Symbols of Power (Initiation at Stonehenge) - Another free taster for BOOK ONE: S
“Look at me, Ardhu son of U’thyr.” Merlin spoke, his voice deep with emotion. Today is a day of great portent, of great change. A new era is dawning in Albu, in all of Prydn, and you and I will be as Sun and Moon, rising in splendour and power before the people. Do you swear to follow my guidance is this venture?” “I do swear it.” “And will you honour the Stones and those who have gone before?” “I will honour them.” “And will you give your life for the land, if it is asked of you?” Ardhu hesitated; a cloud streaked over the face of the Sun, and shadows suddenly galloped around the stones, turning their stark faces sinister, frowning. “I…I…will... ” “Then you shall be granted the symbols of high chiefdom, which no man has borne for hundreds of years, since before our father’s father’s time.” Merlin drew forth from his basket a round shield embossed with bronze. The rectangular image of the Guardian was graven on its gleaming surface, which was the colour of the dying Sun at Midwinter. “This is Wyngurthachar, Face of Evening. Let it shield you as you shield the folk of Prydn.” Reverently he fastened the shield on Ardhu’s left shoulder; it was heavy, and Ardhu staggered a moment at the unexpected weight before recovering his balance. “My shield,” he said. “Shield of Albu against her foes.” Merlin reached into the basket again, drawing out an item wrapped in dried moss. The covering crumbled away beneath his fingers to reveal...