Chapter Twenty-Nine: St Cuthbert's Kettle

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Fish rained down on Whitby.

I stood in the floodlights of a Horseshoe off-roader and watched in amazement as sprats, eels and flounder dropped out of the sky. Something slapped the top of my umbrella and a sole landed at my feet. It flopped and gasped in the torchlight.

Hari and I stood on a hilltop with the town of Whitby mapped out in streetlights between us and the sea. We had flown as close as we could by helicopter and driven the rest of the way. We arrived a little after 2 am.

"Terrible weather we're having."

Dr Southey seemed very pleased with his joke as he came over to greet us. He had a broad grin on his face as if this were the most entertaining sight he had ever seen. I was glad that he still found these things exciting. I hoped I could never get jaded about a sky full of fish.

"Sorry to get you out of bed, Mr Frazer but it looks like your friend has been at work again."

"Éven?"

This was the first confirmation I'd heard that Éven was really alive, and I couldn't hide my excitement. I glanced at Hari, and he frowned back at me.

"You said this wasn't him," I said. "Where is he?"

"Hundreds of miles away, I should think," said Southey. "That is his modus operandi. He was only in Hastings because Selkie had him prisoner. At Belas Knap and the salamander incident he was nowhere to be found. He stirs things up and runs away. Regardless, we can be sure that this is his handiwork."

I didn't like the way everyone always thought the worst of him.

"He steals treasures. He's not responsible for how people use them," I said.

"You're in the right business if you believe that fairy tale," said Southey. "Come on, let me show you what he stole this time."

Dr Southey led me to a circle of ancient standing stones, eight of them, each only about a foot or two tall, like a miniature Stonehenge. The circle was about twenty feet across.

At the centre of the circle, lit on all sides by Horseshoe's floodlight beams, was a red stone pot with a wicker handle and a little chimney on its lid. Smoke rose out of the pot with a soft and constant whistle. I looked closer and saw shadows moving in the smoke. The shadows looked like tiny fish swimming upwards.

"That is St Cuthbert's kettle," said Dr Southey. "I don't think it ever belonged to St Cuthbert, and it wouldn't make a very good kettle, but there you are; that's what it's called. Last night we identified this as one of the items stolen from Mrs Cavendish, and now here it is. That makes it Lord Éven's handiwork."

I grumbled. All right, so it was Éven. That didn't mean he put it here.

"A couple of hours ago we got reports of fish dropping over a caravan park to the northwest," said Southey. "I asked Private Sharma to bring you in. I had a hunch we would need you."

"To disarm a kettle?" I asked.

"Precisely," said Southey. "Private Sharma, fetch a wetsuit for Mr Frazer, would you?"

Hari saluted and headed for the off-roaders.

"A wetsuit? Why would I need a wetsuit? It's right there."

"Indeed it is, but that's not how this works. You can swim, can't you? I suppose we'll work around it if you can't. We won't send you off alone, at any rate. The problem is that there's a gate, of course, but we know that you can pass through those. My hope is that you can close the gate by passing through it and taking the kettle with you."

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