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The Life and Magical Times of Finneas Alivan


Chapter One
The Seeker

One rainy day, Finneas Alivan found himself in the attic of his Devonshire home, staring with curiosity at the old family trunk that had been sitting there on the dark wooden floor for decades. The trunks key had never been found though there had been an exhaustive search over the years. Curious. Once again, Finneas thought, " Someday, I will unravel this mystery"

Later that day Finneas made a cup of tea and settled down to look at family photographs. He paused on the only picture he had of his cousin Mirabella. She was rumored to be an eccentric, mysterious woman his parents had never told him where she lived. He smiled at her photo andto his great surprise she smiled back! Finneas stood up and rubbed his eyes it was obviously time for bed if he was seeing pictures move! As he drifted off tosleep he thought, " I wish I could write to Mirabella.....maybe she knows about the trunzzzzzzzz. "

Months passed as Finneas went about his life, working, gardening, drinking tea. One Tuesday he noticed the afternoon post seemed a bit heavier than usual. He shifted his regular mail to find a wrinkled parchment envelope simply addressed to Finneas Alivan. The return address consisted of two words--Mirabella Alivan! He opened it and a well-worn ornate key fell at his feet. Mirabella. The trunk! Frantically, he bound up the stairs to the attic

A brief note from Finneas himself. "My heart's pounding wildly...and I've neverrealized how many steps there were to the attic when one is rushing. Each one is beginning to feel like a boulder on my chest!" Deep breathing once again took over as he entered the attic at last.



Chapter II

Wood you believe?



Dashing across the room clutching the letter in his hand, Finneas flew with the precious key! Quickly, he put it in the lock, turned and very gingerly started to pull up the lid, pushing the cobwebs away as he did so.

A puff of smoky air left nothing to his imagination! He focused with glazed eyes at the trunk. He alertly opened the trunk, and a dark shadowy figure emerged from the depths. It was Mirabella. Now, he blinked since he was completely confused. Then she vanished from his sight. This was far more than the mysteries that Finneas was accustomed to dealing with! However, this shock did not stop him from digging further into the trunk. He was far too excited to pause... even for a moment.






Finneas had always loved a good mystery, and the trunks secret did not disappoint him.Resting upon a soft, rumpled cushion of velvet were five wand shape pieces of wood. Magic wands? Could it be? Finneas wondered. Was the family gifted with magical power? Could he himself have some abilities that had been kept secret from him all these years? Surely not!

He reached down, picked up one the wands, thought a moment, and uttered levitatus (a word he had read onetime in a book). The old lamp in the corner of the attic began to rise! Good heavens! What have I done? Finneas thought. One by one he removed the wands from their bed and placed them by his side. Each had its own marking, coloring,and character to it. Would they all move the lamp? Did each do different spells? Could magic run in his veins..it must be so!

Finneas glanced again at the hovering lamp and knew what he must do. He would find master craftsmen to recreate these prize wands Mirabella had given him and then he would open a wand shoppe to share the secret of the trunk with all who entered. He would need to read all he could find on the subject and work tirelessly to achieve his goal. If only the apparition of Mirabella had lingered longer. He had so many questions and only she seemed to have the answers..especially after today!

What a wonderful, unbelievable development today has brought, this morning was business as usual and now, I seem to have a gift! GREAT SCOTT!



Chapter III

No more mysteries?



Just as Finneas was about to close the trunk lid.....he glanced once again at his wonderful treasure. Finneas tested another. Then, he picked up a deeply engraved wand and just motioned. Light blasted out...

leaving a big hole inthe wall. Hmmm...I will need to learn control and be careful that these are never misused." A darkness came over the attic as he gazed at the gaping hole! Oh, old man....move on with great caution.

Six months passed and at last Finneas was ready to open his shoppe. Housed inside were a small stock the finest wands ever made, five different styles in all. Lining the shelves were dark blue boxes that bore great gold crests that said Alivans Master Wandmakers. This was going to be an exciting year for Finneas! Before unlocking the door he wondered why he hadn't heard again from Mirabella. What would he doif customers desired more than his five magic wands?

Business was good. What a fine way to earn a living and have the opportunity to make others happy as well, Finneas thought at the end of each day. He had experienced no more lightening strikes or other cataclysms and of course, he was feeling very relived. Eight months passed quickly. One afternoon Finneas was sweeping his shoppe when a surprise was delivered. Another envelope arrived just as before.As he opened it he noticed that the postmark was Camdenberg to the South.Another key fell out of the envelope and into his hand! What could this be for?The trunk had opened quite some time ago! It no longer held a mystery .

He went home immediately, and just as before, ran up the attic stairs to the old family trunk. But the trunk was now open. What did this key mean? Carefully, Finneas lifted the five original wands from their bed of velvet and lay them next to him once again glancing at the lightening strike on the attic wall. He placed his hand inside the trunk and felt around but there was nothing there!

Just then the lamp in the corner lifted up once again and came crashing down upon the family trunk. Finneas was mortified. What had happened? He placed his right hand into the trunk and picked out the lamp pieces with care. As he removed the last piece he noticed a small odd shaped opening on the floor of the trunk that was shaped like a small dragon . With no other ideas what to do, he reached down, picked up the key that had just arrived, and pushed it into theopening. He took a deep breath and turned.......

"My, my.....just when my life settles back into a sort of order, Mirabella seems to strike again! What now?"



Chapter IV

The Apparition



Suddenly, a person in a dark black cloak appeared, giving Finneas another wand. Then the person lifted their hood and it was none other than Mirabella!

A shrieking noise began that almost deafened Finneas with shock! The scene was truly horrifying as he stared in disbelief! She was pale in color, gaunt in the face with bony cheeks. Is this really happening? Finneas thought quickly sensing that another shriek was impending. Go away, he screamed loudly. He had wanted to meet Mirabella, he thought, but not in this manner! "I have come to apprise you of the fact that I am watching your every move, Finneas"", she moaned.

Suddenly, the apparition vanished and a great cat appeared in it's place, as the bottom of the family trunk lifted. Could it be that the key, the dragon, Mirabella and the clever cat had emitted something magical that caused this manifestation? All Finneas knew was that he had seen more than enough.Perhaps he should consider retirement!

As he glanced down, there lay a finely made black robe with folds of fabric, and upon the it were five more magic wands! Finneas had a bit of a smile on his face as he lifted each one and lay them next to him to better examine. Each was unique and different in some way...all made of beautiful woods and fine designs. He would need to build more shelves in his shoppe in order to provide a proper display! What exciting times lay ahead, he thought, completely forgetting his fear of Mirabella.

Why had Mirabella really appeared to him, and why would she frighten him when she had been of such great assistance in the past? Was she trying to tell him something or was she trying to warn him? Time would tell.



Chapter V

The Eyes Have It



As the years passed, the cat followed Finneas everywhere, watching his every move. Was this Mirabella? Or just someone she sent to keep an eye on him? The cat, now named Biscuit, was a member of the household and Finneas had become quite fondof the ball of fur, though she could be quite quirky. On occasion, she would turn and hiss, or raise her top lip in a disapproving manner. Biscuit had tail swish that would clear a small table but most of the time she was quite loving. So, Finneas tended to forget about the way in which she had first come to him.

He thought of Mirabella often. Perhaps she had succumbed to some malady. After all, who would have let him know? No, no, no...just stop it, he thought. Upon arriving home that evening, up to the attic he went and quietly he sat down next to the old family trunk, thinking about all the good times it had brought into his life. He wondered how many years it had been sitting in that same place. I shall move it over by the light of the old paned attic window, Finneas thought to himself.After all, this was a piece of history, an heirloom and treasure. It should be treated royally in a place of honor.


As he pushed and tugged, a loud crash came from behind him! A candlestick sitting on a shelf in the corner of the attic had burst into countless pieces! Had he made a mistake moving the old trunk? He stooped to pick up the shards, when his eyes fell to the strange spot on the floor. Hmmm....

A small tarnished brass hole was inlaid into the floorboard. It was flush with the wood grain and barely visible. As Finneas examined it closely, Biscuit suddenly appeared next to him and began to moan in an almost human tone! Then, silence.

Oh dear,he simply must escape the attic for tonight. It was very late and he needed to ponder the latest happenings. But, after he had lain down in this feather bed for the night with Biscuit curled up by his feet, he thought, Mirabella must somehow be mixed up in this! After all, he had seen a vision of her that had indeed been frightful. His distant cousin had not only proven to be a fine business partner but a screaming, maniacal ghost, as well, it seemed! This evenings events had given him another sense of bewilderment. Perhaps in the morning he would set forth a plan to find long lost Mirabella once and for all!



Chapter VI


A good rest would be welcome after this very curious day. But sleep eluded him. Each ticking of the clock reminded him of the sound of the candle bursting. The rain of tiny glass on the attic floor had made a familiar sound that he was unable to place. Then, there were the strange utterances from Biscuit. Tomorrow morning he would definitely call his old friend Charles until then he..zzzzzzz


The Search ....


A long and illustrious career in Scotland Yard had earned him a reputation of being a quiet, thorough and methodical investigator. Merford Quail, III was not quite as long in the tooth as Finneas Alivan and he had retired early enough in his life to be able to travel to places that he had only dreamt about for years.

Ah,yes, he would just take on this one small case before he booked his trip to Nepal. How long could it take to find along, lost aunt for goodness sake, his right eye twitching slightly. Then hewould begin his travel (hoping down deep that perhaps a small mystery lay ahead in the mountains of the Himalayas). It would seem that finding answers to the unknown was in his blood forever.


Merford had never met Finneas, however, a mutual friend, Charles Barkby, had contacted him with the case. It seems that Mr. Alivans' aunt, Mirabella, had not been seen or heard from in some time.

Finneas had communications with her by post over numerous years, however, now he needed to find her in person! He had not heard from her in many months and was concerned that perhaps she had fallen ill. Maybe she had passed and her spirit was interfering in the life of Finneas Alivan. Merford was certain of one thing. In a weeks time..he would find the answer to this mystery! He was very good at what he did.

Finneas wondered, after speaking with Charles, if this Merford Quail, III was all he professed to be. Scotland Yard was hardly a place that he would have gained experience with the mystical! Merfold may be in for more than he bargained for.....!



Chapter VII
Quail on the Hunt


Though Finneas was doubtful, Merford was not worried for there was something that he had not told any of his clients; HE was a wizard!

That afternoon, Merford had a call from Charles once again. Finneas, he noted, was a bit of a recluse and quirky to say the least! Charles warned him that strange happenings of a magical nature followed the old man. Merford smiled to himself..

Inspector Quail, III awoke early the next morning still feeling a tad weary. His eye had begun to twitch as it did sometimes and he made a mental note that he must check into this someday.


Upon phoning Devonshire, he was dismayed when he did not receive an answer. Not a good start, he thought. However, on the second attempt a low clear voice said, Alivans Master Wandmakers, How may I help you? Hmmm.....a wand maker? A tad taken back, he identified himself and explained the reason for his call.

Ah,yes. Finneas got directly to the point and informed Merford that he would need to travel to Camdenberg to the South to search out Mirabella.

He briefly recapped what little he knew about his mysterious aunt. She must be quite up in age though his parents had never revealed much about Mirabella, actually they were quite secretive indeed. Very strange..


That afternoon he departed. The train ride seemed to last forever, but at last, after a seven hour trip, they pulled into the Camdenberg Station. Whew! It was time to stretch and find a good restaurant in town. Finneas was, after all, paying for the trip. It was time for supper!

The Greengate Pub was beckoning his presence as he entered with only one thing on his mind--the taste of Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding and a cup of hot tea. He began thinking, Perhaps hed have the chance to use his powers on this case. He took great care in disguising his wizarding abilities. He could never be found out!

While enjoying his fine dinner, Merford noticed an old man sitting at the bar conversing with everyone who sat down. The Greengate was quite dark with low ceilings and a bit of a damp feeling in the old block walls. To the right of the bar he noticed an old wooden door that was shorter than most and looked to be a wine cellar.

He would take the time when finished to wander over to the man and enquire about a woman named Mirabella who lived in the area. Merford's eye once again began to twitch and he sensed that the small door by the bar had not been opened in a longtime.

The old man, known as Bailey, had been born and raised in Camdenberg to the southand was a fixture at the Greengate pub. His eyesight was failing and his health had been better some years ago. But, everyone enjoyed him and his reminiscing about anything anyone cared to discuss.



Chapter VIII

Bella, Bella



Bailey suddenly cried out the greeting, "Why hello there, Mirabella! What brings you out today?" No, thought Merford, surely it can't be that easy. He quickly spun in his chair to catch his first glance of Mirabella. In the doorway stood a girl around 30ish with dark auburn colored hair, both long and curly.

She nodded to Bailey and sat down two seats to his right, ordering a cup of hot tea with a shot of bourbon. Hmmm...thought Merford, this can't possibly be Mirabella Alivan! He didn't need his powers to figure that one out! He desperately needed to speak with her though. Something told him that she still might hold a clue to the mystery he was there to solve.


Without seeming to be in a rush, Merford walked over and began a conversation with Bailey, all the while keeping one eye on the lady known as Mirabella. Bailey was quite the talker and it took him a few minutes to grab the opportunity to finally say good day to the lady sitting two seats down. She smiled rather shyly and said, "same to you, sir." Feeling that opportunity was knocking he moved closer to her and began conversing with her. She explained that she had been abandoned in Camdenberg many years ago and had consequently grown up there and there she remained. Hmmmm...obviously not Mirabella Alivan.That was for certain!


Suddenly,without warning, she got up, paid her tab and headed for the door. Wait, he cried. But, away she scurried and out the door she went. He didn't want to alarm her, so he decided to let her go for now and converse further with Bailey. He hoped that Bailey could shed some light on this rather complicated situation.

Merford, his twitch jumping quite annoyingly, introduced himself this time and inquired on the whereabouts of a woman named Mirabella Alivan. Bailey glanced over and said, "Sure, I knew the woman. Her daughter just left a moment ago, mate. She's her namesake, though she goes by the name Bella most of the time."

"The mum was a bit of an odd one if you ask me. No family to speak of and strange most of the time." "Hold on", Merford shrieked...."you just said that you KNEW her! Did she move away from here?" Oh, no sir. Ms. Alivan disappeared some years ago. Humph.....Merford was always frustrated with a dead end to a mystery.



Chapter IX

The Woods



Bailey scratched his head and said "Sure enough, if it hadn't been for Bella, Ms. Alivan would have had no one." "Where might Bella reside?" Merford asked. Bailey explained that she still lived in the same old house which was the Alivan homestead for over 100 years. She had been taken in by Mirabella at the age of one year and was adopted some time later. "The house sets about 1.7 miles from here," as he jotted down directions to the location.

Disgruntled, Merford left only to notice the tracks of Bella leading down a nearly hidden path. "Surely she'll know more about it than Mr. Bailey..."


Following behind at a safe enough distance to keep his anonymity, he followed the tracks in the damp soil. At a distance of 400 yards from the pub the tracks stopped abruptly! The ground was much drier at this point and he could find no further trace of which way she had headed. Well, she must have been in quite a rush! All at once he noticed a strange odor in the air and he couldn't help but wonder if an animal carcass lay somewhere near. Then, glancing at this watch, he thought," goodness, I must get back to the Inn soon and get a good night's rest. Tomorrow, when I'm more rested, I will make the trip to visit Bella."

The next morning came quite quickly, as he slowly opened one eye and saw the sun rising through the wide window in his room. The sooner he'd have his holiday, so he readied himself and left without breakfast.


Fortunately, the distance from the Greengate Pub Inn where he stayed the night and the Alivan house was not far. He arrived around eight-thirty in the morning and strutted promptly up to the front door knocking loudly. Within seconds Bella greeted him kindly. She had a welcoming demeanor about her and after a brief greeting, Merford explained the reason for his visit. Bella invited him in, and as they sat down she began telling the story of her two decades with Mirabella.

Mirabella had heard that there was a baby abandoned in Camdenburg to the South. She had offered to care for the child for a time when much to the towns surprise, she decided to legally adopt her. Bella was always loved and cared for by Mirabella and they were very close. Thus, she said," I was devastated when my mum disappeared. The homestead had been deeded in both of our names many years ago so of course, I stayed on." Merford thought, "She doesn't seem very upset now about the strange disappearance of her mother. Curious."

Casually,Merford inquired about the extent of the investigation conducted when Mirabella was discovered missing. Bella seemed preoccupied and didn't really respond to the questions. Something just didn't feel right, he thought. Bella seemed to become distant at times and draw cold. Did she know more than she was telling?

And then Bella began recanting, "Mother had gone into the woods behind our property one morning about four years ago. She did this often and loved getting out in the fresh air for a brisk stroll. I had gone into town to pick up some groceries and was gone about one hour. When I returned she was not home yet, so I went out to look for her. After an exhaustive search no trace was ever found. Merford was quiet and shocked. What happens to a woman in the woods that makes her unable to be found? This case was getting far more complicated that was for certain!




Chapter X

The Curious Cupboard


Well,well....Merford thought. Mysteries did seem to follow him. Just then, Bella glanced at a cupboard to her right, but immediately looked back at Merford. Her behavior made him ask, "Is there something else you know?" Whatever are you speaking of? she asked. Are you in doubt of my honesty as to my aunts disappearance? No, no...Merford assured her.


But, to himself he sensed the old house held many secrets that had not been spoken of today as his eye gave a double-twitch. He would need to investigate the kitchen at a later time when perhaps Bella was not at home. She had told him that she worked a couple of days a week in town. Yes, he would wait for the right time...

Naturally all of this had increased his curiosity. So he explained that Mirabella had a nephew named Finneas who resided in Devonshire. He had been commissioned to find Mirabella and return with her for a visit to Devonshire. Suddenly, they heard a loud crash below them that startled them both! Bella ran for the basement with Merford hot on her heels.

Gravel, small stones, and pieces of what appeared to be pottery chards had fallen from the old wooden rafters and landed on the dirt and concrete floor. He could find no reason why this would have come loose after all these years. He did notice however that they were standing just below the old kitchen ..hmmmm..the curious cupboard again.

After determining that all seemed quiet, they returned upstairs to the oak table they had been sitting at. Merford glanced over toward the intriguing cupboard and at once noticed that Bella had a bit of a fearful look on her face. So, Bella,which days do you go to town? She told him that Tuesdays and Wednesdays were her normal working days and Merford thought to himself that will work out just fine...smiling to himself.




Chapter XI

Going Door to Door



Merford took his leave from the Alivan homestead and returned to the Greengate Pub to a less than soft but still comfortable bed for a nap. He awoke with a startled feeling sensing that he was missing something! His keen desire to follow his instincts were usually accurate so he cleaned up and went downstairs for supper. Ah, yes, his favorite table was available as he glanced over the list of offerings for the evening meal written on the blackboard hanging nearby.

Bailey was seated same as usual with the same nightly visitors for food, drink or both. Relaxing a bit yet ever vigilant, Merford's eye twitched. As swift and fast as a lightening bolt, realization flashed in his mind! The Greengate pub bar door...the cupboard, they're connected! Why of course!


Without a moments delay he sauntered over to the old door and pulled out his pocket knife. After being certain that no one was paying attention to him, he scraped a piece of wood into his hand. Quickly he dropped it in his pocket and began examining the door more carefully.

"What did you find there, Mr. Quail?" Merford swung around quickly to see Bailey smiling broadly. "Oh, I was just curious about the wood used to make this door.What do you suppose it is, Bailey?" "No idea, mate, but I believe that its dark color is not from age but from something far more sinister The door has always seemed to have darkness lurking in its grain."


While rubbing his chin, Merford contemplated Tuesday morning at Bella's house where he would further investigate the old cupboard. All he knew for certain was that the two were connected.


He would be able to investigate the cupboard at Bella's much easier than the door at the Greengate.And tomorrow he would send a small package off to a friend at Scotland Yard to examine the wood chip held secure in his pocket. They would find something peculiar of that he was certain.

The weekend dragged but soon Tuesday morning arrived and Merford was waiting impatiently until he was certain that Bella had left for work. Just before 9 o'clock he walked up the steps of her house and quietly let himself in. He stepped into the kitchen gazing suspiciously at the cupboard. Well, the wood certainly did look very much like the door. Curious that Bella would have a piece of furniture crafted of the same wood. Reaching carefully from where he stood he turned the knob which appeared to hold the door tight.....


Chapter XII
The Maze


As the cupboard door creaked open a small furry tail protruded from the sliver-like crack. Merford slowly open the door the rest of the way to reveal a mouse and a rather worn piece of parchment.
Suddenly a bright light was blinding him as he attempted to focus his eyes! It caused a strange pain in his eyes that was frightening. It was time to engage his power to overcome this freakish and cruel light! Catorum finiso! Ah, yes..he would never lose his touch.
The light vanished and shock took over as he stepped into a large area filled with many smaller sub-walls. All were marked with a strange faint dragon. Good grief.what had he done!! One of them was the wall at the Greengate Pub! He grasped the parchment and turned heading for the door!

The mouse, now two feet tall and glowing a bluish color, was standing right in front of him! Alumus vapo! As the strange aborition disappeared, Merford breathed a sigh of relief. He had to be more careful! What if someone had seen or heard what had just transpired? No one must see him casting spells...

Merford began thinking..a wizard maze that might hold some answers about where Mirabella had really gone. That was it! He would need to go back to the maze and find a door in the Greengate Pub wall. Wait! The rolled parchment was still clutched in his hand. As he unrolled the wrinkled and slighty brittle paper he realized this was a map of the maze. It was done in black pencil and seemed to show all the walls that he had seen but odd small markings were on the map that he did not understand.

Only one way to find out! The cupboard door had been left slightly ajar so he pulled it open and entered. No flash of light this time. He must have quelled it for a while with his spell! This was by far the mystery of them all. Something he had searched for all his life. As he stepped cautiously to the first wall he knew it was not familiar. It appeared to be from a old castle. A dim light led the way as he moved to another of the walls. Ah, yes..a wall from a back section of the Alivan's homestead house. I just hope I don't get lost in the crazy maze trying to figure this mystery out!


Time had no meaning where he was. The search was all that mattered and he pressed on. Ah, the next wall he saw was surely from the Finneas Alivan estate in Devonshire. Wand shaped etchings were scraped into the wall as well as some words of caution. He turned left and suddenly ran head on into the wall from the Greengate Pub. He ran his hand over the wall as the light had dimmed slightly.

Quite alarmingly the flash of light reappeared, blinding him once again so he pushed on the wall and fell head first though the portion that had turned into a door. Crash landing on the pub floor, he was still clutching the map as the door he had just come through vanished!


Chapter XIII

Temper, temper!


"I say, right on time ya are."

Merford glanced up to see a small, strange-looking man standing right in front of him. "Well, come on then, if it's the maze yer headed ta, yer going ta need my help."



Each time Merford thought this couldn't get more bizarre...it did! The man was small of stature yet had eyes that almost seemed too large for his head. All the better to see with...Merford thought. "Where did you come from?" he asked. "Never ya mind he said...let's go! "


They were whisked away in a flash and suddenly Merford and the strange man were back in the Maze. And still clutched in his hand was the map! He looked at the map and noticed that two red X's had appeared on the Maze.






Perhaps the X's marked the doors that he had found, but without time to ponder, a skinny grayish arm was grasping his! " What is your name?", Merford shouted! "Just call me Temper for now. Speaking of which you might want to hold yours! We have work to do. That is if you actually want to learn the mystery of Mirabella Alivan! " So, he knew, Merford thought. Hmmm.


Merford followed Temper as they turned left from where they stood and then made an abrupt right. " Somewhere in this area we should find what we need. " There hanging on a nail in the stone wall was a black cloak lined in a dark purple color. Temper grabbed the robe and swung it around Merford's shoulders.


"There you go! " And off they flew, landing rather clumsily in the thick woods outside the Alivan Estate grounds. What now?, he thought. "I tried ta tell ya. We needed the Maze ta reach the Conjuring Forest, and this is the only way to get there. Aye, ya' made it."


All Merford saw was the grass clump sticking up...then they were sliding, sliding ....sliding! They crash landed at what seemed to be the bottom and Merford took a very large deep breath. A wrinkled, cold hand reached out of nowhere and an old woman's voice said, "Good afternoon. I understand that you represent my nephew, Finneas Alivan. I've been waiting for you."



Chapter XV
Come and Sit a Spell


He was sitting in the tree, and the Fligger began to run! Merford raised his arm and said, "Sky and sea and whirling sands, stop that creature where it stands!" On the last word, he brought both hands down fast!


Frozen in place was this fantastic looking creature. His front teeth were sharp like two icicles and his fur was mottled into a colorful coat.Quite the beauty, Merford thought, as long as it's under my spell! He glanced down and saw the letter Mirabella had given him and he thought....now, whats next? First he had to get free of this tree while the Fligger was still spell bound.


Without a sound he slithered to the side of the limb and looked down. Hmm....about 10 feet! He uttered the words "crackis landum" as he jumped from the tree. Shaking his legs, he thought, now that wasn't too bad! Merford stood up and took another look at the envelope that Mirabella had given him. He wondered if he dared to open it. No, he had been commissioned to find Mirabella, which he did...sort of. And he now held a letter that was to be delivered to Finneas himself. He must return to Devonshire.


Merford turned to find Temper standing next to him. "Well, you got us in here, now can you get us out?" "Ya ready ta go?", said Temper? I'd have thought you'd be wantin' to stay a bit in the
Conjuring Forest." "Yes, however, I am commissioned to return my evidence to Finneas Alivan and I take my job very seriously!"


"Speaking of my mission where has Mirabella disappeared to?" Temper replied, "Ah, ya be seein' her again."

The flash of light came from out of nowhere, and before them stood Mirabella. "Planning on leaving, are you?" "Yes," Merford said. Mirabella spoke again. "Perhaps its time to meet my long lost nephew, Finneas," she replied as a colossal crack of lightning struck across the gray sky. Bella stood beside her mother.....a wand in her hand!


Chapter XVI
Sit Tight and Fight


"Sir," said Temper. "What" asked Merford. "Um, what do we do now?" "I guess we try to get out of this forest. "But, I'm thinkin it could be trickyt," said Temper. "Yes, we're going to have to sit tight and fight," said Merford. "But sir, I don't have a wand."

"Are you done talking?" said Bella. "Yes Bella, we're done," said Merford. "Let's hope you know how to duel with wands," Bella said. "Temper, get the purple robe now!" exclaimed Merford. "Yes, sir!"

As Temper ran for the robe, Merford jumped back a couple of times to clear his head. This would be simple except for one thing....his identity. Drat! This was not the time to ponder!

Without hesitation he muttered, "seizius" and in his hand was a very dark, strong and large ebony wand. This should do the trick quite well, Merford thought. Bella stood in shock as her mouth dropped open. Temper tossed the purple robe to Merford and it wrapped around his shoulders with ease! Mirabella and Bella suddenly began to scream!

The Fligger was NOT happy about having been stopped in such a manner....and he was angry! "No", Bella screamed as he flew at them ferociously. They ran as fast as they could to a tree that Bella had headed for. Faster than lightening a door flew open and in they ran. All of them. Whew! That was close!

Mirabella gazed at Merford. "It would seem that we must join forces....at least for now! And how is it that you have such a powerful wand in your hand, Merford? And where did it come from?" " I must admit", Merford replied, "I've conjured up my most powerful piece for the situation. As you see, I am a master of wizardry, potions and power though until now, it has been a well kept secret!" "Ahhhh.. ......" Mirabella responded, "this explains a lot. You are one of us!"


CHAPTER XVII
SHEER FEAR


"Yes, I know," Merford replied. "Wait! One of 'us'? Who or what is 'us'? I've never heard of you until I took up this mission!" "Ah," Mirabella said mysteriously. "You have though Merford, you have..."

Without a pause Mirabella turned and touched a knot in the wood of the tree they were standing in. Merfords eyes followed her hand and suddenly..everything went black! Merford felt as though he was moving but knew that was impossible. Yet what was happening? It was very cold and he shivered both from the temperature and sheer fear!

Blinking, Merford strained to open his eyes he needed to get oriented and gather his powers to get the situation under control. Fear was replaced by astonishment as his eyes opened and there they stood in the shoppe of Alivans Master Wandmakers! Merford struggled to comprehend what was happening. Mirabella stood beside him smiling. "Charles, your friend who actually hired you is my brother and a wizard as well. We have been planning our revenge for some time."

"What, what is going on?" a voice shouted. Finneas Alivan had entered without them noticing and his face was a portrait of disbelief! "Who are you people and what are you doing in my shoppe?" Standing in front of Finneas were Merford (whom Finneas had never met), Mirabella (who had aged considerably since her last photograph), Bella (who seemed to be keeping herself in complete control) and Temper (who at that point was clueless).

Bella spoke up and said, "My mother and uncle Charles, being wizards of great talent, have been plotting for some time to reclaim what is rightly theirs!"

Mirabella spoke. "You see, many years ago your father Avril had stolen a magical stone from our family that empowered him with conjuring ability. Not knowing what the stone was,but sensing it was of value to us, he denied what he had done. Avril loved to hold grudges over trite misunderstandings of the past. Such a shame. Our families never spoke from then on, until you decided to look me up. But we've been waiting for opportunity to knock! Now, out of the way, old man!"


Chapter XVIII
Matty the Mole


Mirabella pushed past him, and went into the next room. She walked over the boards and pulled up the creaky one. Amazed she pulled out what seemed to be the family stone, 500 YEARS LATER !"This stone has been passed down from generation to generation over the years, now it lies in the hands of one of Finneas Alivan. Lying beside the magical stone was a letter of explanation.


It read like this: It seems that many, many years ago Mirabella's grandfather Aston, came home from a hunting trip and went into the brick house in the back. He noticed on entering that the cage door of his pet mole was open and he had disappeared! Unbeknown to Aston, Matty, the pet mole had dragged the stone over to Avrils house and given it to him secretly. After that day, no one had every seen the stone again!


In the past,however, Mirabella's father, Aston had committed an evil act with his powers thus losing all of his wizarding ability. So, for all these years everyone thought that the stone was magical but it was not the stone at all! "Now we know that your power Finneas, has come from within your family blood lines and you are a true wizard!

Without warning a small mole ran across the floor and stopped. He shrieked very loudly and darted into the creaky floor board His head popped up one last time and there was a slight smile on his little lips. Could there be more to tell? Matty the Mole disappeared.


They all stood there thinking about the new information that had been uncovered. "Wizarding power must only be used in the course of good.If abused in any way it will depart from the wizard forever. Smiles moved from one face to another as they understood the mystery.



Epilogue:

Finneas went about his life and work in harmony with all (the parchment map is hanging proudly on display in his shoppe).


Mirabella and Bella opened Bellameres Pet Shoppe where many exotic pets can be found, (including one rare tamed Fligger and of course, Mat the mole).


Temper was hired by Bella to assist in animal development and pet training and is happy as a clam.


Uncle Charles continued his magical charm with care always looking for a way to pay it forward.


And Merford, took his secret powers to Nepal where he has since resided.One last case was enough!







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