The First Cataclysm: Josias, grandson of Basilikos (the protagonist in RUBY HEART: The Legend Begins), has grown up in the shadow of his older brother, Balthazar who was named after their great-grandfather. Balthazar is mean-spirited and hates his younger brother. His hatred turns vicious when he attempts to kill Josias.
Basilikos decides Josias must leave home for his own safety. But Josias does not leave empty-handed. He has been gifted with what we now call photographic memory and has become skilled as a Man of Healing. He takes with him his faithful servant, Haziel, his three cousins, Marzban, Arshad and Farbod - and the Ruby Heart. They head west and south, intending to go to Jerusalem.
But in Daphne, north of Lake Huleh, about 50 miles above the Sea of Galilee, they meet Jonathan (with an interesting connection) and his cousin, Eldad who are both very wary of speaking out in public.
The next day Jonathan is going home to Gamala, east of the Sea of Galilee. Josias and his men go too, hoping to find out what has gotten Jonathan more than a little skittish.
The Second Cataclysm begins to unfold in Gamala, where a group of Seditionists have hidden among the people. King Aristobulus lays siege to the town demanding that the elders release the leader of the Seditionists. After Josias delivers him up, spectacularly dead, King Aristobulus demands an audience. When he discovers Josias is a Man of Healing, he insists he be taken to tend to his son who was injured in battle. They travel to Dan, north past Daphne.
In Dan, the men discover Jonathan’s mother and sister. The sister is near death from some ailment assumed to be a miscarriage. Josias also attends her, and a budding romance begins.
However, Josias is introduced to Pliny the Elder who hires him as his personal physician and demands he accompany him to his Naval Base on the west coast of Italia. So as soon as his two patients, the son of King Aristobulus and Jonathan’s sister are well enough to be left, Josias, his cousins, Haziel, Jonathan and Eldad leave to follow Pliny to Misenum on the west coast of Italia, just west of Mount Soma-Vesuvius, a volcano that has been dormant so long no one gives it a second thought.
Josias and Jonathan and all their men arrive in Misenum in early summer of the year 79 AD.