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carthinal 11

The next morning, before they ate breakfast, Carthinal cleared his throat.“I did a lot of thinking last night after I went to bed. He swallowed and looked at his feet, then up at Mabryl. “I’ve decided that I would like to be adopted by you.”


Mabryl beamed. “It won’t be straightforward, I don’t suppose.” Mabryl took the plate of eggs and bacon Lillora had brought in from the kitchen. “You are not a minor in the eyes of the law. I’m not quite sure exactly what your legal position is. You aren’t an adult, though, no matter what the law states.”


Carthinal took a plate and put an egg and some bacon onto it. He passed it to Emmienne who had entered the room. When she took it, he helped himself and pulled a chair up to the table. He took a bite of the bacon and reached for some toast.


Mabryl began to butter his own toast and said, “Your age could be a problem. Developmentally you are only about fifteen, both physically and mentally, but in actual years, you are eighteen and an adult according to Grosmerian law. Elves attain their majority at twenty five, if I remember correctly. Humans at sixteen. As you have mixed parentage, I would guess that you would be the equivalent age at somewhere around twenty-one.”Mabryl looked into the distance. “Perhaps we could tell the lawyer you are only fourteen.”


Carthinal’s eyebrows shot up. “A-are you saying we should lie to the lawyer?”


Mabryl looked away for a second before replying. “It’s not really a lie. You are a half-elf and as a result have developed slower than a human child. In human terms, you are about fifteen. We’ll both need to go to the lawyer, so we can get all the details straight, including who your parents were.”


Carthinal drew his brows together. “Which lawyer will you go to?”


“I’ve always used Gromblo Grimnor. He has a big practice in Bluehaven. He does very well if his apparent money is anything to go by.”


Can I persuade him to use a different lawyer? Or maybe I can give a different name for my parents. But if Gromblo recognises me, I’m in a lot of shit. And he’ll expose Mabryl as a liar. He knows exactly how old I am.


“When will we go to see him?” Carthinal asked.


“I need to find out exactly what needs to be done first. I’ll need to go to see him and ask him about the procedures before you come, too.”


Carthinal nodded. He would have to think this one through. Gromblo would no doubt bring out the paper saying Carthinal was dead, and then what? Mabryl would not believe a reprobate young man against a well-known lawyer. Especially one who had papers to prove it. He would have to somehow make sure those papers disappeared. But what about his name? Carthinal wasn’t a common name in Grosmer, the country in which he lived. Much thought would be needed.


But not now.


They had all finished their breakfast and Mabryl wanted both his apprentices in his study. Today he was going to teach Carthinal a simple spell. Not a cantrip, but one that would take more energy to manipulate the mana than he had used up until now.


Putting all thoughts of Gromblo to one side, Carthinal almost ran into Mabryl’s study. This would be a momentous day. A real spell, not a little trick.


As he entered, Mabryl handed him a large book. It had a black cover with a red dragon engraved on the outside. The leather cover felt soft to his touch. Carthinal opened it and saw blank pages. He looked at Mabryl with raised eyebrows.


“It’s your spell-book. You will write your spells in here as you find them. I suggest you divide it up into sections. Each section for one level of difficulty, so you don’t get them mixed up, and you can easily find what you want.”


Carthinal grinned as he caressed the spine of the book. “Thank you, Mabryl. This is a wonderful present. I promise I’ll keep it tidy.”


Emmienne bounced over. “That’s so-o beautiful, Carthinal.”


“You’ll get one as soon as I think you’re able to perform a spell, not a cantrip. I just don’t know what to have on the front of a book for you, though. The dragon seemed right for Carthinal, somehow.” He turned to Carthinal, “You must write the spell into your book before you even think about casting it.”


Carthinal spent the next few hours painstakingly copying the magic words and the diagrams of the hand gestures needed to perform it.


Mabryl had given him the choice of spells to try. The young man had been thinking about the meeting with Gromblo and had decided on a course of action. He needed to decide on which spell to choose to facilitate his plan.


He looked at the easy spells in Mabryl’s spell book, chose one and began the laborious task of copying. Everything had to be exactly right or the spell would not work. It took the rest of the morning.


When he had finished copying, Lillora called them in for lunch so Carthinal could not try out the spell for a while. He sat at the table fidgeting, until Mabryl told him to stop. He forced himself not to bolt his food. Finishing before everyone would not make his spell attempt come more quickly.

I’m hoping that this story will soon be ready to send to my publisher. I’ve been working on it quite a bit, and I think I’ve made it better in places. Still a bit more work to do, though.

I am thinking of calling it The Making of a Mage, rather than Carthinal. What do you think?

I would love to hear what you think of this story. It’s part of a series of prequels to The Wolves of Vimar. Please let me know in the comments.

Carthinal's Story 10

Carthinal came out of the study in Mabryl’s house. He heard voices coming from the living room.


“I think you’re mad, Mabryl. He’s a wild kid from the streets.”


“He’s learning, Danu. He’s stayed in at night for the last two months.”


Carthinal realised that Mabryl was talking to Duke Danu, the ruler of the Duchy of Bluehaven. The duke had once been learning to be a mage, but his elder brother net with a fatal accident. This meant Danu had to leave his studies as he was now the heir to the dukedom.


He met Mabryl when they were both apprentices, and kept an interest in magic. The two men were close friends.


“I thought it was a madcap idea when you took him on as an apprentice, but to consider adopting him…”


Carthinal knew he should not be listening to a private conversation, but he could not resist. It concerned him. And what was Mabryl saying about adopting him? Carthinal crept quietly to the door in order to hear more.


“—potential. I felt it when I saw him teach himself to do a simple cantrip. He could be a great mage one day.”


“Maybe, but do you have to adopt him? He could get you into a lot of trouble.”


“Danu, I have no wife, no children. What’s going to happen to this when I leave this world?” He swept his hand around the room. “I don’t want just anyone coming in and going through my magic stuff. It could be dangerous.”


Carthinal crept away to his room. He needed to think. Do I want to be adopted? I’ve lived quite well up to now on my own.


After he heard Danu leave, Mabryl called up the stairs. “Carthinal, come down here, please. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble—for once.”


Carthinal entered the living room and Mabryl told him to sit down.
“I’ve been talking to Duke Danu. I put an idea I had in front of him. I don’t think he thought it a good one, but I still do, in spite of his arguments against it.”


Carthinal shifted in his seat and kept his eyes downcast.


Mabryl told Carthinal about his plans to adopt him. “If I die without an heir, then all my things will revert to the Crown.” He ran his hands through his hair. “You are a orphan, Carthinal. You have no one and nothing, so I thought of adopting you. This would be a help to us both. What do you think?”


Carthinal looked up. “Please may I think about this? It’s a big step.” His thoughts were in turmoil. What exactly would his adoption entail?


Mabryl nodded. “Of course. I wouldn’t expect you to decide right away, but you do need to be fully in agreement. Now, you can go and think. I need to see some people who want their boy to become my apprentice, and I need to see what kind of potential he has.”


Carthinal returned to his room. Mabryl’s words span in his head.
He wants to adopt me. That means he’ll be my father. Do I want to replace my real father? But then he’s been dead for years. I can only just remember him. And what about the gang? If I become his son, then I can hardly go around with a criminal gang, can I.


Then he remembered other words Mabryl had said.
Mabryl said I’d inherit everything he has. This house and all that’s in it. That’s worth a lot. Could we move the gang’s HQ to here? No, that’d be no good. Can’t have the Beasts in this district.


Mabryl told Duke Danu I have great potential. He said I could be a great mage. Did he mean that?


These thoughts, and many others went round and round in his head until he thought he would go mad. It was a big decision. He dropped off to sleep to dream of an important quest where he used his magic to fend off many dangers.

An update on my writing, and a special offer.

The Wolves of Vimar is a fantasy series. Book 1, The Wolf Pack, finds Carthinal setting off to take the tests to end his apprenticeship and make him a full mage.

Once in Hambara, where the tests are to take place, he, and some people he met on his journey are given the task of finding a lost artefact. It has been prophesied that it will be needed in the near future.

The book tells of their adventures in finding the artefact and returning with it.

Book 2, The Never-Dying Man, finds the friends settled into normal life in Hambara. That is until someone who helped them in the quest for the Sword turns up asking for their help. His child has been kidnapped.

Because they owe him a life debt, they agree to help find her. After rescuing her they are left with more questions. Who wants her, and why?

They stray into Erian, the next country and get recruited into the Erian Army where half the group are arrested and taken to Frelli, the capital.

Here they find that war against Grosmer is being prepared. Why, they do not know as there has been peace for generations. What they do find out is more dangerous, and surprising than they could have imagined.

The half of Wolf, who are prisoners must escape and take the news back to the authorities in Grosmer.

Book 3, Wolf Moon, follows the other half of Wolf, who managed to escape the arrest. They are chased into a cave system in the mountains where they find a people living entirely in the mountain.

These people want to have nothing to do with the outside world. In fact, they don’t want anyone to know they exist. To keep their secret, they refuse to show the friends the way out.

Eventually, though, they are persuaded to help and allow Wolf to leave. Unfortunately, though, the group of friends have to pass many dangers to get out, and also, once out, they need to dodge the Erian army which is on the lookout for them.

As they make their way past many dangers, they discover more secrets. Can they manage to get back to their homes and pass their discoveries on to the authorities in Grosmer?

I am currently writing Book 4, which is to be called Immortal’s Death. It is a slow process as I have been distracted by other writing projects, including Jealousy of a Viking, which is the sequel to Vengeance of a Slave, my very first historical novel, and I loved writing it. What I found out was fascinating. But you’ll have to wait for Jealousy, although Vengeance came out at Christmas.

But from today, The Never-Dying Man is available for a mere $0.99, £0.99. This offer is only available until 19th, so don’t waste time. Click here to get your copy, or click on the book’s image in the side-bar.

If you have read any of my books, please consider writing a review. Reviews are important to both writers and readers. Readers can see if they think a book is for them before they spend money on it, and writers rely on reviews to get their books noticed. With the millions of books on sale, this is a difficult process.

So please, Help a Writer and write a review.

A 5 star review of Vengeance of a Slave

As you might know from my previous posts, Vengeance of a Slave was released on Boxing Day. I have already received a 5 star review.

It has reached the following positions on Amazon.com: #6182 in Action & Adventure Fiction #1481 in British & Irish Historical Literature #6419 in Adventure Stories & Action

Here is the review by Randall Krzak.

Vengeance of a Slave by V.M. Sang is a riveting story set during the period when Rome controlled Britannia. Follow the trials and tribulations of Adelbhert after he and his sister are taken by the Romans from their mother. They eventually end up as slaves in what is modern-day London. Adelbhert performs a nightly ritual to remind himself of the suffering he and his sister have endured, beginning with the crucifixion of their father. He vows to escape and punish those who have wronged him.

V.M. has created a moving story which will keep you turning the pages to find out how Adelbhert and his sister handle their new life. Experience their sorrow, anguish, and finally hope as they adapt to their changing situation. This is the first novel I’ve red of V.M.’s and it certainly won’t be the last! Well done and highly recommended!

And here’s another one I received when I had self-published it, before Next Chapter agreed to publish it under their Legionary imprint.

Review by Ashok.

Vengeance of a Slave (A family through the Ages) by V.M. Sang is about the horrifying experience of siblings Adelbhert and his sister Avelina, his sister, who witness Roman soldiers crucify their father and other men from their village. These small children are snatched from their mother by the Romans to be sold as slaves. Bought by a rich merchant, they are taken to a distant island Brittania where they are treated as pets. When they grow bigger, plans are made to sell them as house slave and courtesan.
Adelbehrt’s experiences have embittered him and he dreams and plans to extract revenge from the Romans, and he plans to escape with his sister. How they escape, the dangers they face, the stratagems they use to stay hidden, the helpful and cruel people they encounter, their adventures… These make up the remaining plot.

A great narration of a novel idea with good word pictures which drew me into that period, I found the overall narration and language to be gripping. But for some errors I found, I would have said it is five star material.

These typos have now been sorted, of course,

And it has also received another 5 stars without a review attached!

A Writer's Year

As it’s my last post of 2019, I thought I’d sum up my writing year.

This year I’ve been quite busy. I decided I’d write some prequels to my Wolves of Vimar series, some of which I serialised here. I originally thought I’d write them as short stories, but they have grown into novellas.

I wrote the back stories of Asphodel, and Kimi and Davrael. When I decided to submit them to Next Chapter, the publisher who published The Wolves of Vimar series as far as it’s got, I thought I should begin with the story of how Carthinal came into being. I told the tale of his parents. It’s a rather tragic story. I’ve now submitted it to Next Chapter, and am waiting for their next move.

I finished Vengeance of a Slave, my very first Historical Novel, submitted it and it is now live on Amazon. (http://mybook.to/voas/ ) It was released on Boxing Day. If any of you decide to purchase and read it, I would be grateful if you could post a review.

Researching this book, and the next one, Jealousy of a Viking, took a lot of time. Although some research is needed, even for fantasy novels, to get the history right, and the background is much more exacting. This book is not yet ready for publishing. It’s needs much more polishing before I submit it.

Earlier in the year I lost a lot of Book 4 of The Wolves of Vimar, and I searched all my places on my computer and also online. I felt demoralised by this, having lost several chapters. Then, out of the blue, I looked in one cloud storage I’d not looked in. In fact, I didn’t know I’d stored anything there, but there it was! Hooray!

I started working on it again, but it’s coming on rather slowly. This is because I started working on the backstory of Carthinal from The Wolves. This novella isn’t yet ready for submitting to Next Chapter. In fact it’s not quite finished, but I hope I’ll get it done shortly after the New Year. Then I can finish Book 4, probably to be called Immortal’s Death.

Next year I hope to release more of the novellas—Davrael and Kimi and Asphodel. I also hope to get Jealousy of a Viking released and finish Immortal’s Death. Quite a big task to get it all done.

I also have another fantasy novel that I started a couple of years ago that I want to finish, then there’s the on-going saga of the descendants of Adelbehrt from Vengeance of a Slave and Jealousy of a Viking. The next one is to be in Britain just after William the Conqueror beat Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Not sure of a title yet.

So that’s my year.

Thank you for following my blog, and to those of you who bought my books, a big thanks. I would be grateful for any reviews. They are most helpful, not only to me, but also to potential readers so they can tell if the book is for them.

You can purchase any of the books by clicking on the cover in the sidebar.

Please leave a comment in the comments box. I love to hear your thoughts.

Another Freebie

From tomorrow, the Stones of Earth and Air will be free on Amazon, until 24th December. This is book 1 of Elemental Worlds, so if you got book 2 the other day, now’s you chance to get book 1.

Something is wrong with Crown Prince Torren. He is behaving out of character. Pettic, his best friend and companion, sets ouut to find out whata is wrong. with the help of Princess Lucrenza and the court magician, he finds that the prince has been kidnapped and a doppleganger put in his place.

In order to free the prince, he must first enter the 4 elemental worlds and retrieve a gem associated with that element. He cannot leave the world without it, and on each world he has to perform a dangerous task to help the people.

Click here to go to Amazon where you are and buy the book, or click on the cover image in the sidebar.

And don’t forget the release of Vengeance of a Slave is in just 1 week. You can pre-order by clicking here. If you then send me a copy of your receipt, I will send you a free preview chapter of the next book in this series, Jealousy of a Viking. Email me at vivienne.sang@gmail.com

Please share this with your friends and followers and I will be pleased to receive any comments in the comments box,

Special offer

The Stones of Fire and Water, Book 2 of Elemental Worlds will be FREE from TOMORROW, DECEMBER 15th until Thursday December 20th

Pettic , having found the gems associated with the worlds of Terra and Aeris, now needs to go to the worlds of Ignis and Aqua in order to find the gems associated with those elements.

These worlds are stranger than he could imagine. He meets with a dying race of dragons and merfolk. The requirements to find the stones means he has to help them overcome their problems. He needs to find a solution to the death of the dragons, and to help find a magical sceptre that is needed if the king of the merfolk is not to waste away.

Once back on his own world, Pettic needs to find a way to get to the mini-plane where his friend, the Crown Prince is imprisoned, rescue him and return before an imposter takes the throne. But the imposter looks just like the prince. How can he convince people which is the real one?

Don’t miss this chance to get the book free. And if you wait, Book 1 will also be free very soon.

Click here or on the book image in the sidebar to go to Amazon where you are.

And don’t forget the release of Vengeance of a Slave is in just 2 weeks. You can pre-order by clicking here. If you then send me a copy of your receipt, I will send you a free preview chapter of the next book in this series, Jealousy of a Viking. Email me at vivienne.sang@gmail.com

Please share this with your friends and followers, and add a comment in the comments box.

Vengeance of a Slave excerpt.

AD 70

CHAPTER 1

The Romans arrived across the river and lined up all the men. They took every tenth one to be made an example of and then went into the woods and cut down trees.

Soldiers pushed Adelbehrt along with the rest of the population to this field to watch. The commander of the Romans told them they must see what happened to those who challenged the might of Rome, even though they were not in the Empire. Rome must exact punishment for the raid on Mogontiacum.

Adelbehrt understood little of what had happened, but he knew a man named Julius Civilis led a rebellion against Rome and the Roman Legions on the Rhenus went to put it down. He knew some men took advantage while the soldiers were away and launched their own attacks across the Rhenus and even laid siege to the town of Mogontiacum.

He understood the legions coming back from the north relieved the siege and now the Romans had come to punish them. What he did not understand was why.

Adelbehrt tried to hold back the tears pricking his eyes. His mother stood next to him, holding his hand while they nailed the men to the crosses they had made from the trees they had cut down. Women screamed when they saw what was happening to their menfolk. One woman tried to rush to her husband, but a Roman soldier hit her with the flat of his gladius. She fell to the ground crying.

The Romans held the chosen men apart from the rest of the village. A soldier took the first man and forced him onto the cross lying on the ground. The victim kicked and shouted, but the soldiers pinned him down. A man came over with nails and a hammer.

The man on the cross began to struggle again as he saw the approaching soldier. Another soldier held the man’s arm still as the man with the hammer positioned the nail, then raised the hammer. He brought it down hard onto the nail head.The sound of the nail ripping through flesh and bone assailed Adelbehrt’s ears. The man screamed—a dreadful sound to the ears of the child. The man screamed again as the soldier drove another nail through his other wrist, then he passed out.

The soldiers nailed five men to crosses and the air filled with the metallic scent of blood. Adelbehrt did not know whether to hold his breath, close his eyes or stop his ears. Screams of the men mingled with those of the women.

The sixth man’s turn arrived. Adelbehrt heard his mother give a quiet sob. This was his father. When the soldiers laid him on the cross, his father did not struggle. He knew it would be futile. The soldier with the nails approached. Adelbehrt saw his father close his eyes and take a deep breath. When the nail pierced his flesh, his body tensed and he let out a moan. He did not scream.

Adelhert felt his chest swell. My father is braver than the others. He didn’t scream in spite of the pain.

He looked up at his mother standing calmly and with dignity, knowing hysterics would not help her husband, nor her small family. Seeing the pain in her eyes, Adelbehrt’s fists clenched at his side and his breathing quickened as he looked again at the soldiers, now raising the crosses to an upright position. These men had killed his father.

His father had been innocent of the raids. He had not taken any part, but the Romans did not care. They just wanted to punish someone—to make someone a scapegoat—so others would learn not to attack the might of Rome.

The boy pushed back the tears forming in his eyes. He could hear his little sister crying as she hung onto their mother’s leg, burying her face in her skirts, but she had only four summers, so she could be excused. His baby brother slept in his mother’s arms, ignorant of what happened around him.

He’ll never know his father. The boy looked up at the baby. He closed his eyes to force the tears back. He would never see his father again after today, either.

He forced himself to look at the crosses, searching for the one on which the Romans had nailed his father. He knew it would be the last chance he had of seeing him. He caught his father’s eyes. In spite of the pain in them, his father gave a half smile and mouthed “Look after your mother and sister.”

Adelbehrt was six, and the eldest, so he had to show courage. A slight breeze ruffled his ash blonde hair and he raised his hand to push it back out of his eyes. He didn’t want to see the horrible death his father was undergoing, but something inside told him he owed it to him to watch and remember. A tear trickled down his cheek, and he brushed it away. He must stay strong. He was now the man of the family.

After the soldiers had lifted all the crosses, the people turned away to return to their homes. Some women tried to rush to their men, but the Romans beat them away. They would allow no one to try to rescue the men. They formed a circle around the crucifixes and stood with gladii drawn.

As the boy and his family walked sadly away from the field of death a legionnaire approached his mother. She stopped and shook him off as he touched her arm.

“These are your children?” he asked in their language.

His mother looked at him, and her lip curled. “Of course.”

The legionnaire reached out to Adelbehrt and touched his hair. The boy pulled back, not wanting this man, who had been complicit in his father’s death, to touch him. He shivered as the strange man smiled at him. The boy thought he looked like a wolf.

The legionnaire spoke to his mother again. “I’ve never seen such pale hair. I see your little girl also has it. They’ll make a fortune on the block.”

Their mother looked at him in confusion. “What do you mean, ‘on the block’?”

“Oh, we’re taking a few of you as slaves. We always need more and it will teach you not to attack Rome in future.”

“You’re taking us as slaves?”

The man laughed. “Oh, not you. Just these two children. You’re not valuable, but these…”

“No! You can’t take my children,” cried the boy’s mother. “Take me, but leave my children alone. You’ve taken my husband and put him to death. Isn’t that enough?” She grabbed onto Adelbehrtand his sister, nearly dropping the baby as she did so.

The legionnaire pushed her away and roughly took the children by their arms. The boy struggled, understanding this man intended to take him and his sister away from their mother. The legionnaire pushed them in front of him towards where a group of crying children and screaming mothers stood.

His mother’s composure broke, and she began to scream along with the others as she tried to wrest her two children from the officer. It was to no avail.

Seeing his mother crying broke Adelbehrt’s resolve and he broke down into sobs, struggling against the legionnaire. He was no match for the strong Roman soldier, though, and the man pushed him towards where more soldiers held the other prisoners.

No matter how much he struggled, he could not escape the firm grip of the soldier holding him. He turned and tried to bite. The man laughed and said something in Latin to him that he did not understand. His mother tried to come to him, having handed the baby to a neighbour, but a centurion knocked her to the ground.

Adelbehrt heard him speaking to her in their language “Don’t try that again or you’ll regret it. Your tribe deserves all the punishment we mete out after your attack on us. Those children will bring a fortune with their light hair. Never seen hair like that. Almost white. They’ll go mad for them in Rome.”

He kicked out at the soldier, who then picked him up. Adelbehrt turned to bite his neck, but the man wore armour so he kicked at the man’s hips. The soldier laughed and held the boy tighter.

Adelbehrt understood it would be unlikely they would escape and that, in all likelihood, he and his sister would be separated. Would some rich Roman buy them? What would happen to them when they were no longer pretty children?

The legionnaire carried the two children to where Adelbehrt saw a small group of others being guarded by more soldiers. This group consisted mainly of young boys and men over the age of ten, with a few of the prettier teenage girls. He could see no more small children in the group.
One of the girls, whom they knew quite well as she lived near to them, came and picked his sister up, soothing the sobbing child as best she could.

“Hush, hush,” she whispered to the little girl. “I’ll take care of you and your brother. I’m sure no one will hurt you.”

“They killed my father,” Adelbehrt sniffed and wiped his nose with his hand, smearing it over his face as he wiped his eyes.

“Yes, but they were punishing him for the attack on their city. You haven’t done anything, so they won’t hurt you.”

“My father hadn’t done anything either, yet they still killed him. Why are they taking us from our mother and little brother?”

“You’re both very pretty children, you know. They haven’t seen anyone with hair as light as yours, and they think you’ll bring them a lot of money.”

“Then we’re to be slaves!”

“Yes, I’m afraid so. I am, too, and these others. They’ve taken all the boys of an age that might decide to try to take revenge, as well as a few of us girls.”

His mother managed to break away and she rushed towards the little group of slaves, calling out his name. “Adelberht, Adelberht. Look after Avelina. Don’t let anyone hurt her.”

“I won’t, Mamma. I’ll take good care of her. Odila’s here. She’ll help us.”
They crossed the river to the Roman fort of Mogontiacum. The soldiers lifted the children from the boat and a legionnaire gripped their arms, raising a bruise on Adelbehrt’s biceps. He looked towards Avelina, who was sobbing and sucking her thumb. He tried to pull away to go to her, but the soldier holding him yanked him back.

Walls surrounded the fort, all built of stone. Adelbehrt looked wide-eyed at the defences. The village where he lived had been defended by a wooden palisade. The gate through which they entered Mogontiacum soared over them. Two towers stood at either side of the gate.

Adelbehrt’s eyes opened wide as they passed through the archway
How did the men who came to raid here think they could get past these walls and gates?

Barracks stood to the left as they emerged from the gloom of the gate. A large building occupied the centre of a courtyard with another smaller one behind it. On the opposite side of the large building were more buildings.

The soldiers ushered the group of captives to a walled compound beyond the barracks and locked them in.

He understood he and his sister would probably be bought by different people, and wondered how he could fulfil his promise to his mother that he would look after her. Adelbehrt’s eyes narrowed and he pressed his lips together. They had first crucified his father, a terrible death for the young boy to witness, then taken him from his family, home and friends. He thought he would also have his sister taken from him, so he subsumed his sorrow and fear by building his hatred of his captors.

Avelina, had stopped crying and clung to Odila. He was glad of that, but wondered what would happen when she was not only taken from her mother, but from him too. Where would they take them to be sold?

Would they be sold here or taken elsewhere? Maybe even to Rome itself. What was his mother doing? Was there any chance there would be a rescue party? Could he make a break, somehow rescue his sister and get back across the river? All these questions went through his head as he sat in the compound.

A legionnaire brought some food for them to eat and water to drink. He picked at the food, but drank some water. Odila tried to persuade Avelina to eat something, but the little girl still sobbed between the small mouthfuls the older girl managed to get into her mouth. Eventually she fell asleep in Odila’s arms while still eating. The day’s events had all been too much for her.

Adelberht himself began to feel tired, but before he went to sleep, he enumerated the reasons he hated the Romans.
They crucified my father: they took my family away from me: they took my home from me: they took my friends from me: they will take my sister from me.

The next day Adelberht woke wondering where he was. Then it all came flooding back. Tears again pricked at his eyelids, but he determined he would never again cry because of a Roman. One day he would have revenge for all they had done to him. One day he would be free again. He would also find his sister and free her too, if they were separated.

Wherever the Romans took her, he would find her. After that, he would try to get back to his home across the Rhenus. He did not think about how he would carry out these plans. He would just take any chance he could when it came.

They sat in the compound all that day. The sun beat down on them, and all the slaves drank thirstily when the Romans brought water. The commander of the fort came and looked them over. He took a couple of the girls out and marched them over to the large building in the centre of the fort. Adelbehrt wondered what was going to happen to them. Were they going to be sold separately from the rest?

He thought about it for a while, then forgot about them as he tried to comfort his sister, who had begun crying again. “Don’t cry, Avelina. Everything will be all right. Somehow we’ll get away and go back to Mamma.”

The little girl looked at him trustingly, and a half-smile appeared on her face. “Back to Mamma? I miss Mamma.”

“Yes, so do I. It might not be soon, but one day we’ll escape these horrid Romans.”

“I don’t like the Romans. They killed Papa.”

“No, I don’t like them either. We’ll get away sometime, I promise you.”

He did not know how or when he would be able to keep his promise to the little girl but he determined to do so, whatever the cost. He smiled to see his words had comforted Avelina somewhat, that she had dried her eyes and sat more quietly.

Towards evening, the two girls, whom the commander had taken, returned to the compound. They entered the compound in tears. Adelberht wanted to ask them what had happened, but Odila kept him away from them. He wondered why, but she managed to distract him by talking about Avelina.

The little girl had once again started to cry, seeing the tears of the two older girls, so he did not find out what caused their upset. He did notice one of the young men, who had been courting one of the girls before they were taken prisoner, became very angry and some of his friends held him back as he tried to attack one of the Roman guards.

~*~

Two days passed. Avelina cried less, but called for their mother in the night, every night. She also began sucking her thumb again. She had almost stopped that childish habit before their capture. Adelberht also missed their mother, but he stuck to his resolve not to allow the Romans to make him cry. Even when the tears came to his eyes he managed to prevent them from falling.

Each day, the commander took one or two girls and they always returned crying. Sometimes one of the legates or centurions took a girl. They took Odila on the second day. When she came back, Adelbehrt asked her what happened, but she refused to talk of it. She seemed withdrawn after that, and sat in a corner with the other girls, not talking, but staring into space.

On the third day of their captivity, a civilian man came to the compound with the commander of the castrum. He looked the slaves over and called for Adelbehrt and Avelina to be brought to him. He asked a few questions in Latin, which Adelbehrt did not understand, but assumed they were about him and his sister. The man smiled and the two men walked away, talking.

The following morning, some men came and took all the slaves to the baths and stripped them. They washed them all thoroughly and took their clothes away. What would happen now? That question soon had an answer.

The men who washed them took them to a building in the market at the opposite side of the fort.They stood in a room, bare except for a table and chair under a window at one side. Guards stood by the only door making escape impossible. A tall man entered and sat behind the table.

The man who looked them over the previous day came in. He ordered the men to take the girls out, with the exception of Avelina. Avelina cried out to Odila and tried to run to her but one of the slaves who had bathed them, grabbed hold of her as she ran past. The Romans had taken seven girls from the village, and shortly afterwards, a slave brought two of the less pretty ones back into the room. Odila was not one of them.

Adelbehrt heard them saying the others had been bought by a brothel. He did not know what a brothel was, and the others deflected his questions when he asked. He decided, when he saw the looks of relief on the faces of the remaining two girls, that it could not be a good place. Something else to hate the Romans for. He mentally added ‘Taking Odila to a brothel’ to his list of reasons to hate them.

The man in charge hung a board around the neck of each slave. Adelbehrt later learned that it gave information about the slave, including his likelihood of running away or committing suicide as well as his name and where he came from.

They took the slaves out one at a time. He could hear noises of people calling out something outside, but could not understand the words. When the slaves returned, the man who had taken them out took them to the table by the window. People came into the room, handed over money to the man sitting there, and then left with their purchase.

Eventually their turn arrived. The slave merchant had left them until the last, and as they were led outside together, Adelberht realised they were being sold as a single lot. He could breathe once more. He could keep his promise to his mother to look after his sister.

The warm air met them and as the sun shone on his naked skin, Adelbehrt blushed at being nude in front of the crowd filling the market place. He looked around and wondered at the large numbers of people still left, since all the slaves had been sold except the two of them.

The auctioneer picked Avelina up and another man did the same with Adelbehrt and held them so everyone could see the two children. The auctioneer spoke to the crowd and pointed at the children’s blonde hair. A few aahs came from the crowd, then people began to call things out. Adelbehrt decided the people were making bids for them.

They were a popular lot, if the number of bidders was anything to go by, but soon almost everyone dropped out leaving just two men in the bidding. Eventually one of them held up his hand and turned away, thus indicating he had dropped out. The man who had brought them out led them back into the room and gave them tunics to put on.

Their purchaser walked over to the table and handed over a purse of money, which the cashier counted carefully, nodded and handed a paper to their new owner who then came over to them, took each by a hand and led them out.

Adelbehrt looked at this man. He was a tall, clean-shaven man with an aquiline nose and dark hair and eyes. He did not look unkind, but still the sort of man you would not want to annoy. He spoke to the children in a light tenor voice, but they did not understand him, so he called to a man standing near the door and spoke a few words to him.

“This man says he’s your master now and wants to know how old you are,” the man interpreted.

“I have six summers and my sister four,” answered Adelbehrt, quietly, looking down at his feet.

The interpreter spoke to their new master in Latin and then interpreted the next few sentences.

“He’s on his way back to Britannia and you’re going to accompany him there. You’re to call him ‘Dominus’. That means ‘Master’, or ‘Sir’. You now have your first word of Latin. You’ll soon learn to speak it though, so don’t worry.”

“I’m called Adelbehrt, and my sister is Avelina.” Adelbehrt told him, not knowing his name had been on the scroll round his neck.

“Well. Adelberht, you’ll be all right just as long as you do as you’re told, and show proper deference to your master and mistress. Good luck.” With that, he left them.

“What’s going to happen now?” whispered Avelina.

‘We’re going to Britannia. We must call the man who has bought us ‘Dominus’ and do as he says.”

Avelina began to cry. “Where’s Britannia? You said we’d go back to Mamma. You said you’d escape and take us back.”

“I don’t know where Britannia is, but we will escape. Somehow we’ll get away, but I can’t promise you it will be soon.”

I hope you enjoyed this extract.

It‘s only four weeks to the release of

Vengeance of a Slave.

You can pre-order it from Amazon by clicking here, or on the cover in the sidebar.

Vengeance of a Slave

There are only 4 weeks left until the big moment.

Vengeance of a Slave


Will be released on Thursday December 26th

Make a note of it in your diary


or


Go to Amazon now and pre-order it.

This is my first venture into historical fiction. I really had an amazing time researching it and found out such a lot about the Romans and the way of life of the Celts who lived here when they invaded.

As a special thank you to all my readers, I am publishing an extract from the book on my blog on Thursday to mark the 4 week point.

You can order the book by clicking here, and it will take you to Amazon where you are. Or you can click on the book in the sidebar.

A Father’s Message. (A Poem)

When the Hallowe’en Poetry Contest arrived once more, I was stuck for ideas, having done it for the last 4 years. I needed inspiration.

I didn’t want to go down the ‘isn’t it a fun holiday’ route because I don’t think it is. It’s All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints’ Day when the Christian Church celebrates all the saints who have died before.

It’s also Samhain, when the pre-Christian religion celebrated their ancestors and welcomed them into their homes.

My father died when I was very small. I only have a few vague memories of him, and so I decided to write a poem thinking of him, and, if the pre-Christians are right, he would come to visit me every year.

I hope you enjoy this. I know it’s a bit late for Hallowe’en, but never mind!

I Died.
I didn’t want to go.
I left my wife and daughter so
I cried.

I thought
I could no longer see
All their future without me.
I fought.

I found
That each All Hallows Eve,
I could return—I need not grieve.
Not bound.

I come
To them each Hallowe’en.
They do not know. I am not seen.
I’m dumb.

They live
And I surround them both
With all my love which I’m not loath
To give.

Here ends my tale.
I will be filled with endless glee
When they come to dwell with me
Beyond the veil.