The Artifact (Book 2, Time Series)

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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.

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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 Series:
~ The Archaeologist [complete]
~ The Artifact [posting now]
~ The Time Traveler [soon to follow]

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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

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“They’re getting closer! I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up...”

Running Wolf’s [Adatlisvi Wahya’s] heart thunders in his ears, sweat drips into his eyes, and the fibers of his muscles strain as he pushes to continue onward. The woods here are dense, which is good for hiding and evading his enemies, but very difficult to maneuver.

For most of today, Wahya finds himself prey to a stubborn band of Iroquois hunters who he hasn’t been able to shake, despite his exceptional running and hiding abilities. He stops for only a second to take a drink of water from the stream he’s crossing.

“No, I’m not going to cross here. But I’ll make it look like I did,” he changes his mind...

With his bare feet wet, Wahya (as most people simply call him) purposefully tramples onto the opposite bank, leaving one soggy footprint in the dirt, then brushes along the undergrowth as though he were getting tired. 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 looked as though he were here resting. Proceeding onward, more carefully, like a now-rested person might do, he continues to leave a trail, intentionally hiding more of it than before. Finally, he lessens the trail until it fades completely, hoping that the deceptive trail he’d laid out will provide a believable story for which 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 again, he descends to the ground and steps into the shallow water, heading south to follow the water for a little while before getting back onto dry land.

Feeling good about his route he thinks to himself, “Maybe I can lose the hunters yet!”

Several times after leaving the stream for the second time, he stops to listen. Hearing nothing, he continues on. Pushing forward, Wahya wonders what his people did to deserve so much bad luck. It’s been almost a year ago now since the string of misfortunes hit his village with a vengeance.

First, they’d been plagued by a sickness - death taking many, to include his mother, Flying Dove [Ganohilvsv Woya]. This left Wahya, his father, Grey Bear [Usgolvsagonige Yona], and his maternal grandmother, Laughing Otter [Uyetsasgvi Tsiya], as the last members of his immediate family, along with only about twenty-five remaining village members.

They had collectively managed to struggle through the winter - barely - losing a few elders who had been weakened severely by the sickness. When spring came, the group packed up their possessions and started out to see if they could find another Tsalagi [Cherokee] village to join with elsewhere.

It’s now been four moons (months), and the weather has begun to warm with the beginning of summer. The goal was to make it to the Big River where several Tsalagi villages are sustained with the plentiful resources year-round. But unfortunately they now find themselves on Iroquois land.

As tribal enemies of the Iroquois, the peaceful, yet desperate group has spent the last few days trying to hurry beyond the enemy’s boundaries. But they can only hurry as quickly as the oldest elders can go - which is not very quickly.

Evading the Iroquois hunting parties had been successfully until today, when the group of Cherokee braves were taken completely by surprise. Wahya and the other younger men had been scouting out a safe route for the day’s travels as usual, but the group’s youngest, Charging Bear, had the misfortune of being spotted by an Iroquois hunter. He had been killed by an arrow to the chest before he could make his escape.

Wahya doesn’t look forward to bringing the news of the youth’s death to his poor mother, who had lost her husband with the sickness, and now has lost her only child. He was only thirteen years, but was built like his ferocious animal namesake, and was already a fierce warrior.

“At least he died with honor,” Wahya tells himself, trying to console his own sadness over the loss of the boy.

Like Wahya’s namesake, the wolf, he’s a fierce fighter himself, though not such a brute like the bear. He’s adept at running, hiding, watching, and tracking his prey (or enemies) better than any of the other braves in their group, but he’d rather wait for the rest of his ‘pack’ to attack, versus going it alone - unless, that is, he’s backed into a corner.

And right now, Wahya lacks his ‘pack-mates,’ but hasn’t been cornered (yet) - so he’s opted to run instead. There are far too many Iroquois braves to fight off on his own, and he’d rather live to fight another day, than die in vain now.

He’s been on the run all day, and 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 very 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 Running Wolf [Adatlisvi Wahya]. I will live up to my namesake for a 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 leaves just enough room for him to squeeze his broad six-foot tall frame into. Covering the entrance with branches and brush, he’s in hopes that even in the daylight, it would be difficult for the hunters to find him tucked in the hollow. In the dark, 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 try 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. Eleven years ago, but it seems like much less than that...”

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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 feedback! I love interacting with my readers!

I wanted to note that this story, while quite fictitious, does include many factual details about the Native American Cherokee people and culture (historical and contemporary). I have a degree in Cultural Anthropology, so 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 one’s I’ll be using often to the bottom of the chapters they first appear in.

Again, thanks for checking my story out! ~Gwen

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Cherokee Words to Know:

Cherokee = Tsalagi
Wolf = Wahya (for easier reading, Wahya’s name will maintain the Cherokee form throughout the story)

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