Sunday, April 1, 2012

A-Z Blog Challenge 2012

I will be making my A-Z Blogs at my Wordpress account. Thank you so much and sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sample Sunday for 24 July

The Red Cross of Gold I:. The Knight of Death is Book I of the Assassin Chronicles by Brendan Carroll. Genre: Paranormal Epic Fantasy with Romance for spice. The story begins when the 800 year old warrior monk assassin is sent by his Order to Texas to either capture or kill a defector. Before he has the chance to apprehend his quarry, he is set upon by a woman and her unscrupulous bodyguard and given an alchemical compound that destroys his memory long enough to get him into incredibly hot water. Now his Brothers of the Order are coming after him and they will take him back... dead or alive.

“They will be back,” he made an empty threat, but knew it was probably true and it would be to his detriment if they came back and found him tied in a chair for their convenience.
“Why were they fighting over you?” Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You know why. Tell me.”
“Do you think you are the only one who would steal my secrets?” he asked cryptically. “Do you really want to leave me here like this so just anyone can find me?”
“Oh, now you are playing games with me,” she laughed. “Yes, I’m going to leave you here alllll alone. Don’t worry. I’ll do my best to protect you from your Brothers.”
Mark swallowed hard at that thought. If she thought she and her miserable Maxie were a match for what he knew was coming, she was sadly mistaken. His situation was not very hopeful. He had lost too much time regaining his senses and he had allowed his arrogance and his lust for the Pixie to get the best of him. Now he had really gotten himself into trouble. The gravity of the situation was totally beyond her comprehension.
“Pride goeth before the fall,” he muttered to himself in a brief moment of self-deprecation.
“You are in no position to sit and quote scriptures to me,” she retorted hotly, thinking his remark was aimed at her. “If I were you, I’d pray for a miracle instead.”
With that final declaration she left him and Maxie followed her out. He heard the precious key turn in the lock. The key that had been within his grasp so many times. He shook his head at his own stupidity.
“I was talking to myself,” he spoke to the empty room in frustration.
“And yet she was right, Brother Ramsay,” a deep voice from behind him, made his heart almost stop. He twisted his head to see who was coming to kill him now. The closet door stood open and one of the dark figures from his dream stood looking down his long nose at him. The man wore black from head to toe and tall black boots. A broadsword encased in a black leather scabbard hung from his belt and he wore a long cloak on his shoulders. His craggy face was dark of demeanor and his eyes seemed to gleam from deep sockets. His long, dark hair was streaked with silver. He looked like a vampire or an ancient sorcerer. Konrad von Hetz. Knight of the Apocalypse. An unforgiving, brooding man with little to offer in the way of hope. “Pray you should, before it is too late.”
Ramsay sat perfectly still, awaiting his fate, waiting for his heart to start beating again. The man drew the sword and he winced at the sound the blade made as it exited the scabbard. A disturbingly familiar, zinging sound. The bell-shaped hilt was configured in the likeness of a coiled black dragon with red eyes. He drew what he thought would be his last breath with his head still attached to his body and instinctively closed his eyes, waiting for the blow to fall.
Instead of finding his head on the floor, he felt pressure on the ropes at his bare ankles. He opened his eyes and saw the dark Knight kneeling in front of him, cutting the ropes with the blade. The man stood up and bent over the handcuff attached to his right wrist, inspecting the device briefly, before pulling a chain with a number of small metal devices attached to it from under his collar. Mark watched in silence as the man worked on the handcuff lock. Within a few seconds he was free.
The man backed off quickly and pointed the sword at him. “Get your boots and your shirt.”
Mark hurriedly followed the instructions, noticing that his boots were remarkably similar to the pair his ‘rescuer’ wore. “I thought you were going to kill me,” he commented dryly as he sat on the bed, pulling them on.
“That could be in the offing, Brother,” the dark man told him solemnly.
“How long have you been in my closet?” Mark had to ask as he searched in his bag for a clean shirt.
“Since before breakfast. I came while you were enjoying your shower.”
“That long?” Ramsay felt his temper rising. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“You know who I am, Brother Ramsay,” the man shrugged slightly and then placed the point of the blade under his chin and knelt on one knee in front of him. “I have come to offer my help. You are in grave danger here and I believe that you are well aware of it.”
Mark raised his eyebrows. This was an odd bit of irony coming from a man pressing a wicked blade against his throat.
“So I see,” Mark said quietly trying not to move his head.
“Come with me. We have to hurry.”
The man stood up and turned on his heel toward the door.
“What about John Tellman?” Mark asked as he joined him at the door and then wondered why. John Tellman was Cecile’s accomplice. Nothing more. He had to get these things straight in his mind. John Tellman was not a Templar, but Konrad von Hetz was.
“Who is John Tellman?” The man frowned down at him as he tried the door knob. He bent in front of the door and used the same probe that he had used on the handcuffs to open the door. So simple! He had to learn how to do that.
“Another who calls himself my brother,” he continued in the same vein simply to have something to say. An attempt to distract the Knight from his purpose. When lost, stay lost until someone finds you. That was his motto.
“Where is your sword? Still in the basement?” the man asked as he opened the door wider and peered cautiously into the hallway. He seemed totally unconcerned about John Tellman.
“I suppose so,” Mark leaned out the door to look as well. “I don’t know. I thought I had it… at one time, but I … lost it.”
“We will go back to the cellar to get it,” the man told him and stepped into the hall.
A few moments earlier, he would have agreed wholeheartedly. He wanted the sword, but he did not want to accompany this dark fellow down to the basement. Besides, Maxie was probably watching them or already on his way up with his trusty shotgun.
“Why don’t we just leave it there and buy another one?” Mark offered hopefully. He only wanted to get away from the house… Now!
“Do not trifle with me, Brother,” the tall man turned on him, still holding the sword at a dangerous angle. Mark took a deep breath and followed the man down the hall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday for May 29, 2011

The Assassin Chronicles follows the adventures of a grumpy Scottish Knight who happens to be the alchemist and assassin for the only remaining Order of the Poor Knights of Solomon's Temple. He is one of twelve semi-immortal members of the Ruling Council. On an ill-fated assassination assignment that took him to Central Texas, he meets and falls in love with a rather gullible young lady while suffering from the effects of a powerful alchemical concoction. He then becomes a target rather than an operative as his Brothers of the Order come after him after assuming him to be a traitor. This six sentence sample comes from near the beginning of the first novel wherein he is trying to understand what has happened to him.

“What do you know of Hattin?”


She looked up at him in surprise.

The mention mention of the ancient battle confused and confounded him. He could smell the burning brushfires and hear the screams of the soldiers as the enemy charged up the hillside, killing and hacking everything and everyone to bits, even the horses. Then the vision and the sounds were gone as suddenly as they had come.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sample Sunday ~ The Wisdom of Solomon

This sample is taken from the Assassin Chronicles book #7, the Wisdom of Solomon. Meredith is attempting to conduct ritual magick in order to learn the whereabouts of her missing child and she is using three of her Brothers of the Order to be her disciples during the rite. It is not easy juggling the different volatile and diverse personalities long enough to make the magick work.

Simon d’Ornan arrived right on time for Merry’s speech to Mark Andrew and Lucio. She had them sitting on the sofa in the library again like small boys at nursery school. They looked a bit flushed from their stay on the patio, but they were paying close attention to her... it seemed.
When Simon let himself into the library and stood looking at them silently, all three got up at once to greet him in the Templar fashion, hugging him and kissing him lightly on the lips. They hadn’t heard him come in. He almost cringed when Merry touched him and did cringe when Lucio Dambretti greeted him, but there seemed to be no lingering malice in the Knight of the Golden Eagle and Simon was greatly relieved.
“Please sit down, Brother.” Merry smiled and waved him over to sit by Mark Andrew. “I was just about to begin.”
Simon sat stiffly on the sofa and clasped his hands over his stomach. He leaned back against the cool leather and almost closed his eyes. He was past exhaustion and his eyes drooped.
“Now…” Merry said and sat down on the footstool facing them. “There will be a circle and each of you will be responsible for certain items which I will give you to carry. I will instruct you in what you will do with the objects and you must do exactly… exactly as I command when I say. Is that clear?”
They nodded in unison. Simple.
“Before we commence the ceremony, there will be a cleansing bath and suffumigation. You know what that is?” she asked.
“Suffumigation,” Simon repeated the word. “Incense.”
“Yes. Exactly,” Merry nodded. “No problem, right?”
They all shook their heads in unison.
“I will give each of you separate and individual instruction concerning your proper duties. Probably tomorrow. Today is the first day. Tomorrow is the second day. Thursday will be the third day and then on Friday morning, the first hour after sunrise, we will conduct the ceremony.”
They all nodded. Lucio yawned and stretched. “You did fast, didn’t you, Brother?” he asked Simon and the priest nodded.
“And you ate white food?” Mark asked him hopefully.
“White food?” Simon frowned and then looked at Merry. “I didn’t eat anything.”
“Nothing?” Lucio looked at him doubtfully.
“Fasting means not eating.” Simon turned a surprised look on the Italian.
“You can’t starve for three days, mon! Ye’ll nae be able t’ stand on yer feet!” Mark Andrew admonished him. “Merry, do ye still have some o’ those beans out in th’ kitchen?” Mark was truly concerned.
“It’s no problem,” Simon almost laughed. He had never been as fond of eating as his Brothers. Sometimes he even forgot to eat at all.
“I’ll check on it. Tonight, I will see each of you in private. I want to know that there will be no problems. I don’t want to get down to the last detail and then have one of you back out.”
Mark Andrew sighed and shook his head slightly. What was the big deal? He had been through many things. Certainly, this would be no more taxing than living as a dragon for twenty-one years and drinking nothing but water. Merry was worried for nothing. He wished they could just get on with it without all this waiting. Just do the conjuring or whatever it was and be done with it. Simple.
Lucio crossed his legs and spread his arms along the back of the sofa before smiling at her. He had no intention of backing out. Anything Mark Andrew could do, he could do. He could tolerate it and then he would be gone. They would find out where Lucia Simone was and he would be off to retrieve his daughter. Simple.
Simon wore a worried frown. What was so disturbing about this thing that Merry had to keep warning them that they could not back out? What was she so concerned about? Just what did this ceremony entail? Sacrificing water buffaloes and chickens? He had just had a terrifying nightmare on the plane from Italy wherein he was in a dark place with thousands of rats and someone had thrown a chicken at him. A chicken! Of all things! It had almost been laughable after he had awakened, but it had been very frightening at the time. He’d never dreamed of chickens and he’d rarely dreamed of rats. That was more along the lines of something Mark Andrew would dream. Mark Andrew hated rats! The only encounter he’d had with rats was when he had been in the Inquisitor’s dungeon and the rats had been the least of his worries there. He hoped that he would be able to get through this thing intact and then get back to France. He wanted to check on Orri and then plan his trip to America. Go to America. That was what his dreams told him to do. God was speaking to him surely, calling him out of this impossible situation and giving him a new direction. He would help Merry as he had promised and then he would be gone. Simple, except that he would have to try to speak to John Paul about the Ark before he left.
Merry was speaking again and he had missed what she was saying.
“Simon?” She held out her hand and he took it immediately, hoping that he had not missed too much. She pulled him up and he allowed her to escort him from the room. He glanced back at Mark Andrew and the Knight of Death smiled at him and raised both eyebrows. Mark Andrew did not understand what was happening here. Lucio sat gazing at him blandly.
Merry pulled Simon along the hallway to the backdoor and outside into the moonlight. She led him down the walk to the patio and he paused beside the flowerbeds he had tended with such care for so long. The amaranths, violets and lilies were gone now. They had been replaced by crocuses. Red crocuses. They were very dark, but the moonlight was so brilliant, he could see that they were red. He wondered vaguely why there would be red crocuses in his garden and then realized that it was not his garden, had never truly been his garden. Merry led him to the glass-topped table and pushed him into the chair.
“Thank you for coming, Brother,” she said and smiled at him in the moonlight and he thought he would have to leave. He even started to get up and she pushed him back down. “Sit.”
He sat down and looked about nervously, placing one hand over his mouth.
“Now I have to know that you will be suitable for this… experiment,” she told him. “Now listen to what I have to say and then we’ll see.”
“We’ll see?” He looked up at her and gave her a small smile.
“I am the master of this Art,” she began. “I beseech thee, I beg thee, I cajole thee that thou now by thy consent of thy free will submit thyself to my will in all things pertaining to this Art and by submitting that thou shalt set thy trust in me to perform only those things which shall be necessary to accomplish the purpose of this experiment and this invocation and this conjuration before God Almighty and to all His angels and all His power and majesty that by putting aside thy selfish interests thou shalt adhere to thy promise wherein thou claimest no will other than mine. By placing your hand in mine thou shalt seal this pact with me before God.”
She held out her hand and Simon sat looking at her, blinking rapidly. He raised his hand slowly and then put it in hers.
Merry had not expected anything to happen when she took his hand, but she began to see images immediately, as if his mind was emptying into hers. She saw an old black woman in a bed with a trickle of blood running from her nose and then she saw Mark Andrew lying in the cave after he had ignited the gas in the dragon’s lair. After that, she saw Louis Champlain with an arrow through his arm and then the Ritter von Hetz suffering from a terrible slash across his ribs. The visions continued and with each changing scene, she saw a different person with some terrible wound or injury. Some of them she recognized as the Knights of the Council. Some of them were strangers to her. With each glimpse, she felt the pain of each man, very briefly. Each time, she jerked back slightly on his hand, but did not let go. The images passed like still frame photos or a rapidly paced slide show. There and then gone.
Simon was fascinated. He could not let go of her hand. He could see her thoughts about him. He could see how much she loved him and how much she respected him and trusted him and honored him and revered him, but he could see that there was nothing more than the love of a friend for a friend and a sister for a brother, but he had never expected her to care so much for him in any manner. It was most gratifying and very enlightening and, at the same time, disappointing in a selfish sort of way. Then he saw something he did not want to see. He saw her feelings for Mark Andrew and then her feelings for Lucio. She let go of his hand and it was over.
She stood staring at him in the moonlight, her expression like none he had ever seen. She looked as if she had seen a ghost… no, perhaps hundreds of them.
“Are you all right, Sister?” he asked. He wondered if she knew what he had seen and then wondered if she had been able to see his feelings for her. His face went deep red. “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” she asked. “I had no idea, Simon. You really are a magnificent soul, a Healer.”
“I am?” He looked about and then sighed in relief. It had not been a mutual sight and he was thankful.
“Yes. I believe you will do quite well for the experiment,” she breathed and sat down in one of the chairs next to him to catch her breath. “Give me a minute.”
Simon sat looking up at the moon. It looked like the same moon they had seen in the underworld and just for a moment he could almost imagine the sounds of the spirits’ drums and the laughter of the elves. He longed to return there with her, but it was only a dream now, lost to history, but never lost to him.
“Would you please go and send Mark Andrew out?” She reached out hesitantly to touch his arm and he jumped.


Al Sajek al Hafiz dropped his water goblet on the table and spilled water into his lap. He stood up quickly and one of his servants came immediately to hand him a towel before cringing away from him as if expecting to be struck dead for allowing such a calamity to happen. He wiped at the water and then sat back down heavily. He had seen something unbidden. Flashes of things from somewhere else. Someone’s mind. Whose mind? He had seen an old black woman, a man with an arrow in his arm and another man with a wound on his ribs and more and he had felt their pain briefly. What was this? Was someone now sending him their thoughts? Could it be possible? He wore the amulet of Nodens. He was protected from such things. His first thought was the prophet, John Paul. He was the only one capable of such a thing. He left his meal unfinished and went into his chambers and closed the doors.
He sat in the middle of the floor on a satin cushion filled with goose down and stretched out his arms on either side of his body. The golden cup from the chapel sat on a small pedestal in front of him. He focused his concentration on the prophet.
John Paul was lying on his bed in his father’s house and his wife was sleeping next to him. The priest was not asleep. He was staring up at the underside of a canopy bed. His mind was full of turmoil. He was trying desperately not to sleep. More chaos. Good, but this was not what he expected. The images had not come from the priest. The Magician dropped his arms and frowned. This would take more work.


Merry stood up when Mark Andrew exited the back door of the house. He stopped on the steps and looked about before walking out the brick sidewalk toward the patio. He looked like a dream in the moonlight, but she had to shake off the thought of how much she simply wanted to go to him and take him back upstairs…
“Merry.” He nodded to her when he drew near and smiled slightly.
He did not understand the gravity of the situation. In fact, he looked rather sheepish and nervous, as if they were having some sort of secret rendezvous. For once, she wished that his usual somber self would take over. It almost seemed as if he thought all this was some sort of joke.
“Sit down, please, Mark,” she said a bit too curtly and his smile faded.
He took the chair vacated by Simon and frowned at her.
“I need to see if you can be serious about this. I want to know your true feelings. Would you like to back out now?”
“No.” He shook his head and the silver earrings in his hair jingled. He reached up to place one hand on them subconsciously.
Merry began to repeat the same invocation she had said to Simon. As she spoke, he began to smile again. These were not baneful words. Not witchcraft. Not some horrible secret words of darkness. Just a request for his willingness to obey her. He had no problem with making a pact with her. He was planning, after all, to marry her very soon and was that not the ultimate pact? When she reached for his hand, he took hers readily. The shock of what he saw rocked him back in the chair.
The first thing he saw was Simon sitting on a great white horse looking down at him. “Why would you murder your Brother? Why would you murder your love? Why would I murder you, Brother?” He held his sword up in a salute before riding away. Then Lucio appeared on a dark horse. The Italian bowed his head slightly and then pulled his silver sword from its scabbard. “I am not the source of your pain, Brother. I have forgiven you. You must forgive yourself.” He pressed the sword’s hilt against his heart and looked away across the horizon. The Knight kicked the horse and also rode away.
The next image truly fascinated him. Another horse galloped toward him and on it sat a Templar Knight in full uniform and armor. At first, he thought it was Luke Matthew again and that he was about to hear more of his long-dead brother’s prophetic words, but as the horse drew nearer, the Knight smiled at him and he saw the white braid in his long, dark hair and the silver earrings. He smiled up at his own image. He pulled in on the reins and drew up beside himself. It was an odd feeling, like being in two places at once. He reached under his surcoat and pulled out a single red rose and handed it down to himself. “Keep true to yourself, Mark Andrew Ramsay. Don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal. What your Brothers do, they do for love.” Mark Andrew took the rose and looked down at it. When he looked up, he saw himself riding away.
Merry thought she was prepared for what she would see, but nothing could have prepared her for what poured into her mind. These images came much faster than the one’s from Simon’s mind. They were briefer and more numerous and much more horrible than wounded or injured people. The first image was Sir Philip losing his head in Mark Andrew’s entry hall. Then she saw many more such scenes so quickly she could hardly keep them in order. She saw Argonne, Champagne, Devereaux, the man in the blue turban in front of the chapel, Beaujold, the other Benedictine priest at Ian McShan’s house, Maxie on the hillside in Texas, a soldier in a Nazi uniform, a beautiful blonde woman, another Knight in full uniform, a man dressed in army fatigues, and then more and more and more. Most were men. Some were women. The greater majority were men dressed in the far eastern garb with turbans and dark eyes and long beards. By the time she let go of Mark’s hand she was crying uncontrollably. He pulled her close and held her head against his chest, stroking her hair and asking her again and again what was wrong. She wouldn’t tell him. She couldn’t speak. He led her over to one of the rockers and made her sit down. After a few moments, she wiped her eyes and frowned down at her hands.
“I’m sorry, Mark,” she said and looked up at him. Did he really have all these things in his mind? How could he live with these memories?
“For what?” he asked and shook his head again. The earrings jangled in his hair. “What happened?”
“Nothing,” she lied and then crossed herself.
“No lies,” he reminded her and smiled, but the smile was sad somehow as if he could feel her pain. “I’m sorry that you have to put up with me, Meredith. I don’t have much to offer.”
“You’re right. No lies,” she cut him off and returned his smile. “Just don’t ask me.”
He kissed the back of her hand and then pressed it against his face.
“I need to see Lucio,” she said quietly. “It’s getting late and I’m in danger of losing control.”
This was not going to be easy. She had thought that the hard part was yet to come. If it was any worse than this, she might not make it.
Mark dropped her hand and his shoulders drooped a bit. He scratched his head and then ran his fingers through his hair.
“I’ll send him out,” he said.
They still had to make their nightly confession according to the rite and repeat the required prayers before going to bed. The thought of the underworld came back to her and for a moment, she almost wished that she could go back there with Simon. Surely, it would be a wonderful place with the evil spirits gone and the serpent dead. She even missed the rich flavor of the fresh milk and the wonderful bread that had appeared on their doorstep everyday. What a simple life it could have been for them. And she could think of no better person than Simon to have been stranded with. Well, at least, the old Simon had been the perfect companion. She didn’t know about the new Simon.

The Red Cross of Gold VII:. The Wisdom of Solomon: Assassin Chronicles

Friday, May 13, 2011

5/13/2011 6:13:04 AM EBook Giveaway Assassin Chronicles I am giving away 26 copies of the Assassin Chronicles in eBook form in a contest that runs through 9 PM your time tonight. Please send your answer to the question to The first 13 correct answers will receive copies of Books I and II of the Red Cross of Gold:. The Knight of Death and The King of Terrors. The second 13 correct answers will receive copies of The Knight of Death. Hint: I am a sucker for conspiracy theories. The Assassin Chronicles follows the adventures and misadventures of the Chevalier Mark Andrew Ramsay, a poor Knight of Solomon’s Temple and one of twelve ruling council members of the Order of the Red Cross of Gold. The Order is the only remnant of the once great Order of Templar Knights and the council members are semi-immortal Knights who have been around since the Middle Ages, running the Order in the shadows, preparing to fight with Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. The series starts with Book I:. The Knight of Death and runs through 28 novels. Book I can be read as a stand-alone novel, but the rest are dependent upon the book before, so it is advisable to start with book one. The books can be found in ebook form on for $2.99 for Kindle and also as paperbacks thru book #21. Currently, there are twenty-two books published with six to go. They are alos listed at the Ibook store and on Smashwords for several different eBook formats at a slightly higher price.


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Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Red Cross of Gold ~ Assassin Chronicles: A Sample of Djinn Persona

Today's sample is taken from Book 15: The Red Cross of Gold XV:. My Hope is in God. The Mighty Djinni is paying a visit to St. Simon's Island and introducing himself to Merry Sinclair. Be warned: This is the 15th book of the Assassin Chronicles and if you are unfamiliar with the mannerisms of Djinn creatures, Lemarik's

discourse might seem rather strange as he tries to relate some rather startling family secrets to Merry. :^) Happy Reading!!

“Ho, Brother of Adar!” A man’s voice caused her to open her eyes. She was surprised to see the purple wizard walking up out of the foamy surf.
Luke stopped and shaded his eyes against the lowering sun.
“Ho, Lemarik!” Luke returned the greeting and walked out to meet the wizard.
Merry did not understand this creature at all. He was not quite a man and yet he was a man, though his movements were strange and his voice hypnotic. The first time she had met him in the inner bailey, he had scared her to death. She had been looking over the flowerbeds next to the walls in idle curiosity when he had climbed up out of the well, greeted her as if he had known her all his life and then hurried into the keep looking for Luke Matthew, his long, purple robe flapping out behind him.
She watched with one hand shading her eyes as Luke and Lemarik hugged each other briefly and then the wizard came directly to where she sat.
“Ohhhhhh,” he smiled down at her and swayed back and forth. “You are very great now. It will not be long and the babe will be here with us. Such a strange and wonderful thing. But much too painful. You should allow me to help you with that. I could make a bubble for the child and you would be free to do as you please.”
“No, thank you,” Merry declined politely, remembering that Luke had told her time and again that politeness was extremely important when dealing with Adalune Kadif. She could never tell if he was serious or just kidding with her. A bubble? “I’ll be fine.”
“Of course you will. It will be as it was before,” Lemarik made another of his endless cryptic remarks and turned to look at Luke. “Will Simon of Grenoble be attending? Will Adar come to see the birth of his son?”
“I dunna know aboot me brother, but Simon ’as promised t’ be ’ere,” Luke told him.
“Surely Adar would not miss such a momentous occasion. He missed it the first time. He should be here this time.”
“Me brother will nae be th’ father o’ th’ babe, Lemarik,” Luke told him. “Merry is me woife now. I will be th’ boy’s father.”
“Ohhhh. Ahhh.” Lemarik's eyes grew wide as he swayed back to look closely at Merry's face with first one eye and then the other. “So this is what Adar has been keeping from me. You do not love him. I see. That makes things a bit different. That makes things much more complicated. But it is just a matter of some small adjustment. The boy will have his uncle as father and the nephew will be the uncle’s son. And what will the boy call his father? Uncle? Father? Hmmm. This will have to be decided. I will call him brother.”
Merry frowned. Brother?
Luke caught Lemarik’s arm and drew him away from her.
She could hear the wizard oohhing and aahhing as Luke spoke to him in a low voice. She wondered how the wizard had managed to come out of the water completely dry. His long beard fluttered in the breeze and his dark hair blew about his head as they talked. Presently, the wizard came back to her. He bent low over her hand and kissed the back of it.
“Welcome to the family of Adar, Meredith Nichole. I am your humble nephew, Adalune Kadif, but you may call me Lemarik and I will call you Merry. Your brother-in-law is my father. Your husband, my uncle, tells me that you are not well and that my presence here may be disturbing to you or distressing to you. I would not wish to be rude.”
“You are anything but rude, Lemarik.” Merry raised up slightly to look over his shoulder at Luke. “You are quite... charming. Won’t you stay for dinner?”

“Ohhh. No. I do not think that would be wise. Your Corrigan and your Simon do not like me. They are most rude to me and I would not wish to destroy them. A mighty Djinni such as myself can only allow so much rudeness in a man and they far exceed my limits in very short order. They are friends of Adar and he would be most unhappy with me if I were to feed them to the vultures.”
Merry’s eyes widened and then she smiled. He was teasing her.
“Ahh. Such a beautiful smile. Just like Adar’s wife. Her smile was like sunshine and she smelled of violets and roses, though she bathed in vanilla. Ahhh. Vanilla. Second only to frankincense and myrrh. And her baths were such wonderful things to see.”
“Ah, Lemarik.” Luke clamped one hand on the Djinni’s shoulder. “Air ye sure ye wudna want t’ come up t’ th’ keep? I can assure ye thot me Brothers will keep a civil tongue withee or they’ll answer t’ me.”
“I would not want to be a bother, Uncle,” Lemarik shook his head.
“No. Please.” Merry began to push herself out of the chair to which she seemed to be grown. Luke came to help her.
Lemarik frowned slightly and stepped back. Merry shuddered in the cooler air that had sprung up with the evening.
“Allow me,” he said, bowed low and whipped off the purple robe, wrapping her in it. “Come, come, come.” He waved one hand to Luke. Luke frowned and stepped a bit closer, taking Merry’s arm and then they were in the castle in the library.
Christopher looked up from his computer and shrieked involuntarily at the sight of the three people suddenly standing in front of the fireplace.
“Now then, that’s much better.” Lemarik took his robe from her shoulders and tossed it across one of the overstuffed armchairs in front of the fire. Luke and Merry stood looking at each other in shock. “What a wonderful fire. I do love to watch the flames. I see all sorts of things there.” The Djinni turned about and rubbed his slender hands together in front of the fire.
“Christopher?” Luke addressed the frightened apprentice. “Fetch some woine. And some tea fur th’ lassie.”
Merry found her way to the armchair and picked up the purple robe. It was heavy and smooth in her hands. A grand piece of work with deep pockets on the inside. Soft and yet strong. Warm and yet, cool to the touch. She ran her hand along the black embroidery on the hem and wondered who had sewn the work for the wizard. She sat down, holding the cloak in her lap.
“Won’t you sit down?” She asked him and waved one hand at the other chair.
“Ohhh. No. I like to stand. It is more conducive to moving about and less disturbing to watch,” Lemarik told her and then began to travel about the room, peeking into every nook and cranny. He picked up the objects on the tables and smelled of them one by one as he talked. Some of them, he tasted and made faces of delight or distaste at the results. “I came to remind my Uncle to practice his work diligently for the time of your labor draws nigh and great things will be accomplished on that day. Some of it will be very sad for me and yet, some of it will bring great joy. But he will need to be ready for that day just as you are.”
“Whattar ye talkin’ aboot?” Luke asked and backed up to the fire and put his hands behind him to keep from waving them about in agitation. His brother had taught him to be very careful when talking to his nephew. Luke had quickly learned that a little patience always stood him in good stead and usually brought the best results.
“Omar has raised a great army. And he has taken up with the Dogs of Shaitan against my protests. I am most ashamed of him. He has allowed his mind to become polluted and he believes that he has... transcended. He no longer needs his father’s wisdom and he shuns the wisdom of his grandfather. His mind has been unduly affected by his wife just as I expected would happen. She has made him turn from his truer purposes and she has ruined my beautiful son. The sadness breaks my heart.”
“Your son?” Merry turned about in the chair to watch him as he pulled random books from the shelves, opened them and then put them back.
“Ohhh. Yes. Yes. Yes. He was such a beautiful child. Wonderful. Glorious and most wise. Most kind and most polite. And then the daughter of Adar came and beguiled him with her charms and... poof.” He snapped his fingers. “He was lost to me.”
“Wait. Wait. Wait.” Merry shook her head. “Adar’s daughter? I thought you said that Adar is your father?”
“Oh, yes. Adar is my father.” Lemarik glanced at her and then continued his perusal of the books. “My son’s wife is his daughter.”
“Luke?” Merry turned to look at her husband. “Is there something here that does not make sense?”
“Mark Andrew is or was, at one toime, Adar, th’ moighty Hunter,” Luke shrugged. “Or so I’m told. Adar was or is Lemarik’s father. Nicole was and is Omar’s woife. Omar is Lemarik’s son. Nicole is Mark Ramsay and Sister Meredith’s daughter. Damn me, if I understand it, lassie.”
“There is nothing to understand.” Lemarik swayed across the room to stand next to Luke. “It is very simple.” The wizard was a bit taller than Luke and thinner. He wore a white shirt and black pants. His tall boots reached above his knees and he wore a wide belt about his waist. The hilt of a jeweled dagger sparkled on his left side. He looked very much like a pirate to Merry, except for the long beard which she did not like. “Mark Ramsay was Adar before he came to this world. His brother, not Luke, but another brother, chased him from the heavens because he was jealous of my mother’s attentions to him. His brother wanted my mother for his own, but she did not return his affections. As soon as I was old enough, he chased me away as well and I followed Adar here. This is a wonderful world if you do not pay too much attention to the workings of men. Adar had himself born as a man and was a great wizard, a mighty sorcerer, very powerful and then he was enchanted by a sorceress. Alas. She was one of his own students. She imprisoned him for many years until his brother found him and released him with the intent to destroy him, but Adar had a surprise for him. A wonderfully powerful work of magick. And he sent his brother to the halls of dust and ashes. But his brother was also very powerful and very tricky, indeed and he soon escaped the land of Kurnugi and came to search again for Adar, but Adar had found his way into the womb with Luke and there he remained hidden for nine moons with him while his elder brother cast about in darkness for him.”
Merry sat with her mouth hanging open as Lemarik told this story. Luke stood by the fire, also staring at him in disbelief. Mark Andrew had never told him any of this. It sounded like some great faery tale to him and he would never have believed it, except that Mark Andrew had warned him to always be polite to the Djinni at all costs. The Djinni was most dangerous, Mark Andrew had told him. Extremely powerful and very unpredictable. Mark had told him to merely listen to him and agree with him for the most part and then report to him everything that the Djinni might say. So far, this was the third visit that the wizard had paid to them since Merry had come here. The first visit had been in the company of Mark Andrew and he had departed with him again without speaking to Luke personally. The second visit had been very brief. The wizard had stayed only a few minutes, inquired after Merry’s health and then gone about his business as mysteriously as he had appeared. This was the first time that the Djinni had come inside the keep and actually talked with them. Luke was fascinated and Merry was beside herself.
Christopher reappeared with the hot tea and wine Luke had requested. He set the tray on the desk and poured drinks for them. Lemarik took tea.
“And then what happened?” Merry asked him when he had his cup of tea in his hands and Christopher had left them.
“Ahh. Then a terrible thing happened. Luke, here, was born. And Adar was not ready. He did not want to come out of hiding. He was afraid that his brother would find him in his helpless state of infancy. Luke’s mother tried to make him be born, but he refused and she