who would that be?’ Addric says.

‘Tariq ben Hassan, I am sure you remember him, don’t you?’

‘Yes, we do.’

‘We are here on his behalf, to provide you with a keystone. When you visit the inner Earthly realms, they will of invaluable assistance.’

‘The inner Earthly realms,’ Addric says.

‘Yes, that is correct.’

‘The easiest way to get there is through the realm known as Hyperborea, but you will need a special key to gain access.’

He holds up two paper thin keys, that resemble emerald green glass

‘Place them on the palm of your hand, and they will be absorbed into your energy system immediately.’

‘When you are in range of one of the doors that lead to the world within, they will glow with a green light.’

‘Simply raise your hand, and you will be given permission to enter.’

‘You are welcome to visit at any time, and hopefully, we will be seeing you soon.’

‘Good evening gentlemen, and enjoy your dinner.’

They are both somewhat baffled by that experience, and not really sure what it means.

‘I guess we will find out eventually,’ Addric says.

The dining car has a distinctive old-world charm, a series of private cubicles furnished in the Scottish baronial style. They take their places on high-backed chairs with cabriolet legs, a style that owes its origins to the days of knights and medieval castles.

Elisabeth looks resplendent in a gown that could have been designed by any of the leading couturiers of the day. But if it had not been for Dheago, she would not be wearing a collection of gems to rival that of the British royal family. Her necklace and earrings alone are worth a fortune, encrusted as they are with diamonds and emeralds.

It is personal service from start to finish, and they even have their very own waiter. Henry is dressed in a classy version of the British Rail uniform, and starts by serving up the first of many classic wines.

Not long after they have dispensed with how wonderful they all look, Elisabeth asks the first and last of her leading questions.

‘Jolariel, why exactly are we going to the Scottish Highlands?’

‘Yusef and I are to be keynote speakers at a conference,’ he says.

‘On books or antiques?’

‘This will be a conference of a different kind, a convergence of like minds, you could say.’

‘And what does that mean?’

‘Well, you’ll see, but it has been organised by a friend of ours, a woman called Lady Felicity Originalis.’

Addric comes back to life the very moment he hears that name.

‘You know Lady Felicity,’ Jolariel says.

‘Maybe, but that name does ring a bell.’

He and Dheago are acquainted with a Felicity Originalis, but not Lady Felicity Originalis. As far as he knows, she is not a resident of Planet Earth at all. If this is the one and only Felicity, then she comes from their side of the universe. Addric has no intention of playing his cards, not until he has heard what else Jolariel has to say.

‘We are old friends of Lady Felicity, a woman we first met in another life, so to speak. She came to our rescue when we found ourselves in a very dangerous situation.’

‘For a number of years, we were advisors to the Duke of Milan in Northern Italy. That was in the 15th century, and the Pope of the time, Julius the Sixth, was a warrior Pope.’

Julius wanted to bring Italy under his control using military force. Jolariel and Yusef acted in an advisory capacity only, offering the Duke suggestions on a variety of issues. They were always aware that anything they said in such a volatile climate could be considered heresy in the eyes of the church.

The Papal troops had guns and cannons, and were edging their way into the city. And on the night that Julius and his troops entered Milan, they had no choice but to escape.

‘Soldiers were roaming around the countryside, searching for anyone they considered to be a heretic,’ Jolariel says. ‘You could be accused of the vilest of all crimes at their say so, a crime for which you could be burnt alive.’

‘We made our escape, and headed for Venice, where we had a home,’ Yusef said. ‘But the moment we reached the front gate, we encountered the secret police of the Pope’s most vindictive general.’

‘In today’s world, Cardinal Menchino would be considered a psychopath. He had a reputation as a butcher and had spies at every level of society.’

‘He knew all and saw all, and no one was safe if word filtered through that he was coming to town. Our only option was to make a speedy retreat in our boat.’

Jolariel had designed a crystal powered ship, the very same boat on which he and his family escaped from Lemuria, just before it was destroyed.

‘Addric, you will be happy to hear that we still have that boat and even today, it is in pristine condition.’

‘In those days, Venice was a city of cut-throats, and we had to travel under the cover of darkness.’

‘It wasn’t safe to be out on the streets, in the early hours of the morning, and we had no choice but to creep down back alleyways.’

‘Like every other house in Venice, ours was concealed behind an inconspicuous wall, and a non-descript gateway.’

‘If you were ever accused of anything by the Papal inquisitor, your fate was sealed. You were dragged off to prison, and left to rot away in a dungeon.’

‘Hundreds of people were tortured for no reason at all. And just as many were accused of fabricated crimes, for which they could be burnt at the stake.’

‘However, on that night, a posse of the Cardinal’s Special Forces was hiding in the shadows on the opposite side of the street.’

This was the home of a woman who held a position of power in the Duke’s court. She was a confidant of his wife, and someone who had already come to the attention of Cardinal Menchino.

‘She was suspected of being a witch, which was the standard crime of the day. It automatically meant that you were in league with Satan, and the penalty for that was death.’

‘But the reputation of her Ladyship, the Countess of Farago, as she was known then, was one of the best kept secrets of the time.’

One of Addric’s passions is food, but he is still trying to decide if this really is the Felicity Originalis from the little village of Ditafarago. The fact that she is using the name of her home town is a dead giveaway. The Felicity he knows is a master of the arcane arts, which is exactly the same thing as being a witch.

‘If it had not been for a cannonball, that almost took the life of her mistress, the fate of the Countess may have been very different.’

Felicity barely escaped with her life, and her only option was to return to her home in Venice.

‘The Cardinal’s troops were planning to ambush her Ladyship, but we had no idea how powerful she was.’

‘We could not alert her to the danger, as that would have given us away as well. But just before she got to her front gate, the Cardinal’s men stepped out of the darkness and into the light.’

‘Addric, I have never forgotten the power that you and Dheago have at your disposal,’ Jolariel says, ‘but Felicity does not have to adhere to the vows of a Yumi Master.’

‘She sensed the presence of danger, and within seconds, twelve men had been reduced to ashes.’

‘We had no choice but to leave Venice that night. We set sail for the Middle East, and in the process, we made a new friend.’

‘But her ladyship is now considered an authority on an area of interest to many women in particular.’

‘And what might that be?’ Elisabeth says.

‘White witchcraft, my dear, a most subtle and powerful tool if ever there was one.’







CHAPTER 9


It is five o’clock in the morning, and bitterly cold when they arrive at a little train station in the middle of nowhere. As well as a very interesting group of women, there is also a dashing young man with a Clark Gable moustache. And as they are relieved to see, a bus driver called Frederico is waiting on the platform.

‘Lady Felicity sends her apologies,’ he says. ‘Unfortunately, she won’t be able to catch up until morning tea.’

The light of a new day is dawning, as the bus winds its way up into the Scottish Highlands. The view is spectacular, endless miles of rolling green hills, interspersed with wild and windswept, craggy rock formations.

The property is surrounded by spacious grounds and manicured gardens, and the castle overlooks a river valley below.

‘Only the walls of the original castle still exist,’ Frederico says. ‘However, this is no ordinary house, as you will soon see. It is more like the palace of the Sultan of Persia.’

The castle is at least three storeys high, but it also has three distinctive towers and one very impressive dome.

‘I am looking forward to this,’ Yusef says. ‘But prepare for a treat Addric. That’s all I have to say.’

The entrance hall is decorated in beautiful glass tiles, and makes a statement as to what is to come. This would once have been the home of an ancient Scottish family. And in days gone by it would have been furnished with furniture local to the region, but that is no longer the case. This is obviously the home of a woman of class and style.

‘Now, this is opulent,’ Yusef says.

‘I would say that the furnishings originate from Turkey, a place I once called home, in a past life, that is.’

The housekeeper, Vera, is a rather demure woman wearing old-fashioned glasses.

‘Your rooms are this way,’ she says.

As they make their way up an elaborate staircase, the view of the house is that of an exotic oriental palace, decorated with Turkish carpets, and richly embellished furniture.

Addric falls in love with his bedroom immediately, but he has no idea that it’s a recreation of a scene from a story called Tales of the Arabian Nights. The bed is a woven steel construction of intricate arabesque patterns, and decorated with exotic silken veils.

‘Turkey,’ he says,’ it is definitely on the agenda now.’

The dining hall is equally awe inspiring, decorated in the style of a Turkish palace, but high above is a dome of immense proportions.

‘That looks like a replica of one of the most famous of all domes,’ Yusef says. ‘The Hagia Sophia was originally a Christian church, Addric, but it’s now a world-famous museum in Istanbul.’

Even though the waiters have a distinctly Scottish accent, they look the part in a glittering shirt, a sash around their loose-fitting pants, and a pair of shoes that curl up at the toes.

Addric is immediately attracted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air. And to his delight, it is brewing away in a samovar, a modern version of an old-fashioned water-heating receptacle. The only thing missing from this exotic tableau is Hamad, a Lemurian man who specialised in the preparation of coffee made to perfection.

Felicity’s guests are a very eclectic bunch of characters, practitioners of one sort or magic or another. The youngest woman in the group is about eighteen years old, whereas her companions range in age from thirty to seventy.

As to what a swarthy Italian called Armando does, has not yet been revealed, but he is obviously the prize of the day. And at least three women are quietly planning to snare this handsome fellow, and dispose of the opposition before the day is over.

With long black hair that reach to her knees, Griselda Le Chat towers over everyone else. She looks eerily cat-like as she glides around from one place to another. Her tight-fitting dress trails along the floor collecting an assortment of little dust particles. Griselda is proud to call herself a shaman, and that as Addric now knows, is some kind of witchdoctor, but as to what she actually does, he could not even begin to imagine.

During breakfast, they are advised by a woman called Letitia Lamourre that they have one hour at their disposal.

‘The opening ceremony will commence at 9.30 sharp, so please don’t be late.’

Letitia radiates an air of refined mysticism, and speaks in long breathy pauses. Her long slender fingers enlivens the atmosphere with an assortment of invigorating little molecules. Letitia is an acolyte of the divine soul goddess and, as she is keen to point out, she channels that particular deity as well.

‘This will be a memorable day in every way,’ she says. ‘One of our guests will speak on the healing power of crystals, and another will regale us with the fascinating world of reincarnation.’

‘And yet another master will reveal the secrets of spiritual healing.’















































CHAPTER 10

It all sounds very exciting, and Addric is looking forward to the opening ceremony. If Lady Felicity is in charge, this conference of like-minded souls is going to be more interesting than he thought.

To his dismay, there is an agenda in place, and he is assigned to sit with a group of women he has never met before.

‘It is not by accident that you have elected to attend this conference,’ Letitia says. ‘And it would be a good idea to use this as an opportunity to network.’

Networking was the buzz word of the New Age movement. And Addric has an opportunity to meet Shaddizah Grindalena, a very impressive looking woman in every way.

Her hairstyle alone is a work of art, swathed as it is in silken scarves. She is liberally adorned in at least ten carats of solid gold. Her dress is a mass of exotic silken veils. She wears large golden earrings, ornate rings on her fingers, and hundreds of glistening bracelets.

Shaddizah chooses to open the window of conversation by discussing the décor of the house.

‘This is a most unique establishment in every way, is it not?’

‘It is indeed,’ Addric says.

‘This is not, as people are saying, a re-creation of the palace of the third Shah of Ancient Persia.’

‘It’s not,’ he says.

‘No, this is a re-creation of the palace of the Grand Duke of Opti-Romara.’

‘Ooh, that is a surprise,’ Addric says.

If it had not been for an old friend called Slinkfoot Sam, aka Samuel Greenleaf, he would never have known about Opti-Romara at all. Slinky is a resident of the little town of Ditafarago, and he was more than happy to elaborate on the history of the local area.

If what Shaddizah says is true, then she has obviously travelled a very long way to get to this conference. Opti-Romara is not in this galaxy at all. It’s a rather small principality in his world. But Addric is equally surprised to hear that Shaddizah is a fortune teller of some repute.

‘I am also the adopted mother of her eminence, and the maestro behind this conference, Lady Felicity Originalis.’

If there was ever a day in his life when Addric was feeling more than a little paranoid, it is today. He has an awful feeling that he is about to become the plaything of a woman of substantial proportions. But Letitia comes to his rescue and announces that the conference is about to begin, and Addric heaves a huge sigh of relief.

‘She is coming,’ Shaddizah says, ‘Lady Felicity is about to make her entrance.’

‘Thank goodness for that,’ Addric says.

The lights are reduced to a soft and almost invisible glow. And everyone gets to their feet when two women make an appearance on the upper balcony. They are dressed in identical dark blue gowns, and even in the muted light, it is apparent that they are identical in appearance.

Accompanied by the haunting sound of some invisible fairy, plucking away at the strings of an invisible harp, they float down the stairs like disembodied spirits on a cushion of air.

It really is Felicity Originalis, but to Addric’s surprise, she is accompanied by another woman of his acquaintance. The last time he saw the Countess Demetra was at the ceremony at which he and Dheago were elevated to the level of a Yumi Master.

Felicity takes her place on a lectern, and the ceremony begins with a chorus of women humming away in the background. And from the very moment she starts to speak, there is a noticeable change in the energy.

‘We come to you today to speak of the great changes occurring in the universe,’ Felicity says. ‘It is a shift in energies so complete that life in this world will never be the same again.’

‘The time has all but arrived when the Earth will go through a period of renewal and transformation. The planets are soon to align, and the grid will be reactivated once again.’

‘The Matrix was deactivated at the end of the Atlantean era, but the Magnetic Master is about to return, and over the next two decades, changes will occur at every level of life.’

‘The old energy will move aside, and a new energy, one that comes from the very heart centre of creation will be available to all.’

‘That which is no longer of service will fall away, and that which does not resonate, will be replaced by that which does.’

‘Lives will change, and some will suffer.’

‘But the grand news is that people will awaken to an awareness of their greater self. They will realise that they are not separate from creation, but one with it.’

‘That which has been prophesised will come to pass. Signs will be seen, and the sound of celestial trumpets will be heard.’

‘A new consciousness is all but upon us, and that which is within will rise to the surface.’

Felicity speaks of ascended masters, those from the heavenly realms, and others from distant stars who will instruct the chosen in new ways of being.






































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