Today I thought I would share the opening scenes of the first book in the Druid’s Portal series. The news? I am nearing the end of writing this adventure that now spans five books. Each generation of time travellers in the Aurelius family will meet their soul mate on an adventure 2,000 years into the past of Roman Britain. It’s an epic series that starts at Hadrian’s Wall, twists into an alternate time line at Stonehenge, and will end in one of the most turbulent times of the ancient past – the Boudiccan revolt.
Druid’s Portal: The First Journey – Hadrian’s Wall
Lightning cracked across the storm-dark sky and the wind rose, heavy with the promise of snow. Janet and Hugh dodged around the massive oak trees in the museum grounds, crashing through the shrubberies and garden beds. Their lungs heaving, they reached the end of the gardens and crouched behind a gnarled old tree. Oak leaves tore across the sky, swirling across the wide granite steps of the museum. The robed man they followed had reached the top of the steps, and Janet squinted as the lightening flashed brightly. For a moment, the wind whipped the leaves into a barrier around him, and she heard him curse as he wrestled with robes wrapped tight as a shroud.
Janet and Hugh watched as the man they had followed across Newcastle fumbled at the heavy doors. ‘Look, he has a museum key!’ Hugh said, as the tall, carved wooden doors creaked open.
‘I don’t care if he has a key to the city,’ snarled Janet, her dark blue eyes smouldering as she watched the man. ‘He’s a thief, and he’s in my museum!’ She jumped up and bolted toward the entry steps as the doors slammed shut.
Janet pounded up the steps and fumbled in her pocket for her keys. Entering, she pushed the doors shut against the wind, then looked around the foyer, checking the familiar glass cabinets. The red night-security lights gave a semblance of life to the long-dead stuffed animals, and a blood-stained aura of menace to the weapons and skulls. On the floor was an oak leaf, and she picked it up, showing Hugh. ‘It’s damp. He must have gone this way, into the Hadrian’s Wall exhibit.’ She raced down the corridor. From the tall arched windows lightning flashed on the modelled Roman soldiers, their swords glinting as though they still stood guard against the enemy.
‘There he is—we’ve got him now!’ Janet’s red plait flew out behind her as she panted down the familiar corridors and zig-zagged around display cabinets of broken pottery and remnants of leather sandals. She could hear Hugh clumping along just behind her, his massive boots bouncing echoes into the cathedral ceilings. ‘He’s not going to get away this time,’ Janet gasped, ‘It’s a dead end up ahead.’
They ran into the Celtic gallery, catching sight of the robed figure near a low glass-topped cabinet. Around him the figures of wild Celtic barbarians with blue painted faces glared defiance from their pedestals. In the far corner, a display of dark- hooded Druids raised arms to a painted moon, their crescent-shaped bronze knives gleaming. The man glanced at Janet and Hugh as they ran into the room, but his face was hidden by the cloak he wore. The glass lid creaked as he reached inside and grabbed a golden casket.
‘Hey, get out of there!’ Janet jumped as lightening lit up the room. ‘That belongs to the museum!’ Thunder boomed, and she jumped again as the windows rattled like a volley of gunshots.
Hugh stood in the doorway, his tall muscular bulk barring any escape. He drew out his police service revolver. In the silence after the thunder, the release of the safety catch made a menacing, metallic click. ‘Step away from the cabinet, and put your hands in the air . . .’ he started.
The man ignored them both, tossing the golden casket onto the floor. In his outstretched hand dangled a chain with a large gold pendant. He started chanting in an unknown language, and a weird hum filled the room, echoing as if it came from a place far distant.
Hugh held onto Janet as the windows banged open and a gale tore through the room, heavy with the scent of forest loam, oak leaves and thyme crushed underfoot. Above the man, a black shadow gathered, silver sparkles gleaming in its impossible depths. Janet shook off Hugh and edged closer, trying to convince herself the ceiling was only a few feet above the void.
The blackness slithered down in long tendrils, and as it reached the man’s hands, Janet leapt forward, catching hold of the pendant. Startled out of his chant, the man held the chain tight even as the dark void began to swallow him.
Janet staggered as the pendant was released. Hugh pulled her backwards as the man cursed them, the unknown words of power loaded with rage and venom. Through the fading blackness of the void, Janet glimpsed a horde of dark beasts, and felt the warmth of carrion breath. As the void faded into silver sparkles, the man’s curses became an incoherent roar of rage and anger, echoing into the distance.
And then there was nothing. The man had vanished.
Druid’s Portal – time travel romance in Roman Britain near Hadrian’s Wall. Join archaeologist Janet and Roman soldier Trajan on an adventure with plenty of barbarian fighting, ancient goddesses and druids. It’s not your typical romance, but it will set your heart racing!
This link will take you to the Amazon site of your country.
Druid’s Portal: myBook.to/DruidsPortal
Video book trailer: https://youtube.com/shorts/vLBymcUvwSc
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.
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You write so well. Good luck with the next book.
Thanks so much Sue.