Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Templar Knight Galeren de Massard is sent to investigate an incident where a nun claims to have been attacked by “a man who became a wolf.” When Galeren meets Catherine, he instinctively knows that her attacker was Esquin de Floyran, an old foe, and that his return is dangerous for the increasingly unpopular Templar Order.
Out for revenge, De Floyran has betrayed his brotherhood’s secret to the French King who has long sought to discredit the Templars. When he discovers the truth of their nature, he vows to destroy the Order and have the Knights burned to the last.
When hundreds of Templars are arrested in France and Catherine is taken by De Floyran, Galeren resolves to rescue her and save as many of his brethren as he can. Alone, he journeys to France and into the heart of danger to face his enemy and risk everything to save his race from destruction.
“Shit,” he swore. The men had quickly climbed on their mounts and were slowly following them. The rain began to fall in earnest.
“What?” Catherine asked nervously.
“They are following us,” Galeren said.
“What do they want?”
“You,” he said solemnly and immediately felt her tense.
“Me? You’re so sure?”
“Well they don’t want me and I don’t look worth robbing. Believe me, men in that state are not wont to let a woman like you pass them by.”
“But I’m with you,” she protested.
“They care not about that. There are five of them and one of me.”
“What are we going to do?” she asked. Galeren could sense the unease within her.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let them hurt you,” he said with conviction. “Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” she breathed, turning her head to look at him. His eyes were intense yet had a thread of calm within them. However, over his shoulder she saw the men closing in on them and she quickly turned her attention back to the road ahead.
“You must do exactly what I say and keep to it. Whatever happens, don’t look; you won’t want to see it. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Catherine said as the men caught up to them. Two trotted ahead of them and turned to block their onward passage, while the others stayed behind to secure the rear.
“Can I help you?” Galeren said. His voice was steady and strong but Catherine couldn’t prevent herself from shivering. The leader of the group, or the one who had chosen to speak for them, smiled and lent forward in his saddle, his face becoming streaked with grimy rivulets as the rain pelted it. He cast his gaze approvingly over Catherine, then fixed his eyes on Galeren.
“Save yourself a beating and give us the woman and we promise to give her back to you in one piece when we’ve finished with her.” The others laughed at this and Galeren tightened his grip around Catherine to reassure her.
“I don’t think there’ll be much left of her when you’ve finished,” Galeren remarked keeping his eyes on the leader who nodded his agreement and flashed Galeren with another toothy grin.
“You’re probably right but that’s the chance you’ll have to take to save your own skin.”
“I take no chances,” Galeren said coolly. “This woman’s skin is more precious to me than my own, so the answer is no. I now offer you a choice,” he continued as a dark mask fell over his face and a snarl formed on his lips, “take your group of filth and turn about, or I promise there’ll not be much left of you when I’ve finished.”
The leader laughed at this and the others joined him, though he was a little unnerved by the lone knight’s cool confidence.
“Gutsy,” he said and looked about him at his men. His eyes did the talking, indicating to Galeren what their next move would be. The tension grew and Catherine could feel her heart beating out of her chest.
“But I don’t fancy your chances,” the man finished and Catherine heard the scrape of steel as it left a scabbard and felt Galeren’s hand on her side. He gave her a good firm shove and she flew out of the saddle.
“Get down and cover your head!” he screamed, as she hit the sodden dirt. She did, just as Red reared up over her, his hooves crashing down beside her head. More hooves circled her and she heard more swords being drawn and then someone scream out a warning. A horse whinnied in the agony of injury and she felt the earth shake as it crashed down onto the ground, trapping the screaming rider beneath it. In the chaos and screams she heard flesh tear and felt the splash of something warm and wet cover her hands, but she dared not look up. The screams went through her as she heard more tearing followed by thudding, like the ground was being pelted with something other than the rain. Though she had heard swords drawn, she heard no clash of steel against steel, only tearing, thudding and blood curdling screams.
And there was another sound, strange, out of place and terrifying. It was the snarls and guttural cries of an animal. Her heart almost stopped, as she realised that it was an animal she recognised. She could not hear Galeren’s voice through the fray, only the awful screams of the mercenaries and terrible ripping sound. Despite Galeren’s commands, Catherine felt compelled to look upon the scene, dreading that her instinct would prove true.
Slowly, she looked up, and to her horror saw what she had feared. It was a wolf, a huge white wolf, drenched in blood. Its teeth were bared in a terrifying grimace as it launched itself at one of the men. The man stood, his sword raised in defence, ready to bring down his attacker. He did not stand a chance. The wolf flew gracefully through the air and the man swung his sword in a feeble attempt to fell it, but he was too slow. The wolf slammed into his chest, knocking him to the ground and its jaws, wide and ready, clamped shut on his forearm.
Catherine shuddered as she heard the crack of bone, followed by tearing and then a pop as the man’s arm was ripped from its socket. His cries were inhuman. The wolf tossed the arm from its mouth and it hit the ground just inches from where Catherine lay, the sword still firmly gripped in its hand. Stood on the writhing mercenary’s chest, the wolf wasted no time in finishing him. Its teeth now took the man’s throat and tore with such force that his head was all but separated from his body.
Catherine covered her mouth to prevent herself from crying out, but the wolf sensed it was being watched and turned its gaze upon her. Catherine saw Galeren then; his eyes were fixed furiously on her. She knew it was him; though it may not have been his body, it was his eyes. Though she recognised them, they were unlike those she was used to looking into. They were wild, they were animal. The huge white wolf began to pad towards her, its teeth bared. Was he going to attack her?
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About the Author
Rebecca Blackhurst was born in Essex in 1972 but grew up in Bahrain and southern Spain. Possessing an incurable wanderlust, she travelled the globe for years before settling back in the UK to complete a degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences and PhD in Astrobiology.
Growing up on a diet of science, science fiction and fantasy, Rebecca has scribbled down stories and ideas for years but only after moving to New Zealand, for a change of lifestyle, has she been able to get her teeth into writing.
When she isn't writing, Rebecca makes natural soaps and skin care products as "Soapernatural" and sells her wares at local arts and crafts markets and fetes. Having a passion for wolves, Rebecca has two German shepherds and can often be heard howling into the night with her pack.
The Wolves of Solomon is her first novel, but she has recently published the sequel, Wolf. Driven by her characters, she has just started a third book in the series, the prequel to The Wolves of Solomon.
Contact Rebecca at her website or on Facebook.