The Legend of Archibal: The Phantom

Walter was in his bedroom searching for the Erudite orb. He had seen it floating in front of his wardrobe and it was gone. He hadn’t taken it anywhere and he thought he had left it in the game bag the night he went searching for Alden, but it wasn’t there. He looked under his bed and now he was turning out everything in his wardrobe in hopes to finding it, but it was nowhere. The end result was a slipshod room. He glanced around at the mess in the chance he tossed it aside, but nothing. Where could it be?

He heard someone coming down the hall. Thinking it was his mother he panicked. Along with his belongings on the floor were his father’s possessions. He didn’t want his mother to see them and throw them out in a fit of anger like she did the first time. He grabbed his father’s possessions and quickly put them back in the bottom of the wardrobe, but as he put the last item. He noticed the initials in the front of the leather game bag. J.W. G. He hadn’t noticed it before. That was the same initials he had seen the man in the cemetery had on his game bag. Was there a connection? Who could that man be?

Walter ponder these questions when he was startled by the opening of the door. He clenched the game bag next his body when his mother entered. Her miffed expression at the sight of his room said it all. “What is going on here?” she demanded. “I don’t care to hear excuses. I want this room cleaned up before lunch. Is that understood?” Walter nodded. She slammed the door as she left. That was close. She had been too displeased with the mess in his room to be aware of the brown leather game bag he held tightly. He had to figure out what the initials meant. Right now, he had to clean his room and continue finding the Erudite orb. He didn’t want Archibal to be disgruntled with him for losing the orb.

By the end of the day, he couldn’t find the orb. He went to bed upset and hoped Archibal didn’t ask for it back. There was no possible explanation of how the orb went missing. The only people that entered his room was his mother, but she couldn’t have taken it or would she? His Uncle Obel and Aunt Edith never entered, neither did Gertrude, Mildred and the rest of the help. Nobody could have taken it. What could have happened to it? He didn’t know, but it was imperative that he find it.

The next day, he was at the manor having his lessons with Alden and Archibal. He tried not to think about the orb, but it was difficult. He took a quick glimpse at Archibal who was reading something at his Donovan desk. Alden was struggling to keep awake while he wrote on his notebook. Walter was trying to focus on his writing as well, but he was distracted with thoughts of the orb. It was quiet in the library as is when Archibal finished lecturing. Outside, the sun shone with a light rain tapping on the window pane. It was still cold. Walter was too concern about the orb to notice the weather.

Walter was finishing his work when two gargoyles appeared at the doorway. He recognized Agi, but not the other one. “Archibal, may we have a word with you?” calmly said the other gargoyle. Archibal nodded and left the room. Walter and Alden exchanged looks and quietly walk to the edge of the door to eavesdrop. Out in the hallway the gargoyle spoke in a low voice, he sounded disconcerting. “We just saw the phantom trying to step into the sunlight,” said the gargoyle. “We’ve seen him try this before, but he has been unsuccessful every time. He is trying to separate itself from the darkness.”

“Amias, thinks it won’t be long until it gains its freedom,” said Agi. “Freedom from the light in the mountains.”

“Doesn’t sound good” Archibal said. “Has it attacked anyone else?”

“Only one other,” said the gargoyle. “A traveler on foot heading into town. He got lost in the path last night during the rains. He wandered into the woods… We tried to save him, but the phantom got to him first.”

“That’s not all, Archibal,” said Agi. “He has been walking under the moonlight. He was not afraid of the moon or of artificial light. He has learned that.”

“He is getting stronger, but he is not strong enough, yet,” Archibal muttered. “Where was he last seen?”

“Near the edge of the woods by the cemetery,” said the other gargoyle. “He tends to tarry there often.”

“Something has to be done,” said Archibal.

“What would you recommend?” said the other gargoyle. “Amias has Basil and Ace following it.”

“Good. We need to keep an eye on it. I’m sure it is after something. What it is? I don’t know–” said Archibal when someone interrupted him.

“Archibal,” it was Sally, the spirit servant. “Archibal,” she sounded agitated. Archibal and the gargoyles turn to face her.

“It’s Cadi. She has been under utenfor for over an hour, but she has not returned. You know what happens if she stays out any longer. I didn’t know what to do.”

“Did she tell you where she went?” said Archibal.

“The maze, the one she keeps failing at,” said Sally. “She said she wouldn’t take long. She should have been back by now. Her body can only last another hour before—before it is too late. You need to bring her back, Archibal.”

“I will bring her back. Sally, stay with her body,” Archibal said. “Agi, Balendin I must go. Tell Amias to look after the manor.” Archibal glanced back to where the boys were listening. Walter who was peeking from the doorway saw Archibal looking over and scurried away from the door, pushing Alden back to his seat. They sat quietly as they waited for Archibal to come in.

“What did you hear him say,” whispered Alden. Walter was about to tell him when the two gargoyles entered the room.

The Legend of Archibal: The Phantom

Professor- “Tell me one or two things about John Milton.”

Student- “Well, he got married and he wrote “Paradise Lost.” Then his wife died and he wrote “Paradise Regained.”

 

 

The armored knights could have continued to sword play for longer, but Walter had gotten winded and Alden was exhausted from his duel. While the boys rested, the two knights introduced themselves. “Welcome to the swordsmanship room,” said one. “Created to help knights train in the art of the sword.”

“We are the tutors. I am Sir Cheshire,” said the second knight. “This is Sir Lucius.”

“At your service,” bowed Sir Lucius.

“It’s been years since anyone has entered this room,” said Sir Cheshire.

“We had almost lost hope,” said Sir Lucius.

“After the war, not many came to the manor looking to be knights,” said Cheshire. “Archibal locked the rooms and no magic was ever used again.”

“It was lonely times for everybody,” Sir Lucius shook his head in sadness. “The only company we had were the spirit servants who kept the rooms from being neglected.”

“Archibal would have let us rust if it weren’t for them,” Sir Cheshire added.

“Archibal had stopped caring,” said Sir Lucius.

“Refusing to use magic,” said Sir Cheshire. “Who has heard of a wizard refusing to use magic?”

“The absurdity of it all,” said Sir Lucius.

“Why did he refuse to use magic?” said Alden.

“You don’t know?” Sir Lucius was surprised while Sir Cheshire sputtered in horror. “The war, my boy.”

“It was a melee of death,” said Sir Cheshire. “We were there.”

“Too terrible to speak of,” said Sir Lucius.

“It tore Archibal apart,” Sir Cheshire had become downcast.

“It has been ten years ago since it ended, but for Archibal it never did,” said Sir Lucius.

“We can’t be mad at him for what he did,” said Sir Cheshire.

“No we can’t,” agreed Sir Lucius.

Walter glanced at Alden. “My father told me stories about it, but I can barely remember,” said Walter.

“Well,” sputtered Sir Cheshire. “Don’t trust the humans to remember exactly the way it happened.”

“Every time they retell it something changes,” said Sir Lucius. “For their convenience.”

“If you really want to know the truth, you must go to the room of athenaeum,” said Sir Cheshire.

“The what?” the boys said in unison.

“The book repository,” said Sir Lucius. “It appears on the first floor near the bathroom.”

“Some overwrought elfin attends the room,” said Sir Cheshire.

“You will find all the books you never thought could exist,” said Sir Lucius.

“Indeed, you will,” agreed Sir Cheshire.

“We better get going,” said Walter. “It’s getting late.” Alden conceded. They said goodbye to the two armored knights who were all too cheery in their farewells and told the boys to visit them anytime.