Zak Turner - A Twist In Time (27 page)

BOOK: Zak Turner - A Twist In Time
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Barty spoke next, quickly. 

“The Libra Mortis did hit him, Zak, but only because he jumped in front of Steven to save his life.  If he hadn’t done that, then Steven would have been hit, and he most certainly
be dead!”

“So if he’s not dead, what happened?  It’s obviously bad because he’s not in my mind, and I can’t find him anywhere…”

Barty was a bit surprised by Zak’s language, and by how closely the two boys had become linked, but he gave no outward sign.  Zak of course could still hear it all in his thoughts anyway.

“He’s in his own room Zak, with Steven, who won’t leave his side!  Your young farmer friend has developed a powerful life debt to Tallion and feels it very keenly, much the same as the one I’ve developed to you!  Thank you for dealing with that Libra Mortis for me.  I hadn’t seen it coming because I was concentrating on getting to Lord Middleham.  If you hadn’t got rid of it, I’d be dead for sure!  It was only after you cast your spell that I looked back to the pitch.  You, or maybe your wand, did something remarkable this afternoon Zak.  What spell did you cast?”

“Revertur, why?”

“Well, that’s not what came out.  What came out was a wall of light, like a huge shield charm, very powerful and very bright.”

Like a light going on in his mind, Zak suddenly remembered the spell, and his own amazement at the power in it.  It was a hazy memory though because he was already keeling over at the time due to the loss of energy, but he could also recall the Libra Mortis hitting the wall of light.  The spell would have to wait though; there was something much more important to find out.

“So what happened to Tallion?  How is he?  Where is he?  I need to go to him!”

“You can go.  We’ll take you in a minute, but you’ll not be able to walk, you can barely sit let alone stand.  First though I have a couple of questions which I need to ask here, without Steven hearing them.  First, did you see anyone casting the spells?”

Zak closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to block out his worry and fear about Tallion, and at the same time, recall the nightmare scene on the football pitch.  The second part was, unfortunately, much easier than the first!

“Not to start with.  The first curses seemed to come straight out of nowhere, but I happened to be looking in the right direction.  By the time the man cast the curses for you and me though, I could see him clearly.  He was wearing some kind of shimmering cloak, and he had dark hair and orangey looking eyes.  When our eyes met he just radiated evil.  It was very uncomfortable!”

“You saw a man?  Was he aware that you locked eyes with him and saw him?”

“Yes, and yes.”

“Okay, we might need to talk more about that later.  The second question is about your wand.  Do you mind if we regress it to find out what spell it cast?  We need to know Zak, that was unbelievably powerful magic, and neither Lord Middleham nor I recognised the spell either from our own repertoires, or from anything we’ve read.”

“Okay, no problem,” replied Zak, slumping a little lower on his pillow.  “How do you do it?”

“With a normal wand it’s easy.  A more powerful wizard, or more powerful wand, can cast an incantation over it and the ghostly forms of all its previous spells come out of it one by one until you lift the incantation.  However, this is a MacElver wand, and yours happens to be one of the most powerful MacElver wands ever made.  Lord Middleham will try and regress it with his wand, but it will most likely do nothing, or worse, it might force Sir Philip’s wand to regress instead.  That happens about half the time if a less powerful wand tries to regress a more powerful one.”

“Therefore we’ll probably need
to do it.  That’s a bit experimental, and making your own wand reveal its secrets might have some unexpected results, so we’ll need to have Findlay MacElver here if we need to do that.  We’ll not be able to do it today though, even if we need to, so don’t worry about it.”

“Now, we need to get you through to see Tallion.  I think he needs his soul mate to help him recover, and I know Steven wants to talk with you too.”

* * *

Barty gave Zak another powerful restorative potion, which made him feel almost normal again.  He cautioned the young wizard that it was artificial energy though, and would therefore drain away quickly if he exerted himself.

Steven was very relieved to see Zak as he walked into Tallion’s room.  Although he knew that he hadn’t lost either of his friends, yet, seeing them both unconscious on the football pitch had been an experience he’d never forget.

“ZAK!  Ruddy Nora, yeh both scared me ter death!  Are you okay?”

“I’m a bit wobbly mate, but I’ll be fine.  I see you two have made up then!”

“We did actually make up fer real just a few seconds before all this ‘appened.  Tallion came over ter where I were standin’ and we were celebratin’ yer goal, and then winnin’ t’ match too, when suddenly all ‘ell let loose!  Nurse ‘ere says yer used up all yer energy castin’ a mega spell, is that right?”

“Aye,” answered Zak with a grin which quickly turned to a frown, “but I think I used up all Tallion’s energy too, which is why his spell to save you didn’t work.  Did he really jump in front of you?”

Steven looked back at Tallion on the bed and nodded quietly, “Aye, otherwise I’d be a goner.” 

He took Tallion’s hand which was lying on top of the sheet and added quietly, “He knew what that spell was, didn’t he Zak?  He knew he might die if it ‘it ‘im?”

“Yeah, he knew.  It’s the same curse that hit him on the way to Mhonarr Castle, although that one didn’t quite hit him, or at least maybe not at full power.  He’s the only person ever to have been hit by it twice, and the only person ever to have survived it.”

“I ‘ope I get chance ter say thanks…”

Zak looked worriedly at Nurse Salvae, who was waiting for it, and she nodded and smiled encouragingly.  Zak felt a huge relief, but it was tempered by the terrible emptiness in his mind and heart without his soul mate’s thoughts and emotions.

* * *

John Turner left at about two o’clock to go back to The Copse, but Nurse Salvae, Barty, Zak, and Steven all stayed with Tallion during the early afternoon.  Sir Titus Scott, the specialist from the Edinburgh hospital was there for a while too, and encouraged Zak to try and read Tallion’s mind and see if he could make contact with him somehow.  There was no response from the blond-haired wizard though, and Zak spotted the worried looks between Sir Titus and Nurse Salvae.

“We expect the same kind of damage to his skin that happened at Mhonarr, Zak,” said the knight, “but it hasn’t developed yet.  It took a few hours last time, so we’ll just keep checking.  Nurse Salvae here has plenty of rejuvenation potion.  I’m worried that the Libra Mortis will have gone more than skin deep this time though, so we’ve been keeping an eye on all his internal organs too, to make sure that he has no internal injuries.  When the skin tissue starts to show signs of damage, that will be when any internal damage will start to show up too.  Nothing for it but to sit it out I’m afraid.” 

“Umm, Zak,” continued Sir Titus, “without being indelicate, err, do you think you could get physically closer and lie on the bed with him?  I understand from Steven here that you’re very close, and the bond between you will no doubt help him to recover.  You need to give him your life energy, Zak, he needs you now more than ever before.  Physical contact will magnify the effect greatly.”

“Of course, I’d have done it even if you hadn’t asked, but now I have an excuse, doctor’s orders!”

“Right!” said the knight, in his distinctive Edinburgh accent, a relieved smile crossing his face.  “We’ll leave you in peace for a while then.  Send for us when anything changes.”

The door closed a few seconds later leaving just the three friends together in Tallion’s room.  Zak quickly went into the bathroom and changed out of his miraculously clean football strip into a pair of Tallion’s shorts and one of his t-shirts, and then climbed into bed next to his friend.

“I’ve never dared ask before,” said Steven with a slightly amused, slightly questioning expression, “but do yer often sleep in t’ same bed?”

Zak looked a little bit embarrassed as he replied.  “Yeah.  We hardly ever
together, but by the time we wake up in the morning we often find ourselves back together again.  I know it must
weird, but it doesn’t
weird, it just feels… complete.  That’s the only way to describe it, and just in case you’re wondering, no, there’s nothing like that involved at all!”

Steven grinned, “I know that!  Otherwise Tallion wouldn’t have been jealous of me n’ Sartrina!”

Zak smiled.  “That’s true.  He was really upset about it you know, I was very surprised.” 

Zak got himself settled in the bed, making sure that he had physical contact with his soul mate to allow their magical bond to get to work.  It was a bit awkward because his friend was lying on his back.  When he was set, he spoke again.

“You have a magical life debt to Tallion now Steven, so you’ll probably find that you feel much closer to him than you used to do.  That’s certainly how the life debts have affected us.”

Steven nodded, feeling relieved.  His mind had been in a bit of a turmoil since Tallion had dived in front of him to save his life, but he was starting to sort out all his new emotions a bit now. 

“I keep finding meself holding his hand, and wanting ter speak with him, ter let him know that I’m with him.  Is that because o’ t’ life debt?”

“Yeah, could be.  Magical links and bonds are really curious, they can give you all sorts of powers and stuff, but they do change your behaviour.” 

Zak was glad that they’d hunted out and read the books about magical bonds, and he explained to Steven as best as he could how life-debts worked between wizards.  He saw understanding in the young farmer’s face, followed by determination to honour the debt if he ever got chance.  When he finished, he closed his eyes.

“I’m really tired Steven, can you keep watch while we sleep?”

“Aye, course,” replied his friend, immediately attracted by the idea.  “I’ll wake yer if anything changes.”

“Thanks.  What about yer mam an’ dad?  You’ve been out fer ages now!”

“Sir Philip said he’d phone Mum and tell her that I’ve come back ter Tallion’s house fer tea.  They’re dead jealous that I’ve been ‘ere and they ‘aven’t.”

“They need to know soon, Steven, you can’t keep this secret from them forever.  What did Sir Philip say about it?”

“Same as you.  To pick me moment and when it’s right to tell ‘em, but tell ‘em as little as possible.  He’s worried that they might go tellin’ other people, but they’ll not.  They don’t believe in magic an’ stuff, so they’ll never tell anyone that

There was no response from Zak this time, and when Steven peered over at him, he saw that he’d fallen fast asleep, as quick as turning out a light.

“I’ll keep watch, you two just sleep,” he said quietly.  “I hope yer make it Tallion, I really do…”




18.  Time And Time Again



Sir Philip had a problem.  Time. 

Or, to be more precise, not
time.  It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last, but this was about as complicated as it had ever been.  His father had finally helped him to overcome this persistent predicament when he was in his mid-thirties, but it came at a price.  First, a secret that had to be kept from everyone, and second, the small matter of growing older quicker than the years you accumulated.

The latter problem wasn't too hard to overcome, at least, not for a wizard of Sit Philip’s calibre.  Enchantments and potions could overcome the limitations of age and hide it from everyone until it no longer mattered.  The former, keeping it secret, was much more difficult. 

In order to overcome time, you need to travel through it, and people often notice!  Inevitably travelling in time also means that you live through the same periods of time twice, even if you return to the exact moment you started from, which any sensible time traveller always does.

Therefore Sir Philip, who on paper was fifty four, had actually lived through something like sixty years as a result of the times he’d either stopped time, travelled backwards and forwards through it, or re-lived chunks of it.

He knew that he needed to use the power of time now to help him overcome his current problem.  He had six unconscious footballers from Netherdale Academy in the castle, and they needed to be home in about four hours tops.  He had one exhausted but recovering eleven-year-old wizard, who needed at least twenty more hours to recharge his magical batteries.  He also had one almost dead son, who would almost certainly need considerably longer to recover!  Without both boys in full health though, there was no way that he could revive the six unconscious footballers, and revive them he must! 

Zak and Tallion therefore had to travel through time; that was all there was to it, and Steven would probably have to go with them.  They were going to have to live through the next few days of their lives, allowing them to completely recover from their ordeal, and then come back to where they were now to revive Zak’s team-mates.  They also had to do it without anyone noticing!  Sir Philip knew he couldn’t hide it from the boys themselves, but he’d cross that bridge when he came to it.

The baronet set about creating a special combined time and location portal in Tallion’s study to take the three friends to a room on the ninth floor of the LookOut tower.  Middleham folklore had it that one of their ancestors had created the room, and had imbued it with many charms and much complex magic.  The baronet wasn’t so sure though, because some of the magic that he’d detected in the room was very dark indeed.  However, its primary attribute would serve his purpose now, without much risk to the three eleven-year-old wizards.  This was going to get complicated, but all being well, the world would be back to rights fairly soon.

* * *

Bjarne finished his lunch and returned to his room to puzzle out what had happened.  He’d spent about three hours reading the alchemy book in Tai Tuie’s Tomb, and he could remember most of what he’d read so it wasn’t a dream, but it seemed like he’d only been in there for about thirty seconds!  The possibilities were either that he’d read the book superfast, which didn’t fit with him sitting in the comfy chair and seeing the time on the clock, or that time had stood still while he was in there.

Bjarne’s logical mind decided that it had to be the latter, which he found almost unbelievable!  He decided he needed to do two things.  First, read up about controlling time, and second, go back to the room to conduct a few experiments.  He set off for the library determined to untangle the riddle of Tai Tuie’s Tomb.

* * *

Sir Philip opened the portal between Tallion’s study and the room in the LookOut Tower.  As long as the portal remained open, time in the room would be pegged to time in the rest of the castle.  Usually that only happened when the door on the ninth floor of the LookOut Tower was open. 

The baronet enchanted Zak, Tallion, and Steven into a deep sleep, and took them through the portal.  Nurse Salvae had confirmed that Zak and Tallion should stay together to help Tallion recover more quickly, so he arranged the room like a school dorm with dressers and chairs, and a reading desk near the window, but with only two large beds.  He put Steven in one bed by himself, and Zak and Tallion together in the other. 

One of the properties of the room that Sir Philip had never been able to properly figure out was the way you always left the room just a few seconds after the moment you went in.  It was this feature that he was now going to use to let the boys travel through time while everyone else stayed firmly in Sunday afternoon. 

This was the first time that Sir Philip had tried to make someone else travel through time in this room while he wasn't in it, and he was more than a little curious to see the result.  He left written instructions that the boys should stay in the room until eight pm, when Zak and Steven should come back through the portal, which would open as they walked towards it.

He then went back through the portal himself and closed it behind him, breaking the link between the room and the castle, which allowed time in the room to run free.  What
happen next, was that Zak and Steven should appear within seconds thinking that it was eight o’clock.  If his theory was correct, they’d wake up in the room when the clock chimed, read the note, and come through the portal, which would bring them back to more or less the same time as when Sir Philip closed it.

Sir Philip was therefore gratified, but not surprised, when that’s exactly what
happen just a second later!  Zak had just spent six hours asleep, in less than a minute, and was looking much more like his old self!  The baronet smiled, both in welcome and in relief.

“We’ll have dinner in your room Zak, rather than going down to the dining room.  How’s Tallion’s chest?”

“I had a quick look before I came out, Father, and it’s like it was in the infirmary, blackened and raw.  Is Nurse Salvae here with her potion?”

“Yes, she’s just having a bite to eat.  I’ll fetch her in a few minutes, and she can apply it while we eat.  Can you connect with his mind yet Zak?”

The baronet was on tenterhooks for the answer to that question.  So far, apart from his body working, there had been no other signs of life from his son at all.

“No Father.  There’s nothing there yet, although it feels better than it did after the end of the match.  I don’t have that totally empty feeling inside that I had then, so maybe something is recovering.”

Zak could hear the baronet’s thoughts, and shared his fear that the curse had somehow affected Tallion’s brain, or maybe his mind.  He definitely wasn’t as panicky about it as before though.

“Okay you should both go for dinner in your rooms, Zak, and you can have a shower and change too.  Steven, I’ve let your parents know that you’ll be staying here with Tallion tonight, and we’ll take you straight to school in the morning, is that what you want?”

The young farmer brightened and nodded his head with the trace of a smile.

“Aye Sir Philip, if that’s no trouble.”

“You’re more than welcome, Steven.  I think Tallion needs you as much as he needs Zak!  Right, look sharp and freshen up, I’ll have dinner sent along in about fifteen minutes.”

As soon as the boys left the room, Sir Philip quickly went through the open portal into the tower, and levitated Tallion back through it into his own bed.  He then sent a messenger to Nurse Salvae, asking her to come and administer the rejuvenation potion.  This way she wouldn’t have any suspicion that a bit of time travelling was going on!

The baronet closed the portal to the tower room, which allowed time there to reset to be the same as the rest of the castle. 

* * *

Thirty minutes later, the skin on Tallion’s chest was restored, although he now had a new scar over his heart to match the one that was barely changed on his back.

“That damage developed quite a bit quicker than at school Sir Philip,” said the nurse as she magically put Tallion’s pyjamas back on.  “It must be because the Libra Mortis hit him at full power.”

The baronet managed to suppress the smirk that was trying to twitch the corners of his mouth.  No-one ever suspected it when you fiddled with time to make things work out.

“There’s still no sign of any damage to his internal organs,” continued the nurse, as she cast a few more charms over Tallion’s unconscious body.  “Although we need to keep a close eye on his heart, which does have the faintest trace of irregularity about it.  The new scar is right over it, so the Libra Mortis must have been very close.  It’s a wonder he’s not dead!”

“These two boys are unique, Honor.  I don’t think it was only their magical power that withstood the Libra Mortis, it was the fact that there are two of them.  My current theory is that they can somehow share their life force between them.  The one keeps the other alive!  While ever one lives, the other cannot die…”

The nurse looked at the baronet with raised eyebrows, and then at her patient.


“Well, not quite.  Get them both at the same time and that’s the end, but you do need to get them both!  You mustn’t say anything though Honor, not even to Orion.  I’ll tell him when I’ve thought about it a bit more, but for now…”

“Of course Sir Philip!  Good heavens, I never heard the like of it before!”

Nurse Salvae checked over her patient yet again, and then left, asking Sir Philip to call her if any other type of injury developed.  She then went back to Mhonarr Castle arriving in plenty time for dinner.

Sir Philip quickly reopened the portal and took Tallion back through it into the tower room.  He then advanced the clock to show eight forty five to hide what was going on from the boys.  They could now stay in the room and get a full night’s sleep, which would return Zak to normal, and should see some more improvement in Tallion’s condition. 

As soon as he’d settled Tallion, he collected Zak and Steven from Zak’s room where they were just finishing their dinner, and took them back to Tallion’s study.  He asked them to follow him through the portal in about a minute to give him a few seconds to check on Tallion.  The real reason for the delay was to make sure that they came back through the portal well after he did next time they left the room.

The baronet explained the need for them to sleep through until morning, and gave them a twelve-hour dreamless sleep potion.  Thirty seconds later, they were all soundly asleep, all together in the same enlarged bed, so that their proximity to each other would speed the healing process.  Magic now just had to do its stuff, and the baronet hoped that the powerful restorative that he’d just given Tallion would start to have some effect. 

He was a bit nervous about leaving his son unsupervised for twelve hours, but there was no choice really.  He set the alarm clock in the tower room to wake them up, and left a note asking them to leave Tallion if he was still asleep and come back through the portal for breakfast. 

He then went back through the portal himself and closed it behind him.  Once again, the tower room disengaged from time in the rest of the castle, and began to work its own particular magic.  The baronet had about a minute to shoot through into Tallion’s bedroom so that when the boys arrived it didn’t look as though he’d just walked through the portal ahead of them.  He glanced at his watch. 

It was three o’clock on Sunday afternoon in real time, but any second now it would be eight forty five on Monday morning for the wizards who were about to come through the portal!  He needed to keep track of this carefully!  When it was over he’d need to either tell the boys what he’d been up to, or alter their memories.  He really, didn’t want to do the latter, because it was never seamless and when they found out, which they eventually would, it would seem like a betrayal.

* * *

“Morning boys!” he greeted as they walked into the bedroom a few seconds later.  He’d just had time to magically change his clothes to further the pretence.

“Did you have a good sleep?”

“Aye Sir Philip, that were t’ best sleep I’ve had in months,” answered Steven, nodding his head.  “Slept right through fer twelve hours straight!  Mind, I need t’ bathroom now, s’cuse me!”

The baronet stepped aside as Steven headed straight for Tallion’s toilet, and grinned at Zak.  “You too I guess?”

“Yes Father, but I’ll make it to my own room.  Are we going to school?  We’ll be late!”

“I’ve arranged for you not to go in today, so don’t worry Zak.  I think it’s more important that you’re here with Tallion to help him recover.  How’s he doing?”

“Much better, I could hear his mind again, although I’ve lost it now that I’m away from him, but I haven’t managed a conversation with him, he’s very deeply asleep.”

“Excellent, that’s a huge relief Zak!  Will you be okay to stay with him today, all day?  I’m sure being there with him is making a huge difference.  How are

“I’m fine Father, really completely fine, and yes of course I’ll stay with him, you’d have a struggle to take me away, and Steven!  He doesn’t have to go to school today either does he?”

BOOK: Zak Turner - A Twist In Time
6.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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