NIMUE’S DAUGHTER, THE SHARED WHISPERS ANTHOLOGY
When Myrdinn awakens from his healing sleep in a dark cave, he discovers that the Old Ways have been abandoned. Two old crones, descendants of the followers of the Old Ways, alone volunteer to assist him in overcoming what they call the Armageddon that will end the world within the week. After a rest of fifteen hundred years, he’s ready for battle but ignorant of the technology of the day and the enemies he must face. Before he can battle the terrorists set to destroy the planet, he’s determined to find his Nimue. The present-day Nimue, however, is a modern woman, certainly no follower of the Old Ways, who believes Myrdinn is a fraud who is taking advantage of her mother and aunt. Can Myrdinn convince Nimue of his identify and overcome the Armageddon, even with the help of the old gods?
The clarion call sounded, jolting Myrddin from his healing sleep. He sat bolt upright and sucked in a deep breath—and a mouthful of dirt. He held out his hand, expecting a drink. Nothing. He forced open one crusted eyelid, then the other, but saw only darkness—total, pitch black darkness. Curling his hands into fists, he felt vast power coursing through his body, but a sense of foreboding nagged at him.
Myrdinn used a bit of power to cast a light into the depths of the cave that had served as his resting place. Empty, long-deserted. He was naked, his body caked with dirt. His elegant embroidered tunic lay in faded tatters on the ground around him. His hair and beard fell below his waist in a tangled mass. He struggled to stand, but fell to his hands and knees, too weak to rise. Foreboding yielded to panic.
There should have been abundant light and fresh air, novices to tend him after his long sleep, and senior priests and priestesses assembled to welcome him. Most important of all, there should have been …Who? His memory failed him. Pushing himself to his feet, he staggered across the floor of the cave to the entrance that had been sealed … How long ago?
A wave of his hand tossed the boulders sealing the cave tumbling down the mountainside. He clung to the opening of the cave and surveyed the vast, empty expanse of stone. Then he remembered. She should have been here. He croaked her name, then licked his lips, swallowed, and called again.
“I’m sure I heard something, Rhiann.”
“I didn’t hear anything, Vivian.”
“You’re not wearing your hearing aids, dear. I believe it came from over here.”
Two crones dressed in long white robes rounded a boulder and stopped dead at the sight of him. Myrdinn felt their fear, which quickly turned to alarm. They were about to depart, leaving him stranded. He hadn’t understood a word of their language, but he had recognized a name.
He held out a hand in supplication and requested assistance in the ancient language. No response. He tried the languages of the Cymry, the Gaels, and the Picts. Nothing. Finally, he addressed them in the language of the accursed Romans.
Rhiann, a full-figured Celtic beauty with faded red hair, brightened. “It’s him, Vivian. He’s asking for our help in Classical Latin.”
Vivian, tall and slender with bright blond hair, sniffed. “We need his help. The clarion call from our grandmother’s stories and all.” She rang the bell that had awakened him. “There are only six days left to us, if we’re to believe the government. I drove to Anglesey because I couldn’t allow my cousin and best friend to die alone. I want to spend the time left to us at home in Wiltshire with Nimue, not with some dirty, naked vagrant.”
He couldn’t understand them, but they were discussing him and had mentioned Nimue. They had failed to offer him the deference due his rank or even the hospitality due a stranger. They were considering leaving. He raised his hand and the women were lifted several feet into the air. He held them there for a few moments as they kicked and cursed, then gently lowered them to the ground.
Myrdinn waited as the two fussed with their hair and clothing. Rhiann shook a finger in Vivian’s face. “It’s him. I told you we would find him. He slept in peace until Britain needed him, just as Grandmother told us. It was our honor to awaken him. No one else believed. Let’s take him home and clean him up. You must have faith, dear.”
Rhiann handed him a shawl to cover himself and beckoned. “Follow me.”
They walked down the path to a roadway where a strange metal chariot awaited. Rhiann opened a door and motioned for Myrddin to climb inside. New inventions greeted him with every awakening, but this was beyond belief. There were no horses, no visible means to move the vehicle, but Rhiann sat in the seat with a wheel, turned a key, and they took off with a roar. He grabbed the seat and held on, wondering if the speeding chariot would take flight.