Crusader: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Four

BOOK: Crusader: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Four
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CRUSADER

THE SANCTUARY SERIES

VOLUME FOUR

 

Robert J. Crane

CRUSADER

THE SANCTUARY SERIES

VOLUME FOUR

 

Copyright © 2012 Reikonos Press

All Rights Reserved.

 

1
st
Edition

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, please email
[email protected]

 

Layout provided by Everything Indie

http://www.everything-indie.com

CONTENTS

 

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Chapter 109

Chapter 110

Chapter 111

Chapter 112

Chapter 113

Chapter 114

Chapter 115

Chapter 116

Chapter 117

Chapter 118

Chapter 119

Chapter 120

Chapter 121

Epilogue

 

Acknowledgments

Author’s Note

About the Author

 

Other Works by Robert J. Crane

 

 

NOW
Prologue

 

Fear consumes us,
the diary read.
It owns us, makes us its chattel and property, takes hold of our lives and enslaves us to it. There are only three ways to best fear. The first is to care nothing for anything, including your own life. The second is to confront it and thus build courage by facing your demons. The final is to believe so deeply in some cause that you are willing to walk through any fire, no matter how scorching, because of that belief. Unfortunately, all three of them are difficult for a coward such as myself, and of the three, one is of little appeal to anyone.

The rains had left with almost as little warning and fanfare as they had arrived with, and Cyrus Davidon stared out the window, Alaric’s journal clutched in his hand, mulling over his path. The room smelled faintly of wet wood and mildew; no great shock since the rains had blown into the Council Chambers of Sanctuary next door. All around him rested broken tables, smashed bookshelves, even a shattered painting—
though that was my work rather than that of … well …

The only sound in earshot was the crackling of the fire and the popping of the torches. They gave the air a sort of sickly smell, sweet, of oil burning, perhaps. Cyrus realized for the first time that it could have been magic burning, for all he knew. They were magic torches, after all, lighting and unlighting as needed. He leaned his left hand against the chair, feeling the pain within, and as he shifted, the ring on his finger caught on the inside of his gauntlet.
I’ve been sitting here like this for too long,
he thought, putting the journal aside. The lettering was elegant on every page; not quite a surprise though close, as Cyrus could not recall having seen the Master of Sanctuary write much of anything for himself during the time Cyrus had been a member of the guild.

The rains had stopped at some point after nightfall, Cyrus dimly realized. It was after midnight now, and the strain on his eyes had been considerable. Putting aside the book, he stood and heard the cracking of his joints. He sighed.
I sound as though I’m about to fall apart.
He chuckled ruefully at the thought.
Soon, perhaps.

He paused, pondering.
What Alaric said in the journal—I’m afraid. Fear. How long ago did I master fear? When I was at the Society?
He did the arithmetic in his head and found it unfavorable.
How long ago did I stop feeling the pinch of fear?
He thought about it for another moment but received no argument from himself.
Then. I stopped truly fearing after …

He let out a swift exhalation, as though he could purge the thought from himself, and tasted bitterness almost tangibly in his mouth.
Alaric was right. There are few enough ways to truly purge fear from your life, and I believe he might have figured them all out. Not caring about anything is certainly a swift way to do it, and I did that for long enough to know. Confronting it is easier
in conjunction with the third … he blinked.
Believing in something enough to die for it, well … that’s the most difficult of them all.

His eyes worked their way back to the book again. He’d read most of it during the night, much of it from times long, long before he had even met the man known as the Ghost of Sanctuary. There had been new insights, fascinating ones, things he hadn’t fully understood—until now.
But what would it say about the time I spent in Luukessia? What was he doing in that time, what was he thinking?
He found himself walking back to the chair unconsciously. Sitting back down, he picked up the journal of Alaric’s thoughts—and the other.
Vara’s.
He stared at the dull cover, the dark leather binding of it, ran his hands along the front as though he could feel it through his gauntlet.

He sat them both on his lap and opened them, skimming through the pages of the first until he found what he was looking for: a date. He read for a few paragraphs and his jaw dropped.
Ah. So that was it.
He turned his attention to the other book, Vara’s journal, the handwriting only slightly less flowing, and opened it, jumping through the pages until he found the one that fit. It was wrinkled, the parchment rumpled as though it had been exposed to water.

Damn you, Cyrus Davidon …

He looked up, around the empty room and toward the darkness outside. “That’s a hell of a way to start a journal entry.” His eyes fell back to the page and he read on, trying to absorb it all, flicking back and forth from one journal to the other, reconciling what he knew of that year with what he didn’t, fitting the pieces of it together in his head. It all crept in, slowly, much like the darkness outside, and he did not want to stop reading, even when he heard a noise of something from within the walls, something quiet but certain, something very much alive … in a place that was not.

BOOK: Crusader: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Four
12.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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