Chapter 3 - Part 1 of Sword of a Saint by Katy Colby
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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Sword of a Saint



Chapter 3 - Part 1


October 922 - On the border of Gwynedd

Michael surveyed his companions across the small fire they had built. Dressed as they were, in dark cloaks over sturdy traveling garb, they might have passed for a simple band of gypsies. Yasmina's heavily embroidered tunic, layers of bangles and immense earbobs certainly contributed to that picture. Still, their campsite was well warded. The two sturdy male slaves they brought with them stood guard, armed with razor edged swords.

"Well lads, now it begins." Michael looked from face to face. If Fergus had any feelings on returning to Gwynedd he did not show them. The others revealed grim determination, no doubt stemming from their inexperience with this sort of work. Not that Michael had much of that himself. His training prepared him for single targets. Never had the Grand Master meant for them to take on an entire country.

"I do not mean to confine our work to the parameters the Grand Master set for us." Michael paused to gauge the effect of his words before he continued. "Our employer would see the Haldane King weakened so he can be overthrown. That is not my intention. I have returned to Gwynedd to revenge myself upon those who butchered our people. The forces of those in power are our targets, and we will deal with them and with any who aid them in the most effective way possible."

Silence hung for a long moment. The fire snapped, sending sparks into the air. At last Fergus whistled. "You are talking about the Episcopal troops, the King's regents, the Equis Custodes . . . It'll be bloody mayhem."

"Exactly. Let them watch their loved ones die, let them suffer the agonies of death by fire, poison and sword. If any of you want out of this now is the time to say so."

Michael glanced from face to face. Fergus gave him a slow smile. The others nodded firmly, smiling also. They felt as he did.

He turned to Yasmina. "This is not your fight. What do you say?"

She shrugged a graceful shoulder. "So long as there is fire, food and music I go where you go. And now I go to bed." The sway of her hips as she headed for the wagon was an open invitation.

Michael ignored it as he spread a map on the grass. "Here is where we are. And here is our first target." He traced a path from their location in the mountains to a small city not far away. "The garrison at Rengarth."





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