That was when Sam saw it – a glint of sun on a helmet where there shouldn't have been such a glint; he whispered to Marcus and Christiane and already they were on alert, but they carried on talking with him as they walked along the side of the burn and upwards towards where there should be a Loch; it was certainly there in Sam's time, and Christiane's: Cauldshiels, an impressive body of water caught in a fold of the hills, popular with families on a Sunday stroll in the dog-days of August, the northern bank shaded by a natural woodland, with anglers pitched in the tree-line near the waters edge, well, those anglers who are happy to spend their day alone with their thoughts, or with a friend and a few cans of beer and no real worry if they don't get a catch – some anglers are like that, they measure their success by their contentment, rather than the weight of the fish they take home; but in this year measured by the Roman calendar there were no anglers and the walk through the foothills was accompanied only by the birds, bees, crickets and heat of a summer afternoon; as they walked, Sam shared with them his knowledge of the Ring of Gold and Christiane had the confidence to talk of hers; Marcus did not appear to be shocked by any of it – he was, after all, the Emperor's Paladin, sent from Rome by the two Emperors to check on the Frontier, where their dominion met the unruly wilds beyond; Britain was now a huge island – true, it was big enough to warrant the Rule of Rome, but in the Grand Scheme of Things it was trifling; reputations had been made here, others simply tarnished, or even broken – Julius Caesar, the first Emperor, had failed to subdue it, for all his Veni, Vidi, Vici! it had been the shambling, limping, lisping slack-lipped Claudius who, with War Elephants in the vanguard of his army, had put things right, but even then, the entire island had not been sufficiently or effectively conquered and it had remained a thorn in the Empire's side for decades, where armies had been withered by the bites of midges and harried by guerilla warfare – and that was only on the mainland, which had never been fully subdued, never mind the smaller islands which Rome had barely visited and where the Old Religions and the even older myths and legends persisted unchecked! but at last they reached the shores and gazed across the glittering expanse towards the hill which – later named Cauldshiels like the Loch – seemed to challenge them as it loomed above the shimmering surface; it was a beautiful summer day and, reaching the point where there was a natural bifurcation, with an easy walk along the southern shore, or the climb towards the height, they took that, at last finding themselves a good viewpoint from which they could observe all the likely approaches, the three rested as the two horses, hobbled, grazed nearby; and Tavish told Marcus all he knew and much of what he suspected; perhaps unsurprisingly, Marcus was not as shocked by what Sam and Christiane were able, together, to tell him – he was a soldier and death and bloodshed had accompanied him for twenty years, and children, boys and girls alike, died everywhere and what was so terrible about men using them for pleasure, what was so special about children that seemed to arouse such passions in his friends? he wondered; a strange lot these Britons and if, as Sam had told him and his beloved verified, they were indeed from another Time so far into the future that his mind failed to grasp it in any detail, why did it matter to them what might happen here and now? as Marcus would readily admit, he was neither a philosopher or a priest and such things as they were discussing seemed best left to those individuals to debate; and then he caught a flutter of red for a second before it vanished behind a clump of gorse, and his practical eye calculated the distance as being with a javelin's reach and he murmured that to Sam, who never missed a beat in his iconoclastic dissection of what he called Moral Law – there was only one Law to Marcus' way of thinking, the Emperor's and he said so, which was when Sam said something strange about the Earth spinning on a Rupee, and flung himself across Marcus and Christiane, pushing them flat upon the grass, as a javelin sliced through the empty air which had a moment of so before contained their bodies, and plunged it's sharpened point deep into the turf!