When the Romans invade Britain, Celtic religious activity was banned. Niamh's father and friends have to go into hiding to avoid being arrested, and with the help of her two friends, can Niamh and her family escape to Wales? Or will the army catch up?
I originally wrote this for a Roman story competition.
'I hereby declare that all Druids and Celtic religious activity is banned. Anyone performing such activities or found helping a druid must be treated brutally, be order of your leader, Aulus Platius.'
Everyone gathered round as the soldier, in his red tunic, gold brest-plate and sandals, made his speech. His monotonous voice reverberated round the village square. He passed the scroll down to a man who was supposedly head of the Senate, before cantering off on his chestnut stallion.
That was the fatal day, the day that announcement was made in every city, town and village in England. The day life was changed forever for all Celtic people, especially Niamh McHavenn. Niamh’s father was the head of the local druid’s council, therefore a highly wanted man in Briestal, sorry, Dorvester. When this law was put into place, Niamh’s father was forced to go into hiding, along with every religious, Celtic man she knew. All the women disguised themselves as Romans, changing their names and living in small huts on the edge of Roman towns and villages, next to the hills and woods.
‘Hi Petra!’ Celeste called as she entered the Celtic settlement.
‘Hey Celeste,’ Niamh replied, ‘What news from the village?’
‘Bad I’m afraid. Pater’s doing another hunt tonight.’
Niamh’s (or Petranella as she now came to be called) salvation came when General Paradatus and his daughter came to live in Dorvester. The General himself was in the army and hated all druids, but his daughter, Celeste, and her friend, Quintessa, were sympathetic and disliked the idea of destroying other cultures for their own to take over.
‘Why do we have to be so cruel, us Romans? Celts are the supreme culture in England, not Romans!’ Celeste moaned.
‘Maybe, when Emperor Claudius visits, he’ll find it too cold and declare that the army must leave.’ Niamh fantasised. She sighed; knowing that this would not happen as the Romans took all the land they could, even land they couldn’t in the struggle to become the most powerful culture on earth. This, Niamh didn’t mind, but why did they have to destroy other religions too. Cultures wouldn’t try to resist so much if they were taken over peacefully, or let to live alongside the Romans!
Celeste often visited the Celtic part of the village, Dorvester, to bring them the latest news and food. If anyone else but her or Quintessa knew though, she would surely be arrested. It was totally illegal to help Celtic because it meant you were helping druids. Therefore, Celeste was in danger of being arrested by her father, Quintessa’s brother Terris, or even Adrian. Why did it have to be so…. so….. secretive?
As for General Paradatus and Terris, it’ so much harder to keep something from someone you live with, especially a family member. Terris was big. He scared Quintessa. He could be violent at times and Jupiter knows how many men he would kill in battle in his time. The General was fierce and controlled his household like he would his regiment. He couldn’t control Celeste any more for she was a young woman, almost old enough to be married. But when she was married she would be kept under regulations, possibly more forceful than her father’s! Luckily, General Paradatus did not believe in choosing his daughter’s suitor.