The carriage rolled through the stately iron gates of the plantation and down the cobblestone drive, pulled by four beautiful white geldings prancing proudly in their harness. The drive was lined with stately pines and massive oaks, a testament to the plantation owner’s attention to detail and love of nature.
The carriage rolled to a stop and the door was flung open from within. A strong, sun-kissed hand emerged, followed by a wiry framed young man with dark hair and eyes. He stepped down onto the stone and reached back inside to lift a very pregnant young woman to the ground. Two small girls also scampered out of the carriage. Shutting the door of the vehicle, he turned with his wife on his arm and proceeded up the wide staircase leading into the house.
As they approached the top of the stairs, a boy burst from the house and flung himself into the man’s arms, weeping.
“Thomas, what’s this all about? Where is my strong little brother?”
The boy looked up with piercing blue eyes into the man’s face. “It’s Papa, John. I can’t bear it. He’s so weak. They say he won’t last much longer and I can’t bear the thought of losing him.”
The boy seemed to gather himself then, his face coming under control, though his lip still quivered and his eyes were bright with tears. John Bolling stood and placed his hand on his brother’s head. His wife and girls hugged the boy and together they made their way into the house.
The family strode through the doors held open by servants and ascended the broad staircase to the second floor. As they arrived at the door of the master suite they were greeted by Elijah Kelley, the master of the house’s valet. Elijah had served Robert Bolling for over 25 years. They were inseparable, brothers in all but blood.
Elijah had rescued Robert from a tight spot with the natives, and ever since then they had looked out for one another. Now, Robert was not long for this world and the grey-haired Kelley’s face shone with tears as he let John and his family into the room.
Robert was in his bed, a huge affair with four massive columns at the corners. Mementos from the old man’s life were on display around the room, along with other objects that came from former lives.
There was an ancient ax, with rust nearly completely covering the head. It had runes carved into the bone handle, now illegible in their aged state.
A shield with the Bolling family crest, black spiders on a field of white surrounded by white sparrows on a black field, hung on the wall. There was a dent in one corner, marring the paint off.
An old musket.
What looked like a Roman gladius.
A painted wooden horse.
A small iron box, which John knew contained a lock of red hair.
These all were scattered around the room. John remembered asking his father what these were, and he recalled the tales of each item, passed down from generation to generation. Tales of the family now known as Bolling.
From the frozen lands of Norway to the isle of Avalon to Normandy to a fortress on a hill beside a town in a valley to the wild lands of Virginia. The journey of his people. Their struggles and hardships. Their victories and crushing defeats. Rising to power, then crashing to poverty. The story of his blood.
Glancing at his father, John saw the man smile and nod towards the Roman blade mounted on a marble pedestal. He crossed the romm and lifted it from it’s place of rest. Maybe it was just his imagination, but it seemed like he felt a tremor and that he could hear the ringing of metal on metal and the screams of men in agony. This was the first tangible piece of their past, a link to the ancients.
John closed his eyes, and was transported back in time. He felt himself fly through the years, back to when the Romans smashed all before them. To where it seemed none could oppose these hard warriors and their machine-like way of dealing death. To where the northern advance of the Empire was halted forever.