This sample is from the twentieth book of the Assassin Chronicles series entitled “Cross Purposes”. The series follows the adventures and misadventures of a band of semi-immortal warrior Knights fighting their way through the modern world on their way to Armageddon, the Last Great War. In this sample, some of the members of the Order have found themselves in the dark recesses of the Abyss fighting supernatural forces with a combination of might and magic.
“Down!!” Luke Matthew’s voice dominated the howling in the cavern momentarily and the two fighters crouched immediately in front of him. A great swirling, yellow light shot out over their heads and they wrapped their arms over their hair fearing fire, but this was not fire. It was light! Tremendous! Blinding! The Boggans screamed in unison as the light seared their eyeballs, blinding them. They began to turn and run and trample each other in their panicked flight to escape this new and unexpected menace. In their haste and terror, they beat and hacked and skewered each other, adding to the deafening din in the great cavern. Even the seven people cowering in the alcove screamed with the Boggans. The light grew and filled the entire subterranean chamber from top to bottom and wall to wall. Barry watched from the barest slits between his fingers as the swirling yellow spread, twisted, coalesced and spread again over the howling mass of hairy, black bodies. After several minutes that seemed like hours, the screams died with the Boggans as they either escaped into the cracks and crevices from whence they had come or lay dead on the rocky floor. The Knight of the Baldric was appalled at the sheer number of beasts exposed by the coruscating light which revealed the extent of the peril into which they had stumbled. As the howling and groaning and moaning subsided, they could actually hear the light swishing back and forth like the sound of a flooding river and the floor seemed to vibrate under the force. “Don’t look at it!!” Luke’s voice cut through the noise and Barry squeezed his eyes shut. “Stay down and be quiet!!” Barry scuttled backwards, bumping into Jozsef in his haste and was startled as the apprentice shoved him viciously. He regained his footing and then the three of them turned together and tried to huddle about the healer and the two women over the body of Anna. When the light subsided somewhat, Luke Matthew stood up slowly and stepped over the nearest bodies, shielding his eyes with his free hand. The yellow light coalesced once more into a small sphere of brilliant beauty and then elongated slightly before assuming the shape of a man. The light faded abruptly and only the barest glow, like that of a single candle shone about the figure. “Bombarik!” Luke shouted the name and the figure fell on one knee, bowing its head before the Knight. “Master!” The Djinni answered him in a deep, resonant voice. “You have done well,” Luke told him and his voice wavered slightly. “You have earned our gratitude.” “Master.” The Djinni raised his head and looked at him from deep, glittering eyes. “It is not gratitude that I would seek for my services.” “What would you have of us?” Luke asked him. “I would have my freedom.” “One small battle won does not freedom ensure,” Luke told him more forcefully, trying to muster all his faculties and wits. Dealing with a Djinni was risky under even the best of circumstances. The last thing he could afford to do was show signs of weariness. “Two battles then? Three? What is the price of freedom, Master?” The Djinni smiled at him above his long beard. His sing-song voice reminded Luke of Lemarik. He also moved his head in the same bird-like manner as the son of Mark Andrew. Luke wondered briefly if this might be another of his brother’s progeny. “I will decide what price you must pay. You were not kind to me, Bombarik.” “I was not your slave at the time, Master. And I must tell you, I was quite impressed with your valor and courage. You fought well and long against the Queen. Had it not been so very dangerous, I would have applauded you even then. If I had but known you would vanquish her, I would have joined you from the beginning!” The Djinni held out both hands in supplication. “I was merely doing the bidding of my former mistress. You cannot hold that against me now. Look what I have done for you! I have vanquished your enemy! I have served you well. You said as much yourself.” “But I need more from you,” Luke insisted. “What is your wish, Master?” The Djinni stepped a bit closer and Luke Matthew stood his ground. It would not do at all to show the fear he felt in his heart. This was not a Djinni of the Marid tribe. Not related to Lemarik or Mark Andrew. Luke’s mystery told him that much. This one wore the turban of the Ifrit. A much more volatile and treacherous tribe than that of Adalune Kadif. They were able to change into serpents or scorpions without warning. They could fly and they had an affinity for playing with fire. Much like Luke was now doing. He also knew that the Marid, such as Lemarik, and the Ifrit, such as this one, were old and bitter enemies. Fortunately, not many were around in this day and age. This one wore the full armor of a soldier ready for battle. An ancient battle. Leather and copper and semi-precious stones of yellow and green covered his arms, legs and body. An intricately wrapped yellow turban set with a green stone and a black feather covered his hair. “We need light. Our companion is injured. We would leave this place.” “This is a dark and treacherous place, Master.” The Djinni looked about the cavern. “I can smell the presence of the dark ones here. I can provide light as you have seen and camels!! What more could you ask, Master?” “Camels?” Luke pondered this. “Ohhh, yes! Great and wonderful beasts, but very temperamental creatures. How many would you wish?” “Enough to carry seven, one unconscious,” Luke told him and folded his arms doubtfully. He knew that the Djinni could not create anything. He wondered how this creature would provide camels in this Godforsaken hell hole. “One moment.” The Djinni began to spin and again the yellow light increased. Luke covered his face as bits of sand and rock swirled into the air. The Djinni had become a sort of tornadic spout of light in the center of the cavern. The whirlwind was sucking up the bodies of the dead Boggans along with loose rocks.
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