Dunedin, 77 AD
‘So you want to maintain a high level of child sacrifice, do you?’ said Nechtan, in fighting mood as he addressed the rogue Druids at a gathering in the Great Hall. ‘Do you realise that the elders of the community are considering open warfare? They cannot take much more! In addition, the Romans are also concerned and have decided to take severe steps to eliminate the problem at source...they want all Druids eliminated...all of us. I have heard that “kill them all” was the order of the Commander of Britain to our Dunedin Legion Commander. Some believe that the order came directly from the Emperor himself. I beg you to change your mind now!’
‘Why should we change our beliefs on child sacrifice? After all, we’ve had them for thousands of years and much has been achieved by this method of appeasing the Gods. And who are the Romans to dictate to us what we should and shouldn’t do?’ retorted Ferchar, his eyes bulging with anger.
‘We have a successful Druid College here in Dunedin with Druids from many countries participating in our organisation. It has an international reputation for teaching scholars in medicine and science. But we must be seen to change with modern times and the will of the people!’ Nechtan said vociferously. ‘We must either change…or die!’
‘Druids are descended from the God of the Underworld Father Dis and our most important asset is the immortality of the soul. We will not die! We will live forever!’ Ferchar said contemptuously.
Unbeknown to all the Druids, Conall, the Chief Druid, had held a discussion with the Romans and come to an informal agreement that the Romans would execute those Druids responsible for condoning child sacrifice and leave the others in peace, if agreement with the rogue Druids could not be reached that day. If necessary, the day of execution had been set for the following day.
However, some of the rogue Druids had heard about the plot and hatched a counter-plot to lay a trap for the Romans who were to be their executioners. The Romans would have to walk through a narrow passageway to get to the entrance of the Druids’ College. The rogue Druids’ plan was to allow the Romans into the passageway, then block it off at each end, pour oil into the passageway from above and set it alight. The Romans would be cooked alive! Some of the Druids smiled to themselves at the prospect of this.
The Scottish Druid, Nechtan, who was viewed by many as the next Chief Druid, had heard about the plots. In discussion with a few close allies he decided that if the counter-plot succeeded a situation would be created that could mean a meltdown of society in Dunedin, and potentially the Druid way of life across all of Europe. The Romans would send several legions to annihilate them. He could not allow this to happen, he would try to get both sides of the Druids to reach a compromise. But what kind of compromise? How do you find a compromise between sacrificing children and not sacrificing children?
Nechtan decided…he had to play dirty.