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Purple Dragon of House Fabbro

The ruling family of Parthenope in The Crystal Crux series is the House of Fabbro.  The family crest is a snarling, purple dragon named Sarcinus.

There are three elements to the crest to ponder.

First – it is purple.  Purple was the color of the Roman Emperors and associated with royalty in Medieval Europe.  It is a demanding color and expects to lead, wants to wear the crown and thinks it is the head.  It often represents pride.

Second – the dragon.  Commonly, dragons are symbolic of incredible strength and unyielding power, absolute.  Those who swear fealty to dragons are considered lucky and blessed by this association.  They are intelligent, self-determined and unbending.  OPHIS DRACONEM

Third – a gold tongue.  He is a seducer and exploiter of others.  He uses prestige and wealth rather than intellect and rational thought to tempt and ensnare, goad, challenge, lead and mislead.  Nothing is as it seems.  It offers nothing more than a shine and promises of things it doesn’t intend to fulfill.

Keep those attributes in mind when reading about the exploits of the Fabbro family.

Allen M Werner is the author of The Crystal Crux series.
Book One – Betrayal.  Click here to purchase Betrayal
Book Two – Blue Grotto.  Click here to purchase Blue Grotto

Also a special YA edition called The First Three Days.
Click here to purchase The First Three Days

More to come …

Book Three As Yet Untitled

I when I begin writing a new book, especially one that is part of The Crystal Crux series, it comes with a mixture of excitement and dread.  In my mind, I see it all.  It’s like a movie and all the players are doing exactly what I want them to do, saying what I want them to say, looking dramatic, romantic, heroic and foolish, driving the tale forward.

Once I sit at the keys and start typing, the ability to recount it sort of ebbs and flows, one moment just pouring out of me with ease, another moment absent and recluse.

I write with storyboards.  The invention of the Post-It is a godsend.  By the time I get done, planning and plotting out more details, my storyboard will be covered with Post-Its that have been moved and changed a thousand times.

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I know from feedback I have received that people want to hear more about Pero de Alava and Francis Whitehall.  I promise to do my best to keep them front and center – BUT – the flow of the story doesn’t always work with them there.  There time is coming but there are sinister forces doing much of the driving right now and there will be a great deal more revealed about them in Book Three.

Like what?

(Don’t read any further if you haven’t read Book Two and don’t want to know what’s going on.  Or if you’re curious and don’t care – go for it.)

Well, there is Gherardus Fabbro.  He just discovered that two people whose counsel he thought he could trust, lied to him.  His son, Rugerius, said he killed everyone at Capua.  Turns out he didn’t.  In fact, the bastard kept Anthea Manikos alive and is intending to wed her, something he was supposed to do a long time ago but didn’t.

And than there is the giant magician Sinibaldus.  He really let the old commander’s trust down when he said Pero de Alava was dead, even going into detail describing his death.  It was all a fraud.  Now Gherardus is unsure who to trust.

And who is at his side now?  Is it his faithful Provost, Guidus Salvatore, a man of impeccable honor and knowledge?  No.  Gherardus sent that poor man to his death, convincing him that delivering a letter to Pero in Capua was just a routine affair of state and he’d be home the next day.

Nope, Gherardus as his other son, Talento, serving as Provost now, and this wiry boy can’t be trusted at all.  And he has no head for the Provost position.

We also have the voluptuous, foxy nymph Viridian who feels forsaken by everyone in her family, including her cousin and lover, Rugerius.  A snarling, horny imp landed on her patio and invited her to a festival where she will meet Lord Ophis, a rich and powerful man, so saith the imp.

For those familiar with the tale, Ophis has not been seen or heard of since the beginning.  Will we see a bit more of the old dragon in this book?

Rugerius Fabbro is running on hate.  He’s about to ride for Eagles Pass to find the still-living Pero de Alava and bring him back, all of him or just his head, we cannot be sure.

And Pero, well, we know what happened to him.  Hell of a drop.  Too bad about that landing.

Anyway, I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I’m not making any promises on when it will be ready until I’m getting closer to completion.  I hope to have it out by Fall.  Summer would be better but it’s hard finding time to write, work my regular job and sell the books I have already written – not to mention spend time with family.

Back to it!

Click Here to see my Author’s Page on Amazon

Infusion of Magic

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.

bephon

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.

b and z

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.

Engraving by Sir James Thornhill

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!

Amazon Authors Page – Allen M Werner

Goodreads Page – Allen M Werner

Be sure to follow me on both!

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Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, January 10, 2016, I reached a milestone in life, becoming a published author with the release of The Crystal Crux – Betrayal.

Click Here and watch Flintstones singing Happy Anniversary!

To honor the occasion, I decided to highlight many of my favorite lines from the book.  Perhaps those who have not purchased or read the book will be inspired to do so.  Remember, The Crystal Crux-Betrayal is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook.

  • There wasn’t an iris in the room but still she could smell them, the, the iris and the salty sea.
  • Gherardus stood tall above the back of the chair, his grey-blue eyes glaring down on them, his mind squarely focused on the mission ahead.
  • Gherardus cuffed his frustrated fist with the other hand realizing this conspiracy was going to require more tact and coin than he had ever thought possible.
  • As if he were Samson parting the infamous pillars beneath Dagon’s temple, Gherardus shoved aside a pair of wooden doors and entered a miserable little antechamber near the bottom of the world.
  • Decidedly pedantic and anxiously ambitious, Talento Fabbro had no time for philosophy or religion.  He dismissed his elderly father’s ravings simply enough.
  • The great king of mosquitoes must have blood.  We are not here to resist him.  We will give him blood.
  • He blinked in disgust and supposed aloud, “War, for whatever purposes we have imagined, is all around us.  Friends are betraying friends.”
  • Talento Fabbro festered in the dark behind the throne.
  • The loss of such devotion and talent seemed almost immoral, almost.
  • “Awful does not do you justice, my Lord.”
  • “I have no desire to be impaled by aspirant priest.”
  • Gherardus staggered despondently down the aisle towards the same wooden pillars he had brushed aside a sin ago, once nearly tripping over a hurried little lizard that scurried across his path.  As he breached the threshold, he muttered in amusement, “And to think, I respect Pero more than any other bastard in my court.  Awful surely does not do me justice.”
  • During his nearly fatal plummet back down to earth, Bellerophon managed to gather in his grasping frantic hands a host of esoteric particles from the swirling nitrous clouds surrounding paradise.
  • Ophis had been slumbering unscathed for centuries in a remote European barrow.  He was waiting, hoping, for the return of the last age, the age when dragons ruled the earth, the age before the first man Adam breathed his first breath and stole dominion from them in the Garden of Eden.
  • What is sin to a god anyway?
  • The agitated stream of lava swallowed the crystal.
  • Ophis is still crazy mad.
  • Rugerius had always been a rapacious child.
  • Rugerius stared hard at the shiny seax in Bergus’ left hand.  The grip was bone white and the polished steel blade no more than eight-inches long.
  • Celestial courage vented down from the empyrean.
  • “Oh Venus, you love, you charming sweet dame, smile and kneel, afford, entertain.  Touch not my soul but arouse this old flame, kiss me, inhale me, be not ashamed.”
  • The Spaniard screamed as the jug of wine and the open wound rained the earth red.
  • Rugerius ripped through the bedroom like an angry bull, his soiled hands tearing a destructive path through the fragile, silk veils, many of which became unfastened from the ceiling and died, their sinuous bodies drifting down gracefully to the floor unaware that they had been violated.
  • Her arms and legs began to quiver.  Viridian was drifting towards some mystic netherworld to locate her inner beast.
  • People are sheep, subject to the whims of the ruthless.
  • “I won’t be here when you return.  I’m going to Capri.”
  • Anthea pulled her eyes away from the sindon to see why her fiance was not responding to her query.  She was not surprised to find him staring into the abyss.
  • How could the people not cheer?  How could Pero not smile?
  • “I have witnessed herds of genteel stock hoisting their shit-covered tails high in the air for all to see, turning readily from left to right, proffering up their hindquarters to every handsome bull.”
  • The clip never left him.  It was the first trinket exchanged between them, a golden clasp she once wore.
  • The red cloth reminded her of the blood filling the human heart, the precious fuel that keeps the human body alive.  The white silk harkened back to the days of childhood and purity, the times of sweet innocence and noble truth.  The answer was obvious.  “I will purchase them both for I will need them both.”
  • He forced himself to gaze upon his father’s broken body, teeth clenching, anger tearing through every fiber of his being.
  • “Bravest blood flows first,” Zor whispered commandingly.
  • “You must be the rock.  You must be Penafiel.  Everywhere you go, you must be Penafiel.”
  • The man they both loved the most in the world was traveling on a quest from which he would never return.
  • He flew upwards and outwards towards his ideals like Icarus heading for the sun.
  • Having tolerated more abuse than he believed he was expected to endure but still exercising unparalleled restraint, Pero de Alava calmly flashed Rugerius a knowing grin before rearing back and busting the hard pommel of his sword across the braggart’s face.
  • “Gentlemen, let us empty our goblets and drink our detestations away.  When the morrow comes and the sun gives light to the extent of this outrage, there will be ample opportunity to nurture the enmity you’ve fashioned for Lord Pero.  I’m sure of that.”
  • Benectus had been Capua’s faithful kitchen steward for the previous three short-lived administrations and, in his opinion; all three were venal at best.
  • Midonia hovered at the doorway like an eager vulture, her wings folded up unsympathetically inside the wide creases of her boat-sleeves.
  • “I will not strike you down though you be the devil himself.”
  • And then the demon in him roared back to life causing his body to convulse.
  • “You love God and He loves you.  The whole world could go to hell and burn in fire and you wouldn’t care.”
  • Her daddy would always be there to save her.  She need only see his face to feel at peace.
  • Merle Gilmore was a klutz.
  • “No,” Francis replied.  “I have never seen Pero of Penafiel before today.”
  • The first target to draw his attention was the feeblest knight of the lot, a tall, ill-fitted fool with a small round shield, his clumsy fat horse nothing more than an abject field mule.
  • With a singular blow of his heavy mace to the backside of the rival’s steel-plated helm, Francis sent plumage flying everywhere.
  • The Griffin began to fly.
  • “You have saved my life today, Sir Francis Whitehall of England.  Now I am going to save yours.”  Francis couldn’t hold back his smile any longer.  “God be praised.”
  • And yet today, the eminent man felt slighted.  The Provost was a common errand boy squirming uncomfortably on a pine bench in the great hall at Capua.
  • “You will avoid Benevento and travel directly to Melfi utilizing a remote and ancient trail known as Eagles Pass.”
  • Right now, she saw no shine.  She saw only armor and a sword, dark embodiments of death, emblems of conflict and harbingers of separation.  His wearing it now said much.
  • She was close to tears.  “Pero, I’m scared.  I beg you, husband, come, take my hand and let us pray.”
  • “She is henceforth yours and not mine.  I’m tired of always being the one to put things right.”
  • This door was death.  He needed only to pass beyond it and he was free.
  • “Pero, I asked you not to change.”
  • Before Pero could wheel Lady Zaon around and make this his final scene at Capua, Francis snatched hold of the bridle.
  • “I, for one, never thought my faith would sour like it has.  I fear I am becoming like them.”
  • “Well, we cannot pray the bastards away.”
  • “And you would have us live at peace with them who exiled and murdered you?”
  • A large horsefly landed on the grey-speckled palfrey’s backside and bit it unexpectedly.  The horse bucked up in the air before he was ready.  Pero nearly lost his grip.
  • “He is my best friend and absolution is hard to come by today.”
  • “I have fallen so far.  It is so dark out here.  I am all alone.  No one can save me now.
  • ‘Let this be the trap.  Let this be the moment.’  The next thought passed quickly.  ‘Be careful what you wish for.’
  • “No, no,” the girl pled, oranges raining out of the basket.
  • “For a few gold coins,” she whispered, her voice nearly singing.  “Anything is possible.”
  • It was the winged, weightless horse he saw earlier in the day, running gracefully on the ether.
  • ‘A tempting lamb to be sure.  Wholesome white purity.’
  • “When you touch that clasp,” Pero continued, “I want you to remember this day and pray for your husband to come.  And believe me, he will come.”
  • Sometime during the dead of winter, no one could really remember when, a proclamation went out to all the cities announcing the engagement of Rugerius Fabbro to a woman he had never met.
  • More adventurous visitors traveled beyond the city, to the ashen plains of Herculaneum where an attraction known as Sin Circus had taken up residence with its mysterious black tents.
  • As he wheeled about to leave, the faint whimper of a teary-eyed woman somewhere in the chapel caught hold of his ear.
  • Beneath the purple cape with icy silver trim, the annoyed maiden rolled her eyes, despised the intrusion and attempted to ignore the stranger further.
  • Embarrassed, the maiden turned slightly red.  Timidly she started running her fingers through that which remained of her hair.
  • “You must recant.  You know nothing about me and my sins.  You don’t know who I am or what has happened today.  What you wish for is impossible.”
  • “I am ready to make my stand in life.  Place your faith in me and my love for Anthea and watch me change the world.”
  • ‘I don’t have the jawbone of an ass but I have this.  And I have the element of surprise.  With God’s help, I could kill these knights.’
  • “Forget my name,” Pero instructed Cambio.  “Forget my name because God has.”
  • Suffice to say, Merle Gilmore rose to the task.  The Rose, as Merle came to be known in Warwick, served his Uncle Geoff with health and vigor.
  • Francis stared into his only child’s face as though she were a magic mirror reflecting his dearest dreams.
  • “Da, I will be fifteen tomorrow.  My life is just starting.  Let me live a little.  Nothing will happen tomorrow, I promise.”
  • The clarion sounded.  An alarm bell followed.  First it was one and then another and then another.
  • Anne breathed soundlessly so only Francis could hear her voice.  “I’m scared, Da.”
  • Francis had never heard of Black Leaves or seen the inverted black oak-leaf crest before.
  • “The rain is falling hard this day, my Lord.  Saints and sinners are hurting all the same.  Don’t let this storm cause you to forget who you are.”
  • Francis Whitehall could not run fast enough.
  • “Don’t forget me, Da!”  Anne couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.
  • “You are not forgiven.”
  • Like the trifling waste that usually fell down from these pipes, Francis and Guidus dumped themselves down harmlessly into the sludge river that encircled the castle.
  • The flickering fire strained and struggled to provide light.  It was being rejected by the strange woodland.
  • That was before the wolves arrived.
  • The moment Pero dismounted, Zaon collapsed.
  • Pero de Alava had become the most dangerous creature on Eagles Pass.  He was now a monster or a god or something worse.
  • A curious iridescent glow began flickering at far point.
  • Without an ounce of grace, as if his body had been thrown there by some giant uncaring hand, Pero crashed down hard on his stomach inside the colonnade of torches.
  • Its pearl black eyes fixed their oppressive gaze on Pero, hypnotically straining to seize him and draw him near.
  • He stood there a long minute defying the darkness, somewhere between heaven and hell.
  • “No human has ever entered Ithaca by way of those woods.  It is unheard of.”
  • Sinibaldus felt slighted, defeated.  He was not accustomed to losing, not where the crystal was involved.
  • He knew it wouldn’t be long before he winked again.
  • “Who are you, old man,” Pero stated cuttingly.  “Why are you out here?  What is this place?  Why the giant torches?”
  • Ba-boom.  Ba-boom.  Ba-boom.
  • In sheer madness, those that condemned killed those that encouraged.
  • No longer lightheaded, Pero shot to his feet and unsheathed Miriam.
  • “Lizards apparently are not animals,” Turstin wryly replied.
  • “I’ve seen men and women with whiskers and tails, people who cannot speak, only growl and snarl.”
  • Pero tore the bandage from his arm and his severest injury.
  • “I tire of your vacillation, you young fool”
  • Spit flew from his mouth.  “That bitch was my mother!”
  • Turstin remembered the moment they placed the quarrel in his hand before loading it in the firing shaft.
  • “He follows the old gods, the gods of war, wrath and willpower.”
  • “A man can become awfully paranoid when he doubts the things he has done in his past and believes his sins are chasing him.”
  • He had chills but was sweating profusely, nauseous and delirious, everything and nothing.
  • Grey ghosts with dead white eyes and long, icy fingers watched him.  Fire erupted and the homestead was consumed in an instant by flames.
  • The corridor was dripping blood.  There was an odor of death, putrid and rancid.
  • Before Anthea could reach him, an arrow sang out of the murkiness beyond the white cloud.
  • “There you go again, Pero, trying to make me your god.”
  • “I am Penafiel.  I shall not be moved.”

    Click here to purchase The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

    BETRAYAL

Learn More About Book Two

The fifty-year-old former Provost of Parthenope had been nothing short of knightly.  Francis commended the statesman for that.  It was not to be expected.  But Guidus did it.  He had battled bravely alongside the Griffin, cutting down mercenaries with impassioned strokes.

‘Poor Guidus,’ Francis thought empathetically.  ‘I’m sure he has never endured a night such as this.’  Francis felt his compassion for Guidus wane.  ‘Who has endured a night like this?  This has been the worst night of my life.’

“Damn it,” Francis softly grumbled.  He pounded his fist against his thigh again.  The palms and fingers were roped burned and stung but he didn’t care.  He wanted to feel something, anything. – EXCERPT FROM : THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

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The Crystal Crux series is a ten day adventure through Medieval Italy.  The first book in the series, BETRAYAL, began with just that – a betrayal.  The people of Capua were stunned when military forces from their allies in Parthenope suddenly laid siege to the keep, killing nearly everyone.

Francis Whitehall, the Griffin, escaped down a privy pipe with Guidus Salvatore, the former Provost of Parthenope and the courier who brought the orders sending Pero de Alava on a suicidal quest to The Eagles Forest.

Pero, by the grace of God, survived the Pass but is injured and holed up in a sanctuary prison.  He has no idea the calamity that befell his home and friends, including his fiance, Anthea Manikos.

Meanwhile, in Parthenope, the giant Sinibaldus, the wielder of a Bellerophon Crystal, agonizing over his failure to kill Pero with his enchanted creatures.  He lies to his comrades while conspiring to complete his mission.

Dressed from head to toe in a black wool cape, Sinibaldus glided silently through the already open door into Gherardus Fabbro’s study.  The giant’s movements were so fluid, so stealthy and cloaked, the two guards posted at the door to protect the Lord Commander hardly noticed the magician come down the long hall before he was right on top of them, crossing over the threshold.  They couldn’t have warned their lord if they wanted to. – EXCERPT FROM : THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

Book Two – Blue Grotto, takes us into Days Two and Three while exploring more background of the main characters.  It is a deep and enthralling epic fantasy tale, often dark but hopeful.  Join us on the journey.

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Be sure to purchase the new book at Amazon – Paperback and Kindle – write a review!
CLICK HERE to purchase BLUE GROTTO
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Happy Reading!

YA Edition BETRAYAL

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.

The Crystal Crux – Betrayal – YA Edition

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?

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Read more about Pero de Alava

Read more about Francis Whitehall

Read more about Anthea Manikos

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

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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.