"Specialty" investigator Angelo Grayson must uncover a newly discovered historical site's secrets, and stop a potential tragedy.
Island of Mona (present day Isle of Anglesey, Wales)
The sky was soot black, with the moon and stars obfuscated by the clouds. The air was damp and the wind cold, and the night had a quality of eerie silence to it. A small settlement slept in the forest-locked land. Built in the centre of a large forest, the settlement would not be easy to locate or detect.
A mud brick hut sat at the head of the settlement. Shabby as it might look, but it was the best lodging among the makeshift huts and tents. Even as the settlement slumbers, faint candlelights flicker from the brick hut’s small windows.
There was almost nothing in the brick hut. Aside from the two candles stuck at strategic corners of the small space, there was only a jar and a makeshift straw bed.
A figure in white cloak sat cross-legged in front of a stone slab placed on the dried mud floor, scratching ink across a parchment.
The cracking thunders and sounds of a heavy downpour failed to distract the figure whose writing hand only moved furiously.
Time was short.
The air screamed and the figure barely saw what whizzed past when there was a loud ‘THUD’. The figure’s eyes looked up and sucked in a deep breath at the sight.
A Roman arrow was embedded deep in the mud brick wall. The enemy had found them.
The alarm was sounded almost instantaneously.
“Wake! Run! It’s the Romans!” A man howled from outside.
The door was kicked open.
The white figure turned in fear, but was relieved at the sight of the gruff-looking man who had barged in.
The man’s eyes rested on Aerona’s face. She was beautiful beyond words and the hard times had failed to destroy even an inch of her beauty. If there were only another second to spare, his breath would have been taken away.
He admired how she remained calm and collected, even if the terror in her eyes was unmistakable. Aidan knew she had to be taken to safety immediately. He must protect her at all costs.
“We’ve got to go!” He signalled at her to move. Aerona nodded. She hurriedly rolled up the parchment and pushed it into the small space of the jar, which contained several other parchments, filling it up. She sealed the jar and held it in her arms, hugging it tightly.
“Follow me!” Aidan gestured and ran out of the hut, his body slightly bent and head lowered.
Aerona pulled her white cloak tighter and ran out of the hut. The moment she stepped out, the sight of the mayhem froze her.
A small legion of Roman soldiers was storming the settlement, with the just aroused residents almost powerless. But even if they had been ready, they would not be able to fend off the powerful Roman army.
Aerona watched wide-eyed as her people were slaughtered mercilessly, and their screams were drowned by the thunders and downpour. Arrows dotted the people's homes, and the rain water was a light red. Her arms around the jar tightened, as her heart hollowed out and a small fire crept in discreetly.
Their sacred lands. Their people. All trampled by the wicked Roman army.
The fire stoked and she took a step forward. A hand grabbed her roughly by the shoulder, pulling her back.
It was Aidan. Realising that Aerona had not followed, he had turned back to get her.
“We can’t leave them!” Aerona hissed, her eyes spitting fire at the invading Roman forces.
“This is not the time!” Aidan pulled at her, fear gripping his heart. This is a waste of time at a perilous moment. They must get out immediately.
“You must go to our Fathers now! Their deaths will be avenged, but not now! Please, go now with me!” He urged pleadingly.
Aerona shook her head. Water streamed down her face nonstop, and she wondered if it was only the rain?
“I will remember this.” Aerona promised in a low whisper that made Aidan shudder.
Taking one last look at the ongoing massacre, she bit her lower lip and fled into the darkness of the night.