Tag Archive: sealing stones

Feb 05

In the Company of Angels: Episode 5.2 – Orbaratus (cont.)


In the Company of Angels, Episode 5.2 – Orbaratus (cont.)


“That doesn’t sound good,” said Jill, “That doesn’t sound good at all! I mean, this place is already spooky enough as it is….”

“Sam, what color were the gems?” asked Mr. Luke.

“Hard to tell because the light was bad, but they looked dark: blue, maybe?”

“Do you think, by any chance, that they might have been sapphires?”

Sam whistled “Holy smoke! I didn’t even think about that! I can go check if you’d like.”

“I’m not sure how we would determine that, to be truthful,” said Mr. Luke. “But, while we think about it, if Polly no longer senses anyone else up there, perhaps we should all go and see the place for ourselves.”

Polly stood poised, listening for a moment. “No, no one remains,” she said.

“Then, would it be possible for you to take Jill up to the cliff top? I know I’m too heavy for you to carry, but Sam can get us both up there together through the Maze. Sam, what do you think?”

Sam grinned. “I’ll be able to, but you sure won’t feel very good when we come back out.”

“Kindly don’t remind me,” said Mr. Luke, looking pained, “But, it is a risk I am prepared to take. Jill, Polly, we’ll meet you up there.”

Sam clutched his crystal in one hand, and Mr. Luke’s wrist in the other, and the two of them stepped through the adjacent wall.

Polly picked up Jill in her arms. “Are you ready to fly, little one?” she thought to Jill.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be!” Jill thought back to her.

Then they were off.

Jill would remember that flight for the rest of her life. She had been in airplanes before, of course, and knew that takeoffs were noisy and sometimes frightening affairs, so she closed her eyes and braced herself for the jolt of the launch. But Polly’s wings lifted them both effortlessly into the Orbaratan sky, and their rise was so gentle that Polly might not have noticed that they were airborne except for the change in the breezes surrounding them. She cautiously opened one eye and saw that they were already five or six stories above street level and rising slowly, banking back and forth over the deepening chasm below them.

Far from being frightened now, Jill looked eagerly out at the ever-expanding horizon. She saw that the city of Cenurbus was built, as Polly had said, on steep mountain ridges with nearly vertical canyons between them. The city reminded her of photographs she had once seen of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and, as in Rio, there were long graceful arches bridging the canyons; but there were no trees or vegetation of any kind.  She also saw many balconies and plazas that led from the structures built into the cliff walls. But she rarely saw staircases, and it occurred to her that, of course, the Ferrumari would not need them, since they could fly!

Polydora reached the uppermost levels of the cliffs but remained close to the walls lest their flight be noticed by unfriendly eyes. Nevertheless, Sam had been correct; it was both brighter and more blustery in the upper reaches of the city, and even Polydora could not prevent the occasional stomach-wrenching gust of wind from altering their flight. Jill clasped her cloak tightly around her to keep warm. But she was soon able to distinguish the rooftops and the plaza that Sam had described. The mountain rose higher just at the plaza’s far edge, and there were benches and the remains of pots or planters scattered throughout the space in addition to the stone pillars.

“So it was almost like a garden,” Jill thought to herself.

“Yes, it was,” Polly thought back to her, “but that was many centuries ago, long before I came out into the world from the place where my parent had hidden me. But I have seen pictures of how it was, once upon a time….”

To Jill’s astonishment, she now saw faint images flashing through her mind’s eye. The planters were filled with shrubs of every hue of the rainbow. Some had great circular leaves and others reminded her of weeping willows, or of weeping cherry trees. There were tall palm-like plants and low trailing vines. Yet, despite the vivid colours, the overall effect was pleasing, and Jill thought that the Ferrumari must have had great skill in the artistic uses of colour, texture, and shape.

“There were, in fact, many great artists among my people,” Polly thought back to Jill. “And I can show you some of their works in the galleries and museums that were spared during the dark times….

“…that is, once we have solved the mystery of who else may have come here.”

Jill felt a slight wave of dread coming from the Ferrumari, and she realized then how disturbed Polly must be that her home world had, somehow, been violated.

But now Jill saw Sam and Mr. Luke on the plaza. Sam was standing next to the shimmering wall that enclosed the plaza. He was watching them fly in while Mr. Luke was seated on one of the stone benches. Polly lightly touched down next to them, and then she set Jill down upon her own two feet.

Mr. Luke was once again munching on a chocolate bar. “I think next time I’ll take the stairs,” he said between bites.

“That would have taken you weeks,” said Sam. “Besides, I never even saw any leading up here.”

“Of course not, Samuel. It was a feeble attempt at making a joke. The Ferrumari didn’t bother much with stairs.” said Mr. Luke. “But, I’m better now. Going back down, I may opt for a sketch…running one of them, especially one of my own, doesn’t make my stomach do belly-flops the way the Maze does.”

The four of them turned their attention to the plaza. It was fairly large, and despite the crumbling stonework and the wear and erosion of many centuries, it still held a haunting beauty. There were paths worked into the multi-toned flagstones, and these threaded through the planters and stone monoliths that punctuated the space. Jill noticed that there was writing on many of the stone structures. “What do they say?” she asked aloud.

“They are short histories,” said Polly. “This path is itself like a walk backward through time. It begins with events near the time of the Apocalypse, and then traces Orbaratan history back through the ages until the time of the disappearance of the Masters. A visitor, or a pilgrim as they were called, did not need to read the writing on stones at all if he didn’t wish to; all of the Ferrumari had telepathic powers, and these stones have crystals embedded within them that retained images, songs, and performances from other times. A pilgrim could actually experience history in addition to simply reading about it. But now the crystals are mostly silent. I can sense very little of their original contents.”

“I’ll bet there needs to be some power source to make them work,” said Sam. “And I’ll bet that energy source has long since stopped working. Whatcha think, Mr. Luke?”

“Possibly. But, Polly, does anything look different to you now compared to your earlier visits?”

“No,” said Polly, “it is just as I remember it.”

By this time they had followed one of the winding paths past the empty planters and benches and were approaching the cliff wall at the back of the plaza. Jill could see a huge cutting in the cliff base and an immense doorway. A slab of stone filled the space, and its surface was covered with writing.

“More history, I suppose,” Jill thought. “Then she noticed the blue gems that Sam had mentioned. They were large — nearly the size of a half dollar — and were embedded in more of the mirrored glass-like material that seemed so prevalent throughout Cenurbus. They were round in shape, but were nearly the same colour as the sapphire Jill was wearing on her finger, and they were on either side of the stone door, roughly at Polly’s eye level.

“There are the two stones,” said Sam.

“Yes, but there should be a third,” answered Polly. “Look at the top of the door.”

They all looked at the lintel above the door. It was not as obvious to Mr. Luke, Sam, and Jill because they were not as tall as Polydora, but they could see, in the dim light that filtered down from the overhanging rock, a round setting of the mirrored glass. But it held no stone.

“The third gem is gone!” exclaimed Polly. “And now I remember why that is important! In addition to the writing on the stone door itself, there is a rhyme written upon the lintel. It speaks of the three stones that were originally set here.”

“What does the rhyme say? Can you translate it for us?” asked Mr. Luke.

Jill sensed rather than heard Polly’s thoughts as she tried to recast the rhyme into English.

The original Orbaratan language must, Jill thought, have been quite beautiful to hear spoken aloud. But the tone of these verses was dark and ominous.

“Here is what it says,” said Polly, “although this is but a rough translation. The original verse in my own language conveys great authority; they are words of warning and command, but they read something like this:


‘The three blessed stones that seal the thrones on high,

defended by the Ferrumari troth,

restrain the Masters, who, suspended lie,

chained and wrapped in cold funereal cloth.

Yet they will wake and wend a woeful doom,

should none of that great Warden Race endure,

fell acts of terror then they shall resume,

unless the sealing stones remain secure.'”


“But what does that even mean?!” asked Sam.

“It means,” said Mr. Luke after pondering for a few moments, “that we are likely in very grave danger.”

The words were scarcely out of Mr. Luke’s mouth when they all heard a sound like distant thunder that grew and grew. Even as it roared about them, they felt the stones beneath their feet heave and buckle.

“Earthquake!” yelled Mr. Luke. “Quickly, get away from the door and out onto the open plaza!”

                [ To read Episode 6.1, click here…. ]