GIANTS IN THE EARTH
A Pendragon Story
Outline by Todd Jensen.
Written by Todd Jensen.
Artwork by Jessica Entis
* * * * *
Previously on PendragonÖ
She was christened Charlotte by her parents - good, upstanding citizens, regular churchgoers, who thought their daughter could never go wrong with 'Charlotte' - a nice, ordinary name. Her friends called her Char, because of the numerous cigarette burns that adorned her wrists, signs of just how ordinary she wished to be.
She leaned against the bar in the darkened smoke filled tavern, drunkenly surveying the scene around her. By her side Eddie grunted his approval of the situation, eyeing up the dart board with calculated menace, dreaming of the day when he would have the opportunity to practice the game with live targets, his scarred, bald head gleaming in the muddy light of the single filthy spotlight that illuminated the band podium.
* * *
LUCIUS ADRIANS: Woe to you, oh earth and sea, for the dark lord sends the beast with wrath - for he knows the time is short.
* * *
LUCIUS ADRIANS: Now, my children, now is the time to strike, and take this world for our own. The Lord of Darkness walks among us- and he has spoken to me. He has asked me to gather an army to his side- an army of his own people, OUR own people- people just like you and me.
~~~Meet the Minions~~~
* * * * *
ARTHUR (to Mary): We can offer you shelter with us, until the time that we discover a cure for your condition. What say you to this, Mary?
MERLIN: Arthur, we can't do this! We've problems enough already, and bringing her along is only going to make matters worse. Do you understand the complications that are going to arise from having a female werewolf travelling with us?
MARY: If it makes you feel any better, I'm not feeling particularly delighted in spending so much time in your company. But it seems that we're both stuck with it, so we'll just have to put up with it.
~~~The Curse of Rivencroft~~~
* * *
MARY: So you want a magic cloak of invisibility. We're still going to need to find it.
MERLIN: The logical place for the Mantle of Manannan to have gone under the spell would have been the Isle of Man.
* * *
ARTHUR: Let us be off there now.
* * * * *
GIANTS IN THE EARTH
CASTLE RUSHEN, THE ISLE OF MAN.
"Weíre going to get caught. Just you wait and see."
The three hooded and cloaked figures stood in the middle of the small stone room. One was staring down intently at a flagstone in the middle of the floor. The other two, including the one who had just spoken, were standing side by side, watching him.
The stooped figure arose, and turned towards them. "I heard that," he said in a sharp voice. "Donít think that I didnít. And you are quite mistaken. We are not going to be caught."
"But this castle is still in use," protested the other hooded figure. "Somebodyís bound to come upon us here, a security guard or a tour group or something. And then what do we do?"
"They will not come upon us," the flagstone-examiner retorted. "For one thing, this room is a very minor one. Most of the guidebooks donít even mention it. I very much doubt that half the staff here even know about it. Itís too out of the way. And besides, my wards will deter anyone from entering."
"And you think that theyíll work?" the first watcher asked, sounding skeptical.
"I was able to lead us this far without the three of us being detected by the authorities, now, was I not?" their leader replied. "Now keep quiet, and let me work."
He bent down and placed one hand on the exact center of the flagstone. As he did so, he said, in a low but clear voice, "Aperite!"
The flagstone tilted upwards, with a grinding noise. Beneath it, a spiraling staircase descended into the gloom below. The leader turned to his two followers, and nodded.
"This should be the way to the secret apartment. Follow me, and step carefully."
He started down the stairs. The other two hooded figures glanced uncertainly at each other for a moment, then climbed down after him.
The leader came, only a few steps down, to a rusty iron bracket, in which a pine-log stick was thrust. He plucked the stick from its place, and extended his free hand upon it, crying out as he did so, "Ignis venite!" A few fiery sparks shot out from his fingertips, settling on the top of the wooden stick and beginning to burn. Holding high his newly-made torch, the hooded figure led his two followers down the stairs.
"Keep close behind me," he said to them. "No one has been this way in over a thousand years. For all that we know, there may be safeguards placed here to keep us out, safeguards created by the very accursed sorcerer whose spell we have come to break."
"Now he tells us," grumbled the first follower, but not so loud that their leader could hear them. The other quickly hushed him.
They met with no misadventure, however, as they descended the stairs. But before long, the noise began. It sounded like a rumbling from below, a rumbling with a regular pattern to it. The two followers halted, trembling slightly as they did so. "What was that?" the first one asked.
"Merely the beings that we came to find," replied their leader, a confident and very superior note in his voice. "Donít worry, they canít hurt you. Theyíre in no condition to do so. At least, not yet."
He continued down the stairs, and the other two followed him without further comment. At last, they reached the foot of the spiraling staircase, and paused.
Before them stretched a vast hall, half-cavern in places. Faded and tattered tapestries hung from the walls near the spiraling staircase, and glowing stones mounted in the ceiling provided illumination. They shone down upon the sleeping forms in the center of the underground chamber.
The forms were human in shape, but more than human in size, each one almost twice the height of a man. They were powerfully-built, clad in mangy animal skins in the manner of a stereotypical caveman, with long, thick, matted hair and beards. Thick wooden clubs lay by their sides. Their chests heaved up and down as they snored, their eyes never once opening.
The leader of the three threw back his hood, an awed, yet triumphant smile upon his face. "Marvellous, isnít it?" Lucius Adrians said. "The last of the Giants of Geen, all bound here in an enchanted sleep. What do you say now? Was this worth the journey we made here?"
Char and Eddie threw back their hoods. "Yes, yes, itís impressive, Professor," said Char impatiently. "But I donít see what that lot have to do with us."
"You have no sense of history about you," said Lucius sharply. "I show you the sole survivors of the giant race that once held sway in this island, and this is how you respond? Even my former students at Oxford would have scarcely been so blase."
"But what can we do with a lot of sleeping giants?" Eddie protested. "Exhibit them in a sideshow?"
"Well, I suppose a lot of folks would pay good money to see them," said Char. "We could make a bundle that way."
"And is that all you think about?" Lucius retorted, turning on the two Minions, his eyes blazing. "Mere money?" He sighed in disgust. "Whatever possessed me to recruit worthless petty street-scum like you? You have no sense of imagination about you. Think! What if we could awaken the giants again?"
"We could get them to go around, smashing things with their clubs?" asked Eddie at last, after some minutesí thought.
"Now youíre finally thinking properly," said Lucius. "Your manner of expressing it was somewhat primitive, but, yes. We could recruit them, and make them into an army."
"And then do what?" asked Char. "A whole bunch of giants like those might have been trouble back in the Dark Ages, but this is 1999. The Armed Forces would wipe them out in no time."
"Not with some careful strategy," said Lucius. "And remember, I still have my knowledge of the black arts. The Great Lord of the Darkness may be no more, but his legacy still endures. I shall fulfill that legacy, and give Britain the order that it so stands in need of. The order that will allow it to take its rightful place in the world again." Under his breath, he added, "And the order that will bring an end to the production of riffraff like you lot, once you will no longer be necessary to me."
"Yeah, yeah, today Britain, tomorrow the world," said Char. "Weíve heard it all before."
"And would you both rather go back to London and give yourselves up to the authorities there, to rot in prison?" asked Lucius, staring her straight in the eye. "I did not help you flee the city with me after the death of the Dark Lord so that you could make disparaging remarks about me behind my back."
Char and Eddie stepped back at once, absolutely silent. Lucius nodded in approval.
"And now, if there are no further would-be witticisms coming from your lips," said the former commander of the Minions, "let us to work."
He held out his seven-pointed-star medallion before him, extending it out towards the sleeping giants. "Giants of Geen, heirs to Gogmagog, hear me!" he cried out, speaking in stately rhythms. "Awaken from your slumber! Rise up and join with me! Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!"
The talisman glowed for a moment, but then faded and dulled again. The giants continued to sleep, without even a break to their snoring. Lucius stared at them.
"Did you not hear me?" he cried. "Awake! I, Lucius Tiberius Adrians, vicegerent to the Lord Madoc Morfryn, command you! Hear my words, and obey!"
The giants did not even stir. Lucius looked down at his talisman, blinking.
"What can be the matter here?" he asked himself. "They should respond. Why are they still sleeping?"
Char and Eddie looked at each other. "Looks like the boss is past his prime," muttered Eddie. "I guess that with the Dark Lord dead, heís not so tough any more."
"You can say that again," said Char, nodding. "And to think that weíve been taking orders from him for the past two years. Talk about a waste of time!"
Lucius did not hear them this time. He was too busy pacing back and forth, turning the talisman in his hands over and over. "Why will they not awaken?" he asked himself. "Why? What is the matter here?"
"Well, it looks as if theyíre sounder sleepers than we thought," said Eddie at last. "Letís just leave them, shall we, and go on our way?"
"No!" said Lucius firmly. "We are not leaving this island until I learn how to awaken these giants. And that is my final word on the matter. I leave the Isle of Man with the Giants of Geen, or not at all!"
"Looks as though weíre going to be here for a good long while, then," muttered Char to Eddie. "Maybe the rest of our lives, even. Or the rest of his, at least."
Lucius suddenly halted in his pacing. The two Minions froze, half-ready to step back from the inevitable display of his wrath. But there was no threat in his eyes. Instead, with new light shining upon his face, he spoke.
"I should have known!" he said. "It was no common hedgewizard who made those giants sleep down here for over a thousand years. If it was, any fool could have broken that spell." He continued too quickly for either Char or Eddie to even have the opportunity of making a clever whispered response to that last sentence. "But no, it was a much more accomplished figure. And against his powers, even my own enchantments can avail little.
"It was Merlin himself who charmed them. And we must find a way of undoing his spell."
* * *
"There it is," said Merlin, looking at the town in the mid-morning. "Castletown, just outside Castle Rushen. Itís changed quite a bit since the last time I was here, I must confess."
Arthur Pendragon stood beside his rejuvenated tutor, looking over Castletown with him. "And you feel certain that we shall find the Mantle of Manannan in this place?" he asked.
"Itís the most likely place for it," said Merlin. "My wandís tingling stronger than before." He held out the hazel wand in his hand, which he had earlier crafted to search out the remaining Thirteen Treasures of Britain. "And I currently have it calibrated to the Mantleís - well, for want of a better term, frequency. Itís close by. Probably in the castle itself, in fact."
"Youíre not thinking of going snooping around in the castle, are you?" The speaker was a young grey wolf who sat beside the Once and Future King and his wizard, looking at them both sharply. "I mean, this isnít just some ruined castle like the one back at Rivencroft. Itís still in use. You might just as well be prying around for that stupid cloak in Windsor Castle or the Tower of London."
"Well, itís more than likely that there will be difficulties involved, Mistress Mary," Arthur admitted. "But I am certain that we will find a way of solving them. Correct, Merlin?"
Merlin nodded absently. "Yes, Iíll be able to think of something."
Mary Sefton snorted. "You took that same attitude towards the Angurboda Figurine. And look at what happened."
"Now, excuse me, Miss Sefton," said Merlin sharply, turning towards her, "but if you had not proceeded to shatter that statue so recklessly, you would not be presently afflicted with a wolfís form in the daytime. Youíve yourself to blame for this, not me. If you had waited just a few more minutes for me to find a way of correctly undoing its curse -"
"We didnít have a few more minutes!" Mary retorted. "The Anthropophagi were about to break in, remember? Weíd all have been eaten by them if I hadnít done something!"
"Well, be that as it may," said Arthur, speaking up quickly before the two adolescents could embark on another quarrel, "we will have more work to do here than just search for the Mantle. Our provisions are drawing close to exhaustion, after all. We will need to purchase some fresh groceries in town."
"True enough," Merlin agreed. "I suppose that Iíd better go and buy some, then. Youíd best stay here, Arthur, while I do so. Just in case somebody hereís been keeping up with news from London. It wouldnít do for anybody to recognize you."
Arthur nodded, but Mary spoke up. "Recognize him? Whoíd recognize him other than us, Merlin? Arthurís supposed to have been sleeping on Avalon for the last fourteen hundred years! Whoís going to know him?"
"Well, itís a bit complicated, actually," Merlin began, hesitantly.
"Tell me anyway!" the wolf retorted. "Ever since I joined you two, youíve been acting very suspiciously all the way from Rivencroft to here! You wonít stay in any town long, and you keep on acting as if youíre being followed. You were nervous enough when we were crossing over here by boat, and I donít think that that was just because you didnít want people finding out that Iím a werewolf! Thereís something else that youíre not telling me, and I demand to know right now what it is!"
Arthur turned to Merlin. "I think that it is time that we told her, then," he said.
"Arthur, you canít be serious!" the youth protested. "Isnít it enough that she already knows about who we really are?"
"If we are to travel with her, then we can keep no further secrets from her," Arthur Pendragon replied. "A true knight must be honest and forthright; it is as much the essence of chivalry as is courage. We must tell her the truth."
He turned to the girl. "I am currently suspected by the authorities in London of being a criminal," he said. "Someone has deceived them into believing me a dangerous man, a smuggler of guns and other weaponry, and the police intend to arrest me therefore. Merlin and I are seeking to prove my innocence, as are friends of mine in London itself. But we have been forced to temporarily flee the city, to places where the authorities are less likely to find us. Rest assured, Miss Sefton, that the accusations against me are false, and that we shall find a way of overturning them yet."
Mary stared at him, looking horrified. "Youíre not serious," she said.
"This is not a jest," replied Arthur. "I speak the truth, Miss Sefton."
"Oh, this is wonderful!" cried Mary. "Just wonderful! Not only am I a werewolf, not only am I travelling with a couple of myths, but now on top of it all, one of those myths is a fugitive! Iím keeping company with a suspected arms smuggler! As if things werenít bad enough! I donít even want to think about whatís going to happen when my father finds out about this. Heíll be horrified. And I canít blame him, not one bit. Youíve just ruined my life all the more - and his too."
"Well, you donít have to accompany us, you know," said Merlin. "You could always go your own way, and let Arthur and me go ours. Then weíll both be a lot happier."
Mary was about to make a retort to that, but Arthur spoke up. "That is enough, both of you," he said. "I want no more bickering from either of you. We have to work together, all three of us, if we are to find the Mantle and I am to prove to the law-keepers in London that I am not the ĎConnectioní. And that means that we cannot waste time with such petty disputes."
He turned to Merlin, staring the lad straight in the eyes. "And that particularly applies to you," he said. "You are just as much to blame for these quarrels and contentions as she is. You are acting like a child, when you are fifteen centuries old. There were pages at Camelot who behaved more maturely than you have of late. There have been times when I have found it hard to believe that you are the same man who taught me and prepared me for kingship, when I was a boy in Sir Ectorís castle. It is high time that you began to grow up again."
Merlin hung his head sheepishly, and gave an embarrassed sigh. "Youíre quite correct, Arthur," he said. "Indeed, it seems that the teacher and the pupil have exchanged roles now. A truly humbling experience. I suppose that itís the nature of this body taking over again. The curse of adolescence, experienced a second time."
"Now, then," Arthur continued, "I believe that the best course to take is for the two of you to learn to work together, in some measure of harmony. You can begin by going into Castletown together for the grocery shopping."
"Um - Arthur, I think that it would be more advisable to choose a different occasion for such a test," said Merlin at once. "Remember, itís daylight still. And I very much suspect that the townspeople are going to notice if they see a wolf strolling down the High Street."
"For once I agree with your wizard, Arthur," said Mary. "Iím going to be a lot more conspicuous there in this body than Iíd like."
"Well, you can find a solution for that problem, Merlin, can you not?" asked Arthur calmly. "Some means of drawing peopleís eyes from her condition?"
"Well, it is possible," said Merlin, thinking it over. "A mild illusion spell, perhaps."
"You can make me look human again?" Mary asked. "Why didnít you do that before? It would have saved us all a lot of time and trouble if I didnít have to keep on hiding from everybody in the daytime, you know."
"Well, such a spell would have a number of complications to it," said Merlin. "For one thing, you would still feel like a wolf, even if you looked like your human self, and that would mean trouble. My friend Angela in New York ran into some similar problems herself."
"You do not have to disguise her as a human," said Arthur. "A dog would surely be close enough, and attract little attention."
"A dog?" asked Mary. "You canít be serious."
"No, he does have a point," said Merlin thoughtfully. "It would require less magical expenditure, given the similarity of forms, and thereíd be no tactile difference. Yes, I do believe that it would work. A wolfhound, of course. I donít suppose that youíd be willing to walk on a leash, though?"
"Donít even think about it," said Mary, with a low growl at the back of her throat.
"An illusionary leash, perhaps, if itís necessary," said Arthur.
"Well, I can live with that," said Mary. "But no clever remarks from you at all, Merlin. Not one."
"I wonít even consider any," Merlin replied. "Well, letís make up a list of what Iíll need to buy at the grocery shop, and weíll both be off, then."
* * *
"While Iím figuring out what to do, you had both better go back into town," said Lucius to Char and Eddie. "I have the feeling that we may be remaining in this place for a while, and we will need some proper victuals while I determine how to break Merlinís spell of sleep."
"Go back into town?" said Char. "But, sir, that means that weíd have to go back out through the castle again. And through it on the way back here. Weíre almost certain to get caught next time around."
"Not necessarily," said Lucius. "Just follow me, and keep quiet."
He proceeded down the cavernous hall, past the slumbering giants, the two Minions following close behind him. When they reached the other end, Lucius halted before a growth of fungus clinging to the walls and the ceiling, and cleared it away with some brushes of his hand. Beyond it lay a narrow tunnel, stretching upwards and outside into the light of day.
"A place like this would almost certainly have more than one exit," said the sorcerer, nodding. "And it will emerge outside both the castle, and the town. You can use it both to leave this place, and to re-enter it with the supplies. Understood?"
Both Minions nodded. "Excellent," said Lucius. "Then off you go." He handed them a rolled-up shopping list. "Purchase these items, and do not return without them."
He turned, and walked back to examine the giants again, while Char and Eddie started up the passageway to the outside world.
* * *
"Well, that should handle it," said the young-old wizard in a low voice some minutes later, as they walked into the town. "You look enough like a wolfhound that nobodyís likely to bother you. And Iíve got the leash, collar, name tag, and everything. Works out nicely, doesnít it?"
"Maybe," Mary whispered back to him. "You could have tried a less pretentious name, though. 'Delphine von Unterwald'?"
"Well, it seemed like a good one to me," the youth whispered back. "Or would you prefer Laura Talbot?"
"Don't even think about it," she said, an angry light flickering in her eyes. "That's not funny."
"All right, it was in poor taste," said Merlin quickly. "But let's not argue over this any more, shall we? People might notice."
Mary said nothing more. She simply watched the townspeople as they went about their errands, and remained silent, thankful that at least nobody was noticing that she was really a wolf rather than a dog. She walked alongside Merlin until they came to the grocery shop.
"No dogs allowed inside the shop," said Merlin to her. "Sorry, but youíll just have to wait outside. I shanít be long."
He went through the motions of tying her to the leash-railing, and then went into the shop. Mary sat down to wait, and looked about her. The only dog present, fastened to the leash-railing with her, was a small basset hound, which stared up at her, sniffing puzzledly.
"What do you think youíre looking at?" she said to it testily, just loud enough for it to hear her. The basset hound backed up, whimpering in confusion. Mary nodded satisfiedly, and lay down upon the pavement.
* * *
"Rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano," read Eddie out loud, as he looked over the shopping list. "Why does the boss have to go in for all those fancy herbs, anyway? Why canít he go for some proper food, like bubble and squeak?"
"Just be grateful that heís not sending us out to buy eye of newt and fillet of a fenny snake," replied Char. "The way that he was acting when he made us go here, heís probably got some witchesí brew in mind. Anything to wake those giants up."
"Not so loud," said Eddie to her, with a quick shushing noise. "Díyou want everyone here to know about them? Theyíre giving us odd looks enough already!" He glanced surreptitiously at the other shoppers, then suddenly stopped. His eyes widened. "Look, over there!" he said to her.
Char turned. "What is it?" she asked.
"Itís that boy," said Eddie, pointing to the slight young figure coming down the aisle, looking at the shelves thoughtfully. "That Emrys kid back in London. Heís here."
Char stared at him herself. "What do you think heís doing here?"
"I donít know," whispered Eddie. "But the masteríll be wanting a few words with him. Heíll be pleased to have us hand him over to him. I say that we nab him."
"Not here, you idiot!" Char hissed. "Not in front of all these people!"
"So what do we do, then?" asked Eddie. "We canít just let him go!"
"We wonít have to," she answered. "Weíll just follow him out of town, until thereís nobody in sight. And then we nab him."
"Sounds like a plan to me," said Eddie, nodding eagerly. "Letís do it."
They kept their heads down, so that the boy could not see them, while watching him closely all the while as they continued their shopping.
* * *
Merlin came out from the store, carrying a sack of groceries in both arms. "Well, that should be the lot of it," he said to Mary, going through the motions of taking up her leash and leading her away by it. "Letís be off, then, shall we?"
Mary nodded without a word. She could not help but look back for a moment, as they walked away from the shop. There was something that felt wrong about it somehow, something that she could not quite put her finger, or more accurately, her paw, on. Her senses, she had discovered, were somehow heightened while she was in her wolf-body, and particularly her senses of hearing and smell. And right now, a smell was entering her nose that seemed somehow unfriendly, even ominous. She couldnít be certain as to what it was, but she didnít like it.
When thereíre a lot fewer people around, maybe I can warn him, she thought. Heíll probably know what it is. He is a wizard after all, even if not as much a one as I would have thought. But for now she had to keep silent, while they were still in town.
They finally left Castletown, however, and were heading towards the place where Arthur would be waiting for them. Mary finally cleared her throat, once she felt certain that they were out of hearing range of anyone in town.
"Merlin?" she said, a little hesitantly. "This may sound a bit - well, cliched, but I think that weíre being followed."
"Indeed?" asked Merlin, looking down at her. "And what gives you that impression?"
"Just a feeling that I have, thatís all," she said. "Something that I can smell."
"Just a feeling?" Merlin echoed. "Now, see here, Mary, Iím the one who gets the prophetic visions around here, not you. Youíre a werewolf, not a seer."
"I know," said Mary. "But I really do feel that somebodyís after us, and that itís not anybody friendly."
Merlin stopped short. "Well, it could be just plain old-fashioned paranoia. Heaven knows that weíve all reason enough to have attacks of it. On the other hand, wolves do have better senses than humans in some cases, and maybe you did hear something. But just because somebodyís walking after us, doesnít mean that theyíre deliberately following us. It could be all just a coincidence."
"Perhaps," said the girl. "But letís get back to Arthur, shall we? The sun will soon be down, anyway, and Iíd just as soon we donít have the wrong people about when that happens."
"Good point," replied the lad. "On we go."
They had only walked a few more steps, however, when two roughly-dressed figures, a man and a woman, sprang out from behind the trees at them. The man, an ugly, bald, scarred figure, seized hold of Merlin, grasping him so quickly that the boy had no time to put up any sort of fight or even shoot out a spell. The hulking figure pinned Merlinís arms to his sides, with a vicious laugh. "Got him, Char! Letís go!"
Char was less fortunate than her fellow Minion. Mary leaped at her, knocking her off balance and straight onto the ground, upon her back. The wolf placed her front paws upon the downed woman, growling savagely.
"Eddie, get this animal off me!" Char shouted.
"You get it off you!" replied Eddie, backing away, not letting go of Merlin. "Itís your problem, not mine!"
"You canít just leave me here with it!" she screamed at him. "Itís going to eat me! Do something!"
"And I will," said Eddie. "Sorry about you, Char, but Iíll just be getting the kid here back to Lucius. Hey, itíll be a decent trade-off, anyway. I mean, when the boss sees whom Iíve caught, he wonít even care -"
But before he could finish his sentence, the sun set. Mary let out a wail as her metamorphosis began. Her paws changed back into hands and feet, her tail shrank down and vanished, her furry pelt changed back into hiking clothes. Within moments, Char was pinned to the ground, not by a grey wolf, but by a startled teenaged girl younger and smaller than herself.
She stared up at Mary, too astonished to act or speak at the transformation. Eddie stood where he was, still gripping Merlin tightly, but clearly equally awe-struck. But the moment was over soon enough, as Char seized hold of Mary, grasping her tightly by her wrists and pulling herself up as she did so.
"Well, well, it looks as if the boyís keeping company just as weird as he is these days," she said. "No matter. Lucius ought to be interested in you as well, whatever you are."
"What are you two doing here?" asked Merlin sharply. "You lot are supposed to be behind bars. How did you get out?"
"Mind your own business, boy!" said Eddie, striking Merlin hard on the head with one hand. "Come, Char, letís get them both to the boss. He can decide what to do with them."
"Exactly," said Char. "Now march, both of you!" She pushed Mary before her, digging her sharpened nails hard into the girlís shoulders. Eddie walked alongside her, treating Merlin in the same fashion.
"Who are these people, Merlin?" Mary asked, wincing in pain from Charís grip but keeping herself from screaming, with an effort.
"Some trouble-makers that I thought Iíd seen the last of," Merlin replied disgustedly. "Apparently I was wrong."
* * *
"Where can those two be?" Arthur wondered aloud.
He had waited patiently for them to return, between moments of sleep, throughout the day. But now the sun had already set, and there was still no sign of them.
"Mary will have resumed her human form by now," Arthur said to himself, "and they would hardly linger in town long enough to give anyone the opportunity of seeing her transform back. No, something must have gone wrong."
He began walking down the path that led towards Castletown, carefully examining it as he did so for any sign of clues that could tell him what had befallen the two youngsters. It was some minutes later that he turned a corner on the trail, and found an abandoned sack of groceries on the ground. Footprints cluttered the earth about it, and not all of them were those of an adolescent boy and a wolf. There were the marks of larger boots about, as well.
"Somebody has made away with them," said Arthur grimly. He stood up and drew Excalibur from its scabbard, then looked down at the footprints once again. It was not long before he could find the trail that he was seeking, leading away from the site of the recent skirmish. Holding his sword before him, he began to follow it.
* * *
The Minions and their captives reached the entrance to the tunnel. Merlin looked at it, and frowned troubledly, furrows creasing his brow.
"What is it now?" Mary asked him, in a low voice.
"This place seems familiar to me," he replied. "Very familiar." He groaned. "I should have seen this coming a lot sooner. This explains a lot about what those two are doing here."
"What do you mean?" the girl asked him. But before either of them could say anything more, Char delivered Mary a savage kick in the shins.
"Quiet, both of you!" she snarled. "And you especially!" she added to Mary. "If I hear you utter one more word without permission -"
"That was completely unnecessary!" Merlin protested.
"No, it wasnít," Char retorted, glowering at him. "And if you donít want worse, youíll keep your mouth shut as well!"
"So what was that all about, anyway?" asked Eddie to Char, as they pushed their captives into the mouth of the tunnel. "The way youíre acting, Iíd think something really ticked you off about that girl."
"Mind your own business," she snapped back at him.
The tunnel led downwards into the earth, until it opened into a cavernous hall. Maryís eyes widened in utter astonishment as she saw the great sleeping forms lying in its center. "Odd," she said, in a tone of voice indicating that she was doing her best to preserve her composure. "I donít recall climbing up any beanstalks to get here."
Char was about to kick her again, but before she could do so, Lucius, who had been bending over one of the slumbering giants, rose up and turned around. "So youíre back at last," he said to his followers. "And - youíve brought company with you, too."
Eddie nodded. "Yes, sir," he said. "Did we do right?"
"Better than you know," said Lucius, looking closely at Merlin as he spoke, a smile beginning to form on his lips. "Well, well, Master Merlin. It is quite a ways from London, is it not? But I can scarcely complain about that. In fact, if anything, youíve just saved me some trouble. I hadnít even thought that my problem was going to be solved quite so easily."
"What are you up to this time, Lucius?" asked Merlin sharply, giving him a cold stare. "Your cause is lost, and you know it. The Unseelie Court has been scattered, this time beyond repair. Madoc is dead, and his castle destroyed. And without your masters, youíre nothing."
"It is true that there have been some setbacks for us of late," said Lucius, speaking with a sigh. "It will take a while to recover from your fatherís death, Merlin Ambrosius. But we can rebuild. We only need the right assistance for that purpose." He glanced over at the sleeping giants again.
"What I really want to know," Merlin continued, doing his best not to gaze at the giants himself, "is why you were doing it. Why work for someone who would have reduced humanity to utter slavery? Oh, I can guess why those two lackeys of yours were doing it - theyíre nothing more than anti-social toughs whoíd follow any cause that gave them an excuse for random violence. But you donít strike me as that sort of person. What did Madoc offer you? Revenge on Oxford?"
"Nothing so trivial as that," Lucius said with a superior smile. "Oh, believe me, I do have a few scores to settle there. But Iíd have done what I did even if I hadnít been dismissed. No, I have much grander reasons than vengeance."
"Then tell me," said Merlin. "Those would have to be grand reasons indeed to justify what you were doing."
"Maybe I shall," said Lucius, nodding, after a moment. "Release him," he said, nodding to Eddie. "But not the girl. Keep your hold on her. She is our security, to make certain that heíll not try to escape." He turned back to Merlin. "And you do understand, donít you, that if you make just one magical gesture in my direction or my followersí, that it will go all the worse for her? Being a man of reason, you obviously must understand that."
"The usual hostage policy," said Merlin sullenly. "Yes, Iíd expected no less from you. Very well, no magic."
Eddie withdrew his hands from Merlin. "Come with me," said Lucius to the young-old wizard. "You two stay here," he added to Eddie and Char. And he led Merlin away from the Minions and Mary, further up the cavern towards the stairs.
"Ah, good," said Lucius, halting. "The rabble is safely out of earshot. Trust me, these are things that Iíd just as soon not say in front of them. And things that they wouldnít even be capable of appreciating. Now, how to begin?
"Ah, yes. The Unseelie Court. Iíd known about it for years, of course. How could I not, after all the work that I had done in comparative mythology? It was there for me to see. I knew that the hour was drawing near when it would be restored, when the Great Lord of the Darkness prepared once more to win control of the world, just as he had sought to do so many thousands of years before. And I knew that he was likely to succeed. Your uncle Oberon could not interfere this time, not after what had happened the first time that he and Lord Madoc fought. And as for the weapons of modern technology - what could they avail against the Unseelie Court? Even our greatest scientific achievements must pale before the might of beings who may control the very elements. No, this time, Madoc would triumph."
"I see," said Merlin coldly. "And you were supporting him in order to get on his good side, then. Ready to abandon your fellow humans to their fate, even betray them, in the hopes that heíd be easier on the quislings."
"I had thought that you would be more perceptive than that," said Lucius, sounding hurt and disappointed. "This was about more than just saving myself. I was hoping to save the world."
"By turning it over to the Unseelie Lord?" asked Merlin. "That hardly fits my definition of Ďsave the worldí."
"You truly do not understand," said Lucius, shaking his head. "Think about it, Master Merlin. Youíve lived for fifteen centuries. Think about what you have seen in all that time. Humans are short-sighted, incompetent. They fight each other constantly over trifles. Theyíve no sense of discipline, of order, of structure. Oh, theyíve had their moments, thereís no denying that. Think of Rome. Now that was a time to be proud of, when the Caesars held sway and kept everything functioning properly. But then they declined, the barbarians took over, and anarchy returned. And itís still continuing. This very century has seen two world wars, and who knows how many smaller ones, not to mention riots in the cities, racial hatred, pollution, political corruption. Those two lackeys of mine who escorted you here are merely among the more obvious fruits of a world that has lost its vision."
"And lackeys that you were only too happy to recruit and use to do your dirty work," said Merlin. "If anything, Iíd say that youíre benefiting from the things that you claim to deplore."
"Theyíre merely tools," said Lucius. "Pawns necessary to bring about a checkmate of the opposing king. I can dispose of them later, once I no longer need them."
"Iím beginning to see why you wanted to have this little talk with me in private," said Merlin, glancing briefly in the direction of Char and Eddie. "I donít think that theyíd find your description of them especially flattering."
"Itís become obvious to me," Lucius continued, ignoring Merlinís remark, "that humanity simply is not capable of governing itself. Weíre still children, for the most part, too immature to conduct our own affairs. That is the reason for all of our problems. Children, left to their own devices, will go astray. They must have parents to direct them, to keep them from getting into trouble. Humanity needs the same. And who else to govern it, guide it, discipline it, than a race which has been on this world longer than we have, which has mastered skills that we can only dream of, whose members are immortal and therefore have a much greater, more accurate perspective, on how to accomplish things than most humans can ever expect to achieve?"
"The Unseelie Court," said Merlin. "They were your first choice?"
"They were my only choice," said Lucius. "What else could it be, when your uncle Oberon has turned his back on humanity altogether, decreeing that his subjects should not intervene in our lives? He had the power to change us for the better, but not the will. Lord Madoc had both."
"Heíd have changed the world, certainly," said Merlin. "But not for the better. Iím surprised that you havenít understood that by now, after all the time that you spent working for him. Did you seriously believe that he was improving things by creating a new Ice Age or having you let a Whowie loose in Hyde Park? If heíd won the war, heíd have given the world peace and order - but they would have been the peace of death and the order of slavery."
"Well, I didnít think that youíd really understand," said Lucius, with a shrug. "Not considering the sort of pupil that you produced. I always did find Arthurís hero-status something of a puzzlement, anyway. He hardly struck me as that capable a ruler. Turning a blind eye to that business between Sir Lancelot and his wife, for one thing, instead of executing or banishing them both. Not to mention that he was a foolish rebel against Roman authority. If heíd had a drop of sense in him, heíd have paid that tribute and accepted the wisdom of yielding up Britain to the Empire again, instead of turning the Imperial envoys out of his court and putting up a fight. No, you could have taught him much better than that. But I was hoping that you had gained some proper wisdom over the last millennium or so. Enough to understand what the world really needs, more than some silly case of a sword thrust in a stone and a round table."
"Well, at any rate, it scarcely matters right now what good the Unseelies would have done for the world," said Merlin. "Theyíre gone now, and you wonít be able to rebuild the Court on your own. Only my father could have done that, and heís dead. You backed the wrong horse, and itís time that you admitted it. So what can you possibly do now?"
"Lord Madoc is departed from this mortal coil, yes," said Lucius. "But his legacy still endures. In you."
"What?" cried Merlin.
"Itís the truth," said Lucius. "You could have helped your father, Master Merlin. With you by his side, he might have achieved his goals. But you rejected your glorious destiny then. But you need not do it again. Join forces with me, Merlin. Together, we can bring unity and order to this world at last. We are both great and wise wizards, after all. What can we not achieve together? Think of it, Merlin. What we can accomplish could put your Golden Age of Camelot to shame."
"I refused to serve my father as his false prophet," said Merlin sharply. "What makes you think that I would perform that function to one of his dupes?"
"The possibility of achieving something," said Lucius. "Let us be frank, here. What future do you have at present? Iíve heard rumors about your Arthurís current situation. Pursued by the police, who believe him Britainís most notorious gun-smuggler? What hope does he have of acquitting himself from those charges? Heís headed inexorably for disgrace and prison. And even without it, what prospect do you have for now? Attending a school that treats one of the most brilliant minds of the past two thousand years as just another adolescent? You could do better than that. You know that."
Merlin was silent. A thoughtful light appeared in his calm blue eyes, as they gazed straight at Lucius and his hopeful, expectant face.
* * *
"What are they talking about over there?" asked Eddie.
"I donít know," said Char. "It doesnít matter, anyway. Heíll tell us once heís done."
"Donít forget, we have to let him know about this girl being a werewolf and all," said Eddie, glancing at Mary. "That should get us some sort of bonus, shouldnít it?"
"Yes, it might," said Char, nodding.
"Iíll thank you nicely to stop talking about me as if I wasnít there," said Mary in a highly indignant tone of voice. "Of course, what am I expecting? Manners from a couple of lowly street-punks like you? And particularly ones who think that burn-marks on their wrists are the height of good fashion sense?" she added, taking a closer look at Charís hands.
Char promptly kicked Mary harder in the shins, this time provoking a mild cry of pain from the younger girl. "If I hear one more word out of you, you little freak, Iíll give you so many adornments that, compared to you, Iíll look like the latest super-model from Paris! Just see if I donít!" she hissed.
"Well, well, well," said Eddie. "Sheís really rubbed you the wrong way, then, eh, Char?"
"You donít know the half of it," said Char, speaking almost between gritted teeth. "This brat is the sort of person my parents tried to mold me into. Ever so respectful, gets high marks in school, C of E with regular attendance, never gave her mum or dad a momentís grief, and probably not even a hint of a miniskirt in her wardrobe! If Lucius would just let me get my hands around her neck, Iíd give her such a squeeze -"
"Yeah, but youíd better wait," said Eddie. "Once heís done with the other brat, then we can tell him."
* * *
"And what, precisely, would I have to do?" asked Merlin, breaking his silence at last.
"You can start by awakening the giants over there," said Lucius, pointing to the Giants of Geen. "You put them to sleep all those centuries ago, and only you can break the spell. Just think of what we can achieve, once they are awakened. Your legendary magic combined with my wits and the Giants of Geenís great strength - and that is only the beginning! By the time that we are done forging our grand alliance, no power on Earth could thwart us! What do you say?"
"Thank you, but I refuse," said Merlin. "Well, at least I know now why you were treating me the way that you were. You needed me to wake up the giants, didnít you? You couldnít accomplish it without me. Not that Iím surprised - you always were something of a mediocrity as a sorcerer, from what I could tell. Without the Unseelie Court to back you up, youíre nothing."
"So youíre refusing, then?" asked Lucius. He sounded more disappointed than angry.
"Exactly," said Merlin. "If you want to do some empire-building, youíll have to find somebody else to help you with it. Because Iím not assisting another would-be tyrant up the ladder."
Lucius sighed. "A stubborn one, arenít you?" he said. "Well, we shall simply have to move on, then. Come with me."
He walked back with Merlin to where Char, Eddie, and Mary were still standing, waiting for them. "Well?" asked Eddie. "Is he going to wake the giants up?"
"Iím afraid not," said Lucius, with an aggrieved sigh. "Heís being stubborn about it all, just as I feared."
"What Iíd like to know," said Mary, "is just what these giants are. And whatís all this about waking them up?"
"Theyíre the Giants of Geen, actually," said Merlin, speaking up before Lucius could. "The only giants left in the British Isles. Over a thousand years ago, they were causing a lot of trouble in these parts, and I had to step in and send them to sleep in here. I was hoping that it would keep them out of mischief. Of course, Lucius Adrians would have to decide to go about waking them up for some fresh mayhem."
"So what do we do now, sir?" Eddie asked Lucius.
"Thereís only one thing for it, Iím afraid," Lucius replied. "Torture the girl, until he thinks better of my offer."
"Torture her?" asked Char, eagerly. "How?"
"Whatever way seems best to you," said Lucius. "Youíve a clearer understanding of such methods than do I, after all. You may proceed, both of you."
Char smiled wickedly, and raised one hand, her black-enameled nails, sharp as a swordís edge, ready to strike out at Maryís face. Mary closed her eyes, preparing to brace herself against the blow; despite her bold front, she was unable to completely hide the fear upon her face. But before Char could bring her hand down, Merlin spoke.
"No! Donít hurt her!" he cried. He shouted out the words, speaking so quickly that they stumbled into each other.
"Halt!" said Lucius, motioning to Char. The disgusted Minion held her hand where it was, with a flicker of anger in her eyes. Ignoring her response, Lucius turned to Merlin. "Thinking better of your defiance, are you, then?" he asked.
"Maryís done nothing to you or your people," said Merlin. "She wasnít even involved in the war. Leave her alone." He had an almost pleading look in his eyes, and a frantic tone in his voice.
"I understand that, and have no quarrel with her myself," said Lucius. "But since there is no other way to overcome your stubbornness - well, you do understand that I will be forced to adopt drastic measures. I have no love for violence and bloodshed, but if all other measures have failed, then I have to undertake certain distasteful actions." He spoke these words in almost as casual a fashion as if he was discussing the weather. "Have I made myself quite clear?"
Merlin nodded. "Very," he said, a defeated expression upon his face.
Mary looked about to protest, but Char pushed one hand over her mouth, muffling her cries. "Get on with it, then!" she shouted. "Move it, if you know whatís good for her!"
"That will do, Char," said Lucius reprovingly, turning towards her. "He has already understood my message."
Merlin walked back among the crowd of giants, not turning his eyes back in Maryís direction even once. He proceeded until he was in roughly the center of the slumbering forms, then raised both arms high, and began to chant in an archaic form of Welsh.
An eerie glow began to form over the giant nearest him. Its snoring changed to a gentle breathing, and it began to stir. Its eyes blinked. Lucius nodded expectantly. "Yes, thatís it," he said, unable to hold back his rising excitement further. "Keep on at it, Merlin."
"Halt!" cried a sudden voice. Lucius and his followers turned around, as did Merlin, who dropped his arms and stopped chanting. Even Mary managed to swerve her head enough to look in the direction of the voice. King Arthur stood in the entrance to the secret tunnel, Excalibur unsheathed and blazing in his right hand with blue fire.
"I command you, Lucius Adrians, to release my companions!" he said. "Let them go, or face me man to man! I, Arthur Pendragon, order you!"
Lucius swallowed hard. Evidently he had not anticipated this particular interruption, and now seemed at a loss. He glanced nervously over at Char and Eddie, much of his sang froid fled from him. The two Minions seemed both equally nervous, if not more so, as their eyes fell upon the enchanted sword in the Once and Future Kingís hand. Charís grip on Mary relaxed.
It was a fatal act for her. Mary Sefton at once kicked her hard in the shins, and broke free, rushing to Arthurís side. "Itís all over for you now," she said to Lucius, an almost gloating note in her voice. "The Cavalryís here, and youíre in real trouble!"
A sudden roar filled the cavern. Six heads turned in its direction. The giant whom Merlin had been standing over had pulled himself up to his feet, and was now stretching and yawning. Rubbing his eyes, he bent down and picked up his club. Then he saw the humans below him. Merlin hurriedly scurried out of his way, rushing to join Arthur and Mary, as the giant spoke.
"Who are you?" he bellowed, in a loud voice. "What are you doing in Orgoglioís cave?"
"Orgoglio?" Mary asked.
"The leader of the Giants of Geen," said Merlin, sounding worried. "And the worst of the lot. I knew that I should have started with the puniest giant first."
"Speak up, little men!" shouted Orgoglio impatiently. "What are you doing here?"
"Ah, Master Orgoglio, allow me to introduce myself," said Lucius, making a courtly bow to the giant. "I am Lucius Adrians, a learned man and well-wisher to all your race. I trust that you slept well for the past fifteen hundred years?"
"You look like a wizard," said Orgoglio, squinting at him, his eyes framed by enormous eyebrows, thick and bushy. "I donít like wizards. A wizard put me and my friends to sleep."
"Quite true, quite true," said Lucius. "And heís right over there." He pointed to Merlin. "The troublemaker who cursed you and your tribe."
Orgoglio stared at Merlin next. "Thatís not the wizard," he said, after a moment, sounding puzzled. "He didnít look like that."
"Heís in disguise," said Lucius. "But itís him, all right. And see who is in his company. King Arthur of Britain, the very man who slew your brother Dinabuc at Mont St. Michel. Time for a little double revenge, is it not?" He gave a nervous smile.
Orgoglio growled. "Youíre the man who killed my brother?" he bellowed at Arthur.
"That is indeed the truth, if you are brother to the Giant of Mont St. Michel," replied Arthur calmly.
"Then die!" Orgoglio roared. He lifted his club up high, and charged for Arthur.
"You had to say Ďyesí, didnít you?" commented Mary acidly to Arthur. He ignored her, raising Excalibur in his defense. Merlin, however, rushed over to her, grabbed her by the collar of her jacket, and quickly pulled her out of the way.
Orgoglio reached Arthur, and brought his club down, with all the fury of a thunderbolt. Arthur leaped out of the way in the nick of time, however, and lashed out at the giant with Excalibur. Orgoglio howled in pain as the sword struck his elbow, although the sort of pain that comes from a bee sting rather than from a serious battle wound. He raised his club and lunged at Arthur again.
Lucius coughed slightly, turning towards Char and Eddie. "Well, I believe that it is high time that we absented ourselves," he told the two Minions. "Just follow me, shall we?" And with that, he rushed for the tunnel. They followed him, clearly eager to get as far away from the king and the giant as possible. Their departure was scarcely noticed, however. Arthur and Orgoglio were still locked in combat, Merlin and Mary watching.
"Arenít you going to do something?" the girl asked Merlin sharply. "I mean, you were the one who woke the giant up; surely you can put it back to sleep again."
"I know," Merlin replied. "But Arthurís too close to him at the moment, and I donít want to risk taking him down by mistake. I darenít use any magic on Orgoglio until Arthurís more out of the way."
"Well, isnít there something else, then?" asked Mary. "A slingshot, for example. That worked on at least one giant, I mean."
Before Merlin could reply, Orgoglio lunged at Arthur once again. His club missed the former king, but nevertheless, the impact of his blow upon the floor of the cave was strong enough to make Arthur lose his balance. He fell upon his back, and before he could rise, Orgoglio approached him, raising his club up high again. He seemed about to deliver the death-blow.
"Do something, now!" cried Mary, shaking Merlin. But even as she spoke, Arthur clambered up to his feet, and thrust himself at Orgoglioís legs even as he raised his club to the highest point before bringing it down. He rammed into them hard enough to upset Orgoglioís footing. The giant fell forward, Arthur springing out of the way in time to avoid being crushed, and landed on the cave floor face first.
Merlin dashed forward at once. "Now for it," he said. "This may be the one opportunity that weíll have to do this properly. Stand back, Arthur, and let me finish."
King Arthur withdrew as Merlin began to chant quickly, once more in Welsh. Orgoglio was just beginning to climb to his feet, if somewhat groggily, but as the spell reached his ears, he slumped forward again, and his eyes closed. In a couple of minutes, he was snoring soundly once again. Merlin stepped back, giving a sigh of relief.
"I hope that I never have to cast a spell like this one again in a long while," he said. He staggered slightly, as he spoke, and Mary quickly walked over to him, to help support him. "These big enchantments really take a lot out of me."
"Youíre all right, then?" asked Mary to him. "Er - both of you?" she added, looking at Arthur.
"Iím well enough," said Arthur. He stared at Orgoglioís sleeping form. "My thanks to you, Merlin."
Merlin nodded. "Iíll be all right soon enough, myself. Just donít ask me to do anything really big in the way of magic for the next couple of days, thatís all."
"At least those three are gone," said Mary. "If I never see those two hooligans again, itíll be far too soon. Not to mention that man Lucius. Who were they, anyway?"
"Some associates of my late and unlamented father," said Merlin. "Iíll explain more about them later."
"What got into you back there, anyway?" asked the girl. "You knew that that giant was trouble, and yet you were going to wake it up for Lucius just because he was threatening me."
Merlin coughed slightly. "Well, I know that we havenít been on the best of terms on this little journey," he said. "We can all agree on that. But just because we donít see eye to eye doesnít mean that Iíd want to see you harmed by Lucius and his Minions."
"I see," said Mary. "Well, it was rather decent of you to show that concern for me," she continued, a slightly hesitant tone in her voice. "Thank you."
"Youíre welcome," said Merlin.
"Well, we should be on our way now," said Arthur. "The giant Orgoglio is safely asleep once again, and I hope that this time, nobody will attempt to disturb him afterwards. Lucius and his followers have been thwarted, and have fled from this place; I doubt that we shall have any further trouble with them here. So, if we have no further business to conduct...."
"Actually, we do," said Mary. "That magic mantle that you came here to find. Thatís why we went to all the trouble of coming here, wasnít it?"
Merlin nodded. "The Mantle!" he said. "Iíd forgotten about it in all the commotion! Yes, we really do need to start looking for it."
He pulled his wand out, and held it out before him, advancing past the sleeping giants towards the stairs leading up to Castle Rushen. As he drew nearer, it gave a faint buzzing sound, and began to flicker at its tip. Arthur and Mary followed close after him.
"Getting a little warmer," said Merlin, reaching the foot of the stairs. "But not quite warm enough. Hmmm...." He began to climb up the spiraling staircase, still holding out the wand. Its humming barely seemed to increase. When Merlin was halfway up the stairs, he suddenly halted, and then groaned.
"Well?" asked Arthur from below.
"The wandís picking up Ďmagic residueí," Merlin replied, turning and descending the stairs again. "The Mantle of Manannan was close by, either in the cave or in the castle up above, very recently. But itís not here any more. If it was, the signal would be stronger. It must have been removed from here, and not too long ago."
"Removed?" repeated Arthur. "By whom? Lucius?"
"I doubt it," said Merlin. "The residueís a little too faint for him. From what I can tell, the Mantle seems to have been removed two or three nights ago. It was probably someone else. I didnít see any trace of that cloak with him and his toadies, anyway."
"Then our quest has failed," said Arthur gravely. "We came here for nothing."
Merlin nodded. "Iím afraid so."
"Well, what do we do now?" asked Mary.
"The one thing that we can do," said Arthur, resignedly. "We must leave this place, and return to Britain."
"And what then?" the girl asked.
"We could go to the Caledonian Forest," said Arthur. "Some of our allies from London should be on their way there by now, and if we are fortunate, we may be able to meet them. They could even tell us what their investigation has uncovered. Then we can decide from there how to proceed."
"Better than nothing, I suppose," said Merlin, with a shrug. "And it should be rather nice to see one of my old haunts again. I havenít been up to Scotland for quite a while; it should be worth visiting again."
He staggered slightly again, and Mary supported him without a word. Arthur led the way up the tunnel towards the world outside, and Merlin and Mary followed behind him. In a few minutes, the chamber was empty once again, except for the sleeping giants below the earth.
A link to information about Castle Rushen: