Wearing naught——teeth chattering--
—trapped in a pit--
—staring at the moon that never seemed to move--
Growls from outside rose in pitch and bordered on the screams of a person getting tortured. The beasts making those spine-chilling noises stood upright on powerful hind legs, their bodies brown, hairless, gargantuan, heads horned. She saw the caged monsters after her captors whisked her off a ship and up a mountainous incline but before they lowered her into this earth-prison, its mouth a mixed symbol of freedom and blinding fear because she could do nothing to protect herself should a creature break loose and leap inside with her. The beast’s fangs would shred her, its claws flay her.
Maybe, she reasoned, her captors intended for her to be food.
The mere thought forced her to squat, as if doing so might provide safety, as she boggled for the umpteenth time over why anyone captured such monstrosities and delivered them to this island.
Wood snapped from up top. She held her breath and clawed dirt, hoeing rows and praying a gray-skin was not coming to fetch her. Everything about these strange people, apparent partners of those scum that had stolen her away, screamed brutality—from how the gray-skins spoke in a choppy and angry manner to how they moved, how they laughed.
She shivered and retreated until rocky points stuck her shoulder-blades. How she wished for home, her brother, mother, and father, Lepidus’s villa, the orchards, her quarters, bed, the companionship of servae and the guards patrolling the grounds. Caratos was friendly, sometimes a little too flirtatious for the proconsul’s liking. She missed his humor, missed all of it, but she especially missed her clothes. Strange how the clothing’s warmth had gone unappreciated, but there then the weather rated tepid, good for sniffing citrusy-smelling shrubs or eating cherries that exploded in your mouth as you bit into them, the temperatures quite unlike here, deep in the ground where the nippy air ponged of brine and sunrays rarely shone. In daytime, arm-rubbing chilly while at night freezing.
For how long had the ship that carried her here sailed? When did they take her? There was a…a what? She groaned from the strain of pushing through a thickening fugue, from the stabbing sensations at her temples.
What happened the night her captors, the plagiariae, came?
Title: Calasade: Sanguinem Isle
Author: Mark Stone
Caderyn Fortis has been many things—loyal husband, soldier, war veteran, public servant. Now he is a fallen nobilis and gambling addict, an alcoholic who never got over the murder of his wife. In his darkest hour an opportunity comes that can help him recover his self-worth and make up for the mistakes that cost him his wife. All he has to do? Discover who kidnapped a young woman and where they took her, then rescue her. He must do this while not alienating his employer—the best suspect—or falling in love with the woman helping him.
Author BioMark Stone lives in the United States and Spain with his greatest inspiration, his wife Cinta. Having written award-winning Flash Fiction, he is now a novelist writing tales of Fantasy that take place in Calasade, a world heavily influenced by Ancient Rome. You can find him at:
- Twitter — twitter.com/calasade
- Facebook — facebook.com/calasade
- WordPress — wordsbycalasade.com
- Official Website — authormarkstone.com
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