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Authors: Kathryn Le Veque

Archangel

BOOK: Archangel
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Archangel

 

By Kathryn Le Veque

 

Copyright 2011 by Kathryn Le Veque
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Printed by Dragonblade Publishing in the United States of America

Text copyright 2011 by Kathryn Le Veque
Cover copyright 2011 by Kathryn Le Veque

To my friend and editor, Andrew Bufalo

A man of many talents

 

 

Other Kathryn Le Veque titles include

 

Resurrection

Lady of Heaven

The Crusader

Kingdom Come

The Legend

The Titan

Steps of Glory

The Dark Lord

The Falls of Erith

Lespada

Guardian of Darkness

The White Lord of Wellesbourne

The Dark Knight

Spectre of the Sword

The Whispering Night

 

The Dragonblade Series

Dragonblade

Island of Glass

The Savage Curtain

 

Kathlyn Trent/Marcus Burton Adventure Series

 

Valley of the Shadow

The Eden Factor

Canyon of the Sphinx

 

On Amazon.com

Lord of the Shadows

Lady of Heaven

The White Lord of Wellesbourne

To The Lady Borne

The Falls of Erith

Dragonblade

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Year of Our Lord 1204 A.D.

The Month of May

Dunster Castle, Somerset

 

He was seeing ghosts.

It was true that he was weary after having spent the last seven days traveling from Kent to the shadowed edges of the Exmoor Forest.  It was also true that the wilds of Somerset and Cornwall were said to breed wraiths and other netherworld creatures, and Dunster was right in the middle of dark and mysterious lands. Being a man of logic, Sir Gart Forbes wasn’t one to believe in ghosts or phantoms or fairies.  Still, he wasn’t quite sure what he had seen.

He was standing in the darkened bailey of Dunster just after sunset.  The castle was perched on the top of a hill, fortified and old even in Saxon times, and the battlements were lined with men standing guard, sentries with big dogs and big torches to keep away the night. Gazing up the wooden steps that led into the second floor of the enormous square keep, Gart swore he saw something at the top of the stairs that had just as quickly vanished.  

All around him were sounds of the bailey as the men settled in for the night. He had brought one hundred men with him from Denstroude Castle in Kent, seat of Baron Thornden, Sir David de Lohr.  Lord de Lohr was in the keep up in the third floor great hall and these wraiths, these wispy creatures, were between Gart and his liege. With a weary sigh, knowing he must have lost his mind somewhere back on the dusty road, Gart slowly mounted the steps.

The stairs were dark and old.  Gart’s enormous boots tested the weight of each plank as he made his way up and could hear the wood groan.  Normally, he would have been focused on the meal awaiting him but at this moment, he had to admit he was curious to see if the wraiths would make another appearance.

He didn’t have long to wait.  The moment he stepped inside the great Norman arch that embraced the entry, something small and white jumped into his path.

“Boo!”

Before Gart could open his mouth to speak, the phantom darted off and hid.  It wasn’t so much a phantom now that he had a closer look - it was a child, completely white from head to toe.  Gart watched the child disappear into a darkened room, a solar that was directly off the entry to the right.  His brow furrowed and he shook his head, undecided as to whether he was irritated or amused. He settled for amused until two more wraiths jumped out at him with sticks.

Gart was in armor so he didn’t feel the blows, but his amusement quickly turned to irritation when one of the sticks landed a blow a little too close to his groin.  He reached down to grab one of the children but his hand came away completely white.  They were covered in something white and powdery. 

Gart grabbed a stick that came flying at his groin again, yanking it out of the child’s hand and tossing it out the door.  He locked gazes with a boy no more than seven years of age and he would never forget the look of fury on the boy’s face.

With a yell, the child charged him and tried to bite him, but all he came away with was mail to the mouth. Gart grabbed the child by the hair and the boy screamed.

“Let me go!” he howled. “I will have you arrested if you do not let me go!”

Gart’s hand was bigger than the child’s head as he gazed down at him. “Is that so?”

“It is!” the lad tried to kick him, struggling to dislodge the iron grip. “If you do not let me go, I… I will have you boiled! I will have you flogged! I will have you…!”

Gart put up a hand, cutting him off. “I understand your meaning,” he said, noticing that the two other white-covered children were beating at his armored legs.  He shoved one away by the head and kneed the other one across the floor.  It wasn’t a kick as much as it was a good push with his kneecap. Then he let go of the child in his grip.

 “Let me pass and you can assault the next fool who walks in the door,” he told him.

The three boys were not so easily dissuaded. They rushed back at him with their fists and sticks and Gart shoved them all away again, only to have them rush him once more as he tried to mount the stairs to the third level. 

Irritation growing, he managed to grab all three of them, carry them over to the dark and empty solar, and shove them inside.  Slamming the door closed, he noticed there was no exterior bolt as the boys beat at the door and yelled from the other side. Gart stood there as long as he could, holding the door shut as delicious smells taunted him from the hall above. He didn’t have time for this foolishness. Daring to let go of the latch, he made a break for the stairs.

The solar door flew open and the three boys charged out, catching Gart as he was half-way up the spiral stone stairs. They grabbed at his feet and he kicked back, attempting to dislodge them. He didn’t want to outright hurt them but they were annoying and beastly, so he finally kicked out and sent one boy crashing into the other two. 

The whole lot of them slid down the stairs, leaving a trail of white powder as they went. They hit hard in a group, the older ones falling on the smaller one.  The little lad at the bottom of the pile began to wail loudly and rub his head where he had smacked it. 

Gart smirked at the screams, thinking now they would finally leave him alone. He hadn’t taken two steps before he started to feel some remorse. They were just children, after all.  He had been a child once, thirty years ago during times he could hardly remember. These children were just playing games. At least, he hoped so. Maybe they were really murderers in disguise. Taking another step, the cries prevented him from continuing.

With a heavy sigh he turned on the stairwell, peering down at the pile of boys at the bottom.  The two older ones were attempting to pick the younger one up and convince him that he wasn’t injured.  Gart took a couple of steps down, watching the boys who seemed much less aggressive than they had been moments earlier. 

“What are you three doing?” he demanded softly.

Three pairs of big blue eyes looked up at him as if startled by the question. He could see the hostility seep back into their expressions but, so far, not one of them had made a move against him. They seemed to be posturing an awful lot.

“Brendt hurt his head,” the tallest child said angrily. “You did….”

Gart waved the boy off with a hand the size of a trencher. “That is not what I meant,” he took another step down. “What are you three doing attacking men who enter the keep?”

The tallest boy’s brow furrowed. “Robbing them!”

Gart couldn’t help it as his features screwed up in confusion. “
Robbing
them?”

“Aye,” the boy insisted. “This is our castle. Whoever comes in this door belongs to us.”

BOOK: Archangel
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