Curse of the Druids (Nick Caine Book 4)

By: Aiden James
A Nick Caine Adventure Book 4

Chapter One

It began with another damned map.

A map I thought would become history in the summer following our Sekhmet temple adventure. Yassir Ali’s Egyptian grunts nearly caught us twice—in Amsterdam this past July and again in Greece during September.

It took another month before we found a haven secure enough to relax for two weeks. In Milan, Italy, with my deceased buddy Mario Thomas’ brother and his family. I hadn’t seen Marcus in nearly ten years and, thankfully, he was glad to see me. Marie approved my gift of a golden figurine to him, with the understanding Marcus wouldn’t try to cash in on it until Ishi, Marie, and I were safely out of the country.

From Milan, we deposited the rest of the gold in Vienna, before heading to Madrid for a week, and on to Paris just before Halloween. Not nearly as romantic an excursion as some might picture. By then, our assailants had again located our scent and pursued us with renewed vigor. So, we moved on to London, near the end of November, when Thanksgiving would be celebrated in the States. But our presence in England was singularly for the task we set out to complete in July… to find the Ambrosius Amulet.

Ascribed to Merlin himself, this relic is believed to predate Merlin’s lifetime—if he even existed—by three hundred years. Linked to the historical King Ambrosius Aurelianus, the brilliant blue sapphire was once described as being the size of a child’s fist and set inside a golden dragon pendant. No telling how much the damned thing is worth in pounds, euros, or the good ole American dollar. Legends state the amulet not only would protect its owner from harm, but it also opens a vortex allowing a host of ancient Gaelic gods and goddesses access to our world. “Deities or super intelligent alien life forms,” Marie told us during our flight from Paris to London, despite the fact neither species of entity has ever been given serious consideration among the world’s noted academics. That is, none not bearing the last name of Da Vinci, as in Michael DaVinci, Marie’s daddy.

Aside from paternal loyalty, why does Marie have a bewildering obsession about this relic? It was the last thing on her father’s ‘to-do’ list, before his untimely death at the hands of her ruthless uncle. Ever since, she has secretly felt driven to find it for him—even though she readily admits it might prove impossible to find.

“I doubt it exists,” Ishi whispered to me. His soft brown eyes were playfully aglow.

“I heard that,” said Marie.

We were driving from London in a rented Mercedes Viano, heading southwest to Salisbury for a stopover on our way to Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Or, rather, Marie drove and I kept her company in the front passenger seat. Ishi sat directly behind me. We had reserved two rooms at the esteemed Cricket Field House in Salisbury, a quaint bed and breakfast not far from our intended destination. The plan that day was to check in to our rooms and pay a visit to the historic sites of note in town. An evening of fun and relaxation was the plan that night, and then we’d take care of our business at Stonehenge in the morning. Actually, Stonehenge would merely be a stop on the way to our true target, since Ishi and I had never visited the site before. The recently discovered Bluehenge was where the map would take us.

“Heard what?” I said, playfully.

Marie sighed, shaking her head. She wasn’t pleased by either of our glib responses to her latest rendition of why this trip was necessary.

“Maybe the two of you should carry on to the States and leave this project up to me,” she said, tersely. “Especially, if you’re going to undermine my father’s research into the amulet’s existence. Just because it won’t necessarily be easy to find doesn’t mean it won’t be there waiting for us when we get there.”

“Will it chirp like your car keys when you get within homing range?”

I admit, it wasn’t a good idea to goad her. But, it’s damned near impossible for me to resist a good ribbing when readily presented. Besides, permanently avoiding Yassir Ali’s ire by fleeing to a much safer locale in America carried much more merit than her disparaging comment warranted. After all, Ishi and I had several times offered to return to England for the amulet when things were less tense, and when we were no longer targets for a team of hired assassins. Not to mention, December’s chill was hardly ideal when digging for artifacts.

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