This week’s Sample Sunday piece is from the first Book of the Assassin Chronicles: The Knight of Death.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001J6ORUI
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001J6ORUI
Nook Books: http://tinyurl.com/6kztsz8
Look for the announcement of The Apprentice Diaries:. The Journey Begins, the new series by Brendan Carroll and D’Lani Elliott, which parallels the adventures of the Assassin Chronicles from the POV of the younger members of the Order of the Red Cross of Gold. The stories will be suitable for YA audiences with verylimited mature reader material included.
The Knight of Death
Chapter One of Twelve
Save me, O God; for the waters are come in
unto my soul.
Mark carefully placed the flat black case in the rear seat of the Mercedes and closed the door. The sun glinted off the rear windshield, almost blinding him when he walked around the rear of the car, checking the tires. Old habits died hard. The tires were fine.
He hated this hot weather. He was used to friendlier climes and whenever the temperature soared into the nineties, the heat and dust reminded him of another, much less pleasant place than the restored Roman Villa surrounded by ancient olive trees and carefully sculpted lawns. Scotland was always first in his mind: Long summer days, misty mornings and green meadows stretching to infinity. The less time he spent in Italy, the better and this trip… the purpose of this visit… made the weather even harder to bear though the temperature only registered a sunny eighty-two degrees.
Simple! That was how he liked things. The simpler, the better.
He would bring the renegade apprentice home alive or, if need be, dead. If the apprentice wanted to resign his apprenticeship, there was a wrong way and a right way. Right. Wrong. Light. Dark. Simple. But Anthony Scalia had made the wrong choice.
A shout brought him from his thoughts and he squinted at the sight of his apprentice running toward him across the parking lot
“Master!” the boy shouted to him and waved frantically.
Mark stood waiting as his own apprentice, a rather irreverent New Yorker of about eighteen, slid to a stop in the pebbled drive in front of him.
“Master!” the boy gasped and leaned on the trunk of the car. “I thought I had missed you. Sir Barry would not let me out of class early. He’s such an ass at times.”
“Watch your tongue or Sir Barry will having it roasting on a spit,” Mark Andrew suppressed another smile along with his normally pronounced Scottish brogue.
“I’m sorry, Sir, but he knows I wanted to see you off. Are you sure you can’t take me with you? It would only be a few days. I could take my books and study while we travel. And I promise I would stay at the hotel or whatever while you do your… business.”
“Not possible, Christopher.” Mark Andrew licked his lips and looked up at the cloudless sky again. Rain would help. Or a nice gale force wind. “You belong here in school,” he said more sternly. “Brother Barry would have my head if I took you away again.”
“But you’re going to America. Please? You could talk to Sir d’Brouchart. It would only be…”
“I said no and that’s final.” Mark brushed him aside and opened the driver’s door. “Now you’d best get yourself back to the classroom before he misses you and you end up in detention. I’ll be back before you know it. We’ll take a little trip together before I go back to Scotland. The Alps or someplace cool,”
Christopher nodded, but his disappointment was evident. He knew the place would not be cool as in ‘cool’, but cool as in cold.
“You have a break coming for St. John’s Feast. We’ll go up to the monastery on the Aegean. You’ll like it there. Cool breezes, salt air, mists and sea cliffs. Very peaceful. A good place for contemplative thinking,” Mark continued as he checked his pockets once more, searching for his credit cards this time.
“I’m sure it sounds very nice, Master, but this is the first real mission that you’ve gone on since I’ve been your apprentice. How can I learn to be an Assassin, if you don’t show me the trade?” The young man looked him square in the eyes and made one last plea, risking much. His dark blue eyes sparkled with a daring expression that had gotten him in trouble before.
Mark Andrew’s own blue eyes narrowed sharply and Christopher’s expression changed to one of instant regret. He had gone too far.
“Ye’ll nae be speakin’ loightly o’ such things, Christopher Stewart!” Mark’s face darkened and his brogue asserted itself. “Ye’ll larn t’ crawl before ye can walk and if ye think thot me wark is something t’ be amused aboot, ye’d bettar think again. If ye evar larn t’ be a gud alchemist, which I doubt, then we’ll talk aboot th’ oother.”
“I’m sorry, Master.” Christopher lowered his eyes and his face turned red under the admonishment. The Chevalier du Morte suddenly grasped him by the shoulders and he instinctively closed his eyes, expecting the worst, but when he looked up, Mark Andrew kissed him lightly on the lips in the Templar fashion and then ruffled his dark hair playfully.
“Stop being impatient, lad. It’ll be the death of you yet and me, as well. Now go on back to class and Christopher…” Mark’s tone changed as he shoved him toward the buildings. “Go with God.”
Christopher nodded solemnly, turned on his heel and ran back toward the Academy building where he would no doubt catch hell for being late to his next class. He loved the boy like a son and too much to tell him no without regret, but Christopher was hot-headed and stubborn to boot. With one last sigh of regret, he slid into the driver’s seat and picked up the folder lying in the seat next to him.
Inside the folder, the bright-eyed young man, Anthony Scalia smiled at him from the 8 X 10 color photo. Anthony was not much older than Christopher, only twenty-two next month. It would be a real shame if he could not convince him to return to the fold peacefully and take his punishment like a true Soldier of Christ.