Bk. 1, Part 2: “What Has Gone Before” [Part 1]
THE CODEX LACRIMAE, PART 2: THE BOOK OF TEARS
by & © 2012-2013 A.J. Carlisle
Excerpt from: “What Has Gone Before” section; regarding events of The Codex Lacrimae, Part 1: The Mariner’s Daughter & Doomed Knight
(Part 1 of 5 recaps):
This is the second part of THE CODEX LACRIMAE, the first novel in the nine-volume ARTIFACTS OF DESTINY series, and a tale set in a Middle Eastern castle in the twelfth century, where the Crusades ravage the land, two armies led by Saladin and Fafnir have arrived to besiege the Hospitaller castle of the Krak des Chevaliers, and the Codex Lacrimae — a book of ancient evil — is loose again upon the world.
The first part of THE CODEX LACRIMAE, The Mariner’s Daughter and Doomed Knight, told the story of how the aged Muslim scholar, Khajen ibn-Khaldun, returned to the castle after a half-year’s pursuit by Farbauti and Morpeth, unwittingly leading these Huntsmen of Muspelheim to Servius Aurelius Santini, the prophesied Codex Wielder who’s lain in hiding for five years since the horrific Battle of Mecina, and whom the Norns predict will ignite the flames of the Final Twilight when he touches the Dark Book.
But the story also revealed that hope remains. Or, at least, the Norns have foretold that two teenagers could stop the impending disaster if they heed the advice of Mimir and the Sisters of Fate.
In “A Fortress Besieged,” the first book of THE CODEX LACRIMAE, Ríg, an 18-year-old apprentice to both Brother Perdieu and Ibn-Khaldun, trains to be a warrior-monk in the castle’s courtyards and library, seeking only a quiet existence because of a haunted and secret past. His closest friends are two younger boys, Marcus and Pellion, who look up to Ríg as being everything they hope to be in the military-scholastic environment of the Krak. Another teenager, Jacob — a Jewish boy who accepts Ibn-Khaldun’s offer of refuge along with his sick mother, Rebecca — befriends all three youths and comes to share the same kind of admiration for Ríg, although with some reservations. Jacob’s father was killed at the Christian citadel of Mecina, the site of a battle between Hospitaller Crusaders and one of Saladin’s Muslim armies that has a mythic reputation throughout the Levant.
Even though the mysterious Hooded Hospitaller, Servius Aurelius Santini, saved hundreds of pilgrims and defenders of Mecina, the casualties on both sides were fearsome. The battle of Mecina consumed Santini himself, one of Saladin’s brothers, and left the young Marcus with a baffling condition that makes communication difficult and apparently reduced the boy to an infantile state. In spite of those setbacks, though, Jacob learns firsthand both that Marcus has a reputation of being one of the best sword fighters in the castle (besides Ríg) and that he plays a mean game of Gluckhaus!
Hundreds of miles away from this strapping young man, the story also introduced 17-year-old Clarinda Trevisan, a beautiful Venetian sea merchant’s daughter whose greatest joys are sailing with her father and working to someday command her own fleet. Seeking to avenge her father’s murder at the hands of the Templar Grandmaster, Evremar of Choques, and the Black Sea pirate, Kenezki — with the help of Fatima (Ibn-Khaldun’s daughter) and Khalil’s bedouin tribe, as well as the steadfast loyalty of her childhood friends, Alexander and Genevieve Stratioticus — Clarinda starts fulfilling the Norn prophecies that foretell her becoming Urd.
Working with both Khalil’s bedouin forces and the army of the ousted king of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan, Clarinda devises a land and sea assault at Caesarea that overthrows Evremar and causes Kenezki to flee. The experience teaches Clarinda to start trusting the premonitions and dream-visions that start to come even during the waking hours, most of which are filled with images of a handsome knight whom she knows to be Servius Aurelius Santini, a young man for whom she feels attraction and distrust because of the Battle of Mecina…
[Continued on next page, “Bk 1, Pt 2: What Has Gone Before (Part 2)]