Read and Excerpt from Chapter V: Lights in the
The Jack o’Lantern suddenly went out, plunging them into total
darkness. Morgan turned in alarm. A smoke smell trailed into the air. Taliesin
had snuffed out the candle.
“What did you do that for?” Morgan hissed.
Down on the beach bobbed another light. It was coming in their
direction. Towards Merlin, Morgan thought with a little shiver running down her
Adjusting their eyesight to the dark, they gradually saw that behind
the light on the beach walked the shadow of a man.
“Myrddin,” Morgan heard Taliesin whisper.
“How did you know he’d be here?” Morgan whispered back.
“I told you. I followed him.”
“But he wasn’t on the path. We couldn’t see him.”
“It’s something Cadwellon’s been teaching me. It’s called sen-sor-y
in-vo-ca-tion.” Taliesin enunciated the words carefully, still in a whisper,
sounding proud of being able to say such big words. “You focus on someone or
something with your mind and you can find it or follow it.
Track it down. That’s how I knew Myrddin had come along the path to
this place. I could feel him all along the way.”
Morgan was fascinated and slightly envious, wishing again that she
could study with the Druids too. But she didn’t have time to think about that
Taliesin was staring down at the dark cove. “I know this place,” he
said. “My father told me about it. He brought me here once. All the fishermen
know about it. It’s dangerous.”
The boy pointed out to the black mass of sea. “There are lots of hidden
rocks out there. It looks calm because you can’t see them – they’re just under
the water. My father says boats get wrecked here in storms, or they’re caught
by the currents and run aground. They smash into rocks they don’t know are
there. Lots of people have drowned.”
The memory of the big storm and the wreck of the Sea Queen came rushing
back into Morgan’s mind. The screaming, drowning people. The bodies strewn on
the beach. The groaning, dying ship.
It was hard to imagine anything like that could happen in this
quiet-looking bay, its waves softly swooshing under the cover of darkness. She
“We have to get closer,” she said, trying to brush off her unease.
Taliesin didn’t answer, but nodded in agreement. The two of them
grasped each other’s hands and slowly began climbing down the slope, trying
hard not to make any noise. It was by no means easy in the dark, with no
lantern and almost no moonlight, but they persevered.
Keeping an eye on her footing as they went down, Morgan watched what
was happening on the beach. In the dim, distant light of Myrddin’s lantern,
Merlin and his Druid Master approached each other. They talked together
briefly. Then Merlin lit a second lantern handed to him by Myrddin.
Now there were two lights on the shore. Merlin and Myrddin parted ways
and began walking to opposite ends of the beach, each with their own lantern;
Merlin walking back towards the slope he had come from.
Towards the very slope Morgan and Taliesin were climbing down.
“He’s coming back this way!” Morgan hissed urgently. “Quick! Lie down!”
She pulled Taliesin to the ground. The two of them lay there still
holding hands, flat on their backs against the slope, trying not to breathe.
Morgan felt her heart pounding fast. Don’t see us, she thought fiercely again,
watching Merlin walking towards them with the lantern.
He didn’t see them. He seemed to be concentrating on the number of
steps he took. Finally, he stopped at a certain point on the beach and turned
away towards the ocean.
“Ssssssssss.” Something sounding like a whisper wafted through the air.
Morgan heard it, but couldn’t understand it. She turned to Taliesin. “What did
Taliesin had disappeared. There was nothing and no one beside her. Only
the stones and shingle on the slope.
But she could still feel his hand in hers.
“Taliesin!” she exclaimed softly. “Where are you?”
“What do you mean?” she heard Taliesin whisper back. “I’m here… what?”
“What do you mean, here? Where?”
“Morgan, where are you?” she heard Taliesin’s panicked voice over hers
in a low tone. “I’ve got your hand … but I can’t see you!”
“I can’t see you, either!”
“What? No! What’s going on?”
Morgan wasn’t sure. She let go of Taliesin's hand. As soon as she did
so, the boy reappeared next to her, out of the air, as if by magic. Just as he
had said she had done back on the path.
“I can see you now!” Morgan exclaimed.
“Well, I can’t see you!” Taliesin sounded really scared. “Morgan, what
are you doing?”
“I don’t know.” But she had an idea. Let Taliesin see me, she thought
Taliesin gave a small cry and quickly covered his mouth. Morgan glanced
hastily down at the beach. Merlin still had his back to them. He hadn’t heard.
“Can you see me now?” Morgan asked.
Taliesin nodded. Even through the darkness, Morgan could see the
normally pallid fair-haired boy was even whiter than usual.
“You were invisible again. You just appeared out of the air.” Abruptly
his voice took on an unfriendly note that didn’t sound like him. “How are you
“I don’t know.” Morgan said again. She tried to put what she thought
was happening into words.
“It’s like … if I think I don’t want someone to see me, they don’t. I
can make myself invisible.” She wondered how long she had been invisible before
she had met Taliesin on the path. “But I don’t know how. I don’t try to make it
happen. It just does.”
Taliesin let out his breath. “It sounds like what Cadwellon says,” he
said soberly. “The way he taught me sensory invocation. He says you can’t force
it. He’s always telling me you have to focus on the result, not the act
itself.” The friendliness crept back into his voice again. “That sounds like
what you’re doing.”
It was the whisper again. Louder this time, but she still couldn’t
“Is that you?” Morgan said.
“Is what me?”
“That whisper. Didn’t you hear it?”
“No.” Taliesin sounded puzzled. And wary again. “I didn’t hear anything
… Wait, look!”
Down on the beach something was happening. Merlin and Myrddin both held
up their lanterns facing out to the ocean. Myrddin was further away from them,
standing on a particular point on the other side of the beach.
Morgan watched Merlin with interest. He had taken off his cloak. He
held up the lantern in one hand and with the other he used the cloak to cover
and uncover the lantern several times.
“What’s he doing?” Taliesin whispered in bewilderment.
It was darker than ever. They could still just see the white-flecked
waves rising and falling on the sand, roaring softly as they washed ashore. The
sleepy-eye Moon was completely hidden. Only a few pinprick stars pierced the
misty black veil of clouds across the sky.
Suddenly Morgan started. She clutched Taliesin’s arm, making him jump.
“Look! Look out there! Can you see it?”
A light appeared out on the night-darkened sea. It bobbed up and down,
then disappeared. Then after a few moments it reappeared again. Then it
blinked, going out, then flashed again, went out, then reappeared again.
“It’s getting nearer!” Morgan whispered.
Readr“It’s a boat!” Taliesin whispered back. “It has
to be. It’s coming in to land! I told you it was dangerous around here with the
hidden rocks. They’re using the lanterns to guide it in!”