When the daughters of Albion steal Catherine, Jack and Ken set out to rescue her. The key to finding Catherine is the Glastonbury Zodiac, created by the ancient houses of the Elfin to protect the mysterious thirteenth treasure.
Here Catherine, Jack and Ken must struggle with magic far beyond the mind-tricks of fairy queens as they discover the realms of Erlkings who create reality from their own tortured imaginations.
A stag horned god in his misty kingdom of ancient memory
A mad Minotaur trapped in a maze that is no more than a line scratched on the floor
The bellicose twin giants Gog and Magog- Yorkshire men who do not take kindly to strangers
The Grimoire- a book that writes itself as it steals your life
The Keeper- a crazy woman scientist in a lonely lighthouse of secrets, caught between this world and the next
The senile viscious Fisher King in his drowned world and his long-suffering wife, the Lady of the Lake
And finally King Arthur the last hope of finding the thirteenth treasure
A bright light shot from the mouth of the well flooding the garden with blinding light
“Take me to the moon, the mountains of the moon,” came a commanding voice from Catherine’s mouth.
It took them a moment to recognise it as Bess’s voice. Not the shrunken old lady in the armchair but the powerful fairy queen of dream.
Almost zombie like Catherine lurched forward out of the hollow tower along the path leading down to Glastonbury.
Even as he spoke he realised it was because there were two people trying to work Catherine’s body.
Madog murmured, puzzled: “How could it happen?”
“It was the tapestry,” said Ken thoughtfully. “Catherine touched her tapestry…”
“And lived,” said Madog finishing the sentence for him. “It is almost if it the tapestry enabled her to absorb Bess. Perhaps the fairy queens were right after all.”
“But what about the thirteenth treasure!” Jack protested.
Madog was gentle. “Jack no one knows if it still exists.”
“But we found my dad’s treasure.” Ken told him.
They were almost at the bottom of the Tor. Catherine staggered like a drunken puppet but she still kept going. The narrow path through the woods was coming up, and it was treacherous in the twilight. Madog moved forward to catch Catherine in case she fell, but it was so narrow, the boys were forced to hang back.
They were now on the main road and Catherine was heading down the hill to the garden of the Chalice Well. The fact it was closed was no problem to Catherine, the gate swung open at her touch.
Jack and Ken sheepishly followed Madog and Catherine into the garden as the guardians came out to investigate. It was lucky Madog knew them. He put his finger to his lips and they followed quietly at a respectful distance.
Catherine headed straight for the well hidden in its little glade. On top of the well was wrought iron lid. With superhuman strength, Catherine lifted the heavy lid and stood on the lip of the well calling to the boys to join her.
It looked like she was trying to use it as a ley line, but there could not be a ley line in the well as the water contained iron. They looked at Madog for an answer, but he had no better idea of what was going on than they did.
Reluctantly they joined Catherine and each took one of her hands. They looked into the murky depths of the drowning chamber wondering if they would see the glittering blue of a ley line appear. Jack felt Catherine squeeze his hand as she stepped into thin air, dragging him behind her and he braced himself for the fall into the drowning chamber.
Suddenly a bright light shot from the mouth of the well. It flooded the garden in blinding light and Jack felt the three of them rising into the air. A moment later it stopped and he fell back to earth, landing with a thump on the grass. Ken crashed down besides him. Catherine was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh bloody hell, said Jack “Not again!”
from the Thirteenth Treasure
Its rigging glittered
with ice crystals and balls of Saint
Elmo’s fire played on the tips of the three masts.
At the brow of the hill, Catherine saw they were on a high pasture, ringed by mountains that climbed into the sky; darker than the night. Moored in the valley below and bathed in its own ghostly light, stood a schooner, a full ten fathoms high. Its rigging glittered with ice crystals, though the summer night was warm and balls of Saint Elmo’s fire played on the very tips of the three masts.
The statue of the huntress led the handmaidens of the moon up the narrow gangplank that tied the ship to earth and cried out, “Unman the decks, unfurl the swirls and show the prow the uncertain sea, for before the dawn of timorous morn, of Tiresias sure we must be.”
The handmaidens rushed to their stations and Catherine lost track of the statue in all the activity. Seconds later a fat yellow moon rose over the edge of a mountain and the veiled women cried: We sail! We sail!
The gangplank was drawn in and acres of delicate cloth dropped from the yardarms of the masts. As ghostly as spider’s webs, or dead men’s shrouds, they filled with an unfelt wind as the ship moved unsteadily in its rocky cradle. Shuddering and groaning its keel ground against the earth, until with a sickening lurch, it was free.
Catherine looked down in amazement as the world dropped away. Soon, they were level with the highest mountains. The night was clear and she felt as if she could see forever.
“Where are we?” she asked.
Atlanta, withdrew her veil, her face beneath was austere and pale, as if she were an ice maiden. Even her voice carried a chill to the heart.
“The navel of the world. The mountains of the Moon.”
“What will she do with me?”
“Make you well. You and what you hide.”
Catherine looked shocked. “How do you know?”
“This is the nest. What one knows; all knows. Come she waits.”
Atlanta led Catherine to a cabin at the rear of the ship where the Moon held court. Twinkling candles lit the room, numerous as stars in the sky, each borne by a veiled handmaiden.
“The moon is a place of women and water,” whispered Atlanta as the handmaidens parted ranks to reveal the Moon.
The moon was full and so the Moon was a fat and jolly woman wrapped in swathes of waxy yellow silk. Catherine recognised her immediately from the mirror and the map, even though she and only seen her once and that was many moons ago.
from the Thirteenth Treasure
the shadow of a hulking great brute of a dog expanded to fill the horizon
Madog said they were going to Burrowbridge Mump, an old fairy place which formed the Grit-Dog’s nose. He thought it might be the entrance to thezodiac because it was twelve miles from Glastonbury Tor, one mile for every house of the zodiac.
The boys were amazed to see that Burrowbridge Mump looked exactly like a miniature Glastonbury Tor, even down to the banks carved around its side like some sort of path.
On the top, was a church tower that looked almost the same as the one on the Tor, except more of the church was still standing. There were bits of wall on either side of the tower and a part of a wall with an arch in it at the far end of the Church.
“Believe it or not,” said Madog, “the church is called St Michael’s like the one on the Tor and do you want to know something funny?”
The boys nodded.
“Well, despite the fact you can see Glastonbury Tor from the church up there, you cannot see Burrowbridge Mump from Glastonbury. I don’t know what will happen once we are on the Zodiac,” he warned as they walked up the hill, “but don’t expect it to be easy!”
The boys looked serious, past experiences told them never to expect anything to be easy in fairy places.
As they reached the summit, Madog took the handles of a Y-shaped stick he had brought from the van.
Jack had wondered what it was for.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“It is a dowsing rod,” Madog replied. “I am trying to find the ley line.”
“But we can find ley lines!” Jack told him.
“So can I,” Madog replied, “but I am not looking just for a ley line, there is something else here and I don’t even know what it is.”
“The way into the zodiac?” Ken asked.
Madog nodded. “Let me concentrate.”
Jack understood. If they went on the ley line, they would travel on a ley line and probably end up on Glastonbury Tor. They had to do something else to get on the zodiac.
Madog slowly walked up the path to the church tower with the tip of the Y-shaped stick held out before him.
Jack and Ken explored the ruins and looked for Glastonbury Tor. They saw it in the distance, rising like an island from the early morning mist that covered the flat land of the Somerset Levels.
Madog shouted for them to come and take a look. As he approached the church doorway the dowsing rod began to shake up and down. If he moved a bit to the left it stopped, and if he moved a bit to the right it stopped too.
“This is the ley line,” he told them.
Jack and Ken let their minds go blank and half closed their eyes imagining the arch in the church wall had a door and the door was opening. They were rewarded with the familiar sliver of blue light. They pulled the imaginary door open a little more. Something moved inside and they jumped back in shock.
“There is something in there,” said Jack.
“I saw it too” said Ken. “It’s like a big monster.”
Madog half closed his eyes. “Well done, you have found the Girt dog, the guardian of the zodiac! Now all we have to do is get past it.”
“I don’t know but there must be a key somewhere!”
“Isn’t there a spell or something?” Jack asked.
“You can’t use magic!” Madog told him. “This place was made in ancient times when they knew what they were doing.”
“That book we read at breakfast, said something about keys,” Ken piped up.
“And what about that Tellys-in bloke,” Jack added.
“Taliesin,” Ken corrected him.
Madog looked at them, “Of course!”
He ran down to the van and returned with the book on the Glastonbury Zodiac. On the cover it said it was the key to the mysteries of Britain. Madog hastily began leafing through the pages.
“Here is that poem Jack, the ‘Spoils of Annwun’ by Taliesin.”
At the word ‘Annwun’ a door shimmered into being in the empty doorway of the church tower. Although it looked like it was nothing more than mist, it seemed solid enough.
Madog got excited and cried out, “Caer Sidi!”
The door became a little more solid and he nodded with satisfaction. “Caer Pedryvan! Caer Vediwid!” he cried then turning to the boys said, “The poem is about Arthur going into the zodiac to rescue someone trapped in there and it gives a list of names. They are the keys, exactly like you thought. Caer Rigor! Caer Colur! Caer Vandwey! Caer Ochren!”
By the time Madog had finished the door was solid wood.
“What do we do now?” said Ken.
“Try and open it!” said Madog.
“Can you do it?” asked Jack.
“I can give it a go!” said Madog, suddenly feeling inspired.
He had seen another poem in the book and this one, by Merlin, was called the ‘Apple Orchard’, which was an old name for Glastonbury.
“Avallenau!” cried Madog and the door swung open.
On the other side of the door, lay a grassy orchard with apple trees, heavy with fruit, stretching as far as the eye could see.
“Come on, lets go!” said Jack ready to charge through the doorway.
Madog held him back. “Something’s wrong, the dog must take us through. We need to summon the dog.”
“Why don’t you call it,” said Jack, “that’s what you usually do with dogs. What’s its name?”
Madog flipped back to the chapter on the Girt Dog of Langport.
“It says here its name is Dormarth, death’s
Madog thought for a moment before saying, “That’s wrong. In the old tongue door is dol, like dolman!”
He turned to the boys. “Are you ready? Whatever happens is going to be quick and probably not pleasant.”
The boys nodded hesitantly.
Dol-ma-ath!” cried Madog.
The orchard faded before their eyes, the trees vanishing to silver wisps of cloud, the apples dwindling to points of light as the blue sky turned black. Within seconds all the stars of the universe stretched before them into infinity.
It came from deep in the heart of the universe. It came so suddenly they did not see it come. It came like the big bang, devouring stars and stardust, gaining size and form until a hulking great brute of a dog expanded to fill the horizon, wild eyes as big as twin suns and a gaping maw large enough to swallow the world, or at least Jack, Ken and Madog.
Arturos was not looking. His wild man eyes were fixed firmly on the western sky as if he would
ride across the face of the whole, wide world.
So the path went, through tunnel after tunnel under South Cadbury Hill. Through all the myriad twists and turns, sometimes up and sometimes down. Always presenting the same water pocked rock face. Often Catherine wondered if they had been there before and if they were, in fact, hopelessly lost.
Unnoticed at first, the luminescence grew steadily into an unmistakable green tinge that lit the dirty rock even through the beam of the flashlight. Eventually, Catherine, doubting her own eyes, turned off the torch to make sure.
“We are near the sleeping chamber,” Pete whispered. “Can’t you hear them snore?”
She could, a deep low noise like the earth itself was grumbling.
They followed the sound and before long emerged in a massive cave where four and twenty knights slept with their white battle steeds, behind a curtain of lambent flame.
A knight yawned. A horse whinnied as if troubled by dreams.
“They wake,” Pete muttered in hushed awe. “Give me the ring.”
Catherine slipped off the ring and clutched it tight until it was securely in Pete’s grasp.
“Here,” she said once the ring was safe, and she handed him the flashlight.
Pete turned it on and its strong beam picked up the ghostly trail of pebbles in the tunnel.
“Good luck,” she said to him.
“And good luck to you,” he replied already leaving.
Catherine ran to the curtain of cold fire. As she approached, the flames ebbed. A knight opened his eyes. Around her, more knights yawned and stretched, while horses stamped the sleep from their feet.
“We ride!” cried one, a bear of a man.
“We ride!” they cried in response, mounting their steeds.
The knights formed up in pairs with the huge man at their head. The curtain of flame flickered out as daylight flooded the chamber as without a sound the far wall cracked in two.
“Forward, cried the man.
The horses charged for the opening in the wall. As he passed, the bear of a man reached down to pick up Catherine with one paw like hand and flung her face down over the pommel of his saddle. It knocked the breath right out of her. Half conscious, and with stars bursting in her head, Catherine realised the horses had stopped to drink at the pool of a spring.
The bear like man impatiently snapped the end of his reins against the neck of his horse and they were off, cantering through the sky.
Far below Catherine saw Glastonbury Tor. The sight of the broken tower brought her to her senses. The two shapes standing next to it, staring and pointing, were Ken and Jack. All around milled tourists unaware of the spectacle in the sky. The knights had to pick up Jack and Ken, to take them all to the thirteenth treasure.
Catherine turned to face Arturos to let him know her friends were below. Arturos was not looking at her. His wild man eyes were fixed firmly on the western sky as if he would ride across the face of the whole, wide world in pursuit of the never-ending day.
She tried to turn, to make him look. Twisting in the saddle, she began to slip. She tried to steady herself but there was nothing to grab. Helpless, she struggled for a moment and then, to her horror, she fell.
Jack and Ken turned grey as they watched her plummet to earth. They shouted, making the tourists turn and look to where they pointed, but the tourists were blind and could not see. Catherine was falling into the hollow tower and Jack and Ken ran inside to meet her.
They watched her descend, like a meteor growing larger and larger in the narrow patch of sky seen through the open tower top. They stood directly underneath, as if they could some how catch her.
from the Thirteenth Treasure