- December 7th, 2013
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Echoes of Avalon can now be found on the shelves of a wonderful store in Northwest Portland near the corner of Killingsworth and Interstate Avenue. Even if you don’t need my book, you should still check out the ones you do at this neat store, complete with indoor tree for kids to climb on.
Another Read Through
1435 N Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97217
503 208 2729
Do you have a great story you wish to share with the world, but don’t have time to wait for “permission” from a traditional publisher? With today’s technology and resources you can bring your creation to life and make it available to a wide audience. Learn every aspect of making that happen at Northwest Independent Writers Association’s First Annual Symposium on Indie Publishing this next February 2014: http://www.niwawriters.com/register1.html
I will be participating in Salem Public Library’s second annual local author fair. If you love books, come and enjoy a day out by getting as close to the stories as possible. Information below:
Salem Public Library Presents Authorama
Salem Public Library presents Authorama, the Library’s second annual local author fair, on Saturday, September 28, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will take place at the Central Library, 585 Liberty St. SE.
Forty authors from throughout the Willamette Valley have accepted the Library’s invitation to participate. In addition to displaying and selling their works, some authors will do short presentations. These presentations will include something for everyone, running the gamut from poetry readings to presentations on travel and time management. A complete list of participating authors and a detailed schedule of events is available on the Library’s website at www.salemlibrary.org.
Many genres will be represented, with offerings including local history, romance, children’s and young adult fiction, travel, how-to, memoirs, and more. The fair will give those in attendance a chance to discover new writers and to network with authors who have successfully published. And if that’s not enough, there will be prizes!
This program is free and open to the public. For more information, visit Salem Public Library’s website at www.salemlibrary.org or call 503-588-6052.
Listed below are teasers from each completed chapter of Ripples in the Chalice, sequel to Echoes of Avalon.
Chapter One and the Prologue can be found in their entirety at adamcopelandsite dot com under the tab labelled Ripples in the Chalice.
As he introduced Aimeé to her by name, Aimeé got a better look at her. She was shorter even than herself, and petite, but strong in a sinewy way. Aside from the silver streak, her hair was the same raven-black as Patrick’s. Most striking of all were her eyes. Set in a beautiful porcelain face with sharp features, were eyes that were an extreme version of Patrick’s. Whereas his were hazel with gold flecks, hers were starkly green with gold halos about the pupils, almost unsettling in their alien beauty.
“Aim-ai…” the woman sounded the name out slowly, trying out the syllables. She smiled and looked Aimeé up and down in a fashion only one person in a man’s life possibly could.
“Aimeé, my mother, Talisia,” Patrick said, almost nervously.
“I’m afraid his Eminence is going to be very disappointed,” Patrick said stoically, taking up his mug of ale and sipping.
“I made a promise to return the cup. It was a mistake of mine to let Father Hugh talk me into letting him keep the cup to be adored in the church while I was away. I should have returned it right away to the cave from where it came. It needs to go back. I made a promise to its guardians. No one, not even a cardinal and his army, is going to stop me from fulfilling my oath.”
Patrick expected Marcus, a senior Avangardesman, to chastise him for his insubordination. Instead, a shock of a different sort crossed the man’s face.
“That’s right,” Marcus said distantly as if thinking out loud. “You don’t know yet.”
Patrick frowned. “Know what?”
“The cup, it won’t move.”
“What do you mean, ‘won’t move.’”
“Just that,” Marcus took a drink. “It won’t allow itself to be touched. Anyone who tries, their hand passes right through it.”
“Seriously, had I known all the paperwork involved with being Steward, I’d run off too,” Corbin continued, pouring himself a goblet, “and why they gave the position to me is a mystery. They need to give it someone like you…someone who can read and write. Most of this job is all this confounding paperwork and record keeping and report writing. It’s enough to drive a man mad.”
He gestured at the pile of paper on the desk with the goblet and spilled red liquid in the process, staining some of the paper.
“Is that what the monk is for, to help with the reading and writing?” Patrick asked, addressing the quiet young man with shaved pate and dressed in simple brown robe.
Patrick took a sip of his wine.
“Aye,” Corbin replied, taking a gulp from his cup. “Useless wanker.”
“Perhaps the wanker would not be so useless if you’d show up for our appointments more frequently, as well as offered me a cup of wine every now and again,” the monk suggested with a hint of a smile.
“Bugger off,” Corbin objected. “You’re lazy whether you have wine or not. I was supposed to be down at the harbor this morning with rest, but no thanks to you tonight’s dinner arrangements are still not done.”
Despite his pretenses, Corbin poured the man a cup.
“Excuse Sir Corbin’s manners, I’m Brother Anton,” the monk said, extending a hand to Patrick when he stood to accept his drink.
“I’m perfectly aware of Sir Corbin’s manners,” Patrick said, taking Anton’s hand. “Pleased to meet you, I’m Sir Patrick Gawain.”
“So I gathered: Knight of Cups, Savior of Avalon,” Anton raised his drink.
Corbin rolled his eyes and blew out his lips, “Oh, please! Don’t encourage him. The man was lucky, wandering outside the keep while the rest of us were having spells cast upon us. I’d be Savior of Avalon too if I’d decided to go on a drunken, naked bender in the woods that day.”
“Well, you certainly go on plenty of drunken benders, maybe your turn will come soon enough,” Patrick laughed.
“Nacht! Watch your language. I’m a respectable man now. Don’t go spreading rumors,” Corbin protested, taking a drink.
Patrick looked at Anton and said in an exaggerated whisper, “We’ll talk.”
Corbin gave Patrick an obscene gesture with one hand while expertly continuing to drink with the other.
“Speaking of cups,” Patrick said, tone turning serious. “I’m sure you realize why the cardinal is here.”
Corbin leaned back in his chair and placed his feet on the desk.
“Aye,” Corbin exhaled, eyes widening briefly as he focused on a spot on the wall. “I foresee a storm coming.”
“What do you plan on doing about it?” Patrick asked.
“Do?” Corbin replied with a raised eyebrow. “I’m going to be thankful that Wolfgang, Father Hugh, and Mother Superior are here to deal with the matter.”
“Corbin, as Keep Steward and Captain of the Guard surely you have some say in the matter. We have a duty to return the cup,” Patrick protested.
“We wouldn’t have to worry about any of this if you hadn’t brought the blasted thing here in the first place,” Corbin scowled, but then his demeanor turned soft as he added, “though I understand why you did it. And the girl? Did you give her a happily-ever-after? Did you have a lovely homecoming and wedding?”
Patrick slumped in his chair as he said, “No, she will not marry me.”
“What?” Corbin almost shouted. “The lass is offered the opportunity of a lifetime, and she doesn’t take you up on it? Why?”
“There is a…complication,” Patrick responded, and waived Corbin off when his expression asked for more details. “I’ll explain in good time, but let’s just say for now that it boils down to the fact the girl has a measure of pride and finds my level of commitment…lacking.”
Corbin scoffed in his goblet as he finished off the last of his wine.
“Nonsense, just hit the girl upside the head with the flat of your sword and drag her to the nearest altar. That’s what I would do,” he suggested.
“That would probably work for you and the quality of women I’ve seen you with,” Patrick laughed, and took a drink. “But Aimeé has been forced to do many things in her time. I will not be another villain in her life.”
“Sir Patrick Gawain,” Corbin said whimsically, looking the Irishman up and down. “You’ve never done anything simply, have you? Uncooperative magic cups, conspiring cardinals, and sassy lasses.”
Patrick drained his goblet, then asked, “I hate to harp on the issue, but what is the official Greensprings and Avangarde stance on the cup?”
“It appears that it is up to the cup,” Corbin replied. “It can’t be grasped. No one has been able to touch it since shortly after you left. It just sits there on the altar where you left it.”
“And if someone could suddenly grasp it?” Patrick continued.
“Or, if it were suddenly to disappear?” Patrick added.
“Then I’d say it was God’s will,” Corbin smiled.
The Captain of the Avangarde joined the Irishman in standing.
“Live strong,” Patrick said, beating his chest.
“Fight stronger,” Corbin returned, and they clasped forearms.
“Don’t think me villainous,” she said forming her lovely lips into a pout. “I merely want what’s best for everyone. I want everyone to be happy.”
She leaned forward, pressing her body against his as she reached between his legs and firmly grasped the neck of the wine skin that he held there. She lingered in the movement just long enough to make him uncomfortable, and to arouse feelings that have stirred men’s nature since the dawn of time.
“I like people,” she said, sliding the container from his thighs. “I like men, just as men like their swords. Men take care of their swords. They sharpen them and they oil them. Is that so bad?”
She took a sip from the skin.
Patrick could feel heat rising in his cheeks and he plucked at his collar to relieve the feeling of constriction. He swallowed hard.
“Perhaps we should be returning to the hall,” he suggested, standing.
Lilliana laughed, taking the hand he offered, and said, “As you wish, my gallant knight.”
As she placed her hand in his to rise, Patrick truly noticed for the first time her hands that were largely hidden by the lacy gloves she wore. The fingerless articles of clothing revealed her digits that ended in extremely sharpened nails. The gloves ended at the wrists and he could see that her forearms were muscular and lined with veins, as if from a lifetime of washing clothes.
He tried not to stare, and wondered why he hadn’t noticed earlier.
Right, that’s why, he thought, his gaze suddenly drawn to her heaving bosom, the garnets glittering even with only the pail moon and starlight.
He could feel heat rising in his face again as he looked away.
She laughed lightly and slipped her arm into his as they walked down the path back to the hall, following the sound of festivity.
“You have to admit,” she said. “That the cup is better served in the cardinal’s hands. It belongs out in the world, not hidden on a secret island.”
“My heart says otherwise,” Patrick said simply.
“Ah yes, your heart, your duty, and your honor,” she shook her head. “Men and their ‘honor.’ Consider this: the cardinal is an ordained successor of the apostles, and it was to the apostles that Jesus declared, ‘What you loose on earth, you loose in heaven.’ If the cardinal demands that the cup leave with him from this place, are you not honor bound to let him? What think you, Sir Knight?”
Patrick rubbed his temple with his free hand, saying, “I think I’ve had too much wine to drink this evening and would rather discuss this another time.”
“You may very well have that opportunity tomorrow morning,” Lilliana said. “As I understand it the Board of Benefactors wants to meet in the church just after morning mass to see if you can grasp the cup.”
Patrick only slightly stuttered in his stride at the news.
As they entered the little courtyard in front of the main hall they could see that the soiree was largely over. People were already dispersing for the evening. Patrick froze at the sight of Sir Jon and the Lady Katherina leaving arm-in-arm.
“Is that who you were looking for earlier in the garden?” Lilliana asked, her gaze following Katherina.
“No,” Patrick growled.
“She’s quite lovely,” Lilliana said with a mischievous glint in her eye. “Perhaps you were trying to marry the wrong one.”
“Perhaps a discussion for another time,” Patrick said formally, but coldly.
Lilliana changed the subject and said, “Can the cardinal count on your support tomorrow?”
“I have my doubts,” Patrick responded, trying to be as vague as possible.
She reached to Patrick’s face and stroked his high cheek, probing his hazel eyes with her amber one’s.
“We’re not going to be friends, are we Sir Patrick?” she said.
Sir Patrick gently took her hand and kissed it, replying, “It’s not looking good.”
The sound of boots coming across the floor was inevitable.
Lucan managed to avoid the Cardinal Guard for most of the day, but it was only a matter of time before they found him in the last place soldiers would look.
He sat as far away from the entrance as possible, bent over an ancient tome. A single candle illuminated his corner of the library that could only be reached after traversing the maze of shelves.
There were worse places to hide, Lucan thought, as he was actually enjoying his stay in the room. The library was a rare treasure, perhaps one of the most extensive he had seen, and in an unknown castle on a legendary isle, of all places. It was a shame that the guards came when they did. He wanted to finish the tome, a copy of a work of Homer, he had randomly pulled off a shelf.
When the soldiers found him, his back was to them. Even so, judging from the footsteps and their breathing he could tell there were three of them.
“Signore,” one of them said, the hint of a triumphant sneer in his voice at having found the fugitive relic expert. “It pleases the cardinal that you come with us.”
“It does not please me,” Lucan said tiredly. “I will be along shortly. I want to finish this book first.”
Lucan smiled, feeling the men look at one another in disbelief.
“Signore Lucan,” the lead guard sneered. The sound of swords slithering from leather scabbards filled the air. “You will come with us now.”
Lucan sighed heavily, closed the book, and leaned toward the candle.
“This isn’t going to happen the way you pictured it,” he said, and blew out the candle.
“Sir Patrick,” Teodorico gently added, his demeanor softened suddenly and took on a paternal tone. “Your concerns have been duly noted. You have performed a great service, and we thank you for it, but you role in this story is finished. The fact that the cup does not allow itself to be touched, let alone returned to the cave, is testament that these ‘guardians’ were merely putting you to a test. I strongly suspect once this esteemed council reaches a resolution, the cup will allow itself to be transported once again. Go in peace, my child.”
He made the sign of the holy cross.
Patrick had to admit the cardinal made an imposing figure standing there with the crosier in one hand, his pectoral cross glinting, and speaking with authority.
Patrick bowed, saying, “As you wish, your Eminence.”
He turned to leave, but paused when William Malmesbury once again spoke up.
“Sir Patrick,” he said. “Why then did you bring the cup to Greensprings?”
Patrick made eye contact with Aimeé who still stood at the center of the room.
“To save the girl,” Patrick almost whispered.
“And why was that so important, that you would disregard the warning of these guardians?” William continued.
Patrick did not answer right away, watching Aimeé’s eyes flare, moisture starting to glisten in her green eyes.
“Because I…” he swallowed hard. “…because I felt it a shame that she should perish after having played her part at saving Greensprings. I wanted to correct that.”
The brief shining light in Aimeé’s face extinguished and she squeezed her eyes shut as if she had been stabbed in the heart with a dagger. Evidently that wasn’t the answer she was hoping for.
Patrick all but ran from the chamber then, not waiting for any more questions to be posed of him. His boots echoed loudly in the now quiet room as if mocking him with the fact that all eyes were on him.
When morning crept into her servant’s chamber in Greensprings Keep, something other than sun beams caressed Aimeé’s face. An airy hand brushed across her cheek, accompanied by a sound that reminded her of children playing in the distance. When it had happened for the third time, and sleepy attempts at brushing it away with her flailing arm failed to make it stop, she decided to wake in earnest.
Her eyes fluttered open to the sound of fading giggles.
She raised her head and looked about the small chamber she shared with Clare and Anna and saw nothing but an empty room. She groaned, realizing the others had already rose for work, allowing her a few moment more sleep knowing the pregnancy was growing difficult for her. It was kind of them, but if she was late too many more times for her duties it could become a problem. So far, she had only confided in her two closest companions about her condition, waiting for the right time to break the news to Rosa Maria, the head of the kitchen staff.
She moved her head from side to side to catch the morning culprits that had been playing with her face. The little room, used for overnight stays by servants from the village when they had early morning duties, had no little playful visitors.
She stared at the ceiling trying to muster the courage to get out of bed despite how rotten she felt. She had stayed a thousand times in this room and had stared just as many times at the ceiling, noting the swirl patterns in wood, picking out shapes. Here an old man’s wizened face, there a puppy, and there a tree. But this morning her brow furrowed in curiosity when she noticed something new on the surface.
There were tiny hand and footprints, and the longer she stared at them, the more they faded as if they hadn’t been there.
In less than fifteen minutes the men were bent over, hands on knees, sweating and muddy. Though they had started out using the technique of the day, the melee quickly devolved to the standard battlefield free-for-all.
Oh well, Patrick thought as he officially called the exercise to a close, that is why we practice.
“Cheers,” he said, then addressed the squires. “You lads did well enough, you’re still standing I see. Well, almost all of you.”
Knights pulled Josef out of the mud where he had left an imprint like a cookie-cutter.
“Thank you Sir,” Charles smiled, though he had a large welt on the right side of his face.
Jakob also voiced his appreciation, and added, “Do you think we’re ready to slay some villains, then?”
Laughter rippled through the veterans.
Patrick froze and leveled a serious gaze at the boy.
“If you’re looking to become a knight just to whack away with your sword, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons,” Patrick said. “Vanquishing villains, slaying dragons, and rescuing maidens is all fine and good, especially in stories, but the reality is far more unpleasant.
“When you have spent a thousand hours on night guard duty, in the cold, with boredom as your only foe, you will feel differently. When you have lived in a muddy ditch for months on end during a siege, you will feel differently. When you have had your friend’s brains—perhaps Josef’s here—splattered across your face during combat, you will feel differently. You will come to question your chosen profession. You will question your faith.
“As a knight, you take an oath. To protect the week, to be without wickedness, to fight for God, Truth, and Justice. These are words that are announced publicly, in front of family, friends, and above all, God. Too many knights say these words, then fail miserably to uphold them, to all our shame. Who wants to protect a common beggar from common bandits? Where is the glory in that? Who wants to fight for a lost cause? What is the sense in that? Who would work only for good deeds? Can good deeds fill your purse or your stomach? Yet all these things a knight is expected to do.
“Don’t seek glory. It will seek you—after you have earned it. Don’t seek treasure. It will come as God wills it.”
Patrick stopped his discourse, noting that all were listening intently, not just the squires. Even Geoffrey paused in removing his padding.
Patrick swallowed hard, not having intended to draw a wider audience for his rant. He relaxed when he glanced over at Corbin and Wolfgang who smiled in approval. Even Sir Hugh made eye contact with him and gave a firm nod.
The squires nodded solemnly.
“Live strong,” Patrick finished by addressing the crowd, beating his breast.
“Fight stronger,” came the collective response.
Everyone’s attention turned in the direction that had captured Katherina’s concern.
Chansonne approached Siegfried, and the big black horse commenced to stomp the ground and agitate side to side, whinnying and braying.
“Chansonne, get away!” Patrick cried, rushing forward.
As far as warhorses were concerned, Siegfried was a gentle soul, but he was still a massive courser bred for battle and even the lightest of incidental contact could crush a child.
Patrick’s fears for such an outcome soared when Siegfried fully reared on his hind legs and pawed the air. The girl didn’t seem the least bit disturbed by the horse’s display, but merely watched impassively.
Patrick’s heart nearly stopped when Siegfried’s hooves came down, but then Patrick pulled himself up short in shock as he watched the large horse strike the ground before the child, continue forward, then dip his head as he fell to a knee, bowing.
Even as those behind him gasped, Patrick regained his composure and approached the girl and horse. Siegfried rose again, which seemed to disappoint Chansonne who had been reaching out to touch the horse’s head.
“Would you like to pet him?” Patrick asked, bending down and holding his arms out.
Chansonne nodded and allowed the knight to pick her up and hold her near Siegfried’s muzzle. His nostrils flared as he snorted, but otherwise seemed to enjoy the affection.
“I had no idea he could do that. He must like you very much,” Patrick said, then scowled at the horse. “He never did that for me. Just the same, you should be careful when approaching him. He may not see you and accidentally step on you. You’re about the size of one of his feet, you know?”
Chansonne’s impassive face twitched with brief flashes of smiles.
“Yes indeed, he likes you very much,” Patrick continued as the girl’s hand lingered on Siegfried’s soft nose. “Given the chance I’m sure he’d protect you…keep you safe. He’s done that for me many times. Saved my life from a monstrous talking wolf, he did.”
“Listen up!” Geoffrey addressed the room that had fallen deathly quiet at the drama. “I have spent a great deal of time with these children, the candidati as they are known, and I can tell you that they are no monsters. Different than you and I, certainly, but not foul creatures of any sort. All harassment of them will come to an end now!”
He leveled a serious gaze about the room, eyes coming to rest on the frequent perpetrators who taunted the children.
“Or you will have to deal with me. Is that understood?” he added by gripping his sword tightly about the hilt.
A murmur rippled through the room, and as the disgruntled Cardinal Guard filed out one door, Sister Abigail, Sir Patrick, Aimeé, and Katherina rushed in through another with concerned looks.
All the children save Emilie had calmed. She continued to sob in Candace’s arms.
“What’s wrong with her?” Geoffrey glowered, still hot under the color from the confrontation.
“He called her ugly,” Candace said. “It would have been better if he had just called her a monster.”
“Ah bloody hell,” Geoffrey rolled his eyes. He kneeled on the floor next to the child on her bench and grabbed her about the shoulders. “Look at me,” he said, making a stabbing gesture at his eyes with a pair of fingers for emphasis. “You’re not ugly, you hear me? There are all kinds of beautiful in the world and your one kind, see? By that reckoning you’re the most beautiful girl in all the world, no questions asked.” Geoffrey stood and announced the next loudly to the room, gripping his sword again, “And if anyone has a problem with that, they can talk to me.”
Emilie’s sobbing transformed to giggling.
“You won’t hurt anyone just because they call me ugly,” she said.
“Like hell I won’t,” Geoffrey insisted, scowling.
“You won’t kill anyone, though,” Emilie laughed.
“Well, perhaps not,” Geoffrey conceded, but addressed the room again loudly, “But I’ll certainly pull some ears!”
This elicited more giggles from the girl.
One of them flittered up to Aimeé’s face, growing in size when it did.
It turned into a little winged girl, held aloft by a pair of furiously beating gossamer dragonfly wings. A dimpled smile beamed from a sharp-featured face and a tiny mop of yellow hair sported flowers and twigs above brown almond eyes and thin arching eyebrows.
“Fairies,” Aimeé gasped.
The spindly creature swooped over to Aimeé’s ear and hummed loudly.
“What’s that?” Aimeé asked, frowning and tilting her head to one side as if the gesture would help her understand. “Stay here? Of course.”
The creature hummed some more, then fluttered away, shrinking to the size of a tiny mote again.
“Thank you Talia!” Aimeé called after it.
“What did she say?” Katherina asked, sitting beside the starry-eyed Chansonne as the creatures departed, disappearing into the night. The natural starlight returned to join the moon to cast dark shadows from the nearby trees.
“She said we need to stay inside the stone ring,” Aimeé replied, “it’s not safe during the night, and they won’t take us to Greensprings. We should wait until morning to return.”
“Will the monster come back?” Katherina asked, looking around.
Chansonne also hugged Aimeé tighter, casting a fearful glance at the ravine and trees.
“Maybe, but the Fey Folk will be near,” Aimeé replied.
“She said all that?” Katherina asked.
Aimeé grimaced, saying, “You know, now that I think about it, I didn’t understand a word she said. It’s as if I felt her words, rather than heard them. But I’m certain we’re safe…so long as we stay here.”
“No argument here,” Katherina said.
Chansonne shook her head and grunted.
“We’re going to be fine,” Katherina cooed to the girl, “if it comes back I’ll sing again, or the fairies will come back. Did you see what I did earlier? I sang. This place gave my voice power, like your voice has power all by itself. Did you see how I controlled my voice? Directed it? You can do the same, if you concentrate.”
Chansonne blinked and nodded, and there was the hint of a smile.
She laid down in the grass and pulled Katherina down with her. She then reached up and did the same to Aimeé and pulled their arms across her, forming a protective web.
“Morning will come soon enough,” Katherina whispered, feeling Chansonne’s still rapidly beating heart, “but I’ll sing you a song to make the bad things go bye-bye.”
With that, Katherina gently murmured repeatedly:
Hush little sister don’t you cry,
because in the morning we’re going to go bye-bye,
But first we’re going to close our eyes
In the morning the sun will rise
We’ll be home when it’s high in the sky
But first we have to close our eyes
So hush little sister, don’t you cry
Eventually, Chansonne’s little rabbit heart calmed and she fell asleep, as did the women.
When morning came, and a hundred knights descended on the scene, the women were still entwined in each other’s arms.
A thunder of hooves shook the ground, kicking up earth, as each force took up a line in the field where a young man stood with a flag. There the horses either reared and pawed at the air, or stomped the earth. All snorted and brayed in anticipation of the charge. Their flanks flashed in the sunlight as brightly as the silvery chain mail and polished helms of the men who sat on them.
On one side were the black surcoats and white swans, on the other were mostly red surcoats and a smattering of other colors. Many of the lances were adorned with trailing pennons of various hues. All the Avangarde used the same kite-shaped shield with swan emblem, whereas the opposition used a variety of shield types with each individual’s heraldry. Patrick had to admit, if nothing else, the Avangarde looked much smarter. He hoped that translated into victory.
First came the flocks of carrion birds that swirled like a noisy black cloud against the setting sun. Then came the drummers; a long line of footmen beating methodically at their instruments who moved to the side to let the seemingly endless procession of mounted men and infantry pass. They carried banners with a simple insignia of a field of half black and half white. In the fading light the men looked more like black ants, though highly regimented ants that formed neat squares. The drums tapped away as the field along the tree line grew thick with them. A lone figure leisurely rode forward and took up a position on a hillock and regarded Greensprings.
Patrick squinted at the figure, trying to make out his features, but the fading light made it impossible from this distance. Yet, something about him seemed familiar.
“God, how many are there?” Corbin whistled. “The sooner we can take an accurate count, the sooner we can distribute our defenders.”
An idea came over Patrick and he looked down into the courtyard.
“Brobrosius!” he called to the little man who played with the candidati.
“Yes,” Brobrosius answered, looking from under a cooking pot on his head. He stopped waving the stick around he had been using as a sword, and added, “I’m taller than you.”
“Right, quite so.” Patrick didn’t even bother contesting the point any longer. “Would you be so good as to come up here and help us with something?”
Without hesitation Brobrosius broke into a run and mounted the stairs. The other candidati were close on his heels. Patrick shook his head, not expecting the whole lot to come.
Brobrosius stood next to him breathless and saluted.
“Brother, can you tell us how many people are out there?” Patrick asked, jerking his head in the direction of the enemy who now milled about setting up encampments.
Brobrosius took a glance, looked back to Patrick and said, “two-thousand four-hundred and thirty eight, plus one-thousand sixty-two horses. So how can I help?”
Corbin coughed and his eyes bulged for a moment.
“You just did, Brobrosius, thank you,” Patrick patted the man on the shoulder, “and bye the way, you’re taller than me.”
A huge smile spread across Brobrosius’ face and he saluted.
Candace, however, was not so pleased and moaned as she looked out on the field of gathering darkness.
“What’s wrong child?” Corbin asked.
Candace continued to moan.
“Candace?” Patrick interrupted.
Candace’s head snapped in their direction and she put a finger to her lips.
“Shh,” she whispered in a frightened raspy voice, “the bad man is coming.”
Are you a lover of reading and good drink and live in the Portland-Hillsboro area and want a fun night out? Come to “Bards & Brews” sponsored by Jacobsen’s Bookstore and Northwest Independent Writers Association. Drink your favorite wine or beer while I read the prologue from the sequel to “Echoes of Avalon,” and Mark Niemann-Ross, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Connie Carmichael Hill, and George Byron Wright read from their wonderful works.
Burning Castles, marionette knights, doppelgangers, and medieval combat in slow motion set to a score of Gregorian Chant.
“Ripples in the Chalice” is the sequel to “Echoes of Avalon” currently under development and follows shortly after the events ending in Echoes.
Again the setting is largely in Avalon, utilizing elements from history, legend, mythology, and sweeping human themes. Chiefly, living with the consequences of one’s choices.
Patrick is an Avangardesman now, but has left briefly to visit his family in Ireland and takes Aimee with him. He has agreed to leave the cup he brought to Greensprings from the cave temporarily in the care of Father Hugh so that it may be venerated as a holy object. He fully intends to return it to the cave on his return as he promised the cup’s guardians.
However, others have different plans and enemies old and new set forces into motion that will shake the foundations of time and history.
Overcoming your demons to fight monsters is one thing, living with your choices is quite another.
Two chapters will appear on this website and Goodreads. The prologue will act as a teaser, depicting events taking place towards the end of the story where Patrick stops to reflect with the “Other” (aka the “Apparition”) as to how things could have gone so wrong. And all indications in the prologue are that things have gone horribly wrong. Patrick’s reminiscing are the beginning of the story. Chapter One: King, Queen, and Bishop will set the stage for the primary antagonists whose plots will turn Patrick’s world upside down and force him to make some hard choices and show him that taking a stand comes with a price.
I hope you read and enjoy the sample drafts. Feel free to contribute your thoughts on them, as now is the time to let your influence be known while the metal is still hot and malleable.