Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mysteries #2
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Myth Of History
Myth Of History
Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
"From Kindle Nation fave N.S. Wikarski, (The Granite Key) a new installment in The Arkana Series" - Kindle Nation Daily
Unlikely Relic Hunter
College freshman Cassie Forsythe never set out to be a relic hunter. Her life unravels when her sister is murdered over a stone artifact called the Granite Key. The girl allies herself with a secret society called the Arkana who want to recover the key and find the killer.
Teamed with librarian Griffin and bodyguard Erik, Cassie travels to the Minoan ruins of Crete to crack the key's code. There they discover that five artifacts need to be recovered in sequence to reveal the location of a powerful relic called the sage stone. Learning this vital piece of information almost costs Cassie and company their lives when they are attacked on Crete by operatives of a religious cult called the Blessed Nephilim.
Avoiding The Enemy
Barely eluding their enemies, the trio returns to Arkana headquarters to decide what to do next. Faye, the organization's elderly leader, explains that continuing their quest endangers the Arkana. For centuries, the Arkana has unearthed the artifacts of lost civilizations which predate patriarchy--advanced cultures that worshipped a divine mother goddess. They have amassed troves of alternative archaeological evidence which defy mainstream history. If the Nephilim ever discovered the cache's existence, the religious cult would eradicate all the treasures which the Arkana has worked so hard to preserve. The pursuit of the sage stone puts the two organizations on a collision course. The Nephilim's leader, Abraham, will stop at nothing to acquire the artifact because he wants to use it to ignite a global religious war. Sooner or later, his disciples are bound to cross paths with the Arkana retrieval team.
Bait And Switch Scheme
Since Cassie and her allies concealed their identities from the Nephilim while on Crete, Faye proposes that they exploit this advantage. She orders them to find the rest of the artifacts and to plant substitutes in their place. The Nephilim will collect false relics while the real ones will be protected in the Arkana's vault.
Cassie objects to the riskiness of the plan. Not only must they find each artifact first, they must duplicate it, deposit the copy and slip away unseen before the Nephilim arrive. To add to their worries, Faye announces that the Nephilim are already on their way back to Crete to continue the search.
The Race For The Relic
Because Griffin believes the next artifact is actually hidden in Turkey, the trio flies to Istanbul hoping that an Arkana contact who knows the country will be able to help them. Their struggle to function as a team continues. Griffin still frets about doing fieldwork, Cassie still doubts her psychic abilities and Erik barely tolerates the other two.
Their contact at the Catal Huyuk dig site steers them toward ancient megaliths on Mount Ida. They rush off to search the mountaintop, aware that the Nephilim are only days behind. Even though the trio combs the ruins, they still can't find the object. Cassie's telepathic hunch tells her that the relic is hiding in plain sight. A chance encounter with another Arkana operative sparks an idea. Griffin realizes that the artifact must be hidden both in space and time. He tests his theory and they unearth the treasure. The Nephilim are closing in even as they scramble to build a replica.
At the worst possible moment, the Arkana team discovers that the Nephilim aren't their only competitors for the lost relic. Unforeseen obstacles and unknown enemies thwart their efforts to bury the false artifact and escape undetected. This new crisis teaches Cassie where her real loyalties lie. Will the Arkana team succeed or will they fall into the hands of the Nephilim? The answer isn't as simple as you might expect.
Chapter 2 – Pointed Questions
Stefan Kasprzyk knelt on the edge of a man-made crater in the earth and stared at a small object in his hand. He couldn’t understand what it was doing here. There were times, he thought irritably, when he wondered what he, himself, was doing here. Stefan was supervising the excavation of a Kurgan burial mound in Kazakhstan, a country that had the distinction of being one of the most god-forsaken places on earth. It was situated right in the middle of the Eurasian steppes. His team might as well be digging on the bright side of the moon. The landscape was barren and treeless as far as the eye could see. A monotonous series of low hills that dipped and rolled off into infinity. No shelter from the cold or the heat. It was summer and the temperature was nearly one hundred degrees. He pulled his hat brim lower to shield his eyes from the sun. The excavation into the hillside had liberated a quantity of sand which the unremitting wind was blowing directly into his face.
He dusted himself off and walked over to examine the portion of the grave that had been unearthed so far. The skeleton it contained was a chieftain of some sort. His remains showed signs of trauma. A gaping hole in the skull suggested he hadn’t died peacefully in his sleep. An occupational hazard, Stefan thought grimly, for those who lived by the sword.
He shifted his attention to another part of the grave. Prominent Kurgan chieftains never died alone. Their burial rites demanded the death of others. A female body posed in a crouched position to his left suggested this was his wife. Quite possibly a bride captured from a neighboring tribe who didn’t care for her role in the funeral ceremonies. Her leg bones had been broken to keep her from running away and her throat had been cut prior to interment. Her function was to serve her lord in the afterlife. Slavery in this life meant slavery in the next.
Stefan removed his hat to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He fanned his face with the brim for a moment before kneeling down to continue his inspection of the grave goods. They were, for the most part, exactly what he expected to see. Items emphasizing the martial nature of the male buried here. Wooden bows and flint-headed arrows. Bone knives and spears. A stone mace. The skull of a slaughtered horse -- probably the chieftain’s favorite. The artifacts spoke of a life steeped in blood. A voracious need to subdue everything within reach.
Stefan shook his head. He would much rather be working on one of the Arkana’s other digs where the artifacts were less grim. But, he reminded himself, as the Kurgan trove-keeper, his work was vital to their understanding of this anomaly in human behavior. How and why it all went wrong. The jumping off point when peaceful nomads became overlord invaders. His work might someday answer those questions. At the moment, he had more questions than answers. He looked down again at the object in his hands. It baffled him. An obsidian knife with an antler handle. What on earth was it doing here? Obsidian was volcanic glass and the nearest volcano was a thousand miles away.
Even if the object had been obtained by trade or conquest, obsidian weaponry had become obsolete in the millennium prior to the burial of this chieftain. If that weren’t odd enough, its sheath presented another mystery. A hammered gold scabbard ornamented with lions. The decorative style of the sheath was consistent with the dead chieftain’s culture but the knife was not. The combination was as anomalous as someone storing a medieval French dagger inside a gun holster from the American West.
He jammed his hat back on his head in exasperation. What was this knife doing here? His speculation led nowhere. He simply couldn’t answer that question. He paused as a thought struck him and a slow grin spread across his face. Perhaps he didn’t know the answer himself but he had just thought of the one person in the world who might be able to help him.