Bk. 1, Part 2: “What Has Gone Before” [Part 2]
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 2 of 5 recaps):
Clarinda joins Khalil and Fatima’s nomads on their way to seek protection from Saladin, who’s currently besieging the Krak. Along the way, Clarinda secretly trains to become a Norn, discovering that for every night that passes on her three-day journey across the desert, a month passes in the Norn Grot- toes of the Nine Worlds. Aided by Urd (the Norn of Fate who’s destined to die at the hands of Morpeth), and the two other Norns (Verdandi and Skuld, who each keep taking the appearances of Genevieve and Fatima) — as well as by magical animals such as Ratatosk the Squirrel, and the wolves Geri and Freki, who guard Yggdrassil, the World tree — Clarinda rapidly develops the skills necessary to survive in the perilous Nine Worlds. Clarinda learns that the Norns watch over the Nine Worlds from Mimir’s Well, a supernatural flaming pool that’s surrounded by vast grottoes that serve as the living quarters and research libraries for the Witches of Fate.
When Clarinda, Fatima, and Khalil arrive with the bedouin at Saladin’s encampment, they discover that they have come just as Farbauti and Morpeth are completing their machinations. Having successfully made the alliance between Saladin’s and Fafnir’s armies, the Huntsmen split forces: Morpeth leads the group of Assassins that will try to open the gate of the Krak des Chevaliers, and Farbauti joins with a newly arrived Kenezki (who’s just come from the Battle of Caesarea) to torture Saladin’s brother, Hamzah al-Adil, for eavesdropping on their plotting with the mysterious leader of the eastern army, a disguised Fafnir the Dragon.
- Back at the Krak, Jacob interrupts the meeting of Hospitaller senior staff in Grand Master Arcadian’s solarium (where Ibn-Khaldun, Mercedier, Damian, and Perdieu are arguing), alerting all to the fact that Assassins have infiltrated the castle walls.
Ríg reacts immediately to the threat, leaping from a window and attacking the intruders single-handedly until aided by a half-clad Marcus, who’s still in the clothes from his hospital bed. The youthful fighters succeed in their defense, but at a cost: Marcus is injured in the shoulder by an arrow and — still grappling with one of the Assassins — passes from Ríg’s sight down a hill into the stable area.
Realizing that Marcus’s distorted cries of “Orí, Orí, Orí” are attempts by the stuttering boy to say,“Aurelius,” Morpeth gleefully identifies Ríg as Servius Aurelius Santini, the mythic Crusader from Mecina.
Morpeth corners the young knight, and orders him to “awaken the Codex” or die. As the book concludes, Ríg succumbs to the nick of a poisoned arrow fired by Morpeth and gets transported into the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology…
[Continued on next page, “Bk 1, Pt 2: What Has Gone Before (Part 3)]