The Artifact (Book 2, Time Trilogy)

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(MATURE, 18+) When a twist in TIME and one unique artifact causes love to collide... Cherokee Brave, Wahya, mysteriously leaps into the 21st century while trying to escape murderous warriors on his tail, colliding smack dab into Morgan, the Collections Manager of the University Archaeology Department. }}}-----> * <-----{{{ The only connection to the Middle Woodland Period Native American’s sudden appearance in the future seems to be a unique stone pendant - an artifact called the Gorget. }}}-----> * <-----{{{ With the help of fellow university staff members, James and Samantha Warner, who series readers will remember from “The Archaeologist,” Morgan must help Wahya navigate life 1,800 years in the future. But will the burning passion that Morgan and Wahya find themselves caught up in get in the way of their ultimate destinies? }}}-----> * <-----{{{ ‘The Artifact’ is independent from its prequel, ‘The Archaeologist,’ though ‘The Archaeologist’ comes first chronologically. ‘The Archaeologist’ follows Samantha and James into Neolithic England, where they must solve a prophetic riddle to guide them 5,000 years back to the 21st century.

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The Time Trilogy:
~ The Archaeologist [complete]
~ The Artifact [complete]
~ The Time Traveler [work in progress]

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© All Rights Reserved.
This book is copyrighted by Gwen Thames.
Use of any part of this book without express permission from the author is prohibited.

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AD 215
The Forest
Eastern Piedmont Region, North America

}}}-----> WAHYA <-----{{{

Adatlisvi Wahya’s heart thunders in his ears as sweat drips into his eyes, and the fibers of his muscles strain as he pushes to continue onward. The woods are dense, which makes it good for hiding and evading his enemies, but very difficult to maneuver. As his lungs rapidly take in oxygen, he’s grateful for his talent of swiftness, allowing him to cover the unfamiliar terrain with ease in his bare feet. Not going nearly as fast as he could if he weren’t trying to be evasive, Wahya is extra careful not to touch the surrounding undergrowth as much as possible. The men at his back surely know how to track prey in the woods.

For most of today, Wahya finds himself hunted by a stubborn band of Haudenosaunee braves who he hasn’t been able to shake since they started after him this morning. Despite his exceptional running and hiding abilities, Wahya knows he can only stop for a second to take a drink of water from the stream he’s considering to cross. As he leans over the shallow water, his loose raven black hair falls over his shoulders, the ends dipping in the steady current before he tucks one side behind his ear. Taking in almost as much air as water in his cupped hands, he briefly closes his eyes, the cool water satisfying his parched throat. He takes the moment to think about his situation as he warily eyes the landscape around him.

“No, I am not going to cross here. Instead, I will make it look like I did,” he decides quickly. With his bare feet wet, Wahya purposefully tramples onto the opposite bank, leaving one soggy footprint in the dirt, then brushes along the undergrowth as though he were getting tired and complacent. He wants the warriors somewhere behind him to be sure to pick up his trail here.

Stopping for a moment to catch his breath, again purposefully, he leans on a tree, spreading more footprints to be certain it will look like he was resting here momentarily. Proceeding onward, more carefully, like a now-rested person might do, he continues to leave a trail, intentionally and gradually hiding more of his presence as he moves along. Finally, he lessens the trail until it fades completely, hoping that the deceptive tracks he’s laid out will provide a believable story for the hunters to follow.

Now, wishing to completely disappear again, he climbs a large tree, backtracking the way he came through the branches as best he can. When he reaches the stream once more, he descends to the ground and steps into the shallow water, happy to feel the cool waters on his skin. He stands still for a moment, taking in his surroundings and listening, trying to determine which direction he should go now.

The oppressive summer heat feels sticky on his bare torso and heaving chest, broad with years of living on the land. Stooping, he splashes his arms and front with the refreshing water, then rubs his face clean, pushing his waist length hair back. Finally, he splashes more water onto his aching legs, washing the dirt from his suntanned, red-toned skin, careful not to get his deerskin breechcloth wet.

He decides to head south, following the direction of the fast-moving water for a while before making his way back onto dry land. Feeling good about his route he thinks to himself, “Maybe I can lose them yet!”

Several times after leaving the stream, he stops to listen. Hearing nothing, he continues on. Pushing forward at a fast-paced walk, Wahya wonders what his people did to deserve so much bad luck. It’s been almost a year now since the string of misfortunes hit his village with a vengeance and there seems to be no reprieve.

He lets out a long sigh, missing the stream for the water he thirsts for now. While he’s used to going long distances, he’s tired. Tired of traveling, and now tired of running away. As he slows to a walk, his frustrations get the better of him. With his eyes trained on the terrain in front of him, his mind wanders back to the beginning of this mess, and his heart pangs for his loss. His mother, the beautiful Ganohilvsv Woya, had been one of many who had been plagued by the sudden sickness that swept through their moderately-sized village, miraculously leaving Wahya, his father, and his maternal grandmother untouched. Only a mere twenty-five villagers remained by the end of the wave of illness that had lasted two full moons [months].

He laughs sarcastically inside, wondering how they had collectively managed to struggle through this last winter. He knows they had no other choice but to pack up their possessions and start out in the spring to find another Tsalagi [Cherokee] village to join with elsewhere. It’s now been four moons, and the weather is warming with the beginning of summer, and the entire group has grown weary. Their goal is to make it to the Big River where several Tsalagi villages are sustained with plentiful resources year-round. But Wahya realized they must have grown complacent in their journey, finding themselves within Haudenosaunee tribal land unawares.

Shaking his head in frustration, Wahya recalls that evading the enemy tribe’s hunting parties had been successful until today, when he and the other younger men who’d been scouting out a safe route for the day’s travels as usual, were spotted by the hunters. He cringes now at the still-fresh memory of the death of the group’s youngest, Aisvi Alisoqualvdi, who’d taken an arrow to the chest before he could make an escape.

Wahya’s jaw tightens, as thinks of how the news of the youth’s death will be brought to his poor mother who had lost her husband with the sickness, and now has lost her only child. Aisvi Alisoqualvdi was only thirteen years old, but was built like his ferocious animal namesake, the walking bear, and was already a fierce warrior, although inexperienced.

“At least he died with honor,” Wahya tells himself, trying to console his own sadness over the loss of the boy who he’d helped train with the bow ever since the much younger man was small.

Pushing these disturbing thoughts away, and trying to refocus on the task at hand, Wahya takes a deep breath, centering himself once again. He continues through the brush, conjuring up the essence of his own namesake, the running wolf. His father had taught him to tune into the attributes that make wolves fierce fighters and loyal pack members, and to hone those skills within himself. Not such a brute, like the bear, Wahya had naturally been adept at running, hiding, watching, and tracking his prey better than any of the other braves in their group, and he focuses on these traits easily, as doing so has become second nature over the course of his twenty-seven years.

His spirits lift to see the setting sun begin to turn the sky above the heavily wooded horizon orange, darkening the woods even more. He repeats the mantra he’s said in his mind throughout the day once more. “As the wolf is my guide, the night belongs to me, and when darkness makes others fumble, I use my other senses to find my way.”

Right now, though, he knows he needs to find a place to hide for the night. And sustenance, as thirst and hunger are making him too tired and weak, and more apt to be tracked. He hopes none of the warriors chasing him have a night predator for their animal guide - an owl or even a greedy raccoon could be bad luck for him, he thinks apprehensively.

Though he believes that he’s managed to get a good distance from the hunting party, he realizes that they’ll eventually figure out that he’s backtracked and may yet come after him again tomorrow. Because of this, Wahya knows he can’t slow down until darkness falls completely.

Finishing the mantra, he continues to repeat in his mind, “I am Adatlisvi Wahya. I will live up to my namesake, the running wolf, for just a while longer!”

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“Whew! Ahhh...” He breathes out heavily, winded and in pain.

Finding cover for the night in a hollowed-out embankment where the earth around several large tree roots has eroded, Wahya is left with just enough room to squeeze his broad six-foot tall frame into. Covering the entrance with branches and brush, he hopes that even in the daylight it will be difficult for the hunters to find him tucked into the hollow. In the dark, he knows it will be impossible.

“Rest. Now I need to rest,” Wahya thinks, hoping that the stitch in his side will dissipate soon and his head will clear. Grateful for the opportunity to stop, he quietly nibbles on some berries he’d found nearby when gathering cover for the makeshift shelter, careful to leave no signs that he’d snatched them from the bushes and not breaking any of the thin branches.

After a while, he takes out his travel pouch in which he carries dried deer meat, tearing off a piece with his teeth. Sighing with as much contentment as one could have at this moment, Wahya lies back against the cool earth and listens for any noises that do not belong to nature.

Fingering the large stone piece fastened around his neck by a leather cord, he reflects back on the day it was given to him for luck by the mysterious Traveler who’d been passing through their land many, many moons ago.

Trying to keep himself alert, he pulls at the memories. “I was fifteen years old then. It does not seem like so many years have passed...”

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Hi Readers! Thanks for checking out “The Artifact!” I do hope that you read on, and I welcome all comments and constructive feedback! I love interacting with my readers and other authors!

I wanted to note that this story, while quite fictitious, does include many factual details about the Native American Cherokee (Tsalagi) people and culture (historical and contemporary). My educational background is in Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies, so, of course, I had to make Wahya as realistic as possible! :)

All translated words were found via online Cherokee dictionaries (there’s several out there!), but as I am not a native speaker, I do hope that my translations are accurate. As the story progresses, you’ll probably pick up on a few words yourself, but I’ll add the ones I use to the bottom of the chapters they first appear in and again if I think you need reminders for those important to the continuing story.

Again, thanks for reading! ~Gwen

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Adatlisvi Wahya = Running Wolf
*goes by Wahya (Wolf) for short

Aisvi Alisoqualvdi = Walking Bear
*the youth that was killed by the Haudenosaunee hunters

Ganohilvsv Woya = Flying Dove
*Wahya’s mother

Haudenosaunee = People of the Longhouse
*This is the original, native name for the tribe who is now referred to as the Iroquois. The name “Iroquois” is a French variant on a term for “snake” given these people by the Hurons. As Wahya lived prior to a European presence in the Americas, he would have referred to the Iroquois by their original name, Haudenosaunee.

Inoli = Badger
*Wahya’s best friend

Tsalagi = Cherokee
*“Cherokee” is the native Creek word for “people of different speech,” and was picked up by European newcomers. “Tsalagi” is the original name for the people contemporarily-known as the Cherokee.

Usgolvsagonige Yona = Grey Bear
*Wahya’s father

Uyetsasgvi Tsiya = Laughing Otter
*Wahya’s grandmother

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