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.