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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The 23rd Book in the Assassin Chronicles Series is titled: Thoth, the Atlantean and takes the adventures of the Knight of Death in a new direction. The Emerald Tablets must be recovered and yet, the Ancient Evil is still searching for the thing that would bring chaos back to the world and re-establish the old ones as supreme masters. Meanwhile, back at the ranch everyone has their own problems.

Lucio emerged from the kitchen bearing two mugs of coffee. Very sweet with cream. He handed one to Omar and sat down beside the Prophet.
"Caffè dolce," he muttered as he took a deep breath over the steaming mug. "Le nostre difficoltà sono infinite."
Vanni continued on down the steps and took up a position on the firewood stacked near the garage. Greta came from the house, spied Vanni and skipped toward him, calling his name. Lucio watched his son with obvious pride. A sin.
"I would never have believed it, Brother," Lucio said as he sipped his coffee.
"What?" Omar asked abstractly. He was considering asking Lucio about the Romanian thing.
"That you and I would be sitting on the back steps like two country bumpkins, drinking coffee together, wondering what the world is coming to. I have often watched the old men in Naples who sit in the park, shaking their heads in disdain and confusion. I have often wondered what it would be like to be one of them. Now I think I know."
"What is it like? What did they know?" Omar turned his blue eyes on the Italian.
"We are never too old to die a horrible death. Our lives go on in spite of many deaths in our hearts," Lucio said and smiled crookedly.
"Ahh. Yes. Life does contain many strange and unexpected developments," Omar had to agree and then chuckled. It was ironic that this one thing that was so very, very normal to humans everywhere would be the closest he had ever come to being 'normal' in light of everything that was going on around them. "Speaking of strange developments…"
"You mean Bari?" Lucio automatically assumed the wrong topic. "Yes. I was quite surprised to see that he had grown so. I can certainly sympathize with you, Brother. It was simply too much for Ruth. She was always a good Catholic girl. She never deserved any of this. I have always blamed myself for her troubles."
"She lives her own life, Lucio," Omar told him. He did not like to be reminded that Ruth had once been Lucio's lover. That, in fact, she still loved him beyond measure. More than she had ever loved Omar, the Prophet. "You cannot hold yourself responsible for the lives of others."
"I am glad you see it that way, but if I had not…" Lucio seemed to remember who he was talking to and abruptly changed the subject.


 

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Hello again, Brendan, and congratulations on your book! :)

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Ann! And now for another excerpt from Book 23 of the Red Cross of Gold, Assassin Chronicles series.

"They say that you are very special." Lucio laughed after a moment and looked up at him. "Perhaps it is funny after all. I say that you are nothing but trouble. I should have let the Saracens take your head and hang it on the walls of Jerusalem. This is killing me! If John the Baptist were to appear here and declare you Jesus Christ, I would believe it."
"No, Father! Don't say that." Vanni's eyes widened. "That is blasphemy. Greta has told me so. We are not permitted to make jokes about our Lord."
"I am not joking, my son." Lucio pursed his lips.
"So you would have let them kill me?" Mark asked him with some amusement and then turned his attention to the boy. "Vanni, I heard something very interesting about you from my son, Luke."
"Oh?" Vanni perked up a bit. Sir Ramsay had rarely spoken to him. "What is that, sir?"
"I heard that you can see… auras… souls. Is that true?"
"Brother." Lucio pushed himself back from the computer and stood up. "It's time for our walk with the dogs."
"I can see colors and patterns around people." Vanni answered the question in spite of his father's attempt to escape the question. "Is that what you mean? Auras?"
"Yes." Mark followed them to the door, much to Lucio's chagrin.
"I can see that." Vanni looked back at him.
"Can you see mine?" Mark asked him and Lucio froze in his tracks at the unorthodox question.
Vanni stopped and squinted at him momentarily.
"Yes. Its very pretty, but sort of scary."
Lucio started off again, pulling his son along forcefully and calling for the wolfhounds.
"How so?" Mark Andrew followed them and the dogs into the hall.
"It's dark and full of red sparks and gold streaks."
"And can you see your father's soul?" Mark's voice seemed to echo endlessly in the hall.
Vanni stopped again and Lucio nearly yanked him off his feet. He let go of the boy and Vanni righted himself.
"No." He shook his head and frowned.
"Why not?" Mark persisted and held up one hand to stay the Italian, whose face had grown very dark.
"It's not there." Vanni shuddered and looked at the floor.
"Where is it?" Mark asked him quietly.
"You know where it is, Sir Ramsay." Vanni raised his eyes to meet Mark's curious gaze.
"Do I?" Mark narrowed his eyes.
"Yes. You do." Vanni broke away and ran to the front doors. He flung the heavy doors opened and disappeared into the yard with the dogs.
"What are you trying to do, Brother?" Lucio asked him angrily.
"Just testing a theory." Mark looked him in the eye. "So you would kill me?"
"That was just an expression!" Lucio backed away from him. "All of this digging is making me crazy."
"Then I suggest you get hold of yourself, Brother." Mark told him quietly.
Lucio turned on his heel and followed after his son. Mark walked slowly to the door and looked after them as they ran toward the meadows, down the walkway and past the administration building.
He was startled by d'Brouchart's voice behind him.
"That is not very nice, du Morte." The Grand Master told him. "You should not toy with him like that."
"I was not toying with him. I was testing a theory." Mark glanced back at him.
"You should give it back." D'Brouchart told him.
"What? And allow him to sell it again to the highest bidder?" Mark turned and smiled at him wickedly. “I think I should keep it safe for him." He stuffed his hands in his pockets and headed back toward the laboratory passing Gil in the hallway.
Gil nodded to him and then approached the Grand Master.
"Won't you come to the kitchen, sir, and I'll fix us a spot of tea as they say here." Gil smiled at him. "You can sample my Pompano."
"Pompano? I thought it was salmon." The big man followed the chef down the hall.
"Oh, no. There are many fish in the sea, monsieur. Big fish and little fish. And each one with its own special flavor. I especially like filet of sole."
"Filet of soul." D'Brouchart muttered. "How appropriate. What is your take on the state of the human soul, Guillaume?"
"That would depend." Gil said thoughtfully as they entered the kitchen where the kettle was already whistling on the stove.
"On what?" D'Brouchart sat down at the table.
"On whose soul. Some souls are in better shape than others."
"Then you don't believe that all men are created equal?"
"Not at all." Gil smiled to himself.
"Well, then," d'Brouchart yawned "how about your own?"
"My soul is free, Your Grace." Gil told him as he brought the kettle to the table. "I strive to keep it that way."
"Then you believe that some souls are not free? Bound somehow?"
"Ah, oui`! Of course!" Gil poured the water into a porcelain teapot. "I believe that a man might sell his soul for the right price."
"Really?" D'Brouchart raised both eyebrows in amusement. "And how would one go about doing that?"
Gil went back to the cabinet to get a sample of his fish for the Master.
"Now that would depend on who you know." Gil told him cryptically. "First of all, you would have to know someone who is capable of making the purchase. A demon perhaps or an angel."
"Ahh." The Grand Master nodded. "I see."
"Someone, perhaps, like le Compte."
"Like du Morte?" D'Brouchart raised up in his chair as the chef returned with a small plate on which a steaming piece of savory fish lay in a puddle of melted butter.
"Oui`! Now he strikes me as someone who might be able to complete the transaction." Gil smiled at him. "Very dark. Very mysterious. He would probably have the right connections."
"You think so?" D'Brouchart forked the fish and then popped it in his mouth. It was sublime.
"I do think so." Gil sat down across from him and began to pour up the tea. "You see, Master, knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."



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