Sorry I’ve been off the grid for awhile. I was busy revising The Crystal Crux – Betrayal. It is not available in YA format. The language has been toned down to a high school reading level. The sexuality and violence has been limited as well. Overall, the story line remains true. I hope you take a chance to read it. The YA edition is only available through Amazon paperback. It should be available as a Kindle ebook in the next 24 hours. I’ve included the link below. Be sure to write a review and tell your friends, families and neighbors about it. This book is much more accessible to a wider reading audience. Happy Reading.
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.
“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
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.