In Betrayal, the first book of The Crystal Crux series, we don’t see or hear much use of magic or otherworldly occurrences. There are some. There are hints of heightened activity in the city of Parthenope of little tiny lizards. By the end of Chapter 4, we learn there is a sinister giant, a court magician wearing a Bellerophon Crystal. Neither the giant or the Lord of Parthenope, Gherardus Fabbro, reveal anything more about it – it simply is something they are aware of and respect the power.
And then Chapters 5 & 6 go way off course to focus on the creation of the Bellerophon Crystals themselves.
Bellerophon is a warrior of ancient Greek mythology. There are many variations, and many legends as well as storytellers of all the ancients. I embellished on Euripides tale where Bellerophon rides Pegasus to Mount Olympus. Zeus does indeed send a gadfly to sting the horse’s backside, sending Bellerophon back down to earth in a heap. It is said he survived the fall but was crippled, a beggarly figure eating his heart out, his death never recorded.
I gave Bellerophon purpose. Before he fell, he grabbed and stole esoteric particles from heaven. He then took the particles to another fallen “god”, Hephaestus. Together, they devise a plan to help Bellerophon make the earth his kingdom. Hephaestus doesn’t really care what happens on earth as long as innocent people keep dying and their blood drips down into his caves. The more war Bellerophon makes, the better for him.
And then I turned to the constellations of the night sky and pulled down Ophis from Serpens. Serpens is a unique constellation in that it is split in two halves with Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer between the head and tail. Ophis is also, by some accounts, the ancient snake or dragon of the Bible, the one in the Garden of Eden. It seemed fitting to inject Ophis into the tale, messing up Bellerophon’s plans.
So Bellerophon’s plans get messed up, the five crystal Hephaestus created containing the esoteric particles of heaven were separated and lost during the eruption of Vesuvius, and now one Crystal, the center-stone, the Crux, is being used by the giant Sinibaldus.
And then the magic ends for awhile. Life goes on as does the “betrayal” of Pero de Alava, a well-respected Spaniard running things in Capua. All was well for Pero while Emperor Henry VI yet lived. After Henry dies, however, there is an election for a new emperor which ultimately leads to civil unrest. Pero is on the wrong side of the battle lines when he foolishly professes his support for Henry’s brother, Philip. All hell breaks loose after that and Pero doesn’t know where to turn for answers. He’s rightfully scared of what the Fabbro family has planned for him and his loved ones.
It is at this point, Pero starts having nightmares. The visions become so powerful and imposing, they affecting him during the day. He sees only death. His faith in God wanes.
And during his dive into madness and uncertainty, a letter comes from Parthenope, sending him on a suicidal quest. Pero sees this as his out, a chance to leave all his problems and ghosts behind him. He shuns the advice of his best friend, forsakes his bride-to-be, and leaves, a scapegoat taking his sins into the wilderness to save his people.
Sadly, those seeking vengeance often respond in wholehearted measures we can’t often reason or define. They’ll stop it nothing to punish all usurpers, sending a message to all who may try to oppose them in the future.
A bit a magic begins to rear itself as Pero sees things and experiences things on his quest he couldn’t imagine possible before that day. Even Francis Whitehall, during a moment of betrayal and terror, is confronted by an otherworldly tranquility he will need in order to persevere.
As one steps into Book Two of the series, Blue Grotto, the magic and otherworldly elements begin to really flow into the story. The barrier between reality and supernatural is broken, especially in magical places like the Blue Grotto.
Don’t forget, Betrayal and Blue Grotto are adult versions of the story not meant for the young and squeamish. I did create one young adult volume combining the first two books called The First Three Days. The whole series will eventually encompass ten days – ten days in the year 1198. I hope you join us on the quest. Be sure to leave a review. Authors need reviews – especially self-published authors. The more the better!
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