Kingdom of Connachta, Ériu - 432 AD
Ciarán stumbled along beneath the twisted canopy of blackthorn shrubs, their prickly branches entwining with those of the hawthorn to form a mystical passageway. Though only a dim gray light pierced its knotwork, intermittent flashes of lightning broke through the tangled vines to sketch eerie patterns across the moss-covered path. His robe caught on the spiny bramble, and he stopped for a moment to free his sleeve, but a sharp shove from behind forced him forward once more, the sudden movement ripping a jagged hole in his fine linen robe.
His temper flared, and he turned to object, though it did no good. Another quick jab to his shoulder spun him back around and thrust him out into the lakeside clearing. Slender stone columns stood in a semicircle around its perimeter, each one facing the sacrificial altar. He rested his hand against the one closest to him, steadying himself as the reality of the situation washed over him in a wave of nausea. There would be no escape.