Celts and the Gladiator, chapter one

As she paraded in front of the raucous crowd, Rawena wondered which of her ‘family’ would try to kill her today.

The spectators filled the amphitheater to the awnings, ready to see her fight. Nobles, consuls, and priests sat in the first two rows, wrapped in togas against the cool February air. Behind them, plebeians shouted and placed bets while they watched Rawena and her familia—her fellow gladiators—tread the sand of the arena. Gaunt slaves stood in the back, chatting and enjoying their freedom until the end of the games when they would carry their masters back home in gilded litters.

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Celts and the Mad Goddess, chapter seven

Rawena had felt Arvasia’s tears fall on her face. She had seen her and Garux twitch at the sound coming from the bushes and run from the attackers. She had heard the faint sounds of the skirmish. Then a long silence came, and she stared at the full moon, trying to understand. The moon stared back at her through the branches of an oak tree, offering no answers.

Something rustled by the creek, and Rawena feared that Pandemia would come and snatch her. The rustle ended, and a moment later, numerous footsteps came from the other side of the woods. Her mother rushed into Rawena’s field of view and dropped to her knees, wailing.

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Celts and the Mad Goddess, chapter six

In her panic, Arvasia had gotten lost in the woods while running from Rawena. When she heard the bell, she dashed toward the sound for help.

Rawena had also heard it, though, and she must have guessed Arvasia’s intentions. She had caught and overcome Arvasia near the gate shortly before Garux sneaked out to look for them.

Rawena made her walk back to the creek, grasping her hair and pressing the point of the dagger against her back. Arvasia wondered whether it was the eclipse that made her sister so mad yet so cold-blooded.

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Celts and the Mad Goddess, chapter five

The Earth’s shadow obscured the moon completely, plunging the world into the dark. The moon turned crimson, like the sun on a hot summer evening, and painted the woods in gory hues. A small, thin cloud rushed over the moon’s angry face, turning red before disappearing into the sky’s blackness.

Garux had seen no signs of Rawena, and when the moon rose high above the eastern woods, he turned back to meet Arvasia and Seneusia by the gate. As he passed the deer trail, he felt tempted to go to the basin to see if Arvasia was still there. Then he realized she could already be home, and he kept walking straight.

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Celts and the Mad Goddess, chapter four

As shadows grew and thickened in the town, Garux, Arvasia, and Seneusia set off to look for Rawena. On their way toward the gate, Garux realized they had never told Seneusia the news. Now it would have to wait until they found his future sister-in-law.

Garux wished he could ask the druidess where to look for Rawena. The druidess lived beyond the pastures, though, and only her acolyte could visit her. In any case, the druidess would have come to tell them if she’d had any more visions of Rawena.

Vitis was already closing the gate for the night.

Continue reading “Celts and the Mad Goddess, chapter four”

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