Tag Archives: crystal

Viridian

One of the greatest challenges of writing an epic fantasy tale is creating unforgettable characters that don’t have to constantly appear in the book in order to be remembered.  Epics must have many characters and no matter what you do, you can’t expand on all of them right away.  Some of them are developed gradually, some much later on.

In BETRAYAL, the first book of THE CRYSTAL CRUX series, Young Viridian only appears in one chapter near the beginning.  I named the chapter after her and I am wholly confident readers won’t forget her even by the time they get to the end.  Even with all the violence and swearing, Viridian is one of the chief reasons THE CRYSTAL CRUX is an Adult fantasy.  Viridian has an unnerving libido, a heightened drive to be pleasured and pleasure.

Make me love you, make me hate you – make me curse your name.” – Viridian

Viridian is actually one of the more central figures in The Crystal Crux series but you might not realize it after reading the first book.  She does, however, have an integral part to play in the outcome.  This is a ten day journey readers have begun and Book One (Betrayal) is only the first day of that journey.

Click here to purchase the Paperback, Audio or ebook at Amazon

Viridian is Rugerius Fabbro’s lover, his lady-in-waiting.  She is also his cousin, the daughter of his deceased aunt on his mother’s side.  Viridian’s parents were lost tragically at sea during a shipwreck when she was twelve.  She was distraught and lonely and brought to the palace in Parthenope to become an adoptive daughter to Gherardus and Druda Fabbro.

Unexpectedly, the young girl took one look at her powerful cousin, the Castellan of the great city, and fell head over heels for him.  Her lust erupted.

Rugerius Fabbro was a lout anyway, warring and carousing with anybody and everybody.  His eager young cousin took advantage of him one night in a drunken state.  Once Rugerius’ senses returned to him, he thought he’d have fun with her and keep the relationship alive, thinking she’d fold and run home.

She didn’t.  She rose to meet every twisted challenge he set before her and soon Rugerius found himself a bit smitten by her.  Viridian pleasured in ways few other women could, so he kept her despite his father’s protests.

Viridian is now nineteen and fantasizes incessantly about being seduced and loved by the gods, or demons, or anything supernatural and otherworldly.

Her relentless passion is bound to lead her to places she has yet to imagine.

There will be much more to read about Viridian in forthcoming books.  I promise you that.  She will guarantee that the Adult content in The Crystal Crux series doesn’t wilt.

“Inclined comfortably on one arm, Viridian waited a few heartbeats, staring patiently at the open doorway as if expecting someone else to arrive.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

Will you arrive?

Purchase the Ebook on Smashwords

Read more about Pero de Alava

Read more about Francis Whitehall

Read more about Anthea Manikos

Francis Whitehall

I give the readers of The Crystal Crux-Betrayal a pretty good look at Pero de Alava’s best friend and estate steward at Capua, Francis Whitehall.

Francis is the quintessential, God-fearing, Christian knight of legend.  He swings his blade like he quotes verse, gracefully, artfully and deadly.  In a fallen world populated by sinners and recalcitrance, he exemplifies true devotion to integrity and faith.  And he has honed these virtues to an unexpected point of alienation and self-destruction.

“There was a time when the Whitehall family name stood for something, something honored and celebrated.  It was respected and had great prestige.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux-Betrayal

The Whitehall family crest is a snarling, orange crouchant griffin.  Francis wears it proudly now, but it was he that restored the prestige.  Francis father, William, had been a knight as well, serving notably for King Baldwin III in Jerusalem.  He returned home from the wars, wed Constance, and settled down to have a domestic life of farming.

When Francis turned seven, William was struck down by a cruel fever that stole his wits.  The poor man went mad, mumbling incessantly about wickedness all around them, the horrors of what he had done in the war coming back to punish him.  William donned his armor one last time and murdered a dozen people in Warwick.  He was subdued and taken.  Constance lost everything.  It was all forfeited to the crown and William was hung.

Impoverished, Constance and Francis would have been left to the streets if it had not been for the kindly considerations of Lord Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, a devout Templar and long time friend of the family.  He took them in and raised Francis.  The young Griffin was instilled with a devotion for the Wolfe unlike anything he could ever explain to anyone.

When the Wolfe fell on hard times, lost more of his fortune, his castle at Warwick crumbling, around him, his knightly forces recanted and left him for more prosperous lords.  Only Francis, who had recently wed Midonia, stayed loyal.

Midonia was an ogress but Francis had a misguided belief that the cruelest women hid the greatest cache of virtue and love deep in her heart.  After siring Anne, Francis learned that there was no cache beneath it all and life with Midonia would forever be a test of wills.

While the descending Wolfe struggled, Francis led his family on the road, living for months on end in an enormous canvas pavilion, entering every tournament and melee on the continent.

“For Francis Whitehall, these tournaments were not games.  Every waking moment had become a question of life and death.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

During the Grand Melee in Germany on Whitsuntide, when Emperor Barbarossa brought his sons into knighthood, Francis rode to the rescue of a Spanish caballero he had just met.  Pero de Alava was battling assassins and more than grateful to the Griffin.  He went to England and negotiated with the Wolfe for Francis’ service.

Spending all their time together thereafter, they became fast friends and when Pero received his Imperial commission at Capua, Francis and his family followed.

Francis Whitehall is one of the more stirring characters in the series and I believe many will who read it will feel emotionally attached to him, rooting for him at every turn.

Click here to purchase on Amazon

Click here to purchase on Smashwords

Click here to purchase at Barnes&Noble

Also available on other literary sites including iBook.

If you want to read about more characters in The Crystal Crux-Betrayal, check out some of the other postings on this site and my authors page – AM WERNER

Anthea of Greece

Anthea Manikos was born in October 1174 in Sounion, on a rocky sterile plain on the southern most tip of the Attica peninsula in Greece.  The only thing the land there is really good for is mining.  Anthea’s father, Nikitas, owns several mines in the region chiefly Laurion, producing iron ore and silver.  Nikitas is miserly and they live a very Spartan lifestyle.

Penelope, Anthea’s mother died when she was a child and Nikitas brought in the best nannies and teachers he could find to educate her and prepare her to be wed to a nobleman someday.  This is the arrangement that brought Anthea to Italy, to Parthenope.

Pero de Alava first meets Anthea in a small chapel the night before her marriage to another.  Anthea turns his head from the get.  Despite his intoxication and her inexplicable grief shedding involving both tears and hair, Pero is drawn to her, proposing to wed her then and there.

Anthea is very religious, the orthodoxy of the eastern Byzantine Empire.  Francis Whitehall, the Estate Steward of Capua, so swears that Anthea is the kindest human being he has ever met.  He couldn’t imagine her ever thinking evil of others.  She is nearly always smiling and helping others, her heightened awareness seemingly tapping into the quintessence of her surroundings.

Twenty-three, Anthea has been living in her own apartment at Capua for a year now.  She was devastated by the miscarriage of the arranged marriage her father prepared for her.  The city of Parthenope so disappointed her, she has sworn to never return to that city.  She is just beginning to recover from the trauma of that event.

After announcing their engagement in August 1197, Pero swept Anthea off on a whirlwind tour of Spain and his holdings there.  Anthea enjoyed most of the holiday, everything that is except the time she spent with Maria Alava, Pero’s saintly mother.  It seemed the woman was testing her at every turn.  Anthea is still not confident, even to this day, that Maria approves of her.

Despite that misgiving, Anthea continues to prepare for their wedding in a fortnight.  She plans to make her own dress, several prototypes already fashioned in a backroom.  She is involved in every detail of the event.  It is to be her magnum opus.

The chief reluctance still haunting her, however, is Pero himself.  Every since the caballero was expelled from a banquet thrown in his honor in Parthenope after an unexpected dust up with the powerful Fabbro family, Pero has been distant.  His mind wanders and he seems all alone.

‘She started to think her affection for him was not inspiring enough to rouse him from his stupor and fully awake him from his worries.’ (Excerpt)

Anthea didn’t want to believe Pero was having a change of heart but his constant mindless wanderings into dark foreboding shadows worried her.

When Pero shows up at her door wearing his armor, Miriam sheathed at his side, she knows things are truly amiss and their world is about change.  She is frightened and clings to him, rosary beads in hand.  She tries her best to dissuade him from taking this reckless course he seems determined to walk.

For those who have not read the book, be sure to pick up your copy of THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL on Amazon, available in both Paperback and Kindle (soon in audio-book as well).  When you get done reading this book, the first in the series, you will have only gone one days journey on a ten day hike.  It promises to be a long and eventful ride.  I hope you come along.

AMAZON – The Crystal Crux paperback and kindle

IMG_2220

PROTAGONIST PERO

While I’m trying to build and reveal the personalities of many characters in my series, THE CRYSTAL CRUX, the character who drives the story and would be considered the protagonist is Pero de Alava.

Pero de Alava was born in Spain in 1164, the bastard son of Blassilo Velez and Maria Alava.

Blassilo is a wealthy caballero with many holdings in Spain including Cielo Diamantes, his favorite horse ranch, located several miles southeast of his military posting at Penafiel Castle.

Maria Alava is a well-to-do socialite of Mozarabic descent.  She prefers the culture and refinement of the big city, especially her birthplace, Valladolid.  She is infatuated by the uncouth cabellero of House Velez but refuses to marry a man who is always warring and cannot control his libido.  She also has no desire to live on a horse ranch in the middle of nowhere.

When Pero is born, they decide to split his time between them.  Pero winters with his mother in Valladolid, receiving a proper education and religious training.  In summer, he is with his father learning about the ways of the knight.

Blassilo and Maria maintain a correspondence by letters.  Although Blassilo cannot read or write, he has scribes who can translate and assist him with this endeavor.  Twice a year, when exchanging parental guardianship, Blassilo and Maria meet at Cielo Diamantes and spend time together as man and woman, husband and wife.  This is enough to satisfy Maria as she spends the rest of the year fending off handsome, willing paramours.  Blassilo, meanwhile, is openly lascivious.  On his deathbed, he expresses his shame in this regard.  He tells his seventeen-year-old son, at that time, how he wishes he had been wiser and more willing to stay by Maria’s side the only woman he had truly loved.  This is why he invested so much into raising Pero and not the other ‘mongrels’ as he calls them.

When Blassilo passes, he orders that Pero be taken to Emperor Barbarossa to be knighted and named heir of everything belonging to House Velez including Cielo Diamantes.  The Roman Catholic Church is already at odds with Barbarossa and the Hohenstaufen line of emperors and sees anyone allied with them as an enemy.

When Richard de Couer, the Lionheart King of England is taken prisoner by the new emperor, Barbarossa’s son, Emperor Henry VI, in 1193, the Church is rendered impotent.  The Hohenstaufens of Germany had long plagued the peoples of Italy, driving troops into their country, forcing compliance with the Empire.  Wielding power and influence, Emperor Henry VI commands that Pero de Alava accept an Imperial appointment to the castle in Capua governing and taxing activity around the Volturno River.

Pero, along with his best friend, Francis Whitehall, an Englishman who once saved his life from would-be assassins at a melee, takes command of Capua in November 1193.  Pero’s administration is just and admired.  He meets a Grecian beauty named Anthea Manikos to whom he proposes almost immediately.

Then, while touring Spain with his bride-to-be, Pero initiates a trade pact with the Almohads bringing unique and exotic goods, as well as more coin to Italy.

The Fabbro family who rule the Campania region where Capua is located, call for a banquet in Pero’s honor at Parthenope.  Things get heated as political allegiances begin to arise.  Pero’s benefactor, Emperor Henry VI has died and there is civil unrest in Europe over his replacement.  Pero, of course, favors the next Hohenstaufen, Philip of Swabia.  The people of Parthenope, including the Fabbro family are friendly with the Church of Rome and despise the tyranny of the Hohenstaufen.  They support of Otto of Brunswick.  Tempers flare.  Pero does the unthinkable and defends himself against the kingdom’s native son, Rugerius Fabbro.

It is war and Pero believes he is alone in this.  He fears his actions will have lasting repercussions on his loved ones.  In a desperate attempt at rediscovering peace, Pero breaks off his engagement, rebukes his best friend’s advice and bolts for Eagles Pass thinking that serving as a scapegoat, the wrath of the Fabbro family will be satisfied.  Sadly, he has miscalculated and failed to see how evil and determined they are.  His friends stand to pay a heavy price even in his absence.

When you get done reading THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL, you will be one day in on a journey that will last ten days.  I hope you all come along for the ride.

OPHIS DRACONEM

“Surprised, Ophis snarled at the nimble warrior, trying to bite him.  He flexed the lozenge scales of his extended neck and revealed beneath his chin an iridescent blue dewlap.  Mere seconds passed before the dewlap was wholly inflated and guttural clicking sounds emerged from inside the dragon’s demonic belly.  Ophis sent forth fire from his mouth and nostrils.”
– Except from THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL

AMAZON – The Crystal Crux paperback and kindle

When I originally began writing THE CRYSTAL CRUX, I had several dragon names I toyed around with.  During my exhaustive research of mythological tales, I came upon several usages of the term ‘Ophis’.  It seems several stories and games have used the term for a variety of “evil” things.

My decision to use the name Ophis for my black dragon came after I learned that Gnostic teachings believed that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was Ophis.  He actually meant to elicit the aid of the WORD’s in convincing humanity to disobey the Creator in order to gain knowledge of good and evil – or gnosis.

There are also ancient Greek accounts of another ancient people living near the River Tagus which is now part of Portugal.  These people, the Oestrinmi, had been chased out of their former realm by a plague of snakes.  There was a convergence of terms for these ‘western most people”, everything from Saefs, Ophis and Dragani.  The Oestrinmi or Ophi were said to worship serpents, which many historians now consider could have been as diverse as Wyvern, Griffins and Dragons.

Although many accounts give Ophis wings and the ability to fly, others saw him as chthonic, earth dwelling, subterranean.  He was then associated, especially with the ancient Greeks, as dealing with the underworld.

The Egyptians and Indian mythology had an ouroboros ophis, tail eater, creating an infinite circle.  While in Norse mythology, the ophis that encircles the earth, or Midgard, one of the nine worlds, separating it from the heavens, is Jormungand, an offspring of Loki.

In the stars themselves, we can see Ophiotaurus or Taurus Ophis, serpent-bull.  It is a combination constellation of Taurus and Cetus.  This black-skinned creature was said to have been destroyed by a sea Titan.

For my series, THE CRYSTAL CRUX, Ophis a black dragon startled awake by a Norse blacksmith named Taf.  Ophis learns of the Bellerophon Crystals and their power and covets them.  He will stop it nothing to collect them and use them and rule the earth.

BETRAYAL

FRIDAY NIGHT FUN

Having some quiet time alone in the basement with my laptop, I worked on The Crystal Crux – Book Two, and my head is exploding.  I managed to write a little but most of what I have is research.  Research can be fun but time consuming.  Sometimes the things you want to find and learn are elusive but the rewarding part is the unexpected knowledge you gain.  Your head starts formulating ways to work this new material in without making the story weighty or sound like a text book.  You look for ways to apply these tidbits to a characters history or personality.

Tonight I was researching everything from the Byzantine Empire and its influences on Medieval Greece to bullfighting in Spain.  Yes, all of these are applicable for Book Two.  And no, I can’t concentrate on one subject very long, that’s why I have to wander and research multiple projects at the same time.

In Book Two, for those who have read Book One and are familiar with my characters, I need to add more depth to Anthea Manikos who hails from Hellas (Greece) which was part of the Byzantine Empire in 1198.

For Pero de Alava, my protagonist, I must recreate a bullfight he had at a young age.  And since I know next to nothing about bullfighting, this has been challenging.  I was even thinking to myself at one point during the night, “Going in, I know more about the Byzantine Empire than I do about bullfighting.”  It just seemed odd to me that this was true.

Anyway – if anyone knows of any links or books that could aid me on this journey of discovery concerning Medieval Greece during the Byzantine Empire or Spanish bullfighting during the Middle Ages, I would be much appreciated if you could direct those my way.

In the meantime, enjoy The Crystal Crux – Betrayal.  I’ll have Book Two of the series hopefully completed by October 2016.  That is my goal.  Peace.

Video Teaser

For those new to THE CRYSTAL CRUX page, I released a teaser trailer for the book “THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL’ before its release date.

The book is, of course, now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

I’m currently working to have an audio-book version produced which should be available by May 2016.

YouTube video trailer THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL

Happy Reading!

HERE YE, HERE YE

 

After researching this stuff, because I am not website savy, I have learned how to do this!  Or at the very least, I’m getting better at it.

This WORDPRESS website will be dedicated solely to “The Crystal Crux” series.

My other WORDPRESS website http://amwerner.com will be dedicated to all writings I author, so that site should change in nature as I go along.  I do have other writings I have already or will in the future, write  (Chessy grin)

Anyway, there its.  Looking forward to making this work, getting the word out on my series.  I hope you enjoy it and are as excited about it as I am!  – AM Werner