I made this silly post over at the Kindleboards Forums:
For the Holidays, I have put the double issue version of the Assassin Chronicles, Books I & II, on sale BOGO, for only $2.99 at Amazon.com. So for this amazingly low price, you, THE READER, can own, possess and have at your fingertips, inside your Kindle near your favorite reading spot, not ONE, but TWO, TWO, TWO of the Assassin Chronicles Novels. Yes, I know it is unbelievable, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, but it is TRUE, TRUE, TRUE! I tell you, with this kind of deal, need I say more about anything? Ever? Really? OK, well, just get on over to Amazon and download it now! And don’t forget, Santa Claus is watching you!
I am hoping that everyone will take advantage of the buy one, get one free opportunity. If you haven’t started the Assassin Chronicles series, now would be a good time when you can get the first book and the second book for the price of one book. A great Kindle stuffer, too, for those of you who are giving Kindles to the people on your gift list. I’ve hear it is very bad luck to give an empty wallet and/or an empty Kindle. Just sayin’… so don’t take any chances.
Now here is a sample from Book II:. The King of Terrors wherein a special meeting of the Council of Twelve has been called to vote on a matter very near and dear to the Knight of Death’s heart. His Brother of the Order, Lucio Dambretti, is speaking in favor of his request to change the Primitive Rule of Order:
Dambretti banged the table yet again in the ensuing silence, causing everyone to jump.
“You have more to say, Sir Dambretti?” D’Brouchart asked incredulously, unwilling to hear more in support of Ramsay. He was still trying to decide if the Apocalyptic Knight was in favor of Ramsay’s proposal or not. “Pray continue…” the Master growled and waved one hand before looking away from the man. He was furious. What should have been nothing more than a formality of reports, a single request and a quick vote was turning into a debacle and in front of the apprentices, no less.
“Yes, your Excellency,” Dambretti answered lightly, but continued to stare at Sir Argonne in complete amazement. He had not expected the Knight to show his colors so blatantly. “I would wish to point out to Brother Argonne that his shoelaces are untied.”
A murmur went round the table as the Brothers frowned at each other and then at the Knight of the Golden Eagle in consternation. The Master slapped his open palm against the table. Only Simon d’Ornan sat with a bland look on his somber countenance. He repressed the urge to smile. Dambretti would now put all his cards on the Council table. Ramsay frowned and ducked his head, closing his eyes tightly. His Brother was ruining himself. The Master stood up.
“Sir Philip!” he addressed the Seneschal. “Close the meeting!”
Sir Philip closed his black book and nodded to the boy who had been serving wine and beer steadily for the Council members. The boy set his pitcher on the credenza and went to open the doors onto the sun porch.
“Huygens, if you please,” Philip gave the word to Louis Champlain’s apprentice and the older man, stood up. The Dutchman led the way out on to the porch as the apprentices reluctantly, but quietly followed behind him. When they were clear of the room and the doors closed, Simon locked the doors from the inside and resumed his seat.
The Master turned his empty mug upside-down, signifying there would be no more drinking during the remainder of the debate. D’Brouchart sat heavily in his chair, causing it to squeak ominously and Sir Philip resumed the meeting with a nod to Sir Dambretti who promptly repeated his question concerning Argonne’s shoelaces.
“What has this to do with anything, Brother?” Sir Philip interjected with a perplexed look on his face and then wrote his own name in the black book with no little chagrin.
“I am glad you asked, Brother Philip, even though it will cost you,” Dambretti said with a smile and stood up again. “Article twenty-two of the Rule states and I quote ‘We prohibit pointed shoes and shoe-laces and forbid any Brother to wear them; nor do we permit them to those who serve the house for a fixed term, rather we forbid them to have shoes with points or laces under any circumstances. For it is manifest and well known that these abominable things belong to pagans.’ Honorable Sir!” Dambretti turned his dark eyes, now dancing with mischief, to the Seneschal again. “Might I inquire as to what you are concealing in the floor safe in your office? Did you not know that article forty-three strictly prohibits the use of locks on purses or bags which may also be construed to include safes, offices and/or rooms, which may or may not contain personal belongings? What are you concealing, Brother?”
Philip dropped his pen and his jaw at the same time as Dambretti turned his attention to the Knight of the Baldric without waiting for an answer. “And Brother Barry, did we not just share a bottle over a game of chess in your chamber last night? Did I not see two mattresses on your bed and several pillows, not to mention a number of blankets? Article twenty-one of the Primitive Rule clearly defines that each man will have but one mattress, one bolster and one blanket and that should be sufficient unless you would wish to acquire a rug. And did I not perceive that you climbed into bed before I left wearing only your drawers, sir, wherein the same article states that you will sleep dressed in shirt and breeches and shoes and belts at all times? Correct me if I am wrong, Sir Barry,” again, the Italian did not wait for a response from the astounded Knight of the Baldric before turning his attention to another of his esteemed Brothers further down the table. Sir Champagne, Knight of the Wisdom of Solomon locked eyes with him and blanched. “Likewise, I wish to point out that I spoke with Brother Hugh only yesterday at the pool and he was so heavily under the influence of cognac, he was unable to communicate properly in answer to the simple question I had asked him about the evening meal. What happened to article thirty which quotes King Solomon, himself, as having said ‘Quia vinum facit apostatare sapientes’ or put simply in the tongue of the Frankish Knights ‘Wine corrupts the wise’?”
These words were followed by an eerie silence that was even more disturbing than the previous outbursts.
“But do not despair, my Brothers,” the Italian continued after an appropriate pause for effect. “Our esteemed Grand Master sleeps without the benefit of a night light and we all know the importance of this particular portion of the Primitive Rule. And I have to admit that I often sleep in the dark dressed in only what God bestowed upon me at birth. I own two pairs of Nike running shoes… with laces and I have been known to drink myself into a stupor whenever circumstances permit or require, though I cannot say that I own a yellow shirt… yet.” He finished his political martyrdom by winking at Simon d’Ornan.
Another touchy subject: night lights. This part of the Rule had been initiated in order to make sure that no dark corners existed in the barracks, removing fear of homosexual encounters between the Brothers. The Master’s face went livid with rage.
By the time Sir Dambretti had finished this last statement, the silence had been replaced by an uproar that could not be subdued as the Seneschal and the Knight of the Apocalypse both joined in the argument each of his own accord, having forgotten their stations and duties. The little black book lay discarded on the table. The only Knight remaining in his seat was the Chevalier du Morte who had, by now, shielded his eyes with both hands, leaning his elbows on the table.
D’Brouchart had to bang his fist time and again before the Council finally quieted down and a semblance of normalcy returned. Dambretti’s face had undergone a profound change. His dancing eyes had hardened to an angry glare as he scanned the table and his facial expression was one of grim determination as if he meant to carry the thing through to the end no matter.
“How dare you sink into the vile depths of hypocrisy and sit in judgment against a Brother, when your own behavior clearly indicates that the Rule is not immutable and some parts of it are ignored altogether?!” Dambretti’s final question rang in the silence and echoed endlessly against the marble panels.
“Sirs! Golden Eagle!” D’Brouchart’s voice rang out in the chamber and Dambretti cringed. Why did he have to be so fortunate as to be on familiar terms with the Grand Master, so much so that he would call him by such a casual appellation even in Council? “Are you quite finished?”
“I believe I have made my point, your Grace,” Dambretti answered stiffly and conceded the floor by resuming his seat while looking pointedly at Sir Ramsay before flashing one of his famous smiles.
Ramsay, who had finally looked up, shook his head in wonder. He had not expected this sort of support, even from his closest and oldest friend amongst the Brothers. The Knight of the Golden Eagle would have made an excellent barrister, had he not just committed professional suicide.
D’Brouchart rose again slowly and glared at each of his Knights in turn, causing each to lower their eyes to the table in obeisance. He was clearly angry now and they were all to blame. All except Ramsay of course, who had said nothing since stating his case and Dambretti who had been the recognized party on the floor and thus, the only one with permission to speak during the last outburst. Cambrique had retrieved his notebook and was busily writing names on the pages.
“Let the vote be taken, if there are no more words to be heard,” his tone inferred that the discussion had ended and there would be no more words. “Bruno!” He shouted and Simon got up to fetch the valet from the sun porch. “The ballet box,” the Master snarled at the boy as soon as he entered the chamber and stood staring wide-eyed, thinking himself in trouble.
The young man scurried to the cabinet behind the Master’s chair and carefully took out a long, flat wooden box, weatherworn and somewhat beaten in appearance. Sir Philip took the intricately carved box from the boy, removed the lock hanging on the hasp, opened the box and took out a worn blue, velvet bag. He handed the bag to Bruno, and held up the empty box for all to see before closing and locking it. He placed the box next to von Hetz’ elbow on the council table and circled the table slowly, handing out a white marble and a black marble to each of the assembled men. He ended at the Seneschal who took the bag, looked inside once more and showed the Master that the bag was empty. D’Brouchart nodded and Philip laid the bag in front of him. He gave a nod to the Ritter and the voting began. Von Hetz passed one hand over the small hole cut in the center of the box and they all heard the hollow sound of one marble dropping inside. He slid the ballet box off to Sir Barry on his right and the Knight of the Baldric repeated a similar motion, dropping one of his marbles in the box. Each of them cast his vote by placing either the white marble or the black marble in the box. Each Knight would retain the marble that he did not vote to be replaced in the box after the deciding count was made. White would favor Ramsay’s request, black would stand against him. When the box had made its round and all eleven votes had been cast, Sir Philip set the box on the table and opened it in plain sight of the Brothers.
Ramsay slipped his black marble in his coat pocket and leaned forward on his elbows again. He picked up his goblet and drained it of the remaining wine and turned it over reluctantly. His fifth goblet and he was feeling it. Warm and sleepy, he was badly in need of fresh air. If he could have done so, he would have left the chamber without waiting to hear the results of the vote. He had expected no support, but he had been impelled to try. If this failed, he would petition the Grand Master for special consideration and personal dispensation in order that he could make Meredith his wife. The Grand Master certainly had it within his power to grant his wish, but if they changed the rule, then anyone of them could marry. It was only fair.
D’Brouchart removed a small key from around his neck and handed it to the Seneschal who inserted into a keyhole on one end of the box. When he turned the key a small opening just large enough to allow one ball at a time to escape the box appeared in the side of the ballet box. Philip tilted the box and they heard the marbles skitter toward the opening.
“White. White,” Sir Philip’s voice rang out like a gong in the drop dead silence in the room as he called off the colors of the balls emerging from the hole. “Black. Black. Black… White. White. Black. Black. White.” Ten votes and the vote was tied. Five white. Five black. Sir Philip paused when no more marbles came. He shook the box and the last ball rolled out. He picked up the last marble, holding it up for all to see. “White. Ramsay’s petition has found favor with the Council. So mote it be!”
Ramsay stood up suddenly. His chair grated on the marble floor in the ensuing silence. He stared at the white marble in Philip’s fingers as if it were a seven-headed sea serpent. His deep blue eyes rolled back in his head and he crumpled to the floor.