-You are reading episodes of THE POWER IN THE DARK, which is Book 1 of THE
ANCIENT BLOODLINES TRILOGY by Barry Mathias. ISBN: 9781897435113
The Power in the Dark
This is dedicated to Clare,
my soul mate and best friend,
who helped me, in so many ways,
to complete this book, and the other two of the trilogy.
The Power in the Dark
As dusk approached, the besieging armies made their long-awaited breakthrough. Hundreds of armour-clad men poured through the breach in the great walls of Jerusalem and massacred all who stood in their way. It was 1099, the culmination of four years of travelling and almost constant warfare, and the Crusaders burst like a wave into the city, searching out the infidels and securing the Holy City for Christianity.
Among the first to reach the Great Temple was Gilles de Beauchamps, who, with others of an elite brotherhood called The Order, had sworn to preserve and defend the holy manuscripts lodged in secret vaults under the huge building. However, his most important role, known to only a select few of the brotherhood, was to identify and rescue the surviving members of an extraordinary bloodline, and defend them with his life.
Gilles de Beauchamps rested wearily on the hilt of his great sword, and leaned his back against one of the massive marble pillars. He had sustained numerous small wounds and some severe bruising on his arms and shoulders. It had been a remarkable day, and now he was exhausted and feeling his forty-nine years. He roused himself as Charles De Ville approached, the red cross vivid on his white tunic.
The younger man looked grave, and did not speak until he was standing directly in front of Gilles.
"My Lord, the news is not good."
"Give it to me, quickly."
"The families have been betrayed. All are dead except for a young boy and a girl child."
Gilles de Beauchamps bent his head, and let out a deep groan as waves of disappointment wracked his tired body. Outside the temple, the night air was rent with terrible screams and demented laughter as the victorious soldiers took their revenge on the luckless inhabitants of the city. In a secret room in the Temple, two small children wept piteously; their secure world was gone forever.
One day, when he was almost sixteen years old, he awoke as if from a long dream. It was a bright, sun-blessed morning. The cock was crowing, a gentle breeze was fanning his face from the open door of the cottage, and he realized he was different. It was as though he had been swimming up from a great depth in murky water and had suddenly burst through the surface; the drowned had been reborn. Yet, although he knew where he was, he had no memory of his arrival. His previous life was a mass of faint impressions that remained on the edge of his recall, and he was unable, or subconsciously unwilling, to bring them into the light.
"My name is John." He repeated the words over and over in a soft whisper, like an incantation. He knew the bed on which he had been sleeping; he recognized the sounds of the strident rooster in the yard outside and the old red cow complaining in its small barn. He knew the old woman with whom he shared the modest cottage, his friend Peter with the limp, and the path to the village. Yet, he could not recall his parents, nor could he remember how he had come to live in this lonely place.
He lay back on his straw palliasse and stared up at the thatch ceiling, focusing his mind on recent events. Last night something had happened. He knew it was important, and yet it was not something on which his mind wished to focus. It was as if some part of him was trying to rub out the picture while another part was repainting it.
"It's power," he muttered aloud. "It's to do with power." Then he remembered.
• • •
He had been dozing after a late supper in the warm and smoky room. All day he had been gathering the dry, golden hay Old Mary used as winter-feed for the cow. His arms ached, but he felt content with his day's work.
"What did you say about power?" John asked, suddenly alert.
"I said you will have power some day," Old Mary answered.
"What sort of power?"
"You are special, like me. You will come to know all things when the hour is right."