The Chosen Knights (Read Prequel--The Angel Knights first) (The Angel Knights Series Book 2)

BOOK: The Chosen Knights (Read Prequel--The Angel Knights first) (The Angel Knights Series Book 2)
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Copyright © Mary Ting 2016

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Licensing Notes

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 articles and reviews.

 

Prologue

1300

France

“FIRE!” the voices screeched in horror through the night air, vibrating against the walls as church bells rang. They didn’t stop Jacques from running toward the smoke. After dashing out of the house with a dagger and a bucket, he ran across the dirt road as fast as his legs would allow. His legs throbbed and his lungs hurt, but he kept going. His fury alone made him impervious to the danger before him. After all, he had been recruited as one of the Knights Templar and was trained to fight and be a hero.

The priory had been built for the Knights Templar on an acre of land donated by the Church. Jacques had been in his bedroom, about to kneel for prayers, when through the window he saw light flickering from the church. At first he thought he had imagined it, but then he heard the screams. Every fiber of his being urged him to stay away from the fire, but he couldn’t—he needed to help put it out. His first concern was Father Simon, who was inside the church—or so he’d said.

“Father Simon,” Jacques called, pushing his way through the desperate horde of people running in both directions, toward and away from the church. Some were trying to put out the flames with buckets of water, but saving the structure seemed a futile task. When he opened the double doors, smoke filled the air and pockets of blistering flames scorched the back walls.

Though it was merely fire, and he could have easily escaped if Father Simon weren’t a concern, he hesitated, sensing something malevolent. Questioning the sensation, he clenched his dagger as he proceeded cautiously. What could possibly have made him feel so hesitant? Perhaps the danger of the fire, or the fact something divine was being destroyed and fire represented evil to him.

“Father Simon, are you in here?” Jacques called again as he snapped out of his stupor. He stifled a cough as smoke started to fill his lungs, and then he attempted to cover his face. Though his eyes burned, he inched closer to the flames, yelling to Father Simon one last time in case he’d been knocked out. Seeing no sign of him, he ran for the door.

Jacques lost his footing on the floor midway as though he had been tossed. He was almost certain he hadn’t tripped, and he wasn’t clumsy. But an eerie feeling shot along his backbone.

“Who’s there?” He panicked, searching for the dagger that slid across the floor when he fell. When he spotted it, he pushed himself up, but something hot gripped his neck. His feet dangled about a foot above the floor. “Show yourself, coward. I don’t fear you.” Jacques put up a brave front, but it started to falter.

“Jacques de Molay, at last. See me now,” a slow and menacing voice hissed in his ears. What he saw before him was unfathomable, a nightmare come alive.
Impossible.
Flames outlined the shape of a body and massive black wings. Eyes, dark as onyx and evil, were in the middle of the space where the head should have been.

“Where is the treasure?” The evil monster’s deep, gruff voice sounded like the devil himself.

“I don’t understand,” he choked. Jacques had found many treasures, but already knew the specific treasure it sought—but the monster must be unaware of that. “How do you know my name?”

“That’s irrelevant. I know the Knights Templar have it,” it growled.

Jacques tried to find a way to escape, but it seemed hopeless as he was lifted higher and felt more pressure on his neck. “Please, I don’t…have it. I don’t know what you’re…talking about.”

“If you ever want to see your friend again, you’d better start talking,” the monster roared. Then it shifted its eyes to the dagger on the floor. As the monster lifted its arm, the dagger started to rattle and then flew right into its flaming hand. “You made a dagger from the true cross. How clever.” It examined it with greedy eyes. “You have no idea how long I’ve searched for this piece.”

The Church had asked the Knights Templar to keep a handful of treasures hidden from the world. One happened to be a twelve-inch, wooden piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Jacques had placed a simple steel handle on one end and carved the wood to a sharp point on the other to create a dagger. On either side, near the handle, he had embedded a cross to represent the Knights Templar.

“Do you know why this piece is special?” it asked.

“No,” Jacques whimpered, scared out of his mind. He’d heard of supernatural beings, but had never believed them true.

“Let me show you.”

Before Jacques could say a word, a horrendous pain burst in his chest and shortly enveloped him. He wanted to cry out, but he couldn’t. His whole body was frozen. He didn’t know if he was even breathing. Only his eyes could move. He’d felt that kind of pain before when the sword of a bandit had stabbed him on his way to Jerusalem, but not to this degree.

“Do you feel it, Jacques?” The evil words slithered into his ears. “I just stabbed the dagger right into your heart. But you’re not dead, nor are you bleeding. You see, Jacques, this blade is unique. It can petrify its victim. If I pulled it out, it would be as if you had never had the dagger in you. However, if I twist it one full turn, you will die. Your heart will bleed. Shall I do it?”

Jacques couldn’t answer. He could only stare at the being and pray it was not the end. Suddenly, he dropped to the floor. He rubbed his chest and the pain faded. As he peered upward, the blazing creature became Father Simon. Beyond him, Jacques saw the fire had spread to half the church. The collapsed ceiling reflected the urgency of the desperate situation. He had a chance to escape, seeing no sign of the monster.

“Father Simon?” Jacques coughed relentlessly. Smoke lay thick and heavy in the air. His trembling legs were immobile, as if planted to the floor. “Father Simon, run,” he whispered. Jacques wanted to yell at him to free him from the magic that seemed to be controlling him too, but he couldn’t.

Father Simon leaned in closer, craning his neck sideways. His eyes flared with flames and he bared shark-like teeth. “I’m not Simon,” it barked. “I’m Cyrus, the master of all demons. Fear me, breathe me, and worship me. I am your God.” His tone softened, yet still chilled him to his soul. “Be a good servant and give me the treasure. If you don’t have it, then you’d better find it, or you’ll end up dead like your friend. Let this be a warning to you all: death will find you if you don’t obey my command.”

As the name Cyrus pounded like thunder in Jacques’s mind, the ground shook madly and he swayed, trying not to fall. Jacques closed his eyes and prayed, “…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil—”

The sound of sinister laughter made him stop and open his eyes.

“You fool,” Cyrus seethed. “Your God won’t help you. He has abandoned you. Why do you think I exist?”

Jacques’s cringing face relaxed when the monster disappeared, but the heat was unbearable. He reached to grab Father Simon and dash for the door when he saw blood seeping from the priest’s chest. The white gown he wore was becoming soaked with crimson liquid, the stain expanding with every passing second.

“Father Simon,” Jacques gasped. He stiffened even more, unsure of how to help the priest. He could see Father Simon coming out of the spell. His eyes glowed in fright as if begging for help. Strangely, his body was rigid and no sound of pain left his mouth, even when more blood spread over his gown.

In the next instant, Father Simon’s heart erupted through his chest wall and dropped to the floor with a splat. Jacques flinched when the dots of crimson liquid splashed onto his face and shirt, and blood gushed from the empty space in the priest’s chest. He caught a glimpse of the true-cross dagger that had been used for the murderous act. Suddenly, Father Simon’s neck snapped with a twist and his head dropped to the floor.

Frozen in shock, Jacques gaped as a massive black mist floated out of Father Simon’s body, and then soared through the burning ceiling and into the darkness of night.

“Run, you pathetic human.” The words echoed in his mind. “I will curse all descendants of the Knights Templars. From this day forth, you shall all see me and fear me.”

Jacques dashed for the door, knowing he had little time to escape the fire. The blazing wood from above plunged behind him. Pain ripped through him with every step and breath he took. Finally, he plunged out into the cool, crisp breeze. He bent over with his hands resting on his knees, gasping for breath while his body shook with shock.

Over his shoulder, the blistering fire raged. Then, as if Hell had opened up, it sucked in the remnants of the church and even the Knights Templar statue—two men riding a horse while holding a flag. As a loud, torturous growl pierced the air, the church vanished, leaving behind only debris. His heart sank as he came to the realization Father Simon was dead, and Jacques himself had lost a valuable treasure.

“Father Simon, I’m so sorry,” he murmured, his heart aching again, but for a different reason.

He wished it had indeed been a nightmare, one he could wake up from because his pain was immeasurable, beyond comprehension. It would take time for him to absorb the horror. But he couldn’t keep it to himself. He had to share his experience with his Knights Templar brothers.

Cyrus would be relentless so Jacques had to ensure the treasure was buried somewhere discreet—somewhere not even his brothers would be apprised of. He couldn’t trust anyone. The monster had taken Father Simon’s soul. Who was to say he couldn’t do the same to the Knights Templar brothers? But where should he hide the treasure?

A myth had been passed down through generations, stating a leader of demons would rise from the depths of the abyss and fight alongside fallen angels to rule all of humanity. Jacques had believed it to be a fairy tale recited to children to keep them from being unruly and disobeying their parents. That day validated the story; monstrous evil did exist. Even if Cyrus couldn’t win the war during this time, he would search endlessly. A war brewed—good versus evil—and depending on who still stood at the end, Heaven or Hell would come to Earth.

God help us all.

BOOK: The Chosen Knights (Read Prequel--The Angel Knights first) (The Angel Knights Series Book 2)
12.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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